A geeky girl living in the big city, making her way, the only way she knows how... no wait, that's The Dukes of Hazzard. Who am I again? Oh yeah, a pop culture obsessed writer, publishing person, and occasional nerd. And I'm getting married. I talk about that, too.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Everything it was cracked up to be

So, the Harlem Snowflake and I saw "Stick It" today, which was huge fun for both of us. I mean, she went a lot further in competitive gymnastics (best line of the movie: "It's not called gym-nice-stics.") that I did, but I did some in middle school, so we could both sit there and go, "Yeah, that would never happen." Didn't keep us from cheering when it did happen though, or crying, or clapping and shouting. Freakin' awesome.

And then I came home, got my little beach chair all arranged on my balcony (i.e. fire escape) and wrote my piece for Storyball, once I finally got an idea, and then, when the sun moved behind a building and it got a little chilly, moved back inside to read a manuscript for work. About, coicidentally enough, a blogger. Heh. I think I have a little experience with THAT.

Although the main character got a movie person interested in her story a lot quicker than I have, I can tell you that. Unless the guy who's going to make me famous beyond my wildest dreams is just lurking?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Ah well. Watched "Veronica Mars" tonight, since UPN saw fit to pre-empt it for basketball on Tuesday (I know!), and now waiting for a mission to get started in CoH. That is all.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Not entirely proud of myself...

But I kinda sorta avoided a lot of actual work this week in favor of finishing up a short story (well, 6,000 words) for a contest, as well as posting for Storyball. And I say that without having even started the piece for the round due today. I'm hoping to get to that tomorrow.

Tonight, after what you'll see has been a very hectic work week (well, I did have a lot of meetings, and the "Opal Mehta" brouhaha kept things interesting), I am looking forward to going home, getting a chicken roll from the corner pizza place, getting caught up on some TV, and logging all my CoH toons in for the 2nd Anniversary badge. I got Noelle all dressed up last night in a Silver Age-y costume, putting her in a mask for the first time ever. Barely looks like her. Wacky. Neither Slip nor Sath are party people, so I doubt I'll do anything with them other than happily accept the free costume token, and I just did Ginger for her level 20 new outfit, so I'm not sure I want to mess with that yet. And there's NO WAY Sophie'll put on spandex. Heh.

Oh, but I am so looking forward to going to see this with the lovely Harlem Snowflake this weekend. It's going to be so great. So great!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

And speaking of "HtDaS"...

I'm working on what I hope will be the final round of revisions of the proposal, and spoke to the agent I'm working with about possible blurbers. There's a couple of people I've thought of recently that I'd LOVE to have comment on the book, folks like Regina Lynn, who writes a sex column for Wired magazine, and Annalee Newitz, who writes for Alternet, and is editing that anthology called "She's Such a Geek," for which I submitted "Footsie and Fangs," though it was not chosen. Also, I saw a book being published in January 2007 by Simon Spotlight called "The Joy Of Text" by Kristina Grish, who it would be interesting to hear from, as well as Suzanne Schlosberg, whose book "The Curse of the Singles Table" I loved, and Jennifer Cox, who wrote "Around the World in 80 Dates."

Anyway, the point of this was to ask my devoted readers if you can think of anyone else I might want to contact. I'm taking suggestions!!

How Opal Mehta got caught cheating...

The latest brouhaha to hit the publishing world this week is the tale of Harvard student and teen writer Kaavya Viswanathan, whose recently published book How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life is the subject of accusations of plagiarism from Megan McCafferty's Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings. The story first broke in the Harvard Crimson, and spread quickly. GalleyCat does a good job of summarizing it, at least as of Tuesday. Since then, they've posted even more follow-ups (I got bored linking, but there's even more. Poke around yerself). Another site offers a handy pdf of the more than 40 passages being sited as proof, and Katie Couric got into it with the author this morning on the Today Show (click on "Teen author denies intentional copying"), and it seemed had the author on the verge of tears. Meg Cabot, one of my favorite bloggers and authors, also commented on her site, and I'm sure there's even more.

I had lunch with a friend, also in publishing, and we spent a good portion of our hour talking about this, and I've spoken with other folks in the biz, and no one -- NO ONE -- thinks Viswanathan did this "unconsciously." Where the matter seems to get a little more murky is whether 17th Street, the book's packager, may have contributed to the case, intentionally or no, or whether their editors are just another line of readers that missed the plagiarism.

It's all pretty fascinating, and despite comparisons to the Oprah/James Frey scandal, seems a lot more clear-cut, at least to me. Embellishing your life is one thing, copying someone else's quite another. And what I hate is the idea that, like the James Frey thing having an impact on memoir writers (hello, HtDaS! I haven't forgotten you!), this may negatively impact other authors who've worked in connection with 17th Street. Good authors, great authors, who sweated and toiled over every word of their original works, and may be tainted with the same brush as Viswanathan.

I hope not.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Wide scale decapitations on Park Avenue!

Oh, the horrors, the horrors!!

Apparently, while I was off for the weekend getting sun (only on one arm, granted, but still!), New York was hit by a tulip-hating rainstorm that decapitated all the pretty flowers that make Park Avenue so park-like. Say it with me now: Awwwww...

In other photo-related news, check it out! It's the swanky, sexy cover of "Sex and Music."

And for your blog-reading pleasure, may I introduce the one, the only, the sometimes Guest Blogger.... (drumroll, please)... Keeley!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to work.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Breaking the silence momentarily

To get this out to the public.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go again. Don't let the Scientologists get you down!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Stepping off the blogosphere

Just a quick note that I'm going to be out of touch for a few days -- I'm heading out to California to be with Tom and Katie and little Suri, and of course hoping to drop in and see Brooke and little Grier as well. If I can be the catalyst to get those families talking again, to help facilitate the inevitable "Simple Life" redux, then I'll consider my time on this planet worthwhile.

I know, I know, I know, you weren't aware of my close ties with the Cruise/Holmes and Shields families, but... well, they don't have blogs, so how would you know if I can't link to them?

So excuse me while I jet off to West Coast. Back on Monday. Ciao!

(Then again, maybe I'll just going away for a long weekend to visit friends, and not planning on checking email or blogging. But really, isn't that the same thing?)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam

Read this article yesterday, which got me thinking about some of my favorite spam emails. Most of them come through to my office -- lucky me! -- but are trapped by a service we use which then emails me daily to see if any of them are actual legitimate emails. Which is great, since as I've proselytized any number of times, I'd rather be sure that I'm getting all my email, than worry that some unknown blocker is keeping manuscripts and submissions and offers from me. Anyway, for your reading pleasure on a sunny spring day, selections from my spam filter:

  • Choose Now Fiction or Reality! Fiction please. I hate Reality.
  • Full of Health? Then Don't Click! Well, I do have this tickle in my throat...
  • Tired of Forgetting? Wait, what was I doing again?
  • Kate, Your Cable Bill is Too High! I know, right?
  • I Got Here... So Can You! Yes, well I hope I can get a message to my own inbox.
  • We cure any desease! Can you fix my rampant case of typo?
  • YOUR CABLE BILL IS TOO HIGH I said I know already, but I need my DVR!
  • What IS 0EM Software And Why D0 You Care? Actually, I don't care.
  • tired of working for someone ? Who isn't?
  • Kate, Find singles over thirty looking for love Ah, sweet. On the internet? Who does that?

Heh. Anyway, that little glance into my spam mail filter sponsored by PayPal and ChaseManhattan, who are so very concerned about my nonexistent accounts with them.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Of bunnies and eggs

I tried to post a cute picture of my little munchkins (my nephew and two nieces) yesterday, but couldn't get a consistent signal in the wilds of New Jersey to send the picture message to my blog. Anyway, yesterday with another beautiful Spring day, and the roomie and I took the train out to my sister's newly renovated house, for dinner. First, we were put to work assembling and then hiding 60 Easter Eggs, after which we were allowed to enjoy the chocolate-y spoils. (And not, in fact, spoiled chocolate, which isn't enjoyable in the least.)

My sister was also very happy to show the whole family around the additions to her house -- besides a kitchen bigger than my old studio apartment, easily, her new closet in the master bedroom would almost certainly quality as a bedroom in NYC. Heck, I think it's bigger than the roomie's bedroom now! She has a shower that would fit a dozen people, it seems, and a jacuzzi tub for multiples as well. Every once in a while I suffer from twinges of spatial envy...

Not too bad getting back to work today, even after a lovely long weekend. Can't seem to find any correspondence on one of the manuscripts I read this weekend, which is a little odd, since I'm usually quite good about tracking submissions. And besides my annual cocktail party planning, for which I'm waiting on a menu from our caterer, we had a nice office lunch today with a couple of editors, and are having an afternoon meeting in about another hour where I believe we'll have pastry treats. My job is yummy.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Truth About Cats and Dogs

Today being a particularly beautiful Spring day, after a nice lie-in and a piece of crumb cake, I packed a backpack with a couple of manuscripts, a magazine, a bottle of water, and my phone, and the roomie and I wandered over to the East River, to the park there where they have not one, but two dog parks. One for the little guys, and one for the bigger ones. And well, we just watched. So cute. So adorable. A live action version of Animal Planet.

After we got our fill of the cuteness, he wandered off home, or elsewhere, and I sat on a bench in the sun with my reading and enjoyed the weather, and people watching. I love people watching.

Oh, but to tie this all back into the title above -- I never used to worry too much about whether I was a cat or a dog person. I mean, we didn't have either when I was growing up. Mom was scared of dogs, so they were out, and the closest I got to a cat when I was a child was the neighbor's little black one, which would come around to our back door, and mom would let me put out a bowl of milk for it, and then it would stand up on its little hind legs and lick my face with its cute, pink, scratchy tongue. When I went to college, and was off living on my own for the first time ever, I had a roommate who had two horribly trained cats, and besides being when I discovered my allergies to them, that was also when I got a first hand experience of what cat piss was like in places you really didn't want to have cat piss. Ahem. Ick.

Dogs, though. Dogs I still find cute. I wouldn't want to keep a dog in the city, though -- it just seems cruel to me to keep them in the tiny apartments we can consider home. Dogs should be able to run around and play. And don't even get me started on the silly looking dogs that ridiculous women keep in their purses. That's just wrong.

But looking at the puppies today, out playing with each other in the park... cute, I tell you. And so, I think I'm putting myself firmly on the "dog" side of the cats vs. dogs debate.

As long as I don't have to pick up their poop.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

"Lestat" sucks.

No, really. It sucks. Don't waste a single cent or an iota of your time on it. My friend and I who went to see it last night walked out at the intermission. I've never done that before. Never. As an introduction to the earnest suckiness of it all, I present unto you Anne Rice's bio from the Playbill (she is credited for the Source Material):
The bio of an artist such as Anne Rice (b. 1941) can only be truly understood in the context of the author's personal testimony - her vast body of work. Each beloved character, iridescently animated and virtually manifested before our eyes, witnesses its creator's experience in triumph and in sorrow in searching for some semblance of Happy Peace. From the pangs of Louis' utter solitude to Claudia's untimely demise to Lestat's wickedly bedazzling smile, the author's life permeates each page with such ardor that one could only blush at being so exposed. But Anne Rice gives herself - her life in full - as a gift to the world in every spellbinding chapter, every carefully turned page, every meaningful word; mere footprints of a life lived in art. A native of New Orleans now residing in the California desert, she is the author of 27 books, which include The Vampire Chronicles, The Witching Hour, Cry to Heaven, and Violin. Rice's latest novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, is the beginning of her literary contribution to Christian art.
I just... and there's... and she... *sigh* I wish I could get back the hours I've spent reading her books. Sure, some of the early ones were entertaining, but her writing's just gotten so bloated, and too full of her own self-importance, that the stories themselves are long past left at the wayside.

Which was a part of my problem with "Lestat." Not only was the music entirely unmemorable, and giggleworthy, with songs such as "Beautiful Boy," "The Thirst," "Make Me As You Are," and "The Crimson Kiss," but it was all played with such a dreadfully serious sense of earnestness, such high-mindedness, like no one ever stopped the creators and said, "Hey. Uh... you guys know you're making a vampire musical, right? Vampires." Because you have to admit that there's going to be a level of campy, and if you go with it, then maybe you end up with some light entertainment. But if you're convinced you're making A.R.T. then you end up with dreck.

In my opinion, at least.

I wish I'd had a better experience with vampire musicals. But even Dracula was more fun to see. Hell, we made it through the whole thing, so it must have been. I think part of it, even for a fan of vampire entertainment such as myself, is that the medium of the Broadway musical is just too in-your-face for the genre. In a movie, or on tv, it's a lot easier to ignore the behind the scenes pyrotechnics and special effects. On the stage, it's harder to be blind to the wires and the trapdoors and the giant screens behind the actors showing video footage of blood cells.

Oh man, I have to go lie down now. It's all too, too much.

What's the worst thing you've ever seen on stage?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

This Just In!

One of my blogging compatriots just shared this message sent to his coworkers in Bangalore:
Due to the death of a famous film star, Raj Kumar, riots are starting to break out in the city. Everyone has been asked to stay at the building until they know that it is safe to leave. As a result, the state has declared a holiday tomorrow in addition to the Good Friday holiday.
Now, though I'd think if our city was going to riot over the death of a star, it would have already done it over Don Knotts' passing, still, I have one important question:

Are we going to get a day off when Tom Cruise's baby is born?

Hubbard. Little Hubbard. Wee Little Hubbard. Wee Little "Got a Cra-zee Dad" Hubbard Holmes-Cruise.

Because honestly, who's going to be doing any work? Not me. All the women wil be muttering about how the Scientologists are making poor Katie give birth in silence, the parents are all going be alarmed at the thought of not talking to the wee one for a week after it's born, the guys will be trying to convince themselves that "No, he's not gay. See? He had a kid!" -- it just goes on and on and on.

Anyway, I think we should get our elected officials on board with this. Who's with me?

P.S. Go read the adventures of the time-traveling MJ. You'll laugh.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Something like a literary review

So, I was watching the Sci Fi channel the other day, enjoying the cuteness that is the new Doctor Who, and the roomie and I were flummoxed by SciFi's commercials for a new cheesy looking fantasy movie called "Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King," which was being promo'ed as a precursor to "Lord of the Rings" and "The Chronicles of Narnia." To which the roomie and I said, "Wha?" (having never heard of the Dragon King.) But my good ole bible of all things pop culture-y, Entertainment Weekly was good enough to enlighten us -- The Dragon King story is based on the Nibelungenlied, or the Ring of the Nibelung, aka the story on which Wagner's Ring cycle is based. So, ok, it is old. The movie still looked damn cheesy though.

Anyway, the reaason I bring this up today, a week or more after the movie aired on basic cable, is I was having a really nice lunch with a bunch of folks from my office, and the topic of baby names came up -- not all that unusual, since we were out with two pregnant women, one of whom we were treating to a "not-shower" lunch. The lone guy with us was joking about suggesting Viking names, and I burst out with "Freya," and he bounced all over that. "That's great. What is that? How do you spell it?"

I pulled from my limited knowledge of Norse mythology, remarked that I thought she was the Norse verison of Aphrodite, which she is, or at least the goddess of love and sex (and battle!). And this, roundaboutaways, led back to the reason why I knew about her, which I thought I could trace back to a college class where we read the classic retelling of the Ring story. Which I recommended to my coworker, and he's going to go get from the library.

So you see? My job's not all about having to recommend books I really don't like. Really. Sometimes there's good stuff.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Feels kinda like accomplishment

Although I never quite managed to change out of my pajamas today, I do feel like I got quite a lot done over the course of the weekend. Some minor stuff (caught up on my tv-watching), some more creative (Storyball -- really pleased with my second round story, and the "dark" place I went), and some social (saw a college friend on Saturday for dinner, hung out in game with more fun folks today). So, all good stuff. I still have some reading to do for work, which I'll do now while dinner's cooking, but in the meantime I figured I'd put up one of my favorite pics from the BBVD concert on Thursday.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sometimes, you don't see.

Doyce just put up a really great NY moment story that I wanted to share. My local readers will recognize this feeling:
Everyone is listening.

Not... hearing the words. I don't mean that. Even though his voice is strong and deep like a river, it cannot be made out at the other end of the car. They are listening to him speak - simply to the fact that he is making words, not what they are - at the same time, everyone is trying to act like they are not listening.
It's a very NY thing, I think, that oh so very obvious not paying attention to someone. Maybe it's the preacher in the middle of the crowded car, or the handsy lovers leaning up against the doors, or the vaguely familiar looking bald woman (?) sitting across from you. But we all do it. And it's nice, every once in a while, to let an out-of-towner crack the shell of indifference and point at something, and say, "Hey. Isn't that neat?"

It is neat.

Something about a Friday

Wow, yeah. I am so not getting any real work done. None. Nada. It's, what? Almost 1pm, and I have had several email and chat conversations with friends, walked around the office, ate breakfast at my desk, drank two Snapples, read all my daily blogs (Yay! Veiled Conceit finally got updated!), chatted some more, read a few articles on Wired.com, played around with images on Gtalk, showed off to a friend all my pictures from the BBVD concert last night, and sent a bunch of text messages. Note, please, how I do not mention anything work-related. Ok, fine, some of the chatting was with a client, and some was with an editor, but it mostly wasn't work related. Mostly.

Ok, fine, I'm being somewhat productive. But not really.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some more time to waste before lunch.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Email's down...

... My work email, that is, and I'm actually enjoying being released from the tyranny of my inbox. Of course, I still have my personal email address to check, so I'm not entirely tyrant-free.

In other news, as you'll see below, I figured out a way to answer my own technical question. Tell me what you think!

Oh, and I found out yesterday that Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is playing tonight at B.B. King's, so I'm looking forward to hearing them. Got an extra ticket, in fact, or sort of -- anyone in the area want to come with me? I still have some calls to make to ask people, so it may go fast, but I figured I'd put it out there.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Came upon the little guy this morning, waiting for his turn in the bathroom. We had a brief conversation, and he agreed to move out. I think he'll be happier. I know we'll be, though he was AWFULLY cute.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

New roommate

Got a friendly, fuzzy new roommate. I've named him Chester, in honor of The Cricket in Times Square. Not that he's a cricket though. He's a mouse. Kinda cute, and no doubt soft and cuddly, but hopefully not a permanent new resident of our little apartment. We have spread peanut butter in a trap in one room, and put some more in the bottom of a shoebox, and I'm hoping he'll choose the non-lethal snack, so we can bring him outside and release him. As much as I don't want to see a live mousey hanging out with me in our living room, I really don't want to find a dead one.

Technical question, again

Hi. Me again with a technical question I'm sure I've bothered folks about before. I finally thought I had it figured out, but then I came up against another stumbling block. What the hell am I talking about, you wonder. Well, for ages and ages now I've wanted to do a little sidebar-y link thing over there on the right with a list of books I've recently read. I want to call it... (wait for it)... "Recent Reads." And I thought it would be cool to have images there too, of book covers or author photos, or whatever. But I don't want to have to go into blogger and update the template every time I read a new book.

I thought I might be able to just get a new blogroll, but I can only apparently have one blogroll at a time. Wah. So... does anyone know if there are other useful listy things out there I can use? Thanks!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Photo Poetry

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o'er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:-
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company:
I gazed-and gazed-but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

Poem by William Wordsworth, photo by me.

"Now, as everyone knows, leeches are nature's..."

Had another great if tiring weekend, which happily included catching up on all the tv I missed last week, finally seeing "Mystery Men," which has been quoted to me so extensively (and yes, it must be said, "We struck down evil with the Mighty Sword of Teamwork and the Hammer of Not Bickering" is a great line), having a bunch of people over to the apartment on Saturday for games night -- Pass the Bomb, Are You a Werewolf?, Bang!, The Adventure of Baron Munchhausen (from which came one of the night's BEST lines, as begun above), and Junglesomething -- then seeing Charlotte Martin live at the Knitting Factory last night, and having some really great meals, including a brunch at Norma's at Le Parker Meridien that I cannot recommend too highly.

Did a bit of showing off around NYC, too, and went into the New York Public Library's main branch for the very first time, which was beautiful, and I must remember to grab my laptop and head over to the Main Reading Room there sometime for some writing. It's awe-inspiring. Although, if I were running from a flash freeze, I might run for the high rise office building across the street instead. I mean -- countless bins of recyclable paper to burn to stay warm, probably a bunch of snack foods in office drones' desk, or at least coffee, and knowing how office buildings' temperatures are so wacky, probably lots of extra clothes and blankets. But what do I know? The library was pretty.

Today I'm working on my first piece for the new Storyball, which is due today, of course, and though it bears a superficial similarity to one of the already posted pieces in the first round, in my defense, I told it to someone this weekend before I read anybody's else's, so I canna be accused of copying! *grins* Besides, as I said, it's different enough, and the setting being what it is, I think a few common themes are to be expected. Which is all I will say for now because I realize we didn't discuss whether or not this was "top sekrit" (a wonderful spelling I'm totally stealing from others!), and I don't wanna get in trouble with the rest of the Storyballers.