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Well Lit
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Why no real entry in oh-so-many days? My last week:

Friday night: Drove down to Santa Cruz with my lady love to see our friends Scott and Lynne. Drank beers, kicked back, went to the Saturn Café for cheese fries, came back, and chatted the night away.

Saturday: Rose earlyish, headed toward the harbor to do my KUSP radio interview with Rick Kleffel. I think it went very well, and it's supposed to air next Monday. After that, I think there'll be an MP3 up on Rick's website. I'll let you know. We had a nice chat about fantasy fiction, the mythic West, philosophies of art, bisexual characters, and on and on. A good time. After that I returned to Scott & Lynne's, and we began a day of drinking! I told them I wanted to be drunk for most of my birthday weekend, and rather than give me a case of Pabst, they took me to local wineries. We went up to Bonny Doon's tasting room first, then to a local microbrewery's beer tasting, then to a Pelican Bay tasting, then to the Sarticious gin tasting room. So... much... drunky fun, and very nearly free. We went to Pergolesi (where Heather set a copy of Rangergirl free on one of the bookshelves), and to Bookshop Santa Cruz (where I signed a bit of their stock), and then to Mobo for sushi galore. Mmm. We also played many many hands of cards, and I asserted my Oh Hell dominance once again. Scott and Lynne, as always, made us feel so welcome and loved. And their cat, Petra, is so adorable and beautiful!

Sunday, sad Sunday, we had to leave, after a delicious brunch at Gabriella. Heather and I said our fond farewells, took all the wine we'd bought, and drove North, talking most of the way about nature vs. nurture as regards artistic talent and temperament. That night we put up the Christmas tree, and wrapped presents, and had a fine old time. I decided to get myself a birthday dinner (as if I hadn't eaten well all weekend) of a yummy cheeseburger, fries, and a milkshake. Mmm.

Monday, my actual birthday, was very busy at work, and then it was World of Warcraft night (though only three of the five of us were free to play, alas -- still fun, though). Heather brought me some cake. And we drank a bottle of good wine. Turning 29 went well.

Tuesday was busy at work again (this trend will continue until we finish the issue on Friday!), and then I went up to Berkeley and to the gym. So far, the gym is still working out. When I got home, around eight, I cooked fajitas for dinner (mmm), and Heather and I replenished our calorie-depleted selves. Then I read a little (Vernon God Little these days), and gave Heather an early Xmas present so she could start enjoying it right away, and that was pretty much it for the night.

Then, today! Busy at work, yes, but I left early to go home, and change clothes, and catch a train into the city. I met Heather, and we got some dinner, and ambled over to A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, a truly lovely bookstore. Michael Chabon was there, with his editor Courtney, so we chatted a bit, and then David Kipen arrived.

Just so y'all know: David Kipen = Best Moderator Ever.

We talked, we laughed, got to know each other a little, then went out to the little table before a packed audience (all there for Michael and David, natch, but I was happy to bask in their reflected glory etc.). I'd been a little nervous, before arriving, but once I got up there, it was just fun. David asked wonderful questions, and I was very comfortable up there, talking with him and Michael. It was like having a great convention-hallway conversation, but in front of an audience (and judging from the laughter and whatnot from the audience, it was well received). The audience questions were good, too, and That Guy didn't even seem to be in attendance (you know That Guy -- he's the one who wants to talk about how aliens really built the pyramids, or about his self-published book of political erotica, or about whatever totally-topically-unrelated-hobby-horse he likes to ride). We talked for about an hour and a quarter, I guess, but it honestly felt like no more than ten or fifteen minutes, it was so fun and natural. Someone was recording the panel for the radio, and I think it will be podcast, but I don't know details -- I'll let you know if and when I find out. Then Michael and I signed books, and chatted with people, and chose our free books -- we each got one free book as a thank-you for doing the event. Super awesome. (I got a book of Umberto Eco essays on writing.) A little mingling-around, and it was over, sigh.

David, once the book reviewer for the SF Chronicle, is now the director of literature (seriously, it says so right on his business card) at the NEA, so he had to fly back to Washington D.C. tonight. He walked with Heather and I to the BART station, and rode the train across to the East Bay with us, and we talked all the way, about movies (his upcoming book is about film), giant monkeys, writing obituaries, science fiction, writers we should read, etc. What a great, fascinating, energetic, enthusiastic guy. I feel more passionate about writing and art because of the time spent talking to him.

Basically, tonight was incredibly awesome. I expected it to be, you know, just another bookstore thing, but it was super fun and inspiring. Wish I could sit down and chat with those guys like that on a regular basis.

So anyway, here's an entry. Hope you liked it, because things don't look like they're going to get any less busy until the middle of next week sometime, and you may not hear from me for a few days.

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