So, lensedsqo and I snuck out early to do some shopping and get to the book signing. We made pretty good drive time, not hitting much traffic at all and arrived at 5:30. One hourish before the doors opened. We got in line, being about 222 and 223. I had my book already, but Janice didn't so I left her in line while I went off to pick up a book for her from the book stand they were operating near the beginning of the line. While I was there, I found my eye attracted to a companion CD featuring music from The Gothic Archies who I remembered did the song, "Scream and Run Away" which I consider the Count Olaf theme. There was a slight discount (like $1 to buy 2), so I figured, what the heck, right? I'll get one for Janice, and if she doesn't want it, I'll give it to hoppie, who's like the vacuum cleaner of unwanted items. And they tell me while I'm getting the CDs that Stephin Merritt, the primary artist and lyricist is going to be part of the signing, so I'm feeling stoked when I return.
Janice immediately spots the CD. I can see she's got misgivings but she decides to suspend them for the sake of harmony. I appreciate that. I know she'll thank me later. The people in front of us in line are a mother and two kids from VT. She actually took them out of school for the day so they could come to the book signing. I could tell she was conflicted about it, and so were they. Her oldest is quite the precocious scholar, a real real stickler for playing by the rules. They were a lot of fun to talk to. I happen to think a book signing is a pretty valuable experience for a kid, and they did get their work in advance, so it's not like they were lounging at the beach.
The group in front of them was a woman with two boys who spent much of the time knitting and making me regret not having my crochet, but on the other hand, I used my valuable and very long hour talking to Janice who would have been (more) bored had I brought crochet and the people around us. The people in front of them was a father with his older boy and younger girl, Emma, about whom there will undoubtedly be more. She was a bundle of energy; climbing on bars, running around the grass, pulling on the trees, a real handful.
The people behind us were a father and his two girls. The older girl was dead excited, but trying to not show it too much. The younger girl was excited to a lesser degree. The father was clearly dragged along. They ended up leaving without getting their books signed, which I think is a real shame. It might not be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but the kids will remember this as something that didn't happen. I guess we all have things like that in our past to deal with.
Anyway, around 6:30ish the line started moving. Janice made arrangements while standing in line to reserve seats for us down front and they were very good about helping us to find our seats. While we were waiting, I opened my CD, changed the flash card in my camera (I was out of batteries so I wanted to switch a smaller card which would conserve power by avoiding searching through the pictures on the card. I don't know if that made sense, but I think it helped me get a bunch of pictures.)
Brett Helquist, the illustrator, was supposed to be there, but apparently had to cancel this morning. The program coordinator, who works at Wellsley Books, came out to explain the order of events. Then Stephin Merritt and Daniel Handler came out. Daniel Handler bemoaned the loss of Lemony Snicket, the percussionist. While Merritt sang The World is a Very Scary Place, Handler tried to "call" Lemony Snicket on his "phone" a wooden phone. The one-sided conversation was suitably amusing and Handler walked through the aisles. He did a lot of that, leaving the stage and walking amoungst the commoners. It went over well. Then Merritt and Handler together played "This Abyss" and "Shipwrecked". Then while Merritt was providing some background music, Handler "insulted" him and Merritt slunk off "miserably." Then Handler did his reading using a book he'd "stolen" from a kid in the audience while two girls acted as his percussion section in place of the missing Snicket. He read the section about the orphans in the storm. (no relation to a port in a storm). The girls did sound effects for the storm.
Then he closed up. We clapped for many moons and he went out to sign books, in order of appearance. So since were, as previously mentioned, 222 and 223, we had a fair wait. While we were waiting, we went to go hang out in the Stephin Merritt sign line. He was very gracious, joking a bit with each of us (except Janice's accquaintance, Paul, the line jumper, who pretended he was with us so he didn't have to get in line). He and Janice compared notes on their inexperience with receiving musician signed CDs, the woman in front of me (Janice and I got separated in line, so there were a couple of people between us.) discussed, and I kid you not, playing the ukelele, and he signed her ukelele music book. I thought that was pretty cool. He and I discussed how to be hip. He signed my CD "To Marci the hipster" I'll scan it in and append it to this post if I ever get home at a reasonable hour.
Then we went back into the auditorium to continue waiting. They were in like the 30s, maybe as high as the 40s. Janice's accquaintance was also hanging out near us, so we talked a bit. He apparently doesn't read, he does audiobooks using audible.com, possibly the biggest rip off ever. Anyway, he vanished at some point and didn't even say goodbye so we don't know if he got his book signed. I somehow don't think so. He was 195, I think, but he'd already left by then. While we were talking with him, they came around and handed out bookmarks and some activity worksheets to keep the kids entertained while they waited. Some of them are at lemonysnicket.com, but some of them doesn't seem to be.
We also struck up conversation with a woman who had escourted her daughter, but also was interested in her own right (she had a number in the 600s. Ugh). We discussed author book signings, and book clubs, and Boston, and that killed like 20 minutes or so. Then they called our set of numbers so we rejoined our group. Instead of the dour father with his two girls behind us, there was a gaggle of young men, 11-13, I'd say, Tony, Ethan, and I didn't catch the last guy.
We discussed books, and math, Tony knows Pi to 15 places. I was suitably impressed. We discussed collectables and how they have value beyond money, not just because they are unique, but because they are well beloved. We exchanged book recommendations too.
Then finally, around 10:00, we got our books signed. This is Janice getting her book signed.. The people in the background are the family from Vermont. The older boy (pictured) was telling us about his science fair project. He has to do a presentation on a plant, but he's decided to invent his own plant to present on. How cool is that? And this is me getting my book signed.
As we're leaving (you thought it was over, didn't you? For shame.), we stop to ask the event organizer if we can get on the mailing list, so we can be informed of future events. Not only does she put us on the mailing list, she also hands us portrait cartoons of Violet, Klaus, and Sunn and, two "I survived Lemony Snicket" pencils. We walked out very happy indeed. Apparently they had them in case they had to turn people away, but there were only about 700+ of the 1000+ expected, so they brought them out to give to the people who'd been suck there waiting so long for signatures.
I got home just after 1:00. Snoooze. Oh, right, pictures link.
Today's line from Torah discussed the creation of women, specifically the problematic phrase "ezer k'negdo," commonly translated as "helpmeet" or "helpmate" but actually meaning "helper against." They cited three sources for interperatation: "If he's good, she support him. If he's bad she opposes him." If he's good, she's right there with him. If he's bad, he's a thorn in her side." and the less male-centric, she's designed to be a compliment, strong in the areas he's weak.
Our Mishnah discusses when to pray the afternoon service. It provides specific examples of things you shouldn't do, but the upshot is, you should try to pray before you get involved with other distractions. If you've already gotten involved in other distractions, though, you don't have to stop to pray unless you are in danger of passing the time of saying the Shema, because the Shema is a Biblical injunction and the rest of the prayers are a Rabbinic injunction.
The Gemorah expounds on this a bit more stating that delving deeper into the verse reveals that that whole business about finishing up with your distractions for prayer is really aimed at the great scholars engaged in Torah study. The common man routinely interrupts his business to go about and do other things, so what's one more thing like prayer. I don't want to sound slightly sceptical of this interpretation, but the things mentioned as consuming type activities were inspecting a tannery, involvement in a court case, and I forgot the third, very much things of the world.
The Ethical thought for the day is on the subject of husband and wife and the meaning of love. Why do humans love? Some say it's a purely physical thing, and yet animals couple and separate all the time. If there were intrinsic value solely in procreation a) why would we involve ourself in it for recreation and b) why don't animals feel the same bonding affection? We're sentient, thinking beings and we need love and attachment to help elevate us and encourage us. That's part of what's hinted at in our Torah verse. That a partner has to be more than someone who flatters us and compliments us, a partner must be able to support and stand with us. The thought finishes with the following commentary, which I can't remember the source for, one of the Rabbis cited used to tell a couple on their wedding that in love, you must consider how to make your partner happy. A marriage falls apart when the people in it start thinking of how to make only themselves happy. Of course, my thought is part of the self-sacrifice of marriage is being able to focus on making your partner because your partner is focused on how to make you happy. It's very reciprical.
Question of the day: What Biblical example do we have of a woman whose actions save her husband from punishment. The answer after this word about prayer!
The prayer thought for the day was a line from the Mincha service, not one I'm overly familiar with : Remove the satan (evil inclination) from in front of me, and from behind me. And the pose the question, why behind? Obviously, you don't want the evil inclination standing in your way, but if it's not in your way, who cares where it's got to? They go to a legend and another explanatory verse to explain that when you want to good in the world, the evil inclination stands in your way, putting up road blocks and generally making an obvious pest of himself; but when you want to do bad in the world, he stands behind your, ready to push you if you falter and trying to block your return to good. So, pretty much anywhere not near you is a good place for bad thoughts.
And to answer the question posed earlier, Tzipporah saved Moses when she circumcised their son, whose name I've just totally blanked on and don't feel like looking up.
And I congratulate you, lucky finder of this golden ticket, if you managed to finish this post