Mar 31, 2008

So last night my friend Stephanie and I went to see SHUTTER, as I had a penchant to see something truly dreadful and fun and AWESOME. And my goodness did it deliver. Scary dead Asian girls popping up everywheres, a plot so obvious that even I knew the ending about 15 minutes in, and one of the most AMAZING climaxes in cinematic history. The moment when everything adds up and all the bits of info come together and here is the shocking reveal... and it's one of the most stupid and laughable moments EVER. Ever ever ever. Trust me, you won't believe your eyeballs. And the ending? Is PURE MAGIC.

You may thank me later.

Mar 30, 2008

So I am having a wondrous weekend after many many days of being very stressed out, so badly that I burst into tears at work on Thursday in a garboesque manner, from the various traumas of getting my book in, going to Pennsylvania for Easter, spending all this week packing up my apartment and also working lonnngggg hours to finish this big project for work that was very late due to said book finishing. On Friday my dad came with a Uhaul and now all my stuff is in Pennsylvania and I am at my sister's and I BE DONE. With all big stuff before my move, anyway. I have two weeks left of work and three left in NYC, and then I'm writing writing writing every day with birds a twittering all about and big green trees shimmying outside my window. I also will be biking to the Penn State library every afternoon to do research and have even bought my first BACK PACK, a very beauteous one from this brand, for this event. Unfortunately, yesterday my sister and Massie suggested I looked like a surfer carrying it, but that is because they are very jealous and petty people.

I did suffer one new trauma yesterday when I went for a massage in the East Village and for the first time in a long time had a male masseuse. He was very very good but I started to get suspicious when my 60 minute massage turned into a 90 minute one NOT THAT I WAS COMPLAINING and I started to realize his massage was maybe a bit more… worshipful… than I might be accustomed to. But I figured he had a spiritual bent and reassured myself, perhaps naively and misguidedly, that a masseuse is akin to a doctor or gynecologist, which is what I have always thought. But when he was done he bowed to me and complimented my beautay, then gave me his card and said he was off on Thursday. In general I feel much more comfortable being hit on whilst dressed and standing rightside up, so I was slightly discombobulated by this event. Traumatized, yet secretly contemplating the benefits of dating a masseuse, I then rushed off to meet my sister for a very good brunch at a place Massie maturely refers to as PUKE and Joi maturely refers to as FUCK,, and afterwards proceeded to buy many many pieces of jewelry at a private sale for this designer that Massie works for. If anything can soothe the many traumas a girl can endure in this city, I believe it is noodles with fake chicken and rings shaped like seahorses.

In other news, my friend Mark sent me a link to his friend Fred’s new website, and I am madly in love with his paintings, especially this one.

And in other other news, I am also madly in love with the Defenders, a VERY AWESOME little league team in Red Hook that my coworker and friend Brett heroically coaches and writes about here. I think this is the sweetest loveliest blog and I have an especial love for a girl after my own heart, Tytee, who kicks ass whilst flaunting elaborate hairdos and lovingly manicured fingers.

Also, here is my dad, sister and me coolly sitting on a porch swing in Wegmann's last week, as all the most glamorous families do.

The end.

Mar 21, 2008

After a week of working furiously, today I handed in the final edits of Godmother, and my editor approved them, and I am officially FINITO. !!!!!!

Plus I am in Pennsylvania now and about to partake of some martini shrimp.

Next week I move out of Queens and in three weeks I finish my job and in four weeks I retreat to Pennsylvania full time to just write like a madwoman and see what I be capable of.


Even despite America's horrifying decision to keep Ronnie instead of Shannon.

The end.

Mar 19, 2008

Look how lovely this is:

Mar 17, 2008

I saw this movie TWICE last year at the Tribeca Film Festival--first because my friend Mike worked on it and second because it was so amazing. And now Planet B-Boy is coming out in theaters this Friday (in NYC, at the Sunshine) and this Wednesday is a big party for it and even tho I just got the final edits for Godmother and have cancelled all other plans so I can finish it this week before heading to Pennsylvania for Easter and then spending all next week packing for mah big move and then the two weeks after that finishing up all the last projects for my soon-to-be-history DAY JOB, I MUST GO SEE ME SOME BREAKDANCING.

In other news, yesterday my sister and Angel and I went to La Paella for lunch, where we had paella and gazpacho and split a pitcher of sangria, and then we went and had hour long massages. During which I am almost slipped off of this earth completely. Afterwards I couldn't see straight for a good ten minutes. Lovely!

And and in other other news, I MAY WELL BE GOING TO JORDAN AND EGYPT IN JUNE. And Iceland and Germany and/or back to Italy this fall.

The end.

Mar 14, 2008

Make Me a Supermodel

Last night I was so appalled at the results that I immediately went online and voted for Shannon ten times as my sister and my friend Rob, neither of whom have very good taste when it comes to these matters, objected from the couch. My sister threatened to go cancel my votes out by voting for Ronnie, but was of course far too lazy to follow these empty threats with actual action.

Also, I hope that Casey is in a meadow somewhere right now letting the wind blow throw his lovely tresses as doves and bunnies surround him. Sigh.

Mar 13, 2008

So at work I recently interviewed a community court judge in Hartford who does very very cool work with prostitutes. Listen to this one thing she does:

All of our community court clients participate in a community service component. Usually it involves wearing a vest and being on the street and doing some street sweeping and going to food share, but I was able to connect these women instead into a barn here called the Ebony Horsewomen Barn that I ride at, to do horse grooming. The woman who runs it is an ex-Marine and she is also very interested in the recovery of these women and shows them movies and gives them pep talks and also shows them how to groom the horses and develop relationships with the horses. She even lets them ride at some point if they show an interest.

What kind of effect have you found that this has on the women?

It delivers a degree of instant self-esteem to women by letting them do things that are outside of the range of their imaginations, outside of anything they ever thought that they would do, especially in an inner city and urban area. But this barn is right on the edge of our largest park here in the city, and some of the woman have said that they find it ironic that they used to do tricks behind the barn down the road and never thought they’d actually become a part of what was going on in there. And also, when you’re next to an animal that weighs a ton and you’ve got a brush and you’re actually accomplishing something, it has a real impact. Some of the women were really afraid of horses at first and now they’re holding them and relating to them unconditionally the way you can do to animals, and it’s just been a very positive impact. The barn has actually hired a few of the women and a few have gone back to volunteer.

Mar 11, 2008

So I get to Bologna at 1pm, take a cab to my hotel, and immediately sleep for 4 hours, having weird vivid dreams, the kind that disorient you for hours after. Then I get up, planning to wander around for a bit and then get dinner and come back to my room, since I leave so early in the morning, and I am really only here to fly home. So I walk through 5000 columns and arches to the main square, which is full on medieval and churchly and crazy, and it's all so thick with cars and scooters and people against this intense backdrop, and I wander all around and sit for a while on this piazza, and I watch this man play fetch with his mad little dog who looks like a miniature reindeer and I watch these tiny children chasing pigeons and I watch the lights start to flicker on because it's dusk now, and the city starts to take on this magical tone as lights appear behind these shimmering church windows and on top of the buiildings, and after a while I start to head back the way that I came but I happen upon this whole display of comic strips behind glass, whole rows of them showing this girl character in all these different cities, and it seems so weird and out of place and I'm looking at them and then this beautiful beautiful man keeps walking by staring at me and tho I'm usually pretty mental this guy affects me, and I feel sort of woozy, and we keep watching each other while walking through this display and it's like something out of a movie, and he's very intense, the way he's watching me, like it's not the way a guy normally checks you out, and we do this dance for a while and then I walk away, start heading back, but he follows, and eventually he approaches me and we talk and we end up walking around, all around the city, and then we get some wine in this sleek bar with black couches and then we're holding hands and then we be making out in the street and this whole time we're talking about all this intense stuff, like his parents' deaths and my parents' health, and our health, and God, and what we want in life, and what makes us sad, and it's all very stark and bare bones because he speaks bad English and I speak bad Italian so you sort of just have to get to the point, and he says all this stuff that really hits me, and he's my same age and some of what we talk about is very painful, and it's also all quite loving and strange, and he's stroking my hair and kissing my forehead and basically it's one of those weird random connections that hits so hard it done seems like a sign straight down from above. And when he left mah hotel a few hours later, yes I admit it, I'm teary and he says "What is wrong, do you love me now?" which is really quite charming and I laugh but that is not at all the case, I'm glad that I met him and I'm glad that he's left and I think it's the kind of thing that will make my life sligghttly different from the way it would have been otherwise. But maybe that be true of everything.

In other news, here I am in a city famous for its chow and I don't get no dinner.
So this morning I bought Joi two more pairs of shoes with the moolah she gave me thus making up a grand total of SEVEN PAIRS of shoes, thus necessitating that once again I buy a cheapass piece of luggage just to carry cloppers home in. Sigh.

I also went to another palace.

And now I be off to Bologna.

Mar 10, 2008

Please do not cry, but here are my other two new pairs of shoes, not to mention my glorious luggage.

So today was my last full day in Florence, as tomorrow I be off to Bologna and the next day back to New York. And since I had pretty much done everything I'd come here to do, it was just a day of wandering through the rainy, misty streets (this is my favorite weather!) and doing whatever lovely thing I felt like.


1. I went to Procacci for its truffle sandwiches and a glass of prosecco. I don't really love prosecco but I had read somewhere that Proccaci was, among other things, the kind of place where women met for an afternoon snack and a glass of prosecco after shopping, and that sounded so lovely I figured I had to have that, too. And my god, those sandwiches! The softest warm rolls and the richest, most wondrous truffle butter that just melts on your tongue and is as much a feeling as a taste. So sumptuuooous. Look:

And in the most charming old place.

2. I also went back to Beatrice's church on Via Santa Margherita, where she is supposedly buried (but I think an article just came out saying this isn't true) and where a basket next to her tomb/shrine overflows with bits of paper, love prayers from people asking her for help. I sat down and watched a group of giddy girls very earnestly writing out their notes and dropping them in the basket. Here are two of the girls, bent over their paper, and the basket:

I'm not going to lie, I then went to have a coffee and write my own note to Beatrice, not asking for help with love but help with writing a novel about her, and then I returned to the church and elegantly dropped it in. I also wrote it in Italian so she'd understand. Because that is how sophisticated I be.

3. After, I went and saw an exhibit on Chinese art from the years 25 to 907 at the Strozzi Palace, which was extremely cool and full of Buddhas and emporers and silver lotus flowers and fantastic animals, but it was this Li Bai poem hanging from the wall at the end that stole mah heart:

Endless Yearning (I)

I am endlessly yearning
To be in Chang'an.
Insects hum of autumn by the gold brim of the well;
A thin frost glistens like little mirrors on my cold mat;
The high lantern flickers; and deeper grows my longing.
I lift the shade and, with many a sigh, gaze upon the moon,
Single as a flower, centred from the clouds.
Above, I see the blueness and deepness of the sky.
Below, I see the greenness and the restlessness of water.
Heaven is high, Earth wide; bitter between them flies my sorrow.
Can I dream through the gateway, over the mountain?
Endless longing
Breaks my heart.

4. I also bought more gorgeous shoes, making a total of three pairs for me and two pairs for Joi. Here are hers and one of mine:

5. I then stopped and had some pistachio and nougat gelato, which I believe came straight down from heaven, and I was there looking out at the beauteous street, the one I stayed on in November, Via dei Neri, when I realized that playing on the TV overhead was some song where some guy is singing "big women are beautiful" whilst dancing down the street with 50000 buxom, lingerie-clad, burlesque-y women laughing and dancing behind him. As a buxom lass mahself, I found this VERY ROOD, especially whilst trying to enjoy GELATO. Anyway, here is said beauteous street, all slick with rain:

6. I then went to the glamorous glamorous theater I am madly in love with to see There Will Be Blood showing in English. I sort of wanted to see the movie but really would have seen anything playing there that wasn't dubbed in Italian. Because I am not sure many things make me happier than sinking into a big velvet seat at an old glamorous theater and waiting for the lights to go down, especially on a lazy rainy Monday afternoon in a foreign city. To me it is puuuure magic.

I would also like to point out that at said theater one can buy RITZ CRACKERS.

7. And then finally at the more italiano hour of 9:30 I went to dinner at this place where Joi and I discovered ribolletta before, the kind of boisterous friendly place with red and white checked tablecloths and a loud "BUONA SERA SIGNORINA!!!!" yelling owner behind a counter who sat yours truly right near said counter and talked/yelled all through dinner ("HOW DO YOU LIKA!"), and lots of meats and bottles of chianti hanging down from archways. It was so cozy and lovely and I had wine and ribolletta and tomatoes and it felt like being at a relative's house but at the same time I could just enjoy being there and take tons of notes for my book and not feel at all weird. Being alone but feeling not alone is something I vedddy much like. And as I was leaving I was invited to partake in some limoncello drinking with a group of laughing people who'd surrounded the owner, but I smiled politely and vamooosed to my cheapass home away from home. Because I am some ready for bed.

The end.

Mar 9, 2008

So I have had a very very wondrous few days in Florence so far, wandering around and meeting with medieval and Renaissance academic types and visiting anything that was around in the 13th century and going into bookstores and into churches and into the Casa di Dante and drinking coffee at my favorite place while taking notes notes notes and then buying beauteous shoes and eating magical plates of pasta and bruschetta and drinking goblets of red wine and bottles of sparkling water. Today I also attempted to eat lampredotto, which is this popular Florentine street food made of COW STOMACH. I thought it might be disguised in such a way as to appear un-intestinal, but when I lifted that bread it winked out at me in a most stomachly manner, causing me to grow woozy and unbrave and throw the whole mess away.

I also had a very sublime moment, sitting down this afternoon on a ledge of the Strozzi Palace, facing the arch that leads into the Piazza della Republica--which in Dante's day was the city's big outdoor marketplace--and, beyond that, the street the Portinari family (Beatrice's family) once lived on, and it had been raining for a while and so everything was hazy and silvery and the streets were still wet, and I just leaned with my back against the thick stone of this old palace and watched and listened as people walked by, holding hands and with dogs and with babies and in groups and two men arm in arm who blew me kisses and all the sounds seemed magnified, like the whir of bikes going by on the wet pavement and the rumble of buses and the clicking of shoes, and all the bells! Bells ringing and ringing, and the city fully present but filled with ghosts, and of course I am trying to immerse myself in the past but I can see it now, how the city once was and the old market teeming with people and merchants. And the whole time there's this couple making out, sitting on the same ledge a ways down from me. I took one quick photo of the scene in front of me before my camera died. I didn't even realize till now I was right in front of a Louis Vuitton store. Ha!

And then time just strettttcched out the way it never does for me in New York, and I felt like I had hours and hours to just do nothing at all, and I thought I might see a movie at the Odeon Theater, which is so gorgeous and glamorous and was just to the right of where I was sitting, but they were showing There Will Be Blood dubbed in Italian and so I did the next most logical thing and went to the SERIAL KILLER MUSEUM. Which has little exhibits on Giles de Rais and Elizabeth Bathory and Jack the Ripper and Ted Bundy and so on, and then one I'd somehow never heard of, Albert Fish, whose story actually made me wince and gasp out loud. So horrifying! Such extreme versions of secret lives men like him had, driven by the most intense fantasies, and on the outside so normale. Just like the characters I like to write... if said characters were a bit more diabolical, that is.

Anyway, I then walked over the bridge alle Grazie to the Oltrarno and past this little park and through the medieval gates and up this hill to my favorite restaurant here which is quite hidden away and where they aint so American friendly and the lady who seated me seemed appalled that I was eating alone--IN A MOST GARBOESQUE MANNER I MIGHT ADD--and acted like it was a big deal even though the place was still empty as I went before 8pm in a most Americana fashion, but the indignity I suffered was worth it as the food at that place is amazing and it's the loveliest loveliest restaurant with sunflowers and Christmas lights and a tree growing out of the floor. I don't even know what pasta I had, as all the primi piatti were about the same price and I asked the waiter to just bring me the one he liked best, and it was this huge thick round pasta with boar sauce I think and some grated cheese. And I had a big glass of red wine and got inspired and wrote a whole scene for mah new book.

Oh, another thing I wanted to write down: so yesterday I spent several hours with a beauteous woman named Noel who filled me with facts over a pastry and coffee and then showed me some strange sights and told me some strange Florentine tales like the one about Ginevra degli Almieri, who was forced to marry a man she didn't love and was so sad she stopped eating and grew so sick she seemed to have died. So she was taken away to be buried. But then she "came back to life" since she was not actually dead, just swoony I guess, and when she returned to her husband he thought she was a ghost and sent her away, and so she went to the house of the man she loved but wasn't allowed to marry, and he of course weren't no fool and took her in, and when the husband found out he went to the church authorities to punish her. But they said that since she had up and died their marriage had been officially annulled and she was free to live as she pleased. And TO THIS DAY SHE HAUNTS THIS VERY PIAZZA:

The end.

Mar 8, 2008

I loooove being in Florence again, even tho I am staying in the most cheapass place I've ever stayed in, with a chest of drawers that broke apart when I opened it, and even though a mean looking woman FELT ME UP at the Frankfurt Airport, and even though an Indian boy attached himself to me for many many blocks last night saying that my lips "look like flower." I also already broke my own vow and bought two pairs of shoes. Sigh. In half an hour a Renaissance expert shall meet me at my hotel and bookly adventures shall begin.

Mar 6, 2008

So I fly to Italy tonight at 9:30pm with a layover in Germany and will be in Florence tomorrow afternoon and I have arranged to meet with a few different academics/guides who will show me and tell me about everything they can about the 13th century, and Saturday afternoon this lovely woman who lives in Dante's old house is showing me around, and basically, I think by the end of the weekend I'll be in a much much better position to write my new book then I am right now. Monday I'll do some more wandering and then Tuesday I head to Bologna just to check it out before flying home Wednesday morning via Vienna. OOOLALALALA!

In other news, Project Runway made me cry. I LOVE CHRISTIAN!!!

Mar 5, 2008

So I recently recovered a ton of photos I thought I'd lost last year when my laptop crashed, and came across pictorial evidence of my first experience at BOOK EXPO, which is where I first saw galleys of Rain Village and experienced the following hotel room horror:

Massie and I drove down to DC for the experience, and were put up at a hotel by my publisher that we were told was the Ramada Inn. (I was also delicately asked if we needed one bed or two). We drove up and down the street and couldn't find a Ramada Inn. After much confusion we realized that we'd been misinformed and that the hotel at the address we were trying to find had a different name. President's Inn or something, I forget. So we park and go in and the first thing we notice is that the receptionist is sitting behind BULLET PROOF GLASS. But we bravely check in and proceed to our room. Which reeked of smoke. So we demanded a new room, which seemed okay enough until we realized that the MATTRESSES WERE ALL STAINED WITH BLOOD. And that there were food stains on the wall art. And that the remote control had wires sticking out of it. Then Tink and her brother called (her brother lives in DC and Tink was down for Book Expo as well), and when her brother heard where we were staying, he drew in a deep breath and advised us: "DO NOT WALK AROUND OUTSIDE." He also gallantly offered to come get us and put us up himself.

But we persevered. Despite the horror that had seized my soul, I could not help but feel that it was somehow appropriate that for my first glamorously authoressly event I should be sleeping on blood-stained mattresses and reaching under bullet broof glass to get my room key in the President's Hotel. It seemed a metaphor for the whole process of writing and publishing a book in the first place. And it seemed apt, too, that when Massie and I returned to the room after the first day of festivities (including a Harlequin book party in a large white mansion festooned with glowy white flowers and tuxedo'd waiters), the EXIT sign in the hallway should be smashed and scattered in pieces on the floor.

So of course like all normal people we thought this was all very hilarious and made the following glorious photonovela.

Disclaimer: What is pictured here is not a typical sequence of events accompanying the reading of mah book. Thankyou.

The end.

Miraculously, we survived this whole experience, and lived to take even more sophisticated photos last night on the graffiti-ed streets of the East Village. OH YEAH.

The end.

Mar 4, 2008

I would just like to mention that last night I went out with my old friend Stephanie, who many moons ago was my roommate in Los Angeles when I was in grad school and she was a lowly assistant in the film industry, and my sister, and we were celebrating Stephanie's last day at her job and her completing this crazy executive MBA degree at Columbia, and Stephanie is from Iran and one of those jet setting internationale types who will go off for a weekend to ski in the Swiss Alps, and anyway, I seem to know several people of late for whom the world seems much smaller and more accessible than it does to me and I WANT TO TRAVEL LIKE THAT TOO! Of course I say this just before going to hunker down in Pennsylvania for a year but after that I shall go everywhere everywhere. I mean just this month Stephanie is off to Nicaragua and Italy, and she's always off in India or China or London or Iran or Germany and she might be moving to Dubai. Really, it is just obscene.

Anyway, we went to this Persian restaurant on 30th Street. This is my favorite cuisine, and has been ever since I worked in this Persian restaurant in Seattle when I was in my early 20s (I also worked at a sports bar named BOGEYS where part of my soul died from the constant onslaught of grunge and heavy metal). Lamb kebab and onion and basmati rice and yogurt and pita and eggplant and the most amazing ice cream with rose water and pistachio! That restaurant was some damn good. Once I waited on an Arab sheik who tipped me 50 dollars for bringing out a plate of fish.

The end.

Mar 3, 2008

So I had a very lovely weekend in Philadelphia with my friends Mark and Jen and their baby Anna, all of whom live in a cozy wooden-floored fireplace-lit art-filled magical rowhouse in S. Philly, which I have described previously and is one of my very favorite places. Mark strapped Anna onto his chest and Saturday we wandered around looking at antiques and art and books, and tried on many many hats in stores filled with vintage bras and Jayne Mansfield movies.

We also had a very lovely lunch at this place Sabrina's, where Anna stared and squawked at everyone in the vicinity causing one exceptionally rhinestone-y beautiful black woman to call and coo out repeatedly, "YOU WANNA BE MY GIRLFRIENDNNNDDD???" which I think might be the best thing to say to a baby ever.

And when it was time for Anna's nap she just went to sleep right on Mark and slept that way for at least an hour.

During which time I bought a book of Cavalcanti poems and these astonishing bakelite earrings.

Then Saturday evening Mark and I went to see the lovely Odyssey starring Ms. Trillian Stars, aka hennepin, who looked spookily and gorgeously glamorous in the candlelight as she channeled Circe and Penelope and Athena and all other type of other ancient enchantress.

Afterwards we went out for a bit with Trillian and her beau Mr. Kyle Cassidy, who needs to take some author photos for me soon, and some other theatrical presences, but we were very sleepy in a very unpartyanimal-like manner.

On Sunday Mark made pancakes and he and Jen and Anna and I lay around by the fire watching the old Kirk Douglas movie Young Man with a Horn, where a talented young trumpet player goes to pieces over Lauren Bacall, as one does, and Doris Day sings some croony jazz. Later we met up with a group of other friends to have these famous volcanic hot chocolates that tasted like LIQUID CAKE:

And we did many other wondrous things and I spent much quality time with my girlfriend Anna before taking the Chinatown bus back to NYC and going deaf from loud, pumping Asian techno music.

The end.