Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday Funnies

As you may have noticed, I have been a little absent.  Hopefully I'll be back full time soon.  In the meantime, enjoy this collection of bizarro Sunday ads:

This may be the most comfortable bra EVER, but what's the point of wearing it?  It obviously does nothing for the nungas.  If you want Full Freedom, I suggest the real thing.
I actually considered purchasing that owl.  We have a fake owl already in our backyard, to deter birds from pooping on our deck.  It is useless.  This one appears to be almost Clash of the Titans caliber. 
I find it rather obnxious when someone tells me to LOOK SLIMMER NOW.  Especially when the picture shown is of someone who obviously doesn't benefit at all from the product and probably had to have her size small taken in.  When this picture is small, I think she kind of looks like Amy Poehler.
I am finding these shoes strangely attractive.

Doesn't this look like an ad from the future?  Like, eat our new, fake gelatinous fruit, now that we cannot grow real fruit in our nuclear waste-contaminated soil!
Oh yes.  The Snap-It-Up jacket.  Dare to compare.  100% wash & wear.  Double brushed!  I like how they do not show the black version of it.  Too dark for this ad. 

Better head to the grocery store.  We're expecting a blizzard tomorrow.  I'm kind of stoked.  We haven't had a blizzard in over ten years, before Matt moved to Chicago.  It will be his and Romy's first.  Prepare thy snowblowers.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Doctors and IT

My brain is in weird mode.  The life-changing decision of next week has pretty much been made, yet not yet executed (how's that for telling you nothing?), I should now be ready to write the book I am supposed to be writing, yet somehow I can't gain the focus to do it, and I saw a doctor who really freaked me out.  I guess I'll tell you about the doctor bit.  I must first interrupt myself and say that I am up an hour before I normally get up, and now my daughter is babbling over the baby monitor- a half hour before she normally gets up.  What the fuck?  Will I never have a time of day I can write?  I think that's why I'm not writing-- because I CAN'T.  If I try to write at any point when Romy is supposed to be sleeping, she wakes up!  Maybe my pen is too loud.  I swear, when I am out of the house, she sleeps a good two hour nap.  When I'm home: 45 minutes.  And, no, I don't want to leave the house to write.  Because that wastes more time.  It's like leaving the house to exercise.  Who the hell has time for that extra half hour needed to get somewhere and back?  Man, I am not in a good mood.  So about this doctor: he was fine, although I do have to say there were some moments where I wondered if he was being inappropriate.  Like, if he was listening to my stomach and my esophagus, did he have to touch part of my boob?  Not in a pervy way, but it still seemed odd.  He was odd all around.  And we couldn't understand each other half the time, which I don't think is a very good doctor/patient relationship.  The end result of the deal was that apparently I have reflux.  So, all of this time I have been gagging on my food or choking in the middle of the night was not because they screwed up during my appendix surgery (which is where my mind went), but because I have too much acid.  Fine.  The doctor gave me some meds, over the counter if I wanted (although it turned out to be cheaper using prescription).  But then he went completely insane and said I was to have an ESP or something (that's not what it's called, but I can't be bothered to stand up and look for the order), which is a) having an iv in my arm to knock me out and then b) going into my esophagus with a camera just to see if it's not something else.  At first I was like, okay...  I mean, of course I cried because of my needle phobia.  But I scheduled it for next week.  Then, after thinking about it for a while, I was like, wait, I haven't even tried the meds for reflux and I have to be put to sleep by this guy?  That's totally invasive, even if there isn't much of a risk (although, being put under always has a risk, and being put under around this guy?  Possibly risky, too).  I decided to cancel.  When it's time, I will make a follow-up appointment with a new doctor.  If SHE (yeah, that's the better route for me) says I must get that ESP thing, then so be it.  But it felt way too extreme right out of the gate.

I am feeling writer rusty.  That's not good.  Oh, and the email bullshit with my publisher still hasn't been fixed, so I feel really special.  Like, you can't imagine how special I feel.  And if the IT people at my publisher are anything like the one I used to work with at my old job, I'm in trouble.  I really hope they aren't like that.  Once, at work, I was looking at shoes online, and the IT person shut me down.  They never give warnings or anything (not that it's any of their business what every teacher is doing at every moment, although apparently it is), just moved my mouse arrow and closed stuff.  Very creepy.  So one day when the guy did this, after many times of other dickish interactions, I opened my browser back up and typed "asshole" into it.  I've always been proud of that moment.  That guy recently got fired, by the way. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Sometimes, probably more often than not, I think things mean something.  This happened because it was meant to, or this happened because something else happened so it had to be balanced.  And I don't feel  like this is a healthy way to think.  It seems that  thinking this way is pretty negative, or at least in the way I often use it.  Which is to say: if something good happens, something bad is going to happen next.  Or, if something bad happens, something else bad is going to happen.  It's a terrible way to think, now that I write it down.  Maybe I'm just really confused about the few days I have ahead of me.  Make that the next couple weeks I have ahead of me.  Today is a biggie, with an interview with someone for my next book that could be an emotional roller coaster.  Right after that I have a doctor's appointment to check out this problem I've been having since my appendix surgery last April.  I'm scared for that for various reasons, some of which are cost (my insurance will not cover it), what the eff are they going to do, and what the eff are they going to find.  Then tomorrow I get the joyous annual gyne appointment (yes, you all needed to know this).  And the following week?  I have to make and solidify one of the biggest decisions I've ever made in  my life.  I have been dreaming about it every night, and it's weighing heavily on me.  I am terrified that something that happens at one of these doctors will change the trajectory of my decision.  Not that there's a huge probability of that.  I just think that way.

Damn.  Lighten up, girl.

Here's another thing that's scaring me: my email address has been greylisted from my publishing house.  That means that every person I send an email to at Macmillan gets bounced back to me, sometimes several days after the email's been sent.  I talked to someone at my email provider, and they said that the computer system at Macmillan has determined I am SPAM and won't let my emails through.  Isn't that great?  Don't you just feel the love?  So now I have to get someone at Macmillan to get a tech person to straighten this out.  It just all feels like part of a bigger, cosmic picture.  A bleak one.

Geez.  Maybe I'm just in a mood because I had some horrible dreams about my mushy stomach last night.  They were oddly traumatizing.  If I go to the gym, will my dreams stop being awful?  If I think more positively, will everything turn out okay?  Maybe I should read that book I have about the power of positive thinking.  If only I had the time to do it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Like Lasagna

Monday tends to suck for many people because it's the first day of the work/school week.  But what happens when it's not that kind of day for you?  For instance, my sister has worked many retail jobs, and her weekend is often not on a Saturday or Sunday.  Or, with me and lots of stay-at-home moms and dads, who don't actually go to work, Monday could be just another day.  But it's not.  I don't know if it's because I've been in school so much of my life, and even after graduating out of being in school to working in a school, Mondays still had a similar feeling.  Aside from the lack of sleep and the awful feeling that I'd be away from Romy for another day (hence me taking this year off), Mondays didn't always seem to bad.  I like the structure of a work week.  Knowing that the post office is open offers me some sort of weird comfort.  On weekends, I need my "me time" away from Romy, though Matt and I are still working out the kinks on that one.  When Monday comes around, I am ready to resume my duties as Mom.  Plus, I like how everyone else is back in the office on Mondays.  Because of that, there's always the possibility of an email from my editor or someone else telling me about a conference or a million dollar movie deal I may get (as if).  Today, Monday, people in my neck of the woods are moping about the Bears losing to the Packers.  It's sad, for sure, to not go to the Super Bowl, but it doesn't have to pervade everything.  The sports guy on the news looks so morose.  Today is also Show Day at Romy's gymnastics class.  That is when the two year-olds do something showy, and then hopefully hold their hands up in "ta da" fashion.  And she gets a medal.  She is stoked about the medal.  I definitely have a big week ahead of me.  I may write more about it later, but a lot of it has to do with research for my next book.  Sad, happy, different research with real people going through some very real things.  As of last week, I had no idea this was even going on with these people.  And now, here I am, scheduling times to meet with them.  It's all very weird and is making my new novel seem much more important than it did originally.  Which is a good thing.  A purpose.  Sorry for much vagueness.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around it all.  Monday is just the start of a very interesting week.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What to Watch Weekend: Good Hair

I am loving Good Hair, the documentary by Chris Rock about African-American hair.  The absolute best parts are when Ice-T talks about having his hair relaxed.  He said that back in the day, it was gangsta to wear rollers in your hair to class.  The bigger the roller, the longer your hair, the more gangsta you were.  And Salt n Pepa recounted a story of when Pepa's sister relaxed her hair and burned it so badly that she had to shave the side.  Hence, her lopsided hairdo in the "Push It" video!  I also liked when they talked about random pieces of weaves rolling out salon doors like tumbleweeds.  "Tumbleweaves."  And also how funny Maya Angelou is.  Wow, and the amount of money it costs to get and maintain a weave.  Then Chris travels to India and finds where the hair comes from, and follows it back to the U.S.  Amazing.  Good stuff.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Football Blows

I really don't care about football.  At all.  Some sports are semi interesting for me to watch, and certainly going to a baseball game once every ten years is pleasant and food-filled.  But football will never have that hold on me.  First off, it is a slow sport.  They move like ten feet each play.  Secondly, it scares the crap out of me how much alcohol plays a part in its viewing.  I realize this is also true of baseball, but those games are shorter and more interesting, and they don't involve violence.  Football is all about the violence.  I remember, as a Women's Studies major, that there was some statistic about battered wives and how the numbers increased exponentially on Super Bowl Sunday.  Because their husbands' team didn't win.  A game that they themselves weren't even playing caused them to beat up their wives.  So, yeah, I can't get behind that.  I know people whose husbands pay a buttload of money for special cable so they can watch every single game.  When I hear that, I think, did you really choose to spend the rest of your life with the most boring human being on Earth?  Nothing you say to me will change the way I look at football.  And don't you dare say anything about it having to do with my gender.  I have close female friends who follow the game, and I have not once dated a guy who was into football.  There are other things out there to consume people's lives-- MEN'S lives-- besides sports, including music, art, and me (ha!).  I will be so happy when this Sunday is over, and the Bears have beaten the Packers and we can all go back to normal.  You know what sucks the worst?  Soldier Field is right next to all of the great Chicago museums, and Sunday is also the last day of the Henson exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.  We really wanted to take Romy one last time before it closes.  But there is no way I'm driving anywhere near those hopped up fans when they leave the game.  I am pretty certain Jim Henson wasn't into football either.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


You may or may not know that the only blog I read religiously is Go Fug Yourself, mainly because I think the two gals who write it are hilarious and my pop culture triplets (they are constantly referencing 90210 AND Clue: The Movie!).  My friend recently turned me on to Dlisted, and while I think it's a tad mean-spirited, this picture they posted had me laughing out loud:
At first you just notice how annoying Angelina Jolie is and how she looks bedraggled next to CZJ, but look in between them.  Michael Douglas!  Man, that's funny!  I can't stop laughing at it!  Seriously.  I'm still laughing.  And now you know, if there were any question, what kind of sense of humor I have.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Netflix Rant

This post comes directly after me saying I can't think of anything to blog about, and I don't really know if this post is an improvement.  However, I just read the article on Yahoo News about Netflix wanting their streaming to take over for their DVDs.  WTF?  That's like having cable and being forced to watch ON Demand crap when you want to watch a movie.  The choices are so limited.  Is that why everybody is using Red Box these days?  Whenever I go to Walgreen's, there's a line of people outside at their Red Box.  But I live near the border of Wisconsin, and standing outside to get  or return a DVD in the middle of winter sounds miserable.  Why is Netflix sucking all of a sudden?  We've been using them for probably a good nine years.  And lately, they have not been as on top of things.  First they sent us three discs instead of our two (not really a bad thing), and then they didn't send us the DVD on the top of our Queue even though it said it was available (90210 Season 10 isn't going to ship itself, people!).  Is there anything else out there like this?  I don't particularly want to support Blockbuster and their ultraconservative ways, but I also do enjoy having DVDs shipped to my house.  I recall there being an independent video store about ten minutes from our house.  Maybe it's time to move back to that.  But would it be so easy, now that I've become so accustomed to searching and waiting for DVDs to arrive?  I think I will consider going to the video store this weekend, just to see what's what.  Maybe we'll find something that wasn't even on our Queue.  And then we'll only be paying for what we want to get.  It sounds so old fashioned, doesn't it?

Run Out

This is the second morning I can't think of anything to blog about.  I am well over 500 posts, so is it that I've run out of ideas?  Is it just that life is a bit too mundane right now to inspire hilarity at 7:30 in the morning?  Dunno.  But I hate to stop the blogging until I come up with some new ideas because it seems the second you skip a blog, people forget you're a blogger.  So, instead, I am going to ask my readers what they'd like to hear about.  Please comment if you have ever wondered something about me, my writing, my writing process, the TV shows or movies I'm watching, what I eat for breakfast, etc.  I promise I'll get back to thinking of funny things to blog about relatively soon.  After yesterday's missed blog, I hope I haven't already lost my readers already.  Hello?

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Accept

After the Golden Globes last night, like so many others I'm sure, I made an acceptance speech in my head.  But for what?  This year it was for an adaptation of one of my novels.  But why do I have to fantasize about it?  Why can't book awards have some fabulously glamorous event like this?  Maybe that's the kind of sparkle the book industry needs.  Logistically, I suppose there could be some issues.  There are probably (maybe?) way more books than there are films.  And books are all over the place in genres (but maybe that's how the awards could be divided up?).  And maybe, just maybe, not all authors are as physically appealing as actors.  Or at least as actors think they are.  Because, really, how many of those people last night would just be average looking if it weren't for the glitz of Hollywood shining off their foreheads?  If I had a personal trainer and a stylist and makeup and hair artists, I would be pretty damn hot, too.  Wouldn't it be fun?  And who would host these fancy book awards?  Steve Martin maybe?  Since he's done hosting gigs but is also an author?  Dunno.  I have to go get Romy out of bed, but share with me your thoughts on a book awards show.  Who should host?  Where should it be held?  And what would you wear?

And finally... the winner to the Caboose zine pack contest is: Loves Ke$ha Too!  Email me at with your address.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What to Watch Weekend: Troll Triple Play

Before I begin, can I just say poo to this Slate article about how it is incorrect to use two spaces after a period? What if I have no control over it?  I mean, I've been typing forever, and my hand always goes TWO.  I am a crappy typist as is.  Imagine how long it will now take me to type if I have to be aware of my spacing after every sentence?  I didn't manage to do it with only one space once so far in this blog post!  And my next question: does my publisher take out all of those extra spaces when they publish my books?  Hmmm....

Now, TROLL.  The original movie was always on my must list because it starred Noah Hathaway, ahem, Atreyu from The Neverending Story.  It's a funny, decent 80's horror movie.  The sequel, TROLL 2 is a laughable ball of crap, the kind I loved to watch in high school and college.  Horrid in production, plot, acting, costume, and music, the movie has nothing to do with the first one.  In fact, it has nothing to do with trolls because they refer to them as goblins throughout.  Now, and I haven't seen this yet but will be watching it today, is a documentary made by the boy star of TROLL 2, all about the crapheap that was Troll 2 called BEST WORST MOVIE.  I am stoked.  At first, I was like, who the hell even knew Troll 2 existed besides me?!  But now I know that the other person who is still interested in the movie would also be one of its stars.  Should be awesome. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

I am Not a Sagitarius

Seeing that today is my birthday, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about this horrifying article suggesting that I am not a Capricorn.  However, I am just not funny today.  My brain is fizzly and there's nothing coming out through my fingers as I type.  Here are the NEW astrological dates, according to the Huffington Post article, due to shifting suns and moons, and okay, I really didn't read the article very closely:
Capricorn: Jan. 20 - Feb. 16
Aquarius: Feb. 16 - March 11
Pisces: March 11- April 18
Aries: April 18 - May 13
Taurus: May 13 - June 21
Gemini: June 21 - July 20
Cancer: July 20 - Aug. 10
Leo: Aug. 10 - Sept. 16
Virgo: Sept. 16 - Oct. 30
Libra: Oct. 30 - Nov. 23
Scorpio: Nov. 23 - Nov. 29
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29 - Dec. 17
Sagittarius: Dec. 17 - Jan. 20

I just don't think I'm a Sagittarius.  I have all of the qualities of a Cappy (none of which I can remember right now.  But I know I do.  Right, Brian?).  Feh.  This blog post sucks.  And I know I said this before, but since I keep forgetting to post the winner of the zine contest, I'll give you one last shot (it is my birthday, after all).  Click on my post here to read about the contest and what you can win.  And I hope everyone can forgive my birthday bleariness.  What the heck is an Ophiuchus, anyway?  Maybe I should go read that article.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My History in Hair

Yesterday I had my hair cut, and I chopped off several inches.  I had been growing it for a number of months, mainly because I hadn't done that in a while and I was trying to save some haircut money.  For a long time, my identity (or maybe my strength) came from my very long hair.  It was the one thing I always knew looked good, even when I felt fat and ugly.  Here is where I started to grow out my hair in 8th grade (I am now using my new photo scanner, but I may not be doing it perfectly.):
Note the bangs, the INXS shirt, and the excellent plaid shorts.  Also note the ancient encyclopedias I kept in my room.

Soon I began to grow out my bangs, which was the thing for the "alternative" kids to do.  Not having your hair all one length, but have really long bangs, to hide the gloom on your face.  Or to accentuate it.
Well, maybe you can't see my growing out bangs, but you can see my cool hat.  And my ode to Britannia bedroom door.

Eventually my bangs and hair got really, really long.  And that was my thing.  My really long hair.  Enjoy it in this picture of me, my sister, and some backyard zebras.

The next year, I went off to college and began feeling liberated.  The summer after my junior year, I moved to New York City to intern on "The Adventures of Pete and Pete."  There I had stripes bleached into my hair that I colored with various colors whenever they faded.  Here's me with Little Pete and some pink stripes:

And here's another picture of me from the P&P days, which has nothing to do with my hair and everything to do with me sitting on Iggy Pop's lap.  But where is Iggy?  Why did the camera make a white line through him?!  This was before digital.  My only picture with him, of course.

I soon tired of the stripes and their maintenance and began chopping them out of my hair.  Eventually, I gave up on the long hair and went shorter.  I had no idea my hair would get so curly.
That was me and my roommate, Cheryl.  We love this picture.

And here's another one with me and Cheryl, showing my love for the ponytail.  I'm still a fan.  Note that I'm wearing my favorite pink Docs (where ARE they now?) and child-sized, purple velvet overalls.

This next picture has nothing to do with my hair, but it came from the same year, the year I got my beloved cat, Tobin (who I still have at 14 years-old).  Here he is as a baby climbing my Monkees cutout in my bedroom.  Where the heck did that go?  How did I lose track of a giant thing like that?

That same year, I cut more off my hair.  And then more.  Here is a picture with two girls I worked with at Four Star Video Heaven in Madison, WI, after we chopped off my hair:

After that, I moved to Australia.  Super cute short hair:
I just found one of those Aussie friends on facebook.  If only I could remember that guy's last name.

Next came the growing out phase.  Here is me with my friends Liz and Nissa, on our way to karaoke (this was probably 12 years ago):

Fast forward to more growing out, more cutting, and a variety of chin-shoulder length cuts over the last ten years.  I could show you a picture of my current haircut, but I don't even know what it looks like since I always get it straightened when I get it cut and I haven't showered yet.  Does it even matter anymore?  Is it because I am older that I don't care as much?  Is it because I have been through hair and back and don't feel as much of an attachment or grip from my hair as I once did?  The new book I'm writing has a lot of hair talk, and it's bringing back a lot of hair memories.  It was fun to explore the varieties of hair I did in life.  Maybe someday, I'll shave it off or buzz a mohawk.  I haven't done either of those yet.  Or maybe I'll just keep going to the salon to get it cut as I do.  Because my favorite part nowadays is getting my hair washed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stinky Pee Wee

I completely forgot that I offered a contest last week to win a collection of my friend's zines!  Please post a comment on THAT post, and I will choose the winner this Friday. Oy. That's my birthday, btw. This Friday. I am selecting my cake today. Taking Romy to the bakery and everything. She gets one sprinkle cookie while we're there.

Speaking of Romy, she is way into Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Like, we have to watch it every single day. She likes the beginning up until the bike gets stolen, as well as the biker bar "Tequila" dance scene. She also loves Frances, who she thinks is a girl. Because she is so into it, I have been going ebay crazy trying to win her various Pee Wee dolls. I finally won an auction on the pull-string talking one, but when I opened the box (not in front of her. I want to give it to her for a special day) it reeked of cigarettes. WTF. I don't know what to do. Matt claims if we keep it out of the box, it will air out. I think it won't. I am afraid to give a bad rating on ebay because they give bad ratings back, but, geez, this is a toy for a kid to play with. What am I supposed to do? It's in our basement now, but I think I will move it to the garage. That seems like it could freeze the stink out of it. Maybe? Any tips?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Moment

While I lolled in bed yesterday with the stomach yuckies, I watched the live broadcast of the Youth Media Awards from the America Library Association.  For those who don't know, that's where the book awards like the Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz are announced.  It's very interesting to think about to whom and how the awards are given.  Before I became a librarian, I don't know how aware I was of the awards (um, that's probably because before I was a librarian I was essentially a young adult and before that, a child), but as a librarian I actually participated in one of the committees that chooses the best of the best.  It wasn't one of the most prestigious committees, but the YALSA Selected Audiobooks Committee meant that I met with a small group of librarians over a period of two years to choose the very best audiobooks for teens.  An official list was created and shared with the world (or, at the very least, the world of librarians).  As an author, I am interested in the award-receiving side of this coin.  Of course I imagine that moment of hearing my name read over the ALA telecast, and then I fatastize about the speech I'd give and the clothes I'd wear.  The honor is bestowed on so few books and authors, but it's still hard to not want to be one of the chosen few.  After I don't win (this year I didn't have any eligible books, so I wasn't stressing about winning or not winning), I, and all of the other authors who didn't win, have to think about why not or why the other books were chosen instead of ours.  The thing about it is this, which is something very similar to what I tell kids when I talk about getting into the writing business: it's a small group of people who select the awards.  Period.  And they may not think you're funny.  They may not like the use of specific words.  They may like a certain level of fanciness or seriousness or a particular genre.  And if those are the people that are on the committee the year your book is up that does not happen to have any of the things that committee likes, well, then you are not going to win an award.

I have yet to have one of the buzzed about award-possibility books, so having my name announced would have been a big surprise.  And yet, aren't we all hoping to be that surprise name?  And why do we want it?  Hmmmm.  I'm trying to think of the real reason I want it.  Would it mean more money, from both book sales and from future book deals now that I am a decorated author?  Would other people have more respect for me?  Or would anyone, except librarians and teachers and other authors, even know who I was?  Do I really want people to know who I am?  Or is that part of the beauty of being an author: you can write and even be famous, but you can still leave your house?  I realize I am not saying a whole lot here.  It's snowing out, I just got over (and, yay, it is over!) the pukeys, and I'm thinking about the future.  And money.  And the future of my money.  Would an award really make that all easier?  And if something else in life becomes easier, doesn't that mean something else has to become more difficult?

Oy.  Now I'm really not saying anything.  Instead, I'm going to post a video I just learned about on the morning news.  It's from one of my old students, and it's apparently gone viral!  She was a 7th grader the first year I started working at my middle school, and she had a prominent role in the hilarious Welcome to the Resource Center video I made.  Good on ya, Katie!  Wishing you heaps of success.  Here's Katie's cover of "Whip My Hair":

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Think I'd Like Josh Groban

I had a wonderfully pukey night last night, and I'm praying it doesn't continue at all today.  I think it might be food poisoning (which makes it sound like someone poisoned me.  Is that what you call it when you get sick from food?) because it went on longer than the usual flu, and I still feel like crud.  I also sort of hope it was food poisoning because then it's not contagious.  I don't need a barfing baby.  None of this matters to you, though, so I will move on to the topic at hand.  Remember when Josh Groban sang some absurd medley during the Emmys?  I don't remember at all when it was, but I was so surprised to see he was insanely hilarious.

He has this very serious, manly voice, and then he was just goofy.  And I think people were confused about whether or not it was supposed to be funny.  I liked that about him.  Not that I've ever heard an actual Josh Groban song.  Now there's another hilarious Groban video on the web (for all I know, this thing has been going around for years and I am just discovering it).  Man, I love this:

Why are you so funny, Josh Groban?  Are you this funny in concert?  Cause I'd pay to see that.  I'm probably disgusting all of you hipsters out there and your brooding music, but I don't feel like brooding lately.  Maybe a little.  After I puked.  Sorry to be so gross.  I wonder if Josh Groban would sing me a song about vomit...

Friday, January 07, 2011

What to Watch Weekend: Movies Based on YA Books

Recently I've watched at least three movies based on YA books that I've really enjoyed.  I mean, I really enjoyed the movies, not necessarily the books.  The first, which I guess wasn't recent at all, and I did, of course, read the book, was Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging.  I thought I would have blogged about it, but I searched my blog and didn't come up with anything after I watched it (only whining about how it wasn't released in the U.S. beforehand).  Needless to say, it was brilliant and a wonderful companion to the books.  More recently ON DEMAND (it's always in caps on my TV), I watched Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant.  I have also read several books from that series, although a long enough time ago that I don't remember a ton about them.  This movie was a quirky surprise, once I got past the lead actor's hair (okay, I guess I didn't get past it).  I am guessing they won't make a sequel because I don't think it did very well.  Did it?  I feel like I never hear about how these movies based on YA books do in theaters, and then they just fizzle away.  Like the movie based on the Alex Rider books.  Those books are phenomenal, and yet that movie was barely a blink in the theaters.  I haven't seen it.  Have you?  The most recent YA movie I watched was Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.  I have not read this series, mostly because it was instantly popular so I didn't need to read it to sell it to my students.  But it always sounded like something I'd love, considering how many times in my life I went thought a Greek/Roman myths phase.  (In case you were wondering, Artemis/Diana is my favorite of the gods.  I don't have to capitalize that, do I?)  I completely enjoyed this movie.  Did other people?  It felt like this one bombed in the theaters, too.  The movie was fun to watch, had decent acting, and pretty good special effects.  I'd totally watch the sequels to this, too.  And guess what?  I found the perfect actor to play Henry if Into the Wild Nerd Yonder really does become a television show: Logan Lerman!  He was Percy Jackson, and I think he plays awkward, yet extremely appealing, very well.  And I liked the way he reacted to things in a natural, befuddled way.  Plus, he's so damn cute!  Perfect blue eyes for Henry.  And he's not even super old, so he could play high school for a while longer.

I am so tempted to email the producer who bough the option for NERD to share my casting idea.  I'm sure she'd love that.  I'm sure she's waiting to hear from the little author who can't stop thinking about WHAT IF??? NERD does get turned into a TV show.  Dang.  Besides eating candy, this is probably the hardest thing to have the willpower not to do.  But how long can one author wait?  It already seems an eternity.  You know what would make me feel better about it right about now?  Some candy.

In Between

I always have a little twingey feeling during ALA(American Library Association) Midwinter time.  For two great years, I was on the YALSA Selected Audiobooks Committee.  A super cool group of librarians and I spent all of our spare minutes listening to audiobooks that were sent to us by publishers, and we spent the rest of our minutes emailing each other about what we heard.  During Midwinter, we'd gather for hours and hours of meetings to choose our favorites and create the final list.  It was so much fun!  I was asked to continue my journey, both on that committee and then on the Odyssey Committee, which is the one that selects the winners of best audiobooks(not a list, but specific winners).  But I turned both of those offers down.  One of the reasons was financial because being on the committees means you have to travel to both Midwinter and Annual (usually on your own dime).  Another reason was the massive time commitment.  But the final reason was that my line of work was getting muddied.  Was it cool for me to be judging other authors' works now that I was an author?  Did I have certain feelings, for or against, certain authors for various reasons?  (Believe me, librarians have those feelings, too.)  And what if, just what if, one of my books became eligible in some way?  Then what?  So I stopped doing committee work.  Only now I'm in an even muddier place in my life.  I'm not actually working at a library.  I will have galleys of books available at ALA Midwinter.  So what am I more of now?  An author or a librarian?

I will face that same identity crises again this summer, when my family is planning on attending ALA Annual in New Orleans.  We're paying out of pocket, but I'm also hoping to have a few good promotional activities in which I can participate.  At the very least, I'll be able to sign autographs and move table to table in the YA Author Coffee Klatch.  And the real reasons to go extend beyond me; we will certainly pick up oodles of books for Romy, who can watch as authors and illustrators autograph them.  Plus, it's New Orleans.  We're already priming Romy with some great music.

But where do I fit in?  If I'm not working as a librarian, am I a librarian?  If I'm an author, but one few people have heard of, am I really an Author?  I feel like I need to make peace with this in some way.  That if the television show based on INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER doesn't happen, or if my new book gets poorly reviewed, or if I never do win any sort of major award, that doesn't make me less of an author.  I never expected any job to eclipse my love for being a librarian, but I have found one in author that affords me to do a job I didn't even know I wanted as much as I do: Stay-at-Home Mom.  Labels, labels, labels.  I hate to admit, but I'd love a shiny, round one someday.  Maybe I can ask Romy to make me one.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

This was me

I'm a bit on the fog lately.  If you know what that means, let me know.  Ever since I sent off The Sequel to my editor (about a month ago, I believe), I have been unfocused.  First there was Romy's sickness, then the holidays, then my sickness.  I started a book, wrote 50 pages in 3 days, and then stopped.  I had no idea who the character was.  Finally, two days ago, I took and shower (um, there were other showers in that period of time.  It was just this particular shower that was helpful) and I rethought the character.  So much that I will have to completely rewrite the beginning of the book.  Which I have never done before writing the rest of it.  I think my plan may be to type what I have, making the changes as I go.  That way, I will be partway finished with my awful typing task, I will get to rewrite the character, and I will get back into the book.  We shall see.  Maybe I won't like anything about the book anymore.  But, no, I will like it.  My other thing is that I must find a better place in my house to write.  There are too many interruptions in most places at most times.  I am thinking about getting some sort of low, comfy chair to write in in my bedroom and/or my bedroom closet (which is walk-in, but not huge), so I feel some semblance of privacy.  Does anyone have any recommendations?  I'm picturing one of those video game chairs.  I'll have to look into it.  Where do I buy something like that?  Target?

For the holidays, I received one of those photograph scanners.  I played around with it a little so I could share with you these images.  The letter is one I sent to my cousin, four years older than me, while she was at overnight camp.  The last is a picture of the giant sticker my cousin stuck on the back of the envelope and obviously why I thought she was the coolest person on Earth.

Wasn't I such a cutie?  Maybe I should write all of my books in checkbox form from now on.  Let me know your thoughts on that.  And don't forget to enter yesterday's contest to win an entire set of my friend Liz's zine, caboose!  I will select a winner on Friday.  And, you know, if you sent me a letter like the above to my P.O. box, I would totally write you back.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Why I Heart Ke$ha

My life, at least as it was, depended on music.  It completely defined me as a teen and young adult, and I loved knowing about and seeing new bands throughout college and my twenties.  Well, now I am in my mid-thirties, have a daughter, and feel little connection to most music I hear.  I don't feel like listening to angsty music because I am too old to be angsty, and the same goes for angry or poppy music.  I don't know.  I can't peg what I like anymore.  Sure, I still listen to most of my old music, but often it brings back unwanted memories or feelings I had but don't need to have any longer.  I'm amazed at authors my age or older who are always blogging about current music.  I can't decide if I feel like they need to get over it or if I need to get back in it.

But, no joke, I LOVE Ke$ha.

She is not at all the type of music I would have listened to if I were the age at which her music is targeted (presumably, middle schoolers).  I was already into "alternative rock," as they called it back in the late 80's.  And GnR.  I totally would have made fun of the girls who liked her.  But now, I think she's kind of genius.  There are so many young, female singers who use sex sex sex to sell sell sell whether or not they have anything else to give.  And while Ke$ha can certainly be provocative, she does it in such an ugly way that it's completely subversive.  Behold:
Would Katie Perry look like this?  Even Lady Gaga seems to need to look pretty when she's looking weird.  But Ke$ha loves to look ugly!  She wears blue lipstick.  It's brilliant.  Here's another one:
Even for Maxim she has to be kind of gross!  And this video for the totally addictive song "Your Love is My Drug" is the cutest!  What is with the scuzzy dude with a beard?  That's hilarious!  What young woman wants to be with this hairy man, and yet there Ke$ha is all over him!  And in her other videos (all of which I watched while my husband was at the library and my mom took Romy out of the house.  A+ for using my time wisely) the dudes are just as odd. Of course she's not actually ugly, she's gorgeous, but I love that she isn't afraid to look wacky in an un-beautiful way sometimes.

Musically, I find her a fun car ride listen.  Her lyrics are ridiculous, but so over-the-top that I don't quite worry about kids trying to be her.  Really, any kid that tries to brush their teeth with a bottle of Jack is questionable in many respects, the first of which being how did they even get a bottle of Jack?  Something about Ke$ha reminds me of Cyndi Lauper, which is quite possibly one of the highest compliments a person can receive in my book.  I may actually go out and purchase one of her albums.  Do you think they have it on cassette?

And because I love Ke$ha-- a contest!  Just comment below with a love her or hate her comment (be nice, please), and you can win this entire pack of my friend, Liz Mason's zines.  She and I used to publish a zine together called cul-de-sac, and then she branched out into her solo effort called Caboose, with her most recent a MASSIVE book-like zine called Britney Spears 101, all about, you guessed it, Britney Spears.  In Liz's words: "Caboose is a perzine (that's "personal zine") written, edited, published and distributed on a "when-I'm-good-and-ready" publishing schedule by Liz Mason. The most recent issue is Caboose #7: Britney Spears 101, which reconstructs pop stardom, consumerist empires, obsession and public scrutiny through the lens of the editor's battle with cancer."  Good luck!  It's an excellent prize package for sure!

Monday, January 03, 2011

This is Not What I Ordered

I have a cruddy cold, the kind that takes forever to get here with its teasing, painful sore throats, and then four days later I can't breathe through my nose and I have random zits appearing (are those part of my cold?  They're weird zits).  Don't cry for me, though.  I don't like pity when I'm sick.  I like to be left alone, except for occasional deliveries of crappy magazines and drink refreshes.  However, I have yet to really get any alone sick time.  Romy is in full-on needy mode, which makes me feel like the worst mom ever.  But when I'm sick, I'm a pretty lame excuse for a mom anyway.  Today, I let Romy watch the first half hour of "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" three times.  Oy.  Damn, I'm rambling.  So here's a funny story:
Matt and I went through the Steak 'n Shake drive-thru during the ten minutes my mom could babysit Romy between us eating dinner and her going to Mah Jong.  Matt ordered the peppermint specialty shake, and I ordered my usual Double-Chocolate Fudge Sippable Sundae.  When we parked our car to scarf down the shakes, Matt, who I think has a pretty poor sense of taste, swore his shake wasn't right.  Although he couldn't pinpoint why.  Eventually he figured out that there were no chocolate chips, no peppermint, and way too many Maraschino cherries.  We went back through the drive-thru and said we had the wrong shake.  After waiting and finally arriving at the pick-up window, the cashier said, "Yeah, we're out of peppermint, and they didn't tell me.  So they just made something up."  Say what?  You don't mess with a man's shake (and they best be glad they didn't mess with this WOman's shake).  They whipped up a different shake, no comp or anything, and we drove off.  I called the store and talked to a manager because they have the best managers there.  Really.  Anytime I've had a screw up, they do me one better, give me the shake for free, and make it even BIGGER.  He was very apologetic and as confused as Matt and I were and said if I left my name, I could have a free shake.  But I didn't want to leave my name.  Because what if someone got fired, and my name was sitting there and when I went in to claim my free shake, the friends the fired-ee left behind shanked me or something.  Ha!  Steak 'n Shanked me!  That was not at all funny.  Except that it was.