May 3, Houston: The big one -- the Inprint reading -- occurs at the Alley Theatre on Monday, May 3. Do not miss it or you'll be sorry. I'm not kidding -- I'm going to say the craziest, most intellectual yet hilarious stuff I can think of, and I'll be sharing the stage with the ultra sexy Oscar Casares, too.
June 24, Houston: I'm one of the peeps scheduled to read at Poison Pen, at Houston's famous Poison Girl bar. Besides me, everyone there will be ultra, *super* sexy. Come see me and drink!
June 26, Washington, DC: I'll be reading at the American Library Association conference. Come on down.
My other blog: Go read my the Houston Chronicle parenting blog (or my ChronMomBlog, as I like to call it) and make sure my kids won't resent me more than other kids resent their own parents.
Buy my new novel, Lone Star Legend. Already did? Well, buy a few more for your friends, then. :)
Wednesday, October 31, 2007The Price of Working with Timbaland
Everyone wants to work with Timbaland but not everyone considers his price.
Timbaland (sounds like Timberland, one of Super Target's house brands) is one of the best hip-hop producers in the business. His price for producing your song? You have to let him rap on it.
The hidden fee attached to that price? If you are a woman, Timbaland's rap will be about wanting to have sex with you.
The thing is, Timbaland isn't a very good rapper. Also, his raps about wanting to have sex with you don't always mesh well with the rest of your lyrics.
Consider carefully. Accept Timbaland's beats if you must, but don't let him mess up your song.
If You Dislike Me
If you dislike me, or if I've done something to offend you... there's nothing I can do about it if I don't know.
You may think that ignoring me is a way to let me know what I've done wrong. But it isn't. When you walk by and purposely say "Good morning!" to everyone in the room but me, I do realize that you're being passively bitchy to me. But I still don't know why. And, as time goes on, I stop caring why. I figure, if you had a good reason to be upset, surely you'd just tell me. But obviously you don't have a good reason, or your reason is something you're embarrassed to admit.
Same thing goes on the Internet. If you only know me online, and you dislike me, and you make it a point to say vaguely bitchy things about me on other people's forums, or on your own blog... Then, so what? What am I supposed to do about it? If you had a real grievance, you'd have mentioned it by now, right? If not -- if you've just disliked me for some secret reason for years and years on end, and you feel the need to make meowy little comments in places I may or may not see, then I can't care. Sorry, but it's just too much trouble. I can't make the time if you won't meet me half way.
Try harder! More hints, please! I don't know what your problem is. And I'm starting to think your problem has nothing in the world to do with me.
I wrote the preceding bits of this entry last night. Then, this morning, my horoscope tells me:
It may seem as if an overly emotional person is holding back his or her feelings. On one hand you are relieved because you don't have the time or inclination to get involved in someone else's drama. On the other hand, though, you may be annoyed that people cannot just say what's on their mind. If it feels like others are being passive-aggressive, encourage them to get it out into the open where it will be more easily handled.
Thank you, Rick Levine of Tarot.com, for reading my mind. 5:47 AM # (12) comments
Wednesday, October 24, 2007Right Now
1. I am tired because tonight we did CathE's workout instead of Gilad's, and CathE is driven by demons. My triceps tremble and burn.
2. I am sad, tired, annoyed, resigned because my children's dad is trying, aGAIN, to sue me for custody of them. This time he claims that I neglect them -- that their physical and scholastic health is endangered every day that they spend with me. I strongly suspect that he's pulling this last ditch effort in the vain hopes that he'll get custody right before he has to show the court his latest 1040. (The one that shows that he just had a new house built, and that he still owns a big chunk of property that he's renting out to commercial tenants, and that he therefore cannot possibly make as little money as he's been claiming he does.) His most damning evidence against me: One of our children has plantar warts. ONE OF OUR CHILDREN HAS PLANTAR WARTS! I pray that the judge makes the right decision...
3. I am happy because I got my auto loan refinanced and will henceforth save 3% interest and $75 per month. Saving money! Yay! My Excel budget spreadsheet is happy. I fed it this arithmatic and it liked it.
4. I am (not as) stressed (as I should be) because I haven't yet begun to make my costume for Saturday night's costume party. I have all my materials, and I dyed the top half of my outfit. But I still need to make a skirt and wings. I need to take my sewing machine out of the closet. That's the hardest part, probably -- taking the sewing machine out and threading it. After that, it should roll like duck back water.
5. I am about to read Harry Potter to my kids. Remember the NYTimes book critic who said the last HP book sucked, and that his daughter was relieved when he gave up reading it to her half way through? I feel sorry for that guy and for his kid. Maybe he should take some lessons in how to read aloud. I get a lot of practice reading aloud, since I'm an author and I occasionally read to college kids and whatnot. College kids are a difficult audience -- especially the ones who are only listening to you for course credit. Anyway, maybe the NYT critic should read to college kids for a while, then go home and read to his daughter. Because I'm reading Harry Potter to my kids, and we're all into it. My kids are like, "OMG! Ron is annoying! Hermione is annoying! Harry is annoying! What's gonna happen next? Please read one more chapter, Mom!"
6. I am going to bed early, in the hopes that a little extra sleep will help me out. Lately I'm having lots of crazy REM time, and lots of dreams in which I eat sugary foods by the pound. Maybe because my body's pissed at me for working out now?
7. I am planning to wear something boring tomorrow. I've lost 31 pounds since May. Today I wore something a little bit less than boring, and I got a lot of comments. (I wore a skirt that fit instead of a skirt that's one size too big.) I don't really like it when people comment on the way I look. I mean, if you want to compliment my clothing choices, or my fitness progress, then that's fine and I will thank you. But it isn't necessary to compliment or backhandedly compliment my body or any of its parts.
8. I am looking forward to the year 2008. I have a feeling that's going to be a good year for me, and that 2007 was just prep time. So I'm still prepping. But I'll be glad when this year's tucked away and I can move on to new things. You know? 8:17 PM # (12) comments
Thursday, October 18, 2007The Dark Is Rising, people!
Just have to say this real fast, before it's too late.
If you read The Dark Is Rising, by Susan Cooper, as a child and you thought it was awesome, and you:
a) don't want to see the movie because you're scared it'll suck, or
b) didn't even know they'd made a movie of it because they only advertised it on kids' TV stations...
then you should go see it, real fast, before it leaves the theaters. Because we saw it last night and it was awesome. I went in with the a) mindset, above. I didn't expect much. They modernized the hell out of the story, setting it, like, yesterday, with the Stanton family keeping in touch via online video and Will Stanton having an IPod and all that. And some of the events were nudged around, of course. But, in general, it was awesome. The cinematography was beautiful, the special effects fabulous yet tasteful, and the actors, all unknown to me, were well-groomed and did their jobs very well. All three of my kids, ages 10, 13, and 15, enjoyed it. Even though the younger two hadn't read the book, they were able to follow along quite well.
It was better than that Eragon movie, and probably better than most if not all of the Harry Potter movies.
Funny thing: We were the only ones in the theater last night. (Actually, we were probably the only patrons in the entire cinema.) Since they were born, I've been very strict with my kids about movie manners. We don't talk during movies. Never, ever. Unless it's an emergency, and then we whisper directly into each others' ears.
But last night, since we were the only people in the theater, that rule could be relaxed. We talked, and then we yelled. Well, I did, mostly. I was like, "OMG, that's messed UP! No way! Dude! Oh my god, I'm freaking out! That is too scary for me!"
And my kids were very indulgent, only rolling their eyes affectionately or else politely yelling "Ooh!" a couple of times to keep me company.
I'm gonna go back and see it with my boyfriend, who never read the book, to see if I'm just imagining how good it was.
Okay, that's it. I have a hundred other things to tell y'all, but will save them for later. 6:14 AM # (8) comments
Tuesday, October 16, 2007Possible Reasons to Get Into Shape
Not my reasons, necessarily. Just hypothetical ones.
1. To fit into better clothing.
2. To wear a certain Halloween costume that you didn't feel comfortable wearing before.
3. To participate in activities you were physically unable to do before.
4. To improve your health.
I know we're not supposed to say that fat people are less healthy, but I have to tell y'all that my hypoglycemia has improved dramatically since I've lost a little weight.
5. To look sexier.
Cheekbones, high waist-to-hip ratio. Human biology says these are sexy.
6. To be able to try new... um... yoga positions.
7. To get more clothing on sale.
Smaller clothes always seem to go on sale more often. To be able to find better stuff at thrift stores.
8. To go up the parking garage stairs without breathing all hard and making your lunch dates worry that you're going to have a heart attack.
Reasons to Lose Weight that May End in Heartbreak
1. So that people will love you.
2. So that people will treat you better.
3. For revenge.
4. So that your life will go from miserable to awesome.
Thrift Store Shopping
I don't mind telling y'all that I'm kind of broke right now. This mortgage and all the expenses that houses incur are kind of killing me. But it's all right -- I have a house. I have equity.
So, in the meantime, I've been losing some weight, right? Remember I told y'all that? And, I'm glad to be losing it, but at the same time, I can't afford to buy new pants as fast as I've been needing them.
Enter: Thrift store shopping.
I have tons of fluctuating issues with thrift store shopping. Sometimes I think it's cool, and fun, and good for the environment. I know lots of people who shop exclusively at thrift stores, and they find really awesome clothes to wear, and I admire them for it. I like vintage clothing, in general. I like the idea of wearing something creative, and something you won't find at every single mall on earth.
But then, sometimes, it gives me PTSD over growing up poor. The smell of the Goodwill will depress me, I mean, and I'll have to turn around and leave.
Other times -- times when I'm fatter -- I hate thrift store shopping because, apparently, fat people never give good clothes away. I don't blame them. When you're fat, it's hard enough to find good-looking clothes. Why would you give your good stuff away without knowing if you'd be able to replace it? No, fat people have to hold on to their good stuff. I know, because I've been fat. More than once.
I'm still pretty fat, but less fat than I was before. Less fat than the pants in my closet, in fact. So, over the weekend, my boyfriend and my youngest son and I went thrift-store shopping. And, oh my god, I am going to shop at thrift stores for the rest of my life, y'all. I mean, at least for as long as I'm less-fat and I have a mortgage I can barely afford.
We went to this one by my house -- one of those gigantic ones with a name like Value Village or Thrift Town or Used Universe or whatever. One of those ones where all the aisles are organized by color, and all the signs are in Spanish, then English, and the staff who sets the prices has NO IDEA what's valuable and what's not.
I mean, granted, what's valuable to me doesn't have to be what's valuable to them. It's good when everyone likes different stuff, right? But still -- it doesn't cease to amaze me how you can go into a thrift store and buy either a polyester jewel-toned skirt suit with big gold buttons for $11.97, or else a wool sweater for $1.93.
Luckily, this thrift store didn't have Depressing Smell. It just had the normal, slightly musty thrift-store smell that fades from your nostrils within a few moments.
I found two sweaters, one top, one skirt, a pair of work pants, and two pairs of jeans, for $30! Dude! And they were nice, too. Some of the stuff even seemed new. I've noticed, lately, that the Goodwill carries new clearance merchandise from Target, Mervyn's, and Wal-Mart. So maybe this Value Thrift World store does, too.
One of the pairs of jeans was from the Gap, and it was good to know that I can wear pants from the Gap now, because I haven't had the guts to try on Gap pants in an actual Gap store yet.
I probably would've bought more stuff, but I was tired of looking through the racks. You have to be in the mood for it, and we were pressed for time. My boyfriend didn't find anything because he wasn't in the mood. My son, however, found a $6 men's blazer that he simply needed to own. He needed it, y'all. For formal wear. For cool weather. For the simple fact that it was six dollars and it looked good on him. Never mind that he's only 10 years old. He needed it, so I bought it. I can't deny him. I know how it feels, to need cool clothes like that.
So we raked it in, and I was glad we went. Just like, for the second year in a row, I was glad we went thrifting for our Halloween costumes, too. A while back, we went to a smaller local thrift store -- our costume-luckiest, and my boyfriend bought a suit and a shirt to use in his costume, totalling about $9. I bought a bee-oo-tiful ladies' full slip (the kind of thing you'd only find in the lingerie section of the thrift store, these days) for $2.32, that will, with a few yards of tulle, become my fairy costume.
I know a photographer who uses thrift store lingerie for photoshoots. I know several bloggers -- including some of y'all reading this, maybe -- who regular post their thrifting finds on their Flickrs. I know artists who scout thrift stores for art supplies. During the summer, I bought a bunch of Barbies from the thrift store to use in my own project. It was, like, twelve barbies for six dollars. Something ridiculous like that. Beautiful Barbies in all colors and vintages. And then a big-headed Filipino Bratz boy, for good measure, for 75 cents.
Anyway. I'm happy. I'm broke but I'm happy. You know? I'm realizing lately that it's totally possible to be both, as long as you have people to love and a little bit of creativity.
Tell me about your thrift store finds, your reasons to get into shape or not, or whatever you want to tell me. 6:25 AM # (24) comments
Tuesday, October 09, 2007Jesus Christ!
I'm gonna say it again: Cavemen cracked me up. And now it's canceled. Already!
The web is full of dumb asses panning it. Not that I'm saying that disliking the show makes you a dumb ass -- just that most of the "reviews" I've read so far happen to be written by dumb asses. ("The concept was lame from the start! It wasn't funny! It had no jokes!")
Best: Uber liberals (Or are they conservatives in disguise?) claiming it's racist. What the hell? Why, because it addresses stereotypes that have been applied to one or more non-white races? What -- no one can talk about racism without being racist? Jesus effing Christ.
Finally, I see George Lopez is complaining that Cavemen took his slot, that Chicanos can't be on TV but cavemen can.
Oye, George. Maybe people -- this Chicana included -- are tired as hell of a show about a fat old guy with a hot young wife who considers his daughter's choice of panties a familia value. Eh, huey? Call America Ferrera and ask if they replaced her with cavemen, too.
Okay, that was mean. (Albeit true.) But I'm cranky. I was excited about having a funny show to watch, and now it's gone.
Labels: pop culture7:18 PM # (8) comments
Monday, October 08, 2007I like autumn because of the holidays.
But I know other people like it because of TV. New shows! New seasons! A couple of my coworkers have been very happy in the past few weeks, plotting out schedules of what they'll watch.
I caught the fever. I found a few shows. I set my DVR to record Bionic Woman and that show about the Geico cavemen.
The pilot for Bionic Woman sucked. But I set my TV to record the second episode, because sometimes the pilot isn't representative of the show as a whole.
The second episode sucked. Predictable plot, hackneyed cliches, unrealistic story arc timing, lame dialogue. It was like the producers said, "You know, we've already spent money on hot actresses and special effects. That should be enough. Go with the budget writers."
"Let's never watch this again," I told my boyfriend. But, actually, we'll probably watch it again. Why? Because one of the actresses is Katee "Starbuck" Sackhoff, who we like. And, guess what? Starbuck is sleeping with an Asian man in this one. "It's about time I get to see an Asian brother get laid on TV," said my boyfriend, who happens to be Asian. I was like, meh. I can get that at home. But, okay, we'll watch one more episode.
Meanwhile... I'd been hoping that Cavemen would be good. But how could it, right? We're talking about TV here, where bad writing and hackneyed cliches abound. So, no matter how funny the commercials were, there was no way the show could be good. The producers would be certain to ruin it, just like they ruin everything else.
And then, we watched it, and it was so, so funny. We were cracking the hell up. Not only was it funny, but it addressed some interesting culture issues, such as interracial dating and sexual stereotypes. But in a funny way. Oh, and bonus: One of the guest stars is Super Terry, from Reno 911.
So, yeah. We loved it. Therefore, I predict that it'll be cancelled before the end of the season. You know how good shows always get canceled.
Guess what, I just discovered a musician who everyone else on Earth is already listening to!
I just got the MIA album called Kala. MIA is fronted by a Sri Lankan woman named Maya. I thought I was discovering something completely underground, because I heard her on KPFT's Thursday morning World Beats program. (I listen to that every week on the way to work. Then, on the way home every Thursday, I turn KPFT back on and listen to GenerAsian. Those are my two fave radio programs.)
So, I turned on the radio halfway through this song, a song so exciting that I knew, instantly, that buying the album for it would change my life. So I called the DJ (and won Greek Festival tickets -- yay!) and he told me, "That's MIA, and the song is 'Boyz.'"
And then I told all my friends, and they were like, "Oh, yeah, MIA. That's good stuff. You know she's from Sri Lanka, right?"
So I got the album, and I love it. And I looked at the reviews on Amazon, and they're full of people saying, "I'm too old to like this, but..." And then, of course, there are all the reviews complaining that MIA was good when it was underground, but now it sucks. Then, there are those by male reviewers who want to give poor little Maya their advice on how to be a better musician. Hilarious. But seriously, go buy the album.
Children can be like animals.
Y'all know that, because you've read Lord of the Flies.
Children like to conform with the pack, and when they sense difference in one of their own -- especially difference coupled with weakness -- some children are prone to attack. Especially, I'm imagining, children of animal-like parents who value conformity.
I already knew this, not just from reading Lord of the Flies, but also from personal experience. Not just mine, but that of my son. His Asperger's seems to be an asshole magnet. Once certain kids realize he's different, that he doesn't have the same instinctively ingrained compulsion to conform as the rest of them, they start the bullying.
Usually, when my son comes home and tells me about it, all he can do is report the facts of what happened, without understanding why. ("They called me a faggot, but I'm not gay. I told them I'm not gay, but I guess they couldn't hear me or they didn't believe me. They kept calling me faggot, and then I guess I made them mad, because then they started hitting me.")
I understand why. Children are animals. Some more than others. Especially the ones who were bred from animals. Animal children grow up and mate and breed new animals. New assholes, new bullies. It's a cycle as old as evolution, way older than your middle school or mine. What can you do about it? I don't know. Don't breed with animals. Don't raise animals. Is that enough? No. They don't need you. They'll keep breeding on their own, spawning and eating and rolling in mass-produced pap, hitting their kids when they don't conform. It doesn't matter what you do, I don't think. It's simply the way of our world. "Can't we just kill them?" you say. I don't think so. There's not enough time, energy, legal precedent. Plus, I don't want to kill anyone. I'm not enough of an animal.
My boyfriend always says it's lucky that my son is big for his age, because that probably keeps him from being physically attacked as much he might be, otherwise.
This kid wasn't so lucky: Attack On Autistic Boy, 11, Videotaped.
Sorry for the downer.
But it had to be said, I felt. Let's try to end on a good note now.
It's almost Halloween. I'm going to be a fairy. We went to the costume shop to consider the alternatives, but all it did was inspire me to move forward with my fairy-being plans. We went to the local big-box store, then, and got materials to put on the $2.32 thrift store full slip that will form the base of my costume.
What are you going to be for Halloween? What are you going to do? Did you see Martha Stewarts' double-sided "Good Things/Bad Things" October magazine issue? Normally I'm not into her too much, but this Halloween issue is beautiful. Go see it.
Did you go to the Greek festival, here in Houston? Did you see me there? Did you eat baklava and drink lots of wine? I did.
Are you ready for fall? Are you ready for Christmas? We'll talk more about that later. Until then... 6:36 AM # (6) comments
Friday, October 05, 2007Something Annoying
Recently, on the Facebook of a friend's Facebook friend, I read something annoying.
This person had a question posted under the picture of face. Something like, "Why is it okay to talk about your belief in yoga or vegetarianism, but it's not okay for me to talk about my love for Jesus Christ?"
I'm going to pretend that this person meant that question seriously, and that he wasn't just pulling the red herring victim routine that is so fabulously common amongst combative conservatives. And I'm going to answer this person's question.
One: It's okay for you to talk about your love for Jesus Christ. You have that right.
Two: It is exactly as annoying for you to talk about your love for Jesus Christ as it is for anyone else to talk about their belief in yoga.
Here is where you Jesus evangelists go wrong -- you don't know how to have normal, interesting, polite conversations. Also, you missed that part of 7th Grade Language Arts where we learned about "persuasive essays."
Here is how you could have an interesting conversation about your beliefs:
Joe Blow: Wanna have breakfast?
You: No, thanks. I'm on the way to church.
Joe: Aw, dude. You go to church?
Joe: I can't go for that. That's a waste of my Sunday, you know?
You: I like going. It takes an hour, but it makes me feel better after I've gone.
Joe: For real?
You: Yeah. Let me know if you ever wanna check it out, and you can go with me.
[Joe: No, thanks.
Joe: Okay, I will.]
Joe Blow: ... and she said she was gonna start doing yoga. Can you believe that?
You: Oh, cool.
Joe: No, dude, she said yoga. That's lame.
You: You think so? I like yoga.
Joe: You do yoga? Uh, why?
You: I like it. It makes me feel better.
Joe: For real.
You: Yeah. Let me know if you wanna check it out some time, and you can go with me.
See that? Okay, now, here's how to be an asshole.
Joe: ... and then I went to Banana Republic, and they were having a sale.
You: Joe, when's the last time you went to church?
You: I used to be like you, but then I found Jesus Christ, and my life has improved 100%.
Joe: What? What do you mean, like me?
You: Come to church, Joe. Come change your life. Make your life awesome in the light of Jesus's love, like mine is.
Joe: Wanna go to Jack in the Box?
You: No, because I don't eat meat, because eating meat is wrong.
Joe: Oh, uh... sorry.
You: You should stop eating meat. When I was eating meat, I was fat, lazy, and a sexist, capitalist fascist. Now that I'm vegan, I have a clarity on life that meat-eaters can't begin to understand. You should stop eating meat, Joe. It's disgusting.
Joe: Uh... I just remembered that I have to run errands at lunch. See ya.
There you go, buddy. You can talk about your love for Jesus all you want, but you can't make me enjoy a rude, annoying conversationalist. Because that's what it's always about, isn't it? You don't just want to talk about Jesus. You want to talk about Jesus and have everyone on earth agree with whatever you say. You can't always have what you want, though. (Especially not if you're annoying.)
Now you know, Facebook friend of my Facebook friend. I hope my answer to your question is helpful. You're welcome. 9:15 AM # (16) comments