How to change the time setting on the iHome clock radio in your hotel room

If you are at World Fantasy Con right now, you have an iHome clock radio in your room. It looks like this:

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The iHome clock radio is very popular with hotels all over the world. It features an iPhone dock (with the now-obsolete 30-pin connector) and easy-to-use controls with instructions printed right on the top. Unfortunately, one of the things that is NOT covered by these instructions is how to change the time. Very few people, including hotel staff, know how to change the time setting on this clock, which means that — especially in the days and weeks following a change to or from Daylight Savings Time — the time shown is incorrect and it is frustratingly difficult to change it.

I have figured out how to do it, and I’m going to share it with you now.

Turn the clock radio around and look at the back:

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You’ll see a horizontal bar of plastic with a knurled knob at the right end (it’s just to the left of the white wires in the photo above). This knob is actually a thumbscrew. Twist it counterclockwise to unfasten it.

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When you have unfastened the thumbscrew, the whole horizontal bar comes off (it hooks in at the left end), revealing buttons labeled TIME ZONE and CLOCK ADJ and (on some models) a switch labeled DST.

If your clock has a DST switch, it has three positions: AUTO, OFF, and +1. The AUTO position is supposed to select the appropriate Daylight Savings Time setting automatically. (But if that were working, we wouldn’t be here.) The +1 setting advances the clock by one hour. (In my case, that changed it from being off by an hour to being off by TWO hours.) And the OFF setting gives up on the whole idea and lets you set the time yourself.

To change the time, press and hold the CLOCK ADJ button until the clock beeps and the time display blinks, then rotate the right-hand disc on the top of the clock to adjust the time backward or forward. Once you have the correct time, press the CLOCK ADJ button repeatedly until the time is displayed again. You’re done!

To replace the horizontal bar, hook it into the hole at the left end, swing it back into place, and refasten the thumbscrew.

Please link to this web page using the words iHome, clock, radio, and hotel in the link so that people can find it and change the time on their hotel clocks. Future hotel guests will thank you.

Two recent publications

The long-awaited Wild Cards mosaic novel Lowball, including my story “Cry Wolf,” is out today! Look for it at a book or ebook store near you, including Powell’s.

Lowball at Powell s

Also, the December 2014 issue of Analog includes my story “Mammals.” It is on the newsstands (remember them?) right now, and you can buy an ebook of the issue in a variety of formats from Magzter.

Analog at Pike Place

Novel ARABELLA OF MARS and two sequels sold to Tor

I am extremely pleased to report that my “Regency Interplanetary Airship Adventure” novel Arabella of Mars has sold to prominent SF publisher Tor in a three-book deal. The first volume will be published in late 2015 or early 2016, with two sequels to follow at yearly intervals.

Arabella Ashby is a Patrick O’Brian girl in a Jane Austen world — born and raised on Mars, she was hauled back home by her mother, where she’s stifled by England’s gravity, climate, and attitudes toward women. When she learns that her evil cousin plans to kill her brother and inherit the family fortune, she joins the crew of an interplanetary clipper ship in order to beat him to Mars. But privateers, mutiny, and insurrection stand in her way. Will she arrive in time?

Arabella of Mars will appeal to fans of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire books, Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy, and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories, all of which are fast-paced adventures combining a historical setting with a fantasy/SF twist. A novelette in the same universe, “The Wreck of the Mars Adventure,” appeared in Locus Award winning anthology Old Mars, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois; another related novelette, “The End of the Silk Road,” appeared in F&SF.

As for the author, I have published over fifty short stories in major markets. My stories have won the Hugo, have been nominated for the Nebula, and have appeared in five Year’s Best anthologies, among many other honors, and my collection Space Magic won the Endeavour Award for the year’s best F/SF book by a Pacific Northwest writer. I also wrote one of three new stories in the revised edition of George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards 1. In 2010 I spent two weeks at a simulated Mars base in Utah, and have presented a highly-regarded slide show about the trip at many science fiction conventions and other venues. A video I made of my short story “Dr. Talon’s Letter to the Editor” was a finalist for the 2013 Parsec Award.

Getting to this point has been a real emotional rollercoaster, with many years of hard work, long waits, and near misses. Arabella of Mars, my first sale, is my fourth completed novel; I started outlining the first one at the beginning of 2003, so this moment is the culmination of more than ten years of effort. And yet, of course, this is also only the beginning of an equally long strange journey to publication and beyond. I have a lot to do in the next year, including soliciting blurbs, writing blog posts, assembling a street team, and scheduling readings and interviews, as well as shepherding the book through production, not to mention writing book 2 (which currently exists as a solid outline and 4000 words of text). It’s going to be a heck of a ride, and I plan to keep you informed along the way.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email them or leave them as comments here. I can use topics for forthcoming blog posts! :-)

Two events for readers in Portland this weekend

This weekend (October 18-19, 2014) I will be appearing at two events for readers in Portland, Oregon: Story Con and Stumptown Lit.

Story Con is a one-day readers’ convention, “laser-focused on helping book lovers find their next great book.” It features over 30 local authors doing readings, signings, and panels, and will be held at the Vancouver Community Library from 10:30 to 4:30 on October 18. I will be doing a reading at 10:30, a signing at 11:30, and will otherwise be hanging out most of the day.


Stumptown Lit is Oregon Writers Colony’s fall festival for readers and writers. It features workshops, readings by Oregon authors, a book fair, and a reception honoring Jean Auel, and will be held at the World Forestry Center on October 19. I won’t be presenting, but I have books in the book fair (noon to 5:00) and will generally be hanging around.


Hope to see you there!

60 minutes to escape!

“Room Escape” is a genre of casual online game, originating in Japan, in which you wake up in a room and must search for clues and solve puzzles in order to escape it. Kate’s a big fan of this type of game, so when I found out that a live-action version was launching in Portland I snagged tickets as soon as I could.

“Spark of Resistance” ( is an interactive game, or possibly a theatrical experience, which takes place in a small room in an industrial space on the Portland riverfront. Up to 8 players at a time are locked into this room, with a 60-minute clock to figure a way out. It was tons of fun and I’d recommend it for anyone who enjoys a challenging puzzle.

One thing that I don’t like about room escape games online is the arbitrary nature of the puzzle. It’s never clear to me why you are in this room or why, if someone wanted to provide clues to help you get out of it, they would be so ridiculously obscure about it. Also, puzzle escape games often devolve into “pixel hunting,” in which you have to click on absolutely everything in hopes of locating the one click point that reveals a hidden clue or tool.

“Spark of Resistance” isn’t arbitrary. You are given a clear plot (involving espionage and paranoia in an oppressive fictional country) and, as you are in a real room made of real things, there’s no pixel-hunting… you use your actual eyes and hands to search the walls and drawers for actual hidden objects. This made it a lot more fun than any online game. The props and devices in the room were well-constructed, engaging, and thematically appropriate.

The puzzles in “Spark of Resistance” are challenging, but not impossible (especially if you are familiar with the conventions of the genre, e.g. no clue applies to more than one puzzle), and the game masters are watching and will provide timely hints if you get stuck. Even with hints, though, we didn’t manage to finish the last puzzle before the 60-minute timer ran out. However, as we came so close, they let us back in and we finished in about ten more minutes. We were told that so far no paying players, and only one team of beta testers, has actually escaped in time — we came the closest of any paying team so far. (The game hasn’t been running very long.)

“Spark of Resistance” is a game for up to 8 players. If you have fewer than that, the remaining tickets for your time slot are available and may be purchased by other people, so if you don’t have a full team of 8 you might wind up playing with strangers. We found that with 8 people in the room we did get in each other’s way a bit, but on the other hand with 8 people we had more eyes on each puzzle, more people looking for clues and objects, and more parallel processing on independent puzzles. I think 6 would be ideal… I don’t think 2 people would have a chance of solving the entire room in time.

If you’re in Portland and enjoy logic puzzles, I’d definitely recommend “Spark of Resistance.”

Support Greg Bear – preorder WAR DOGS from Powell’s

9780316072830As you may have heard, Seattle SF author Greg Bear recently had emergency cardiac surgery and spent a week in the hospital. The surgery went well and he is home and recovering, but he will not be able to tour or do other promotion for his brand new book War Dogs. Also, because of the ongoing Amazon-Hachette dispute, War Dogs cannot be pre-ordered from Amazon. However, it can be pre-ordered from Powell’s ( as well as Seattle’s University Bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy, and Barnes and Noble.

Greg is a fabulous writer and has always been friendly and extremely generous to other authors and Clarion West students. Please help support him by pre-ordering War Dogs, reviewing it, mentioning it in a blog, talking about it with friends, asking your library to order it, etc.

Spread the word!

Several sales to report

Holy cow, I have been incredibly remiss in sharing my good writing news. I’ve made the following sales in the past couple of months:

  • Steampunk romantic fantasy novelette Liaisons Galantes: A Scientific Romance,” which originally appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies #108, resold to ebook anthology The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year Five, already available.
  • Horror story “Goat Eyes” sold to Black Static #42, out very soon.
  • Post-robot-holocaust story “Mammals” sold to Analog, forthcoming.
  • Asteroid mining story “Malf” sold to anthology Mission: Tomorrow, forthcoming in 2015.
  • And the really big news is that space opera “Damage” sold to, forthcoming in 2015. I’m really thrilled about that one!

Announcing the release of “Up and Running with VI” at

When I visited video training company in April to record AWK Essential Training, the producer noticed that I was using the vi text editor and mentioned that they didn’t currently have a course on that… would I be interested in creating one? I was, and I did, and it is now available to all members: Up and Running with VI. If you aren’t a member, you can watch five of the videos in the course for free at

Vi courseHere’s Lynda’s description of the course: “Although other text editors may be easier to use, vi is built into all Unix systems (including Linux and Mac OS). Knowing a few basic vi commands guarantees you’ll be able to work with these systems when no other editor is installed. In this course, David D. Levine shows you how to get in and out of vi, switch modes, and start editing files in place. Learn how to change text within a file, use commands like undo and yank, find and replace text, and invoke more advanced Unix commands. Although it may be arcane, vi is still the standard text editor for all Unix systems. Start learning it now and run your systems more smoothly in the future.”

Topics covered in the course include:

  • Entering and leaving vi
  • Understanding the Command, Insert, and Colon modes
  • Moving around in files
  • Editing text
  • Moving content with delete, yank, and put
  • Searching with regular expressions
  • Customizing vi
  • Filtering text through shell commands

If you are interested in doing something like this yourself, please contact Mark Niemann-Ross at He is especially interested in finding authors who are women or people of color. If you have expertise in any technical or business field, have good English writing and speaking skills, and enjoy helping people learn how to do things, I encourage you to give it a try.

Portland Film Festival this week

The second annual Portland Film Festival began yesterday (August 26) and continues through September 1, with a fantastic smorgasbord of feature films, short films, panel discussions; workshops for filmmakers, writers, and actors; and opportunities for networking, scattered all over downtown Portland.

I will be moderating a panel discussion on Saturday (1:30-3:00 at the 5th Avenue Cinema) on “Science Fiction, Film and Technology” with Ted Chiang, Daniel H. Wilson, and more! I’ll also be attending as many of the writing workshops as I can manage. It’s a busy schedule.

Other program items of interest to the science fiction community include the films Time Lapse, Rover, and Wizard’s Way (the last one is FREE) and Lessons Learned & 28th Anniversary Screening of Labyrinth with a Q&A with Toby Froud.

Hope to see some of you there!

London days 6-9, Toronto, and home

Tue 8/19 – London

Step count: 11,702

Awake 7:57 just before 8:00 alarm. Breakfast (yogurt and muesli) with Lise Eisenberg. Packed up. Twitter DM from Mary Robinette Kowal: coffee? But, alas, it didn’t pan out. Checked out, called for cab. Settled in for 20-minute wait, but then a cab pulled up so we canceled the first. Great view on cab ride of Shard beyond Tower of London.

The Arosfa hotel (it’s a Welsh word meaning “a place to stay”) has a lovely sitting room and friendly staff; the room is tiny but clean and well-furbished. (Yes, autocorrect, I did mean “furbished” and not “furnished.” Look it up.) Twin beds, alas, and a bathroom like what an airplane lavatory would be if it had a shower. There were two pull-cords in the bathroom, presumably one being the light and the other being that alarm cord placed in European bathrooms for the purpose of embarrassing American tourists. I went downstairs and asked which was which. “They’re both lights — no alarm cords here. If you get in trouble, just scream.”

Lay down for a nap, didn’t sleep but did rest for a bit. Went out to explore the neighborhood and find lunch. Many options, settled on Reynolds for a chicken and mango wrap and a corn and quinoa salad (sadly loaded with avocado). Back to the room with a stop at Waterstones across the street for the last Iain Banks book, The Quarry (which had not been available at the con, as the only new-book dealer had foolishly stocked only Banks’s SF). Grabbed our coats and headed back out to the British Museum (it’s free!). Saw mummies, Mesopotamian tile, Sutton Hoo grave goods, Phil Foglio, Cheryl Morgan. Flagging then, went to Tea and Tattle across the street for tea and a scone (flat white and walnut cake for me).

After tea, wanted to grab a Time Out to find out what was on. Stopped into 3 newsagents, 2 tube stations (packed with rush-hour commuters), and a bookstore looking for a copy, with no luck. In fact, no one even knew what it was until Waterstones, where I learned that it’s now a free paper which comes out late Tuesday or early Wednesday. The guys who were offering the Evening Standard to every incoming tube passenger today will probably have it tomorrow.

Back to room, did some online research on museums and theatre for the next couple of days. Realized about 8:00 that we really needed dinner. Went out to restaurant Olivelli for pizza, split a quattro stagione pizza and an insalata di pollo, which were ordered with some slight difficulty. We did not anticipate having as many language issues in England as we have been having (most of the staff at the Aloft were Eastern European, I think). After dinner, came straight home. Plan for tomorrow: TKTS in the morning, then John Soane’s Museum, then hopefully a play in the evening. Some futzing with luggage, electric plugs, and email. To sleep 11:00.

Wed 8/20 – London

Step count: 10,555

Awake 3:00 but got back to sleep eventually. Awake again 8:00. Really good breakfast spread including kippers, marmite, and any number of cooked-to-order options as well as all the usual stuff. I don’t usually eat fried eggs, but in this place it’s “the thing with eyes” so I ordered and ate them with gusto. (By this I refer to an incident in Japan in which I ate “the thing with eyes” which was in my bento. For some reason I will happily eat things in other countries which I would not touch at home, either before or after the trip.) Our host has a dry sense of humor, stating straight-faced that the options for toast were white, brown, and burnt. I think we did hold our own even before coffee. Among the breakfast offerings was a tray of ham-and-cheese croissants. Younger-me would have snagged one of them to have for lunch, but today-me would rather spend money and have a sit-down lunch than lug the thing around all day.

First stop of the day: Leicester Square for TKTS. Spent about a half-hour in line and snagged half-price tickets for our first choice: Jeeves & Wooster. Proceeded from there to Sir John Soane’s Museum. An impressive, rather insane collection of artworks, mostly stone and plaster Classical sculptures and decorative elements but including an Egyptian sarcophagus and hundreds of paintings, assembled by an architect of the late 1700s and early 1800s and displayed in his home almost exactly as it was when he died. It’s free, but they only let in a limited number of people at a time, and no photography is allowed. This intriguing museum also included a temporary exhibition about London and Paris immediately after the fall of Napoleon, very much of interest to me for my novel researches. I bought the catalog of that one.

Lunch at a Thai place nearby called Thiwanya. From there I went to the Hunterian Museum, just a couple of blocks away, while Kate went shopping. The Hunterian is inside the Royal College of Surgeons, and you have to don a badge and pass through a security checkpoint to find it, but it’s free. It consists of a collection of anatomical specimens (animal, human, and a few plants — some normal, many pathological), the story of the museum itself, and the history of anatomy and medicine, especially surgery and the teaching thereof. Exhibits include the complete skeleton of the “Irish Giant” Charles Byrne, Winston Churchill’s dentures, and a cast of Jonathan Swift’s cranial cavity, as well as many other famous and noteworthy specimens. I’m glad I didn’t try to bring Kate to this. Upstairs, focusing specifically on surgery including videos of modern procedures, was a little too disturbing even for me. All in all I spent nearly three hours there.

Met up with Kate back at the hotel, then back out again for dinner before the show. Wound up at Pods, a healthy/organic fast food place. Mostly a lunch joint, they were sold out of everything except the red and green Thai chicken curry so we had one of each. Quite nice, especially with the multicolored rice. That was quick so we had time to kill before the play. Wandered down to Trafalgar Square and admired the art and architecture on display, also the street performers (including an Irish sidewalk-chalk-artist-slash-bagpiper, an energetic Spiderman impersonator, and a contortionist). The play, Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, was very silly fun. The production was structured as a play-within-a-play presented by Wooster, with the help of Jeeves and one other actor, another butler. The two butlers played all the parts except Bertie and also provided the sets and props, sometimes to hilarious effect. Very reminiscent of the play The 39 Steps.

Not a lot of photos today, just about everywhere we went had a no-photos policy. Back home by 10:30, to bed 11:45.

Thu 8/21 – London

Step count: 10,337

Awake 8:00. Skipped the hot breakfast in favor of shredded wheat (which, it turned out, had fruit inside), yogurt, and a little slice of quiche (which, it turned out, was room temperature). Odd.

Courtauld Gallery featured a magnificent collection of masterpieces, especially Impressionists. We shared the space with a gaggle of students from nearby Kings College; the students were annoying but the lecturer pointed out some interesting things about the paintings. A really excellent museum.

Wandered the Strand in search of lunch. Wound up at Birley, a high-end sandwich shop, where most of the clientele was clearly lawyers from the nearby law courts. Proceeded from there to the Victoria & Albert museum, trekking down an astonishingly long underground passage from the tube station to the museum. Once inside, passed an amazing collection of sculptures just on the way to the bathroom. Special exhibit “Disobedient Objects,” about artifacts produced by protest movements, was thought-provoking and well-curated, but crowded. Ran out of spoons shortly after that, took the bus home, fell over. When we woke up it was time to leave for the Tun (London fandom pub meet, rescheduled to this Thursday for a post-Worldcon gathering of the clans). Spent most of the time smoffing with Alison & Steve, Steve & Giulia, and Martin Easterbrook, along with others less well known to me. Couldn’t take the noise and still had to pack before tomorrow’s flight, so bailed by 8:00 (with many fine people just arriving, alas). Back at hotel, arranged for a cab, wrote some postcards, and made an early night of it.

I often wish I lived in a bigger city with more big-city amenities, but London and Paris do take a lot of energy to deal with. I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad if it were my own city and more familiar. I’m ready to go home now.

Fri 8/22 – London-Toronto

Step count: 10,061

Awake just before 6:00 alarm. Packed up, had breakfast, checked out. Cab to airport arrived right on time, delivered us to Heathrow with no issues. Terminal uncrowded at 9am, found no lines at all either to check in or for security (admittedly we used the Business Class line for both — obtained with miles — but I didn’t observe any crowding in the other lines either). Long hike to Air Canada business class lounge. Settled in there for an hour, wrote a blog post about the last couple of days in Mechelen and the first day in London. Boarded plane (again no line, thanks to Business Class), got settled in. Flight was uneventful. Food more than decent (main course: seared cod with a chunky tomato coulis) but the cheese course was pathetic by La Cahudiere standards. Seat a very nice lie-flat pod, though at one point, late in the flight, it refused to sit back up again and the flight attendant had to reboot it, saying something about “we can only do this once per flight or it overheats,” after which I was reluctant to lay it down again. Slept about an hour, otherwise did a bunch of reading, didn’t even look at the on-demand video screen.

Huge crowds at Toronto airport but reasonably well managed, except for complete lack of signage of how to get out of baggage claim area. No issues with customs, except that we stood in the wrong line for passport control (they served us anyway, thank you polite Canadians). Ran into Colin Hinz and Catherine Crockett in baggage claim; apparently they’d been on the same flight. Long trek to Terminal Link train to our on-airport hotel, then had some difficulty finding it from the train terminal (it wasn’t far, but there was a signage failure for the last bit). The ALT hotel is reminiscent of the Aloft in its stark modernity, but the room is about as big as our last 3 rooms put together and has two double beds, a tub, a closet, towel racks, drawers, and washcloths, huzzah. Toronto is 75 degrees and humid, the warmest weather we’ve seen since Paris. Worked on blog for a bit.

Hotel has no restaurant to speak of and there’s nothing in the vicinity (airport is reachable by train but is pretty much a food desert) so we opted for a 15-minute walk to Zet’s Drive-Inn, supposed to have good Greek food. Airport/industrial roadways were actively pedestrian-hostile and under construction to boot, but we did eventually manage to make our way to Zet’s without being run over. We each ordered a peameal bacon sandwich (a Toronto specialty and something of a guilty pleasure of mine). Not exactly cuisine, but definitely tasty. After eating, not sure what to do with our trays. Spotted some other trays left on a table nearby and had the following exchange: “We decided one big pile was better than one little pile, and rather than pick theirs up we decided to set ours down.” “And we had another peameal bacon sandwich that couldn’t be beat, and didn’t get up until the next morning when we all had to go to the airport.” “Remember the airport? Whole damn thing’s about the airport…” Nearly midnight London time and running on one hour’s sleep we were getting kind of punchy. Back at hotel, posted another blog post covering through the end of the Worldcon. Fell over around 8:00.

Sat 8/23 – Toronto-Seattle-Portland

Step count: 7,476

Awake around 3:00, but got back to sleep. Woke to alarm 6:00. Washed up, packed up, checked out. Did not buy anything from the little shop in the lobby (that’s what this place offers for breakfast), assuming that the Air Canada business class lounge would provide breakfast. This proved to be a mistake.

Terminal Link train to terminal. Took a bit of searching to find the right place to check in. Checked in our bags with the assurance they’d be checked through to Portland, but once they were tagged we had to drag them through Customs ourselves. First time using Global Entry for passport control into USA. Security person at Global Entry line said we would need our Global Entry cards. This didn’t match my understanding, and Kate didn’t have hers, but security person let us in anyway. Card was not needed, just passport and fingerprints, but the UI on the Global Entry kiosk could use some work. Getting a little cranky by this point. Next came security. We dropped our bags on the belt and then went to the priority security line. But, alas, I had the dreaded “SSSS” on my boarding pass indicating I’d been randomly selected for special security search. Not even Global Entry plus TSA Pre-Check plus Business Class will get you out of that. So I stood for a long time in a line that wasn’t moving at all, then took off my shoes, took everything out of my pockets, handed over my boarding pass, took my computer out of its sleeve, got my computer and bag swabbed for explosives, walked through a metal detector, walked through the metal detector again without my belt (oops), had my choice of getting patted down or standing in the X-ray scanner (took the scanner because it’s quicker), waited nervously for my boarding pass to be returned as they seemed to have forgotten that bit, then put everything back where it had been. Getting really cranky by now. Long, long walk to our gate. By now it had gotten too late to hit the business class lounge, so we bought some fruit-and-nut bars at the little shop near our gate and that was our breakfast.

Five-hour flight to Seattle in business class was fine, big comfy seats and a very nice real breakfast (omelette, sausage with a fruit compote, potatoes, yogurt, pretty good coffee). Back in the day, not everyone could afford to fly but the service was lots better. Today travel is cheap and uncomfortable, but you can still get the kind of service everyone used to get if you can pay for it. So basically they’ve bolted the Economy Class section onto what used to be the whole plane. Slept some and read some on the flight. Lovely view of Seattle on the way in.

On landing in Seattle, checked my email and found a message sent right after we took off, saying that our Seattle-Portland flight was canceled. After getting inside, trekked down to Customer Service desk to resolve the situation. Good news! Friendly United agent rebooked us on an Alaska flight leaving half an hour earlier than our canceled United one. Now all we had to do was rely on United to transfer our bags from Air Canada to Alaska in 45 minutes. Agent acknowledged that this was kind of iffy and instructed us to check with Alaska if the bags didn’t appear. Picked up a sandwich from Wolfgang Puck on the way to the Alaska gate and split that for lunch.

Uneventful flight to Portland. “Pointy trees! Pointy trees!” Good to be home. Something about the air, the quality of the light, is different here from where we’ve been. Surprised to find only a few bags on the carrousel, the plane wasn’t that small. Alas, none of them were ours. Alaska baggage agent said they’d most likely be on the next flight and would be delivered to us at home, also gave us certificates for 2500 frequent flyer miles each for our trouble. As we had no bags to shlep, took light rail and bus home.

Arrived home about 1pm, house is fine, huge pile of mail. Bleared about the house for the rest of the afternoon; sorted mail pile; cleared out TiVo; Kate went to the store for some groceries. Bags arrived 6pm, yay. Tried to watch Dr Who premiere but was falling asleep and had to give up halfway through. To bed 9pm.

Sun 8/24 – Portland

Awoke 1am, then 5am, got up for a few hours then back to bed, finally got up and dressed 10:30am. Went to farmers’ market, where God told us to make ratatouille. Okay, we are really home now.

And now… the last photos from the trip

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There was a painting of Mary Robinette Kowal in the sitting room of our London hotel

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The room was not large

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Typical view of the mummies room in the British Museum

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Is this the first of the Muffler Men?

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Reconstruction of the famous Sutton Hoo helmet

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This fabulous umbrella shop (est’d. 1830) was right near our hotel

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Londoners will carry damn near anything on a bicycle

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View of Big Ben and the lions of Nelson’s Column from Trafalgar Square. Not shown: giant blue chicken.

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Vicent van Gogh with bandaged ear at the Courtauld Gallery

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Riot shields in the form of books, from the Disobedient Objects exhibit at the V&A

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For some reason this sculpture at the V&A caught my fancy

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE TRIP: The theme of this trip has been spending time with friends; only the week in Paris was by ourselves. I am pleased and honored to be able to hang out with the many excellent people whose company I shared in Normandy, Belgium, and London. Food was a highlight, with some of the best meals being very simple, classic French dishes — like steak frites, crepes, and grilled duck breast — done perfectly (but, with all the walking, I gained only two pounds in four weeks). I will probably never forget the startled eyes of the skinned rabbit at the farm market in St. Hilaire, though I wish I could. It was delicous, though. Though we did hit the Louvre and the British Museum briefly, we spent more time in secondary museums, notably the Carnavalet in Paris and Courtauld Gallery, which were very memorable. Here at the end of the trip, I am so jet-lagged and bone-weary that I feel a bit sick, or perhaps stoned, but I’d do it all again — though if we could arrange it so that the Worldcon wasn’t at the end of the trip that might have been better. I’m already thinking about where we’ll go next.