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Thursday, March 31, 2005

iTunes is evil

Late night, not tired, crusin' iTunes to find "90s One-hit Wonders" Essentals list. There's a mistake waiting to happen.

I endd up downloading "Steal My Sunshine" by Len and "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" by Us3. And then, just for giggles, I tried to find the big dance smash that was playing in all the clubs the summer we got married. Whaddya know? "The Launch" by UK Ibiza v. K. k. Players was there, too. Now, when are they going to upload Captain Jack? Hmmm?

I considered the Primative Radio Gods song with the Fiona Apple-worthy title, but passed. I might pick up the Duncan Sheik track tomorrow.

Seriously, someone has got to take iTunes away from me.


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

...how've you been?

"What am I gonna say? 'I've killed the president of Paraguay with a fork, how've you been?' "

I got the dreaded invitation to the dreaded ten year high school reunion yesterday. "Didn't you already do this?" Adam asked while I flipped through the golf packages and high school tour information.

"Already wrote it, which is slightly different."

It's a combined reunion, owing to Ruidoso's lack of permanent population. The classes of 1994, 1995 and 1996 (mine, which means it's a year early, damnit) will be converging on the Ruidoso Convention center to reminice about the old days.

Yeah, I'm not going. At one point, there was the idea of going and writing a post-reunion snarkfest for the paper, but after looking at the room prices (equivalent to an extra night on the Big Island, yipe) and giving over three seconds of thought, it was a no-brainer.

Which then leaves filling out the "where are they now" form with a little input from the husband.

"Name?"

"Ewe, Betterthan."

"Maiden?"

"Um, no. You kept your maiden name."

"And you just know someone will say, 'oh, Betterthan Ewe, remember her?'"

"And totally not get it." (Adam's heard the stories)

"Occupation?"

"Internationally beloved best-selling author."

"Think they'll suspect?"

"Think they read?"

"Okay, um, favorite high school memory?"

"Dropping out to join the French Foreign Legion."

"Favorite high school song? Ooh, what was a big suicidal anthem when we were in school?"

"Can't think of one."

"Damn."

"Just put down some Public Enemy song."

writing"911's a Joke."

"What do you miss most about high school?"

"The constant torment, humiliation, bullying and ostriscizing. I can't get enough of it in my day-to-day adult life. Also, study hall."

"We actually didn't have study hall."

"That is so sad. Put it down anyway."

Okay, so I am sort of disappointed that we won't be attending. I really, really, really, really want to show off my man, which seems awfully petty.

But hell, isn't being petty the point of high school and high school reunions?


we control the verticle

The New Scientist put out a list of "13 Things that do not make sense." Highlights include the Pioneer effect, the placebo effect and dark matter. It's a fun read.

And yes, I'm only posting this to piss off Sarah Boxer.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Drop it like it's hot

McDonalds will pay rappers between $1 and $5 a mention for Big Macs in hip hop lyrics.

Yes, because billions and billions served isn't enough market presence, now the folks at Micky Ds want to be name-dropped in several hit rap songs by June.


Monday, March 28, 2005

desire

I'd managed to put the significance today's date out of my head. March 28? Nothin' special about March 28. Hmm? Tour? What tour?

No, I don't have tickets for this leg or the next leg. My best bet for seeing them is a rumored sweep through eastern Australia during the dawn of 2006. In my head it goes: If my book sells between now and then, I'll buy tickets from a scalper, get a nice dose of summer during the middle of winter, visit Australia and write it off on the taxes!

Alternately: Okay. So we've got to be in Melbourne by Christmas. We can do that. but it seems rather silly to move across an ocean just to be in town for a possible concert.

Really, I'm pinning my hopes on the band releasing their concerts on iTunes the following morning. And if that dream goes down the pipes, my friend Donella will be attending the first Denver show next month and has promised to snag me a t-shirt at the very least.

Fooey.


Just remember, Macs aren't infallible

Yeah, I tweaked the layout again, and now I discover it's screwy.

That is, it's screwy if you're looking at the page from a Mac G3 running OS 9.1 and utilizing an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Luddite? Hardly. Just the problems of being pre-G5 migration.

So, if you have to scroll to the right to see my sidebar, I don't apologize. Upgrade to Firefox, ya damn hippy.


Sunday, March 27, 2005

life after the suburbs

CNN tackles the question of urban sprawl in Colorado, mainly the "exburbia" phenomenon.

Using satellite photos of nighttime lights to measure sprawl, [Sutton] has concluded that his family, and a third of all Americans, are living in "exurbia" -- places just beyond the suburbs where the country looks like country again, beyond the limits of most studies of urban growth.
Sprawl is a hot-button topic Albuquerque. Subdivisions (like the one we live in, she admits shamefacedly) back up against the Petroglyph National Monument while large tracts of land remain undeveloped in the older parts of the city. Court battles over infrastructure have been drawn out for 20 + years. Some growth proponents have been touting the simpler life in outlying communities as a option instead of buying into the western expansion. It's cheaper, with cleaner air, out in the country. Yeah. A commuter rail service is being set to start operations later this year. Proponents tout it as a way of providing people with rural life while still keeping their city careers and making a minimal impact on the environment.

We'll see how it goes.


Swag

So, one of my duties at the Journal is to write the occasional chick-lit roundup. Quarterly, I'll take the four most interesting books to cross my desk and write maybe fifteen inches total. It's a fun little project and feeds my book habit.

Reviewing twelve books a year doesn't keep up with the three to five books I get in my box each week. It doesn't eve make a dent. I'm constantly swimming in an ocean of trade paperbacks. They used to take up residence in my desk: under the desk, in my drawers, on the desk and for one memorable week, piled on top of my monitor. It's not that I'm lazy about taking the books home, it's more a question of availible real estate in the house.

This past week, I was kind of pulled aside and mentioned it might be in my best interest to go ahead and clear those books out, y'know, least people think they weren't for my professional development or anything.

So I cleared out my desk.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

We have now answered that burning question: Just how many trade paperbacks will fit into a Miata's trunk. Answer? Fifty.

Now they're home, there's a question of what to do with them. I can't just leave them stacked on the kitchen table/office desk/office floor. I think there's a trip to Target for another cheap bookcase in my future. I'm also scheming to have a trashy novel party later this spring.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Until then...


Obvious Forrest Gump joke here

This guy is either scary or an inspiration. I'm not sure. He ran 262 miles, the equivelent of 10 marathons in a row, just to see if he could.

Freaktastic, man. I can barely motivate my ass to move my feet for forty-five minutes five times a week.


Saturday, March 26, 2005

Ch-ch-changes

"A1 isn't finished, I just stopped working on it."
-- Mantra of the news designer.

I'm never going to finish messing with the blog layout. I've been working on it all evening and it's driving Adam nuts; I keep muttering about Quark and my kingdom for my design library. To hear him tell it, the drag and drop approach to web design is for rank amatures.

Top seed, baby. Top seed.

Seriously, I love design. There's nothing finer than spending a zillion hours tweaking art and type to make a good looking page.

You Albuquerque types can see my devotion to the art every Saturday. Just pick up the Albuquerque Journal and flip to that Wheels section. It's my baby.

(Yeah, I know. Me getting the Wheels section every week. Whodathunk?)





and in case you were wondering...

  • Dyslexic? Yup.
  • Can't spell 'neither.
  • Totally bummed Bran and Jen filed for divorce, despite early threads on the subject.
  • "The Incredibles?" It's...incredible.
  • Peeps have been purchased.

Y'know, if there were any questions.


Friday, March 25, 2005

The annual Easter conversation:

"So, do you want an Easter basket?"

"Nah, I'm a manly man. Manly men don't need Easter baskets."

"Really? You don't even want a Cadburry egg or something?"

...

"Well, maybe a box of four Cadburry eggs. But other than that, I'm good."

"Jellybeans?"

...

"Okay, the eggs and some of those pastel speckled jelly beans, but that's all I want."

"Chocolate rabbit?"

"Yeaaaaaah. That Reeses one you got me last year kicked ass! But that's it. Some eggs, a little bag of jelly beans, a peanut butter chocolate bunny, but really, I don't need a basket."

...

"Peeps?"

"OH THE PEEPMANITY!" (Adam-speak for "GOD YES GIMME GIMMEE NOWWWW!")

"Anything else?"

"Yeah. You don't have to get a basket. Just a Target bag will be fine."

"Manly men not needing the actual basket, just all the candy that comes in said basket?"

"Exactly. Unless, y'know, you find a pretty one."

"Manly men have been reading 'Martha Stewart Living' again, haven't they?"


Thursday, March 24, 2005

iPod, therefore iAm.

I was crusing the wire and ran across a great piece from the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram about iPod worship. It was another moment of headbobbing recognition. iHeart my iPod.

When I got it for Christmas 2003, I didn't even know I wanted one. I don't have that much music; I've always stuck to my safe bands and haven't really adventured into the shiny new world of independent bands or mashups or downloads or whathaveyou. Give me a U2 album in a discman and I'm pretty much set for the day (It's all about a high threshold for repetition). Still, out of the box, I was shocked, touched and totally stoked to own one. Over the last year, I've slowly transfered my music an album at a time.

I've taken up a whole two gigs out of my 10 gig drive. A whopping 392 songs, all backed up on my laptop.

I bring this up, because my pod's one of the dead battery breed. It's a ten gig, second generation jobbie my dad picked up used off of eBay. I'm not sure how many charges it took before it came into my posession, but it took a few. Within a month, it was only able to hold a two to three hour charge, and as of now, I'm forced to keep my wires at work, so I can maintain a constant power connection.

I know I should just send iPoddy (yes, I named my iPod and I named my iPod iPoddy) in for a fresh battery. Hell, it's only a hundred bucks, a couple of weeks and then I'll be back to being mobile for however long.

I just can't do it, though. I can't part with my baby that long. That thing's become my liferaft, man. If I don't have it at work, I'm shaky and irritable and headachy. It's caffeine in a white and silver case. It's on my desert island list. It's ludacris.

And don't even get me started on my iTunes addition. My god. I've started cruising iMixes to find new music and music I'd lost. Just last night, I was giggling like a demented anime character when I found "Banditos" by the Refreshments.

Adam doesn't have an iPod. Yet. I'm working on him.


A Dance Dance Revolution retraction:

Chris just informed me that he's only pulled a standard AAA on "On The Jazz" which, in his words doesn't count. Since I've yet to pull a AAA on any song on any level, he's still the friggin' man!


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

And see? Two days after whining about either project's lack of forward progress in the blog, whammo! Progress.

My agent, my dear, wonderful, infinitely patient, funny agent (did I mention she was patient?) sent me an e-mail and then took my phone call (big deal; I keep hearing other people bitch about non-responsive rep types). She's sending the second manuscript out soon (like tomorrow?), and wanted to make a few last minute tweaks.

Like, oh, the title.

I got her e-mail when I was on my way out the door. She suggested "Other People's Children" wasn't quite the snappy title it could be, and maybe it wouldn't hurt matters if I considered something else.

So I considered something else, all the way from the West Mesa, across the river and down Paseo until somewhere around the Powerball Billboard, my brain coughed up two suggestions: "Homecoming" and "Boomerang." Both were short, sweet and mildly spoilerish. I couldn't decide.

Because my day job is spent thinking visually, I felt "Homecoming" had better potiential on a cover: just get a blue and gold homecoming mum and write "Homecoming" "A Novel" and "Sarah H. Wolf" in glittery block letters down a ribbon (or three) and call it a day.

How striking is that? And it totally moves away from the clichéd heels-and-martini-glasses-pink-cover-of-death! See? See? Totally a designer over here.

Other people weren't as enthusiastic. My mom, my husband, the day-shift copy editors and the entire trends staff voted in favor of "Boomerang." "Homecoming" was too boring, too dull, too...well, whatever you want, you're the author.

I called my agent. Laid out both suggestions. Listened to her deliberate like a contestant on "Password." "Homecoming, no Boomer, no, Home, no. Boomerang!"

Did Melville have these issues?

My mother says "Yes, and more!" My mom knows everything.


The best piece of investigative journalism this year



Usurping Eddie Murphy...

New title!

"Other People's Children" has died. Long live "Boomerang!"

God, I hope I spelled that right.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Comments are working, though they're so not like the Haloscan 'ments I'm used to. Suxxors, to lapse into leet.

Also, it looks like it wiped all the previous comments, so I apologize for that.


Monday, March 21, 2005

And for your useless trivia of the day: # <--- "octothorp."

I'm not kidding.


I'm in the middle of futzing with the blog layout, so give it a few days. I haven't touched HTML since 1998, a fact that confounds the husband (who built my website, pimp, pimp ). Still, I remember my [a ref=] tags, so I'm feeling all spiff.

On the other hand, I cannot get Halo Scan's version of comments to work, so until such a day where I slap my foreheard and shout "EUREKA!" we're going to be comment free.

Whee! I can taunt, but you can't taunt back!

*~*~*~*~*

Book news is nil. I've got a couple of different story ideas knocking around in the interim, but I haven't heard a word on either current project. It's maddening when I think about the lack of forward progress. Really, a year ago I was absolutely convinced I'd be signed by now, but alas. Chickens. Eggs. Something about hatching. I dunno.

Not dwelling has become easier over the last year, though. That's a plus. Now, instead of obsessively checking my e-mail for a communiqué from my agent, I obsessively check my e-mail for gossip. And really, isn't gossip e-mail's true purpose?

I'm back to writing for myself, for that matter. Good, good. Happy. Yeah.

Granted, I've still got the daydreams where I go into Barnes & Noble and pick my book off the shelf, but I also daydream about being able to fly, so there's that.

Being proactive helps as well. Other projects to soak up the obsession. Short term includes mastering Dance Dance Revolution and learning how to cook a full Indian dinner (meat and vegetarian, mamachi). Long term: going back to UNM to learn Italian, studying for the LSATs, planning the Christmas trip to New York.

And writing, always writing.


Sunday, March 20, 2005

You'll excuse me while I geek out...

I hate the new tire rule in F1. Hate it, hate it, hate it. In Australia, it manifested itself as a 67-lap parade of fast (in theory) cars. In Malaysia, the rule reared its ugly head when Giancarlo Fisicella tried to outbrake Mark Webber on a greasy corner with dead tires and took my boy out.

Also? I hate the friggin' new engine rule. Seriously, which is cheaper? Rebuilding the same engine and ordering parts in bulk, or having to engineer an engine that can last for two full race cycles? I seriously think this is meant to drive out Minardi, the little fish in the F1 pond.

Still, the checkered flag didn't drop for a red car, so I'm happy.


Thursday, March 17, 2005

I kicked Adam's ass on Dance Dance Revolution: Extreme (PS2) again.

I'd get cocky, except my friend Chris is supposedly this legendary DDR player who can pull mystical feats like AAAs on challenge songs out of his feet. I have only heard the legends. They whisper on AIM about the time he got the super-hard "End of the Century" AAA without breaking a sweat.

So I'm not cocky. I can barely manage standard and have exactly one passing grade on a heavy song. And this from the recovering dance student (it's been 74 days since my last jazz hand)!

Oy.


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

God help me if I'm pulling that shtick when I'm that age: Flavor Flav is 46 tomorrow. (Just adds to the pathetic factor of "Strange Love," doesn't it?) Another "Surreal Life" alumnius celebrating tomorrow is Erik Estrada. Ponch is...56?

Oh, it cuts the soul.


Monday, March 14, 2005

Time to put the smackdown on Star Jones and Company

'The View' Sorry It Dissed Duke City

Journal Staff Report

Sorry, Albuquerque.

“We made a big boo-boo,” said Meredith Vieira, moderator of ABC-TV’s “The View,” which on Thursday dissed Duke City and infuriated city leaders and residents alike.

The program issued what Vieira called a “correction” Friday.

The city’s unemployment rate is about 5 percent, and “we had it higher,” she said. The show had it at 33 percent.
The average personal income, she said, is over $27,000. It was $21,000, on Thursday’s show.

The Huning Highland neighborhood and the East Downtown, or EDO, development project were part of a segment on “up and coming” areas. It was more like “down and out” on Thursday.

Real estate expert Barbara Corcoran of New York had dubbed “EDO, New Mexico, an urban evolution” as one of five places where buyers can get inexpensive houses just ahead of revitalization.

Video of decrepit homes, Corcoran’s assurance houses there are cheap because “one-third of the town is unemployed” and other disparaging remarks resulted in “hundreds of outraged people” calling the Mayor’s Office.

“In saying EDO will be a great place to live, we didn’t mean to suggest that it isn’t already,” Vieira said. “We stand corrected, EDO: A nice place to live, now and later.”


Nice to know they're held to the same journalistic standards, such as fact checking, as the rest of us.


I'm going a little stir-crazy right now. Whole state is, actually. New Mexico's coming out of the wettest winter since 1850, which is a recipe for seasonal affective disorder for a state used to 300 sunny days a year. Last week was the first weekend I could remember being warm and sundrenched since early September. Everyone worked it. Tops were down on the convertables, everyone was wearing shorts and flip-flops, everyone was outside. It was great. The week culminated with Saturday's high of 75 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.

Today? Two inches of snow on the yard, and it's still coming down. We're expected to get another two inches in the next twenty-four hours. Faaaaaabulous.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Yeah, there ya go. My front yard's current state. GAAAAAH!


Monday, March 07, 2005

Sat down and read "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" by Salman Rushdie over the weekend. It ate up the bulk of my weekend, and I enjoyed every moment of it. Rushdie's magical realism, his liberal borrowing of Joyce, Falkner et. al, his eloquent descriptions and the story, the story moved the hell out of me.

I liked his twists and tweaks on the world we know, the retelling and expansion of the Orpheus myth. I liked the knowledge Rushdie imparted, and how he utilized Checkov's rule of the gun.

If you're not a creative writing workshop survivor, they beat Checkov's rule into your skull from day one, which leaves a girl with the unfortunate prediliction of waiting for introductions in the first act to circle back by the end of the fifth (or third, if we're not doing "Hamlet") act. It was nice of Rushdie to weave even little threads of detail from the begining of the story into the later tapestry, thus giving the novel a richer texture.

Yeah, did I mention I was a creative writing workshop survivor?

This is the first of Rushdie I've read, though the famous fatwa left an indelible impression on me when I was a kid. I remember thinking to myself, "Damn! People want to kill this guy over a book! A book! I gotta get me a piece of that action."

During the uproar, I found a copy of "The Santanic Verses" in an airport bookseller's and looked at the first page and the last page to try to gauge why people wanted him dead. I remember not making heads nor tails of it and, at any rate being shooed off by the clerk who didn't want a kid's grimy fingerprints smudging up the merchandise.

It's next on my list.


Thursday, March 03, 2005

You're so vain

WOAH!

I'm blurbed on a website! Candy Covererd Books picked up my "Playing With Boys" review

(Sorry it took me so long to fix the link, because my mad html skillz? Simmered down to merely grouchy well before the tech bubble burst. It's so sad.)

It's pretty nifty to get a little recognition as a reviewer, I have to say. I suppose this should compell me to make a dent in the pile of pink covered books breeding under my desk, but no. I just finished Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" and I've been picking up "Pride and Prejudice" and "Baggage" by Emily Barr here and there. I've also got a bug to re-read the Harry Potter series before the new book comes out in June.

In other news, I managed to fix my iPod without pressing it onto Adam and whining "fix it!" I always feel like a winner when I can sort out some technological nonsense without relying upon Mr. CS Degree. Anyway, iTunes wasn't recognizing iPoddy as an iPod. It was refusing to load purchased music. I was very put out. I bought Junior Senior's "Move Your Feet" without resorting to bit torrents and I wanted to listen to it at work, dagnabit!

Eventually it dawned on me I could probably update iPoddy's OS and problems would be solved. Simple solution, and I was right, but it's embarrasing to admit it took me four months to figure this out. At one point, I was considering trading in my Gateway laptop for a Mac Powerbook, just so iPoddy would work, it was that dire.

I'd still take a Powerbook over a Windows machine, but that's another story – one that makes Adam gnash his teeth in agony.

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