Wednesday, September 3, 2008
How to be Cool - A Primer.

As I've mentioned before, due to angering some fickle deity, I only had one scheduled event at DragonCon: a reading.

When I showed up to the con, the programming staff were nice enough to schedule me a signing too. Then, using my not inconsiderable charm, I sweet-talked my way onto a couple of the writing track panels.

The panels went pretty well. Since they were already on the schedule, they had good audiences. I gave a few good pieces of advice, got a few laughs, and avoided - for the most part - making an ass of myself. If I can do all three of those things, it's a good panel.

My signing was another matter entirely. Since it wasn't on the schedule, nobody knew about it. You could hear crickets. Two people showed up, and I was surprised to have that many.

Rest assured that my ego did not suffer any permanent trauma due to low attendance. Why is that? Well... mostly because of the signings I used to do back when my first story appeared in an anthology....

They were brutal. Most signings are when you're a new writer. Typically you spend two hours sitting at a card table in front of a Waldenbooks at the local mall. Then everyone ignores you. Pointedly ignores you. Ignores you as if they fear making eye contact will give them herpes.

Those early signings, while grueling, did a great job of setting my expectations low. These days, if I have a signing and two or three people talk to me, I consider it a win. Everything beyond that is gravy.

The other reason my ego wasn't bruised by the low turn-out is that earlier this month at Worldcon, when my signing *was* on the schedule, I got a turnout that surprised so much that I took a picture of the line:





By comparison, my DragonCon signing is pretty relaxing. I talk to the two people who stop by, drink my coffee, and read the program book making plans to stalk Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarin, and Jewel Staite.

Then I pack up and head over to my reading. My expectations understandably low.

Imagine my surprise when I see that the room is pretty much full. It's surprising to me that all these people, in the middle of all the glamour and weird of DragonCon, have chosen to show up and listen to me read. What's more, they all started to applaud when I came in the door.

It was a good feeling. I felt cool. Really cool. I was a hoopy frood. I was about .8 of a Gaiman on the cool-o-meter, which is pretty cool.

I briefly excused myself to use the bathroom - as I said, it was exciting - then did my reading. They laughed at my jokes, asked good questions, and didn't hassle me too much about book two. In brief, it was a great crowd.

When my hour was up, so many people wanted me to sign that, after a half hour, I needed to move the remainder into the hallway because the next reading was scheduled to begin. Then I signed in the hallway for another half hour.

Needless to say, I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Then I realized that my zipper was down. Which means that it had been down since I used the bathroom right before the reading.

Thank you, oh universe, for reminding me of the truth. While I may be all that and a bag of chips, I'm usually all that and a bag of chips who doesn't know his zipper is open.

I learned my lesson though. Later that night, in order to prevent any further zipper-related embarrassment, I changed into my kilt before I went out to dinner with some of the folks who had participated in the photo contest a couple months back:





And a good time was had by all....

pat

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Back from Portland.

I'm back from Portland, where my first attempt at marraging two people up seemed to go pretty well.

When we were planning the ceremony, I asked my friends what they'd like me to say when I pronounced them husband and wife. I've been to a lot of weddings, and I've heard a lot of different authorities cited. Sometimes it's "By the authority given me by god and the holy Catholic church." Or "By the authority vested in me by the state of California."

I really didn't know how to handle that. In some ways, it seems like a product placement in the wedding, like the officiant is saying, "This wedding brought to you by God, the new Pontiac Sunfire, and the letter G."

So I asked what they'd like best, and there was a long pause. Then my friend said, "How about, 'By the power of Grayskull?'"

We all had a good laugh, but I have to say that when the time came, the temptation to actually say it was almost overwhelming. I'm still a little disappointed in myself that I didn't. I mean, that's a wedding story that they could have told for years and years.

If you're curious as to what I look like when I'm pretending to be a grown-up, here it is:





Enjoy the sight of me in a tie. It probably won't happen again for years. Longer if I have any say in things. Which I do.

While out in Portland, the folks I was hanging out with wanted to go to Brewfest: a A big shindig where, apparently, 60,000 people show up to try all sorts of clever local beers. They were all excited about it, so I went along for moral support, and possibly to hold their hair out of their faces while they puked.

But here's the thing. I don't drink.

I can drink, and I occasionally do. It's just that, generally speaking, I don't. I don't like the taste of beer or wine, and alcohol is a drug that has nothing to offer me. I'm plenty uninhibited. And the three or four inhibitions I've kept serve a vital purpose. They are like heavy chains restraining my true inner nature. Without them, I would devolve into a pure Dionysian force that would rampage through the countryside. While this would be a lot of fun for me and the Bacchae, I worry about the damage we might inflict on the general populace. Hence my restraint.

[Note to self: group costume idea.]

So the fact that I don't drink, combined with my dislike of crowds, drunks, and noise meant that Brewfest really wasn't my scene. So I left my friends to booze it up and went to visit Powells.

I was not disappointed. It's like book Valhalla. The sort of place where I could spend a long weekend very happily gathering more books than I can carry, afford, or load into a car.

What's more, they had a bunch of copies of NOTW there, both hardcover and the paperback. I'm guessing I signed about two dozen, so if you're in the area, odds are you can still get in there and grab one.

They also had me sign their author wall, which was pretty cool....





If you look closely, you'll probably recognise a few names there...

That's all for now, folks. Be good to each other.

pat

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