Saturday, December 30, 2006


Do you believe in fate? That moment that timing and opportunity come together for a high five? Yeah, i like to think i believe in that. But then i go and ruin it.
So the book is done. I've been researching literary agents, preparing query letters and getting everything set to send out. Brought my work into work today to go over the letters one last time and as i'm unpacking all my envelopes and sample chapters, i'm browsing through the VIP list and see "Douglas Coupland: Wallpaper Magazine." hmm, weird. I wonder if that's Douglas Coupland, the author. It's very possible he writes for Wallpaper--he does everything else. So after some sleuthing, I realize it's him. So cut to me freaking out.
Me to Erik: Dude, don't you think that's a little weird? I have all my query letters just sitting here, samples of my work, and Douglas Coupland is HERE!
Erik: Who?
Me: Douglas Coupland! He's this insanely talented writer! Do you think he would look over my letters?
Erik: That guy orders coffee like it's going out of style.
Me: Awesome! When he orders, I'm going up. I'm just going to say, "Hello Mr. Coupland, I love your books. May I pour you a cup of coffee? And excuse me, but can you make a girl's life and read over this query letter?"
Erik: Yeah, OK.
Me: Or maybe I should just leave it by the coffee, and as he's enjoying the joe he'll notice it. "Hey, what's this? This isn't a napkin! This is a manuscript! Open Eyed Sneeze? Gosh, that's clever. Let me read this over." And then he'll call Room Service and want to talk with me and he'll call his agent straight away and say, "Simonoff, I think this girl's got something here. And damn, she makes a great cup of coffee."
Erik: Yeah, OK. You can bring up his coffee.

So I sit around doing nothing for 5 hours waiting for this guy to order and change my life. I shouldn't say "doing nothing." I was, of course, planning out how the entire conversation would go. Anticipating anything he could possibly say, and plotting out my subtle responses so that they wouldn't sound rehearsed.
But still, no orders.
Finally I'm thinking, that's it. I'm just going to go up to his room with a bottle of wine and say, "Excuse me Mr. Coupland, I have an amenity from the hotel for you." and once I'm in the room, opening the wine, THEN i'll bring up my book. Good. But what if he doesn't drink? He likes coffee, you could bring coffee. But what if he's sick of coffee by now? Ice Cream! Yes! Everyone loves a sundae! Good. No wait, but then he'll want me to get the hell out of his room so he can eat it before it melts. Hmm, the wine is good. Opening the wine gives us time to talk. Or maybe I could bring the fixings for a salad in and say, "Hello Mr. Coupland, I'm here to prepare a salad for you. It's an amenity we offer. This will only take 20 minutes or so. But while I'm chopping these organic ingredients, let's shoot the shit."
No, go with the wine.

By this point I've had 300 imaginary conversations with this man. Sadly, they all end with him giving me a puzzled look saying that he didn't order wine.

I didn't go up.
I'm hoping that a few years from now, I'll be at a party with Doug (that's what I'll call him) and we'll laugh about this. I'm hoping I won't be serving him his coffee at this party.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Tiara? Really?

I once heard someone say that the media doesn't tell you what to think, it tells you what to think about. OK, fine, but sometimes that's just as annoying. There are big things going on in this world. Big, important, serious things that deserve our attention and if people could pull themselves away from stalking each other on myspace for five seconds, they might actually be concerned about it.
Bush is talking about sending more troops into Iraq, saying that it is necessary for victory. Seriously, what's wrong with this man? No, for real. Here's my assessment of Iraq: We broke in, destroyed the place, hung around too long, and then blame the people there when they get pissed about it. It'd be like the team from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition taking that crew of 100, ripping down a house, and then just chilling for a few years. "Why are you so upset?! We're building you this beautiful house! and you're all waah wahh, where's my house? Building a beautiful house with Sears appliances takes time! Just wait in this mess and geez, be grateful! When we finish up here we're going to play it over with some very emotional music and you'll cry. Just you wait."
Have you ever noticed when a car breaks down or a bbq fire goes out, men gather around to stare at it? Iraq is beginning to feel a bit like that bbq fire and Bush is all, "Hey, c'mere and look at this. Let's get some more people to come look at this too."
OK, not sure what the bbq fire thing was supposed to mean. It's not the point of the post. The point is, the media is sharing Iraq coverage with the breaking news of Miss USA. Truly. The news is covering an actual Donald Trump press conference to talk about giving Miss USA a second chance after underage drinking and partying in nyc--disgracing the crown.
Um, what?
Here's the thing about pageants. They're ridiculous. I will argue that nothing can be taken seriously when a swimsuit is involved--even Olympic Swimming competitions. (yeah, you did Russia proud, but i can see your package). The idea that Miss USA is a role model and could actually disgrace a position that requires a tiara is the definition of silly. And of course, she said she will attend rehab, because really? what else is there to do to fill the days of being Miss USA?
But do you see? The media got me thinking about it, those tricky bastards.
And we're all a little dumber.
You may now return to Myspace

Been There.

I've always been fascinated by logic. The logic classes i took in college were dry and often confusing with everybody and his brother having a theory, but i sort of loved the puzzle search for truth. Puzzle games are fun but working out a long logic problem has a greater reward in that you can say, this is true, and this is why. The extent to which you can find truth in a crossword is a bit less dramatic--This is true because it fits in seven boxes.

Logic problems dealing with probability were of particular interest to me because they dealt with considering possible outcomes. Such is life, right? Weighing actual occurrences to the number of possible ones was an interesting way to look at things. Ideas of randomness and uncertainty-- which i think are two big players in life. Certainty creates the trinity but it's usually not until too late that we establish this one. Sure, Certainty will pop in time and again to remind us that we like Apple Jacks and soft-serve ice cream, but Randomness and Uncertainty tap us on the shoulder on the daily. So personally, my greatest certainty is to know that randomness and uncertainty will be probably be true. But particularly after college, particularly in my parent's house, randomness and uncertainty were always true. It wasn't a question of probability. (It's basically what my entire book is about.)

My little sister is just learning this and I find that hilarious.

Nessa finished school a semester early and packed her life into her mustang to drive it all back to NY. My father, never one to miss a road trip, flew down to florida to help share the drive back with her. I knew in the way that you know it will get dark at nighttime, that this would be a hilarious trip--for me to hear about, not for them to experience.
Setting: Front seats of my sister's over-packed car. Belongings falling on them every time the brakes were used.
Characters: My father (who never stops talking. Ever.)
Vanessa: Hung-over from partying one last time at school, miserable to be returning home.
Stella: Nessa's min pin who whines when her head is not sticking out the window and who now wears a silver bubble jacket with fur trimmed hood. Truly.
Plot Synopsis:The road trip was met with the usual suspects. surpassing the point of exhaustion, being cramped in a car, listening to my father, and hanging Stella out of the window, Vanessa had had it by Virginia.
My two favorite stories from what i could get out of her were my father discovering a leak from the gas tank and going on for 3 states about how they could very likely blow up. "We're going to blow up, and no one will know about it. Give me your phone so i can tell mom to write a letter to Ford." So he calls my mother and says, "Debbie, if we blow up I want you to write to Ford and say it was the gas tank."
And throughout the southern states there were numerous signs that read "Speed enforced by air RADAR." Working on little sleep and not sharing the wheel with Hangover McGee, my father started to crack himself up when a crow flew by the car. "Oh, watch out Ness, here we go! This one's probably got the RADAR gun!" I guess this continued with every bird he saw--for 1200 miles.

They arrived home without blowing up and Ness called me today, her voice coated with concern.
-um, do you have a minute?
-yea, what's up?
-Well, I went out to the family room because i heard dad calling out numbers, and i found him on a scale, holding my bags. He was weighing each bag, subtracting his weight and totaling the amount of stuff i put in the car.
-Before i could get a word out he said, "This bag of shoes weighed 13 pounds!"
-Jess? Hello, did you hear me?
-Yeah. Nessa, what do you want me to say?
And after a minute i could hear the flicker of recognition that comes when completing a logic proof.

Randomness, Uncertainty. At home with my parents.
This is true, this is why.

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Beginning To Look Nothing Like Christmas.

Christmas in Cali is like a road trip without the radio. sure, you can do it, but why would you want to?
I start to miss the east coast around Thanksgiving and it works up to this killer anticipation to see all my family and eat insane amounts of food that hits the apex right before I board a flight to nyc. i'm not a good flight buddy for strangers in that i'd rather not speak to them at all. But on flights home for the holidays, i am my father's daughter. Talking to everyone about their plans, asking if they want a festive beverage, "what? airplane coffee is the worst, let's get you some bailey's for that old friend!"
I almost don't recognize myself during these times, but that's the magic of the holidays.
Not going home this year due to scheduling problems, and i thought i'd be cool with it. But San Francisco for Christmas is like a man in drag or something. Even if it's really convincing, it's not really convincing. So while the city puts up lights and decorations, stores blare the traditional classics, and people ringing bells stand EVERYWHERE (can i give you money to STOP ringing that bell?!) you walk around with your eggnog latte thinking, yeah, i can totally tell this city is a man.
The holidays belong to the East Coast. New York owns Christmas. New England has the rights to Thanksgiving. Upstate invented snow. Jack Frost summers in the Tri-State area. Any ideas of the holidays that spread to middle America and the West, are leased to them by the East Coast. Can't you tell when something is rented? A car, a room, a tuxedo. People act differently when they know it's not really theirs. People in California know that Christmas belongs back East so they use it gently because they forgot to sign up for the $11 insuarance.
In an effort to create my own Christmas spirit without signing a lease, i've taken the following steps:
-Watched Home Alone.
-Watched Christmas Vacation.
-Bought, baked, and consumed an entire roll of Pillsbury sugar cookies.
Right, so I thought that'd do the trick. Not so much. I just ended up saying "Buzz's girlfriend, woof" and "THE BLESSING" like thirty times and grabbing my sides all day wondering why i ached.
Here's what I'm missing:
-My mother's Nativity scene with the figures who have been chipped after years of use to the point that almost none of them have feet. Most of the figures, save for the cows and camels, are leaning against the manger, which undoubtedly will be filled with easter basket grass because we lost the straw years ago.
-A christmas tree. Is it lame that i used to like to just sit and watch the tree? probably, but i don't care, and i miss it.
-SNOW. i miss snow and all things derivative. snowballs, snowmen, snow angels, snow brushes, snow tires, snow boots, snow drifts. snow is christmas, rain is not. when was the last time a class of elementary students made paper cutouts or raindrops? Never. Exactly. ok, maybe april, but you see where i'm going.

gah, felt good to get that out. and really, what would Christmas be if we couldn't bitch about it a little?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Nope, still confused.

Long time no blog. (note: that saying has almost no poetic undertones and i fear it won't catch on.) But while I don't post, life continues to amaze at alarming rates.

*First let's get it out of the way. too many insane celebrities, not enough quips in the cosmos, put on some underwear. good. that sufficiently wraps up a few months. and if someone can explain how paris, brittany and lindsay can be together and the world doesn't implode, i'd like to know how that's possible.
*Democrats got some power back. only that's like being handed the keys to a maserati after someone pooped in it. celebrate if you want, but it's going take a while to get that new car smell back. and every time you pass those people who pooped in it, they're going to know that they can poop in your car, and you'll still drive it. i watch a lot of c-span and this poop/car thing is a huge issue on the hill.
but to get into that poopy car, midterm election ads spent over $500million. we're spending about $6300 per second in iraq according to nick kristof, PER SECOND. remember the americans without healthcare? remember the katrina folks still living in trailers? remember the working poor being squeezed out of cities? Is Brewster's Millions like the ONLY movie playing in washington?!
*Recent studies prove that elephants are among the few mammals (chimps/maybe dolphins) that can recognize themselves in the mirror. great. all an elephant needs is some mirror self-image boosting. after the study one particularly sensitive elephant named Grapefruit, refused to eat peanuts and was found on an elliptical machine.
*Antonio Banderas is the voice of a cartoon bee in a Nasonex commercial.
*An artist named Jibbs has released a song called "Chain Hang Low." during the hook a chorus of children ask,
Do yo chain hang low Do it wobble to the flo Do it shine in the light Is it platinum, Is it gold Could you throw it ov'r ya shoulda If you hot it make you cold Do your chain hang low?
* The New York Times, "all the news that's fit to print" had an article about the dangers of large pocketbooks. anyone? anyone help me out with that one?

There's a bit of anxiety when you start to see the times you're living in solely as future Trivial Pursuit answers.