Library Funnies

Having not been to a library in quite some time, this has been a source of constant sillies for me. First, I forgot that I’d have to order and wait for certain books that I wanted. Writing down titles from my amazon wish list and trying to scoop them up wasn’t working… so I’m on the internet looking at holds lists. Some of these things might not be available in my time here.

Also, I forgot that you can find funny stuff. People leave things in books all the time. I’ve found flattened gum wrappers, receipts, and even a stress brochure used as a bookmark. I’m not sure if they go through the books and these things get missed, or if you could use the public library system to market things to people by stuffing the books with paper, “Read” or “Vote for Fred Thompson”… I’ll admit it’s crossed my mind.

Also, I’ve forgotten how to pick out books. What do you like? How do you find it? I wander around the place, not being able to read without my head crooked to the side, trying to find something that would interest me. Half the time you can’t read the title and author’s name because of the stickers on the spine, so I’ll pick it up. I read – I don’t know what you call it. I read books that happened now. Or in the past, but aren’t too dated. Or crazy. No sci fi, no stories of hardship, just stuff. It’s hard to describe. But it really takes me a little while to pick something out. I like the staff picks, they’ve been pretty good so far, even reminding me of things I’d read and forgotten that gave me the warm and fuzzies. So far I’ve only picked out one I couldn’t possibly read.

I have also, believe it or not, been making progress on my book. Things get me thinking, and I apply what I’ve read to how I can develop and improve my story. It’s still going awfully slowly, since it’s hard to force myself to concentrate, but it’s getting there. I’m hoping to get a smaller laptop soon to make my work more portable. I could write in the library.

seattle library floor


Keeping Y’all Waiting

This weekend was…well, what was it? There was drama, action, adventure, team sports, debauchery, food, drinks, camping, music. And I’m still too tired to tell you all about it. Blogging is about the last thing on my mind right now, even though I feel like I owe you – I see those stats dropping…you’re sitting, waiting patiently for the Sasquatch 2007 recap. I honestly don’t know where to start. So give me some more time to think about it, K? I’m sure I’ll come around. Here’s a picture of thugs with beers to tide you over:


We’re already having a better time than you! This is going to be the best weekend ever! Yesterday is the longest day of my life. AC and I were up at six (in the morning), after picking her up at the airport the night before, driving through the city, and wine on the roof. It was glorious yesterday. We walked down to the water and down the trails that I take to run. We walked up and back through the market to get a glimpse, but it was still too early. We went home and got ready to go back out. I learned what shop till you drop really means, we were out all afternoon and at our late lunch it was tough to get back up out of the booth. We took her to Kerry Park, the best view of the city that I’ve seen yet. Back home we cooked out on the roof and had general fantastic times. My favorite guy in the building spent some time giving us Sasquatch tips. Of course, besides all this general information, was the guy that rapped to me about my shirt, the Andes Mountain band and dancers, the gutter punks, the tights debacle, the America’s Next Top Model photo shoot, the dying puppy, and the girly-let’s-play-dress-up that ensued when we got home with new clothes.

Unfortunately, since the day was so long, we decided to take a very brief little nap to regain our stamina. Which means I was reading a book, when RD called to let us know the day was going to be longer – his plane was delayed (he says the official announcement was ‘the plane is broken, we’re getting a new one’). That was around 9, and we got him at about 1. So I’m on maybe two hours sleep, I’ve already made breakfast, and when KD gets here, she won’t be able to see the floor of the living room. It’s a zoo of excitement. We’re coming back here for mimosas, we’ll run around the city, go to a cookout, and stay out as long as we can knowing it’s a three hour road trip to the Gorge tomorrow. Whoa.

A New ‘Why I Blog’

Raincoaster turned me on to Barbara Ehrenreich’s Blog, full of wisdom and interesting thoughts, and the following post:

Before You Write That Book . . .

Everyone has a book in them, at least everyone who writes to me seems to have a story waiting to be packaged between hard covers and peddled on Amazon: The mother trying to support an autistic child on $6.50 an hour, the army medic who’s seen how military health care goes wrong way before Walter Reed, the inner-city school teacher who digs into his own pocket to pay for pencils and glue. These are all potentially great stories, but I have one piece of advice: Don’t write a book. At least not yet.

I’m not saying this because I want to keep the wildly lucrative business of book-writing to myself. First, it isn’t wildly lucrative; most of the royalty statements I’ve received over the course of my career have been in the negative numbers. I consider a book — or an article — a success if it earns just enough to allow me to go on to the next one.

More to the point, most books don’t start as books. They evolve from humbler efforts such as magazine articles, doctoral dissertations, even op-eds or blogs. If you find yourself saying “I could write about a book about it,” start by writing something far shorter. If you can’t get that published — as an op-ed, for example — you’re not ready for a book. Correction: you may be ready, but an agent or editor isn’t going to pay much attention to an entirely unpublished writer.

Nor do I warn you away out of some desire to mystify the writing process. Maybe, in some cases, there’s a “gift” involved, but most of us writers are just skilled craftspersons. We don’t sit down at the computer and watch elegant sentences float onto the screen by themselves. We research, we outline, we agonize, we draft and re-draft and go through countless revisions. If we do a good job, it’s because we’ve been doing it week after week, year after year, and because we’re always open to another revision or even another round of research.

It’s an odd way of life, often fatal to relationships and day jobs. You go to bed wondering if you’ve boxed yourself in with a digression or a point that should come later on. You wake up at 4 AM to scratch out a solution on scrap paper. Sometimes you’re elated; more often you’re convinced you’ve produced a pile of unsalvageable crap. If you want to be a writer, prepare to be bipolar, paranoid (that’s when everything in the world seems to be part of your theme), and, a lot of the time, solitary, sleepless and poor.

And we haven’t even gotten to the publishing part. These days, most publishers file unsolicited manuscripts under “recycling.” Once, in the distant past, I’m told, they paid low-level assistant editors to skim the manuscripts that came their way, but now publishing houses depend on agents to do the screening for them. The agent will read your proposal, decide whether it’s worth pursuing, and, in return for finding you a publisher and negotiating a contract, take 15 percent of any money your earn.

But first you have to find an agent. You start by writing a book proposal (about 20 double-spaced pages for a first-time author, or drafts of several chapters) and send it off, with cover letter and clips (of articles you have already published) to someone listed as a “literary agent” in the yellow pages. (There are 164 literary agents listed in New York City, the nation’s publishing capital.) You follow up with phone calls and, depending on your theological outlook, prayer or animal sacrifice.

My first agent let my book — which has recently been re-issued as For Her Own Good: 200 Years of the Experts’ Advice to Women, co-authored by Deirdre English — serve as a desktop ornament for nine months. Fortunately, we had one of those inside connections that is all too common in the publishing world. Deirdre’s father, who worked for a university press, knew an editor at Doubleday whom we could approach directly. We did; she took it; and the agent proceeded to sue us successfully for her unearned 15 percent of our tiny advance.

Now suppose you do land a publisher; you finish your book; it’s accepted and finally lands in your mail box — a beautiful tome of extraordinary relevance, a monumental work that will change the course of human history. Stroke its glossy cover, admire the font, savor your brilliant last paragraph, display it on your coffee table. Because — and here’s the tragic part — chances are that no one else will. About 200,000 books are published each year in the United States, and few are even reviewed. In fact, the venues for book reviews are shrinking: fewer daily newspapers bother with them, and the flagship New York Times Book Review gets more emaciated every year.

Which is why I say: start small. Write a letter to the editor, a 700-word op-ed piece, or try pitching an article to a local weekly. Get used to rejection (there’s even a website for rejected letters to the editor). And if you’re tired of rejection, can’t find an agent or a publisher, and don’t have a trust fund to keep you going — hey, you can always write a blog.


barbara ehrenreich

Wasting Time

From iced mocha

A-Attached or Single?
So attached. In a good way.

B-Best Friend:
I’ve learned to never throw that around again, my BF should always stay the same, even if she lives in Denver, or NYC. She was the only normal one.

C-Cake or Pie:
If I had to pick, cake, if it’s cheesecake. It’s the only sweet I eat, although I can’t remember the last time I had some.

D-Drink of Choice:
This always makes me laugh, I immediately think alcohol…how about Enviga.

E-Essential Item: Lip gloss. Really. Running outside = lipgloss.

F- Favorite color:
Black is the new black.

G-Gummi Bears or Worms?
Both! Bears are good in martinis (bet you didn’t know that) and worms are good in those little cups you make in kindergarten with pudding and mushed up oreos.

Smallest place in the universe, Connecticut.

Used to be my mani/pedi, which I haven’t had since I moved from Austin, since it was a $70 luxury. Here, I recently discovered full sets for $20 by UW. I’m still wondering if it’s safe…

J-January or February:
January, of course, SEND ME BIRTHDAY PRESENTS!!! 🙂

Are someone else’s problem. My parents are way too young to be grandparents. And I’m trying to stay skinny.

L-Life is incomplete without:
Happiness and love. Optimistic attitudes. Life changing moments. A little sun, a little rain. Growth.

M-Marriage Date:

N-Number of Siblings:
Two little (but bigger) brothers. Who are just lovely.

O-Oranges or Apples?
Apples with PB, or OJ. Tough call.

Tobophobia – fear of being buried alive. I also – since seeing a certain Mythbusters – am a little afraid of driving my car into a lake.

Q-Favorite Quote:
A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.~Emerson

R-Reasons to smile:
I’m practically always smiling, unless my contacts hurt.

Now that I live somewhere that has seasons, I’m excited about summer.

T-Tag Three:
Blindeh, snippy, tmom.

U-Unknown Fact About Me:
Shoe shopping in the other window for ‘sensible walking sneaks’.

V-Vindictive or Forgiving? Oh, how this has changed. Almost always forgiving.

W-Worst Habit:
Messing with my nails.

X-X-rays or Ultrasounds?
For what? Neither, please.

Y-Your Favorite Foods:
Italian – pasta, and clam chowder lately…

Don’t believe it. At all.

strange cat

Here We Go

Cleaning 100 square feet shouldn’t be taking this long, but we don’t own a vacuum. I’m getting creative. Flapping the floor mats outside on the balcony is way more funny when you are 16 stories up. We have RD and AC coming in tomorrow night, and KD the next morning. LC and RD too, of SXSW fame, but they’re staying with another friend. Which is really good, due to the 100 square feet. We’re going to rock paper scissors for the couch, guys…

The weather has been pretty crappy for the last two days, so I’m hoping it gets over it when they arrive so we can run around like little crazies. Even though MK and I don’t have this whole place figured out, there are those things we have seen that we know we have to share. And there’s so little time! SH has so kindly invited us for a cookout, and then we’re taking our mini road trip out to Sasquatch. I’m even relieved to inform you no one will be ‘sleeping under the stars’, we’ve all got our tents and thermal undies ready to go.

As always, I promise to take great notes and get back to you, even if you don’t hear from me until next Wednesday, think gladly about how much fun you know I must be having. I am on my way to shop for the necessities:

fridge of beer

Kelly Clarkson

Friday we ran, we ate, we shopped, we hung out and played a little Paper Mario. MK took me back to the library, I needed more books! I didn’t realize that one that I checked out was third in a four part series, I don’t do that. We got ready and went out to meet friends at the Greenlake bar The Kangaroo and Kiwi. I hadn’t paid much attention to Greenlake, but it’s like Town Lake. A lake you can run around. Good to know. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned I’ve never driven in this city, so I doubt I could find it to run at, but maybe someday…It was a super fun bar. CD and I beat the boys at darts, always good. This is the crazy part: I met a guy, and told him I was from CT. He said, “Where? I have a best friend that is from _____” (my hometown!) I have never met anyone, ever, before, that has heard of _____, never mind been there and can describe parts to me. Unreal. The guy was older than me, so I’m not sure if I know the friend or not, but since there’s only one school, he’s gotta be in a year book somewhere.

As the night unfolded, there began to be a slightly too extreme amount of debauchery for me. I know, can you believe this day has come? Apparently Seattle-ites party harder than Austinites. Who knew? CD agreed to go with MK and I to a bar back downtown. We ended up at Belltown Billiards. I’ve never had a warmer beer, and I felt like I was on 6th St. back in Austin. College kid party. The music was more hilarious than I’ve ever heard, from Journey to Kid Rock to Salt and Pepa to R. Kelly to Whitesnake. Really. More mixed up that anything, anywhere. We were laughing so hard, and I fell into my joke routine of really bad dance moves that I do when I’m bored, problem being guys were still hitting on us, thinking that’s ‘how we do it’ … They need dance lessons up here. One guy thought he was the white(er) M. Jackson. OMG.

We stayed out all night (finally, every time CD takes us out we’re in bed by 11…) and woke up rather late Saturday morning. I packed us a huge fun and delicious lunch and we went to some sort of park that looked under construction and messy, but had beautiful views and a ton of windsurfers. We ate three inches from the water and succeeded in not getting splashed by any waves. It was past the UW campus (FYI, it’s called You-Dub) and were at the University District light coming back when we noticed there was a street fair, so we checked it out. U-Dist. is like Guadalupe with bars, it’s the main drag for the college. The fair was about 10 blocks long, plus side streets full of food vendors. We didn’t have the camera. It sprinkled a little, and that thing about locals is true – there was not one person over the age of 3 that used an umbrella. It’s all about the hoodie here.

Back home, we got all pretty and headed out to Fado’s, where MK and I enjoyed our “Anniversary Dinner.” That’s right, folks, MK and I will be MARRIED A YEAR next week, and we’re not going to force our 3 guests to take us out to dinner. 🙂 We were actually supposed to meet some people, but didn’t…oh well! We went to Shorty’s to practice a little…then headed home. You understand, of course, that I haven’t posted due to the pain of pinball, my hands were sore with practice and skill, so that’s why it took so long…


And now, the dramatic conclusion you’ve all been waiting for: I lost my first two out of three match, but won the second, then lost the third, by being matched up against the last year’s champion. The first two games were relatively close, but this third girl beat me by about 100billion points. I was super happy to advance that far in a pool of 24. We made a ton of new friends and had shots with the owner and partied like crazy all night. So the experience was worth it, but I am unfortunately not the owner of a pinball machine. MK and I were starving, even though we wanted to see who won, but it took too long, so I probably won’t know until tomorrow who the winner was. They had film crews and news reporters there and one of the girls I talked to was from Austin. That was fun. What is not fun is not knowing you’re being video-taped saying “I’m not playing that last ball, there’s no point, she’s up 300billion points”, and everyone laughing at you. I’m still mad and MK. I did make the guy promise not to open his segment with my little mini fit…

We ate at Hurricane Cafe, the Kerbey Lane of Seattle, with the notable feature of ALL YOU CAN EAT hash browns, I’m betting we’ll make it there with our guests next weekend – who I am more super excited about that ANYTHING, since it’s 24hrs. and two blocks away. They blared Kelly Clarkson last night. Hopefully they’ll have a new CD next time. It was a little loud.

kelly clarkson

28 Weeks Later

Man, do I love zombie movies. I think I have seen a million. It started when I used to wait tables in college, there was a group that would get together and watch super old school ones. Often. Those were typically funny to me, and for the most part so are new ones, but I always jump at least once if the film’s good.

when zombies attack

For whatever reason, zombie movies are the only movies at which I allow myself popcorn. MK and I went and saw 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to 28 Days Later. I don’t think I can remember liking a sequel more than its predecessor ever, but this movie ruled. We went and saw it at Cinerama, a downtown theater that Paul Allen bought to save from being demolished.

Today, as the world realizes the importance of the Cinerama art form in motion picture history, serious efforts are being made to ensure that a whole new generation of movie buffs will be able to experience the magic of Cinerama. Currently, there are three places in the world still capable of showing three-panel Cinerama films: Seattle’s Cinerama Theatre, the Cinerama Dome at ArcLight Cinemas in Los Angeles, and a screening room in a museum in Bradford, England.

The experience itself was a ton of fun, and again, even if you don’t like zombie movies, you should go check this one out, it’s fantastic. The action is super fast paced, there’s tons of blood and guts and stupid choices that people make when faced with zombies. Those three factors are my only three, so the movie certainly measures up!

28 weeks later

Sweeping Generalizations

Once you’ve lived in a city for a month, you get a free pass to decide how you feel about things – everything – and make gross opinionated statements. Due to my general community outreach and diligent exploration, I’ve been given permission at the three week mark. I feel so special. Without further ado:

Everything Good and Bad about Seattle from someone who has lived here three weeks

(as most frequently compared to Austin Texas due to that being the former residence).

  • Traffic: Traffic sucks here. It must be the worst traffic in the universe. Austinites that complain about traffic should be forced to visit Seattle. It is always rush hour. Seriously. The roads make no sense. Even with GPS and coffee and a sherpa.
  • Public Transportation: What’s that? Really though, it will be good. In a few years. Seattle is renovating the underground bus terminals and putting in light rail. As I type, I can see them working on it. And the bus I took from my place to the baseball game did get me there and back…but also made me decide against a bus pass. I’m walking and cabbing. (Side note: Only ONE acceptable cab company in the whole city!!)
  • Food: Mmm, delicious. What do you want? Best Vietnamese and Pan Asian, because we’re close, duh. The seafood is not what I expected, in that it’s so expensive and basically what you can get anywhere else, just fresher. (Hopefully.) I prefer to go to Market Fresh and cook it myself. Apples are fresh. They’re from here. What else? The restaurants are crazy busy, the good ones, that is, and the atmosphere everywhere is of a community that loves to eat and treats a dinner out like a party. I love that.
  • Clubs/Bars: There is definitely something for everyone. Typically, if you journey out, you’re there for the night though, it’s hard to hop around in small areas other than Belltown (where we are) and Pioneer Square (where the homeless sleep). We have loved everywhere we’ve been, with the exception of the pool hall turned ghetto booty dance club. My fave that I’ve mentioned, is Shorty’s, my pinball home away from home, and I also like Twist, home of $2 drink and food Happy Hour.
  • People: I feel that Seattle is a very diverse community. I don’t really have experience in trying to peg the locals vs. the tourists, I’m not used to that game. For the most part everyone we’ve befriended rocks, and strangers are unfriendly. Like NYC unfriendly. Whatevs.
  • Clothes: Retail here is going to make me broke. But happy. The boutiques are surely mostly imports of fab findings, and it’s lovely to walk to a Nordy’s and Macy’s downtown. Austin needs that. There I go comparing again…People here are all either dressed to the nine’s or dressed to hike Mt. Rainier even though it’s closed. It’s funny.
  • Community: Never living in a downtown condo before, I’ve loved the seeing of the same people at the same places, becoming a regular at certain places and feeling part of it all. Seattle is cool like that, area neighbors are by default buddies. In no time at all.
  • Weather: Dude, seriously, it has rained once. And been cold twice, rain day included. They tell you it’s bad all year so YOU DON’T MOVE HERE.
  • Ageism: The average age in Seattle is 35. There is a huge group of Google, Qwest, Starbucks-ers that deserve their own category title. I also think MK and I are the only married people without kids in the city…
  • Homeless: This is a problem. There are (to me) a disproportionate amount of homeless everywhere, in every public park, at the market, on the square. And they are, by far, the most aggressive I’ve ever seen – including the east coast. I talked to one friend who told me he volunteers to help them and the issue is they are severely under medicated and there just isn’t proper aid. Think of 7th St/Salvation Army area of Austin and spread that out over the downtown. It’s really sad.
  • The Arts: The Ballet and etc. etc are big here. There’s a Paramount and opera house. The museum and library are fantastic. I’m becoming more cultured…so they must be good.
  • Sports: Reminder Seattle and Austin are roughly the same size and Austin has no pro sports. Qwest and Safeco (Mariners and Seahawks) are right next door downtown. Sonics (for now) play at the Key Arena in the Seattle Center. I like sports. The layout and all aspects of the fans make the sports up here good times.
  • Parks: 6,200 Acres (about 11% of the City’s total land area) here is a park. I love running by the water, MK and I have driven to numerous parks. My favorite by far is Gas Works Park, 20 acres north of the city that was a former plant, where the boiler still stands, with a great view. (picture below)
  • Coffee: Everywhere we go, we’ve seen the popularity of the French Press. We even have one. That’s how the restaurants seem to serve it. There is, literally, a coffee shop every block. And sure, people drink Starbucks, but I’d venture to say locals go elsewhere…there are thousands of local places to choose from.
  • Wifi: There is a pretty huge list of places that you can go to get free wifi here. I am decently impressed with the connectivity of the city, the blog community, and the technology overall.

gasworks park

Well, what did I miss? What gross sweeping generalization am I utterly wrong about? I look forward to the discussion!