Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Ass Cheeks, Interviewing, and Youtube Suckage

Oh Baltimore! How I love you!
But oh, how you teased and tormented me this weekend!

The hubby and I headed out to Inner Harbor, Baltimore this past weekend for the annual CityLit Festival held at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. We left midmorning on Friday, with plans of a late afternoon interview with two wonderful authors that I have been in email-contact with for quite some time: Michael Kimball, author of Dear Everybody, The Way the Family Got Away, How Much of Us There Was, and the upcoming Us; and Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and Drinking Closer to Home.

Of course, we leave later than I anticipated, and as we attempt to jump on the interstate, there are backups everywhere (spring is here, and so begins all the nightmarish road work!) - so we tack on some extra time by sticking to the back roads as long as possible. Once we clear the roadwork, it was smooth, speedy sailing all the way!

We stayed at the Renaissance hotel right there overlooking the harbor. As we pulled up to valet, I head to the back of the car to grab our overnight bag - you know, the one with all the toiletries: toothbrush, deodorant, perfume, conditioner. Huh. Not there. The hubby and I make eye contact over the roof of the car. "Did you grab it already?" my eyes ask. He shakes his head. "Is it in the trunk?" my eyes plead. He pops the truck. Nope. Not there either. Shit! We left it at home. This means a $70 run to CVS to ensure I can wash my hair, brush my teeth, and smell good for the upcoming weekend. But that's cool, whatever, it's fixable. We laugh it off and check in.

We take in the view, freshen up, grab a quick bite to eat at Hooters (what? I like their Western Cheeseburger!) and decide to hail a cab for the trip out to the Baltimore Museum of Art, which is where we planned to meet Michael and Jessica. As I slide into the taxi cab, I somehow manage to catch the back of my jeans on a sharp edge and simultaneously hear the tear and feel the cool breeze on my ass cheek. I immediately hop out of the cab, and we run back up to the room to change. Just my fucking luck! Those were my favorite pair of jeans!! Thank god I had a long tshirt on...

Once I'm changed, we try it again. I gingerly step into the cab, keeping my ass raised until I reach the center of the backseat, and then let out a sigh of relief.. we are on our way!

Jessica arrives first, and shows us around the museum as we wait for Michael, then we head out to the Sculpture Garden. It was a gorgeous day outside, we get ourselves situated, and my hubby begins to record our interview. Both authors recently released novels that revolved around death, and I cleverly began the interview by pointing out this coincidence, asking them to share just how much of their own personal experiences were included in the novels. From there, the interview segued to their beliefs on what happens after someone dies and ghostly experiences. Jessica and Michael have a great, natural chemistry - they know each other well, share their manuscripts with each other, and have a great appreciation for one another. The interview was progressing extremely well when suddenly, I look over at my husband and he informs me that the camera has just run out memory. Damn! 28 minutes in, and I have no closing.. I was two minutes or so away from wrapping it all up!

(I'm thinking to myself that this is strike three. First we forgot the bag, then I ripped my favorite jeans, now the damn memory runs out while interviewing.. what the hell is going to happen next?!)

After the embarrassment of cutting the filming short, we continued to chat for a few minutes longer, then split up and went on our separate ways. Jessica was wonderfully funny and refreshing, and Michael was charming and soft-spoken. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet and interview them, even if it did end rather awkwardly.

I saw Jessica again the following day at CityLit, a cold, windy, rainy Saturday event filled with Baltimore's finest authors and publishers. She was wonderful enough to introduce me to Ron Tanner, author of Kiss Me, Stranger and the man who introduced her to Michael. Ron and I had a great conversation about the independent side of publishing, getting your stuff out to the world, and the joys of traveling. I made sure to sit in on both Jessica and Ron's readings, and recorded them both (of course, using a brand new memory card so I wouldn't end up with a repeat of yesterday's drama).

Once CityLit wrapped up, we prepared for the super long, super wet ride home.

Once home, I downloaded the interview and the videos of the two readings from my camera to the laptop, only to discover that all three clips begin to freeze up and get choppy around the 4 1/2 minute mark. What the hell? Is it Windows Media Player, I wonder? I decide to try to upload the shortest video - Ron's reading - through Youtube, and see what happens there.

Youtube tells me the upload will take apprx 225 minutes so I relax, pick up a book, clean around the house, and come back to check on it every so often. At first, the counter is winding down, slowly but surely. At the 4 hour mark, I could swear the counter started going up, adding more time. What was originally supposed to be 4 hours, has now somehow turned into 7 hours... and then 8... and then 9... And then after all that waiting, the darn thing crashed!

Determined not to get upset, I attempt the upload again. Only to accidently hit the back button on the browser about 2 hours in. SHIT! My bad, let's try this again.

The third time, I watch as the upload hits and exceeds the 100% completion mark. It's ticking off 103%....107%.... 113%.. and then promptly fails.

As I type this, I am on my final attempt at uploading to Youtube. It went much quicker this time, 3 hours total to get to 98%, which, even though I should have known better, gave me some hope. Of course, it has been completely frozen there ever since.

Clearly the universe is mad at me. What the hell I ever did to it, I suppose I will never know.

The videos, for the time being, will have to go unseen by the world. And for that, I apologize to Jessica, Michael, and Ron - they are three of the most extremely gracious, wonderful people I have had the pleasure of meeting and I wish I could share their brilliance with you! I had so much fun spending time with each of them, and cannot wait to get back to Baltimore to do it all over again - much more prepared and professional this time, I swear!

And thank you readers, for allowing me this completely selfish opportunity to vent. But at least I showed you my ass... that's gotta mean something, no?


  1. Nice duff! ;) Loved this post. Incidentally, I stayed at Renaissance Inner Harbor about a month ago during a conference. Delightful place. Didn't make it to the nearby Hooter's, though.

  2. LOL!! This post cracked me up. Nice ass :P

  3. I decided I had to look at the bright side of things. I was starting to get aggravated at all the crap that was happening to me :)

    I don't think that is best shot of my ass, but it gets the point across, and also adds some cred to my story!!

  4. LOL! Your poor jeans! I didn't realize this event even existed and I'm only about 30-45min from the Inner Harbor. Damn me.

  5. Yup. It was my second trip out there for the festival. You should definitely hit up next year....