|You’ll excuse me if I take the night off. My interview schedule began at 6 AM and concluded at 4:55. I think I had nineteen. I have about ten more tomorrow, including “Talk of the Nation” in the afternoon, around 2:45 CST. End of self-serving promotion.
It was fun, I’ll say that. Got up at 5:40 with deep regrets – I was having a spectacular dream. I was inside a computer simulation that had been developed for a blockbuster move, one in which giant aliens trash the earth. The means by which I entered the simulation were not exactly clear, but I remember thinking: this is an incredible opportunity; go get the camera. But can I take pictures inside a simulation?
Like the best dreams, its flavor and texture cannot be captured in words; so much of the dream experience is, duh, the dreamlike quality that lends a hyperreal cast to everything, elevates it to some ecstatic experience. Enough to say that the city had been designed to accommodate large destructive alien machines, so it abounded with large intersections, squares, junctures of arteries whose paths sliced through the grid, etc. And the buildings! All from the 20s and 30s, with gorgeous signage and improbable facades, an endless array of Classical and Deco and Moderne . . .all empty, never used, but painstakingly weathered & chipped & aged by the artists who created the simulation. And I had it all to myself.
I only saw one person. I was taking a picture of the Bluebird Bar, which had a bright robin’s egg blue enameled façade with a band of cobalt blue terra-cotta tile over the windows. (The windows were based on the Airliner Bar in Iowa City, I knew with fervent conviction.) (Speaking of Iowa City: their government homepage isn’t quite a tautological as the Powerpuff’s “City Of Townsville!” but it’s close.) As I took pictures, an old wiseguy came out – white hair, thick cigar, pale blue nylon shirt stretched over a big gut. “Why don’t you take one more picture for mommy and run along,” he said. I took his advice, even if he had his threat somewhat jumbled.
I took two naps today, little quick attempts to top-off the consciousness reserve, and in both cases I could see the city as I fell asleep. But I never did go back.
The interviews were a pleasure. Most of the hosts had a copy of the book, and seemed quite amused by it, which is nice; it’s hell to deal with people who just toss out random generic queries, because then you can’t plug in your boilerplate. I had no boilerplate as the day began, but forged & hammered and riveted several sheets after four interviews. The trick is to make the boilerplate sound spontaneous; people can always tell when you’re rolling tape. So you have to throw in something new every time. Although at the end of the day I had a loose host who’d obviously done 9 million author phoners; we talked about blurb-bot authors who do these things on autopilot. So I’d finish a brief expository passage by saying “and this is where you say ‘interesting, James, could you give us an example,’ and I go on to talk about constipation.” And then I talked about constipation.
Halloween was good, incidentally. Gnat went as a princess. Of course. I wore a scary devil mask and hooked up a fog machine, with the remote up my sleeve. When kids approached I hit the button and made ominous groans. Most of the time I just stood still, waiting to scare someone. A trio of teens on the other side of the street saw me, paused, and approached. YOU HAVE NO BAGS OR COSTUMES, I said. SO YOU SHALL HAVE NO TREATS.
“We just wanted to see if you were fake or a dude,” one said.
Man, I’m beat. Okay then. Links for you:
A magazine cover I found in the Strib recycling bin. I think they meant this to be heartwarming and funny. They were misguided.
There is a new, or rather revised, Joe Ohio chapter, as his Mafia nightmare stay in Ashtabula concludes.
An interesting interchange between a flaming nutball shock-jock wingnut shoot-from-the-hip radio ranter, and sober, reasoned newspaper writer who said that conservatives want a judge more comfortable with a white robe than a black robe. Because, you know, they’re all Klansman. Pay particular attention for the casual assumption that the radio host wants to turn back the clock on civil rights. A lesson in the unwise application of unexamined stereotypes, perhaps. I advise listening to the supplied audio, rather than reading the transcript. Judge for yourself, of course. Or "JFY", as the internet acronym probably has it. See you tomorrow.