CANCER CAN KISS MY....- Anthony R Cardno

This week got away from me. I’d planned on Wednesday to post the first of a series of email interviews I’ve been conducting with writers, musicians and artists (this one with Evelyn Lafont, author of THE VAMPIRE RELATIONSHIP GUIDE, Vol. 1) but migraines and work stress got the best of me throughout the week.  I’d considered posting the interview tonight, but something else has happened that I want to write about.

I had a great night out with friends, but came home to the news that yet another of my oldest friends has succumbed to cancer. Had a feeling the news was coming because her husband posted something on her Facebook yesterday (her birthday) about he and her mother sitting with her as she peacefully “approaches the next passage in her life.”  That could have been read any number of ways, but it was feeling all too much like what turned out to be the end for our friend Karen just a few years ago.  What hurts is that Karen and Kris were bestest friends in high school, and to have them both leave us essentially the same way so few years apart stings.

So yeah. I’m feeling better than I was two hours ago when I got the news, but …. fuck cancer. Just fuck it.  I’m sick of it hurting my loved ones, of taking them from us too early. Karen and Kris were two of the most beautiful souls I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. We fell out of touch, then fell back into it thanks to Livejournal (in Karen’s case) and Facebook (in Kris’). I managed to have good reunion time with Karen before she left us, but never got that chance to see Kris face to face. Another regret.  I’m angry, and I’m crying. And then I’m laughing at the memories. And then back to angry again. I suspect sleep tonight will be rough (considering it’s already 2:30 am).

And of course I don’t hate cancer just because of its effect on my family and immediate friends. I hate it for what it’s doing to jaylake , who is a hero of mine for his cancer battle and his fantastic writing, and for how it took the beautiful Lis Sladen (of Doctor Who) from her family and her fans so early. And for how pervasive it has become across all social strata, taking so many every day regardless of whether are famous or not, rich or poor.

So.  Another name to add to my List of Those I Walk For come my June Relay For Life in Mahopac. Another person to think of as I’m taking my laps, and to remember fondly our good times at the very school where the Relay takes place. I will walk at least one lap carrying Kris on one side of me and Karen on the other. They supported me and put up with me when I was at my least-perfect, and their memory will carry me around the track in June.

And in honor of Karen and Kris, and Jay, and Lis, and everyone else I walk for, I going to make my first official plea this year for donations to my American Cancer Society Relay For Life event, June 5-6 at Mahopac High School in Mahopac NY.  I will be at the event, and I will be selling copies of my book THE FIRFLAKE to raise money. If you’re in the area, please come by and say Hi.

If you’re not in the area, you can make a donation to my effort (and thus, to my team and to the ACS) by clicking on this link: www.tinyurl.com/My2011Relay or by copy-pasting into your web-browser address bar if the link is not clickable when you look.  Any donation is helpful.  If you donate, please leave me a comment to let me know who you’d like me to walk in honor or memory of. That part is as important to me as the money is.

And if any of the writers or musicians I know want to donate copies of their books or cds to be sold at the event to raise money, please contact me!

Why I'm Switching - Anthony R Cardno

I’m switching, and that’s all there is to it. It’s time for a change. I’ve made up my mind, you can’t talk me out of it, there’s no turning back.

Switching nights for my Interview posts, that is. Why, what did you think I meant?

I’ve been posting interviews (in the weeks when I have them to post) on Wednesday nights, but Wednesday nights have become increasingly crowded for me. If I make it to a computer in time, I try to check in on the weekly live ustream that Forrest, Andre and Alex Burnham do at 7pm (who are they? Check the links to the right, music lovers!). Then at 9pm the #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Chat) session starts on Twitter, and I hate missing that. So by the time I’m really ready to start putting the post together, it’s late and I’m cranky and it creates more stress than it should. This interviewing thing is supposed to be fun, right?

Tuesday nights in my world are less busy (at least currently) and therefore I have more time to polish the interview posts before I hit “publish.” So, Tuesdays it is. I also intend to increase the non-interview post frequency — on subjects writery, musicy and fundraisery. (No, those are not really words. I’m a former English teacher. I can make up words if I want.) — to every Friday evening.

Tonight’s interview, which will be up in the next hour, is with Luke Herr, aka Koltreg, the writer behind SOCIALFIST and CHANGELING.

Next week: author Chad Helder (THE VAMPIRE BRIDEGROOM, THE POP-UP BOOK OF DEATH).

After that? I’ll be chatting with author Jay Lake (MAINSPRING, GREEN, THE SPECIFIC GRAVITY OF GRIEF, the upcoming ENDURANCE), and author BRYAN THOMAS SCHMIDT (THE NORTHSTAR SERIAL PART ONE, the upcoming THE WORKER PRINCE) will be back for a second interview. Webcomic writer-artist Allan Wood (ALLAN, BLUE CIRCUS) is upcoming, as well as pop culture reporter Joshua Estrin (Celebbuzzz on Twitter), author Neil Ostroff (AFTER, DEGENERATES, THE DROP OUT), and … well, that’s probably enough teasers for now.

Check back in a little while for the Luke Herr interview, and please go back and revisit my earlier interviews!

CHAIN RESTAURANT SERVICE - Anthony R Cardno

For my day job (i.e., the one that pays the bills while I pretend I’m a writer and blog a lot), I travel a lot. Some months I’m on the road two-and-a-half weeks without a stop home.

As you can imagine, I eat out a lot. Hotel restaurants, well-known chains, and if I’m lucky the occasional locally-owned ethnic restaurant as a change from all those chains. While this does have a positive effect on my reading stats and occasionally on my writing stats, it also has made me something of a expert on restaurant service. Which is not necessarily something one needs to be an expert in unless one is a restaurant critic for a newspaper (and those seem to be in dwindling demand these days, just like book critics). Still, when I experience service that is more than just good, I like to spread the word.

Tonight I ate at a Ruby Tuesdays here in the northwest corner of Indianapolis, just off of 465. I was greeted at the door by Vivi. Vivi is one of those genuinely upbeat, friendly, dare I say even effervescent, people you occasionally encounter. She didn’t just say “hi” and ask “how many for dinner?” “Hello! Welcome to Tuesdays! Dining alone tonight, or waiting for someone? Let me show you to a table.” and so on. Not overbearing or cloying, just upbeat. Same thing upon leaving: asked me how dinner was, as expected, but also responded to my question about how to avoid the massive pile-up of traffic on Michigan Road by walking out to the parking lot with me and pointing out all the possible routes I could take to get back to my hotel, and marveling at how much worse than normal the traffic seemed to be.

I was also impressed with my server, Matt. Set aside for the moment how much he looked like Alex Bennett, the book-blogger over at Electrifying Reviews, which resemblance had me constantly doing a double-take. He did something servers at chain restaurants rarely manage to get right: he checked up on me throughout the meal without hovering or being intrusive (remember, dinner time is reading time for me!) and without being negligent. That’s a hard balance to strike, in my oh-so-humble opinion, and Matt managed to pull it off. He also didn’t make me feel rushed at the end of the meal. I took my sweet time drinking my coffee because I really wanted to get to the end of the chapter in Mira Grant’s DEADLINE, and he didn’t give off that “please pay your bill and move on so I can get another paying customer in my section” vibe that you usually get from servers during the dinner rush. I’m not saying he wasn’t thinking it (I’m no mind-reader, after all, much as I’d like to be), I’m just saying he wasn’t projecting it; another skill many young male chain restaurant servers seem to lack.

I’m obviously living up to my blog’s title, Rambling On, tonight. Kudos to Vivi and Matt at the Tuesdays on Michigan Rd in Indianapolis for how well they treat their customers. I sent a note through Ruby Tuesday’s website complimenting them. I might even go back tomorrow night, and I try never to eat in the same restaurant two nights in a row.