Website up!

As soon as I pony up the money, this blog is going to automatically redirect to the blog at my NEW WEBSITE OMG YOU GUYS! So change your RSS feed and head on over to the new site: there’s a FAQ with both serious and bizarre questions, and if you check out the About the Site page you’ll see that there are some cool things coming. Also, don’t forget about The A Team–Joanna posted yesterday and we’ve had a big couple of weeks with book news that we’re almost ready to share, plus I’ll probably put up a post about copy edits when I get them next week, but this week I plan to post about the site and how we went from this blog to that thing of beauty, so stay tuned.

Say sayonara to this and hello to that!

Growing up

As I think I’ve mentioned, one of my best friends from college is getting married in less than a month and I’m flying to California for the wedding. As I think you might have figured out, I’m not super good at this “adult” thing. I mean, I’m not living under a bridge or anything; I’m employed, I pay my taxes and my rent and have zero debt (I actually beat most adults in that department), I manage to feed and clothe myself and keep myself out of danger. I have insurance. So, you know, it could be worse.

But I don’t own a house, or any property at all. I’m single. I still consider a drink on my tab a more than adequate birthday present, even for my closest friends. I will eat whole wheat pasta with a little Smart Balance and some garlic salt for several meals in a row because it’s easy and I’m lazy and I don’t need that much variety. I’m a New York adult, which for a large percentage of us (i.e. the poor ones) is not a real adult. Being a young adult in New York often means you’re living like a sixteen-year-old would live if they didn’t have to go to high school anymore. It’s a cobbled-together adulthood that involves a lot of dumb mistakes, procrastination, taking a stab at things and hoping they work out (i.e. apartment hunting).

I realized this (or, re-realized this, as I realize and then forget this over and over again) a couple of days ago when I remembered that I was going to have to get my friend a wedding present. Then I gave myself a day to once again be weirded out by the fact that people my age are allowed to get married, and then yet another day to remember that in New York I am normal but outside of New York I’m a stunted adolescent so of course I think it’s weird for people my age to be getting married because I still think of myself as a high school senior.

So, anyway, wedding present. I’ve never bought a wedding present before, which is fairly sad because I’ve actually been to two weddings of people my age and had my name on a card for a present for another wedding I wasn’t able to attend. Twice I just pitched in on a group gift with my friends, which someone else picked, and one time my mother bought the gift because I was a senior in college and it was my cousin getting married. See how effortlessly I maintain this idea that I’m still a teenager?

Now I have a dilemma–buy from the registry or not? First of all, I couldn’t find where they were registered for a while, which confused me. I checked all the usual suspects–Target, Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom, etc.–before finally digging through all my recent mail for the invitation, which didn’t say where they were registered, either. But! They had a profile on The Knot, so I keyed in the address and went to the page.

Can I just say how much I love Carmen and Tim? Some people go so over-the-top with everything that their Knot profiles are usually a nightmare, with all this crazy information and babbling about everlasting love and, you know what, I’m a jaded New York single girl, I don’t believe in everlasting love, so that stuff kind of ticks me off. But Carmen and Tim kept it simple, restrained–who they were, how they met, a couple of sentences about the proposal and a picture, the bridal party, and THE REGISTRY. Turns out they were only registered on Amazon. I didn’t even know Amazon had a bridal registry, although now that I think about it it makes absolutely perfect sense.

Now here’s my problem. Do I buy off the registry or don’t I? It seems like I should because they put it together for a reason and these are things they actually want/need versus something that I just pick out that they could have seven of or have no use for. Plus if I buy it through Amazon I can just have it shipped to my parents’ house no hassle; maybe I can even bribe my sister to wrap it. But buying off the registry seems so…impersonal. It doesn’t seem thought out or special or interesting in any way. I mean, this set of dishes, it doesn’t say, “Carmen, Tim, I really thought about what to get you and I love you and hope you’re happy together forever, Love, Anna.” It says, “I’m a set of white dishes that came in an Amazon box. Who bought me? I don’t know. I’m just a sensible purchase.” I have no ideas for what to get them if I don’t go off the registry. So I probably will. But still. There’s not going to be a whole lot of me in it.

I’m seriously considering getting them the extra Wii controller, as a compromise. At least that’s funny.

Cue head exploding

Have you ever had so much go on within a short span of time that you feel like your head is just going to pop like a party balloon? That’s how I feel right now. Don’t worry, I’m self-medicating with some Chinese food. I’m on top of this.

Yesterday and this morning involved a lot of back and forth over jacket flap copy for AUT, which is exciting but also nerve-wracking. Has anyone else noticed that it’s really hard to describe your own book? As the person who spent six years writing it, I feel like everything is important, and I don’t know how to boil it down to the essentials without frying all my circuits. Thank God for agents and editors, right? I’m so tired.

That might have a little to do with being out so late last night, though. One of the reasons I’m super lucky to be living in New York is that I have so many good friends here, and they’re all cool and interesting and into a hundred different things. I’ve managed over the course of a few months to pick up several guy friends who are amateur stand-up comedians, but until last night I’d never seen any of them up on stage. Me, Cambria and Nikki headed over to Gotham after work (short pit stop at Dallas BBQ for margaritas and chicken fingers, OBVS, as it’s right there) and were able to see our friends David and Brian (both incredibly funny) perform. There were a lot of funny people, and it was nice to see some lady comics, because when Bri and I went to Gutbucket a few weeks ago there was only one and she was…fine.

Speaking of Gutbucket, one of my favorite comics from that show performed at Gotham last night. His name is Luke Cunningham and I think he’s hilarious, that’s all.

Afterwards we went to Trailer Park, which is just down the street. It’s a kitschy little bar made up to resemble (what else?) a trailer park. I personally think it’s a little too expensive to live up to its name ($5 PBR? That’s highway robbery, that is) but the atmosphere is pretty great and the tater tots are to die for. We hung around with David, Brian, and a bunch of other comedians after the show, including one of the ladies, who I’m pretty sure I gave some material to, although quite honestly it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before on Sex and the City, so whatevs. MD also joined us after her date, bringing the party as always.

I got home around midnight, but then of course stayed up until one to finish Wintergirls, which is so wonderful and traumatizing. Some people don’t like sad, emotionally eviscerating books, but those are my favorite kinds, and Wintergirls is the perfect example. In short, I loved it, Laurie Halse Anderson is a rock star.

Nothin’ to see here

Not much going on in the writing ‘verse for me these days, I’m afraid. Still working steadily (albeit slowly) on GR and that’s about it. I’ve been reading a lot, though, which is good because for a while there I wasn’t reading anything. It started with David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster, then from there I sped through The 19th Wife while watching the four-hour Frontline special on Mormons. After that came Charlotte Church’s autobiography Keep Smiling, because I love Charlotte Church (note to self: bore all your blog readers someday with a long post about why and how much you love Charlotte Church), and then a whole spate of YA: Jeanette Rallison’s newest, Just One Wish (MD and I are in agreement that Steve looks like RPattz in our minds), Deb Saundra Mitchell’s Shadowed Summer, and Deb Sarah MacLean’s The Season. This weekend I worked in Dave Cullen’s wonderful book Columbine (three guesses as to what that’s about) and, as a follow-up, a re-read of Douglas Coupland’s Hey Nostradamus!, my favorite book of all time. Now I’m reading Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson; it is just as haunting and sad as I imagined it would be.

You know what’s weird to me? How much it seems people don’t like Hey Nostradamus!. In case “my favorite book of all time” didn’t tip you off, I can’t even appropriately express how deeply I respond to that novel, or how important it has been for my own work. Not so for others. Even YA writer extraordinaire John Green wrote a tepid review of it for Booklist a while back. Sad pancakes. I think it’s gorgeous and close to perfect. Ah well.

Fun fact (I don’t know how this became a blog about Hey Nostradamus!): Apparently Douglas Coupland and X-Files creator Chris Carter are friends. There’s a scene in I Want to Believe where Scully is standing in Mulder’s home office and there’s a Post-It behind her on a bulletin board that says “Hey Nostradamus!” on it. That explains why all the characters in Girlfriend in a Coma end up working on a show about the paranormal that is basically The X-Files.

I finally went to check out my friend Eric’s new place in Washington Heights. We shot a video tour of the apartment for his girlfriend, Jenny, who’s one of my best friends in the universe, since she’s still living in San Diego and won’t be moving to New York until May. It’s really big and nice and they live on a street where there’s just a whole bunch of stuff within a couple of blocks, including the subway (two subways, in fact) and a Duane Reade. The granite countertops are brand new–they haven’t even taken off the plastic yet–and there are SO MANY ELECTRICAL OUTLETS. My roommate and I have, like, seven outlets in our entire apartment–they have five in their bedroom alone. I’m really jealous. Not jealous of having to live that far uptown, but still. Jenny called after we left the place and I told her, “It’s so great, you’re going to love it!” Jenny, bless her heart, was like, “Are you going to call me later and tell me the truth?” But it really was a great apartment, I wasn’t even lying, not that I would. Now I just need my girls to get their place in the 80s and we’ll be all set–until I need to move. Ugh.

Cover lover

LOL. I’m a big fan of Melissa Walker‘s “Cover Stories” feature, firstly because I think book covers, esp. for YA, are pretty neat, and secondly because I tend to find out about books I might not have heard about otherwise. This was the case for today’s featured book, Gentlemen by Michael Northrop. The cover is to die, but also I couldn’t help but thinking, Um, I think Michael Northrop’s cover is my cover’s boyfriend. Observe:

final_jkt_front-thumb allunquietjkt2

It’s the concept that connects them, the “obviously a dead teenager” thing, but also I feel like they’re sort of inverses of each other–black/white, etc. Both our names are in red, both our titles are in caps. Both books are mysteries. I love it. When Gentlemen comes out (April 2009, I believe) I’ll be sure to buy a copy and then when I get a finished copies of All Unquiet Things they can hang out. Or make out, whatever.

BOMB

Blerg, Mondays. Especially after a great weekend. I have an idea: let’s make weekends three days long. I just feel like I’d get more done. Lies, I wouldn’t. So much I meant to accomplish this weekend went by the wayside: laundry, grocery shopping, watching Twilight with the director’s commentary…although I did find a pair of shoes I’d lost in my gym bag, which should tell you how many times I’ve been to the gym recently. I’m going tonight! (Maybe. We’ll see. There’s also that grocery shopping and that laundry that needs to be done…)

On Friday night, I went over to Harlem (okay, techs I live in Harlem, whatever, it’s fine) to my friend Mary’s house. It wasn’t quite warm enough to sit outside playing cards for seven hours, but we did it anyway. Mary taught us this game called Bomb, which she learned while studying abroad in Spain in college. Bomb is I guess sort of like Killa, or maybe it’s just a watered-down version of Killa, which I’d never heard of until I looked it up on Wikipedia. It’s addictive. I’m not very good at it. I like to think I’m not that competitive, but sometimes I get frustrated after repeatedly losing; I try to reign it in, but I don’t always do such a good job of that. Sorry friends! I don’t need to be the best at anything, I just need to be good enough to be in the middle of the pile, and I’m not there with Bomb yet. Hey, at least I know this about myself.

We played Bomb again yesterday (sans Mary this time) at Galway Hooker, which is normally our college football bar. It was completely empty, which was so weird, but at least we didn’t feel bad for hogging a table playing Bomb all night. We never go to GH unless there’s a USC game on because it’s on 36th and Madison and that’s nowhere near anything, but we’d gone to see I Love You, Man (good not great) at the 34th St. AMC and that’s the bar we like the most that’s even remotely in that area. We bought the cards in, like, the fanciest Duane Reade you’ll ever see over on 34th and 8th. I had to ask an employee where the playing cards were, because we couldn’t find them in the toy/game section, and turns out there was a whole rack of cards in the cosmetics section. Because that’s logical.

I also think I’ve gotten the hang of Evernote. I don’t know what made me log into the Evernote client I downloaded on my computer last January or whatever, but I did, and I started actually writing notes in it. I’ve been working moderately hard on my GR synopsis and thought it would be nice to be able to access it from wherever I am, so I put it on Evernote. Pretty sweet. I also put a character manifesto on there, and a note about the geography of the setting, and all my brainstorming material…I’m pretty sure I’m not using the program to its full potential, but over the course of the next few weeks I’ll either learn it or abandon it. Sort of like Scrivener!

When did I get so boring?

I have no idea what to blog about. I feel like nothing’s really going on, it’s just me, living my life. BO-RING! Hm, what could I talk about? Well, my friends didn’t get that apartment fifteen blocks away from me (15% broker’s fee? IN THIS MARKET?) but they found an even better one in my ideal neighborhood, Amsterdam in the 80s, so of course I’m super jealous and also super excited and I hope they get that place.

What else? The weather’s finally nice in good ol’ New York. It’s supposed to be 65 degrees today! After work I’m going up to my friend Eric’s new abode in Wash. Hts., to see it and congratulate him on what a good job he did finding his first place in the city. Then I’m going to my friend Mary’s place in Harlem to play cards and drink beer out on the porch (she lives on Astor Row, in a gorgeous old townhouse). We won the cards at trivia on Wednesday; they’re all old-fashioned pin-ups with George W. Bush’s face Photoshopped on them. Hilarious, obviously. This is the second time we’ve won cards at trivia; last time, they were supposed to have Jesus on them, but then Mary pointed out that it was most likely Daniel, as there were lions all over the place. They were oval, though, and hard to shuffle, so I think those are just for display. Oh, and Abby has them, never mind.

Erm…as you may have noticed, my website launch has been moved back a little bit. Still working on that…

I’ve decided on my new nail polish color for spring! Light green, almost mint colored. O.P.I. has one called “Hey! Get in Lime!” Oh, speaking of things that start with “Hey!”, let me tell you a story from my youth. I don’t know if you’ll care for it, but my family thinks it’s hilarious and it gets retold a lot. Like A LOT. Usually after telling it one of my parents goes, “And that’s when we knew she was going to be a loud mouth…”

I was born in January 1984, and my brother wasn’t born until the end of May 1986, so for two and a half years I was the only kid. Those were the good days…Anyway. Just kidding. I love my brother. I was a pretty good kid, all things considered. I was well-behaved and sweet and not at all obnoxious or rambunctious, which did not prepare my parents for the whirling dervish that my brother proved to be, but that’s sort of besides the point. Once, when I was about two, my parents took me to an Italian restaurant that they liked. Because I was  easy to manage, that was the sort of thing they could conceivably do.

The waitress came over and took their orders and apparently this is the kind of restaurant where you would get salad to start off the meal, kind of like Olive Garden where they bring a big bowl of it to the table and you serve yourself. I was too little to need my own meal, obviously, so I didn’t get any of my own meal accoutrements, either. This did not please me. The waitress set a salad bowl in front of each of my parents and walked away. As soon as I assessed the situation and figured out what was up, I decided I was not going to take these age-ist shenanigans lying down. So I turned around in my high chair and yelled out, clear as a bell, “HEY LADY! BRING ANNA A BOWL!!” (Always the emphasis on the word “lady.”)

Aaaaaaand that is my enduring legacy to my family. My mom sometimes likes to follow this story up with, “You would also call out ‘HEY GRANDMA!’ to any old lady you saw on the street.” It sounds like I was a big sarcastic heckler, but actually I just associated gray-haired old ladies with the word “grandma.” I mean, nowadays I just do that sort of thing for fun, but back then it was just a cognitive disconnect, you hear what I’m saying?

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