Category Archives: small adventures

On the Making of Metheglin

As part of the NOTW card Kickstarter a couple months ago, I promised if we hit a stretch goal I would post up my personal recipe for Metheglin.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you a few things before you go and try to replicate one of my experiments.

1. I got interested in brewing mead while I was writing my books, way back in my college days. It’s not something that I brought to my books, it’s something my books brought to me.

2. I used to be a bit of a chemistry geek. I originally went to College to study the equivalent of chemical engineering.

3. I did not stick with that line of study very long. I never took it very seriously, but I enjoyed the labwork, and I have a great fondness for all the gear involved. I’m a bit of a geek for it, and I know enough to be dangerous.

So. The stage is set. Here’s the story.

It’s 1999 or so, and I’m thinking that I’m going to take a crack at making some mead. So I start doing some research. I buy some books. I look on the early proto-internet for information.

And I learn some interesting things. I learn that the name “metheglin” comes from the old English term for medicine. Metheglin was mead with a bunch of herbs in it. Because, as you know, herbs are good for you.

But as I read more it all started sounding like a *huge* pain in the ass. The books went on and on about about how I’m supposed to check the ph level and… I don’t know, hydroginize things or some shit like that.

What it sounds like is a lot of fiddly bullshit work to me, and that’s not what I signed up for. I wasn’t looking for a part time job. I didn’t want to babysit this goddamn thing for 6 months, petting it and taking its temperature and cooing sweet nothings in its ear.

No. I wanted to muck about with glass bottles and tubes for an afternoon. I wanted to make a potion. I wanted to do some goddamn mad science and then not think about it again until the stuff was ready to drink.

Then I thought to myself, “Self,” I thought. “This is bullshit. Vikings made this, and I guarantee that they did not own a hydrometer. They just thumped it together in a barrel and then drank it and pillaged some shit.”

So, figuring that while I wasn’t a chemical engineer by any stretch of the imagination, my understanding of organic chemistry was at least as good as a  Viking’s.

In proud Viking mad-scientist style, I bunged a bunch of stuff into a big glass jug, shook it up, and brewed what would come to be known among my friends as “The Mindbender Mead.”

Metheglin page

For those of you who don’t want to strain your eyes, here it is typed up.

4.5 lbs Wildflower honey
1 pint apple juice
2 packages champagne yeast (LALVIN brand) -EC-1118
1/2 tsp yeast energizer
3 drops willow tincture
3 tbsp orange rind
7 whole cloves
1/2 tsp morning glory seeds (black)
1 tbsp clover seeds
1/4 (unit missing) bee pollen
1/4 oz stick cinnamon – well broken
1/2 tsp cardamom seed
1/2 tsp hysop
2 pinches brown flaky stuff
1 tbsp poppy seed
1/2 tbs fenugreek (whole)
1 lean pinch wormwood
+1 gallon distilled water (I don’t know why this is written there.)

Note the scientific rigor with which I recorded the ingredients, such as the “brown flaky stuff” that I knew was some sort of herb, because it was sitting on a bottle on my shelves. I can see it in my mind. I wonder if I still have it downstairs?

Hmm…. No luck. But here, I took a picture of one of my shelves that I just scoured to see if I could find it.

My shelves

There’s some stories on *that* shelf, let me tell you. Not the least of which is one of my my failed coffee experiments from back in 2002.

A few notes about the above recipe:

1. The stuff in pencil was me trying to make it ferment again. I thought it was stuck, but in fact, it was just finished.

2. I don’t know why it says +1 gallon of distilled water. I used a 3 gallon carboy, so I know I put more water in than that….

3. I used morning glory seeds because I had heard that they contain a substance similar to LSD. However, I used hand-gathered seeds, because store-bought ones are typically treated with anti-fungal agents you don’t want to ingest.

4. I used some wormwood because I knew it contained a substance similar to THC.

5. Note that I didn’t use much of either one. Mostly because I didn’t want people to drink it and lose their shit all over my house.

I put all the miscelaneous herbs and whatnot into a mesh bag and put it in the mead. But the mead was all bubbly with science and fermentation. It floated to the top, rather than steeping, releasing all of its healthful goodness.

This angered me. So I thought to myself, “what do I have here in the house that I can put in the bag to make it sink?” It must be heavy, but it also must be small enough to fit through the relatively small opening at the top of my carboy. It should also be somewhere inside the house, because I am lazy.

So I picked out a piece of Lapis Lazuli I had laying around. Because, among other things, I am a bit of a rock geek. Have been since I was a kid.

Why did I use a piece of lapis instead of, say, a chunk of gravel or a spoon? Because I was making a fucking potion, that’s why. And if I want to put some gemstones in there then that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

And this

(Also introducing: My Foot. And now you know.)

Lapis is a semi-precious stone, and though you can’t tell in that picture, it’s a lovely bluish color.  The piece I put into the mead was almost exactly the same at that one up there, because I bought them at the same time.

It didn’t really weigh the sack down that much, but I was done fiddling about, and decided to call it good enough.

Several months later when I bottled the mead and re-claimed my piece of lapis, I discovered it was no longer a pretty bluish color. It was no longer polished smooth.

Now its surface was pitted and crumbly and white. The mead, you see, had eaten away the outside of the stone.

I was equal parts impressed an terrified. So it was time for more research to figure out if drinking this was going to give me cobalt poisoning or something similar.

And what do I find out? Apparently lapis is mostly composed of stuff some brewers use anyway, to clarify and stabilize their wines or beers. (And there isn’t much chance of their being arsenic or cobalt at all. Hurray!)

The moral of the story is either:

1. I’m really lucky.

2. I played too much D&D as a kid.

3. Even when I’m just fucking about and making shit up I’m pretty goddamn clever.

It was my first batch of mead, and it was probably the best one I’ve ever done. It was strong stuff, and when my friends came over and drank it, the room got a warm, mellow feel. Which could be the wormwood. Or it could be the arsenic….

Or, you know, the booze.

So there you have it: Mindbender Mead.

Please brew responsibly. I am not legally responsible for your stupidity.

With love,

pat

P.S. If you ordered stuff from the Kickstarter, they’re finalizing the orders even as we speak. You should have received e-mails telling you how to log onto the Pledge Manager and confirm your order. This is important, because you’ll have the chance to add anything you missed in those hectic final days.

The folks at Albino Dragon tell me that about 2500 people haven’t finished confirming their orders. So if you *haven’t* seen an e-mail, you might want to check around in your spam filter.

Because the deadline for all this is pretty much today. Monday Sept 30th.

If you don’t confirm things on time, it will slow down your order. And if enough people drag their feet, it will slow down *everyone’s* orders.

So jump to it.

P.P.S. If you *didn’t* order stuff from the Kickstarter and wish you had, there’s no need to wail and gnash your teeth.

Ditto for those of you who are reading this after the deadline has passed. Or the folks who wish they could add a few things, but are strapped for cash at the end of the month.

Rest assured that after we fill all the orders, we’ll be putting most everything from the kickstarter up in our online store: the Tinker’s Packs.

Also posted in Arts and Crafts, hodgelany, I Fucking Love Numbered Lists, Terrible Science | By Pat57 Responses

Snowmen and Second Chances

So earlier this month, I started to catch up on certain things in my life. I turned in a story that’s three months late. I caught up on reading my backlog of e-mail (well… most of it). I got back in touch with people I’ve been meaning to e-mail for months.

And at the beginning of the month, spring started to arrive here in Wisconsin.

You would think this would be a cheerful thing for me. Birds singing. Flowers budding. All that Disney shit.

But you’d be wrong about that.

For one thing, you’re thinking of the wrong sort of spring. In Wisconsin, spring really just means the snow melts. Everything is brown and grey and muddy. It rains. The trees stretch their bare, black branches into the slate-grey sky like they’re auditioning for a part in a particularly emo T.S. Elliot poem.

Yeah, eventually things green up. It gets warm. Trees bud. But that’s in May. That’s *late* spring. Early spring is depressing as fuck.

The other reason spring isn’t very cheerful for me is that in my head, spring isn’t a beginning time. Spring is an ending time for me. Maybe it’s because for 20+ years of my life, I lived by the school year, rather than the calendar year. And May (Which again, is spring in Wisconsin) is the end of the school year.

Whatever the reason, spring is a melancholy time for me. I don’t think, “Yay! A new year is starting!”

No. I think, “I was so busy this winter that I didn’t take time to make a single snow angel. I didn’t build a snow fort like I wanted to with Oot. I didn’t even make a snowman with him. I don’t think I even made a snowball this year.”

It’s a depressing thought.

Luckily for me, Stevens Point got about three inches of snow last week. Then last night, on Saturday, we got about four more. Good wet packing snow.

It’s nice to get a second chance. Especially when you don’t deserve it. To ignore such a gift would be reckless to the point of arrogance.

So today I took a couple hours and focused on the important things.

Best crop

(Click to Embiggen.)

Those of you who live in the uncivilized backwaters of the world might not know what Sarah is doing back there. But anyone here in Wisconsin can tell by the tracks in the snow….

We’re making snowmen. Snowpersons, rather. A whole snow family.

Snow family

The one in the middle is Oot, pretending to be a snowchild with his corncob pipe. Or, as he refers to it, his smoker.

If you have trouble with snowman gender identity, let me clarify by pointing out that the one on the right is me, while the one on the left is Sarah. You can tell because the one on the left is more cheerful, and looks better in her hat. While the one on the right is more full of shit.

And no, I’m not speaking figuratively. I’m talking about this:

full view

Can’t see it? Let me get you closer….

Close up of deer

There’s a herd of deer that regularly hang out in our backyard. This is one of the many nice things about living in central Wisconsin. Some deer poop in your snowman is a small price to pay. It’s as inoffensive as rabbit poop. The two are virtually indistinguishable, truth be told.

The other way you can tell the difference between snowme and snowsarah is that snowme has an icicle beard….

icebeard and pat

Next time, I think I’ll go for the pine beard, as the icicle one is hard to see.

If you can’t tell which one is the real me, it’s the one on the right. I have better posture than snowme, and I’m more full of shit. (Figuratively.)

Also, for those of you who are curious, that is my favorite coat. (Well… I only have two, but it’s still my favorite.) I’ve had it for over twenty years. That’s why it looks a little the worse for wear….

Anyway, to wrap things up, here’s our whole snow family:

snowfam

And with that I will leave you.

May you all have a relatively pain-free tax day. May you all have ample opportunity to make snowmen, and more second chances than you deserve.

pat

Also posted in day in the life, my beard, Oot, Sarah | By Pat52 Responses

Art, Elephants, and Duct Tape

A while back, I mentioned that I was going to be part of a fantasy calendar that’s in its final two days on Kickstarter right now.

But I didn’t talk about the calendar itself. That’s it’s not going to be a calendar featuring fantasy characters. It’s going to feature the fantasy authors themselves.

This is something of a new experience for me. Over the last couple years, I’ve grown slowly used to people wanting to take my picture. But having someone costume me up and do a for-serious photo shoot is still outside my realm of experience.

Lauren, the photographer who is doing the calendar, hit her 15,000 dollar goal on Kickstarter about a week ago. Since that means she can afford to do the calendar, she’s already on the road measuring authors so she can make their costumes.

And by “measuring authors” I mean she wrapped me in duct tape.

Apparently this is a thing. You wrap someone in duct tape, then cut them out of it and stuff it with newspaper. When you’re done, you effectively have a Macgyver version of a dressmaker’s dummy that’s the same size as your model.

And by “model” I mean me.

Because you only get wrapped in duct tape so often in your life, (this is #2 for me) I figured I might as well take some pictures.

Lauren Zurchin 2

The beard was a bit of a concern so Sarah tied it up for me. You don’t want duct tape in your beard.

Lauren Zurchin 3

Oot helped too….

Lauren Zurchin 5

It’s hard to look dignified wrapped in duct tape, but I gave it a decent try. (That’s Lauren behind me….)

What did I carry away from the experience? Well, mostly that I’ve gotten really fat these last couple years. Really, really fucking fat.

The other thing I learned was that Lauren is a lot of fun, and that her plans for the other author’s photos are…..

Is there a word that means both awesome and ambitious and terrifying all at once? There should be. Her plans are that word.

I’m not at liberty to discuss the other photos, but I can mention that the current plan for mine is “Gothic Circus Ringmaster” which, in my opinion is about the best thing ever.

As I mentioned before, the Kickstarter is going to be done in just a couple of days. And to clarify, you can’t buy the calendar on there because the proceeds of the calendar are going to Worldbuilders and Firstbook, and Kickstarter doesn’t allow charity funding. (The one exception is the the calendar signed by all the authors that you can buy on the kickstarter.)

Instead, Lauren is using the Kickstarter to raise money for *making* the calendar. She’s using the Kickstarter money to pay for gas and food and duct tape. She’ll be using it to make the costumes and props and sets for the photos themselves.

And can I just take a moment to say that I love the fact that her goal is to have the photos be as raw as possible? I love that. Photoshop is fine and good. But if there’s going to be an elephant in my photo, I want it to be a really for-real elephant that’s really there, not just bullshit photoshopped in thing. If someone is going to have lightning shooting out of them, it should be real lightning. Because that’s awesome.

With that in mind, Lauren is looking for a few hard-to-come-by props, extras, and skills for putting her vision together.

Specifically, she’s looking for.

  • A Large Tesla coil, and someone who knows how to operate it safely. Preferably in California
  • Live owls. Preferably in Southern California
  • An Elephant. Preferably in Wisconsin area or Southern California
  • Fire stunt gel crew. Preferably in New England
  • Live vulture for a photo. Preferably in Montana-Wyoming-Utah area.
  • Professional set designers (high-end, not high school musical level), for me to pow wow with re: a few possible sets I need to build.

Just from that list, you know it’s going to be an awesome calendar.

If you can help us out with any of these things, feel free to drop Lauren a line at lauren@laurenzurchinstudios.com

Or, if you’d like to pitch in to the kickstarter and help support this lovely young woman in the pursuit of her art, you still have a few days left to get in on the action over here.

Best,

pat

Posted in small adventures | By Pat25 Responses

NaNoWriMo – Epilogue

So last month I got all riled up and decided to try NaNoWriMo.

I walked into the experience full of  hubris. Despite the fact that I was starting a week late, I was sure I’d be able to stride in, thunder forth 50,000 words, then still have time to make a delicious sandwich, invent a perpetual motion machine, and wrestle a bear before the end of November.

After all, I thought to myself. Am I not a published author? Have I not published over half a million words of fiction? Am I not, in fact, Patrick Rothfuss, international bestselling author, polymath, iconoclast, and haptodysphorian despoiler of women?

In the heat of the moment I forgot that in addition to being those things, I am Pat Rothfuss, who took fourteen years to publish his first book, and four to publish his second. And while *Patrick* Rothfuss looks pretty good on paper, *Pat* Rothfuss is, at his heart, something of a slacker, a dabbler, and a hooligan. What’s more, I am prone to obsessive revision and a certain degree of linguistic faffery.

So let’s jump straight to the ending of the story. Did I win NaNoWriMo?

Well, there are two answers to that.

If  by “win” you mean “did you manage to write 50,000 words by the end of the month?” then the answer is a resounding, “no.”

Not only did I not write 50,000 words, but I broke pretty much all NaNoWriMo’s rules from the very beginning.

You’re supposed to start a novel and stick with that project all the way through the month. You’re supposed to move ever-forward, never looking back, never stopping to revise.

I did none of these things. This is in part because I am a contrary person. (See above, under iconoclast.) But it’s also because I prefer to adhere to the spirit of the law rather than the letter of it. And to me, the spirit of NaNoWriMo is writing 50,000 words.

This I did not do. I was short by about 15,000 words. So no matter if you’re looking at the spirit or the letter of the law, I’m a loser.

(Woo! NaNoWriMo Losers Unite!)

Despite the fact that I failed to hit the 50,000 mark. I consider the experience to be a huge success. Why?

  • I had fun.

Writing is usually a very isolationist activity. Heading onto the NaNoWriMo website every day and seeing how other folks were doing make writing just a *tiny* bit social. Sure, I was spending hours alone in a room, but I was spending all that time alone with other people. If that makes any sense to you.

For example, I found out fairly early that Veronica Belmont was taking her first run at a novel this year. So I wandered over and looked at her stats.

(Click to Embiggen)

Specifically, here’s the graph that charts how many words she’s written every day:

See her powerful lines? See how she’s been on track since day one?

That means she’s been writing the 1,667 words you need to produce every day to reach 50,000 by the end of the month.

By comparison, let’s look at my graph:

(Imagine a sad, cartoony trombone noise here. Wah-wah…)

Now I *did* start a week late. But even so, you have to admit that my graph looks…. um…. sad. One might even call it “wretched” or “sickly.” A particularly scathing person might even use the word, “flaccid.”

I wouldn’t use that word, mind you. But someone might.

When I contacted Veronica to see if she was okay with me using her stats in my upcoming blog, she said something along the lines of, “No problem. Thanks for reminding me I need to get my writing done for the day. I should really quit playing Skyrim…”

Her offhand comment filled me with a burning shame and fury. She was beating my ass AND PLAYING SKYRIM AT THE SAME TIME?

Fueled by shame, I wrote 15,000 words over the next four days.

It wasn’t enough for me to hit 50,000 words. But it was enough so I could end the month with my head held high.

So not only was it fun. It was motivating as well.

  • I got a lot of writing done.

No matter how you slice it, I got 35,000 words in three weeks.

I made serious headway on one project that I’ve been putting off for a while, got a start on another, and finished a third one entirely.

It’s a good feeling, getting those smaller projects done. And as an added bonus, it means y’all are going to be seeing some other stories in the next year while I’m still slogging away on book three.

  • I learned a lot.

Around the 10th day I found myself thinking things like:

I wrote 700 words today when I was answering fanmail.  That counts as writing, right?

To which I had to reply to myself: No. It’s not really writing.

What about the e-mail that I wrote to my editor and agent? That counts as writing, right?

No. You *are* typing words, and it’s part of your job. But it’s not getting work done on a publishable story.

What about the questions I answered on my translator forum?

Ummmm. No. Doesn’t count. It’s not producing new material.

What about the thousand-word blog I wrote? That’s a story. Kinda. And it’s new material.

No. Shut up. Shut up and write.

Ultimately, it made me come to grips with a platonic truth: Only real writing is writing.

Other stuff I learned:

  • I don’t need a big chunk of time to get good writing done.

Normally I like to have 3-4 hours free to write. But just 30 minutes can be productive if  I knuckle down hard.

  • You can always find a reason *not* to write.

Sometimes they’re big reasons. You want to spend time with your adorable baby. You have to take a business trip. Maybe you’re trying to get your awesome yearly fundraiser organized.

But y’know, there’s always going to be something going on. You’re tired. You’ve got a sniffle. Your roommate is being a choad. Your girlfriend wants to make out. You just discovered a cool tower defense game….

You can either let those things stop you from writing, or you can write. It’s that simple.

  • I can write 1000 words in an hour.

On one memorable day, I sat down knowing that I had to meet Sarah soon. In the hour that I had to work, I wrote a thousand words. It felt pretty awesome.

Later that day I came back to the computer and worked on revising the story. I worked for 3 hours and by the end of I was only up about 250 words.

I don’t regret taking the time for revision. Wordcount may be impressive, but revision is vital for a good story. Those 250 words were really important.

  • I learned I can write an entire story in a single sitting.

(This was, by far, the coolest part of NaNoWriMo for me.)

It was the last day of November, and I had painted myself into a corner. I hadn’t been good about writing my daily 1667 words, and I was paying for it. I was only at 32,000 words for the month, and feeling rather ashamed.

I wrote late into the night, then slept in my office. I woke up about seven hours later and sat right back down in front of the computer again.

I opened the story I’d been doing most of my work on over the month, (it’s a novella, set in my world). That’s when I remembered a little idea I’d had the day before when I was walking home.

The idea tickled at me. So rather than potentially forget it, I opened a new file and jotted it down. I jotted down the first line of the story, too. And the first couple of sentences.

Then I finished up the introductory scene. Then I did the second scene too, because it was short, and it was obvious in my head.

And since things were going well, I did another scene. And then I saw how the middle should go. And I was having fun, and it was turning out pretty cool, so I jumped in and started writing that too….
I knew I should be getting back to my novella so I could blaze some trail. I wasn’t going to get a lot of words out of my new story. It was stylistic, the POV was odd, and the language was very lean. But it was turning out really good….

After I finished the middle, I realized it would be stupid for me to do anything other than press on until the end. Because I knew exactly where it was going.

So I finished it. Beginning to end, it took me seven and a half hours. I was exhausted and excited. I’d never done anything like that before.

That final day sort of summed up my entire NaNoWriMo experience. Technically, I failed because I didn’t churn out a huge number of words. But realistically, I rang the bell hard and won the fuzzy pink elephant.

And you want to know the funny part?

You want to know the final wordcount on the story?

1667 words.

No kidding.

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Achievement Unlocked!, hubris, My Iconoclastic Tendencies, Nathan Taylor Art, the craft of writing | By Pat60 Responses

My brain….

As I mentioned before I took a recent trip to Iowa City because Nancy Andreasen wanted to take a picture of my brain. She’s a Big Deal neurophysician who’s doing research into how the brains of creative folk do their big, weird think-makings.

The plan was for me to go in, get my brain scanned, have an interview, then do some tests that measure cognitive function.

It was going to be a full day, so I drove down to Iowa City and spent the night. The morning before I went into the hospital, I was nervous.

Specifically, I was nervous about what shirt I was going to wear.

While I was driving down to Iowa, it occurred to me that if, say, lightning struck the building when I was in the MRI, I might develop superpowers of some sort. And on a day when you might develop superpowers, the shirt you wear is a pretty important decision. As they say, clothes make the man.

Because I hadn’t planned ahead, I only had two good options. One was my Legend of Neil t-shirt. And the other was my tried and true, Joss Whedon is my Master Now shirt.

At first the Neil shirt seems to be the front-runner. While pixelated, Link’s powers are nothing to scorn. In addition to a cool pan-dimensional inventory system. I could throw bombs, shoot fire, and engage in some implausible but terribly convenient music-based teleportation.

Plus, when I was at full health, I’d be able to throw my sword. Or shoot lasers out of it. I was never really clear on that.

Despite all this, I went with the Whedon shirt. While less tangible, Whedon’s storytelling prowess is more in keeping with my lifestyle. If I could add his powers to my own, I would become nigh-unstoppable. Plus, I hear that due to contractual obligations, he can call up Alyson Hannigan at any hour of the day or night and have her drive out to his house just so he can smell her hair.

That’s a power I wouldn’t mind inheriting. It would be nice to cross that off my list of…

Okay. Hold on for a second. Time out. I’ve got to tangent away for a moment.

Here’s the deal. Sometimes, late at night, when I’m low on sleep and writing a blog, I write stupid bullshit that strikes me as funny. This isn’t a new thing. In addition to my novels, I’ve been writing ridiculous humor pieces of one sort or another for almost twenty years now.

What’s different now is that I’m doing it online. Also, these days a ridiculous number of people read the blog. People link to it. Sometimes 7-8 thousand people a day stop by to read what I write.

Usually I don’t think about it much. But every once in a while I get a terrible thought: what if someone reads this?

I’m not talking about us geeks. I write this blog for my fellow geeks to read and laugh at. I’m worried about one of THEM reading it. Y’know. One of the cool famous people…

What if a couple years from now I’m at some party out in LA, and I get to meet Alyson Hannigan? A mutual acquaintance waves her over and introduces me as “New York Times Bestselling Author, Patrick Rothfuss.”

She smiles politely. Nods. But wait… there’s something more. I see a flicker of recognition in her eye. I get excited, thinking, “She’s read the book! She knows who I am!”

Then she says, “You’re that pervert who wants to smell my hair!”

I freeze in place, trying to think of something witty and disarming to say. But all I can think is, “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Why did I ever write that blog? Why didn’t I just post up tour dates on my website like all the other authors? Why didn’t I write nice safe blogs with funny pictures of my cat? What is wrong with me that I’m compelled to tell these weird fucking stories all the time?”

Then, with the fluid grace that comes from years of experience, Alyson maces me. I fall to my knees, clawing at my eyes and saying something garbled about the fact that all humor is rooted in transgression. But before I can make my point clear, Alexis Denisof steps up and proceeds to give me the beating of three different lifetimes in the space of about 45 seconds.

Which sucks, because that means I probably won’t ever get a chance to smell his hair either. So that’s two things that are never getting crossed off my list.

Jesus. You see? I can’t stop. I swear there is something wrong with my brain.

Speaking of which, *that* was supposed to be the point of this blog. Showing you the picture of my brain.

So here it is:

(Click to Embiggen)

It’s actually a computer model that they generated based on the MRI scans. If any of you can find the spot on there that compels me to endlessly make an ass of myself, I’d appreciate it if you’d point it out to me. Maybe then I could do a quick Dremel trepanation and let the demons out or something.

Wearily yours,

pat

Also posted in Joss Whedon, my dumbness, tangentality | By Pat72 Responses

Ultimate Chalupa

So I’m driving by Taco Bell the other day, and the sign outside says, “Ultimate Chalupa.”

Naturally, I’m intrigued. Not just any old chalupa, not even a Really Good Chalupa. They’re selling the Ultimate Chalupa. The end-all be-all of chalupas. How can I pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?

So I lane-change across three lanes of traffic and hurry inside. “Do you still have the Ultimate Chalupa?” I ask.

The guy behind the counter gives me a blank look and nods.

I’m so relieved. “Thank god. I’ll take it.”

So I pay my two bucks and change, and step to the side, waiting to them to complete whatever terrifying alchemy is required to produce the Ultimate Chalupa. It takes almost two minutes, so I’m guessing something pretty complex is going on back there.

And all the while I’m thinking: Wow. Ultimate Chalupa. This thing is going to be awesome. It’s going to be the Chalupa equivalent of Optimus Prime.

But just as they’re finishing, someone else steps up to the register behind me. She orders the Ultimate Chalupa too. I felt a little guilty, but also a little smug as I wait for the guy behind the register to explain to her that they’d already sold it.

But get this. He nods and rings up her order! I look over at him, pissed, and say, “What the hell are you doing?”

He gives me a blank look. I think this guy specializes in blank looks.  “What?”

“I already bought the Ultimate Chalupa,” I said. “It’s mine. You can’t sell it to her.”

Another blank look. He buys them in bulk at Costco. He got his associate’s degree in blank look at the local tech. “There’s your Chalupa.” He points at a tray being slid across the counter toward me.

“That’s not the Ultimate Chalupa!” I said, pointing at the woman. “Now she’s got the Ultimate Chalupa!” I slam my hand down on the tray. “This is just the Penultimate Chalupa! That’s not what I ordered! I didn’t pay $2.79 for some fucking Penultimate piece-of-shit Chalupa!”

The conversation spiraled out of control from there. The woman left in tears, and the guy behind the counter eventually used up his vasty store of blank looks, and was forced to use other looks that he wasn’t nearly as skilled with, like confused, irritated, and exasperated. He even had one that might have been flummoxed, but I’m not sure. He wasn’t very good at it, and I don’t think he really knew it was for.

Eventually I produced a Webster’s dictionary and proof that I did, in fact, have a Masters degree in English. This left them with no choice but to throw my ass out of Taco Bell yet again.

I stood in the parking lot and cursed them for a while. Then I climbed up on the sign and found out that someone had left the box of letters there. So I changed the sign to read, “Rather Good but by no means Ultimate Chalupa.”

Unfortunately, that used most of the letters, so my options were limited for the other side of the sign. All I could spell with what was left was, “Taco Bell – Everybody Masturbates on Us.”

Then I left. All in all, I’m counting the experience as a moral victory.

pat

Editor’s note: I actually wrote this back when I was doing the College Survival Guide, but I figured I’d post it up here so people could get a cheap chuckle out of it while I’m busy with revisions.

Also posted in BJ Hiorns Art, College Survival Guide | By Pat77 Responses

Closure

Those of you who have been reading the blog for a while might remember several months ago when I posted up a general call for help.

The short version of the story is this. A reader sent me a very polite invitation to her high-school graduation party, and since I was going to be in the area anyway for Wiscon, I thought I’d stop by and say hello.

Of course I failed to take into account the fact that I’m an idiot. So while I remembered the party was over Memorial Day weekend, I didn’t make note of anything else, such as the address of the party, the person’s contact information, or even her name.

Needless to say, it was not my shiniest moment.

So I posted up a blog asking if anyone could help clue me in.

The bad news was that I did miss the party. The good news is that I did eventually get in touch with the reader. (Her name was Breanna, by the way.)

The weird news was that over the last couple months, I’ve had at least fifty people ask me if I ever managed to get in touch with her. It was kinda strange. I’d be doing a reading in California, and when I threw open the floor for questions, someone would ask, “did you ever make it to that girl’s party?”

So, in the interest of giving everyone the closure they so desperately desire, I figured I’d let y’all know what happened.

This last weekend we finally managed to get together. We grabbed coffee and hung out for a little bit.

Awww…. (Yes, she’s taller than me. No, I don’t have a problem with that.)

I also finally got to give her the graduation present I meant to bring to her party. A remnant of my checkered past: a copy of my College Survival Guide.

I’m including this picture mostly so y’all can make fun of my handwriting.

That’s all for today. Just a little closure on a story I started a couple months ago. See? I can do it. It just takes some time….

Love,

pat

Also posted in College Survival Guide, fan coolness | By Pat45 Responses
  • Our Store

  • Previous Posts

  • Archives

  • My Twitter

  • Bookmark this Blog

    (IE and Firefox users only - Safari users, click Command-D)