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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Since You've Been Gone...

Oh wait. It's me that's been gone. Silly.

Caroline has been chastising me for the past week to blog. It seems I've brought blog dishonor to my family. The conversation, though, is not nearly as formal and polite as would proceed a samurai's hari kari. More like: "It's been ten days, Mark. What are you doing with your time, beating off?"

Sigh...

So here it is. What I expect is what people read this blog for...

A BIG ASS PICTURE POST WITH A SIDE OF CRAZY!

Let's start at the beginning, for a change.

This past weekend was the Pacific Northwest Writer's Conference, which I didn't really attend so much as deprive its attendees at a shot at one of New York's fine ass editors. That's right folks, Heather O. was in town, tearin' it up.


Heather's one of those people that "just gets it". "It" is the knowledge that there's humor in everything and it should be commented on profusely. Fun involves being on the verge of a bladder malfunction, at all times. This weekend saw its fair share of near incontinence. That's like a 5 star time, people.

Thursday was low-key and cameraless so I'll skip that one (mostly bookstores and Nava-jo sammiches). But Friday. Friday was the booksigning, so Caroline and I drove up early for dinner with Heather at 13 Coins. If only 13 coins were all it cost. We could have had a better meal with a jar of Ragu and some roadkill. Never again.

Here I am outside the signing, basking in the glow of my pseudofame...


Actually, that's the last bit of the sun, burning my retinas off. The main hall of the conference turns into a Russian sweat-box in the early evening and they didn't even provide bunches of painful switches to flagellate ourselves. Thank you architects!

Quite a few less attendees this year and though I'd like to tell you that I sold out all 9 of my books, I can't. Only 4 people stopped to talk and buy, despite my gross approachableness. Ah well. It was just time killer until I could meet up with Caroline and Heather for erotic readings, mojitos and naughty cake (that was its actual name, I'm not even kidding). There were also hash browns of mucho goodness, tres Idahoan.

Saturday was the Urban Fantasy Worldbuilding Workshop and it was a workshop, I assure you. Team Seattle met up early to put the plan into action. Here's my recipe for the perfect conference workshop: 25% quick and informative lecture, 75 % fun small group activity. Needless to say, them shits was a hit! In my small group we came up with a rainforest fae world and even plotted out a horror-filled novel involving Eco-luxe resorts, scientists and creepy howler monkeys. Awesomeness. In fact, speaking of Team Seattle, here we are, now with 50% more crotch shot!


Oh my God. So after this little shindig, we opted to use our free dinner tickets and slid into the back of the awards dinner. I would have stayed for the whole thing, if it weren't for the main course. Heather hit the nail on the head, when the lids came off the plates, the whole room was flooded with the intense aroma of dirty aquariam. Nasty ass halibut. I never saw so many people snapping for wine in my life. Alcoholism serves at least one purpose, getting you through bad conference meals.

Too bad none of us are alcoholics (though we play them on the internets). I think it was Cherie who was first to start chanting Taco Bell. After the free wine we were outta there and chompin' on crunch wraps, like God intended.

Which brings us to the main event...

The Sunday to End All Sundays!

After the 13 Coins debacle, which, of course, I suggested. I was determined to provide the touristas with some awesome food choices. So out came the trusty internets for some serious foodie google. Best Breakfast in Seattle? Check! Awesome fishy? Check! Cupcakes you'd sock your mama for? Check-check!

Sure Caitlin grumbles when she's forced to haul her ass out of bed at 7:45 am. But that's the price you pay for an awesome Seattle tour. We snatched Heather out of the Hilton Lobby a little after 9 and off we motored to the Emerald City. First stop, the Hi-Spot cafe. Can I just say, the Bengal Benedict is made of deliciousness. Hollondaise sauce is far too pedestrian for the Hi-Spot, so after the eggs are done poaching, here comes the curry! Mmm. Heather's spicy corned beef hash was salacious and Caroline's "Wake up with Zorba" omelette had the yum factor of feta and tomatoes. Caitlin wasn't raving about hers, so you'll have to interrogate her separately. After we ordered, we noticed that the people next to us had ordered a big-ass cinnamon roll as an appetizer. Breakfast appetizer? I didn't know that was an option or we would have totally made that happen.

Stuffed and sated we embarked on a most auspicious tour of the Lakeview Cemetery. Monumentous, even. It seems July 20th is the anniversary of Bruce Lee's death and there was quite a ceremony going on, replete with incense, Mardi gras boobie beads, and tons of flowers. Here's Caroline looking for some bush action...


Can you say psst? Caitlin was forced to judge.


Prepare for the money shot...


I find that when touring around a friend, it's important to include drive-bys of all the places they won't be enjoying, like the ice cream cruise, the EMP, the Duck and the wonderful historical significance of Pioneer Square. We made sure to note how wonderful it would have been to go to the science fiction museum, which Caitlin pointed out was indeed an activity that one would be regretful if they hadn't seen it prior to their deathbed. Yep. We made sure to point it out.

Heather was appropriately regretful.

We just didn't have the time, had to see a man about a dragon...


...and some delicious pasture cake...


Graveyards and grocery stores, where else do you expect I'd take a visitor? Uwajima is a Seattle landmark a massive Asian grocer with a food court to die for. We came for bubble tea, but sadly that shop had closed, so we settle for Pocky sticks in several varieties. For those not in the know, Pocky are unsalted pretzel sticks dipped in deliciousness. Make it a habit and not the pasture cake. I'm in love with that product name almost as much as the tasty Calpiss beverage.

We met up with Richelle Mead in her neck of the woods, where the Fremontians like to sell bongs on the street and celebrate body odor. It was fantastic. Heather even found this lovely Carmen Miranda by way of Bulimia hat...


A fruit hat just won't fly here. Nope. Those are donuts, bon bons, cupcakes and ice cream cones. Hypnotic! I don't care who's singing wearing that, I'm listening and then vomiting.

We found Richelle lounging around Theo's chocolate, an artisanal chocolatier that puts together combinations that shouldn't work but do, much like an urban fantasy author might do. That's probably why I'm a slave to their coconut curry chocolate bar. It's insane. Delectable. Weird.

Fremont is a land of photo-ops (Lenin, massive rockets, statues of people waiting for busses dressed like transvestites), but nothing compares to the Troll...


See that in his left hand? Oh yeah. That's a real Volkswagen bug. We had to walk three blocks uphill to get to this treasure of tourism and you know what that means...time for some hooch, as captured here in this shot I lovingly call, In Lieu of Lunch...


We ended up at the Matador in Ballard, which has another Sunday market and shops like Bark where you can purchase dog tags that say things like "slut" and "chien lunatique." We couldn't find one representative of Smokey, though (and since, Cherie demands more "Cute dog pictures" here's one to remind you...


...that I might need a talent wrangler. But not more than Richelle needs sunglasses, wanna see bloodshot?


Seriously. Not an awesome shot, but damn, look at the blood!

Let's make it clear that no tour of Seattle is complete without the dinner then desert reversal, so after we'd finished off Archie McPhee's bin of bacon bandaids and bedpans, we headed off to Trophy. You may have seen these handfuls of cupcake heaven in Martha Stewart Living. These babies are next to Voodoo Donut when it comes to Satan's own confections. My favorite...


...mmm hummingbird. Spice cake laced with banana, pineapple and coconut topped in God's own fat, cream cheese frosting. I just gained weight typing that.

Then, it was off to our final locale, Flying Fish for the most delicious ass Poke you've ever eaten, and fish tacos, and seafood hotpots, and Thai crabcakes and hilarity. And that's about it. Tour complete.

Except for this (found while heading back to drop off the Mead)...

If you were ever confused as to the purpose of spring break, I think this bit of roadside art clears it up for you...


That's right. Poorly executed titty art. What'd you think it was about, dripping bloody fingertips? Right after this shot, the happy, as indicated by their skippin, lesbian couple (seen on the right) stopped and glowered, their frolicking ruined by misogyny, as it oft is.

So our tale comes to an end and I promise to be around more often. After all, Conestoga is this week and there's sure to be all sort of travesty lurking in Tulsa. I'll go warm up trigger finger.

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