Story Time: Paper Towns NYC Premiere!

When I woke this morning, my plans for the day involved going to work, maybe hitting a museum in the afternoon. You know. The usual.

Then I saw John Green had posted his Tuesday Vlogbrothers video. And in the video he mentioned that today was the big, fancy New York premiere of the film adaptation of Paper Towns.

Um. What.

A google search revealed they would be handing out wristbands to fans to get onto the red carpet, then afterward to get to attend the movie. But people had already been lining up for a couple hours when I saw all of this around seven, and I was supposed to be at work until one.

Ugh. So close, but oh well. I got ready for work and started the long walk to my subway station.

However, I was still thinking about the premiere. My boss is really awesome and had said I could take days off whenever I needed to. The question was less of whether or not he’d let me take the day off if I called, as much as if this would be a legitimate thing to take a day off work for.

I trudged another block closer to the subway. Pulled out my phone to call. Put it away. Took another few steps.

It came down to the fact that yes, there are plenty of movie premieres (I mean, I literally just stumbled across the one for Pixels last weekend). There would definitely be more I could attend in the future. But Paper Towns is one of my favorite books, and I adore John and Nat and Cara, and I’m only in New York for two months.

I texted a friend for help and she tipped me over the edge: At the very least, I needed to ask if I could do it.

So I called my boss, and of course he gave me the day off (because, as mentioned, he’s amazing), and off I went to get in line. (Slowly. Because said friend, who gave me the amazing advice of taking a risk and going to the premiere, also gave me the horrible advice of taking an Uber during rush hour instead of the train. I guess we can’t win ’em all.)

Finally, a little after ten, I arrived at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 theater and got in line as number 246. A representative from Fox–the guy running the premiere–came by a little later to tell us that at that number, we were guaranteed to get onto the red carpet, although we were too far back in line for the movie. (No big deal.)

Everyone celebrated. They were supposed to hand out wristbands at eleven forty, so it was only a couple hours more, then we’d have a few free hours, then the premiere. IT WAS SO EXCITING.

Except, of course, that then everything fell apart.

People cut in line ahead of us. The people running the premiere ran out of wristbands because they hadn’t ordered enough for the three hundred people they’d promised to let in. (What even?) And, apparently unable to handle it all, the Fox rep left to “take a nap.”

The day dragged on, hot and muggy. Suddenly it was one PM, then two, then three. I needed to pee really bad. Pigeons lined along the edges of the buildings, apparently for the sole purpose of pooping on all the people stuck in the line below them. The fans who’d gotten wristbands paraded them past the couple hundred of us still stuck in line.

However, in the midst of this, some really awesome things happened that made the wait worthwhile. A woman working on the premiere came by with free water bottles for all of us (not that we could drink them, since it was so tricky to get to a bathroom, but still); I still managed to get all of the work I would have done at the office done, since I’d ended up with my laptop with me.

And more than anything, what made the all-day wait bearable was hanging out with the five girls in line around me.

Of the six of us, only two knew one another at the beginning of the day. But throughout the hours of harassing the security guards, complaining about the wristband shortage, and of course obsessing over Cara Delevingne’s eyebrows, we got to know one another.

When they finally brought out more wristbands around three thirty (they secretly had them the entire time, the jerks), we cheered and freaked out together like we’d known one another for years.


When they started splitting people into smaller groups to bring onto the red carpet, we refused to let them split us up. 

And we ended up meeting John, and Cara, and everyone else together.

John was super nice and took the time to sign absolutely everyone’s posters. So awesome.

Alex Wolff made eye contact with me and nothing will ever be the same.

A bunch of random celebrities showed up, including a certain couple models and, of all people, the freaking Property Brothers(!!).

We didn’t get to meet Nat, but the guy hosting the event did let him know we all wanted to go swimming with him, so there’s that.

CARA.

All six of us managed to get autographs from Cara and she even said hello to two of the girls. She’s so beautiful and amazing. I can’t. Oh my gosh.

The premiere was totally worth all the hours waiting in the heat, and I can’t wait to see the movie this weekend.
It’s funny how you can start out strangers at the beginning of the day and be friends by the end of it. And how something like making the mistake of taking an Uber instead of the subway can turn out not to be a mistake at all.

~Julia

BookCon: Saturday Craziness

So today was both insane and insanely long, which means I’m way too tired to write a halfway coherent post. Hopefully I remember everything well enough to give you a proper update once I’m home.

In the meantime, highlights of Saturday:

– Hannah’s awesome publishing industry cousin snagged us passes to the Adult Author Breakfast, where we ate massive muffins and freaked out over the speakers (aaand maybe possibly met Lena Dunham).

– I met amazing reader Rachel! And she knit me a hat!

– Met Margot Wood of Tea Time again (and maybe picked up one of all the freebies at her booth while she talked) (sorry not sorry).

– Got to watch Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York demonstrate his process for street photography.

– Was THIS. CLOSE. to the authors at the kids’ lit panel, thanks to Hannah’s VIP status + seat saving skills. (Thanks for everything this weekend, Hannah!)

– Got to see part of the TFIOS panel. (It was the audience Q & A and this kid went up to the mic and thanked John Green for finally clarifying for him what to do with his prosthetic leg during sex and then John jumped off the stage to hug him and IT WAS AMAZING. Dude, the Nerdfighter community is the best.)

– Got to see part of the panel on dystopian fiction, and all the authors were awesome, only I’m too tired to remember all their names off the top of my head so I’m just not going to say any right now. But they were awesome, I promise you.

– Tonight the group of us saw If/Then (Idina Menzel’s new Broadway musical). It was FANTASTIC. Aaand afterward, Hannah and I quite possibly waited in the mob at the stage door for over an hour, and befriended a cool tall dude named Tom who held our playbills for us for the actors to sign since as aforementioned his is a) cool and b) tall–and then, you know, IDINA HERSELF CAME OUT AND SIGNED OUR PLAYBILLS. AND WE TOOK CREEPY PICTURES OF HER. AND IT WAS AWESOME.

And there you go: my highlights of the day.

BookCon was such a whirlwind. A lot was good, but also a lot was honestly not-so-good. I’ll go into it all more sometime when it’s not going on two in the morning, but what’s important is that overall I had a really good time today. (And I now have many new books to read.)

G’night!

 

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: The End Where I Begin, Chapter Twelve

This is an exciting week for Movie Nerd Julia, because I get to go to not one, but TWO advance screenings.

Yesterday Hannah and I attended a test screening of How to Train Your Dragon 2. It was AMAZING–went completely above and beyond expectations–and I cannot recommend this movie highly enough, if you enjoyed the first one. We were one of the first ten screenings in the country, so the studio reps (who, by the way, sat DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF US) warned everyone that what we were going to watch was only a rough cut of the film. Hannah and I were both kind of like, “Oh great. Does this mean we’re going to have random clips of storyboards in the middle of the action sequences?” But we honestly wouldn’t have been able to tell that the movie was anything but finished if they hadn’t told us. It was SO GOOD. Buy tickets for when it comes out June 13th.

Then, the other super exciting advance screening I get to attend: Tomorrow a friend and I are seeing The Fault In Our Stars! With all the rave reviews this film adaption’s been getting, I can’t wait to finally see it for myself. (And dude: Not having to wait until June 6th? Always a positive.) I’ll let’cha know how many boxes of tissues I blow through. You can purchase tickets for when The Fault In Our Stars comes out here.

(I’m also attending the country-wide Night Before Our Stars event on June 5th, which involves an early screening of the film plus a simulcast live chat with John Green, the principle cast, Josh Boone, and Wyck Godfrey and mooore. Tickets are still available in some cities, so you can check that out here if you’re interested in nerding out with your fellow fans.)

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a new chapter of my 2013 NaNoWriMo project, The End Where I Begin.

As always, a reminder that this has seen little to no editing and I’m still in the process of writing the novel, so there will be mistakes and inconsistencies and all that fun stuff throughout.

Read previous chapters:

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

**********
Chapter Twelve

I dream of being in windowless room, something hard against my back. The sterile, thin scent of antiseptic burns my nostrils.

I think I should stop letting people knock me out so often, because this is getting ridiculous.

Then I wake up exactly where the smiling man caught me, and I am perfectly fine, and I am perfectly alone, and the sun has barely moved across the horizon.

I sit up with caution, worried I will be dizzy, my head will throb, my spine will ache from lying atop my backpack. But I am perfectly fine. Like nothing ever happened.

Maybe I imagined it. Maybe the stress of the day has caught up with me and this time when I lost consciousness, it was because I was hyperventilating too badly while I ran from a nonexistent threat.

As I push myself to my feet, my button-down shifts against my right elbow, and I bite my tongue to keep from shrieking. The pain is raw and sharp. I run my fingers down my arm and they come away sticky with blood that has leaked through the fabric. I must have hit my arm when I fell.

I wipe the blood against the ruined sleeve and scowl. I start for home.

But wait—what color was that?

Blood can’t change color, numb brain.

I swipe a finger across my elbow again just in case, but as I do my Identiband catches my eye, and it is the wrong color. Not just flashing the wrong color, but very assuredly stuck on it.

The same color I thought my blood was just now.

I’ve been wrong to think something is wrong with my Identiband this entire time. It isn’t that. Something is wrong with my eyes.

A lump forms in my throat. I’ve never heard of this sort of thing before, someone seeing a color that does not exist. Could I be going blind?

I should tell someone that something is wrong with my eyes, but my stomach twists at the thought.

The Identiband turns back to green.

All I want right now is to curl up in my bed and ignore the rest of the reality for the rest of my life.

I walk the last hundred meters to my house and cut across the dry front lawn to the door.

“Alexa?” Calvin’s voice comes from behind me, panicked and full of air.

I turn. “Hi. I know I probably look terrible, but it’s been a long day. I just want to go to sleep right now, so—”

“Alexa.” Calvin approaches me slowly. His steps are methodical over the crisp grass. His mouth hangs as if it’s on a broken hinge. He tilts his head to one side.

“What?” I glance around me, but see nothing that could cause such confusion. I turn back to my brother. “It truly has been a long day, if that’s what you’re wondering about. First I had to visit the Clinic, and then I had school, and—”

Calvin stops when he is just close enough to touch me. He brushes a hand over my shoulder and his lips angle up in a disbelieving smile.

“What is it, Calvin? What’s wrong?”

“Alexa.” He shakes his head. “That was yesterday.”

I pull away. “What are you talking about?”

He squints at me. “What are you talking about?”

“I just got off the train on my way home from school. I had to stay late to collect the assignments I missed from my teachers. I walked home.” A sinking feeling rises in my stomach—a sensation as impossible as what Calvin has implied. “What do you mean that was yesterday?”

“Today is Thursday. You never came home yesterday afternoon. Everyone’s been looking for you.”

I slouch against the door.

The man who smiled, who chased me—he was real. He drugged me. He kidnapped me.

But I’m fine. Outside of the eye thing, which was already occurring, I’m fine. He let me go.

A cry rises in my throat. “What happened? What happened to me? Why me?”

Calvin wraps an arm around me and sits me on the stoop. I rest my head against his shoulder. I resist the burning in my nose.

“You truly don’t remember a thing?”

“I thought I passed out on the sidewalk. I thought it was only for about an hour.” My words are thick but tiny.

“I need to message Dad. I need to message the police and Susan and Amelia.” Calvin squeezes my shoulders, then stands. He offers me a hand. Some of my blood is stuck to his palm. He grits his teeth at the sight but doesn’t mention it. “Come along. Let’s get you inside.”

As he unlocks the door, I ask, “Dad isn’t home, then?”

“No. He’s out looking for you. Took the day off work and everything.”

Dad hasn’t taken a day off work since Mom died.

I want to throw up.

I drop my backpack in the foyer and start up the stairs.

“Alexa,” Calvin says. I blink away the tears gathering in my eyes and turn back to him. “You can’t remember anything since this time yesterday. Don’t you want to talk about it? Aren’t you, I don’t know, at least hungry?”

I shrug. “I’d rather talk later, if that’s all right. All I want right now is to rest. And actually,” my forehead crinkles, “I’m not hungry. At all.”

“Huh.” He walks towards the kitchen. “Well, I’m in here if you need me. I’m going to message everyone to let them know you’re back. The police will want to talk to you, but I’ll let them know you’re okay so it isn’t urgent.” He pauses in the doorway. “Make sure to clean and bandage your arm, okay?”

I touch the sticky patch of blood. “Thanks. I will.”

Before I have a chance to climb the rest of the stairs, someone knocks at our door.

**********

92Don’t mind me. Just hanging out in my pajamas all day, e’ry day.

~Julia

Update On My Life / “Looking for Alaska” Review-ish-Thing

So, quick update on what’s goin’ on in my life right now:

  • I’m currently behind in Camp NaNoWriMo as far as personal goals go, but actually ahead of NaNoWriMo standards by like 4,000 words (the issue is that I’m taking a five day break from writing towards the end of Camp NaNo, so I need to get five days ahead of schedule so that doesn’t put me behind on finishing on time).
  • The first meeting for the musical-thing I’m in this summer (it’s actually a rock opera) is today.
  • I’m still drowning in grad parties to attend.
  • I have college orientation this week! And I’m freaking out about it more than just a little bit!!!
  • I basically can’t leave my room right now without my parents throwing another chore or two at me, so I’m kind of holing up in here today (minus the theatre meeting, two grad parties, and going to see a play with my grandparents) in order to try to get some writing done. (Don’t worry, I’ve got a not-so-secret stash of junk food up here to keep me alive.)

And that’s basically it! And now in other news: I finished reading Looking for Alaska by John Green yesterday morning, and I wanted to share my thoughts on it, so…

Looking for Alaska is philosophical by nature, deep by content, and so realistic in its reaction to loss that I actually got tears in my eyes  on multiple occasions (which is saying something, because books hardly ever make me cry). John Green made me fall in love with his characters, despite their faults, and he reminded me why I love realistic fiction: Because it’s real. Because I can connect with it, and laugh with it, and hurt with it.

However, there was definitely some content in there that I could have done without. I felt uncomfortable for a lot of the first half of the book with how the main characters viewed intimacy — kissing and more with people who they barely knew — although I know that this is a common view among my peers, and I really shouldn’t have been surprised to find so much of that because, as mentioned above, John Green writes realistically. It’s just not my lifestyle and not one I want to live. There was also quite a lot of smoking and drinking going on in the novel, but, I don’t know, that stuff just doesn’t upset me like, well… other stuff does.

In the end, Looking for Alaska was a great book. Beautiful writing, great dialogue, and so realistic at points that it hurts. Just be prepared for some hormones in there, as well.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a 9.

~Julia