How The Marysville Public Library Saved My Life

If you're in or around Marysville, Ohio, on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 15, I hope you will come by Veteran's Memorial Auditorium, where I will be appearing as part of the Friends of the Library Authors' Series.

The topic of my talk will be "How The Marysville Public Library Saved My Life." No, seriously, the Marysville Public Library saved my life! How many visiting authors in the series can say that? I'm betting on just one.

In the process, I'll also be talking about history and books and writing sorts of things.

My 30-45 minute talk will be followed by a 15-30 minute Question & Answer session. Afterwards, the library will be selling copies of my books and I'll stick around to sign them. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll catch up with some people I haven't seen in a while. The event will help raise money to support the Marysville Public Library.

Here are the details:

Date: Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Time: 6:45—9:00PM
Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium
233 W. 6th Street
Marysville, OH 43040
Hope to see you there!


In the past few weeks, I've eaten enough butter to make one of these:

Combined with enough refined sugar to fill one of these:

Before the holidays are over I'm going to look like:

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But cookies are so delicious!

The Tourist

Two weekends a month, raecarson and I go out on a date. Since we like caper movies, find Angela Jolie's choice of strong women characters interesting, and usually enjoy Johnny Depp's over-the-top performances, we went to see "The Tourist."

I don't know what we were thinking. I wish someone would explain to me how you can put Jolie, Depp, Paul Bettany, and Timothy Dalton in a movie and not bother to write one memorable or interesting part. Or why you would set up so many great potential character motivations and moments, then ignore them. Chekov's mantlepiece is simply choked with unfired guns. Perhaps they all fell through the gaping plot holes. This movie has the dullest low-speed chase scene since OJ Simpson jumped in a white Ford Bronco and headed toward Mexico. And I've seen more convincing green screens done by local weathermen. But the worst part is that it's a caper movie with all the twists of a parallelogram. If you don't see the end coming, it's only because you've been lulled to sleep by Depp's invariable and inexplicably drowsy delivery of his lines. That and the fact that the editing seemed determined to keep the audience away from the dangerous edge of their seats. And the musical score that did everything it could to defuse mounting tension, as if the composer was worried that somebody's pulse might actually race. Maybe the director was worried about liability issues. I dunno. I've read other reviews where people contended that the movie was intended to be a farce. If that's the case I was fooled by the absence of any humor. Apart from the unintentional laughs.

If I sound bitter, it's because I really really wanted to love this movie. But I would have settled for simply liking it. In a world of scarce resources it should be criminal to take this much acting talent, these beautiful locations, this possibility-laden premise... and then poop on it like Triumph the insult dog.

The best thing about this movie was raecarson's company. At least I can always count on her to be intelligent and entertaining. Apart from that, going to see "The Tourist" is one trip I will never make again and strongly recommend against.

Can someone explain this to me...

...with an answer that doesn't creep me out?

You can't see it clearly in the pictures below, but the car on the road in front of me two nights ago had handcuffs bolted to the rear undercarriage.

Yes, I am certain they were handcuffs. I got very close so I could see. One cuff on each side, with a large bolt and washer through one of the links attaching it to the car.

I'm a writer, so naturally my brain veers toward ominous interpretations. Like the modern equivalent of tying someone to a horse and dragging them across the desert. But this can't be that, right? I mean, people would know. This is a cool hack for skateboarding or something. Right? Or maybe a fetish subculture I haven't encountered before (which would be a lot of them). Something. Anything.

Put my mind at ease...


Lucy, tema hiilguses

My vampire story "Lucy, In Her Splendor" has been translated into Estonian for the webzine Algernon:

Algernon has been published as a labor of love since 1998, and is named for "Flowers for Algernon," which was the title of the only SF collection by western authors available under the Soviet regime. "Lucy" was originally published by stevenagy in MarsDust and then reprinted in Best New Horror 16 and By Blood We Live, but this is its first translation. My thanks to Algernon editor Juhan Habicht, who asked me about reprinting this story, and to Silver Sära for translating it.

The most interesting part of the process (to me) was explaining Lucy's lakefront screened-in porch for the translator, since in Estonia porches are either finished with glass on the one hand or mosquito netting (sometimes gauze) on the other. Rather than try to explain american-style screens, I said I trusted the translator to use glass or netting or whatever would be most familiar to Estonian readers. But I don't know what the final decision was!
Good dog!

Nice prank! Wait. What?

The other day I was on the roof of one of our campus parking garages when I saw the sign above: "Please no yard waste." It made me laugh out loud. We were on top of a concrete structure occupying a full block, in the middle of a densely built urban area. If you were lucky, you could look over the edge of the garage to a nearby neighborhood with postage-stamp sized yards and you might see some yard waste.

So I mentioned it to the director of Transportation and Parking.

She was quick to assure me that the sign was completely serious.

Turns out that the nearest suburb charges residents for trash pickup by the bag. During the fall, instead of paying for leaf pickup, people were throwing the bags into their cars and dumping them off on the roof of the garage when they came to work. The first person put their bag into the trash can by the elevator, but it quickly overflowed and soon bags of yard waste were piled everywhere. It became both a hassle and an expense to keep cleaning it up.

So the trash cans went away and the signs went up. Problem solved.

It makes me wonder where the bags are being dumped now instead.