Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mythcon supplemental

The kindly David Emerson reports the location of Jasmine Edison's "Sub-creation." However, that doesn't mean I can get it to play. I get an error message saying I have a flash blocker. Which I don't, not to my knowledge. I tried googling this condition, and cannot understand any of the discussions, except for a couple "simple" solutions which don't work. Anyway, back to Mythcon:

Colorado Springs is a tricky city to get to. Direct flights are few, and connections can be awkward. It may make more sense to fly to the big Denver hub and just drive, since it's only an hour and a half. Since we wanted a car anyway for some touristing, that's what we did.

Our hour at the rental center was a strange experience. After turning down an offer to upgrade to an SUV, I was directed to a particular space number in which was parked - an SUV. Shrugging, we inspected it, loaded our baggage, and very cautiously - I'd never driven an SUV before - proceeded to the exit, where the guard told us we had the wrong car. That had never happened to me before, which is why I hadn't checked the license number against the contract. Back to the agent, who said the right one must be somewhere. Drove around the lot and couldn't find it. Back to the agent, who was unconcerned that her car was missing, and issued us another one. Which proved to be - another SUV, pretty much identical to the first one. (I was still charged the original price.) Shrugging, we piled in again and drove off, in hot pursuit of dinner, which it was by now well getting on in time for. The highly-recommended Mediterranean restaurant in Aurora turned out to be on vacation for two weeks, so we ate in a dull but adequate Anglo-Mex place across the parking lot.

That was Wednesday. The other car adventure took place Friday morning. On the steep drive up to the Wolf Center (of which more below), the "check engine" warning light came on. Decided to risk the rest of the drive but to proceed immediately to deal with this on returning to town, especially after reading the manual which said if this light comes on, go to a dealer immediately. The rental agency had no outlet in Colo Springs, so I phoned the Denver office, where a manager used to dealing with these problems assured me it was probably nothing important, perhaps an oil change needed. He gave me complex instructions for a reset: press two buttons at once while turning the ignition and holding the brake (and patting your head and rubbing your stomach). That didn't turn the light off. He seemed to think I should just ignore it, but I said I'm not risking my return to Denver on this; I'm going to a Toyota dealer. Fortunately there was one nearby. The friendly tech took five minutes to run a diagnostic and tell me it was a loose gas cap. (No charge for this burning information.) Since I had not yet added any gas, this was the agency's fault, either when they added gas or failed to check the cap after the previous customer did so. Apparently the car runs a self-check on itself periodically and warned me of the problem in the only way it knows how, rather like a baby which cries the same way whether it's just hungry or suffering serious pain.

So our Thursday and Friday outings were mostly animalic in nature, to suit B's interests. (Not that I'm uninterested.) The wolf rescue center is up in the mountains and features wolves of various species, coyotes, and foxes (foxes are very cute) in large pens, which they can be lured to the visible parts of by raw meat treats thrown by the guide. They were great to see; unfortunately the guide was under some delusion that the animal-lovers who'd gone to all the trouble to sign up for the tour in advance and drive up to the center need to be converted to the cause of animal rescue by the shock treatment of gruesomely graphic descriptions of what happens to wolves caught in steel limb traps or foxes raised by fur-farmers. B. was nauseated and we nearly walked out. Despite the delight of seeing the animals, we'd disrecommend the place for that reason alone. (I've written. We'll see what they say.)

We would and did - to others at Mythcon - recommend the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, which is on the mountainside just above the city. (Despite this locale, it's less steep walking than the Balboa Park Zoo in San Diego.) They specialize in giraffes, and have built a balcony over the pen so that you can view the giraffes from a giraffe's-eye view. The heads look weird bobbing up and down right in front of you, as they search to see if you're carrying any of the lettuce that may be purchased from a booth just behind. There is also a walk-through pen where you can pet wallabies (and the occasional grey kangaroo), and a grizzly exhibit where the bears were frolicking in their pond right up against the glass wall against the other side of which B. was pressed up in fascination. (Me, I'd rather stay considerably further than a glass wall's distance from grizzly bears.)

We also drove down to Pueblo, where we saw injured raptors in a few dusty pens at a desert-side rescue center, of which the handsomest was a peregrine falcon. Also in Pueblo, we toured a preserved Victorian mansion which was Margaret Thatcher's house. When you say "Huh?" which is what everyone at Mythcon said to whom I mentioned this, I should explain that Margaret Thatcher presided over this house starting in 1893, when it was built with the money of her husband John, a local banker and merchant, and so you can see, as you should not be surprised to learn, that the world has contained more than one woman named Margaret Thatcher.

I actually pulled this form of ponderous humor to prepare a philosophical point for my brother, the tiny-minded one who thinks that statements of fact are either true or false, no ambiguities. Is it true or false that this house was Margaret Thatcher's home? If I say it's true, I am deliberately misleading hearers into thinking I mean the British prime minister, and to mislead deliberately is to lie, by definition. Yet it's not false, either. To resolve this paradox needs the additional information that it's a different Margaret, yet in other cases my brother refuses to listen to additional information.

Colo Springs is at 6000 feet elevation, higher than Denver, though the road feels mostly downhill. Some reported feeling tired or dehydrated. I did not. I had no more trouble climbing stairs than at home (which is enough), and needed less water than I do after spending time outside on bone-dry days in California.

1 comment:

  1. Not Mythcon-related, but relevant to travel related to the Inklings -- I wanted to say how much I enjoyed your File 770 article (Dec. 2005) on scholarly hassles in Oxford. Evelyn Waugh, I think it was, said the essence of successful travel writing includes accounts of boredom, exasperating delays, misunderstandings, & the like, such as you experienced -- having to wait for bound volumes, not being able to photocopy things when the right volumes arrived at last, and so on.

    Dale Nelson