This has truly been a weekend that was packed from top to bottom with activity–too much. I’m typing while in the midst of a serious sleep deficit, so, Beloved Reader, you’re forewarned that the content of this entry may not hang together or flow in any coherent pattern. When I’m this sleep-deprived, giving me access to a blog or journal is about as advisable as letting a two-year-old play with power tools.
The weekend actually began on Thursday, Steph’s and my 13th wedding anniversary. She did not want the traditional present for the 13th–lace. (I had to email a librarian to find out what it was; I used to have an appointment diary that listed all the anniversary gifts.) So, we went to dinner at the Wildflower Cafe, where the cuisine was excellent. Then we indulged ourselves by thrift-shopping. The book selection was pitiful, but we did buy plenty of much needed kitchenware, and I bought some T-shirts. I even scored a coup and was totally oblivious–a pair of tan Skecher tennis shoes for $7. Steph was quite impressed.
Friday I slept a little later than usual, since I was using my second “cost-saving day”. Due to budgetary issues, as I have ranted at length earlier in this blog, all of us State of Ohio employee are taking 10 unpaid days off. It could be much worse than it ended up being, because they’re spreading the 10 days out over the life of the contract by subtracting 3.3 hours from each paycheck, so we won’t have entire days missing from our checks.
Friday was, however, a day loaded with activity. Pulpfest was this weekend, held at the Ramada Plaza Hotel on Sinclair Road, about three miles from where I live. I invited mystery writer Francis M. (“Mike”) Nevins to a dinner party at our place, since he’s always first in line to attend Pulpfest during its previous events in Dayton. (This was the first time it was in Columbus.) I met Mike at the Old-Time Radio and Nostalgia Convention in Cincinnati in 2006, when he made the trip from St. Louis, where he lives. I was already familiar with him, because I had read his exhaustively researched biography, Cornell Woolrich: First You Dream, Then You Die. We saw each other annually in Cincinnati, and emailed back and forth periodically in the meantime. Susie interviewed him with her microcassette recorder for a school report when she and I went to the convention in ’07.
Steph and Susie spent most of Friday preparing the house for this fete, while I ran errands to Giant Eagle to buy food and other necessities, and then to Target for some more kitchenware, and I stopped in Great Clips for an overdue beard trim.
The party went quite well. One of our guests is a copyright attorney, so she and Mike shared some common ground, since he teaches copyright law at St. Louis University. We had a crowd who was quite well read and at least three people attended Pulpfest the next day, not including myself. Mike is quite a raconteur, and he told us about situations he’s faced in his academic and literary careers.
I’m grateful to Steph and Susie for collating and stuffing The Bag for me while I was out running errands. The bundles of ads arrived on our front porch Friday morning, and the work was all done when the party started.
Susie’s friend DeeDee spent most of the weekend with us. I had to run some errands on Saturday morning, and then I spent some time at Pulpfest. (En route there, I walked from our house to Olympic Swim and Racquet, because Susie and DeeDee had left in such a hurry they had left membership card and guest pass behind. I’ve become quite hooked on walking since I began delivering The Bag; on Facebook I said that if I go a day without a good walk, I feel like a heroin addict one day off the needle.)
My major coup from Pulpfest (for more information, go to http://www.pulpfest.com) was buying a first-edition Pocket Books paperback of Cornell Woolrich’s The Bride Wore Black for $12. It was printed during World War II. Facing the front cover is a caveat that says: “THIS IS A WARTIME BOOK. THIS EDITION WHICH IS COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED IS PRODUCED IN FULL COMPLIANCE WITH THE GOVERNMENT’S REGULATIONS FOR CONSERVING PAPER AND OTHER ESSENTIAL MATERIALS,” complete with a picture of an eagle carrying a ribbon that says “BOOKS ARE WEAPONS IN THE WAR OF IDEAS” in its beak and a book in its talons. On the back, it says “Send this book to a boy in the armed forces anywhere in the U.S… only $.04 postage.” (See below)
I also bought (for $2!), the autographed memoirs of the late radio actor Hal Stone, Aw… Relax, Archie! Re-laxx!, titled after his signature line when he played Jughead on NBC’s Archie Andrews radio show.
I am also proud to say that $1.50 bought me a copy of L. Ron Hubbard’s Typewriter in the Sky, without a penny of it going to those loons in the Church of Scientology.
What baffled me was a table near the sign-in desk stacked to my eye level (I am 5’8 3/4″) with hardback, jacketed copies of Elizabeth Hand’s Generation Loss, copyright 2007 by the Small Beer Press of Northampton, Mass. These were free–someone encouraged me to take two or three. One was enough. I am completely puzzled why mint-condition books were 100% free of charge.
I accomplished my main mission at Pulpfest, equally as important as spending the paltry check The Bag sent me. Mike sold me two rare anthologies that featured works by Cornell Woolrich, as well as a copy of his new novel, Beneficiaries’ Requiem.
Next on my agenda was taking Susie to Club Havana down in the Short North, so she could practice and perform in the concert she and her fellow campers spent 10 days organizing. The club was crowded, the noise level was gelding, and Susie performed quite well. Steph went from the nightclub with some of her friends to decompress with the help of some mojitos, so I took the girls back home on the bus via Dairy Queen.
And I delivered The Bag in the predawn hours, stepping outdoors just after midnight and finishing after dawn. It rained on and off during the night (mostly on, and torrentially in some intervals), and I must have been a sorry sight when I came home. The ironic thing was I did the all-night delivery so I could make it to church for the 10 a.m. service. But I knew I was close to collapse by then, and I did sleep very spottily for most of the morning.
So how was your weekend?