Friday, July 04, 2008


The coolest thing ever happened to me this week.

As some of you may know, California has been inundated with wildfires this season. Generally we have a few – hey, it’s really hot and dry here in the summers – but this year, we’ve had non-stop fire everywhere. At one point there were 1,100 separate fires burning in Northern California alone. And a lot of those have been near where I live. Luckily, I’m only near the fire zone, and not in it, so my house has been relatively safe. But the smoke has been like a thick, gray cloud hanging over us for days. It makes for a really eerie sci-fi like yellow hue over everything with a blood red sun in the middle. Very surreal. Very stinky. Very bad for breathing.

Because of our seriously out of control fire situation, Governor Schwarzenegger has asked people to reconsider their fireworks use this forth of July. On the one hand, I totally agree. The last thing we need are more amateur firebugs setting the hills ablaze. But, on the other hand, the professional displays are generally very safe and… they’re pretty! As much as I’m for anything that helps get rid of the constant smoke layer, it will not be July 4th for me without fireworks.

So, I went on a mission to find one place in the area that is still having their annual display tonight.

Usually I go to the amusement park where they have a really killer professional display every year. Nope – this year, canceled. I checked over in Santa Cruz – fireworks on the beach, awesome. Nope – canceled this year, too. I was beginning to hate that Terminator guy. After checking every place in town I found that the Giants were doing a fireworks display after the baseball game… but it was on Wed, the 2nd instead of actually on the fourth. Hmmm… close. But I wasn’t sure they would carry over two days to give me my Independence Day fix.

I was just about to give up and go buy a handful of little sparklers instead, when I tried one last place and found the perfect display. An outdoor concert venue near the bay where they were having a symphony play patriotic music along with a gigantic fireworks display. Yes! I went to their website, clicked through the process to buy tickets, and… sold out. Noooooo!

So (after hitting the back button and trying two more times just in case they really did have tickets left but I was just ordering them wrong. Nope. Still sold out.) I fired up Google and went searching for anyone who might be scalping them online. Yeah, I’m not above that. I found one guy with two tickets who wanted $250 for the pair. Originally, they were $25 a piece. And I needed four. Ouch. I kept looking.

Then, miracle of miracles, I found a listing on Craig’s List of a guy with 4 tickets to get rid of. Score! The only catch… he didn’t want to sell them for cash, he wanted to trade.

I stared at the listing, trying to figure out just what kind of trade he was looking for. Was this code for something? What exactly did he want? (Briefly I wondered if he took a ladies size seven shoe… ) But, out of other options, I emailed him anyway.

The next morning I woke up to find a response in my inbox. Yay! I clicked it open and saw he’d sent two emails. The first said he was looking to trade anything valuable for the tickets – gift cards, other event tickets, merchandise – “Make me an offer,” he said. My eyes strayed around my room. Did I have anything valuable enough to trade for these sold-out, scalpable tickets? A spare lamp? A chipped vase? An old used cell phone? (Wow, I really need to redecorate in here.)

Realizing I had nothing of value to trade, I’d pretty much given up hope of seeing fireworks as I clicked open his second email.

And could hardly believe my eyes. Apparently he’d seen my website addy in the signature line of my email and been to my website, because he said, “Tell you what, I’ll trade you the tickets for a signed book.” I blinked, re-reading it. Then immediately wrote back, “sold!”

So, thanks to a couple signed copies of Undercover in High Heels, I’m going to see fireworks tonight! Woohoo! It’s moments like these that make all those painful hours hunkered over the keyboard worth it. Who knew I could trade books for concert tickets? This opens up a world of possibilities… I wonder if there are any readers out there with spare Bon Jovi tickets…

Happy Independence Day everyone!!

~Trigger Happy Halliday

P.S. Thanks for the tickets, Howard! You rock!


Lucy said...

How cool! Glad you're getting your fireworks fix. Have a great time. :)

Christie Craig said...

Wow, Gemma!

I love, love that story. It's one of those times where we're really proud to be writers.

Thanks for sharing.

Crime Scene Christie

Anonymous said...

How very cool! I don't mind the professional fireworks. They know what they're doing. It's the idiots in the neighborhood who are Totally Clueless that drive me insane.

A lot of the professional fireworks displays around here have been cancelled, too, though not for the fire hazards. They can't afford to have them because of the ever-rising cost of gas and other increases in the city/town budgets.

I hope you have a fabulous time!!! And Howard does indeed rock! :)

Keri Ford said...

How very awesome! Howard, you're totally cool! When I spent my summers with my dad in Florida (Tampa Bay area), the fireworks were completely mouth hanging open worthly. I remember going to different places-just not where those places where. The one I remember most was in a downtown area. The fireworks cracked over a pond or lake or something and the colors and boom were echoed in all the surrounding glass buildings.

Have fun!

Gemma Halliday said...

I'm so excited! I'm such a sucker for anything bright and sparkly. (never take me to Vegas, I go nuts)

Tori - I'm with you on the Totally Clueless. There should an IQ test you have to pass in order to buy fireworks.

Keri - that display sounds awesome! I'll be sure to let you all know how the one tonight is.


catslady said...

Is he single roflmao. Sounds like a nice guy and who wouldn't want a signed book!!!

Blondie0409 said...

Hey! Happy 4th of July to you too! Oh, and it's my 18th Birthday! Can't wait for your next book Gemma!

Gemma Halliday said...

Is he single roflmao

Good question! But, no, it sounds like he has a lovely wife. He got the books for her and her sister. What a good guy, huh?

Gemma Halliday said...

Happy Birthday, Blondie!!! Hope it's a great one!

I just got coverflats for my next book. They are SO pretty. The colors are a lot more vibrant than they look on the computer screen. Can't wait to hold one in my hot little hand. :)


Jana DeLeon said...

LOL!!!! That is too funny, Gemma! I guess people don't know we usually have stacks of our books sitting around for just those kind of request. :) At least, I do.

Hope the fireworks were great!

Heather said...

Glad you got to see some fireworks for the Fourth - what a great trade you made for those tickets!

I'm with others in that professional displays are great, idiot displays are not. Idiots on the block behind ours have been doing them as late as 1am for two weeks now. Ugh!

Gemma Halliday said...

Two weeks?! Ugh, that sucks!