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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: shows, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 70
1. Catching Up with Blogging

peggy sue diner

We ain’t afraid of no dinosaur!

I realized that I have not posted in a while. With all the shows I have been traveling to, I barely had time to keep up with my blog. Since I have posted, I was writing about the Wild West Fest at the Calico Ghost Town in Yermo, California. All around it was a fun show; we stayed with my in-laws at a nice hotel in Barstow for the weekend of the show. It was also my birthday so we all went out to eat the legendary Peggy Sue’s Diner on Sunday night.

Then it was off to Seattle again for Emerald City Comicon.  It was an amazing show, with wonderful people. I have to give a big thank you to Sarah for the help at my booth (allowing me a few moments of rest to stretch my legs). The atmosphere was electric and everyone has my gratitude for making me feel so welcome up there. One of these days I will get Shawn up there so that I can leave him at the booth and go explore the city hehehe.

But that will only happen if the infamous Monsterpalooza does not fall on the same weekend as ECCC, like it did this year. Here is Shawn to tell you more. Shawn here and I have three words: It… was… awesome! I had a great time, though I wished Diana was there so that I could have walked around to check out more things. Oh well, there is always next year. All the fans were amazing and thank you to everyone for supporting Diana. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Beware the Gotham Bunnies

Beware the Gotham Bunnies

Thank you Shawn, so following those two shows was Wondercon. Oh how I love this show and it is one of my favorites. Not only did I get to see all my regular fans from SoCal, but Shawn being there allowed me to leave my booth from time to time to browse the artist alley. I got to catch up with some friends and meet some amazing artist for the first time. This was also the debut of my latest in the Terrible Trio series… the Gotham Bunnies, so cute, yet so evil.

Then I had a rare weekend off, and then it was time to get ready for Texas Frightmare Weekend. I was excited as I had never been to Dallas-Fort Worth, so this was a great opportunity to reach a new fan base. After a less than sterling start of the day (looking at you American Airlines) I made it to the show with only a half hour to set up. But after that it was one of the best weekends I have ever had at a show. It was intense, amazing, overwhelming at times and I can’t wait to go back next year. I may even bring Shawn along for this trip, I think he would enjoy the show very much.

Back to Southern California the following week for the Bat’s Day in the Park Black Market. This is always a fun show to do where I tend to pick up some great little pieces. It is only a one day show, so a bit more laid back and relaxing compared to the multi-day shows. Though being so close to Disney makes me want to go buy a ticket and go on some rides.

Finally last but not least was another trip up to Seattle (seriously, maybe I need to rent a room out there) for Crypticon. This was a great little horror convention with some pretty cool guests. I am starting to recognize a few people that have seen me at some of the area shows and meet some new fans. Thanks once again to Tamara of The Mystical Apothecary for being my traveling buddy once again.

Whoa, I was a bit more behind on this blog than I realized. Mid year resolution, I shall be better about updating my blog in a more timely manner. I have four more shows to do before I take some time off to do some more art and work on some upcoming projects, one of which is a book.

Keep on creating and have fun–

Diana

The post Catching Up with Blogging appeared first on Diana Levin Art.

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2. What I saw at SOWA: Antique MArket

Went to SOWA Market today with my fabulous artist artists Gina Perry and Vita Mechachonis. I've been to SOWA so many times yet I have actually NEVER visited EVERY part of the market in one day (Open Art Market, Antique Market, Farmers' Market and Food Trucks@SOWA). Well today I (WE!) finally did. I'll sprinkle posts about three of them, over my next few blog posts. (No Farmer's Market pics happened, sorry!) First up is the Antique Market.  :D

 

Door knobs. I've lived in old houses for most of my life, and vintage door knobs have just creeped into the big pile of disorganized inspirations in my brain. Not unlike this big pile of disorganized door knobs.



Ah I love old novelty travel souvenir postcards! Cute packages of 'em.


Always love these old printed frosted glass drinking glasses. How neat are these with the line art, lettering and map art. (Bonus anchors, and these are right on trend!)


Hello, creepy bartender man!


Mannequin figure with lots of costume jewelry. Love the look!


OH GLOBES! How I love globes. Globes globes globes. Wish there were more. (But then, I probably should be glad there wasn't!)


Pile of random stuff... Except for the metal bunny-rabbit-and-chick egg. That is NOT random at all.



Old glass bottles!



Do you find clowns creepy? I do sometimes, and sometimes I don't. But I am fascinated by the whole clown-phobia thing. Which makes them all the more curious of a subject.




I am kookoo for vintage postcards. I used to collect them, not officially. I just sort of acquired a lot of them over time. Since I have never repurposed them, and I'm now really into not acquiring stuff that doesn't scream at me loudly, I was easily able to resist these... Until I dug into the stack.




...and then they just got a little harder to resist. (I still resisted though. For today.)



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3. IMPORTANT: Tickets and shows and life and death...

posted by Neil Gaiman

The photos above are of Amanda and her friend -- and then, pretty soon,  our friend -- Becca Rosenthal. (It was Becca who told Amanda that she ought to marry me, the night before I proposed and we got engaged.) Becca was smart and funny, an excellent writer, and had amazing taste in music and art. She acted in my film STATUESQUE (that's the costume fitting she's getting, in the bottom photo).

She wanted to be a librarian.

She was overjoyed when she got hired by her local library. One of her last emails to me said when can i hope to see you around boston again? i would like very much to give you a great big hug. and it will hopefully be the hug of a Real Librarian.

I never got the hug. She died, suddenly, shortly before I moved to Cambridge. 

And now, with the blessing of her parents, we're raising money for a fund, in Becca's name, at Smith College.


To honor Becca’s memory, and to redirect extreme grief into something positive and productive, Amanda, Neil and other friends of Becca’s are spearheading this benefit for this fund in Becca’s name. It is for the benefit of students working in the Archives or the Rare Book Room, where Becca spent so much of her time being the hipster librarian they all knew she would one day actually become (and get paid to do). Annual income from this fund shall be used to provide internships for students enrolled in library special collections concentrations (including but not exclusive to the Archives and Book Studies concentrations) and/or to provide general internship and research funds for student work in special collections.

And by we, I mean, Amanda, me, Brian Viglione, Jason Webley, Emilyn Brodsky, and more of us. Becca's friends.  We're doing an evening of stuff. I'll read stories, show Statuesque, Amanda and Brian will make music, all sorts of wonderful  things will happen.  It's a one night only show, inspired by a librarian who isn't with us any more.

“A Tribute to Rebecca Rosenthal: A Night of Music, Art & Remembering, presented by Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, Brian Viglione and other friends of Becca’s” will take place at the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, for one show only on Monday evening, October 7th at 7:00PM. Reserved seat tickets are $25.00 (plus $1.00 facility fee) with a limited number of Gold Circle seats available at $100.00 (plus $1.00 facility fee) that include an after-show meet and greet plus an original, limited edition art poster signed by the participating performers. All proceeds are to benefit the Rebecca Samay Rosenthal ’07 Memorial Special Collections Fund at Smith College.

If you are going to be in the Boston area on October the 7th, you should come. The details are at http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=bc31868377c214862493bdd83&id=6cfd53754b. The tickets go onsale at https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?t=tix&e=a4e51df651ed159d57c8ee040f26e44d at 10:00 am Eastern US time this Saturday.


...

This blog feels like it's about tickets and shows. So...

My friends Michael McQuilken and Adina Verson are in their excellently reviewed show at the Amsterdam Fringe, Machine Makes Man. If you're in Amsterdam, go and see it. Here's the link: http://www.amsterdamfringefestival.nl/fringe/programma-2013/fringe-2013/best-of-fringe/machine-makes-man.aspx

Jethro Compton brings the Bunker Trilogy: Morgana and Agamemnon from Edinburgh to London for a month. It was the only drama I was gutted about missing when I was in Edinburgh. It's now in London, and I'm going to do my best to see it before I return to the US. If you are London you should do likewise. Southwark Playhouse: http://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/the-little/the-bunker-morgana-and-agamemnon/ for info.

Saturday the 14th of September, if you are in the London area, you should come and see me as the Voice of the Book, along with the all star amazing original radio cast (AND MITCH BENN AS ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX) and extra special guest star Miss Polly Adams as the Dish of the Day. It's the opening night of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Live tour, and we would love to see you there. (The tour will have lots of other Voice of the Books, but none of them will be me.) Stalls and dress circle and most of the upper circle are already sold out. https://uk.patronbase.com/_Hackney/Sections/Choose?prod_id=HHG&perf_id=1

October 7th it's the Becca Event above, in Boston.

October 15th, it's the FORTUNATELY, THE MILK live reading at Westminster Central Hall. It sold out 2,000 tickets in a couple of days.  They just released a final 100 tickets -- hurry if you want them:  http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/neil-gaiman-and-special-guests-fortunately-the-milk


November 23rd in the Town Hall, NYC, it's the first NYC Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, to celebrate the release of the CD and LP of the original Evening With Neil and Amanda West Coast tour. Tickets are almost gone.  It's the 50th Anniversary of Dr Who too, and I'm sorry about that. It will be alluded to. Without spoilers.

There.

The sun finally came out here yesterday, after 5 days of mist. This is from the last day of the mist:







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4. danhacker: Drive | Jim Rugg Another phenomenal peice by Jim...



danhacker:

Drive | Jim Rugg

Another phenomenal peice by Jim Rugg, done only with ballpoint pens and spiral notebook paper. The Notebook Nerd exhibition by Jim Rugg is on display at iam8bit in Los Angeles, California. 

Jim Rugg has been on some kind of wild tear lately. If you can’t get to the iam8bit show, there’s always this Flickr set of his bananas pen drawings. Plus his new podcast, Tell Me Something I Don’t Know, which he cohosts with artist Jason Lex



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5. Yes, Wear a Silly Hat!


I love this photo. At least one young lady knows that her photo is being taken, while wearing her silly hat and a smile. Some schools outlaw hats. They are considered it a distraction to education. Rather sad, eh? I've been in such schools. I always like schools that allow all kinds of hats better?

What do you think?

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6. Last Friday night

Last night was my art show with Kim Weineck! It was very fun! We got a good crowd and there were lots of people milling about. The gallery looked great, the wine was a-flowing and the snacks were getting munched up! Can you believe I did not get ONE photo of the night?? I even had my camera on stand-by, my batteries were fresh, and, well, I was just too busy chit-chatting with all of the guests and did not get a second to even snap ONE photo. EEK! When I see others' photos, I'll place link(s) here for you to go check them out.

Anyway I want to thank everyone who came out and made the night so much fun and a success. In terms of sales (you REALLY want to know, right?) I sold one small piece and three or four of my small ornaments, and Kim sold a number of pieces— 4? 5? Something like that. I was quite impressed with all of her red dots! Good job, Kim! :)

I was so happy to see the people who came...

When I was in college, many of my friends had bands. They aways needed their friends to come out and see their shows. It was a really supportive thing to do. I did go to a lot of the shows, of course. But when I chose not to go for whatever reason (tired, etc.) I usually felt a little bad about it. In terms of supporting your friends, whether you are an artist or a musician, 'the big picture' of attending a show in support of your friend is pretty similar.

As an adult, I don't have a lot of art shows. Honestly (and this is not the REASON I don't have them but it's ONE of them) I don't like to feel like I m pressuring people to go. I know that might sound kind of lame, especially coming from me. Do I seem like Miss Self-Promotion online? Well, in real life, I'm not wearing a t-shirt that says "MY ART IS TOTALLY AWESOME! NOW COME TO MY SHOW!" I didn't send postcards. I only sent one newsletter email about it, a week and a half ago. Honestly, I LOVE marketing and self-promotion (and if I don't, I better quit now!) but I'm really not into bombarding people in person in my day-to-day life, unless the environment we are in is specifically inviting to it or created for it (i.e. trade show, conference, networking event). Sure I'll tell them about my show and I'm very enthusiastic about it, but I am not a hard-sell type of gal. Online, people choose to follow you, or they don't. People expect to sift through what they want to read, and what they don't. So, if my post catches your eye, I am so happy about that! But, if it doesn't, you're not going to grumble for five minutes about how annoying my post was, like I do about telephone marketers or door-to-door solicitations. If you're on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ and you're spending time there and you follow me, you want to see what I'm up to!

So the truth is, it means a LOT when people come out physically to support me at a show. I just wanted to give a HUGE shout-out to the people who came. I REALLY appreciate it. :) THANK YOU :)

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7. copy that

The following takes place between 8:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Events occur in real time.

Jack: What's your location?

Tony: Houston airport, South Terminal, Borders bookstore.

Jack: Do you have a visual on the suspect?

Tony: Negative. But a visual on your girlfriend's books is affirmative.

Jack: Upload the file to my PDA.

Tony: Stand by.

>upload houstonairport.jpg to pda jackbauer<
>processing file<



Jack: That's what's up.

Tony: Nice documentation, right?

Jack: Copy that. I have a visual on The Hunger Games.

Tony: Google Alert has picked up on chatter regarding So Much Closer.

Jack: Give me the highlights.

Tony: "I needed this inspiration. I needed the characters in this novel. This novel was flawless."

Jack: Source?

Tony: Just Read Books review by Miranda. Reference to Tricia has been traced to The Truth About Books! review.

Jack: Are those girls suspects?

Tony: Unlikely. Where are we on background check?

Jack: Chloe's decoding the files now. Patch me through.

Chloe: Go for Chloe.

Jack: Chloe, this is Jack. Is the background check ready?

Chloe: I need a minute.

Jack: WE DON'T HAVE A MINUTE, CHLOE! MILLIONS OF PEOPLE COULD DIE!

Chloe: Well, maybe if you stop pestering me they won't.

>chloe out<

Tony: This just in. Rumor of your presence on Twitter. What, you're tweeting now?

Jack: Stand by for evidence.

>link to RealKiefer<

Tony: Returning to CTU outpost.

Jack: Returning to NYC. Dinner is ready.

>upload coordinates<
>upload dinner<



Tony: Over.

Jack: Over and out.

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8. defying gravity

As of January 6, I've been a proud New Yorker for 15 years. Carrie Bradshaw said that you're not a real New Yorker until you've lived here for at least 10 years. But in my heart, I always knew this magical place was my true home. I moved here in the Blizzard of 1996 from Philadelphia, which had just gotten over two feet of snow. But nothing could stop me. Actually, nothing could stop my friend Tim from helping me move. He was the one who shoveled the snow and drove the U-Haul. And now he lives here, too, which is awesome.

I was going through this crazy stomach churning thing at the time. For weeks before the move, my stomach was perpetually upset. I couldn't eat anything without feeling sick. I didn't realize it at the time, but the stomach churning was caused by severe stress. Even though I was beyond excited to finally start my life in New York City, it was really scary. I had like 73 cents in my bank account. I didn't know anyone here. I didn't even have a job lined up. All I knew was that I'd be starting grad school and that I had a tiny studio waiting for me in Chelsea. But I guess that was enough. Because as soon as I saw the Twin Towers in the distance, my stomach instantly felt better. For reals. And I never had that weird stomach churning again.

You'd think that I was planning to live here all along. New York City has had an intense pull on me since I discovered Late Night with David Letterman when I was 12. But I never made a definite plan to live here because it felt like a fantasy world. Like this unattainable dream that would always be impossible for me to achieve. That felt especially true back in high school. Back then, it felt like forever until my real life would start. Books and shows and music saved me. But what saved me even more was the hope that I would one day be living my ideal life. I held on to that hope and refused to let go, even when it felt like I wouldn't survive.

One song that helped me hold on was "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty. I still listen to it (and this other song of his called "Right Down the Line") often when I'm writing. These lyrics helped me keep hope alive, like if I could just keep holding on things would get better:

Another year and then you'll be happy
Just one more year and then you'll be happy
But you're crying
You're crying now


Two days before my New Yorkiversary, I was folding laundry and listening to NPR when "Baker Street" came on. They said something like, "You probably recognize this song, but might not remember the artist behind it." And I was like, "Gerry Rafferty!" Then they said that Gerry Rafferty had died. One of the people who helped me survive and would never know it was gone forever. And I was folding socks.

Let's just say I was relieved to have season one of Glee.



I'm not finished with season one yet, but do I really need to tell you I'm a proud new Gleek? Not just because I'm crushing on Mr. Schuester (as if I really need another crush). Not just because another one of my Hold On songs back in the day was "Don't Stop Believin'" (along with several other Journey classics). But that "Defying Gravity" diva-off between Rachel and Kurt? Has been on repeat mode in my brain for days. Seriously, I'll be at the gym doing a mash-up of whatever's playing in class and "Defying Gravity" in my head. Their voices are incredible. I mean, everyone is super talented, but that song just got me. Of course Kurt is my fave character. But you already knew that.

So yay for Glee! Yay for everything in this world that makes us happy and

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9. for the rest of us

Although Festivus isn't technically until December 23, I am getting the party started early this year. I found a random pole on the street and dragged it home.

Happy Festivus pole!



It's never too early to start airing those grievances. Oooh, and feats of strength! For my feat of strength, I will attempt to hold that frakking Pilates plank position for 30 seconds without shaking like the Pilates loser I currently am. So, yeah. Be ready for that.

Fun factoid: The concept of Festivus did not originate on Seinfeld. It was first mentioned in a book published in 1966 about obscure holidays. The original Festivus dessert in real life was a Pepperidge Farm cake (do they even make those anymore?) sprinkled with M&Ms.

Speaking of Festivus desserts, I was thrilled to discover this Ben & Jerry's limited edition:



Um, brown sugar cinnamon ice cream? Gingerbread cookies? Caramel swirl? Sign me up. Unfortunately, this Festivus flavor is no longer available. If it ever was. Maybe it's an urban legend. But hey, one can hope for a return engagement. It would be a Festivus miracle!

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10. surprises

Since there are only like three other people in the world who still need to finish Mockingjay, it's not really a spoiler to say...Peeta? Really? That was a surprise. I was totally expecting it to be Gale. It was always Gale. Well, I guess it was Peeta before Gale, giving Katniss the bread, saving her life. And I get the whole thing about balance. The ending just wasn't what I was expecting. Of course I liked the book along with Catching Fire. But there was nothing like the rush of reading The Hunger Games. What an amazing ride that first book was. It's sad to see it all end (yes, there were tears while I was reading those last few pages).

There kind of has to be a movie now, right? I can't even imagine how stellar everything will look. Even though the story is so wild, Suzanne Collins managed to make it feel incredibly real. So I don't think the movie will annoy us with any of those unrealistic things that bother me in other movies and shows. Like when people put their shoes up on their bed. Who puts their shoes on their pillow? Or even on their couch? Maybe it's just me, but I always take my shoes off before I get on my bed. Or like with beverages. Characters are always pouring full glasses of juice and then taking one sip and leaving. Or they'll go out to eat and get a soda and right away they're drinking it through a straw with that no-more-drink-left-loud-sucking-straw sound. Dude, it's a full cup of soda. Why the sound effect? And don't even get me started on the scenes where kids are in class and the bell rings and the teacher is yelling the homework assignment after them. No one can even hear what the teacher is saying, much less writing it down. And then everyone hands in their homework the next day? I don't think so.

You could argue that 24 has some unrealistic aspects to it. Like how Jack Bauer never eats or takes a bathroom break. Even though the concept is kind of out there, 24 still feels believable to me. I was addicted to that show right from the start. My friend Jim kept saying that I needed to watch it. That was back before Netflix. It was so frustrating to go into Blockbuster looking for the next disc and them being like, "Yeah...that one's checked out?" Because, as anyone who's into 24 knows, you HAVE to find out what happens next right away or you'll go crazy. Jim and I used to run around pretending to be Jack and Tony. I was Jack, of course. We still talk in 24 Speak.

Like the other day. We were going for a walk along the river and Jim was whipping out his iPhone and going, "Secure the perimeter!" And I was whipping out my shiny new iPod touch all like, "Drop your weapons!" And then, I'm not even kidding you, Jim starts yelling, "Michelle from 24! Michelle from 24!" Because the actress who played Michelle Dessler was running right by us! So then we're running after her and Jim keeps going, "Michelle from 24!" But after a few seconds, I wondered what we were doing. I mean, it totally felt like an ep of 24, but it was actually real life and she was just trying to go for a run. So we stopped and watch her go. I do think it's interesting that Jack Bauer and Michelle Dessler live in the same neighborhood in real life. It's my neighborhood, too, so there are always chances for fun surprises like that. Which is a big part of why I live here. You never know what's just around the corner.

Copy that.

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11. SOWA OPEN MARKET 10/10/10


SOWA OPEN MARKET 10/10/10, originally uploaded by kathy weller. See all pics on the Flick.

Today was Boston Handmade Day AND Dog-tastic Day at the South End Open Market (SoWA). I took a trip down to see the new layout and to enjoy the day and the dogs!



Boston Handmader  Arthur Halvorsen - LOVE his pottery. I think we live in the same planet. Astro-turf table dressing? Yes!




Another BH'er, Cricicis Design makes note cards with a clean design aesthetic.



Amy Casher
designs other-worldly, wearable and chic silver jewelry. Beautiful work.




Lauren Blais uses some very innovative materials (she'll tell you, if you ask. Brace yourself!) She merges current and classic looks in a kind of post-modern way that is very appealing. She also teaches jewelry-making classes (email her).



Vintage by Crystal's
decorative figurines are always a tasty hit of eye candy.



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12. austin teen book festival

Instead of jumping right into all of the Austin Teen Book Festival fun I encountered this weekend, I'm going to start with the second most important thing that happened in Austin. Because dude. I visited the actual Friday Night Lights football field that the actual Panthers played on where they actually filmed the show!



As soon as my plane landed in Austin, I started asking everyone about Friday Night Lights filming locations. No one knew where the real field was. Until my driver picked me up for my plane ride home. He knew everything. He had even driven lots of the actors from the show (yes, including Taylor Kitsch, or Tim Riggins as I will always and forever think of him). The football field was on the way to the airport. As we approached this random, dusty little road, I could see the stadium lights above the trees. I could not believe I was seeing the real Friday night lights! The field was overgrown with weeds because they finished filming a while ago, but everything still looked completely familiar. The Panther colors were still there, which had been painted over the original school colors of the Cardinals. The school has been shut down for years. You could see the old colors on a side of the field house that was never filmed for the show, and then the Panther colors everywhere else.



I walked up to the field with the theme song playing in my head and the chills I always get when I hear it. I'm not embarrassed to tell you that I almost burst into tears right there. I mean, this is where Tim Riggins and Matt Saracen and Coach and everyone dominated. This is where they were. But I did feel a little embarrassed in front of the driver, so I played it off like I had something in my eye.

It was really, really hard to leave.

Of course, the most important part of my trip was getting to connect with everyone at the Austin Teen Book Festival. Those readers are incredible! The place was charged with excitement the whole time. Ellen Hopkins gave an amazing keynote address. I loved that she read letters from readers. The ways in which a book inspires you or changes your life or helps you work through problems is the most powerful statement an author can make. It was so exciting to finally meet Ellen, along with author rock stars Ally Carter and Melissa de la Cruz. Here I am with Ally, Melissa, and Ellen at dinner after the festival:



Lots of people drove two or three hours each way just to be there. And they brought gifts. Shout-outs to Nani for making me a shiny gold star; BookPeople for the Keep Austin Weird sticker and for doing an overall amazing job; my teen escort, Julia, for making sure I didn't get lost (Westlake HS is enormous!); and Girls in the Stacks for giving me the best peanut brittle in the whole entire world. Much love goes out to everyone who helped make the festival such a success!

I had a little time to explore Austin the night before. While I was walking to the deli Sandra Bullock owns, someone thought I was her! Which was very meta (and hilarious). The deli is called Walton's Fancy and Staple and it's the cutest thing ever. The guy working there told me Sandra's there a lot. I think it's cool that she's so involved. There's lots of flowers pastries her sister makes and cozy areas like this one:



After Walton's, I had to go to Whole Foods. It's the second largest Whole Foo

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13. jon stewart is my bff

Last night was spectacular. Jon Stewart and every writer on The Daily Show were at the Union Square Barnes & Noble to sign their new book, Earth: A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race. Being the Daily Show nerd that I am, I arrived at 5:00 for the 8:00 event. Think that's crazy early? Dude, I got one of the last seats left in the front section! I don't know how I thought I could waltz in three hours early and score my usual second-row aisle seat. The place was already packed. But I did snag a very respectable fourth-row seat next to three friendly neighbors. It was easy to make friends, all crammed together and clinging to our seats while the entire fourth floor of B&N filled up. People who got there two hours early had to stand.

As always when meeting the people who've inspired me, I was super nervous. I was trying to think up a good question for Jon. I was trying not to geek out. But when it was my turn to meet Jon, I totally did anyway.



Here's Jon looking at copies of my first two books. He got shout-outs in both When It Happens and Take Me There because he is made of all things awesome. I marked the pages with his shout-outs. At least, I thought I did. Until I was walking home and realized I completely missed the two biggest shout-outs in Take Me There.

* bangs head on several hard surfaces *

Why do I always do this? I'm always too nervous to think of anything good to say until after and I end up babbling like an idiot and I couldn't even remember that I said all this cool stuff about Jon and The Daily Show in the books that I gave him.

That I wrote.

But it's all good. Jon thanked me for the books. He even shook my hand!



Did I have a professional photographer following me around to capture this Moment of Zen? Sort of. One of those friendly neighbors I was sitting with was Robert Denbo, who has his own multimedia company. He had a mad profesh camera with him and was totally sweet about documenting me and Jon. If I hadn't been sitting next to him, I wouldn't be able to share these visual aids with you.

The Universe had my back on that one. Respect.

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14. awesome alert

Some awesome people have recently been doing some awesome things. That is why I thought you might want an awesome alert.

Let's begin.

By now, you probably know that I worship Jon Stewart in a godlike way. How stoked am I for his Rally to Restore Sanity? At first I thought the whole thing was a joke to compliment Stephen Colbert's March to Keep Fear Alive.  But then I went to their Twitter page and it says how the rally is on October 30 from 12:00-3:00 at the National Mall. Dude, isn't that where Forrest Gump and Jenny had their epic reunion? I'm so there!

Before I see Jon at the rally, I'm going to see him at Barnes & Noble tomorrow. He's reading from Earth, his textbook about our planet for extraterrestrials. Like America, it's packed with highly informative, highly hilarious material. Even the "this book is the property of" stamp in the front cover is funny. I hope I can think of a good question to ask him. I never think of anything good to say when I meet the people who inspire me and I end up sounding like a babbling idiot. And then walking home I'll be like, "Dir! That's what I should have said!"

I think I did okay with Demetri Martin, though.



He had a show here Saturday night which was, as always, the Best Comedy Show Ever. I've been a huge fan for many years and am thrilled that Demetri is starting to get the attention he deserves. If you're unfamiliar with Demetri, I suggest you get acquainted. He does comedy for people who think. And he's so sweet to his fans! He took the time to talk with every one of us who were waiting for him after. He took pictures with all of us and signed stuff. And he did all of this while eating an apple. Which he eventually had to put down. I felt kind of bad for him, like can't the guy even eat his apple? He was probably really hungry. But it must have been a thrill for Demetri to see such a big crowd waiting out there for him. I told him about his upcoming shout-out in So Much Closer. He was really appreciative. John Oliver from The Daily Show stopped by to do a bit on stage. When he came out after, he was on his phone and didn't come back to us. That's cool, though. I'm sure we'll catch up at the rally.

Here's what the stage looked like from my front row seat (score!) before the show:



Could I have been any closer? No. I could not have been. I couldn't wait to find out what those weird symbols were. Especially that angry cat (which turned out to be Demetri's idea for a bird feeder where badass birds would go in the mouth part and then it would look like the cat was spitting out birds when they flew away). Really good times.

As if things weren't already awesome enough, Blake Nelson comes along with a new book and bam! I'm totally hooked.  It's called Recovery Road, it comes out in March, and you want to add it to your list.  Trust me. Blake and I go way back, although he didn't know it at the time. Girl was shelved in the adult fiction section when it first came out (along with Judy Blume's Forever). After I read it and was completely blown away, I kept checking back for a new book by Blake. I just had to find out what happened to Andrea Marr and was hoping for a sequel. But there was nothing. Followed by more nothing. I was so disappointed. But then! I fo

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15. endings

I've been thinking a lot about endings lately.

You guys know that I pretty much worship My So-Called Life in a religious way. It deserved many, many more seasons than it got. When the first (and only) season ends, Angela discovers that Brian wrote a love letter she thought was from Jordan. I always wondered what would have happened in the next season, or even farther down the road. Would Angela and Brian have ended up together?

IMHO, I do believe they would have. But not right away. I totally see Angela and Jordan getting back together for a while. Which would of course end tragically all over again. The Jordan Catalanos of the world never work out.

Whenever a good book or movie or show ends, I always have to imagine what happens next. There's no way I can let characters I've become so attached to just fade away.

Here's that last scene. You decide what happens next.



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16. show love

I heard a rumor that Steve Carell is leaving The Office. I'm calling it a rumor because there's just no way that can happen. The Office without Michael Scott would be like a Double Stuf Oreo without the Stuf. His World's Best Boss mug doesn't lie. Who else would bring donuts in on his birthday and organize a Lake Wallenpaupack booze cruise and throw an 05.05.05 party because it happens once every billion years?



Only Michael Scott.

Now, I always try to see the bright side of a dark situation. The only good thing that will come of this is that Steve Carell will finally win his long overdue Emmy. They can't just let him leave without giving him the award he's deserved for the past five years.  Give Steve Carell his freaking Emmy already! He really, really needs to win this time around. Then 30 Rock can hog all the Emmys again next year.

My love for The Office is immense, but that doesn't mean I don't have room for other show love. I've been Netflixing Big Love. It's so good! If When It Happens is ever made into a movie, the oldest son from Big Love (Douglas Smith) would make a great Tobey. He has many Tobey-like qualities.



My Netflix queue is fierce. There are several shows I've been waiting for all year to come out on DVD that are coming out in August. Which of course I'm psyched about. Only, now I have a big dilemma. Which of these August releases should I watch first?

  • Brothers & Sisters
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Gossip Girl
  • One Tree Hill
  • Parenthood
  • The Middle
Parenthood and The Middle are shows I haven't seen yet. I keep hearing how awesome they are. The other four are some of my absolute fave shows. After The Office, of course. So which to move to the top of my queue? Conundrum!
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17. kristen stewart

I've admired Kristen Stewart for a long time. She was phenomenal in Speak.  She was phenomenal in The Cake Eaters.  And she was beyond phenomenal in a movie that is so outstanding it leaves me in a state of awe every time I watch it, The Safety of Objects.  She is just so freaking talented I can't even.  If you also love Kristen and haven't seen these movies, you really should add them to your queue.

You can tell from watching her amazing performances that she's a deep person.  You can also tell that she's shy.  So when the whole Twilight thing blew up and people were saying that she seems awkward doing press, it wasn't exactly news. It must be really hard for someone who's shy to be in front of so many people all the time. I wonder if it's something you can ever get used to.

This video is of Kristen arriving at The Late Show yesterday.  When I linked to it on my Twitter, it had 300-something views.  Now it's had over 21,000.  Here's a Coffee Talk topic for you: Would you want to be as crazy famous, doing this over and over? Discuss.




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18. reality check

Happy winter solstice! Yes, I'm excited. Not for winter, because we all know that I don't do winter. I'm excited for daylight. Starting tomorrow, daylight hours will begin to increase and will continue to increase (by about two minutes per day) until the summer solstice in June. Bring on the light!

Astronomical occasions like this remind me of my old life as a science teacher. Wait, first I have to tell you about David Letterman. I discovered Late Night with David Letterman when I was 12. As soon as I saw him throw a pencil through the window and make crazy faces at the camera, I knew that we were kindred spirits. I used to tape his show on my cranky VCR to watch after school. For a few years of junior high and high school, the two things I looked forward to all day were going home to read on my bed and going home to watch Dave. There were lots of disappointing days when I settled in on the beanbag chair in front of the TV with my snack, only to discover that my mother had turned off the VCR after only a minute because the TV was in her room and she said the VCR was so loud that she couldn't sleep. So you can imagine how psyched I am to be living in 2009! I can watch Dave online on my sexy iMac anytime I want. If I had a TV, I'm sure I'd watch The Late Show every night it's on. After all these years, I love that Dave is still quirky and weird. I can relate to quirky and weird.

So I was watching Dave a few days ago and guess who was on? (Note: I am aware that Tobey Maguire was just on - I will be watching that ep when it becomes available tomorrow). Dr. James Hansen! He was my boss when I worked at NASA! I did climate change and global warming research for two summers after grad school at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies here in New York. These are some of their current research projects and findings. Anyway, I was so excited to see Dr. Hansen on the show.  He was the first person to testify before Congress that global warming is a reality.  His book, Storms of My Grandchildren:  The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity, describes what will happen unless we all reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The Earth's climate is changing so dramatically that thousands of species are becoming extinct, entire ecosystems are being destroyed, and severe types of weather like hurricanes are becoming much more dangerous.  Oh, and diseases will get even scarier.  If we don't stop using coal and oil and start using alternative forms of energy, we will continue to destroy the only known planet we can live on and, ultimately, ourselves.  It's awesome that Dr. Hansen has not given up hope that the world will start to listen to what he's been saying for the past 30 years.  You can watch his Amazon video here, in which he explains that if we don't take dramatic steps to save our planet now, it will very soon be too late.

P.S.  If you encounter someone who still doesn't believe that global warming is a reality, kindly inform them that 1978 called.  It wants its debate back.

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19. warming powers

When it gets so cold that iguanas are falling out of trees, I try to keep warm with memories of sunny vacations past. Like when I went to Santorini last September. I was lazy in the best possible way - just lounging by the incredible infinity pool with good books every day. Was this really me only four months ago?



Sigh.

But hey, memories aren't the only things with warming powers.  I'm anticipating the comfort of my new ergonomic chair, which is finally ready!  It took a while to put together because they are custom made.  Let's just say my back is more than ready for its arrival.  Of course, my new chair is nothing compared to Sarah Dessen's whole new office.  Talk about gorgeous!  I see that we're both enjoying the warm fuzzy effect of the sexy iMac.  My goal is to also have a real home office one day instead of this desk-against-the-wall situation.  Ah, tiny living.

So I finished watching Popular.  The writers apparently had no idea that the show would be canceled because it ended all unresolved.  What a rip-off!  Of course, the one story line I was into was the Sam/Harrison relationship.  The whole best-friends-become-lovers plot never gets old.  I'm annoyed that we never got to see them together.  I like to imagine that they were really cute as a couple.  Just as I like to imagine that the giant pile of lemons that was always in Brooke's kitchen was used to make lemonade every week, then replaced with fresh lemons.  Because would you really have all those lemons hanging around just for decorative purposes?

For now, I will warm up with some tea.  And the cupcake of the week at Crumbs, which happens to be Blueberry Cobbler.  Love blueberry cobbler.  Sending warm thoughts out to all my fellow cupcake enthusiasts!

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20. keeping it real

Whenever I'm paying for something and I'm a penny or two short, the cashier is always like, "Don't worry about it." This started happening a few years ago. At first, I was amazed. I wondered how I could possibly be getting away with that kind of behavior. Don't cashiers get in trouble for coming up short? How could they disrespect pennies like that, like they're not even worth anything?

News flash: Pennies are still real money.

Don't get me wrong. When I'm out of change and something costs $5.01, I'm grateful that I don't have to get 99 cents back in change. But now other coins are being dissed as well. The other day this deli cashier chose to forget about 12 cents instead of making change from an extra dollar. Twelve whole cents! Excused! Seriously, it's only a matter of time before pennies are discontinued, then eventually all coins. Then all bills. Down the road, I'm sure we'll be paying for everything with cards. Or eye scans. Kind of like when they stopped making subway tokens and we all had to get used to MetroCards. They were so strange at first! Now we don't even think about them. Technological progress is a good thing. I'm really looking forward to washing clothes without using all of that water. And hopefully in a year or so, watching Letterman online in better quality.  When Kiefer is on in a dress, I want some sharp picture quality happening.



What I'm really really looking forward to is my fave season, spring, along with the return of awesome fruit. Right now there is only mediocre fruit. When one is subjected to nothing but mediocre fruit all winter, it becomes boring fruit. By March I can't even look at a banana without snarling. This desperation is what forced me to purchase a jug of expensive blood orange juice. Question: Why is fresh produce expensive while fast food is cheap? It's so stupid. But I could not help myself. This blood orange juice is a dark red color, which means it's one big antioxidant party up in here.

But not really. Because as of today, I am in revision mode. It's just me, sexy iMac, music, and a deadline. It's the 24 equivalent of going dark. Whatever your goals are for the upcoming weeks, I wish you a successful mission. Oh, and remember to secure the perimeter. Copy that.

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21. ramble on

The other day I was in the deli and this lady in front of me bought some gum. When the cashier asked if she wanted a bag, she said yes. I really wanted to inform that lady that the correct answer was, in fact, no. No, you do not need a bag. For a pack of gum. Especially when you're already carrying a bag. Oh, and also? You don't need a pile of napkins for a bagel, in case you were wondering. A hundred years from now, people will probably look back on our wasteful ridiculousness and shake their heads. At least, that's my hope.

I wasn't in the deli to buy gum. If I chewed gum, it would stick to my Invisalign and be impossible to chew. Not that I was much of a gum chewer in my pre-braces life. Most of the time I didn't get the point of gum. Like, you just chew it? And? I guess it's a handy way to freshen up breath, but isn't that what mints are for? Anyway. No, I was stocking up on my new preferred snack, popchips. These things are genius. They're a tasty alternative to evil potato chips, made from real food and without tons of calories. I'm sensing a new addiction looming on the horizon.

Besides people taking plastic bags when they don't even need them, here's something else I don't get. My current Netflix adventures involve all five seasons of Ally McBeal. Only, I don't know if I'll be able to continue. The first season was awesome. Ally starts working at this law firm. Then she finds out that her ex (who also happens to be the love of her life) works there. Then she finds out that his wife works there, too. It was perfect. Ally and Billy would realize that they've never stopped loving each other, that they're soul mates, that they have to be together...I couldn't wait for the story to play out. But that's not what happened at all. Instead, there were some lame excuses about why it could never work between them and the passion just fizzled out. Oh, and then Billy dies. Out of nowhere. What am I missing here? Wasn't the whole point for them to be together? Although I have to say, now that Robert Downey Jr. has entered the scene, I am liking things a lot more. I mean hello, Wonder Boys? Love him.

Today I was researching the Hudson River Park piers and guess what I found out? One of the piers in Tribeca is going to have mini golf! That's only one neighborhood below mine! I swear, this made me so happy. If they decide to add Skee-Ball, I will be ecstatic. I'm not sure if the construction will be done this spring, but here's more good news: Spring is only eight days away! Par. Tay.

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22. throwback moment

When I was in high school, I used to tape Late Night with David Letterman (on this total dinosaur of a VCR) and watch him after school. Dave has always been a weird guy and I was a weird kid, so it was easy for me to recognize him as a kindred spirit. I was 12 years old when I first saw him throw a pencil through his window, and ever since then I've been hooked. As with all of my shows, it's not easy to keep up with things without a TV. High school was the last time I lived with a TV and I don't regret our divorce at all. But I have missed Dave. Imagine how happy I was to discover that I can watch him online without it looking too fuzzy. It's comforting to see that Dave is still the same wacky dude he's always been.

The other night, Dave had Jamie Oliver and Justin Bieber on. I've been hearing stuff about Justin. When I asked my Facebook friends to tell me what they think about him, I had seven comments just within the first three minutes. Justin clearly touches a lot of nerves, one way or another. After watching him on Dave, I've concluded that Justin Bieber is all of the New Kids on the Block filtered into one kid, 80s vibe and everything. For the record, I was a NKOTB fan, so this is not necessarily an insult. Although it is kind of mortifying to admit that.

Jamie Oliver impressed. His initiative to teach people how to cook healthy meals and get the junk food out of schools is awesome. The best part of his visit was Dave's rant about how we can eat all the sea grass we want, but when we encounter 160 different kinds of cookies in the grocery store we're powerless. Here's the rant, followed by Jamie trying to teach Dave how to fry an egg:



Dave makes an excellent point. Diets do not work long-term. For long-term results, one's lifestyle must change. This is true for just about anything: weight loss, workout routines, establishing healthier habits. If there's something you want to change in your life, think long-term by creating a new lifestyle - a new way of living you can establish by making small, permanent changes every day. The first step is always the hardest, but once you start moving you are already on your way!

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23. the carrie diaries

How excited was I when my signed copy of The Carrie Diaries arrived? When I was in LA, promotion for Sex and the City 2 was everywhere. I was telling my author escort what a big fan of the show I am and how I was reading The Carrie Diaries. She was like, "Do you have it with you?" I did. It turns out that she was escorting Candace Bushnell the following week and if I left my book with her, she'd have Candace sign it for me. Sweet non-coincidence!



The Carrie Diaries is adorable. I love finding out more about my favorite characters, and Carrie Bradshaw is definitely one of them. We are kindred spirits in a lot of ways. In fact, before I started watching the DVDs a few of my friends were telling me how much I reminded them of Carrie. I've bonded with her, I feel her pain, and I loved this opportunity to get to know her even better. We find out that Carrie is from fictional Castlebury, Connecticut. We find out how she met Samantha. We also discover that she had a knowing about living in New York City one day, the same knowing I had. I totally get that pull she felt to this place. And she was always a writer. I completely connected with this part:

"Eventually, I went upstairs and took out the box of my old stories, and tried to soothe myself by imagining a better life, when I would live in New York and write books and have a completely different existence."

I'm happy to report that The Carrie Diaries is part of the collective mind - it's another story about a girl who falls in love with her best friend's boyfriend. Only...well, no major spoilers here. Let's just say it's really good. It also makes me happy that Something Like Fate gets to shine with the literati:



Since I'm a major fan of the show, I've watched all the eps over several times. I have this thing where I can remember really specific lines of dialogue and random details. Which is how I know that there are three aspects of book Carrie that contradict show Carrie.

1. The book takes place during Carrie's senior year of high school. She's a virgin. But on Sex and the City, Carrie tells Charlotte that she lost her virginity junior year to this guy named Seth Bateman "in his smelly rec room." And P.S.? It was on the pool table.

2. No one ever remembers this, but in Season Five when Carrie goes out to dinner with that Vogue editor who calls her "cookie," she tells him that her dad left her and her mom when she was five. He never said why and she never heard from him again. In the book, her dad is there with Carrie and her two sisters; her mom died a while ago.

3. Book Carrie says she's always been good at math. But show Carrie couldn't even calculate how much she'd spent on shoes. When Miranda was pregnant, there's a scene where they go shoe shopping and Carrie admits to owning about 100 pairs of shoes at around $400 a pair. She's like, "So? That's only $4,000." And Miranda says, "No, that's $40,000." This was a minor point, but still.

Candace has said that she writes about her own characters in her books and what the show does is separate. But aren't the two Carries the same character? I wonder if Candace pictured Sarah Jessica Parker circa Square Pegs when she was writing this book or some other girl. Despite those discrepancies, the book does a wonderful job of filling in some blanks and adds a dimension to Carrie Bradshaw that everyone who loves her will appreciate. Most of all, it lets us hold on to Carrie a littl

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24. the wanting

I'm happy to report that Sex and the City 2 was much better than its ridiculous trailer. The trailer is so superficial it almost justifies SP's ignorant belief (I said it! I said it on my blog!) that the show is all about women who hate men and only care about shoes. I'm like, Hi, have we met? Do you really think I'd like a show remotely like that? I don't even wear heels! Duh, there has to be more there. I guess straight guys don't get the heart and depth of the show. Anyway, the first movie was much better, but I'd watch SATC2 again (fast-forwarding through the parts that were trying too hard). If they're going to do a SATC3, I really, really hope that they keep it real in New York City. New York is such a big character and it only made brief appearances. Time to bring it on home, ladies!

The only part of the glitz fest trailer I liked was when Carrie sees Aidan. Why? Because we love Aidan. We loved Aidan and Carrie together, even though she needed more sparkle (and, let's face it, he needed more domesticity). Any fan of the show will never forget this scene:



If Carrie and Big are soul mates, then why was this scene so hard to watch? Carrie spent six years running around New York, searching and trying to get Big to realize that they belong together. And now she has him. They're married. So why is she still not satisfied?

Part of it has to do with her love of going out. She was a party girl for years. That craving doesn't suddenly disappear. Part of it has to do with the inevitable fizzle. Carrie and Big had the zsa zsa zsu. Some of that sparkle will always be there. But passion fades. That's basic biology. I think a lot of her restlessness has to do with the whole Grass Is Greener phenomenon, the feeling that no matter what you have and who you're sharing your life with, things can always be better. Will she ever stop wanting what she doesn't have and fully embrace what she does?

Another question that came up is about this whole desire women have to present a perfect picture to the world. Why is it so hard for Carrie and Charlotte to admit that they're struggling, even to their best friends? The trailer showed Charlotte's daughter slapping her butt with red paint instead of the way more interesting part that happens right after - Charlotte crying in the pantry, too overwhelmed to go out there again. But she keeps insisting that everything's fine. Or when Aidan and Carrie are talking and he says how great things are going for him. We soon see that they can't possibly be. Why is pretending we're okay when we're not preferable to honesty?

Carrie finally has what she'd been wanting for so long. But will it ever be enough?

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25. inside the inside joke

This will probably sound shocking to you, but I've never seen Seinfeld. Except that ep I saw in college by force. I lived in an apartment building (technically, an ancient mansion that was divided into apartments with like no heat, a leaky roof, and mice issues) junior and senior years. Four boys lived together on the first floor. I would bake them cookies sometimes. I had a studio on the fourth floor because I seemed to be destined to live in fourth-floor walk-ups. This was especially fun for the friends who helped me move. It's also the reason why I'm done with fourth-floor walk-ups. True, I live on the fourth floor yet again, but this is an elevator building. Even though I usually take the stairs, just knowing the elevator is there makes a big difference.

 
Anyway.

The boys on the first floor were outraged that I didn't have a TV. One day, they demanded that I watch Seinfeld at their place. So I did. I think they expected it to change my life or something. That didn't happen. But I remember it being funny and I've been here in New York for 14 years, so it was time. I recently started Netflixing Seinfeld. There are so many good ones! I love the one where they're making the pilot of Jerry and Jeremy Piven plays George. Jeremy P. and I go way back:



Now I get what everyone's been talking about for the past 20 years. If I'm ever at a diner with my own maple syrup and someone comes over who's all, "We don't allow outside syrups or condiments," I'll know they're not serious. And when Big Gay Ice Cream Truck is offering free toppings if you're master of your domain, I'll know what they're talking about. It feels good to finally be in on the joke.

Something else that feels good:  book blogger love. If you're interested in reading some new reviews, we have:
I also want to link to Meg Cabot's most excellent advice for writers who want to get published. If you're not writing about vampires, there's still hope!
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