Here we are again, where I am writing a blog a month and a half after the subject of the post took place. Why is it so difficult for me to write a post in a timely manner?
The first weekend in October, the Austin Teen Book Festival and Quiet Company's CD release party took place, so I loaded up my car and drove the seven hours to Austin. Now, before we get into the details of my trip, let's take a moment to appreciate just how freaking huge Texas is. Lubbock isn't even at the very top of the state and Austin isn't even at the very bottom, but it still takes seven hours to get from one to the other. I'm just saying.
I would not have made it through that drive had it not been for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows audiobook, which was loaned to me by Andrew. Even though Jim Dale is annoying sometimes (if you're going to invest in an audiobook, definitely get the UK versions because Stephen Fry is much better as Stephen Fry usually is), it was still wonderful to have. The entire book is twenty-one hours long, so I got to listen to it the following week as I drove around Lubbock and back to Albany as well. I may have cried at "The Forest Again" and fist-pumped when Neville killed Nagini.
Anyway, I stopped in Early to get gas and a Twix, and as I was walking into the gas station, two dirty old men in a pick-up truck stared at me as they drove by. Not stared, leered. They weren't even subtle about it! One of them even flipped around to get a better look out the back window! Needless to say, I am scarred for life.
I did make it to Austin safely though, so it was all right. Well, all right physically. Not so much emotionally.
Soon after I got there, Britny walked over to Melany's dorm and the three of us headed off to Torchy's Tacos, which Melany was really excited about but I found lacking. Then we spent the next half hour watching Melany half-heartedly trying to hail a cab until she finally gave in and called for one.
We didn't get to the concert until half past eight, so we missed the first band, but showed up right as the second band, Whitman, was taking the stage. Their lead singer was, as Melany put it, a real-life Muppet. He was doing so much jumping around and flailing that we all wondered how he never tripped over any of the cords. The next band was Saints of Valory, which the three of us liked enough to buy the EP. It helped that the lead singer was Brazilian and had nice hair. Saints of Valory was, as Melany put it, like the United Nations because not only was the lead singer Brazilian, but the bass guitarist was from California, the drummer from Paris, and the keyboardist from Canada.
Then Quiet Company took the stage in their suits, surrounded by random instruments (including but not limited to a melodica), and put on the best show ever. The entire time I was hoping they would play "On Modern Men," one of my favorites. Towards the end of the show, they asked what they should play next and a guy called it out, and I lost all of my inhibitions and yelled, "YES! I LIKE YOU." And then Melany and Britny laughed at me, but that didn't matter because it was their second encore/final song and it was GREAT. They were seriously so fun, and if you ever get the chance, you should definitely see them live. And if you do not know who they are, tell me and I will fix that for you.
After the concert, we took a cab back to Melany's dorm only to get in Melany's car and go to McDonald's, where we sat in the parking lot eating french fries and jamming to Team StarKid. That's how you party in Austin on a Friday night.
The next morning we headed to the book festival! After Scott Westerfeld's keynote, there were three time slots that you could fill with any three panels you liked. The first we went to was "Real Life Is Messy" because David Levithan was on it. One of the other authors on the panel was named John Corey Whaley who had just published his first book Where Things Come Back (which is fabulous) and looks like a mix of Dylan Saunders and Joe Walker. He was adorable, and the three of us were blatantly staring at him throughout the hour. The panel itself was good too, as well as very funny. David Levithan may have made a comment about "one-handed reading" at one point that had everyone in stitches.
The second panel (we picked "Supernatural Suspense") was after lunch, so we were a little late, but it was difficult to hear as it was in the main room so it didn't really matter. I was very annoyed though because it was Jackson Pearce's panel and I love her, but what can you do? The third panel we went to was "Alternaworlds" which Scott Westerfeld and Maureen Johnson were both on, so I knew it would be good.
All in all, all of the authors at the festival were hilarious. Also, in every panel we went to, someone asked "If you could choose any fictional world to be real, which would you choose?" and all of the authors immediately and unanimously said Harry Potter.
After the panels, everyone started lining up for the signing. I had brought two of my Maureen Johnson books with me, one Jackson Pearce, and my cousin's copy of Uglies to get signed for her, but I also bought Anna and the French Kiss and Where Things Come Back. I was very worried that I wouldn't get all of my books signed in the hour allotted, but with the help of Melany and because Scott Westerfeld stayed late, I managed to get them all signed. In short: Corey Whaley is the cutest, Maureen Johnson is adorable, Jackson Pearce is so pretty it's stupid, and Scott Westerfeld is extremely nice.
So with that we left the festival with our bags weighed down with books and returned to Melany's dorm where we watched How I Met Your Mother and ordered pizza. Well, technically I ordered the pizza as Melany and Britny cannot handle phone conversations with other human beings.
We went for to Amy's Ice Cream later on where we encountered more attractive hipsters and the most effective tip jar I've ever seen. I put in a dollar for Picard because I have loved him since I was a wee one, although I have nothing against Kirk.
After that we rode around jamming to Team StarKid and Glee again because we know how to live.
The next morning, we planned to go to brunch since I needed to leave by eleven, but since it's us, we had lunch and I didn't leave until after twelve. I was very sad to leave, not only because I love my friends and had such a good weekend, but because I love Austin. It feels like I have visited Austin many, many times, but have actually only been there for five or six weekends in the past three years. It's very strange to me that I feel so at home in a place I've never actually lived, and I cannot wait to call it home one day.
So yes, I was sad to leave, but little did I know that three days later I would find another reason to go back in November. Most of you already know about this because, I mean, I haven't shut up about it on every other social networking site, but the entire story deserves its own post.
Hopefully, this one won't take a month to write.