Monday, November 9, 2009

B is for Brown, Babbling and Book signing

I heart Alton Brown. Not in a personal knowing him way, mind you, just in a geek girl fan crush sorta way.

He won my heart during the first Feasting on Asphalt when he cooked stew on one of the crew’s motorcycle engines. And then ate it. I swooned. It was after that I noticed “Hey, isn’t he the commentator guy on that American version of Iron Chef that isn’t as good as the original?” I’ve been a loyal fan ever since.

So when I saw his book tour was coming to my city, naturally I wrote it into my day planner. And started including it as a rehearsal conflict on audition forms. That’s the closest this girl comes to dedication.

I had to work the day of the signing event, so I unfortunately got to Third Place Books somewhat after about 800 of the 900+ fans who were there that night.

The event part was great; not actually a reading, which was fine by me, since I
a) own the book
and b) know how to read.

I’m sure the extended Q&A session we got instead was much more entertaining. Highlights:
- He bet a kid a dollar that his mom drove a minivan and then paid up when he was wrong.
- He said it was ok to mock vegans because they were too weak to pick up a pen to write in and complain.
- He gave a guy who’d been married 6 months what he called The Most Important Marital Advice Ever. It boiled down to: Don’t nitpick your spouse’s cooking, but the really cool part of the story is where Mrs. Brown went on kitchen strike for 8 months to prove a point. The mysterious Mrs. Brown, it appears, is a total bad ass. Good on her say I.

And then there was the signing. I was fortunate enough to have an “E” ticket, so I only had to wait about an hour. My friend Johnny had a “Q” ticket and was thus stuck there until 10:45. As an experience, it was very much like waiting to see Santa Claus: the long line, the giddy anticipation, the sprite-like helpers herding us into place, the first glimpse, the mounting excitement/terror, the encounter and the brain freeze.

Campers, I was sooo not cool. You _want_ to be cool on occasions like this, you think you can be, you’re all “Look, self, just treat it like any other conversation. He’s just a guy, right?” But even though that's true, it doesn’t work. Because as a social occasion, this is absurd. So I babbled about bacon and parsnips. And he thanked me for thanking him for the parsnip episode and bragged on his daughter’s acting. He did not hit me with any snark at all, he in fact had a very gentle tone of voice. My theory is that he was trying to calm me down, whether from pity or fear, who can say?

Embarrassment aside, the mission was accomplished. I met The Man, I got The Autograph (which will take its place of honor next to Tim Gunn, Joss Whedon and The Cowboy Junkies) and I grinned like a fool all the way home.

Thanks AB, for being gentlemanly to a star struck fan grrrl.

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