Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

#$^*& sun is out.

Someone wrote to comment on my picture from the other day, saying Pampers under a bathing suit was "degrading." Hey, I was two!


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

I don't think the forecasters expected as much rain as we got yesterday. It was still raining and the wind was howling into the wee hours this morning. Now it's cloudy all day even though they predicted sunshine.


It is still pouring out and I stepped in a puddle. I just went to a very entertaining "Feed the Young Writers" reading in NYC, hosted by Ned Vizzini. Now I'm home and I can finally actually write. Yay.
I guess I liked sunny weather more when I was little.
How do you solve a problem like...
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

It's pouring today. A good novelizing day. But I'm at work. Boo.

Overheard on the PATH train from NY to NJ (from two trainmen sitting there in caps and white hats):

TRAIN STAFFER 1: Did you do that terrorism training yet?
TRAIN STAFFER 2: No. I'm trying to avoid it.
TRAIN STAFFER 1: Yeah. I already missed the first one.

We are not making this up.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

OK, I admit that I wrote that in advance. Work is really busy and I barely have time to blog. And weekends are busy because I'm finishing up the novel. My goal for more than a year was to finish it by late October 2004, and I'm going to meet that, but I have to keep working steadily to do that.

It seems like there are two phases of novel-writing: creation, and telling the story. Sometimes they go on at the same time, but the first one -- making up everything about the characters and their world and their story and history -- has to be thought about constantly, not only while writing. Once everything is finally nailed down (sometimes after a few revisions even), you then get to finally look at it some more and just figure out where you're doing a good job of telling it and where you need to take a scythe and start carving and shaping.

It was only after three years of work on this one that I know everything that has happened to these characters. And yes -- as the cliche goes -- I know what they ate for breakfast today. Some of the details will not make the final cut, but I know it's in their history. Maybe it will be re-added somewhere. Maybe just as a line. But I know it, so I can focus on how to tell the story.

Was that boring? Sorry.

Actually, there was a point to all this...my first two novels took place in New York, so there was a little less research and creation involved. They were about women close to my age, so I also was able to do a little less imagining, even though the main plot twists never happened to me. This new novel is harder because I was doing more research. I'm glad I'm finally able to focus on honing the "telling" of it.

In other news...yes, there's another hurricane, and I was too busy to even mention it here. Plus, even I'm getting a little jaded by them. In a few months we can move on to blizzards.

Finally, I've been wanting to mention that asking trivia questions shows the transition among generations. A few weeks ago, I helped host bar trivia and I did an audio round of songs that mentioned school in the title or lyrics. They included Beatles ("Getting Better"), Hall & Oates ("Adult Education"), and Steely Dan ("My Old School"). By the third song, a pair of players at one of the front tables said, "These are all OLD!"

I guess it happens...an '80s song like Adult Education is considered "old" to kids who are 21 or 22. It's still odd, though. I always try to mix up my audio rounds so no generation is slighted (there was an Eminem song in there too), but I found the reaction interesting. No one complained about our question about the Battle of 1812...and that was before their time, too! Audio rounds should be age-diverse, but it's still up to people to learn songs that were on the radio before they were born. It's cultural history. Besides, that's why it's trivia!

Okay, so I got to ramble a bit. I hope everyone has a happy Monday.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Tonight starts Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in which Jewish people are not supposed to eat or work. I'm not religious, but I think it's good to take stock of what you've done wrong, atone, try to do better...the fasting can be worthwhile because it reminds me what it's like to not be able to snap my fingers and have whatever I want instantly. There certainly are people all over the world, and in our own country, who can't have the things that some of us take for granted. So while I don't necessarily follow religious customs for the traditional reasons, I do think there is value to them.

Thus...no black and white cookie tomorrow. ;)


J.K. writes: "How can you like oatmeal when it has killed so many people?"

Actually, the weather question was a legitimate one. But it generally isn't very harsh up here, so that's probably why I don't see as much of the dark side.
Woke up, will later put on clothes and go to work.

I have a ton of work to do right now, and now I have a cold. I know, I know, cry me a river.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


One or two people have e-mailed me to ask how I can like wicked weather when it's ruined lives and washed away homes. Well, of course I don't like it when it ruines lives and washes away homes. I also think trains are beautiful, but not when they hit people or crash.

I do love seeing nature's fury, when the sky turns charcoal and green and the winds toss the traffic lights and the rain creates pools of reflection in the street. Sometimes it's nice to walk around in a storm and be reminded of the power of this world you might be lucky enough to inhabit for 70-80 years.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

So no novelizing today. Boo.


I woke up this morning around 7 and drank in the cool fall air and heated up a b&w cookie started working on my novel. I got through pages 200 to 340 (the end), and it took me until just now. There are still things to be fixed, holes to be filled, but I really needed this time to focus and get through it. I stopped only for internet breaks, food, and yeah, to go to the bathroom.

This morning, the dentist's office called and left a message on my voicemail letting me know that there was a cancelation today, and if I want, I can have my root canal today instead of next month! (I passed.)


Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go to work.

We are having a wonderful thunderstorm. If the remnants of Ivan are this bad after it's been on land for days, I can now imagine how awful it was down south. Oddly, the first mention of it on this blog was August 27!

I think we've reached the midpoint of the worst here, because my barometer was down to 29.7 inches an hour ago and is starting to rise. The tropical depression is moving away, but it's still supposed to rain all day. We needed to cool off.

I just got an e-mail from a friend saying, "Best weather EVER." At last, people who understand me!


The fruit store near my house had, as of today, pumpkins! Big ones and little ones. It's pumpkin time.

At my writers' group meeting tonight, more than twenty minutes were spent recounting various Ali G episodes because someone brought up Ali G. At least five episodes were recounted, in proper accents. I sat there stone faced. It's not that I don't have a sense of humor. It's just - didn't Stuttering John do all this stuff ten years ago? He was asking serious people stupid questions long ago. He asked that Reagan impersonator, Jim Morris, what it was like to be with the Doors. Is it funnier with a lame accent?

Ali G, Tom Green....ZIERING.

I brought some of the beginning of my new novel to the group - part of the 15 pages that I've revised like 60 times in three years. Yes, I am STILL revising those 15 pages. The group didn't hate it or find it glaringly unreal. So that was good news. I think I'm done revising it for now. (Emphasis on "for now.")

Another topic of discussion at the group was whether to give money to homeless people. Two people said that they don't want to give to alcoholics. My feeling is, why is it ok for wealthy people to get themselves sauced, whereas homeless people, whose life sucks and actually have a good reason to get plastered, aren't allowed to? If they really are alcoholics (and how do you know?) they're going to drink anyway, so give them a buck and maybe they can eat, too. If you think I'm being funny, I'm not. Who are we to judge the lives of someone who lives on the street? I know you can't give to everyone. But don't kid yourself into thinking you're doing them a favor by withholding the money. They ask for it because they need it. Even if it doesn't turn their situation around. Even if you don't approve of what they're using it for. Maybe it will make them feel better for an hour. We all use money to do that for ourselves, don't we?

Finally, a guy at the writing group said that recently, he had a dream that his book got published. "And when you woke up," I said, "Did you say, 'Oh damn'?"
See if you can find a more Ziering Ziering than Tommy Puett. I dare ya!
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

This morning, Howard Stern was talking about "Zierings," stars like Ian Ziering who will never star in a show again after their first show (in this case, 90210) ends. He was trying to "guess the Ziering" on various shows.

This morning, as I was heading to work, the crossing guard at the corner apprised me of town events. "I called the emergency number this morning," she said. "Whenever it rains, the lights do this." She pointed toward the traffic lights, which were blinking instead of just turning red, yellow and green. "They're supposed to get a new box," she said, "but it costs $7,000 and the mayor doesn't want to pay for it. That's dangerous. This is a 8-way intersection!" Then she went and helped a kid across the street.


I got a press release today that made me laugh. It's from Citizens Against Government Waste. The headline says, "Hurricane Porky Blows Through Capitol Hill."
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

PR GUY TO ME ON THE PHONE, JUST NOW: Why is it that I'm the only one who thinks it's newsworthy just that we're here?
ME: I'm sure your mom thinks so.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Judy Blume is winning a major literary award today, as well she should. The Times notes:

"Ms. Blume has also made some updates in the books, like replacing the belts and pins that hold sanitary napkins in place in 'Are You There God?' with sticky strips to attach them directly to underwear."


Thanks for all of your advice on the dentistry. People seem to think that the estimate wasn't half bad. OK. I'm not giving up black and white cookies anyway.

Tonight was an excellently-hosted team trivia game in NYC run by Neil and Sarah. My team won, 99 percent due to the knowledge of Val, Bob and Phil in categories including musical theater, '80s TV, and Harry Potter. I had little to contribute except bad doodles and worse jokes.
Hello. This morning I woke up, put clothes on, went to work, and ate oatmeal.

My dentist sed I probably have to a have a root canal and a crown. It's normally $3,000 but they can do it for $1,800. Isn't that SWELL?

Does $3,000 (or $1,800) sound right to anyone? How do people pay for these? I mean, I can pay for it, but wow - that's a lot of money. My tooth doesn't even hurt.


Literary kingbreaker King Wenclaus of the Underground Literary Alliance has started a blog.
Didn't have a chance to input this conversation from Thursday:

ME: It's noon, and I haven't edited anything.
MY BOSS: I've got news for you. It's noon and I'm leaving.
Oh, cry me a river, Condit.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Satan's Laundromat seems to be appaled at a guy trying to sell picture books at Ground Zero: link.

I was on a road trip this weekend. Many observations, so I'll summarize, in no particular order:

1. The car I rented had a digital display that, for some radio stations, would scroll the name of the song playing and the artist. I guess some stations now input that information for radio displays. Maybe this is something everyone knew but me. Anyway, someday our kids will have that on all of their radios, and they won't be able to comprehend a time when we would hear a cool song, sit through six others to wait for the DJ to tell us what it was, and never find out anyway.

2. I went to a high school football game Friday night. I've been doing that for the last few years each fall, as part of something I'm writing. You can see everything that's right with the world there.

3. I learned even more about the weather at a seminar. So watch out! Here's a site that the junkies say they like: www.wunderground.com, the weather underground.

Have any of you read "At Home in the World" by Joyce Maynard yet? The best book to read during fall. If you read it, e-mail me and tell me what you think.

Have a happy Monday.


I won't be blogging this weekend, in honor of the Sept. 11 anniversary. I think there are people with better things to say right now. For those who say, "It was 3 years ago; get over it," well, it's still worth taking stock of the things we have every day, and thinking about how we can improve ourselves and our lives. I am thankful for many things, including the fact that people like you read my goofy writing. Have a nice weekend.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


A nice review of Square Two.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Thanks to Lori for forwarding this excellent puppy tale.


Nothing I'm posting today is coming out. That includes comments on people's blogs. Maybe some people will be able to see this. I won't.
Woke up, put clothes on, took photos of people waiting for the bus in the rain, went to work, ate oatmeal.


More fun New Jersey political dirt with wide-reaching implications is coming. This time it's the Republicans, and no one's coming out of the closet.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


Today in America, we celebrate those who wake up, put on clothes (usually) and go to work!!

We do this by not working today.

Speaking of work, what would you do if you were Jewish and the guy making your sub at the sub shop used some anti-Semitic comments as he was carving up your sandwich? Would you say anything? Mr. NJWT wasn't sure.

Despite the fact that the hurricane is down in Florida, it's been pretty breezy up here today. Meanwhile, Hurricane Ivan could be the next threat.
For those who think I just randomly made up the term 'weather porn' yesterday, click.


Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go to work.

I think I've finished a draft of the first half of the novel. Now, there are no xxx's in it and I don't have to move things around. All that took is three years. There will be more revisions anyway.

Today's topic: People complaining about how press 'overcoverage' of the Sept. 11 anniversary. Listen, folks: The only reason that it seems like overkill is because every media outlet in the country covers it. The only way to avoid "too much coverage" would be if CBS and CNN voluntarily decided not to cover it because FOX and ABC were already doing it. Then they'd be negligent. It's an important event and has to be covered.

People also complained about the media covering the "duct tape" scenario. Well, we had the government telling us they'd raised the terror alert. People kept asking what they could do about it. No one was giving them an answer. And someone had a suggestion. It would have been unfair not to cover it. The media doesn't promote fear, and in fact, people aren't scared easily. They're still living in New York, skydiving and eating sushi. But they wanted to know if there was anything they could do, so someone gave a suggestion.

I will admit to one thing. We killed Princess Di!


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

At 11:34 a.m. I was getting on the PATH train, and a man in a WELCOME TO NEW YORK, NOW GET OUT t-shirt was getting off the train, and a man in a WELCOME TO NEW JERSEY - DON'T WORRY, WE HATE YOU TOO! shirt was getting on. Seriously!

Jon K. writes:

oatmeal, I'm
eating it;
apples and

in dactylic monometer.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Valerie has posted a sexy weatherporn photo of Hurricane Frances. It's not going to hit us, though. Maybe this Tropical Storm, Ivan, will. Probably not. Anyway, within two weeks we'll be out of the woods regarding hurricanes for the year.

The word "HURRicane" is dactylic.


If you're here to read the dacylic entry Dawn just referred to, it's yesterday (Sept. 1)!
At the beginning of summer, I came up with a summer reading list for friends and blog readers. These are books I'd recommend -- some just plain fun, some more weighty, but all riveting reading. (I don't recommend reading that's a chore - trust me.)

But now the cool weather is here (thank god; better for writing) and there are two books that come to mind that are great to snuggle up in front of the fireplace with. One was also on my summer reading list. The other is not my favorite book ever but it's very readable, entirely appropriate for winter, and like other books I recommend, it's extremely compelling.

So click here for two books that are great autumn/winter reading. (And no, they're not mine.)
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


Supportive Alan correctly points out that "My Favorite Things" is dactylic! He notes:

The message can be sung to "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music:

Itching dark urine and clay colored stools,
Odor that passes and smells like old mules,
Brown poopie pieces and pee-pee that stings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Today I got a piece of junk e-mail whose subject head impressed me, as it was written in dactylic monometer! Dactylic monometer is a fairly rare poetic meter, moreso in junkmail subject lines. Here was the subject head:

Itching, dark urine and clay colored stools

Or, properly versed:

Itching, dark
urine and
clay colored

It was actually written as "clay c()l()red st()()ls" so as to throw off junk mailers, but it was possibly also going for that cummings use of unusual punctuation and grammatical types. Even the capitalization is off.

Note carefully that the accent is always on the first of three syllables. Dactylic words are "beautiful" and "yesterday." "Itching-dark" and "urine-and" would also fall into the category, although in this case, the poet uses two words to achieve the DA-da-da DA-da-da effect.

So let's recap:

Itching dark
Urine and
Clay colored

Maybe I will scan the actual message later to see which meter the poet used.