Fire! Fire!

The fire alarm went off at work yesterday, and everyone was looking around going, “Yeah, right.”  We have lots of false alarms because when they do welding in the tower, it sets the alarms off.

I gathered my stuff up and left the building, saying, “They’re not telling us not to go.  It may be real.”  I happened to know they were not welding in the tower.

Only after I left did others actually leave, and a good thing too, because the fire department did show up.  It wasn’t a false alarm.

No one saw any smoke, but the firemen made us stand outside for about an hour.  Then, with about 9 minutes to go before quitting time, they let us back in.

Then the fire alarm went off again.

I went home.

Soon I will be without kids.  They’re flying off next week to spend a couple months with their mom.

I’m starting to worry already.

I had this vivid nightmare where, just after sunset, I was having this argument with a neighbor, and up in the sky behind him I see this big slow tumbling rock.  It was huge, looking about the size of the moon in the sky, but shaped like a potato.  I recognized immediately that it was a meteor and it was huge, probably a hundred miles across.

Planet killer, I thought.

As I watched, it sank beyond the horizon, and then the horizon started glowing yellow.  There was a flash, and slowly an immense pyroclastic cloud rose into the sky.  It got bigger, and bigger, and coming closer and closer, and the closer it came the faster it seemed to come.

My younger daughter came out of the house to tell me all the television channels had stopped working.  She my face and then saw the cloud, and said, “What’s that?”

In that horrible moment I knew my child would die.  I didn’t care about myself, but it didn’t seem fair that she would have her life cut short like this.  We only had minutes to live.

My older child was gone, in London or something, and there was nothing I could do for her.  But here was my younger one right in front of me.  It was a horrible feeling.

So my brain kicked in, and I thought, we could go down to the bottom of the nearby wishing well in the park.  It would probably collapse and we’d be crushed by stone, but I thought that might be preferrable to burning to death amid hot vaporized rock.  So we ran to the park and climbed down into the well, which in my dream was as deep as that well in The Ring.  We weren’t down there more than a few moments when the shockwave hit, which sent bricks raining down on us but we managed to survive that somehow.  Then everything above was orange with fire, and we ducked under the water.

Time passed, and things cooled down a bit, and we crawled back out to find the world completely wiped clean.  No plants, no buildings, nothing.  Just hot dirt and fragments of rock and concrete.

I woke up thinking that we’d been spared only temporary, because it didn’t look like there would be anything to eat anywhere.

It’s my first nightmare in a long time.  It left me covered in cold sweat.

Well, spending the night alone with a spaceship in the middle of a big quiet ballroom is proving to be very inspiring! I’ve made a lot of progress on my novel since last night. Not so much in wordage, but rather with research and complexity of plotting.

I’ve found out some very interesting things that support my contentions in my fantasy novel. Interesting to me, at least — interesting to find that my flights of fantasy are not only possible, but also shared by other people.

Interesting contention number one: Beer was around long before wine. Sumerian grain farmers seem to have discovered beer almost immediately after discovering how to make bread, and probably by accident. You get bread wet, and under the right circumstances, you’ll end up with beer.

Interesting contention number two: Jesus Christ was a beer brewer. Being that beer was, back in those days, something made by priests and considered to be holy, there is a lot of evidence that could easily be interpreted to show that not only was Jesus a brewer, but the texts referring to him turning “water into wine” actually referred to him turning water into beer. Which makes sense because that’s what a brewer does. When the Greeks first translated the bible from ancient Hebrew they lacked a word for “beer” and so instead used the word “wine” in its place. They probably thought it didn’t make any difference. Both drinks are alcoholic, and besides, the Greeks were wine making fools. Thus leading to…

Interesting contention number three: There exists a couple thousand-year old conspiracy by the wine industry, started by the wine (not beer) loving Greeks, to cover up the fact that Jesus drank beer instead of wine during the last supper. Thus, there could very well have been beer instead of wine in the Holy Grail!

Another discovery I made tonight was the existence of Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of beer. I have a character in the novel who — it will turn out — is actually Ninkasi.

All of this puts a delightfully wonderful spin on the plot and brings it full circle. And, even better, I don’t have to change anything I’ve already written. It all fits.

So, to wrap it up, it’s about 4am here in the Crystal Ballroom, and I’m still sitting three feet away from a spaceship, and I’ve just discovered that, no, my eyes are not playing tricks on me. I figured it was just because I am tired, that I keep thinking I’m seeing things moving out of the corner of my eyes.

Nope. Something is moving, all right. I’m not alone in the Crystal Ballroom.

There is a mouse scurrying along the walls.

You’ll never guess what I’m doing.

I’m guarding a spaceship.

I just flew back from my wonderful trip up to see my love, and didn’t even make it home.  My kids picked me up at the airport and dropped me off at the International Space Development Conference, where Twiddle38 needed me to spend the night guarding a spaceship.  So here I am, right now, sitting in the Crystal Ballroom at the InterContinental Hotel in Dallas, typing away on his computer (I brought my little writing machine but, alas, forgot the power cord in my luggage, which went home with my kids) and guarding the “Pixel,” a prototype lunar lander developed by Armadillo Aerospace.  Apparently its in the contract that there must be someone in the room with the spaceship at all times.

It didn’t say that the person had to be awake, however, and so the hotel thoughtfully has rolled in a bed for me to sleep in.

It’s going to be very weird, sleeping next to a spaceship in the middle of the Crystal Ballroom.

EDIT: It’s now 2:17am and I’m still not asleep … I’ve spent all this time catching up on my Xanga friends.  It’s all quiet and spooky here, now.  Just me and the spaceship.

I checked in and printed my boarding pass, and am all ready to go tomorrow.  But I can’t wait, I want to go NOW.  So I went to the airline lady and said, “Please, I want to go now.  Please?”  But she was a mean, angry airline lady, and she said, “No!  Bad passenger!  Bad!  Come back tomorrow!”  And she hit me on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.

My younger kiddo has been sick, and I took her to the doctor on Monday.  She’s now on antibiotics and is feeling much better.

Her and her sister are really stoked because their Anime costumes came in, and both look great.  We’re all set for the big Anime festival coming up at the beginning of June.  (A-KON in Dallas, just in case you were wondering.)  A big THANK YOU to my friend and fellow writer Melanie who scored us the comp tickets.  We’ll probably be there all weekend but I only got the hotel room at the Adam’s Mark for Saturday night.  Not sure if we’ll host a room party or not, but we might.  Depends…

I’m really stoked because, well, in two days I’ll be spending EIGHT whole days with my fiancee.  When I get back, I’m stoked because I’ll spend the weekend with Bill at his space convention, hob-nobbing with astronauts and rocket scientists.  Then A-KON, then my kids fly back to California to spend some much needed time with their mom.  And, just this morning, I received word my boss is considering having me up north during the entire time my kids are gone.  That would mean nearly TWO MONTHS with my love!

She might actually get sick of me, or something.  Well, it’s good practice for when we’re finally married. 

Other than that, I’ve been busy doing coffee and beer reviews, and working on some philosophical material (for myself), and putting in the occasional time on my novel … which is still doing well, though not progressing as fast as I’d like.

That’s about it.  How are you doing?