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Saturday, September 08, 2007


So, I’m sitting here at my desk in New York, eating these chocolate stick things that Sarah Mlynowski gave to me earlier tonight when we were discussing the Law and Order presidential candiate situation, which obviously concerns us both, as we both dream of being dead bodies someday. (On Law and Order.) So much to catch up on!

I have promised stories from behind the videos, and I must deliver. First . . . a bit about Dragoncon.

There are many, many stories I could tell from Dragoncon. So many that it becomes hard to know where to begin—and this is maybe not the best time to be bursting with bloggy stories, as I really have to spend all of my time working on Suite Scarlett for the next two weeks. I tried to fit the essence of it into the movie, but there were dozens of day-to-day moments that really need to be remembered.

The Wonder Woman costume—which I have to admit I was a little hesitant about putting on—was actually the easiest way to blend in. I promise you, I took that thing into the bathroom when we registered, and I emerged as a member of the tribe. I was instantly accepted by the other 20,000 or so dressed up people. It was completely natural that I’d be Wonder Woman. Everyone likes Wonder Woman! I have never in my life posed for so many photographs. That’s what people do at Dragoncon—they pose. Or they ask people to pose.

I was a little shy about the first picture or two, but then I crossed the armbands . . . and I was basically off and running. Theo Black bought me that massive sword (the one I twirl so badly and that he does such an amazing job with). (Well, until he accidentally let it go and it went flying . . . but it was great until then.) (And to those of you who wondered how close I came to getting a three-foot sword in the head . . . not that close. It hit the wall a foot or two next to me. Theo felt really bad about it, but I enjoy a small amount of danger in my life.) (Very small.)

Anyway, within about an hour of arrival, I had become a pro Wonder Woman, snapping right into a pose the minute someone came over with a camera. I had developed three by the time the night was over. And then I walked back to the hotel wearing the costume—which was about five blocks, dragging my sword all the way.

This is when Holly told me I’d “gone native.” I think she meant that in a very approving way, as her own husband was walking next to me wearing a real, from-the-set Farscape costume, carrying a robot.

There were other Wonder Womans. I saw about five. One looked really good, but the others were honestly revealing WAY TOO MUCH BUTT. I don’t think you should wear any bottom bits that fit so tight that they create new skin flaps that waggle around—like you have four butt sections. I saw this, and did not like. That is not what Hera would want. I was much happier in my little sparkly skirt, and the cape was great for hiding the fact that the costume was too big and was being held in place by a dozen safety pins.

Just as we were leaving, Cassie and I were sitting in our hotel room packing up. She was reading to me from the massive program book. We discovered that there were literally about a hundred awesome things we should have gone to.

Here are just a few I have flagged:

Off the road with CHiPS: An Hour with Erik Estrada

Danger Woman! (I have no idea what this is and refuse to read the description. I prefer to imagine it.)

Building the Future: In Plastic!

Zombie Squad: Are You Prepared?
(So awesomely practical! Justine and I should have gone. We know the zombies are coming, even though the others will not listen to us.)

Finding the Evil Within (I could have lead this one.)

Is There More to Gaming than Fun? (I want to know.)

Klingon Karaoke

The 2007 Miss Klingon Empire Beauty Pageant

There Be Pirates, Arrrr!
. . . which was then followed by the Secret Room Pirate Party.

Which is sort of where Scott and I enter the story. In the video, you see some very dark footage of Scott and I at the Yule Ball. It took us forever to find the Yule Ball, because Dragoncon took over three entire hotels, so we were constantly going from building to building, crossing streets with huge platoons of Storm Troopers, wending our way through superheroes, going up and down escalators with Quidditch teams.

At the bottom of one escalator near the Yule Ball, we found one pirate all by himself, in his crushed velvet coat, his hook hand at the ready. As we approached, he asked us, “Do you guys know where the pirate party is?”

He was the loneliest pirate you ever saw. We didn’t know, unfortunately. He stood there, all by himself, looking around.

Scott was really taken with the lost pirate, and started speculating on a story called "Dude, Where's the Pirate Party?"

We arrived at the Yule Ball in time to see an entire stage full of Snapes dancing to “I’m Too Sexy,” which I have to report made us go right back upstairs to the bar. The sight was just a little more than we were ready for. As we went, we passed dozens of pirates, whole gangs of them, all with knowing looks in their eyes. They all knew where the pirate party was, obviously. We tried to find the loneliest pirate to tell him, but by then he had been picked up by some Star Trek people.

But . . . let me tell you a little bit about the making of John’s birthday video, which I am astonished to find has had over 12,500 views since going up the other week.

ME: I have an idea for John’s birthday video. We should do a dance video.

SCOTT W: (staring at me over computer) I do not dance.

JUSTINE: I do not appear on camera. But I bet Libba, Emily, Bennett, and David would do it.

One e-mail later . . . Libba, Emily, Bennett, and David all agree to do a dance video.

“It’ll be like OK Go!” said I. “Or not that coordinated! It’ll be like the Praise You video! It’ll be like both of those! Or neither! Whatever! Wear . . . clothes!”

Scott came along, though he was firm about the not dancing.

With my airtight plan in place, we all gathered at Libba’s house. When you visit Libba, even on short notice, she likes to put out a small snack. This time, she had only provided nachos, homemade guacamole, and salsa, fruit salad, hummus, nuts, bagels, two types of cake, cookies, and homemade whipped cream . . . but we had come on short notice.

David had just returned from a visit to his family’s house. He proudly produced a bag of genuine 1986-wear, from when he was thirteen. Astonishingly, it still all fit. We demanded that he keep wearing his multicolored long shorts.

The conversation as we gathered in Libba’s kitchen went something like this.

LIBBA: So, Maureen, what’s the plan?

ME: Oh, the plan is . . . (sticks as many nachos into mouth as possible)

EMILY: Do we have chorography?

ME: (nachos)

BENNETT: Yeah. What should we be wearing, anyway? Dance stuff, or . . .?

LIBBA: I was going to be insane Stevie Nicks.

DAVID: I guess I’m wearing these shorts. I don’t know what that makes me.

ME: (nachos)

SCOTT: You don’t have a plan, do you? (laughs mischievously)

ME: (nachos, indignant)

EMILY: What about a song? Do we have a song?

I plunk my iPod into the base station. The first thing that comes on is Abba, and the first song it cycles through (after the insane “Tiger,” which no one knows but me) is Mamma Mia. I point to the iPod triumphantly, start to eat nuts.

(This entire time, Scott was recording our every move with his fancy new camera. He has much more footage of this than I do. What he plans on doing with it, we may never know. Scott has many schemes.)

Having done my bit of direction, I then let Emily do the chorography. Everyone chimed in with something. We all agreed that it was important to move/climb on as many pieces of Libba’s furniture as possible. That was the most important part. I managed to slice open my knee while doing an across the floor slide (I still have a big mark—it may be a scar, a lifetime reminder of John’s birthday).

The result was about forty minutes worth of footage that iMovie barfed up on four separate occasions, making the editing process a joy! I am pleased with the result, but I promise you this . . . if anyone ever plays Mamma Mia at me ever again . . . I will punch them in the face.

The upshot to all of this is that my beloved editor Emma Lollipop has been writing me for a week, saying things like, “How’s Scarlett doing? Is she easier to make than a dance video?”

Which is fair enough, but it shows you the perils of putting things up on YouTube for all the world to see.

There is nothing but writing ahead for me for the next extended period of time. Feel free to send food. Or a Vespa. Or, as Meg Cabot pointed out, a pink stun gun. While I have advertised them freely here, she is quite correct in saying that no one has sent me one. So I have been forced to take an intermediate step.

Now, that may look like a large-barreled curling iron covered in pink lip-shaped post it notes with stuff written on them. That’s because that’s what it is. This is the best I’ve got. It will not stun you, not unless you drop it in water, but it will certainly surprise you!

I hope the makers of pink stun guns will see this and do the Right Thing.

Back to work. Expect future book-related posts! Onward, Scarlett!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor lonely pirate. I hope he found some friends...

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Marlena said...

That does sound like a good book. "The Lonliest Pirate" by Scott Westerfeld.

No one would expect it, that's for sure! (except us in-the-know blog-type people)

DragonCon sounds amazing, I must get to one!

And thanks for the behind the scenes to that movie- all of my favorite authors together, dancing to Abba for another one of my favorite authors-how could I not love it!

Excuse me while I go to Scott's blog and beg him to show us that footage he taped of the planning stages/bloopers...

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Nuwon Wearspants said...

Now, I have "I'm Too Sexy" in my head. And dancing Snapes. Which, apart, is disturbing, but together, is equally more disturbing. (shakes head vigorously)

The Dragoncon sounds like fun. I went to a con once, Oni-Con, but I did not know anyone, so that made it regardably less fun than it would've been if I'd known people and planned on going - instead of just showing up on the last day.

I really like the lonliest pirate. Whoever he was, he was cool. And, I hope he found the party.

It sounded like a lot of fun, though, the con. Much fun. =)

Nuwon Wearspants

6:18 PM  
Blogger Ronni said...

I didn't get to make it to your panel at Dragon*Con. I was OVERWHELMED at the sheer amount of stuff going on there. I did make it to the Phelps/Matthew Lewis panel, Mr. Star Wars, and I spent some time at the Walk of Fame and the Dealer room. There was so much going on!!

I hope you guys had fun. Man, maybe I should have stayed for the Yule Ball, the Snapes would have been fun to see. I probably walked right by you at some point.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love your stun gun!! to tell you the truth, i thought the lip-shaped post-it notes was a big neon pink towel wrapped around it!! hehe *clears throat* anyway, thank you for FINALLY telling the background on john's b-day video/Mamma Mia. i laughed so hard.... nachos!!nachos!!! haha, i also like how libba put out the meal courses when everyone came on such short notice......: )

cant wait for scarlett!


7:43 PM  
Blogger JohnC said...

Great post, Maureen. Paragraph five wins the award for Most Insane Use of Parentheses.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Jez said...

Poor lonely pirate, I hope he found someone to give him directions and a hug.

And I know Tiger! I have it in vinyl :D I was very fortunate to have an aunt who loves ABBA and was able to introduce me to it because I was too young

9:26 PM  
Blogger Holly Black said...

Ahhh, DragonCon. How I miss it already. And you guys. And the roomette...


9:54 PM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

Man, Libba must make some mean nachos.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Ashley said...

I agree with you about the zombies. They are coming.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Lynn Barnes said...

I feel like there's only one appropriate response to the question "Dude, where's the pirate party?"

Where's the pirate party, dude?

1:55 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

HEY! HEY! That zombie guy speaker person is coming to my school! (RPI)...hahaha.

1:56 AM  
Blogger Rebecca (becs) said...

Look! I found a pink stun gun!

Damn, DragonCon DOES sound amazing. A Miss Klingon pageant? And, as I have said many times already, I love love LOVE Theo's costume. I am a huge Farscape Nerdfighter. And all those pirates. Hee.

7:24 AM  
Blogger Laursie said...

I read the part about the Snapes dancing to "I'm Too Sexy" and I had to post a comment about it. You know where they got that from? An animation (not a great one, either) made by Neil Cicierega back a long time ago. It gained a lot of internet popularity. You may or may not know of the Potter Puppet Pals, but he makes those, too. You can find the animation at potterpuppetpals.com or eviltrailmix.com.

And the 1986-wear just made the video hundreds of times cooler. Or crazier, it's hard to decide which.

9:29 AM  
Anonymous wren said...

OMG! I SO want to go to Dragoncon someday! I know one of the organizers of our local sfcon, but it's much much smaller. It is however, no less insane. Just on a smaller scale.

I love the dancing snapes! Which reminds me, Have you made your zombie plan yet? http://rvb.roosterteeth.com/archive/episode.php?id=226

10:05 PM  
Blogger Lil said...


I'm currently mad at you. Why you ask? Because I'm reading "13 Little Blue Envelopes" and it has really made me want to travel again. Really bad.
I love your descriptions of London, I was there this summer, and reading that book put me back! It makes me want to travel again! But I have not money!

Terrible really.

No, just kidding. I'm loving the book. I'm so glad to have met you at the con. It was so much fun! I wish you could have been on more panels. Please come back next year! We loved you!

Oh, and that video was awesome!


10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Snapes at the yule ball rock they must be potterpuppetpals finatics so go to potterpuppetpals.com!!!

12:43 AM  
Blogger S said...

Maureen, you never got back to me about the Wonder Woman boots. Was it something I said? I apologize.

It's alright if you didn't go to the zombie thing at Dragoncon, because for under 10 bucks, you pick up a copy of the Zombie Survival Guide at your local booksellers. My Border's has it under 'Humor', but who will be laughing when the zombies come, huh?

6:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I have a longing to go to any kind of con, if only on the sheer hope for a stageful of dancing Snapes.

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Nuwon Wearspants said...

This is off topic - but I read The Bermudez Triangle a while ago (in a day and two hours, I might add, that's how absolutely wonderful it was) and now I'm reading A Girl At Sea (using the postcard you sent me as a bookmark) - and it's great. I got it for my birthday, and I would just really like to say how wonderful it is. I wish I could be reading it right now, but alas, homework calls..

Anway - just wanted to say, Ms. Johnson that you are a great author and I really really enjoy your books (this is the third of yours I've read, the other one being Key To The Golden Firebird).

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Addie said...

DragonCon sounded really fun. Nothing ever that fun happens in the Greater Boston Area. Hmph. I wish I could have seen Scott dance. That would have been quite hilarious. The sock throwing was enough to make me happy though. Good luck with Scarlett.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous hillary! said...

For some reason, the making of the birthday video was almost EXACTLY like I imagined it! I wonder why? hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found a clip of all the Slave Leias. Approximately 25 of them. I am so glad you went as Wonder Woman. Beware: Lots of skin.


3:53 AM  
Anonymous Sasha said...

Where's the pirate party, you ask? Why, it is in my church this very Wednesday night. Yes, a real live pirate party, with costumes, a treasure hunt, and rum. Well... maybe not rum. But that is beside the point. Which is that pirates are cool. Very, very cool.


8:23 AM  
Blogger Allie Beckaliciousness =) said...

oh maureen! i miss you! and your blog posts! cant wait for SS...

3:25 AM  
Anonymous cep program said...

thank you nice sharing

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Chelsea said...

I know Tiger! Surprise..? :)

I have all of ABBA's CDs because... Well, because I'm cool like that.

And if I ever meet you, you'd better believe there will be a pink stun gun in my bag as a gift.

8:37 AM  

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