Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dancing with ourselves.

Leopold got a haircut today.

This is not particularly remarkable (1).

But because the haircut took place in the middle of an afternoon of running around and doing last minute errands before he heads out of town for the next couple of weeks it meant that I got to kill time in a bookstore I go to once every blue moon.

It's a chain store. A comfortable chain store with a staff that is, consistently friendly and knowledgeable, but a chain.

Which is why its layout is mapped out with more precision than a feng shui master's refrigerator.

Hitting me in the face the minute I walked in (2)?

Memoirs. Memoirs and memoirs for as far as the eye could see.

Stories about shopping addiction...horrible mothers...alcoholic fathers...bad neighborhoods...good neighborhoods...years spent avoiding sugar...or seeking out sugar...or learning to live in the shadow of a crippling fear of sugar.

To look them over you would think that everyone's childhood is something to either embrace, reject or flee. You'd come to believe that all it takes to score a book contract is the ability to dedicate an entire year of your life to one deeply narcissistic pursuit or another. That we are all capable of becoming some hardcover philopsopher by working in a retail shop or restaurant or inner city school.

To be sure, I love a good memoir. Thrilled by an engaging biography. Delighted by a bit of stunt non-fiction.

But, to borrow from the great Ms. Lee, "Is that all there is?"

1. Though it is a good haircut.
2. Okay. Technically it was a booth where I guy was hawking the store's e-book reader but, as my three readers know, that caused me to recoil like a vampire from holy water.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mr. Magoo, though politically incorrect, is still funny.

I generally remove my glasses when I'm writing.

This is nothing new.

When I started writing more and doing the kind of small, close-up studio work I used to do less and less, my eyes slowly started to strengthen. My prescriptions got weaker and weaker and my relatively light glasses got lighter and lighter.

What is new, however, is my increasing habit of taking my glasses off and walking away without them.

The other day I left to walk Finkelstein and got about halfway down the block before realizing that the haze before me was not the 90% city-on-a-swamp humidity but the fact that I had left my glasses neatly tucked away on my laptop.

Walking back up the front steps Leopold asked, "What's wrong?" Not an odd question considering I had just walked the dog all of 20 steps.

"I forgot my glasses."

"Oh," Leopold replied, before going back to his gardening.

My key was halfway in the lock when he said, "Honey?"


"That's not our house."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mind on my money and my money on my mind.

Here's the thing that gets me.

While I appreciate all those TV money gurus hollering at people to live without debt and pay off their credit cards...I don't get it.

I mean, if I could kill the credit card and put the student loan six-feet-under I totally would.

I'm trying, to be sure.

But, right now, I can't. Or, I can't in the way that the gurus want people to think anyone can.

So, I was pretty excited when a friend kicked off her new blog - the Cheap Bohemian: Better Living Through Penury.

It's funny. It's realistic. It offers some strategies you could actually use in the real world.

Like the Money Fast. And saving your pennies. And even how to make blue decorating sugar so beautiful that it would make Martha Stewart drop to her knees and scream, "Noooooooooooooo!" for fear that all her secrets will soon be revealed to the world.

I'm going to keep working on some of my own strategies and will be following the Cheap Bohemian's advice about coupons and other slow money blogs. I'll renew my no Starbuck's pledge and continue to take advantage of the money I'm saving shopping locally and by having veggies delivered from our CSA. I'll figure out how to freelance more and where I can cut costs in a way that won't cause me to give up in exasperation.

What's that?

Oh. No.

I won't be buying paperbacks.

Library maybe. But, no. No paperbacks.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How rude. Right?

Tonight, Leopold and I will be heading out so that I can review a show.

And here's the thing...odds are better than average that Online Critic will be in the house.

(This is all going to get a little insider wonky but consider it a little something for the journos in the crowd.)

See, while I write for one of those old fashioned print publications...with pages and glossy covers and corner distribution boxes and all...we do put everything up online.

And in that online version is an opportunity to leave comments.

I rarely have comments left for me. That's more The Film Critic's world.

But the other week I did have a comment left for me. A comment that disagreed with my review and encouraged readers to go check out a rave review of the show on another website.

A comment left by Online Critic sending folks to the site where he writes.

At the end of the day this is all part of the gig. People agree. People disagree. People write that shows are  insufferably over done and then those shows go on to earn Tony Awards and Pulitzers.

But, to me at least (1), this one crossed a line. It was unprofessional. It was rude.

Or...maybe I'm just being old fashioned and parochial? Was Online Critic just doing what we're all supposed to do? Even if we are critics?


1. And to Fun Girl Critic who I immediately consulted.