Cheeseburger Gothic

Props to Madoc.

Posted February 5, 2009 by John Birmingham
Had a reasonabley large time in San Diego today. Large enough to make me wish I was staying a few days longer. Woulda been nice to get down the waterfront and check out the Midway, and some sailing ship that used to be a brothel.

But we're into the business end of the deal now, so Larry my minder shuttled me around the district today, signing copies. Then dropped me back at the hotel in time to check a few emails before Madoc very generously drove down from LA  to whisk me away to dinner across the water from the big fleet base. I had a very fine swordfish steak grilled in some sort of spicey SoCal herb mix with green beans.

Then it was off to Mysterious Galaxy for a chat and some signing. Another dip o' the propeller beanie to the Galaxy crew for indulging me in my odd anecdotal ays. I dont think they get a lot of writers explaining the critical importance of strip clubs and brothels to their early development.

A really pleasant development there was the presence of Bill, the USN chief you might remember from the old Cheeseburger whom I took to lunch at Char in Brisbane. He was off his ship and back home with his family and made the effort to come to the gig. Again, cheers.

Then back to SD proper with Madoc for a Blanton's bourbon and a tour of the gas lamp district before heads down here at the hotel.

Early flight tomorrow.

Did a first class upgrade this morning on United. It gave me pause. I think it was Monster Yuppy who said something like their first isn't far off Qantas' economy. He was right. I now have a perverse desire to experience an economy flight on a US domestic leg, just to see what it's like.

It can't be that bad. Right?

Anyway, again, many thanks to Madoc for a huge effort.

And now to New York.

42 Responses to ‘Props to Madoc.’

Monster Yuppy mutters...

Posted February 5, 2009
"I now have a perverse desire to experience an economy flight on a US domestic leg, just to see what it’s like."

Perverse is correct...Why not also consider poking yourself in the eye, or putting a hand on the hotplate?

It may seem like a good idea at the time....however....

Hope San Diego treats you well... It is one of my favourite spots in the USA.

Cheers

The Monster

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 5, 2009
Last time I was in NYC (Thanksgiving 01) it was jammed to the rafters with tourists and cheerleading teams & marching bands for Macy's parade.

Took me a while to work out all the "Colors" jackets I was seeing, but a jolly good time was had by all, except perhaps the locals who seem to wear the "Sh!t I just stepped in something" expression.

Keep your eye's peeled for the "No Radio" signs in delivery trucks & watch how you cross the road - don't do a Churchill & step in front of traffic.

NYC Bush tucker:

Street vendor bagels & hotdogs over rated.

Hole in the wall Pizza joints sell by the slice - good dough, but would it kill 'em to put on more than on topping?

Diner breakfasts are worth the DVT.

Pretzels good.

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DrYobbo is gonna tell you...

Posted February 5, 2009
“I now have a perverse desire to experience an economy flight on a US domestic leg, just to see what it’s like.”

Yes this does sound like an proto-attempt at self harm. Best your minders keep you away from sharp pointy things.

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Guru Bob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 5, 2009
It is extremely perverse - you are lucky you ain't my size.

Also try to get something with chipotle in it...

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savo is gonna tell you...

Posted February 5, 2009
These updates are just so good. Wonderful you met up with Madoc. I'm off to read his entry.

Did an economy trip with wife and two kids in 95. Washington to SF via LA. 8 hours across the continent and the only thing severed, offered and delivered was one sample packet of stale peanuts for each child. But the whole flight was made memorably pleaseant purely by surviving the landing at San Fran. The kids enjoyed the roller coaster ride and it was, hmmm ... enlightening to see the runway approach through the side window.

Stick with the upgrades.

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Brian reckons...

Posted February 5, 2009
Don't bother going over to Madocs blog just yet - he hasn't updated since Pelosi proved she was numerically illiterate.

Tsk . . .had no idea Madoc was LA based. He'd best be careful. Conservative are rare on the West Coast.

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savo has opinions thus...

Posted February 5, 2009
damn, can't post on Madoc's site.

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Lobes mutters...

Posted February 5, 2009
Madoc DROVE to meet you?? Does he not know what a huge CO2 footprint that will produce!! LA to San Diego and back has got to be worth at least 1.5 polar bears.

LoL, just kidding. Glad you guys had a good time. Besides, I'm sure Madoc drives a Hybrid ;)

Its 3am now in LA. I'm sure Madoc will have a post up soon.

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yankeedog is gonna tell you...

Posted February 5, 2009
Never been to San Diego, but everything I've heard about it is good-nice climate, oceanfront, vibrant city. Must get to a Padres game sometime!

My advice: Enjoy California. The eastern half of the nation has been cold, even in Florida, where it rarely hits freezing.

As for flying economy class on a domestic flight-dunno. Fly a small plane from Brisbane to Perth. If you can do that without being too uncomfortable, then you can handle a cross-country flight here-it's about the same distance. Stick with your first class.

Remember-every flight from Australia to anywhere is long distance, so Qantas probably has their planes designed with that thought in mind.

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Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted February 5, 2009
What does "no radio" in NY trucks signify?

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jennicki swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 6, 2009
You had me at sailing brothel.

Then lost me at desire for a US economy flight.

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted February 6, 2009
mate its 1.39AM, just got home, dropped off squire Bedak at his digs in MelB for his stay. gotta say, sounds like ya having a blast, tea, drinks and two clubs later we had a wicked night out for the Melb Burgers and GBOB once again picked a wicked place..I'm off to bed

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Murphy mutters...

Posted February 6, 2009
Well, for twenty bucks US you can get onboard the USS Intrepid in Manhattan, which is an Essex Class carrier.

I've not been on a plane since 1993 so I have absolutely no idea what to expect. I do know that on Midwest Air the seating is a bit better but then they do not have first class per se. You do get a warm chocolate chip cookie though with every flight. :)

Glad the hook up took place.

Respects,

Murph

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 6, 2009
Maddoc and I are secretly on the California Tourism Board payroll.

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Damaso swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 6, 2009
Please talk to the publisher about releasing WW for the Kindle. I would have brought it just a moment ago but it isn't available...

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Lobes is gonna tell you...

Posted February 6, 2009
Link to Birmos appearance blurb at the New York comic con. He appears under the heading of Literary Guest

http://www.nycomiccon.com/app/homepage.cfm?moduleid=2920&appname=100453&submenuheader=1&campaignid=61424905&iUserCampaignID=48070306#Literary_Guest

caution: v large page

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Trevin Matlock would have you know...

Posted February 6, 2009
Dear Mr. Birmingham,

Very much enjoyed your talk last night in San Diego. Just started the book this morning. I like the book very much so far but found one of those things your editor should have sent you a note on. Page 21, 3rd para. I'm afraid there is no UCLA Berkeley campus. There is a UC campus in Berkeley and a UC campus in LA (and Santa Cruz, Davis, Riverside, San Diego, Irvine and so on).

Cheers,

Trevin

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Madoc reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
John,

Thanks! It was a pleasure to finally get to meat you in person. And I had fun carting you 'round America's Finest City(tm) - and yes, that is the official motto of the City of San Diego.

That sailing ship is the Star of India and it is "the world's oldest active ship." She's a iron hulled barque rigged tallship. Originally built in 1863 she was sold to some San Diegans in 1923 as a restoration project. The Great Depression, among other things, put paid to that idea and the ship languished for many a year. During that time it was used for storage, for a "floating hotel" and yes, even as a brothel as well. That last bit doesn't get much mention on the San Diego Maritime Museum's tours of the ship. Odd, that.

Paul, yeah I hear you to did an outstanding job of showing the Birmo around there in SF. Good on you!

As to my "carbon footprint" well... since the world is now facing a period of global _cooling_ you'd think more CO2 in the air would be a good thing! But then, as we all know that the whole "carbon dioxide causes global warming" is but a scam and a lie, the amount of CO2 my driving down generated is therefore irrlevant!

And no, I was NOT going to drive the likes of John Birmingham around America's Finest City(tm) in anything so pathetic as a "hybrid" car. No, he got driven around in my Ford Ranger pickup truck!

'Twas a pity I was spending too much time with my eyes on the road as I drove him 'round for John later told me he got reflexively terrified every time I took a right hand turn. Here in the States that means only that I was driving with traffic. Down there in Oz such a turn would've meant I was driving into oncoming traffic. Birmo handled it well though and his face didn't look to green nor his knuckles to white after each drive...

As to flying economy, John, heed the words of others here above - you be not missing a damn thing! Unless, of course, you're into that self-induced suffering thing. But you don't strike me as the hairshirt type.

Anyway, glad to meet you in person and I'm happy you enjoyed your time here!

Madoc

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Madoc puts forth...

Posted February 6, 2009
Savo,

You gotta have an account on LiveJournal to post. This is due to there being to many wankers being, well, wankers. I figure if setting the posting requirements to "LJ members only" keeps such cowards at bay then it's worth it.

And Brian - I'm not a conservative. I just don't happen to be what passes for liberal these days.

Madoc

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted February 6, 2009
Madoc - Good news on carbon! In my heart, I knew that climate change stuff is a scam. Carbon-making is a family tradition that goes back many generations. All this talk about reducing our individual "carbon footprints" was threatening to cut me off from my most powerful connection to my cultural roots. Time to go make some carbon! Wahoo!

PS - the next time I'm in SD we gotta do lunch.

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted February 6, 2009
Hehe

He said, "meat you."

Hehe

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Madoc reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
Abe,

Well, we do a feed and it weren't no poffy vegie stuff! 'Twas meat it was! Real meat!

And besides, I'm still kinda bleary eyed this morning. I don't much fancy driving two and a half hours through Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego rush hour traffic, pulling a fine time with a distinguished personage, and then having to get up at O-Dark-Thirty the next morning to drive back through San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles rush hour traffic to get to work in the morning.

So, me wordsmithing skills be a mite bit off.

It was worth it though, to hear Birmo tell his "pointy headed" bit.

Madoc

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted February 6, 2009
Argh. . .Madoc, from this far remove. It seems realists and pragmatics get dumped on the conservative side of the fence anyway. (shrug)

I'm glad you don't drive a 'noddy' car. Noddy Car - car driven by Enid Blyton character. Notionally similar to a 'clown' car. Prius with an inferiority complex.

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Leo euler puts forth...

Posted February 6, 2009
Have fun!

I actually was on United economy just yesterday...I was going to a funeral. It was weird, because my cousin happened to be on the same plane, but we didn't even know it!

I don't think a lot of people are flying at this time of year, so you'll probably have a lot of space on United. I did. It really wasn't bad at all.

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Patricia reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
John- economy on United or Continental is akin to a Greyhound bus in Australia. A Greyhound bus in the U.S. is probably the worst way of travelling. If you feel like suffering, I would recommend the leg between Seattle and Dallas. 3 days long. Full of obese people who don't get a chance to wash. Lots of greasy diners in between.

Madoc-I think your new president begs to differ about the carbon dioxide thingy. You may want to talk to some scientists. After all, it ain't a religion....it's not a matter of belief.

But anyway...

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted February 6, 2009
Mmmmm Blanton's. Well done Madoc!

I did Buffalo - L.A. in economy on the old Peoples' Express. I'd been advised to get hammered first and collapse for the flight. Sound advice.

Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted February 6, 2009
By Matt Keith, February 5, 2009 @ 10:43 pm "What does “no radio” in NY trucks signify"

I had to ask a local.

Apparantly it means "I have no car stereo, so it's not worth breaking into it."

Often seen in conjunction with 1 inch wide strap steel welded across windows - looks kinda Mad Max.

Private cars in NYC seemed pretty rare, ever desperate not to look like a tourista in times square I whipped out the camera, took a shot and put it away without much in the way of composing the shot or waiting for the moment. Of the visible vehicles 80% are yellow cabs, a couple of busses, some delivery vans, 2 town cars (Aka limos) and just 1 private car.

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Madoc would have you know...

Posted February 6, 2009
Patricia,

Well, given how so many of the CO2/Global Warming folk behave you'd be excused in thinking it their religion. As to Obama's "scientists" I don't expect it to be to much longer before he's back on TV telling the world he is once again wrong and has yet again "screwed up." This time, about the "climate crisis." What with the Sun cooling down, the southern hemisphere experiencing year after year of record cold winters, and the planet itself enduring _no_ global warming since 1998, it shan't be long before the enviro-whackos move on to other things to get hysterical about.

And as to the Blanton's, Birmo scored a fresh bottle there as well. Seems that bourbon isn't in high demand in San Dieg - or perhaps it is and they'd just gone through their last uncorked example - but John got his very own freshly openned right before our eyes bit of pouring. He had it on the rocks but with only a few rocks therein. Not quite pebbles but shading toward that end.

Me? Well, since I was driving and since I didn't want to deal with the outrage had I put the Birmo's life in any more danger than I already had simply by driving on the "wrong" side of the road for his sensitivities, I decided to stick to a glass of Coke. I would've prefered to show my savoir faire by having it neat but the barman was to quick for me and had the filled glass before me before I could say otherwise.

And in any event, we wound up walking back to his hotel as it was that close and he wanted to see at least some of San Diego's nightlife. But for some of the particular sounds and a few of the visuals, it wasn't to different from anywhere else's nightlife.

John may be tempted, when he's in LA next week, to make his own trek down to San Diego so he can take in "Bondi - The Australian bar and kitchen." We stumbled across it after we'd already finished our feed otherwise we might've wound up there so John could do his restaurant critic deconstruction of the place. He tells me the temptation is yet strong so perhaps he'll twist his LA Wrangler's arm a tad for a quick road trip south. We'll see.

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Matthew K asserts...

Posted February 6, 2009
Thanks Bob, now I know. I thought NY had the petty crime thing licked but that don't sound like it.

Testify Madoc! I too am of the almost religious zealotry which man made climate change is championed.

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Matthew K mumbles...

Posted February 6, 2009
Erm. That should have read: I too am suspicious of...

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted February 6, 2009
Good lord, a restaurant called 'Bondi -The Australian Bar and Grill'...I am VERY interested in a review of that joint. It has the potential to be horrifying.

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Rhino is gonna tell you...

Posted February 6, 2009
Madoc - Thanks for squiring Birmo around ... I'm sure that the sheer mass of your libertarian purity removed, through sheer osmosis, some of the lib molecules that his body accumulated from the water in SF.

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damian has opinions thus...

Posted February 6, 2009
“Bondi - The Australian bar and kitchen.”

Why does that provoke a simmering premonition of culinary outrage, without knowing anything more than the name?

Anyhow, top show Madoc.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 6, 2009
Matt, it was 2001.

I believe pre Juliani "0 tolerance"

Seems like a lifetime ago.

Well it is my daughters life-time ago, but that's beside the point.

Looks like the Carbon debate continues.

[Not here or now Bob]

Ok, thankyou inner self censor.

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Madoc asserts...

Posted February 6, 2009
Rhino,

'Twas the least I could do. I mean, I knew that if I was anywhere near San Diego whilst Birmo was in town and I somehow failed to show the lad a good time that he'd then write me into one of his tales as a minor character who dies a horribly, cowardly and pointless death. Hell, he might still do that anyway so I gotta watch myself here!

And as to the lib molecules percolating in John's bloodstream, well, I dunno. What the man had to say about his "pointy head" was, well, it was... disturbing. I shan't go into further details as there's some things which men just shouldn't talk about.

Really.

Madoc

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NBlob mutters...

Posted February 6, 2009
shit, not 2001, it was 1991 that makes more sense.

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Brian reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
Err . . .Nowhere Bob? Heat or cold getting to you?

Madoc. 'Pointy head' was it? Well . . .guess you had to be there to catch the subtleties. John's molecules probably were in overdrive - metabolizing something.

(worrying thought) John's not getting to have one of his migraines again?

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Madoc reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
Brian,

If you wanna ask John about the point head bit then go ahead. Just don't tell me I told you to.

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Madoc reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
Arrggghhh!

Just don't tell _HIM_ I told you to!

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NBlob mutters...

Posted February 6, 2009
Nah Brian, just a type A brain f*ckout.

Possibly with a dash of denial from the "I'm still young & hip" part of my brain.

The fact that I did it twice is just like a slice of fruit on the side or an dinky paper umbrella in the glass.

Embarassing.

Perhaps I can distract with more windswept & interesting tales.

Nope.

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted February 6, 2009
Madoc - you gotta take the green pills, the green pills.

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savo reckons...

Posted February 6, 2009
well, that was a lotta fun

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