“This One Time? At Journal Camp?”

If everything went well, right now Anna Beth just walked into Master V’s arms a thousand miles away from me. I certainly hope so. Asking a mom to spend five days away from her family is asking quite a bit. I had a blast having my friend here for so long, but I knew she was really missing home.

There are so many things that have happened over the past week that it would be just about impossible for me to remember all of them. That and I know AB’s going to want her own update without her conjoined twin telling all of the stories first, so there are some I’ll just leave for her to tell.

Before I discuss Journalcon, let me confirm something a few of you have written to ask. Yes, that was me on Beat the Geeks last Thursday. No, I’m not really all that proud. I didn’t announce that it was coming on. In fact, I haven’t even seen it. I taped it last spring at a particularly bad patch in my life, and I was many pounds heavier than I am now and I can only imagine I look horrible. That and I lost, and I can’t have y’all watching the Pop Culture Princess lose her crown on cable television. Talk about the mighty falling. Next time I get a chance I’ll tell the entire story of going on the game show. And by next time I mean like, next week or so. But it’s a good story, so I’ll share it when I have more time.

Right now I have no time. I’m leaving for Austin on Wednesday, so I’ve got a very limited period of time at home to get everything settled before I’m off for another five days. I’m finishing up the first revision of the novel and I’ve got a Boomtown recap to do. Basically I’m saying I’m going to be a little scarce around here for the next week.

Taylor decides to sit on my lap about once a month. Right now he’s decided it’s that time of the month. Ever tried to type around a thirteen-pound cat? It ain’t easy.

So I showed Anna Beth the best Los Angeles I could show her. Not only that, I’m pretty sure I gave her the best Hollywood experience one day could hold. She got to put her feet in the Pacific, go shopping on Melrose, eat lunch on Sunset Boulevard and shake hands with celebrities who now know her name (That story is for her to share). She was stuck in traffic for hours, sipped coffee under palm trees and drank water like Gwyneth Paltrow. She saw strippers and cafes, A-list and B-lists and even got past security by being on a guest list.

Journalcon was a blast. There were nothing but nice, friendly, funny people in attendance and I made new friends (Mo (who AB and I could not stop gushing about on the drive home), Megan (who has the best smile and was brave enough to stay up all night with the trouble-makers) and Pineapple Girl (who brought so much Burnt Orange to SF I thought I was attending an alumni function)) as well as revisiting old friends (Evany (who is so similar to me it’s sometimes scary), Emily (who admitted she’s over being starstruck but is now trying to be my stalker) and Sarah (who has got to be a little sick of seeing me by now)). I finally got to meet Krystyn (who is just as pretty, nice and funny as I expected (but takes that “glitter” thing much more literally than you can imagine) and see Diane (with an infectiously smiley baby) again. I got to be a bad girl with Jen (who now can’t say I’ve never linked her), Sasha (the coolest pj’s and the prettiest tattoo), Pineapple, AB, Emily, Megan, Jared and rowEn (my Squishettes legacy-runner whose name I’ve been mispronouncing for an embarrassingly long period of time). Playing “I Never” in a hotel room until four in the morning? I’m so grounded. By the end of the night Pineapple and AB couldn’t stop teasing me: “Oh! My parents worked in hotels! I’m not supposed to have parties or steal soap! This is so wrong and bad!”. Oh, my God. I just remembered we didn’t leave a tip for housekeeping. See? These girls turned me bad. Mom, I’m sorry. It’s not my fault. This is exactly why you never sent me to camp, isn’t it? I went to Journal Camp and got turned into a naughty girl.

I wish Journalcon had more panels. Even if you maximized your panel time you could only see nine or so and I would have loved to have met a few more journallers that way. Kind of a “Best Journals You Aren’t Reading” panel, or even a “Scandals and Gossip” panel where people could finally put rumors to rest.

Oh, so the first day of panels earned me my new nickname, which is Number Four. Beth actually coined it by listing off her Ways To Have a Popular Journal. Yep, that’s right. I’m number four. “Be Pamie.” Even more teasing followed for the rest of the weekend. “Y’all! Number Four has something to say!” “Number Four wants to go to the bathroom!” “Who do you think you are — Number Three? Get behind Number Four!”

Anna Beth saw about five square blocks of San Francisco, but we still somehow managed to get trapped in a riot, get smacked in the face with a taxicab door, belt out Karaoke in the strangest little bar ($2 a song? With that puny song list? Robbery, I say!), meet a Brazilian taxicab driver who pronounced the word “Four” like “whore” (and I just now realized the golden opportunity my friends missed to call me Number Whore), almost get mugged in Union Square, see a show starring some of my comedy idols, and buy pretty bracelets in Chinatown that made Mo just a bit jealous. She was wearing this cute little bracelet that I was coveting the first night. When we found them in a little shop two days later AB bought us each one to remember the trip. This afternoon I met with a girlfriend for coffee– she was wearing the same bracelet. By next week, everyone will have one.

Um, I think a flyswatter has a crush on me. The owner of that flyswatter, Pinkstinky, is one very cool girl. And her boyfriend cracked me up.

I met Jeremy, which is like meeting Internet royalty, and got to spend quality time with John Scalzi, who not only cares about my taxes, my career and my reputation, he also cares that I get enough booze in me after a run-in with a taxi cab door.

I’ve never been more disoriented in my life than when I walked into that Karaoke bar in Japantown. You know how it is when a car door slams you in the cheek as you walk around a neighborhood with all of the signs in a foreign language and then you enter a dark bar full of mostly strangers only to find yourself suddenly on stage wearing your friend’s scarf singing a song on speakers that are too quiet with a video of something almost inappropriate playing underneath your lyrics? Yeah, we’ve all gone through that, haven’t we? I broke the declared “Sober Pamie Day” to have a whiskey sour, mostly to hold it against my quickly swelling cheek, but also because it cost the same as a diet coke. We were all going to leave Karaoke once it was getting to be one in the morning, but Pineapple just about threatened to kick our asses if we pussed out. Instead we hung around until I left to use the restroom, at which point everyone ran from the bar and hid from me, prompting me to run into the bar, stare at the two Japanese bartenders and scream, “I knew it!” and then run through a Japanese bar to find my group.

There will be inappropriate photographs of me afterwards where I experienced a strange kind of mini-Papparazzi when everyone took bad pictures of me at once. I only hope none of them surface.

I want to find the man that stole Sarah Bunting’s purse from The Lone Palm and stab him with my cell phone. I want him to apologize and give Sarah all of the money he’s ever made, will ever make and even wishes he could make. He or she turned a very fun Friday evening into sad, anxiety-filled wandering. Evany and I briefly dated the asses of a too-closely-standing group, who left once we cuddled their cashmere sweaters with too much passion. I think three drinks were spilled down my back. I made a new friend who was a very cool guy. I learned Evany’s new pick-up line, which is to pull down the front of your shirt and wail, “PLEEEEEASE?!!?!” Don’t think we didn’t use it every fifteen minutes for the rest of the weekend.

I think my panel went pretty well. We had asked everyone to write questions to put in our ice bucket. We pulled four questions for prizes. I answered a series of questions that included the ten from Inside the Actor’s Studio. We figured we had about an hour of material. When I looked down at rowEn’s fancy watch after we’d done the entire list, only fifteen minutes had passed. At least Emily, who only had nineteen minutes before she had to catch a SuperShuttle, got to hear what I thought was going to be my entire panel.

I was flattered at how many people attended the panel, and everyone asked really good questions. I thought it was amazing that none of the written questions repeated and were all interesting questions. I felt that I got to explain how much work this site can be, and what were the most rewarding parts of keeping a journal like this. I didn’t see everyone stream out of the door as I talked, so I guess it was entertaining. Poor, exhausted AB was a kick-ass companion for the panel and has perfect timing, even though I knew she was more than a little nervous. We missed Allison, who was supposed to be my other Very Special Guest, and wished we had gotten her package in the mail before we left. She had sent cocktail napkins to share with our drunken Journalcon buddies. She has no idea how much they would have been handy.

AB and I drove home Sunday afternoon. The car almost ran out of gas. There was a very tense few minutes before we found the best town in Central California, Whitney. Thank you, Whitney, for not ruining our weekend. We had driven almost five hours before we even remembered to listen to a CD. By the way, AB now loves Ludacris, and I think she might even have a little crush on Eminem. I’m such a corrupter.

I dropped into a glitter-covered lobby chair Sunday morning. “You look exhausted,” Pineapple Girl said to me. “I’ve been juggling a ball of spitfire since Wednesday afternoon,” I replied. You know the only constant of the past five days? Everybody Loves Anna Beth. Fuck Raymond. Everyone loves AB. From celebs to strangers, journallers to concierges, everyone thinks she’s the cutest, coolest, sweetest, funniest, nicest thing. And you know? She really is.

I really couldn’t be any more exhausted. And now, I’m off to get some more work done. I have to wash all of my clothes and pack them again. I haven’t spent five days in Austin since I lived there. This is going to be insane. Oh, I didn’t make finals for Austin Film Festival. Damn. Now I have to buy a badge. I’m going to be so broke by Allison’s wedding.

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