Sunday, October 31, 2010

On the road again: World Fantasy Con, Columbus, day 5

I've eaten a fair number of rubber-chicken meals in my time, but this afternoon's World Fantasy Con awards banquet has to rank as one of the very worst.

Some of the bad aspects of the meal were predictable and fairly common: the overwrought salad dressing, the bread fresh from the packages in which the hotel bought it on sale last week, the meat cooked so dry it was only a few hours from turning to jerky, the mashed potatoes well on their way to setting solidly enough that the hotel could use them to repair the holes in my room's ceiling when Hyatt finally gets around to the way overdue renovations.

Other features, though, were unusual and added to the meal's very special standing. The desserts, for example, ranged from chewy to nearly impenetrable; Jürgen Snoeren, a Dutch publisher at our table, had to push hard on his fork to get it to penetrate his hockey puck of a chocolate cake. The servers were also a treat, each one surlier than the one before, all annoyed at everything we did, some reaching in to move our water glasses or forks or knives simply because we hadn't put those items where they felt we should.

Up to now, I'd thought this Hyatt was merely the worst example of its type I'd ever stayed in, but the banquet has shown me that there is always room to do worse.

After some work and rest in the afternoon, a large group of us walked to the Hyde Park steak house, where we enjoyed a good meal and a lot of conversation. For dessert, though, we left the restaurant and walked to--yes, you guessed it--the Jeni's up the street. I have greatly enjoyed all this ice cream, but I am very, very glad that it's not available anywhere near my home.

On a completely unrelated topic, several folks here have stopped to chat with me about the Children No More charity program and child soldiers. As you may have noted in the news, the U.S. government recently decided to issue a waiver of the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act and continue to provide aid to four countries that are still using child soldiers. I don't agree with this decision, though I must assume the people involved did not make it lightly and are considering many different issues. If you are also thinking about this recent action, or if you're just interested in the topic, I thought you might find these photos, which Kyle brought to my attention, both moving and disturbing.


Griffin said...

Yes, the hotel truly did sink that low.

Ticia said...

I'm not here to mention how much I love my room. I am here to complain about the fact that I can't sleep. My brain and, let's admit the true mastermind here, my tastebuds are in cahoots, planning a daring Jeni's ice cream caper which envolves an icechest, dry ice, and an airplane storage bin. I have a feeling there's going to be a LONG line at Jeni's when it opens at 10am. I just hope all the books I'm stuffing into my checked luggage doesn't catapult the bag over 50 pounds, because I don't know what I'd do if forced to choose between Jeni's and books. The embarrassment over this fact is robbing me of sleep.

Mark said...

That would be a difficult choice, but I'd end up going with the books.


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