Saturday, Labor Day Weekend, 2014

Today was a pretty great day. Before I crash from the exhaustion of walking and social interaction (not at the same time) I felt like sharing.

I woke up around 7:30, tossed on some clothes and proceeded to stroll through my neighborhood downing resistance fields and capturing portals for the enlightenment for a few hours. If you haven’t played Ingress, I highly recommend it.

Grabbed an açaí smoothy on my way back to the apartment. Sat down and watched an episode of Sons of Anarchy. I mainly mention that because later, driving down the 405 I saw a couple of bikers with big patches on the back of their sleeveless leather jackets. It’s kind of surreal when a culture you’ve only interacted with as entertainment shows up in real life like that.

At 11:30 I started listening to the Virginia Tech Pre-Game show via the HokiesXtra Gameday App. It feels almost like I’m back in Virginia as a hear ads for Blacksburg businesses and such. I got a chance to listen to the 1st and 4th quarters. The first while I was driving to Redondo Beach for the SFWA reading and the 4th while I hacked portals after the reading.

The reading is probably the most relevant thing to this blog. As usual I wavered back and forth between feeling awkward taking notes and worrying about how annoyed I’d be with my faulty memory if I didn’t. I fell on the side of note taking. Adam Rakunas introduced the authors that would be reading: Stephen Blackmoore, Sofia Samatar, Rachel Brown and Sherwood Smith.

Stephen read “World’s Greatest Dad,” his story in the Halloween themed anthology, Deadly Treats. It was a humorous zombie tale with some complex family dynamics. I love that the subtitle of the summoning manual was “learn to pickup girls with the dark arts.” Later during the Q&A he talked more about his noir roots and the Los Angeles with a dash of secret history that is the setting for at least one of his novels. When asked about including popular culture in his work, he pointed out that it’s difficult to avoid pop cultural influences, but that he tried to tone them down so as to not date the work and also to avoid lightening the mood too much.

Sofia read from A Stranger in Olondria. The part she read gave a great taste of the novel’s voice, but I’m eager to read more as the magic system has something to do with literacy. This book has been lodged in my brain for a while. During the Q&A it was pointed out that her prose sounds distinctly as if it were translated from another language. Sofia shared that the tone derived from reading books in translation. I think she said 19th century translations. I wish I’d gotten down the various titles she mentioned. I made a note as she read that the narrator’s older brother might be suffering from autism (have you seen this heart warming Guardians of the Galaxy Story?). Sofia graciously signed a copy for me, which Mysterious Galaxy graciously sold to me. I adore her hand writing and meeting her was the highlight of an already great day.

Rachel and Sherwood read from their novel, Stranger. The only intro they gave before they started reading was that the novel was originally written as a treatment for a television show. It’s exciting to have a setting evolve in your mind as you listen to a story. Both viewpoints they read were teenagers, but the content was pretty dark, with vicious plant life, bounty hunters, walled cities and a superhuman law man.

Virginia Tech won it’s opener against West Virginia and I have a means to listen to the games this season!

While portal hunting after the reading I found a used bookstore. It’s magical to find the titles I’ve only ever seen in used bookstores side by side with the best sellers I’d expect to be there but which have been published since I last perused a used book store side by side with the books I tend to forget exist outside of my kindle.

That’s it, but actually posting an entry is another positive mark for the day 🙂

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~ by mentatjack on August 30, 2014.

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