Thursday, October 12, 2006


And now I shall discuss luggage.

It came back with me, all one piece of it, although it wasn't without a battle. Over half an hour passed before it appeared on the belt at JFK, which was still faster than what happened in Nice-- one of the bags didn't show up at all. Welcome to France! We want you to reuse your underwear and reek like the rest of us!

Fortunately I had an equal distribution of panties and small, crunchy snacks, so I survived in France until the other bag showed up. Not a chance for this in New York. I had one bag, one chance. It was outrageously large for a two-night stay, but it contained 90% hair products and other necessities for proper public appearance.

Fat lot of good it did:

Living crap. I can't even begin to explain what happened here. May I remind you my hair, is, in the wild, completely straight.

So when I went to visit my editors, Jillian and Matt
at the Random House offices the next day, I crammed all available hair into a bun so as to dissuade the impression that I look like this on purpose, on a daily basis.

I cannot overemphasize the wonder that is the Random House office. You walk in the lobby (once you find it; in the event you are me, you have the cab drop you off on the wrong block and do a good bit of touristy wandering, which is always fabulously accented by a large green wheely bag) and it's like the library scene in Beauty and the Beast: just books from floor to ceiling in glass cases. The important, world-changing books were displayed there. Ours was prominently displayed somewhere near... nowhere.

Now if I'm visiting the corporate offices of Hershey, I'm not expecting large heaps of foil-wrapped kisses overflowing from every cubicle. And yet Random House takes its position as Publisher, Inc., with wonderful literalness. There were books on the floor, stacked in shelves, propped on ledges, fanned out on windowsills. Matt and Jillian showed me the Free Shelf, where the books nobody loves live. It is not unlike a tidy corporate version of the Island of Misfit Toys. You will be highly gratified to know that several volumes of Trump's latest instructions on How To Think Like a Billionare And Act Like a Gigantic Ass were in abundance on the Free Shelf.

Matt and Jillian are excellent editors. They know their writers. They know when to push, when to pull, when to indulge patheticness. So they took me to... the Star Wars Room.

Random House owns DelRey, which publishes all the Star Wars novels. They flung open a door, and I beheld... every single Star Wars book, ever published, arranged in chronological order, Sith Era to New Legacy. I was told to take my pick.

I'm not sure which is sadder-- the fact that this was pretty much the best thing to ever happen to me, or the fact that I knew that I was in need of Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader and knew immediately to look near the beginning of the timeline.

Forgotten was the fact that I refuse to acknowlege the extended Star Wars universe past the Very Special Death of Chewbacca (killed when a planet fell on him) and the ideologically blasphemous marriage of Luke Skywalker. I was bestowed with three other volumes and shooed back into the World of the Sane. "I'm can't wait to tell my action figures," I said, hugging Dark Lord to me.

I cast a few curling irons overboard to accommodate what amounted to my book advance. I think you'll agree, having seen what you saw here, that this was for the best.

and I even got Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, which has barely even hit the streets, because I am just that cool at:


mike, hundredaire said...

Eeeesh, now I think I see why you were freaked out about your hair. In the second pic it looks gorgeous, but in the first it looks like you just got it permed. So just remember for next time: if you gunk it all up, let it marinate for a little while, and then it will look more like naturally-curly, even if "natural" isn't nearly the correct adjective.

As for the Star Wars books, I'll just let do my commenting for me. (I know that being a "Weird Al" fan ranks me about half a rung underneath Star Wars geeks on the nerd ladder. I don't care. Shut up.)

Also, I <3 Jillian's glasses.

mike said...

Ugh, messed up link. Move along.

grammar_queen said...

May I just say how incredibly jealous I am of you and your admittance to the Star Wars room? I didn't even know such a thing existed (outside of my own house, but I digress).

Congratulations on your publication and reading!

Reader for Years said...

Hey MB,
Glad you are back and that you had a good visit/reading. Question: Where on Amazon do you find the numeric rankings you have mentioned about your book? You know, like your book was ranked number 34,000 and so forth...Thanks...still reading after all these years....

MB said...

May the Lord bless you and keep you, reader for years, whoever you are-- thanks so very much for sticking with me. Have I driven you to therapy yet?

I got the rankings the Amazon book page. It is under "Product Details" and is called "Amazon Sales Rank" (you will probably have to scroll down a bit.) Example: Today "Twentysomething Essays" is 6,522. Go us! (Then again, a book by Suzanne Somers is #5, so perhaps I shouldn't get too excited here.)

Josh The Pilot said...

Hey Mike, props on the Weird Al link. I know this will destroy many of y'all's perception of me, but I love Weird Al! I pasted the code from his "White and Nerdy" on View From The Left Seat.

Rachel said...

I KNEW there was a reason I hung around this blog.
1. Star Wars room?!? (!!?!!!!?!) Oh, and that is the same book that caused me to fall away from the post-Star-Wars-Star-Wars universe, too. Well, I started to. I kept going for a couple volumes, but you WOULD NOT BELIEVE how whiny and unable to cope with Chewbacca's death they made Han Solo. It was . . . so far beyond pathetic and unbelievable that you can only see it from pathetic and unbelievable on a very clear day.
2. There is no reason you can't be a Star Wars geek and a Weird Al geek. I love Weird Al more than I can, and definitely more than I should, express.

Monica said...

Life just isn't fair. I work for a Big Multi-National Publisher (Hyphenated and everything!), but we don't have anything as special as a Star Wars room. :-( My biggest career excitement came when I learned that one of our business units publishes the large print editions of the Harry Potter books.

Ah, Weird Al. Gotta love a guy who decides to thwart a record company by giving away his version of "You're Beautiful" ("You're Pitiful"). What a strange gift that man has -- to this day, I can't hear "Lola" without singing his "Yoda" lyrics.

As for curling irons, rule of thumb: the curling iron, unless wielded by a trained professional, should only be used to touch up and never as the main styling tool. Did we learn nothing from the 80s?

Anonymous said...

Hey, in an expansion of the MB picture at the podium, there is a ring on the left ring finger.


Previous Tastings