Monday, November 30, 2009

Neil Gaiman coming to Decatur!

My favorite children's-and-more bookshop in my favorite part of the greater Atlanta area has lured one of my favorite authors into doing a reading and signing here in town! More specifically, Neil Gaiman is coming to Presser Hall at Agnes Scott College in Decatur on Monday, December 14th at 6:00 pm thanks to Little Shop of Stories and its excellent staff, who set up such a fabulous Graveyard Book-themed Halloween party that Neil chose them as a co-winner of his presence.

You can read full details about how to get in on this fabulous fan opportunity here on the Little Shop blog, but in summary: The reading/signing is ticketed, and although the tickets are free, you have to pick them up either A) from Little Shop of Stories today, i.e., Monday, November 30th, before 8:00 pm, or B) via telephone or at Little Shop starting on Monday, December 7th, and ending whenever they run out of Delerium costume, from Neil Gaiman's Sandman

Knowing Neil Gaiman fans (we're not all exactly rabid, but oh crap is this a picture of me dressed up as one of his characters? Hell, nevermind, we're all crazy), tickets will probably run out. For general reference, I went during lunch today to pick up mine, and received ticket number 318 of X, where X is a number which hopefully my query to the store will produce.

Gaiman has a dreamy terrific reading voice (check out his audiobook of Coraline for evidence), and by all accounts is a pleasure at readings and signings. And is gonna be signing any one item, or any two items provided that one of them is a book of his purchased from Little Shop (with the receipt). So if you like mythology, stories about stories, dry-yet-springy British senses of humor, Neil's blog, and/or having a lot of fun in a good clean literary sort of way, I recommend that you get yourself a ticket and come on out. Hope I'll see you there, Atlanta-and-the-surrounding-area!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

no fate but what we make for ourselves

Okay, my post title is a Terminator 2 reference. And it doesn't even apply that hard to what I'm trying to get at. AN' WHAT. I like that movie. It's about family and Linda Hamilton's awesome arms and a mixture of practical and digital effects that continues to hold up to my aesthetic discrimination.

Perhaps you should forget everything I said after "family".

Families are mutable. Members are born or grafted in, and others pass or branch away. My closest friends & I call each other family nouveau, though at this point I feel like the "nouveau" is superfluous. When I spend time with them doing the most human things -- cooking, laughing, holding their children's hands, sharing our stories -- we are family.

This has been a strange, difficult year for me. I've come to virtual emotional fisticuffs with depression, anxiety, new loves and loves past, and sudden loss. But, luckily for all of us, the universe doesn't revolve around me & my tribulations, nor around any of my family members or their own troubles. For as much awkwardness and hurt as any of us experience, there are still days bright & brisk, grandparents lavish with hugs and gifts, favorite movies and games to re-experience, technically and calorically hazardous new recipes to attempt, dessert tables, espresso and sambuca, comfy pants, ready smiles. I will save these things up to remember when everything seems terrible, because the world is every bit as beautiful as I'm capable of helping make it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

thanksgiving panic planning

Thanksgiving is next week! I'm shocked, frankly, shocked. And trying to come up with something to bake.

Traditionally I've done a linzer torte, which is like a very large spiced almond cookie with raspberry jam-type filling and pain-in-the-tuchus latticework on top -- but my dear family nouveau includes a child with a nut allergy, so I figure that probably, grinding a bunch of almonds into airborne powder in their kitchen would be rude.

A couple years back I made my other favorite holiday dessert, my mother's apple cake (which I posted a pear riff on awhile back -- most of my friends dislike cooked apples). I'm bored with that, though! Hello, my name is Lauren and I am Short Attention Span Theater.

This pear-butterscotch pie, which The Kitchn kindly pointed me towards, is a serious contender. The only Thing about it is that I hate pastry crust. Hate. Seriously. Don't tell me it's not that hard. The salt in my pie crusts comes from my tears of suffering and humiliation. Yes, even the storebought kind. Hate. Pastrycrust.

This is also the Thing about this s'mores pie, which also sounds wondermous.

Perhaps I shall grow some lady-balls and make one of these happen.

Unless you have any better, non-pastry-crust-related suggestions?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

consumerism wow: Adam's picks

Last time on Consumerism Wow, fellow Awesomancer and t-shirt lover Adam P. Knave told you why I like some t-shirts and I told you why he was wrong -- and now, gentle readers, the tables have turned! Here are 10 shirts that Adam's coveting right now, and my completely accurate ideas of why he wants them. Pay no attention to his flimsy rebuttals! He knows I'm right. He knows it deep in his Hello Kitty earring.


Lauren: You live in the space between joy and melancholy! Wearing this will be like normal other people wearing t-shirts from their high school, college, or plucky local athletic team.

Adam: My athletic team, The NY Death-Bringers What Bring Death, are VERY plucky thank you. This shirt just reminds me that sometimes you're in that little slice of Meh and all you can do is go meh about it.


Lauren: You always sort of thought that Han Solo would make a better band frontman than a smuggler (a short punt, as he really is the galaxy's worst smuggler), and you're so happy to see him finally finding some kind of life fulfillment that you want to support him by wearing this t-shirt. You're a good friend to fictional characters, Adam.

Adam: Close, but really I feel whenever Han is on screen Eddie van Halen should be playing, instead of that instrumental score they have for Star Wars. Han running down a hallway from Stormtroopers? Hot for Teacher! Han flying through an asteroid field? Panama!


Lauren: Oh, easy. You want this shirt as a bitter reminder to never challenge Chuck Norris to a roundhouse contest when you've both been drinking and innocent bystanders are innocently standing nearby.

Adam: You can not prove that happened. At all. Because it didn't happen. And that guy was fine, later. I mean, what guy? There was no guy. You know why? Because this never happened.


Lauren: From what I understand about you, pretty much all you do is make secret plans. And then sometimes carry them out. This t-shirt belonged to you before it was ink-printed cotton, when it was a mere dream of a t-shirt in the mind of a madman.

Adam: It's true. Though I minorly object to "sometimes carry them out." I always carry them out. Sometimes they just fail, you see.


Lauren: Y'know I always think it's cute that you put little warnings up on your blogs about how your work probably contains mature content, 'cause while yeah, you sometimes curse like a sailor and display crude or graphic images, most of the time you're just talking about Jem or Dazzler or Hello Kitty or princesses or pretty things that sparkle. Though I suppose it's sweet of you to want this shirt so that you can warn people about that, too.

Adam: I... I so want to argue this point with you but... you know. Jem and Dazzler and Hello Kitty are awesome, so there.


Lauren: The real party is that you weren't writing in the 1950's and therefore will never be blacklisted by the McCarthy administration unless you finally work out how to time-travel and foolhardily attempt to live the fabulous life promised you in Leave It to Beaver and Mad Men! Party on indeed, you pinko-Commie motherlicker.

Adam: I actually do own this shirt, I must admit. And I wore it recently, while out of town. In line for some food a guy starts talking to me, in Russian. Excitedly. After a while of me just smiling and nodding and him going on in Russian and laughing, he switched to English. He was just fucking with me, asking if I was a communist, in Russian, due to the shirt. Just sayin'.


Lauren: You want this shirt because you play tennis, right? Adam? Right? Um. Should I be wearing a HazMat suit or something?

Adam: Yes. I play tennis. That is it exactly. Come closer. It's safe. I just... play tennis.


Lauren: I was born in 1982, so everything I know about Gary Coleman comes from Avenue Q, so my guess on why you like this shirt is gonna be even more tenuous than the others. Um. You want this shirt because. You. Are what Willis was talkin' 'bout? And because you enjoy schadenfreude and agree that everyone's a little bit racist?

Adam: Now I feel really old. Thanks a lot. I want this shirt because Gary Coleman shouldn't be forgotten. Like Bastille Day. Remember, remember the midget of surrender. The Rich White guy, penthouse, and plot.


Lauren: Oh god. You want this shirt because you ARE foolhardily planning on going back in time to live the fabulous life promised you in Leave It to Beaver and Mad Men, but you want to have a contingency plan in case Stuff Goes Wrong.

Adam: Does this mean you don't wanna come along? Mad Men! They dress wonderfully! Also boozins for lunch! What else is there in life?


Lauren: Bustin' makes you feel good.

Adam: It's very very true.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Blood That Bonds

Back when I was just a wee little edit-monkey, fresh out of the English department of the University of Florida, I filled my free time (i.e., the time during which I wasn't glued to, dancing at Market Street Pub's free-cover 80's night, or playing some serious Halo 1) with lots of odd editing jobs. I proofread a few novels, including both modern and historical Mormon-slanted romances, pro bono for a vanity press. I worked a couple grammatical kinks out of a comic book or two for my friends the Killer Robots, who were collaborating with (omfg) Bob Burden in a Flaming Carrot crossover at the time, in exchange for a few bucks, a few drinks, and a free ticket to Dragon*Con. But Christopher Buecheler was the first author who actually paid me to proof an actual novel.

It involved vampires and hookers and action and lurve, and I cared for it like it was my own strange little wordbaby. Christopher and I fell out of touch after I worked on the first part of the story -- he was still writing the second part, and we both became busy with our day jobs.

Flash forward 5 years -- past the stints I worked handling nutrition textbook manuscripts, proofreading gay male erotica written by and for women, editing a novel about cartoon cereal mascots, and copyediting all the rheumatology ever -- to about a month ago, which is when I received an e-mail out of the great #0000FF yonder from one Christopher Buecheler. He's launched that first book I worked on, The Blood That Bonds, online, and is currently offering it as a free download in a number of a formats, hoping to manifest the reader and maybe-hopefully-even publisher interest that the story deserves.

He's also convinced Garry Brown to do a lot of really gorgeous artwork for the story & characters.

The Blood That Bonds is an urban horror-ish title along the lines of the Christopher Pike and R. L. Stine novels I loved when I was in high school, and still indulge in via things like Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series and Mike Carey's Felix Castor books -- it's supernatural, sexy, violent, and filled with equal parts shock value and earnest emotion. If you or a teenager you know thought you might've enjoyed Twilight if all the vampires hadn't had so much sand in their vaginas, you should give The Blood That Bonds a go. It contains 99% less vampiral vagina sand, guaranteed. And for the low, low price of zero American dollars, it's worth at least a download & taste test, right? Right.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

[pink ribbon goes here]

I try to walk a tightrope of a line when I'm writing this blog -- I talk about things and people that are quite dear to me, but for the most part, I don't like writing about my own life here. I've got Twitter, Facebook, and other personal outlets for that. So I'm not going to (re)post the bit I wrote about my mother's breast cancer here. If you'd like to read it, it's over at A Southern Fairytale, where the wonderful Rachel hosted a whole month's worth of guest bloggers for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many thanks to her for providing a space for so many stories and so much empathy.

And, folks: Do a breast exam on yourself, or on boobs that you love, once a month. Every month. Constant vigilance applies to more than just watching out for Voldemort & poisoned pumpkin juice.