Saturday, August 3, 2019

on to Mythcon

We live in the same state as San Diego, but it would be a long and hard trip as a one-day drive. So we reproduced a previous experience by heading off in the afternoon, dining on seafood at Morro Bay (eponymous rock hidden by fog), staying over in the area, and breakfasting the next morning on Danish pancakes in Solvang.

There is no longer a congestion-free route through LA, even at mid-day, so it was nearly dinner time before we arrived in SD, checked in to our room at the Worst Western motel (gads, you don't want to know, but how often have you been trapped in the bathroom by a malfunctioning door? Just as for instance?) and slipped down to Old Town for a hearty Mexican meal.

Next couple of days were occupied with calling on J's sweetie, tourist stops at the Mission (quite worthwhile) and Point Loma (spectacular view), and above all the zoo's Safari Park out near Escondido. B. rented an electric scooter and zipped about contentedly for the whole of a six-hour visit (including lunch), while I puffed along behind. Tigers prowling, lions lyin', flamingos flaming, meercats meering, and lots of other animals doing what they do.

That brought us to Thursday and the beginning of transition to Mythcon. Noon meeting on campus with conference services for final checkup and handover of keys et al, eventually followed by jolly dinner of early arrivals at convenient Mediterranean restaurant, but the real action proceeded that evening as more members arrived. One disabled member, an old friend, parked in a strip mall lot with no idea where to go or what to do next, turned to Facebook to express her plight. Fortunately B. had some notification turned on and caught this. I deduced which lot she must be in and rushed off on foot to help. With much assistance from the junior committee member, our chair's grandson, we got her car repositioned at the dorm, person and belongings extracted from the car and into the building, to which I had a key, as far as the check-in desk, but by that time it was late enough that I needed to take B. back to the hotel for the night.

After all that rushing about on Thursday, on Friday, the actual first day of the con, I could hardly walk at all and hobbled about, but things like registration were well-organized, and the first program items started of themselves.

Vast sweeping paper on Tolkien's framing by intrepid scholar, invites niggles. New research on Dr Robert Havard of the Inklings revealed not only that, despite claiming no literary accomplishments he left a large sheaf of poems, some published, in an archive, but that, according to his sons, the name is pronounced ha-VARD, rhymes with hard, something apparently nobody in Inklings scholarship had known or revealed.

Panel involving discussion of academic research on Tolkien produced first-time audience member incredulous that his work has been looked down on by the academic literary establishment. Wasn't he one of them, an English professor himself? Afterwards I took this fellow aside and and explained a few things. He mused on wondering where Tolkien got his validation from. "Well, the Inklings, for one," I said. Blank look. Not familiar with the Inklings? Nope. Well, more to say.

Now, much later, I am finding that the dorm's plastic mattresses do not facilitate sleep, so I'm up reporting this.

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