Saturday, October 15, 2005

Karma Junkie

I was in town today after Phil's soccer game (see post here for more info) and before heading home I checked with Dina to see if I could bring anything back. I know the odds of her saying iPod or Playstation-2 are low but, still, I ask. Usually the answer's "whatever" and I have to threaten stopping at Whitefish Chalet (or Squid Hut or something equally unappealling to a seafood non-fan) before getting a straight answer. This time, though, she said Orange Chicken from Panda Express right off the bat.

Now the only Panda Express in town at Valley River Mall, and there's no "safe" way to get there. Entrance A takes you by the coin-op rides which overstimulate Phil. Entrance B takes you by the Victoria's Secret which overstimulates me. Entrance C doesn't take you by anything but it's too far to walk. That leaves Entrance D, which only goes by a Waldenbooks that hasn't had a good selection of discount books in forever, so it seems safe enough.


Outside the store was a cardtable with a stack of books for an author signing. I can think of fewer things sadder than an author signing at the mall. If I ever have to (get to!) do one I'm going to look into incorporating a dunk-tank theme that might actually draw attention and generate some side cash even if I don't sell any books.

In this case, though, the author did a good job of generating attention without a dunk tank. She was a Victoria's Secret model. Just kidding; actually she was dressed about as far from a VS model as you can get and not be Amish. The author was Shirley Tallman and she was dressed in an authentic Victorian-Era gown complete with bustle to promote her new Victorian-Era novel, The Russian Hill Murders. When we lived in San Jose, Dina volunteered at the Historical Society Museum (which has now been renamed History Park); I know second-hand how uncomfortable dressing up like that can be.

So I stopped to chat. It's what I'd like others to do unto me, so I figure I better start doing it to them first. Turns out I'd seen the book before at Borders and actually considered getting it. Now I had an opportunity to get the first book in the series Murder on Nob Hill, which is out-of-stock at retail outlets, and have it autographed as well. So I got it. Did I mention it was 20% off? Yeah, I got it.

And the Orange Chicken, too. 'Cause, you know, that's why I went there in the first place.


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