That Time I Met Brad Meltzer

Last Tuesday, my wife and I took the day off of work for a couple of reasons, one of which was we both needed some time off so that we don't burn out from working so much. But the main reason we took off was that we found out Brad Meltzer was going to be in Barnes & Noble in New York for a signing of his new book, Decoded. Even though the signing started at 7 PM, we decided to hop an early train and spend the day in New York just because we both love being in the city.

We got to Penn Station right around noon and the first thing we did was start our trek uptown. Unsure of how to spend the next seven hours, we decided to make a day full of geeky activities. The first stop was Midtown Comics on 40th and 7th. We knew that we weren't going to buy anything but that's completely irrelevant. Both of us are comics fans and love just being in Midtown Comics so I spent a good 20 minutes looking at action figures and statues while my wife tried on comic-character-themed wool hats with pom poms on them.

Satisfied with our comic book fix, we continued our hike down 7th Avenue, stopping at Toys R Us along the way. Again, we had no intentions of actually buying anything but since TRU is one of our favorite stores, it made sense to pop in there for a little bit. That ate up a good 30 minutes and gave us a few ideas for Christmas gifts this year.

Not gonna lie: I want my own Hall of Armor.
From there, we moved it down to the Disney Store. Ever since Disney purchased Marvel, we've found that Disney Stores really appeal to both of us, allowing Lauren to scope out all of the Little Mermaid merchandise while I can peruse the super hero stuff. Here we considered getting a few Vinylmations but decided against it.

Leaving the Disney Store, it occurred to us that we hadn't eaten since 9 AM and were both feeling the pangs of hunger. As we stepped up to 46th, a short guy in a baseball cap handed us a postcard for an Irish Pub just a few feet from us called O'Brien's. Being simple folk, the traditional Irish fare appeals to us so we decided to check it out. We started with a plate of mozzarella sticks before diving into a Chicken Pot Pie and some Bangers and Mash. The food was really great and I loved the dive bar atmosphere the place had. It was really unassuming and comfortable. If I ever find myself on 46th again, I'd definitely go back.

After lunch, we continued our walk to Rockefeller Center to one of the greatest destinations in New York City: The Nintendo World Store. Every time I go to the city, I try to make a visit to this store just because there's no place like it. (We also wanted to go here to get a few Street Passes for our 3DSes.) The store was decked to the max for the recent release of Pokemon X/Y. The bottom level of the Nintendo Store is mostly just the store portion, with a few racks of clothes, video games lining the walls and some dump bins full of plush toys. There's also 8 or so display 3DS units to give customers some hands-on play. Upstairs is where the real magic is. First off, the store is displaying a massive photo mosaic picture of Link to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. The picture was made up of thousands of pictures of Zelda fans which was pretty amazing if not incomplete since it didn't have a picture of me.

Think I can Photoshop myself in there?
The top floor also has a number of Wii U bays with a selection of demos available. I played a few minutes of Injustice: Gods Among Us while Lauren tried out Super Mario Bros U. I let her play the game while I checked out the "museum" at the other end of the store. Along the back wall there are a few glass display cases containing the history of Nintendo as a company. Few people know that Nintendo got their start making playing cards in the late 1800s before moving on to toys and games. The display mostly focuses on the gaming side of Nintendo, showcasing the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the Famicom, and ROB and goes straight down through the years. One of my favorite parts of the display is an original Gameboy that was caught in a mortar blast in the Gulf War. The most amazing thing is that the Gameboy still works; they've hooked the unit up to a battery so that it plays Tetris on a loop. It's an astounding display of technology and I love seeing it every time I'm in New York.

Forget Timex. This baby really takes a lickin'.
By the time we left the Nintendo Store it was about 4 PM so we had three hours to go roughly 40 blocks. Did we hot foot it? Hell yeah, we did (with a few breaks in between). Even though right around 85th street Lauren's complaining hit a fever pitch, she hung in there and we got to Barnes and Noble a little before 6:00. Hitting up Starbucks, we took some time to relax before the signing at 7.

The both of us really couldn't wait to meet Brad Meltzer. Why, you ask? Well, when Lauren and I got married, one of the things we wanted for the wedding was a gutted book to showcase our wedding rings. As we prepared, one of our missions was to find a book to use. As we looked through the titles, one really stuck out to us: The Book of Fate. One, because we are both fans of Brad Meltzer, of his writing and the show Decoded on the History Channel. But also the title really hits home when discussing a wedding. I'm not a true believer in "fate" per se but it is a nice idea and if fate exists, I'm glad that it brought me together with my wife.

Anyway, after we gutted the book and lined it with a sparkly blue felt, I tweeted a picture of it, tagging @bradmeltzer in it. The next day I discovered that not only did Brad retweet it to his followers but he also shared it on his Facebook page. This filled me with an amazing sense of pride. Brad had taken the time out to look at the picture and went the extra mile and showed it off, explaining all of his fans his appreciation of the gesture. So it was really important to us to meet him so that he could see the book and so that we could have him autograph it.

After the Q&A portion, where Brad talked about where his love for mysteries and American history came from and how he interprets the question of "Who killed Kennedy?", the line formed for the signing. I placed the open book down in front of him and told him "We're that couple". He seemed generally surprised and happy to see it. He asked us how the wedding was and we gave him a few pictures of the ceremony, one of which was his book being carried by our ring-bearer. He took a picture with us and soon we were on our way. It was a very exciting moment for both my wife and me, one that had me geeking out for about an hour after it ended.

I plan on reading Decoded over the next couple weeks and look forward to diving into the top ten conspiracies of American History. I'll certainly have a review up for it as soon as I finish but I would still recommend that you go and support Brad's endeavors. And if you've never seen it, watch Decoded on the History Channel. It makes history exciting by delving into the mysteries like no show has done before.

If fiction is more your speed, check out any of Brad's political thrillers, The Book of Fate, The Inner Circle, The Fifth Assassin or any of the others. He's also done work in comics, most notable Identity Crisis for DC Comics. Brad has such a wide body of work he's likely to have something to appeal to everyone. So go out and support one of the nicest, most genuine writers out there. He deserves it.

"To Michael & Lauren,
The true fate is your love.
I wish only health & happiness
for you. Love and thanks, Brad"
"To Michael & Lauren, My favorite married couple.
Thanks! Brad Meltzer"

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