The next day, we wheeled over to the Fry's next door to buy a
television. "They have a 30-day return policy." I assured Rick.
Unfortunately, we mustn't have looked like paying customers, because
the only man who attended us spoke only Pakistani. I tried to do the
best I could, but communication in the middle of 500 televisions all
playing different channels is damn near impossible.
Finally, we picked up a universal remote, and hit the mute
button. Golden silence enveloped us, if only for a moment. The TVs
in our area were now the only silent ones, and we were waving $20
bills around like madmen screaming "We have MONEY to GIVE to YOU! We
wish to GIVE YOU OUR MONEY! There's MORE where THIS came from! Is
there anyone who will TAKE OUR MONEY? I'll give $270 to the first
person to come and hand us a television!"
Strangely, we were suddenly able to flag down several reps in
quick succession. I told each one "I've been trying to buy a TV for
over an hour. We want that one." I must've sent off a hundred of the
little ants to fetch me TVs. Fortunately, we soon had it, and we were
back off to the hotel.
While hauling the bastard in, we ran across several people
from the con. "I'll be damned if we use Conrad Hilton's television
sets!" I screamed at a woman with a large daisy-hat. Her response was
In the elevator, eyebrows were raised over the thing, which
was obviously quite new.
"We're CrackMonkeys." Rick explained.
After watching Neverwhere and several episodes of Babylon 5
and The Avengers (the black-and-white TV show, not the wretched color
movie), we hauled the thing back to Fry's for return. We'd only had
the damn thing a day, and we had all the parts, so there's little they
could do. Still, they asked me, "Was there something wrong with it?"
"No," I replied, leaning in close to the sales rep. "I just
didn't like the color."
All in all it took an hour to buy the TV, but only fifteen
minutes to return it. I can only assume that Fry's wants to give us
money more than it wants to get money from us.
I should point out that the goths left the convention under
cover of daylight in the large brown vanagon that was parked out in
front of the hotel. I turned to Rick Moen and told him something
Jason McKee once said to me on the subject of goths:
"I don't care if you're a 7th generation Gangrel! Clean that
grease trap or you're fired!"
The only panel of note was the Babylon 5 panel, where the
writer of the series paraded the actors for his new series up and down
in front of the crowd. This taught me one crucial thing about LA: TV
actors are very stupid people. One gentleman was wearing a leisure
suit and chewing gum the whole time. Someone asked if he'd researched
his part (an archaeologist).
"Oh yeah!" he replied, "I read this book! You know how many
cultures have, like, vanished? Like seven!"
After refusing to pick up the Open Source Hitchhiker ("I'm writing a
book"), we decided to high-tail it in the getaway car up 101 to San
Francisco. I'm not sure my frail constitution could have taken I-5 on
a second go--not with all those oil fires out there.
We slurped down the Red Bulls and enjoyed its long-term buzz
for a hundred miles or so, watching the coast go by. It was a far cry
from I-5 and its ever-present aqueducts and empty plains.
We stopped in a Dutch town called Solveng for dinner, finding
the place closed tight. We finally got the smorgasbord at a local
inn, which was quite satisfying. The whole place is gingerbread and
phony windmills, but apparently bits of it are quite authentic. A
local coot gave directions while I eyed the stairwell for any traps.
You never can tell with the Dutch.
By the by, don't ever ask Jim Dennis if he knows any cool word