Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Not my wedding gown!
The funny, and a reference
Finally watched a couple of season finales the other night, and now reading some TWOP recaps just for fun. Loved this bit about Lost
Jack tells Juliet not to do anything stupid; she smiles and says she won't if he won't. They kiss on the lips in full view of everyone (and a gawking Kate). You know in the book (or movie) The Princess Bride where the narrator in describing a kiss between Westley and Buttercup states, "Since the invention of the kiss there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure?" This was not one of them. It was more like if I slapped two rubber chickens together and claimed they were frenching.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Martinis and Manicures
Ack! I got tagged!
By Rob over at Laughing at the Pieces. What for? You ask. Only to list 8 things you may not know about me. Again, all sorts of caveats apply -- to some of you who may know me better than others these may not be all that earth-shattering, and friends from different times of my life may find the same. In any case, here goes!
- I broke my left elbow when I was 12, on December 5, 1995, doing gymnastics. ("It's not called Gym-nice-stics!" I went over a vault doing a relatively simple move, but failed to stick the landing, fell backwards, and bashed my elbow on the not-covered-up-by-a-mat metal support of the vault, basically, shearing off the little cap of my elbow. There was much pain, and I'm left with a honking big scar of about 24 staples and two pins. On the flip side, during the time I had my arm in a cast and couldn't participate in gym class, I got to spend my free period int he computer room, becoming a geek. Go me!
- In my adolescence, I wrote fan letters to The A-Team, Knight Rider, Francine Pascal, and Susan Kay, the author of a book called Phantom. Sub-fact: I was obsessed with The Phantom of the Opera. Not just the B'way musical, which I saw too many times to admit, but also with the book, and any movie version of the story I could find. Yes, I saw The Phantom of the Paradise.
- To take a cue from Rob, my childhood animal obsession was tigers. Yes, of course, I'm a girl, and I went through a pony phase, but I had nearly a dozen tiger stuffed animals, and for a long period, every toy store I went into was subjected to a tiger puppet search. To some degree, I still want a tiger hand puppet.
- I've cowritten erotica! (Ok, so this isn't news to a lot of my readers, but it would be to a lot of people who don't read the blog!) One story, already published in Sex and Music, and one forthcoming this summer.
- I once made a list of cities I thought of living in. Besides New York and London, both of which I've already done, the list included San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C. If I remade that list now, it would include Denver, of course. I'd cross off D.C., and likely give up on San Fran and Boston, which I've visited, at least. Other big cities I've visited: Frankfurt, Prague, Paris, Dublin, Galway, New Orleans, LA, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Memphis, and Santa Fe.
- To my regret, I don't keep in touch with a lot of my childhood and high school friends. Kelly, Kathy, Jen, Tami, Will, Joe, Andrea, Susan, and Janice -- I miss you guys! Christmas cards aren't enough. I'd love to track down those folks I've completely lost touch with, and be better about maintaining contact with those folks whose contact details I do have.
- I used to work at the New York Renaissance Faire, and once upon a time, was a certified Actor/Combatant in Single Sword, Rapier & Dagger, Sword & Shield, Knife, Unarmed, and Broadsword. I tested in a number of these weapons using scenes from Buffy, which I have to remember to ask a friend to transfer from VHS to digital video, so I can endlessly mock myself!
- I'm getting married in 318 days! And we have a wedding website (still in progress, and password-protected. Email me for the password if you want to see it).
Friday, May 25, 2007
Counting down the minutes until I head for the train down to the beach, and a (hopefully) relaxing weekend at the Shore. I decided not to run the Spring Lake 5 -- mostly because I never got my number, even though I'm listed as a runner, which I think has to do with some financial hoo-doo that took place earlier this year. Whoops! As well. I can't say I'm entirely disappointed not to have to wake up super early tomorrow to run 5 miles with several thousands better runners than me!
I am bringing down loads of manuscripts to read for work, as well as a couple of books and a few wedding and non-wedding magazines. My coworkers think I'm crazy to read on a holiday weekend, but I think I'll just feel too guilty ignoring the giant stack of submissions to really enjoy some beach reading.
Otherwise, my big plan for the weekend is to get lots of sleep, as much sun as I can manage, and come home early on Sunday evening to enjoy Monday in NYC. After all, it's Fleet Week!
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
3 Days / 3 Games
So last night marked my third tabletop RPG session in as many days. Have I gone over to the dark side of geekery? Well, maybe, but consider it a special occasion. Or series of occasions, as the case may be.
- Sunday. Primetime Adventures with Doyce and Margie and Dave, a new series we're calling "Ill Met By Gaslight," in which yours truly plays young London aristocrat Lady Octavia Debenham. Her fiance having mysteriously disappeared several years ago, just after the first Fae crossed over into Victorian England, she's spent the time since searching for answers -- and finding something, at least, in the lavishly appointed bedchamber of Winterstone, a Fae prince. On his advice, she meets Avebury and the rest of what will become Dept. M, as she uses her social contacts in the ton to find clues. Stay tuned!
- Monday. A D&D campaign run by Keeley that now finds our intrepid band of adventurers (Diggle's Trading Company Escort & Killing Service, perhaps?) aboard the Sea Wyvern, fighting off frogmen, doppelgangers, and finding ancient ruined statues, while my half-elven druid Terrami Orcaan cavorts in the sea with her pet shark Jules, occasionally turning into a shark herself, or bopping people on the head with a shilleagh.
- Tuesday. Tombstone with Jay, a special event marked by my new character Carey Boudreuil's unexpected survival. One tries not to get too attached, but it's hard not to love a twin pistoleer hitting on a 8 (on a deck of cards), nearly criting her paid man, and still managing to appear as the heroine of the piece, rescuing her baby nephew from some filthy, filthy Injuns. Oh yeah, did I mention she's a prejudiced Lost Sheep Southern Methodist with nocturnalism, claws, fangs, an inability to cast a reflection, and supernatural movement and senses? The fall of Atlanta was hard for this poor Southern belle!
In any case, this weekend finds this erstwhile geek at the Jersey Shore with a pile of manuscripts to read, possibly running a 5 mile race, and looking forward to getting some sleep. Yay!
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I found 'em!
Hooray, hooray, hooray!
When I was in England, I was in a colleague's home, and fell in love with a gorgeous wall hanging she had in her dining room. It looked like a spray of branches, but up close, turned out to be loads of smaller pieces all fit together in random ways. The best part? They're super-light plastic, so you can easily hang them from transparent fishing wire from the ceiling, as I'd like to do.
Well, I sent in a questions about them to Shelterrific, one of my favorite decorating sites, but didn't get an answer. Today, randomly, I decided to try googling them, without knowing exactly what they're called.
Well, apparently, they're Algues! Check it out.
The beautiful plant-like Algue element reproduces a delicate branching effect reminiscent of algae twigs. The individual elements are joined together, creating an airy and light structure that can be extended in all directions. The modular character offers many decorative and application possibilities. Thanks to 19 ring-like eyes at the end of their branches, algues can be easily joined together with small plastic pegs at one or several points. In this way, it is possible to construct interwoven structures of substantial dimensions. Potential configurations range from a delicate web that could be used in place of a curtain or as a trellis for climbing plants, to an impenetrably dense plastic hedge consisting of several layers of interconnected algues that serves as a room divider. The amorphous design lets Algue appear like a growing, natural object.I can get 50 for $200, which should totally work on the big wall in Doyce's living room. Picture when I get home of my colleague's wall, so you see what I mean.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Advice from an agent
From my query pile this morning, an extrapolated bit of advice:
Before you send out your query letter, read it aloud. Can you get through your mamouth first paragraph without wheezing for air? If not, consider sentence breaks. Consider them anyway. Reread the flap copy of some of your favorite books. Do you find yourself having to read the sentences twice to understand what's being said? Now compare that to your own query.
I wish I could post an excerpt from today's example, but it wouldn't be fair. Imagine the world's longest run on sentence and you'll start getting an idea.
Take that for what it's worth.
Also, appearing soon in sunny Los Angeles: A live version of "Advice from an Agent" at the SCBWI Summer Conference. I'd love my readers' help in prepping for my talk -- do you have any questions you desperately want answered about the business of publishing?
Random 10 Things I Wanted to Add
Doyce posted a recap of our weekend's adventures, to which I wanted to add a few thoughts:
- I love the colors in the newly redone Kaylee's bathroom. It was a blast taking hints of the previous decor (the shower curtain and curtain hooks, mostly), and hitting Home Depot to grab the perfect pale lemon color for the walls and an absolutely lovely green lineoleum tile (actually called Verdestone), that looks so much nicer than what I'd have thought of "lineoleum" a short time ago.
- Speaking of that tile, as much as I can see the benefit of carpet in bedrooms, I just adore the feeling of a cool tile on your bare feet in a bathroom.
- Another project still to come: painting the bathroom vanity the same white as either the molding, or the kitchen cabinets to come.
- I finally understand how my sisters can spend HOURS talking about their redecorating projects.
- As part of the kitchen redo (likely the next thing Doyce and I will do together, whenever that happens to be), I think I'd like to pick up new hardware for all the cabinets -- something in a brushed nickel, I think. Or at least that style. Doyce, how many handles would I need, if that's something I contribute to the projects?
- Which brings me to another thing I discovered about myself -- I mean, I knew it in terms of wedding planning, but who'd have guessed I had such strong opinions about bathroom seats, and switchplates, and cabinet hardware? Wacky!
- We had another interesting conversation as part of the big shopping day on Saturday about decorating a room in pieces -- seeing something you like, buying it, finding other pieces randomly and putting it all together -- or as a whole -- waiting until we know exactly what paint color, floor style, furniture, and art we want, and deliberately shopping for pieces that coordinate with the ideal. What's your preference, all other things being equal? (Which, of course, never happens.)
- Spider-Man 3: eh. If it means Sam Raimi gets to bring the sensibility he brought to the first two Spideys to other things, I can be happy leaving the movie franchise where it ends. I agree with Doyce's comment about the over-stuffification, but I have to add that the whole Gwen Stacey subplot also felt superfluous.
- More movies and TV shows to add to my ever-growing list of "Must Sees": Hercules, Aliens, and MI-5.
- And I just can't get the "Little Einsteins" theme song out of my head. As kids' shows go, though, this is a pretty darn brilliant one. Although you too may find yourself randomly singing lyrics about clapping your hands and balloons to classical music.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Something to think about
I have never had any faith in humanity. But I will give us props on this: if we can evolve, invent and theorize our way into the technologically magical, culturally diverse and artistically magnificent race we are and still get people to buy the idiotic idea that half of us are inferior, we're pretty amazing. Let our next sleight of hand be to make that myth disappear.Read the whole thing, then go do something about it.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
A little musical interlude
Well, that was a little disappointing
Went to my first appointment to shop for a wedding dress, at a beautiful little boutique a few steps from my office. They are actually the flagship store in the US for what the salesgirl told me is a long established Italian couture bridal line. I showed her my pictures of ideas I liked, she assured me that 99% of all the brides she's ever worked with bought the first dress they tried on, and then I started trying things on.
Well, I didn't love the first dress. Nor the second. Nor the third. The fourth was possibly the worst. I wasn't allowed to take pictures of course, but here's what I could find online.
The first was probably closest to what I'm looking for: a simple bateau-style neckline, an a-line skirt, and a beautiful fabric. Unfortunately, the skirt started a little low on the thighs for me, so I felt it leaned more towards the trumpet or mermaid style that I dislike (more so on the model in the picture than on me, even). On the plus side, it was only $1,800 over my budget! Still, simple and pretty, but I wanted more skirt. On to dress #2!
I've been leaning against a strapless dress because I don't want to spend the entire reception pulling up the bodice. Still, I tried this one on. It actually came in two pieces - a skirt that closed easily, and a boned corset top that did not. So, imagine trying to judge how well you like a dress while your boobs threaten to pop out! I did like the way the fabric draped across the middle of the dress, which I thought was very flattering. The skirt was big and poofy, and flowed beautifully, but I wasn't in lurve.
Dress #3 was pink! With a neckline that hit at the top of my shoulders, and did that thing where I worried I wouldn't be able to lift my arms while I was dancing. Dress #4 had a lacy top with long sleeves ("we can make them short sleeves!") that I took one look of in the mirror and thought "matron."
Basically, in conversation with the salesgirl, we decided that though I don't know exactly what I want -- I have pictures of elements of my dress, but not the whole thing yet -- I do know what I don't want. And what I don't want is exactly the kind of dresses that Atelier Aimee specializes in: overly romantic, poufified, embellished, fairy tale concoctions. Really, go look at some of their other dresses. It's kinda crazy.
So, we struck out. But in a way that I'm going to chalk up and call a good experience. One shop down, many to go!
Monday, May 14, 2007
Probably not before THIS week's episode
But I so will be checking out parts one and two of this Television Without Pity podcast with Jack Coleman, aka Horn Rimmed Glasses Guy on Heroes. Note to self: throw this on the iPod to listen to on the trip out to Denver this week! It'll keep my excitement up for next week's season finale!
The NY Times takes on weddings
No, not in their famed Weddings & Celebrations articles, or at least not JUST there. They're also getting loads of coverage on a new book by Rebecca Mead entitled One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding. The book review took offense at Mead's "darkest possible view of its preparatory rituals," its author Jodi Kantor defending her own "tasteful" celebration and pointing out that Mead focused only on the tacky. Which, thanks to ***Dave, I got an early glimpse of, in this prior article on Mead, and her attendence at the Great Bridal Expo, which is about nothing more than selling things to brides (oh yeah, and grooms, too. I guess. If they have to.) Here, Mead speaks for herself, saying
"I'm not interested in Bridezilla, the crazy exception, [...] They're funny, but not very illuminating. I'm interested in ordinary brides, not exaggerated monster creatures."So which is it, NY Times? Are you going to make me actually read the book to decide for myself? What a novel idea!
Still, as she said later, the fact that the Bridezilla caricature has captured the popular imagination suggests a larger phenomenon. "Getting married is still a big thing, but the transition is not the traumatic thing that it used to be," she said. "I think there is a way in which the trauma of the wedding planning is substituting for the trauma of the newlywed. People feel they have to go through some type of traumatic experience to show that they're married, to show that there is something different about them."
Seriously, though, I don't hold to either end of the spectrum, if you want to see the two opposing points as such. Yes, I've had thought about what my wedding will be for some time. No, not since I was a child of 6 or 7, but I've certainly taken note of things I've seen in the past and marked them down for future reference in my head as things I did or didn't want in the far-off future when I got married. Now, as that day approaches, I think that my early preferences are helping me to be swift and decisive, while my friends and family, and almost most importantly, budget limitations keep me from going full-on Bridezilla.
Actually, maybe not "most importantly." I'd like to also credit a little thing I call taste. Doyce and I both have it, so no plastic John Travoltas, rentable oak-paneled bathrooms, or white strecth limos for us, thanks. We're looking forward to some swing music, good food, pretty flowers, and a party with our friends and family that won't beggar us for the rest of our lives.
Lots of people can try to sell "the American Wedding," but no one says you have to buy it.
Superhero comics for girls?
An interesting post over at Galleycat which synthesizes some of the current blogosphere debate about superhero comics appealing (or not) to women.
It all began last Wednesday, when a young woman who loves superheroes said she wants to "yell at everyone who tries to tell me that I'm not supposed to like something because I don't happen to possess a Y chromosome," and comics blogger Johanna Draper Carlson reacted by saying "'superhero comics aren't for girls' is true the same way 'romance novels aren't for boys' or 'action movies aren't for girls' are." Pegging those forms as "gender-identified genres," Draper Carlson says that "cross-gender participants" need to recognize that they aren't the target audience and that that's not likely to change.I need to go follow all the links and read more, but it's interesting. And reminds me that I want to call my friend at Marvel for a copy of Civil War.
Edited: One of the links near the bottom of the Galleycat article goes to Journalista, who I think makes a very interesting point about the audience for comics in general
Mandating a set of rules intended to show respect for women wouldn't make superhero decadence any more palatable to new female readers than the current comics have proven capable of fostering new male readers. For non-initiates, the majority of these comics are arcane in reference, contain a bizarre and incompatable mixture of juvenilia and adult content, and just aren't very much fun to read. These days, superhero comics are written for men between 25-35 years of age who've been reading such things for a decade or more, and their creators long ago lost sight of what once made superhero comics a mass-market genre. They aren't written for women, but neither are they written for men who don't fit the demographic. They certainly don't appeal to children. Modern superhero comics aren't anti-female; they're anti-reader. Fix that problem, and the rest will fix itself.Scan down to the bottom of the page for Comics Culture to read his whole argument.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Almost the weekend -- holla! I had a minor breakdown or two this week in trying to get all caught up with work after my mini vacation and an unexpected day out of the office, but I finally feel on top of most things, if not my pile of reading. It'll come, I'm sure. I mean, it could be worse, right? I could have a bunch of crap to read, rather than some manuscripts I'm really looking forward to diving into for a few hours. If only I knew where those few hours were coming from!
Last night began another campaign in one of my favorite RPGS, Tombstone, wherein my character did not survive the first adventure, falling in a hail of bullets, arrows, and being shot in the facedness. Fun! Next adventure (and new character to roll up) next Wednesday.
What else is going on? I may be crashing a party for the Nebula Awards/the Nortons tonight, if only so I can understand the difference between the two terms. Also planning on seeing a friend of mine in what I'm told is a short pee-your-pants-funny one-act play directed by another friend of mine. Yay!
And I look forward to introducing another pal to all my favorite corners of NYC, from the Battery and the Staten Island Ferry, up Broadway and the Canyon of Heroes, to all the great little neighborhoods along the way on uptown, and the great big expanse of cool that is Central Park. If I can remember the contact I met who had an in at the Planetarium, we may even stop there for a little culture. Or whatever I can remember from Watson Adventures' "Museum of Natural Hysteria" scavenger hunt.
Busy weekend planned, and then next week I'm heading out to Denver again for some gaming and redecorating. Woot!
Also, this is funny.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Watch me carefully for signs of 'Zilla-dom
I was doing great. Yes, I bought bridal magazines, went through them a couple of times, ripped out photos I liked of flowers, dresses, etc., and kept them together in a notebook with some other plans, but at least I hadn't gone HOG WILD. At least I didn't start BUYING things for my wedding 339 days away. At least I don't have color swatches.
It's not my fault! Kate's Paperie in Soho was having a moving sale! All their prety, pretty paper at "final sale" prices. And there was these big sheets of velvety purple paper on sale! From $12 a sheet to 5 for $9! In my color! How could I resist?
They're all neatly rolled up in the "wedding corner" of my apartment, with my registry stuff, and Martha Stewart books, and magazines. And my notebook, of course. Repository of all things wedding and girlified.
I also bought a little something else, but that's a secret. Yes, I CAN keep those.
Labels: The Big Day
Monday, May 07, 2007
Back in New York
And quite chilled when I went out to get my dinner. Still, at least here I don't break out in hives for some strange, unknown reason. It's real fun, I tell you. And pretty. My arms and legs are covered with a fun, itchy, blotchy rash, which goes oh so well with my suntan. Grrr. I've just about narrowed it down to the soap or the salt water, but I'm leaning towards the soap, if only because if it were the water, it'd likely be even worse. And isn't THAT a fun thought?
Anyway, I didn't take too many pictures, but if I had Photoshop, I'd totally use this trick to make them look even better (via BD).
Friday, May 04, 2007
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I believe I promised blogging!
And so... voila!
How very Divine. Two short pieces, with my photos. Un and deux.
Also, I just bought a new album on iTunes, and what SHOULD I have done? Bought it through Tunes for Trees, where for every ten tracks purchased, a tree is planted!
In my defense, I'm a wee bit tipsy. A friend and I finally explored a bit around the neighborhood and found a great restaurant that's my new favorite. YumMY.
What else? Who knows?
I'm going off the grid as of crack-of-dawn tomorrow, with some possible photo posting, but that's it. No blackberry, no computer, nothing but sun and sand and books to read and frosty beverages. See ya next week!
In the meanwhile...
Much more posting coming tonight, as I hope to finally remark on a string of emails I have sitting in my inbox. Tune in later for Divine Caroline links, ways to save the planet, and, um, shopping!
In the meantime, some of my readers may not visit MJ's blog with regularity (although you really should! She's funny when she's not being banned in Oklahoma!), but she and I had a chance to sit down on Sunday and answer some "Ask An Agent" questions. To check out the podcast, visit here.
Also, not to give too much away if you're saving it on your DVR or VCR for future viewing, but was anyone else as throughoutly confused by the various timelines suggested in Monday's episode of Heroes? It took a look conversation with Doyce last night to get to a point where it made a smidgeon of sense to me, but I don't want to look too closely at it, in case it all blows up in my face. In any case: whoa! Can't WAIT for next week!