Category Archives: Being a Curmudgeon

My Far Wanderings: San Diego and Spain

So this week begins the pure madness of my convention season.

Amanda and I did the math a few days ago and realized that between now and mid-September, I’m only home for 15 days. And those days are not all in a row.

First on the docket is…

  • San Diego Comic Con

I’ve made a habit of SDCC for years now, but this year I’m trying something a little different.

Because I hate being away from my family for large swaths of time, Sarah, Oot, and Cutie Snoo are coming with me to the con.

Cutie - 8 weeks

(The shirt was a gift. Honestly.)

Because I don’t normally travel with my kids, I think this would be a good time to establish some ground rules. Okay?

1. Being off-duty.

One of the main reasons I go to conventions is to see/hang out with/interact with my readers. I like meeting you guys.

That said, one of the *other* reasons I like going to conventions has nothing to do with you. It’s simply that I like going I like going to conventions. I like wandering the dealer’s room, looking at stuff, hanging out with my friends, and just being a geek.

Does that mean that I resent it when someone comes up to me in the dealer’s hall and asks for a picture or an autograph? No. Not really.

But you have to realize that sometimes I’m in a hurry to get somewhere. Sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes I haven’t eaten all day. Sometimes I’m enjoying the only free time I have available all day. Sometimes I’m just trying to get to the bathroom and you’re the third person to stop me in the hallway.

That means that if I beg off, and say, “No, I’m sorry, not right now.” You have to respect that.

I’m not saying you have to be delighted. I get that you might *really* have your heart set of getting a picture with me and the nearby statue of Sailor Moon. But it could be I’m late to a panel. It could be I only have 25 minutes to eat some food before I’ve got an interview. It could just be that I’m really, really weary and not feeling very social at the moment.

Let me put it this way. While at many points in the convention I am absolutely all-the-way there just for you. At other times I’m not. And if you hit me in one of those *not* times, I’m well within my rights to politely decline your request.

To simplify, when I’m at a convention, I exist in two possible states:

On Duty – Signing stuff. Doing panels. Taking pictures. Playing games.

Off Duty But Approachable - With the understanding that I might not be up for anything right now.

But now we have a third option, too: With My Family

If you see me at the convention and I’m carrying a baby, or pushing a stroller, or sharing an ice cream cone with my son that means I’m With My Family. During these times you should probably consider me extra-off duty.

Can we exchange companionable nods with one other? Sure. Can you offer up a geek solidarity fist bump? Absolutely.

But asking me to pose for a picture, sign a book, or explain the best way to get an agent? Not so much.

2. Don’t touch my kids.

I know. My children are fucking adorable. It’s like their mutant power.

And I know that wanting to touch kids is a totally normal mammalian response.

And I also know that a lot of you feel a connection with me, and with my kids. You’ve seen pictures of them. You’ve read stories about Cutie on facebook and seen the #OotSays hashtag on Twitter.

But seriously. Don’t touch them. I don’t know you. We don’t want them getting convention plague. And more likely than not, a stranger coming up and pawing at them is just going to freak them out.

And you *really* don’t want to see my grizzly bear type protective dad instincts kick in. You really don’t. Really. You don’t want to spend comic con in the hospital, and I don’t need the bad press.

So. Consider this fair warning. Tell your friends.

*     *     *

  • My San Diego Comic Con Schedule

Thursday, July 24
4-5pm Putting the Epic in Epic Fantasy Room: 25ABC
With Robin Hobb, Joe Abercrombie, Raymond E. Feist, Django Wexler, Morgan Rhodes, Sam Sykes, Moderated by Brent Weeks

5:30-6:30pm Signing table, AA09

Friday, July 25
1:30-2:30pm Playing Gloom with Geek and Sundry
JOLT ‘N JOES
379 4TH AVENUE, SAN DIEGO, CA 92101

Saturday, July 26

1-3pm Signing at Badali’s booth – #532
4:15-5:15pm Rulers of the Realm Final, Room 6A
With Joe Abercrombie, Diana Gabaldon, Lev Grossman, George R.R. Martin, and moderated by Ali T. Kokmen.

Other booths where I tend to lurk:

  • Mysterious Galaxy: #1119
  • Penguin Booth: #1028
  • Badali: #532
  • Geek Chic: #4928
  • Thinkgeek: #3849
  • Karen Hallion: Artist’s Alley BB-11

If anything else comes up, I’ll probably just tweet about it.

  • Spain: Madrid and Aviles

After San Diego, I’ll be going straight to Spain.

First, I’ll be doing a live interview on Espacio Fundación Telefónica on Tuesday, July 29th.

The show starts at 19:00 (UTC+02) and it will also be broadcast on their podcast channel, so you can listen to it from anywhere. For more details, the podcast, and a chance to get tickets, visit their site at http://espacio.fundaciontelefonica.com/.

Then, I’ll be headed to Aviles to Celsius 232. From what I’ve heard, it’s a really cool con. What’s more, it has no badges or entrance fees, so anyone who is in the area can come see me.

Thursday, July 31
1:15 PM – 2:00 PM Adventures of the Princess Panel. Carpa de Actividades.
Conducted by Jorge Ivan Argiz.
2:00 PM – 2:45 PM Signing in the Carpa de Actividades.

Friday, August 1
10 AM – 12 PM Signing in the Carpa de Actividades.
6:15 PM -7:30 PM The Works of Patrick Rothfuss. Casa de la Cultura.
Conducted by Diego Garcia Cruz.

Saturday, August 2
10 AM t – 12 PM Signing in the Carpa de Actividades
6:15 PM -7:30 PM Three Different Approaches to Fantasy. Casa de la Cultura.
With Brandon Sanderson and Joe Abercrombie. Conducted by Cristina Macia and Jorge Ivan Argiz in the Casa de la Cultura

Hope to see some of you soon….

pat

Also posted in babies, conventions, How to be a Worthwhile Human Being | By Pat81 Responses

Concerning Hobbits, Love, and Movie Adaptations

So the other day a friend forwarded me a link to the very first-ever film adaptation of the Hobbit.

It’s only about 10 minutes long, and worth your time. I’m embedding it here as an example of why I’m extremely leery of anyone ever making a movie out of The Name of the Wind.

Isn’t that an absolute trip? They added a princess to the story and everything.

Now it turns out there are good reasons for why this adaptation was bizarrely short and startlingly off-script. But rather than summarize them, I’ll just link over to a post where the guy that made the film explained why it turned out as it did. It’s actually a really interesting story.

After watching it on youtube, I saw a link and followed it over to watch the trailer for the Hobbit movie.

I won’t deny that I got a bit of a tingle watching it. But honestly, my response was half-tingle, half anticipatory dread.

A dread-tingle. Or dringle, if you prefer.

You see, the first video I posted up there was bad enough to be good in a funny train-wreck sort of way.

But the trailer makes me think that the Hobbit movie is going to be good enough that big pieces of it will make me want to vomit pure bile.

“But Pat,” I hear you say, “Why the concern? The Lord of the Rings Movies were good!”

Yeah. They were good movies. I won’t argue that. They were also moderately okay adaptation of the books.

And yes, I’m aware that referring to something as ‘moderately okay’ is the very definition of damming with faint praise.

Without going into it in any detail, (that would be a whole separate blog’s worth of post) my main problem with the Jackson adaptations is that they lose the subtlety of the original stories.

It’s like this: Tolkien’s books were full of subtle tension, drama, action, good characters, and a world of startling and immersive richness.

Jackson’s adaptations had some brilliant action scenes, great special effects, some pointless action scenes, drama, melodrama, a lot of panoramic cinematography, good casting, and an inexplicably Scottish dwarf with all the character depth of a Disney animal sidekick.

So I’ll say it again. Good movies. Ah hell. I’ll even admit that they were great movies just for that fight scene with the rock troll in Moria.  But only moderately okay adaptations.

In the Hobbit trailer, I see the same thing happening. The Hobbit was a lighthearted story about a slightly bumbling average-Joe who goes off on an adventure and discovers hidden resources inside himself. (Spoiler alert.) It was fun. If the book came out today, it publishers would probably market it as YA.

While it had action and drama, it was not an action-packed Hollywood-style dramapalooza where Gandalf and Galadriel have emo makeouts.

I can tell in my bones that the movie is going to be chock full of scenes that were never in the original story. I’m not talking about a little extra dialogue here and there. I’m talking about completely invented cutaway scenes that stuff more action in, and subplots that were only barely alluded to in the book. My off-the-cuff prediction? At least 20 minutes worth.

It will be a good movie. Maybe even a great movie. But it will also be, at best, a moderately okay adaptation of the subtle, sweet book that I grew up loving.

You know that it’s going to be like? It’s going to be like wandering onto an internet porn site and seeing a video of a girl I had a crush on in high school. You probably knew someone like her. The smart girl. The shy girl. The one who wore glasses and was a little socially awkward. The one who screwed up the curve in chemistry so you got an A- instead of an A.

She was a geek girl before anybody knew what a geek girl was. And that was kinda awesome, because you were a geek boy before being a geek was culturally acceptable.

You liked her because she was funny. And she was smart. And you could actually talk to her. And she read books.

And sure, she was girl-shaped, and that was cool. And she was cute, in an understated, freckly way. And sometimes you’d stare at her breasts when you were supposed to be paying attention in biology. But you were 16. You stared at everyone’s breasts back then.

And yeah, you had some fantasies about her, because, again, you were 16. But they were fairly modest fantasies about making out in the back of a car. Maybe you’d get to second base. Maybe you could steal third if you were lucky.

And maybe, just maybe, something delightful and terrifying might  happen. And yeah, it would probably be awkward and fumbling at times, but that’s okay because she’d be doing half the fumbling too. Because the only experience either one of you had was from books. And afterwards, if you make a Star Wars joke, you know she’ll get it, and she’ll laugh….

That’s the girl you fell in love with in high school. You didn’t have a crush on her because she was some simmering pool of molten sex. You loved her because she was subtle and sweet and smart and special.

So you stroll onto this porn site, and there she is. Except now she’s wearing a thong and a black leather halter top. She’s wearing fuck-me red lipstick and a lot of dark eye makeup. Her breasts are amazing now, proud and perfectly round.

Someone’s taught her to dance, and she does it well. She’s flexible and tan. She has a flat midriff and walks like a high-class Vegas stripper. Her eyes are dark and smouldering. She has a riding crop, and she likes to be tied up, and her too-red mouth forms a perfect circle as she sighs and moans, and tosses her head in a performance designed to win any number of academy awards….

And what’s the problem with this? Well… in some ways, nothing. What you’ve found is perfectly good porn. Maybe even great porn.

But in other ways the problem is blindingly obvious. This girl has nothing in common with your high-school crush except for her social security number. Everything you loved about her is gone.

We loved the sweet, shy, freckly girl. We still remember her name, and after all these years she lives close to our heart. Seeing her in lipstick and stiletto heels dancing on a pole is like watching Winnie the Pooh do heroin and then glass someone in a bar fight.

It just isn’t something that I look forward to seeing….

And that’s how I’m going to feel when I watch the Hobbit.

I’ll be one part entertained, two parts nostalgic, two parts irritated, three parts outraged, and one part oddly titillated.

And I’ll watch it, and I’ll enjoy it, and afterwards I’ll go home and feel more than slightly sad….

pat

Also posted in boding, Consistent Verb Tense Is For Bitches, movie talk, My High Horse, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat171 Responses
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