Cheeseburger Gothic

Reports my death are greatly exaggerated.

Posted February 15, 2009 by John Birmingham
Well, unlike Murph or Trinity I didn't really get sick, or if I did, the big box of anti-biotics and a long sleep at the McKinney ranch sorted me right out. I was fine again by the time I flew out of Houston.

Seattle was the next stop, which was kinda weird because I'd spent so much virtual time there in Streetview on Google Earth. I knew the city, or the parts of it in the book at least, very well, in a two dimensional sort of way. It was passing strange to finally be there in 3D and put the whole thing together like a big diorama thingy.

The hills suprised me. On screen, you don't get a sense of how the downtown area falls away dramatically to Puget Sound, or how the vibe of the city changes from one avenue to the next. I was staying down on 1st at a Kimpton Hotel (this Bristol maybe?) Like all Kimpton hotels it had a theme, in this case, literature, which meant my room, which was huge and plush and very beautiful, was also decked out with masses of books. Actual books, not just the empty covers and spines you get in some places. There was also a fireplace and a separate lounge and I could have quite happily lived there.

It was a few blocks down from the market district, which I really loved. So too would Mr Flinthart I expect, given the number of freaks and weirdos and top shelf buskers there. Did my gig at the uni bookstore who were very welcoming, and had a curry afterwards with Dave and his family - one of Craig's mates who works for Google.

The following day I did some signings and had a look around for research purposes, before flying out, or rather attempting to fly out for LA and home. Having done the whole tour without a hitch it was inevitable I'd come a cropper right at the end.

First they thought I was on the wrong flight, one I could possibly catch, then I turned up on one part of the booking system but not the right one. Finally after forty minutes of thinking I might be staying a little longer in Seattle I made it onto my actual flight, which was then delayed because there was no captain to fly it.

We left about an hour or so late and got into LA with less than an hour before my Qantas leg for home left. Unfortunately the airport was shutting down and there was zero indication of how to make that connection. No signs. No staff to pester. Nothing. I wandered around an emptying terminal until a cleaner suggested I leave. Outside a security guard pointed me at another terminal, which did have some Qantas flights, so I joined the back of a long, slow moving security queue. About halfway up I thought, this is taking so long I can't possibly catch this flight. Finally through I went looking for my gate, but entirely without luck. Having run through most of the terminal, which was being rebuilt, I at last found a Qantas staffer who told me I was in completely the wrong building. I'd have to go back out onto the street, and do the security shuffle all over again in the next terminal.

Nnnnnnnaaarrggh.

I almost gave up, but really didn't fancy spending the next few days at LAX while I tried to find a new connection home so I sprinted through the night and hit the next long snaking security line where I got my first break when nobody questioned my bogus entitlement to barge right up the front of the speedy, elite line and toss my bags into the x-ray machine like a Spartan javelin champion.

Made the flight, sweating like a pig. Felt real sorry for the poor Canadians next to me.

Anyway, I'm home now, jetlagged, but pushing on thru until bedtime.

33 Responses to ‘Reports my death are greatly exaggerated.’

Abe ducks in to say...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome back. You haven't missed much.

Geez I hate LAX.

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kittenheel mutters...

Posted February 15, 2009
I will assume that it is an oversight that you skipped over my town while you were in America. After all, it is the 4,549,836th largest metropolis in the state. *turns nose in the air and pivots importantly on heels*

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Flinthart reckons...

Posted February 15, 2009
Whoa! You made it through the LAX disaster leg! Nice one. Oh - welcome back. I take it your house neither burned down nor floated away while you were gone?

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Bangar mutters...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome back, you didn't leave a tap on did you?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2009
Marvelous. SF, SD, NY, Houston, Seattle. Not a bad sampling. Glad you safely got back home - and just in time to continue working on the fourth book in the AoT series!

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Domestic Daze is gonna tell you...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome home, looking forward to hearing your tales of adventure, when you re-join the time zone.

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WalkingShaw would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2009
Well done JB! Welcome home...

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Brian mumbles...

Posted February 15, 2009
Hmm . . .yes, looking forward to some distracting travellers tales. Just got a 'flee or stay' advisory for the next suburb over. Any distraction would be nice about now.

The Californian and Montana fire guys have turned up. So have 8 Indonesian Victim ID specialists. I reckon its worth a Blunty on those guys. Had a surprise yesterday Boeing have been raising money for the guys down here. US $750,000 - the Company matched it. US$1.5 million. All done internally. I was pretty gobsmacked by that - a post by a guy over on Baen. Unfortunately beyond that post I can't attribute

Here's the post :

""Well, when I logged in at work this morning, first thing that popped up is

that Boeing is doing 100% corporate match on donations to Aussie Brushfire

Relief. . . So I threw a hundred bucks your way, and Boeing is throwing

another hundred. (Heck, I worked 18 hours overtime this pay period, time

for a little more charity. . .)

But by the time I logged out at close of business today, Boeing employees

had donated over 3/4 of a million dollars. (There's a widget on our Intranet

that dispenses such factoids. . . )

In ONE DAY.

Plus the match.

Nobody said anything, just a simple announcement on the login web page. But

the response makes me damned proud of my fellow Boeing people. In a nasty

recession and job cuts coming, and we STILL helped. . .

My REAL hope is that this is just a typical example. . . . . ""

How about that?

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sibeen has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome home, JB.

Brian, as someone from Melbourne, I'd like to give a hearty thanks to yourself and all the staff at Boeing.

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girlclumsy reckons...

Posted February 15, 2009
Welcome home!

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Bangar puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2009
Thankyou, such generosity is appreciated and never forgotten.

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Nocturnalist is gonna tell you...

Posted February 15, 2009
That's an excellent turn by the Boeing crowd, much respect to them.

In other news, a ComicCon interview with JB has been serialised on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAm3TpgbeNE

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted February 15, 2009
good to see you back, in one piece and knackered... NOW BACK TO WORK!

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MudCrab swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2009
Should of gone to the FunHouse on 5th ave. Like the review says 'if only there was a bar where I could get drunk, see Japanese punk bands and play half court basketball'.

The Sci Fi museum in the Seattle Center (ie the bit with the Space Needle) is really cool too.

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Big Bad Ad mumbles...

Posted February 15, 2009
Damn, they let you back in.

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CraigWA swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 16, 2009
Well I'm just hoping my flight back this afternoon is a lot less exciting than yours. My only transfer is from the train to the plane and I have plenty of time to spare, so I'm expecting it to go smoothly. Great seeing you again.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted February 16, 2009
Well, Trinity and I hope you enjoyed your first visit to the States. Hopefully it will be the first of many. We hit the ground on Monday with a rolling deployment at 0730 hours and didn't stop until we both hit The Wall on Thursday which brought us low. We both seem to be recovering though. Thank God we didn't pass it on to you.

I hear LAX is a SuperBitch to get through. I think if I go Down Under I'll have to go in the opposite direction.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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JdR has opinions thus...

Posted February 16, 2009
Yep, LAX is a nightmare. The Canadian missus refuses to go that way. Thankfully there's now the occasional direct Sydney/Vancouver flight to we can visit the relatives.

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MickH mutters...

Posted February 16, 2009
Welcome back JB!

I bet it's good to be home!

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yankeedog mumbles...

Posted February 16, 2009
Good riddance...er, glad you made it back!

Hope you enjoyed your visit, but it's always good to be home.

Next tour, a stop in the Midwest, please. Dinner's on YD.

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Guru Bob reckons...

Posted February 16, 2009
LAX sux...

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Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 16, 2009
LAX! Don't know what you people are complaining about. All you need to do is get there the day before your scheduled departure.

By the time the religious freaks have had their way with you you'll be in such a state of dissociation that you'll be smiling your way on board like a valium junkie from the 60's.

Glad you made it back, JB. Hope Brisvegas doesn't flood!

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 16, 2009
Chicago. I definitely lobby for Chicago on an After America tour.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Chaz puts forth...

Posted February 16, 2009
Sorry, you went somewhere?

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NBlob mutters...

Posted February 16, 2009
Wow, LAX sure seems to have gone downhill. When I last passed through in 91 it was as slick a sh!t through a goose. 25 minutes from arrival through security & check in to sitting in the boarding lounge. At the time I understand it was the busiest airport (Pax not flights) in the world. I battled Heathrow and found Le Giardia(snicker)& LAX relative joys.

RE: "Actual books, not just the empty covers and spines you get in some places."

I thought my leg was being pulled when I first heard of this, but I was shown a mail order catalouge where you could get "The Classics" in a choice of leather binding colour to match your decor without all those bothersome words and disturbing ideas.

Unbelievable!

Murph, on the same trip I walked from the central railway station in Chi town around the corner to an ATM then a resturaunt. When I left the resturaunt a nice man with a revolver relieved my of my folding cash. So polite & well dressed it was a surreal moment. He even gave me my money clip back.

I was lucky that while dining I had transferred most of my money to my big wallet that contained passport, credit cards & airline tickets stashed in my boot.

So yeah Chicago is an interesting place to visit.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 16, 2009
Oh, and postscriptus.

Very Fine Work Boeing.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted February 16, 2009
NBob, I'm sorry to hear that. Sadly, that could happen anywhere in the world.

I passed through LAX on the way to Korea in 1992 where we joked about the fires per the Rodney King Riots (which had long since passed). It seemed okay when I was there but that was years ago.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Guru Bob would have you know...

Posted February 16, 2009
Murphy - Flinthart was in LA for those riots - wrote an article about it for me in the student rag...

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savo would have you know...

Posted February 16, 2009
Flintheart was the LA riots.

Welcome home John. Staying in Brisvegas for a while or continuing the Grand Tour?

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Murphy asserts...

Posted February 17, 2009
GB, I have very little good to say about those riots other than, "Typical."

An amazing thing.

1. I'm angry.

2. I'm angry so I'll burn my house down.

3. You've sent the cops to stop me from burning my house down so now I'll burn the cop car and go down to the only store in my neighborhood, owned by my friend, and burn it down.

Even Martin Luther King Junior, responding to the Watts Riots, wondered just what was accomplished by this sort of behavior. Do you know what the response is?

"We made them (meaning the Oppressor class) pay attention to us."

If MLK Junior couldn't figure it out or explain it, I'll be damned if I can figure it out.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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tygertim puts forth...

Posted February 17, 2009
Glad you're home, JB, and DIDN'T pick anything up from youse knows whom.....

Let me know when your next trip is and I'll take you someplace nice.... Steak AND Lobster?

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NBlob mutters...

Posted February 17, 2009
Murph, anger don't have to make sense.

The African Amercian population had been complaining of rascist assaults by LAPD for 40 years, any & all complaints were disapeared. Finally they felt they had evidence - video footage of a beating. The footage was broadcast on high rotation for weeks which built up a fine head of righteous indignation - somewhat like the 911 footage.

When the case fell over (probably for the very best of legal reasons) elements of the population lost any remnant faith in "The System" and suspended their end of the social contract.

It was a tiny minority, as in the other race riots, that actually took to the streets. Many who took to the streets were not politically / socially motivated - just out to do some burning.

I am not not not justifying or condoning the actions taken, just trying to explain to myself how such a terrrible situation could develop.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 18, 2009
NBob, I understand the frustration. I'm frustrated about things but I do not respond by burning my own house down.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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