Friday, July 30, 2004

i just lost a really long blog post. fuck.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

happy birthday kelli!
i was wondering earlier where all the ladybugs go when it rains like this. i'm still not sure, but it seems that several mosquitoes (or maybe just a really freaking persistent one) have taken up residence in my loft tonight. i've been bitten at least five times, probably more.

this is not a lot of fun. i really wish i could sleep.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

working late with leah, thunder punctuating the pattering of rain as we sing with damien rice and engage in the making of books.

there's something solemn, and joyous, and sacred in these moments.

i'm honored to be inhabiting them.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

the thing about working on a sunday is that you have no interns to do the less desirable tasks, such as putting the numbers in a 3000+ word index.

(Hit enter as many times as necessary), scribble down the applicable page numbers

Repeat 3000 fucking times!!

that's what i'm up to on this beautiful sunday morning.

Friday, July 23, 2004

At BEA this year they gave out bright yellow bags sporting this image to promote the October book.

i was unsettled by the whole thing (i mean, wtf?), but everyone seemed to find it funny. i saw more screaming-yellow canvas bags than anything else at the whole expo. (the insane amount of books available for free creates a need for transporting them, and companies provide an abundance of differently-sized and colored bags -- all conveniently stamped with a company logo or book title. fuck. i guess it worked. there's no way i'd have been aware of this book without that gimmick. goramit.)

i even stole a couple of bags for rue10 and boothead from the stingy publisher's booth.

but seriously: why did everyone chuckle, from our authors (sans the choice editor, of course) to our staff and others in our distributor's booth?

i didn't know how to communicate my misgivings without coming off as the cliched hippie liberal (i prefer hipster, of course), oversensitive, etc.

i'm thinking that i need to stop worrying how others perceive my heartfelt gut reactions.

how comfortable are we with products that say "girls are stupid; beat them with bats!" or "children are stupid; throw heavy objects at them!"

what makes this product-selling catch phrase (the book was inspired by a slew of kitsch grrrl-power merchandise sporting phrases like "boys have cooties!") funny to everyone in a way that it simply wouldn't be if you substituted the noun "boys" with anything other than "men"?

i realize that my opinion is a little late (just google the book title to see the humdrum that's gone back and forth on this shit).

i'm not concerned with the negative effects on our culture or anything (lord knows american culture has and continues to weather(ed) all kinds of shit -- good, bad and that lovely space of what's in between). i'm more concerned with how it implies our culture's shared definitions of gender, specifically pre-adolescent gender identity -- that there seems to be a community consensus on what's acceptable and what's not.

why is that? why is it a fun joke to wear a shirt depicting violence towards a little cartoon boy and not a little cartoon girl?

just some thoughts.

back to work.


shouldn't the book title have a semi-colon instead of a comma? maybe there's a book title exception that i don't know about.

one thing i miss about living in the residence halls at smu was the abundance of theater majors and hipsters. within those walls (and across quads of buildings) there lived a gaggle of wardrobe specialists (i lived with an incredible seamstress for two years), makeup artists and hair stylists -- all with makeup, clothing and advice to spare.

i was absently thinking how nice it would be to have a streak or two of pink (or blue) in my hair today. there's no way in hell i'm shelling out the dough to have someone do it at t&g. hmm. maybe joshua and kristen could help me?

i'd settle for being able to apply black eyeliner the way jennifer did before we went out one night. it was so drastic (and amazing!) that freaking *everyone* noticed. that woman is so incredible.
this week (and most of next) our publisher and associate editor are both out of town. they both had automatic away messages set up, which somehow got triggered into an endless loop -- glenn and leah telling each other over and over that they're out of the office....

no wonder he called all frantic this morning looking for our host's password :)
help! i'm a metrosexual trapped in a woman's body!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Next weekend two of our authors will be doing signings at Dallas bookstores:

(signing times to come)

Friday, July 30, 2004
Borders at Spanish Village
15757 Coit at Arapaho, Ste. 310
Dallas, TX 75248

Saturday, July 31, 2004
Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Park
7700 West Northwest Hwy., Ste. 300
Dallas, TX 75225

They'll also be appearing on Fox's Good Day next Friday morning.

9/11 Commission Report in High Demand

Despite the fact that the report will be available on the commission's Web site, pre-publication sales have been hearty. On the eve of its release, the book was moving steadily up the bestseller lists on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble Web sites. Late yesterday afternoon it was No. 42 on Amazon and 66 on Barnes & Noble.

Listening to the commission's statements right now. Things like this still surprise me when they manifest themselves as publishing industry news. (The article was linked in today's Publisher's Lunch.)

It's strange to think of of anyone making a profit on something like this report in book form. And yet, books don't make themselves. The publisher, Norton, must be in crisis mode to get this sucker out:

(from the same article)
Bookstores have ordered more than 500,000 copies, says Louise Brockett, publicity director at W.W. Norton, which was selected by the commission to publish the authorized version. Some of those might be returned to the publisher by booksellers if they are not purchased in a timely fashion, but Norton is expecting robust sales: The first print run was 600,000.

"We've all worked very hard and diligently," Brockett says. "We really felt it was an honor as well as a responsibility to be involved in this."

Getting the books into bookstores so that sales can coincide with the commission's news conference today has been a challenge. Brockett says she cannot discuss the details of the bookmaking and delivery process. Several shops in the Washington area did not have the book as of yesterday afternoon.

I find this extremely interesting, as I'm mired in the business of bookmaking and delivery right now. The production team at Norton must be utterly exhausted.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

oh, wow. i'm really craving some cheese. seriously.
holy fuck

the village is closing. i went there for the first time nine years ago with a friend's military id.

my last visit, i believe, was the night before bran left texas.


(thanks to sjs for the link)
making work optional

this little book (which i toiled over for so long this past winter holiday) has some good sound advice for saving, for not over-spending, etc.

one of the things they suggest is having a goal, something you really want to do (be that missionary work in uganda, becoming a full-time author, becoming involved in a community tutoring programs, etc.)

and suddenly it is so clear.

i want a sabbatical.*
and i want to go to grad school.

i absolutely need a new degree. i miss school.

*what's so crazy about being the production manager is that i could possibly arrange things so that we got ahead enough to take a month or more off. it will take some major planning, but i think i can make it happen. if i weren't so durn busy with actual work!
Four inmates escape, go on beer run

The men were charged Monday with escape and bringing alcohol into a jail.

The breakout occurred Thursday night after cellblock doors at the Hawkins County Jail were left unlocked and a faulty control panel failed to alert jailers, Sheriff Warren Rimer said.

Two of the inmates walked out through a fire exit, leaving the door propped open with a Bible, and made a hole in the exercise yard fence. They walked to a market, bought some beer and returned to the jail to share it with other prisoners. When the booze ran out, the other two inmates made another beer run to a different store.

Authorities believe the inmates bought more than two cases of beer in all.

"I guess they thought if they came back they wouldn't be charged with escape," Rimer said, "but they were wrong."

Shouldn't they get some slack for returning? wow.

Monday, July 19, 2004

(review in Publisher's Weekly)

(i've been working like crazy on this book)

Say "Bob Eubanks" and most people will think of The Newlywed Game—and not much else. Perhaps therein lies the reason for the veteran game show host to pen his autobiography. Eubanks is a kind of Forrest Gump of American media, popping up to promote everything from early Beatles concerts to the legendary 1975 Ali-Frazier boxing match, the Thrilla in Manila. He tells it all, in numbing detail. By page 90, readers are only in 1962, learning about the quirks of old radio personalities. Only near book's end does Eubanks delve into his story's most intriguing portion: his television career. Eubanks's tone is light and conversational, typical of a TV emcee, and co-author Hansen has an easy touch with enigmatic personalities. Ironically, there's a vein of self-doubt and insecurity in the outwardly confident host: "I couldn't shake the feeling that my life's work could be capsulized as a guy who pushed young couples to answer suggestive questions about their personal lives for the price of a toaster." Yet Eubanks skips over other telling moments—such as his fraying marriage—in a couple of paragraphs. However much Eubanks might like to distance himself from The Newlywed Game, it's what he'll be remembered for. At least with this book, his other lives are on the record, too. Photos not seen by PW. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

the last few months:
the beach, brunch, BEA, polyphonic spree, visiting bran, emergent convention, coy reunion, puppies and kitties, grandparents....

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

someone googled my first name and "bintang" yesterday afternoon. and then went through all my archives (except for sept of last year... weird.)


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Thursday, July 08, 2004

i miss the beach.

just thinking of that as the sunlight in my loft grows, a sheet of light bringing life to my plants.

this weekend was incredible. not only did i get to see my sister (something i enjoy despite our difference in politics), but i've persevered in the animal-free whole food diet and i got to see the coys sunday.

leah and i drove down early early that morning, and made such good time that we decided to keep going on to galveston. i pointed out all the historical buildings, telling stories as the shiny Insight crept across island streets. we parked and walked aboard one of the ferries and rode across the channel and back, spotting dolphins and watching small children in swimsuits run about in excitement.

and then the drive 30 miles north to my uncle's bayhouse, where family and one incredibly cute kitten awaited us.

we caught crabs, saw live crayfish prepared and later consumed, lit sparklers, watched fireworks from the deck ian built, described our trade, conversed, ate and went on an unexpected ride in jefe's new boat. leah and i parked our butts atop vinyl cushions on an igloo cooler; i gripped my second beer of the day as geoff fussed with the engine. we puttered through the bay inlet, out to where the water flashed, dipped and generally moved about the expanse of bay.

and then we flew, we bounced, we dipped and smashed into the water, slipping across waves to smack our boat into the water again and again. my beer foamed. leah laughed. i lost my cushion (and am surprised that i don't have "ig" imprinted on my ass) and salt water splashed us as we held on for dear life.

it was rather like galloping across a meadow (sans life-threatening lightening).

so. don't take beer along on (life-affirming) boat rides w/ jefe.

also, remember:
sunday afternoon at 2 -- wilco will be on npr.

time for this cewek to go to work.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

this is the book i'm currently reading. part history, part etymology, it's a brilliantly written account of the stories behind some american language -- just the right mix of humor and scholarship.

as usual, i'm currently reading several books. a memoir i picked up at bea, a mix of things for work (currently editing an sf short story collection and some essays for one of our anthologies), caputo and rorty's achieving our country.

the latter is a deliberate choice, given the time of year.

i love richard rorty because he's so optimistic. he loves this country, and does much to remind me of the "good parts" and figures in our history. through rorty i've rediscovered my passion for emerson, thoreau and walt whitman. these guys were some patriotic fucks!

the "left" gets a lot of shit for hating america. conservatives (some of my family included*) fear academia -- they see it as a place where young minds are brainwashed to despise the united states.

hm. it is popular to trash our country.

it's a lot easier to bash something, to complain, than to regard something with a sense of hope -- to actually attempt to do something to cause change. a certain sense of superiority seems to accompany a civic theory of despair, finger-pointing and anger -- as though one is privy to some information that the dumb masses overlook. (i don't deny that there are also feelings of loss, a total lack of agency, etc that accompany this particular cynicism)

so how do we begin to change our attitudes? how do we become agents of change?

so far, i vote and attempt to live a life according to my ethics.


the thing about hating america is that, in a strangely simple way, it's hating oneself. despite my claim to be an expat (after my 3+ week stint in jakarta), my identity is always already american. i've celebrated the 4th of july and thanksgiving every year of my life. i grew up in north texas. i had/have a distinctively "country" dialect. i loved the cosby show. i ate tv dinners on tv trays, i made smores at a campfire, i rode in pickup trucks. i was educated in the american public school system.

i live a very rich life. have my own place, support myself and my cats, drive a relatively new car, spend too much money on food and alcohol, own too many guitars, etc etc. my entire lifestyle, my entire life is situated in american culture, in our economy. i can't other my country with any efficacy. i am my country.

that said, how then can we draw simple distinctions between a country's culture and its politics? a country is a country. a citizen is a citizen. as an adult american citizen, i must take on responsibility -- it's the only way to maintain any integrity as a human individual.

our cynicism and hatred cripples us. we secure the promise of a lack of agency with our hipster despondency.

and so tomorrow, when people everywhere step outside and grill some food, shoot off firecrackers, drink beer and surround themselves with loved ones, our flags still at half-staff, the ritual of family and food once again realized, i'll light a sparkler and allow a patriotic swell to roll through me -- if just a little one.


i discovered, to my dis-ease, that i had become cynical during my junior year in college; a series of events prompted me to lose faith in just about everything. things felt so... human and physical then. i've never felt so old, couldn't imagine how so much pain could get stuffed inside this bundle of flesh.

the loss and betrayal continually stunned me, each second i was conscious. i remember driving, walking around campus, incapable of crying, my anguish a palpable pain. you know that breath you take before the tears come, when your nose stings in anticipation of the release? i felt that, was that for a good year.

and so, well, i scratcheddrug(ged)scrambled my way back to functionality by broadening my interests, my convictions. i pricked the SMU bubble with a sharp tool, started reading the news, got interested in the 2000 election, became involved with some organizations on campus, stopped eating meat, fell in love with theory and writing, etc.

unfortunately, my cynicism about individual people and communities translated too well to a broader spectrum. there was no optimistic voice out there. my professors were all marxists and (lord!) freudian. my peers were angry, disenfranchised, and for the most part apathetic. the ones who bothered to care used their energy to bitch over beers in between jam sessions, dull critiques delivered between bong hits.

*shrug again*

i guess that's one of the reasons i love rorty so much. he gave me back my citizenship, much like caputo gave me back my faith.

is this making any sense? i'm just back from a visit to my grandparents' place. lots to think about on the 70 minute drive home.


i was playing with my cousin in the living room today as a political conversation commenced. i stayed focused on my sweet five-year-old, she so desperate for someone to engage in her world. we spoke a narrative with dolls and lego-type toys (she told me i had to be the dad since my hair is short) as an ugly blossom of language flourished around us.

racial slurs and hateful jokes about islam being "peaceful" punctuated the dialogue headed up by someone i love.

blah blah blah, clinton is horrible horrible man, reagan showed those libians!, the "religion of peace" is some newage bullshit, etc etc insert partisan bs... "we're fighting terrorism"

(i'm getting angry right now)

and then she said

"i'm still not convinced that iraq didn't have anything to do with the oklahoma city bombing"



i stayed quiet. speaking up only sparks an argument that my sister will always win as she steamrolls over my idealism, ethics and belief in supersized first child manner.

even my grandfather (who actually agrees with me on most of this!) held his tongue. but in his own subversive way, he had his say.

what would willie say about this?

(my sister's in town to see willie, a democrat if there ever was one, for the 4th picnic)

and then conversation about willie nelson's politics. at one point my sister sneered about willie having dennis kucinich at farmaid last year. for some reason (is it my vegan month?) i spoke up.

i like kucinich

before i could get skewered, mom said who's that?

etc etc,

i fell back into silence on matters political.

i tire of this useless discourse so easily. especially when my voice is ignored, discounted, marginalized, labeled.....


yes, i just used five periods in my ellipses.


i was talking with papa and some others today. his hearing isn't the greatest.

he just figured out today that i've been doing yoga (he's been hearing "yogurt" for the past two years!).

despite how much i edit myself in front of my family, i really feel like i am just shnn around them. it's disconcerting how much the edited shnn unsettles them.

i was telling granny about the caterpillar on my basil plant this week (i'd opened the windows during a particularly beautiful rainy night), and how i put him outside.

why didn't you kill him?

they look at me like i didn't come from them, like we don't have the same genes. why wouldn't i want to smoosh the little green striped squirmy insect?

isn't it just easier to move him outside?


last time i was out there it was father's day. kind of a touchy time for me, i guess.

a conversation about shoes found me at its center, gently ridiculed for not wearing leather. papa asked what did the first humans wear?

and uncle m., of all people, came to my rescue.

fig leaves.

and then argument about animal skins and adam and eve, and the naturalness (god put animals on this earth for us!) of the whole damn thing. i defended myself as best i could.

i'd like to think that you're happy i'm living as you raised me - according to my convictions and ethics.

mom said,

i raised you to believe what's right.

and everyone chimed in about the most important thing being securing salvation. hell is scary. blah blah.

i try to gently be me, to engage in our relationships with integrity. but it's hard in a group setting, when i'm against a wall of their combined expectation, hope and worry.

i need to learn to communicate that i'm uncomfortable with being othered. i guess i need to figure out how to translate that into their language.


i wish i had a graceful way to end this post. i haven't made one like this in a long time.

but i have cats fighting for my attention, a mix cd still to make and some sewing projects left half-done on the bed.

and i still have to get up at 4am tomorrow to pick up leah and head to coyville.

oddly enough,

i'm at peace.


Thursday, July 01, 2004

the pen is mightier than [the]...US intelligence?
or, anonymous author of imperial hubris revealed

A Phoenix investigation has discovered that Anonymous does not, in fact, want to be anonymous at all — and that his anonymity is neither enforced nor voluntarily assumed out of fear for his safety, but rather compelled by an arcane set of classified regulations that are arguably being abused in an attempt to spare the CIA possible political inconvenience....

When asked to confirm or deny his identity in an interview with the Phoenix last week, Anonymous declined to do either, and said, "I’ve given my word I’m not going to tell anyone who I am, as the organization that employs me has bound me by my word." His publisher, Brassey’s, likewise declined to comment. Nearly a dozen intelligence-community sources, however, say Anonymous is Michael Scheuer — and that his forced anonymity is both unprecedented and telling in the context of CIA history and modern politics....

[Scheuer's editor at Brassey's] Davidson sent a terse note to CIA spokesman Bill Harlow that has yet to receive a response. "To say that our author must be kept in the shadows because he has expressed fears about al Qaeda retaliation is patently false and impugns his courage," she wrote, adding the "respectful request that you cease and desist from spreading this falsehood and inform all members of your staff to do the same."

You've got to love it when an editor bitches out the CIA

two quick things on this, the first day of my vegan july experiment

1) we got co-op for our upcoming book

(the amazon link is missing the cover and info because those guys are way backlogged. any changes you submit to their site take over a month to get implemented!)

you know those books you see on displays at the front of the store or on stands in the appropriate section? the publisher pays for that placement. and get this: you have to be invited to participate by the chain.

2) laura came in this morning with bagels and cream cheese. the everything bagel taunts me from the conference room table

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