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Reports from The Big Tomato - Thursday
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So, how was Left Coast Crime 2012? Did I have a good time? Did we have fun?

Yes. No. Yep, no! Yes, yeah, oh yeah! Hell no. Um, yes indeed. Oh yes. No no no. Yes. um, not so much. Yes.

Why, look. This may be the world's most perfect mixed review. Certainly the best I have ever written.

But what happened? You ask, gritting your teeth as I dodge the issue. okay, what happened was that a good part of my convention was taken up by norovirus, the evil "cruise ship" gastroenteritis bug that shows up out of the blue and you have no warning you have it, or that you might have passed it on to say, 60 to 100 of your good friends. If you were there and looking for me say, Thursday night or Saturday night? Yeah.

So far, (oh pleeeeeeeeze) I appear only to have shared the damn thing with Stu who got a milder version of it but who also suffered the nasties of this bug.

In between, around and through all that, we had a lovely lovely time in Sacramento and at LCC. Friends, food and conversation. From at least two people I've only ever "known" on Facebook (hi Susan! Hi, Terry!) to friends I've known for well over 30 years and had not seen in forever. More on that later.

Traveling in the same time zone, to a place a couple hours away by plane was a pleasure. No getting up at 4 am for the shuttle. Thanks to our friend Bill Seil, I was able to get a seat far forward which meant less walking onto the plane. Which I do. Badly. Oy. Things went well. We brought our brand new bouncing spanking new magenta Much Bigger Than Anything We've Ever Owned suitcase (more on that later too!) and everything was good. Stu and i registered early and got our handsome tan and brown convention bags. It was rather funny to go back to the room and look at the contents. Mystery conventions usually get books donated and your bag usually is full of freebies - books and ARCs and magazines. In the book department, Stu and I got completely totally different books. Cool, huh? (more on that later, in the Story of the Suitcase!)

One notable thing about Wednesday: at about 5:30, I went on-line at the hotel business center and at 6:00 pm, took the Jeopardy! test for the third time. I did this in 2010 as some of you may remember and had hoped to make it onto the show. My 18 month wait was up and I was able to take the test again. Was it really THAT hard last time? Oh man. I think we're not going to see me on Jeopardy! any time soon. Fifteen seconds is a very short time.

Thursday happened. I don't recall much but we did the usual early convention hanging out and checking things. I really do not recall much of the day. My first of two program items was not until Friday afternoon. The Dealer's room held great promise - seeing Bryan just as we came in was great (we didn't find time til Sunday to get to talk but we DID finally). Feeling a big draft in the room because there's no Rue morgue. There's no Tom and Enid Schantz because we lost Enid last August to cancer. Met some new dealers, some lovely folks, met the wonderful Stephanie at PM Press's table. Reintroduced selves to Fender Tucker of Ramble Books where we hoped to catchup with Dick and Pat Lupoff. It was then that I got a major shock (good one) when someone happened to mention that "Ced" would be by. "Ced?" I said. (pause for groan) As in Cedric?" "Why yes, of course.

Cedric Clute. One of the best people I have ever known. Jan Clute. Ditto. They of the amazing "Magic Cellar" a center for bay area fannish life for years. The place where Alva and I got married. The place we first saw the Flying Karamazov Brothers. Two retired wonderful folks who now live in Volcano, California (population 115) in a house they built, with the library. Ced and Jan. Oh wow.

Then there's the total coolth of meeting those Facebook folks for the actual first time. Susan C Shea and Terry Shames. So great.

But some time late Thursday i started feeling wobbly. Started developing a bad headache (yes I get migraines and they often are weird feeling) and I headed up to the room. I was awfully cold, my head hurt a lot. i scuttled down into the covers. I figured to sleep things off. Stu headed down to the opening reception. And I proceeded to get sick. Whoo boy. Sick. Without warning. (skip on down if you don't want to read about ick. It's okay.) I had no warning and began vomiting. I was not far from the bathroom but did not have time to throw off the covers, get into the wheelchair and zoom into the bathroom. I was a mess. Huge mess. I managed to grab the phone and request that someone bring me a bathrobe and come change the bed and to bring new pillows please. And then I proceeded to be sick. Whoo boy. Sick. Throwing up. Diarrhea. Over and over. With no warning. No nausea, just wham. Norovirus. I thought about calling Stu on his cell phone but, but what? He could not do anything in this instance. Watching someone get sick is awful. And dammit, one of us should be having fun.

The housekeeper came after what had to be the longest 30 minutes in history. I got the door open, clad in a tee shirt and with a towel on my lap (and under me) and said "do you have gloves?" Yes, ma'am, she said. She put the robe next to me and proceeded to remake the big white fluffy bed. She was startled when I handed her $5. Stu got back to me whining "I got sick." Oh gods. For the next four hours, I slept, then go sick. Then slept, then got sick. And that was Thursday.


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