At The Movies: Don’t Breathe

So last week we talked about “Hell or High Water” and how a talented director took a stale plot or two and with the right writing and cast made it fresh and interesting. This week Fede Alvarez does a similar thing with the horror genre in “Don’t Breathe.”

Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette and Daniel Zovatto star as Rocky, Alex and Money — three young punks who go around robbing houses. Alex’s father works for a security company and he “borrows” the old man’s keys to aid them in their crimes.

Alex is the serious one, Money is the crazy one and Rocky is the sympathetic one — she’s only stealing so she can make enough money so she and her little sister can escape life with their abusive mother.

dont_breathe_ver4Money learns of a potential hit that’s too good to be true — an old, blind man living alone in a secluded house with a large sum of money he received in a legal settlement. And you know what they say about things that are too good to be true.

The trio show up in the dead of night only to find their only real obstacle is a growling, slobbering dog. They put him to sleep with some drugged meat and break in through the bathroom window — the only window that isn’t barred shut.

They encounter a room with a huge lock on it and assume that’s where they’ll find the cash. In the process of breaking the lock they wake up the old man (Stephen Lang). Although he’s blind, he’s more than willing to fight — and kill — to protect his home, his money — and his secrets.

I’m not much on horror movies but I do enjoy a good one, and “Don’t Breathe” is a good one. Alvarez knows when to crank up the tension and throws in some unexpected and effective twists. While the movie has its violent moments it doesn’t rely heavily on gore. This story is more about fear and terror than blood splatters.

Lang remains silent through most of the film, adding to the character’s creepiness, but when he finally does speak — that’s when the story becomes even more disturbing.

There are a few absurd horror movie moments, but overall “Don’t Breathe” is a brutal, chilling and clever film.

 

 

 

Festival Of The Many Roys

Last year Sister2 and Sister-In-Law convinced their spouses to come to St. Charles for the Fete des Petites Cotes. Apparently they had so much fun, or the allure of Kettle Korn was so overwhelming, that they decided to come back and convinced Sister1 and her spouse to join them.

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If you’ve done the math, that’s 6 visitors in a house with 3 bedrooms, two of which are spoken for. We decided to let Randy & Brenda have one room, Mark & Teresa the other, with Cindy & Chuck on an air mattress in the basement. Lar and I would sleep on air mattresses in Andrew’s room. He wouldn’t mind the company. I’m not a fan of air mattresses but we got rid of the beds that fold back into couches because they became unfashionable, I guess. Of course, we used to have a water bed and then it became unfashionable. I just want something soft to sleep on.

Figuring out sleeping arrangements was the easy part. Now comes the cleaning. It’s bad enough living with an obsessive-compulsive clean freak under normal circumstances — having company just cranks all the OCD up to 11. “This house is filthy! Your family are going to be disgusted!” Do you know how hard it is to relax on the couch with a Coke, a bag of chips, and the Kindle Fire while watching TV with that going on? “Why are you eating on the couch! What are you, an animal?!”

The family pulled up in a rented 6-passenger van late Friday afternoon. I put on the Olympics hoping that will entertain them, and in short order I fire up the grill. We have the food ready by the time Lar gets home. The Stupid St. Louis Weathermen say there’s an 80 percent chance for rain tomorrow, so we decide to go down to the fest after supper just to be safe.

Naturally, everyone in St. Louis had the same idea. The RRoy St. Louis Freebie Festival Imperative was in full effect (Question 24 in the FAQ).Lar wanted to park in the city garage, which I was sure would be full at 7 p.m., but no one listens to me, and since you can’t fit 9 people in a 6 passenger van, we had to take 2 cars, which meant the odds of finding not 1 but 2 parking spaces in the city garage at 7 p.m. on opening night of the Little Hills Festival was… well, no one listens to me…

Chuck manages to find a spot for the van, I am not so lucky. I kick the passsengers out of my car and tear out of the city garage. I head over to the Foundry Art Centre where I see a couple and a baby carriage heading to their car. I pull up behind them. “No hurry. I am in no rush to catch up to my family.”

I eventually find them on Riverside Drive. It turns out the event organizers, after listening to the Stupid St. Louis Weathermen, decided not to set up tents in the park since all that rain that was coming in would turn the event into a wet, muddy mess — like last year.

Did I mention that every idiot in St. Louis had converged on the festival? I had never seen it so crowded on a Friday night. We walked until it was too dark to see, then kept walking. Eventually we went home and I had a nice, refreshing sleep on an air mattress.

The next day everyone was up and ready to go by 9:30 a.m. so off we went. Much better parking situation at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The forecast by the Stupid St. Louis Weathermen had miraculously changed from 80 percent chance of rain to 10 percent. Oh, Stupid St. Louis Weathermen — don’t ever change.

IMG_2446 (1)So now begins the long, long, slow, slow, stop-and-go trek that is the Festival of the Little Hills. One of our first stops is one of my favorites — Frozen Wine Slushies. There are 3 reasons to go to the FLH: Kettle Korn, The Wisconsin Sausage and Cheese booth, and Frozen Wine Slushies. In fact, I’m enjoying a Frozen Wine Slushy as I write this. Pardon the misspellings and bad grammaer.

Navigating an event like this with 9 people is quite the challenge. Never is everyone on the same page. Some people get ahead, some lag behind, some like to look at stuff, some want to keep moving, some want to go into the shops, I just want to sit down. The merchandise is pretty much the same as every year. Brenda decided Randy could make most of the stuff himself so she just took pictures of stuff for later reference. Cindy got a bunch of Christmas ornaments and junk. Mark had some Gatorade. We got Kettle Korn, Sausages and Cheese, and Wine Slushy Mix.

Two hours later we had reached the end of the street. It was lunch time so we crossed the street to the Magpie Cafe. Had three delicious glasses of Coke (free refills!) and a tasty turkey sandwich with gouda cheese and apples. It was good to sit.

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After lunch we headed back up another street full of vendors. Chuck, Andrew and I made a break for it. Stopped at Doozles for an Ice Cream Cake (it was Cindy’s birthday) and then home. The others rejoined us after an hour or so. I figured they would stay later but I guess there’s a limit to even how long Laurie, Brenda and Cindy can shop.

Watched “Batman v Superman” (Randy foolishly thought Superman would beat Batman), then had supper. After that we made our way to New Town for a free concert by Trixie Delight. It was a challenging fitting 9 lawn chairs in the trunk — not to mention finding 9 chairs suitable for lawn sitting. The band was good but most of the gang seemed more interested in walking around New Town. I thought we’d done enough walking for the day so Randy, the boy and I stayed put.

Got home around 10 p.m. and ate half the ice cream cake. Then off for another restful evening on the air mattress. It’s not the getting in that’s the problem, it’s the getting out.

Sunday morning L gets up early to get donuts. They had no donut holes. What kinda bakery doesn’t have donut holes? Stupid formerly IGA grocery store.

We watch “CBS Sunday Morning” and then “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” By that time it’s dinner time so everyone fills up on lasagna and salad and then they finish off the cake. After dinner our guests pack up and pile into the van and off they go. “I’ve got to go clean the house!” she says as the van clears the street.

I go in and take a nap.

In my bed.

Not made of air.

At The Movies: Hell Or High Water

When I run through the plot of “Hell or High Water” you’re probably going to think, “boy, that’s a load of tired, old clichés,” and you’d be right. But what makes this a great film despite its familiar elements are the cast, the script by Taylor Sheridan and the sharp direction by David Mackenzie. After a summer of bloated, trite and meaningless movies, it is good to know there’s still quality cinema out there.

Chris Pine and Ben Foster star as brothers Toby and Tanner Howard. Toby is the responsible one, trying to keep the family farm alive for his sons despite the looming danger of bankruptcy. Tanner is the wild one, back home after serving the latest of many stints in prison.

hell-or-high-water-posterIn desperation, Toby hatches a plan to save the farm by committing a series of small robberies of banks that are part of the chain that holds their mortgage. Collect just enough money to pay their debts, then quit. It doesn’t take much to get Tanner to go along.

Unfortunately, their crime spree draws the attention of Texas Rangers Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham). Marcus is gruff, enjoys tormenting Alberto, and is a week or so away from retirement. His partner just puts up with him.

As you can imagine, these four men are on a collision course. But while it may sound like you’ve heard this story before, you probably won’t be prepared for where it ends.

It’s a rare thing to watch a film and be rooting for both the cops and the robbers, bur that’s the situation here. Pine and Foster come across as earnest in their brotherly love for one another. And while Tanner may be the bad boy, Toby has a mean streak in him as well that shows up in an explosive scene at a gas station.

But Bridges is the real draw. Channeling some of the traits and all of the drawl of his character from “True Grit,” the actor is captivating. You wish he were on screen for the whole movie.

“Hell or High Water” is equal parts heist movie and character study. The retiring ranger taking on one last case in a  bleak East Texas setting will remind many of “No Country for Old Men.” It’s just as good.

A RROY REPORT Special Report: LawyerCon 2016: Denver (plus Reggae Jam!): Part IV

Part IV: And home is just a place to hang your head

Day Seven: Friday

Got up at the crack of dawn to catch our 9:30 a.m. flight outta Denver. OK, we didn’t get up that early but the Denver airport is considerably busier than the one back home. Got loaded into the Super Shuttle and the guy puts on a homemade CD of oldies. Starts off with The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer,” so I figure the day is off to a good start. Sadly, it began to skip on “MacArthur Park.”

Did I mention the Denver airport is busy? There was quite a line at security but it moved and we got through with plenty of time to find our gate and stare out the big windows. The plane left more or less on time and we wound up in the next-to-last row of the plane. As long as we’re together I don’t care. The terrible, horrible pain of descent — which I escaped when landing in Denver — came back with a vengeance when we landed in St. Louis. OK, it wasn’t terribly bad but it ruined me for the rest of the day.

Epilogue: Saturday

Normally the story ends on Friday, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging on my phone situation. Plus, I need a photo and I didn’t take any at the airport so I’ll toss in a few words about Saturday night so maybe Carrie will “like” this.

Saturday morning I got all my papers and boxes together and decided to make one last attempt at dealing with customer service myself before turning it over to the people at Best Buy Mobile. The first lady was nice and vowed she’d have my phone connected before we were through. She said it enough times that I figured she was either telling the truth or reading a script.

She asked many questions – many of which I could not answer. (What 4-digit pass code?) We went round and round for about a half hour before being cut off. I call again. I get a new person. He also vows to get me reconnected. We go round and round and round before finally giving up. It seems the sim card in my phone doesn’t match the one on the box. Or something. I drive to the mall. I go to the manager at Best Buy Mobile and ask him if he has an hour to take care of my problem.

He says “not on a Saturday” but is confident he can fix it in much less time. I tell him I think it’s a sim card issue but he says it can’t be that. He screws around on a computer, then calls some guy. Informs me I have no money in my account. I assure him I do. He eventually takes out the sim card and puts a new one in. Voila! It works.

I walk out the door and call my wife to make sure it’s working. I then have a couple of Fritos burritos at the Taco Bell in the food court then catch the 2 p.m. matinée of “Suicide Squad.”

Melissa and CindyThat night was New Town Reggae Fest, my favorite free thing to do in summer in St. Louis. Usually it’s just us, Yellow and Tim, but this year we conned other friends to join us by making it a birthday party. Yellow reserved us an outdoor table at a nearby restaurant.

It was hard, but after many years I bequeathed my Spider-Mon T-shirt to Andrew, since it didn’t fit me anymore. Laurie was aghast. She’s hated that T-shirt since the day I bought it at a LawyerCon in Key West. She didn’t think it was appropriate for Andrew to wear. When we got to the restaurant, a small boy was wearing the exact same T-shirt.

We order dinner and wait. While we’re waiting, Andrew — who has been Absolutely Perfect all week — decides to have a seizure. I turn to my left and there’s A shaking and L is holding him. Eventually he comes down from the shakes to that dull-eyed, glassy look. I always kinda appreciate it when he has a seizure in front of people we know. It’s good for people to experience my life firsthand. Autism: Not Just a Day at the Park.

Laurie immediately wants to go home. It was a pretty minor seizure so I figure he’ll be fine after a few minutes. Besides, there’s no way he’s walking to the car in this condition and I’m not carrying him. So we wait. Sure enough within a half-hour he was back to his giggly self. We ate our fill then walked back to the car to either go home or get the lawn chairs. Andrew voted to stay and listen to music, so we rejoined the gang on the lawn for a lovely night of reggae.

cbryan bday

 

 

 

A RROY REPORT Special Report: LawyerCon 2016: Denver: Part III

Part III: You won’t need a cab to find a priest

Day Five: Wednesday

As everyone knows, Wednesday is New Comic Book Day. What you may not know, is that Denver is the home of Mile-High Comics — the largest comic book shop in the world. Anyone who’s spent much time reading comics knows about Mile High. They’ve been running full-page ads in comics for years. Their mascot is a beaver or raccoon or something  holding a flag.

Naturally, I had to go. According to the iPad, it was 3 miles or a 1-hour walk away. Again, it looked a lot longer than an hour walk on the map. But I couldn’t bring myself to hire a cab to take me to a comic book shop, so the boy and I got up early and started to walk in the direction on the map. After 40 minutes it was obvious that we were nowhere near the shop and I wasn’t all that confident about this map. Streets in Denver curve around and change names frequently.

We walked back to the hotel and ask for a cab. Hey, this isn’t some hole-in-the-wall comic shop — this is Mile High. It’s like a museum of comics. Some guy pulls up from Mile High Cab — it’s a sign, right?

“Where to?”

“4600 Jason Street.”

The guy turns around and looks at me. “What is there?”

“Uh..Mile High Comics” I mumble.

“Comic Books? OK.”

Never having had a fare ask to go to the largest comic book shop in the world, Haraldo (or Gerardo, I’m not sure) plugged the destination into his GPS and off we went. Harry was one of those affable, chatty types of cabbies. Normally I don’t care for that type but he was so nice I didn’t mind. He let us know when to roll down our windows and breathe in the pot smoke. That kinda guy. And yes, comic shops are often located in those types of places.

The Jason Street location is a warehouse, hence the large size, and as such is located in the warehouse district, far too far to walk to as I soon realized. We arrived at the location and there was just a big, square, red building. The only sign we were in the right place was the Mile High Comics banner on top, the first word of which had blown over so all you could read was High Comics. Harry drove around until he found what looked like a front door.

“Do you want me to come back for you?”

“Would you mind? Give me, say, 45 minutes?”

“Sure. Here’s my card. Call if you want to stay longer or leave earlier.”

Now at this point you’re saying — Ha Ha! You don’t have a phone! True, but knowing my plans for the day, I took Laurie’s. She wouldn’t need it in class.

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We walked inside and — oh my god — it was the biggest comic book shop in the world. Aisle after aisle of comics and graphic novels and toys and posters and action figures and statues. There was a life-size Superman suspended in mid-flight. A life-size Spider-man crouching on a table. Sentinels and tie-fighters and all kinds of stuff.

milehigh2I soaked it all in and found the new comics wall and picked up an issue of “Uncanny X-Men.” They had a stack of free Hawkeye vs. Hulk “Civil War II” posters at the front door so I took one of those for my souvenir. I finished a little early (I don’t dawdle, especially with Andrew in tow), so I gave Harry a call. “Be there in 10 minutes.” And he was.

I asked Harry to drop us off at the McDonald’s on 16th street for a cheap but satisfying lunch. He turned the meter off halfway there and thanked me for taking him to Mile High because now he would know where it was when the next tourist came along. We had a good ride and when we were done I tipped him mightily and was glad to do so.

After lunch we hit the pool and I read my comic, satisfied that I did all I came to Denver to do. Laurie came in excited that she had won a Kindle Fire at the vendor event. This was a good thing since I had dropped my iPad at the pool earlier in the week and put some cracks in the screen.

That night there was a dinner and dance at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The event took place in an opera house that was a neat venue. The food was …OK. It sounded better on paper than it did in the stomach. I ate a lot of cake balls that night.

The entertainment was a band playing ’80s hits (Although you’re not fooling anybody — “Staying Alive” is from the ’70s). If there’s one thing this bunch of lawyers likes to do — it’s drink and dance. L and A spent a good deal of time on the dance floor. I spent a good deal of time at the bar. LawyerCon is the only time of year I enjoy a good Whisky Sour.

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Day Six: Thursday 

Final conference day. Spent the morning at the pool while L was in class. When she got done we went for a walk. Since we’d done the downtown shopping district to death, we went the other way. First we went to the Convention Center to get a picture with the giant blue bear. Then we wound up at a park full of food trucks, but sadly the Greek truck was all out of Gyros. From there we walked up the hill to the Capitol building. It was nice but ours is better.

denverbearMade our way back to the burger shop from night one. Next door they sell ice cream, and more importantly, shaketinis. Laurie had been wanting one all week and it was now or never.

That night L had her end-of-conference banquet so the boy and I were on our own. I found a cafe that had an Alex Ross “Secret Wars” poster hanging up so I figured it was a good place to eat. The menu was extensive. I was torn between the burrito and a gyro. I figured there was no way they would have a better burrito than Mexican Villa, and I had been thwarted from my hopes of a gyro at lunch so I went Greek. Andrew had chicken strips. As per usual.

When we got back to the hotel it was cool and overcast so I decided we wouldn’t make it to the pool again. Packed up our stuff for the early morning flight out and we sat on the bed together and watched whatever was on TV. I took great comfort and relief in knowing that we had made it through the conference without a single meltdown or trip to the hospital.

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Tomorrow: The thrilling finale 

 

A RROY REPORT Special Report: LawyerCon 2016: Denver: Part II

Part II: You just roll around Denver all day

Day Three: Monday

On Mondays Laurie is usually in class all day so the boy and I are on our own. We both got up early for no reason so I figured I might as well face the music and call AT&T customer service.

It was a disaster. The connection was lousy and I most of the time I couldn’t understand the guy and when I could understand him I didn’t understand what he was saying. We kept going round and round for about an hour and in frustration I hung up. I’ll deal with it when I get home. Or rather I’ll have the people at the store where I bought the phone deal with it.

Now I’m all worked up and angry and the boy is tired of being cooped up in the room so we go for a walk. Two hours later we have walked all over downtown Denver. I’ve gotten turned around and lost more than once. One minute we’re at Union Station and the next we’re at the Convention Center and I have no idea how I got to either one. By 11 a.m. we’ve somehow made our way back to the shops near the hotel, so we go into a pizza joint for lunch. I’m still worked up over the phone situation so I don’t eat much. We end up taking half the pizza back to the hotel to put in our fridge which is just as well — now I have a snack for the next lawyer meal that doesn’t fill me up.

We spend the afternoon at the pool until time for the evening’s activity — dinner at the History Colorado Center. The food was OK. Glad I had pizza back at the hotel. They had some shredded bison meat that Andrew devoured, so good for him. I’m not big on history museums unless they’re natural history museums and this wasn’t. They did have an exhibit on “Awkward Family Photos” that was a highlight. We had a good time laughing at other people’s expense — but since they submitted the photos for the exhibit I guess we are laughing with them and not at them. Where Andrew is concerned, many of our family photos turn out awkward. And I’m hardly God’s gift to photography.

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We started to walk through an Olde Tyme Colorado exhibit but then someone turned out the lights which seemed to be a hint that it was time to go. We left.

Day Four: Tuesday

This was Laurie’s short day. She finished class at noon. Now, we could’ve spent our free day at the golf tournament – but we don’t play golf – or we could’ve gone to a professional baseball game – but I hate baseball – so we wound up at the Denver Museum of Nature and
Science. Because, you know, dinosaurs.

denverdino3According to the iPad, the museum was a measly 3 miles, or 1 hour walk, away. Still, those 3 miles looked much longer on the map. We took a cab. When you walk into the Denver Museum of Nature and Science you are greeted by a T-Rex in an imposing position that looks like he’s either about to pounce — or dance.

Either way, it’s an awesome way to enter a building. I think all buildings would benefit from having a dinosaur skeleton in the lobby.

Our first stop, of course, was Prehistoric Journey. Like many museums that want to teach you something, you have to walk through several exhibits about the beginning of life with trilobites and other really prehistoric junk before you get to the dinosaurs. Did I mention there were like 100,000 children visiting that day? Why must children love dinosaurs? Why aren’t they all at the robot exhibit?

We finally arrive at the dinosaur hall and it’s pretty impressive. The centerpiece is an Allosaurus attacking a Stegosaur and its baby. Across from that is a very impressive Apatosaurus. There’s a Triceratops skull and a variety of other skeletons. They also had a decent setup of ancient mammals and a Woolly Mammoth skull with tusks. I was very pleased.

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From there we checked out the mummy exhibit and the animal dioramas. I’m usually not into dioramas but they had some really nice dioramas. So much better than the zoo. Sure, the animals are dead and frozen in place, but at least you can see them. They’re not hiding or sleeping. This got me thinking that someone should open a museum full of dinosaur dioramas. That’s a billion dollar idea that I just threw out there for free. Whoever jumps on it needs to hire the guys who did the dioramas at the Denver museum.

denverdino2It was now time for a late lunch at the T-Rex Cafe. After lunch we walked through the minerals exhibit and something called Space Odyssey then we were ready to leave. The Robot exhibit cost extra so we skipped it.

Called the cabbie and he said it would be a half-hour before he could get to us. So we decided to take the bus. The lady in the museum said to go to the bus stop right out front. While we were there a lady told us the bus we wanted didn’t stop at this stop anymore — we needed to walk a couple blocks to the stop by the zoo. We walked to that stop and waited. First bus was not out bus but it stopped anyway. Second bus was not our bus but it stopped anyway. Third bus was our bus — it didn’t stop. We stared in disbelief as the driver just sped on by. We started to chase after him but gave up and went back and waited. Finally our bus showed up. We got on and he drove a couple blocks, stopped, and said “We have to wait at this stop for about 10 minutes.”

Public Transportation: Can’t get around with it, can’t get around without it.

Eventually we made our way back to the hotel. After chillin’ for about an hour, we went back out to find dinner. We headed out for a pub but when we got there it was closed. We settled for the Appaloosa Grill, which was good but a little pricey. Oh well, I didn’t get any souvenirs at the dinosaur store so it was OK to splurge.

Tomorrow: The Largest Comic Book Store In The World! Oh, and the state capitol. 

 

 

A RROY REPORT Special Report: LawyerCon 2016: Denver: Part I

Part I: Things to do in Denver when your phone’s dead

I can’t say I was all that excited that this year’s National Convention of Appellate Court Clerks, hearinafter referred to as Lawyer Con, would be taking place in Denver, Colorado. All I know of Denver is John Denver and “Rocky Mountain High” and really, I’ve had my fill of the mountains for a good long while. At least until someone invents mountain escalators.

But then I learned that dinosaurs were big in Denver. And then I remembered that Mile High Comics was in Denver. And suddenly Denver didn’t seem like such a bad place to visit after all.

Day One: Saturday

How I hate travel days. They are usually a totally wasted day. You spend morning worrying about dying in a fiery plane crash. Then you drive to the airport and spend hours going through baggage checkout and security and then waiting for departure. Then it’s a couple hours on the plane. Then you land and you have to find baggage in a strange airport, then find a cab, then the long drive into town, then the check-in. By the time you get to your hotel room you’re exhausted — and you haven’t done a damn thing all day but sit and stand in lines and wait. 

100_2721This year our first travel day wasn’t all that bad. The plane was delayed for 35 minutes, which of course turned into an hour, but we didn’t have a connecting flight to catch and were in no hurry, so no problem. I was unaffected by the descent, which is always nice when that happens.

We spent the week in the Crowne Plaza Hotel. It was nice. The room was smaller than usual and made even smaller by the fact that instead of two medium-size beds there was one large one. Now, no matter how large a bed is, we’re not sleeping three people in it, so they had to bring in a roll-away bed for Andrew. This took up what little free space we had left. But then, who ever uses that extra chair they have in a hotel room anyway?

The hotel offered free HBO which had the movie “33” on a continuous loop.Sigh. So much for lounging in the hotel room all week. Once we settled in it was time to eat. The folks at the front desk recommended a burger joint down the street. The 5280 Burger Bar served some decent burgers. I had the “Ring of Fire” burger and yes, it really was hot. Very, very hot.

After dinner we went for a stroll downtown. 16th Street is the big pedestrian walk street — lots of restaurants and shops and whatnot. Random pianos and other things in the middle of the street. Plenty of people holding signs asking for food. The occasional crazy yelling person. Had a nice walk then went back to the hotel and called it a night.

Day Two: Sunday

Got up, got dressed, made our way back to the 16th Street Mall and found ourselves at The Corner Bakery Cafe where we had a nice brunch. Walked back to the hotel where Laurie had to get ready for the first meeting of the day. While she was in the meeting, Andrew and I checked out the outdoor pool on the 6th floor. It was crowded when we got there and the only shade was in one small corner which someone else had already staked out. I settled in for what I feared would be a long, hot afternoon.

100_2723Andrew got in the pool and was soon befriended by a nice old lady and someone I assume was her grandson. Most strangers leave Andrew well alone so it was nice that they were so friendly. In short order it began to rain — not really rain, just sprinkle. Everyone took off. I figured we could wait it out and sure enough, after a few minutes the rain stopped. I moved over to the now empty shady spot and we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday evening is the traditional happy hour/dinner followed by a silent and live auction followed by a slide show of photos from the previous year’s conference. The event usually takes place in the hotel but this year it was at the new Justice Center which meant walking. Laurie was already going to be there for the meeting so Andrew and I would have to join her later. The plan was to use our new, exciting cellphones to text each other as to when it was time to hook up.

At time to hook up I sent Laurie a text. It wouldn’t go through. I called Laurie. “I’m sorry, you do not have access to make a call. Please call Customer Service.”

I hate cellphones.

Luckily we ran into someone in the lobby from the conference and walked over to the Justice Center together. Had some drinks and odd appetizers until time for dinner. Dinner was OK (LawyerCon sponsored meals are rarely delicious. Think wedding dinner). Went upstairs for the auction which went on way too long but our Andrew Roy Original Hand-Painted Christmas Ornaments went for $200, so we were pretty proud. I should get him an account on Etsy. It was late by the time they started the slide show and like most everyone, we left before it was over.

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Coming Up: More Pool Time! Dinosaurs! AT&T Customer Service Sucks!