NaNoBlogMo, Day 30 – Arby’s: We have the tweets

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be writing 100-word fanfiction stories. Expect to see Preacher, Sandman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Poldark, Star Trek, Firefly, and so many more.

But today, it’s the final day of #NaNoBlogMo. It was late when I finished last night’s post, and I hadn’t eaten yet. Neither @snarke nor I felt like cooking at that hour, so we decided to visit Arby’s. As I reached for my keys, I’d wondered aloud what my final blog topic would be. “Arby’s!”, @jillwebb called out from the living room. “They offer roast beef in a world of burgers,” @snarke added. “Representation!”

And so, friends, let us speak of the place where the Curly Fry lives–and sizzles in oil.

Arby’s gets a bad rap, perhaps most famously from Jon Stewart, who good-naturedly mocked the brand mercilessly for years. I always had the sense that they were frenemies of some fashion, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Stewart sometimes feels a strange burst of affection when he drives by this local franchise. In the final days of his Daily Show tenure, the company offered him a job, bought a tribute ad, and even created a 30-second ad featuring a Stewart-inspired sandwich.

About a year ago, writer and radio personality John Moe instituted the “Arby’s rule,” which has now extended beyond cookie fortunes into…well, just about any statement of advisement.

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Admittedly, I’m hard-pressed to think of a circumstance where being apprised of Congressional hearings will help you when you’re surrounded by bags of yesterday’s unsold mozzarella sticks, but that’s because there things left in this world that I don’t yet understand, and I’m comfortable with that.

Yes, it’s suffered its share of detractors, but there’s a lot to love about the chain, Internets. Consider this:

Representation. As @snarke pointed out, Arby’s doesn’t make the same burgers and chicken sandwiches that 395 other fast food restaurants in your town offer.** You can order roast beef, brisket, a Reuben, beef and cheddar, a steak sandwich, a turkey club, a gyro, a French dip with swiss…it’s refreshing to see diversity on the menu. Sometimes you want something different in your grease-splotched sack-o-foodstuffs, and Arby’s ensures you have that choice. They also don’t limit their side selections to mere fries and onion rings. No, Arby’s is aware that when the hankering for mozz sticks, curly fries, Jalapeno poppers, and potato cakes arises, it is not easily quelled.

**except maybe Subway, but then you’d have to eat at Subway.

The sauces. Under the Drive-Thru Accords of 1592, Arby’s is required to dispense sauce packets upon request, but it is not satisfied with just handing out ketchup. One can stock up on Honey Mustard, “Horsey Sauce” (mayo-based horseradish), Marinara, Spicy Three Pepper, and others depending on location. Marinara is, as everyone knows, the modern-day nectar and pairs well*** with everything.

***I said to @snarke and @jillwebb last night that writers usually drop “pairs well” when discussing wine, but I’m using it here to talk about fast food because that’s the kind of classy guy I am.

Since we ordered our food To Go last night and our local branch didn’t have sealable containers, @snarke asked for a few packets at the counter. This is what we received:

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I could fill a moat. Next step: buy a castle.

I used three packets. My dresser is currently stacked with Arby’s sauce, and I’m planning my meals for the next few days around using up my supply. I suppose I could simply throw out the remaining packets, but this would surely constitute a serious lack of decorum, a slight in the face of such generosity!  It’s like when Jesus took those loaves and fishes and then fed 4,000 people.****

****It’s not really like that. The Parable of the Tribbles seems more probable.

James Earl Jones.

It’s a small joy to listen to James Earl Jones talk about anything, but I am being entirely sincere when I say that I would patronize an Arby’s establishment solely based on this commercial.

The fandom tweets. And this, dear Reader, is where my love of Arby’s blossoms into…well, some form of lifelong commitment. Whoever runs the company’s Twitter account is a bloody *genius*.

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This is the first fandom tweet I saw, coinciding with the 20th Anniversary / limited re-release of Princess Mononoke in theatres. For some reason, I suspect Kohroku is an Arby’s fan. And Yakul wouldn’t turn down a Chopped Side Salad.
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Simon Belmont was not only the most famous vampire hunter of his time; he also enjoyed curly fries.
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Goku and Frieza appear to be fighting over a vanilla shake and….whatever that orange-colored beverage is. Odds are if that Goku dives in and imbibes, he may not even need to wait around for Trunks to show up.
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Dinosaur Comics, y’all. I wouldn’t have expected a webcomic shout-out, and I am here for it.  
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The others are running towards the food, but Shyguy is secretly afraid of the Jalopeno Roast Beef Slider and is thus running away from its juicy, meaty grasp. It knows what it did.
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TOO SOON! BARB, WE LOVE YOU. 
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The sandwich box thought it was in charge, but E. Honda quickly disavowed it of that foolish notion.
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Putting P-Chan next to bacon seems unspeakably rude, to be honest.
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And for once, please don’t whine about it.
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This tweet has it all: origami, Discworld, a cookie….you earned your paycheck that day, Arby’s Social Media Manager. 

And so, dear Reader, we close #NaNoBlogMo with a cookie atop a paper turtle, the manner in which all things in life must inevitably end. I hope this post has brought you peace, a little introspection, and maybe–just maybe–a yearning to follow the Arby’s Twitter account. You’ll thank me.

 

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NaNoBlogMo, Day 9 – City of Books

Last night, @jillwebb and I attended a book release party for Jade City, the latest novel from @FondaJLee. It’s The Godfather with magic and martial arts, set in an Asia-inspired world. Fonda has previously written two YA sci-fi novels (I’ve read and quite enjoyed Zeroboxer, and I look forward to reading Exo).

I went to the release party for Exo as well, just a few days after I arrived in the Portland area. Fonda’s events / readings are always particularly interesting to me because she likes to talk about her process. She gives presentations showing how the book evolved from an idea to a complete story and a finished world, and she does so in an entertaining and engaging manner. As a writer myself, I enjoy seeing the construction and evolution from a few pen strokes to an entire mythos.

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Fonda guiding us through her new universe. Photo credit @curtiscchen

“City of Books” is the tagline for Powell’s, the famous city-block-wide bookstore here in Portland, but I think it also can refer to Portland itself. In the 10 months I’ve lived here, I’ve seen a number of authors read from their work, both at Powell’s and Barnes & Noble (including Ryan North, whom I’ve wanted to meet since Dinosaur Comics).

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North also currently writes The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, perhaps my favorite Marvel title.

Off the top of my head: there’s also regular readings hosted by our local Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America branch, readings held at several indie bookshops, and at least one convention dedicated to sci-fi and fantasy writing.**

**Orycon was the reason I initially visited Portland back in 2014. I returned the following year, and the workshops I took were the primary inspiration for me to begin writing again. There’s a very strong writing community in this city; most of the authors who attend the con are local.

SWFA hosted an event last week and has another next week. John Hodgman was interviewed by Matt Fraction a few days ago, which I’ve written about elsewhere. Fonda’s reading was last night, and those are just the events that appeared in front of my face without any effort.

This was something I craved in Upstate New York and never had. I’m grateful, City of Books.

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Actual photo of me in Powell’s.