Paul and Storm and Me and Some Other Guys and a Run-on Sentence and Some Creepy Stalking and Maybe Some Other Stuff Too
Posted on March 3, 2009 Posted by John Scalzi 38 Comments
The excellent and melodious musical comedy duo Paul and Storm, who I recently saw perform in San Francisco, and who at the concert threw a fudge cake at me (it was meant out of love, mind you, and which, somewhat disturbingly, I still have, unconsumed), have been so kind as to say nice things about me and my novels in their podcast today, at around the 28 minute mark, which says to you that the podcast has gone waaaay long, since it’s touted as being five to ten minutes on average, but you know, sometimes things you don’t expect to go for very long just keep on going, like this sentence, and you just have to let it happen, because sooner or later they do just stop. See? Anyway, very nice of them to say kind things about my work to their masses of minions.
And indeed if you have a half hour to kill, the rest of the podcast is pretty interesting as well, particularly the bit where the two of them riff off being in the interesting position of meeting some of the folks they like and admire, and how it’s sometimes a challenge not to completely lose your shit in that situation. For example, when they met this dude recently (link to the dude’s actual journal, which suggests that he did not in fact find them to be creepy stalkers).
There’s some irony in that particular example for me, since at one point in the early 90s, when I worked at the Fresno Bee, I pitched a story about graphic novels to my editor just to have an excuse to phone the dude and talk to him for a half hour. Yes, yes, I too was a creepy stalker in my day. But on the other hand, I’ve not had breakfast at the dude’s house, so Paul and Storm win this round of Creepy Stalker Sweepstakes. That’s all right, because I still have my “Sharing a bong with Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore” story. And what a tale it is! Man, the stories I could tell you. About the bong. And Kim. And Thurston. And the bong. But never mind that now.
Paul and Storm also have an audience participation part, talking about embarrassing moments in their past that they still beat themselves up over years later, and asking folks to share their own story in the comments. I think the closest thing I have to that happened about three years ago, when I thought it would be ginchy to have one of my books have an official soundtrack, so I e-mailed a hungry young musician who I thought would be perfect for the gig, and it went a little something like this:
I think you should do an EP based on my book
The Android’s Dream! It starts with someone farting
someone else to death! The kids will love it!
In retrospect, probably not my most suave moment, and I think I’d probably redo it if I could. Rather more recently I casually inquired of Coulton’s booker how much it might cost to have Coulton perform a private gig and got back a number which was expensive but which I could now totally afford, thank you Stargate: Universe. But given my past history with Coulton, I suspect my invitation to have him play a private gig at my home, in a special room in my basement that I’ve made up just for him, will just get me put on his list of People To Have Restraining Orders Against. It’s a reminder that once you’ve made an impression as a bit of a jackass, as I figure I may have with poor Mr. Coulton, it’s hard to come back from that.
In any event, if you have any tales of Eternal Embarrassment you’d like to share, whether or not they involve famous folk, drop Paul and Storm a comment. No, don’t leave it here, it was their idea. I’m just telling you about it. Mocking comments about my pathetic stalkery ways, however, should be left here. And you know, do your worst. Because I’ll always have Kim. And Thurston. And that bong.
I felt very ‘stalkery’ at your Zoe’s Tale signing at Books & Co last year. I saw you at the top of the stairs with Kristy & Athena, and went “SQUEEE”, but inside. I even sat next to Kristy, and gave you 2 Coke Zeros. That’s it, as far as you are concerned… (my SQUEE moments at SciFi conventions i will leave to Paul and Storm)
No, no. You were totally my hero for getting me those Coke Zeros.
The internet is weird that way. It creates a false sense of familiarity with any number of famous people, all of whom (presumably) have a very clear idea of public persona vs private (real) life. I have a tiny bit of internet fame in very specialized circles, just enough to give me some sympathy with more famous examples, though I don’t think it scales linearly.
And yeah, that dude with the journal is at the top of my internet stalker list. I try not to be creepy, but the internet is weird that way.
I invented a word the other day which is perfect for this situation – internestuous. It’s what happens when you go to a performance of your favorite musician, and your favorite author shows up as a creepy guest star (my exact words to describe this moment were “I lost my shit”), and the next couple of days you read about it on the blog and twitter feeds of the musician, the author, the author’s assistant, the opening band and, now, what you thought was a totally unrelated author’s blog. O_O
Thurston and the bong I can do without, but please feel free to tell us aaaallllllll about Kim.
Paul and Storm are all kinds of awesome, and played at last year’s IgNobel awards. We wanted to get Coulton to play as well, but he claimed he was doing something important like being there for the birth of his child or some other nonsense excuse.
Oh, and I managed to get all of DaVinci’s Notebook to sign my 1’st edition AD&D character sheet (the old school orange colored one). How’s that for nerdosity?
It worked? You got to talk to him on the phone for half an hour? Wasn’t his voice just dreamy? (so to speak)
The first time I went to a signing of his, I was all cool and didn’t care. Then he looked up at me and asked, “What’s your name?” and I melted and fell instantly in love (aka new stalker) and told him my name. So he wrote it and “Dream a little” and signed it, along with a little artwork. Once my heart had slowed, I realized that I had NOT gotten the comic signed to the actual friend it belonged to, and I would have some ‘splaining to do. :o Oops. My friend was a total sweetheart about it, though. Actually, the comic book is worth more to me because of how my friend reacted. It’s a great memory.
And thanks for the link to Paul and Storm! We’d accidentally seen them at Dragoncon and didn’t know who they were, but we thought they were pretty darned good and very funny. Now, I will be getting a CD or 2 and watching for them to come play nearby. I will also somehow manage to find another embarrassing fan moment to post there. Somehow. Maybe. If I can remember any others.
Scalzi was actually a near-witness to my last major fanboy moment; he found me maybe two minutes after I had just said (actual words) “Oh my God, you’re NINA PALEY!”
You know, I don’t actually remember much about the actual interview, except for his daughter, who picked up the phone, mocking me for mispronouncing his last name (“Daaad! Someone calling for Neil GUY-man!”). Note it was also a genuine interview (i.e., I wrote up the story and it was published) so I was busy actually typing as we spoke, and, also, it was something on the order of 15 years ago.
Glad to hook you up with P&S! Enjoy.
There was the time I went to a signing for William Gibson and Bruce Sterling for “Difference Engine” with a friend. I babbled uncontrollably at Gibson and thrust a first edition Neuromancer at him (which, sadly, someone walked off with years later) all the while treating Bruce Sterling like he wasn’t even there despite being a fan of his work as well.
Fortunately, my friend rescued the situation by bringing up a hacker friend of ours and we both able to talk to him coherently about it.
There’s also the way I always get hotel rooms in the same hotel as you when you are on book tours, follow you around, eat at the same restaurants and always hide in the back where you can’t see me during readings. That’s pretty embarrassing.
You knew about that, right?
It’s why I carry a taser at all times, Steve.
Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions:
The Dancing Fool
A flying saucer creature named Zog arrived on Earth to explain how wars could be prevented and how cancer could be cured. He brought the information from Margo, a planet where the natives conversed by means of farts and tap dancing.
Zog landed at night in Connectitut. He had no sooner touched down than he saw a house on fire. He rushed into the house, farting and tap dancing, warning the people about the terrible danger they were in. The head of the house brained Zog with a golf club.
Yes, I was very concerned about being too stalker-y at DilloCon & VP last year.
Funny you should mention Coulton this morning… I had this weird dream last night where I was in this wacky cover band that put on some sort of Olde Tyme Revue. One of the songs we covered was “Still Alive,” and we totally gave the audience cake.
And Coulton was there, in the wings, but he had to leave in a hurry. I wonder why…
John, I almost stalked you a little at Penguicon last year when I met you, and Krissy, and there was some dancing, and then I got to meet Toby! And Sarah Monette! And Elizabeth Bear! And Cat Valente! BUT as I was really, really busy NOT stalking Randall Munroe all weekend, I only felt a tad bit stalkery basking in your friendliness.
However, as Mr. Klecha will almost certainly be happy to show up here to tell you (any minute, I’m sure), I am the absolute WORST stalker ever, so when I am stalking a favorite celebrity, they don’t even know it. I didn’t go to any of Randall’s panels, I didn’t introduce myself, and once I realized that he’s like 12 years old, my inability to stalk led to all of us sitting around formulating an equation for when someone is officially Too Young For You. (If you lost your virginity prior to the likely age at which the subject was potty-trained, is what I believe we came up with).
And, um, that author you interviewed? His picture against the Great Wall is the WALLPAPER on my desktop computer. I would totally fail at stalking him any minute I got the chance. I can’t WAIT for my next opportunity to fail at stalking him.
“my inability to stalk led to all of us sitting around formulating an equation for when someone is officially Too Young For You.”
I believe the usual formula for that is one half of your age plus seven. This is why I don’t date anyone under the age of 27. Well, that and a) that whole “married” thing, and b) for women under 30, I exist as an amorphous blur in their sightline rather than, say, an actual human being they might want to interact with.
John! Under your formulation I think I maybe could date Mr. Munroe. And now I’ve blown my opportunity!!
Not so! For he still exists in the world! Go! And unleash your inner cougar!
I go through the “losing one’s crap at the sight of someone I admire” thing far more often than I should, particularly considering how awesome they turn out to be. In fact, I went through it with DVN, who very kindly listened to me wibble. They did not flee screaming, and I ended up selling merch for them. I still sell merch for Paul and Storm when they’re in California; though, as I am no longer a carefree college student, my travel range is much more limited than it was.
I went to a reading/signing for that dude and spent my entire time in the signing line nervously trying to think of something even minimally intelligent to say when I got there so that I wouldn’t blurt out something embarrassingly stalkery. When I got there I could only say, “I couldn’t think of a single scintillatingly intelligent thing to say, so I’ll just say I really enjoy your work and thank you for signing my things.” He was extremely nice, made some jokes about how people usually end up sounding…unfortunte when they try to be really clever, and did a little drawing in my “Mr. Punch” – thus sealing my stalker status forever. Although, like punkrockhockeymom I try to be as polite as possible about it.
This seriously reminds me of when I met you for the first time and when you asked how to pronounce my website name; I proudly replied, “AM KNEE ZSHA with a side of Sarcasm”.
Kate officially checked herself into stupidville that day.
*facepalms and giggles at the same time*
I once met Walter Koenig at a Star Trek convention.
This is not unusual.
I asked how Mr. Koenig was doing after his recent heart attack.
This is not unusual.
I was dressed as a Klingon and going, “OMFG! I’m talking to Bester from BABYLON 5!”
Er… Walt had to go see a guy about a thing.
It’s sad to see a grown Klingon cry.
I’ve moved on.
My son has forbidden me to have an inner cougar. He finds it icky. We’ve stamped it out with s’mores and aprons and shit.
I once met David Gerrold at a local high school mini-con thing.
He did not want to talk about Star Trek. He wanted to talk about his new project: Land of the Lost.
I kept asking him about his experiences on Star Trek.
He grew cross; I grew frustrated.
But it was a long time ago and I trust we’ve both moved on.
Have you ever been in the situation of geeking out over meeting someone only to discover that they were geeking out over meeting you (I believe this happened to Wil Wheaton once)?
Scalzi: OMFG it’s Person X!
Person X: OMG, are you John Scalzi?
Scalzi/Person X: I totally love you! Please autograph this body part!
[pause that would make Pinter lose patience]
Scalzi: Let us not speak of this to anyone
Person X: ‘Kay
Mutual Geeking is cool.
Hey, give Coulton a call. He may have forgotten, and he can always use another paying gig. I got to hang with him at a con during the early days of ‘Thing A Week’ and found him friendly and easy to amuse. Tell him “the worlds greatest bagger” says you’re ok.
OK, maybe not that last one.
I think I’ll let JoCo off the hook, if it’s all the same.
Well first I was stalking Joe Mallozzi, then he put me on to stalking you, then you and Mary inspired me a bit, and the embarassing thing is that that mere spark of creativity has served to keep me alive. in a really messed up way. without even trying, you kind of help me to climb out of my well and have a look at the world; just for the chance to say something dumbassed to a total stranger. Pathetic, eh?
Nah. And you’re welcome.
Dude, you have nothing on my Brent Spiner story.
So, thanks to Stargate: Universe, you have enough money to pay Jonathan Coulton to perform at Penguicon, which would be much less creepy than your basement.
See what I did there? I made you feel better about your inappropriate request, by making an inappropriate request of you. Thereby showing how normal, and therefore forgivable, it is. That’s a weirdly inverted but hopefully effective social skill right there.
In the interests of saving us both time, effort, and legal fees I have filled out the restraining order against myself in advance. You can just sign it when you get here. K?
Speaking of soundtracks, just yesterday I was looking up the band UNKLE and spotted this in their discography: “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Beats?” Immediately thought of you.
b#31: You’re not that “Spinnerette” from the first “Trekkers” movie, are you? Because that was stalker-ific.
Xian: No offense to John, but you should first be thinking of PK Dick!
He was second. :) But I know Scalzi loves that book, which is why he came to mind first. And I know him better than Dick.
Wait, I mean…
I ran into Michael Swanwick at a con and threw out a question that completely undermined a recent short story that he had published recently.
He looked crushed and I felt like hiding under a rock.