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. :)
Tuesday, March 25, 2008The Big, Good Snowball
You guys, I have been so overwhelmed with good stuff lately, and I'm trying to do the extra bit of work it takes to make the good luck snowball. You know? I'm growing my snowy ball of goodness, as they say. (Well, no one says that. But you know.)
Twitter Changes You
I'll admit it now. I've been cheating on y'all with Twitter.com. That means that, instead of taking time to write a thoughtful, or at least thought-filled blog entry, I fill up my Twitter page with 140-character blurbs that only a few select people can see. And now that I'm in the habit of doing that, it seems like there's nothing that can't be expressed in 140 characters, and therefore I have no right to blog anymore. Kind of like people used to feel about haikus, back in the day, in feudal Japan. Maybe. Maybe, right? People started talking to each other in haiku only, and quit having so much to talk about, outside of the falling of the leaves and the koi fish in the water? No? Okay, pretend I didn't say that, then.
The other thing, though, is that I've gotten into the habit of repressing the details of my Real Life here. And then, on Twitter, I'm lulled into this sense of safety, wherein I can post stuff like, "I just put a blue sock on my foot and thought about murdering my coworker." For example, I mean. Not that I actually thought that, because I love all my coworkers to death. But you get what I'm saying, right?
I have to go now, but
here is something I started to write for y'all the other day, real quick, about Gong Li, before I opened up the Internet and realized that Gong Li is a world unto herself and doesn't need the likes of me trying to encapsulate any one facet of her life into blog words, whether 140 characters or more or less:
The Curse of Gong Li
Every time I see a movie with Gong Li in it, no matter how awesome Gong Li's character looks or how well her life starts out, she ends up dying and/or going crazy and/or being miserable in the end.
And then it makes me think about how, even though she's freaking awesome, Gong Li has only gotten crappy roles in US movies. Miami Vice. Hannibal Rising. Second banana (who ends up crazy/miserable) in Memoirs of a Geisha. She admits it's because she can't speak English well enough. I feel bad for her. I mean, I'd be sad as hell if I had to learn Chinese in order to further my career.
I looked her up online today and found out that famed director Zhang Yimou was sleeping with her when he cast her in her most famous role. Cheating on his wife with her, actually. She broke up with him and then he didn't put her in his movies anymore.
Sad. Old-Hollywood-glamor-style sad, right? 7:25 PM # (2) comments
Sunday, March 23, 2008How I Spent My Spring Break Vacation
I ate too much, exercised too much, slept too much, spent too much, and didn't work enough. So, you know, it was awesome.
My kids got back from their dad's today. Before they did, we hid three dozen candy-filled eggs and set up a new badminton set in the back yard. Hot dogs for dinner. Fun, fun, fun.
How Starbuck Spent Her Spring Break Vacation
She went into the backyard several times, under adult supervision. Once there, she explored and practiced climbing the pear tree.
Once, Tad caught a lizard and set it down in front of her. She immediately picked it up with her mouth and carried it into the house. "Oh, no!" the lizard said.
"A new toy, with batteries!" Starbuck said. She dropped the lizard in the living room and batted him between her paws a bit. He ran away and she turned round and round looking for him, stepping on his head with her back paw in the process.
I yelled for Tad to please remove the lizard from my house, before his tail fell off and became another lizard or whatever.
Slightly bruised but still quite alive, the lizard went back to our patio furniture, where he hits on female lizards to this day.
How Toby Spent His Spring Break Vacation
When he wasn't eating, Toby hid under the bed. No, that's not true. Sometimes, he came out to be petted on my bed, and then he sat on my head a couple of times. He tried to get petted on the couch, but being out in public in the daytime was just too frightening.
That's about all I can tell y'all now. Except for the following:
I want to write more, but I can't get my mind straight. I do have at least 3 things to tell y'all, the first of which is my thoughts on Gong Li. But I have to prepare myself mentally before that can happen. I have to get back into the routine. Maybe tomorrow.
I'm thinking about taking the bus to work every day, at least until gas gets cheaper again. My calculations say that it'll save me about $80 a month. It would save more if it didn't cost three damned dollars to ride our park-n-ride. How sad, that $6 per day would still save me money.
My boyfriend (fiance) took half the week off so he could vacation with me, a little, and he's so sad about having to return to work tomorrow. I don't want to go back, either, but he really is kind of depressed about it. Poor guy.
The other day, he and I went on what was supposed to be a 3 mile walk at a local park. (Teresa B, you know which one.) And, instead, we got totally lost on the trails and ended up walking 8 miles. It was brutal. My butt still hurts. And yet I don't think that excursion negated all the calories we ate this week, unfortunately. Oh, well.
I got all my hair cut off a couple of weekends ago. I think I told y'all that, right? I didn't go to my regular stylist for that one because, gosh forgive me, but I didn't think she'd understand what kind of look I was going for. So I went to [chain salon that's supposed to be all awesome], and my hair came out cute but sort of uneven. You know?
So then, a few days ago, I went back to my regular stylist to get some new highlights. And she saw my hair, and I told her what happened, and she was like, "Let me just fix the ends for you."
But she said it like, "Let me just prove to you that you should've come to me, instead." And then she totally re-cut my hair, y'all! And then she razored it until I was like, "Um, it's okay if I don't look like Victoria Beckham." And then she straightened it, like she loves to do, and it did come out super cute... but then I tried to get a photo of it at home, to show y'all, and the photo made me look like a lazy-eyed Liza Minelli. (Sometimes I look like that, at certain angles. Can't help it.)
And... I don't know. I'll upload a picture if I get a cute one. Or maybe I'll just break down and upload the weird picture. Or maybe I'll finally realize that it's not that big a deal, either way, and that people's lives can continue without constantly updated pictures of my hair.
We went to Katy Mills Mall, and someone there had a sign that said, "Happy Easter and Holy Week Sale." And I thought that was weird, that they mentioned Holy Week like that. I mean, I get that suburban retailers in Texas sometimes get good results from pandering to Christians. But... Holy Week? What is that, like, "OMG, y'all, I got the cutest jeans on sale on the anniversary of the day that Jesus was crucified!"? I don't know, man.
We saw a chick get handcuffed for shoplifting at that mall, too. She got arrested on Good Friday, y'all. Saddest part? The store she stole from had a sign that said, "Nothing over $8.98." I'm guessing she stole from Sarah Jessica Parker's Bitten line, because she simply didn't consider it cheap enough.
Okay, that's all. More later. Hope y'all had good Easters, or at least good Easter candies, or at least found nice things to buy or steal sometime around the time that some people commemorate some kind of thing. 7:46 PM # (6) comments
Wednesday, March 12, 2008linkelodeon!
Project Runway's Jay is super candid, and that's why I love him.
If you don't know who Julia Allison is, it'll be hard for me to explain this, but I'll try. She's a Star editor and supposed dating columnist, yeah, and a person Jakob Lodowick dated, and someone they can't stop ridiculing on Gawker. But mainly she's a woman who blogs about herself constantly (with photos). So... someone brilliant wrote a blog about her blog.
Dr. Bukkake gives facials. As far as we can tell, this is not a joke. If you don't get the joke, that's probably for the best. (What can I say? I'm not very ladylike.)
This woman does pretty things.
subcategorized linkelodeon, with tangents, form of: Asperger's Syndrome!
As mentioned before, every time I see a fictional character who I suspect suffers from Aspergers (whether the person portraying that character realizes it or not), I google [character's name] + "aspergers" to see if anyone else thought so, too.
Last week we watched the best-of-Chris-Farley ep of SNL, and it occurred to me that Chris's talk show interviewer character has AS. Here's a transcript of one of those skits. So, I thought maybe Chris was unwittingly imitating someone with Aspergers when he played that popular character. So I googled.
Instead, I found out that Dan Ackroyd was diagnosed with AS as a teenager.
"People Speculated to Have Been Autistic." Is this my Asperger's obsession? No. My boyfriend says mine is pulling dandelions, because it takes effort for me to pass one without removing it from the ground, preferably with root intact. I say, "That's not Asperger's -- that's a valuable service to the community." *
My Aspie son's current obsession: found numbers. Meaning numbers he "finds" on digital clocks and license plates. He talks to me about that for a good fifteen minutes per week. I just listen, and sometimes ask wry questions, but I don't try to discourage him. I don't think there's any wrong with an obsession that hurts no one.
Shirley Dent says "Don't diagnose fictional characters." Oops. Sorry, Shirley. No, wait -- apology retracted. I'll diagnose whichever characters I want. I'll look for stories in which people (autistics, lesbians, latinos, bulimics, cutters, Kinsey Temperament Sorter Margaret Thatchers, crochet enthusiasts, inverted narcissists, and even people just like me) might exist as whatever I need them to be. Including the protagonists, the heroes, and the most empathetic characters in the story.
Let a person pay his $15 for a book and then diagnose (empathize, mis-identify, fantasize) away. Because people are compelled to do this whether they've studied revisionist literary criticism or not. Readers need to be able to identify with mainstream fictional characters. Isn't that one of the basic reasons that art exists?(Personally, I don't see Austen's Darcy as an Aspie. But, hey, wouldn't it be nice if someone wrote a really awesome book in which my son was the romantic hero of the century? Of course.)
Aspergers and Xena, Warrior Princess and Albert Einstein and Jar Jar Binks. And sex.
* I was gonna put in a disclaimer, clarifying for new readers that this was a joke because I've never been diagnosed with AS, but that my son has. FYI. But then I thought, "Why?" 3:34 PM # (5) comments
Sunday, March 09, 2008status update
1. I cut off my hair. It's shorter than heck. Chin length with long bangs. I'm glad. I'm getting too old for long hair, I think. My boyfriend doesn't think so, but he doesn't have to be a 36-year-old woman with three kids, a conservative job, and razored-to-hell long hair. So I cut it. I took in a picture of Number 6 from Battlestar Galactica, and they cut my hair, and now I look like a mom. But I am a mom, so I'm good. (I might go solid blonde next, though. Screw it -- it's only hair, right?)
2. Toby and Starbuck are inseparable now, just like I knew they eventually would be. I would tell y'all cute stories about them now, but Toby just got on my lap and he smells like vomit, so I'm not in the mood, all of a sudden. I swear: Toby is a dog, not a cat. He always needs a bath.
3. Finally got my signed copy of Rob's book, so I'm reading it in quick bursts while I ride in the car and etc. It's very good. It inspires at least one laugh or one lip tremble per page. He had a nice turn-out at his Houston reading, and he cracked us up, despite the not-quite-hilarious subject. Congratulations, Rob!
4. Uh... seems like I had at least five list items to tell y'all...
Oh, I'm getting ready to take a vacation. From my day job and my kids, for a week, coinciding with Spring Break. Guess what I'm gonna do on my vacation? Work my freaking ass off. I have a novel to finish.
5. Uh... Send me your email address if you want my publisher to send you a coupon for 20% my Growing Up with Tamales kids' book. If you're already on the mailing list, I've taken the liberty of putting you on that list. :) But they promised not to spam y'all with other stuff, so don't be sad.
That's it. More later. Busy, busy day tomorrow. Busy, busy life. 9:03 PM # (4) comments
Monday, March 03, 2008I should have trusted my instincts.
I said that McDonald's wouldn't be able to compete with Starbucks, and I should have believed myself. But they sent me a coupon for a free "premium iced coffee," so I thought I'd give it a shot.
At McDonald's, iced coffee means pre-sweetened latte. The drive-through guy asked if I wanted hazelnut or vanilla. I said, "Can I get it with just Splenda?" He said, "Yeah. Hazelnut, vanilla, or regular?" I said regular, with two Splendas.
They gave me a latte with I-don't-know-what-kind of dairy product, obviously presweetened and then with two Splendas thrown on top. Annoying. Now I can resume my practice of avoiding McDonald's entirely, though.
Uncharitable thought of the day: I told my boyfriend, afterwards, that the McDonald's "premium iced coffees" are for people who can't afford Starbucks and don't know what espresso is, but want to pretend they're drinking it, too. I predicted that, soon, McD's drive-through customers will order like this, "Two Big Macs and two vanilla Starbuckses." And McDonald's will serve them that, and Starbucks' market dominance will be complete.
Yes, I know that Starbucks is for middle-class people who don't know what real espresso is. And that's okay -- I'm fine being that.
A sad, sad, sad, sad thing about my life.
A million years ago, when people were first going from "newsgroups" to "bulletin boards," I used to hang out on a bulletin board called Mediarama, hosted by writer Daniel Drennan. And I used to love the living shit out of Mediarama and most of its posters.
While at Mediarama, I began to create web content, myself. Then, one day, I left Mediarama. Since then, I've tried various online forums and even started my own, but never found anything as good, smart, or fun. And, before you say it, I'm more than willing to admit that it's me who's changed, and not the Internets.
"Forums" have become blog-comment threads, for the most part. All the names for things change, but it's all still people trying to hang out online, trying to find others they want to virtually get to know. Less and less frequently, I try to find an online hang-out. More and more frequently, I find myself bored with the repetitive interactions and personality types. And then I get disappointed. And then I sigh and feel sorry for myself.
The pattern I find lately, on boards that attract me, is that there's a good mix of straight guys, gay guys, and straight women, most of whom I assume are white -- maybe with a few non-white people clearly identified either by their names or constant reminders in their posts.
What always starts to turn me off (other than the possibly imaginary pressure to identify my ethnicity) is the way the straight chicks will fawn over the straight guys. Eventually, so many boards devolve into the female characters competing to sound sexy for the straight male characters. (Who knows what these people are in real life? Maybe they're all neutered cats and dogs.)
I don't know where other women like me go -- women who like to talk to men and maybe sometimes like to joke about sex, but who don't want to participate in a cyber-sex contest. And don't want to talk about lip gloss or DHs. (Dear Hubbies. Barf. Just typing that makes me feel ill.)
This is not a request for suggestions. Please don't tell me to visit your favorite forum, because I'm a very negative, judgmental person and therefore I won't like it. But tell me your favorite forum if you want, keeping in mind that I'll never visit it. Then it should be okay -- no expectations or awkward excuse-making.
something different to do
Recently I've tried doing my rush-hour commute with my car windows open. At first it scared me a little, then I felt self-conscious, then I was puzzled as to how to deal with men who took open windows as a social invitation.
But now I like it. I like the breeze and the sun, and driving unenclosed makes me feel more human (like a herd animal, maybe?) and therefore, overall, less susceptible to road rage. Try it if your weather permits, and if your traffic is slow enough to keep the wind from messing up your hair.
A Puppet Show
Prudencia is a weathered wooden puppet in a checkered smock, with tangled orange vines on its head.
Hortensia is a big clay puppet made up of purple balls.
Griseld is a wiry leaning puppet all swathed in olive drab.
Prudencia and Hortensia are bobbing around two pyramids of fruit.
Prudencia: What is this you say? You're taking three of my apples?
Hortensia: I say that you can have three oranges!
Prudencia: Did you say that you're taking three of my apples for Griseld?
Hortensia: Did you say that Griseld is taking your apples?
Hortensia bobs away. Prudencia does a monologue.
Prudencia: For too long has Griseld coveted my fruit. This is the last straw!
Griseld comes onstage with a single leaf.
Griseld: Prudencia, have you seen the Anderson file?
Prudencia: Oh, I'll teach you to covet, little monster!
Griseld: Uh, what?
Prudencia: Oh, I'll smile sweet, as sweet as the fruit you covet. But soon you shall know the bitterness at the heart of it!
Griseld: Um. Okay.
Curtain closes. Curtain opens. Griseld and Hortensia are standing near a pile of leaves and a single cube of glass.
Griseld: Prudencia, have you seen my Anderson file? Also, do you know who deleted our entire database.
Griseld: Hmm. I guess I should ask Prudencia. You know, I don't think she likes me very much.
Hortensia: No! You're imagining that!
Griseld: She keeps saying weird things to me about peels and pith and paring knives. In a really creepy, passive-aggressive way, too.
Hortensia: Oh! That makes sense, then!
Griseld: What does?
Hortensia: The other day I told Prudencia that you wanted all her apples, and she said you had obviously been plotting against her from the start.
Griseld: What? Why did you say that? I don't want any of her apples!
Hortensia: You don't? Oh, well. Hey, can I have that leaf?
Griseld faces audience with tragicomic puppet expression.
Griseld: Jesus freaking Christ.
FIN. 12:03 PM # (27) comments