March 25, 2015 § 6 Comments
I am kind of like this right now:
There’s a LOT going on with work, there’s a LOT going on with book stuff, and there’s a LOT going on just with life in general. It feels a little like zooming down the highway on a turbo-boosted electric scooter at 100mph with my eyelids taped open and my hair on fire, but it’s all good.
Part of what’s making this spring so busy is a string of travel dates for work/fun, which, although it’s kind of exhausting, I really enjoy. The first thing I always plan after the plane ticket is the dining, because I love trying new food and eating like locals eat. (Unless locals eat raw bird feet or celery pie, in which case, terribly sorry, but fuck that, locals.) Nothing caps off a long day like an awesome dinner. My family and I ate our way through DC last week, and now I’m eating lettuce and ice cubes until I get to Portland this weekend, at which point I’ll shift back into pasta-and-wine gear.
Speaking of which: Making dinner has long been my relaxation ritual when I’m home. Lately though, suppertime around here has been an episode of The Crazy Show. Well . . . maybe more like The Lazy Show. I told my editor at the New York Times I was thinking of trying one of those dinner-kit-in-a-box plans just to make things easier and bring back the fun, and she said, “DO IT” and also “WRITE ABOUT IT.” So I did. (I tried several, actually. Because if I’m going to eat my way through an assignment, I’m for goshdarn sure going to be thorough about it. *Hiccup*) Here’s the result of that little experiment —
Anyway, thanks for clicking over to take a look, if you’re so inclined. More on the travel and the book and all manner of other inanity later. Meanwhile, please enjoy new penguins every week. (Did you see there’s finally an animated one?) Thanks!
March 10, 2015 § 1 Comment
Thanks, Press Publish, for this interview — it was fun. And I’m very much looking forward to speaking in Portland in a couple of weeks. (I’m not much of a conference person, usually, but if you use WordPress for anything, you might want to look into this. It’s just a single day; the passes aren’t expensive and come with free site upgrades; and the WordPress people have crammed so many really useful sessions into the day. Plus… hey, Portland. Join us, won’t you?)
March 6, 2015 § 17 Comments
From the ad pages of your favorite magazines come these simple instructions. Just follow along, and you’ll always make the right decision.
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1. BE FANCY WHEN you make an exit.
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2. BE FANCY WHEN you want a promotion.
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3. BE CASUAL WHEN you need to reach group consensus.
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4. BE FANCY WHEN you watch a solar eclipse.
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5. BE FANCY when you’re dying of consumption.
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6. BE CASUAL WHEN you undertake personal maintenance.
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7. BE FANCY WHEN you’re waiting your turn.
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8. BE FANCY WHEN you dole out vengeance.
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9. BE FANCY WHEN you entertain for family and friends.
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10. BE FANCY WHEN even when it hurts.
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11. BE CASUAL WHEN you take in a bit of culture.
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12. BE FANCY WHEN you’re a guest.
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13. BE CASUAL WHEN you’re feeling conflicted.
Remember: The world is your sandcastle, and you’re the queen. Rule it.
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Thanks to US Weekly for adding me to the Fashion Police force alongside my buddies Wendi Aarons and Gloria Fallon. (Look for my captions in the back of the magazine next time you’re getting a pedicure or waiting in a long grocery line.) I shall carry the badge with pride.
March 3, 2015 § 14 Comments
I’ve never been to Portland. In fact, I’ve never been to Oregon at all. But I’m going there in a few weeks, so I thought I’d do a little research.
Put a bird on it? Why, yes indeed. You know how I feel about putting birds on things.
Also, I think Portland’s approach to mixology will provide some excellent research opportunities for Dagger & Dill.
Just kidding. I know basically nothing about Portland other than that there’s a great big indie bookstore there. Powell’s is at the top of my list to visit. What else should I know about Portland? Is it cold? What should I pack? I do know it’s not a quick trip to get there from where I live, so I’ll be spending some quality time in airports, which is excellent, because it gives me a chance to indulge in one of my favorite hobbies:
It occurs to me that once I get there, I’ll be meeting people in person with whom I normally only interact by email, so really, this is a chance for reinvention. I could be anyone. I could adopt an interesting accent, like this:
Or I could be like, “What? Oh no, I’m a cat. You didn’t know?”
And then when the people are like, “WHAT. That’s not a cat. You must be a baby hippo,” I can go, “Ohhhh, no, actually, that is a common mistake. I’m just a very smooth cat. I thought you knew.” The point is, I have options.
Anyway, here’s the reason I’m going: There’s a new event WordPress.com is launching this year, a conference series called Press Publish, and the debut gathering takes place in Portland on March 28. I’m tremendously grateful that WordPress has invited me to speak at the first-ever Press Publish event. Since I started this site three years ago and decided to use WordPress to build it, I’ve been so touched and impressed by the support I’ve received from the people behind the platform. So yes, WordPress, I’ll go wherever you ask me to go. Let’s do this.
March 2, 2015 § 2 Comments
More about this tomorrow… but for now: If you have a blog where you talk about your life, your work, your family, your friends, etc., please do chime in on the conversation happening on the Press Publish site this week. Do you go anonymous? Are you 100% you? Somewhere in between? Here’s the question up for discussion this week:
Originally posted on Press Publish:
Let’s talk about what it means to be anonymous. Incognito. Unknown.
Sometimes anonymity enables freedom. I’ve read blogs and articles where authors remain anonymous because they don’t feel they can risk having their names associated with what they’ve written, and some of that personal writing is brave and beautiful and amazing.
Other times, going anonymous is a real wuss move. Commenting online, for instance, is a scenario in which anonymity can breed nasty behavior. People feel protected behind their screens, so they type things they’d never dream of saying out loud to someone’s face.
When I started my first blog, I did it without my name attached. I’m a professional writer, and at the time I started blogging, I did not want my clients to discover that when I was taking a break from, say, ghostwriting a book about cancer, I was posting send-ups of fashion ads and bizarro jokes about whatever popped into my…
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February 23, 2015 § 12 Comments
What was he thinking?
What were they thinking?
(Click play to hear audio.)
February 10, 2015 § 9 Comments
You know how it’s kind of funny when you ask your phone strange questions and Siri answers? Or when you speak into a sound-altering app just to hear words like “I like monkey riblets for breakfast” come back at you in a robot voice?
I am delighted to let you know that you can now have that experience on paper. Here’s how:
Penguins with People Problems is officially now available for pre-order. Pub date is June 2, which means you can’t actually get it in your hands before then, but you can place an early order now. Why do pre-orders matter? Well, I’ll let this author tell you, because I think Tony Earley did a nice job of explaining it. The point is: Lots of pre-orders mean a stronger opening week for the book, and that’s a really good thing.
It’s very easy. You can pre-order a book anywhere you normally buy books. I might suggest one of these ways:
1. Walk into your local real-live bookstore and tell a human bookseller you want to pre-order it. Your bookstore is there to serve your community and if you want it to stay open — if you want to live in a place that has a bookstore — you gotta buy your books there. So do it, and tell your booksellers I said hi. (Not sure where the nearest store is? Go to IndieBound.org and they’ll find it for you!) –>
2. If you don’t have a local bookstore, you can borrow this one: Parnassus Books in Nashville. The best part is, I actually work in this awesome little indie shop, so any pre-orders that come through here will be physically touched by me! I MIGHT LICK YOUR BOOK! Just kidding, I would never lick a book. But I will very happily autograph it and inscribe it in any way you like, at no additional charge.
That’s right, I said any way you like. You want your name in it? I’ll personalize it. You want someone else’s name? I’ll inscribe it as a gift and think up something nice to say. You want 10 little smiley faces? You got it. You want a dirty limerick about corn? Try me. I will write anything you want me to write, in as many books as you want.
All you have to do is write your request in the “comments” section at checkout, like this:
Think you might want a bunch of copies as a fun summer gift to your book club or to play book-Jenga with? In that case, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask. Sometimes, if a book is being ordered in bulk, you can get a nice little discount.
You can also pre-order from the links here, and that’s OK, too — whatever floats your merry little boat:
The point is: If you like to look at the world through penguin-colored glasses, or if you know someone who might, spread the word! (But if you hate penguins who go to work and have friends and wear outfits and embarrass themselves, then fine. I’ll be back to posting weather reports soon.)
And if you’re reading this, you were probably around when this whole goofy penguin thing started. This is happening because of you. Thank you.