THRILLVILLE: Will "the Thrill" Viharo's weird, wild world of Pulp Fiction, B Movies, & the Lounge Lizard Lifestyle.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Turning (00)47: It's a Wondercon Life

I was born five minutes after midnight (I'm told, can't recollect myself) on April 2, 1963, in Manhattan, across from Central Park (in a hospital, reportedly). At five minutes after midnight on April 2, 2010, 47 years later, I was across the country at Kingman's Ivy Room in Albany, CA, being serenaded by the theremin lounge band Project Pimento performing my favorite instrumental, "Peter Gunn." Even though the general turnout for Thrillville's James Bond Nite, our third event at the place where Monica and I officially met, and our first on a Thursday nite, wasn't as good as our previous outings, it was fun and appropriate. I wore the same exact tux I got married in on May 31, 2001, at the Cal-Neva Lodge in North Tahoe, which, sadly and ironically, had just ceased casino operations the day before, on March 31. Our marriage, always a safe bet, was still going strong. That's my greatest gift, but I also got an unexpected present from beyond:



Our beloved cat Chungking, whom we just call "Bubba," had been diagnosed with some form of intestinal cancer earlier this year. It was devastating news and frankly, this has been my main preoccupation recently, above all else. He is 14 years old and we can't afford chemo treatments, so we just put him on Prednisone and hoped for the best. At first he seemed to be fading from us, but lately, he seemed more like his old self. Our last vet visit was hopeful and confirmed what I suspected: from all indications, Bubba is in miraculous remission. He is eating well (a new protein-heavy diet), grooming himself, playing, and generally healthy except for the weight loss, which has apparently abated for the time being. We can't be certain how long it will last, but I'll appreciate every precious minute of his little life while I can. Both of my cats, Bubba and Tiki, a 4 year old female, are like our children. I dig jazz, comic books, B movies, Tiki culture, etc., but my family is my life.

Wondercon happened to fall on my birthday this year, so I decided to make that the centerpiece of my celebration. It was typically crowded but since it was a Friday, not as bad as the weekend mobs I'm used to. I ran into the usual suspects, bought some crap I didn't really need, mementos from my increasingly distant childhood, and shook hands with some cinematic icons: Jim Kelly, Celeste Yarnall, and a very bored looking Lou Ferrigno, who, greeting his fans, displayed all the enthusiasm of a convenience store clerk. I sort of felt sorry for him. He seems like a nice guy, though. The highlight of the convention for me was meeting Lee Meriwether, "Catwoman" in the 1966 Batman feature film. I told her about Bubba's condition and she signed a "Catwoman" photo for him as well as Tiki (okay, and me too, writing "Happy Birthday"). That afternoon I caught a matinee of the Clash of the Titans remake (all spectacle, no soul) and then that evening, Monica and I had a great dinner at San Francisco's oldest restaurant, The Tadich Grill, followed by cocktails at 1300 Fillmore, both establishments highly recommended. All in all, a lowkey but fun and satisfying birthday weekend. I look forward to many more with the gift that keeps on giving, Monica Tiki Goddess. Cheers.