RT Convention 2014: Part Two

Yesterday, I highlighted what I think went wrong at the convention. Today, I'm going to dole out some praise.

The Marriott: I checked in Monday night, so I'm not sure how the lines were Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, but we had zero problems checking in. Our room was ready, check in was smooth and pleasant.

The Marriott also had plenty of security on site.  There were water stations in every hall. The chairs were set up in ways that allowed for aisles (that has not always been the case). And while we didn't have microphones when we really could have used them, they were responsive and polite when asked for help with any logistical problem.

It also took us until Friday morning (and an event on the 41st floor) to jack up the elevators. Other than Friday, I didn't have a problem with waiting on an elevator more than a few minutes. Friday, of course, they rebelled and began refusing to assign elevators to anyone. The escalators managed the heavy loads just fine, too, which was a nice change from when we broke them at the last convention I attended.


RT Booklovers Convention 2014

I'm back from my 3rd RT Convention and finally past that horribly narcoleptic phase of post-convention exhaustion. As always, I wish I had managed to see more of the city, but RT keeps you busy. I have some mixed feelings to this year's convention, but first, I have to annoy you with my travel photos.


Our view from our room in the Marriott.

Canal St. Streetcar that I never got to ride :(

 Marie Laveau's tomb (left) at St. Louis Cemetery #1

The tombs have such intricate ironwork. I loved the patina.

TBR Challenge Review: Lover Reborn by JR Ward

Format: Hardcover (now available in mmpb and ebook)
Pub Date: 2012
Publisher: New American Library
Length: 590 pages
FTC: Purchased myself

There are a ton of reasons for a book to end up in my TBR pile. Sometimes I go on a book buying spree. Sometimes I pick up a book intending to read it, only to be distracted by a shinier title or by real life obligations. Sometimes the mood just isn't right. None of that happened here. This time, the book has languished because of Twitter spoilers. I made the mistake of going onto Twitter on release day before I had received my copy. By the time Amazon delivered my shiny hardcover, several major plot points were spoiled, and I was feeling meh about the book and the series. And Twitter, too.

This month's theme is More Than One (meaning more than one book by this author in the TBR), and yes, despite feeling uninspired by the series and the book, I bought the next book in the series anyway. It's a sickness. 

Ward's books are problematic for me. On one hand, I have to admire her over-the-top writing style. It's ridiculous, really, but still oddly addictive. It's highly consistent, with weird brand name dropping, verb-creation, and improbable dialogue. It's also problematic thanks to the not-so-subtle cultural appropriation, violence and misogyny.


In Progress Review: Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line Audiobook

Format: Audio Download
Length: 8 hrs 42 minutes
Narrator: Kristen Bell

Since life has gotten ridiculously out-of-control busy the last few months, I'm left with just listening to audiobooks to wind down at night. No time to actually read. As a fan of the series, and of mysteries, I was excited that they were coming out with a Veronica Mars mystery. I mean, the series is noir already, right? Unfortunately, it doesn't translate to audio well.

Set just after the recent Veronica Mars movie, the book opens with Keith Mars still recovering from his car accident and Veronica holding down the fort. It's not going well and cases are few and far between. Until the local Chamber of Commerce hires her to find out what happened to missing college coed on Spring Break.

As far as mysteries go, the missing Spring-Breaker isn't all that original. I must have read the same set up a dozen times over the years. I really wanted a lot more character interaction than I've gotten so far. It's dragging! (I'm a little over 3 hrs in).

The absolute biggest mistake the production team made was having Kristen Bell narrate this. No offense meant to Bell. It's not that her voices stink (although they do), it's that the book is written in the third person. After watching 3 seasons and a movie of Veronica Mars being told with Kristen Bell's first-person voice-over, this switch just doesn't work.

I'm not sure if I'm going to finish this book or not. Right now, it's an excellent way to fall asleep, but not really all that compelling otherwise. Meanwhile, I'm hoping that I can actually read a book on the plane to the RT Convention in New Orleans.


Local News

A few weeks ago, I asked everyone on Twitter if they'd heard of Wall's ice cream because the company had decided to film here in my little town in the mountains. Since it's primarily a British company, most had not.

They recently completed the commercial, which has been getting a lot more attention than I for one thought it would. It's been featured on HuffPo and Perez Hilton. It even made it to more mainstream news like this article on ABC.

It's interesting to watch the Negative Nellies in the comments. Some are outraged that cops would "misuse their authority." Some are upset that public resources are being "wasted" for a PR campaign.

Yes, that really is our sheriff. No, he really isn't neglecting anything. He's an administrator. And although we aren't crime-free here, this is an example of what happens around here. A snippet from our actual Sheriff's Blotter (all calls that come into the Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center).

As far as the "misuse of authority" thing, I'm sure Sheriff Hagwood checked this out with our county counsel. And I'm equally sure he covered his rear end by pulling over people for a real violation. It's not difficult to find something: speeding (the speed limit in that area is 25mph), something hanging off their rear view mirror, obscured license plates...

Although I didn't get pulled over, I'm amazed that so many were fooled by this. To be honest, our sheriff doesn't pull people over. We have SO MANY CHP in this county that nearly all traffic issues are handled through them and not our Sheriff's Dept. Parking at the front of the courthouse (where everyone is pulled over) is nearly always filled, but here it's obviously been blocked off. And if people were paying attention, they knew through social media that a commercial was being filmed here.

But what about those who were made late by this stunt? Well, everyone is late here in town. It's almost a cultural thing (that really drives my punctual self batty). But rest assured, no one has to deal with traffic issues: there are a grand total of 2 stoplights and 5500 people in the town.

People here thought it was hilarious. Not only do we nearly all know Sheriff Hagwood, but most of us know at least one person in that commercial. We love our town. We love that we have no traffic and very little crime. Sheriff Hagwood did not receive compensation for this, but Wall's did donate to our local animal shelter and our arts council in his name. I'm calling that a win.