For some reason I am unable to add any photos - something about image uploads being disabled due to site maintenance. I can possibly fix this later but in the meantime I apologize for the resulting spartan look.
Now that Bouchercon is behind us I would like to present a few of the observations my trip to the conference and the States brought about. They are not ground shaking or particularly observant, just stuff that stuck to the brain on my travels.
To begin with it was wonderful to be reminded what a great group readers are. There was not a single unlikeable character attending the convention or at least if there was our paths never crossed. The other authors were also superb, it seems the more heinous the crimes in their books the sweeter the person. I was once told by a German photographer that specializes in photos of authors that crime writers are so likeable and funny while those writing humor were a broody and depressed bunch. There is probably some psychological explanation for this but that is for others to ponder upon.
The time difference between this year’s host city, San Fransisco and Iceland was a bit much or seven hours. As a result I was pretty knackered and spent too much time in my hotel room. The TV was usually on and I was amazed at the political commercials on the air as they were so mean and awful that one would believe the voter’s would be taken aback and not want to vote for anybody. Not a single candidate spent his valuable advertising money describing his or her merits as the whole budget was in all cases spent on piling the dirt on their opponents. Boy oh boy, it is not only in Iceland where politics seem to bring out the worst in people.
Smoking was a hassle as I knew it would be. There was an area outside the hotel where it was allowed and the warning text posted next to it made me wonder. It was just shy of saying: Run, run for your life – second hand smoke! As it noted something to the effect: Beware of the presence of toxic, cancerous fumes in the form of cigarette smoke often present in the area. If you are pregnant, please calmly make your way back into the building and exit through another door. I am not kidding. The funny thing was that on the TV I also saw California is about to legalize smoking pot which made me smile. Why not? It can easily be made legal if you just make sure you are not allowed to smoke it anywhere. They could even add crack to the list and nothing much would change.
The last thing that really made me gawk was how many young people walked around while fiddling with their cell phones. We sat next to a table with a group of three, all dressed up for a good time and during the whole dinner they never looked at each other, instead gazing as if mesmerized at the little screens and doing something which me and my husband could not figure out what was. The same happened on the plane from Boston over to the west coast; a young man in the seat next to us operated his phone constantly during the flight and seemed to be having spasms of withdrawal during takeoff and landing when he had to turn it off. I had reached the conclusion that these phone people must be on the internet and was sort of impressed at how they could surf and walk simultaneously without ever walking into lampposts or other people. When in a Radio Shack I asked the guy helping out what the hell was going on and he said everyone was texting and that it had really taken off after the phone companies offered unlimited texting for a fixed fee. This was amazing to me, whom are they constantly texting? How many people do they know? Does it now work like a conversation? I hope I am overreacting but the eerie blue hue reflected from the screen onto what almost seemed to be every young person’s face felt creepy and not a good sign of human relationships of the future. But I’m sure this was said about phones during Bell’s time, and possibly even following the introduction of the telegraph.
We actually drove down a street in Oakland named Telegraph and I wonder if at some point in the future some city, somewhere will name a street: Text Message Boulevard. Maybe not, but E-mail Avenue for sure.
Yrsa - Wednesday