B’Con day 1

Anchorage is just the most appealing town in the world. Not the most gorgeous, although its setting is pretty spectacular. And not the most sophisticated, or the most architecturally varied, but as personalities go, Anchorage has IT. Workaday and fun in equal parts, with an intriguing sense of wilderness all around it that is rare in cities. This is the kind of place that you know finds moose and the occasional bear wandering the streets. And when Outsiders complain, because both are really really dangerous, the native Alaskans rise up in derision and tell them to go back to Omaha if they don’t like the moose.

A great place for a conference on crime.

I got in yesterday having had absolutely no difficulty at either airport (although the nice microbrewery-turned-sports-bar in the Seattle airport has taken a step down and now serves three sandwiches, four salads, and three beers. Blah, and I used to so look forward to a Widmer heffeweisen (sans lemon) to go with some kind of meaty sandwich. Change is not always good.)

But there’s a sports bar in the hotel, and they have two or three Alaskan beers, so I’ll let you know the results of my rigorous taste testing. The things I do for my readers, huh?

Today I spent at the terribly exalted writerly ritual of stuffing book bags. That’s right, I was a pair of hands, to be used where needed, and if that was hefting cartons of books and bags for the registrees’ goodies, so be it. Those years of personal trainer workouts had to have some benefit, and this was it. Eight hundred bags stuffed with Strand, Ellery Queen, and Alfred Hitchcock magazines, hardback and softback books, neck-bags for the ID cards, miniature flashlight-reading lamps, notebooks, and a pin. Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate moose droppings.

When we finished I made the mistake of asking if there was anything else… And was promptly handed two volunteer sheets and told to hold up time cards for the pre-conference library panels. Which I’d actually wanted to go to anyway, but figured I’d be busy working—hey, keeping an eye on my watch during an interesting panel is my kind of labor. In one, Diana Gabaldon talked with three librarians about war novels, and in the other, a Seattle librarian gave a presentation on Guy Books. Great talks, both of them.

Tonight things begin to trickle into action, and tomorrow panels begin in earnest, with one on Sherlock Holmes moderated by that King woman who writes about the girl who meets and becomes The Great Detective’s apprentice, or something. But the others on the panel should make up for the moderator’s shortcomings.

The weather is even keeping good, the predicted hard showers not having materialized, and tomorrow should be pretty clear. Which wouldn’t matter but the conference center is two blocks away from the main hotel, so everyone has to schlep raincoats around.

Wish you were here. And if you are here, flag me down and say hi!

Comments

  1. Yep! That’s Anchorage! A small town but so darn scenic and friendly. I’m sure you met the bear that greets you at check in. If you missed him, you can see him on your way to the pub. Then there’s the convention center which is a nice trot away. The brews there are good…at least I thought they were. When we had our physical anthropology meetings it was all free so I was more liberal than usual in my tasting.

    Glad to hear things are going well..I think. I hope your presentation went good too. Oh and if you love antiques, there are plenty of antique stores downtown and a tobacconist to boot.

  2. It sounds wonderful, and I would like to put in a request, please, for one of those Alaskan brews. As I can’t be there myself, I’m going to ask you to make the supreme sacrifice of having it for me.

    I think Harley Kozak is there; if you get a chance, tell her Kerry said “hi.” And have a fantastic time!

  3. If I were to flag you down, it would be for group taste testing (microbrewery dreaming on a Santa Cruz afternoon…)

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