Oh my God, you guys!

I have noticed something about myself: I seem to get the most done when I have a lot going on. Like, for instance, this weekend. I told J (when I sent her my revisions and the MB prologue!) that I would be finishing MB this week in California, because I figured, what with my sister finishing up film camp and having to entertain her that I wouldn’t have time to do it. WRONG. This weekend was chock full of activity, and yet here I am, about five pages from the end of the novel. When I left off last night, I was two pages into the epilogue. I will most likely finish in the Washington-Dulles airport during my TWO AND A HALF HOUR LAYOVER tomorrow.

Anyway, my sister had never been to a Broadway show (having never been to New York before this summer), so we went to the TKTS booth in Times Square yesterday. I timed it perfectly, actually. We got there at a quarter to two, got some Starbucks, and we were very close to the front of the line so when they opened up the booth at three (…fifteen, annoyingly), we got right in and bought tickets to Legally Blonde. I LOVE the movie, and I’d heard pretty good things about the show, but I could never really get anyone to go with me. My sister was game, and didn’t really have a preference since her favorite musical, Little Shop of Horrors, isn’t playing on Broadway.

I have to say, I was so pleasantly surprised. It was really cute! Very much in the spirit of the show, and that song, “Oh My God, You Guys!” is so, SO catchy it is now permanently burned in my brain. If possible, the romance between Elle and Emmett is cuter, because they have this whole thing where (probably to keep him on stage more) they give him a little bit of back story (he raised himself up from poverty and paid his way through Harvard law and thinks that Elle’s problems are kind of silly in comparison and tries to tell her that, hey, if you want people to take you seriously you have to be serious and make sacrifices) and more motive. So they spend a lot of time together and become really good friends. Not that the movie doesn’t do an excellent job with that relationship, too, they just do it differently, but I really liked it. The girl who played Elle was the girl who won that MTV show that I didn’t even know existed, the one where they do a search for the new Elle? I’m happy to say that she was really, really good! And the girl who played Brooke Wyndam looked like Amy Poehler, at least from where I was sitting. Anyway. If you’re coming to New York anytime soon, I highly recommend it. Just try not to sit directly in front of the chattiest, most annoying pre-teens in existence, one of whom has your same name, which they will say over and over again until words lose all meaning. TRUST.

Also, on the book front, I’m reading Robin Benway’s Audrey, Wait!, which I must confess I just love. It’s weird because one of the main characters in AUT is named Audrey (look at me, casually dropping facts about the book; I hope this doesn’t come back to bite me later) and she is just a way different girl in way different circumstances than Audrey, Wait!‘s Audrey Cuttler and at first it was weird for me to read this word, “Audrey”, that I’d been writing and reading for three years in various incarnations of AUT and have it refer to someone completely different. And even though I love my own Audrey, I have to say that Robin Benway’s Audrey rocks, too (literally, she’s a big music fan). And, despite the fact that it’s sort of a hot mess right now, what with the paparazzi and fans and the evil popuwhore who’s trying to steal her mens and ruin her life, I’d much rather have Audrey Cuttler’s life than my Audrey’s life, insofar as my book is much darker and my Audrey’s existence is more dangerous and I’m incredibly risk averse. Although, I’m also attention-averse, so who really knows? It’s a toss up. Anyway. Not that everybody doesn’t already know that Audrey, Wait! is an incredibly cool book, but I’m just here to say for the record that it is.

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4S of July!

Whoa, where the hell have I been? The answer: right where you left me, in temperate (really! I have been far more comfortable walking the streets of this city recently than I was a few weeks ago) New York City. I was playing hostess to my super-best-friends Kim and Jenny, numerous photos of whom you can see on Flickr. We had tons o’ fun! To make it easily digestible, let me break it down for you:

  • Tuesday: The girls got into town. I met up with some former classmates from the University of Chicago at a place called Grassroots on St. Mark’s, where we caught up (our last get-together was in January–February? Whatever, a long time ago) and drank Brooklyn Lager (thumbs down, in case you care, but my taste in beer is pretty low-brow…I actually find Pabst Blue Ribbon palatable, and not ironically). I left around nine and went to Bri’s place in Williamsburg; the girls got in around 10:15, and since we were all starving and ready to drink we cruised around Lorimer for a while until we found a weird little joint called the Alligator Lounge where they comp you a personal-sized pizza when you order a drink! What a wonderful, not to mention delicious, way to lure booze hounds into your bar. After a drink and a pizza I went home because I had to work in the morning. The girls stayed with Bri in Williamsburg.
  • Wednesday: Kim and Jenny met me for lunch. We picked up food at the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center, then went to the park to eat. I dragged them back to my office to fetch my subway map, where a fateful meeting occurred in the break room (more on that in a hot minute!). After work, Kim and Jenny met me and Bri and Katie and Eric, a coworker of mine, at Dempsey’s for trivia. We won…for something? We don’t know, but we ended up with the soundtrack to Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, which I put up on Muxtape for funs. Prepare to have your head blown open. Anyway, after trivia we went to National Underground, a fun cheap old man-type bar that has a nice jazz band on Wednesdays, where we contended with a couple of characters Bri met at Dempsey’s and invited out with us: Trevor, a really big douchebag of the “I’m a genius, I make lots of money, let me impress you with my arrogance and self-centeredness” variety, and his friend Mike, who tried to convince me that democracy is the same as mob rule, which it isn’t. Anyway, Mike was sweet enough but they were both pretty annoying, and Eric, as the only other guy in the group, was very, VERY irritated. He and my friend Jenny hit it off very well, to say the least. The girls went back to Brooklyn and I went home.
  • Thursday: I had a half-day of work, after which I headed down to Union Square for lunch with Katie, Bri, Jenny, and Kim at the Heartland Brewery. Eric and my boss met us afterwards, and we went to Petco to look at the kittens, Bri’s favorite activity, before hitting up a bar on University for happy hour and telling embarrassing stories about each other to my coworkers. The girls went to Brooklyn and I went home; we changed and ate separately, then met at Fat Black, in the Village. Oh, the characters we met there. Two older gentlemen, old enough to be our father’s most definitely, approached us and bought us drinks and talked to us for what seemed like hours, even going so far as to invite us to go sailing with them on the 4th. We had plans with Eric, plus none of us can sail, so we declined, but they were nice (and foreign!) and entertaining. I went home, the girls went back to Brooklyn, and we made plans for the morning
  • Friday (4th of July!): The girls took a car to my place on the Upper West Side and got settled. They went to the liquor store and grocery to get some snack food and, naturally, booze. Eric was supposed to join us in the city for the holiday, but then he texted me and asked if we wanted to go out to his friend Matt’s house in New Jersey, promising food and booze and fireworks (real ones, not, like, Roman candles in someone’s backyard, which Cambria was sure to make sure of before agreeing to go). So to New Jersey we went! It was really a foregone conclusion as soon as I got the TM, because it was so obvious that sparks were flying between Jenny and Eric that even though I told him I had to check with the girls before agreeing, I was all, “Damn, now we have to go to Jersey.” It was so fun, though! The trip out was a nightmare, and the trip home in a cab was expensive, but the food was great, Eric’s friends were so gracious and a genuine blast, and the fireworks were so close! Best line of the night: Eric picked us up from the PATH station in Newark, I get into the front seat and go, “Are you wearing madras shorts?” He was. (Oh, and not to overshare, but the 4th went very well for our lovebirds.)
  • Saturday: Saturday we woke up and went to Times Square to the TKTS booth to get half-priced theater tickets. It was so ridiculous. That place is super organized until you get to the actual place where you can buy the tickets–then it’s chaos. Somebody actually cut Kim in line, some seventeen-year-old blond touristy girl, and Kim was all, “I believe I was first.” She ignored Kim, so this obviously local woman behind Kim started going off on the girl. The girl’s grandmother stepped in and was all, “This is my granddaughter! I’m buying these tickets, this is my granddaughter!” It made little to no sense, and all of them (even though I really appreciated the local woman’s willingness to go to bat for Kim, although technically she was being cut, too, so…) were crazy. It didn’t matter, Jenny got to the front of her line and got us four tickets to Young Frankenstein. Wait, did I say four? I meant five. Yes, they gave us an extra ticket, which we didn’t pay for. Yes, it’s sort of unethical to keep it, but were we seriously going to get back in line and wait for four hours again just to give it back? No. We didn’t scalp it, though. We invited my roommate, who was putting up with having us all in our tiny two-bedroom apartment. Before the show we went to Dallas BBQ which, if you like to drink and you’ve never been, hie ye to the nearest one (there are five Manhattan locations and one in Brooklyn) as soon as you next come here. The drinks are enormous and frozen and delicious, and the food’s not half bad, although Nikki, who’s from Texas, claims it has nothing on real bbq–she’s probs right. Anyway, the show was so fun! Sure, Megan Mulally basically played Karen Walker, but she has an excellent voice and a brilliant stage presence and, as Bri put it, “That’s what the people want.” After the show we went to Carmine’s for a delicious, HUGE after-theater dinner. Then we went home and laid around like cobras.
  • Sunday: Sunday, Jenny and Eric had a date (squee!) so Kim and Bri and I went to Pinch and S’Mac, a really great pizza/gourmet mac and cheese place near the American Museum of Natural History, for lunch and then wandered down the Upper West Side buying things like typewriter-key-pendants and Russian wedding rings and chair earrings. Then we went down to Rockefeller Center; we’d planned to go to the Top of the Rock, but it was expensive and we’re lazy. Instead we perused the NBC Store where I found that they’d ripped off my t-shirt idea, then went to Dean & Deluca for confections and J.Crew, where I bought two skirts on sale for a grand total of less than $60! And to think, I’d been whining about going. Then we headed uptown back to my ‘hood to Jake’s Dilemma, where we met Jenny and Eric and drank like kings on very little cash (Jake’s has a really nice happy hour deal), and then up to my apartment where we drank some more. After Eric left, we played a TV trivia game (I couldn’t find my Phase 10 cards, sadly) and then went to bed.
  • Monday: I had to go back to work, but the girls met me and Eric for lunch. We had sushi, which I’d been craving for a while, at East, a chain with a restaurant near my work that’s never crowded at lunch. I ate there with Katie, Brigitte and the MN crew when they were in town for the City Breathing concert. After work, Eric and I met Cambria down on the LES; we had planned to go to Happy Ending, but they’re closed on Monday nights, as is EVERY SINGLE FUN BAR ON THE LES. So we ended up going to drag queen bingo night at Bowery Poetry Club, where Cambria won a tickety-tack wall clock and Kim and Jenny met us. I was one card away from winning the whole damn pot of money! Then we got a slice of pizza and went to the only open bar on the LES, apparently, Welcome to the Johnson’s, which is this really tacky (in a good way) dive bar that looks like a living room from the ’60s. $2 PBR, people! And a working jukebox. The cute couple said a sad good-bye, but they’ll see each other again soon so it’s okay, and we cabbed it up to my apartment (note to people who party on the LES but live on the UWS–have your cab driver take the FDR to 96th and the transverse across the park–it’s cheaper than having them take the West Side Highway, I have now learned this from experience). Then we crashed. It was a long weekend.
  • Tuesday: I woke up and said goodbye to the girls, then went to work. I think they went to the Met, then to LaGuardia for a nightmare flight home. I miss them so much already. Thanksgiving in SD!

And that’s what I’ve been doing that has prevented me from blogging, writing, reading, eating properly, drinking moderately, cleaning my apartment and doing laundry. Now it’s back to business as usual–I’m reading The Likeness, the follow-up to that Tana French novel, In the Woods, that I adored so much, trying to get back into the writing rhythm, sleeping (not enough, because I’m still bushed every single night), working, and cooking healthy meals for myself. It might be more productive and better for me, but it’s WAY less fun. (Except reading and writing–I like that.)

No new news on the book front as yet. I hope to hear something soon!

Bits and pieces

For some reason (I think it’s sleep deprivation due to the uncomfortable sauna-like levels of heat in my apartment) I’m super tired, and I don’t have enough energy to put together a coherent post, so I’m falling back on the crutch of all bloggers–the list!

  • Finished In the Woods by Tana French on Sunday and I literally had to lay down and take a nap afterwards because I couldn’t focus on anything else–I couldn’t read another book, I definitely couldn’t write, and I couldn’t even really read or goof off on the internets. It was SO GOOD, you guys. I kind of wish I’d saved Rites of Spring (Break) for after In the Woods because I really needed some kind of balm to soothe my flayed heart. I was very deeply affected by it, and as my dear, brilliant professor William Veeder always said (quoting Henry James), “In the arts, feeling is always meaning.” I wasn’t, unlike some people (a.k.a. facebook reviewers and my coworker Mary), disappointed with the ending, because I really, truly believe that Tana French is telling the truth when she says that she’s not done with Rob Ryan. I think I may have had such a strong reaction because the book is sort of similar to AUT, in that it’s a mystery involving the death of a young girl with a male narrator who is traumatized and fucked up by things in his past who solves the case with a female partner. Rob Ryan reminds me a lot of my protagonist, the character I spent six years crafting and living with, the one who still won’t fade away like an old soldier, who insists on having another book which I’m actually sort of pumped to write even though I know I won’t get to it seriously for a while…anyway. Read In the Woods–it’s beautiful, and I’m not even mad at it like I was at Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend, which means a lot. I’m super excited for The Likeness, which comes out July 17.
  • Discovered the perfect way to get over post-amazing-book depression: Anne Fadiman. (Sorry, this is not to say that Anne Fadiman writes non-amazing books, but I always find that the familiar essay lifts my spirit in the way other genres sometimes can’t.)
  • My busy weekend turned out to be pretty low-key after all. On Friday I had drinks at Cooper 35, this very very cheap Asian pub near Cooper Union, below Astor Place, that we go to sometimes, with Katie and Nikki and their coworker Caroline, then I went home to “do laundry”, a.k.a. read and write. On Saturday I actually did my laundry (er…most of it), then I went to Nikki’s apartment in Brooklyn for lasagna and berry cobbler and games. It was delicious (the food) and fun (the games) and nicely relaxing. The on Sunday I lazed around, finishing In the Woods and writing, and then met up with Carmen, my BFF from college, and her fiance Tim and his sister who lives in D.C. for dinner at La Lanterna in the Village and then drinks at Vol de Nuit, a Belgian beer bar I’ve been known to frequent, where Katie and Cambria joined us. Also, there was lots of lightning and thunder but no rain (which was good, because we were outside), and for a long time we thought it was late-night Pride-related fireworks, but actually now I think not. Yesterday I saw my friend Mike from my Review days (we met at Grand Central for a lunch and catch-up session), then back with Carmen and Tim last night for drinks at The View, the rotating bar at the top of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, and then dinner at Patsy’s in Union Square. Tonight it’s drinks with University of Chicago people (there are not as many of us in New York as there are people I went to undergrad with in California, curiously) on St. Marks and then over to Cambria’s to wait for the imminent arrival of the San Diego chapter of the 4S–Kim and Jenny! You have no idea how excited I am about this. All four of us haven’t been together in one place since…San Diego, St. Patrick’s Day 2006? Over a year, in any case. It’s a watershed event! So, anyway, my life is full of goings-on, but not quite at the apocalyptic level I had been anticipating. What, me melodramatic?
  • No word yet on developments from the book front. You’ll know when I do/am allowed to say anything.

Um…I think that’s it?  Oh, and I got an air conditioning unit for the living room! So maybe the apartment won’t be sweltering when Kim and Jenny come to stay with me (they’re staying with Bri for the first couple of days). Here’s hoping our super puts it in the window tomorrow. Lata!

An overabundance of shit to do

For the past several weeks now, I keep looking forward to each weekend and telling myself, “THIS weekend you’ll do laundry and go grocery shopping and maybe buy a new summer skirt and catch up on your sleep and your Netflix and read and WRITE, for God’s sake.” And, each week, foiled! This is actually a very good thing, because it means I have a ton of awesome people in my life who invite me to things and want to hang out with me, and I always end up having a blast, but, on the other hand, getting nothing done. This weekend I was psyched to go see the Pole-rific Piotr Ulanski exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea, because today is its last day–I still might go to that actually–and to Book Culture, because I wanted to buy one of their snazzy new totes. And, you know, launder–and I don’t mean money, I am seriously low on clothes. But! Last night I went out to a Tumblr meet-up (yes, they exist, and yes, they are fun) and met a handful of really interesting, funny Tumblrs and it took me FOREVS to get home because the stupid F train was running on the V line and I ended up in Queens and then I had to take the E train back to Seventh Ave/53rd street and then get out of the station and walk to Columbus Circle, at least that was the plan until I COULD NOT GET OUT OF THE SEVENTH AVE STATION, but then I finally did get out of it and then I was so tired and it was SO late that I eventually took a cab. So, in other words, I slept in! And now I’m lazing around in my pajamas and trying to motivate myself to take a shower which probs won’t happen anytime soon and I might not actually get down to Chelsea in time to see the Ulanski exhibit, which closes at six. My life is hard! Also, Cambria is throwing a house party tonight in Brooklyn, so I’m going to have to schlep there, which will take forevs, and then of course I’ll have to stay the night because, well, who the fuck wants to be on a train at three in the morning two nights in a row? Not me!

This is all to say that in the midst of all this bejiggity, I have finished my revisions! I even sent them off to my agent today with my “Hollywood pitch” assignment (I settled on “Speak meets Special Topics in Calamity Physics” because…well, you’ll know when you read it, even though it’s not the ideal comparison, especially since Special Topics isn’t considered YA even though it’s pretty much got all teenagers in it, but they’re not real teenagers, they’re Ph.D. candidates in the guise of teenagers, which is one of that novel’s big flaws but whatevs, she went to Brown, it’s to be expected) because as much as I’ve grown to re-love AUT over the past two weeks (I did go through a period where I was like, “This is shit!”, which I know is natural and normal but it’s still not very good for the ego) I’m sick of looking at it for the moment. I’m just…really looking forward to moving on to the next thing, which is another YA mystery (WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?!) that I’m calling “MB” for now.

Anyway, there’s my brain dump. Do with it what you will.

My Brooklyn weekend

Wow! This was the most inconvenient weekend of my life! The MTA has seriously jumped up to #1 on my Enemies list after the last three days of subway hell. And, ironically, this was the weekend where I had to be in Brooklyn like the whole time. Not that the people who read this blog read it to hear me whine ad nauseum about the New York public transit system, but bear with me, I promise it won’t happen again (for a while).

So, here’s the thing about the subways here. During the week, they run with regularity; trains get a little spotty at night on some lines, but all in all the system is pretty reliable and it runs 24 hours to all but four stations. Sounds pretty good, right? Okay, but on the weekends, everything goes absolutely berserk. And I know this. I’m prepared for it. I expect to get on a 1 train and hear a garbled announcement informing me that it will be going express for four stops or skipping every other station or waiting for five minutes while another train passes. I’ve gotten used to it. But THIS WEEKEND? It was like the entire subway system had spontaneously combusted.

So, Friday was the only day this weekend that I didn’t spend in Brooklyn. My phone was dying, so it was pretty tough to get in touch with people and I didn’t know exactly where I was going, but I ended up at Cooper 35, an Asian pub in the East Village where I had four dollar bay breezes with Katie and Nikki and their work friend Vivian. Later, we went to Phebe’s, a bar near there, and then after that Cambria and I wandered over to the Washington Square area and had chicken strips and French fries before heading home. We also met this guy in a band who asked us to stand outside and watch his stuff while he brought out the rest of his drums or whatever. It was odd.

Saturday, my friend Brigitte and the rest of her friends from Minneapolis came into town and we met up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Courbet exhibit, which was pretty stupendous I must say. You know what wasn’t stupendous? Forgetting my phone at home and then going home after the museum to get it only to find the 79th and 86th St. subway stations closed. I was not going to walk another 10 blocks to 96th St., so I got on the very crowded and very slow M104 bus. I got home right about the time I was supposed to be at dinner. IN BROOKLYN. So of course I just called and said it would take me forever, but due to the aforementioned MTA meltdown my friends were having a hard time getting around, too, and everyone was late. We ended up going to a very tony restaurant in Williamsburg called My Moon. The bread was good, but I only had a side dish of asparagus because nothing on the menu looked appealing and I was trying to conserve cash. The asparagus was good. Afterwards, we walked to Monkey Town, a restaurant/bar in Williamsburg, for a City Breathing concert. The place was really odd and hard to find. Once we got inside, there was all sorts of goofy shit hanging from the ceiling–I think it was supposed to look sort of jungly–and there was a restaurant and a bar, but it was pretty small. The back room where the concert was was really interesting. It was a square room with huge screens on each wall and against each wall was a couch that spanned the length of the wall and really low tables. The band set up and played in the center. We were sort of squished on the couches despite having made reservations, but it was really the perfect setting for the music; we just sort of leaned back and closed our eyes and let the music wash over us, every once and a while looking at the video projections that were accompanying the playing. City Breathing is simply amazing; go on their MySpace and download their album, then if you’re in the area come to Brooklyn any Wednesday in May at Bar Matchless in Greenpoint.

On Sunday I was supposed to go to brunch at Bubby’s in DUMBO with the MN crew, but I declined via text message as I knew that I would have to get up really early to get there by 11:00, what with me living on the Upper West Side and brunch being in Brooklyn, which is a slog anyway when the subways aren’t on crack. I had gotten home from the show at about 3:00 AM, also. So I slept until noon and then headed down to the Times Square area for the matinee of Spring Awakening, which was amazing. About half of us didn’t read that little bit in the Playbill where it tells you where and when the play takes place, so we were like, “Why are they all German? And what is this, 1894? What’s with the dumpy FLDS-type garb?” Turns out, it was set in a German provincial town in the 1890s! Apparently, the musical (with music by Duncan Sheik, remember him?) is a slight adaptation of a nineteenth century play by German writer Frank Wedekind; back in ol’ Frankie’s day, Spring Awakening, which deals with teenage sexuality and criticizes bourgeois attitudes towards sex, the play was banned a lot. I don’t know how Wedekind would feel about bringing the play into the twenty-first century by adding dancing and musical numbers with such titles as “You’re Fucked”, but I suppose he’d probably be on board. Anyway, although I really loved it, I left with sort of a creepy feeling that I haven’t been quite able to shake. I think it was the fact that, though the play took place in late nineteenth century Germany, the music and a lot of the staging is so contemporary that it sort of threw me off. Also, the play’s ability to create humorous scenes that, over time, take on greater significance and become fairly horrific is pretty unnerving. Awesome, but unnerving. Also, side note, the nudity’s not that bad but there are some brief explicit sex acts so probs you shouldn’t bring your kids.

After a quick jaunt back to my apartment to put on some pants (spring, come back, where have you gone?!), I hopped back on the effed up subway to go BACK TO BROOKLYN IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT. We went all the way to Midwood (what? yes, that’s what I said too)–that’s the Avenue J stop on the Q, if you’re a New Yorker, although you still might not know where that is, I certainly didn’t–to eat pizza at Di Fara’s. Now, this was supposedly the Best Pizza In New York–they had lots and lots of articles on the wall to prove it, and a plaque from…somebody who gives out awards for good pizza, I don’t know. And the pizza, when we finally got it, was completely delicious. BUT! I got there at 8:00 and I believe we waited until 10:30-ish to eat, a lot of that outside in the cold. Said Brigitte, “Of course it’s the best pizza in New York! By the time you get it, you’re starving!” Also, apparently the bathroom (which you can only get to by crawling under the counter and going in the back) was so disgusting (“Filthiest bathroom I have ever been in,” according to Amy) that everyone who used it practically bathed in Purel after. However, necessity being the mother of invention, the group composed a collaborative pizza poem while waiting, which was then performed various times aloud. Good times!

It was so late by the time we finished eating that we all decided to go home, which sounds lame, but the New York people had work the next day (today!) and the MN people still aren’t quite over their exhaustion from flying out of Minneapolis so GD early on Saturday morning. Boo, jet lag. Anyway, it was a very packed weekend full of Brooklyn, and though I’ll miss Brigitte and the rest of the crew I won’t mind spending next weekend getting a little more sleep and getting a lot less accomplished.

P.S. I’m really struggling to like Brooklyn (my best friend is moving there in less than two weeks and I’m not super excited about it because it’s really effing far from where I live), so if anybody has any reasons for me to like it (“hipster culture” is NOT a good reason) or places in Williamsburg that we might like to experience/explore (again, I’m cautioning against anything that smacks of hipsters), please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments or email me. Yay for Brooklyn?

Revision shhedual*

Confession: I haven’t worked on AUT in, um, a few days. Maybe two? It’s Thursday, right? Yeah. And I don’t really see myself working on it a whole lot tonight. I just have a hard time working on weekdays. It’s like, I get home from work around 7:30 or 8:00 and either I consume something (usually pasta, because it’s cheap and I’m broke) and then head over to my friend Cambria’s because she has cable and I don’t (last night after I got my couch we watched America’s Next Top Model**), or I stay at home and watch Netflixed movies and read a little before bed. I work much better on the weekends, when I can get up late and then spend about 10 hours unshowered and in my pajamas, writing (or, in this case, revising) my little heart out. In other words, I make more progress in marathons rather than sprints, which doesn’t surprise me–I was a distance swimmer in high school, never had great times in the 50 or 100 yd events but kicked ASS during the 200 and 500 yd free events. Not that swimming has much to do with writing, but…just go with the analogy, mmmkay?

So. This weekend. Needs to be the big push. I’ve decided to extend my self-imposed deadline to Wednesday, April 9 (or, I guess, Tuesday, April 8, because I want to email the revised MS to Joanna on Wed. morning), which will give me time to let the edits percolate before I give the MS another once-over and then send it off. I don’t plan on working very much the weekend of March 31 because my friend Jack (!) is coming into town all the way from sunny Arizona. Jack and I went to college together and last year when I was getting my MA at the University of Chicago, he was here in town, living just a few blocks from where I live now, getting his MA from Columbia. I haven’t seen him in over a year and a half and I’m super excited to hang out with him. Also? To hang out somewhere nearer my apartment. I feel like I always end up going to the UES or LES which, while fun, is quite far from my house via PT and I can’t afford cabs.

To wit, I’m going out on the LES tomorrow night with my friends Katie and Cambria! We’re doing happy hour at Happy Ending, which is sort of a haunt of Cambria’s and mine because our friend Jessica’s boyfriend is a bar back there. I like it because the drinks are cheap-ish and usually strong, which is a very good combo if you are not so flush with cash. It used to be a spa and looks really trashy from the outside (very LES), but inside it’s sleek and red and downstairs there are refurbed showers where you can sit with your friends. Usually they’re reserved, but one time we went there and sort of commandeered a shower before anyone got there (before they’d even opened up the downstairs, but Jessica’s exalted status there got us in without major incident) and got to keep it the whole time (drunkards sort of filtered in and out, but whatever).

But after Friday, I am BUCKLING. DOWN. I’m around pg. 150 with my revisions, which means I’m a little less than halfway through (before revisions, I’d be more than halfway through, but I have somehow managed to add thirteen pages to the final count). I can get the rest done by Sunday, which means that I can use whatever downtime I have the NEXT weekend (when I’m not out with Jack and Cambria and his Columbia friends) to do the once-over. Sorry to bore you with all this, it’s really to keep myself accountable and give myself an actual schedule that I can follow. I work well that way.

Other random slices of my boring life:

  • I’m in the middle of Enchanted right now, and I have to admit that I’m simultaneously loving it and hating it. I got it because I really like Amy Adams (SO GOOD in Junebug, if you haven’t seen it please do), but I’m finding her character sort of irritating–I know she’s naive because she’s, like, a formerly animated Disney princess, but still, the bubbly personality and squeaky voice and omnipresent smile still grates–since I’m of the same mindset as Patrick Dempsey’s character, Robert–he doesn’t really believe in romance and neither do I. Of course, he’ll be converted by the end of the movie, but I’m pretty sure I won’t. James Marsden as Prince Edward is pretty hilarious, though. I know it’s a satire, and I’m trying to let that roll, but I’m losing patience.
  • We got our couch! We even managed to get it through our front door/hallway, though it was a bit of a tight squeeze. It is wonderful. I might have to name it, to show it how much I love it.
  • Still haven’t found our mail key. Apparently, our neighbors are never home. We talked to the girl who lives next door with her boyfriend and she hadn’t picked it up, but the other three apartments weren’t home. It was sort of strange. This was 8:00 PM-ish. Where were they? Do people actually live in those apartments?
  • My college BFF Carmen and her boyfriend Tim are coming to visit me this summer! She finally gave me the dates, and I’m very excited. My summer is pretty much going to be a revolving door of people visiting. It will be exhausting, I predict, but very very worth it.
  • Talked to my mom last night about my taxes and I’m getting money back from all three states (California, since it’s technically my permanent state of residence; Illinois, since I worked there over the summer for a wage; and New York, obvs.) and the federal government. It’ll be just enough to cover my outstanding credit card balance if I pay off the whole thing; I think I might pay off most of it and then get my iPod fixed. I decided a long time ago not to replace the headphone jack myself because I just don’t trust myself to open up my iPod and fiddle around with it myself. I’m handy, but not that handy.

So I think that’s it. If I don’t get a chance to blog tomorrow, happy weekend everybody!

*Pronounced as the Brits do. I’ve been watching far too much Shameless. My internal monologue has a Manchester accent at the moment. It is very disorienting.

**I was sad to see Aimee go, but, to be honest, every season we get a naive, vaguely religious girl on the show who’s uncomfortable being naked and similar and I just have about zero patience for it now. It’s like, do you even watch the show? Don’t you know that those type of girls ALWAYS go home? The job involves compromises; get over it. Also, I really like Lauren and Whitney, and conversely dislike Dominique, but I thought all that mean-girls stuff they were doing in last night’s episode, like talking shit about her while she’s trying to sleep IN THE SAME ROOM, is just being incendiary for no reason. Like, I get that they’re young and bored and they really don’t like her, but come on. It’s just not necessary, and Claire? You have a daughter and THIS is what you want her to take away from your ANTM experience? That you’re a bitch? Grow up.

ETA: Apparently, not all Brits say “shedule”. Thanks Trudi! Any writers out there should check out Trudi’s post on overcoming writer’s block, as well as her other craft-related posts. Spoiler: she compares writer’s block to erectile dysfunction. Very apt, I’d say.

Items of import

  • Item A: Last night, something sort of weird happened. After a couple episodes of Shameless, Series 2*, I went to bed because, frankly, I was tired (did get a few pages of AUT revised, though). I woke up to the doorbell ringing in what I thought was the morning, but clearly wasn’t because it was pitch dark outside (or as dark as it gets when your view overlooks a McDonald’s…it’s a swank little New York bistro, perhaps you’ve heard of it?). I glanced at my cell phone–1:02 AM. I had just fallen asleep at about 12:30 AM. WTF is with the doorbell at that hour? Possibilities ran through my head: either it’s an emergency, a mistake, or somebody is testing to see if we’re home because they’re planning to rob us. To reiterate: doorbell. Not buzzer; people do that all the time, buzz every apartment in order to get access to a building, but this was the doorbell. On our DOOR. Which meant that someone unknown to us had to stand outside our door to ring it. Which is, in and of itself, pretty creepy at that time of night, but also not good because our lock? She is flimsy. I know, I know, we should have a deadbolt. I want to see if I can get my management office to pay for it, because safety in New York is expensive. Consequently, I stayed up half the night afraid that whoever rang the doorbell would come back and murder/rob us. We put this ladder that we nicked from the building basement a while back in order to replace a light bulb in front of the door so that at least we’d hear it crash when the murderer/robber came in, but of course nothing happened. But I am very tired today.
  • Item B: My roommate and I finally got a couch–after nearly five months of living in our apartment! Now all we need is cable television, but one step at a time.
  • Item C: Revisions on AUT have slowed now that it’s no longer the weekend, and because the section I’m revising now needs some voice alteration to differentiate it better from the voice of Protag #1’s PoV sections (Protag #1 is an eighteen-year-old male and Protag #2 is an eighteen-year-old female). My agent said she didn’t really have a problem with this, but some of her other readers (interns, I’d imagine) did, and since just a few short months ago I was one of those interns, writing those reader reports, I respect that. But it’s much hard to fix that than, say, a clunky sentence on page 211 (or whatever). I’m sure I’ll finish next weekend, which gives me plenty of time to let it all sit and percolate before going over it once more and sending it off to Joanna to read on her way to the London Book Fair.

S’up with you?

*Did you know that you can actually CHANGE the Region settings on your DVD player if you have a Mac (iBook G4)? Except that you can only do it five times total, so when I put my Shameless, Series 2, first disc in just to test and see what Iphigenia Doubtfire would do (I expected her to spin it then spit it out, but no! She’s full of surprises), it prompted me to change the region (I tried to change it to Region 0, which would nullify this whole problem in the future, but it would only let me change it to Region 2). I figure I’ll watch the series on my Mac, then change it back to Region 1 and from then on only watch the DVDs on my region-free DVD player in the living room.