Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloweeeeeeen

Sigh. Well, it was one of those years I had to ‘splain my costume. My first clue came when my housecleaner left a note after seeing some of the components on my bed. “Wish I could have seen you dressed up as a Mexican lady. I’m sure you looked beautiful!”

Um, Mexican lady? Is that what people would think I was??

So, here’s the deal. I wore a southern belle dress with the flouncy skirt, the pouffy sleeves, and the lacy gloves. Then I topped it off with……a Mexican sombrero. And, for the piece de resistance, I carried a couple bags of tacos from (have you guessed yet?)…Taco Bell.

Get it?


I was Taco Belle.

And here’s the pic (and others) to prove it.

Marty and Ann...tattooed and pierced!

Dodi and Cathi...AKA...Minnie and the Bride From Hell Alexis and Penny...the mother/daughter duo

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Party's (Almost) Over birthday 2005 RIP.

Okay, I know it's October 29th and my birthday was way back on September 16th...I'm living proof that if you know how to work it....

So it's off to Laguna Niguel where I'm bidding farewell to the 2005 birthday season by celebrating with my oldest girlfriends in the world (I mean that in two ways hahahahahaha). Yikes. I've known Juli for about 47 years; Kath and Nance for about 35.

Hopefully the discussion won't center on our aches, pains, and hormonal imbalances.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A command performance looms on the horizon. One filled with relatives I rarely see.

Already, scouting reports have begun. A call this morning delicately suggested a new hairdo—the kind that takes ten pounds off your face. The next one will fish for what I’m planning to wear.

Sigh. Family gatherings.

Isn’t it enough to be a good person?
I have to be thin, well-dressed, and appropriately coifed, too?

I swear. Only in California.

Or is it just my family???

(File this under the heading of rant--and is it any wonder that my characters all have self-image issues???)

(And yes, maybe I should upload a more recent picture with the longer hair and added pounds.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The truth is, I hate writing.

However, to paraphrase author Debra Dixon, I love having written.

I love having written most when I got a kick out of living in my characters’ world. For example, I set Stealing Amy in a fictional beach town south of Puerto Vallarta. Even when I ran into roadblocks with that manuscript, it was always fun to picture myself in their world

Which brings me to the scene that’s been giving me trouble in my current WIP. One of the recommendations you hear is: change the POV character (that is, change the perspective from which the scene is being viewed). Well, I can’t do that ‘cuz I’m writing in first person. Another recommendation is to change the setting. Okay…but that’s the only part of the scene I was enjoying—it’s on the beach.

Then it occurred to me that my character has nothing (so far) to do in this scene. She’s entered, she’s greeted, and now she’s sitting back observing. Ho-hum. Big yawn. What I need to do is cut to the chase—get right to the conflict that will make this scene come alive.

I can do that. I know exactly how to do it.

And when it’s finished, I’ll be happy to have written.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Nothing New Under the Sun

What are the odds? Three months into this whole writing endeavor, I attended a conference in Denver where I met my first honest-to-goodness published author. Her name was (is?) Beverly Brandt and she generously offered advice to this newbie on a host of topics. In the course of our conversation, I learned she sold the first book she wrote which, as you might well imagine, impressed me to no end.

Two years later, I saw her at a book signing at the conference in Dallas and she told me she’d sold five books that year. Not only that, she’s now writing in a different genre under a separate name (Jacey Ford) and one of her romantic comedies has been optioned as a movie for Jessica Simpson.

Um. Can you spell o-v-e-r-a-c-h-i-v-e-r??

Meanwhile, I slog on, still unpublished. (Big sigh).

I probably shouldn’t write this here…ya know, I should probably stick to touting my successes. But the truth is, my second manuscript, Stealing Amy, hasn’t exactly met with resounding demand, which is to say, my query letter hasn’t resulted in requests for partials. My writing friend, Brooke, suggests maybe the topic is off-putting (Amy goes off on a search for the woman who stole her identity).

Well, guess what?

Today I was browsing at B&N and came across a new release by Beverly Brandt. Yep. It’s about a character who’s searching for her identity thief. The opening scene is strikingly similar to my own.

Eerie, huh? Like I say. What are the odds?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ann: “PBS is taping a show at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and I’ve gotta a bunch of free tickets. Wanna go?”

Me: “Did you say FREE?”

So, that’s how I found myself at a TV taping last night for an upcoming PBS pledge drive special on Movie Themes. In the front row, no less. (See my earlier rant on the impossibility of getting a good concert seat in L.A.)

Anyway, how much FUN. First off, we rehearsed our standing ovation technique. I opted for a gasp of recognition, a quick turn of the head to the friend seated next to me, followed by a launch from my seat with enthusiastic hand clapping and long, drawn out screeches of “Woo Hoo!” (The cool ex-television professional that I am, I never ONCE looked directly into a camera.)

When the director thought his audience sufficiently trained, the performances began. Here’s the rundown and my thoughts on each:

1. Bill Medley—Grey haired but in strong voice. Sang “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” with the keyboard guy doing the Bobby Hatfield part (so sad).

2. Jennifer Warnes—Okay, this is too, too weird. That morning, I’d come across an old CD of hers and listened to it all day, NOT KNOWING I’D BE SEEING HER LIVE A COUPLE HOURS LATER (insert eerie Twilight Zone music here). I mean, I hadn’t even THOUGHT about her in years, let alone listened to her music. (Whoa) Anyway, lookswise, she’s still a cross between John Lennon and John Sebastian (Loving Spoonful). She and Bill sang their duet from Dirty Dancing, “I Had The Time Of My Life,” and then she soloed on her song from Norma Rae. Personally, I thought her voice was amazing.

3. Frankie Laine—who, it turns out, is 92 fricking’ years old (and WAY before my time). Had to hand it to the guy. He hadn’t sung publicly in two years (since recuperating from a vocal chord problem). The first run-through was horribly off-key, but the second improved considerably. Nice patent leather loafers in beige.

4. Patti Page—Again, before my time, although I sorta remember “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window” (which she did NOT sing). By the way, we were informed that Frankie and Patti were slated to appear in the second night’s show (“Pop Songs from the 50’s) but were taping their performance on the evening we attended. (Ahem…bonus.)

5. Nick Clooney—Omigod, what a charming man. His role was to tape intros, outros and pledge pleas. Plus, he sorta held Patti’s hand at times (remember: before Nick was George’s father, he was Rosemary’s brother!). During some of the usual downtime (makeup touch-ups, scene shifting, etc.) he kept us entertained with his self-deprecating wit. (Example: “I’m so afraid my obituary will read like this: Nick Clooney comma, brother of 50’s pop stylist Rosemary Clooney comma, and father of actor-director-writer-producer George Clooney comma........died today.” Well, you probably had to be there.

6. Lulu—Remember her? Think she’d be old and fat by now? No such luck. She’s tiny and adorable. And, man…she can still belt out “To Sir With Love.”

7. The Fifth Dimension—well, at least three of the original five. No Marilyn McCoo, although I’m pretty sure one of the guys was her (ex?) husband. Not surprisingly, they sang “Aquarius” from the movie, “Hair.” (Sidebar: these folks need to re-think their costumes. I’m not a fan of leather on men, but when you add seafoam green to the mixture and put it on guys older than God, well….let’s just say this is the EVE (not the dawn) of these aging Aquarians.

8. BJ Thomas—remember this sweet, southern guy? He sang three songs, ending with “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Another guy who can still sing (and apparently does).

9. Last, but not least, The Cowsills—the REAL Partridge Family, as they pointed out. Only three of the originals but entertaining just the same. Don’t know the names of the first two songs but you’d recognize them. The last was, of course, “Hair.” That one got the audience standing and singing along for real.

And then it was (yawn) over. Four and half hours of strolling down memory lane with a smile plastered to my face, ever-conscious of the camera searching for cutaway shots, and trying to look just as enthralled the second (or sometimes third) time the song was performed.

What made the evening enjoyable instead of tedious (trust me, there was lots and lots of downtime) was the obvious joy expressed by each and every one of the performers. Maybe it’s because their heyday has past; maybe it’s because they appreciate doing what they love; maybe they’re all just really good actors, hamming it up for the TV exposure (note to self: stop being so cynical). Anyway, their attitudes made the audience feel like friends, and how nice is that?

My one regret…not being able to tell Patti Page about the role she played in a moment of great disillusionment for me: I was about six years old and PLEADING with Santa for a Patty Playmate doll. (Remember her? The life-sized doll? Well, life-sized to a six-year-old.) Anyway, in discussing my Christmas list with my father, he kept referring to my request as a Patti PAGE doll. No matter how many times I corrected him, he couldn’t get it right. So on the big night—Christmas Eve—“Santa” made his customary in-person visit to my house and what did he bring? A frigging’ Hasbro sno-cone maker (probably something my DAD wanted). So, Santa says: “Sorry I couldn’t bring you a Patti PAGE doll, but I thought you’d like this instead.”

Me: Patti PAGE doll? What a coincidence that SANTA and DADDY would make the same mistake.

Five minutes later, when I caught “Santa” tip-toeing through the backyard with his mask off, I confirmed the truth.

So, I blame the death of my belief in Santa Claus on Patti Page. Sure woulda loved a chance to tell her about it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Minor Writing Epiphany

I browse several other unpubbed writers’ blogs, and I see the same sentiment echoed over and over. Something on the order of: “I can’t find the time to write,” or “I set a goal of 40 pages this week and only wrote two,” or “I’m just not sure this book is working.”

My answer (borrowing shamelessly from Nike): Just Do It.

Or, maybe: Find A Way To Do It.

In my case, I’d been feeling stalled lately which pissed me off because, hey—hadn’t I written a nice synopsis? Shouldn’t it act as the roadmap that would keep me from hitting blank walls?

Then I stumbled across The Snowflake Plotting Method. I discovered that sure, I had a roadmap, but it’s sorta like TV’s Amazing Race. Each team has the same instructions but, depending on the interpersonal dynamics and external forces, not everyone’s gonna get to the pit stop in the same way or at the same time.

At the end of the day (boy, talk about an overused phrase) the story comes from the characters.

My roadmap hadn’t fleshed out some of the important characters, namely the hero’s three daughters. And that’s why I was having trouble coming up with the scenes to match my synopsis. This became clear when (as instructed by the article) I attempted to create a scene-by-scene spreadsheet. Talk about some huge gaps!

Then, I did my daily cruise (pun intended) by Jenny Crusie’s website and ended up reading her notes from the workshop she did in Maui on brainstorming characters.

Ding, ding, ding.

Images flew into my brain of who my hero’s daughters are—what they look like..who they admire…the stuff they have on the walls in their bedrooms…how they relate to each other…how they relate to their dad and absent mom.

From this vision, scene ideas began to flow nonstop. Ways to deepen the conflicts and theme popped up.

So, back to the writing epiphany, and I’ll summarize it with one of my favorite sayings: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you already have.

Lesson: Try something new.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Lightning strike? Car crash?

Or, was it just another Southern California Edison screw-up?

Whatever….there I was last night, enjoying a Friends rerun and finishing dinner, when I heard that odd, indescribable sound (which is actually the onset of non-sound) accompanied by instant darkness.

No power.

I groped around on the coffee table past the Healthy Choice ice cream bar wrapper and the 100-calorie Cheese Nips bag to locate my lighter. Next I fumbled for the nearest candle but the wick was so buried in wax (I estimated 3rd degree burns for sure) I had to do my best 80’s concert impression and use the Bic to find another one.

Okay, so I had light. What now?

Maybe I’ve seen too many slasher movies, but my first inclination was to make sure The Serial Killer hadn’t cut my lines, so I peeked out the window and confirmed the rest of the neighborhood was in darkness. Check.

So how do you pass the time when none of life’s modern conveniences are available? Aha, I thought. The laptop runs on a battery! That is, it does when the battery’s charged. Mine wasn’t.

Second aha! The radio my dad gave me for emergencies—the one you can crank 100 times for an hour of power when the batteries are dead! Oops. At the office.

If only…if only…Forget it. You need a male partner for that.

I settled for taking a nice hot bath and headed upstairs, mindful of my steps since I had this horrible vision of ending up in folklore right next to Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. Alas, as it turns out, candlelit baths are not what they’re cracked up to be when they’re forced. More like creepy. Or maybe it was the absence of Enya playing in the background.

Anyway, after exhausting myself with a couple marathon phone calls, I went to bed—a daunting task when you’re used to old sitcoms for lullabies. As I tossed and turned, I heard the welcome sound of heavy trucks lumbering up and down the streets of my complex. Each time one roared off into silence, I waited with crossed fingers for the power to go on and when it didn’t, I wondered if they had to go back to the shop to flip a switch or something.

Finally, total silence again. No trucks, no workmen. Also, still no power.

Then, at midnight, va-voom. The TV blasted to life and an overhead floodlight glared a path straight into my eyes.

Cool. Too bad I was sound asleep at the time.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Decisions, Decisions

Multiple choice exams always send me into a mental frenzy. Even if I know the material backwards and forwards, just throw me extra options and I’ll find a way to rationalize them into the right answer. Doesn’t matter if I’m being tested on American history or who gets to go first at a four-way stop.

Call my wishy-washy. Call me a Pollyanna. Whatever. I can always make a case for the other side and I’m a damn good Devil’s Advocate.

Unfortunately, these are not valuable traits in a writer. Writer’s need to make decisions about which they hold firm convictions.

Which is why I seemed to have smashed into a brick wall in my latest WIP. So many directions, so many options…which do I choose?


Truly. For the life of me, I don’t seem to be able to add another word to the fifty pages I’ve written. I’ve tried for three days now.

Who said writing was easy?

Oh. No one said that?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fun With Google

Agents and Editors are asked if they ever ‘Google’ a prospective client/author. Some say they do; others deny it.

I live in fear that one will look up my blog on the day I’ve posted something like the following, but shoot. Let’s have some fun, shall we?

Here’s the deal (I saw this on someone else’s blog but can’t remember whose or else I’d give credit where it is so well-deserved). Go to google and type in your name followed by the word ‘needs’. That’s right. Google can tell you what you need! Is there no end to the service these savvy people provide? But, be forewarned. Sometimes you have to read between the lines. On the whole though, I think we as a society can dispatch shrinks to the crap heap and quit reading our daily horoscopes. Google’s got us covered.

Here’s a sample of what I learned about myself:

1. Randy needs help from Raider mates.

2. Randy needs to list every skill she used in each of her jobs Randy needs to write a song about the "search for weapons of mass destrucion". ...

3. Randy needs a loving and committed family to give her a sense of belonging.
... minions are in place to quash the rebellion, and Randy needs a nap

4. Randy needs to fight wandy now and dana needs to authorize Randy to go to japan.

Hm. Anytime I hear I need a nap, I know someone’s been spying on my private life. Not sure what kind of help those Raider folks will provide, but I’m willing to accept it. And, Japan? Sure, I’ll go!

So, what does Google say YOU need?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Halloween's Around the Corner... you know where your costume is?

Feel free to plagiarize some of my previous ideas since I won’t be repeating.

1. Take two kitchen-sized trash bags (the only size that’s white), put one inside the other (also known as providing a lining), then cut two holes for your legs. Step inside, pull above your boobs and tie the yellow tapes together for that come hither, strapless look. Add drippy rhinestone earrings, long gloves, stockings and stilettos. Voila. Rich White Trash. (Be forewarned—wearing two trash bags can result in a sweaty midsection, not to mention raised eyebrows.)

2. Take the sluttiest dress you have. (Come on, we all have at least one, don’t we?) At the local costume shop, buy yourself a cheap (preferably cardboard) tiara, scepter, sash, whorey-looking wig, and iron-on letters. Spell out MISS-BEHAVING on sash. Voila. Beauty Queen Gone Bad.

3. This time, take your sluttiest black skirt and throw on that whorey-looking wig again. Add your sexiest bustier bra and high-heeled boots. Stick a small British flag down inside the top of one boot (so the banner is next to your knee). Buy a couple of spears (like if you were going as a hunter). Voila. Britkneespears. Oh, I really cracked myself up with that one.

Naturally, this year’s idea won’t be unveiled until the big night…but suffice to say it involves the participation of and reliance on two other people. If they crap out, Plan B is already in the works.

I’ll bet y’all just can’t WAIT for pictures, huh?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Check's In The Mail

Er, rather…the manuscript is. Yep. Finally got the sucker out last Friday after an emergency read-through by Brooke who spent her lunch hours and other precious moments making sure I hadn’t missed anything really, really, stupid.

Was it perfect?


Will it ever be?

Probably not.

Think of it. This is a manuscript I finished almost TWO YEARS ago. I did a lot of editing/revising back then when I first queried and submitted a couple places. After a handful of rejections, I put it on the back burner while I finished my second manuscript. Then, after National last July, I decided I’d never really given Fit For Love its proper chance, so I put it through a second round of queries. Voila…more requests. And, voila. More editing/revising. This time, a month’s worth.

Now, it’s back to the WIP (work-in-process). Talk about changing gears! Aside from this blog, I haven’t written anything “new” in a month! Hope I remember how.

The good news is, I dragged out what I’d been working on (well, the part I could find—I had a computer crash at home and hopefully the full version is on my computer at work—see, that’s how long it’s been—I don’t even know where the thing IS) and I really, really liked it. So, tonight it’s back to the drawing board.

First rule of submitting manuscripts: while they’re under consideration…write, write, write some more.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Birthday Date

Last night I celebrated my birthday with ex-boyfriend Joe. (Yes, I KNOW my birthday was nearly a month ago, but I DID tell you this was my birthday SEASON).

Joe’s my biggest blog fan so I can’t say anything really nasty about him (huge grin) but I couldn’t resist divulging the following.

While we were dating (5 years) one thing Joe introduced me to was Latin music and dancing. Frankly, I don’t know why there aren’t a zillion Latin clubs in L.A. ‘cuz the music is so infectious and salsa dancing is incredibly sexy. We loved to go to a place called La Masia in West Hollywood but then some rich snobby guys bought it out and turned it into a hip hop club. After that, we were hard pressed to find anywhere with which to replace it.

But recently, I was surfing the net and discovered a place called Mama Juana’s so we decided to try it. Arriving in Studio City (which is just over the pass from Hollywood) we parked and viewed the entrance with trepidation. It was basically just a door in a building. Looked like the place must be about four feet wide. Then I remembered the website said something about a steep staircase. Duh. We headed upstairs.

We were seated in a lovely booth one step up from the dance floor where a salsa lesson was going on. While we debated the difference between salsa and mambo, the instructor was teaching the male dancers how to twirl their partners. That’s when Joe made a fatal mistake. He pointed out that I always turn AWAY from him.

Hm, I thought. I wished he’d told me that before. Might have improved our dancing prowess. ‘Cuz, listen. We are NOT Fred and Ginger out there. Well, wait a sec. Joe THINKS he’s Fred. I’m quite aware I’m not Ginger. If you picture that John Hurely guy from that celebrity dance show on TV, you’ve got Joe to a T (minus the dancing talent).

After dinner, the band took their places on stage. All nine of them. We listened to a couple songs, then it was time for us to venture out.

Guess what? Every time we TWIRLED, Joe TWIRLED me AWAY from him. Turns out, I didn’t even have a CHOICE in the matter.

I love it when a man is wrong. I love it even more when the man is the source of the proof.

By the way, remember that blog about giving out your phone number to strange men in bars? Here’s a cautionary tale: I slipped outside to have a cigarette and got to talking to a guy who happened to be from my neck of the woods and he asked for my cellphone number. I demurred, as I always do. Then I got tired of saying no, so I reeled off what I thought was the number (who remembers their cell number?) Well, he hauls out his Blackberry and inputs the number and hits DIAL!!!! Thank God I’d made a big deal about having a hard time trying to remember it, ‘cuz it wasn’t the right number.

Yikes. Is this what guys do now?? They test you on the spot??

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hey, Bunko Ladies (or is it BunCo??)

Welcome to Thea, Pam, Charmaine et promised, the post below chronicles the latest Marty/Ann/Randy journey.

Now that you've found this, be forewarned...things that happen around me tend to end up broadcast all over the Internet.

Travelin' (and the links have been fixed)

So, if you had free tickets on Southwest Airlines, and you had to use them by October 4th, where would you go?

Lincoln City, Oregon, right??

Okay, here’s how THAT happened. My friends Ann and Marty had the two tickets, not me, but well…wither they go, I goest…or something like that.

One day, Marty calls and says, “Let’s go to Atlantic City for a long weekend.” (You have to understand that just as some people choose their vacation destinations based on golfing, Marty travels from a gambling perspective.) I tell him (firmly, because Marty’s the kinda guy who doesn’t take no for an answer) that Atlantic City’s too far.

Knowing he won’t let the matter drop unless I come up with an equally attractive plan, I Google Indian gaming casinos and find a map pinpointing their locations across America. Then I check the Southwest route map to see where they crisscross.

Voila—Lincoln City, Oregon. Well, Portland, really. But I picked Lincoln City because its casino is on the coast.

I email Marty with the info and we start looking at hotels. Somewhere along the line, I receive an email from Ann: “Just when are you planning to go to Oregon with my husband?” (It’s okay. She’s kidding. We’re like the Three Mouseketeers.)

So, off we go. On the Friday after my birthday, we fly to Portland and pick up our rental car. Since I’ve done my research exceedingly well, we know ahead of time that Spirit Mountain (a—what else?—Indian casino) breaks up the drive nicely so we stop there for lunch. We don’t play much…just one slot machine for which we each contribute $10, walking away $20 winners. (See, we’re not candidates for Gamblers Anonymous, I promise.)

We reach The Seahorse Motel before sunset and take a nap (our flight left at 8:15 a.m. and if y’all remember, I’d been to a concert the night before). Check out the view from the hotel.

Oh, and here's a sign you like to see next to your door:

That night we go to the The Chinook Casino and learn, to our dismay, that Oregon casinos forbid mixing alcohol with gambling. I never understand this rule. (Okay, I’m aware that not everyone in the world is a drinker, but hey—the two just GO TOGETHER, don’t they?) Anyway, Ann and I opt for a couple cocktails in the nightclub while Marty hits the poker room.

An interesting crowd populates the old upstairs meat market…we have a hard time sorting out the genders. Do the girls like the girls? Or, do they like the guys? And vice versa. The puzzle makes for good people watching.

Finally, we decide we’ve imbibed enough fortification (two glasses of wine a piece) to try the gaming tables. That’s when IT happens (and, come to think of it, thank God we haven’t had more to drink).

You know that sign in front of escalators? The one that says something about baby strollers, sandals and…yeah, I’ve never read the whole thing either. Turns out there’s a reason for that sign.

As I place my foot on the first step, I hear a shriek beside me.



We peer down at her foot and see a cut, a slice, a HUGE GASH, in her heel. No blood, though. Just a deceptive flap…the kind that makes you think, cool. It’s not gonna bleed…right before it starts to GUSH.

So, Ann bleeds all the way down the escalator, across the lobby, and to the information desk. There, she asks for napkins and a bandaid (she’s a trooper, our Ann) but the attendant says, “Do you want an ambulance?”

Hell, no.

A medic arrives in seconds and leads us into the bowels of the building (well, down a floor anyway) and to a small office. That’s when the legal mumbo jumbo starts. Does she need an ambulance? Does she want to go the hospital? Blah, blah, blah. They send for a digital camera and take photos. They have Ann fill out a mountain of forms. (Meanwhile, I’m dying to document the episode with photos off my cell phone but figure the idea will get an ix-nay from Medic Guy.)

After refusing anything but a bandage and icky ointment (even when Medic Guy recommends stitches—and don’t you just KNOW the whole thing is probably being recorded, if not on videotape, certainly audio??) we finally leave. Ann has no trouble walking and we take the elevator from then on.

Later, when we see Marty, I announce he’s this close to OWNING the Chinook (wink, wink).

The next day we went sightseeing down the Oregon coast (yes, I kow I just changed tenses). Oh, and we learned some new terminology: Senior Hiking. You see, senior hiking is identical to regular hiking, minus the foot movement and arm swinging. Oh yeah, and you do it from inside the car. Trust me, it’s almost the same.

The highlight of the day was our stop at a lighthouse and its accompanying interpretive center. Wish I had the name (which I do, I really do—only it’s on the videotape and I’m too lazy to haul it out to check and the still pictures are waiting to be developed). Maybe in a later post.

All I can tell ya is the Oregon coast is magnificent…majestic…a bunch of those ‘m’ superlatives. It puts the southern California coast to shame with its countless panoramic vistas of long, wide beaches and multiple sets of rolling waves.

‘Course we reminded ourselves that our visit probably coincided with the only three good days of weather they had all year.

On Sunday, we checked out early to leave enough time for a quick trip to the Columbia Gorge before heading to the airport. On the way, we discovered Shari’s. Ah, Shari’s--truly a find. I ask you, where in California can you go to a Denny’s style restaurant, sit in the bar and eat Denny’s style food, smoke cigarettes, drink beer, and PLAY LOTTO SLOT MACHINES? Not that this was a lucrative exercise, by any stretch. Still, it was a whole lot of fun.

I’d been to the Columbia Gorge before so I should have known better about how important the proper directions were. Long story short, we ended up driving along the river instead of the top. Oh, well. Multnomah Falls was pretty.

But not, according to the squeals coming from Ann and Marty, as exciting as our trip to Washington. Yes, we made the extra-special effort to make it a tri-state weekend by racing across the bridge and setting foot in Vancouver, WA before turning the car in.

Amazing how much you can cram into three days, huh?

And how expensive two free airline tickets can turn out to be?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

!*?@& Words

I’m this close (pinching thumb and index finger together) to shoving my requested manuscript in the mail. It’s been a long, tough, haul—punctuated by birthday celebrations, weekend getaways, and a two-week bout with bronchitis.

But I’m almost there!!!!

Now, as a public service to my fellow writers, today I thought I’d offer this handy tip sheet of word substitutions for anyone submitting to a publisher that doesn’t allow the good stuff. Caution: some are contextually sensitive.

Instead of “Shit”…use…“No way” (I refuse to use “shoot”)
Instead of “Bitch”…use…“obnoxious”
Instead of “Crap”…use…“crud” or “stuff”
Instead of “Screw it”…use…“Forget it”
Instead of “Hell”…use… “heck”
Instead of “Damn”…use…“darn” (or delete altogether because who actually says darn?)
Instead of “Bastard”…use… “louse” or “pig”

As for body parts during sex…ha, no problem. The house I’m submitting to doesn’t allow premarital sex, so delete, delete, delete.

So, here’s an example:

Ava surveyed the room littered with Jess’s crap.
Shit. What a bastard.
Well, screw it. He could clean the goddamn mess himself.

Ava surveyed the room littered with Jess’s stuff.
No way. What a pig.
Well, forget it. He could clean up the mess himself.

Voila! Squeaky clean prose! (Although personally, I prefer the original version)

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Birthday Season

Boy, do I know how to milk a birthday, or what?

Officially, this year my birthday season kicked off a day early when Jovonna decorated my office and we had cake at work. Then I left the next day to celebrate in Ensenada and returned on the 19th. On the 22nd, I feted myself with the single ticket to Luis Miguel’s concert. Got home after midnight, rose at four the next morning and flew to Oregon for the weekend with Marty and Ann. The following Friday (this brings us to September 30th) a bunch of friends showed up with presents and cake at a nearby nightclub.

Here’s what I have left: dinner with Joe sometime this week; presents and cake with family on the 9th when we do a combo celebration for my dad, my brother, and myself; and last but not least, a party in Laguna with my college girlfriends. More presents, more cake.

Um, d’ya think I’m a little old for this?

Nah, me either.