Sunday, June 26, 2011

We went to the circus!

It was part of my birthday present.  We play pretty fast and loose with celebratory dates around here.

And ok, Cirque is never not amazing.  There are always wacky new elements, and they dream up the most unexpected shenanigans.  Like, so there's a jump-rope bit, and it's rad, and then these two guys pull out a long rope between them and these, like, SIX GUYS stand shoulder-to-shoulder, and then four more guys stand on THEIR shoulders, and then ANOTHER DUDE stands on THEIR shoulders, and then the rope turners turn and the whole shebang JUMPS.  And no one dies.

And some bits repeat, because it wouldn't be Cirque without that girl on the pole.  You know the one, she stands on one arm on a pole and then just contorts around her one arm?  It's pretty much the same thing every time, and I totally love it.  Ok but then also, that couple hanging from the satin sashes?  With the guy in the high-waisted pants, and they're always very yearning?  I could totally do without them.

sooooooooooo mournful

But there's probably someone loving the sash-couple like I love the pole-girl.  Whatever.

Most amazing for me were these Chinese-dragon-lion-dog creatures, made of two people and a giant head (like when you make a donkey on family sitcoms?  And someone's always pissed to be the butt-end?), and they STOOD ON BALLS.  Like elephants do.

pretend this is a furry Chinese dragon with very dog-like mannerisms. but made of people

And then they WALKED AROUND on those balls.  Like, over a see-saw.  You will see it happening and you will still be like, No, this is not happening.  Especially when one stands on its hind legs.

And people jumped through hoops and there was some trampoline business involving a wall which they ran up and if Dralion ends up in your neck of the woods, guys?  You go.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I have been very busy.

But none of it makes for good blogging.  Like, this morning I went for a hike.  Monday and Tuesday I babysat my prof's kid.

Also busy, and making for better blogging?  Our Turkish bbq skewers.

Man, were those ever worth the, like, six dollars that we paid for them.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I am edumacated.

So I know I finished school ages ago, but yesterday I OFFICIALLY CONVOCATED!

I mean, I didn't go to convocation.  Convocation is long and dull and I've already convocated once (does that sound braggy?).  But I did go to the after-party, thrown by my one-time supervisor and current employer, Dr Leighton!

I have been the all-purpose research bitch for Dr Leighton And Other Colleagues, which has been hilarious but also exhausting and which I blame on the recent radio silence.  Thank goodness the hockey is over and I can have my evenings back now.

If you'll excuse me, my BA in English Lit and I need to go read Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later.  It you bad.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

New York: Day Six - I'm still doing these, right?

Right.  So.

There being two of us, I browsed the feeding frenzy for good-looking titles while boo got in line for Jimmy Fallon, who is exactly as giggly in real life as he is on tv.

He doesn't seem to have his slick, public persona in place yet, because after handing boo her book he was all, Please!  Thank you!  And she was like, What?

Then we got in line for the Mo Willems signing to get copies of Should I Share My Ice Cream, and we met Pig and Elephant, who are apparently a thing.

Then, there still being two of us, I went to the Maureen Johnson signing to get The Last Little Blue Envelope (the sequel to Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes, which came out FIVE YEARS AGO but which I only just read, like, two months ago THANK GOODNESS) while Bekah went to see Chris van Allsberg, and this was the first and only time we were both stuck in crappy lines with no one to chat with, and we didn't even have each other to make it better.

That morning we'd walked by the MacMillan booth and the woman is all, Here is a schedule for the Big Red Bag giveaways!  In previous years you had to be a book-seller to get a bag but this year ANYONE can get one, you just have to be here at the right time!  So we were all, I wonder what is in these Big Red Bags!  What kind of treats?  So we came back at, like, 2 or whatever to find that the Big Red Bag giveaway was a giveaway of big, red bags.  I mean, sturdy-ass bags, and Bekah used hers (re-named the Big Red Bitch) as a carry-on to haul more books home.  But just bags.

And then we were accosted by the Scientologist pirates from the L Ron Hubbard booth

which we had been trying to avoid but it was right by blackbirds so we kept accidentally wandering through it and then trying to skedaddle.

We went to a panel called Book Reviews Online (or some such), expecting it to be interesting and pertinent, but it was really just large print media like the NYRB explaining how awesome it is to be able to review online (you can fit more words!  For the same price!) and it was a little bit What are bloggers?  Oh yes we have one of those on staff.  So we left early, but I heard it never got any better.

We were heading back to that dodgy library on Jersey St where we'd gotten mad lost on Monday trying to get to the Teen Author Carnival, this time for a Writing for YA panel.  I'd seen Maureen Johnson earlier that morning (as I mentioned) and then later I saw her wander across the exhibition floor and was all, Oh, there's Maureen Johnson!  And she turned and I was like, *awkward wave* and when we got to the YA panel and took our seats (in the front row like keeners) and checked the panel, there she was again.  Sorry for accidentally stalking you, Maureen.

Last time we'd gotten lost leaving the library because we were so caught up in the panel we'd just seen, so this time we paid SUCH ATTENTION TO WHERE WE WERE GOING but Bekah failed to go through the turnstile quickly enough which invalidates your card for that station and all stations in the area, so we had to walk to the next station weeping over our empty stomachs, since we were STARVING OURSELVES for Brother Jimmy's

more about which another time, and after which we rolled home.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

I got to wear my Canucks bathing suit ON GAME DAY

I went camping and burnt my forearms because I always think I'm so smart with the sunscreen and haven't burnt, like, the tops of my ears in YEARS and then I miss somewhere random and have to pay for it later.  But the weather was hot and the company was excellent and the pub in town to which we drove I can neither recommend for the food nor the service but the Canucks WON

and the market was markety

and the spicy peanut chicken was indeed spicy and contained both chicken and peanuts

and Ruckle Park is lovely in the gloaming

and we ate quite a lot of eggs fried in bacon grease in the morning (as well as, obviously, bacon)

and there was an unnecessary fence.

OH that fence made me laugh.  What are you guarding?  That grass, from the other grass?

Friday, June 03, 2011

New York: Day Five

In direct inverse proportion to how much Day Four kind of stank, Day Five was full of surprises and awesome.  And I sort of already blogged about this already but I'm gonna again.

So.  We got to the Javitz at 7 to get tickets for the Temple Grandin signing, because Temple Grandin is intense.  And then we sat in the line-up to get in and waited for two hours (as one does) and flipped through the Things Going On Today magazine, whence all our surprises.  Shel Silverstein preview!  Jimmy Fallon tomorrow!  And so on.

Ok and then the floodgates opened and we got our first taste of the feeding frenzy that is the HarperCollins and Hachette (pronounced 'Ha-shet' and not, as I have been saying, 'Hatchet') and Penguin booths.  Stacks of books for the taking!  Elbowing also for the taking!  No time to read blurbs or book-backs!  TAKE!  TAKE!  TAKE!  It was actually delightful and overwhelming and fun in the way that very loud dance music is.  OVERSTIMULATION!

And then we went and met my internet-friend 'blackbird' at her booth, which had soft carpeting and cushioned seats and which we stopped by MANY TIMES over the next few days for these reasons (and also because it had BLACKBIRD and she is hilarious and precious and New Yorky and dear, and her only flaw is not telling us she wasn't coming on Thursday so we could get a picture with her on Wednesday.  Alas).

While we were sitting on the Javitz steps with blackbird, eating our hotdogs and yakking, a pack of school-children traipsed by with identical treats, and we were like, Where did you children get those treats?  And one of the minders is all, They're giving free treats away thataway.  So we wandered over to the Sarah Dessen truck and got red velvet whoopie pies

from who I later realized was Sarah Dessen herself (whoops.  I loved The Truth About Forever, Sarah!) and they were one of the best things we ate all week (there will be a wrap-up of Things We Ate later.  Also, Our Hostel and The Sketchy Adventures Therein).  Grandma Plett loved red velvet, so I like to think we were honoring her in chosing this over strawberry.

And then, and then we got in line for Mike Holmes, a line that was full of giddy girls, and by the time we got to Mike Holmes we were both turned to eleven and very high-pitched but he was so calming and had such enormous, soft hands and then we HUGGED HIM and it was one of my top two celebrity encounters of the week.

And then I met Chuck Klosterman and then we met R L Stine, who was a bit leery but which was kind of expected, and then we spent a good twenty minutes circling a quadrant of booths looking for a particular booth, but they aren't in strictly numerical order and they aren't always labelled and finally we just asked a girl, Where is the Shel Silverstein?  And she was all, Right here, and the cookies are on their way.

Oh and somewhere in there we saw a skinny older lady doing something technological on a stage and then we were like Is that Margaret Atwood?!?!  And then we stopped and had a moment because MARGARET ATWOOD.  She was signing e-books, which was a very future-space-tech and Atwoody thing to be doing.

And then we hauled our wheelie bag of books back to the hostel and changed our shoes and headed out to the library (the big one, with the lions, which is easier to find on a map) for a sci-fi/fantasy reading.

And, ok.  When I'd gone online to rsvp, the sign-up had been closed, but I figured we'd show up and hope they could squeeze us in and if not, we'd have gotten to see the library anyways.

So we get there and start a living wait list, and more people keep showing up who didn't sign up, and they fall in with the wait list, and the gals start checking people who DID sign up off a list that is tragically not in alphabetical order so they have to go through all the pages looking for each person, but everyone is orderly and patient because we are book people and not rowdy, except there's ONE GUY behind us in the wait list who is all, I'm not on the list but I'm reviewing one of these authors so it's very important that I cover this.  And we are like, Dude, everyone here is probably reviewing one of these authors.  Fall in.

So he falls in but ok, did I mention that he's blind and does it make this story worse if he is?  Because he is the WHINIEST PERSON ALIVE and also blind so he keeps being like, How many more people are left?  And me and boo are like, Maybe 30?  But it's taking a while to get through everyone (see: list issue) and he's all *aggrieved sigh* This isn't right!  It never said you had to have a reservation!  And we're like, The website did.  And he's all Well NOT EVERYONE HAS COMPUTERS!  And we're like *careful silence, because in addition to being blind he is also maybe crazy?*  And then five minutes go by and he's like, Miss?  How many more people?  And we're like, Maybe 25?  And it goes around again.

But.  We all got in in the end, and the reading was amazing.  Oh hell, this is already a very long post.  Suffice it to say that Lev Grossman reads like an elementary school teacher (in a good way), John Scalzi is hilarious even if I think his fiction is kind of bad, Scott Westerfeld had illustrations, and Cat Valente is a force and I want to be her bestie.

New York: Day Four: The Director's Cut

What?  Oh right, this.  It turns out that working full-time even temporarily can take a piece out of you if you're used to sitting around on your lazy student ass.

Day four: BEA begins: Sort of.  Monday was mainly for book sellers and publishers and whatall, but we were like, Let's go to that shit anyways! because we are keen like that.

So we hauled our asses to the Javitz and got our badges and went to a panel on the 'eBook era' which apparently is 'now.'  It was interesting in a factoidal way, and full of charts and stats.  The next panel on PR in Marketing was not up our alley, or even located near our alley, as the advice was primarily to 'use facebook' and 'figure out what that twitter thing is about.'

In between the two panels we'd gone to information to ask where the Mulberry Library is, since Jersey Street wasn't on our portable-but-tiny map, and the information woman is all, Let me google that for you?  And the woman next to us is all, Oh, I work for the library, let me mark it down on your teeny map.  And we are like, FORTUITOUS!  Although upon further reflection, running into a librarian at a book expo isn't like finding a unicorn.

Anymoving on.  We knocked off for the afternoon to go do some sightseeing in Greenwich Village, because we'd heard tell of a Secret Garden there and we were hell-bent on finding this, like, best-kept secret of New York or something.  But things that are not on attractions lists are frequently not on attractions lists for a reason, so while the garden was secret and leafy, it was also small and you had to go through shrieking eels children to get to it.

Also we both had to pee, which brings down the tone of any excursion.  From there we went to Urban Outfitters to do a little more shopping, only unbeknownst to us, UO is esssspensive.  If I want to blow dolla bills in New York I'll do it right, and not at some shoddy, overpriced Forever XXI.

From there we went a-questing for Panchitos, which our hostel's concierge recommended and then proceeded to not be able to find on a map, and when the directions to a thing are very complicated and you have spent most of the day being lost (like that time you were trying to cross the street but couldn't because you cannot cross the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel and then you have to backtrack, like, five blocks to get to where you were going) and then you actually FIND that thing

and then that thing has burritos and enchiladas and three types of beans and two types of rice

and deep-fried ice cream

then everything else about the day is fine.

And then we went to the Mulberry Street Library for the Teen Author Carnival, and we got there late and had to stand in the back for the first panel and it was HOT SO HOT but we met a real live Book Smuggler

and got seats for the next panel on (I paraphrase) putting angst in your teen novel and having it not suck.  Which, ok, there were some hilarious and articulate authors on this panel (David Levithan, e.g.  Susane Colasanti in particular made me want to start reading her books, except I couldn't see her name tag from where I was sitting so we spent an uncomfortable few minutes zooming in on her chesticles with the camera to try to suss it out and then giving up) but the moderator refused to ask any questions about, you know, angst.  And putting it in novels.  And making it not suck.  So it was interesting inasmuch as listening to authors talk about their work is always interesting, but I was VERY INTRUIGED by angst and the not sucking thereof.

Regardless, it was our first bookerish day and was therefore very thrilling, although if it had come after any of our other bookerish days it would have been a let-down in the utmost.