I’m behind on a deadline but I have to write this now or I will forget all the details so get ready for the most confusing, phoned-in post ever. In fact, it’s almost all copied directly from my journal and the bulleted quotes are straight from my twitter account and so the tenses aren’t even consistent. If this is your first time here I suggest skipping this post and instead read the one about how the lady on my GPS system is trying to murder me.
I should preface this post by saying that Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury have been my two living writing idols since I was a school girl and if you comment “Did you mean Neil Diamond?” I will find you and burn your house down.
On Tuesday I got to meet Neil Gaiman. This is that story…
Two weeks ago: Just read that Neil Gaiman is going to be in Austin at something called “W00tstock“.
Me: OH MY GOD, we have to go.
Victor: Meh. I’ve already met Neil Gaiman. Remember back in the 90’s when I called you from Vegas and I was all “That author guy you like so much is here signing copies of some book” and you begged me to get one and so I did but then I had him make it out to me? That was hilarious.
me: I’m going to stab you to death in your sleep.
Victor: Yeah, you keep saying that. What’s W00tstock?
me: I don’t know. It’s like a concert for nerds, I think? And people read stuff. And there are…I dunno…ukuleles? And one of the guys from MythBusters is there. The nice one. And Wil Wheaton invented it, I think. Although I don’t think he’s actually there…
Victor: That sounds…terrible.
me: NEIL FUCKING GAIMAN.
Victor: I’m going to bed.
me: I’ll be in to stab you later.
So then (since Victor was all Why-would-we-buy-tickets-to-something-you-can’t-even-explain-properly) I started lobbying the Houston Chronicle on twitter:
- Dear Houston Chronicle: I’ve worked for you for years. Please send me to see @neilhimself at W00tstock in Austin. You totally owe me.
- I’ll need a new press pass, a letter of recommendation and possibly a babysitter for the night. For my kid, I mean. Not for me.
- Fine. For me too. Also, I’ll need money to bribe security to let me backstage. And some sort of disguise if that doesn’t work.
- If successful I will return with an interview from @neilhimself which I will probably just make up myself after being thrown in jail.
- Also a lock of his hair. Or his used water glass. Depends on how tight security is.
Then Neil tweeted back that the Chronicle should totally back me on this and I tweeted back “Dude, from your lips to their ears” which is a really great phrase that actually doesn’t work at all electronically.
As usual, the Chronicle ignored me completely. It was a good call on their part.
But then(!) Victor bought me a ticket because he really is a good guy underneath it all and also because I started leaving a butcher knife beside his pillow every morning. He also bought a ticket for himself because I “can’t be trusted alone” and Neil agreed to meet me to answer my single interview question and that’s when I realized that I would most likely end up standing him up because the only thing more terrifying than the thought of never meeting your idols is the thought of them actually having to meet you. But then my friend Meago was all “No. The scariest thing ever is having dead army generals chase you around with chainsaws for hands” and she has a point.
It’s the day of W00tstock. I still haven’t come up with a good one-question interview so instead I just decided to use the completely inappropriate interview question that I’d asked all the contestants last month when I was judging a Texas Beauty Contest as the acting Czar of Martindale, Texas (Beauty pageant story still to come, promise) but it seems a moot point because Neil missed his flight and so I assumed my 10 minutes with him would probably be cut.
- I’m supposed to meet @neilhimself in a few hours but he missed his flight & I haven’t even showered yet. The fates are aligning against us.
- And by “the fates” I mean “our apparently common lack of responsibility”.
- Unless @neilhimself missed his first flight bc he stopped to rescue drowning orphans. Then I’m the only irresponsible one.
- Although *technically* I’m saving water over here and that’s totally responsible. And practically as good as saving orphans.
- Conclusion: @neilhimself and I are goddamn American heroes.
- Except that he’s English. Hell.
Eventually though I did manage to shower and get out the door and when I plugged in the address of the theater into our GPS it said it was 66.6 miles away, which seemed an ominous sign so I immediately told Victor to circle around the block once to add at least .1 miles to the trip but he refused because he doesn’t take the apocalypse seriously.
Victor in the car: I can’t believe you’re dragging me to this thing. They’d better freeze someone in carbonite or something or I’m gonna be pissed.
me: Dude, you’re gonna love it. It’s like Woodstock, but for nerds.
Victor: I’m not a nerd. This whole thing was organized by some damn Star Trek guy. If Harrison Ford was doing this I guarantee you Neil Gaiman would already fucking be here.
me: Okay, seriously? You’re talking about freezing people in kryptonite and comparing Han Solo to Wesley Crusher on the basis of their organizational skills. It’s like this event was made for you.
Victor: Are you fucking kidding me?! CARBONITE. Kryptonite is what you use to fight Superman. I will pull this damn car over.
me: Okay, now you’re just proving my point for me.
- Victor: Is that a fucking *dog* in your purse? Me: no. It’s an emergency wig. Victor: OF COURSE IT IS.
- At the restaurant outside the theatre. On the menu: “shoulder”.
- Me: How’s the shoulder? Waitress: It’s delicious. Me: Do you have any ankle?
- Because that’s how classy I am. I order my ankle off-menu. I should probably stop drinking.
- By the way, they aren’t serving ankle tonight. Apparently. This is a terrible restaurant.
- In the lobby at #w00tstock. Victor is the only person in this theatre not live-tweeting this shit out.
W00tstock has started. It is awesome and unexplainable. It’s like if the Internet and science had a bad-ass baby. That cursed a lot. And played the ukulele. It’s complicated.
Intermission. Victor and I are taken down lots and lots of stairs and I start to suspect we’re going to be mugged but then suddenly there’s Neil Gaiman and I reminded myself to calm down because I’ve met a lot of famous people and I never get fan-girly but it’s too late because OMGNEILGAIMAN. Then I hugged him and thanked him for helping me with my book and welcomed him to Austin as an official czar of Texas.
He was gracious and sweet and seemed vaguely baffled by me but in a very charming way and I explained that at the Miss Kyle Texas beauty pageant I’d been allowed to ask the contestants a question and that none of them had been able to answer it to my satisfaction so I thought he could give it a go and he was like “Of course. Please continue” and I took a deep breath and asked gravely “In an epic battle for world domination between unicorns and zombies, who would win?” Then Victor gave me a look like “WTF?” because he honestly had no idea that was my question but Neil (without pause, like the bad-ass he is) stated confidently “Unicorns, of course”. And I was a little shocked at how quickly he came up with his answer so I was all “Okay, show your math” and he explained that “unicorns not only had the ability to run the zombies through with their horns but also they would be able to hoove the zombies and they’d all turn to sludge. There would be sludge everywhere but unicorns would be victorious” and I probably should have just said “Exactly!” but instead I was all “No. That’s not the right answer at all but I will give you extra points for using ‘hoove’ as a verb because I’d honestly never even considered how much hooving would be going on with unicorns”.
Then I’d like to think that he asked me what my opinion was because that would seem less insane than what really happened, which is that I proceeded to tell him exactly how the zombie/unicorn showdown would go down (utterly unasked for). I explained that the zombies win because (as we all know) unicorns can only appear to virgins and so all the unicorns would be forced to hang out in elementary school halls while the zombies continue to multiply into enormous hordes and so the unicorn numbers would stay exactly the same because unicorns are all about innocence so it’s not like they’re going to have sex in front of school children so mathematically the zombies would win by sheer number. Then Neil and Victor just stared at me and I was all “It’s science” and then Neil conceded that he did see my point but that it wasn’t like zombies are having sex and multiplying either and I clarified that I meant they were multiplying by being bitey, not by having zombie sex and he was all “Ah, obviously” and then I may have said something about how zombie porn is a pretty-much untapped market and Neil may have agreed with me. It all got kind of fuzzy and I began wishing I hadn’t hit the bar before coming. Victor just sort of stayed quiet and gave me a look that said “For the love of God, stop talking“. Then we discussed how we could only really settle this with a control group of unicorns and zombies and that this is exactly the kind of shit that really should be covered on MythBusters, which was made all the more surreal by the fact that Adam Savage was standing right at the door as we were discussing this but Adam wasn’t really paying attention because he was too busy talking to the chick that was on MST3K. This is all true, y’all.
Then I asked Neil if I could take a picture with him but I wanted something different since everyone takes the same picture with Neil Gaiman and I asked if we could pretend to be bunnies or something and he was all “Wait. I have just the thing” and he pulled out a monkey hat from his suitcase. He suggested that we pose as “serious authors” in an American Gothic sort of way and so we did. And it was awesome.
Then he asked if I wanted to wear the monkey hat and of course I said no because that would be ridiculous.
Then we said goodbye and as Victor and I walked up the stairs I was all “Dude. I just got to meet one of my heroes. This would be like if you got to meet…I dunno…Doc Oc” and Victor was like “Yeah, he’s a nice guy. But who the fuck chooses unicorns over zombies?” and I was all “Well, he’s unpredictable like that”.
Also, I apologize here to Neil for being so gushy and I promise to never again be that overtly fan-girly unless Ray Bradbury suddenly starts tweeting or Dorothy Parker rises from the grave. I suspect the latter is more possible.
PS. My friend Karen has a theory that the unicorns would win because even if they killed a unicorn the zombies would eat the unicorn blood and then turn back into people since JK Rowling says that unicorn blood can bring you back from the dead, but I assured her that JK Rowling is not part of the zombie canon and that zombies have lost their souls so even if unicorn blood did make them alive again they’d still be soul-less zombies except that now they’d be super fast and not slow-and-lumbering because they wouldn’t have to deal with rigor mortis anymore and she was all “My God. You’ve really thought this through”. And yes. Yes, I have.
PPS. Yes, I know some people will say that zombies are so 2009 and that I should move on but I’m sorry but cholera was so 1892 but I’m still pretty fucking concerned about that too. Plus, cholera won’t eat your face off and also those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it. Except that the zombie apocalypse hasn’t even happened yet so we don’t even have past evidence to go on. Continued vigilance, y’all.
PPPS. I still can’t really explain what W00tstock is but this 30 seconds of the hosts of W00tstock forcing the sign language interpreters to sign “elephant spunk” over and over is pretty indicative of its general awesomeness.