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Saturday: A beautiful drive, a wonderful party for Jay Lake - Elf M. Sternberg
Saturday: A beautiful drive, a wonderful party for Jay Lake

Jay Lake
Saturday, June 4th, was author Jay Lake's birthday. Jay has been fighting a particularly nasty cancer recently, so a lot of people pledged to show up for JayCon, his open-to-anyone birthday celebration held at a pizza joint near his home in Portland, OR.

I live in Seattle, so I chose to drive down. I-5 is a straight shot of 152 miles from my house to Portland, and it's a beautiful drive when the weather complies. The weather complied.

Traffic wasn't too bad. There were few sights along the road, and one crisis: a guy about ten car-lengths in front of me, driving a pickup truck and hauling one of those home-grown trailers made out of the rear half of another pickup truck, lost a mattress, boxspring, and cover sheet that he'd been hauling. It flipped out of the trailer and onto the road, almost hitting a large bus. Nobody was hurt, but traffic snarled immediately.

I saw the guy looking embarrassed as he walked up to clear the road and retreive his stuff. He should have looked more than embarrassed, he could have killed someone.

Later, I saw a three cop cars and two tow trucks on the side of the road, pulling a minivan out of a lake right next to the freeway. The railing was intact; whoever drove that flipped over the railing without hitting it. Someone had a very bad morning.

I got to Portland hours early, so I stopped by Powells Books, the largest bookstore in the Pacific Northwest. It's also next door to CounterMedia, one of the best adult bookstores in the PNW, and two blocks from Spartacus, Portland's heavy-duty [ahem] toystore.

I bought mostly technical books, although I did find a Circlet Press paper imprint that I didn't have,Wired Hard 3, as well as a volume of steampunk erotica, Carnal Machines. Those look like fun.

I was early, so I stopped by a cafe and dumped the recordings I'd made on the road into twitter. The cafe' was unapologetically left-wing, with great illustrations of the bes of American nostalgia for collective action.

The birthday party was fun. David Levine showed up, there was pizza and cake. Jay related frightfully personal details about his dealing with cancer with the kind of aplomb I can only hope to acheive. Had some great conversations with a bunch of writers, and also had odd insights into what's going wrong with my current software project.

I hung out the full three hours, then headed home. The drive home was even less exciting, although it took longer. Centralia and Tacoma were shooting galleries for state patrol looking to build up their quotas. Cruise control and a fully loaded iPod for the win. It was about 12 hours and 30 minutes, total round-trip, with seven hours in Portland. I got home around 8:45.

Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

2 comments or Leave a comment
From: technoshaman Date: June 6th, 2011 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've got to where I duck around Tacoma regularly, 507->512 (but the 512 part implies I'm coming all the way back to Seattle; you may benefit from creative re-rerouting...)

Don't have any help for Centralia. Usually a good place to stop for dinner. :)
bldrnrpdx From: bldrnrpdx Date: June 7th, 2011 01:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
If I'd known you were coming to town, I would've at least waved in your general direction.
2 comments or Leave a comment