Thursday, October 9, 2014

SFWA Reception and Temple University, or A Tale of Two Cities

Events conspire to keep me busy, it seems.  This past weekend led up to the SFWA reception in NYC, which is a "must attend" event for me.  That usually ends up turning into an entire day wandering around Manhattan, either on my own or meeting up with a friend or two.  This year, my daughter is a freshman at Temple University in Philly and, as luck would have it, she asked if I could pick her up and bring her home for the long Columbus Day weekend.  So, within a period of less than a week, I'll be bouncing from NYC to home to Philly.  Makes me feel all cosmopolitan!

First, the SFWA trip.  It's hard to believe that I'm getting to be an old hand at these things, but when I walk in the door and Bud Sparhawk immediately congratulates me for my latest Analog story, I guess I can't claim to be a noob any more.  This year, I met my friend Jamie Todd Rubin in the city around noon and we hung out and talked over lunch and a couple of microbrews, walked the Highline, and then grabbed a couple more microbrews.

Each reception ends up having a different feel, at least for me.  Last year I spent most of the night with the same group of people; this year I bounced from one person to the next, engaging in conversation before moving on to see who else I might bump into.  I spent some time with the usual suspects--Jamie, Bud, Trevor, and Emily--and met some interesting new people.  Trevor introduced me to Tom Purdom and I chatted with him for a while.  My friend Siobhan Carroll was there this year and we had a chance to catch up a bit.  Steven Gould introduced himself and someone managed to snap a picture of the two of us together.  I guess I can ride his photographic coattails for a bit!

I talked to too many people to list here, each with fascinating things to say.  All too soon, it was time to ride the elevator down to street level and make my way back to the PABT to catch the last bus home.  All in all, it was another enjoyable day in NYC.  Funny thing is, for all the time I've spent in the city over the last few years, I've never done a lot of the touristy stuff like riding to the top of the Empire State Building.  I think I need to find a day to take my daughter into the city and show her around, which will give me an excuse to get all the tourist things under my belt!

For now, it's back to school for a few days, then I drive down to Philly to pick my daughter up from Temple for the long weekend.  She and her roommate both come from the same town, so I'll drive them both home and the roommate's mom will drive them back.  We usually stop for dinner on the way back from the city.  Last time I picked them up, they wanted McDonalds,  Hopefully this time I can talk them into getting something with a bit more Philly flair!

It's nice to live within easy travel distance of two major cities, each with its own unique character.  A steak sandwich in NYC means something very different from a steak sandwich in Philly, and I'm pretty sure wars have been fought over it.  It's nice, but it also involves a lot of travel time.  Lately I've taken to listening to audio books to pass the time.  Between trips to work and to major cities, I've worked my way through three novels since the beginning of September and I've just started to tackle Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy.  Yeah, that should cover a few trips!

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