Monday, October 10, 2011

Couch Tour: Chicago!

Katie and Allison were kind enough to host the first ever Open-Eyed Sneeze Living Room Couch Tour Book Event last night.
(The title of the tour is a work in progress.)

If unfamiliar, the basic idea is that I'm trying to spread the word about the book on a completely grassroots level-- small parties in different living rooms throughout America. I'm asking friends to invite a few buddies over for an evening of talking about the book, laughing, and hearing ideas or feedback for future work. The first leg of the tour last night could not have been any better and I have Katie and Allison to thank!

Katie has become something of a t-shirt wizard, so she made a shirt for the tour, which will now be traveling with me. I will say this again, but nothing shows support quite like a handmade t-shirt.

The snacks were incredible and in an animal theme to honor the recent book reading at the zoo. Animal crackers, pigs in a blanket, ants on a log. Classics! When's the last time you had ants on a log?!

They also made funfetti cupcakes!:

After the party, mostly 'e' cupcakes were left. Just interesting to note.

Being a couch tour, I thought that I should read to everyone on the couch.
It turns out that was a little too close for comfort.

Katie set me up on a different chair and had a water pitcher and a mug ready because she said, "People always drink water out of mugs on talk shows."
Good point.

Then I had Adam read a passage because he has the most incredible voice. And the most incredible socks.

It was super fun and I'm excited to see how these events start to take shape as I have more. Thanks to everyone who came out for the very first one and can't wait to see new and old buddies in different living rooms soon!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Jane Lynch Gets It!

Went to a book signing event for Jane Lynch's new book Happy Accidents and I gave her a copy of my book. I figured, why not? I debated handing it to her and saying, "That's $16." but I didn't. I debated telling her that I saw her on the campus of Smith College over the summer, but I refrained. I debated stealing one of the grapes that the bookstore had put out for her to nosh on but I was a little nervous and just rambled through everything I had calmly practiced saying this morning in the bathroom mirror.

It was cool to see her aaaaand, she got the concept of the title, which was nice!

Here's my awkward encounter. Why why why can I never keep my cool?
"I'm gonna put this on my blog."

Captive Audience.

To practice for upcoming Living Room events, I decided to see if certain parts of the book faired better than others when read aloud. I didn't want to bore my friends with this, so I decided to read excerpts to animals at the zoo. It made sense in my head.

Here's how it went:
The Pygmy Hippo LOVED it. Note, after I was done, a little girl came up to the hippo and held a zoo brochure against the glass. I guess she figured he wanted something else to read on his own.

The Flamingos really didn't care. I could have had a better audience with lawn flamingos.

This Gorilla was awesome and totally came down from his tree to walk over to me. I love an active listener. Another gorilla turned his back on me and ate his poop. It was good to figure out what sort of response I want to have to that.

The Cheetah scared the hell out of me. Let's be honest. I think I read him the dedication page and left.

I put the Lions to sleep.

This guy couldn't be bothered.

My largest audience to date.

The Polar Bear swam over but then that man behind me boxed me out. Ru'.

But hands down, this little guy was the best audience at the whole zoo. He sat up, was attentive, and really enjoyed Geoff Gavett's cover art. I could be making this up, but I'm pretty sure he clapped.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Scaredy Cat.

For context:
History of Wild Animal Sightings

I'm afraid of cats. Terrified is probably a more appropriate description, but people tend to roll their eyes when I say that. My fear is not without reason. For the last few years I've been followed by cats in an extremely strange way.
Walking around my neighborhood at night? Cats. Gangs of cats. Ninja cats everywhere! Popping out of corners, trailing me.
Taking the garbage out? Cats.
In a quaint little grocery store? Cats.
Meredith and I were in a small grocery store last fall and she calmly said, "Don't freak out." When I turned around, there was a huge cat right behind me, so of course I freaked out. What the hell was a cat doing in a grocery store?!

My roommate has 2 cats and I've really grown to love them but I still don't fully understand cat behavior and I don't think I ever will. One of the cats finally sat on my lap after weeks and as I was petting her, she slowly turned her head, rolled over, and bit my leg. I looked at her and said, "Hey, you came to me!" They are super cute though. Although I'm still a scaredy when it comes to random jumps onto the back of my chair, or having a tail rub against my neck.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

If The Shoe Fits.

I packed lightly for my move to Chicago-- as I am wont to do-- but I realized today that my favorite pair of Cons had a huge hole in them so it was time for something new. In DSW, trying on pairs of guy's shoes-- as I am wont to do-- I saw the cutest little kid run over to his mom holding up a tiny flat shoe. She looked at the shoe, and then to him, and said, "I will slap the hell out of you if you bring me another girl's shoe."

My heart broke in two.

Slipping a men's shoe off my foot, I felt my face grow red and looked to the amazing little kid with as much support as I could. I felt embarrassed by my silence.

I was a huge tomboy growing up. I cut my hair as short as I could, I wore denim tuxedos when I went to work with my dad on the weekends, whenever I played pretend I dressed in a suit and was a character named Jim, and on the daily I wore whatever I wanted on my feet. Saddle shoes were preferred but when the Reebok Pumps came out, there was no stopping me. My Pumps went with everything. And my mother happily obliged. Throughout all of the tragic fluorescent expressions of myself, my mother let me do what I needed to do. All of her acceptance and support came rushing at me while I replayed in my head what I had just heard.

I think what struck me most about the horrible interaction I saw at the shoe store was that mother's fear. She had a healthy, beautiful, engaged little boy. What was she so afraid of? That her son preferred a practical flat?

The shoes you wear can say a lot about you. True. But beyond the fashion, the style, the function, the completely ridiculous size test where a salesman presses on your toe, all anyone really wants is to feel is comfortable and supported.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Change The Date!

Hold up, Chicago. This Sunday the 9th will be the first ever leg of the Living Room Couch Tour. If you're interested, holler!

This works out better because I'm going to see Jane Lynch speak about her new book on Sunday afternoon, so when I have her sign a copy, I'll politely insist that she come to my event. In my friend's living room. It's like they always say: Fair is fair. And it's like I always say: Come on Jane Lynch, just come over to my friend's house and sit on her couch while I try to think of things to say for an hour.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Scooch Over: Book Tour On Your Couch.

The Open-Eyed Sneeze Living Room Book Tour is officially a go. (Michael, I heard from Tara that you thought this was a joke. It's not. It's real life.)

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can read more here. But the basic idea is to have small events in living rooms across America to spread the word about the book and my blog/upcoming work. My friends are incredible and the support has been amazing so far. If you're in one of the following cities and interested in coming to an event, or hosting one, please do! They are sure to be hilarious, and exciting, and inspiring. (Legal Note: Ms. Martin does not guarantee that living room events will in fact be any of those things. She is, however, bringing beer.)

Here are some cities on tap:
-Boston, MA
-Washington, DC
-Boulder/Denver, CO
-New York, NY
-Greensboro, NC
-San Francisco, CA
-Rochester, NY
-Philadelphia, PA
And on Saturday, the tour will officially kick off in my friend Katie's living room in Chicago!

This is an entirely grassroots effort made possible by the support of my buddies, their amazing buddies, and you. Even if it's an epic failure, it's going to be a lot of fun. And I'll be documenting everything here so you can follow along on the weird ride.

I'm totally stoked for Saturday and currently brainstorming about how the evening should go. Any thoughts? If you came to something like this, what would you hope to see?

Stay tuned for a feature about the first event! Yay, Chicago! Yay, living rooms!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Never Had One Lesson!

Saturday marked the 25th Anniversary of one of the best films ever made, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. (I have a very special place in my heart for John Hughes movies.)

To celebrate the anniversary and the city it was filmed in, Wrigley Field held an event setting up huge screens on the field, selling lawn seats and bleacher seats, and showing the film. It was freaking awesome. We were sitting in left field so when the scene came on where Ferris and his friends are in Wrigley in left field, a spotlight hit our section and everyone cheered. Watching filmed Wrigley in Wrigley, and hearing movie cheers and actual cheers all from the section we were sitting in and seeing on giant screens, was probably the most meta experience I've ever had.

Waiting to get into the stadium before everything started, Katie looked at a man standing next to us and said in a warm, nice-to-see you tone, "Woo Woo!"
I give her a hard time for knowing every person in Chicago so I thought to myself, How does she know a 70-year-old man named Woo-Woo wearing a Cubs uniform?
Turns out he's at all the games.
We were invited to his birthday party.
But I digress.

Just before the movie was about to start, two announcers came out to the field and said a representative from The Guinness Book of World Records was present and that everyone was going to be a part of trying to break a World Record. I was so excited! I recently saw that someone just broke the record for longest fingernails and it blew my mind that people are still trying to do this. Sure, you beat a record, but you couldn't use your hand for 9 years!
When the fingernail record holder hears, "It's $12.01, do you have a penny?" she probably just looks down to her 3-foot claw and then to her pocket, and sadly shakes her head.
But I digress.

I thought we were just going for the most people to ever watch Ferris together record.
I was so wrong.
It turns out we were trying to beat the record for the most people to sing in a round.

Of course, while explaining this, the announcers used the example of row row row your boat-- because never once, in the history of the world, has someone described singing in a round without using row row row your boat as the example.
The practice session was rough, to say the least. But in a twist, right before we went for the record, they told us we would be singing Danke Schoen.

This is how it went.

Hearing Danke Schoen in a round was absolute torture. I'm shocked we didn't break the record for mass suicide. It just. wouldn't. end.

When that giant mess was over, movie critics came out to talk about their thoughts on the film, and people started booing them. It was getting chilly and everyone was ready.

The movie is such a classic and the jokes still make me laugh out loud. It was a really fun night.
One for the record books.

And now I can cut my fingernails.

Makes You Wanna Shout.

Met up with Laureen to catch the Bills game at a Buffalo bar in Lincoln Square yesterday. I love team bars in different cities because it's a kind of Bizarro world once you enter those doors. Yes, we're in Chicago--but the entire place smelled like wings and I'm sure if I yelled, "Shopper's Club Card!" the whole place would have started to cheer.

It was fun to look around the bar and try to guess from where in Western New York people hailed. Laureen was killing this. As soon as I walked in she said, "It's great. You got a Cortland sweatshirt at that table, that guy over there has a House of Guitars t-shirt on, and check out Flutie Flakes right here."

The people-watching continued through the fourth quarter when she said in all sincerity, "Doesn't that girl look like she has Greece Athena hair?"