May 1st, 2012

rosicrucian -  egyptian dancers

Rick Riordan Webcast at the Egyptian Museum

The webcast today was interesting.

I had to get to the museum really early, because everything had to be ready to go for the webcast at 10:00.  So I was at the museum at 7:00.  Of course, once we turned the lights on and got the various galleries ready to go, we were just standing around watching camera crews again and NOT bothering the author.

(Le sigh.  I had really hoped for a chance to go up to Mr. Riordan and tell him that I loved his books, but it never came up.  We were kept away.)

During the actual broadcast, the museum director kept we interns up by the entrance, so we couldn't really see anything.  I mean, we could hear Riordan's talk, and there was a tiny little screen on one of the producer's laptop that we could squint at - but really, I had to watch the presentation online later to really find out what happened.  Riordan led a cameraman through the afterlife gallery, highlighting a single artifact in each glass case.  Whenever possible, he would relate it back to his newest book.  "This is the mummified head of an Apis bull.  In The Serpent's Shadow, Carter has to go into the tomb of the Apis bulls with Zia."

The longest section of the webcast was a tour of our tomb replica.  The tomb looked much more exciting than usual, thanks to the blue and green lights that the cameramen had set up yesterday.   It had an eerie, spooky quality that we normally can't achieve thanks to safety regulations.  When he got to the burial chamber, Riordan read an excerpt from The Serpent's Shadow and then answered questions submitted by the students watching the show. They were pretty standard - where do you get your ideas?  How did you learn about Ancient Egypt, and how did you decide what to include in the books?   (Spoiler: At least some of those questions were planted; I heard the promotion team discussing them before filming began.)

After the broadcast ended, Riordan had to rush off to prepare for another talk.  Before he left, he handed out several copies of his new book to the camera crew.  He also gave a copy of the book to the museum.  The museum director offered us a chance to take a picture of the book and Riordan's signature with our cameras, but after that morning she was going to give it to the head of the Rosicrucians to add to her personal collection.

Yeah, they couldn't even let us read it first before passing it on.  Never mind that we had given up two days of our free time in order to help out at the event.  I don't mean to sound bitter, but that was disappointing.  I'm not saying we should have each gotten a free book - although that would have been sweet - but you'd think someone would have had bookmarks to give out, or something.

Oh well.  We stuck around for several hours while the film crew cleaned up; it was a full day's shift by the time we went home.

My Riordan adventures were not yet done, however.  Jeans and I drove up to Menlo Park to see Riordan give a talk and to get a signed copy of his book.  I was still dressed in my museum duds - I didn't even have time to change - so I thought, "Well, when he signs my book I can tell him that I enjoy his work, and maybe he'll recognize me since I'm still dressed like an intern."    His talk was pretty cool - he told us about his childhood, and what inspired him to become a writer.  He briefly mentioned his adult mysteries that he'd written before moving on to children's books, which was pretty cool - I had no idea he'd had a pre-Percy Jackson writing career.  He revealed that his current series about the Greek and Roman gods would be five books long, after which he would move on to the Norse gods.  That sounded promising - Jeans was thrilled since she loves Norse mythology.

Alas, but shaking Mr. Riordan's hand was not to be.  When we got to the theater  we learned that Mr. Riordan had presigned boxes and boxes of his books, so there would be no personalized signing, no chance to meet the author and say hi.  I was bummed.  I mean, logistically it made sense - the talk had taken place in a theater, and it would have taken ages to get through a line of screaming children and their parents.

Jeans and I, disappointed that we wouldn't be able to take a picture with the author and get our books personalized, decided to skip out on the autographed books and went home.  It was still a really interesting show, and I'm glad we went.

But man, I am tired now.