I am developing an abiding hatred for invisible toggle keys on the keyboard. The program you’re using may tell you to “press X to use the keyboard shortcut to do Y” but it doesn’t tell you the “shortcut” of the key that turns that toggle key on and off.

I was happily using “insert” to create a new text box, all according to the drop-down box’s recommendation for the keyboard shortcut. An hour after I started work, all of a sudden the insert key will only make a zero (since the insert key is also the zero key in the number pad). I don’t remember striking the num lock button, but yeah, pushing it fixed the problem. Still, it was an interruption, an irritant and and an imposition.

I am so tired of the pile of learning curves between programs, between gizmos, and between iterations of gizmos. It’s like an hourly ‘learning of toilets’ on a European road trip: “how do you flush THIS one?!?!”

Okay, rant over, blood pressure returning to normal, time to get back to work.

(I’m enjoying alone time with the last of my tea from my room-service breakfast so I can finish a highly-useful course by Kris Neri that started before I left home and ends this coming week. I’m going to buy the CDs of the Bouchercon panels I’m missing — many thanks to the Bouchercon team posting pictures on Facebook to remind me.)

The list of nominees for the 2012 Anthony awards is up.

Now to set aside time for reading the books and stories I haven’t yet spent time with. I need to vote intelligently.

For decades in Germany, while reading Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, I would read about Bouchercon, a mystery convention first held in 1970.  Being able to attend such a convention was one reason I’d have preferred living in the U.S., but on Army pay with varying numbers of kids, I doubt that would have been in the cards at the time.

Finally, I’m here, and it is wonderful.  In the panel discussions, I know some of the in-jokes about older mysteries (for me, an in-joke consists of an established author saying the name of an older author/detective, the audience giving a small gasp of recognition, and then everyone giggling), and I know many, but not all, of the newer authors/detectives.  I’ll have to read more.

The hotel here in St. Louis is marvelous — I feel like Eloise in the Plaza when we order our room service breakfast — and the lobby is gorgeous.

The crowd is friendly, if a little distant because I don’t know anyone.  I have seen a few DorothyL listmembers with their pins, but usually only in passing because they’re on the up-escalator while I’m riding down.  I did stop to talk with a couple from Iowa, whose names I didn’t get because I was wearing the wrong bifocals and their name tags were just out of focus for either my upper lens or lower lens.  Still, we chatted like old friends.  I hope we pass each other again.

I know some members of the Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime are here, but we don’t have pins, or shirts, or hats, so finding them will be a trick.

The crowd in the hallway — please forgive the less-than-wonderful pasted-panorama which I’m still figuring out the ‘background’ for.

Bookseller area — much more impressive, and busier-looking, than this paste-together image.

I’m so enjoying my first mystery convention, and I have my fingers crossed it isn’t my only one.  Thanks to the mystery community for putting on such a get-together.