So last wednesday we all met at this place called Bucca De Beppo, an Italian restaurant on 15th street to discuss Tom's elegant 1964 space opera I Want the Stars (whose two warring races the Borg and the Horta might sound familiar to some writers of Star Trek). We had a private room called "the Pope Room". I'd decided it was a day off for me, photographically, but I'm kicking myself for not bringing a camera. The room, which was round and featured a round table, was covered in photographs, paintings, and statues of ... various popes. From Urbane the XIII to John the XXIII. In the middle of the table was a giant bust of the current Pontiff. It was a bit difficult to concentrate with him staring at you, but luckily he was on a lazy susan so you could just spin it until he was staring at someone else. (I found many photos of it on flickr.)
We had a marvelous time discussing themes of growth and moral evolution of space-faring nations, whether alien races would tend to be peaceful or tend to be violent and Tom was the most charming person on Earth and everything was splendid. And then Tom signed everybody's books and we went home.
Still no home for momcat2 and n00t0n. This is currently the worst thing about my life.