July 13th, 2011


Blackout 2011!

Last night shortly after 9 PM, two underground transformers exploded on my street in Crown Heights, hurling manhole covers and sending up roils of black smoke and occasional gouts of flame from the electrical fires below. Our building went into blackout, which resulted in some horror-movie running around in the dark in the hallways and basement as we tried to figure out first what was going on, and second, how to get our electronically operated front door to open so we wouldn't be trapped inside forever.

Ostensibly, the electronic magnet lock on our front door should release automatically when there's a blackout, but instead it did the opposite and stayed locked with no way to open the door short of cutting power to the lock at the circuit-breaker level, which we wound up doing, though not before passing fire fighters offered to smash the door with an axe for us (it's made of glass). Though we didn't take them up on their offer, the sight of fire fighters outside our locked-down building brought back poorly timed memories of the movie Quarantine and its Spanish precedent [Rec].

Finally outside, we saw it wasn't just our building but our whole block, St. Marks Avenue between Kingston and Albany, that was having a blackout. Later, from the roof, we could see the smoke billowing out of the blown manhole on the corner of St. Marks Avenue and Albany, and witnessed a sudden tall gout of flame that made the whole block scream and run back inside.

Knowing there was nothing else we could do, Alexa and I went to bed. The power came back on around 2 AM, which is extremely fast for something like this. Thanks, Con Edison! Now please upgrade the grid so it can actually handle an average city block's energy use on the hottest day of the summer, won't you?

My Readercon Schedule

Okay, I don't actually have a programming schedule for Readercon because I signed up too late, but I'm looking forward to this weekend so much that it hardly matters!

Alexa and I are taking an early morning Fung Wah bus from NYC's Chinatown to Boston, where we'll arrive in time to have lunch at our favorite Beantown restaurant (Maggiano's Little Italy!) and poke around a bit. Then it's the commuter rail to Worcester, where we'll meet up with mssrcrankypants, who is kind enough to let us stay with him during the convention. (Pssst, no one tell him about my uncontrollable sleep rages!)

Speaking of the convention, we'll get there Friday morning, and then the wandering around, saying hello to friends I don't see often, going to panels, signing books for my adoring readership (both of them!), and eating and drinking will commence, and last for three days.

The Shirley Jackson Awards will be given out on Sunday! It's going to be a tight race in the Novella category against some pretty stiff competition, so keep your fingers crossed that Chasing the Dragon wins.

Also, don't forget, the Monday after Readercon, July 18th, I'm doing a reading at the KGB Bar in NYC with Livia Llewellyn, Chesya Burke, and John Langan. Get there early for a good seat. These things get crowded fast, and you won't want to miss out!