Thursday, June 30, 2005

Dakota Fanning is an Alien

And I mean this in the best possible way. If she had been my student back in the day when I had students like that, I would have eaten her up with a spoon, I am sure. But there's something about this kid that is positively freaky. On screen she's eerily talented and real, often with this sort of layer of dark colors, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if she eventually did a total Jodie Foster. But what baffles me when I see her on talk shows is that she totally seems to know what's going on and is extremely articulate for an eleven-year-old while at the same time being appropriately giggly and cheerful. So is she just like, some weird kind of acting genius, totally able to compartmentalize her work from her real life, or is there a Dakota Fanning E! Hollywood True Story in her future as well? Is she such a great actress that we only think she's giggly and cheerful when really she has a secret life as an axe-murderer? I honestly can't tell. And usually - I'm pretty good at telling. If I may.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Dob Snib

Last night I was telling Ben that I’d seen this family on TV that had fifteen kids with J names and one on the way (did they read my story Football???). He started thinking of J names and saying them out loud; “Jennifer, Joseph, James, Jane, Jason, Jeremy, Jonathan, Jessie…” and then without taking any more breaths than he had at the beginning of the list,” “Jack, Jabbo, Dob Snib, Jibba Jabba…”

I laughed for ten minutes.

So on a related note, this morning, I have Dob Snib in my head. Does that ever happen to you? You hear a weird word or exotic name you never heard before and it just sticks in your head like a bad pop song or an annoying commercial? This is probably the real reason Ben and I are married. We both came into the union with this problem, to the point where if I have something weird in my head, I’m not allowed to say it out loud because he knows he’ll catch it.

Can You Believe I Never Saw Memento Until Now?

And that nobody gave away the ending?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Stardust, 7-Eleven, Route 57, A&W and So Forth

Last night I reread the first couple of stories in Patricia Lear’s collection in preparation for an independent study. (Full disclosure: she’s my friend Peter’s mom, but I’m guessing the people who handed her an O. Henry award, and a few others, would agree with me.) Lear is an extremely talented writer, moving and funny, SO real, – and although there’s something very easy and natural about her style, make no mistake, these are incredibly well-crafted stories. So naturally, I ended up thoroughly baffled as to how it could be that this book has been out of print for years, how many wonderful books must be out of print – so there’s room for one more copy of The DaVinci Code? Anyway, there are copies of this book out there, and I suggest you find them.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Pianist

Finally watched The Pianist this weekend, the movie Adrien Brody won his well-deserved Oscar for. (Of course I’m sure I forgot who else was nominated immediately after the show, but it doesn’t matter now.) What was so wonderful about his performance was how understated it was. It wasn’t typically over-the-top Oscary in my opinion and managed to be incredibly powerful. But every time I see a Holocaust movie, I find myself as fascinated as though I’d never heard of it before and want to see everything ever made about it – it just seems unthinkable that human beings are capable of, you know, genocide. It makes me wonder if evil really exists – because I truly want to believe people are not born evil – but what the hell is going on in the collective minds of people wherein it becomes a good idea to erase entire populations? What was interesting to me about this movie was that Polanski (and Szpielman, whose memoir it was based on) didn’t shy away from the gray area of humanity – it seems like Szpielman’s life is basically saved by a Nazi at the end because… he was moved by his music. (This was a particularly heartbreaking scene, where Szpielman, utterly starved, freezing, and broken down, plays for the Nazi.) You know that that guy had to have been responsible for any number of deaths – so why save one for any reason, and, what does that say about that person? Also equally fascinating was the behind the scenes on the DVD because I knew Polanski himself had survived the Holocaust at a very young age, and in fact he talks about it quite a bit and how it informed this film in a number of ways, including the incredible details. (I had read his memoir sixty hundred million years ago – Ben’s new number – it’s a good one, right? – and ever since then I stopped caring what the real story is about the underage girl because Polanski is so bright and talented and charming – still elfinly cute even now – that he’s hard not to like. He’s no Michael Jackson.) There was one scene where he’s starving and finds a big can of pickles and can’t find anything to open it with and just keeps carrying it around even though it’s obviously heavy and he’s so frail – and I cried out at one point, “Oh my god, please, just open the can already!” The other thing that’s really fascinating about it is the survival mechanism that this man, and obviously many others, perhaps people we know, have. I doubt I have it to that degree. How do you lose your entire family and go on? Polanski says, “If you have a passion for something, like he did for music and I did for film, you just do.” I’m not sure my passion for writing would get me through the loss of my family or make me fight an old lady in the street for her last bowl of gruel (and then eat it off the ground when it fell), but I realize people are capable of going to incredible lengths to survive. Well, I could go on all day about all this.

Hong Kong Delightful

Ben’s band played in our yard this afternoon. Xianggang Delight calls themselves a “Post-Global Rock Collective.” My husband plays bass and keyboards, cow shaker (that thing you turn over that goes “mooooooo”), sings falsetto, does pyrotechnics, and portrays George Bush.

There’s not that much more I can say about it than that.


What? What? Oh no you di-int... Rummy, have you lost your mind? Have you been hanging out with Tom? Oh, nevermind.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


I have a tendency to go to other people's houses, like most recently Thisbe’s in Iowa, and covet everything they have, their entire lifestyle basically. Thisbe has a house full of cool vintagey things, she makes crazy beautiful art books, she has things taped up all over her office in that random sort of way that ends up looking incredibly collagey and artful, and she grows salad in her yard. And she has a barn and she grows stuff in old things like sinks and tubs and whatever might look cute.

What is increasingly more absurd is that this already is my lifestyle. Minus a few art supplies and a little less natural talent, plus different vintagey things, plus a corkboard (because when I try to tape things to the walls randomly and artfully it looks only like I taped them to the walls randomly like a four-year-old - but) plus a husband who tapes things to the walls artfully, minus the salad and the barn but plus a hammock.

So just now I was looking around my desk at all my desky stuff, which I will give you a little glimpse of. To my left is a polaroid of Ben on my old back porch from the first month we were dating. It's a little blurry but he's looking at me like... well, you know. There's my pink cut-glass lamp from the Columbus Avenue flea market that I've had for probably fifteen years. Then there's my 67 Barracuda model on the window ledge, commemorating my first car. Two mugs full of pens and stuff, one with a picture of me on it in front of London Bridge that my stepmom had made after a wonderful "girls" family trip ten years ago. It says "They say 'Tems..." which was a running joke about some Texan tourists we met who said, "They call it the Tems, but it's really the TAMES." Then there's a petit point my mom's mom made decades ago of three Dutch children under an umbrella. A photo of my dad and stepmom and sister and me from when I was in college that I've always loved, taken by my former roommate and good friend Davey. A bunch of files in a pink metal napkin holder I got at a vintage store. And around the room: a photo of me and my dad at my wedding in a snowglobe, a jar full of beach glass, a vintage typewriter from Dad's barn, some beautifully framed vintage prints for a children's room from my friend Lisa, a calendar of prints including one made for me by our friend Chafe, a portrait of me and my mom from when I was a baby.

Anyway the point is, I am a little bit misty now, and incredibly grateful, and with all due respect to Thisbe, not covetous.

Friday, June 24, 2005


I tried to be nice, Tom, I really tried. But I have now seen you on one too many shows talking out of your ASShole about shit that you are not qualified to talk about.
I was just watching Matt Lauer try to talk some sense into your ass, but you weren’t having it, resulting in my screaming at the TV in a way I did not know was in me. (It wasn’t so much a word as it was an extremely loud noise of pure rage.) My face is still pink. It’s too early for this, Tom, I haven’t even finished my coffee yet.
Matt, I’m so sorry you had to go through that, although I truly appreciated your attempt at using actual logic on him.
Yes, Tom, we know people abuse drugs. We know they’re on the street and we know doctors overprescribe them and we know you believe in vitamins. We also know that proper use of medication in fact IS researched and proven and works for millions of people –
I personally know perhaps a higher percentage of these people than most. I am 100% sure that I have read just as much on the subject of psychology as you or any other layperson has, Tom, as it has always been of particular interest to me, and I’ll give you that the mind is not an exact science. But for the love of god, at least I’m aware that this does not qualify me to decide what’s right and wrong for the entire fucking world.
There’s this expression, which I think was at the root of what Matt was trying to say (if I may), I don’t know if you’ve heard it? It goes like this? Live and let live?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Miscellany Part 2

One More Reason I Loves Me Some Ben

One night recently when I was suffering from Restless Arm Syndrome (not to be confused with RLS, which also afflicts me), I said to Ben, “I think I might have arthritis.” He said, “Wow, really, what makes you think that?” In my head I had what I actually thought were vaguely valid reasons for this self-diagnosis, but it was late and I was tired and after I’d already opened my mouth, I discovered I was unable to explain. I said something like, “I guess… I’m not…” and thought I was going to say “sure” but instead I said “… a doctor.” And Ben looked at me with a very convincing look of surprise and said, “Huh.” And then we giggled for like ten minutes. Maybe you had to be there, but you’d have had to have been in bed with us, which means there’s no way you could have been there.

One Reason I Love Nina

Because who else would want to have a conversation about Dr. Phil’s sex life?

Thoughts About Diet and Exercise

Exercise: Not my fave.
But I did get me a new old bike, thanks to my sister, and that’s kind of fun.
Ben helping change tires: nice.
Man across street who helped me adjust the rear wheel: nice.
Carring bike up and down the stairs: Against. This bike is heavy.
Riding bike in the city: A little scary.
Donated helmet with “I heart my clit” sticker: um, "not really me" would be an understatement. Helmet in general: not really me. (I am from/survived childhood in a pre-helmet-existing generation.) My head and face: very much me. Thoroughly, enjoyably me. So will express love for clit for the time being and hope no one notices.

Diet: I’m not terribly in favor of this either, but recent weight gain has caused me to attempt both, at once (gasp!) and Weight Watchers is now easy, and here’s why: because there are these ice cream sandwiches that = 2 points called “No Pudge,” and if I can have one or two of those in my day, I can get by just fine.

Cats and Rats and Miscellaneous Critters

Kitties in the yard: I like them and sometimes feed them.
Kitties in the house: Make me sneeze and bust out in hives.

Rats anywhere, dead or alive: against. I am told that there is currently a dead one under our porch, and have not been down to verify.

Critters in Iowa: cute and frolicky. Disney-esque.
Critters in Chicago: less so.
Tom Cruise Anywhere: High tendency to over-frolick.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Not too much to report this morning except if you haven't been reading Tod's blog (link on side), you're missing a whole lot of fun involving the word "fucktard."

Although I would like to mention that I saw Lindsay Lohan on the Today Show yesterday and she covered herself up like a proper young lady and looked positively poised compared to Tom "I Love This Woman" Cruise.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Unnecessary Fear of Hipsters

I have a couple of long-time phobias, both of which involve groups of people: geniuses and hipsters. (Were I to run into a genius hipster, I might have to just hurl myself in front of a Metra train.) Geniuses are probably the more problematic category for me (logic being I could possibly impersonate a hipster, but my genius level is gonna stay whatever it is), so I'll deal with that another day. Cute hipster girls in particular have caused me the most "I'll never be that cool" type angst. Today, I want to work through my fear of hipsters with you, because I think I'm finally coming to understand a few things.
I picked up a copy of Caboose zine (#5) at Quimby's last week (I'm all about zines - okay I've read two or three), written by Liz Mason, who works there. It was a whole dollar, so I figured what the hell. Inside were a few essays that were surprisingly entertaining and of particular interest to me, one called "I Was On A Reality Show," and another about her fandom for Madonna. So here's the thing. First of all, I knew she had been on this reality show, as I had seen it myself, and didn't spend much time wresting with the decision not to mention it, because, well, my assumption was that in spite of the fact that she was on it, it would not be cool to mention that I actually watched it. I may not be a hipster, but I do have a so-called literary reputation to maintain. But anyway, the piece was a really fun read on many levels, first of all with regard to the minutiae of what goes into a reality show - we all know at this point that they're edited and that a substantial amount of the "reality" is contrived - but she goes into some hilarious detail about it. But what I found most engaging about it was her honesty about briefly getting sort of sucked into that "I'm gonna be on TV!" mentality, worrying about what to wear, and how her hair looked and all that. It was really funny, and the revealing thing for me was (shhh, I'm sure no one knows this secret - actually now I realize everyone but me knows this secret): in spite of the appearance to the contrary that hipsters don't care what you think, it turns out that hipsters are people too, and that their carefully mussed hair and vintage clothes are thought about, and that some of them even - gasp! - go to the gym. (There's another essay about that in this issue.) Further, in the next piece, she reveals her love of Madonna (albeit with some criticism) - Madonna! I may be just on the cool side of VH-1 in my musical taste (if that's possible), but even I would hesitate to mention that I too, have seen Madonna in concert (about a gagillion years ago, I think it was that tour where she had the pointy gold Gaultier boob outfit) and that it was in fact a highly entertaining show. After all this, I ran into Liz on the street and mention how much I enjoyed her zine and she was really excited. All apologies if I'm blowing her cool cover, I still think she's cool, but see, I'd had it in my mind that hipster code did not allow such emotive displays of anything other than utter disdain or extreme coolness.
What's ridiculous about all this is that I know some people consider me to be a hipster (I have tattoos! I wear vintage! I like old stuff! but - my musical taste alone puts me decidedly outside the group - and at one time in my life I read Tiger Beat), my husband is something of a hipster, we both have hipster and non-hipster friends (they're all extremely cool, don't get me wrong), but as always - it's not advanced psychology here - in junior high and high school, although hipsters hadn't even come into existence, I was decidedly uncool. My best friend was also uncool, although she did become popular around ninth grade, after which I coasted on her glory until graduation. So, my conclusion, which you readers have come to long ago I am sure: hipsters (and probably even geniuses) are people too. (Not movie stars though, that's a myth. They start out human, but are highly susceptible to becoming pod people, and only a select few of them are immune to sheets with lower than a 400 thread count. This is why I love my friend Bob, because he's on a TV show but he's the kind of guy who won?t hire a housekeeper because the house "Howwsse!" is too dirty.)

Monday, June 20, 2005


Propers to Ted and Vinnie for this- I'm not getting fantastic results with the link, but if you can't open it up just go to The Bonar Bizzle for the fun.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Prairie Lights, Dad, and the Jehovah's Witnesses

Drove to Iowa Thursday morning to read at Prairie Lights in Iowa City and hang out for Father’s Day. Reading went pretty well even though my brother Mark seems to have a better memory for the content of my book than I do, and for the life of me I couldn’t think of “Bruce Lee” in answer to a question about where the title came from. Met a lovely woman who is apparently friends with a Mr. and Mrs. Wilson in Texas, big readers and literary boosters, and had me sign a copy of the new book for them. So: Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, if you happen to also be blog-readers, know that I am truly a huge fan of your offspring and intended to pay my tribute in a completely earnest, loving spirit.

Yesterday morning a couple of very sweet Jehovah’s Witnesses came to the door bearing Bibles and Dad, being a neighborly Iowa kind of guy, invited them in, in spite of the fact that he is an avowed non-believer, firmly planted in his intellectualism. (He likes to say things like “crik” instead of “creek” to make you think he’s a regular kind of guy, but I don’t think most regular guys will point out to you, while they’re saying it, that they say “crik” instead of “creek.”) Anyway, I tried to warn the women that they weren’t going to have any luck with him, but they came in anyway and Dad engaged in a rather lengthy discussion with them about a variety of issues, and they would point out passages in the bible relating to whatever the subject was. Lois, my stepmom, came downstairs after a while and Dad introduced them by saying, “These women have come to set me right,” to which one of them said, “But your daughter already told us that’s not going to happen.” Lois and I were both intrigued by the fact that one of them was a big NPR listener, which doesn’t seem very Jehovah-witnessy. Dad said something else really funny at dinner (unrelated to the failure of his conversion) but I forgot it already. Maybe Mark knows. When I said goodnight to Ben (on the phone), he said, “How’s your dad, is he still cute?”
Yeah, I'm gonna say he is.
PS. Propers to Lois, who rocked us strawberry pie from scratch.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


When I was a kid I used to love watching The French Chef and trust me when I tell you it was not because of a budding interest in French cheffing. Like a lot of people, I just loved Julia Child. She was exuberantly goofy, warm, messy and real. Last night I watched a bio of her on PBS, which I found truly inspiring. Briefly, Julia was sort of a New England blueblood and a free-spirited child. She went to college but was no star there, and when she graduated her goal was something along the lines of "marriage-minded". She was interested in different things, but flitted around in a number of jobs, writing in her journal (or maybe a letter, I forget) in her twenties that she felt she had a great talent inside her but that she didn't know what it was and feared she was wasting it. Her father encouraged her to marry a wealthy Republican, but she said, "If I marry him I am sure I will become an alcoholic" refusing to marry for anything other than love, finally meeting her true love Paul Child well after all her contemporaries were married and having kids. Paul was solid but arty and worldly, and they moved to France where she fell in love with France's reverence for food, and at age forty decided to go to the Cordon Bleu (where she was supposed to be in a class for "wives" but pushed to get in with the guys). She was a slow learner there but did graduate a year later. Then she spent seven years working REALLY HARD on her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which got a few rejections before finding a home at Knopf (although Knopf himself said, "I'll eat my hat if this book does well"), and then she called up WGBH in Boston to do a little one-time promotional/demonstration spot and people wrote in saying how much they loved her and Julia became a star at age FORTY-NINE.
Do I even need to spell out why I mention this?
Today's the day, kids.
Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

OK, One Last Thought on The C-Word

Having posted my rant of 6/13 in the heat of blinding rage, now that I’ve calmed down I want to make a few clarifications, which I realize means I’m going back on my word a bit, but I’ll try to be brief:
I’m not sure about the origin of the term itself, but I suspect that both the publishing industry and the media are to blame – nevertheless, between the pink covers and the talking about the pink covers and the backlash about the pink covers and whatever might be inbetween the pink covers, at this point, almost any of us who have a public voice about it, including myself, are guilty in some way. (I was once on a panel actually titled “Just Don’t Call it C---k L-t,” and I’m sure that’s not my only infraction. Although I didn’t title it, and wasn’t as irritated then as I am now.) What it seems like to me now, with a few exceptions, is that if you are a woman writing about women in any way shape or form, regardless of the pinkness of your covers (neither of my own have been in any way pink), there’s a chance that these two words will be mentioned in conjunction with your work, whether it’s meant positively or negatively, whether it’s meant to say “You are so much better than that” or “You are the best at that” or “You are just another tired example of that.” Even someone saying something along the lines of: “Joyce Carol Oates and Toni Morrison: what to read if you’re tired of c---k l-t,” is guilty – it adds to the discussion. What I am proposing is an end to the discussion altogether.
So, reiterating what I said previously: Can we please talk about something else now?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


For anyone living in Chicago who has a desire to recreate their childhood in front of the TV, Me TV is the thing for you. It’s got something for everyone. For me, it’s The Partridge Family and Love, American Style. (Actually, I don’t even need to watch the entirety of Love, American Style, but to hear the theme song again after all these years… not to mention the rockin’ song stylings of the Partridges, well, I feel whole now.) It’s also got Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The A-Team, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, The Twilight Zone, Taxi, The Brady Bunch, Starsky and Hutch, and more. If they’d only bring back Family and James at 15, I’d give up writing altogether and devote myself to a complete regression.

Monday, June 13, 2005

C---k L-t

Although I very much want standby bert to be Your Global Happy Place, every now and then I just might have to rant about something and today is that day, so I’ll try to keep it brief. There are two words in the English language I can no longer bear to hear side by side and as god is my witness this will be the last time I will type them on the same page together, much less say them out loud if at all possible, and they are: chick and lit. (“Don’t say ‘nest,’ don’t say ‘egg’…”) I don’t know what to say about it, I’m tired of the debate about it (a google search brings up 276,000 pages!), I don’t care what it means, I don’t care what it is, I don’t care if you like it or if you don’t, I don’t care if you think it’s an insult or a compliment, I don’t care if you think I write it or I don’t. My personal feeling is that it’s a box, plain and simple. I want to go back to a time when sentences on a page were called literature. Where the suckiest sentences ever written are called literature (I’m starting to think even “fiction” and “non-fiction” are almost too specific anymore), where actual readers decide what sucks and what doesn’t suck and whether something fits in a box or it doesn’t. Sigh. I promise your global happy place will be back in regular form next time, but for now, and for the love of god, let’s talk about something else. We do have a war going on. (I’m not saying we have to talk about that either, because there are probably nine million google pages where you might get something more profound than my entire opinion on it, which is: “War: It’s bad and wrong.” All I’m saying is, please, let me just get back to talking about Federline in peace.)

Printer’s Row Book Fair

I’m an old-timer at Printer’s Row now, and it was fun as usual. Matt Pagano and Tina Spielman, two of my former students at NU, interviewed me and Steve Almond for a future issue of Other Voices, generating an enjoyable and inspiring conversation I take little credit for (in retrospect, I should have just said “what he said,” after all his answers), after which Steve and I appeared on a panel moderated by Gina Frangello of OV on The Fiction of Heartbreak. Steve is a great writer, so you should go buy his books, and unlike myself, is extremely adroit at translating what’s in his head into words that come out as coherent and compelling complete sentences. (Whereas I am stellar at – well, alliteration, apparently – as well as thinking profound and brilliant thoughts that I could possibly put onto a page but exhibiting as the speech patterns of an infant when asked to speak, you know, spontaneously.)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Cut

Apparently, I have been aiming way too low. For years, I dreamed of being a successful writer, with a little sidebar of being a rock star every now and then. I worked hard and as you know, I achieved my dream to much personal fulfillment. Last night Ben and I watched “The Cut,” the newest summer reality show, about aspiring designers competing for a prize to work for Tommy Hilfiger. At the beginning of the show, Hilfiger stood in front of the aspiring designers and basically told them it wasn’t enough to want to be a designer. That his dream had been to have a global lifestyle brand. Wait, that clearly needs caps. A Global Lifestyle Brand.
All this time, I should have been working toward a Global Lifestyle Brand. I hope it’s not too late, because now that I know what I should have wanted, I want it bad, I want to see my name not just on local billboards, not just on national billboards, but on Global billboards. I want to have a globally recognized logo. How have I gotten by without even a locally recognized logo? I feel so… less than local. I feel cheap and neighborhoody, like all this time I’ve been giving away my lifestyle for free. Thank god I know what to do now. I am sure that if I obtain a Global Lifestyle Brand, my world will be complete. It seems silly now to think that people are not sleeping on sheets with my logo, Globally. That all around the world, people cover their windows without my logo, that they eat off plates without my logo, shuffle around in slippers without my logo, do anything without my logo, really. Exist at all.
Ben said, “This is good stuff, right?”

I can’t finish this post without adding that Ben and I were at a standoff about whether Tommy Hilfiger is really a mummy or a vampire. If you watch the show, and you should, you will be with one or both of us on this.

Friday, June 10, 2005


I have recently been invited to serve on the boards of two outstanding organizations, Other Voices and 826Chicago and you should check out their websites for details. I'd link them on the side but I'm having issues again.


I hope Anne will post this on her own blog (and not kill me for posting it here) but in the meantime I had to beat her to the punch because... it's about me! The brief backstory is that I sewed the outfits for my bridal party, including a dress for Ruby, age 6 1/2, who was the flower girl. (Ok, the last bit isn't about me but I just wanted to show you the cool mind of Ruby Hensley.)

ruby has a concert at school today. last night she said, "i want to wear a most beautiful dress for my concert." i said ok and picked one out for her. she woke up this morning and wanted no part of the dress i picked out. i went through three more dresses before she said (in an exasperated tone, i might add) "i have to wear the one betsy made." and then she sighed. loudly. as if i were a complete dolt.

the night before last as she was drifting off to sleep she said, "if i'm really, really good in this life... (long pause) ... can i get a gift certificate

and i said yes


Back by popular demand, I'm reinstating the anonymity option. Play nice.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Smokey Links

The good people at Blogger have helped me put links on the side.

Good News, Bad News

The good news is I have a fantastic new book of stories to recommend called Simplify, by Tod Goldberg. The bad news is it doesn’t come out until September. The good news is that you can read Tod’s blog in the meantime, which is very entertaining. There’s no more bad news.

Things this book has in it:
a Jesus who hangs out at Gay Pride Parades and Toys R’ Us and Starbucks.
a bleeding portrait of Elvis
the Loch Ness monster

It’s also smart, funny, painful, heartelt, and overall awesome. If you want more than that from a book, I don’t know think I know you anymore.

I'm everywhere

I made New City's Lit 50 list again this year, slow and steadily rising, this year to #30.
And here's an interview with me on Bookslut. I feel very happening to be acknowledged by the litblogs now - I made Beatrice a while back too.

I swear to god, though, I have never said "da da da" in my life! I cop only to using the phrase "sort of" as often as I usually use "like" and "you know."

And a correction: that was me who got teased about the socks and maternity shirt, not Nina.

Monday, June 06, 2005

19 Things About Our New Nephew Asa That Are Excellent, In No Particular Order

1. insanely long eyelashes
2. huge brown eyes
3. cool parents
4. super tiny feet
5. tiny butt
6. shoulder dimples
7. smells almondy-babylicious
8. okay, everything
9. he’s related to us
10. shows early signs of tree-hugging
11. makes squeaky happy noises
12. interested in wind
13. rolls to one side almost brilliantly
14. very interested in Uncle Ben
15. Kung-fu grip
16. can almost stand, but chooses not to
17. enjoys drinking, sleeping, napping, and dozing off
18. lays hands on chest in cutest way ever while sleeping
19. he’s portable

Friday, June 03, 2005


So a while back, Ben went to Home Depot and got a free subscription to Stuff magazine, which has been coming for many months now and aside from the sexy sexerson girls on the cover, this magazine’s target audience remains a mystery to me. I’m sure Ben’s guess would be that they live in what he calls “jock housing” in Lincoln Park or Wrigleyville and drink beer at the Cubby Bear, but I’m not convinced that anyone reading this publication is that evolved. My guesses get stumped after “male”, because aside from the plethora of lingerie-bedecked young women throughout, the “cultural” aspects of it have me baffled. There are very few bits that are longer than fifty words (as much as this demographic can handle in one pass?) and they tend to be about celebrities or trends I’ve never heard of, with the exception of Lindsay Lohan, who they seem to admire, which should tell you a lot but which only confuses me more or makes me think the target reader is about fourteen and rides a BMX bike? But that can’t be, because there’s also a photo spread of Winnie Cooper in her panties, and I don’t think that’s the right generation to want to see Winnie Cooper in her panties, plus, Winnie Cooper should not ever be thought of as a girl who would be seen in her panties, and I don’t care if she is thirty years old now and an intern on the West Wing.

Jackie had a very long list on her blog with directions as follows:
1.) Copy this list into your blog.
2.) Bold what is true.
3.) Leave plain what is false.
4.) Add something at the end.

But it was too long and I didn’t feel like fessing up to a bunch of those things for all the internet to see, or the six of you, whichever the case may be, so I decided to start my own list.

1. I once won a lifetime subscription to TV Guide, and then it ran out.
2. I then resubscribed to TV Guide but finally cancelled my subscription, which is still recent enough as to be somewhat unsettling.
3. I am more interested in the mind of Kevin Federline than anyone other than Britney should admit to.
4. I would have to have a separate list for all the TV shows I watch that anyone other than Britney should admit to.
5. I am at least mildly bitter that so many celebrities are writing children’s books now, but
6. if I were a movie star, or related to a movie star, the likelihood is that I too would write children’s books, but all the same,
7. if Britney and Kevin write a children’s book my level of bitter will undoubtedly rise significantly above mildly to at least orange if not red.
8. I know what a bone folder is.
9. I get anxious pretty much every time I have to do a reading and wish someone else would do it for me.
10. Lately, I have been spending way too much time online.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Sometimes if I’m in the neighborhood I’ll drive by my old apartment. I’m not sure if it’s possible to stalk your old life, or if this is what I’m doing, but I do have the sense that if I keep my eye on that location periodically that I’ll make some important discovery about something. When that happens I’ll let you know. In the meantime, I did not discover much of anything except that I have fond memories of my eight years over there, and that I am so happy right where I am, which are not so much discoveries as they are things I already knew. Someone told me and Ben that we hit the apartment lottery and I really think we did. I think I hit the husband lottery too. Yesterday afternoon we were lying in the hammock and Ben was just like, Wow, I really don’t think there’s a better place anywhere than this and I was just like Amen and then we were both just like, If you want to have time lose all meaning in the best possible way, get yourself a hammock.

Bird Art

I learned a new word on Nova the other night. A bower is a display made by a male bird, of any number of species, intended to attract the female bird. They are usually on the ground, most often made of groups of things in one color, and they often make a little entryway out of twigs. Some birds collected berries all in one color, some collected bones. They tend to be in flat arrangements, not piles, and have also been made of beetle casings, blossoms, trash (still artfully arranged), and leaves. (However, at least one bird is very particular about his arrangement, and if you turn a leaf face down he will return and turn it back face up.) The birds have to be vigilant about their bowers or other birds will pillage. And if the bower is not as successful, they may have to go as far as displaying the tops of their colorful heads to the female to do the trick. Other, more colorful birds, make less impressive bowers because they themselves are colorful enough. The bowers are like bird art installations; very Andy Goldsworthy, although now that I’ve seen this I realize it’s clearly the other way around. Once again proving that we are not so different from our bird kin.