Various and Sundry, 7/11/08

Some things for you to think and/or act on:

* So, there’s this “literary agent” out there, named Barbara Bauer, who got angry when people pointed out that as an agent she was very bad, and decided to sue everyone who she thought was being mean to her. To my mind, the chances of her winning her suit are not good at all (indeed, portions of the suit have already been dismissed), but that doesn’t mean some of the defendants (including friends of mine) aren’t having to shell out lots of cash to defend themselves against this intimidation-by-legal-suit maneuver. So there’s a “donate” page if you feel like helping out the folks involved in the suit.

In the meantime, check out Barbara Bauer’s Google search page. Then, for a contrast, here’s the Google search page for Ethan Ellenberg, who is my fiction agent. You may notice subtle differences in the the type of listings each garners. This may or may not be instructive for you.

* People have been asking when I’ll announce the winners of the Hate Mail contest: Probably by next Wednesday. I’ve been trapped under a pile of work, you see.Trapped!

* Here’s a question for you geeks out there: Is wearing a convention t-shirt on which you are listed as a guest of honor the same sort of fashion faux-pas as a musician wearing his or her own tour t-shirt? I crave your opinion.

* Hey! I’m going to see these folks in concert on Monday, and that is awesome:

What’s even more awesome is that I’m taking Athena with me. It’ll be her first concert that doesn’t involve a school assembly and someone singing something allegedly educational. Hopefully Vince Clarke will have fixed his hair issues by now (or, alternately, male pattern baldness will have fixed them for him). We’ll have to see.

47 Comments on “Various and Sundry, 7/11/08”

  1. I would think wearing the shirt you describe might be seen as a giant “ego” problem by some. But what do I know?
    In the same situation, I’d probably wear the shirt. You have every right to be proud of your accomplishments.Who cares what some schlub thinks? The people who matter know you anyway.

  2. Randy:

    It’s less a question of my comfort with my ego and accomplishments (which is just fine, as you might guess) and more a general fashion question.

  3. I would see nothing wrong with wearing that shirt. I assume you mean after the convention. If anyone asks, just point out it’s a comfortable shirt.

    But, then, I wouldn’t’ve considered the musician thing a fox pass, either.

  4. I took my daughter (then 7) to her first “real concert” – Gwen Stefani @ the Schott in Columbus in Dec. 2005.

    This was a very different experience for me considering the last concert I had attended was Pantera @ Dayton’s Hara Arena sometime in the early 90s.

    The thing that really bothered me was the use of cell phones instead of lighters in the darkness pre-encore. It just seemed so wrong.

  5. I understand what you’re saying, John. I guess I’m the wrong one to ask about fashion anyway.
    I’ve always seemed one step behind. I wear what I like and what’s comfortable. If it’s fashionable, fine. If not, fine also.

  6. And on the concert thing, I once had a young niece ask me to take her to see Metallica. As I’d never seen them myself, I did.
    A real eye-opener for her. The roughest concert she’d ever seen was The Kids Next Door.

  7. In my opinion, if the shirt is clean and fits, I’d wear it.

    My first concert was the Oak Ridge Boys (No, seriously). The first one I went to an adult was Chicago. Both were full of polite people.

    Then I went to AC/DC and just wow!

    My daughter’s first concert was Britney Spears. I took her to it. I am an awesome dad.

  8. I took my 14 year old to his first real concert last month – Iron Maiden.

    My first concert was Night Ranger in early 1985 at some smallish venue in Honolulu. I was 16, we were there on vacation.

  9. I took my then-3-year-old son to see the Wiggles. Does that count as an official concert outing? :)

    So this is apparently Yaz’s “25 years since we split up” tour? That is an awesome motivation. Kinda like celebrating the anniversary of your divorce…

  10. Vincent Clarke has certainly fixed his hair… he now shaves his head. See, recent Erasure for an example.

  11. Marcos:

    I think it’s more of a “now we’re adults and happy with ourselves and can tolerate each other” sort of tour.

  12. ” So, there’s this “literary agent” out there, named Barbara Bauer, who got angry when people pointed out that as an agent she was very bad, ”

    This nightmare has me waking up in a cold sweat several times a month:

    “From Publisher’s Lunch: J Winter’s ROAD RULES to Judith Regan at Quiet Storm by The Barbara Bauer Agency for an absolutely shitty deal.”

    Yes, this blurb flashes on some sort of dream version of Sarah Weinman’s blog. My eyes pop open, and I scream, “Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  13. Fashion Faux Pas? We’re talking among SF fans, right? We’re not exactly known for our fashion, are we?

    A fashion faux pas is dressing up as a stormtrooper at a Star Trek convention.

    A fashion faux pas is wearing a mink coat to a Furry convention.

  14. First concert (by myself as a big boy):

    Radiohead, Wellington, NZ right after they put out OK Computer.

    Most recent concert: Liam Finn in a little bar called the El Mocambo in Toronto. Awesome.

  15. Why is wearing the shirt a fashion question? Is it too small, or an embarassing color? Does it have a strip of bacon sewed to the the back?

    Go ahead, wear it. It’s no worse than high school and college athletes wearing their letterman jackets to say, “Look at me! I’m an important jock!” You’re an important writer, at least in certain circles.

  16. The first concert I took my oldest to (when she was 12) was Billy Joel.

    Whatever happened to my Long Island compatriot I wonder?

    The first concert I took my number two and three to was Dylan at Loon Lake, NH in, maybe 1998?

    They thought it was awesome. Which it was.

  17. It would have been: J Winter’s ROAD RULES to Miranda Prather at PublishAmerica by The Barbara Bauer Agency.

  18. If the t-shirt has spiffy artwork on it, as most convention tees do, you can just say that you really like the art/artist (probably true).

  19. My first concert was The Beach Boys. No really, my parents took me and my dad sat me on his shoulders. He was ten feet tall then, and still that way today. The most recent concert was ZZ Top. I took my Dad.

    I am now his favorite child.

  20. Some of the folks involved in that lawsuit are having their own legal defense fund drives, too (like me! I remember seeing Dave the P&E guy having a fund drive on his site, too…). I’d much rather sell stuff than just have my hand out, so I’ve got lots of nifty handmade stuff for sale in my Etsy shop.

    You can find out more here, if anybody’s interested: the Aimee Legal Defense Fund

  21. The “convention guest/concert tour star” analogy doesn’t exactly work. The tour is all about the star — the star is the event’s reason for being. A con — even if you are “the star” is about a whole lot more. I would assume you were wearing the t-shirt because you had a great time or, as suggested above, because you thought the art was really cool.

    I took my kid sister to her first concert: Queen in 1980-ish at the old Coliseum near Cleveland for their “Jazz” tour. My daughter’s first real concert was ten years ago right about this week: the Brian Setzer Orchestra at the crest of the Swing revival.

  22. Nothing wrong with wearing such a t-shirt, but I’d add a caveat that perhaps you shouldn’t wear it at the convention itself. Like those fellows who buy a concert t-shirt and immediately put it on. The response they apparently expect “oh, my god, I am seeing Rush’s Counterparts tour right this very moment! let us bond!” is rarely forthcoming. After that, though, go for it.

  23. Hey, if it’s the InConJunction tee shirt from this last weekend, Howard’s artwork on it so totally rocks that you should just ignore that your name’s on the back.

    Of course, I’m a bit biased, being the conchair and all.

    But, hey, in general, most con shirts don’t have the GoH names in HUGE LETTERS anywhere, so it’s not quite the ego-boo of a tour shirt.

  24. Lynette:

    Actually, I don’t think I got an InConJunction t-shirt. Was one supposed to be provided to me?

    Also, re: InConJunction, I just walk around with my Lab Coat. It has my name on it, but in an entirely different context. So it’s coooool.

  25. My first concert was Iron Maiden in 82 or 83 (I’m old, I can’t remember for sure). My last concert was Bruce Cockburn last year. No, my musical taste hasn’t evolved: I was listening to Cockburn in the early 80s as well.

    My kids are 7 and 5 so it will probably be a while before I take them to their first concerts. Though if I took my 5 year-old to Dio right now, he’d be in heaven. Really. It amuses me, too.

  26. I have some experience with BB’s agency. Essentially she read a portion of a ms., then wanted to read the whole, and if I remember correctly there was some minor reading fee like $45 or something for the initial reading. Then she said, “Yes, I’d like to represent you,” and then threw out some ungodly number like $1100 that I needed to pay her to be represented by her. That was some time ago and I declined.

  27. I say wear the shirt with pride! And why can’t bands wear their own tour shirts? LOL I would personally find that really amusing.

    As for the video…how odd! This is the 2nd time today I watched it (it was posted on an 80’s music blog I read.)

  28. I used to wear the drama deptartment production shirts and I was usually listed as either a techie or the orchestra. No one thought it was faux pas. Except the one where I was listed under both. Apparently, no one was suppose to be listed twice.

    Does bluegrass count as a “real” concert? The symphony? Music festivals? Otherwise I’ve made it 32 years without one.

  29. I would say its an error, for the simple fact, that you have always promoted helping fellow authors, artists and other assorted types. While you’re giving your ego some stroking, you have a million viewer website to assist you, where a T-shirt of some artists\writers that need a boost, say for their first novel. “Hey, John Scalzi is wearing a (Insert author)t-shirt. That writer must be cool, let me go google him.” Author sells some books, thanks you in his acknowledgment, people that have never heard of you, google you, see the accolades and your sales go up. You then get more t-shirts promoting more authors, have that warm fuzzy feeling in your stomach, start the circle all over again.

  30. Someone recently told me it was a faux pas to wear concert tee-shirts from previous tours to a current tour. Or of the artist you were seeing, at all, really.

    I had no idea. I don’t do the “put it on immediately” thing, but I often wear shirts from previous tours. Apparently that’s icky.

  31. Lab coat? You have a lab coat? Is that like a mink coat? Is it made from black lab, or chocolate, or what?

  32. Does the shirt have other names on it? If it does, then I think you’re fine, and why do you care anyway? Wear whatever the hell you want (as long as it’s legal). If anyone makes fun of you your legion of fans will lay the smack down :P.

  33. Heck, I wear logo-wear from my previous place of work to my current place of work. It’s a t-shirt, it fits, it’s clean, I wear it. That’s the extent of my fashion contemplations. Besides, current place of work has only provided me with one t-shirt (3 jackets and a vest as well, but those are more for wearing outside in the winter, they don’t work as well indoors).

    It is fun to wear ’em in public and watch people try to figure out where the city is and why they’ve never heard of the station.

  34. I and Jeremy Piven would like to tell you (and Jon Favreau), “Don’t be that guy!”

    Seriously, though, um… no idea. If it’s around the house, who the hell cares? Though I figure it’s more like an athlete wearing his own jersey or gear outside of the stadium.

  35. The “Donate” button on that site is currently nothing but an image–or doesn’t show up as anything else for me. I found no actual way to donate, unfortunately.

  36. Though I figure it’s more like an athlete wearing his own jersey or gear outside of the stadium.

    I’m thinking “Scalzi” and “athlete” don’t go together.

    But I could be wrong….

  37. By wearing the t-shirt in public, you’re promoting the convention far more than you’re promoting yourself. Within the context of the fannish gift economy, the fact that wearing the gift they gave you also turns into an ongoing gift of publicity for them seems totally fitting to me. This also applies if the shirt with your name on it is one you bought out of per diem or walking around money. Or out of your own wallet, for that fact.

    Beside, the GoH names are usually on the back of the shirt where they’re less often seen than the cool artwork on the front.

  38. Oh, the guy whose musical talent was deep enough in negative numbers to make the first Depeche Mode album suck. Good call!

    This way you’ll never have to worry about her dating musicians or ask her to turn the stereo down.


  39. I can’t even begin to tell you how jealous I am of you. It’s a good thing you didn’t mention this to me last weekend at InConJunction.

  40. Frank:

    “I’m thinking ‘Scalzi’ and ‘athlete’ don’t go together.”

    I ran track and cross country and played soccer in high school, thank you very much, and also took dance for two years, which is not exactly unstrenuous.

    Of course, right now I’m a butterball. But that’s entirely different.

  41. Using the musician/concert shirt/coolness as an analogy: for optimal coolness, you must wait for the years to pass until there is no longer such a thing as InConJunction (ideally until it has been replaced by something of far inferior quality). Meanwhile, you must wash it religiously so that it is good and faded. Then wear it, and wait for the head-up nods.

    If it is just fashion faux-pas you want to avoid, wait about a month and if anyone comments, deny conscious thought when you put it on that morning.

  42. My first concert was Blood, Sweat, and Tears at the Budokan in Tokyo in 1970. I saw Chicago three times, CCR once (an earthquake rocked the Budokan before they came out), Led Zeppelin (when their 3rd album came out).

    The 70s I think were the best with Edgar Winter, Blue Oyster Cult, Sabbath, Van Halen, Tull, Stones, Moody Blues, Kansas, Rush, even Black Oak Arkansas.

    One of the best concerts was Nickel Creek in New Orleans.

    We took our daughters to a free outdoor Little River Band concert in LoDo Denver when they were young. Good show. I never thought I would see the day when I would have to tap a kid on the shoulder and tell him to get that joint away from my kids.

  43. I’m the fund administrator for the Author Advocate defense fund, and I just got back from a short holiday to find that the link to the Pay Pal donation site on the web page wasn’t working. I’ve fixed it – and I’ll keep an eye on it, but I’m not sure why it stopped working.

    You can also go directly to and make your donation to “” if the donate button doesn’t work.

    My sincere apologies for any inconvenience.


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