Gaiman post - unfinished
*NOTE* This post is not finished. I have been rasselin' with it all week, and now I have decided to just post the dang thing, and finish it later, either editing this post or putting up a supplementary one later.
Mike picked me up after work. colinofbrechtur was not able to go, and though we asked joeymcd, he couldn't either, so Mike and I ate at Quizno's (their chicken soup seems to be mostly pasta - at least my bowl was) before heading to elision and langs_place's place</span> to pick up the tickets and the things to be signed, and then from there directly into the city. It was just as well that we didn't have other stops - the traffic was unbelievably heavy, much more so than I expected for Chicago-bound Wednesday travel.
We left the choked highway to exit onto Fullerton, and from there finding the campus was easy - just head east for ten or so blocks. We parked in a garage on campus for 7 bucks rather than searching for something on the street. We had to wander around a bit to find the right building. The streets that are within the campus do not seem to be that well marked, and the addess on the building also did not seem to match the one on the ticket. However, the first building that we tried, which said, "student center," (I think our whole student center from IC could have fit into that lobby!) was the one we needed, though it was hard to tell that at first, because everything inside was just marked "Humanities Festival Entrance". There was a monstrous line which we eventually joined, that did not move; we were twenty five minutes early, and half the number of folks who would eventually show up were there before us, just waiting for the doors to open.
Ahead of us in line was an unhappy girl who had not had anything to eat. She was joined by a friend, a girl of asian descent with bright red stripes in her short black hair who kicked off her beaded blue shoes as we waited. More interesting were the three people behind us: two girls and a fellow. We made casual, waiting-in-line-next-to-you conversation with them during the fifteen minute wait. The line behind us continued to grow, while our tickets were torn ahead of time, and we managed to give away our third, unused ticket to a slightly pop-eyed guy who came up to ask us why we were in line. He had no idea that the event was taking place, and we had no use for the ticket anyway, so we saved the guy a fiver rather than let it go to waste (everyone in line already had their tickets - one of the volunteers had come down the line making sure that was so). He disappeared, but I assume he used the ticket...
Eventually, the line was allowed to filter into the room, which was a general multipurpose room - had a stage, and a heavy curtain over the windows to keep out light, but the seating was a temporary arrangement of cushioned folding chairs. We waited for ten or fifteen minutes (I really need to get myself a watch) before one of the festival volunteers came out and introduced Neil Gaiman. Watching the people who had arrived after us enter the room and find seating, I had the wondering of what polls would look like among a cross-section of the populace that had been selected for fandom. I don't *know* - but I have a hypothesis.
He spoke only briefly before launching into the readings. His cellphone rang (he had it on because he was using it as a clock - later, he borrowed someone's watch - guess he also needs to get one), and he said that it was his birthday, and he'd gotten more than 200 birthday wishes. He told us (danger: paraphrasing ahoy!) that the book he was about to read from was only 3/4 of the way done, which he said makes readings frightening - as long as the book is just "unfinished", one can always take it back, say "I didn't mean that one, here, this one is REALLY my next book," but once one starts going around reading bits of it, people start coming up and asking for it. "I'm waiting for that book." Also, he said that he was about to do something that he hates when other authors do it - read scenes from very different parts of the story, minus the connective tissue: "And then they leave the shop, and by some chain of events they find themselves flying a zeppelin..."