MISTI-Con, Silverheart and Heaven, Hula Girl, Tiki

Kind readers,

well, MISTI-Con 2015 is over, and what a wonderful convention it was! I was pretty exhausted that weekend, and I’m still recovering I think, but nevertheless I’m already looking forward to MISTI-Con 2017.

Here’s the table where I did my book signing… That’s beautiful lake Winnipesaukee behind the tent.

And here I was, dressed in my stunning Kristopher Silverheart costume, with dear fellow author C.A. Allen who was cosplaying Silverheart’s beloved companion, Heaven. We were rehearsing our Costuming Showcase kiss.

Theirs is a passionate love story. A story about freedom and hope. About mavericks and outcasts who battle against religious oppression.

Here you can see the costume in more detail. My friend Nezumi is an extraordinary seamstress.

Not long before I gave my lecture (which went well, I’m told)…

In other news, There’s a Hula Girl on my Dashboard is now available on Nook, as well as iTunes and Kobo. Kindle should be next soon, I hope! You can also get the e-Book here.

And here are more kind words about Hula Girl, courtesy of Tweet Ones!

Thank you so much, Letha and Sean! Sean will be writing a review of Hula Girl on My Secret Atheist Blog soon. And I’m about to write a guest post for him—it’s very exciting, and it’s an honor 🙂 I’ll be touching on issues around atheism and gender identity.

And Godless Mom is looking forward to reading Hula Girl too! This gave me so much joy.

If you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, please feel free to share a few words about it on Amazon! And if the book helped you or encouraged you, please tell your friends—it would mean a lot. This is how more people will find out about Hula Girl—I’m small fry—and what it contains may encourage them too.

Right now, I’ve got my sights set on The Non-Conference in August. I can’t wait to attend this event! And I’ll have a table there, too. Also, I’ll be spending June and July working on my next book, Atheist Tiki Hour.

I’ve got the appropriate beverage mugs all ready to go:

Again, deep gratitude to all who are supporting and encouraging me. Many people have been telling me how much There’s a Hula Girl on my Dashboard: How I Left Faith Behind and Embraced Life has touched, inspired, and comforted them, and this gives me the strength to keep writing, to keep sharing my heart and experiences, to reach out to those who have been wounded by religious dogma and who are looking for another worldview and way of life. Once, I thought I was alone; I want them to know they’re not alone.

Atheist Tiki Hour will be about life beyond religion.

It’s good.

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

spooky happy

Kind readers,

I’ve been hard at work on There’s a Hula Girl on my Dashboard: How I Left Faith Behind and Embraced Life. I’ll be keeping you posted on my progress and when the book becomes available (at some point around mid to late December).

I’ve also been buying silly socks, I’ve become an ordained minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and I celebrated the 30th anniversary of Nightmare on Elm Street.

I’m really looking forward to the release of this album right here:

Speaking of terrific music, my dear friend Bonesy (member of the Halloween punk band Bricklayer Bosh) recently sent me yet another fabulous box of goodies. I’m a spoiled professor.

Scrumptious! 🙂

Here she is with their spooky first album:

And I finally got myself a Freddy claw necklace from Robert Englund’s website!

Oh, and look at this beautiful photo of my dear friend French Rhubarb with her copy of Outlaw in the Land of Perfection:

Encouragement like this truly goes straight to my heart.

My friend and talented artist, Nezumi, has begun sketching the cover of the second book in the Outlaw series, Outlaw in the Outer Reaches… That book will be available next year, in the spring or summer.

And here I am with some spooktacular reading material by Dave Scheidt and Jess Smart Smiley! Awesome, awesome book and a bunch of treats.

I’ve been digging Ello a whole lot too.

To sum up, I’ve been feeling like this lately:

If you’re a happy camper like me, you can find this mug on Retro Planet. I couldn’t resist getting one, obviously 😉

Back to writing!

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

phenomenal Flashback Weekend

Kind readers,

I have so many things to share with you… Let me start with this one: Outlaw in the Land of Perfection is now available as an e-book!

To Download to your iPad:

Click Download to transfer your eBook (ePub or PDF) to your iPad.
Click Open in… to select a previously downloaded eReader application. Or, click Open in “iBooks” to add the eBook directly to your iBookshelf.
Tap the book on your iBookshelf to start reading.

To Download to your Nook:

Click Download to transfer your eBook to your Nook.
Click the Nook button and select Library from the Quick Nav bar.
Select My Stuff and choose My Files from the dropdown list.
Select the My Downloads folder and tap the book title to start reading.

The novel will soon be available on Kindle as well; I’ll be letting you know as soon as it is 🙂

Last weekend, I went to Flashback Weekend in Chicago, and it was an incredible convention; a wonderful weekend. Here’s what I wrote about it over on Livejournal…

moving in perfect peace and harmony towards Elvisness

My most precious ones,

now that I’m starting to feel a little more rested after all my latest adventures, allow me to share them with all of you 🙂

First, though, last night I was so saddened to learn of Robin William’s passing. I had gone into the kitchen to get something, and my better half told me, and I said, “What?! Why?? What happened? Oh, no. Aw, crap.” He didn’t know, so I went back on Twitter, and my feed had exploded with the news. Everyone was sad. The dear man. I can understand the distress he experienced, having felt its sharp sting when I was younger; I hope with all my heart that he’s at peace now. I need to watch Good Morning Vietnam… I have very fond memories of seeing it in the theater, and it’s one of my favorite films that he did.

This made me even more grateful for the very happy times I had during Flashback, and for all the love that was going around at this convention. So I’m going to tell you about it now. As Mr. Englund once said during an interview, “life goes by fast.” And life can be crazy and bewildering. It’s important to enjoy the moment, and to be grateful.

Here goes. I won’t put this behind a cut.

On thursday morning, my taxi was fifteen minutes late, which stressed me out a bit, and on the way to the airport I felt tearful because I was somewhat overwhelmed by the adventure I was undertaking. But once I’d arrived at the airport, gotten my boarding pass and gone through security (there was hardly anyone waiting, and the process went very quickly; I wasn’t scanned, and no one even touched me), I began to feel much more relaxed. The direct flight area of the airport is smaller than the rest of it, and it was tranquil. I went to the restaurant there, ate fish and chips, and then sat quietly while listening to my iShuffle.

Then we boarded the fairly small plane—two seats on one side, one seat on the other—and we took off for Chicago. As always, I was mesmerized by the clouds… There was a little turbulence at times, but on the whole it went smoothly and the next thing I knew, we were in Chicago.

The airport was immense. I’d never seen so many planes in my life. Planes were constantly landing or taking off. I made my way through the airport without problem, however, and soon found myself aboard the hotel shuttle bus. A big sign said, “Welcome to Chicago, we’re glad you came.” A good start, I thought! I was curious about everything I saw.

When we reached the Crowne Plaza, I checked in and headed straight for my room, which was beautiful and immaculate. I meticulously set out the things I needed in the bathroom and bedroom then went to the store on the first level (where the lobby was) to get snacks, because there was only a fridge in the room (I was like Patsy in Ab Fab: “No bloody mini bar!!”). I returned to my room, ordered room service (spaghetti), and relaxed for the rest of the day. I called my mother and my better half to let them know I was fine; also I needed to hear my better half’s voice before more adventures began. As luck would have it, there was a Mythbusters marathon, so I watched that while curled up beneath the very cozy duvet.

I didn’t get much sleep that night. The next morning, I ate a generous breakfast then rested for a couple more hours; I got up around noon. I showered, dressed, and headed for the registration counter. There was a long line leading up to it, but it didn’t matter because I got into many wonderful conversations with the people who were near me, especially my new friends James and Jennifer who were there with their two year old daughter Kaylie (she was wearing a crocheted, sleeveless Freddy dress, and she had a little crocheted Freddy glove on her hand! She was perfectly adorable). I also spoke with a young woman who was dressed as a “Freddy-ette”—lovely young woman. She had Freddy-type makeup on half of her face and had also met Robert Englund once. At one point, one of the organizers came to her, because Robert Englund had asked him to find a few Freddy-ettes to accompany him on stage later that day, and needless to say the young woman looked like she was ready to pass out when she shared the news with us! I said, “No, no, we’ll be rooting for you! You’ll be great, it’ll be fine!”

To my immense surprise, someone then asked if I was Logospilgrim, and I said yes. It was a loved one from the Harry Potter fandom, Ann, whom I’d never before met; she gave me a silver heart bookmark, which touched me very much.

There were a number of Potter fans at the convention, in fact; my Professor Snape ink got as much love as my Robert Englund ink did.

James and Jennifer had never met him, and James said that he thought he’d cry when the time came! I felt a kinship with them both right away; they were so friendly and funny and cheerful. The little girl really liked the ink on my leg and kept trying to touch it. Throughout the weekend, James, Jennifer and I hooked up whenever we saw each other (and we’d say, “We’ll meet at [event whatever]”) which made me very happy and made the convention really special and joyful.

It took about an hour and a half to get to the registration desk, where I got my t-shirt and badges and lanyards etc. I returned to my room to sort everything out, then put on the convention t-shirt so I’d be wearing it during the photo op that would be taking place later in the afternoon. Then I went to the dealer’s room, where those who’d gotten tickets for said photo op were waiting for the call to get in line.

The convention was filled with nice people, creative, unique people, quite laid back, an adult crowd. It was a great environment and I felt at home.

The announcement was made for the first group of people to get in line for the photo op (I was in that group), so I headed over to the location. While I was in line, I met two wonderful young women (whose names alas I can’t recall). One had her hair in curly blonde pigtails, and she was vivacious and so funny, and her friend had long brown hair and was so sweet. Of course, whenever I shared the sweater story and Ottawa Comic Con and all that, well goodness there was a lot of joy and squeeing. Often people would say, “Can I touch it?” and needless to say I’d reply, “Sure!” Another lovely fellow said, “Oh man, never sell it!” and another charming fellow (who was there with his step-dad I believe) asked if he could take a picture with me, and naturally I agreed.

So then we arrived in the room where Robert Englund was. The pictures were taken very quickly, as there were so many of us; he had a few seconds to set up the photo. The photographer then said, “One, two, Freddy!” and snapped the picture and said, “Next!” As we came around the curtain behind which Robert was, I saw him sitting there—they had him on a high stool with a cushion—I gasped when I saw him in the makeup, goodness. Seeing him in this makeup on film, and seeing him right there in person while he’s wearing it, is not the same at all. You could see how, I mean… He was encased in it, this thick stuff, it encompassed his whole head and neck… To me it looked like it would be difficult to wear. And he exchanged words with the photographer and it was quite surreal.

Then someone nudged me and I saw that Mrs. Englund was there to my right, standing next to the wall, and she wanted to take a picture of my calf with her cell phone. She said, “That looks very recent” and I replied, “Oh, you took photos of it in Ottawa, remember Mrs. Englund?” (and I thought, egad, that was silly! She takes hundreds of pictures of ink and couldn’t possibly remember them all), and she nodded and smiled and snapped some photos and said, “Thank you.” Such a warm, beautiful woman.

And then it was my turn to have the photo taken. Eep!

I went to him, with my hands against my chest you know, and he looked at me and gently said, “Oh, it’s you! Hello there.” He wasn’t wearing any lenses, and his eyes looked bright green. The softness of his voice was such a contrast to the makeup he was wearing! He placed his left hand on the back of my neck, and the other (with the glove) in front of it, and the photographer took the picture.

I couldn’t imagine having my whole head and neck covered in makeup like that, goodness. I’d feel trapped! So to me, he looked vulnerable in it, especially when I was right next to him, because it went right up to his eyes, and when he blinked you could see the red makeup that had been applied on his eyelids. I felt like rubbing my eyes (which are very sensitive), looking at that. I’d read in one of his interviews that after a couple of days of filming, his eyes would start to hurt. But the makeup was very impressive; a great deal of time, effort and talent goes into it.

Afterwards, I met up with the curly blonde haired young woman and her friend, and a friend of theirs, and we all excitedly shared the special moment we’d just had. I said, “he remembered me” and then for a horrible moment thought I’d burst into tears, but I squelched the emotion and only had a few tears leak out. They said, as many others said, “How could he not remember you?” Well, shucks… I don’t know…

And then they took me to meet a friend of theirs who had a booth in the dealer’s room; an independent film-maker who currently has a Kickstater campaign for a film called “Dismembering Christmas”. When they told me this I laughed a lot and exclaimed, “Oh man, that sounds awesome! I’ll definitely help out!” I met the young man and bought a DVD of his other production, “Don’t Go to the Reunion” (“There’s gore in store for the the class of 2004” *laughs*).

You can visit his website, Slasher Studios, here.

I also met an independent writer, MP Johnson, delightful fellow, and got a book of short stories that featured one of his, Strange Fucking Stories: A Strange Anthology, and promised to come back the next day to give him one of the copies of Outlaw that I’d brought with me and to pick up a book of his, a novel that involved a boy, a pig, and psychic ham. There was no way, I told him, that I was leaving the convention without a book about psychic ham!

Now I’m having trouble remembering what happened next, I might have tried to eat a bit, I can’t remember… But soon it was time to stand in line for the show that was taking place at 9:15. Actually, I’d gone to the bathroom not long before and reassured another young woman in a Freddy-ette outfit that she’d be wonderful, that it would all go well (she looked pale, goodness). Oh, and I also talked to two lovely young people while we were waiting to enter the room, a young man and a young woman who was wearing a marvelous black skirt with white skulls on it, and I had such a pleasant time chatting with them.

I believe I was sitting with James and Jennifer, yes, yes I was. And the show started; Robert Englund was being interviewed by Svengoolie (he’s like Elvira and has a show that broadcasts B-movies. He seemed like a very likable and good-natured man). Robert was as funny as ever, even though he was really looking forward to removing the makeup—he’d been touched up just before the show—mentioning that it was starting to itch and saying, “I can’t wait to take this off” (I could well imagine!). He also mentioned that he’d had a couple of glasses of wine prior to the show, and as the dark-haired Freddy-ette told me the next day (I saw her in sitting in the lobby and went to see her, and I was so glad I spotted her there as it gave me the opportunity of saying goodbye; she was leaving later that day), she’d been nervous but the fact that he was a bit tipsy diminished her nervousness even as he played around with her brown hat and put it on his own head, and back on hers again! He talked about films and a plethora of things, as usual, and towards the end, he exclaimed, “You’re all my children now!”

After the show I went to bed because I was very tired. I did manage to fall asleep that night, thank goodness. The bed was very nice. I was warm and comfortable in it.

The next day I got up fairly early, because I wanted to be in line for the autograph session an hour before it began; I wanted to make sure I’d have the opportunity to give Mr. Englund his present, and I knew the lines would be long, and that he had a number of photo sessions throughout the day, so the autograph session would stop, start again, stop, start again. They had to turn people away in the end.

Finally they allowed us to start entering the room. He was seated at a table with his wife and the other people who oversaw the signing. He looked happy and relaxed. When it was my turn, he smiled at me and said, “Hello there, darlin’.” The first thing I did was give him his presents. He told his wife, “Oh look, presents again!” and she said, “Oh, excellent!” I guess they must have enjoyed the chocolate I had brought in Ottawa *laughs* I told him, “There’s a book that I wrote in there… But you don’t have to read it!” I mentioned the Freddy Krueger cufflinks and he was thrilled. He pointed at the rolled up poster and asked what it was, and I said it was the book cover, and he nodded and said, “Thank you so much! I love the bag” (it also had the book cover on it).

Then I gave him the makeup photo that was taken the previous day to sign. When he and Mrs. Englund saw it, they both laughed and said they thought it was adorable. He said, “I love it when people go along! You gotta make a face!” and wrote “Together again” on it. I thanked him and goodness, I was somehow more tongue-tied than I was the first time I met him. I told him how much the staff at Planet Ink had loved the autographed photo I’d asked him to sign for them, and he was very happy about this. Mrs. Englund said, “But no Freddy ink still!” I smiled shyly and said, “But I have this though,” referring to my left hand. The fact that I’ve been wanting to get the glove inked somewhere kind of escaped my mind, and I forgot to mention it!

I gave him my Fear Clinic poster to sign, and he said, “Oh, I haven’t seen that one!” and I said that it had been sent to me from England. I said, “Thank you, sir” again, and shook his hand, and he kissed the back of mine again, which I really didn’t expect him to do since he’d already done it twice… He’s just so kind.

After that, I went back to the dealer’s room where I brought a copy of Outlaw to MP, and I made sure not to leave without a copy of the psychic ham story. I then met another writer, Chris Ringler, and got a copy of his book The Meep Sheep. We chatted and I gave him my second copy of Outlaw, and he kindly gave me a copy of another one of his books, Back from Nothing.

It was fantastic to have met all these independent creators.

Then, I got a canvas bag that had Freddy, Jason, Michael and Pinhead on it, a Freddy t-shirt (the people at the booth also gave me a bunch of stickers and buttons because “We love Canadians”)… There was so much neat stuff in that room.

You can find MP Johnson’s “weirderature” here: www.freaktension.com

You can find Chris Ringler’s books here: www.meepsheep.com

You can find that great Freddy and Nancy shirt, and cool buttons and things, here: www.atomicotton.com

After that I got a sandwich and brought it to my room. I could only eat part of it; too much excitement. I felt really tired. I decided that the best course of action would be to take a nap, which is what I did.

Then it was almost time for that special reception for people who had deluxe passes.

I put on my dressy clothes and felt rather smashing. Nothing like a tie, sharp pants and a vest, I tell you. It was my genderqueer/funster tomboy/delicate androgyne tribute to our favorite dream-time slasher (red shirt, green tie) 😉

I was a bit nervous, so I ordered a scotch on the rocks as soon as I got there. The barman proceeded to give me way more scotch than I could consume in one night! I barely had half of it and I was pretty mellow, let’s say. I sat down and chatted with a nice fellow from Iowa, Jay. He told me he was a reserved kind of guy, but I do believe he did manage to get a picture that evening!

Around a quarter to eight, I was thinking that Robert wasn’t going to make it for whatever reason (maybe he was busy, or something had come up), and I wasn’t sure if I felt disappointed or relieved! Ah well, I thought. But then he arrived along with his wife and other Nightmare cast members (one of the people interviewed on friday night was Robert Rustler, who played Jesse’s friend Ron in Nightmare 2, and the man was a laugh a minute, absolutely hilarious; the whole bunch of them were amazing).

Almost immediately, Robert Englund is surrounded from every direction, and people are asking him for pictures, taking out their cell phones and cameras. Emboldened by the scotch, j’ai pris mon courage à deux mains (I took my courage with both hands, as we say in French) and made my way towards him, trying to ignore my fears. I felt bad for even asking because he’d already been so kind, so often. But I thought, I’ll be quick and scamper off afterwards. Getting to him wasn’t easy, but I did so not long after he’d managed to get his hands on a glass of wine. I didn’t want to interrupt any conversation he was already having, you know? I didn’t want to be rude or pushy or a pest… You know.

So I finally was able to ask him, “Mr. Englund, may I have a picture?” (and I did mention that the scotch had helped me ask him in the first place). And he said sure, and I’m getting ready for a quick “I’m standing next to him with a scotch in my hand while he has a glass of wine in his” type picture. As extraordinary as such a picture seemed to me, he had something else in mind.

I handed my little Cyber-shot to a kind person who agreed to take the picture, and I’m holding my glass of scotch and preparing myself to smile for the camera. Then Mr. Englund says, “Oh wait, I love this,” referring to the ink on my left hand, which he takes in his and then… And I watch him pull my hand towards his face and place it there, on his right cheek, and I’m just… I’m absolutely gobsmacked and speechless, I’m thinking, what is he doing?! He inclines his head so that his forehead touches mine, and I can feel his beard beneath the palm of my hand, which is resting very lightly against his face. It was just unbelievable.

The flash went, and I’m smiling with a deer-in-the-headlights expression.

I esteem him greatly, as you all know, and see him as a kind of father figure in a manner of speaking, and this was just… Such a gentle, tender gesture on his part. It’s not really possible for me to write about this without crying. This was absolutely, positively nothing he had to do. I mean, allowing a person to touch your face (especially someone you hardly know), that’s a very tender, affectionate thing.

I’d always maintained a respectful distance if you will—not wanting to invade his space or be presumptuous, you know. I’m just a person who admires him and his work and all that. It’s difficult for me not to be awestruck in his presence, as I’m sure must be obvious. He’s found himself in the position of being a celebrity, but he’s also unabashedly human. As much of a delight as it’s been for me to be in his vicinity on a few occasions, I’ve not wanted to cross a respectful distance, eh? But he’s a kind and easy-going person, an informal, no-nonsense person, un bon vivant, and I think perhaps he wanted me to, uh… to cross that, uh, very formal kind of polite distance?

Or well, you know, it was just that’s he’s a kind man. Making people happy, to the extent it’s possible, clearly matters a lot to him. He always has generous things to say about anybody it seems.

After the picture was taken, he said, “That’s about as close-shaven as I’ve been in a while, like Willie was.” I said, “I was worried they’d have to shave it off!” (his beard, because of the makeup session). No he said, they didn’t have to, though they had to give it a good trim. And I said, “Thank you, sir,” and he replied, “No, no. Don’t call me sir… Call me Robert, or Mr. Englund [I think the latter was a merciful concession]. I feel like I’m a thousand years old!” Then he paused and said, “I am a thousand years old.” I said, “Oh no, s—” I barely managed to clamp down on that “sir”!

We exchanged a couple more words, I can’t remember because my brain was reeling I think, and then I said, “Bye” and “Thank you”—I really didn’t want to take up more of his time—and he said, “Thank you. You’re sweet, thank you. Thank you.”

So goodness. That was quite an unforgettable evening. I mean, whew. Mercy.

His Q&A was at 8:15, less than half an hour after we took that photo. I made my way towards the ballrooms and waited with two wonderful people I’d spoken to already (one of whom had asked me for a picture). It was very nice to talk with them. When we entered the room and sat down, I saw James and Jennifer seated ahead of us with a friend of theirs, and I showed them the picture that was taken during the reception. Their eyes widened and Jennifer exclaimed, “That is SO sweet!!!” I said, “Goodness yes, I was so surprised… It was such a kind thing to do.”

And his legend grows yet again *laughs*

The Q&A was very interesting, and he was very funny (was there any doubt?). I love listening to him speak. Again and again he’d say, “Oh, listen you guys,” and “You guys, I tell you”—earnest and open. Towards the end, there was an awkward moment when a young woman asked for an autograph instead of a question (it was her birthday) and the organizer intervened, telling her “You need to do that tomorrow,” and Robert smoothed the whole thing over, kind of erasing the moment and changing the subject completely, trying to make it so that nobody’s feelings were hurt too much.

By the time I went to bed, I was exhausted. It had been an intense day.

I had trouble sleeping anyway, however, but I still got up early on sunday morning. When I woke, I felt really homesick. I showered and got my things packed—I only had a few things left to organize by then—and I checked out. I left my bags with them, took a deep breath, and embarked upon my next adventure: going to downtown Chicago.

The taxi driver chatted all the way there, and he was charming. An older gentleman with a beard and a very thick Indian or Pakistani accent. He had a disc with Arabic script and a picture of Mecca on it hanging from his rearview mirror, and he was hilarious. He kept telling me how lucky my husband was *laughs* When we got to the Shedd, he gave me a card with his number on it and told me to call him at any time if I needed anything at all (I’d told him I was from Canada).

It was a good thing I’d gotten to the Shedd somewhat early (it was around ten or ten thirty, I forget), because two hours later, it was packed. I gasped when I saw a sticker on the front doors with a picture of a crossed out gun! I’d never seen anything like that before.

The aquarium was amazing. I saw piranhas, rays, a poison dart frog, a very large anaconda (it made me shudder; it was as big as my waist), a moray eel, a chameleon, a half-hidden giant octopus, sea kelp… A million creatures. The jellyfish were hypnotizing… And then, of course, the sharks. They were part of the coral reef exhibit, which was breath-taking. The aquariums went all the way up to the ceiling, and sometimes I felt a bit dizzy. As I stood right next to the glass where the sharks were, one made me jump, a six foot reef shark that went past me right on the other side of the glass. They were beautiful. Another favorite was the giant clam. Fascinating. Before I left, I saw the sea otters which were adorable and a lot bigger than I thought they were!

I bought a very cute stuffed sea otter. It’s holding a sea star in its front paws. I put it in a drawstring Shedd backpack and headed for the Art Institute. I’d seen the Field Museum on the way over and for some reason I mistook it for the Art Institute (the distance between the two had seemed greater on the maps I’d consulted). When I realized I had the wrong building, I decided to try and walk over. I knew the general direction it was in, so I started walking and found myself in the park—there were plenty of people and I never felt unsafe—then near the large fountain where I saw a young woman in a very, very elaborate, cloud-like wedding dress, surrounded by a large bridal party consisting of other young women in scintillating pink dresses: it was a Traveller wedding!

I asked for directions a couple of times, but I was on course the whole way pretty much. I was grateful for the wind coming in from Lake Michigan, which cooled me as I walked; it was a hot day. When I neared the Art Institute, I saw a man sitting on a ledge and calling out, “Cold water! Cold water!” with a strong, uh, Chicago accent I think it is? I got a bottle from him and thanked him, and told him I was from Canada. I said, “It was nice to meet you” and held out my hand to shake his, and for a moment there he looked somewhat bemused, but then he shook mine and said, “I’m Lou.” I said, “Hi, Lou.”

The area felt so quintessentially American. It was charming, I thought.

I then went to the Magritte exhibit and enjoyed it very much. I love the Surrealists and their love for ambiguity, their love for seeing what lies beneath the surface. They had many of his most famous paintings, including La Trahison des Images (The Treachery of Images) with its words “ceci n’est pas une pipe”. I got a couple of small souvenirs and went to the front desk. I asked the lady where I could get a cab, and she smiled and said, “They come in front of the museum, you can just flag one.” I said, “Flag a cab… I’ve never done that before.” She said, “Raise your arm and they’ll stop!”

Moments later, I successfully flagged my first cab and headed back to the hotel. It was early enough, around three o’clock, that there wasn’t much traffic.

The restaurant wasn’t open yet, so I sat in the bar area, which was “L” shaped; I sat at the bottom of the “L”, if you will. I was sorting my things in my carry-on, and out of the corner of my eye I saw Mr. Englund emerge from what I remembered was the room where he’d done his signings. I thought he’d be gone already by then! Soon after it became evident that he was in the bar some distance behind where I was sitting. The quiet corner where I’d wanted to sit became available, so I went there, out of sight, and lay my head on the back of the chair and closed my eyes; I was exhausted. I could hear bits and pieces of the rowdy conversations that were taking place at the bar, and unsurprisingly they were talking about actors, acting and movies. It was also clear that he was the life of the party over there! I knew when he’d left, because suddenly it got quiet.

Not that long after, it was my turn; the shuttle was leaving at six.

When I got to the airport, I was a bit anxious, because I wasn’t entirely sure where I needed to go. The United counters had automated devices and I had no idea how to use them. A kind United man came to my rescue and did the whole thing for me, and also found out what gate I needed to go to (one hadn’t officially been assigned yet, but he looked it up on his computer). Predictably enough, it was at the other end of the concourse. I went through security very quickly again (I went through the scanner and that was that), and limped my way over to the gate.

The flight was delayed by an hour, but I had a nice chat with two women who were heading for the Prairies. I also ate some pasta salad because I hadn’t had much to eat that day. When we boarded the plane, it was bigger than the first one I took, two seats on either side of the aisle. It was a smooth flight. When we were close to landing, I got into a great conversation with two kind fellows who were seated across the aisle from me; one of them had been to Flashback, and we hadn’t had the chance to chat there (we’d both spotted each other now and then). He and I had enjoyed the convention tremendously, and both he and the person seated next to him loved the stories I shared with them. I told the Flashback fellow’s companion that the ink on my left hand had deeper meaning; “What it says is, if you’re rejected and despised for what you are, then I’m what you are too.” Then he told me that he directed a LGBT choir, and goodness, it was a beautiful moment right there.

My better half and Potion were very glad I was back home, and so was I. I’m so tired still that I haven’t unpacked my suitcase yet! I’ve been aching as a result of lugging my bags across Chicago O’Hare too, I believe, but my right chest muscles are beginning to feel less tender.

But I wanted to share my joyful tales with you while my memory was as fresh as possible!

I’m very happy and grateful. It was a magical weekend. And I’ll say it again: Mr. Englund is such a kind man. It’s no wonder he’s so beloved.

This week will be rather quiet. Then, it’ll be writing time. That’s going to be very good.

All right. I think I need to rest! I have little to no energy left.

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

 So… There you are! It was such a splendid event, I can’t begin to tell you.

I’m very much looking forward to sinking my teeth into Specimen now! I have a lot of writing in store in the coming months.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my mom at Le Café des Artistes in Buckingham, and it was extremely nice. Their delicious salmon pie was most welcome on the cool day we were having (it’s been like fall here these past few days). She liked the reception photo so much that she asked me for a wallet-sized print. She said, “Tu es tellement bien posée” (you are so well photographed), and she thought Mr. Englund looked very natural in that shot (she thought the makeup photo was impressive, but she found said makeup too frightening *laughs*).

I saw something on Facebook this week that, well… Someone was saying that they were glad they hadn’t gotten a ticket for the makeup photo session because it featured a “half-assed Freddy.” I was reminded of the time Kat Von D answered a tweet from a guy who told her he wouldn’t date a girl who liked the kind of shoes she wears (unusual and striking shoes); she said, “GREAT NEWS!!! I wouldn’t date someone like you either.” So I thought, hey, fortunately for you, you didn’t have to get this photo taken! All of us who did were very happy, though, and had a tremendous experience. It was special, and it was awesome of him to do this for everybody.

Personally, I was thrilled that Robert’s approach had been that the session would be about him, Robert Englund, wearing the Freddy makeup for the last time. Of course we all played around and had fun, but it was about him, not about Freddy as such.

I’ve had the chance to meet him, to say hello, and to thank him at two conventions so far. And each time, it was about him. I love all the roles he’s played: Freddy is great, Willie is wonderful; I loved his character in “Behind the Mask” and “Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer” and “Phantom of the Opera” and “Zombie Strippers” and and and. They were all terrific in their own way. But it’s not Freddy or any of his other characters that I see when I shake his hand; it’s him, the person, the versatile actor, the human being.

All right, I’ve yapped enough for now! And I need a bite to eat 🙂

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

my joys, let me tell you them

Kind readers,

June already…

I’ll be getting Outlaw in the Land of Perfection back from my editor in less than a week… It’s happening. The book will be available towards the end of the month, eep!

This is going to be the summer and fall of conventions for me. It’ll be the first time I’ve ever attend so many conventions in one year. All the passes have been obtained, hotel rooms booked, and in one case, plane tickets bought.

In August, I’ll be headed for Flashback Weekend in Chicago. I can’t wait to see horror films at the magnificent Mulvico Rosemont theater, meet more indie writers and artists, make more new friends, and say hello to Mr. Englund again… I’m planning to wear a nice suit at the VIP cocktail party! For a little Krueger flavor, I’ll have a green tie, a red shirt, and Freddy cufflinks 😉 I’ll also be bringing copies of Outlaw with me.

In September, it’ll be Montreal Comic Con, or Montreal HorrorFest to be more precise. Once again, I’ll be most eager to meet independent creators (especially Sv Bell, whom I was unable to find at Ottawa Comic Con due to the immense crowds and confusing booth locations). And I’ll have not one, but three gloves for Mr. Englund to sign…

The Rubie’s Deluxe version, which I added to my Englund collection only last week:

I’m amusing myself with it here… My hand is a bit too small for it!

It’s currently resting on top of my Freddy sweater. That’s how I’ll be displaying it. You might say it’s guarding the sweater.

Then, I’ll have the highly detailed NECA 1984 replica:

And lastly, the NECA Dream Warriors glove, which will be available in July:

So, it took me 30 years to acquire a glove, but soon I’ll have three! It’s an excellent way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Nightmare film, not to mention meeting this gracious man after having dreamed of doing so for such a long time.

I’d thought I’d only do the autograph line once in Montreal, but now, seeing as I’ll have three gloves, I’m prepared to wait more and stand in line three times (it’s only fair… I don’t wait to make other people wait too long! More things: more waiting. Not that I mind!).

In October, I’ll be heading for Monster-Mania in Maryland. Hopefully, I’ll have copies of Specimen ready by then. Not only will I have the chance to take part in yet more horror shenanigans, but I’ll be having lunch and dinner with friends who live in the area, and I’m very happy about this.

During Flashback and Monster-Mania, I’ll be pestering Mr. Englund for his autograph on the following medium-sized posters:

Thank goodness he’s so patient and generous!

All of these will be hanging in a corner of my office, an area I’m calling the Robert Englund Museum 😉

Here are two pieces I’m very fond of:

I’ll also definitely be getting photo ops at each of these conventions, meaning, of course, more signatures… The poor man *laughs* I will be giving him a set of those Freddy Krueger cufflinks, that’s for sure. In Montreal, I’ll sneak some ChocoMotive chocolate mice to him too (ChocoMotive, an incredible chocolate shop in Montebello, recently won an award at the 28th Grand Prix du tourisme Québécois; their chocolate is exquisite).

As I wrote on my other blog, we’re so fortunate that he has such appreciation, respect and affection for fandom culture and fans in general, and his fans in particular.

And he’s just plain adorable. A heart of gold.

This summer, apart from writing like a maniac, I do plan on wandering around the market on a regular basis. Like I did last year, I’ll be filling my basket there with fresh fruit and vegetables, and I’ll be consuming many plates of one of my favorite dishes, the curried chickpeas at Shafali.

Look at the deliciousness… Look at it!

I’m always happy after I’ve had this dish.

Also, I’ll be having plenty of these… Lovingly made coconut bubble tea with chocolate bubbles at Sérénithé. I tell you, it’s so fabulous, I simply can’t get enough of it.

Next week, I’ll be going to the National Arts Center where I’ll have the opportunity to listen to Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 being performed by a live orchestra. I doubt I’ll be able to hold back my tears during the 4th movement, a piece of music I’ve adored ever since I saw A Death in Venice at the ByTowne many moons ago. It’s going to be an incredible experience.

And I’m very much looking forward to the first issue of The Dying Breed, a comic created by my friend E.J. Cedric! It looks like it’s going to be phenomenal.

So, all in all, it’s a wonderful start to the summer season 🙂

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

2014: a very good year

Kind readers,

last night, I finished polishing up my Outlaw manuscript, and it’s now in the hands of my wonderful editor! The book will be published in June or the start of July at the latest.

In other happy news, I recently designed a new bag for myself. It will be accompanying me on my numerous summer and fall adventures… I scanned part of my Freddy sweater, and used the image as the background.

When you have a good bag, you’re ready for anything.

Less than two weeks left until Ottawa Comic Con! My excitement levels are phantasmagorically high.

This summer, I’ll be going to Flashback Weekend in August…

If you live in Chicago and would like to join me for a meal, only ask! I always love meeting people.

In September, I’ll head for Montreal Comic Con.

Then, in October, Monster-Mania, here I come! I’m in Robert Englund heaven, I tell you. I’d like to cosplay Dr. Anton Rudolph (Python) there.

The hotel rooms have been booked, the passes obtained; I only need my plane ticket to Chicago now.

While my editor is working on Outlaw, I’ll be writing the first draft of my first horror/speculative novel, Specimen. I’m going to do my darndest so that it’s ready in time for Monster-Mania. I’m very much looking forward to writing my Dr. Gabriel Foster’s dark tale…

On the trips I told you about above, I’ll be joined by this lovely fellow:

He’s very keen to hit the road with me. He needs some fresh air and a few laughs.

My calf ink has healed beautifully; Mr. Englund looks perfect!

I also recently got this done on the back of my left hand. It’s my ultimate tribute to Willie the Visitor, and to all outsiders and outcasts:

As usual, Tiffany did a magnificent job. I am now a friendly Visitor always.

Stay tuned for a lot of fun times, shenanigans, and outrageousness! This week, I’ll be trimming my Mr. Confab beard… Watch out!

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

Flashback Weekend 2014 and other tidbits

Kind readers,

it doesn’t exactly feel like spring around here yet, but thankfully there are many things that are raising my spirits these days.

Apart from Ottawa Comic Con, and Montreal Comic Con, another thrilling event is now part of my 2014 schedule: Flashback Weekend.

This will be my first horror con, and I’m very excited. It’ll also be my first trip to Chicago. I love the whole concept of this particular con: regular convention by day, horror film fest by night. The films are screened at the gorgeous Mulvico Rosemont 18, which also has a full restaurant and bar, Bogart’s. There will be a Phantasm reunion. A Zombie Pinup Beauty Pageant.

Not to mention, this splendid man:

Meaning that I won’t be meeting him twice, but three times in 2014. My cup runneth over! And this convention sounds like it’ll be a complete blast in every respect.

I’ve already book my room at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare, and am waiting for the tickets to go on sale.

Here’s a few more cool things I’ll share with you…

The letter Fangoria sent me when I won Freddy’s sweater in 1987:

And the Fangoria issue that featured my winning entry…

I’ll be bringing it with me to Flashback (it goes without saying, eh?). And I’ll be bringing copies of Outlaw.

It’s good to be part of the horror fandom again! These past ten years or so, my attention was elsewhere, but my re-embracing horror feels like a celebration; I love the subversive zaniness of horror. It’s like when Ian Essko says “Do I suck or what?!” and laughs in Zombie Strippers: to me, there’s something wonderfully Taoistic or Zen about his words. It’s a joyful acceptance of absurdity. The absurdity of life isn’t meaningless by nature; that much, I’m glad to say, I’ve come to know.

The magnificent ink portrait I got last week at Planet Ink has been healing very well. I can hardly believe that Ottawa Comic Con is almost only a month away now. Eep!

In other news, I am now halfway through my second draft edit of Outlaw in the Land of Perfection. It will be finished on schedule, right at the start of April, at which point it’ll be entrusted to my skilled editor.

I’ve decided to write a horror novel this summer. The story has already begun percolating inside my brain.

I also want to start writing short stories in the same genre. To get back into the game, I ordered a giant anthology that will teach me much and refresh my memory, as it were:

So, despite the lingering cold and snow, I’m feeling good.

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor