Friday, January 16, 2009

Ye Olde "HOLY CRAP"!

Working in the book industry, you tend to get a lot of exposure to different authors you might not otherwise pick up and read. When I worked at Waldenbooks, I got to check books out on a library style system so that employees could gain more product knowledge without actually having to spend all of their money on all of the books they were reading. It was pretty genius, especially for someone like me who was really only familiar with the authors I really liked and was reluctant to spend cash on books I wasn't sure I'd enjoy. So, since I was in charge of our fiction section, I spent day after day after day shelving books with interesting titles or by authors I hadn't heard of before. One day I was shelving books and I came across a title that immediately sparked my interest. It was called Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. I did a quick read of the synopsis on the back of the book and thought it sounded funny. I picked up a copy and took it into the break room with me when I went on my lunch break and read the prologue. I laughed like crazy and decided I had to read this book. So, I did. I read that one and the other two we had in stock by this guy and thought "This is some seriously funny stuff". So, when I finished the book I saw that he puts his e-mail in the "about the author" section of his books and I decided to send him an e-mail saying that I worked for a bookstore and I really enjoyed his books. This sounds creepy, but I should also add in that I e-mail restaurants whenever they give good service, stores when I have received good service from them, so basically whenever anyone goes above and beyond my expectations and I have an opportunity to thank them, I send along a little thank-you note. Anyway, I experienced the unexpected when he actually e-mailed me back and started a conversation. I did not expect that. So, I spent some time on his fan message boards, where there were not a ton of fans at the time, and when he was doing a signing at a Borders in Ann Arbor I asked if he'd mind stopping by my Walden store. So he did. Seriously, coolest guy ever right?

Fast forward to a few years later when I'm working in the corporate offices for Borders and get an e-mail from a co-worker saying Chris is going to be in the office one afternoon. Although having a written dialogue with him for years, I am still a bit reluctant for face to face contact with people I admire and think are totally awesome, so I walk past the room where he's signing books for buyers and inventory analysts and I hear "Fine Becky, just pretend I'm not here. I hate you now" as I walk past the room. So...I go in and we have a chat, which kind of bewildered the buyers in the room because we had pre-existing rapport, and then I got my book signed, left and went to the public signing with some other local people from the message boards that night. We had a good time, and that was that.

Fast forward again to two days ago when I check my Facebook and get a message from my friend British Jeff (I mention that he's British because I know several Jeff's and want to specify which one I'm talking about) saying to check the message boards because I'm needed. What? Right. So, I check the boards and see that Chris is doing a Live at 01 Borders book club taping here in Michigan on the 30th and there's a call out to me, Jeff and Steve (lives in the area as well) specifically to come do this book club discussion, so I'm like "Cool, I'm in!" because it sounds like fun. Well then I check my private messages on Myspace and Chris had sent me a request to attend this and I'm like "Wow, cool, I was specifically requested. I'm all flattered and stuff!" so now I'm going to go to Store 01 on the 30th and chat about his new book (see picture above) with some friends of mine and with Chris and have it taped to stream on the website. How freaking cool is that?!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

I can't really lie folks, whenever there's nothing on television worth watching, my TV is always set to HGTV. It's sad, but very very true. Plus, since there hasn't been anything new on TV since before Thanksgiving, that means I've been watching a LOT of HGTV. This wouldn't be a problem, except that it makes me want to do all kinds of crazy interior design junk. I've done renovations and painting etc. in the house we live in now, but I don't really want to do anything else to it because we'll NEVER see any return on it since we're not buying this house and also because there's not really a whole lot you can do to this place to make it not suck. In general, the house is crappy and has the worst layout ever so it's always going to be sucky. So, this of course makes me sit around wanting my own house like...A LOT. Although, there are a lot other reasons I want my own house at the moment, but HGTV isn't helping. I want to go in and like...paint stuff or arrange furniture and actually have some space to have more than 3 or 4 friends over at one time. But, since I don't have that, watching HGTV makes me want to go to other people's houses and paint their stuff for them, which probably wouldn't go over so well since not everyone has my taste. But makes me want to make people's ugly stuff pretty.

Damn you HGTV.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

80's Television

So I was sitting around last night when I couldn't sleep because my brain wouldn't shut off (this happens a lot) and I experienced the usual mind wandering that happens when my brain refuses to be quiet and go to sleep. So, while I was lying in bed, I started thinking about telelvision in the 1980's and how weird some of it was. For example, who was in a room pitching Doogie Howser, M.D.? I imagine the pitch going something like this:

"Ok we want to make a show for families, but it's geared mostly toward pre-teen and teen audiences. It's a show about a 14 year old kid, but he's a genius. Not only is he a genius, he's a doctor! That's right, he's a child prodigy who survived childhood lukemia and decided to become a doctor so he graduated from med school when he was 14 and now he works as a doctor in the same hospital as his dad. The brains and responsibility of this kid will be offset by his idiot best friend who will also serve as the comic relief of the show. What do you think?"

Exec: Nah, not interested.

"Did I mention that at the end of each episode he makes a profound and moral statement in a computer journal that will promote values and good morality?"

Exec: SOLD!

I think that might be how a lot of 80's tv shows were pitched. They probably had weird and basically crappy setups and the premise was usually not fantastic, but the minute you threw in "positive moral message" television studios ate it up like it was a snack cake. I think this is particularly true for shows that were aimed at younger audiences. That's probably how we ended up with Doogie. And what the hell kind of a name is Doogie anyway? I'd have changed that crap.

Thank goodness Neil Patrick Harris has been able to move on from his roots in bad 80's television. And admit he's gay. And do another tv show. And do Broadway. And be Dr. Horrible.