“I am here, wiz Mr. Bubbles Kitty, in an undisclosed location where minions in Devo-inspired jumpsuits do my bidding or face ze torture chamber, where I pipe in video footage of Celine Dion performing “My Heart Vill Go On” until ze break like cheap Pez dispensers.”
Okay, actually, I’m in Milwaukee, which I know mostly from the TV show, “Laverne and Shirley.” From my window, I can see a bit of the city. The architecture is amazing, and I’m only sorry I won’t have time to drive around see the city a bit more.
(Just as a sidenote, across the street, there is a roof with a door. It’s small and odd, and how badly do I want to turn that knob and find out where that door leads? Hmmm…)
Okay, you want to know about the subject line, don’t you? (I would.) I asked my escort, Bill Young, who has driven EVERYONE, if he had ever had John Cusack in his car. “Yeah,” he said. “He sat right in that seat,” and he pointed to me in the passenger seat.
I began to hyperventilate. “Lloyd Dobler sat here? My butt is touching a spot where his butt once parked itself? OMG.”
I really sat down hard then so I could soak up some John Cusack vibes. My butt has had one degree of separation from John Cusack’s butt. I’m just saying.
So, Day #2 of the TSFT World Domination Tour was really, really fun. (If you’re going to take over the world, you should be having a good time. Right, Mr. Bubbles Kitty? “Mraow.”)
I started the day off at Oak Park River Forest High School. People, they gave me flannel Huskies pajama pants. I ask you, how wrong can the day go when you start off in the pajama plus column? (P.S. They are warm and comfy and soft. Mr. Bubbles Kitty eyed them with hatred born of jealousy.) Dr. Ann Carlson took great care of us there (by “us” I mean Elizabeth, Bill, and me—not a royal “we” or anything…). What can I say? The students at Oak Park were amazing. Truly amazing. I don’t think I can adequately convey to you how much I get out of getting to do this, of getting to hang with such cool teens. My brain is having a Big Bang of new ideas hourly. I was given the gift of a student essay on AGATB written by Rachel. (An A+ essay!) And I met Tracy, who told me that one of the writing exercises on my website was helpful to her. She used it as a jumping off point for a poem that won a poetry slam! Smell you, Tracy! I am going to link to Tracy’s poem when I can, but I’m having huge Intramanets issues right now. I think perhaps my first job as Evil Author Overload will be to beat Steve Jobs with an iPhone until he fixes whatever’s up with my Mac. “I (slap) could (slap) haf (slap) taken over (slap) ze vorld (slap) if only (slap) my browser vorked! (slap) Into ze Safari Pit of Doom! You vill not google your way out of zis, I think, Mr. Jobs—mwahahahahaha!”
Okay. Tangent over.
I loved Oak Park. Frankly, I wanted to ENROLL at Oak Park and take their jewelry making classes and spoken word performance and photography and Books Into Novels course. Holy cow. My high school’s saving grace was an open campus so you could drive to Arby’s for lunch.
After a nutritious school cafeteria lunch of pb&j and Fritos (I could have had the salad. I didn’t. Did I mention they had Fritos?), we were on to the seventh and eighth grade classes at Roosevelt Middle School. They rocked it. We did the character building exercise, and all I can say is, when your victims, er, participants come up with characters like Fudgy McFudgepants who fears becoming a s’more and Josh from Chicago who only wants his stolen yarmulke back, well, you’re in for good times. I even liked the kid who kept making farting noises behind my ass, although Mr. Bubbles Kitty did follow him out of the auditorium and she came back licking blood from her paws. She’s so cute when she does that. Both events were hosted by the Magic Tree Bookstore, so you know, show some love to your local independents.
After that, we dashed off to downtown Chicago to do a radio interview with the adorable and funny Steve Bertrand, who has a twinkle in his eye and a way with making you feel very comfortable in a recording booth. (No easy task where I’m concerned.) Not gonna lie—got a wee crush on Mr. Bertrand now. “Ven ve take over ze vorld and parts of New Jersey, ve shall give him a command post somewhere very nice. With a comfy chair. Und stylish pants. Isn’t that right, Mr. Bubbles Kitty?”
We drove out to LaGrange, IL and found ourselves a Mexican restaurant chosen by GPS and confirmed by the fact that it was pumping mariachi music out onto the street and the décor included an enormous, deranged looking Elmo piñata suspended from the ceiling. This actually looked like Elmo’s cousin, Billy Bob, that the family doesn’t talk about much. The Sesame Street piñata that did hard time. This was one mean dude of a stuffed candy toy. It probably drops bricks if you break it open. Normally, I would be skeptical of Mexican food in LaGrange, IL, but sometimes I like to live for danger. Fortunately, the food did not have a Fear Factor quality to it, and I scarfed down my weight in chips and guac like I was setting a land-speed record for eating dinner.
Our evening event was a signing at the lovely Borders down the street. The staff there are amazing—hello Lori and Siobhan and Kelly and Becca! They had cookies! (Though I was too stuffed with chips to even consider it.) I had the best time getting to meet many of you—thanks again for driving out on a school night instead of getting your homework done in order to hang out for a bit. It was much appreciated. The questions were excellent. There was much laughter. I was given a care package in a green purse (!!!!) and I absolutely did break into those Milano cookies at midnight, Molly, so thanks.
Okay, I’m going to sound like a freakin’ Hallmark card, but it is from the heart—you guys blow me away, and I am just lucky to know you. Thanks for making my time in Chi-town so fantastic.
The fabulous and funny Bill Young drove me all the way to Milwaukee last night in the rain, ‘cause that’s the kind of class act he is. Now, I am off to Bayside Middle School here in Milwaukee, then I catch a plane to Detroit, home of Iggy Pop, the MC5, Motown, the White Stripes and much more! I can’t wait.
*****TONIGHT’S BOOK SIGNING*****
BORDERS BOOKS AND MUSIC
43075 Crescent Blvd.
Novi, MI 48375
Hope to see you Motor City Madmen and Madwomen there!
P.S. I will answer more of your comments as soon as I can get a reliable $*%&# internet connection!