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That time I met John & Hank Green

February 1, 2012

Back in December John & Hank Green announced the dates of their 2012 Tour de Nerdfighting tour, in support of The Fault in our Stars. The good news? Vancouver was included in the routing, the lone Canadian date. The bad? I totally missed the announcement and the show sold out in less than 24 hours. But Caitlin & I weren’t going to let a little thing like a sold out show stop us from seeing those vlogbrothers in person. So, a couple weeks back, during the frenzy of hankerfishing and yeti hunting surrounding the release of TFioS, we bought tickets to the Seattle show. A 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive? On a Monday night? When I’d have to be up at 7 the next morning? Who cares! (it’s Tuesday now, and my sleep deprived brain is caring a little bit.)

We set off at 2:30pm on Monday and thankfully only had a short wait at the border. The border guard we got seemed a bit incredulous when I told him our reason for visiting the US. “You’re driving that far to go to a book store??” Dude, you have no idea how far we’d go for books. After that, it was clear sailing down the I-5, with only a smattering of rain. Caitlin had made a couple mix CDs full of Wrock and Trock and the muppets – it was the perfect soundtrack to our Nerdfightastic trip.

We pulled up to Third Place Books just after 5 and already there was a significant line outside the shopping centre. Thankfully we were still there early enough to pick up our tickets, grab some food, and get into line. And then wait. And wait. And wait some more.

While we’re waiting, let’s talk a bit about Third Place Books. This was my first visit to the store, and it is fantastic. I wish there had been more of an opportunity for browsing, because it seems like the perfect place to while away many bookish hours. Not only do they seem to have a great collection of books, there’s also a large food court type eating area. You wouldn’t ever have to give up your book browsing early for lunch! Or dinner!

Alright, back to the event. They started letting people into the store shortly after 6, and Caitlin & I snagged some pretty great seats. And then we waited amongst all the loud, excited teenagers for Hank & John to appear on stage. Finally, a little after 7, the curtains opened and…. Hank Sock! Hank Sock was hilarious and a great way to open to show.

Next up: The man of the hour, John Green. As soon as he started talking Caitlin turned to me and voiced the thought that had just popped into my head. “He sounds exactly the same!” I started watching Vlogbrothers videos after reading Paper Towns in January 2010, so for the last two years I’ve seen John Green talk and tell stories on nearly a daily basis. To see and hear him (and Hank) in person, without the medium of a computer in the way, was a surreal experience. So, John read from the second chapter of TFioS and then talked a bit about why he wrote the book (some of that talk can be found here).

After that, Hank appeared from behind the curtain and played a bunch of songs. The whole crowd was super into it, which made the songs even more fun than they already are.

After a bunch of songs, Hank retreated and John came back on stage. He answered questions about TFioS, during which Seattle area teenagers proved that today’s American teenager can indeed be intelligent and well-spoken and that the idea of such a teenager is not just something that John Green fabricated.

And then this happened.

I think right after that was when John & Hank answered more questions from the audience, which ended with John getting an electric shock.

(This person filmed the whole show! If you would like to relive it with me, you can watch it here.)

The event ended with more songs by Hank, culminating in a rousing cover of The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”. It was amazing.

And then it was signing time. We were called up in groups according to the letter on our tickets. We were in group O, which we didn’t think was too bad, until we found out that the groups only went up to P or Q. We ended up having about a two hour wait until our group was called. Thankfully, John & Hank had anticipated that a whole bunch of people would have to wait a really long time, so they included a crossword puzzle in the programs we got. Working on it took up our entire wait, and we didn’t even finish. I blame our sleepy brains. Well, at least my sleepy brain

Finally, it was our turn for signing and suddenly I was in front of John & Hank and my mind conveniently left me. I do remember that John asked how to pronounce my name and when I said it he said it was pretty and I just about died. A then Hank! I love Hank’s videos and I think I ended up just asking him if he was tired. Yeesh.

And then it was 11:40pm and we were on road for the 2 1/2 hour drive home.

All around, it was a fantastic evening, totally worth the long drive and lack of sleep. John & Hank are so adorably awkward, which just makes them all that much more endearing.

Huge thanks to Third Place Books for hosting such a wonderful event! They did a fantastic job at making sure everything ran smoothly and efficiently and I wish that they were my neighbourhood bookstore.

Goodies from the evening:

The Fault in our Stars (Personalized, J-scribbled & Hanklerfished)
Paper Towns (Personalized & J-scribbled)
Looking for Alaska (bought at Third Place Books, Personalized & J-scribbled (twice, I just realized))

Tour Poster (I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this. If you want it and think you can do something with it, let me know. I’d like it to go to a good home.)

Seattle program (signed by Hank)

Not pictured (because I am wearing it): DFTBA tshirt

8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2012 6:50 am

    Wow! What an exciting evening! Yup, book bloggers will go far for books and authors they love. And now I’m really really curious about the book.

  2. February 1, 2012 7:23 am

    Dude, you have no idea how far we’d go for books. — That’s awesome! I’ll remember that one the next time I cross the border. :) Glad you enjoyed the event!

  3. February 1, 2012 9:14 am

    Okay, wow. I’m so jealous! This sounds like SO. MUCH. FUN!!! Love these guys. Adorably awkward! Perfect description. I bet they were so very tired. Did you see their latest video? John can’t keep his eyes open. But, still, it looks like they are having a lot of fun. I wish they would have come within three hours of me.

    Thanks for the recap of your night! I love it!

  4. February 1, 2012 11:13 am

    It sounds like you had so much fun at the event. I can just imagine the border crossing guy when you said that. I guess he has no ideas as to the lengths we go to as book people.

  5. February 1, 2012 11:28 am

    At least you spoke words at all to Hank. I’m pretty sure the extent of my conversation was “Hi.” And “Thank you.” All said with a bewildered look on my face because they look and sound exactly the same as the do on youtube and it was like I’d fallen in to youtube or something. I don’t know. It was weird.

    Thanks for driving!

  6. February 1, 2012 2:15 pm

    “Seattle area teenagers proved that today’s American teenager can indeed be intelligent and well-spoken and that the idea of such a teenager is not just something that John Green fabricated.”

    I love how you said this. It saddened me to see so many blog reviews of TFioS say that Hazel and Augustus are completely unrealistic because they’re too smart and philosophical. Teens like that DO exist, and I suspect they’re more common than most people assume.

    Anyway, excellent post :D Thank you so much for giving those of us on the other side of the world a little glimpse of what the tour was like.

  7. February 1, 2012 3:53 pm

    Sounds like fun! I’ve never crossed the border by land, but it sounds extremely intimidating. I’d probably act super guilty and they’d search my trunk even if I truly was just going to a bookstore.

  8. February 13, 2012 9:59 pm

    Okay so I am a little late to this but I wanted to thank you for sharing this amazing experience with us! It sounds like you had a fantastic time, I hope I get to meet them some day too!

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