Had you going there, didn't I?

Wait. You may be asking, "What's the joke?"

The joke is that everything I've ever written in this blog is made up.

I'm really a 90-year-old man living in West Virginia.

And I'm not wearing any underwear.


Rejected wedding songs, part II

Eat My Shorts, by Rick Dees

I peek at you, my stomach turns
I hate your guts
You turn to me and whisper
You're a stupid putz...

Eat my shorts
Yes, choke on polished cotton
Eat my shorts
Everything we have is rotten
Baby, oh baby,
I will see you in court
Eat my shorts


Rejected wedding songs, Part I

"One More Minute" by Al Yankovic
(too bad I'm rejecting this one; it's one of his best)

Well, I heard that you're leavin'
Gonna leave me far behind
'Cause you found a brand new lover
You decided that I'm not your kind

So I pulled your name out of my Rolodex
And I tore all your pictures in two
And I burned down the malt shop where we used to go
Just because it reminds me of you!

That's right, you ain't gonna see me cryin'
I'm glad that you found somebody new
'Cause I'd rather spend eternity eating shards of broken glass
Than spend one more minute with you

I guess I might seem kinda bitter
You got me feelin' down in the dumps
'Cause I'm stranded all alone in the Gas Station of Love
And I have to use the self-service pumps

Oh, so honey, let me help you with that suitcase
You ain't gonna break my heart in two
'Cause I'd rather get a hundred thousand paper cuts on my face
Than spend one more minute with you


Hey, can you feel it?

It was 75 degrees yesterday, with a cool breeze. It made me very excited for summer. I love the change in the seasons.

I used to always vow, every year, "This year, I'm going to have the best summer ever!" Usually, I didn't. Although I did get to see Sugar Ray a few times.

This year, I think my summer really will be great. Last night, I found myself working late and wishing I was outside. But the Boy came and picked me up. He's a great Boy.

On another note, it seems like bulldogs aren't the only ones keeping canine journals and writing with weird doggy accents.


Bulldog brunch

This English bulldog
has written a blog
and I think it's cute
(The blog and the dog)


Microsoft Word 9.0

For some reason, I can't open Microsoft Word. It starts to open and I see the hourglass, but that's where it ends...it freezes permanently at the square screen saying "Microsoft Word" etc. and the hourglass. It doesn't finish opening.

After I try to open word and I ctrl alt delete to get out, it says:

The system is dangerous low in resources!
Would you like to terminate the following application?
Winword [Not responding]

There are no other programs still open, as far as I know, except for Windows.

I accidentally must have pressed something this morning that did it.

So for any of you who really know this stuff (more than what I know)

I deleted Word and reinstalled it, including the Microsoft Works office suite. When it turned itself off and rebooted, it said, as it was rebooting,

Could not upgrade the file from %1 to %2
Windows could not upgrade one or more system files
If Windows fails to start run SETUP again

Windows did start, though. And all my other programs are fine. But I can't start Word or open a program that's in Word (unless I do it as a text file after uninstalling Word).

This all has something to do with Windows Explorer 5.5 but not sure what.


On another note, thanks to those who said you liked my tribute to Meg the dog! She was a sweetie and I miss her. I wasn't going for any high writing quality (obviously), just writin' about my dawg.


All dogs go to heaven

Megan, May 8, 1985–March 24, 1999 (eight years ago today)

My mom always says that because we had Meg, my family is ruined for other dogs.

This is because of Meg’s emotionalism. If one of us was crying, she always came over and licked our faces to stop the tears. She never wanted any of us to be sad, and she loved it when we hugged her.

When she was a pup, she used to like to pull her head out of her collar and bound around the development so we’d have to chase her. But we were scared that she could get hit by a car. One time, I couldn’t catch her for a while, even by holding out a cookie. I used a last resort: I made sure she was looking. Then I sat on a fallen log and put my head in my hands, pretending to cry. She saw this and came right to me.

We bought her for my brother’s birthday when she was eight weeks old. We went into the pet store and all of her brothers in the pen were jumping up and howling with their black-and-white beagle tails wagging. She stood up and simply wagged for us, looking at us with her big brown almond-shaped eyes.

For the first few months, she was a wily pup who, like most pups, chewed wires and jumped on the couch. I didn’t know much of her personality the first few months. Then, one day, my mother told me, “Megan likes to be hugged.” I didn’t believe it. While she was chewing a toy, I went and put my arms around her. Her tail wagged furiously.

We soon learned that if two members of my family hugged each other in front of Meg, she’d run over and jump up to try to be in the hug, too.

She had the same hobbies as other dogs – sniffing things, eating, sleeping, walking. But she was so loving. She liked to crawl into bed and roll onto her side so I could hug her.

I had her for half my life – we bought her when I was 14, and she died when I was 28. I saw her go through different changes, from a wily puppy who barked at strangers, to a quieter adult dog, to a senior dog who mostly slept all day and took delight in sniffing things outside.

She had a fierce love for my mother, my brother, and me, and knew all our names. We’d say, “Where’s Mommy?” and she’d look at my mom and wag her tail.

Five Meg memories

1. Italian bread: I live on a street with several Italian restaurants and delis. One time, we were half a block into our walk when Meg noticed a looong Italian roll being thrown out on the sidewalk. It was longer than she was, so she wasn’t sure what to do. She licked the middle for a second. Then she lifted the entire roll in her mouth. She turned around to bring it back to the house.

People were laughing as they passed her. Here was a little white beagle carrying a piece of Italian bread that was longer than she was. One man said to her, “Did you fiiiind that? You’re a lucky dog.”

She set it down on my rug, and then turned around to head back outside so we could finish our walk.

2. Thanksgiving: Her favorite holiday was Thanksgiving, as all three of her family members were there. She was always so excited when everyone was together, that she would even wag in her sleep. One year, we filled her bowl with turkey first, so she wouldn’t bother us while we were eating. When we finally sat down to eat, my mother said, “Look” and pointed to Meg’s bowl. The bowl was already empty and Meg was sprawled on the floor next to it, snoozing.

3. Sitting in the park: I always thought Meg had a good sense of humor. Occasionally she needed to be walked at 2 or 3 a.m. I’d tiredly stroll through the local park in the moonlight while she took her time. As we walked out of the park, she’d suddenly sit down on the grass and stare up at me, as if to ask if she could stay and play in the park. I would say, “You’re funny, Meg!”
If I occasionally gave in and sat down next to her for a few minutes, she’d give me a big wag.

4. Fat tush under the bed: When she was a very small puppy, she would run under the bed to hide. When she grew older, she never quite grasped the concept of having gotten much bigger and fatter. When she wanted to hide, she would still run for the bed, but she would get stuck halfway in, with her big fat tush sticking out.

5. Are you my mother? One time, my mother was staying with me at my apartment. In the morning, she left to go to work. An hour later, I took Meg for a walk, and she saw a woman who looked like my mother. I saw her too: She had the same profile, same walk, and was wearing the kind of long dress my mother likes to wear. Because Meg started wagging and walking toward the woman, I knew Meg thought it was my mom.

As soon as Meg got up to the woman – who looked very confused – she realized it wasn’t my mother and stopped wagging.

The woman looked at me questioningly.

I explained to her, “You look like her mommy. I mean, my mother. We saw her today.”

I wonder if it’s an insult to tell someone that they look like your dog’s mother.


It's odd to be with someone for their whole life, to see them grow from an infant, to an adult, to a senior. She really matured through the years.

People used to actually come up to me on the street and say, “Look at that faaaaaace!” Sometimes they just would look at her and say, “Faaaace.”

She got cancer, as most dogs do sooner or later. It amazes me that she’s been gone for eight years, because it doesn’t seem that long. Maybe that’s because she was in my life for so long.

But for almost fourteen years, she had a wonderful, fulfilling life full of hugs and adventures. She enjoyed rides in the car, sniffing other dogs, and most importantly, being loved, and giving a lot of love in return.

The day after she died, I had a dream. In the dream, she was running really quickly and leaping over 12-foot fences. In her last few months alive, she couldn't do much running.

I told my mom about my dream. "She was running so fast," I said, "and jumping so high."

My mom said, "Maybe she is."

Megan is now buried in a beautiful pet cemetery alongside other fiercely loved pets, even the smallest ones. Clearly she's in good company.


Combonym d'jour

A reader, Michael, sent this combonym in:

Cuzband. What you get when a woman marries her cousin.

That reminds me that on "Married With Children," Al once said that the theme for the county where his wife grew up was "Nothing says lovin' like marrying your cousin."



Trivia went well tonight and was relatively crowded. A special thank you to the "veterans" who came out tonight after a while of absence from trivia! That means Blerg, J.C., the Mets fan, travel-writer guy, and anyone I'm forgetting.

Jon B. was an excellent co-host.

I got myself into a bit of trouble when people disputed my visual round twice. They thought my photo of a greyhound was actually a whippet, and that my Scottish Terrier was really a "West Highland White Terrier." They said that a West Highland Terrier IS a Scottish Terrier. Maybe it's true; I don't know. But I had to make a quick executive decision. Half the room wanted me to decide one way, and half the other way.

So if you ever host trivia, make sure you have your answers right, because drunk smart people can get really bloodthirsty!

Update: I see the confusion. These breeds look similar. However, a West Highland White Terrier has shorter ears than the Scottish terrier I had pictured. So my decision was correct.

Whew, I can sleep better tonight.
What a drag it is getting old

Things I can't eat now -- most of which I could eat as a kid

1. Ice cream (unless I take a lactose pill with it)
2. A big wad of fresh wet mozzarella (ditto)
3. Chinese food with MSG
4. Too much stuff with asparteme. A little is okay. But yesterday I drank sugar free fruit punch and had something else, I forget what, but it didn't help. (Actually Asparteme/Equal wasn't available when I was a kid, but.)
5. Probably more stuff someday. Drat.

Things I used to eat a lot as a kid that I don't bother eating now

1. Sugar cereal (I like it but I don't eat bkfst at home too often)
2. Hot dogs (no thanks)
3. Donuts (not good for me)
4. Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (although I had one last week - that felt good!)
5. Yoo-Hoo

Things I ate because my mother made me, that I'd never eat again if I can help it

1. Canned vegetables
2. Chicken roll sandwiches (gross)
3. Rye bread with seeds
4. Omlettes with onions. I like onions, but not in eggs
5. Meatloaf

Things my mother lied to get me to eat

1. "Girl Scout spaghetti." (It was really green spaghetti made from spinach!!)



This person can't live without Carrie Pilby. It's lucky I wrote it because I wouldn't have wanted her to die!

I talked to Superagent who said she thinks CP is my freshest book. She wants me to write another book that's fresh and original someday. I'm working on two things. Hopefully one of them will capture people's hearts. Or minds. Or wallets. Yeah, yeah. It's all about the benjamins, yo.

(Disclaimer: I'm kidding about that. I do care about my characters and their integrity.)

I am hosting trivia this evening (Tuesday), 7:30, Baggott Inn, NYC. That might be my last co-hosting for a while. Not forever, but for quite a while.

I picked a wedding date. My wedding date will be...

(wait for it)

The Boy!


Random thing I thought of

I'm working on teen books, so I'm allowed to remember junior high memories like this one...

When I was in eighth grade, my family moved to a wealthier town than we'd ever lived in before. It was a huge New Jersey farm town with mansions and country clubs. The school system was one of the best in the state, which was why my mom liked it. We found an old house in the only non-new development in town, the only part of town we could afford, and moved in.

The kids at my new school talked about which company their dads owned, and only wore Guess jeans. I had always had a few friends in any school I lived in, even if we were all geeks. But in this new school, I had none.

So anyway, something happened there that really made me laugh - because it showed how popularity worked.

There was a kid in my homeroom named Bill Jakorsky. Bill was unpopular. But he was still more popular than I was (who wasn't?)

One day, we had a pep rally. After it, we all went back to homeroom.

Bill Jakorsky came up to me and demanded: "Caren, did you cheer?"

I thought he was asking if I was a cheerleader, just to make fun of me. So I said, "No." Because of course I wasn't a cheerleader.

Then I realized that he just meant, did I cheer for our teams. I wanted to correct what I'd said. But it was too late. I got a sinking feeling as he ran to report me to a popular girl in the class named Rachel.

"Rachel," Bill said. "Caren didn't cheer."

Rachel looked at him and said, "Who gives a shit whether she cheered or not?"

Hee hee. It wasn't that she cared about me at all, it was that she didn't care about what Bill had to say, either. I took satisfaction in that.

I just think it's funny that even the unpopular kids in a junior high will try to pick on someone less popular than they are, to score points with the popular crowd. And it always backfires.

Sorry, Bill. ;)


That was the week that was

I took off most of this past week to work on various teen novels. My goal for the main one was to get up to 50 pages done, and I did! (I already knew where I wanted to go with it.)

It's a fun book (for ages 10-14 I think) and not as complicated as some of the other stuff I've tried to write. So we'll see.

I also got various other errands done and still had time to pretend to care about basketball when The Boy had it on (ha ha, just kidding honey).

This space has been left intentionally blank.


Trivia! Trivia! Trivia!!

I'm co-hosting Tuesday Night Trivia at the Baggott Inn on Tuesday with the excellent co-host Jon B. So come and play!

Thank you.



I have several good excuses for being a bad blogger this week. I am going to have guest bloggers Charlie Brown and Lucy blog the reasons for me:

Wah wah, wah-wah,
wah wah wah!

Ah, now you know.

Seriously, nothing's wrong, just busy. Have a fun day!


Lose an hour

Spring ahead! It's time to set your clocks forward in the wee hours tonight.

I forgot to blog yesterday. So... B.T.G.I.F.


Random writerly things

From Publisher's Weekly:

Granta announced their second list of the 21 best American writers under age 35 (though 5 were born outside the US) last night. They picked: Daniel Alarcon; Judy Budnitz; Kevin Brockmeier; Christopher Coake; Anthony Doerr; Jonathan Safran Foer; Nell Freudenberger; Olga Grushin; Dara Horn; Gabe Hudson; Uzodinma Iweala; Nicole Krauss; Rattawut Lapcharoensap; Yiyun Li; Maile Meloy; ZZ Packer; Jess Row; Karen Russell; Akhil Sharma; Gary Shteyngart; and John Wray.

Personnel NewsRyan Fischer-Harbage has launched The Fischer-Harbage Agency, specializing in fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, and health. He was an agent at Vigliano Associates.


Here it comes again

As you know, one of my pet peeves about writing is when I'm working on something, and I found out that another book or movie is coming out with a similar plot.

But that's not always the kiss of death - everyone has a different take on a certain plot.

I just saw this on Barnes & Noble.com about a new novel:

Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Sterling, New Hampshire. That is, until a quiet, troubled student comes to high school with an arsenal of guns and starts shooting, changing the lives of everyone inside the classroom and out. The daughter of the judge sitting on the case is the state's best witness — but she can't remember what happened in front of her own eyes. Or can she? Tackling fundamental issues like what it means to be different in our society, Nineteen Minutes is bestselling author Jodi Picoult's most raw, honest, and important novel yet.

There have already been numerous novels and movies about school shootings, some because of Columbine, and some before it. But I guess that this doesn't stop an author with her own ideas about telling the story. Just something to remember.


Other blogs

I have nothing much to say today, but here are some links of interest.

Fellow writer Wes seems to have been stirring up some controversy with a post about race and Raven.

The 'Lesb*an bad dater' seems to have it much worse dating than everyone I have ever met - poor girl.


Monday, Monday

Happy Monday!

I love pie. This is a really good place for pie. The Boy was nice enough to help me go get pie here. Yay.

Someday I will write about how much I love newspapers (even though my job can get me pretty stressed as well). When I was about 12, I knew I wanted to write a book someday, and I also knew that it wasn't easy to do. So I still had to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. Then one day I was at a doctor's appointment and saw, in the distance, a long trail of black smoke. It was over the farmy areas of Freehold. I wanted to know if it was a fire, where it was, what it was...and it occurred to me that a good career would be journalism, because of my desire to understand things and because I loved to write. And thus a career was born.



A reader from Pennsylvania has "tweaked" my photo.


And then....

Sally in Minnesota couldn't resist, either. It must have to do with her being stuck in a foot of snow today.

Now folkz, stop futzing with my fotoz and get back to work! Have a great weekend.


A few people have recently posted their stories about coming to New York, and how they've changed since then. Here's a writer I know who is finally leaving the city.

By the time you read this, it's supposed to be POOOOURing out. Enjoy!



When I was little, I used to hate when TV shows or kids' books would use terms that showed that they were out of touch with modern elementary schools.

For instance, a lot of them would be about a character in the fifth or sixth grade and talk about the "semester," when in fact, many elementary schools have "marking periods" or "quarters" and not semesters. It was as if the authors forgot that because they hadn't been in school so long.

Or on the SATs, a character would say he got 1367 or similar nonsense, when all modern SAT scores end in zero.

Anyway, since I plan to write some teen stuff, I was thinking about a "junior high" in my book, and it occurred to me that the phrase "junior high" is not used much anymore. Most schools seem to be called middle schools and intermediate schools.

I put the question out to the young-adult writing e-mail listserve that I'm on yesterday, and most of the writers said that yeah, there are very few "junior high schools" anymore. Plus, there are few schools that are just 7th and 8th grade. Now a lot of them go 6-8 or 7-9. Most schools are "middle schools" now.

I'm sort of glad that I got to stay in my elementary school through sixth grade. It gets a little scary in junior high. Familiarity is comforting when you're little.

Hey, maybe that's why kids today are growing up faster, because 11-year-olds are being stuck with 13-year-olds and all their gonads!