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01 February 2006 @ 09:16 pm
Confusion Journal - A Transcription. Part 1.  

20 January 2006, Noon

Observations at Confusion hotel:
– The hotel restaurant is (Don) Shula’s American Steak House (a chain—I don’t know if/how associated with Mariott in general). Funny that one of the items on the menu is Grilled Dolphin Sandwich. Brings up … odd … images.
– In the room, the hotel has thoughtfully supplied cute little bottles of Bath & Body Works® AROMATHERAPY Orange Ginger Energizing Volumizing Shampoo, Bath & Body Works® AROMATHERAPY Orange Ginger Energizing Volumizing Conditioner, and Bath & Body Works® AROMATHERAPY Orange Ginger Energizing Nourishing Body Lotion. I’m oddly pleased that the body lotion isn’t “volumizing” … although I guess if it’s “nourishing” it might be “volumizing” over time…

== == == == ==

Ran into Jim Frenkel in the hotel lobby at 2am when I arrived from the train; he said he’d just come from the treadmill. For years I had thought I’d first met “Broadway” Jimmy Frenkel in his (then) office at Dell Books in New York City in the late 70’s (NYC being one of the places I stayed and worked for a while during the years I traveled the U.S., staying with fen and working through temp agencies). Turns out we actually met at Saint Louiscon—the 1969 WorldCon—he was one of the couple dozen fen who crashed with us and helped a bit with room costs in the Minneapolis in ’73 bid-party-suite at that convention. Jim is very fond of bringing this up when we meet these days. He’ll turn to any available bystander(s) and say, “Yeah, Fred and I &hellip we go way back… Why, we even slept together at a WorldCon back in ’69.”

== == == == ==

I’m thinking I maybe should reassess the whole train thing. The seats, while affording much more leg room and reclinability and comfort than airplane seats, aren’t really that comfortable for such a long haul—my body aches a bit, although this morning’s hot bath helped somewhat. Also need to investigate the guitar case issue; I know it violates their standard luggage size restriction, but it is a musical instrument, which, according to their rules, appears to warrant an exception—I need consistency. If can’t bring it, don’t allow me to check it in Minneapolis without much comment and then give me grief about it just as I’m about to disembark in Birmingham (which happened this time). Will they give me cr*p when I try to board Monday morning? [Update, 1 February— No problem while embarking; in fact the conductor helped lift it onto the train, even after I said “just take the yellow step-stool away and I can hoist it up.” And in Chicago they checked it for me without batting an eyelash. I guess if I plan to bring it on a train again I should contact somebody in Amtrak administration and get a clarification &hellip written if positive, don’t ride the train if negative.] As far as the seats go, it seems that even the Business Class upgrade on the CHI to BMM leg, while helpful to the point of necessity, wasn’t really sufficient to prevent cramps and aches.

A tip: If taking the train in the future, instead of a precise time arrangement with the hotel let them know the ETA, carry their phone number and tell them I’ll call them when the train reaches Royal Oak; making sure, of course, that they understand that I’ll be arriving at Birmingham. The point being that then they don’t have to have somebody waiting at the station for however long the unscheduled delay is. If going with this plan will need to watch for the Royal Oak station (after leaving the Detroit station)—nobody (at least in Business Class) was detraining at Royal Oak, so no announcement of the station was made in that car.

== == == == ==

Forgot my razor (not surprising—it’s a expensive straight-razor & I tend to leave it at home when I fly for what are probably obvious reasons) and toothpaste. I carefully put a hair brush next to my kit but it either didn’t make it into the suitcase or went for walkies while in transit (not impossible—I went into that suitcase a couple of times for a book and a transit pillow). Just rectified the first two omissions at the hotel “essentials” shop/rack and the lack of the brush probably won’t be a problem, especially since I did remember to bring my for-the-shower hair-scrubbie-brush-like-object. [Update— Found the brush. I had transferred it to one of the drawers with my clothes without noticing it. Heh.]

Current Mood: mellowmellow
Chuckthatguychuck on February 2nd, 2006 03:43 am (UTC)

It was very nice meeting you and sitting down for a meal in the hotel lobby together. I'm looking forward to seeing you again at other conventions.

But now to my point: where did you find your razor strop? I have a couple of nice straight razors and a good stone for the initial edge, but I have yet to find a good strop. Any suggestions?


FanGuest Chuck
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on February 3rd, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC)

The feeling is quite mutual, Chuck ol' bean.

As I recall, I bought the strop and brush at the cutlery shop where/when I bought the razor, although I have since discovered there's a barbers' supply company in St. Paul, Marvey, which also does a small walk-in trade where I could have bought a better strop for less money. I found them after I read somewhere that I was supposed to use strop wax to treat the strop and went in search. They stock it, but the lady there was surprised I wanted it and said they sell maybe one little jar every two years or so. I have since taken the opportunity to stop back and buy a couple of cakes of nice shaving soap.

(It seems I remember reading somewhere that razors are ground with a special curve which makes them great for shaving but which also means that you need to use some sort of special technique when you're going to take a stone to them. Is this so?)

Emma Bull: snirchcoffeeem on February 2nd, 2006 06:41 pm (UTC)
With all that energizing, how do they expect hotel guests to get any sleep?
Fred A Levy Haskell: Geri's Fred eyes onlyfredcritter on February 3rd, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm. Good question. Maybe one is supposed to eschew personal hygiene if one is planning to actually sleep in one's room...?
Chaschasophonic on February 6th, 2006 05:15 pm (UTC)
Trains and guitars
Sorry we missed out on the train trip and the con this year.

After last year's trip and grumbling by conductors, I offered to loan you a more typical hard case for your guitar next time. Let's keep that in mind as an option.

We plan to go next year and plan to take the train. (Of coarse we had planned on it this time, but stresses on my finances and voice changed that.) The train holds much appeal for several reasons:

I don't have to drive. Two years ago I drove this trip through an ice storm and vowed, "NEVER again!" Had a good enough time to want to return though.

I haven't flown anywhere since 9/11, but had great concerns about the safety of my guitar in plane travel even before. My guitar was always in my possession on the train. Not sure it would be on a plane.

The train trip was much more pleasant that any flight I have ever had. The company made this even more true.

And this is last but far from least. The company on the trip last year made the trip perhaps more memorable than the con. It was great fun sharing the day and the experience. I am sorry that part was missing for you this time. We aim to change that next time.

(Anonymous) on February 12th, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
Confusion hotel
Hey, Fred:

It's true, I do tell people we slept together at St. Louiscon. Of course I don't go into detail. Such as the fact that you were married, and there were -- ghod knows--probably at least fifteen people in the room, and I, for one, just slept, innocent as the relative babe-in-the-woods I was at that time.

Sorry we didn't get a chance to hang out more at Confusion--I gather you weren't feeling well. I myself was recovering from being sick on-and-off much of November-early January (and still not fully healthy, but clese enough for gummint work).

Broadway Jimmy.