Grunge match: Seattle, Denver face off in a pop-culture battle royale

The bluest skies you’ll ever see are in Seattle, sang Perry Como, but others think there’s nothing to rival that Colorado Rocky Mountain High. (Make your own legal marijuana joke here.image

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Australian mayor to Justin Bieber over star’s graffiti: ‘Clean up your mess’

A mayor has told Justin Bieber to clean up his “mess” after spray painting graffiti on the walls of an Australian hotel.The Canadian singer was filmed using fluorescent paint on the wall of the QT Hotel wall at Surfers Paradise near Brisbane on Tuesday.image

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Pictures from the World Horror Convention in New Orleans

Hello. I am not as cranky as this picture suggests. Stick with me and I promise to smile.

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This is my Bitchy Resting Face

A week ago I was in New Orleans for the

Bram Stoker Awards Weekend incorporating World Horror Convention

— which for brevity’s sake I’ll refer to as WHC.

I stayed at the convention venue: the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter. My friend and fellow writer, Eliza Hirsch, shared a room.

I arrived Wednesday night with no trouble–unlike Eliza, whose flight was canceled, but that’s her story to tell. I rode the Airport Shuttle into the French Quarter, checked in to the hotel, dropped off my stuff, and went in search of a grocery store. I was going on an all day tour the following morning and I’d been told there wouldn’t be time to stop for food, so I stocked up on bread, blueberry preserves, peanut butter, and a lot of fruit. There was a minor incident when my bag fell off the counter while I was paying and the jar of preserves shattered inside the bag, but the kind staff replaced the jar and I only had to spend a little time washing blueberry paste off my bananas.

The weather was clear during my excursion, humid, and hot. I assembled my lunch for the next day, had a cocktail in the hotel bar (it spins slowly, hence the name Carousel) and went to bed.

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A dim view of the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone

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A Vieux Carre at the Hotel Monteleone

Thursday morning I ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant, Criollo–a delicious egg white omelet filled with vegetables and a spicy tomato sauce, plus lots of coffee. Then I caught the tour bus and we headed out to the Laura Plantation.

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Front of Laura — a Creole Plantation, comprehensive info here

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Inside of one of the Laura Plantation slave quarters where folklorists recorded the Br’er Rabbit tales

Soon enough we were on our way to the swamp. I had arranged for a six-person airboat tour of the swamp, but lucked out. Only four of us were on the boat.

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Waiting for my turn on the airboat. Not pictured: slathering on sunscreen.

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My view on the airboat

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“Airboat Self-Portrait” is the name of my next band

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Our guide feeds marshmallows to a gator

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Spanish Moss is not a moss. It is related to the pineapple.

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A final stop in the marsh, talking about collecting gator eggs

Overall I really enjoyed the airboat swamp tour. I compared notes with some folks who took the regular flat-bottomed boat and they interacted with more wildlife, but the ride through the swamp was exhilarating.

Time passes. I meet up with my roommate and go on a ghost tour. Buy one Hurricane, get one free…

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We were in the Beast group

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“Creepy Jesus Shadow”

After the tour was over, Eliza and I took a brief walk down Bourbon Street. Thankfully, no pictures exist of that excursion.

The next morning (Friday) I went to a useful workshop about marketing taught by Matt Schwartz. And then I went to panels and readings.

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Lisa Morton interviews John Joseph Adams

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Selling Your Short Story Panel: Simon McCaffery, Ellen Datlow, Norman Prentiss, John Joseph Adams

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Caitlín R. Kiernan is interviewed by Angel Leigh McCoy

Dinner was at a Paris-style place. I enjoyed the Shrimp Creole and a Bloody Mary. Then I returned for more.

Eliza and I dressed up for the dance.

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Eliza looking lovely

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Me goofing around

Next day more panels and readings. And a Kaffeeklatsch with Caitlín R. Kiernan.

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Robert McCammon, reading

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Kaffeeklatsch: Caitlín R. Kiernan (Best two and a half hours of the con)

For lunch I joined a group at Mr. B’s for seafood gumbo and a Bloody Mary.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan, reading

Eliza and I took a break to go to the Voodoo Museum with a stop at the Faulkner House and another for daiquiris.

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Voodoo Museum

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Voodoo dolls

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Offerings at the Voodoo Museum

That evening I went to the Bram Stoker Awards, but I was too busy telling jokes and stuffing my face to take crummy camera phone pics.

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Eliza and I went to see fellow writer Sanford Allen play a gig with his band Hogbitch at Checkpoint Charlie’s

Sunday morning arrived fast. As an aside, I ate almost every breakfast at Café Beignet. Fabulous Cajun Hashbrowns and omelets.

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Advice for New Writers Panel: K. Trap Jones, Liz Gorinsky, L. L. Soares, Yvonne Navarro, Rena Mason

I also went to the dialogue panel but didn’t take a photo. Too busy scribbling notes.

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The Future of Writing Panel: Peter Giglio, Jason V Brock, Alexandra Sokoloff, William F. Nolan

After the closing ceremonies I joined up with some cool people, ate lunch, walked around and imbibed a lot–including a stop at Pat O’Brien’s for a Hurricane. Also, absinthe.

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At The Olde Absinthe House, the bartender prepares our drinks

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My glass of Mata Hari absinthe. Very tasty. The anise was subtle.

Sunday night also involved a snack at Daisy Duke’s and a lot of packing. Monday morning I caught a shuttle to the airport and had an uneventful trip home.

Can’t wait for next year in Portland, OR!

Prohibited.
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