Kansas City, Mo

Nearly half a million people live in Kansas City, Missouri. The city hugs a curve of the Missouri River, and it’s close to the Kansas border, which makes things confusing for a tourist like me.

Kansas City Center

Kansas City Center

Riding in a shuttle from the Kansas City Airport, sometimes abbreviated as KCI for Kansas City International, or MCI, for… I don’t know, really, I watched the city grow in the view through the windshield. We went past railroad tracks with long freight trains, the cars gleaming with multi-colored graffiti. We went over the river and past some old brick buildings, some in use and some that looked abandoned. The shuttle took a freeway exit and drove through city streets. I was going to write “wound through city streets” because it sounded picturesque but remembering back, while there were a lot of right-angle turns, there was very little winding. Kansas City is not a city of curves.

Power and Light Building

Power and Light Building

And then we were in a square surrounded by spools, needles and boxes of glass. Between them, like decorated cakes, were much shorter masonry buildings festooned with trim; designs, mythical creatures, geometric (gasp! Perhaps… Masonic?) symbols, friezes, ginger-breading. There was a large plaza (there is a parking garage underneath it) with a fountain, a string of jets, water rippling down a set of steps. On one side rises the large Bartle Hall Convention Center. Diagonally across it, looking transplanted (maybe) from Las Vegas, is a huge block of a Marriott Hotel, whose face dances with colored lights at night. There is a skybridge to another Marriott, on Wyandotte Street. It’s actually the same Marriott. The Marriott Annex, perhaps? Actually, the less-flashy Marriott is the former Muehlebach Hotel, with a door onto Baltimore Street. It’s an older hotel with a storied history, known for a press conference given there in September, 1964, by a new British music group called the Beatles.

Power and Light Building Detail

Power and Light Building Detail

And on Wyandotte Street, next to the less-flashy Annex Marriott/Muehlebach Hotel is a sixteen-story spire of a building, the Holiday Inn Aladdin Hotel. My hotel. More about it, with photos, in a subsequent post.

Book spines make up the walls of the Main Library parking garage.

Book spines make up the walls of the Main Library parking garage.

The Convention Center is technically in the Library District of Kansas City (which I love) and the library, on 10th street, is both large and whimsical. The center, and the Aladdin, is close to a newish nightclub district called the Power and Light District, with the old Power and Light Building, with its sparkling prism centerpiece, as an icon. The Power and Light District has coffee shops, restaurants, pubs, and a Whole-Foods-like grocery store (locally owned) called Cosentino’s. There is a club called Kill the Devil, which specializes in “cane spirits.” Yes, it’s a rum bar. I don’t think I’ve seen that before. The district is mostly older architecture, and it is beautiful.

Reflection of the gold leaf spire of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Reflection of the gold leaf spire of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Within walking distance of the Convention Center (which boasts 800,000 square feet) there are at least three theaters, the library, numerous nightclubs and music venues, the Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and an Episcopalian Cathedral. Downtown is clean, with wide sidewalks and crosswalks that talk to you. “Wait!” they cry when you first press the button. Then, “Walk sign is on across… 13th Street.” It’s not that they talk, that’s nothing new. It’s that every one of them works.

Downtown looks very gentrified. Here are some things I didn’t see during the day while I was walking around in between panels and WorldCon events; homeless people, trash, traffic. Here are some things I did see;  the Missouri Jazz Bicycle run; people making right turns across crosswalks and ignoring pedestrians in those crosswalks; many people playing Pokemon.

If you venture out of the Power and Light District you start to see a different city. More about that in a subsequent post.

Convention Center Fountain

Convention Center Fountain

Art Deco Building

Art Deco Building

Detail from Art Deco Building

Detail from Art Deco Building

Mural on Library Wall

Mural on Library Wall

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WorldCon: The Dave Truesdale Thing

On Friday, August 19, the MidAmeriCon II staff expelled Dave Truesdale from WorldCon for violating the Con’s Code of Conduct.

Truesdale is the editor of Tangent Online, and his publication was nominated for a Hugo in the best Fanzine category this year. (File 770 won this category.) Truesdale was moderating, or supposed to be moderating, a panel called “The State of Short Fiction.”

The panelists introduced themselves, and Truesdale wanted to open with a statement. His statement ran about ten minutes; he was worried, he said, about the state of short fiction because there were so many “special snowflakes” who had graduated from University of Perpetual Indignation (I may not have that right, but there’s audio) and were so sensitive that they were outraged by everything. He pulled out a handful of cheap necklaces of round beads and said that sometimes, when you are offended, there is nothing else to do but clutch your pearls, and then you would feel better. He was going to put the necklaces on the table, so that if people felt offended during the panel they could have some pearls to clutch and then they would feel better.

He wasn’t even halfway done, because then he started reading a long statement that was a quote from David Hartwell, he said, or maybe somebody who spoke to David Hartwell once, and it went on for quite a while, until fellow panelist Sheila Williams from Asimov’s Magazine challenged him. As she continued to make points he tried to cut her off not once but twice. The audience got unruly, people walked out, and the panel never really did discuss the state of short fiction.

I wasn’t there. I talked to someone who was, though, a writing friend named Allison. Allison specializes in short fiction. I asked her how she felt about the panel. “It got totally derailed,” she said, “and I never did get to hear about the markets, or the state of short fiction.”

(By the way, I follow Allison on Twitter, and she is both thoughtful and hilarious. Find her @AMulderWrites.)

Someone complained to the Con Committee, which I have just learned is abbreviated by the cognoscenti (which I am attempting to impersonate) as Con Com, and they investigated. The upshot was that they expelled Truesdale from the rest of the convention.

I assume that there is more to this story than a bad moderator hijacking a panel, or recording the panel without telling his fellow panelists (or the audience) that he was doing so. Because of privacy rules, we will never know. Certainly he isn’t the first person to be a bad moderator on a panel, but, as someone who went to WorldCon largely to attend panels, I do want to talk about that for a bit, because that’s what makes me mad.

WorldCon registration is not cheap. When you factor in travel and lodging, we are now talking “expensive.” There are resources for Con memberships, although almost no one is offering fellowships for four nights lodging at a major hotel. Many people go specifically to hear the panels, so there’s a desire to get, basically, your money’s worth.

Then there’s the role of a moderator. The moderator’s job is to help the other panelists address the panel’s subject; to make sure everyone gets to speak, to help them sound brilliant and insightful, to keep the panel on time and make sure the audience’s needs are met. In fact, I probably have those in the wrong order. The moderator’s job is to make sure the audience’s needs are met.

Truesdale put his desire to engage in some performance art ahead of the needs of the audience or his panelists, and that is not cool.

What he did may have been funny. I have been enjoying the phrase “pearl-clutching” for a while now (because it’s everywhere) and the idea of bringing fake-pearl necklaces for people to clutch is a cute visual. There’s a “however” coming; however, when you have planned enough in advance to have purchased props, you have made a conscious decision to subordinate the panel topic and the audience needs to your desire to perform.

If Truesdale were a tie-dyed-in-the-wool liberal, haranguing about the corporatization of the Democratic Party while tossing “Feel the Bern” bumper stickers into the audience, it would have been just as selfish and just as bad.

I went to at least one panel where the panelists didn’t seem prepared and the moderator was uninterested in the topic. I have been on a panel, at a different convention, where our moderator seemed to zone out for about twenty seconds, leaving dead air. (In fact, he was on the Con committee and also moving houses, and he was genuinely exhausted.) I completely understood why he spaced on us. It still wasn’t okay.

Moderation is not about content, it is all about process, and your content may not even get mentioned, if the panel is opinionated enough or the Q&A lively enough.

Moderation is a skill, it requires discipline, and no one is forcing you to do it, so if you feel so strongly about the topic that you can’t put your opinion second, you should not agree to moderate that panel. If Truesdale wanted to fling around beads and speechify, he should not have agreed to moderate.  Then he could have become the real moderator’s problem and not the audience’s. (My sympathies to whoever that hypothetical moderator would have been.)

I have the feeling, though, that if Dave Truesdale had been on the “What’s New in the Solar System” panel, he would have found a way to pull out his handful of clutch-pearls.

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Goin’ to Kansas City

Wednesday morning:

I wave to this woman. She says, “How ya doing?”

“Great!” I say.

“You here visiting?”

I say, “What gave it away; my camera or the big goofy grin?”

“A little of both,”she says.

Reader on Kansas City Library Stairs

This is my hotel. Seriously. It’s a 1930s historic building.

Aladdin Hotel Lobby

Aladdin Hotel Lobby

And here’s my room. From the front room (they upgraded me to a corner room, just ’cause they could) I look straight across at the courtyard leading to the convention center where WorldCon 2016, also known as MidAmeriCon II is being held.

From the side window I see a gigantic air conditioning unit, lots of blackbirds, and the Crown Plaza hotel.

Hotel room black white and redBathroom with pedestal sink

Welcome to MidAmeriCon.

20160817_114114

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Airport Dreams

I get up to the TSA security guy and hold out my boarding pass. He’s African American, probably in his late forties, dignified, deadpan and a little blase. He studies my pass. “You are in the wrong line,” he says.

I feel my shoulders slump.

“Step through that door right here,” he says, pointing. There’s a swinging half-door like a bar door, directly in front of me. I push it open and step through into an area where there is one TSA worker and no other people. I forgot that I had TSA pre-check.

He looks at me, still expressionless, that flares his fingers like modified jazz-hands. “Ta-daaa!” he says.

**

That wasn’t a dream. It really happened.

**

I never think, when I’m standing under a flat gray ceiling of clouds, that above them might be hovering elaborate constructions, like castles, cauliflowers, or exploded popcorn kernels, drifting thought the sky.

20160816_122818

 

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MCWC 2016

Usually I blog almost immediately about the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, and sometimes I break down the posts by day. I didn’t do that this year. For one thing, I attended two of the afternoon sessions this year, something I can truly say I’ve never done before, and that cut into that go-back-to-the-hotel-and-blog time.

Secondly, the feedback I got on the short story I submitted was so valuable that as soon as I got back I plunged into a revision, a revision that I think adds another layer to the story and makes it stronger, and then I had an idea for another story and I have about half of rough draft written of that. This doesn’t leave time for blogs.

This is also why I love conferences.

As I’ve said many times before, I love this conference, and over and above great workshop-mates and excellent leaders, part of my love comes from the location, which is beautiful and changeable, filled with eccentric small-town characters, with a long drive to and from, leaving lots of time for mulling and churning, those brain activities that seem to help with creativity more than analyzing, word-counting, outlining and hyperlinking do, at least for me.

Some highlights, though, in no particular order:

1. The Short Story workshop, and particularly Lori Ostlund, the leader. Lori has a brilliant grasp of the short story, not just because she’s smart (she is) but also clearly because she has worked on it, reading thoughtfully and widely and deeply. She is also an expert at making a workshop setting a safe place where the work is respected. That isn’t always the case. Plus, she makes all that look easy. And, as I found out when I started reading her story collection The Bigness of the World, she is a brilliant writer.

2. The workshop participants. Great writers, great folks.

3. Chatty ravens.

4. Grant Faulkner and the afternoon session on flash fiction. Just pure fun! Well, no, not pure fun… some learning in there too.

5. Dinner with my friend Terry at the Point Noyo Restaurant, with the host with the wide smile and the waxed Yosemite Sam mustache.

6. The Botanical Garden.

7. The river otters!

8. Reconnecting with Doug Fortier and Teri Crane.

9. Reyna Grande for her entertaining presentation; and for her and her friendly husband, who sat at our table at the closing banquet.

10. Winning a raffle prize! A tote bag filled with poetry books and a book-light.

11. The seal skeleton that hangs in the window of Fort Bragg’s historical Town Hall, as if it’s swimming through the dark air and out onto the street.

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Room

(This is original fiction. If you use it, give me credit.  The artwork is (c) Edward Hopper, Room in New York, 1932. If you use it, give him credit.)

In the “Brevity” workshop we did some flash fiction writing exercises and the first of these was to write a flash piece about the Hopper painting. We were not limited to a 100 words, but I gave myself the challenge of turning it into a one-hundred-word story.  While inspired by the painting the story is not set in New York.

The title of my drabble (100 words) is Five Notes Descending.

Room in New York, Hopper, 1932

Room in New York, Hopper, 1932

She played the five notes, descending. Behind her Robert stirred, rustled his paper, didn’t speak.

Five notes again, descending, striking her ears like cool water. The late afternoon sun, boiling over his hunched shoulders, simmered the room like soup. Beyond the window her prize camellia held streaks of golden light on its waxy leaves. She knew it without looking, as she knew that beyond the camillias the dahlias were nearly ready to open their multi-colored lion’s heads to the world.

Five notes. Again.

He snapped the paper. “For God’s sake! It’s a promotion!”

“I know,” she said.

 

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On the Road

Preparing for a trip in the Old Days went something like this:

–Throw some clothes (usually too many) in a bag.
–Throw some books (usually too many) in another bag.
–Stop by the bank for cash.
–Be sure I have maps.
–Buy snacks and fizzy water for the trip.

Preparing for a trip in the N0w Days goes like this:

–Throw some clothes (usually too many) in a bag.
–Throw some books (usually too many) in another bag.
–Make sure every electrical device is charged. Electrical devices? How many of those could there be? Let me itemize:

  • Two-in-one tablet/PC
  • Phone
  • Large camera
  • Small camera

Yeah, that’s all.

Make sure I have connecting cords for all devices. And how many is that?

–Data cord for cameras
–Charger cord and charger for phone.
–Charger cord and charger for small camera battery.
–Extra battery (charged) for large camera.

–Stop by the bank for cash.
–Be sure I’ve either activated the GPS on my phone or printed out the GoogleMaps directions.
–Buy snacks and fizzy water if I’m driving. No sense in it if I’m flying.

Some clothes and some books – the important things haven’t changed.

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Vallejo as Location

City of Dreams mural woman warrior figure

City of Dreams

I have set “The Project” in the city of Vallejo, Ca. I don’t remember ever reading an urban fantasy set in Vallejo. Vallejo occupies an odd bit of geography in northern coastal California, and stakes out an uncomfortable place in our state’s collective narrative and psyche. It’s a perfect place, in other words, for an urban fantasy.

Vallejo sits at the edge of San Pablo Bay which is part of the vast Golden Gate estuary. So, is it the northern tip of the East Bay? I don’t know. The town was founded where the sweet water of the Napa River converges with the salt bay. To the northeast, golden brown hills provide a backdrop, while the west provides an unimpeded vista of the wetlands. Directly across the river from downtown sit the remains of the historic Mare Island Naval Shipyard.

In spite of this interstitial location and the prettiness of the town (plenty of Victorians and elegant stucco 1930s bungalows) Vallejo is usually a town people pass through—or alongside—on the freeway on their way to somewhere else. They might come to Vallejo if they want to go to the Six Flags theme park, which is highly, and I mean highly, visible from Highway 37.

My experience was almost completely the drive-by-on-the-freeway one, so I asked teacher, writer and friend David Corbett to help me identify some locations. David lives in Vallejo and a couple of his novels are set there. (If you haven’t read The Mercy of the Night… well, why haven’t you?) If anyone could give me the necessary locations, and provide a taste of the city’s ambience it was David.

Vallejo has taken some big hits over the past few decades. The shipyard closure ordered in 1993 was one, a decision many people, including me, think was simply an act of realpolitik vengeance against a Congressional Representative who was too liberal. Vallejo was a Navy town, Navy was in its DNA, and the base closure was not only a devastating hit to the economy, it was a loss of identity. In 1999, the town made national news again with the abduction and murder of a little girl. In 2008, Vallejo filed for bankruptcy, which also made national news. What was once a thriving blue-collar city slid into the shadowy part of the psychic map designated “failure.” And we don’t like failure.

The shadow of “failure” makes this city the perfect place to plant an urban fantasy, especially a story that is, somewhat, about intersections, with a Main Character who is experiencing failure, and struggling to define — or reinvent — herself.

As David showed me, the city is reinventing itself. The naval roots push up through the ground in several places, like the set of refurbished barracks that are now apartments. The buildings are colorful and nice, but their ordered symmetry as they march across the blocks gives away their lineage. The eastern curve of the town tends to have more strip malls and boxy stores (“strip mall” was one of the items on my list), while the Georgia Street area leading to the ferry landing, waterfront and transit hub, has the buildings from the 1920s and 30s, and earlier, like the Victorians on Officers’ Row. Downtown is reinventing itself as a center for art and creativity, and the entire town in entangled in the necessary discussion of what comes next.  “We need jobs,” is true, but some people want to snatch at projects that provide work for a year or eighteen months only. Smart projects with long-term jobs are what’s needed, say others. The city’s discussion with Farraday Futures, an electric car company who wants to build a manufacturing site in one of the abandoned Mare Island buildings, seems like a good start.

None of that will affect “The Project” unless I have to reimagine the ending because the building I want to use gets taken by Farraday Futures. I gave David a list of about eight things I needed; he delivered on all eight. One surprised me. I asked him to find me a low-end (cheap) apartment complex. I assumed it would be somewhere on the east side of I-80, on the flats. In fact, I’d already written several scenes with that idea in mind. The perfect apartment complex, somewhat surprisingly, was on top of a hill. The roads up to it aren’t very good, there are no shoulders, but the view from the top is about 320 degrees; west, an unobstructed view of the river and the shimmering wetlands all the way to highway 121; north and east, a view of the hills and the valley. Who knew?

And now I have many places by characters can meet and plan when they aren’t being pursued by demons, or whatever; the farmers market, the My Homestyle Café, the Java Jax coffee house and the community art center. At some quiet moment in the story, my MC can pause and look over the sparkling water of the Napa River to the imposing red brick buildings on Mare Island. I think I can write that scene right now. Oh, no, I forgot… right now she has to go pick up her car.

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Obtainium Cup II: Mare Island

Warehouse Wall, Four Windows, Mare Island, CA

Warehouse wall, Four Windows, Mare Island, CA

Mare Island sits due west across the Napa River from the Navy town of Vallejo. The island was home to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard from 1852 until 1996, when its closure was completed. The shipyard still sports huge dry docks, gigantic cranes and huge red brick buildings, mostly vacant, but during World War II, the yard hosted 50,000 workers. (Not all at once.)

Exterior Staircase forms the letter Z

Exterior Staircase

Much of the timbers inside these derelict buildings have been, ahem, “scavenged,” because much of it was virgin redwood.

Farragut Plaza wrought iron sign, building in the background.

Farragut Plaza

They may be empty, but there is something both majestic and haunting about these buildings and this waterfront. Certainly there are some businesses in place along Nimitz Avenue, the island’s eastern waterfront that looks out over Vallejo. (The G-Street bridge connects the two.) Many of the beautiful old mansions that were officers’ quarters are available for lease, and one of them is the tasting room for Godfather’s Prohibition Wines. I was told by a Vallejo resident that there is a golf course and a “nice” gated community on the island but I didn’t drive by to see it. Frankly, the haunted buildings and the huge equipment draw me, not golf courses.

Crooked window blinds make a fan shape.

Crooked Window Blinds

The original chapel of the shipyard is still open to the public; it can be rented for events but I think they also give tours. It’s on Walnut Avenue and if you have a chance for a tour, take it, because it has the biggest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany Company stained glass windows on the west coast.

Four Hard Hats in a teal-framed window.

Four Hard Hats

Dry Dock. If you look at the tiny figure to the right, that's Lillian, getting a much better photo that I did.

Dry Dock. If you look at the tiny figure to the right, that’s Lillian, getting a much better photo than I did.

At the end of WWII into the long Cold War, Mare Island specialized in building and repairing nuclear submarines, but another specialty was “riverine warfare,” an important factor in the Vietnam War. The Napa river was home to many swift boat groups and maneuvers.

“Use Other Door.”

 

Lillian and the window.

Lillian and the window.

Vallejo was 100% a navy town and its fortunes were linked to the shipyard. It was a bad economic blow to the city when in 1993 the base was identified for closure. Some Vallejo locals feel that the closure was not dictated by military need but as retaliation against the region’s liberal Congressional Representative, Ron Dellums. I am not a local, but I believe that too. The base shut down completely in 1996.

White Trestle Against Blue Sky

White Trestle Against Blue Sky

Still, there is economic life on the island. There is a company that builds pre-fab kit houses; there is a gallery and a whole row of businesses on 7th Street between Nimitz Ave and the water. The Vallejo city council just voted to open negotiations with an electric car company (not Tesla) to build a manufacturing plant on the island. A Faraday Future plant would bring good-paying, long-term jobs to the area.

Raven carcass.

Raven carcass.

Brick wall, blue door with view to crossbeams in the interior.

Interiors

I don’t understand exactly how Mare Island works, because some of it is still federal land, I think. There is a museum close to the waterfront, and a microbrewery, and there is a project to create a Cultural Core centered on two or three of the beautiful long warehouses on Nimitz.

Power Plant Shop 03 plaster medallion on brick wall

Power Plant Shop 03

I think my favorite building along this stretch was Power Plant Station 03. From every angle, it looks like a different building, from the Chutes and Ladders effect on the western side, with the huge smokestack and the curving connector that makes it look like an ocean liner; from the sturdy red brick and the dark windows, to the door that opens to the air.

Power Plant Shop 03

Power Plant Shop 03

I would love to photograph here just before dawn, in the fall, before the sun hits the Napa River. I’d love to photograph at twilight. I’d love to see these buildings in the rain, and from the view point on the water.

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Obtainium Cup I: The Flying Monkeys!

Sunday, July 17, 2016, was the date for the Obainium Cup Car Rally. Lillian and I attended. The event is put on by the Obtainium Works art car studio and artists’ collective on Pennsylvania Avenue in Vallejo, CA. The event itself was at Alden Park on Mare Island, due west (across the river) from Vallejo.

A sampler of rally cars.

A sampler of rally cars.

This was the fifth Obtainium Cup Rally, and participants maneuvered their human-powered or gas-powered vehicles through a course that led them through serious, serious obstacles, like flying monkeys, zombies and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

This wasn't in the rally, a steampunk bicycle.

This wasn’t in the rally.

Before the rally started at 3:00 pm, though, there was plenty of time to study the vehicles, wander the booths and generally check out a dedicated group of steam-punkers in their never-was-Victoriana finery. You could buy plenty of steampunk hats, necklaces, goggles and corsets and there were booths with fabric artists and other jewelers as well. It wasn’t a huge gathering, but there was a good variety.

Woman in black, white and red steampunk costume

Colorful costume

Reflections. This booth had hats, fascinators, skirts and bustiers.

Reflections. This booth had hats, fascinators, skirts and bustiers.

Kaleidoscope Eyes Lillian wears faceted goggles.

Kaleidoscope Eyes

Image of gazebo through colored, faceted lens.

And greetings from the other side.

The buildings that surround the park, some Second Revival style mansions, the functional and powerful red brick buildings of the former naval base, and one or two Second Empire style buildings give this event the proper historical feel, and a nice edge of other-worldliness, since many of these buildings are still vacant. There is a humming steam-punk vibe to the area around the park, and as Lillian and I walked around, in the bright summer sun through the still, warm air, I was imagining a horror movie filmed here; turned on its head and set in midday in broad daylight.

Farragut Plaza

Farragut Plaza

But then we were on to the rally!

The vehicles are released by a marshall; it’s not a race, it’s a rally, and the control of the “pack” gives the hazards time to get set up. We watched the flying monkeys, and I don’t think anything could have beaten that for fun, exercise, and sheer silliness. The first two vehicles sent on their way were bicycle-like, and both participants were obviously old hands at the rally, because when they saw that the flying monkeys were not quite ready, they looped around and rode in a circle for a minute or two. Then they braved the hazard, dodging plushy animals shot at them from repurposed confetti cannons.

Geppeto and Son take off!

Geppeto and Son take off!

Obtainium Cup scoops Sharknado

Obtainium Cup scoops Sharknado

Flying Monkeys Plushy animals shot from confetti cannon.

Flying Monkeys

We didn’t walk all the way down to the zombie hazard because it was at the far end of the course, but we did check out the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. While a good idea in concept, I thought the execution was poor; there were several stations or “trials” (my word, not theirs) each participant had to stop at, all from Alice in Wonderland, and it looked like the first one was actually a judging booth. Anyway, can you say “backlog?” Lillian and I walked along to look at the stations and made it all the way to the Red Queen’s court before the first rallyist caught up to us.

The blurry tan thing just over the roof of the silver car in the background-- that's a flying monkey.

The blurry tan thing just over the roof of the silver car in the background– that’s a flying monkey.

Rambo Sixteen, Flying Monkeys

Rambo XVI — Flying Monkeys

On the other hand, we were walking through a beautiful parklike area of lush grass, beautiful trees, some native, some introduced… and headstone-like bunkers, another reminder that this tranquil place was a former naval base. And, ghosts, or at least one ghost, are real.

Graffiti reads "Ghost are real."

Just the one ghost, though. Just the one.

If you follow 8th Street down to Nimitz Avenue you are at the waterfront, and due east across the street is the city of Vallejo. You can see the ferry landing and a park from the waterfront. It’s a view of Vallejo I’d never had before.

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