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Responses to this rant
Dandy   Sunday, 11/12/2017 9:12 AM
Dandy   Sunday, 11/12/2017 9:14 AM
Bart   Sunday, 11/12/2017 5:23 PM
Older rants
Nov 14, 2017   Grace Vanderwaal - Just the Beginning
Nov 11, 2017   Tim Powers Signing at Mysterious Galaxy for Down and Out in Purgatory
November 4, 2017   Return to Disneyland, Halloween at the office, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Long Cosmos Maximus One year After War Dogs, Killing Titan Daddy, Stop Talking
October 29, 2017   Bruce Campbell Signing, Hail to the Chin, Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor
October 20, 2017   Meg & Dia, Imagine Dragons in concert, 2 Years 8 months and 28 Nights
October 17, 2017   All Apologies
October 16, 2017   Thrawn
Septempber 7, 2017   The Rage of Dragons, The Lincoln Myth
August 10, 2017   The Molly Ringwalds, Dia Frampton Musical awesomeness, Beauty and the Feast
July 28, 2017   The IT Sweatshop revisited, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, American Gods and The Magicians, Rogue One, Camino Island
July 24, 2017   CRV glovebox difficulties, San Diego Comic Con rant
July 11, 2017   Beauty and the Beast at the Lyceum, Earthweeds, Sons of Neptune Book 1, Aftermath, Empire's End, If Chin's Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor
June 30, 2017   Eastwood: No Direction Home book 2
June 23, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 4/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes, my new record, record player, and Emeli's site is live!
Jun 14, 2017   A noteworthy eBook mention before I return to my vacation ranting - No Direction Home
June 9, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 3/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes...almost. More pictures of spooky old houses, trees, rocks, and other things that nobody cares about! Plus, Goonies stuff
June 2, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 2/4) - The PCH family vacation tale continues... And more pictures of trees and other things that nobody cares about!
May 31, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 1/4) - Way more detail than anyone wants about our vacation up the coast of California and Oregon. And lots of pictures of trees!
Apr 26, 2017   Resurrection America, Pizza Studio art, AmandaLynn, Emeli art, and Disney art, and Gifted
Apr 14, 2017   My San Fransisco OSI PI adventure & "Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be"
Apr 12, 2017   Neil Gaiman speaks, Norse Mythology, American Gods comic adaptation, The Magicians TV series, and Dirk Gently on TV
Feb 2, 2017   A trip to the ever-less-magical land of Disney, The Prince of Outcasts, the Whistler, and a brief mention of The Magicians.
Jan 21, 2017   An update to my nerd wall at work, Found out about Richard Thompson (Cul De Sac) being gone, A list of all the stuff (or most, anyway) I've given up to new homes, A review of Dave! and Warp, and a couple of new doodles.
Dec 23, 2016   My final visit to Potterland and a couple of doodles
Dec 11, 2016   Books and related comics, and free/cheap stuff. Not taco Bell Material, President Me, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, The Hedge Knight (comic), The Sworn Sword (comic) Ooma, Ringplus, Amazon prime and other money-saving stuff.
Dec 4, 2016   I'm sharing my sad doodles with the world again. They're not very good, but I'll bet they're better than your scribbles!
Nov 12, 2016   Yet another trip to The Wonderful World of Harry Potter!
Nov 7, 2016   Blathering on about a few of the books I've read recently - Spire, The Check, and Dangercide, Pirate Detective
Oct 7, 2016   Yet another Visit to Harry Potterland. Oh, and my lease-mileage calculator.
July 25, 2016   Another Visit to Harry Potterland, a new car, a new shirt, a new dog, and a whole lot of the same old complaining
May 17, 2016   Email spoofers, Phishing emails, and scammers galore!
Apr 30, 2016   Winter's Edge and a Management zombie attack
Apr 23, 2016   Harry Potter land re-visited
Apr 9, 2016   Xenia...again
Apr 2, 2016   Sing Street, Batman vs Superman, Craigslist griping
Mar 1, 2016   The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood preview, fun at work, Xenia's new song, A Vanishing Glow, Our Fair Eden, Race Wars, The Force Awakens
Jan 27, 2016   Text Wars, Books I've read... Yup, that's pretty much it
Jul 30, 2015   Xenia Martinez news Still selling stuff on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half (the book), The Path Between the Seas, Trigger Warning, In Fifty years We'll all Be Chicks
Mar 17, 2015   Selling my treasures on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half, the Long Mars, Gray Mountain, Anathem, The Golden Princess, The Given Sacrifice
Mar 12, 2015   You'll be sorely missed, Sir Terry
Jan 21, 2015   More BBC 4 radio dramatizations by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett: The Amazing Maurice, Guards! Guards!, Neverwhere, Night Watch, Small Gods, Wyrd Sisters
Jan 10, 2015   JabberWocky, Neil Gaiman style!
Dec 24, 2014   The Good Omens BBC treatment
Aug 03, 2014   Every hobby has to end eventually, right?
Oct 8, 2013   Warning: Extreme Geekness ahead!
Oct 1, 2013   The Bloody Crown of iGoogle
Aug 26, 2013   Headphones at work
Aug 22, 2013   The guvmint is gonna getcha
June 25, 2013   Dweebs vs Big Bang vs IT Crowd
Jul 3, 2012   Xenia Martinez & Dia Frampton concert
Feb 24, 2012   Reading...just not much
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Being an idiot with Lev Grossman
Jan 7, 2012   If it ain't broke...
Aug 22, 2011   non-ComicCon report 2011
A Thousand Splendid Suns
An Act of Self Defense
May 5, 2011   On Stranger Tides
vs.
On Stranger Tides
March 2, 2011   I'm a gigantic slacker...
Ikariam
Wild Guns
Lord of Ultima
Metin 2
Lord of the Rings Online
Dec 15, 2010   Bring out your dead!
Aug 17, 2010   San DiegoComicCon 2010
August 11, 2010   I'm not dead yet...
May 3, 2010   Hero Comics
Liberty Comics
Dr Horrible
Neil Gaiman & Sam Keith in Batman
The Guild, Felicia Day
April 27, 2010   Mean Gene Wilder! Grrr!!!
April 24, 2010   If it's not one Jihad, it's another...
April 20, 2010   The Satanic Verses
March 15, 2010   Unseen Academicals
Feblueberry 8, 2010   The un-reading shelf (from most of 2009)
Feblueberry 2, 2010   Emily the Strange, the Lost Days...a novel
Nov 25, 2009   Happy Halloween, Mom!
Nov 18, 2009   Summer Vacation in Idaho
Aug 20, 2009   San Diego ComicCon 2009
Aug 12, 2009   I'm a big, fat slacker
June 05, 2009   The networks are helping me cut back on my TV viewing
June 04, 2009   Mandy Moore's Amanda Leigh,
Chris Isaak's Mr Lucky
and
My name is Bruce?
and Emmy Rossum? Where am I going with this?
May 21, 2009   Randy would have really liked Fanboys...sigh
May 3, 2009   The Spring reading shelf
Apr 21, 2009   Holidays On Ice (a little late for Christmas)
Apr 18, 2009   Leviticus Cross and other Hector Sevilla comic book stuff
Apr 16, 2009   The fantastically amazing and banal Badbartopia RSS Feed
Mar 31, 2009   Neil Gaiman's Blueberry Girl
Mar 30, 2009   My Amazon mis-order turns out to be not so annoying as previously expected...
(AKA the Dr Horrible soundtrack)
Mar 23, 2009   Stephan Pastis & Richard Thompson have me looking forward to the 2009 SD ComicCon
Mar 19, 2009   Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog,
The Guild
Mar 08, 2009   The Wonderful Wizard of Oz comic adaptation,
Neil Gaiman's Sandman: The Dream Hunters
Mar 04, 2009   Little Brother
Mar 1, 2009   Pete & Pickles
Feb 11, 2009   She & Him
Flakes
Pushing Daisies
Jan 26, 2009   The Scourge of God,
When You are Engulfed in Flames
Jan 14, 2009   On the Road = hippy nonsense
Jan 12, 2009   One-by-one, my fish have met their maker
Dec 26, 2008   My Azeroth-avoidance continues
Dec 23, 2008   Nothing to see...move along
Dec 15, 2008   New scribbles
Dec 10, 2008   The Oct-Nov-Dec reading shelf
Dec 1, 2008   Shalimar the Clown
the economic impact of the events in Mumbai
Nov 21, 2008   Star Wars: Allegiance
Nov 20, 2008   Daredevil Black Widow: Abattoir
Nov 17, 2008   Travel Team
Nov 16, 2008   A new comic adaptation of The Wizard of Oz
Nov 14, 2008   Berke's Books:
The Last Basselope
Edward Fudwupper Fibbed Big
Mars Needs Moms
Opus: 25 years
Nov 13, 2008   Return to Azeroth?
Nov 12, 2008   Goodbye, Opus
Oct 29, 2008   Halloween costumes of 2008
Project Superpowers
Marvels
Ruins
Oct 23, 2008   The Graveyard Book
Interworld
Oct 16, 2008   Nation
Oct 10, 2008   The Joy of Programming
My foray into Ajax
Oct 9, 2008   My Saturn Scare
Opus ends
Terry Pratchett's condition
Oct 3, 2008   The Hitchhiker's Guide, Book 6...by Eoin Colfer?
Oct 2, 2008   Media master - music online
Sony builds a "better" camera
Sept 24, 2008   The September reading shelf
Sept 17, 2008   Still missing Randall
The Fish tank...again
The Graveyard Book
Sept 15, 2008   Slacking...as usual
The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang
Sept 9, 2008   The dearth of Opus strips
yes, I meant to say "dearth"
Sept 8, 2008   A new monitor goes bad...but it all ends happily
Sept 3, 2008   A Boy and His Dog,
Richard Corben,
H.P. Lovecraft's Haunt of Horror
Sept 2, 2008   A slightly newish look
(aka "why I will never be a graphic designer")
Aug 11, 2008   Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in all its incarnations Mike Kunkel's re-imagining of Shazam
July 29, 2008   San Diego Comiccon 2008
July 24, 2008   Neil Gaiman
July 17, 2008   Chris Isaak!
June 30, 2008   The Woman Who Wouldn't
Legends II
Mouse Guard Fall 1152
the Jetta's latest round of repairs
fishtank overpopulation
June 10, 2008   The Reading Shelf
Fish tank jungle
Attack of the bees
June 3, 2008   Missing Randall
May 9, 2008   My French Whore
Apr 28, 2008   Fish tank fatality
Flight of the Conchords
The Dangerous Alphabet
Mar 5, 2008   Gene Wilder book signing at Borders
new fish tank
subpoenaed!
Jan 11, 2008   The Jetta Strikes back!
The Plucker
The Anubis Gates
National Treasure II
Nov 8, 2007   San Diego on Fire,
A clean break from WoW,
UCSD Extension Java I graduation (kinda)
Making Money
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Oct 2, 2007   Back to school, Java class at UCSD
AT&T's Uverse
new sketches
Blockbuster movie pass
August 28, 2007   Mandy Moore concert!
Aug 19, 2007   ComicCon 2007 - Neil Gaiman, Iron Man and all the usual suspects
May 22, 2007   World of Spamcraft (and other spamalicious topics), forum fun...gus, the woes of being a contractor and PIRATES!!
Apr 5, 2007   I'm a conservative - bite me!
Timbaland? Dumb!
Marie Antoinette - snaggle teeth and teasing glimpes. Sweet!
John Q - a lesson about fatherhood or a liberal-propoganda film?
Mar 30, 2007   Things that make me grumpy-er,
employed again at last,
Finn and assorted other ramblings
Feb 8, 2007   The search for employment continues..and the unemployment benefits are NOT pouring in!
Jan, 22, 2007   Freed from the bondage of employment, a very brief review of a few books and films
Dec 17, 2006   Sad excuses, The Innocent Man, 1776, THe Man in High Castle, Absolute Sandman, Wintersmith, garage sale treasures: Ghost in the Machine
Aug 20, 2006   Writers of the Future XXII/Tim Powers, more movie reivews
July 20, 2006   San Diego ComicCon 2006
July 15, 2006   Superman Returns, inconsiderate morons, Peewee's Playhouse returns, my plea for more pirate movies
July 8, 2006   Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Wild Animal Park critters, site remodeling
Jun 27, 2006   The good, the bad and the mediocre (a bunch of movie reviews in the new forum).
June 15, 2006   Because of Romek - A Holocaust Survivor's Memoir
May 21, 2006   The DaVinci Code, Aeon Flux, Everything You Want
May 12, 2006   World of Warcrack, the Office, Coraline, my apologies...
Jan 24, 2006   Christmas Vacation 2006, Syriana, Traveling Pants, Wish You Were Here
Dec 19, 2005   Festive Neighbors, the death of Olivia, Media Misinformation surrounding Brent Wilkes/ADCS, Make Love the bruce campbell way
Nov 15, 2005   Microsoft Technet 2005 launch party, Lexmark printer problem, a bad, bad day, changing dentists.
Oct 22, 2005   Thud!, Anansi Boys, Where's my cow
Oct 18, 2005   Terry Pratchet Thud! signing, Neil Gaiman Anansi Boys signing
Oct 15, 2005   A very, very late Comiccon 2005 report.
Jun 23, 2005   The black hole of Warcraft, The Years of Rice and Salt, After the Sunset, Madagascar, Mr and Mrs Smith, Taxi.
Jun 3, 2005   All is quiet on the PM Front, War of the Worlds (the novel), Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Star Wars Episode III, Flight of the Phoenix
May 9, 2005   The program managers strike again, More of my horrendous sketches, Spanglish, A Lot Like Love, Elektra, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the film)
Apr 9, 2005   Stuck in Corporate Hell, a few of my recent sketches, Miss Congeniality 2, Collateral
Mar 21, 2005   Revenge of the Jetta (car problems), a Newegg purchase, a few new drawings, more Opus
Feb 13, 2005   The Mail mystery solved, more of my crappy sketches, A few new photos of the girls, bill-bert (introducing the new Project Manager), sweet phone skills, Opus, Dungeons and Dragons, In Good Company
Jan 27, 2005   Mystery mail, new photos of my beautiful kids, some new sketches, an Episode 3 spoiler, Opus, Going Postal, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Ubik, Remember the Titans, Lemony Snicket`s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Dodgeball
Jan 7, 2005   Christmas 2004, Update to the site, Elf & King Arthur revisited, National Treasure, Opus, Blade Runner
Dec 18, 2004   A new Stephanie sketch, another Target web page goof, the SD Union Tribune confirms Greg Bear`s research for Vitals, Miramar VW proves my dealer service assertions wrong, neighborhood Christmas fun, Opus
Nov 24, 2004   More of my mediocre drawings, nw russian mail-order coins, Star Wars toys, a big green spider comes to visit, Opus, Dies the Fire, Digital fortress, The Incredibles, Twisted, Van Helsing
Nov 03, 2004   Some thoughts regarding the 2004 election, rants about the environment, a memory rebate update, new computer issues, Opus, The Lone Drow, Deception Point, Roswell season 2 on DVD
Oct 12, 2004   An interesting quiz, mal-in rebates, a parrot joke, my new computer, thoughts on frame removal, web logs, Opus, Vitals, Star Wars trilogy on DVD, Ladykillers
Sep 23, 2004   My "Heath" sketch for Mark Oakley, an update on my a PNY rebate check, the fictitious AWNA Act, Browser Issues with the site, Opus/Pickles, The DaVinci Code, Garden State (Natalie Portman), Man on Fire
Sep 11, 2004   A new drawing: "Stephanie", redneck wisdom, my salary to hourly reclassification, funny video: news from iraq, an update on my mail-in pny rebate, a new rebate through Costco, Ella Enchanted, Highlander Endgame, Princess of Thieves, The Whole Ten Yards
Aug 27, 2004   Fun with my VW Warranty, Opus, Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix, The Land of SokMunster, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Wedding, Napoleon Dynamite, Hidalgo, Chasing Liberty, Out of Time
Jul 23, 2004   San Diego ComicCon 2004, the family summer vacation, Bruce Campbell, Opus, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, Angels & Demons, Folk of the fringe, Bourne Supremacy, i robot, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Cody Banks 2, Hellboy
Jul 19, 2004   *** PNY Rebate fun, IE Patch, Linux and socialism, liberal scum, Opus, BIM, timeline, master and commander, tad hamilton, stuck on you,cold mountain, 50 first dates, the terminal, spiderman 2, king arthur, a hat full of sky, the thousand orcs, meditations on middle earth
Jun 20, 2004   Memorial day pictures, Duplex, Mark Oakley/Heroes, Wild Animal Park Dinosaurs, B-52s concertman, Say After Tomorrow, Big Fish, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Eragon, A Hat Full of Sky, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
May 08, 2004   Pat Tillman, LOTR Toys, 13 Going on 30, Mean Girls, Tolkien Miscellany, Last Juror, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Pork Tornado
Apr 06, 2004   Roswell season 1 DVD and a some other mindless drivel
Feb 19, 2004   Highlander site contest results, new downloads, princess gallery updates, lord of the rings toys, harry potter, underworld. lost in translation, the hunted, a tolkien miscellany...
Feb 09, 2004   Murder at 1600, Radio, Cheaper by the Dozen, King Arthur, Spiderman 2, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Tolkien Miscellany, Mark Oakley, massive snow in Idaho...
Jan 28, 2004   Swat, Uptown Girls, Somethings Gotta Give, Along Came Polly, Seabiscuit, Ashley Judd Marathon, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Science Fiction Bok Club, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, RA Salvatore, Mythology (Alex Ross), Fastner & Larson, Best page in the universe, etc, etc...
Jan 07, 2004   Clint`s rules, X-Men 2, Holes, Pirates, Two Towers, Freaky Friday (Haley Hudson), new drawings, Thieves` World, Playskool Star Wars, new Interest section
Jan 02, 2004   nothing all that interesting...
Dec 21, 2003   Nemo, Highlander page, Christmas vacation 2003, star wars kid
Dec 12, 2003   E.T. (Erika Eleniak), new drawings, Opus, Santa Claus 2 (Elizabeth Mitchell), Legolas toy/pics, How to Deal (Mandy Moore), Myth update, Last Samurai
Nov 27, 2003   Another Fine Myth, Elf
Nov 22, 2003   Dude, Where`s Bill & Ted
Nov 18, 2003   Not much to say
Nov 15, 2003   Disneyland, Astronaut`s Wife, Dumer and Dumber-er, Monstrous Regiment
Nov 10, 2003   Terry Pratchett, Matrix Revolutions
110103   School of Rock, Terry Pratchett signing, Darth Vader MBNA bust, San Diego fires
Aug 17, 2003   Johnny English, San Diego Comic-Con
Jun 17, 2003   Assorted ramblings
May 28, 2003   Not much to say
May 24, 2003   Almost nothing of note
May 17, 2003   Matrix Reloaded, Pirates
Mar 23, 2003   The Police, Pirates, Lord of the Rings grievances part II
Mar 16, 2003   Lord of the Rings grievances part 1
Super auld stuff   A big list of old submissions with boat loads of broken links

Tim Powers Signing at Mysterious Galaxy for Down and Out in Purgatory

I hadn't been to a book signing for a few years before the recent Bruce Campbell signing - not counting the Neil Gaiman non-signing appearance I had to pay to attend in April - and now I've been to two within the past couple of weeks. Both were at the Mysterious Galaxy book store and, though very different (one for an author loosely associated with the film industry and the other an actor who has written a couple of autobiographical books), they were both great and very much worth my time.

Most people would recognize the name "Tim Powers" (if at all) as the the author of the book that the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, On Stranger Tides, was very loosely based upon. Tim has been a published author for about forty years, but has accumulated a surprisingly small number of novels and short stories - only eighteen full-length novels and twenty short stories/novellas. And I've only read a handful of them, but have enjoyed them all (especially the aforementioned On Stranger Tides - which is a million times better than, and much different from, the version Disney shoe-horned into the Jack Sparrow pirate universe). The signing tour is for the release of the collection of all his short stories, confusingly given the same name as a novella he published about a year ago that I happened to pick up from Amazon when I saw it, Down and Out in Purgatory - which is also one of the stories in the collection.

Sadly, there were only around 10 or 12 people at the signing. Unlike Bruce Campbell's signing, there were no lines out the door or standing room only for attendees. I say "sadly" because Tim Powers deserves all the adulation that a celebrity like Bruce Campbell gets - even though I was grateful there weren't a few hundred other people there crowding me and forcing Tim to rush each attendee out the door as quickly as possible. In fact, this signing was anything but rushed, but more about that in a second...

I arrived at the bookstore around thirty minutes before the signing because I didn't have a copy of the book for the signing yet (I did bring my hardcover of the novella of the same name). In fact, the book wasn't even available for sale outside of signings until November 7, so I got a copy of the book a few days before it was for sale publicly. As I entered the store and waited for my turn at the cash register (the stack of books was at the register), I noticed Tim Powers walking around the store, looking at books, and talking to other customers. I didn't try to chat him up because I become a rambling, incoherent boob around...well, pretty much any author/actor I've been around. See my Lev Grossman encounter for a perfect example of the extent of my disability. Before he left the store, after the signing, Tim had acquired a stack of books to purchase.

The signing started out with Tim just talking. Talking about the new collection, talking about the publishing industry, talking about the supernatural, talking about people asking him when he was finally going to write a "real" book, and pretty much just talking about anything he thought people might be interested in. Then he took questions from the attendees. Amongst the questions were questions about his elbow-rubbing with other authors, why he sets a lot of his books in the vicinity of L.A./Southern California, the effect of the On Stranger Tides adaptation on the sale of the novel, the way Hollywood/book optioning works, his writing process,and details of the Disney adaptation process. Throughout the Q&A session, Tim kept us chuckling. He's a great storyteller in person and in his books.

Here are a few of the answers (or just things I overheard Tim telling other attendees while I waited in line) that stood out enough for me to remember them in any kind of detail (not to say that anything Tim shared was uninteresting, but there was so much that it overwhelmed my faulty memory).

  • Tim revealed that On Stranger Tides was actually optioned as the fourth film in the series by Disney before the first Pirates of the Caribbean was even filmed. At the time, there was no guarantee that the series would become a successful franchise and even make it to four films, so Tim and his wife kept a close eye on the success of each of the Pirates movies. He recalled a fake story about Johnny Depp being killed in a car accident before the third movie was filmed. And his elation when it turned out to be a fake story. He was forbidden by Disney from telling anyone about the option deal in place - as he was signing my books, I remarked on what he'd written on my copy of On Stranger Tides at a signing years earlier and he responded that he was lucky Disney hadn't found out about it and sued him. One other thing Tim mentioned was his complete non-involvement with the script writing for the film and being on set for a day and briefly meeting Johnny Depp.

  • Tim knew Philip K Dick (the guy who wrote the story Blade Runner was based on and also the story that the Amazon series The Man in High Castle came from) for last 12 year of his life and is actually a character named David in the semi-autobiographical story Valis. Actual conversations and events from Tim's life are in the book verbatim (Tim told us he was a little distraught at some of the imagined dialog that was put in his character's mouth that would never be uttered by him the the real world).

  • Tim spoke about having to acquire and use piles of books to see photos and get background on the locales he used in his books before the Internet and Google Earth made it possible to be there and see a location by dropping the little orange man anywhere and looking at everything in 360 degree views. He also mentioned how easy it is to just go look at an actual location with the books set in L.A. and how there was one place he would never visit in person, despite it being relatively nearby: Amboy.

    Tim told a story about a friend who was stationed at TwentyOne Palms (which is about 60 miles away from Amboy) being warned, when he was first stationed at TwentyOne Palms, against ever even driving through Amboy (even though it was a faster route from base to parts east). But being a big, brave military guy in possession of a handgun with a fifteen-round magazine, he decided to ignore the warnings and take the shorter Route 66 drive through Amboy.

    As he drove into town (what little there was of a "town" - a motel/restaurant, a few ramshackle homes, and a gas station) he saw a car stopped diagonally across the highway ahead of him and two bodies lying on the pavement motionless. He slowed for a moment, and then remembered all the stories he'd been told about human sacrifices, death cults and disappearances in Amboy, and instead of stopping to help, he sped back up and drove around the car on the shoulder, speeding away. In his rear-view mirror, he saw the two "bodies" on the road stand up and twenty or more people who had been hiding by the side of the road come out of hiding. He never chanced driving through Amboy again after that day.

    I don't know if there's any truth to this story (I found a very similar version online). But I suppose it's possible that the author of the story I found is the same person Tim Powers knows. Or maybe somebody who heard the story from Tim - which would make it no less true.

  • Before signing my books, Tim asked me my name. When I told him, he remarked that I share a name with a character in the book he's currently working on. But then he apologized that his character is a bad guy in the story.

  • Tim told a story about an early encounter with Kurt Vonnegut Jr. at a signing just after Tim published his first book. Tim brought a signed copy with him and proudly gave it to Vonnegut, only to find it, after the signing, in a planter outside the venue. Tim lamented that Kurt Vonnegut couldn't even take the time to throw it in a trash receptacle with a lid to spare him the shame. He then commented on Vonnegut's mental absence from the event, saying that if each of us is born with a limited amount of attention we give to other people, Vonnegut had long since used all of his up.

  • Tim talked in depth about his writing process, his tendency to procrastinate, and talked about how his writing process had evolved with the introduction of computers. He also talked about the dearth of editors for many publishing houses, how publishers now tell writers to get their own editors, and the important role editors play in making a novel really shine.

  • Tim's wife was also at the signing. Tim mentioned her several times during his remarks, and in the responses to the questions. One thing he said specifically about his wife is that she is the first reader of all his drafts. She's well-read, intelligent, and most importantly - not an author - so her analysis is helpful and appreciated. Tim commented on other authors being the worst audience for commentary on an author's work. Even his own commentary would be all about how to make the draft he was reading into a Tim Powers book, not a better version of the author's book.

  • I was surprised to hear that Tim teaches a writing class in an L.A. area High School. That would have been my favorite class ever (I did have a few memorable English teachers - I'm looking at you Ms Clack - though none who wrote an epic pirate novel). Tim told a story about commenting to another teacher about how exceptional High School students are these days - one of his students was reading Voltaire for fun - and the teacher told him that he's seeing a tiny exceptional microcosm of the students. When Tim looked outisde those in his class, he saw the sad truth.

  • I asked, in the Q&A session, if Tim would ever consider returning to the Age of Piracy for a future novel and Tim replied that there is a huge swath of history to be mined during the age of piracy, so it was definitely a possibility - which was music to my ears!

  • Tim mentioned a few times how collections of short stories weren't something a publisher willingly spends the money to publish because they don't make nearly as much money as full-length novels. He suspects the only reason they allowed him to publish this collection of short stories is because he just changed publishers and the new publisher is trying to score points with their new author.

I had intended to take a few photos, but I was so entranced by all the great stories I was hearing that I never touched my phone. And as I mentioned, I was at the end of a short signing line (or almost, I was actually second to last) so I was close enough to hear most of the stories Tim shared with the people ahead of me. He shared something different with everyone. This is the kind of signing Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and Lev Grossman used to have at Mysterious Galaxy. Maybe a little bit (or a lot, actually) smaller, but much more personal. So cool.

I haven't read Down and Out in Purgatory (the short story collection) yet - though I have read the novella by the same name - so I can't say anything specific about the collection. I'm still reading Mark Geragos's Mistrial and an eBook that I'm really not enjoying much, so I won't be reading anything new for a little while.


As I was driving into work (and heard an Imagine Dragons song being played as background for a Ford ad), I was reminded of something I saw a week or two ago (whenever I last saw a movie in the theater). As we walked to our seats, I heard the Grace Vanderwaal song Beautiful Thing playing - which I thought was a nice surprise - as a video montage played on the screen. I thought the music was just being piped into the theater (the lights were still on) and the video montage was independent of the song. But as we sat and watched as we listened, I realized the song and the scenes of the video were synced. And then the video ended and I realized it was an advertisement for Windex and the song was, in fact, part of the ad. Good for Grace. And Imagine Dragons.

Here's the Windex Ad. It's pretty awesome.

I did just buy the new Grace Vanderwaal CD, so I might talk about that one of these days. And I also saw Thor Ragnarok today, so it might warrant a response, too. It was well worth all the dough it cost to get the whole family into the theater.



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