Monday, July 28, 2008

San Francisco Here I Come!

I'm off to San Francisco tomorrow for RWA's National Conference. I don't know if I will be able to blog while I am out there, or if I will be sober enough, but I will certainly give it a shot while I'm away. Looking forward to seeing lots of old friends and making new ones. I might even come back with a shiny new tattoo and definitely plenty of books. I also plan on doing some sight-seeing (the Frida Kahlo exhibit at San Francisco's Modern Art Museum, Fisherman's Wharf, Nob Hill, etc.) in between learning lots about writing at the workshops (really, I plan on going to a few!). I'm not staying at the conference hotel, but the hotel I'm staying at is conveniently in the next block. In fact, I think they are back to back. I'm staying at the Hotel Milano which is 55 5th Street and the Marriott is 55 4th Street. How weird is that?

I'm leaving you all with this lovely shot of the wonderfully talented Alan Rickman, whose next film Bottleshock will be out the first week in August.

Not much else to report, had a lovely time on Friday with friends, and then Saturday and Sunday, I packed for the conference. I'm almost done apart from a few toiletries. Braved the rain yesterday to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and then settled in to watch the first episode of Season 2 of Mad Men which looks like its going to be a good season.

Also saw a preview Saturday night for a new series on BBC America called Primeval, which looks sort of like Jurassic Park, but with less money. It could be interesting. Next week is also the season finale of the godawful Robin Hood and I already know what happens and I'm pretty pissed off about it. Not even Richard Armitage could make me like this show!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Return of Real Estate Porn

So I was perusing the 'On the Market' in the Real Estate section of the New York Times when I found a link to a real estate firm called Aguyao & Huebner in Brooklyn. One of the houses that they are selling looks like something out of Dynasty, except it is in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. For those of you who don't know Brooklyn (or New York), Bay Ridge is way the hell out there near the Verrazano Bridge.

Here's the description from the site:

"MONTE CARLO ANYONE? It's easy to imagine you are on the French Rivera when you enter this property. This 9,000-plus square foot Center Hall Colonial estate offers a host of luxurious amenities you would not expect to find this side of the Mediterranean. A grand 70 foot long terrace with stunning views of the Narrows and New York Bay overwhelms you before you even enter the front door. Inside you are greeted by a grand center hall and circular stair. Off to the right is the most impressive living room with a mantle and fireplace. The grand dining room, the gourmet kitchen overlooking the mammoth heated pool, four large bedrooms, five baths of marble, the four car heated garage, the master suite with bath and two walk-in closets, and the exquisite finishes throughout are all statements of luxury and a lifestyle usually not found within walking distance of a New York City transportation. Offered by Aguayo & Huebener for $5,500,000. Call today to see what only upon seeing can you really believe."

Seriously, a $5.5MM house in the Bay Ridge? I can understand Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope even, but this is incredible. And the house is amazing, with a swimming pool and a huge terrace that overlooks the water. Not to offend anyone, but I'm thinking someone in the Mafia owned this thing. Or someone who made a lot of money who didn't have money before. It's a little over the top.

Friday, July 25, 2008

MI-5: Rest in Peace

How much do I hate BBC America? A lot right now. Apparently, they've decided not to show the rest of season 4 of MI-5. Why, because of ratings. Hello? Do you know how many people actually have BBC America? Not that many. And some of us actually want to watch shows other than Top Gear, or How Clean is My House? This channel is looking a lot like every other channel, with more reality series than fiction. Wasn't the whole point of the channel to bring America the best of British TV? So seriously, you're telling me that Cash in the Attic is the best of British TV? Or Not Going Out?

Why not give us Holby City? Or some of the other crime dramas that they show in the UK? Heck, the BBC has something like 4 channels now, plus they also were showing stuff made by other channels on BBC America like Footballers Wives (god that show was a hoot!). Why not show us Mistresses? Or more Bad Girls? The BBC did a whole series of shows about the 18th Century through the Edwardian Era? Why not show some of that, particularly the Marie Lloyd movie since Richard Armitage is in it, and they must have realized that RA has a sizeable American audience because of North & South and Robin Hood.

Now that Richard Armitage is joining Series 7, perhaps BBC America will rethink their decision about showing the rest of Season 4 and then Season 5. I know I plan on doing a great deal of complaining about it. Think about it, they just have Richard Armitage night, where they show MI-5, Robin Hood and then something else he's been in.

Thank god for DVDs! One of the best things about watching MI-5 on DVD is that you are getting the whole episode as it was shown on the BBC. On both BBC America and A&E, they cut 15 minutes out of each episode to shoehorn in the commercials. Each episode runs almost a full 60 minutes. The extras sort of suck on the DVD's, I'm not quite sure the Brits really know what they are doing when it comes to that kind of stuff.

So now I'm waiting for series 6 to come out on DVD in October in the UK (and presumably soon after here in the US). I am willing to admit that not all the episodes are gems. Season 4 was up and down but Season 5 turned out to be really good apart from losing one of my favorite characters, Ruth Evershed, played by Nicola Walker (that's her up on the left). Ruth wasn't out in the field like Adam Carter or the rest of the team. She mainly did the research in the office, and she was surprisingly good at it. What I loved was her enthusiasm for the job, even as it kept her from having a normal life. In fact, I got the feeling that she used it as an excuse not to have a normal life.

There was a rather poignant episode, where Ruth was listening to the voice of someone they were surveilling and she managed to contrive a meeting with him. Later on they met up at some group that got together to sing choral music. They had a great evening talking but nothing came of it. It was just so sad and reminded me a little too much of my social life. Ruth was attractive, but lacked confidence outside of work. I'm sure a great number of us can identify with that.

Anywhoo, Ruth and Harry Pearce (played by the wonderful not related to Colin, Peter Firth) were attracted to each other, although initially it seemed one sided. But they just never did anything about it, apart from one date that was ruined when another staff member teased Ruth about it. She couldn't take the idea of people talking about her private life in the office, so she told Harry it was not on. Ugh! (Now that is a legitimate conflict though), I wanted to throw things at the TV set.

Finally, when it was too late of course, Harry wanted to admit his feelings to her, but she stopped him, although they did share some lovely kisses.

Sigh! The reason I love this show (besides the moral ambiguity which I blogged about before) is that the stories seemed real, like they could actually happen. Unlike Alias. Seriously, did any Alias viewer out there ever understand the plot lines from one episode to the next? And don't get me started on the whole Rambaldi story line that dragged on from one season to the next and made no sense.

So while I'm waiting for Series 6, I can console myself with the MI-5 Book I ordered from

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Coney Island Pix

I wrote about my trip to Coney Island two weeks ago with members of my local chapter RWA NYC but here are two pics from our trip.

Boardwalk Babes from left to right, Blaze Author Hope Tarr, Lis Eng, Carolyn Gibbs, Karen Cino and moi

Me, making my feelings known to all of those who think that Coney Island is lame!

The pix were taken by the lovely Leanna Renee Hieber, who has a new novella out called Passion at an Exhibition, out now from Wild Rose Press. Quick run out and download a copy today!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Book Review - Erotomania: A Romance

I was going to title this review "Not Your Mother's Romance" but I decided to refrain.

The great Liz Maverick with her Maverick Reading Smackdown
got me thinking about the fact that the last book that I read by a man that wasn't non fiction was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Why haven't I read more fiction by men? Somehow without realizing it, but my fiction reading has become limited to women. I read women's fiction, mysteries and thrillers written by women, romance written by women. Well, I decided that needed to change so I ordered a copy of Erotomania: A Romance by Francis Levy.

Now I should mention that I know Francis slightly. He's the co-director of The Philoctetes Center, where I seem to spend a great deal of my free time. So in a way, I was kind of reluctant to read the book. What if I didn't like it? This is the dilemma that comes up a lot when I'm reading fiction by friends and acquaintances. You end up doing that old actor's trick of giving generic compliments like "You were so brave!" or "I could never do what you just did." Or pretending that you are just speechless from their performance in the good way.

I'm happy to say that I didn't have that problem with Erotomania: A Romance. At first I was trepidatious. I mean come on, there are chimps screwing on the cover! What had I gotten myself into? Yes, they are cute Bonobo chimps, who are apparently one of the few species to have sex face to face besides humans, but still they are chimps screwing! What would the women over at Smart Bitches think? Hmm! And while I've read erotica and erotic romance by the likes of Susie Bright, Rachel Kramer Bussell, Emma Holly, Susan Johnson and a host of others, I've never really gotten into Henry Miller (I skimmed the Tropic of Cancer in high school before moving over to Anais Nin). I'm also a little wary of books where the couples screw for pages and pages, and then all of a sudden we're supposed to believe they are in love (As you can tell I've read way too many Harlequin Blazes that end up that way).

The plot in a nutsell: James Moran has been having anonymous sex with a woman, sex so intense that it produces temporary amnesia afterwards. The sex is so intense that he can't think of anything but when the next encounter will be. However, increasingly, James wants to have a real relationship with this woman, whose name he learns is Monica. Erotomania: A Romance is his journey towards realizing that dream. And it is a romance, make no mistake. Once they get past the sex, they manage to forge a modern relationship that anyone can recognize and sympathize with. Everything from arguing over their favorite TV shows, to where to have dinner.

Levy adds a modern twist to this tale. The sex between the two of them is so explosive that they have to move into a concrete bunker in order to avoid disturbing their neighbors, leading one to wonder if it is possible for two people to be labeled a lethal weapon! James meets Bill, a homeless gourmet chef after being beaten up, in a Greyhound bus station. He takes him home, and gives him shelter. In return, Bill cooks for him. For awhile they live in a strange menage a trois of food and reality television. There are also sessions with General Shapiro, a rather odd relationship counselor, as James and Monica try to navigate the new territory of their relationship in a way that they both can live with.

What about the sex I can hear you ask. Well there is a great deal of it, particularly in the beginning of the book, and it is incredibly raw and animalistic, which is actually where the relationship is between the two main characters. We're not talking ten page sex scenes here but it is rather graphic and some people might be put off by some of the stuff that these two get up too. This is not making love in any sense of the word. All the words are used (and you know what words I'm talking about).

Levy lightens the mood with not just a great deal of humor (I laughed out loud several times while reading the book on the subway which is rare for me) and thoughtfulness. Yes he throws in references to everything from Survivor to Jackson Pollack to Freud but it never comes across as pretentious or too 'lit fic' for the average reader who wouldn't know Rabelais from Raffi. The book isn't perfect. I found it hard to understand how Monica and James hooked up when he didn't know either her name or her phone number, nor could he remember her address. And at times the characters came across as a little self-absorbed.

The book is incredibly poignant as James talks about his love for Monica which has taken him completely by surprise. I enjoyed this book and I was sorry to leave Monica and James in the end but I closed the book feeling as if I had left two people with a happy ending. I look forward to seeing what Levy comes up with for his next book. If you are looking for something completely different, a look at modern relationships from a male point of view, and a well-written character study, then pick up Erotomania: A Romance.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How to Get Internet Famous

For the past 2 years, for some reason, Wired magazine has been sending me issues, despite the fact that I keep sending them because I have absolutely no interest. I'm no techie, I don't have a laptop, and I only bought a cellphone 2 years ago.

However, they finally had an article that I found interesting. The current issue features an article on Julia Allison. If you don't know who she is, well you will after reading this article.

It's all about how Allison has used the Internet to become a cult figure, to the point that she now has a deal with Bravo to do a reality TV series. How did she do it. Well, among other things she started doing a dating column in one of the free newspapers and then began bombarding Gawker, trying to get them to link to her stuff. Finally they did a scathing profile of her, which led to other high profile gigs including at the moment writing a dating column for Time Out magazine here in New York and working as an editor at large for Star Magazine. Oh, and blogging. She currently has a blog and a web-site and she sends out updates on Twitter about her day. She also staged a publicity stunt in Times Square, where she and her friends dressed up like extras from a Jane Fonda work-out video.

This got me thinking of ways that I could promote Scandalous Women. So far, I've come up with doing a video of me at Green-Wood cemetary at Lola Montez's grave, nothing like promoting yourself using the grave of the dead. Or better yet trying to recreate her famous Spider Dance. Certainly beats a book trailer!

Seriously though, it seems like everyone and their mother is gunning for their 15 minutes of fame. Where will it all end? Is it possible sell books and not be a media celebrity?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Now I've Seen Everything!

A guy I work with just send me this link for an autogenerated break-up email that you can send to your soon to be significant other no more.

This is so wrong, but I wish I had had this link last year!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Things that Give Me Pleasure

Since I had such a crappy day on Friday, it started me thinking about the things that made me happy, gave me pleasure. Positive things that I could focus on instead of how much I wanted to murder my boss! So here are a few things that I love.

1) An all day marathon of Law & Order: SVU

2) Discovering hidden pockets of New York that haven't been knocked down for concrete condos.

3) A glass of champagne with friends

4) Lobster with drawn butter

5) My friends, including Liz Maverick, Leanna Hieber, Megan Frampton, Kwana Jackson, Marley Gibson.

6) My RWA chapter for their friendship and support over the years.

7) Anything with Clive Owen, James Purefoy, Daniel Craig, Richard Armitage, and Taye Diggs in it.

8) Joss Whedon for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dr. Horrible

9) Watching MI-5 on DVD

10) Spending time in London

11) Finding new Scandalous Women to write about.

12) My ballroom dancing classes

13) Great blogs like Risky Regencies, History Hoydens, Edwardian Promenade, and Dear Author.

14) Any book by Loretta Chase, J.D. Robb, Susan Elizabeth Philips and Meg Cabot

15) Watching old movies on TCM and AMC

16) Mad Men getting many Emmy nominations

17) Finding a great pair of shoes

18) The new dress that I bought on sale at Ann Taylor that was marked down from $138 to $40

19) Looking into cutie pie authors artic blue eyes

20) Chocolate!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Royalty Round-up: Dancing in the Dark

Yowza! One of the Queen's grandchildren, Zara Phillips has apparently signed up for the next edition of Strictly Come Dancing which is the UK version of Dancing with the Stars. I'm totally going to watch this on YouTube.
It's interesting that she's doing this. There were expectations that Zara would be competing in the Olympics this year in Beijing but unfortunately her mount was injured and she didn't have time to work with another horse. Her mother Princess Anne competed for Britain in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, and there was hope that Zara might actually have a good shot a medal. So I guess, since she has a little downtime, she's decided to take up ballroom dancing!
Since athletes seem to do well on this show, even in the UK, there might be a good chance (if she has rhythm) that she might win this thing, adding to the medals that she's won as an equestrienne. Still, I'm surprised that Buckingham Palace hasn't put their foot down about this.
You can read the full story in the Daily Mirror here.
There has been speculation since the show started in the States, that Sarah, Duchess of York might participate since she loves to tango. How cool would that be? Not that I need any incentive to watch this show, but I would be glued to the TV if Fergie were to compete. That would be even more fun that watching Joan Rivers on Celebrity Apprentice.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Movie Review: American Teen

Last night I went to a screening of a new documentary called American Teen at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

American Teen is set in the small town of Warsaw, Indiana, which seems to be in the northern part of the state since at one point Jake Tusing, a senior at Warsaw, drives to Chicago to pick up his prom date. Nanette Burstein, the director, said in a Q&A afterward that she chose Warsaw for two reasons, the town was economically mixed and there was only one high school.

The four main characters in the film are Jake Tusing, a self-described nerd, loner and band geek whose goals for his senior year, include having a girlfriend, Hannah Bailey, who feels out of place in her small town. She has ambitions to not only get out of Indiana but to also become a filmmaker. Megan Krizmanich, is the self-described Queen Bee of Warsaw. On the student council, top student, popular, pretty and a huge bitch. Everyone in her family has gone to Notre Dame, and now it is her turn. Will she get in? Notre Dame is such a popular school and so hard to get into that they can only take so many legacies a year.

Colin Clemmons is the high school basketball star, who is desperate to win an athletic scholarship to college. Otherwise his only other choice is to join the military (or go to community college), neither of which he wants to do. Colin's family is sort of the middle class poor. His father makes enough money so that they are comfortable but not enough so that he can pay $25,000 a year for college. And he makes too much probably for Colin to qualify for financial aid.

Those are the four main characters in American Teen. There are other teens featured, friends of the teens, their families, but it is pretty much their story. Nanette Burstein followed them for their entire senior year, over ten months, while making the film. What was interesting about this film was although times change, the more things stay the same. I think anyone watching this film, no matter how old they are, will be able to relate to one of these teens. And they are much more then their stereotype. Colin, although he's a jock and popular, doesn't seem to have a steady girlfriend. He's so focused on his team winning the championship and being seen by college recruiters. Megan turns out to have a family tragedy in her background which explains some of her behavior in the film. It makes me wonder whether or not she had had any counseling at all, or if her family is just one of those that doesn't believe in it. She acts out in ugly ways in this film.

She does something to a friend that is unforgiveable, at least in my eyes, and I particularly felt for the girl because I went through something similar when I was a teenager. Megan also never seems to feel any remorse for any of her actions over the course of the film which I found hard to take. However, the director states that Megan has learned from her behavior and that she has grown considerably since the film was made. My favorite, of course, was Hannah, who feels totally out of place in her small town. Hannah lives with her grandmother because her mother is bi-polar and her father left Indiana to find work in Ohio. She's into emo and film and her boyfriend at the beginning of the film. Something happens to her at the beginning that totally throws her and she ends up worrying that she is like her mother.

Seeing this film made me realize that I need to dig deeper into my contemporary YA's. Still have the comedy elements, but make my characters less stereotypical. I'm looking to revisiting both of my earlier YA manucripts (after I finish the current one) to see how I can improve on the characters and make them grow. Particularly my first one, based on A Midsummer Night's Dream.

I would give this film an A. It's definitely worth checking out, particularly if you are interested in writing YA.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sing Hallelujah, Come on Get Happy!

I'm having one of those days today. You know, the "everything irritates me, and I'm about 5 minutes away from screaming" days.

First of all, Bravo screwed with me last night by putting on Project Runway at 9:00 pm instead of at 10:00 pm, because they were showing Shear Genius instead. Thank god they repeated it at 11 and I could DVR but I haven't watched it yet and I'm trying to avoid reading about who got the first "Auf" from Heidi.

Then today, we are moving from one part of our floor to the other, and there is much bitching, moaning and complaining, and that's just from me. I hate moving, which is why I have lived in the same apartment for the past twenty years (for the most part, there were 6 years when most of my stuff was at ex-sweetie pies. Lots of moaning when he moved to LA and we had to move all my stuff back to my place. Seriously, I had furniture that needed to be moved.)

So since I'm having an off day, I decided to put up this picture of Clive, because looking at Clive can make any day better. Plus, I have the 5th series of MI-5 reserved at the library and that makes me happy as well. And the glass of wine I'm planning on having later this evening after work, that makes me happy. And Mad Men getting Emmy nominations. The tuna empanada I just ate for lunch made me happy as well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Project Runway Blues

Tonight starts a brand new season of Project Runway. So why am I not more excited? Is it reality TV burnout? I just got finished watching The Bachelorette last week and before that Top Chef finishd out their season. I have no idea but I just can't seem to get into the happy peppy mood I'm normally in when it comes to the show.

Maybe it is the fact that this is the last season of the show on Bravo or the fact that they are moving the show to LA next season. I think it may have to do with the fact that the last season ended in December and here we are again. I really wish that they would space out the seasons a bit better but I have a feeling that it has to do with fashion week. Since the top finalists do a runway show in Bryant Park, the season has to be built around either Fall fashion week, with designers showing off their spring line or for Spring Fashion week in February.

Tim Gunn spoke about this season's crop of contestants over at and it looks like a good crop of contestants. also has what some of the previous contestants are up to as well. My brain has been so involved in MI-5 recently that maybe I need to watch something lighter.

I'll let you know tomorrow what I think.

And They Are At It Again

Okay, just when I thought I had seen it all with the crazy celebrity baby names, I see this on Daytime Confidential:

"Cigars are in order for General Hospital star, Ingo Rademacher (Jax). He and his fiancé Ehiku are the proud parents of a boy. The bouncing baby boy named Peanut Kai Rademacher was born July 11 and comes in at 7 lbs, 6 oz. and was 20 1/2 inches long."

Freaking Peanut? Are you kidding me? This kid is in for some serious therapy. I mean come on, I know Ingo isn't exactly an awesome name, but it sure beats Peanut. If it had been a girl, would they have named her Macademia? Ooh, or maybe Kona after the coffee.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Baby Names Gone Wild

Lots of celebrity babies being born lately. Last week both Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey's girlfriend, Camilla Alves gave birth. Nicole Kidman had a daughter named Sunday Rose, continuing the celebrity trend of giving children strange names, apparently Sunday is the name of an Australian artist that no one has ever heard of. Sunday Rose is really pretty, and I suggest that little Sunday use her whole name, otherwise, she'll be Sunday Urban which sounds like a section of the newspaper.

While McConaughey and his girlfriend named their baby Levi, which is Hebrew for 'combined.' Levi was the name of one of the sons of Jacob. His descendants, the Levites, were the priests of Israel. Of course, they could just have named the baby after their favorite jeans. At least he didn't name the baby after a brand of beer like his brother Rooster, who named one of his kids, Miller Lyte (I'm not kidding). I'm hoping that Rooster isn't his real name, cause that would be weird. I mean why would you name one child Matthew and another after a male chicken? I suppose Rooster's kids should be happy that daddy doesn't like imported beer because otherwise they might be named Heineken, Amstel, Corona or Guinness. Seriously why not just name your child Fritos and Pringles and get it over with?

At least its better than Nic Cage who gave his son, Superman's real name Kar-El, or Jason Lee who named his child Pilot Inspektor. Now, Brad Pitt and Angelina have named their new son Knox Leon, after Fort Knox? The jello? What? Vivienne Marcheline is very pretty and feminine and very French. At least they didn't name the baby Napoleon!

Here's another source for bad baby names:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fun in the Sun

God, I can't believe that it is Monday morning once again. Where did the weekend go? One minute I was hanging out at Pershing Square with my friends Liz Maverick, Stacey Agdern, Leanna Hieber along with Barbara Vey who blogs for Publishers Weekly (and who kindly mentioned my blog Scandalous Women in her column) and Sheila Clover English (whose company creates some of those delightful book trailers that authors have now), and before I knew it, it was Monday again.

In between, I hit Coney Island for my chapter's annual July outing. The lovely Hope Tarr, who has the first Harlequin Blaze historical out this month, joined us. We rode the Cyclone which is one of the few wooden rollercoasters in the country. Needless to say it scared the crap out of me but I went on it anyway. It was jarring and fun and next time I'll remember my neck brace before I ride it again.

We hit Nathan's first for some greasy fries, hotdogs, and seafood and then headed for the beach. That's one of the great things about living in New York, you have a beach within 30 minutes of Manhattan. It was crowded and the water was freezing which was a good combination since it was hotter than hell on Saturday. Leanna actually went swimming and Hope and I just waded in to cool off until the waves kept getting higher and higher and we were in danger of getting soaking wet.

Afterwards, we hit the tiki bar because god forbid we should get on the train back to Manhattan sober. Leanna and Hope paid $15.00 for those long tubes of pina coladas which seemed to be a slushie with a little alcohol thrown in for good measure. The good news? They got a free refill so it actually came out to about $7.50 a piece. And these things were so big, it was about 2 drinks in each tube, so it was probably a good thing the alcohol was minimal, because I don't think I could have carried them both to the train. I would have to have gotten them there one at a time, and propped them up against a column. I stuck to sangria which tasted like grape juice with a kick.

I was knackered by the time I got home so I just vegged and watched 4 episodes of MI-5 and started reading Kalen Hughes Lord Scoundrel. Yesterday, I went out to the Bastille Day celebration on 60th Street, where I indulged in more fried food (pommes frites and mayonnaise), and hard cider from Alsace because once again sober/subway why? Watched Law & Order: SVU marathon.

Oh and I did do some work on my book. I blocked out the first scene for chapter 18, and then worked out what is going to happen in the rest of the chapter. Yeah!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Thank God Its Freakin Friday!

It's Friday and I'm completely hung over. This is what I get for drinking and not eating any dinner. I went to The Philoctetes Center last night for a roundtable with a new group called Re:Mind. It was pretty much a re-tread of a round-table that I had gone to earlier in June or late May but with a younger slant.

Some of the panelists included two directors Dana O'Keefe, and Sasha Gordon, an author Nathaniel Rich, and Daniel Casarella, who is the owner and designer of the Barking Irons brand. I was being social and talking to Dana O'Keefe about his new film that he's working on about Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, and I wanted to talk to Daniel about New York history which I adore, being a native New Yorker and all. I was so busy yakking that I didn't eat anything except for a piece of broccoli and a slice of pineapple.

Of course, I spilled red wine on my brand new Ann Taylor Loft sweater which pissed me off because a) because I normally don't drink red wine and b) I should have been more careful. I ended up sort of storming out.

And I'm way behind on my novel. Partly because I underestimated the amount of research involved. I realized that while I know a lot of general history, my knowledge of the ordinary every day lives of people is limited. So lots of research has been going on and not as much writing. I'm trying to correct that though. Doing the reading I need to do at night and working on the novel during the day as much as possible. I found some more books on Google that I need to read. Still I need to go back to Philadelphia to do some research. I spent last Saturday there visiting the African-American museum, which I have to say was a disappointment. I had expected it to focus on the lives of African-Americans in Philadelphia specifically and Pennsylvania in general, but the only exhibit was on Afro-Mexicans which was interesting but not what I was there for. And the gift shop was truly disappointing. Did learn a lot about the Queen of Sheba however.

Tonight, however, I'm meeting friends for drinks (I'll make sure to eat first) and then tomorrow it is off to Coney Island with my local RWA chapter. Eating greasy seafood from Nathan's, and riding the Cyclone.

I'm posting this lovely picture of RA to inspire both me and everyone.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fashion Risk of the Day

I think these are totally awesome shoes, and I really like the orange ones, but I was afraid to buy them because what would I wear them with? But now I know. I just bought a dress from Banana Republic in a khaki color that would look great with these shoes.

Plus they are only $29.99! How can I resist now?

When Did I Turn Into A School Marm?

I was walking down the street yesterday behind this guy and either his girlfriend or a work colleague and I heard him talking about actor Christopher Guest. He was saying that Christopher Guest used to be in the House of Commons because he had family rights until they kicked him out.

What? Immediately I went into school marm mode, and it was on the tip of my tongue to correct him (it was the House of Lords and it was the House of Lords Act of 1999 that 'kicked him out'). However I didn't because a) it was none of my business and b) who wants some strange person correcting your assumptions on the street. Not that it hasn't stopped me before from interjecting into other people's conversations when I hear them searching for the correct name or the history of something.

Why do I do this? Is it too show off how much I know? Too be helpful? I don't know. I found myself doing it later at The Philoctetes Center when I overheard cutie-pie author discussing the Rosenbergs. I had just had to interject to explain who exactly Ruth Greenglass was. Great! It's bad enough that I chatter like a magpie whenever I'm with him, now I've added school marm to the mix.

This is why I'm still single.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Where are the Swedish Billionaires?

I was just looking through the July titles for Harlequin Presents, and I realized something. Where are all the Scandinavians?

Seriously, we have the Italian's Secret Baby, The Sheikh's Blackmailed Mistress, The Sicilian's Ruthless Revenge, The Greek Tycoon's Convenient Wife, Under the Italian's Command, and the Australian Millionaire's Love-Child. Not a Swede, a Dane, a Norwegian, among them. Is Harlequin prejudiced against the Scandinavians? Or do readers just not think men named Thor or Sven are sexy?

Why not have the Swedish Billionaire's Convenient Mistress? After all Sweden is full of good-looking people. I think you have to leave the country, if you are Swedish and you are not good-looking. Sweden has a monarchy (as does Denmark and Norway), they fjords, and lakes and the sun shines until like midnight during the summer.

Why not have a story about a billionaire who owns the meatball franchise at Ikea? Or cornered the market in pickled herring. After all Sweden has given us Absolut, Ikea, ABBA, Ace of Base, Ingmar Bergman and Ingrid Bergman and lots of other stuff.

And there are also known Russians in Harlequin Presents either. Now that communism is dead, and they've all embraced capitalism (and the mafia) why not a book about Boris or Misha, the handsome billionaire who made his money importing frozen orange juice (seriously a guy made millions doing this), he can take the heroine to his dacha or to the ballet, showing off the beauty that is St. Petersberg. Aren't Russians romantic and sexy either? Who remembers Artur Dimitriev, the figure skater, with his shirts open to the waist, or the love story of Sergei and Katya Grinkov?

Why must every book be about Greeks, Italians, Sheiks, South American billionaires or Brits?

Come on, let's give some love to some other nationalities!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I Totally Didn't See That Coming!

Okay, up until last night, I totally thought that she was going to choose Jason. You know the nice, safe, dependable guy who has an adventurous side? The one with the adorable child? And the steady job? Who knew that DeAnna would follow her heart and go with the guy who wore pink shoe laces, lives in "Breck" and kind of wants to be a sports agent or something when he grows up?

But yet....they seem incredibly happy. And funnily enough, I'm happy for them. DeAnna went outside her comfort zone in what she thought she wanted and followed her heart which led her to Jesse, the dude who wanted to be friends first, but who the entire time told her things like "I'm totally into you." He even conceded during the "After the Final Rose" special that it was kind of a strategy that he waited until his hometown date to kiss her. By that time, girlfriend was dying for it.

Jesse is the kind of guy who kind of sneaks up on you. He's the guy that most women would dismiss as a future spouse because he seems like the comic reading, child-man, that most women at a certain point overlook because they are looking, like DeAnna, for the guy who looks good on paper. The Jeremy's and the Jason's of the world. Poor Jason though. The poor guy just looked devastated, even 3 months later. Although, his ex-wife must have pissed off to hear him say that he had never felt this way before, not even for her! Hmm, maybe that's why she left him for another man?

I think Jason would make a much better Bachelor than Jeremy but I doubt that he would want to put himself or his son through this again. Unless of course, they film the show in his hometown. That would be great, send 25 women to rainy Seattle and see how they cope! The hair issue alone would freak out some women. But seriously since he's a single dad, let the women come into his environment. Although subject poor Ty to 25 women cooing over him might be sensory overload and wharp the poor child for life.

I have a good feeling about DeAnna and Jesse. The fact that they have actually set a wedding date says that they are serious, plus they now have a trip to Greece for their honeymoon!

Question: Do we think Brad gets a residual for everytime they say his name on air? I must have counted at leasat 25 mentions of Brad Womack last night. Can we put the guy to rest now?

Question: Do we think that Jeremy was waiting around in the Bahamas for DeAnna to come back? I mean, why couldn't she have had this conversation with him that night after the Rose ceremony, when she let him go? And seriously after that conversation, why did he need more closure at the Men Tell All special? His conference call after the show was pretty interesting. You can read here.

Didn't you love how DeAnna's father practically ordered both men to bring her home to visit often if they move away? What do you want to be that Jesse's sport agenting will be in Atlanta? Or he gets a job with the Braves or the Falcons? I hope he likes his new short hair because he'll be wearing it that way for the rest of his life.

In the long run, Jesse comes to DeAnna unencumbered with baggage. No ex-wife, no child. He's never been married, so he'll let DeAnna have the big wedding of her dreams. He can move closer to her family because there is no custody arrangement to worry about. Plus he puts her first whereas Jason will always have to put Ty's needs first. Jeremy was right about that one.

So let's break some plates for Jesse and DeAnna!
PS - Both Matt and Jesse gave their significant others cute nicknames during the show which should have been a clue.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A-Rod = A-Hole

So Cynthia Rodriguez has filed for divorce from A-Rod citing his infidelities, but the tabloids are having a field day blaming Madonna for the break-up of their marriage. Umm, why is Madonna being blamed for this? The fact that A-Rod has barely seen his new baby since she was born is not Madonna's fault, it's his. Seriously he should change his name from A-Rod to A-Hole.
And they are also blaming Kabbalah as well. I may not be an expert on Kabbalah but I have a funny suspicion that infidelity is not one of the tenets. And the idea that Madonna could have brainwashed him? If she has that kind of power shouldn't the US Government be trying to harness it for use in espionage?
Seriously is anyone surprised? Wasn't he in the news awhile ago for hanging out with strippers?
The truth is that Alex Rodriguez is a young guy who has had fame and fortune at an early age, and he's let it go to his head. The huge amount of money that the Yankees are paying him has only contributed to an arrogance that has just grown over the years.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I'm a Celebrity Magnet, Get Me Out of Here!

You know, living in New York, you kind of get used to seeing celebrities out and about. Particularly me, since I seem to some kind of celebrity magnet. Seriously, I've seen both Katie Holmes and Michelle Williams at different, in their Dawson Creek days, riding the New York City subways. I once saw Sean Penn and Jewel sitting on the ground outside the old Time Warner building. And I'm totally Six Degrees of Seperation from Kevin Bacon. And my favorite celebrity sighting of all was seeing Giorgio Armani and his entourage at the SoHo Bloomingdale's.

But now I'm seeing celebrities in twos and threes. A few weekends ago, I saw both Tom Cavanaugh (star of Ed) and Miguel Ferrer (from Crossing Jordan) on Broadway and 68th Street. And then two nights ago on Fifth Avenue, I saw Michael Kors, designer extraordinaire, and a friend walking down the street. I almost plotzed and he looked exactly the way he does on Project Runway, wearing the black t-shirt and pants. I thought of going up to him and telling him I love his clothes even though I can only afford the bridge line and just barely but I normally don't bother celebrities.

But before that I saw a real life peer of the realm, the Earl of Albemarle walking down the street talking on his cell phone. Why was this exciting to me? Well I had just written a post on a distant relative of his, Violet Keppel Trefusis on my Scandalous Women blog. Rufus Keppel is also a distant cousin of the Duchess of Cornwall, the former Camilla Parker-Bowles. See Camilla's great grandmother Alice Keppel was married to the brother of the 8th Earl of Albemarle, George Keppel. The current 9th Earl, Rufus Keppel is the great grandson of the 8th Earl. So Camilla and Rufus are distant cousins of some sort (I always get confused once you get past first cousins).

Good looking guy huh? The woman with him is his equally beautiful wife, Sally Tadayon, a sculptor. They were married in Havana because apparently at some point one of Rufus's ancestors, the third Earl was the commander-in-chief of the invasion and occupation of Havana and west Cuba in 1762, which is interesting because I had no idea the Brits had ever been involved with Cuba.

The Earl owes his title to his ancestor, Arnold Joost van Keppel, a favorite of William III. This might explain why so many of the Earls have Arnold as a middle name. The current Earl owns a high end company that apparently makes shirts and suits called Albemarle of London. As I said I'm guessing because the only thing on the web-site is a picture of the Earl looking quite dapper. You can read more about the couple here.

It was kind of shocking to actually see someone from the society pages walking down the street in New York and certainly an Earl!

I love New York.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Scientology Loses Another One

This guy on the left make look familiar to you. His name is Jason Beghe and he's a working actor who has been in movies such as G.I. Jane, and several TV series. He also was a Scientologist until recently when he woke up and stopped drinking the Kool-Aid.

You can read the recent article in the Village Voice here about why he decided to leave and what he reveals about the 'religion.' My favorite part though was when he revealed that newcomers to the religion are told that they will eventually develop superpowers as they move up in the system. Wow, that certainly explains all those times that Tom Cruise was off rescuing people. What cracked me up though was not just that Jason Beghe bought into that, (he seems like a fairly intelligent guy) but that it took a car accident for him to wake up. Because apparently stuff like that is not supposed to happen to Scientologists what with their superpowers and all.

The other interesting bit is his fight to get the tapes and material from his sessions that the Church is holding on to. Apparently now that he is 'out' they treat him like he doesn't exist and they won't respond to his attempts to get this stuff from them. It makes me wonder if they use the information contained in the files to blackmail church members into staying in the church, by threatening to reveal whatever indiscretions they confess to in order to move up the heirarchy to OT levels.

Seriously after reading this article, I don't know anyone came away from it without believing that the entire church is a scam to make money off poor unsuspecting people who think they are getting help for their problems. And they consider pyschiatrists evil? It's nothing compared to the stuff that Scientologists do.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

How Wesleyan is taking over the World

Well the entertainment world anyway. It all started when I read an article in the back of Time Out NY and discovered that the creator of The Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda went to Wesleyan, next Carol Cooper from the Village Voice, who I met at the Philoctetes Center after the Harlan Ellison documentary, and then the article in the New York Times how Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men was also a Wesleyan graduate, so I had do some investigating. And I was surprised.

Not only did Michael Bay (the director who likes to blow things up), but also Eric Asimov, who writes a column on wine for the New York Times, Miguel Areta (who directed Chuck and Buck and The Good Girl, two awesome films), Robin Cook who writes all those medical thrillers I don't read, Academy Award winner Akiva Goldsman, Dana Delany (the best thing to happen to Desperate Housewives), Sebastien Junger (hot author of The Perfect Storm), Mr. Lemony Snicket himself, Daniel Handler, Bradley Whitford from The West Wing the list goes on and on (funny that cutie pie author wasn't on the list but I guess he hasn't gotten into world domination yet. Give him time!)

The most important graduate of Wesleyan, the man who makes me scream like a crazy fan girl (apart from cutie pie author, but that's another story)? None other than Joss Whedon. Yes, the genius behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly is a graduate of Wesleyan University. Oh my god, I am so awed by that. It kind of makes me wish that I had applied when I was thinking about colleges (we would have been contemporaries). Why didn't I apply to Wesleyan?

Oh yeah, because it is in the middle of nowhere Connecticut. See here's the thing, I grew up in a city and while I'm not opposed to the rural areas of our country, the thought of spending 4 years in the country gave me hives. My safety college was Bard and even though they gave me the most financial aid, and Blythe Danner and Chevy Chase went there, the idea of having to strap on snow shoes to get to class weirded me out. Plus I was worried that I would take the train every weekend to the city to get away, and that it was too close to our house upstate which potentially meant my mother might have dropped by. A lot.

Which is why I went to Syracuse, which is allegedly a city, and I use the term loosely. Not that Syracuse is a bad school, it does have distinguished alumna like Ted Koppel and Vanessa Williams (you can find a list of our distinguished alumnae here, a great study abroad program, a professional theater company attached to the drama department (they also gave me 6 credits apiece for my two AP tests which made me a sophomore after my first semester) but it was also buried until like 900 inches of snow a year. Seriously, it snowed in May my freshman year. Which is why I graduated in 3 years.

But still if I had been able to look into a crystal ball and known that the God Whedon was going to attend Wesleyan, well I would have applied. Not that it meant I would have gotten in but seriously I got into every single college I applied to except for Vassar (and I'm still bitter about that). Nothing like checking off the box 'other' on your college application to get you noticed (or I just checked all the boxes just to be contrary).

Sigh, so close to the genius of the past 20 years and yet so far!

Addendum: Wesleyan was voted most annoying liberal arts college by Gawker while Bard was noted as putting the liberal in liberal arts. Syracuse? Well they were voted one of the 50 top universities in the country. Go Orange Men!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Och, Man, It's the Jewish Tartan!

Thanks to Stacey Agdern for letting me know about the Official Jewish Tartan.

According to the web-site, Scots Jews have been waiting over 300 years for this tartan. Really? So all 5 of them have been waiting for this? Seriously, I'm sure that there are more than 5 Jews in Scotland (actually there are 6,400) but not by much considering there are only 100,000 in the United Kingdom. The dude at my left is Rabbi Mendel Jacobs who spear-headed this whole thing. He consulted the Scottish Tartans Authority and religious scholars to come up with this tartan.

The tartan is 100% Kosher, so Orthodox Jews can wear it. Its made from a non-wool-linen mix (which means none of the scratchiness you get with wool tartans. Much nicer if you are going commando underneath). The colors reflect the blue and white of the flag of Israel as well as the Scottish flag, the gold reflects the Ark of the Covenant, the silver represents the silver that adorns the Scroll of Law and the color red is the traditional red Kiddush wine.

One of my colleagues who is English but of Scottish descent was peeved that the Jews now have their own kilt because he doesn't believe they should just be creating them willy-nilly. He's a traditionalist that way. I, of course, had to point out that according to Wikipedia, they've been creating tartans for years, ever since the revival of the tartan in the 19th century. All the Canadian provinces have an official tartan, and there are several US states that have tartans including Hawaii (?) and North Carolina (which makes sense because so many Scots and Irish settled in North Carolina after being cleared off their lands by the British or deported).

So hooray for the Jewish tartan. One of my best friends who is Jewish is married to a Scot, and now her boys can wear the Jewish tartan, as an option along with their clan kilt.
And frankly it is very pretty no?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bloggin the Bachelorette

I knew it! DeAnna kicked Jeremy to the curb. And she said exactly what I was thinking, that just because they shared the experience of having a dead parent, that wasn't enough of a foundation to build a relationship on. I really wonder how many long term relationships Jeremy has had in his life, particularly if this is the first time that he's really let himself love someone. I would suggest that Jeremy see a therapist to deal with all the residual feelings that he has about his parents deaths. I don't think I have ever seen a guy so devastated at being let go. For a moment, when he stopped the limo, I thought he was going to go back and beg DeAnna to change her mind.

Just watching her on the fantasy dates, you could see who she had the most chemistry with. With Jason, they already seem like a couple, they have a similar outlook on life, he has a steady job, and he's dependable. Jesse is the wildcard, the guy that she never in her life has been attracted to. He's a daredevil, he has no plans really for his life after snowboarding. He gave her that whole big speech about as long as he's happy, everything will work out. Umm, and how exactly do you pay the rent with that? I did like that they talked about where they would live, since he seems to move around a lot according to the seasons. Interesting how last week, he wasn't ready to get married in 2 weeks and now he is, and DeAnna has changed her time table on the kid thing.

Then we moved on to the Men Tell All special. Can I just say that this was probably the first time in a long time that stuff actually happened on this episode? Mainly because of Ryan, the contentious Christian virgin. Seriously where did that chip on his shoulder come from? I wanted to ask him, "Do you talk to Jesus with that mouth?" Calling DeAnna, Obsessive-Compulsive DeAnna? Really dude, get over the fact that she didn't choose you. With your judgemental attitude (so Christian), you two would never have suited.

Can they find a way to use Chris Harrison more effectively? Because the dude is funny! Loved him asking DeAnna if perhaps she had been too hard on the guys because after all they are guys! And telling Graham that he should have just shut up and kissed DeAnna when she asked and made a statement later. And the outtakes when he was talking to her about Sean and his mullet.

Poor Jeremy though, I don't think I've ever seen a guy so disliked as he was. Seriously if even Twilley is calling you a d'bag you might want to work on your social skills. And when DeAnna told him that she had fallen in love with Jason and Jesse and not him? That he was so good on paper but she just couldn't fallen in love. Ouch! Honesty might not always be the best policy. And Graham? Ooh boy, the way he and DeAnna went another round. Loved Chris Harrison's comments about the whole love/hate dynamic between the two of them. Graham's flippant and defensive and DeAnna gets pissed off.

The reason why I like to watch this show is because it totally showcases the different ways that men and women communicate. Graham said that his actions spoke louder than his words, but clearly they didn't otherwise he would still have been around. He went on about how bringing her to meet his family was a big step and she countered by saying it was part of the show, and he couldn't actually refuse it, and then he brings up he could refuse a rose.

It just makes me wonder how well we communicate when we are attracted to someone. I thought my actions towards cutie-pie author and Superman indicated how I felt, but maybe if I had spoken up and actually said the words out loud instead of just relying on my body language and short skirts, I might have a boyfriend right now and not still be single.

Stay cool!