Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

12 Nov 2002, 17:22 p.m.

New Cody's staff recommendations have arrived at the store and…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

New Cody's staff recommendations have arrived at the store and online. I have a few posts in there; most are books I've plugged before in this space. Hey, I'm influential!

In the "Singing in the Bookstore" realm, both Devin and Leonard feel like singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" when they see Wen Ho Lee's book, My Country vs. Me. This may not count; the writer may have intended the pun, which, according to a rule I just made up, makes the joke invalid.

[Update: Leonard notes that the writer probably did not intend the second line of the spontaneous filk, namely, "Written by Wen Ho Lee." The most plausible third line, as I discovered, is, "False suit I bring."]

Oh yeah, Harlan Ellison. He came by the store on Friday to sign the store's stock of his books; he edited Dangerous Visions, an extremely influential anthology which we now have (in bulk) in a 35th anniversary edition. I summoned up the gumption to introduce myself and ask him to sign my copy of Strange Wine. The interesting bits from our quite brief conversation, slightly paraphrased due to memory leaks:

SH: Hello, Mr. Ellison--
HE: Mr. Ellison is my dad. I'm Harlan. And what are you, seven? You look like you're seven!...And what's your name?
SH: Sumana.
HE: ...And your last name?
SH: Harihareswara.
HE: Harihareswara [perfectly repeated].
SH: [surprised] Very good!
HE: [fake Indian accent] What is very good? What are you talking about?....You have learned our language very well.
SH: [trying to get "conversation" back on track] I've enjoyed your work a great deal.
HE: [back to regular accent] And I've enjoyed your basmati rice.
SH: Er, it wouldn't be mine, actually, since I can't cook, well, anything.
HE: You know what I've been looking for for years, is a nice Indian woman who can cook. Sue [gestures to wife], she's British, she can cook maybe a potato.
SH: ...[still crawling towards the goal here] Would you please sign this for me?
HE: Sure. How do you spell your name?
Good thing I wasn't wearing my Electronic Frontier Foundation t-shirt; I woulda gotten earfuls about more than my appearance and ethnicity.