Actually, Dragons Later Would Be OK, Too

Hi everyone!

Impending Christmas! Whoopee!

Unlike last week, I suddenly have a zillion things to talk about, but I’ll save some of it for later and start with my account of:

The Boston TV Party!

Now, you could already tell just from the title of the event that I’d be there. A TV PARTY? WOOOO! Not only that, but it was organized to support the writers on strike, and if there’s one thing I support unquestioningly, it’s TV writers, who bring me so much joy and excitement and wacky spy antics and Kristen Bell.

And not only THAT, but my all-time writing hero, Joss Whedon, was there! Creator of Buffy and Angel and Firefly, and if you didn’t know that, you probably haven’t met me yet, but that’s OK.

So, despite the blizzard the night before and the two feet of snow I had to wade through to get to the bus and the getting up before noon and the fact that I had to spend an hour finding a matching scarf and gloves, because Joss Whedon couldn’t possibly meet me in my usual hodgepodge of colorful winter accessories, I somehow made it to the church in Harvard Square in time to find a corner of a pew before the speechifying started.

(I was too much of a fluffhead to remember to bring my camera, however, so all my photographic evidence of attending the event was taken with my camera phone, rendering “Joss Whedon’s head across a crowded room” more or less indistinguishable from “distant galaxies” or “llamas” or “thumbs”. I’ve saved all ten of these warm fuzzy blurry images anyway, of course, because I know it’s him, even if no one else in the world ever would.)

First to speak: Jaime Paglia, creator of Eureka, which seems to me like an impossibly difficult show to write. I mean, these writers can’t just be like: “OK, so this week somebody becomes invisible” or “this week all the women in town find Sheriff Carter wildly irresistibly attractive.” Because of the premise of the show (a hidden town full of top-secret geniuses running elaborate government-sponsored scientific experiments), the writers have to then come up with a believable-sounding scientific explanation for the invisibility or the wild attractiveness (other than “Sheriff Carter is cute”, which is also true), and then they also have to come up with a few plausible science-y red herrings.

And then they find a way to explain it in layman’s terms for Sheriff Carter (and us) and THEN they also make the whole thing hilarious. I cannot imagine being smart enough to write this show. I can’t even imagine being patient enough to read the entire Wikipedia entry on whichever scientific theory ended up being the culprit that week. Ow with the brain.

This is why I write about cute boys, or gods and goddesses, or Shakespeare, or the end of the world, but mostly cute boys, who are always interesting, and about whom I have many fascinating scientific theories, such as that their cuteness is inversely proportional to how cute they think they are. (If I wrote that sentence right, what I mean is: they’re much cuter if they don’t know it. And if I were a Eureka writer I’d be smart enough not to have to explain that.)

But the point is, Jaime Paglia was as smart and funny in person as his show is, and he seemed very excited about all of us coming out to support the writers in his own hometown, and it made me really happy to be there.

Then Joss got up and spoke and was of course hilarious and brilliant and inspiring, even though he was sick. He pointed out that the writers are very reasonable people, and only have two, very reasonable demands: (1) an equitable share of profits from new media uses of their work, and (2) that dragons be made real.

This was very funny, although later it prompted some perhaps ill-advised chanting while we were all outside, marching in circles around the Harvard Lampoon office, in public, amidst folk who had not heard the clever hilarious speech:

“What do we want?”
“When do we want ’em?”

I’m sure not a few passers-by were thinking er…OK…whatever you want, guys…

And then the third speaker was Rob Kutner, from The Daily Show, which my brilliant friend Rachel also writes for (hi, Rachel!) (yes, she and her marching through freezing sleet are two of the 7000 reasons I Support The WGA). Rob was ALSO hilarious! We NEED all three of these gentlemen to be back behind their desks spreading this hilarity to the masses, TOUT SUITE, as I believe I may have mentioned before.

After that there was a Q&A where questions were limited to writers’ strike issues, so no “who does Buffy really love?” or “can I have Adam Baldwin’s phone number, please?”

I thought one of the most interesting things that came up in this section was someone who asked the room how many people there were WGA members, and only about five people raised their hands. Meaning the other few hundred people in attendance were all fans (and fellow writers, who are also fans) — people who just love TV and believe writers should be treated fairly, enough that they were willing to get very cold and silly-looking to express that belief.

And that was the next thing that happened: we all filed out of the church, picked up signs in the lobby if we hadn’t brought our own (that’d be me, since I’d have to leave the house to acquire poster board, and leaving the house twice in one week would clearly be much too taxing both for me and the tremendously confused dog I’d be leaving behind), and milled around outside the church until several exceptionally nice and friendly cops escorted us across the street so we could march around Harvard Square and down to the Lampoon building.

A lot of people brought their own signs, which was pretty impressive. I particularly liked the “Grrr, Arrgh!” signs and the ones who wrote “Save the Writers, Save the World!” Apparently someone also had a sign that said, “I’ve never credited the Alliance with an overabundance of brains. –- Captain Mal”, which is too funny, but I didn’t see that one.

As we walked, we chanted:

“What do we want?”
“When do we want it?”

and I discovered that chanting is not really my forte, especially when I’m alone in a crowd of people I don’t know, half of whom are not chanting along for mysterious reasons of their own. This is where the “silly-looking” comes in. But I did as much shouting as I could, although I had immense trouble with this chant:

“We write! They’re wrong!”

Argh, brain short-circuiting. Not only is it kind of arrhythmic to say, I think my shouting mechanisms had an allergic reaction to its extreme non-grammaticalness. Sure, it may be a clever pun and appealing in its brevity, but I’m afraid its impact is stronger when it’s written down on the page. Saying it out loud just feels SO WRONG to me. It should either be “we’re” and “they’re” or “we” and “they” and ow with the brain again. YES I AM A GRAMMAR NERD. I can’t help it! I was an editor for much too long, and a reader for much longer than that, to ever get over this kind of mental snarfiness. (Apparently my internal copyeditor has no problem with “snarfiness”, however.)

I much preferred a later chant:

“We write! They can’t!”

Whew. Man, that version gives me so much less angst. Who’s weird? Me? What?

Anyway, this was the very cold part. We stood, and we marched in circles, and we sang “This Land is Your Land” (aww), and we listened to this lovely labor activist man rile us up and play the harmonica, and we marched in circles, and we waved our signs at the passing cars, and we cheered whenever they honked (yay!), and we stood, and we got very very cold. Especially my feet. Holy bananas, all of my plans to stay indoors until May were SO reinforced by this event.

And! We were only out there for AN HOUR! Maybe less! The poor suffering writers picketing in New York are doing so in four-hour shifts! Marching outdoors for FOUR HOURS at a time, in the freezing freezing cold! I think they should get an extra 2.5% of profits for each degree below sixty that they have to stand outside in. Next time you’re hurtling from a subway station into a classroom or an office building, think of them and send some warm woolly thoughts their way.

And finally we all marched another 97 miles or so (I’m guesstimating) to the bookstore where our three celebrity hosts kindly sat and signed things (like comic books and DVDs and picket signs) for hooooours.

My favorite part of this march is when all several hundred of us were crossing a street, many of us carrying signs like “Honk to Support the Writers!” and the light changed.

Us: “Wooo! Yeah! Support the writers! Wooo!”
Cars: “No, seriously…HOOOOOOOOONK!”

Anyway, so at the bookstore, figuring this might be the shortest line I’d ever be on in Joss’s vicinity, I stuck around to get comic books signed for me and Kari. And as the line wended slowly up to their table, I watched everyone chat to Rob (who was first) while they waited for Joss, and then flock around Joss, while Jaime sat there on the end, looking really nice and a little bored.

So I spent almost the whole time on line thinking about things to say to Jaime, since I wanted him to know (a) that he was awesome for organizing this, and (b) that I really do think Eureka is a terrific show, and it wasn’t until I was nearly at the front that I realized I completely had nothing to say to my idol, Joss Whedon. I’m pretty sure I said something like: “Here’s my book. Um. My name is Tui. Um. T-U-I.” Riveting stuff. On the plus side, he’s probably never heard exactly that before. And I think I mumbled something about what a difference his shows make and how I hope the writers get everything they want because really they deserve, um, everything. OMG, me and complete sentences and Joss Whedon in one place is apparently too much to ask.

But he was super-sweet and gracious and he said “thank you” in a really sincere-sounding way that made me feel extra warm and fuzzy, all the way down to my frozen toes, so all in all, I’d rank it pretty high on my “Meeting My Idols” list. At the top, most likely.

(Also on the list: the time I met Dave Barry at an event in Miami when I was eleven years old. He wrote: “For my close personal friend Tui” (awwww!) on a flier for the event, which I have kept ever since, pressed between the pages of Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits. It totally made my entire seventh-grade year.)

So yay for the Boston TV Party! We love you, TV writers!

Apart from getting to meet Joss Whedon, it turns out there is one other upside to the writers’ strike, if only for me: Due to our impending Lack Of TV crisis, my extremely handsome and dashing and perfect and wise husband has FINALLY agreed to let me have Netflix.


I spent all day Sunday playing with my shiny new list. Oh my goodness, I LOVE LISTS. I think this is why Amazon owns my soul forever. I could spend all day just poking blissfully at my wish list. I’m almost more excited about the list feature on Netflix than I am about getting the actual DVD’s (er, don’t tell Adam that. He might want to know why we are paying $17 a month for something I could perhaps reproduce using “Bullets and Numbering” in Microsoft Word. But doooooooood, if I made my own list it wouldn’t have all the cute buttons (ADD! DELETE! ADD! Five stars for Shakespeare in Love! One star for Alexander! Five stars for The Prestige! One star for the insidious penguin-boobs movie!) plus easy rearranging and convenient pop-up descriptions of the movies and a quick way to find everything Seth Green has ever been in. So, hello, totally worth it.).

(Incidentally, Seth, you know you’re my favorite, but Without a Paddle…no. Just no.)

So now I have a new list to poke blissfully. Yesterday I added all the Best Picture Oscar-winning movies that we haven’t seen; much to my surprise, I’ve actually seen most of them. Except for the really oooooooooold ones. Eeee, we might have to watch some oooooooooooooold movies. No worries, I’ll make sure to get them with some anime, so there’s no risk of me actually turning old by association. (<--see? sunglasses, ergo, still hip) (<-- use of "ergo" however...hmm, questionable) But! most excitingly! Now we can watch all the TV I somehow MISSED through terrible oversights like living in foreign countries and not paying for fancy cable and not being alive 30 years ago! Such as The Wire, which all my favorite critics think is the best show on TV. And also My So-Called Life, which sounds like it would have been tremendously significant for me if I had watched TV in high school. And also Odyssey 5 and Rome, mainly because of the cute boys.

Yay! I love Netflix! I love my extremely handsome and perfect husband!

To balance out all this new TV coming my way, in the next blog (before Christmas! so you can buy them if you want! and also because I will be in a car all day on actual Christmas! not, sadly, at the Taj Mahal, like SOME people I know), I will be sharing a different, classy, cultured kind of list: my favorite books I’ve read this year, including the one I just finished, which is one of my favorite books ever ever. I know! And you have to come back later to find out what it is! Oh, I torture because I care.

And finally:


oh my goodness OH MY GOODNESS I could watch this for the rest of eternity. aaack, I WANT one. Actually I want two hundred. Ears! Paws! Fluff!

Happy holidays! (Yes, I DID restrain myself from a bunny pun there. You’re welcome.)

Quote of the Day: “Writers are crazy people. We believe that Mr. Deeds did go to town, Mr. Smith did go to Washington, and that it is a wonderful life!” — Joss Whedon