Thursday, July 31, 2008

Get A Man, Ditch A Friend Syndrome

Don't you just love images like this, by Anne Taintor... awesome gifts... go buy some!

So let's just call it GAM-DAF syndrome for short.

You know, those friend (or you, lol) who as soon as they meet/get a man, they stop doing their regular routines, stop hanging with friends, etc... and spend 100% of the day devoted to the new man. Fawning. Drooling. And no, we're not jealous. Just concerned.

A couple weeks ago Aunt Jemima's Revenge wrote about GAMDAF. I immediately thought of one of my buddies.

Lo and behold, this past Saturday that same good buddies met someone and now they're in love. What's today, Thursday? Like four days. And he's not already making plans for the man's birthday (while asking my birthdate in the same conversation about the new beau -- we've known each other 10 years) or Valentine's Day 2009? Telling me everything that's so awesome and special about this man.

Again, not jealous. Just concerned.

Maybe because I've seen this one particular friend have the hardest breakups, as in he can't get over seeing exes happy, he constantly dogs out exes and his choice to be with them, and the things he finds cute in the beginning he hates at the end, etc... The whole "fall hard, break up hard" thing.

Also, maybe because I'm such an independent person. While I like to date and meet new people, I don't change my life or routine, or get giddily-ga-ga. I'm even up front about how my professional life and routines are very important, and that I like people who are equally busy and don't need 24/7 attention... because I don't need 24/7 attention to know I'm liked/loved. Hmmm, maybe that's the key to my perpetual single-hood? Anyway...

Whether you call it GAM-DAF or Hopelessly Devoted To You syndrome, it's a little annoying... and I hope you (or I) never become that friend who ditches their friends for a new man.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Earthquakes Are No Joke

But all is well in Fred-land!

I was at work, licking an envelope, and about to run to the mailbox. I heard this grinding, but thought it was some construction in the area. Then it started swaying and that's when I knew it not construction, but an earthquake. It felt huge. Like it wasn't going to stop. It swayed back and forth for what felt like a minute, they say it was 20 - 30 seconds. It really feels like you have no control.

That was 20 - 30 seconds too long for me. Me, who is not a Southern California native. Me, whose major weather issue was tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in Michigan.

An hour later... we're back in the office. Business as usual, except for the conversation topic of the day: Are you okay? Did you feel it? Where were you when it happened? Did you get in touch with your folks.

Scary part. My office is in the "garden level" of a four-story building. The garden level is another term for basement. lol.

All is well. That's the least I can ask for right now.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Left Behind and Loving It: Freebies For Writers

This week one of my favorite writing blogs, Paperback Writer, is leading a series of online writer workshops called Left Behind and Loving It.

Today's entry on Paperback Writer, Power Plotting, is up now. That entry also links to other writers who are leading their online writer workshops as part of the series.

You say you can't afford any writing classes or don't know anyone doing the same thing you're interested in? This your chance to learn from some others for free, or at least to connect with a community of writers.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Did Ya Hear?

Whitney Houston's new song (featuring Akon), Like I Never Left.

If that link goes down, I'm sure you'll find another one if you google the song title.

OK. Good night... or good morning.

Young, Restless, New Blogs of Note

Young and Restless is gonna be good this week. Here's a preview. Here are some scoops and spoilers from Daytime Confidential (don't click if you like the element of surprise on your stories.) Get your DVRs ready.

Discovered some blogs that I'm enjoying lately. Check them out.

Diary of an Anxious Black Woman

The Splendid Table

The Black Snob

Aunt Jemima's Revenge

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday Night In... Again

Staying in on a Saturday night. Don't cry for me, Argentina. I'm having a productive writing day and night. Labor Day's coming and they'll have no sympathy at the publishers if I don't make my deadline.

But took a quick break to catch a video of a song that came up on my iTunes a few minutes ago.

Honey. Aretha Franklin.

Which led to me watching Willing To Forgive. Aretha Franklin.

Two good, tell-it-like-it-is songs from the mid-to-late 90s. And Aretha's styling looked good to boot.

This led me to watch Jimmy Lee. Another Aretha Franklin.

Wanted to reminisce about the guy who played Jimmy Lee for a moment (he appears the first time at 45 seconds in the video). Went to school with him as a kid. A lot of us had a crush on him. He's happily married with children now, so won't tell his real name for privacy sake. But Jimmy Lee... oh he was so fine!

OK. Short diversion. Back to work and writing.

Writers Speak

Before I was published, and before I knew any writers, I used to listen to a lot of author interviews on radio and also attend a lot of book signing events.

It was through those types of events that I was able to get a sense of what a writer's life and process could be.

So this morning I scrolled through some of my favorite authors and their interviews online. I didn't include what they've written... this is more about listening to writers talk about their work and how they work.

J. California Cooper interview on NPR.

Sue Miller on NPR.

Tayari Jones on Bat Segundo.

Eric Jerome Dickey on NPR.

Liza Palmer on BlogTalk Radio.

Danielle Steel interview with a newspaper.

Junot Diaz on NPR.

Happy listening this weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Today's Required Reading

First, one of my favorite new blogs: Diary of an Anxious Black Woman. Very smart stuff. Been passing it along to my friends... and now to you!

As The World Turns is on fire... I just started watching a few weeks ago with the Cyndi Lauper visit to couple Luke and Noah. Now, I'm a regular. One more to add to my Y&R and B&B habit.

Are you an event planner who would like to plan a book-or-writing-related event? Poets & Writers has funding available for such events... read site for conditions.

Another testimony about the power of a writer's retreat. Shelly Ettinger via Tayari Jones site.

Has it been 24 years since Vanessa Williams was Miss America? Clay Cane comments.

Another new favorite site: The Daily Voice, Black America's Daily News Source. Very informational.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Picture It... Sicily...

We loved us some Golden Girls. Still do. So of course it was sad hearing that Estelle Getty, who portrayed Sophia, had died this morning in L.A.

Tons of blogs and other sites writing about her. Here's two that have links to others:

The Best Week Ever tribute to Estelle Getty.

A Sophia montage on YouTube.

Estelle Getty official website.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Miami Manhunt

My goodness, there are just too many darn books coming out this summer.

Now on my list -- Miami Manhunt by Johnny Diaz. Three friends, looking for love in all the right and wrong places in Miami. I'm so looking forward to reading it. I read Johnny's first novel, Boston Boys Club, and enjoyed it a lot.

Johnny Diaz is a Boston-based journalist, and he wrote one of the best and most thorough reviews of my Right Side novel last year. When I want a pick-me-up when I'm feeling down about my writing progress, I read Johnny's review.

Anyway, it's been out a few weeks so it should be easy to find in your local bookstore.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Are You Tightening Up Your Wallet?

With the economy being what it is lately, everyone's looking at their money (MSNBC story). I've been tightening up my spending a bit.

I drive only to the essential places -- mainly the office (only 10 minute drive, no freeways)and try to plot out the errands so I can multi-task and not back-track. I get depressed seeing a fill up cost $50. I think... that's a payment. That's a night out (depending on the city you're in).

Stopped driving to the gym twice a week to walk to my neighborhood park, where I run, can swim if I want, and get to know the neighborhood. I've lived in the same place since 2000 and never saw the neighborhood and people up close. I've got some cuties living near me... never knew that!

Even started walking to the neighborhood restaurants and discovering new places to eat.

Gave up buying the morning coffee, and brew it at home. Put any leftovers in the fridge so I can have my evening ice coffee.

I love throwing whatever in the crock pot in the morning, and coming home to a homecooked meal... and it doesn't heat up the house at all.

Some of my friends are giving up Friday or Saturday nights out at clubs for home parties and gatherings. It's kinda fun not worrying about the right clothes, if you can park in the valet lot, or bartender tips on weekends.

For folks in their 20s, this is where a LOT of money is lost and unaccounted for... clubbing. Friday and Saturday at minimum $50 each night (that's the low side), that's almost $5,000 a year that could be saved... and imagine no hangovers, getting adequate sleep, inventing in work/professional clothes, and working on a craft/hobby/work in those lost hours?

I've always clipped coupons and learned the double coupon rules. Always used the frequent-customer cards. But two weeks ago, my Ralph's bill should have been $300... after coupons and frequent-customer card use, it was $168. Even the manager came and took a look. Of course, coupon clippers annoy (and impress) the people standing behind.

Speaking of Ralph's, they have a Coinstar machine there. Every couple weeks I drop off all the change I've accumulated recently. And I use that for grocery bill, or pocket cash... though my parents used to tell me to put that spare change in the bank. I'm still learning.

I'm trying to find my local shoe repair/shiner... to keep those old shoes and sneakers looking new for as long as possible. My parents used to tell me this, and of course I never listened until now.

Can't seem to give up air conditioner or new books. I can't bring myself to buy used books. Maybe because I know the authors get nothing from used book sales. Hmmm...

Every now and then I check out Saving Advice blog... some good suggestions there.

How are you tightening up? We could all use some tips for our budgets...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Film Recommendations

I'm not into superheroes, space adventures, special effects, explosions, or superfluous violence in the films I watch. So... I rarely see a movie with the masses. It's cool.

The other day I was listening to Larry Mantle's Air Talk, and caught some reviews of films I want to check out... and you might, too, if you're into common, Friday blockbuster releases.

The Year My Parents Went On Vacation


Wanted and Desired

The Grocer's Son

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oh Yeah... Jackie Washington Day

July 15 was Jackie Washington Day.

You gotta be a fan of the super-funny film, Jackie's Back, starring Jenifer Lewis. Here's a trailer on YouTube.

My good friend DenPlace sent me a text yesterday wishing me Happy Jackie Washington Day. I remembered to celebrate by not washing any clothes that day... and by getting a taste of mama's special cough medicine (and made it a double, Entendre).

They're jokes. Um, but if you don't get them, get the film Jackie's Back on your netflix service to watch this weekend. Celebrate the day over the weekend!

We have a staff potluck and meeting on Friday. I think I'll bring them a taste of Jackie Washington. Many of them haven't a clue to what or why some of us are joking about when we spout lines from the film :-)

Just Too Good To Be True

To have ten novels published is an amazing accomplishment, and E. Lynn Harris's latest is his tenth... Just Too Good To Be True.

For many of us starting out, or on just a couple books, we aspire to get to his level. And we still enjoy his novels.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Who Are You Really With?: To Hate or Like The Ex

Sunday night. Just finished watching Miss Universe pageant. Y'all know I'm a pageant queen. Anyway, one of my good friends called (in the midst of the pageant, mind you, but thank higher power for pausing live tv) with his own young, colored, and restless moment.

He went out to one of those Sunday happy hours at a local gay establishment. He ran into not one, but two, exes. Caused him a little tizzy and he had to call and process.

It's always funny and concerning to me when I hear my friend, or others like him, go into a tizzy over exes. I don't have any drama with any exes or people I've dated. In fact, stay pretty cordial, friendly, and even speak in public. Even if the breakup wasn't my doing.

But this friend in particular just HATES all his exes. Goes on and on about how THIS or THAT they are. Doesn't even want his current friends (including me)to say hello to the exes when we run into them, some of whom are pretty nice and fun people to talk to.

So to stop the drama, I usually ask this friend "Did you hate him this much when you were with him 24/7 the last six months? All these things you hate now you just over looked when you were together?"

I think there's a thin line between love/hate, letting go/clinging on, taking responsibility/placing blame.

And tonight found a really cool link on TheGayte-Keeper blog: Get To Know Your Real Partner. Some good, reflective questions on getting to know someone in the romantic sense.

If reflection isn't your thing, my favorite sex/advice columnist, Dan Savage, always advises us that ALL potential partners are damaged goods until proven otherwise over time. But, you've got to be willing to give the time to learn you've got a gem.

Are you friend or foe with your exes?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Freebies for Writers... And Y&R Lovers

From J.A. Konrath's blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing Book. A 750 page freebie on all aspects of writing and publishing. It's there for you to download and learn from. Of course, you could repay the freebie by purchasing one of his novels :-). Learn more about J.A. Konrath at his website.

From In The Zone on BlogTalk radio, an interview with novelist and soap opera writer, Thom Racina, who is returning to the soap genre and Young and The Restless. Lots of good tips for writers, especially those interested in novels, soaps, and storytelling. Hmmm...

For those of you who read me often, Young and The Restless has been my favorite soap forever (except for the past two years, when non-Bell family writers took control over the show.) Now, the show is back in the hands of the Bell family, and according to the Racina interview, we will see Y&R at its traditional best from this August on... longer scenes, older/veteran characters we grew up with, the slower pace we grew up with, and character-driven stories... pieces we've seen put slowly into place in recent weeks as the Bell writers cleaned up the mess left behind the past two years.

But we're not griping. We enjoy freebies. And we're liking what's coming up on Y&R in the coming weeks... here's a preview from Daytime Confidential and TV Guide Canada interview with Maria Arena Bell.

The Left Stuff... and Other Links

I'm a left-handed person. So I was fascinated with this story on NPR this morning about the fact that five of the last seven U.S. presidents are lefties. So are both Barack Obama and John McCain. Are lefties just wired for success? NPR story. The book, The Left Stuff: How The Left-Handed Have Survived and Thrived in a Right-Handed World , by Melissa Roth.

I'm a huge fan of Atlanta and Atlanta novelist Tayari Jones. She shares a blast from her past -- a television interview from early in her career when her first novel, Leaving Atlanta, was released. I'm still reeling from the fact that 2002 seems like yesterday, but was 6 years ago.

I still remember Y2K fears like yesterday.

I remember the song that played at midnight at the place I was at on New Year's Eve 1999 into 2000. It was Jennifer Lopez's Waiting For Tonight. Fun memory.

And doing some work at the college over the weekend. Freaky fun fact... brand new college students are born in 1990 and 1991... leaning 1991. Freaks me out. But oh well.

Hope your weekend is all you want it to be!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Reader Cheater

Don't you hate it... you're reading one book that you're digging. But then your copy of a new book arrives, say, Dirty Girls on Top, and you open it just to read the first line... and several dozen pages into it you realize you're digging this book more than the one you were already reading. A reader cheater. That's what I am.

Anyway, last night had a great event at the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco. Cool museum and archives. Cool board of directors and audience. Read and had conversation with Jewelle Gomez, who is phenomenal, and whose Gilda Stories is a legendary piece of work. When the video is up on YouTube, I'll let you know.

Some of you may know that I used to live in San Francisco. It was my first city/job after grad school. So it was nice to get to come back, visit with some old friends, etc... One of the old (but new and re-named) haunts had some retro videos and music going.

Why did I have a take-me-back moment with NuNu and Get With U by Lidell Townsell. Some songs... just remind you of college, black student union parties, experimenting, crushes on boys who'll never like you back but you're friends with their girlfriends so you just cope and deal... all that jazz.

Come to think of it, it's not just reading I could never focus on. But the cable cars are loading up just a block from my hotel. Gonna go take a ride before my airport shuttle arrives.

Have a good one!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

What Are You Reading This Summer?

My friend Noel did an article for In Los Angeles Magazine, and asked me for a quick blurb/recommendation. I was happy to oblige. The article is here.

My answer is the book pictured, Dirty Girls on Top, by Alisa Valdes Rodriguez.

Summer is a great time for reading, and I would like to hear about what you're reading this summer.

Summer is also a great time for catching up on writing projects... like me working toward my Labor Day deadline to finish up the new book.

Like Tayari Jones, who's been away for a couple weeks on a summer writing retreat, and has done like 53 pages in that time.

Gotta love summer relaxation and productivity!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Gay Pride Episode on ATWT

In case you missed the gay pride episode the other day... from As The World Turns.

It was really great. And so was Cyndi Lauper. Actually might start DVRing this show, from what I caught of the other storylines.

Saturday Love

Woke up, albeit at 2:30 in the afternoon, with this song on my mind.

Saturday Love by Cherrelle and Alexander O'Neal. Real catchy old school song.

Love this one too by her... Everything I Miss At Home... when you belong to one but find yourself attracted to another.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Cyndi Lauper and Oakdale Pride

As The World Turns has the hottest young couple in daytime drama -- Luke and Noah.

And on Thursday, July 3, Cyndi Lauper will make a guest appearance on the soap to help the town of Oakdale celebrate gay pride... and to get Luke and Noah back together.

Here's a short clip of Cyndi talking about her ATWT appearance. And a clip of her newest video, Into The Nightlife.

The new CD is great... and if you get a chance to set your DVR, do so to catch As The World Turns on Thursday... and even every day after that. It's been a while since you've watched your grandma's soap, huh?

San Francisco Next Week

If you're in the San Francisco area next week, I hope you'll stop by this event.

Passing On the Pen
Reading with emerging novelist Frederick Smith and established novelist Jewelle Gomez
Tuesday, July 8, 2008, 6:30 PM
GLBT Historical Society
657 Mission Street #300
San Francisco, CA
(415) 777-5455

The Lambda Literary Foundation is helping to present the entire Passing On The Pen series this year, which pairs a establishd writer with an emerging writer in reading and conversation about their works.