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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Well, I'm glad that someone picked up on my hint!

Tell us about some family traditions of personal rituals you practice. This could be holiday related (streaking through Central Park wearing nothing but a garland and a smile on Christmas Eve), or simply day to day bits of how you get your day on (32 brushes up and down, 32 side to side, for each tooth: 4 minutes, 42 seconds). Post it here or blog it elsewhere. It's all good.

Since I was a child unpacking my mom-made lunches in the cavernous auditorium of my Catholic grammar school, I always set up a midday meal in the same arrangement. Sandwich in the middle, optimally on the center of a piece of waxed paper, drink in the top right corner of the setting, and snack or dessert in the top left corner. Yes, maybe it's a little complusive, but's worked for 20-odd years, so why change things now?

As for more specific holiday-related cermonies, I go to midnight mass with my mom on Christmas Eve, and in the morning, whether I'm the first one awake (when I was a kid) or the last one (now), I'm always the one begging to start opening presents. We start with the stockings, which are all hung on the breakfront (we don't have a chimney or mantle), then, after everyone's opened and shown off their booty, we move into the living room to open the ones under the tree. Which takes a ridiculously long amount of time, since we all insist on seeing everything that everyone receives, so it's basically one present being opened at a time, for a family of approximately 12, give or take a spouse, partner, or child.

Oh! And on St. Patrick's Day I get green carnations. My dad used to always buy us green carnations to wear, and it's a tradition I really like. This year, I got a whole bouquet of 'em!

And on Valentine's Day, people give me presents. Ain't that cool?


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Can't... do... it...

So, I've been struggling through Adverbs by Daniel Handler since my last trip home from Denver (only a week and a half ago, but still!). Each chapter is a short story entitled with an adverb, and each story is about love, somehow, with a cast of characters that moves from story to story, playing big roles in some and smaller roles in others. So you'd think I'd like it, given its similarities in style to our Storyballs. And for the fact that Daniel Handler is the real name of the pseudonyminous Lemony Snicket, who, if nothing else, can write some fun, silly, page-turners.

But this? Does NOTHING for me. I should have given up when I saw the blurb on the jacket from Dave Eggers. That should have been enough of a clue for me. Although, this essay on the Powells site is another clue. I quote:
Why are stories of other people meeting and falling in love invariably tedious?
But I didn't, and I've toted it around in my bag for AGES now, finding anything to do other than read it, including watching "The Ghost Whisperer," if you can believe that (My sister was watching it. It's not entirely like I CHOSE to watch CBS). And so, I'm giving up on it. Adverbs won't make it to the Recent Reads list, and I can dive into The Prestige.


Exciting things and Ideas

Spent some time this morning (ok, most of the morning) catching up on my blog-reading, had a great lunch with a fellow foreign rights agent/literary agent at one of my favorite restaurants, and am caught up on my reading for Writers Group tonight, so I figure it's well past time for an update of my own.

The most exciting thing to happen recently concerns our new apartment -- we got the keys last night, and I've called the movers and the cable guy, so things are coming along. But also extremely exciting is that I've been asked to participate in the SCBWI Winter Conference as a faculty member, leading a roundtable discussion of authors' material at the pre-conference Writers' Intensive Day on Friday, February 9th. I imagine this as a big room with lots of round tables in it, like the Arthurian court in a mirror maze. (But without the GIANT HANDS!) I'll just be one of many, but I'm really looking forward to it.

... And I ran out of things to talk about.

But oh! Doyce was raving about this book called No One Cares What You Had For Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog and I think he should share some of the ideas about what bloggers should write about, and we can all participate. Like, one of the ideas was to write about an interesting scar that you have, and we can all do that. It'll be like an ever-changing meme! And of course, we'll all have to give credit to the (no doubt) brilliant comer-upper of the ideas, Mighty Girl. We can do that, right? After all, she also talks about shopping. And in this run up to Christmas, we all need more ideas, right?

(Also, did ya see how I turned this into something someone else needs to do? I'm a cunning monkey.)

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Holiday Miscellanea

After a half day at the office, I'm about to eat some lunch, waiting for my laundry to be done, with my bag packed to head up to my mom's for the holiday weekend. I have a pile of manuscripts, magazines, and queries to read, so in an effort to be diligent and actually get them done, I won't be bringing my laptop. I'm not so much worried about the email that will pile up, and the blogs I won't be reading, but I've gotten very dependant on the eTools aspect of Weight Watchers, and without the computer to track my food intake, I'll be reduced to doing it my hand. Still, I've managed before and I will do so again.

And how's it going?, you ask. Well, as of this week, I'm delighted to officially say that I've lost more than 40 pounds. All my clothes are pretty much big on me now, even some of the stuff I bought right before I went to Germany only a month and a half ago. So yeah, I think I'll be doing some shopping this Black Friday. Perish the thought.

Anyway, wishing all my readers a happy, healthy, friend-filled Thanksgiving Day, whether your turkey is roasted, fried, faux, or other. Gobble, gobble!

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Day!

You know it's going to be a good day when the mariachi band in your subway car in the morning is actually entertaining.

Yesterday was a bit of a blur, a long, somewhat sleep-deprived blur, since I left Denver around midnight on Sunday, had a fitful couple of naps on the plane back home, grabbed a cab back to the apartment for another fitful nap with odd dreams, and pulled myself through a day at the office with the aid only of three cans of soda. God bless caffeine!

I did manage to rally after work, heading home to eat and shower before meeting the erstwhile Blatantly Cody at the publishing reception of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, held at the Society of Illustrators, which was a really cool space, with galleries I'd love to go back and spend some more time looking at someday. Then, it was home to watch Heroes and Studio 60, and finally to the warm, delicious comfort of my cozy bed. Ah!

Today, though, is an exciting day. The roomie and I are heading once more unto the breach (or across the East River, as it may be) to Astoria to sign our new lease, and I think we've figured out all the specifics of exactly when we're going to move. Which means calls to make to our current landlord, movers, cable guy, gas and electric, etc. And that I really need to knuckle down and start some serious packing. Or actually get rid of the bags and bags of clothes I've purged from my closet and dresser to give to Housing Works. Still, it's happening! Yay!

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

So pretty!

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Driving along in my automobile...

Do doot do doot do doot do doot...

Actually, I'm out here in Colorado again, and since Doyce had to go into his downtown office this morning, I dropped him off at the light rail and have enjoyed the use of his car (and carefully detailed hand-drawn map) today. Ran some errands -- marveled at everything I want to buy at Target, got perhaps overly ambitious in a crafty project at Michael's -- and even managed to finally post my third round story for Storyball, only four days late. Go me!

Meeting some friends for dinner and a movie tonight, which should be fun. Oh!! And yesterday, while I was killing some time after lunch and before Doyce was ready to leave work, I went into a Banana Republic (yes, they call to me with their siren song. So shoot me!) and tried on a bunch of pants. And they fit! Size 10 skinny jeans. Says so right on the label. Wooohooo!

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Thursday, November 16, 2006


Words cannot begin to express the depth of my desire for this.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Early photos

So, the roomie and I went back out to Astoria last night to drop off the rest of the security deposit on our new apartment, and I brought it over to the landlord and was able to see the place again, without the crush of having to make a decision on it, as the decision's already been made! And, though I didn't have my nice camera, I was able to get a few shots from the camera phone, bearing in mind that the people who live there now are in the process of packing up and moving out, so it's a little messy. But you can get a sense of the place.

This is the outside. The building was built in 1932, so it's officially a pre-war building, with 6 units. We're on the top floor, with the front windows, on the right side (if you're looking at it).

This is the living room. The couch is probably going to stay, as is the fantasic color on the walls, which I love.

This will be my room. I don't know if you can see the color of the walls, but they're a great tan, which is set off really well by the white accents. I also love the door into the living room!

The kitchen. It's got a great double sink, with one side twice as deep as the other, and all new appliances. Hopefully, that butcher block will stick around too.
And my favorite, the bathroom. If that shower curtain doesn't stay I'll have to track down its duplicate, because it's perfect!

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Found a new apartment! Glee!!!

Still in the giving money stage, and haven't signed the lease yet, but thanks to our excellent credit reports, it all looks very very good. Moving party -- I mean, Holiday party --announcement to follow soon!


Monday, November 13, 2006

Remembering Popsicle

Went up to my mom's yesterday for a delicious home-cooked dinner and night at home with her and one of my sisters, watching tv and hanging out. As usual for a night in front of the tv there, the channel stayed mostly on CBS, which I just about NEVER watch on my own, except for on commercial breaks, when we watched the Giants lose their early lead to the Bears and get crushed.

This morning, up early and out to mass, which my mom had said in remembrance of my dad's 17th anniversary. Which, as a friend reminded me earlier, means my father's been dead for longer than I knew him alive. Which is a sobering, depressing fact. So I like to think of the good stuff, instead, especially today.

Him teaching me to dance by letting me stand on his feet as he waltzed me around the dining room table.

The flutter of his combover in the wind, and how I begged him to grow back his moustache.

His wide ties in blue and brown, no matter how many times we made fun of them.

His love of historical fiction, and how he'd do the New York Times crossword in pen.

How he used to say "it never rains on the golf course," even in a monsoon.

How much I love him, and miss him.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Apartment Hunt Update

The roomie and I spent most of yesterday and this afternoon out apartment hunting in Astoria, and though we didn't find anything perfect, I am feeling a lot more confident about our possibilities. We met with something like five different brokers, I think, and actually saw 4 or 5 different apartments. All nice, for a change, with some real possibilities to them, but nothing we couldn't stand to be without. We were able to find something in all of them we liked, and somethng in all of them that made our decision a "no." One was too far from a train, a couple were railroad setups that required walking through one bedroom to get out of the other, and one was just tiny. But still -- some real possibilities, and I feel confident that our price range is realistic, and that we'll find something by the time we need to. We're actually looking a little early, but because I'm going to be out of town next weekend, I'm glad we got the ball rolling already.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Earlier every year.

So, I KNOW it's early, but Christmas lists are on my mind, and there's early shopping to be done, so I'm delighted to present (in its completely random early form), a selection of possibly great gifts to buy for your favorite ktbuffy.
  1. A new apartment. No? Ok, how about this desk/bookshelf combination for a hopefully bigger, roomier apartment. I don't think there's a choice of colors, but I like the dark wood to match my bed and dresser.
  2. I love my J.Crew cashmere hoodie, and would LOVE another one. I have it in "heather carob" so any color other than that would rock. But not black. Or navy. Size medium, please.
  3. I need a new winter jacket, and I like this one from Lands End. The Weatherfield Diamond Quilted Jacket, in navy or khaki, I think. Again in medium, I think.
  4. Just about anything you want to find for me from Banana Republic. I like the Martin fit in pants, and this is a very pretty pencil skirt. Hopefully size 10.
  5. A docking system for my iPod. Something like this or this.
  6. I've got a friend who's handing down some barely used black stoneware dishes to replace my cracked everydayware, which means the colors of my kitchen will likely be changing, so feel free to contribute dishtowels, placemats, napkins, etc. with black accents. Black and what? you ask. No idea! Help me decide!
  7. With the new kitchen, I'd also love a new set of flatware. Nothing fancy. Just for everyday use. My heart's not set on anything specific.
  8. New sheets, in a basic go-with-everything color like tan or khaki. Again, simple (but a nice high thread count is a plus!)
  9. Looking for smaller things? Try this, this, or this! All of which I use regularly.
  10. Books and movies! I know, it seems impossible I could need any more, but I do. Check out the Amazon wish list for details.
    My Amazon.com Wish List

So there's a few ideas for ya. No pressure, and please don't consider this a plea for presents. It's just easier to put this up here and point peoples towards it than anything else. If you'd have no reason to get me a gift... Don't!

And so back to your regularly scheduled blogging.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

grumble, grumble

Feeling decidely nonplussed about our apartment search. Something needs to happen soon, but I don't think we're going to find what we're looking for on Craigslist, and we're trying to stay away from brokers (and their one-month's rent brokers fee) for as long as possible. I just want to see a place that satisfies all our requirements, have it fit in our budget, and be able to move in in December. Is that so much to ask?

I'm just grumbly.

Think I'll go home tonight and go through my closet, find some more stuff to donate. If nothing else, I'll hope to have less stuff to move. Whenever the move happens. If it happens.



Tuesday, November 07, 2006

How literate is this literary agent?

In 2005, Time magazine picked the 100 best English-language novels (1923-present). Mark the selections you have read in bold. If you liked it, add a star (*) in front of the title, if you didn't, give it a minus (-). Then, put the total number of books you've read in the subject line.

The Adventures of Augie March - Saul Bellow
All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
American Pastoral - Philip Roth
An American Tragedy - Theodore Dreiser
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Appointment in Samarra - John O'Hara
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - Judy Blume I can't remember. Maybe? Probably
The Assistant - Bernard Malamud
At Swim-Two-Birds - Flann O'Brien eh. Didn't Love it, didn't hate it. Odd
Atonement - Ian McEwan
-Beloved - Toni Morrison HATED it. And now that I think of it, I may have put it down unfinished.
The Berlin Stories - Christopher Isherwood
*The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood
Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
The Bridge of San Luis Rey - Thornton Wilder
Call It Sleep - Henry Roth
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger again, no real memory of loving or hating it. I suppose I liked it just fine, but it didn't change my life.
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
*The Confessions of Nat Turner - William Styron school assignment, but one I didn't mind.
The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
The Crying of Lot 49 - Thomas Pynchon
A Dance to the Music of Time - Anthony Powell
The Day of the Locust - Nathanael West
Death Comes for the Archbishop - Willa Cather
A Death in the Family - James Agee
The Death of the Heart - Elizabeth Bowen
Deliverance - James Dickey
Dog Soldiers - Robert Stone
Falconer - John Cheever
The French Lieutenant's Woman - John Fowles
The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing
Go Tell it on the Mountain - James Baldwin
*Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon
*The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Handful of Dust - Evelyn Waugh
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers
The Heart of the Matter - Graham Greene
Herzog - Saul Bellow
Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson
A House for Mr. Biswas - V.S. Naipaul
I, Claudius - Robert Graves
Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
Light in August - William Faulkner
*The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
-Lord of the Flies - William Golding Hated this. HATED! Still fear young boys on islands. Damn you and your conch shell!
*The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
Loving - Henry Green
Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis
The Man Who Loved Children - Christina Stead
Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
Money - Martin Amis
The Moviegoer - Walker Percy
Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
Naked Lunch - William Burroughs
Native Son - Richard Wright
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
1984 - George Orwell
On the Road - Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
The Painted Bird - Jerzy Kosinski
Pale Fire - Vladimir Nabokov
A Passage to India - E.M. Forster
Play It As It Lays - Joan Didion
Portnoy's Complaint - Philip Roth
Possession - A.S. Byatt
The Power and the Glory - Graham Greene
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
Rabbit, Run - John Updike
*Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow Great sweeping historical novel.
The Recognitions - William Gaddis
Red Harvest - Dashiell Hammett
Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
The Sheltering Sky - Paul Bowles
Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
The Sot-Weed Factor - John Barth
The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner
The Sportswriter - Richard Ford
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold - John le Carre I think? I read a lot of spy novels, pretty sure this was one of them.
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
*To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf
Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller
Ubik - Philip K. Dick
Under the Net - Iris Murdoch
Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry
*Watchmen - Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
White Noise - Don DeLillo
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys

Eeks! Only 15! What have I been reading all my life, if not THE BEST ENGLISH LANGUAGE NOVELS OF (most of) THE 20TH CENTURY? Also, why the 1923 cut-off? What's up with that, Time Magazine? Why the heavy emphasis on books written in the last two or three decades? Is someone feeling jealous of a certain New York Times list? Someone give me another list so I can feel better about myself.

Via ***Dave

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Writing again

With my first round Storyball piece finally done, if a little short, I'm feeling especially accomplished. I got up early to vote, hit a doctor's appointment before work, and have been powering through a stack of submissions. I finally feel like I'm getting things done again, like I'm not just plowing through unending piles of papers. My desk isn't anywhere near to being emptied, but I feel in control again, so there's that.

Anyway, the last couple of weeks have been crazy. My mom's birthday was a week ago, and we took her out for a big dinner at an Italian restaurant in midtown that was being picketed, for some reason or another. Bad enough I felt like a scab going in for our reservation -- I didn't try to ask the reason, especially not when someone else was paying. Out of the conversation that night came my often-thought but never before mentioned (to my family, at least) desire to see Cairo in the 1940s.

Yes, I know time travel's still impossible. It's just -- I'd like to see the pyramids, and the Sphinx, and take a riverboat down the Nile, and I've read so much about Cairo in the pre-War period, that's the impression I have of the country. That's when I'd like to see it, not now.

So, I got to thinking: where else, and when, would I like to see places? Can I come up with five? Can you?
  1. Cairo in the 1940s
  2. The highlands of Scotland, pre-Culloden
  3. Versailles, under Marie Antoinette (I'm very curious now!)
  4. Elizabethan/Shakespearian London, not during plague season
  5. Ancient Athens

Thoughts? Comments? Other suggestions?

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Or the Communists win.
Don't let this happen to you.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Storyballin' again

It being November once again, a group of us are tackling another Storyball for Nanowrimo. I, of course, am alreadyt wo days late in turning in my first story, so I'm sure I'm holding other people up for round two. But I'm hoping to write something I like enough to share with my writing group (nicknamed "The Fantastic Saloon"). Oh, and I have to revise my HtDaS proposal for an interested editor. So yeah, no pressure.

I think I'm going to go take another nap.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Tourist in NYC

So Doyce is in town again, which is delightful, and today we headed downtown via four subway trains and a bus to the Staten Island Ferry, where I was heartily disappointed on the ride OUT to Staten Island not to be able to stand outside, along a rail, buffeted by the wind with a warm cup of hot chocolate in my hand as we watched the Statue of Liberty appear and disappear along the starboard side of the ferry. I moped almost the whole way out to Staten Island, that it wasn't a real boat ride if you couldn't be out by the waves, merely a water bus. (Imagine that said with a high degree of disdain.) When we docked, we ran through the ferry terminal (as there's not good reason I can think of to actually stay in Staten Island) and caught the next ferry going BACK to Manhattan, which, thankfully, fulfilled all my rail-standing, wind-buffeted needs. Even though I finished my hot chocolate on the way out. And Doyce threw his against the glass in the ferry terminal before we even got on a boat. And so I took this picture.
Look kids! It's the Statue of Liberty!
Stopped by my sister's Tribeca apartment on the way home for a bathroom break and a couple of beers, then had a three-subway train trip home ("police investigation" at 28th Street caused honking long delay), and had yummy home-cooked dinner.

Tonight -- Doctor Who! Or another movie (watched Slither last night). Or Veronica Mars. The one thing I know is, there WILL be ice cream. And, as Martha would say, that's a good thing.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Blogfuel issues

Having issues with the "Recent Reads" section over on the sidebar there. Yesterday I noticed that instead of showing the ten most recent books I've read, from an Amazon list I made just for the purpose of keeping track of what I've read, it went back and started showing the first ten books I put up on the list. So the list as it's showing now is about 7 months out-of-date. I've got a question in to the blogfuel peoples, but as the website hasn't been updated in two years, who knows if they'll ever get back to me. Which I guess has me asking again if anyone knows other ways of keeping a booklist on your blog? Throwing the floor open for responses!

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Famous Person Sighting!

Also, I totally saw Philip Seymour Hoffman at my dermatologist's this morning. Like the suave New Yorker I am, I played it totally cool while in his immediate vicinity, then blabbed all about it as soon as he was gone.

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Not Dead Yet!

Good news for Aaron Sorkin fans!
Kevin Reilly, president of the [NBC] network, says he's 100% behind the show -- that's probably not exactly true, either, but he's sure putting his money where his mouth is: Studio 60's on every Monday during November sweeps.
Popwatch has the full story, with lots of links and snarkiness.

What other shows am I watching this season? Veronica Mars, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Lost, Heroes, Gilmore Girls, Ugly Betty, 30 Rock, My Name is Earl, and ER. Which went and changed its theme music on me. As did Veronica Mars, actually. Has anyone else noticed this? Does anyone else care? No? Just me, then.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Had a GREAT time yesterday trick-or-treating with the little munchkins, all dressed up in their Star Wars costumes, and then headed back into the city for an AWESOME party at Swing 46 with not one but two live swing bands. I need to distribute lots of pictures to lots of people, but in the meantime, here's some of my faves.

Look! I'm dancing!

So are other peoples!

Even people you don't expect to dance were cutting some serious rug
And then there's this one. Yes, that's all my real hair.

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