Category Archives: buffy

50K Blog – A Few of my Favorite Things

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Over the last couple years, I’ve been cautious about the donation goals I set for Worldbuilders. I set my sights on a goal I’m pretty sure we can hit, and only after we get there do I bump up the target number on our donation thermometer. Some years I’ve done this eight or nine times.

I do it this way because back in 2008 when I started all this, I thought to myself, “I wonder if I could get people to donate 5000 dollars if I gave away prizes and offered to match donations?”

When I raised that much in just a couple of days, I was stunned. So I moved it up to $10,000 dollars, worrying that I was overstepping myself, not really believing that we could raise that much….

Three years and 600,000 dollars later, I still feel the same way. Every year I find myself thinking, “Will publishers help out again? Will authors care enough to send me books? Will people tweet and link and spread the word to their friends? Will geeks of all creeds and nations step up to the plate one more time?”

Then it all comes together, and I’m full of stunned, warm-fuzzy joy all over again.

This year, I decided to try something different. Rather than move our donation goal around all higgledy-piggledy, I decided to set some target levels. Something we could shoot for as a team. Then, if people are awesome enough to help me hit those goals, I’d put extra stuff into the fundraiser as a way to thank everyone for contributing.

We hit our first goal of 50,000 last Friday, so today you get the first of these blogs. I’ve got four more planned, each with increasingly cool additions to the fundraiser.

This is the one I like to think of as the AV blog. Where I share some of my favorite non-book media with with y’all.

  • A complete DVD set of Buffy and Angel.

Over the years, I’ve made no secret of my love for Joss Whedon. I started watching Buffy seriously in 2002, right when I was seriously starting revision on The Name of the Wind. Watching this series changed how I thought about storytelling, and the tricks I learned from it taught me a lot about plot and characterization.

Simply said, I think this is the finest television show ever produced. So I’m adding it to the prize lottery.

  • Two DVD sets of Red Dwarf including Back to Earth: The Director’s Cut.

I started watching Red Dwarf way back in the day. Back when it was on VHS tapes, and you couldn’t find copies for love nor money in the US.

This is the full eight seasons and the recent three-part: Back to Earth.

In my opinion, you aren’t a real sci-fi geek if you haven’t watched this. It’s one of the classics. Best of all, because the show relies on the cleverness of the writing rather than special effects, it holds up very well these days even though the first season was more than 20 years ago.

  • Two DVD sets of Firefly.

I will never get over the cancellation of Firefly. Not in a hundred years. And I meant what I said earlier in the year when I wrote an open letter to Nathan Fillion.

If you don’t like this series, odds are we can’t be friends. I’m sorry. That’s just the way it is.

  • Two DVD sets of Dollhouse.

Some people didn’t like Dollhouse. Then again, some people are idiots who drink their own pee.

[P.S. If y’all in the marketing department at Fox would like to use this as a promotional quote for the series, feel free. Just spell my name right.]
  • One audio cd of Telling Tales by Neil Gaiman.

This is one of the CD’s that you can get from Dreamhaven. It’s one of the earlier recordings of Neil Gaiman reading his own work. Good stuff.

  • One audio cd of Speaking in Tongues by Neil Gaiman.

Like the above, but different. If you catch my meaning.

  • One copy of Warning: Contains Language by Neil Gaiman.

This is a two-CD set also features music by Dave McKean and the Flash girls. It features Gaiman reading poems and stories from Angels and Visitations.

As an interesting aside, in the liner notes, it reads:

Unauthorized Copying of this CD is not only forbidden, but will prey upon your conscience, spoil your sleep, destroy your complexion, and eventually will wind up turning you into the kind of person who drinks methylated spirits out of a bottle hidden in a brown paper bag and who lives under bridges, burps noxiously, and prays day and night for release from the unsupportable burden their life has become. We thought you’d appreciate the warning.

  • Three audio cds of 3 doz Poems read by Garrison Keillor from The Writer’s Almanac.

Some people think that I hate poetry, not realizing, perhaps, that Kvothe and I are actually two different people.

Believe it or not, we are separate entities with different thoughts and emotions. Other telltale differences include hair color: Mine is brown. His is red. He is mostly a fictional character, and I am mostly real. He is a better singer, while I am a better kisser.

We also radically differ on our opinions of poetry. He has an irrational loathing of it, while I myself quite enjoy it.

Well…. some of it. The good stuff.

This is the good stuff. Lovely poems selected and read by America’s greatest living storyteller: Garrison Keillor.

  • Two audio collections of Good Poems by Garrison Keillor.

You can also tell that these are good poems. Because, well, it says so right there: Good Poems. You can’t get much clearer than that.

This is a 4 CD set, containing a marvelous selection of poetry read by a number of wonderful readers, including Keillor himself. Honestly, I would listen to the man read a phone book. Getting to hear him read some of the finest poetry ever is just a bonus.

  • One set of The First and Second Seasons of Flight of the Conchords and an audio cd of The Distant Future.

I loved Flight of the Conchords before they were cool. If you haven’t watched their HBO series, you really need to.

  • Five copies of The Adventures of Sexton Blake.

I raved about this BBC Audio production last year on the blog.

And you know what? Everything I said about it then is just as true today. I listened to this a couple weeks ago and laughed my metaphorical ass off. If anything, I think it’s funnier the 20th time around.

  • A copy of The Ultimate David Sedaris Box Set.

While Garrison Keillor is my favorite living storyteller. David Sedaris takes a close second place.

I only discovered him a couple years ago when someone recommended I listen to “Six to Eight Black men.”

They were really insistent, so I looked it up on Youtube just to shut them up about it.

The next day I went out and bought this box set, which contains 20 CD worth of David Sedaris reading the entirety of Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Barrel Fever and Other Stories, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

I’ve been a fan of The Guild since back in 2008 when I interviewed Felicia Day and we became BFFs.

Because I love spreading the word about cool indi geekery like this, I picked up several sets of the first two seasons of The Guild when I was at San Diego ComicCon with the sole purpose of giving them away to people and getting them hooked on the series.

Felicia was nice enough to sign them for me. She’s just an all-around nice person.

*     *     *

Remember, you for every 10 dollars you donate on the Worldbuilders Team Page, you get a chance to win everything here, not to mention the hundreds of other books that have already been donated.

What’s more, if you donate before January 31st of 2012, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation.

Also, every dollar donated brings us closer to $100,000. Once we hit that, I’ll post up another blog with more personal additions to the fundraiser.

And lastly, don’t forget about the auctions Worldbuilders is running right now. Some of them will be ending soon…

Spread the word…

pat

Also posted in Felicia Day, Firefly, Joss Whedon, The Guild, Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat21 Responses

How to Embarrass Yourself in Front of Famous People

Over the last couple years I’ve learned that whenever I do a signing, I will inevitably screw up the inscription in at least one book.

This trend started with my very first signing, the day The Name of the Wind hit the shelves. I actually wrote about that in one of my earliest blogs. I still have that book inscribed “To Hell” on a shelf.

A lot of times my screw up is a minor thing. It’s not uncommon for me to misspell a word. This is embarrassing, but it’s easy to laugh it off. I usually correct my mistake with proofreaders marks, and say something like, “That’s what editors are for.”

Occasionally I misquote a piece of my own book. That’s not so bad either. Understandable, as I’ve known the book it for 15 years in several hundred different revisionary versions.

Sometimes it’s just my handwriting itself that’s embarrassing.

But nothing is worse than screwing up someone’s name. This is why, when I do a signing, I usually ask people to spell it out for me. I write it down on a separate piece of paper, point to it, and ask, “is this right?”

Most people don’t bat an eye at this. They’re not Nicky, they’re Nikki. It’s not Sandy, it’s “Big S, little A, little N, Big D, little E, Big E. With a star at the end!”

I ask everyone. If you get to the front of the line and say, “Can you sign this to Joe?” I write down J O E in my childlike scrawl, point to it, and ask, “like this?”

The reason I’m so careful is because I can fuck up any name. Once a guy got to the front of the line and said, “John. With an ‘h.'”

So I write, “To Jhon.”

Then I sat there, staring at it, thinking: “I am a fucking idiot.”

The thing is, not only do I tend to screw up one book at every signing. I typically screw up the worst possible book. If someone drove four hours to get there and brought the first edition hardcover their mom gave them… that’s the book I’m going to make a mistake in.

Or, if someone cool shows up to the signing, someone I’d like to not look like an idiot in front of, I’ll cock up that book instead. That’s what happened when Felicia Day showed up when I was doing a signing in LA. I made a real mess of the book I was signing for her brother.

Are we sufficiently backgrounded for the story? I think so.

So let’s jump back to last year when I went to San Diego Comic Con. While I was out there, I did a few signings. One in the main autographing room, one at at Mysterious Galaxy’s booth, and one in the nearby Borders.

The Borders gig sounded pretty cool. First we were going to have a panel where a bunch of authors would discuss urban fantasy vs epic fantasy, then we would do a signing.

I was really looking forward to it. Partly because I love discussing books with other authors, and partly because I love doing signings and meeting fans. But mostly because one of the other authors on the panel was Amber Benson.

I was excited all weekend, telling everyone I met about the panel/signing. But when I mentioned Amber Benson’s name, they mostly looked at me blankly. “I don’t think I’ve read her stuff,” they’d say.

“She hasn’t been doing books that long,” I said. “She does comics. Screenplays. Directs stuff. She’s an actress too. You probably know her as Tara from Buffy. Willow’s girlfriend.”

It was only when I mentioned the last bit that I would see the light of recognition go on in people’s eyes. So eventually I just started skipping straight to that, saying, “She played Tara in Buffy.”

I had one signing earlier that day, and despite the fact that a ton of people showed up, I managed to make it through the whole thing without screwing up anyone’s book.

Maybe that’s it, I thought to myself. Maybe my streak is broken.

Later on in the evening I went to Borders and had a great time. I managed to say a few clever things during the discussion which is nice, because, well, Amber Benson was there, and I wanted to look cool.

 

[Photo link dead]

 

After the panel everyone signed books. I had a nice line of people, which gave me another iota’s worth of cool. More impressively, I didn’t screw any of them up, not even a little. My streak finally seemed to be broken.

After all the fans had their books signed, the authors hung out and chatted. Amber came over from her end of the table and said something along the lines of, “I don’t normally do epic fantasy, but after what you said, I’ll admit I’m curious about yours….”

“I’d love to give you a copy,” I said. “So long as you’ll sign my copy of Death’s Daughter.”

She agreed and signed my book. I was all aglow with geeky joy. I’d met someone cool, made a good impression, and even had a little bit of banter. I was awesome….

So I grabbed one of my books and opened it to the title page. Then, so I didn’t screw up her book, I looked up and asked, “Do you spell it T-A-R-A?”

She looked at me, slightly confused, as if she didn’t understand what I meant.

I looked back at her, slightly confused, not understanding why she wasn’t following me.

Then, at the same moment, we both realized what I’d done. At the same moment, we both realized that I wasn’t awesome at all. I was, in fact, a fucking idiot.

The other authors standing around overheard this. They realized it too.

Amber was very gracious and laughed it off. But I was still covered in shame. Even now it makes me cringe to remember it.

So there you go. Welcome to me.

For those of you who don’t know, Tara Amber has written and directed a couple movies. In fact, her most recent one, Drones, is being shown in a few select locations right now.

In fact, it’s being shown tonight, (Tuesday the 13th) in LA, with all the proceeds going to charity. If you live nearby and you aren’t going, you might want to seriously reconsider your priorities. In fact, you might want to reconsider what you’re doing with your entire life.

I’d be there in a heartbeat if it wasn’t 2000 miles away. Right now I’m kinda pissed at you cool kids who live in your big cities with your film festivals and fancy hats. Yes. I’m looking at you Orlando, Boston, and LA.

If nothing else, you should really check out the trailer. I was curious about the movie before I watched this. Now I’m filled with a terrible longing like unto hunger. I love Jonathan Woodward.

Share and Enjoy,

pat

Also posted in meeting famous people, my dumbness, signing books | By Pat103 Responses
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