Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I met John Scalzi

Yes, I actually found myself in the presence of the Scalzorc and lived to tell the tale. [Click on that link for awesomeness.] ;-) Seriously, a few weeks ago I went to a reading at the NYPL where Mr. Scalzi, along with Cat Valente, Lev Grossman, and Scott Westerfeld, were giving readings. This occasion was the NYPL's effort to support those who write and enjoy Speculative Fiction. The event was titled, Speculating on Fiction. Isn't that wonderfully telling? These authors all happened to be on book signing tours for their respective new releases. I've been an admirer of Mr. Scalzi's for some time now. Just recently became aware of Cat and knew Lev and Scott by name only. Cat had a really cool publicity promotion for her new book where she wrote some small essay type tales that dealt with her new book which were posted on several of the websites of the venues she stopped at along her tour. I read them all in sequence. They were pretty cool and they worked 'cause I bought the book. However, the main draw for me for this shindig was John. I've been a follower of his online shenanigans, mostly documented here. What I like most about John is not only is he an excellent writer of many things but he also is a huge fan and proponent of SF and intelligence. He showcases other writers on Whatever along with his thoughts, journeys, and insights. Cool dude. And he is a proud Geek! And a very entertaining one as well. For his reading at the NYPL gathering he decided to read a short little tale he wrote as an April Fool's joke for the world. He regaled us with the tale of how the whole thing came about. (I will not reiterate it here for it is well documented on Whatever here.) Then he read us this most epic of epic beginnings the likes of which fantasy has never seen nor will it ever again! Also of note was that he was pretty much hoarse and yet he still gave an excellent performance. And it was a performance, not a reading. This guy is super animated in a good way, he loves what he does and it shows. I like that. He was on tour for Fuzzy Nation, which I bought and will read very soon, and I also bought Cat's new book, "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making" and Lev's, "The Magicians". The Magicians came out last year and Lev is touring for the sequel The Magician King but I figured since I was just being introduced to his work I'd start with the first one. All the readings were wonderful and all of the books were signed by the authors so I am a happy Dragun. Oh and look:

That is John Scalzi next to the Awesome Afro!

(Note the dark background. The NYPL was closing on us and they weren't playing! They shut off the lights in the middle of the meet and greet. Good thing the flash was working! I got my pic and my signatures so I'm good. I'll meet him again.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Getting things back together. And an awesomely stupid crash.

Hello again friends. I know. I'm so inconsistent. I'm working on it. Finally went back to Aikido last Wednesday. Damn it felt good to be in the dojo again. It's been almost two years since I'd been on the mats and I've missed it the whole time but life must be dealt with and some things must suffer sometimes. I've been through a lot since then but I'm getting back on track and slowly building my focus. I will not be taking a hiatus from Aikido like that again any time soon. Along with school that is another focus of mine. Next targets are my writing and getting my money earning capabilities sharp. This job shit is just not going to cut it for much longer.

Anyways, I wanted to write about my day today, well, yesterday. Sunday morning. Woke up to a rather heated disagreement with my lady, whom will be referred to as Pixie from now on. She went to work and I just tried to calm myself and chill. She calls after a while. She forgot her socks and could I please bring them. Yup, no problem. She doesn't work that far from where we live, so, I decide to ride over there on her bike. Her bike is better than mine, lighter, faster, and more expensive. Riding downhill I let my concentration wander. How, were you wondering? WELL! Let me tell you. I realized that the volume was too low on my Zune and decided to turn it up. I looked down for only a second but that's all it takes. I looked up at the coming intersection and saw the light was yellow and realized I should slow down before I got there. This was an intelligent decision since I was moving fast and couldn't tell if there were cars waiting at the opposing lights. However, this super-efficient bike I was on was way more responsive than my way cheaper and much heavier mountain bike. So, I hit the brake for the rear tire and it starts to slew sideways, the bike begins to shake and wobble. My brain says, "Hey stupid, put your other hand on the fucking handle bars and control this shit!" But see, even though that was another very intelligent decision it also came a bit too late. I was really coasting, downhill remember, and by the time my Zune filled hand barely touched the handle bar it was already way too late. So, with this super-efficient, speedy, and expensive machine wobbling exponentially out of control between my legs, I try and control the fall somehow. We will now defer to my brain's take on the resulting event(The speed of thought is an amazing thing.): "You dumb fuck. Oh shit. We're going down. This shit is going to hurt bad. REALLY BAD!! Try not to get tangled in the bike. I can't jump clear. Oh shit, I'm going to hit that car. Turn the wheel, damnit, don't hit the car with the wheel dead on! Goodohshitthisisgonna..." BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!! "Aaaauuuggghh...." Then I laugh hysterically at myself as several witnesses to my colossal fuck up ask me if I'm okay. I hit that car hard. I tell them all, "Yeah, I'm alright," and I look to make sure I didn't damage the car, then check the bike, then feel the pain. Jacked up my left knee and my whole upper left torso, which is unfortunately an area that has been previously damaged rather seriously. However, self assessment revealed that I wasn't broken, so, I composed myself, just a tad bit shaken, and continue on my delivery of socks.

Delivery made, Pixie happy, I make my way home. Shower, clean and patch my knee and make my way to Aikido!! I still went for two reasons. 1: I said I would make it and I honor my word. Sunday's are a relatively new addition to the schedule and attendance is the determiner of Sunday classes. 2: I have just rededicated myself to the pursuit of Aikido and nothing is getting in the way of that. Not even very recent minor injuries. The only pain I felt was my knee, because it really did get hurt. I think the pedal rammed against it, or more accurately my knee jammed against the pedal and tore it up a bit. But aside from that, class was awesome. The two black belts there, Steve and Jesse, did me the honor of going over all of the basic moves I learned so long ago and a few more that would most likely show up on my next test. I was immensely humbled and pleased. I really like Aikido.

My knee is sore and my left shoulder and down the back on my left side is not quite killing me but it hurts. I'm good though. Aikido tonight. I'll be ready. That was most of my day. Met Pixie as she got off work, we went home, talked, I crashed, she made dinner and woke me up in time to eat and go to work. I like my life. It could be better and it will be but it really could be a lot worse. Enjoy your life my friends. This one my be your best.