Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My Celebrity Encounter at BEA

If you read Leigh's account of BEA, you know that I got to have an utter fangirl moment. See, my favorite not-daily correspondent on The Daily Show is their resident expert, Mr. John Hodgman. Mostly because he manages to deliver the kind of deadpan humor that I love with a straight face. Before Mr. Hodgman was on the Daily Show, he wrote a book called The Areas of My Expertise and was on NPR. Now, he has another book—More Information Than You Require—coming out in October of this year.

Now, before I begin the story... please have a look at the pass I had for BEA:

As you can all see, it does not have my name on it. No, in fact, it has the name of Brian's wife, Anita. Brian is the publisher who owns Edge and Tesseracts Books. Anita, who I think should write Urban Fantasy because she has the perfect name for it, was unable to attend BEA. Brian gave me her pass to go on Saturday.

Saturday, I had a mocha mint chip frappaccino from Starbucks for lunch, because I wasn't really feeling well. From this experience, I learned two valuable lessons:

1) A mocha mint chip frappaccino is not adequate lunch. Even if I am feeling nauseous, I need to eat something solid. Coffee flavored slushies do not count.

2) I have trouble focusing when I'm nervous. It's part of why I tend to avoid wanting to meet people for the first time at some sort of meal-like experience. My inability to focus increases dramatically if I feel somewhat awed by the person I am meeting. (I'm working to overcome this.)

So Leigh and I get in line to meet Mr. Hodgman, who is signing at the Penguin booth. While in line, a salesperson comes to ensure we have a promo piece for signing. I proceed to ask if I can take a picture, the fellow says yes—and if I like he can take the picture so that I'm in it. Leigh also offers to take photos with her camera phone. We chat with the salesman, who is asking me about Calgary (note the badge) and is delighted to learn Leigh is a penguin author.

Ok, I get up to the front of the line...

No, I don't know why I'm showing him the promotional thing. He knows what it looks like. Obviously. I think I was asking if he could sign it for my brother. That's where it all starts to go amusing wrong. I'm asked if my brother is Bob Hades. I laugh and say "no, his name is Brendan."

This is right before he politely informs me I'm spelling my brother's name wrong. We proceed to discuss the weather in Calgary. I say it's nice in the summer, but... and John Hodgman goes "in the winter, it's Hades." Thank you! I had been waiting all afternoon for someone to make a Hades pun!

While he's signing, I get asked to look this way so that they can take a photo that doesn't involve the side or back of my head. So, of course, we both have our eyes closed.

Oh, and the salesperson from Penguin declares "John, this is Miss Calgary!" And Mr. Hodgman asks if that's true and I say "no, but that would be cool." So he finishes the signing, and I realize this is my moment to ask the burning question I have...

Me: "Um, how tall is Jon Stewart?"
John: "Well, I'm 5'10"."
Me: "Because they make it like he's really short. So is he like my height?"
John: "No, he's my height or 5'9". He's not a midget."*

See? People look shorter on TV, not taller. This concerns me, as I will likely look the size of Hikaru from Angelic Layer.

So I thanked Mr. Hodgman and wished him good luck with the book. It was Leigh's turn, and she gets told things like "ah, so you're one of us." When she's finished she smiles and says that she asked Mr. Hodgman to sign her book "for my husband, Maurice" and so he wrote for my husband, Maurice. I laugh and pull out the promo thing for my brother to show Leigh...

We realize he's written "To Brendan Hades." When I told my brother this story, he went "serious?" and when I said yes, we both agreed that's pretty funny. It's a rather PC-kind of mistake to make, anyway, and you guys know, my platform is Mac.

* I might have these statements reversed, so I will point out, Mr. Hodgman, that I am of average height. (Ok, 5'3" is the average female height in Japan, but it's still an average.)


C. Leigh Purtill said...

omg, Chandra, I was EXHAUSTED all day Sunday! I had a great time wandering the halls with you!

John Hodgman was a total sweetheart, wasn't he? Much hipper looking in person than as the stuffy PC. Now I wish we had whipped out our cameras for Dean Koontz! I think secretly all writers want to be photographed...;)

Chandra Rooney said...

He was a sweetheart! I thought Dean Kootz was very sweet, too. But Gena Showalter was the nicest.

Rachel said...

I am so glad you guys had a good time!