Writing Panic, Nerdfighteria, and New Knitting Jargon

Even though, logically, this would be the time when I post the next installment of the long-ass piece in which I blagged about the assets of 2013, I pull another fast one and digress yet again down a long and ridiculous tangent that has nothing to do with anything but is bothering me quite a bit. (Like that commercial in which a guy brings a flower to a date of some import, while a delectable guitar melody plays over it. Has no one noticed that the melody is in fact “Never Going Back Again” – a Fleetwood Mac song about bitterly giving up on love after a string of disastrous affairs? Seriously? What is friggin WRONG with people?)

And in that vein I refer back to my last blag post in which I mention how I’ve been knitting up a storm. And while twelve movies (make that thirteen – hello, the Breakfast Club) does fill up the time, it obviously doesn’t fill up all the time. So what else have I been watching? Well, first I went and watched all of the nerd videos I had missed this fall/winter while I was busy getting nerdier. Then, after I did that, I decided to go back in time and watch all of the early Brotherhood 2.0 videos. In order. I did this mainly because I was curious, and mainly because I was bored and knitting, and mainly because I am a fan. I mean, I watch the current videos and whatnot, but I am not an original fan. All of my DFTBA and Nerdfighting expertise came later, when I was lured in through other, related videos by Mental Floss and the like. I am not afraid to admit that; I was still at university (the first go round) and dealing with some heavy personal shit (like always) and so stuff like this got by me. This is true of other things of that time period – like Heroes, which I love and didn’t watch until years after the fact thanks to G4 and Netflix.

Now that I’ve admitted that, please don’t dump on me over it, fellow Nerdfighters. I am suffering enough knowing that too much time has gone past to bother posting replies In My Pants or otherwise when the Green Brothers need to be schooled. Maybe when I complete my time travel device, I can tell Hank that the Harry Potter series is popular in a way that hasn’t been seen since L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. Yes, it’s true: the Land of Oz was an epic commercial success that no one had seen the likes of before or until Rowling dropped her recycled saga on us. I could also fill the Brothers in on the equally epic Ninjas versus Pirates wars that went on at my college campus. Wars involving found vintage pornography and kites.

Anyway, so here I am knitting feverishly and watching John and Hank when I am struck by two unsettling things. The first being: as I watch John I can’t get the fact that this is the same guy who wrote The Fault In Our Stars out of my head. Seriously? This is the guy? Not to knock John – no, no, no. Not at all. It’s just that he is very much like my friend Dan. Too much, really (it’s doppelganger level scary), and I can’t imagine Dan writing that book. I can’t imagine John writing that book. Although when I do try to imagine who could have written that book I come up blank, so I guess the whole thing is moot.

What is getting to me, actually, is the second unsettling thing, which is that these videos are a good peek into the life of a modern day writer. They take place in 2007, in which we find John Green between two novels: the much acclaimed, already published An Abundance of Katherines, and the in-progress, still being crafted Paper Towns. This means when we don’t see John talking at home, or giving us sneak peaks of a day in a life of writing, we see John traveling… A lot: Promoting his books, going to functions, speaking at organizations and libraries and schools and even attending awards functions. He is always running around and this bothers me because my panic disorder has reached epic levels in certain departments, and traveling, especially alone is currently out of the question for me. And if I am ever to be published I will be expected to do this traveling, running around and talking and flying in planes, and whatnot. It’s bad enough I’ll have to deal with doing it all as a fatty (which is a really big concern, actually and probably will prevent my ever being published by a proper house), but doing it in a constant state of panic… I can’t even…

So concerned about this am I, I have been searching other writer’s blogs and videos and talks and interviews and articles and it’s all the same, everywhere I look. Neil Gaiman practically lives on the road. Even the Composers of Naughtiness have to do all of this. There are specific Naughtiness Composer conventions. I don’t stand a chance. My only hope will be to write something as epic as To Kill A Mockingbird, let my book work for me as I hide in my room and refuse to talk to the media.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I have been medicated for my panic disorder in the past, but the drugs messed me the frak up and stunted my creativity in a weird way. In fact, if you read what I’ve written before, after, and during my periods of medication, you would swear that whoever was writing during was not the same person who was writing before and after. And they sucked even more than that other guy. The same goes for the rest of my art and music too – everything is forced and without, I guess, soul.

This February though, things may change in the freaking-the-fuck-out-in-the-supermarket department. Thanks to the ACA my health care is expanding and I will be able to resume my search for a mental health professional who has some experience dealing with panic disorder. Go me, and thanks Obama. (And please, I don’t need any guff, so don’t go writing nasty anti-Obama shiz in my comments section. I already get a lot of that – and plenty more – from my sadly misguided and misinformed right-wing cousins. Yes, I’ve seen the open letter from the lady in Alabama who is worried her kids won’t have health care. And I’ve successfully smote every single person who has attacked me using it as evidence. So let it go.)

Despite getting all wound up and anxious that my crazy may be thwarting my hopes of finding my book in a store one day, I keep obsessively watching Brotherhood 2.0, Year 1. I find it horribly amusing, and in a lot of ways I can see how these guys might just be In Cahoots. For all of you out there in Nerdfighteria, being In Cahoots is very much like being a Secret Sibling. We would have to meet, exchange glances and nod knowingly for me to confirm this, but so far as I can tell, all the evidence seems to be there. There is no question however, that I am a Nerdfighter. I mean, come on. Not only am I a most epic reader, I am specifically a most epic reader of Science Fiction. On top of that, I am a font of useless information. Seriously. I once inadvertently usurped a museum curator giving a tour, and ended up finishing it myself. (This has resulted in my being the go-to guide in every museum situation since.) I collect weird shit like ancient cameras, rocks, bits of discarded nature and dead bugs which I then incorporate in both my science and my art. I am an abecedarian, and I have lists of kick ass words – everywhere. This last year I didn’t make a gingerbread house I made a gingerbread… T.A.R.D.I.S.. And if that isn’t enough, I am currently enrolled in a major university, where I am studying theoretical physics. I ultimately want to use my nerdiness to make the world a better place – if not just a better informed one.

At this point I think I could actually give Nerdfighter classes. This I feel would be good, and beneficial, as the Nerdfighting community should aim to grow and spread across the earth, using it’s might against World Suck. So sign me up.

In a complete non sequiteur, I shall now present to you as promised, the epic hat stack:

The Epic January 2014 Hat Stack

The Epic January 2014 Hat Stack

That’s fourteen bald heads that shall be soft and warm in the near future, kids.

I wish to take this final moment to announce a new development in the world of knitting jargon. The knitting acronym/abbreviation Sl2,K1,PSSO – sometimes written as S2KP – shall now be referred to as Flooping The Pig. So remember, next time a pattern requires you to slip two stitches (as if to knit) then knit one and pass the two slipped stitches over that knit stitch, you are Flooping the Pig. Don’t worry, SSK – or slip slip knit – is still called Slipping the Nip. That will never change.

And with that, I am off. Please enjoy this parting gift – a playlist to get over this whiny rant to:
Fleetwood Mac – Never Going Back Again
The Goat Rodeo Sessions featuring Aoife O’Donovan – Here and Heaven
Newton Faulkner – Sitar-y Thing – Interlude
Chris Thile – Riddles in the Dark
Claude Debussy – Suite Bergamasque: Menuette
The Jane Austen Argument – Song for a Siren
CocoRosie – Gallows
Agnes Obel – Riverside
Alexandre Desplat – Mr. Fox in the Fields Medley
Bruno Coulais – Mouse Circus
Iaian Ballamy – Rabbit Band
Architecture in Helskini – Nothing’s Wrong

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2013 and The Year In Books

So I wrote all this stuff the last week of December. Brace yourselves…

I have decided to commemorate 2013 with a scathing review of its assets. Yeah, I know that the year isn’t over yet. But it might as well be. I mean really, what else is going to happen between now and then? (Cue the alien invasion).

So let’s start with…

Book It

The Year in Books

I read too much. So much so that my Kindle exploded (see: the Year in Terrible Things). This is the second Kindle to have exploded on my watch in two years. I am currently borrowing a brain shattering Kindle Fire until I can swing a new e-ink number, so I can achieve my reading goal of 150 books. Yes I intended to read 150 books in 2013, and with only three more books to go, it appears I might just make it.

When I say I read 150 books, I am not talking board books or shitty romance novels. So far this year, I’ve read Faulkner, Woolf, Bronte, Stoker, Dr. Michio Kaku, Homer, David Levithan, Ray Bradbury, Toni Morrison, J.M. Coetzee, A.S. King, and so on. And on.

Some tomes of note include:

Angelfall and World After by Susan Ee
This story is messed up. And I loved it. These are the first two books in the post-apocalyptic YA horror series “Penryn and the End of Days”. Here, our protagonist is a teenage girl with an un-medicated schizophrenic mother and paraplegic little sister, trying to stay alive while angels wage war on mankind.

Of all the dystopian, apocalyptic series I’ve been privy to, this is the most sophisticated in character disillusionment of any of them. As far as Penryn is concerned, keeping her tattered, tortured family together is the only thing keeping her sane; the only thing that matters. Even when good things happen, she never once fools herself into thinking that the humans will survive, or that anything other than the end is nigh. She harbors no false hope, and exists in a state of reality. For a novel aimed at teenagers that’s sort of amazing.

There is a strange dynamic between the two leads, the archangel Raphael and Penryn, and while the storyline pushes towards a possible romantic climax, you can’t forget for a second that this series is horror. It’s not Caitlin R. Kiernan, but it’s very dark, and pretty graphic. Dismemberment graphic. Mutilated children graphic. And even the ‘romantic’ aspect of the plot is more affection than anything. Raffe sees Penryn as a pathetic human, a lower creature. Penryn sees Raffe as a monster, and the means to an end. So don’t worry. If you read this you won’t throw up. Or at least, not for the sugary, unrealistic, teenage romance reasons.

So check it out. And don’t let the angel thing turn you off. In this story, angels don’t know if god exists either, so it’s not religious schlock being shoved down your throat.

Still With Me by Thierry Cohen
I was sort of excited to read this book, it seemed like an interesting idea: A young man commits suicide on his 20th birthday after his best friend/lifelong love rejects him. And that, it would seem, would be the end of that, except he wakes up the next morning to find that it is now his 21st birthday. His life has moved on without him, a full year, and he has no idea what he did during that year or how he got to this new stage of his life. Every morning he wakes up and it’s another year and another birthday, and he is lost like someone suffering with DID. As the years (days) pass, he sees his soulless self gain everything in life he ever dreamed, only to selfishly and tragically lose it all. The story is part science fiction, part spiritual redemption. And I suspect it would have been pretty great too, had I been able to read it in its original French. Instead it reads almost emotionless – bland, flat. Seeing as this was a national bestseller in France and in other markets, and has been translated into fifteen languages, I think the problem is with this particular translation.

To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
I had to read this one for a class I took over the summer. Everyone hated it. I loved it.

To the Lighthouse follows a family as it hosts friends and neighbors at their summer home on the sea. They’re 1920s-ish, upper middle class white folks, who have fancy dinners and keep some degree of society. But that’s not what turns people off about this book. It’s not simply a book of rich white people on vacation; it is a complex study of human relationships, and entropy. And it’s told in what is called stream-of-consciousness writing, which briefly became popular around this time with authors like Faulkner, but which Woolf (arguably) perfected.

Stream-of-consciousness writing follows the thought process of the writer or the character. Imagine you’re walking down the street and you’re thinking about how tired you are and how much work you have to do and what is going on with your best friend and how come they haven’t cal – oooh! A Squirrel! That’s stream-of-consciousness. Many people find this too confusing to read. But it’s how we, as humans think, how we take in information, and so if you read it, and give it a chance, it not only makes sense it makes the story more believable.

So this particular story looks at every character like threads in a tapestry. Their lives, their thoughts and feelings interweave, and over time they fade and fray, separate and come loose. We see exactly what happens when those threads are picked apart, when some are removed, how the tapestry unravels in some places, how it becomes stronger in others. And time  – like I said, entropy – is another character here. Time passes and you feel it.

I love this book. So read it. And after you read it, check out Virginia Woolf’s biography. She was pretty awesome.

A Gay and Melancholy Sound by Merle Miller
This book is just… downer doesn’t really cover it. The entire book is a man dictating his life story into a tape recorder, in preparation of his upcoming suicide. Yep. Rosy. So much so in fact, it became one of those situations where I only finished the book at all because I have this thing where I have to see it through. I finish every book, no matter how shitty it is. When I’m in, I’m all in.

The book is set and was written during the late 1950s/ early 1960s. So in that aspect it’s very interesting, very much of it’s time. And it’s beautifully written, don’t get me wrong. I just genuinely didn’t like this book, because I genuinely didn’t like the lead character. He is miserable and sad and blames everyone around him for the fact that he is an asshole living the life of an asshole. He doesn’t do anything to fix things or to take ownership for his situation in life – which by the way isn’t so bad. He’s a completely successful individual career-wise. And you know, maybe that’s what the writer was going for, and maybe that’s was Miller’s motive in writing the character. But as a reader it did nothing for me.

And trust me I do not look for sunshine and rainbows and happy endings. Not at all; that stuff is in no way realistic. It’s just if I wanted to read whiny self pity from over privileged apathetic people, I’d give a shit about Twitter.
In related book news, Gaiman released The Ocean at the End of the Lane this year, to much acclaim. Even though I have it, had pre-ordered it, even, I haven’t read it yet. BECAUSE IT’S TOO DAMN PRETTY AND I DON’T WANT TO WRECK IT. It’s autographed in green ink, for cripes sake. The second I open to the first page, the spine is going to crack I’m going to crease and then tear the first page and spill gravy on it. And I’m a vegetarian – I don’t even eat gravy. BUT THAT WILL HAPPEN.

Aside from the books I’ve read, I’ve also acquired some real doozies this year. My great aunt had been slowly liquidated her late husbands’ books to me ever since I found a deposit of them she was unaware of in a closet in her spare room. They are mostly in the ‘little snippets of knowledge vein’ or are novels very specific to his tour in Morocco in WW2. They have awesome titles like What Happened in History (I was flipping to the back page to see how it ends, when my aunt came over and said “Oooh, see how it ends!), and I Never Met an Arab Like Him. Yep. Never.

This same uncle, John, was also fond of marking his dictionaries, and as I grew up I’d find things stuck throughout marking the words he looked up. He liked to write the word he was trying to learn over and over again on snips of paper, or use dental floss to mark pages. Yesterday there was a grand ransacking of their apartment (see: the Year in Terrible Things), and I finally took the dictionaries home with me. I also found a smaller, pocket dictionary I’d never seen before. It too was full of snippets of paper. But when I read them they weren’t just words he was trying to read: there were things in his life he was trying to remember. Like how earlier that day the Boston Globe had a picture of him in a major article on Veterans who served in North Africa. He didn’t save the article, he just wrote about it. At least he listed enough information that I’m sure I can find it.

The Guide To Reading

I also found a gorgeous little volume at a flea market called The Guide To Reading for $2. And it literally is what the title implies: a list of what books to read, what passages, in what order, and even on what day of the week. It’s a rather presumptuous little thing, really.

The Guide to Reading Content

So that’s it for The Year in Books, but I’m not done with 2013 yet. Gird your loins for The Year in Music.

In Pursuit of Higher Education and A Respite from Vampirism

Sh*t just got real.

Sh*t just got real.

It has recently come to my attention that I greet my Kindle every morning much in the same way that Pee Wee Herman does his bike in his Big Adventure. “Good Morning,” I whisper reverently. “I’m here.”

I mention this only because today I have spent the morning looking away from my precious magic book and sighing, and I felt it would be prudent to point out exactly how anomalous that is. I have to read a book today that I just can’t seem to get into. And I know it has nothing to do with my not being interested in it or the subject (because, indeed I am), and everything to do with the fact that it’s homework and I’ve spoiled myself into reading according to my voracious literary whims.
Yes that’s right folks, homework. This bitch be back to school. And school dictates that today I read Hesiod’s Theogony, which is all well and good. I mean, I signed up for this myths class at UPenn because I love mythology. I spent the entire summer of 2011 reading nothing but Norse mythology and Sandman comics. Because I am awesome.

Right now, despite having just inhaled the Odyssey, I can’t seem to get into this. Maybe it is because so far it’s just a flowery list of mythy figures. I dunno. It’s pissing me off…

I expect more of myself.

But yeah, I go to big kid school now. Or I should say again – I already have a fine arts degree from a middling northeastern university. Now I’m taking a handful of classes from UPenn and some physics courses from Stanford. I have an over-full course load, with a tight schedule, that frankly doesn’t allow much time for blogging or anything creative.

So far everything is going really well. Am nearing the end of the semester, and the physics classes evaporate in about two weeks. I find them both thrilling and frustrating. I would appreciate them more if I was taking one class at a time, instead of a slew at once, but it’s okay. I am a physics slut after all, so I make do.  Am not quite sure if this will develop into anything, but I guess my ultimate endgame would be a doctorate. We’ll see though. One step at a time and all that.

I do have to say, the immediate benefits to this have been rather enlightening. Between the physics and the lit classes I’ve been getting a lot of great stuff for my novel. Not pilfering, just support and inspiration. So I’ve actually managed to map out some new directions based on my class on relativity alone. It’s amazing what a little theory can do.

In other news, my vampirism has been downgraded from a ‘threat’ to a ‘menace’. That means I don’t have to get stabbed every other week, just once every few months. It also means I won’t need treatments for a while, which is the best part. I mean, I know it’s not something really awful, but try telling that to my stomach. I reacted so poorly to the infusions they put me on the same antiemetics they give to chemo patients. I was the hurl queen, on the scene.
The aenemia will never truly go away, but for now I’m stable.

That’s right people – a medical professional hath declared me stable. Oh, those puny fools.

So for now the babies of the world are safe from my straw. Now my hair has to stop falling out and my fingernails have to turn to the more natural hues of the living. Then I think I will be alright.

I know I haven’t updated much, and this was sort of brief, unamusing and didn’t go anywhere. So before I return to my assigned reading I proffer this brief playlist of tunes I wrote this to. I am sort of the ruler of Pinterest and Spotify these days, so I will try to integrate those aspects of my annoyance in future blag posts. Until then:

Andrew Bird – Sythian Empire
Cat Stevens – Wild World
Andrew Bird – Oh No
Jose Gonzalez – Sensing Owls, Time to Send Someone Away
Iron & Wine – Boy With A Coin
Fleet Foxes – Mykonos
David Bowie – Oh You Pretty Things
MGMT – Electric Feel, Time to Pretend
David Bowie – Sound and Vision
The Flaming Lips – Fight Test
Kristin Hersh – Velvet Days
The Sugarcubes -Delicious Demon

Making An Ass Out Of Myself In Public and Burning A Man At The Stake

Yesterday I spent three hours in traffic to see a man burn himself at the stake. In my world this is called a ‘Saturday’.

Who can resist a flier like this?

It seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea too: round up the posse, drive to Salem, meet artist and escapist Sean Von Gorman at a comic book shop, then retreat moderately unscathed. But apparently it wasn’t as my posse called last minute to cancel and I failed to factor in the logistical nightmare that is October in Salem.

Halloween in Salem, MA is a bit insane. The entire month of October the town has events and on top of that, just because it’s Salem, people come from all over the world to wander the streets and loiter in full costume, blocking traffic and being generally annoying. This is silly when you consider that it’s not unusual for people to wander the streets dressed as cartoon witches any other day of the year, including Christmas. Why should October be special? It’s overkill! Plus – what the hell is with all the witches? You’re in Salem people! Not only has it been done, but you’re in the town that perfected the concept. (Now, going to see a man possibly immolate himself, that’s never overdone. Pun intended.)

I was disappointed in my posse but I wasn’t too upset. I still had a ride (license still flagged), and wouldn’t be totally alone on my journey. It did take pulling teeth to get people out of doors and into cars but I was on my way. No big whoop. Until we hit insane traffic and a twenty minute drive became a three hour crawl. By the time I arrived in Salem proper it was about four and Von Gorman was expected to combust around 3:30 ish. Yeah.  I was definitely sure I’d missed it. (And while I’m sure that using the power of my mind to push the traffic forward helped considerably, it still didn’t help enough.)

I was stuck on a bridge in front of these guys for nearly half an hour.

We got within blocks of the comic shop when we realized that all the streets in the area had been cordoned off.  So I was forcibly ejected and sent in the general direction of the place. I was fairly familiar with the area, but I had never been to this particular branch of the comic chain, and didn’t know exactly where it was. I just wandered about, through the throngs of masked and made-up loiterers, many of whom were staring into the sky and taking pictures. At first I thought it was tourists taking photos of the ornamental facades of the historical buildings. But so many people were doing it, that I became concerned that we were experiencing an alien invasion. Finally I asked one woman what everyone was on about, and she told me – acting like I was completely stupid – that they were looking at ‘the four rainbows’. I couldn’t see them as I was on the wrong end of the road. So I crossed over and sure enough, there were four rainbows: two arcs next to each other, with two more inverted arcs beneath them. It was strangely beautiful. I moved to take a photo myself, when the vertigo came on like a severe blow to the head.

For those unfortunately afflicted with vertigo, it can be hard to just stay upright, let alone walk straight or maneuver through a crowd. In the worst possible scenarios you can fall down or even collapse. My particular variety of vertigo alternates between being on the Tilt-a-Whirl and being on the Pirate Ship. Understandably, this is why I like to travel with a posse. I began to become anxious about getting lost and staggering down the road like a fat drunk. Oh – and did I mention that I do not have a cell phone? Yeah, I’m winning on all ends here.  So I was also seeing what businesses were open along the road in case I needed to find a place to stop and phone my ride to come rescue me. How I miss payphones…

I saw a large crowd up ahead of me, and as I closed in I realized that I was at the comic book shop and that I had not missed the performance after all. I guess everyone was running late. I am not super tall and I was way in the back, so I didn’t really get to see much. Essentially, as well as being a fabulous illustrator, Mr. Von Gorman (how great is that name by the way?) is an escape artist. I’ve seen him before (and you can too, on the interwebs) escape from a straightjacket and leg shackles. Today he was apparently tied to a burning stake as well. Or steak. I didn’t really get a good look. I was trying to focus on a point on the building, which is a trick that can help when the vertigo isn’t too bad – sort of like finding the horizon when you’re in a ship – when some of the crowd behind and beside me started asking what was going on. Surprised, as they were in the crowd, I told them and they pressed closer to get a better look, essentially squishing around me like sardines. Someone asked me if he did it yet, and I replied that I didn’t think so, as I couldn’t smell roast pork. A big guy next to me (I’m huge so if I say someone is big, you can believe they are impressive), was shouting to more people to join the fray – “Hey, this guy is lighting himself on fire!” and so more loiterers pressed in.

At this point I really needed to get out of there. Wiggy and dizzy – not a fun combination. But there was hearty applause and the crowd began to disperse, which helped. (Plus, no burning meat smell.) I turned to the girl who was pressed up against my left and asked her if I could make a quick call on her phone and she clutched her purse to her chest and said in a panicky voice “I’m just waiting for my mom!” (she had to be at least 16), to which I replied “O thank God.” Then I asked the large gentleman on my right, who not only let me use his phone, he made the call for me as it was a tricky touch-screen that jumped around if you looked at it wrong. Kudos large guy.

And he lives to draw another day.

Most people left or went into the building. Mr. VG was still outside doffing his straightjacket. I snapped a picture (so crooked, by the way) and asked when he planned to sign his book. He said in a while, but I had to leave so I told him it was nice to meet him but I had to split. I was dizzy and wiggy! He stopped what he was doing (interviews, no less) and took me inside to get me a book. Seriously. He signed my book, identified me as a possible cyber stalker, and we talked. Right now I feel should apologize. Firstly I was using the wall of binned comics behind him as a focal point so I could stay upright. So that alone probably came off as nut bar. On top of that I was either swaying slightly or I was using my vampire powers to stay abnormally still (a power I call upon in situations such as these). Either way – unnerving behaviour. Plus there’s my overall fabulous general appearance; that’s off putting. Then I was all wound up which means I was talking too much and hopefully it was making sense and not some scary gibberish. I don’t always remember everything I say when I get a case of nervous word vomit. For example: my undergrad oral midterm presentation was ‘off the cuff’ which to me means I didn’t know what to talk about and I knew that if I’d prepared anything I’d forget it if I didn’t read it off cards (and thus seem all the more unprepared). All I know about that speech was that it got lots of laughs from the board and the crowd, and when I sat back down my Cyborg told me that I mentioned the TARDIS several times and David Tennant at least once. Then this strange guy sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder, told me ‘that was awesome’ and showed me his sonic screwdriver. Not a euphemism.

I know I talked about when I was a violinist, how I was an artist, how now I’m studying to be a physicist. About Neil Gaiman and my book. About what I tried to do when I was a professional street teamer. I really hope I didn’t bring up my insane IQ which I sometimes do at times like these, though not to show off but to somehow prove I’m really not crazy. (Because my synapses are firing at levels even I have no control over!)  He told me he was looking around for the bunny (my twitter icon) and I said “Look all you want but she’s dead!”  What else. Huh. I don’t even know. I was really worried that I was keeping him from signing books for other fans. I spoke with a publisher for Alterna comics (the publishing house of Von Gorman’s book The Secret Adventures of Houdini) and a nice woman called Alexandria the Great who is also an escape artist. She told me to stalk her online too, and I told her to go visit the Museum of Public Health in Tewksbury, MA where they have some impressive historical straightjackets (along with other scary vintage forms of restraint). I may even have mentioned the Generalissimo to someone (O Dear Glob no). Then I guess I left, feeling like a complete idiot and probable asshole, as I do whenever I come down with word vomit.

Heading back to the road to find my ride, I realized I had at some point broken out in a cold sweat, and when I wiped my forehead I could feel that the psoriasis had migrated down the side of my face and was itching like a motherfrakker. (Now am paranoid that I may have been scratching my face like a meth addict the whole time).  Adding the vertigo and my freezing hands to that list means that what I was experiencing was a side effect of my blood disorder, and not in fact a psychotic break (which could happen, with my luck you never know). This would have been pointed out to me had I not been alone, and I wouldn’t have been so anxious. Plus someone would have monitored my verbal output so I would have sounded reasonably normal, yet still brilliant. See why posses are important?

On the street I found myself surrounded by a group of people whose Hallowe’en costume was rather high concept: they were pretending to be a group of lost French tourists. But they didn’t speak French and I knew it. So they kept asking me things in French-ish gibberish until I answered back in my terrible – but basically accurate – high school French. I pretended to be excited that they spoke French, introduced myself, asked them about themselves and gave them simple directions back to the festivities downtown.  They looked stupefied and one uttered a red faced ‘thanks’ as I hopped back into my chauffeured vehicle and headed away. Other than that, I did see some interesting costumes that day. There was a very popular ‘Wilfred’ on a leash being led by a flabbergasted Elijah Wood lookalike. There was also a kid decked out in Moonrise Kingdom gear (although that may not be what he was going for, it was awesomely accurate nonetheless).  In the car BB noted all the naughty witches he saw as he drove around looking for me, and I lamented how most of the costumes (especially in the comic shop) were zombie in nature. I’m sorry but I’m SO sick of zombies. It has gotten to a point where it’s just unoriginal. It’s the Disney Princess of teenage and adult costumes.

Getting dizzy with it in a state park.

The ride home was this bizarre three way conversation that covered cops, the guy I saw arguing with his wife about where to find a head (not toilet but appendage), traffic, bizarre motorcycles (we saw a few doozies on the way up), French Provencal cooking, alpacas (“their heads come out of their chests!”), photography, comic books, and how I should provide services via Twitter for people new to the New England area so that they can get around more easily. It was also mentioned that calling Mass. AveMassachusetts Avenue’, while entirely accurate, would easily get you a punch in the face.  We drove home ‘the long way’ through the state park and I snapped a few crooked pictures before moving along. We got home and worked the kinks out of one of BB’s new songs while re-stringing three of the guitars. I opened the bag to show him the graphic novel and was surprised to see that they had tossed some extra stuff in there, which was rather awesome. How nice is that? (Or maybe… how badly did they want to get rid of me?)

Plink Plink.

Overall surreal, I’d say my day was successful. I didn’t get to see the fire, but he survived, so I guess that’s alright. (The event was like an old Life cereal commercial: The humanist in me was glad everyone survived; while the pyro in me missed the FIRE FIRE!) I made an ass out of myself in public, proved why I should never reveal myself in real life to my cyber friends, and had a bad blood day by myself (also in public). Well done me!

The Secret Adventures of Houdini. Buy it.

This is the book, The Secret Adventures of Houdini. It’s fairly awesome historical fiction, everyone should check it out. You can find out more about it here, at the official website. Or pre-order it at Amazon.com. And keep an eye out for Sean Von Gorman live in person (at comic cons and book signings) and on the interwebs. He is ridonculously nice to weirdos who accost him on the street.

NOTE: When I got online today to post about the burnin’ I found my Twitter account had been hacked. The poor morons who did so used my Twitter account to spam people about my miraculous new weight loss cure. Oh irony, you’re so ironic.

PLUS: My blood is indeed bad, people. I am apparently lucky I didn’t pass out. Another well done to me!

Drunken Witches and Free E-Book Roulette

Saturday I was accosted on a street in Salem, MA by an intoxicated underage witch, who informed me (as best as she could, the lamb) that even though I had gotten the same flier and free passes to a local event from two other young witches on my journey, the identical flier that she wanted to give me was better. I could not discern why, or what exactly the point of her slurring was, but she tried in all earnest, dammit, and for that I give her props. As she stumbled away, swaying lightly across the street and into the crowd standing in front of the Peabody Essex Museum (it was only 2PM, after all), I refrained from photographing her awesomeness, out of respect for sober underage witch, who I hoped would appear sometime the next day okay and unmolested, although perhaps a little worse for wear as hangovers are a bitch.

This is not my photo. I will replace it with one of the many I took but have yet to upload. Thanks to whoever originally posted this lovely thing.

I will report later with a much more boring, long-winded, albeit amusing tale about going to the Salem Witch Museum on Museum Day.

But for now I am busy making preparations for my BFF’s fancy dress birthday party, where I will be beta testing my costume:  fat Death of the Endless. I promise to post photos, which will be something remarkable as pictures of me are rare indeed (it’s no accident that I’m the photographer), and will rarely occur here. So, until then, enjoy this little tidbit:

I have invented a new game for my Kindle (the essence of which can be applied to all e-Reading devices) which I have named Free E-Book Roulette. The rules are simple: go to your regular e-Book dealer (amazon.com for example) and enter “Free E-Books” in the search bar. You will see a lot of books and documents about how to find Free E-Books that you have to pay for (nice trick, that), but you will also see a lot of random free books. Now, without reading about the genre, the summary, anything, buy the book. Madness I know. Then, skipping straight to the actual story, read the book. This is the roulette of it all. See, I have found that after eliminating the obvious classics, the books you will find will be a mix of 50% erotic novel, 25% crazy religious-based book (theory, romance, fiction, zealous proclamation), and 25% everything else (everything being paranormal or sci-fi in nature and in any flavors including: young adult and romance). The game here is figuring out which of the 50% you get. Because the erotica can disguise itself as anything in the other 50% – including religious proclamation. It’s crazy.

So I know what you’re thinking. Why would I do this to myself? I seem like a reasonably intelligent gal, and this game seems seriously ridiculous. Well, I’ll tell you why (and it is not because I like erotic fiction. I only read erotic fiction when I want a good laugh, and even then I have to read it aloud, which makes me laugh all the more as I don’t live alone).  It is because I have read over 100 books so far this year (no shet), and after number 100 – which was an excruciatingly long dissertation on the CERN LHC, I have decided to take my brain cells in the opposite direction. It is an experiment to see if the supercharged brain cells which absorbed the LHC fun facts will meet the negatively charged brain cells reading the roulette books (which, let’s face it, are fun – but free for a reason) and annihilate. I look forward to the results and will post them here if I have any functioning cells left to work with.

In the meantime, it’s actually quite fun if you like to read. Most of the free books are rather short and rather devoid of proper grammar (and editors, I expect). So go play.

I’ll come back and properly annoy the earth with new and thrilling posts about the 100+ books, my BFF’s party, candy making and my trip to Salem.
If you can’t wait til then, I suggest you read this amusing rant about my neighbors possibly fracking or this one about how much it sucks to be a vampire and how everyone should donate blood all the time so I don’t go hungry. The end.

Nonsensical Rant about a Possible Late Night Hallucination That Doesn’t Go Anywhere

It’s near eleventythirty at night, and I’m in the kitchen cleaning my air conditioner filter (because I saw a CLR commercial… don’t ask. If you pay enough attention, you’ll figure out how my mind works all on your own…) when I see a weird flash of sparklies to my left. I look through my horrid hair curtain (as if I could hide behind it) at the general area in which the said sparklies seemed to appear, and my logical brain says “headlights from passing car”. However, my illogical brain says “kitchen demon – maybe Time Lord”.  Logical brain says “don’t be childish” and illogical brain retorts “I didn’t hear no passing car!” To which I reply “No. No I didn’t…”

You’ll note at this point that none of me is considering ghosts. That’s because we don’t believe in spooks, we don’t we don’t we don’t. No Caspar. No Topper. No tortured soul going through my kitchen cabinets in the wee hours of the night, no matter what Mum says. (Seriously, what would a ghost possibly want with Corelle dinnerware and Singha beer glasses. Wait a minute. Just answered my own question there.) There are no deceased walking amongst us, unless they are of the zombie ilk and most likely part of an experiment in reanimation perpetrated by the military-industrial complex.
I don’t believe in these things so much that I often think that I should have one of those ghost hunting programs on the cable. You know – the ones where the guys incorrectly use EMF detectors and manhandle $250,000 infrared heat detection systems and go into spooky old buildings, former hospitals, and prisons, freak themselves out and prove nothing to the world or modern science. You can’t say a place is haunted just because you have an ookie feeling.  The feeling is just that primal monkey part of you that remembers not to hang out in unfamiliar or dark places and startles at strange noises because usually they indicate that some beastie is going to eat you if you’re off your guard. It pokes at your fight or flight button just enough to make you feel ookie. It’s okay though, it’s natural, and it will pass.

My ghost hunting show will be awesome. It will star myself along with Thunderball and the Cyborg, maybe Laird Tom and a guest star – like Gaiman or Bill Nye the Science Guy (or both, we’ll just go with it). We’ll roll up on a purportedly haunted place and walk around all night, bored as all get the-the-frell-out. We’ll be sarcastic and snarky. If we hear something we’ll explain what it was, and show you. Explain how shit works. How your imagination works. We’ll do the dares they do on that one show where all the guys call out the ghosts but then in the end they run away screaming like little boys. You’ll see us lock ourselves up in the abandoned morgue only to cut to morning when we are waking up: with the opening strains of ‘The William Tell Overture’ playing in the background as we push ourselves out of our metal formerly refrigerated drawers, stretch and yawn, and head out to the Friendly Toast for breaky.  Best ghost reality show EVER.

Unfortunately, as my logical brain, illogical brain, and the rest of me denies the existence of spooks, we all have this strange nagging wish that what we’re witnessing is really magic. It’s this sad holdover from when I was a little kid wishing my real family would show up, tell me that I’m a badass fairy princess and whisk me away to some dream world. And just let me note right here, that this is no Disney, bullshyte fairy princess. No. This is the ass kicking warrior fairy princess who makes folks bleed. Seriously. As a mere youth I would roam my inner city neighborhood, wielding a broken hockey stick (my sword) and jumping off shit (that’s called ‘flying’).  My local library was a magical wizards lair; the books unending sources of absolute power (still are). My park had a giant metal Thunderdome set in concrete for all the kids to play on (this is true), and I would just rule that thing: climb to the very top and force my minions to do my bidding and fight to the death (or crack their heads open, whichever came first).  My fairy princess true identity was badass. (Still is.)

This all came, of course, from reading too much and watching too many episodes of She-Ra.


Don’t judge me.

So, the point is, tonight, I either saw headlights or had a hallucination or saw the little pre-migraine sparklies some people report (but I don’t get) but most of me was hoping it was magic. A doorway perhaps to a land we’re I’m skinny and when I announce that I’m the Queen folks don’t humour me. Because I’d kill them.  Or maybe the pre-Tardis apparition one gets as that beautiful blue box phases in. Or maybe a great big blown up example of string theory that I was supposed to absorb and figure out and then use to solve the big mysteries and yadda yadda you.

Stupid headlights.