First Tattoo: Quotation Marks

Ever since I moved to Philadelphia, I've wanted to get a tattoo. And having an array of inked up friends didn't help. Tim and his amazing sleeves, Jay with his musical symbols, Allie and her cute blackbirds, etc. This handsome (and colorful) gentleman pictured, Brian Dicola, did a lot of their work. Also tattoos for my pal Ed, Erich...

Well, the list goes on.

Back in 2008, I had an illustrator create an amazing literature-inspired sleeve design that, despite how much I talked about it, I never got around to getting.

There were a number of excuses. I wanted to wait until I finished grad school. Okay, that's done... well let's wait until I'm actually a professor. Done? Oh. Well alright, let's wait until I finish my first book. Ah. Finished. Yeah well... let's wait til I have a non-corporate non-soul devouring work environment. I'm there? Hm. Well...

Again, the list goes on. Excuses.

In the end, I decided against the enormous sleeve and opted for something a little more simple. A tattoo (which became tattoos) that spoke to me as an aspiring writer, active blogger, English teacher, and all around bookish person.

And here it is. Well, here they are. Does this count as one tattoo? Hm. Whatever. Quotations marks. For all the many words I forget to say and write.

Thanks to Brian Dicola for helping me with this, and for being endlessly patient with me.

Master Chiefing: A Lovely Summer Stroll Through Rittenhouse Square Park

Confession? I didn't actually take that SEPTA bus. I live way too close to the park. In fact, the woman getting on the bus yelled at me because I was in her way. Sorry dear, but this photo had to be taken. Mostly for Colin Weir.

So after hurricane Irene finished with Philadelphia, we were left with a lot of water and some wonderfully cool weather. I also had the day off due to moving my vacation. Quirk has some key titles dropping next week (Bedbugs & Cookiepedia!), and I couldn't bring myself to leave. The only logical thing to do... was run around Rittenhouse Square Park in my Master Chief armor.

And read the Wall Street Journal, of course.

A few months ago, when I took the armor out for its first test run, I only made it a few blocks with my pal Linzy. This time, my buddy Britt (the same one who made those beautiful paintings for me) and I made it all the way to the park. I thought I was going to pass out, but we made it. It is a lot easier to handle the suit when I'm at a convention, stopping every two feet to take pictures with people.

While wandering the area, we even stopped at Parc. They offered us a table, but I can't sit down in this thing.

The highlight though, was during our walk, we were spotted by a camera phone wielding Philebrity reader, and promptly made the blog. Easily one of the funniest titles I've seen on the site in a long time. Well done Joey. Well done. And thank you Sean Blanda, for giving me the heads up.

Anyhow, lots of new pics on the ol' Flickr. I'll be posting them to the Spartan 215 tumblr over the next few days as well. Thanks Britt for taking the time to stroll with me. Best Cortana ever.

Update: Technically Philly wrote a little blurb about my adventures. Thanks Chris!

Press: Article About Textual Healing & Geekadelphia in Philadelphia Row Home Magazine

So even though I've pretty much stopped doing outreach / marketing for my self published novel, Textual Healing, press still continues to roll in here and there. Blogs keep asking for review copies (you can have as many as you want!), people keep writing about it on Goodreads, and oddly enough, a few print people still seem interested in writing about it.

Such as Philly Row Home Magazine.

This story appeared in the August 2011 issue and was written by Lauren Gordon (a friend, I admit). It focuses on the book and Geekadelphia. I was pretty psyched about coming into work wearing a suit, my 8-bit tie and rocking a pair of Nerf Mavericks for the shoot. You can scope out a PDF of the full article, right here.

Covering Your Shame: Using Your Kindle To Hide Your Bad Books

I like to think I have a pretty impressive mini-library at home. My bookshelves are chock full of award winning literary fiction and important classics, lots of essay and short story anthologies, as well as the occasional college textbook. After-all, I do teach.

I have another bookshelf loaded solely with beautiful leather-bound first edition Franklin Library volumes, all signed by their respective authors. Major players in world literature; Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller. I love owning my books, the feel of the pages and the spine. Can't beat it.

So why do I bother with a Kindle App on my iPad?

This is why. (more…)

The Philadelphia Geek Awards Are Tonight: What They Are, Why They Exist, & What I Learned Making Them Happen

So the awards. They're tonight.

If we're friends and you live in Philadelphia, you've heard me prattling on about this ceremony for the past three months. I remember when I first announced the thing back in June. I made the mistake of hosting it here (poor Tim hosts a billion things on his server, including Geekadelphia), and the website crashed (Outstanding Achievement in Crashiest Local Website) after pulling in thousands of hits within a few hours.

The awards have since received press from Philadelphia Magazine, Fox News, the Philadelphia Metro, Citypaper, CBS3, the Daily News, The Mercury, The Philadelphia Inquirer, WHYY, Philebrity (they were nice!), Keypulp, Tek Lado, Destination Guide Philadelphia, Patch, and I've made appearances on KYW, WHYY, and WCHE. The Daily News, Fox, and a number of other outlets are coming to cover the ceremony.

Though I should note that my good friends / arch nemesis Technically Philly broke the story about the awards before anyone else... two months ago. Blogs and independent journalism, FTW!

It's been a serious labor of love. Geekadelphia isn't making a dime off it. The easiest part was teaming up with the Academy of Natural Sciences (thank you Jill, Carolyn!). I had to bust my ass finding sponsors to help pay for the actual awards (we got plaques thanks to AppRenaissance), food (thank you National Mechanics), and drinks (thank you DrinkPhilly & Victory). I lost sleep, broke out in stress pimples, dealt with people who had the nerve to be angry at me (Wahhh! Why wasn't this or that nominated?!) and drove Tim and Mikey insane with frequent panicked gchats and late night brainstorming meetings at Mikey's apartment. Allie, thank you for cooking.

The question all my friends eventually ask... is why? (more…)