Rats! The Size of Buses!


This is probably my favorite picture from my New York trip. The rat was up as a way for a union to protest some company that, apparently, was engaging in unfair labor practices; not content to have its members protest, it also brought an inflatable rat to the proceedings. I wonder if you need a permit for something like that. Needless to say, New York pedestrians were totally blase about a 10 foot rat standing among them. After all, they’d seen the real rats in the alleys. This was nothing.

I enjoyed my New York trip, as I usually do. This one, as previously noted, was taken primarily to commune with the folks at Tor, to strategize on marketing/publicity and to plan upcoming work, and indeed there was much strategy and planning to be had, the results of which you will no doubt be made aware of soon, because, after all, this is my site and I do so love talking about myself and my career here. Beyond all the strategizing and planning, however, it was also just nice to see the Tor folks, who are my sort of people, and not just because they give me money and publish my books.

It was also lovely to spend time with Tor’s publicity and marketing folks, who I got know a little better this trip, and with whom I had some very interesting discussions. As most of you know I am a proponent of being good to one’s publicists, on the grounds that people are willing to promote you more when they don’t think you’re an insufferable twit. Tor’s publicity/marketing folk make it easy to want to be good to them because they are all scary-competent at what they do, as well as being genuinely nice people. Yes, yes, I’m buttering them up right now. But really: Great folks. Authors take note: Publicists. Give them love. And chocolate (especially chocolate).

One event of note for readers of the Whatever was that while I was out and about in NYC I had lunch with Dave Itzkoff, science fiction reviewer for The New York Times; it was in fact a really excellent lunch, with lots of good conversation and back and forth. We briefly considered taking a photo where we appeared to go after each other with knives, just, you know, to amuse you, but then we decided it was below our mutual dignity; also, I had left my camera elsewhere. Suffice to say we had a fine time talking about science fiction among other topics.

Aside from work I also used this trip to NYC to visit some friends who I hadn’t seen in a while; I did this by showing up at their offices and having the lobby security staff phone up my pals and go “a Mr. John Scalzi here to see you.” This is a fun way to get the attention of people you haven’t seen in a decade or so. Fortunately all the people I called upon in this manner were able to make a little bit of time to see me. It’s amazing to me how many people I know from back in the day who have ended up in the New York area, and who are now doing very well for themselves. Unfortunately I was not able to see all the folks who I liked, because this was primarily a work trip, but hopefully soon I’ll be scheduling a trip that is purely recreational. And then, oh, the fun we shall have.

Also, for those New York folks: Condolences on the Jets and the Giants. These things happen.

35 Comments on “Rats! The Size of Buses!”

  1. New Yorkers are also blase about the giant inflatable rat because they’ve seen it before. I’ve seen it around a few times, always next to some street work being done. I didn’t know it was associated with union stuff, though.

  2. Am I the only one amused that a man who taped bacon to a cat found something below his dignity? I mean, the cat’s probably thinking: “Great, you get YOUR dignity. Me, I get cured pork products temporarily attached, photoed, and then intarwebbed.” Or am I just sad and pissy because I didn’t get to see a Sharks v. Jets knife fight standoff? Ha!

  3. As John H. mentions, we’re used to the rat. He shows up everywhere. But we’re not so much blase about it. It actually pisses us off a little.

    The generator and compressor they use to keep it inflated is just more noise we don’t need. And it takes up space where we don’t need any more space taken up.

    As Ratso said, “I’m walkin’ here! I’m walkin’ here!”

  4. Those of you old enough to have read Jack Kirby’s 1970s comic-strip KAMANDI will recall the city infested by giant talking rats…

  5. Giants needs a new defensive coordinator or get rid of the entire Defensive line and start from scratch. Two NY teams not making it in one day is a bit too much for me.

  6. IS it me is that Rat either taking up a parking Spot. Either way doesnt it get a ticket for being there.

  7. Best part of The Rat, to me, is the gout of flame that’s about to come out its craw and roast that bus. Rat vs. Bus!

    It’s BaconCat, 2007, baby!

  8. Rats the size of cars, yow!

    Actually, I think the construction barrier in front of the rat is precious. Like somebody is going to miss the GIANT FRICK’N RAT and try and pull into the lane.

    I also keep hearing Robin Williams voice, “I’ll take my kid to Disney. Yeah, Disney to a four-year old. Mickey Mouse would be great, to a four-year old. No. Mickey Mouse to a 4-year old is a six foot giant (explicative) talking rat.”

  9. I am deliberately not attempting to hijack this thread to gloat about my Eagles.

    (For what it’s worth, I’d be a fan of either the Giants or the Jets if one or both of them would just admit they play in Jersey. My taxes, even in absentia, will pay for your new stadium- now put NJ on your helmets, you ingrates.)

  10. Nice to see you enjoyed your New York trip.

    BTW, I saw a headline that had the high for the weekend in the low 70s and the unseasonably warm weather in the Northeastern US. Is your part of Ohio part of the ‘heat wave’?

  11. Oh, the friggin’ rats. Once or twice would have been amusing. Constantly, and everywhere, starts to get on my nerves. One of the djs on my favorite classic rock station apparently has a fetish for the giant rats, and mentions them whenever she sees them or a listener calls in to report their whereabouts, and it is frequently.

  12. I see you just barely escaped the Stench That Ate New York.

    Actually, it seems today is a bad air day all around. Smells in Manhattan, and Austin, TX woke up to about 60 dead birds lying on sidewalks in their downtown. My boyfriend reminds me that we should also be on the watch for rampaging Nidu.

  13. See, this morning’s headlines report a weird unidentified smell blanketing New York. Scalzi was just in New York AND there’s giant rats. Coincidence? Hmmmm. Makes you wonder.

  14. I just can’t get over the serendipity of this. The more I think about it, the less “coincidental” it seems:

    1) New York blanked by a city-wide rotten egg smell.

    2) Scalzi just left New York AND his last book began with a chapter-long fart joke!

    You don’t have to hit ME over the head with a (nonexistent) WMD to figure out there’s something going on here. John, expect a call from HOMSEC soonest. You’re on the list.

  15. I’ve seen the giant rat several times. For about three weeks there was one right across from my kid’s daycare due to some dispute with the company that was right there. I guess that may cause my kids to be less afraid of real rats–so there is an upside.

  16. It’d be nice to tell Dave Itzkoff how much I enjoyed his takedown of Michael Crichton’s new book in yesterday’s Times.

    “Surely history should reserve a special place for the day in 2005 when Michael Crichton was invited to the White House to meet with George W. Bush. Imagine: the modern era’s leading purveyor of alarmist fiction, seated side by side with Michael Crichton.”

    Ooh! Ooh!

  17. Jim Wright: Your theory looks accurate. Let’s not forget that the damning evidence that the post prior to this one is entitled “In The Air Tonight”.

  18. Pixelfish, Exactly, exactly! I was afraid I was the only one who could see the secret messages hidden in the blog (you have to spin the monitor BACKWARDS to read them, but they’re there, oh they’re there). Note the title of the next thread “Housekeeping” (as in “Taking care of business”), which I’m pretty sure is on the NSA watchlist for a damned good reason. AND we know that Scalzi associates with a certain woman who has been known to rough up good God fearing Midwestern men who were doing nothing more than exercising their freedom of expression in a public meeting house (think of it like redneck performance art). AND he tapes bacon to cats, and bacon is a pork product, and pork is mentioned in the Koran, and cats were revered by Ancient Egyptians, and Egyptians are Arabs ferchristsake. And don’t even get me started on his brutal and unprovoked attack on Harlen Ellison. The implications are obvious. Thank Goodness you spoke up, I was afraid that only I could see this. ARE THE REST OF YOU BLIND?

    Excuse me, hafta go, the voices in my head are telling me to go take my pill…

  19. Nathan (if THAT is your real name, frankly I’m a bit suspicious of that IMDB link)

    “He’s one of us”

    What, Canadian? I guess I’ve been called worse things. Much worse now that I think of it… And actually, the first thing I learned how to say in Arabic was “don’t shoot me, I’m Canadian!” So, yeah, that’s cool.

    “Dispose of Jim Wright probe results. Irrelevant.”

    Probe results? Probe? I thought those were anthrax shots, damn those lying Pentagon bastards, screwed AGAIN.

    Seriously, Dude, you don’t survive Iraq without a highly developed sense of the ridiculous. And I’ve done it twice now.

  20. Jim Wright, “And actually, the first thing I learned how to say in Arabic was ‘don’t shoot me, I’m Canadian!’ So, yeah, that’s cool.”

    Well, there goes another keyboard.

  21. Steve,

    Oh yeah, I’m a card. Chicks dig my sense of humor. Why just last night I said to my lovely bride, “Hey, why don’t you go down to the kennels and feed the dogs tonight, ’cause, you know, it’s like -30 out and I’ve had a long day” and she replied, “Jim, you are one funny motherf…”

    Oops, gotta go, I’m supposed to be working and this is a government computer.

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