Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Another brilliant idea: brought to you by Elodin Enterprises
Okay, I've been thinking about this for years, and I need someone to explain it to me.

Here I am in Wisconsin. It's winter. It's cold outside. I will be spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars to heat my house despite the fact that I keep the thermostat at a relatively conservative 62 degrees. The air in my house is chilly and dry as a bone.

Then I go down into my basement, put a load of laundry into the drier, and for the next hour I run a big machine that vents hot, moist, delicious air through a tube and out the side of my house. Presumably so that the local squirrels can enjoy a sauna.

Does this make any sense? Is there some good reason why I don't have a second tube that runs from the drier directly into my ductwork of my forced-air furnace? Free heat, free humidity, and as an added bonus, my house would smell like Snuggle fabric softener.

I mean, I could understand why this idea wouldn't be a big deal in, say, Texas. As I understand it, in Texas the winter weather is relatively clement, and the summer weather is like being beaten with a burning shovel until you are on fire, then having someone extinguish you by wrapping you in a thick, wet towel that is, somehow, also on fire.

But here in the north, it's cold for about half the year. And for a couple months centering around nowish it's an amazing flavor of cold that you really can't appreciate unless you experience it firsthand. Night before last, up here in Hayward, it got down to twenty-six below zero (Fahrenheit), not counting wind-chill.

That's the sort of cold where, if a young gentleman tries to enjoy the unique privilege of manhood and write his name in the snow, he will end up with a pee stalagmite instead. It's the sort of cold where you go outside and realize that if you aren't careful, you will fucking die.

So I go back to my original question: Why isn't this done? I'm not an engineer, but I'm pretty sure we have the technology to install what amounts to a valve. One side would be labeled "make my house warm" and the other would be labeled "squirrel sauna." You could adjust it according to the outside temperature, your mood, and how you feel about the local fauna.

I can't be the first person to think of this, so I'm assuming that there has to be a good explanation for why it isn't already commonplace. Can anyone think of what it is?

Anyone?

pat

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Sunday, January 25, 2009
Reading/Booksigning in Wausau
I have retreated to my man-cave again, deep in the frozen north of Wisconsin near Hayward. The lack of internet, cell phones, or human companionship makes for good writing.

The downside is the same as he upside. It wouldn't be real isolation if I could flip it off with a switch.

That means on a day like today, when I want to check my e-mail and post a quick blog, I'm forced to extreme measures. The library is closed on Sundays here, so their computers are out. The local coffeeshop closes at 3:00, so I'm similarly boned. Deprived of both my life-giving caffeine and life stealing wi-fi.

So instead I'm next door, in the laundromat, typing on the mini that my dad gave me for Christmas. If I sit on this bench against the west wall, I can catch the edge of the coffeeshop's wifi. My great manly hands are too big for this keyboard, so I'll ask you to be forgiving of any tyops that slip through.

The details of my LA trip are still forthcoming. But for now I just wanted to mention a Reading/Q&A/Booksigning that I'll be doing in Central Wisconsin in just a week or so.

University Wisconsin Marathon County
February 3, 2009 - 7:00PM
Terrace Room
518 S. 7th Ave
Wausau, WI 54401


It's open to everyone, so if you're in the area, feel free to swing by....


Battery low, gotta go.

pat

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Thursday, January 22, 2009
Just to let you know....

Hello everyone,

This is just a quick note to let you know that I'm back from my trip to California and that the quiet here on my blog doesn't stem from the fans out there killing me and selling my furry pelt on e-bay.

It was a great time. A lovely break from my current lonely snowbound writing existence. I played board games, hung out with rocket scientists, and got to have a Jamba Juice with Felicia Day.

Yes. That's right. A Jamba Juice. I was pretty excited, let me tell you.

But before you go wishing you were me, be aware that I paid dearly for my decadent weekend. I was trapped in Minneapolis all Sunday due to Northwest Airline's asshattery. Monday, hours after returning home, I was brought low by a terrible plague. Don't ask for details, but know that I have only today recovered enough to crawl to my computer, check e-mail, and bask in the healing glow of Facebook.

More soon,

pat

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Introducing - the Slovak and Polish versions of the book.

Well it seems like most folks would like to see more Survival Guides. So we'll do that. I'll post up a few more of the old ones before too long, and send out a call for letters when I'm ready to start answering new one. So start stockpiling your problems now.

And, for those of you who give a care, here are the newest editions to The Name of the Wind family.




This cover should look familiar to most of you, as it's pretty much the same as the UK cover.




(Click to Embiggen)

Soon, my thumb will be so famous from all these appearances that it will become a celebrity in its own right. I predict it will leave for Hollywood, have a whirlwind affair with Kate Moss, develop a drinking problem, and then eventually come crawling back to Wisconsin. Which is a good thing because I need it to hit the space bar.

Anyway, the Polish version of the book has lovely paper, and a new cover which clearly depicts the scene where Kvothe, um... goes forth. Into... some manner of... um cloudy desert.

I kid. I kid. I know that not ever book gets its own tailor-made cover. By now, when a version of my book comes out with a cover that's obviously a piece of stock-art, I feel like it's one of my kids coming up to me and saying. "Guess what happened today? I went out and fought a dragon, and met a guy with a nipple ring, and I rode an elephant, and it was really cool!" I know it's not the truth, but it's still my kid, and I can't be too upset. I'm just glad he's out there, meeting new people.

The other thing I do is make up little stories that go along with the cover. For this one the story would be:

Kvothe strode through the dread portal, leaning heavily on his staff. A lesser man might have been concerned by the skulls, or been anxious about the unnatural weather that loomed on the near horizon.

But Kvothe was made of sterner stuff than this, and his thoughts dwelled on ponderous matters: "My hat," he thought to himself. "is certainly pointy. But is it pointy enough to impress the Archduke Isigniglidir?"

This morning he had been so sure, but now, looking at the Archduke's tower, Kvothe worried. This was obviously a man who was not fond of half-measures where pointy was concerned. Kvothe also wondered if it might also explain why the Archduke's new wife seemed so dissatisfied in her letter. "The tower." She had written. "Should have been my first clue."

Go on, take a stab at it yourself in the comments section. It's tons of fun.

pat

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Monday, January 5, 2009
Fromage a Trois.

Hello there everyone. I've retreated to my man cave for a while to work on book two. To entertain you in the meantime, here's one of the College Survival Guide columns I used to write for the local paper.

Dear Pat,

I recently had a rough relationship with a friend.

Actually, I was punch-drunk in love with the guy. We were on the verge of dating and did typical things like talking for hours on the phone, hanging out together, flirting, and beyond.

Everything was going great, but no one was making the first move even though we had talked about dating. When he finally asked me out, I later found out that he already had a girlfriend and was playing me the whole time. As you can imagine, I was angry with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns.

Anyway, the next time we hung out I desperately wanted to ask if the rumors were true, but I never did. As the day went on, I kept thinking about all the lies this guy had told me and couldn't imagine how anyone could be so heartless. Well, he kept making fun of me about one thing or another and I finally snapped. At the time, I was holding a one pound block of Colby cheese and this guy wasn't quick enough to take cover. I had no intention of severely hurting him, but I've never seen someone go down that hard! I nailed him right in the kidney so it took him a few minutes to recover. I felt pretty bad afterwards, but he was feeling better the next day.

So now that the story is out of the way, I can ask you my question. Should I feel bad now that this guy has a giant bruise and will probably be peeing blood for the next month?

Sincerely,
Kristin

Only in Wisconsin could we have a problem like this: cheese-related domestic
abuse.

Come to think of it, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few Wisconsin laws on the books relating to cheese-specific crime. Wouldn't that make a great CSI spin-off? "This week on CSI - Dairyland: our heroes struggle to unravel a baffling second-degree lacticide...."

First, I have to say that this letter cracked me up, Kristin. The funniest one I've gotten in a long while. This is because it contains the two fundamental elements necessary for comedy:

1) Something horrible happening to someone else.


Mel Brooks said it best, "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die." There's something buried deep in our brains that makes us enjoy the traumatic suffering of strangers.

It's not a pleasant thing to think about, but it's true. Think of every joke you've ever laughed at. 99% of the time what makes you laugh is something horrible. If a joke begins "An American, a German, and a Norwegian go fishing…." You already know the end. We end up laughing at the Norwegian because of his stupidity, or because something horrible happens to him. Or both.
Don't believe me? Think about every Loony Tunes cartoon you've ever watched, or any episode of America's Funniest Home Videos.


Still, don't believe me? Check this out.


Case closed.

2) An element of the ridiculous.

Ridiculous things are funny. Like a monkey wearing a dress, or a clown having sex, or an English major with a job. In this letter, the ridiculous element is a girl is kicking a guy's ass with a chunk of cheese: pure comedy gold.


I mention all of this because the humor of this letter really obscures the issue. So let me present a different, humor-free scenario:

There's a guy and a girl. They hang out, flirt, "and beyond" doing the relationship dance. Later, the guy finds out that the girl already has a boyfriend. She's been lying to him and leading him on, and generally taking advantage of his trusting nature.

So the next time they're together, the guy is seething mad. He keeps it under control for a while, but eventually a comment makes him lose his cool. So he takes whatever is in his hand: a coffee mug, a wrench… whatever. Then he hits her with it. Hits her so hard that she falls down and can't get up for several minutes.


Now the question: should the guy feel bad? Seems pretty straightforward to me.


So yeah, Kristin, you should feel bad. Because, when all's said and done, you took something non-violent and made it violent. Someone hurt your feelings and you hurt their body. And ultimately, it doesn't matter that he's a guy and you're a girl. It doesn't matter if you use a wedge of gouda or a baseball bat. It doesn't matter that he seems to be, on all accounts, a total prick. That's just not a good thing. Feel bad. Apologize.

Now I'm not saying that what he did was any better. He abused your trust, and, in my opinion, that warrants him a severe, figurative, ass-kicking of some sort.

Unfortunately, you've forfeited your right to creative revenge by opening up the can of whoop-ass on him. Too bad, I could have written a great how-to get revenge column for all the jaded lovers out there. Oh well.

Oh Survival Guide, how I miss you....

What do you think, folks. If I offered to write new advice columns here on the blog, would anyone be interested? Let me know in the comments below.

Be good,

pat

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Thursday, January 1, 2009
California Here I Come....
For anyone who is interested, here's the details for the book signing I'll be doing in Pasadena in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, January 17th. 3:00

Borders
475 S. Lake Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101

As usual, I'll be doing a reading/Q&A followed by a signing.

I should have posted up this information weeks ago, but the fundraiser and the holiday slowed me down. If you know anyone in the area who you think would be interested, could you do me a favor and let them know? I hate it when I get back from one of these signings, post a blog about it, and then five people make comments like, "I didn't know you're were going to be in my hometown!!!1!"

Back to work on book two for me,

pat

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