Monday, April 23, 2012

Airborne Illogical & My Juicy Lucy

WARNING: There could be cursing in this blog post. If you don't like cursing, it's okay. You can just not read this post. This warning may serve for all future blog posts. There will be more cursing. ALL CAPS LADY insists on this.

So, I fly a lot.
I fly enough to know what's allowed on a plane and what's not allowed on a plane.
But sometimes, we all make mistakes.

I have two kids and they are cute. I like to buy them cool things from the places where I fly. They have to miss me and not hug me and not play freeze tag with me for a few days while I'm gone, so it's the least I can do, right?

I like snow globes. And they love snow globes.
Snow globes are filled with--gasp--liquid.
As it is, snow globe liquid is not approved liquid. It is less than 3 ounces, sure, and it has boss sparkles, yeah. But it's not approved. Not even if it's a Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox snow globe.

Paul Bunyan Snowglobe
This is the exact snow globe.
Flickr Photo: Mike Fabio 
Usually I buy my snow globes in the airport. But the Minneapolis St. Paul airport doesn't have any of these particular snow globes for sale. They have moose snow globes. I ask you: what kid wants a moose snow globe? Or a loon snow globe? I mean, when they could have a cheesy Paul Bunyan snow globe instead?

I'm getting ahead of myself.
I bought the snow globes at the hotel. I packed them in my big Doc Marten boot because kickass boots like that have hollow spaces and will protect said boss snow globes. Plus, packing things in the hollow spaces of one's boot to fit four days' worth of stuff into a carry-on is just logical. And I am all about the logic, as you know.

The security checkpoint scene went like this:

I do the proper amount of clothing removal, send four things through the X-ray machine.
I walk through the metal detector and the guy complements me on my squid. I thank him.
My guard is down.
I do not expect anything to go wrong.
I have not thought deeply about the fact that there are two not approved Paul Bunyan snow globes in my kickass Doc Marten boot inside my R2D2 carry-on suitcase. I have not thought about it at all.

I have other things on my mind.

So, I'm at the area where my stuff gets spit out. First comes my leather and my shoes and iPhone and then my laptop. Then my backpack. And then I stand there watching the X-ray guy really inspect the shit out of the contents of my R2D2 carry-on and I can't tell why he's so concerned. He calls another TSA person over and she says, "I guess it's my turn. Lucky me."

I say, "Looks like we're in it together." She doesn't smile.

She takes every damn thing out of my suitcase looking for this thing that she has a close-up image of on her screen. I keep asking her what she's looking for so I can help her, but she doesn't answer. A book falls on the floor. A shirt. (They have tiny tables for this searching in the MSP airport.) And as she closes in on the only thing left--my right boot, I realize what I've done wrong.

I say, "Oh shit. It's the snow globes."
She says, "Snow globes aren't allowed."
I say, "I know. I know. Shit."
She says, "Where are they?"
I try to get control of my suitcase back from her so I can reach into the boot and get them for her. "In my boot," I say.
"Why'd you put them in your boot?" she asks.
"It's just a logical place to put them, don't you think?"
Now she's looking at me as if I'm nuts.
But isn't it logical? Don't we all stuff our hollow shoes with dirty underwear on our way home? Posse, tell me I'm not alone in this.

Anyway, she finally gets the snow globes out. She doesn't even open the fuckin' bag. She just takes them out and says again. "Snow globes aren't allowed." Then she adds, "If you want to keep them you have to check the bag."
She then explains that this will take a while and we both know security is about 40 minutes long at this point.
They cost me five bucks a piece.
I ask her if she has kids and if she wants the snow globes or knows anyone who might.
She sneers at me. In hindsight, I guess a Paul Bunyan snow globe is no big deal to a kid from Minnesota.

What she does next is what's been eating me.

She dropped the bag with the snow globes into the trash can right there in the security area.
So. My dangerous, possibly explosive and not approved items were...put right there next to a line of 100 people waiting to go next.

Look. I get it. I get that some shit isn't allowed on airplanes. And I'm not anybody special, I get that too. And I knew the snow globes were going in the trash. I gave her permission to take them away. But to toss them in a trash can seems a bit odd to me considering they were confiscated because they were potentially dangerous.

Not logical at all.
Maybe install a chute for potentially dangerous snow globes? So they can be deposited far, far away from innocent people waiting in line to get X-rayed? I don't know. It just seemed so...mean.

I even went into this shop. Who knew the Fox News Channel
had a shop? Nice HUNGER GAMES display, though. 
Anyway. I went to every store in the airport and couldn't find anything but moose and loon snow globes. I ended up buying the kids keychains instead. One of them already broke.

So then, my flight to D.C. was a bit weird.
Fact: if you ever become a pilot please don't ever mutter these words into the matter how confident your confident-pilot voice is: We got a bit too close to the plane in front of us.

Yeah. Keep that shit to yourself.

But here's the kicker.

This guy. He came onto the tiny propellor jet that took me from D.C. to PA. He was a run-of-the-mill camouflage hat-wearing dude. Jeans. Construction boots. He got on the plane last on a standby ticket.

He sat in the very first seat, and then for some reason, three minutes after he got on, he was asked to leave the plane. I don't know why. It all happened in the middle of a nasty rainstorm and I don't know why they ask people to leave already-boarded planes. He got up, took his bag out of the overhead and called back to his friend.

"Dude! They're not letting me on. You gotta come with." He turned to the flight attendant and explained that the other guy was his pal. Then he turned to the whole plane--12 rows of us and said, "I'm a terrorist!"

And I repeat. Keep that shit to yourself. I don't care how pissed off you are. Or how great you think you are at sarcasm. I don't care how long of a day you had. I don't care about anything. You don't say "I'm a terrorist" to a planeful of people strapped into a propellor jet in heavy rain. There were two kids on the plane, man.

At times like those, I want to quote the squid from EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS. "The world is full of assholes. What are you doing to make sure you're not one of them?"


I got to dine with Andrew Karre and Brian Farrey and in so doing, I discovered Hells Kitchen's ham, cheese and pear sandwich.

I got to finally visit the Flux offices in Woodbury and had an absolute blast with the amazing people at Flux. I'd been wanting to do that for 5 years, so it was great. Marissa and Steven and Brian and Sandy and everyone else who came out to see me, I really appreciate it. Also, on the record, Marissa is the best parallel parker I've ever met.

I got to meet the one and only Adela Peskorz and the awesome teens at Teens Know Best, who ROCK.

I got to read at The Loft on Saturday. I have this picture of Becky Davis reading from Chasing Alliecat.

I think someone posted a slightly blurry one of me on Twitter....oh yeah. It's here. With huge thanks to Anne Greenwood Brown for the shot!

After this, I ate the best hamburger I ever ate. And if you know me, you know I don't eat hamburgers. We went here and had a Juicy Lucy:

End of way-too-long blog post.
Now I have to go write a book between school visits until Rochester Teen Book FAVORITE PLACE ON EARTH...coming May 19th.

Rock it.

Addendum: My good friend from the way back machine has informed me that the trademarked spelling for a Juicy Lucy is: "Jucy Lucy." Either way, it was gorgeous. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Holy Crap. (And winners)

Holy Crap, posse. Westborough Reads Together was amazing.

Here are some articles about it to make up for the lack of words from me at the moment due to a library board meeting in an hour and pool painting weekend, etc. But know this: I will be writing a blog soon about the experience. I learned so much.

Here's one from the Westborough Patch.

And here's one from The Daily Westborough. (Warning: worst A.S. King picture ever. Seriously. I look like I'm about to scold someone for stealing my cookies.) (I know, it's not about the picture. But still. A girl can warn, right?)

The students, teachers, volunteers, library patrons, participants and the administration were so nice and supportive of Anita and Maureen's idea that they grew it into one hell of a success and it was an honor to be a part of it. I think one of the most interesting aspects for me was the effect of choosing a realistic book from the YA shelf as their book choice. It seemed to help promote discussion between many generations--not just teens and their parents, but adults of all ages joined into the conversations about Vera and Ken and Charlie.

Anyway, more on that later with pictures from Maureen or Anita's cameras because the former photographer didn't take one picture the whole day.

News from the front: This teacher rocks and this blog post made me happy. 

Don't forget to come and see me and Becky Fjelland Davis at the Loft Literary Center's Second Story Reading series on April 21st. It will be fun and I will not wear a toga.

For the winners of the latest contest. Thank you all for entering. It was a tough call. All of your words were awesome.

Here are the two winning entires. I encourage you to use them in everyday conversation.

Neighbro (n.)- A bro who lives next door to you. Is fond of having loud parties that disturb the neighborhood and of throwing beer cans on to you lawn. Can also be used when your actual brother lives next door to you.

 (Julie Seifert)
Pissadointed (adj.)- Feeling both angry and disappointed at the same time. Typically stemming from an inability to alter that which is the source of your frustration.

Source credit: my four-year-old daughter.

 (Eric Devine)
Rock it, Eric and Julie!

More soon. First, pools and libraries and probably some roller skating.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Birthday (Again) Vera!

Today is the PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ paperback's launch day. We are so excited, we're giving away two signed copies of the book. Only one hook. You have to go to the Secret Facebook Hideout to find the rules. (Arr, you can take the girl out of the pirate, but you can't take the pirate out of the girl.)

So...there are a few ways you could have arrived at this blog post.

1. You followed a link from Twitter or Facebook and you landed here. If so, thank you. Please see #3.

2. You clicked on the link to enter the Secret Hideout contest to win one of two signed copies of the PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ paperback. If so, go ahead and leave me a comment. 

3. You are a regular visitor to the blog and if so, you are clearly awesome. If you want to win a signed copy of the PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ paperback, then you should go to the Secret Facebook Hideout to get instructions on how to enter to win one.

4. You stumbled here by complete accident. If so, see #2. Why not give it a shot? Free stuff is cool and this book has fans of all ages.

Other Awesome Stuff:

I will be in WESTBOROUGH, MA today celebrating with the awesome librarians, teachers and students at Westbourough High School, and later tonight at Tatnuck Books from 7-8:30. If you haven't heard about their amazing community read project, check out this post from last month.

Check out my week of writing-related blogs at Random Buzzers. This is a link to Monday's post. There will be one every day this week. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Random April Fool's Day Things

It's been three + months of writing bliss in my office (or more realistically, at my kitchen table due to the cold office situation) and now it's time to get ready for the road again. First, I want to share with you my tour-ish schedule for the next few months.

Westborough High School

April 10, 2012
(Not a public event)

Booksigning at Tatnuck Booksellers
Westborough, MA
April 10, 2012
7:00 p.m - 8:00 p.m.

The Purnell School
April 13, 2012
(Not a public event)

Teens Know Best
April 20, 2012
(Not a public event)

Loft Literary Center
Second Story Reading Series
1011 Washington Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN, 55415
April 21, 2012

Donegal High School
April 27, 2012
(Not a public event)

Reading Public Library
100 South Fifth St.
     Reading, PA  19602
April 28, 2012

Youth Empowerment Summit
Martin Library York, PA
May 3, 2012
All Day

Books-A-Million Exton
Exton Square Mall
Exton, PA 19341
May 12, 2012

Rush Henrietta High School
May 17, 2012
(Not a public event)

Our Lady of Mercy High School
May 18, 2012
(Not a public event)

Rochester Teen Book Festival
Nazareth College, Rochester, NY
May 19, 2012
All Day

Maricopa YA Book Festival
Phoenix, AZ
May 26, 2012
More info: TBA

ALA Annual
Anaheim, CA
Signing ARCs of ASK THE PASSENGERS in the LBYR Booth
Sunday June 24

Books-A-Million Harrisburg
5125 Jonestown Rd.
Harrisburg, PA 17112
Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ephrata Public Library
550 South Reading Road
Ephrata, PA 17522
August 8th, 2012

Here's a picture of VERA DIETZ in Turkish:

So, güle güle means goodbye, and there you have it. Cool cover. I can't wait to see the flowcharts inside. That's my favorite part of all the foreign editions--seeing the flowcharts.

A really kickass review
I saw this review at Monica Fumarolo's blog today and there's a lot about it that made me smile this morning. It was this line:
Every once in a while, you come across a book that is so completely honest that it forces you to examine parts of yourself and your life that you maybe didn't even realize you were missing. A book that completely gets you and understands you better than you understand yourself.
Or maybe it was this line:
If you are a fan of contemporary fiction that's not afraid of getting gritty and exploring those big, awful, complicated, necessary questions that life throws at us and that critics all too frequently claim YA literature is incapable of adequately exploring, learn from my mistake and pick up a copy of this novel as soon as possible.
I do like that idea that some books on the YA shelves can, indeed be thought-provoking and challenging and maybe even [gasp] just like "real books." I've heard from less polite mouths this idea that YA writers lack the talent to write for adults and therefore YA books lack, you know, that "real book" quality of being. . . um. . . I have no idea. I can't figure out what those people are talking about, so I can't really figure out how they think. Oftentimes they have not read any YA novels before they claim this stuff. (And I write novels for adults too, so I can't figure out if according to their theory I write YA on my talent-free days, or what.)
As seen in July 2011
I did hear a conversation at a library workshop the other day about how "women" are reading YA now because it "gives their brains a break."
Boxes boxes boxes.
We are all so scientific, pinning wings and labeling specimens that we sometimes forget that not everything can be boxed, pinned and labeled. I am so glad some people can think outside of those boxes. And a huge thank you to Monica who rocks for reading and reviewing and telling me about it on Twitter.

And. . .
Since we're talking about Vera, let me say here in very large letters...

Please Ignore Vera Dietz 
comes out in paperback in a week. 

A huge thank you to last week's contest participants.
I will be posting some more fun content in the Facebook Secret Hideout this week.
Stay tuned.