Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Don't Like Ike/Desperately Seeking Sulu

Well, here's the last 48 or so hours plus an anecdote that I tried to send Not From Michigan Mike in an email but rat bastid Comcast cut me off, and you know me, when did I ever retype anything? And to get people to actually check out the entry instead of ignoring the last few I figured (along with skipping punctuation) that I'd stick a nudie Bush/Cheney drawing up there. And now the Tony Perkins photo makes sense, it all falls into place. Ike. Certainly it hurt a lot more folks and interrupted their lives than up here in Illinois. But I was sucker-punched by the severity of the storms we had here starting Friday night. (I'm listening to a mix Greg Loudon gave me, "Ride, Captain, Ride" by Blues Image makes me want to be a pirate.) First it starts with a call about another writing assignment, some nonfiction articles for Salem Press. I agree even though I'm doing three million things already and still peeing orange from the steroid shots I got Wednesday. Well, I am when I'm looking, at least. Saturday morning was more of a damage control thing, seepage from the Chthonian depths below Burbank. Rains all day, never stops. Guess its like Seattle, but I'll tell you it'd be a lot more fun if I was able to drive around in a ragtop with a few friends, the water slapping around as The Doors sing "Riders On The Storm." Mind squirmin' like a toad. Well, at 7:30 this morning, and mind you I was up until 3:00 working on this ghostwriting gig, the power goes out. I wake up, not even having a clue. Maybe my border collie barked. (Nena singing "99 Red Balloons," I'm thinking of this girl I knew in Denver now. Damn CD mix). Anyhow, I go downstairs to assumedly pee orange, but instead I see the sump pump burbling over like when Jed Clampett struck black gold, Texas tea. Within an hour the entire basement is knee-deep in water, worse yet, the crawlspace is, insanely, its like a swamp, water dripping down the concrete walls. Seven hours of moving furniture, mopping, eating cajun rice from Popeye's, getting to watch part of Zambrano get a no-hitter for the Cubs, then change wet for dry towels every twenty minutes--as I'm doing now--to keep the water in the crawlspace from spilling into the family room. As ridiculous as that sounds, such a minor thing is working. At least until I fall asleep. I wanted to get so much more done on the book but life intervenes. And here I am at the tail end of Ike, which then shot out over Lake Michigan to piss on the Upper Peninsula, and those in Texas are still assessing damages. So I'm not pissing and moaning, just telling a stupendously long story. But now, what you've been waiting for: I've met several celebrities over the years, Lauren Bacall at an art gallery in Soho when I still had my hair, Dean Stockwell when I had the Tweety-Bird look that gave me the decision to shave my head as often as possible. I sat next to Walter Koenig at Wizard World thinking he was Davy Jones and he laughed and told me quite a few people actually think that. I guess what gave it away was when I asked him if he still hung around with Mickey Dolenz. I would attend I-Con in the 90s, at NYU at Stonybrook, on Lawn Guyland. Science fact/fiction, so I'd meet Gordon Cooper the astronaut and scientists from Brookhaven Labs who evasively did not answer my questions about the 1992 accident that they were covering up, and most every year a Guest of Honor would be someone from the Star Trek franchise. I'll tell you, Nichelle Nicholl is still as hot as Eartha Kitt. No one thought I looked like Patrick Stewart because I still looked like Tweety-Bird. (Someone photoshop my face over the bird and I can then describe where my hairline was back then. See that strip of hair under that clown mask up top? Imagine it straight up because of my bean head, the big ears, BAM! Tweety-bird. OK, at one I-Con George Takei was the GoH. The Saturday night party was, for some reason, not held at the Jacob Javits Center but rather at a hotel across the LI Expressway, I-666 or whatever it is. By the time I get there, walking across six lane of 10 PM weekend traffic with my backpack which sums up much of my regular travels, I then walk to the hotel in the distance, recognize nobody, but I see George Takei in this little gift shop thingie. He bought the most enormous cookie I have ever seen. To this day! I figure that Sulu has to be going to the damn party, he's Sulu, right? I follow him down three corridors. And end up at his room. Guess some of you saw that coming. He turns, I can't walk past him because there are no other rooms to go to, pretending one was mine. I'm drenched in summer sweat, the backpack sagging, I'm obviously not going for ice or a can of pop. Takei turns and in his Sulu smiley voice says hello, raising his eyebrows. For some idiotic reason, the first thing I say is, and I swear on a stack of Blue Beetle comics, I say, man, that's a big cookie! OK, I'm officially a stalker at this point, it would seem. Sulu was polite, laughed and asked if I wanted something signed, perhaps a photo? (Though still not opening the door to his hotel room, mind you.) I didn't want to dig in the back pack, and I knew that beside him I'd look like Bruce Willis in 12 MONKEYS only uglier and so I huffed, still out of breath, I mean, why the HELL would there be three corridors from the cookie shop to the hotel room, that I was looking for the party and just assumed he was heading towards it at the other end of the hotel or something. Anyone who has been to a writer's convention knows how spaced out and diverse the parties can be, location-wise. Well, George Takei gave me the easy answer. I was at the wrong hotel. He wished me luck and we shared a laugh the next day at the Javits Center. I'll always recall that time, and would throw myself into traffic to save him if the time came. I was in the wrong hotel, mine was back on the other side of the interstate. I really hate Long Island.