|An opulent spread at Volcano Hibachi & Sushi Restaurant in Elizabeth City, NC|
David Niall Wilson — writer, editor, publisher, proprietor of Crossroad Press — has probably been my best friend in the wacky world of writing and publishing since the late 1980s. I published his short story, "From My Reflection, Darkly" — in Deathrealm #13, I believe — and after that, his work became something of a staple in the magazine. We met face-to-face for the first time at Necon (I suspect it was back in 1988), and from that time on, we started getting together regularly, whether it be at cons or at our respective residences. Over the years, we've shared a lot of experiences, creative energy, writing (we collaborated on a tale or two; see Joined at the Muse for a horrific example), and some significant life changes (i.e., divorce, re-marriages, re-relationships, etc.). It's been over three years since we've seen each other, and that's the longest time between visits since we first became acquainted. Those big life changes get in the way, don't you know....
After work on Friday, Brugger and I set out for Elizabeth City, only to encounter some of the biggest, most violent storms shy of a hurricane that I've seen in quite some time. Consequently, driving was not fun, and geocaching was minimal. It seemed a bad omen, though I don't think either of us allowed the inclement weather to significantly dampen our spirits. Happily, we made it safe and sound to Stately Wilson Manor — but a different Stately Wilson Manor than I was accustomed to, for the last time I ventured in this direction, the Wilson folk lived in a historical, haunted mansion in the little town of Hertford. Not anymore. In this new place, it appeared, the only ghosts we'd find would be the ones the Wilsons brought with them (which, granted, could be plenty...).
Brugger had never met Clan Wilson before, so I suspect there was some nervousness involved (see photo of said clan below and tell me you wouldn't be fucking freaked). Immediately upon our arrival, though, drinks and conversation began to flow, and I don't think anyone felt under immediate bodily threat. Yap went on till the wee hours, until crashing and burning up and interrupted our revelry. Saturday morning, in its own inimitable way, greeted us with superb Keurig coffee and some delicious crap from McDonalds. There was caching (yay!). Then... Mystery Men! I had seen this 1999 superhero bonanza exactly one time — at Stately Wilson Manor — many years before, but it seemed only proper that we introduce Brugger to the fun. For us, this movie was number one. (Everything else is number two, or lower.)
Major highlight: sushi and sashimi combination dinner from Volcano Hibachi and Sushi Restaurant in Elizabeth City. Oh, but gracious, the presentation was purty (see above) and every bit as delicious. The sake martini was most appealing: vodka, gin, and sake with a slice of cucumber. A little too cloying to have more than one but enjoyable the first time. I noticed some negative comments about the price and quality of the sushi in various restaurant reviews, but I had absolutely no issue with the dead fish — I mean, it really is dead, if only just — and the price was no better or worse than any comparable local place. I rate it as decent indeed. After dinner... more movies, in this case, some old black-and-white thrillers, including Crimes at the Dark House (awesomely bad fun from 1940) The Long Hair of Death (mostly dullness but featuring a hot Barbara Steele from 1964), and The Incredible Petrified World, from 1957, starring John Carradine, which finally sent most of us snoring. The best thing I can say about the latter film is that I discovered what I suspect is the origin of the stock military march music used in the American version of War of the Gargantuas.
I always feel a bit sad on the last day of a fabulous visit, and this morning was no different. We all headed out for a final meal together at The Circle Restaurant, which was tasty, if not exactly zippy in the service department. Dave found himself confronting this giant hot dog that could have stomped Coney Island to smithereens. Finally, Brugger and I set out for home, this time sans rain but with high temperatures and high humidity, making for some particularly sweaty geocaching. However, we stopped at Dairy Queen in Rocky Mount for sundaes and blizzards, and once again, all was right with the world.
Now, I'm all creatively recharged and have a new novel bursting to get out. Dave and I tend to be good for each other that way. Well, I get the novel; he gets charged. I'd say that's okay by me. Hah!
|Clan Wilson: Zane, Zack, Stephanie, Katie, Bluto, and Trish|
|Brugger (supporting a tree stump that was falling down on the job)|
|Damned Rodan's backside at "Guarding a KISS" (GC39QJV)|