Couple of things

A few years ago, I interviewed young writer Marty Beckerman for a story I was writing for a now-largely-defunct literary website. The story was about why Generation Y didn't have any literary spokesmen. In the story, I said Beckerman's book was well-written, but it presented a bleak view of his generation. Despite that criticism, he was very mature about it and took it well, and has written some stuff that I've really found great.

Anyway, he sent out an inspiring e-mail today, which is also posted on his blog, so I guess it's public. Despite having been through the literary ringer with a book he wrote, it's finally going to get published. You can read his announcement on his blog, but it starts off thusly:

Dearest Acolytes,

I am overjoyed to announce: in September 2008 Disinformation will publish DUMBOCRACY: Adventures with the Loony Left, the Rabid Right and Other American Idiots.

I have gone to hell and back for this book.

Retard Nation was originally supposed to hit stores in early 2006. For legal reasons I still can't disclose the entire story of what happened, but essentially I received one of the hardest ass-f**kings in publishing history....

Every writer wonders at what point they should give up on a book they hold near and dear to their hearts. But sometimes, if it keeps getting rejected, you just have to realize that it doesn't mean to other people what it means to you. Other times, you just realize that editors all have different opinions, just like readers do, and just because some of them don't like it, doesn't mean you shouldn't keep looking for the one who DOES. You have to be persistent, while still understanding the realities and taking other people's advice to make the book better.

There are books I've given up on, and others I've rewritten and rewritten. I think I mostly made the right choices. I'm really glad Marty stuck to his guns. He is a great writer and a good guy, and I'm looking forward to reading his book. His struggle is actually inspiring, so if you are a writer, check out his blog entry.

TV news

So are any of you going to watch "Lipstick Jungle" on TV next week? I'm going to watch at least the first 10 minutes to see if it really fills the void that "Sex and the City" left. Although I didn't relate to the SATC crew, I definitely laughed with them (and sometimes at them) and found the show funny and smart. Some of the "Lipstick" women are married, so we won't have the bad dates to laugh at...but hopefully it will actually be a good show. We'll see. My hopes are not high.

You may be wondering whether I'm going to torture my poor hubby with this show. Good question. Well, I mentioned that I'd like to give it a shot, and he didn't run screaming into the river. So he may actually watch some of it with me, bless his poor, patient heart. It probably won't be that good a show. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Social networking

I forgot to mention in my blog entry on cyber-networks the other day that I DID end up staying on Facebook.com, but I changed my profile to note, "I am hardly ever on here. So please don't be offended if it takes me a while to get back to you." Still, I get frequent e-mails to my regular e-mail saying someone on Facebook "poked" me or asked me to get into a virtual mud-fight, or some other weird thing that I'd actually have to log in and then download a program for. Of course, it's really anti-social of me to complain about this when I should be happy that any gives a darn about whiny old me. So THANK YOU to everyone for your pokes, etc., etc. I just don't want you to be offended if they sit in my in-box for a while.


Today is hump day.

Will you do your part??

Why or why not?


In response to Monday's entry, James from college writes:

When I was a kid I used to think that when people talked about the “good old days” it was ancient times. But I graduated from High School 19 years ago, and I remember my commencement and most of high school like it was yesterday. 19 years before I was born it was 1952. 19 years before I turned 10 was 1962. When I was 10 if someone talked about 1962 it was like the Mesozoic era or something. Kennedy was president. Men still wore hats. American cars were king. Gas was 22 cents a gallon. If you think about it, though, it wasn’t really that long ago. Even from today.

Funny story – I was at the playground with the family over the past Summer and there were a bunch of kids running around one of those small merry go rounds that you can spin and jump onto. They were pretending it was a time machine. One of the kids said, “If we spin it real fast we can go back to the Dinosaur ages – LIKE THE 1950s.” This kid was probably born no later than 1998 or 2000. [James' wife] and I had to laugh. I always said my parents were dinosaurs. My kids will say it about me.

And Neil wrote to mention the song "1985" by the band Bowling for Soup. Lyrics:

She hates time make it stop
When did Motley Crue become classic rock?
And when did Ozzy become an actor?
Please make this stop!
And bring back...

Springsteen, Madonna
Way before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And music still on MTV
Her two kids in high school
They tell her that she’s uncool
Cause she's still preoccupied
With 1985



So, there are all sorts of internet social networks. There was Friendster, which I got off long ago. I just didn't feel like logging in every day to do all the things I was getting e-mails saying I should do (friend someone, do this, do that, etc.). Then I got a MySpace account, since that was the new thing, especially for authors and musicians with something to promote, but I didn't have time to keep getting on and reading my mail and "friending" people (or whatever the MySpace version was) and bla bla, so I deleted that, too.

About two years ago, an old friend asked me to join LinkedIn, so I did. That was a mistake. Now I get emails from people saying, "Why haven't you updated your LinkedIn?" I have other things to do.

Plus, how many passwords and LogIn names can I really remember?

I'm just going to have to start Just Saying No to joining these things, because once I'm on, more and more people or groups find me and then I'm afraid they'll be insulted if I don't log in to resopnd, but there are just too many of them.

Recently, Lori invited me to sign up for GoodReads. It's a way to monitor and comment on what your friends are reading, and share what you are reading. It was nice of her. I signed up, but I haven't read any novels in quite a while, so now it's just a testament to my laziness. And I've been getting emails from some nice people asking me to add them to my links, but I don't even remember what my password was when I signed up for GoodReads. So now they'll be offended and think I don't like them, when really, I just don't feel like trying to fish for my lost password.

Yes, yes, I know. None of these are real problems, and I'm whining. But that's what blogs are for!! Kvetching!


Just for fun

1. Time waster

How many boys' names can you come up with that are three letters and have only one consonant?


2. Just a thought

In the 1970s, there used to be these bumper stickers on small cars that said, "Don't laugh. It's paid for." And I used to think, "That's why we're laughing."

3. Someday

I should post something about how I refuse to get old. I can be mature and responsible, even wiser. But not old.

One part of this is, I refuse to believe that the "80s" can ever be considered part of the "good old days." And even if today's teenagers consider (for example) Duran Duran an oldies group, I will not believe that I am old because I hit puberty at such a glorious, golden era in pop culture. "Good old days" will always signify the FIFTIES. Period. The '80s are reminisce-able and nostalgic, but not "old days." Teens today like the '80s because of the pop culture. But not because they were quaint, like the fifties always seemed.

I remember sitting in my great-aunt's old house in the 1970s and listening to stories of the good old days, when families would have seven siblings and they'd all sit around the radio, that sort of thing. Yes, those are old days. Not the '80s. It just should never, and will never, count.



If anyone out there thinks single life in NYC is glamorous, read this girl's blog entry.

I'm not taking a side. I think there was rudeness all around. I'm just glad the hubby and I don't like bars.


Ladies and gi'nts....

The NY (but really NJ ;) Giants are going to the Super Bowl! Holy cow!

Even certain people who can't tell a football from a bowling ball know about it.



News of the day

My hubby was kind enough to pass along this very relevant news item from USA Today. Guess what kind of dog is gaining popularity?

It's a...


English bulldog!!

I think they're adorrrrrable. BUT I don't think it's a good thing that they are so popular. They have health problems and short lifespans, and people will spend $1,500 on a bulldog instead of adopting a shelter dog. Yes, they are cute (in an ugly sort of way, of course). But...buy a shelter dog.

Now back to our regularly scheduled weirdness. (Oh wait, this is part of that.)

On another note, someone suggested that the reason I dreamed about Boris Yeltsin is because of all the politics that have been in the news in the last week, like Bill and Hillary. Well, maybe. Who knows, comrade?



I haven't posted in a while. What can I post about? How about dreams. The kind you have at night. The fact that even though I have a wonderful, adorable hubby, last night I had a dream in which I was at some fancy party, and Boris Yeltsin for some reason came up to me and asked me on a date! Sorry, but I don't think I was very interested. I don't remember what happened next, and I don't remember anything else from the dream.

All this confirms is that my dreams are pretty useless and weird (although I have gotten some ideas for novels out of them).

I swear, I have never thought of Boris Yeltsin in a romantic way. Actually, I haven't thought much about him at all. I don't know what he was doing in my dream.

When I was a kid, I started writing down my dreams. I wanted to see if I was psychic. I wrote down my dreams, but they amounted to nothing. Sometimes, they stemmed from an unfinished throught I'd had during the day...but they never predicted anything.

One thing I found was that the more I wrote down my dreams, the better I became at remembering what I'd dreampt about upon waking up. I have found this to be true; other people have written about that.

But never did I predict any world event with my dreams.

So, I am not attributing any significance to Boris Yeltsin happening to appear in my dream. And I did not go on a date with him. I don't know why he asked. I'm married, after all.

Just say nyet!


Blogfan Sam writes:

I think you're right about useless dreams. I make it a point to remember details of dreams, even though it is rarely helpful. Last night I had a pleasant little dream of a Christmas morning with family. I got some cool little gifts, but gee, it's already Jan 15th. A little late for Christmas dreams. But it produced an interesting idea for office gifts for next Christmas.


Lori's waffles

I know a few people who are great writers, but rarely write.

For instance, there's my friend Jodi, who updates her blog about three times a year. But those are really good entries!

There's my college friend Regina, whom I can't link to because she doesn't have a blog (as far as I know), although I keep telling her to try out for TVSquad.

But now, at last, Lori from high school has a blog. She writes:

"Ta-daaa! My very silly blog:http://applause4breakfast.blogspot.com/Enjoy! Or not. Totally up to you.-Lori"

Every day, you can see what she had for breakfast. Mmm!



Breaking news!!!

My friend saw a cute bunny at a zoo.

Movie review

The Hubby and I rented "Superbad." How was it? Well, just look at the last syllable of the movie's name.


It's cold.

Why watch cnn.com when you can get news, entertainment, and weather, all in one convenient blog?


A response from Hawaii

Blogfan Sam writes:

Thank you so much for "Home Alone" story. This is your best post in a very long time, and reminded me just why I'm a big fan. A lot of us have had that "Now what the heck do I do?" time in our lives. You feel jubulation at finishing one chapter in your life, then you face that big scary thing called "the future". It's also fun to look back at the moments that change our lives... change one little thing and you could have ended up in a completely different life than you have now. I know it's been a big year for you, but who knows what 2008 will bring. Happy New Year my friend.

Thanks, Sam! Yeah, long posts like that take a while for me to write, but I'm glad it went over well. It wasn't any fun to be so confused at the time, but I'm sure I learned some life lessons from it.

I hope you have a great 2008, too!


Home Alone: New Year's Day, 1993

During my senior year of college, I graduated a semester early -- in December instead of waiting until May -- in order to save money.

I'd spent a lot of college studying and trying to get it all done in three and a half semesters. And it worked.

But when December arrived, I had a new problem: I didn't know what the heck to do next.

The presidential election had just ended, and I cared about politics. I also knew I wanted to be a writer, and mostly likely would apply for publishing jobs in NYC. However, taking the train or bus to NYC for interviews and back was expensive and took an entire day. Some of the interviewers would say, "You came all the way up here from Philadelphia?" and look at me with pity. This didn't help me get the job. (Yes, it did say Philly on my resume, but sometimes the interviewers didn't notice it until the HR people handed them the document.)

I realized that it would be a lot easier to find a job if I actually already lived in NYC. But of course, without a job, it was hard to get an apartment. And certainly hard to pay a deposit and a month's rent.

Besides, I could stay in Philly and relax for a semester, put off the "real world" a little bit.

But I still needed a source of income, and a place to live.

My student status was about to run out. I stayed at my dad's in New Jersey through Xmas, but there wasn't a lot of room there, what with two stepsiblings. I came back to campus and was glad to see that my student ID to the high rise dorm I lived in still worked. I shared a three-bedroom with two roommates. But they were supposed to get a new roommate starting in January. So I'd already packed up my stuff. Some of my boxes were in the closet, and some were at my dad's. I slept on the couch in the living room of the dorm room.

During the rest of winter break, I was alone. Every time I slid my card through the card-reader in my dorm, I was scared it would suddenly stop working.

Finally, it stopped around Dec. 31. When it didn't go through, the security person recognized me and shrugged. "I don't know what's wrong with it," she said. "You live here." She buzzed me in.

Once classes started again, I'd have to hope friends were around to sign me in. But for a day or two, I just pretended I didn't know what was wrong with my card. And I slept on the couch in my dorm room on the 17th floor of my high rise.

Meanwhile, campus was pretty much empty. There was a rooftop lounge in my dorm with walls that were all glass, and I could climb up there and gaze on the buildings of Center City, Phila, read the lit-up messages scrolling across the Philadelphia Electric Company building. Early on New Year's Eve, I went up there and looked around, but there was a couple looking at the lights of the skyline, holding hands. I decided not to intrude. I went back downstairs to my dorm room.

I felt very alone. I didn't have any friends on campus at the moment, hadn't done much dating -- so of course there was no significant other -- and didn't have anyone really worrying about me or where I would live next, except me.

Where should I live? What should I do? And how could I move anywhere if I didn't have a job lined up there?

I used the campus computer room, one where you only had to show ID and not slide it through a card reader, and printed out resumes to send to publishing companies and PR outfits in NYC, Philadelphia, and DC. I applied to any job where I might get to write or edit.

On New Year's Eve, I decided that since Home Alone II was out, I would take myself to see it.

The theater was a block from my dorm, so it wasn't a far walk. It was a cold night, and the multicolored flyers from the wooden kiosks waved in the breeze. I plunked down my four bucks for the movie (it was a cheap theater) and sat and watched "Home Alone II." I enjoyed it.

In "Home Alone II: Lost in New York," a dove and a homeless woman played into the story. It was a sweet tale that gave me hope during a confusing time in my life.

When I was walking back to my dorm, I passed a homeless woman whom everyone saw on campus almost every day. She was a regular. She always gave the same spiel: "Hi, I'm selling these paintings to support myself." Her paintings were on 8x11 paper. I'd seen her since freshman year and never gave her any money. But I had always told myself that when I had graduated, I'd finally give her a few bucks.

So that time had come. I handed her a few bucks, and she gave me one of her paintings. It was a painting of a dove!

I went back home, taped it to the door of my dorm room, and felt glad to be warm and inside.

A few days later, one of my roommates came back and told me about a three-day-per-week temp job in downtown Phila. I could use the other two days per week to go on job interviews or just enjoy campus life.

And that's what I did for the next few months. I saw an ad in the Daily Pennsylvanian for a room for rent just off campus for $275 a month with a chemistry grad student. I went downtown to Odd Lot and bought a futon cushion for $30 and brought it back uptown via the subway, and slept on that.

In May, I heard from a former boss that a girl who had graduated a year behind me had a room for rent in Weehawken, NJ, which was directly across from New York City. The room was only $330 per month! It was so close to NYC, she said, that you could even see some of the Empire State Building from her bathroom. I called her up, saw the place, and put down a deposit.

On a weekend at my dad's, I bought a used car for $875 with some of the money I'd saved working in Philadelphia. I loaded my boxes into the car, hauled them up to Weehawken, and began temping in the New York City area. A year later, I found a job in journalism I liked. I've been here ever since.



I got an e-mail about this thing where my story "Carrie Pilby's New Year's Resolution" is nominated. It didn't come out in 2007, so I don't know how I'm eligible, but I'm on the list, so take a look and vote...third category down!