Saturday, April 6, 2013

Red Planet Blues Vancouver Launch - 1/2

Having Robert J Sawyer in my facebook friends list, I see updates on his goings on. Such hits as "I've finished another book" and "the pope just invented a new award for me" and "the ghost of Isaac Asimov just came by to tell me where he buried his gold."

Maybe not, but you get the idea. As such, of late I've been hearing the news for his latest, Red Planet Blues.
Shucks, if only he could have found a pretty cover for it.

The story centres around our hero Lomax, who's a private dick on Mars. Mars being a hotbed for people looking to score fossils, which draw quite a price back on our ole blue marble. It's like the gold rush. Except with dino bones, replicants, and no air. And if that sounds far fetched to you, yiu may as well tell me that cowboys can't be done in space, then we'll step out back.
You uninitiated should know this is Malcom Reynolds. If you don't, go buy the firefly boxed set and the movie Serenity before he calls a man named Jayne as backup. Jayne wears a wooly knitted hat, so you know it's serious.

I digress. That's never happened before. So, I got an invite to the launch event for the book, the evening of April 3rd. When the day came, as usual, I forgot such petty things like breakfast and lunch. I was going by public transit, and realized my gut would be looking for dinner while I was getting off the Skytrain, so an hour before I had to go, I made myself brunchupper. It consisted of shreddies, leftover beany... taco.. stuff, a squirt of honey, and a generous splash of 'cyrstal' hot sauce. (Imagine 'Frank's Red Hot, if it didn't taste like ass.)
Yeah, well, if you think it tastes like shit, why do.. oh, nevermind....

Oh, and for desert, a tube of little caramel eggs leftover from easter. So now I was in an hour long holding pattern of 'hurry up and wait' while a sugar rush started up. Skip ahead, skip ahead, bus, skip ahead, skytrain, and poof.

There I am at the Granville Skytrain station. Most of the skytrain stations are about twenty meters above the ground, hence the name SKYtrain. Granville, like many downtown, are underground. I got off the train, and my spidey senses started tingling... this looked too familiar..was this the station with no wheelchair enevator to the street? Years ago, my wife and I were forced to take the train to the next station, then walk (RUN!!) back toward the offending station to get to an appointment.

To coin a cliche, my heart sank. I searched, and seeing a nook at the end of the platform where elevators are usually 'hidden', I stopped going towards it, when I saw a RED wheelchair sign, pointing back the way I came with the word "emergency" on it. Oh. Splendid. Do I have to call a transit employee to access this? Also, there's no emergency beyond my fear of becoming late.

So there I sat at the bottom of a trio of epically long escalators. I've gone up escalators in my wheelchair before, but even a normal length one can be a little freaky by about half way up. I wandered back out of the way of others, and called the transit help line that is generally used to find smart routes to use. No reception. I went back over to the escalators where the distant shaft of daylight promised a signal out. Reception was terrible, and talking to the lady I got was difficult at best, when behind me:
Cats. Sorry. It's the internet, I was required to.

"Joe?" It was Jenni Merrifield! I've known her through my dealings with VCON since.. since I started going to it! She's the go-to gal for VCON stuff, and she was also going to Rob's launch. I knew as much from facebook, but I didn't expect to run into her. She saw my plight pretty plainly. Guy in a wheelchair at the bottom of a huge escalator? What could go wrong?
This must be an old pic, I've lost weight in the last few years.

She was willing to be my backup.. if I took the escalator with my usual method, she could ride behind me to make sure I don't randomly become a rolling ball of human/titanium death to any below. Then some else who saw my issue came along with more helpful help. She knew where the elevator was. Yeesh. It was around the corner in that nook I gave up on, which turned out to be a hallway. Ugh.

Dramas resolved, Jenni and I made it to the street, and chatted as we made the last couple blocks to the Vancouver Library!
Yes, that IS actually the Vancouver Central Library, but NO, that's not Jenni and I. I think this scene was from 'Caprica'. That building's been in a lot of movies and stuff. Hollywood north, yo. 

Next- actually at the friggin launch!!!

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