Horror Author Night, Barnes & Noble Geneva Commons, Oct 16

Barnes and Noble
Friday, October 16, 2009
Time: 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: Barnes and Noble
Street: 102 Commons Drive
City/Town: Geneva, IL

Reading and signing featuring local horror authors. Also scheduled to attend: John Everson, W.D. Gagliani, David Benton, J.A. Konrath, Travis Thrasher and Bill Breedlove.

I read Ghostwriter, and now working on Isolation by Travis Thrasher. Excellent!

This summer I read Afraid by J.A. Konrath (under his pen name Jack Kilborn) and it was extremely well-written but gruesome as all get-out. Frankly, unsure if I can recommend Afraid (2008) due to its unmitigated gore, relentless, chapter after bloody chapter. Anyhow, Konrath is a good self-promoter and busy author.

I am a budding writer myself. I have to be motivated by these Illinois authors, a real treat to see them in October, the month of chilly nights and harvest moons, no less. I will invite David and Alexia and anyone else who wants to partake in this night of live author-read literature from the ghoulish side of the bookstore.

P.S. When director Tim Burton makes my book into a movie, at the premiere, Dave, Alexia and I plan to sip Cape Codders in the balcony and shoot spitballs at Johnny Depp.


The Many Pulls in Our Daily Lives...

Work and Home in opposite directions...with Life hidden somewhere in between.


District 9

Took son and his friend to movies, then Best Buy. Relaxing day. Wife at scrapbooking with four girlfriends in Indianapolis.

When I Hit The Lottery...

The quintessential summertime New England mansion. Boar's Head (north of Hampton Beach, N.H) on Ocean Blvd., on a hill, expansive yard, and a porch to grow old on. When I strike it rich, you are all invited. I may be able to find a bedroom for you. Maybe.

Bye Bye Summer 2009

This is the first summer in several that we have not taken a family trip, typically to the Wisconsin Dells. We adore the Dells, and had fun with extended family in 2008 at the dry Lake Delton. Something "New Englandy" about Wisconsin. This summer, work got in the way of many activities. And now, it's almost over. But memories remain of biking along the Fox, exploring the Fox Valley, guitar lesson,s taking up Go, drinks and food with friends, kayaking with Mike and Bruce, Mayhem Festival Indianapolis, and generally feeling lucky to be alive and well. Autumn 2009, I'm comin' at'cha!


Sanyo R227 Internet Radio!

I waited patiently for a "real company" to make an internet radio (not no-name companies, that seem to have taken over this niche market; anyone want a radio by Grace? How about Sangean or Aluratek? Me neither). Lo and behold, Sanyo steps up to the plate in 2009. Sure, being an initial adopter in any hardware can have issues, but straight out of the box, this wi-fi radio with 10k stations (but, regrettably, only 8 channel preset/memory buttons!) linked itself to my wi-fi, and I have my favorite stations hooked and ready to go. Right now, WAAF from Worcester is cued and playing. It has tiny 4 inch speakers, but I plugged in my Soundsticks II computer speakers with subwoofer, and Lou Reed, "Walk On The Wild Side" sounds full as ever.

"And all the colored girls go doot doo doot doo doot..."


As of 9/01/09, I still adore this thing! I love the internet only, genre specific stations...rocking the alternative 80's. Just like Andy H. and I used to groove to at Spit in Boston.

The Arcada Theater, St. Charles, IL

Missing Rick Springfield at the St. Charles, IL theater. We all need, the human touch. Mickey Rooney here on August 31!

A Twist on an Old Favorite


Augustino's Makes Good Hot Pastrami

And I thought it was some fancy dress-up piano bar. My full review is on It's no Chicks N Salsa, but it works. It's in Carol Stream, IL.



"A local picture.. taken by an Indianapolis Star
reporter. This is the Nicholson Mansion being
moved. In the top window, a little girl can be seen
staring out at the workers. They are sure there was
no little girl in the home on that day. A zoom is included for
those interested in taking a closer look."

I've added a wicked high intensity, digitally enhanced close-up of the girl in the window above. She looks a little ticked that they're moving her house.

Ghostwriter Novel Getting Freaky

"This picture was taken in 1959 by Mrs. Mabel Chinnery
apparently no one was in the backseat when the picture was
taken. Mrs. Chinnery recognized the person in the backseat as
the ghost of her dead mother whose grave she was just
visiting!!! She staked her reputation on the authenticity of the

Like this photo and caption, Travis Thrasher's novel Ghostwriter, set in Geneva, IL, has taken a ghostly turn. I'm still reading, though...


Hi Hat Resale Shop Geneva, IL

A great place for some sweet finds in a converted church, just off State Street. And a neato stained glass window, to boot.


The Side-Splitting George Lopez.

Love those googly eyes.

Note To Self....

The Writer Writes...

I have a couple days to write coming up when my wife is gone to a huge scrapbooking show with friend in Chicagoland, son is away for weekend, and I am here to put pen to paper. I have a day off from work also because on of my staff is out... so, I have a tidy, if slightly broken up, span of time to put pen to paper. NPR has a miniature writing contest to write 600 measly words to finish the opening line, "The nurse came home at five o'clock." I'll begin with that meaningless nut and bang one out for the NPR contest just to get the knuckles lubed up, then select a short story contest from my Writer's Digest monthly to tackle. If I can get that done--plus learn how to count territories in Go and do some meditative walking (I'm reading the Tich Nhat Hahn e-book)--I will have a fulfilling few days.

I will fight writer's block by setting my goals on less John Steinbeck and more John Hughes. I've read all the "How To" books, bought the pencils and the fancy chair, now just a matter of getting my butt in it and not falling asleep.


John Hughes 1950 - 2009 Bueller? Bueller?

I watched the incomparable Ferris Beuller's Day Off with family tonight... absolutely indelible images of the ultra-cool Ferris, his gf Sloane, and the angst-ridden Cameron taking a day off from high school, right under the nose of Mr. Rooney. No matter how many times I see it, this movie is hysterical, touching and poigniant about life.

"Life moves pretty fast; and if ya don't stop and look around once in a while, you're gonna miss it," says Ferris.

John Hughes' best movie. May he R.I.P. after suffering an unexpected heart attack, 8/6/09 while visiting Manhattan. Brilliantly successful Northbrook, IL native, wrote and directed huge money-making films in 1980s including Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Ferris, Home Alone 1 and 2, and then, in 1994, stopped it all. Gave it up--no interviews, no movies. Wiki: "In 1994, Hughes retired from the public eye and moved back to the Chicago area, rarely granting or giving interviews or photographs to the media. In the later years of his life, he was a farmer in Illinois." Jon Cryer played Philip F. 'Duckie' Dale in Hughes's 1986 teen movie Pretty In Pink, alongside Molly Ringwald. Speaking about Hughes, he told Parade: "He had become, you know, the J.D. Salinger of filmmakers by just going off and not really participating in Hollywood anymore. I had lost track of him."

Wow, gotta respect that. Hughes took Ferris' advice.

Save Me

A priest, a hippie and the world's smartest man were on a single engine airplane when the pilot dies mid-flight. They grab for parachutes, but there are only two!

Hippie: "Whoa, dude, this is outta this world. I want to live, but live and let live, you know...I don't know what to do, man."

Priest: "God has good things for me in the afterlife. I'll go down with the plane--you both take the parachutes."

Smartest Man: "Listen, I'd love to save you both, but I'm working on some really important projects that you'd never understand. Just take my word for it that they're super vital and I have to live, so you both can fight for the last 'chute, but I'm going." With that, he grabs a 'chute, throws on the shoulder straps and jumps out of the plane.

There's a brief pause on the plane before the hippie speaks.

Hippie: "Well, Father, I guess you and I are both saved."

Priest: "Really? How's that, my son?"

Hippie: "The world's smartest man just grabbed my knapsack."


Bad News For Good People

A doctor calls a patient's home.

Doctor: "I have your test results back and I have some bad news and some worse news, Charlie."

Charlie: "Oh dear! Give me the bad news first."

Doctor: "Your lab results are back. You only have 24 hours to live."

Charlie, almost hysterical: "Holy hell! That really is BAD news. What in the world could be worse than that?"

Doctor: "Charlie. I forgot to call you yesterday."

100 Pages Into Thrasher's Book

A fairly pivotal scene takes place here, at the famous Geneva Bridge and Dam. Thrasher can write--I'll give him that. The story has some convoluted spots, but so far so good for our local Aurora author (see prior post). Happy to find an author that is talented anywhere, let alone in the Fox region.

Congratulations, Bruce, on your handbuilt kayak!

I look forward to hearing the story of your staying for a week at the kayak shop, building a kayak from raw materials at Superior Kayaks. I am finding a time on my schedule for you and Zena to come see us again. I hope the experience was life-altering. I am sure paddling this 21 inch beamed, ocean cockpitted jobbie will be--a fitting swim is a possibility,


I seldom get an opportunity to just lay back and look at the sky. While waiting for my son's soccer team photos yesterday, I found a knoll of grass behind the school, shady, and laid back and looked up. Between two trees I could see the sky. The leaves rustled, and I had a George Kinder moment. If I could do this for, oh, say, six hours at the start of each day, I think I'd be a better person. A kinder person. I will make that my goal.


An updated photo similar to the one I showed you two months ago. Those ever-blooming Knockout Roses!

Found Free Go Software To Enhance My Skills

You can download it too here:

Self Portrait

Working Day 92F and Full Sunshine

Many thanks to my wife Cathy for her hours of work in the heat to rid our yard of weeds, sweeping driveway, and generally making our home lovely and inviting. Thank you, precious lady. I enjoyed working with you today outside.

Gen Hoe Reflections over a Cape Codder

One week ago, our place, great friends, very good food from Gen Hoe in Geneva, IL prepared and selected for us by the owner herself. Cape Codders and beers and good times. We enjoy our neighbors very much.

And for those that wish to try a Cape Codder--my favorite simple mixed drink, reminiscent of New England sea coast in the summer--the recipe is here. The tangy cranberry juice completely eliminates the bite of the vodka, making it taste--well--like cranberry juice. A MUST is to use 100% cranberry juice; cran-apple, cran-grape and the like are not suggested. "Lite" or "low cal" cranberry juice is too watered down to be effective.


Lighting The Torch by George Kinder

I am rebalancing. I am reading this book. I am trying to get a kinder, more George Kinder kind of balance. I know, I know. He sounds like a New Age slacker. But there has to be a more full, more contemplative side to life. I seek it now.

A Very Fine August

The Shanghai Circus at Skyline Theater, Navy Pier. The boat ride along the skyline of Chicago. A fun time with my family in 2008. I reflect on these photos as, this year, work and home responsibilities interfere with my getting to the big city. Life is getting in the way of creating memories. The cart comes before the horse.


Parafoil Stunt Kite

What a fun way to spend a Sunday. Mike, Vic and I flew my parafoil stunt kite in the park behind the Kane County Municipal Buildings, east of Third Street. Vic was the kite master, controlling that kite like Gunther Gable-Williams using a whip and chair on a lion. This video is not us. But the idea is the same, and the pull on the kite is exhilarating. My kite is similar in size to this gentleman's, but our winds were not as fierce this past Sunday in Geneva.

Dry Days of Summer

I can see from my balcony that the Fox River is currently very low. Fisherman, camped out on the rocks south of the Geneva Dam, have plenty of places to sit on exposed rocks and get only knee deep crossing from shore to mid-river. We've not had rain in Illinois now for a few weeks. Heck, even my trusty sump pump seems to have taken a parched sabattical. But one day again, the clouds will pour like a heavenly spigot. This short video shows the Geneva Dam after a rainstorm. A big rainstorm.



I have found an author, Travis Thrasher, that lives less than ten miles south of me in N. Aurora, IL (home of Wayne and Garth), has written now twelve published books, and has his latest spooky novel set in Geneva, IL. I am excited as I begin this read and, four chapters in, this guy can write! I am fairly impressed. I have not been this impressed since I read Richard Powers of Urbana, IL who wrote The Echo Maker, which won the National Book Award Best Novel. I am in the midst of greatness. Reading about the Fox Valley certainly makes Ghostwriter, the novel, dear to me already. But a harsh critic, I am one to drop a book in mid-sentence if I find it trite, boring or sophomoric. So far so good on Thrasher's latest; I will give you the straight scoop as I develop an opinion. Soon, my friend Alexia will read it, too. Respect her opinion greatly.


American Go Association

I've been wanting to learn this 4000 year old game for the past few years, and now will try with the SmartGo app ($2.99) for the iPod Touch that really is a lesson on the game, complete with interactive problems. It looks so very simple, yet is hideously complex. A lifetime to master. In this vein, I see that the Schaumburg Go Club meets Thursday evenings at Starbucks--perhaps I can SmartGo and Yahoo! Games mysefl to a level of proficiency that would permit me to attend and hold my own. I am seeking anyone I know to join in with me on the "ground level" in learning this wonderful game so that I will always have a comparable foil. American Go Association membership just took the place of my American Rose Society annual dues. Sorry, Olive and Eleanor and Bea and all the other fine ladies at the American Rose Society. There's only so many annual dues dollars to go around.


Son Met Suicide Silence!

My son was in Moline last night with friend Austin and they got to trade devil horns with the up-and-coming metal band Suicide Silence at a meet and greet--I got a text while he was anxiously in line. Suicide Silence's first album, The Cleansing, scored a #92 spot on the Billboard charts--extremely high for a metal band's debut. I got to see them from the side stage front row at Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem 2008, the tour from which this video (below)was recorded. Their second album came out two months ago, and rocketed up to #32 on Billboard! Not just the metal music charts--the main Billboard chart, right there next to Britney and Rhianna and Beyonce. Incessant touring, a youthful spirit and uplifting songs are sending them into the stratosphere. This video is "Unanswered", which shows the happy heavy metal spirit of an outdoor festival--feels like summer! Meet singer Mitch Lucker and Suicide Silence, just as Mark did last night. P.S. Don't even try to understand the lyrics. "Where is your God?"


Why Can't I Be As Cool As Ferris Bueller?

Pucker Up, Buttercup--It's Gen Hoe!

This weekend, we'll have friends over for a nice evening of food and spirits and revelry. Oh, and Gen Hoe! What is Gen Hoe? A Chinese restaurant in an old Geneva gas station (or so Jay says) that looks like a windowless, stucco hole, yet gets rave reviews online (yelp, tripadvisor, et cetera) for its food. Well, we will put it to the test compliments of Cath and I. Can't test Chinese at the restaurant--like a Seinfeld episode, it's imperative to test Chinese by take-out. If for no other reason than to eat it close to a working restroom. Add in some fresh margaritas over candlelight, and I'd eat my own Converse Chuck Taylor. So really, I leave the judgement on Gen Hoe--who none of the seven or so dinner guests will admit to eating previously--to those with a more delicate palette.

The photo here represents my weekend--Chinese meal with friends, and flying my new Delta kite (not an Oriental clipper) from Hobbytown, St. Charles, in the local park.

Yessss! (fist in the air)
I am officially old!


Pen To Paper

Putting finishing touches on handwritten notes to colleagues that I work with...thank you notes, cards of appreciation, a "dog days of summer" pat on the back. Nothing beats a personal touch. I have Stephen King's radio WKIT (online) in the background, and getting to it.


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