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October 07, 2006

Blatheration for a Saturday

Ahhhh, I feel much better now. Shortly after posting yesterday I went out into the real world, which, as it turned out, had a nearby farmer's market, at which I bought a lot of really amazingly fresh fruit and empanadas, and I had some of each, and then I self-medicated with a Coke, and all of that seemed to help my general demeanor. Then I was off to Locus headquarters, where I had a long and interesting conversation with Charles Brown, and also got to catch up with Amelia Beamer, Karlyn Pratt and Tim Pratt, who aside from being excellent people are also Locus staff and know how to make a guy feel welcome. Then it was back to the hotel, a quick meetup with Whatever commentator Pixelfish (who happens to work a block away from the hotel I'm staying at, which made it easy to say hello), and then dinner with Kevin Stampfl and his gal Monica. The Android's Dream is dedicated to Kevin, so I slipped him the ARC for it; he'll get a real copy as soon as I get one. And then, you know, I went and collapsed, because I had a long day.

Just in case you were wondering, the major stress-inducing issue I had yesterday was that I came to within about three minutes of missing my flight to California -- My alarm clock didn't go off and I woke up two hours later than I had wanted to, which was no good because my flight was out of Cincinnati's airport, which was 90 miles and an entirely different state away, and now I would have to drive through Cincy's morning rush hour traffic to get there. So I ended up doing 90 miles an hour, interspersed with several long stretches of doing about 5 miles an hour. I got to my gate literally as they were boarding the flight. It took me until I actually got into my hotel room before I realized I hadn't actually unclenched. When I called Krissy, I told her she needed to get us a new alarm clock before I got back, because if I saw the old one again I was going to beat it to death with a hammer. So, yay! We'll be getting a new alarm clock!

Today's schedule: Signing and then later dinner with the Tor/Holtzbrinck reps and also Spider and Jeannie Robinson. Very excited about that -- I haven't met either of them yet and they seem like they would be fun dinner companions. Inbetween that I have some other business to attend to, which sounds all very mysterious but isn't really.

I do have to say I'm a little depressed that so many people want to see me and I'm scheduled enough this time out that I'm not able to spend any good amount of time with them. I think what I need to do at some point is schedule a "hang out" tour, where all I do is fly to a city, find a central location, and then just hang out there all day and let people find me. That would be a lot of fun, I think, and God knows I want to have an excuse to hang out with some particular folks. I'll have to mull on the logistics of doing something like that. And of getting a corporate sponsor.

Posted by john at October 7, 2006 11:22 AM

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Dan | October 7, 2006 12:17 PM

Well, you're always welcome to come hang out in Wisconsin. Maybe we could get Hooters to sponsor you so we can have some wings during your hanging out tour.

Kero aka Kevin | October 7, 2006 12:18 PM

Well, not to tempt you overmuch or anything, but there are currently a bunch of colorful cow statues spread around Denver proper. If you can't be tempted to leave Ohio for that then I just don't know who you are anymore. I always thought it was a shame they didn't name the Columbus hockey team the "Mad Cows."

Joel Finkle | October 7, 2006 12:23 PM

So while you were talking to Locus, did you happen to mention they have the title of your just-finished book wrong in their Forthcoming list? It still says "Lost Colony" at

Lisa | October 7, 2006 12:57 PM

I just realized a few days ago that the book is called The LAST Colony. I had it in my head for months that it was The LOST Colony. Hmmm. Makes a difference. The last colony seems more desparately suspensful while the lost colony seems mysterious.

Anyway, I keep hoping some day that you might show up at Powell's and do a reading or something here in PDX. I would trek down to see you there. Maybe Tor can put you on a book tour? I know many people here are already buying your books, but if we all brought a few friends to a book signing, it might be worth Tor's money?

PixelFish | October 7, 2006 01:20 PM

I imagine that tours and conventions are rather like holiday vacations in your old home town: you get to see the people there once a year, they miss you, they all want to see you, and you try and schedule a little time with each of them, but it never feels like quite enough. That said, thanks for taking the time to chat and just hang out for a bit. I really appreciate it. (Also, I have commenced "guarding this book with your life." We're currently holed up with a shotgun at the top of the stairs--I don't think the neighbours realise yet that I have a signed first edition Old Man's War. But they will....they will. Good thing I stocked up on tamales.)

Nathan | October 7, 2006 01:28 PM

Well if we're pushing venues here Junior's has cheesecake worthy of writing home about, not to mention lots of tables to hang around at and have your coffee warmed up by a variety of 65 year-old cranky waitresses. I usually opt for the bar instead of the main dining room.

Convient to the R train and the Brooklyn Marriot.

People have even been known to venture outside of Manhattan for it.


P.S. We used to have cows all over our fair city. Did our cow decamp to Denver or are these new cows?

Brian Dear | October 7, 2006 01:31 PM

John, you're welcome to come hang out in San Diego. There's already a "demand" for you here:


and I encourage other readers to start demands for John in other cities!

Scott Mactavish | October 7, 2006 01:42 PM

Sorry for the nonsequitor, but I thought you might enjoy this review from the Washing Post.

It's a review of Jessica Simpson's performance in "Employee of the Month."

"Rarely has an actress exuded such blank nothingness as Simpson, a one-woman vapid delivery system who sucks the energy and joy out of every scene she's in, like some freakishly well-endowed black hole."

mythago | October 7, 2006 01:50 PM

Is there a schedule of your California appearances somewheres?

Janiece | October 7, 2006 01:53 PM


Maybe she should make a movie with Freddie Prinze, Jr. who has been described as "the black hole of acting." I'd pay real money to NOT see that...

Tim Walker | October 7, 2006 02:52 PM

John, you're always welcome in Austin, which has a spiffo independent XXL bookstore (Bookpeople), plus lots of smart folks to hang out with, including many of the genre-fiction variety. Plus good coffee, good barbecue, good bars, great music, and more varieties of excellent Tex-Mex than you've ever seen.

Djscman | October 7, 2006 03:20 PM

Hey Scalzi, if you ever visit Minneapolis, especially in connection to the Mike Ford auction, we ought to hang out. I think Whatever commentator Tripp lives around here too.

Soni Pitts | October 7, 2006 03:51 PM

Given your free pimpage, you'd thing In-N-Out would be pleased to sponsor a hang-out tour. Especially if you were hanging out in their restaurants, where hangers-on might be inspired to grab lunch while hanging about waiting to hang out. With you, that is.

Hang 10!

Martyn Taylor | October 7, 2006 04:02 PM

Oh God, being almost late for any sort of connection makes me feel that death is a preferable option. Whatever my hell is, the conviction I'm going to be late will be part of it (maybe I'll be permanently late for getting to hell) I once missed a ferry back to the Isle of Man when I lived there and as a result the five of us had to spend a night we couldn't afford in Morecambe (it is one of those 'holiday resorts' on the English north west coast where it is possible to spend an entire lifetime of torture in a single afternoon) and pay for more tickets.

Of course, you can take 'being on time' too far. I recently spent 3 hours on Peterborough station waiting for a train because I misread the time. At least the sun was shining and the coffee stall sold Florentines (which I am not allowed to eat, as a diabetic, but I thought I deserved it)

Dan | October 7, 2006 04:29 PM

Well, if this is going to hinge on cattle, hello? Wisconsin, here.

We can hang out at the bowling alley and eat deep fried cheese curds and buy some of those little smoking monkeys out of the vending machine (does anyone remember those?).

I figure if we get enough smoking monkeys, it'll be kind of like some sort of bizarre ashram, and a cult will most likely be formed (it doesn't take much to start a cult around here, really). We could worship bacon.

Jon | October 7, 2006 08:39 PM

John, if possible, please film the execution of the old alarm clock and post it online as a warning to crappy clocks everywhere. A greatful nation thanks you.

Anna K | October 7, 2006 09:03 PM

Any chance of you ever coming to Canada? It's a little chilly, but we're very friendly...

John Scalzi | October 8, 2006 12:38 AM

Well, I've been to Canada before, and I'd love to visit again.

Chris | October 8, 2006 01:53 AM


Been there, done that. You've got my sympathies. I was heading to an airport that was a 3 hour drive away, got out of my lab late and then had to wait another hour for my brother to finish packing despite my insistence that he be packed and ready the day before. Nothing quite like sitting in road construction traffic while trying to get to the airport on an extremely tight schedule. It might not have been up to par for ODOT work (What is the state color for Ohio? Construction Barrel Orange. The state animal? Sawhorse), but we ended up getting to the gate about 5 minutes before they ended boarding.

MWT | October 8, 2006 05:41 AM

There was one trip I took where we had to try three times before we actually got on the plane. (The airport was about an hour away.)

The first time, we woke up late and arrived too late at the airport, even though we were doing 90mph most of the way - until a cop pulled us over and took his sweet time about writing up the ticket. We got there and arranged to have the flight changed to a different one twelve hours later, and drove home.

Later that evening we arrived to the airport on time, only to discover that there were storms screwing up all the flight schedules, and although we might make it to the intermediate airport, there was no guarantee we'd fly out from there to our destination, and we might be stranded. We therefore arranged to have the flight changed again for the following morning.

Twenty four hours later we were on the plane - and in first class, because the screwup the second time was the airline's fault and not ours. (Mmm... first class. Real dishes, comfy chairs...)

All in all, we had to pay for a night of hotel room that we didn't use, but that was the only real consequence. At least gas was cheap back then.

Mark DF | October 8, 2006 04:57 PM


Ha, ha, The Last Colony. Funny. Ha ha. ha..uh..oh great, I've been reading it as The Lost Colony too. I think I even made a somewhat witty play off that title, ya know, the WRONG title.

John, mucho apologies for running around telling people you're writing a book called The Lost Colony. I guess you'll just have to write one called that now. You can't disappoint people, you know.

Don't take it personally. I spelled my publishing company's name wrong twice on my website and didn't notice for the longest time.

Anne C. | October 8, 2006 05:01 PM

I had a horrible experience running for a plane last year. Admittedly, I had underestimated the time and was running a little late, but in addition to that, I was dropped off on the wrong side of the terminal (had to run to the other side), they wouldn't check my bag, I got pulled aside at the security check (my ticket, bought online, showed up as a one-way ticket). I was the last person on the plane before they closed the doors. The damnable cherry on top was that I had forgotten to take my Swiss Army knife out of my bag and had no time to mail it to myself. It was a knife my parents had given to me, since I loved the show "MacGyver". I hated that day. Fortunately the rest of the trip went beautifully.

I'm putting in another word for Denver. We have beautiful sunrises/sunsets, a crappy Tech Center, and some great people to meet. (And some colorful cows - I have no idea if they're visiting from New York.)

Mark DF | October 9, 2006 09:40 AM

I think airport are secretly designed by scientists who got bored with rat mazes.

Smurf | October 10, 2006 04:30 PM

When Charles Brown blows off the meeting, does he send Linus in his place?

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