austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

And ten days on the road are barely gone

Aware that I'd be meeting an Army Guy With The Power To Have Me Issued Money, I figured I should go up with my new blazer and make my best impression. The trouble is I wanted to pack as lightly as possible, since I had to carry all this stuff on the bus, subway, and train; this directed me to stuff I could fit in my messenger bag or backpack. My blazer might unpleasantly wrinkle in such. Well, I could just wear it up, right? By the way, this summer has been the hottest of all time, with temperatures routinely breaking 4500 degrees and birds bursting into flame. New York City's subways are really sweet in those conditions.

On the train ride up there was a cute kid, about seven or eight, who was fascinated by every aspect of the train experience. The kid was also impressed with the other people on the train. At one point I got up to swap around books from my bookbag, tucked in overhead, and overheard her telling her (I assume) parents ``he shouldn't be standing up''. I'm not sure if this was a misunderstood plane-safety rule, or just a rule attempted to be imposed on her. But I felt I was getting a glimpse of my niece in a couple years, if she continues her life-organizing ways as the past suggests.

My hotel was a new one, built since I left Troy, and to my delight was nearly where my apartments had been as a grad student. It was just across the street from the Popeye's where I didn't eat so often as I might have, as they charged a whole quarter for refills when McDonald's and Burger King had gone to free refills, if you can imagine. But it's a sweet hotel, especially when it doesn't net cost you anything.

Unfortunately I got there way, way too late in the day to actually go or see much, but I did pick up a Troy Record in actual physical print. In recent years they've switched from the pale imitation of broadsheet which passes for a broadsheet these days, and gone to the tabloid format, a popular way of making the delivery of a lesser newspaper look really chintzy and noticeable to the remaining customer base. Too bad. Also, if I remember right, the Sunday comics wrapping the package puts Beetle Bailey front page, above the fold, for some reason.

Trivia: Some of the ``six-penny newspapers'' of New York City in the 1830s were printed on sheets as much as five feet wide. Source: The Paper: The Life And Death Of The New York Herald Tribune, Richard Kluger.

Currently Reading: The Space Beyond, John W Campbell. Three previously unpublished stories: ``Marooned'', which asks whether a crew of plucky intrepid star explorers can escape Jupiter's mighty pull using nothing but the ability to violate the conservation of energy using that scheme real SF fans heard Campbell used in ``The Irrelevant'' but never actually read; ``All'', the much-less-plausible version of the tale which became Heinlein's Sixth Column; and ``The Space Beyond'', which asks whether a crew of plucky intrepid star explorers consisting of a crew of gangsters and a Texan who find themselves accidentally in a distant galaxy can Mary Worth their way to victory in an interstellar war where the first people they talk to happen to be the side of Good and why did the ship have a crew of gangsters and a Texan again, because I don't remember seeing it explained? Add in enough talk about the magic of gold to make the tax-libertarians say, ``Dude, it's just shiny rocks already'' and boy is Campbell so phenomenally Campbell.

(Actually, in ``All'' I also see bits of that moderately dopey Religion Of Science which stumbled awkwardly through Asimov's first couple Foundation shorts too. Asimov in his introduction mentions how much Campbell influenced or imposed himself on the writers of the 1940s, but doesn't make explicit this connection, if it was there. )

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