A Writer's Closet

Welcome to the weird flotsam of a writer's mind . . .

Location: Southern California

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Cute and the Gruesome

And now for today's nauseating cuteness it's penguins in sweaters! The Tasmanian Conservation Trust's Penguin Jumpers Project: Has volunteers knitting over 15,000 jumpers (that’s sweaters to us Yanks) to keep the wee ones warm while recuperating from oil spills around Tasmania. Their next project is to keep the Little penguins of Bruny Island from becoming road kill by erecting fences around highways and digging underpasses for the penguins to cross safely. I guess the day glo orange sweaters wouldn’t help with that.

On the other end of the spectrum I started reading Stephen King's Cell this week. It starts out bloody enough, and is getting pretty creepy. The only time I can read undisturbed is at night before bed and this book is not condusive to a good night's sleep. Fortunately I've read enough King to be immune to his wiles. We'll see if this current book holds its water all the way to the end.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Shameless plug

Since this is my personal blog, I can do shameless plugs, so I'm just letting everyone know that my weekly recap of Dancing With The Stars is up if anyone would like to read it.

In a completely unrealted issue, I went to the grocery store today and came up on one of my pet peeves. I'm at the checkout, all my loot has been, or is in the process of being scanned, and the clerk asks me, "Did you find everything okay?" It's a little late to ask at that point isn't it??? Am I going to say, "Actually I couldn't find the whole blocks of parmesan cheese. Would you be a dear, stop what you're doing and go get one for me, while these five people in line behind me fume and give me dirty looks?" It seems kind of moot to ask that question when the customer is nearly out the door. That's just my rant for the day.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Frey gets flogged

I'm furious that I missed Oprah's flaying of James Frey yesterday. Doubly so because I was miserable with a stomach bug and it would have cheered me up immensely. When Frey originally pitched A Million Little Pieces he marketed it as fiction, and then later changed it to memoir without any editing. He knew there were lies in there, not just lies about his jail terms, but lies about how a girl died. That's really unforgivable to me. I can only imagine how her family must have felt when they learned the truth.

It's hard enough to get published these days and I can sympathize with the pressure to make a story more interesting, but he got chosen for Oprah's book club for crying out loud. Talk about scrutiny. But like anyone who's carrying an enormous lie, he just held it and hoped no one would find out. He did agree to go on Oprah again to get his caning, I'll give him that much. Fact checkers aren't infallible either, so if a novelist is going to lie and hide it, they'd better be prepared to take the fallout. I don't have any sympathy for him but I'm curious to see what this does for sales of this book and also My Friend Leonard, which supposedly picks up where AMLP left off. You know what they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Bloggers or pod people?

Mediabistro's Galley Cat has a cool story on publishing with a different slant. Author John Scalzi was guest editing Subterranean magazine and came across a story that made several cuts but just didn't quite fit the publication. He was so enamored with it, he bought the story himself and posted it on his blog, Whatever. Scalzi's reasoning is that his blog gets read more than Subterranean, so the story is getting out to a large audience. Arrogant, maybe, but probably true. The story is called "Who Put the Bomp?" It's haunting and sharp, though I didn't find it terribly original, speculation on Martian invasion and pod people, amidst social insanity. Read it and decide for yourself. Scalzi has done the authors a huge service--they will get tons of exposure from this.

I used to think print publications and books were in big trouble with digital media exploding the way it is, but people are fickle and diverse creatures. Sometimes I just want info bites, I love my Yahoo page. So much to interest me, laid right at my doorstep! And other times I want to run screaming from my computer and just curl up on the couch with a thick hardcover, feel and smell the book in my hands. That will never change, for me, or the millions of true book lovers out there. We just might cheat from time to time with our computers, but our hearts belong to binders and wood pulp pages.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mr. King

After skimming through the news this morning I see that Chile has just elected the first female president, Michelle Bachelet who recieved a whopping 53% of the vote and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a 67 year old grandmother has been sworn in as Liberia's head of state. Is the U.S. next? While this news is wonderful, encouraging, empowering and all that stuff, I can't help but wonder if there will ever be a day where it is not news, when it won't matter what someone's gender or race is, when we all treat each other like what we simply are: the human race. Will I see it in my lifetime? I've done what I can and I've considered it a privilige to raise my son in a way that will ensure he sees the world that way. This is how global changes are made, our children are blank slates and grow up to inject the world with whatever they learn from us. So if it doesn't happen for me, maybe it will for him, or his children. Happy Birthday, Mr. King, and thank you for your dream.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Reality mush and mouse revenge

Today is a perfect L.A. day, 80, sunny, clear and dry. I can only imagine what my Chicagoan sister must be enduring, or my other relatives on the east coast while I bask by the pool. Suckers!

I feel a little icky about this, but I now write for a reality TV website! I'm a little creeped out about it because I've always hated reality TV but I'm being sucked in. I've been recapping Dancing With The Stars for Reality Shack (click here to read it), only now I'm tuning in to *gasp* Celebrity Fit Club as well. But that's it, I swear. I will not, will not watch anymore reality TV. Unless I'm getting paid to write about it.

Animals are opening up a can of whoop ass all over the place this week. In Fort Sumner, NM Luciano Mares caught a mouse in his house and threw it into a pile of leaves he had burning in the front yard. On fire, the mouse ran straight back into Mares's house, lighting everything in its path and destroying everything inside. I can't imagine the mouse living through that, but at least he went out with a bang.

In a Die Hard-like sequence a cow in line for the slaughterhouse in Great Falls, Montana jumped the fence, bolted through busy intersections, darted in front of an oncoming train and narrowly missed being hit. With police in full pursuit she then crossed another busy road, nearly got hit by a semi, jumped into an icy river and survived that by climbing up onto a sandbar. Then she gets shot with tranquilizer darts by a vet, shakes it off without dropping, and continues to elude police. Six hours after she escaped she finally walked placidly into a pen officials had set up waiting for her. The employees at the packing plant she was bound for have named her "Molly B" and vow to keep her alive. I would have named her Logan. If you don't get that reference please don't tell me because it means I'm old and you're not.

Monday, January 02, 2006

I need an ark

Normally I don't mind the rain, but today we have rain of biblical proportions. This afternoon it was raining sideways, a window screen blew out of the window (yes, blew) and one of my shrubs in the back yard keeled over, probably from ground saturation. 360 days out of the year I wish I lived in a remote canyon, then it rains and I'm glad I don't have to worry about mudslides and boulders tumbling into in my backyard.

I can't help thinking Reggie hates this weather, too. Wait, you don't know who Reggie is? He's famous! He's the alligator in Harbor City who has been eluding captors since May. He's made a monkey out of half a dozen professional gator wranglers and folks have pretty much given up catching him for the moment. He has his own blog right over here at blogspot. I have to say, Reggie's pretty eloquent for a reptile. I hope someone brought him a frozen chicken for Christmas. His owner got slapped with a bill from the city for releasing him into the wild in the first place. Serves him right. As a former cop he should have known better. Of course maybe that's why he's no longer a police officer.