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(First in my reports of the 2018 San Diego Comic-con.)

Apparently, the entire city of San Diego had been bad, and sent to bed without dessert.

That, at least, was the lesson I learned Thursday night of Comic-con. After a half-day at the con, we were already tired. We had dinner, and I had been promised dessert as a reward for doing all the driving that morning. Given the choice of venue, I decided we should venture out and sample a dessert and coffee at one of the many fine dining establishments downtown San Diego has to offer. (Note to the host of people out there awaiting their chance to take me to dinner, do not let me choose where to go.)

Unfortunately, most of those fine dining establishments, as it happens, are bars. Although they feature excellent cuisine, they are not the kind of place you simply plop yourself down and order a cup of coffee and a piece of pie. No, we were seeking a (wait, I know there used to be a name for them), coffee shop. You know, the sort of little diner where the waitress calls you “hon.” (I know they exist; I went to one once. The waitress literally called me “hon.” I had been having a bad week; it was exactly what I needed.)

Anyway, we gamely trooped into town, finding it easy enough because the crowds hadn’t descended yet. Nothing. Then the light shone forth: a Du-Par’s! Perfect.

It closed a month ago.

We asked around; no one had any idea where we could find what we wanted. At one of the hotels, the staff recommended a nearby vendor with homemade ice cream. Promising… Turns it it was a small shop which, while it normally offered seating, had taken out its seating for Comic-Con. We pledged to return at a more opportune moment (and we did, with friends, and the ice cream was fabulous). But it wasn’t what we wanted then.

By this time, it was after eight. The Better Half suggested we should return to our hotel, on the theory that she had seen a Denny’s within walking distance of there. This gave us the option to repair to our room and call it a night, or hike the short distance to Denny’s and grab some joe and pie. Seizing upon this as a capital idea, I agreed, so we boarded our shuttle, rode to our hotel, and determined that, despite the darkness, the stroll to our local eatery was feasible and safe from a traffic perspective.

We were worried about getting there! Silly us.

First problem: Everyone in our neighborhood decided that 9:00 pm was the perfect time to take the family to Denny’s. I mean, it was standing room only. Twenty-minute wait.

Second problem: We were in the Twilight Zone. Between the five-year-olds planning Armageddon on their cell phones, and the woman whose shoes and stockings looked like something worn by the Wicked Witch of the West, in addition to the normal Comic-con attendees, this was an odd crowd. We should have taken it as a sign. Or at least taken the opportunity to look at a menu.

Because, you see, after an hour of walking around, several false alarms, a bus trip, and a walk through the dark (past what turned out to be the local cannabis retailer), I had to read the menu three times before I could bring myself to believe that Denny’s does not serve dessert.

There was no pie. There was no ice cream. (Well, there was, technically, but “the machine is broken.” The “machine”?) The menu actually suggested, if one wanted dessert, to try one of their fancy pancakes. Which I did, with mixed results. At least there was coffee.

So that was our first night. In common with many of our interactions at Comic-con, we learned a valuable lesson, the first of those which I am going to share with you:

Life is uncertain; eat dessert first. Just not at Denny’s.

#SFWApro

 

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Somebody sideswiped my car in a parking lot recently. Not a lot of damage, but a lot of stress. Now you get to share.

It’s funny how writing can be compared to so many other things in life, baseball, commuting, sexice cream … and now car accidents. I guess this is because fiction deals with all aspects of life. (More likely it’s because writing is an endeavor so fraught with problems that everyone can relate.)

  1. You never know when something’s going to hit you. It might be a phrase, an idea, or an SUV. You never know.
  2. Once it happens, the results are unimaginable. Which is strange, because writing is imagination. But will it become a story? Will it sell? Will your insurance go up?
  3. Your fate is in the hands of others. You send the story to an editor. You send your car to the shop. When will they return? Who knows?
  4. You have no idea who’s going to pay whom. Will the editor pay you? Will your insurance pay you? Or was all of this some expensive mistake?
  5. Where it all ends up is a mystery. Maybe the editor will publish you. Maybe the editor will reject you. Maybe you’ll get your car back. Maybe it will be totaled. See item nos. 2 and 3.
  6. You will wonder if it’s all worth it. Should you give it up? Should you take the bus?
  7. It will give you an idea. Maybe you should write about a man who has an accident. Maybe you should write about a man who decides to take the bus. Maybe you should write about a man who becomes a bus driver!
  8. You realize that this random event has given you an idea that  you weren’t expecting. You re-read item no. 1.
  9. You realize there is no escape. Accidents will happen. Editors will reject you.
  10. You resolve to do better next time. You will watch the cross-traffic. You will observe the traffic lights. You will avoid the omniscient viewpoint and the present tense.

Bonus: Having an accident and writing a story have this in common: You will never forget what it felt like.

#SFWApro

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You knew it would come to this. At least you knew it if you know me. My friends are all well aware of the dangers of allowing me anywhere near The Perfect Dessert, as I like to call it. (I also like to call it The Perfect Breakfast, but that’s a story for another time. Maybe tomorrow morning.)

So it was only a matter of time before my two greatest passions* collided in one great, frozen blog post. Like chocolate and peanut butter, they meld into a delicious amalgam. At least, they’d better, or this is going to be a short essay.

  1. The smoother they are, the more they are considered “premium.”
  2. Both are best served cold and allowed to melt on the tongue.
  3. They come in hundreds of flavors, and each has its fans.
  4. They come packaged in all sizes, and you can dole them out as you choose.
  5. Although you can get them pretty much anywhere, specialty stores carry the most varieties.
  6. Each is made to be “devoured.”
  7. You can carry a small one in your hand and consume it as you walk, although care must be taken.
  8. Both will expand you: one your waistline, the other your mind.
  9. You may find either one by guys named Ben, and Jerry.
  10. The best will always leave you wanting more.

And the bonus reason writing is like ice cream: If you’ve ever tried eating that freeze-dried astronaut ice cream, it tastes like paper.

*No, I didn’t include my wife, because she’s in a class by herself.

#SFWApro

 

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