August 26, 2014 § 2 Comments
… turn the volume up and blow it out.
This is a crazy-busy week and I am still trying to wash off the glitter from the weekend. I attended a Hawaiian-themed party dressed as a lit tiki torch. It was a lot of fun, but there was so much sparkly stuff and tiny broken lightbulbs on my floor afterward, it looked like I’d killed Ke$ha and done a shitty job covering up the evidence. I made it into the finals of the costume contest (tip: costumes involving fire / electricity are always a good bet), but ultimately the winner was my friend who dressed as the Landshark from classic Saturday Night Live, and I can’t argue with that. It was good.
Speaking of good times, I’m just going to drop a song here and go. Feel free to adopt it as your theme song or dance to it while you’re sitting in your car or share it with someone who needs it or whatever. It’s “Blow It Out” by The Features:
August 19, 2014 § 15 Comments
This is nothing but a bunch of squishy, delicious puppy pictures.
For context on who this little one is and where he came from, you can get the full story in my column today for The New York Times. Then you can wallow in some more fuzzy goodness here:
Looks like it might take some time for them to become friends.
If Russian spies wanted to kill me, all they’d have to do is send in a spy-assassin-puppy.
There’s some yellow lab in there, but other than that, who knows? We’re going with “blended heritage.”
If you really want to go nuts with puppy goodness, the article at the NYT has video, too.
Oh, and I just want to holler some thanks at the good folks at the shelter and animal hospital where Woodstock lived before we met him. They took mighty good care of the little guy, and we’re glad.
July 21, 2014 § 38 Comments
Whew. Moving is hard.
Doing hard things is a shitload easier if you have the help of lots of other people, including hired professionals who may or may not have been professional bodybuilders in a past career and are therefore qualified to lift extremely heavy things. But even if you’re the one who needs help, you can’t just take, take, take. You have to give back a little, too. I’m a big believer in giving everyone I have a meaningful interaction with something — if not an actual thing, then a gesture, a feeling, a thought. Kind of like how my mama taught me that when you return somebody’s dish, you don’t return it empty; you put something of your own making back into it. (Thank you for the delicious casserole. Here is your pan back, along with some drawings I made of a giraffe smoking a cigarette.)
But what on earth could I offer a bunch of big, burly movers?
I decided I would give the gift of making their work a wee bit more interesting, and I would do it by labeling my moving boxes for them.
I mean, don’t you think it gets old, looking at all those brown boxes every day? They’re probably pretty similar in every house. “Kitchen… upstairs bath… dishes… books… roller skates…” I bet sometimes it feels like the same old job just repeating itself day after day. Well, not anymore. I would make these boxes different, keep the job entertaining. That’s what I could give.
It occurred to me at one point that there was potential for this whole thing to go wrong. What if the boss guy saw one of my boxes, thought one of his packers labeled it, and said, “WTF, Carl — why is this box labeled, ‘socks for dragons’? YOU’RE FIRED, CARL,” and then one of the really nice packer guys got canned? So I stopped, and instead of the spiritual gift of laughter, I got everyone some pizzas.
(In reality: If they even noticed, the boss guy was probably just like, “Oh, sheezus. Look, Carl, we got another jokester.”)
* * *
PS: Are you having a nice summer? I hope so. As you may have noticed, I’m not posting here quite so much this month. But it’s for a bunch of good reasons. For one thing, I’m working on the book. For another, my day-job is jammin’ lately. But then also, it’s summer. And I just moved. And I can’t even find the box that has clean bras in it, and I don’t have a washing machine yet, so I’m spending a lot of time hand-washing these same two bras and hanging them up outside to dry, which is why I’ll probably be getting a LOT of dinner invitations from my new neighbors pretty soon, so I guess I’ll be staying quite busy for a while. But I’ll be back. Promise.
June 13, 2014 § 45 Comments
I guess I was always sort of afraid someone from Penguin Random House might call.
I figured it would be a lawyer with some sort of cease-and-desist message.
But when the call came, it was not a lawyer. It was an editor. And she did not want the birds to cease (or desist).
I’m beyond insanely excited to share the news that The Random Penguins will be waddling into the real world as a book in the summer of 2015. Penguins With People Problems will be published by Perigee Books, an imprint of — I swear I’m not making this up — Penguin Random House.
So that’s the news. If you like stories, here’s the tale of how it all went down:
One day back in February, I got an email from a person I’d never met. Her name was Meg, and she said she was an executive editor at Perigee and wanted to talk. I love to talk, so I said OK and made a list of conversation topics and called her.
Meg did not want to discuss my hair or Downton Abbey or baby goats or that bitch I don’t like — or any of the other subjects I was ready to chat about. She wanted to know if I’d ever thought of turning The Random Penguins into a book. I said: Well sure, but life is busy and I just haven’t had time to pursue it. She said: Why don’t you think about it now, and then let’s talk again. And I said: OK, cool.
Then I hung up and hyperventilated.
Anyway — blah blah blah — lots of stuff happened between then and now. Conference calls; contracts; negotiations on the penguins’ behalf by my agent, Kristyn, who is awesome and understands how little I like to deal with math. But the gist is, there’s going to be a penguin book, published by the same company that published Lord of the Flies. It’s ALSO the company that published Color Me Swooooon, the activity book where you color pictures of Channing Tatum and Benedict Cumberbatch — so there’s obviously no place the penguins could possibly fit in better.
So. That’s that. The book will be roughly half brand-new, never-seen-before penguins and half greatest hits of the online bunch (re-drawn with better technology). Manuscript and illustration due in August . . . which, if you know me in real life, means you know I’m writing and illustrating a book at the same time my people and I are living out of boxes, having just moved. I have no idea what day it is or which end is up. Please pardon me if I seem scattered. It’s all very exciting, though, and I’m super-crazypants grateful for the support of everyone who’s been around from the start.
Meanwhile, new penguins will still continue to go up on tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. AND, starting now, they’ll be on WordPress as well. (Many thanks to Michelle on the WordPress team for helping me click a few buttons and, beep-bop-boop, make that happen.) Head on over and click to follow if you want.
June 12, 2014 § 8 Comments
If you’ll pardon a little work-related cross posting today… Thought some of you might enjoy this one. It’s an interview I did with David Sedaris for Musing.
He has some great comments here about writing, editing, and publishing, if you’re into that sort of thing. And also he’s just funny as all hell — not to mention a real gentleman and a thoughtful guy. Click the pic and follow it over to the interview if you like:
Bonus: If you prefer not to blow your disposable income on hardbacks, his latest book is now out in paperback.