China MiévilleThe boys and I went to see China Miéville give a reading of his new young adult book, Un Lun Dun last night at Politics and Prose bookstore in D.C.. This was the first time I had seen the author live, and he was quite an engaging speaker (and reader). China read a chapter or so from the book (about 15 minutes), and then spent something like 45 minutes answering questions.

Both boys enjoyed the reading; both even asked the author questions afterward. China inscribed a copy of the book for Brandon – “to the one who got the name! Cheers”. Brandon’s question had been about the setting (London), and why the author had chosen it (answer: because he lives there :) ). Dylan had a question about how the author used the term “rubbish”; he wanted to know if he got the term from a Harry Potter book. China smiled, and told him how the term was used in England – and also that he had written a note to himself to explain that but forgot. He also mentioned that J. K. Rowling didn’t invent the term. :)

I recorded the reading/talk on my iPod, but I probably won’t use it – Politics and Prose makes recordings of the author events available on their website.

I did also get a chance to use the Movie mode of my new Canon Powershot S3 IS camera. Whoa. Almost as nice as a dedicated miniDV video camera – but in a still camera. I was able to record about 21 minutes of video on two 2GB SD cards. I also took some still shots (above) without flash. Nice to have such flexibility. And the sound recording was *MUCH* better than the iPod sound. I had the option of just recording sound (about 2 hrs worth) – that will come in handy too.

Prior to the event the boys and I wandered in to Comet Ping Pong, next door. Turns out it’s a funky pizzeria, with ping pong tables in the back. That was a stroke of luck – we had fun playing table tennis in the back and had pizza for dinner. The pizza is thin-crust, made in a real firewood oven (the wood is stacked in a hallway). A bit pricey for the food, but ping pong was only 50 cents. Finding the bathroom was a challenge: find the unmarked wooden doors blending into a wooden wall. No, the trough in the corridor is not to be used, boys.