Tuesday, September 25, 2012

5 Things I Love: Birthday Post

So today is my birthday and I thought in honor of my birthday, I would post lovely things that I like. Happy birthday to me!

1. Eos Lip Balm. Yes, these lovely egg-shaped little wonders are great on the lips and smell good, too. Packaging is a complete win--the second my 6 year old saw these, he wanted them too. Smell is a win, too with flavors that hearken back to the awesome old tin Lip Lickers-- remember those? How awesome were those?

Photo is from Gen Xtint.com

Anyway the Eos lip balm eggs above are available in tons of flavors, but I especially love the Alice in Wonderland pack of blueberry, vanilla, and watermelon. Not sure why they're Alice and Wonderfuland but I don't care, and the packaging comes with the delightful quote: "Very few things indeed were really impossible." Sublime.

2. Any magazine with Kate Middleton on it. Except the photos of her nekkid. Because I don't agree that we need to see that, especially when she didn't put her boobies on display for us all to see--just her hubs. But apart from all that, I freaking love reading about her and looking at her because she is so calm and collected and always put together. Doesn't she ever throw a strop and get really PMSy? Doesn't she ever have the runs? I know she does, but we never see it, and that's the way I like it.

3. The Communication Arts Design Annual, which comes out every fall and gets delivered to subscribers in a BOX. This issue is chock full of winning entries in Comm Arts' design entry categories like packaging, identity, brochures. I got mine the other day and have been guarding it and petting it and calling it my Precious. It's pretty much crack for designers.

4. The Grey's Anatomy season premier this week AND the series premier of Elementary. I've watched GA for years now and while it's getting slightly stale, having to wait all summer to watch more of the dramatic plane crash was annoying, so it's nice that it's back on. Elementary, now, oooh. Lucy Liu--YES. Johnny Lee Miller of Trainspotting fame? YES YES YES YES. Mr Ex-Angelina Jolie? Snore! Let's remember him as Sick Boy, shall we?

5. The start of fall. It began officially on 9/22. God, I love fall. Colors, smells, and cozy nights. I got out all my fall decorations right away. I'm ready for smoky chimneys and hot cider, aren't you?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bad Bookstore Behavior

Although I have no money to spend on books, I do anyway--because what is life if not filled with books?  So the other day I took the baby and went to Barnes and Noble. We spent an enjoyable 45 minutes there, leaving with several books to our delight, including several new books for the baby and one delicious book on logos for me.

As I wheeled the kid out in his stroller, struggling and cajoling him to keep his remaining shoe on, I found myself checking furtively over my shoulder to see if any store employees would tackle me. You see, I had been a bit badly behaved.

Naturally, none of it was my fault. And upon reflection, it's the stuff I do almost every time I'm in there.

First, I was waylaid and detained by the New Fiction shelf. Surreptitiously, I pulled out my phone, shooting the baby a look to keep his yap shut about this. *Snap!* *Snap!* Yes, I took pictures of the covers so I could download them later on my Kindle. I committed the most egregious sin to bookstores everywhere. (Henceforth to be referred to as Bookstore Sin #1.) But the thing is, the covers are gorgeous! And I simply can't read hardbacks in print anymore! But Mein Gott, what a lovely bunch of cover art that's being produced these days! Look at this!

And to close up, here's what I was in design raptures about:

That is so cool, I totally judged it by its cover art and am going to read it. Then I'll be reading this one:

Here's a gorgeous use of typography on a cover, although I don't think I'll read this one--historical novels are not my cup of tea:

Alas, I didn't get more photos because an employee walked by. So I scurried away to hide among the fiction aisles. There, I committed Bookstore Sin #2. I used my superior powers of alphabetization and made a spade where my own book will go once it is published. That's right. I shoved Gail Godwin aside and a slim Goethe volume (which completely didn't belong there) and made room on the shelf for myself. I should have taken a picture, but the picture author Linda Godfrey took a few years ago on my behalf using a Chinese take-out menu will have to suffice:

That accomplished, I moved on to the Romance section, where I like to commit Bookstore Sin #3: checking for the published copies of my friends and acquaintances. This isn't a sin, no, you're right. But I am not a huge category romance reader so going over there with the sole intent of checking seemed wrong. Plus, one time I did it with my 6 year old whippersnapper in tow and he was all, "oooohhhh" when he spied some overflowing bodices and bosoms on the covers. 

Anyway, I found Roni Loren's latest novel out, facing out on the shelf in the New section, no less!

I didn't want to commit Bookstore Sin #4, which is my baby chewing the toddler books with abandon, so we made our purchases and got out of there before further offense could be made. 

How about you? What naughty things do you do in bookstores? And I don't mean having sex in the back corner next to the SAT guides, either. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ahem. Back to regular programming.

Hi! You may have noticed a great absence from blog posts. Or not. There was one. I was...I...oh, I'll just say it: I had blogging ennui. Yes, it's like a form of blog cancer. I even stopped reading other blogs in my trusty and well-loved Google Reader. But I think I have successfully treated the disease and I'm back from my little lacuna, with new and improved ideas for blog posts that mostly involve me talking about inane things that are designed to amuse mainly myself.

You'd think taking a little bloggy break would be no problem--isn't most of the publishing industry supposed to take the month of August off? And gosh, it wasn't even that long...I posted something in August. But I found that taking a break, whatever the reason, isn't that simple. When I logged into Blogger to clear my throat and dust away the cobwebs, I found an extremely angry blog awaiting me with a pitchfork and a barrel of hot tar ready to dump on my head. A few years ago, I did an interview with my blog for its birthday, and discovered it drank Jack Daniels and smoked cigars, among other unpleasant habits. Disgusted, I've avoided discussing much of anything with it since, except to make idle threats now and then about switching to Wordpress, and how would it like that?

It turned out after delicate questioning that my absence had infuriated the blog. It reared up like Cerberus, snapping and spraying a mist of spittle. 

"Where have you been?" it asked. "You don't neglect me. I will not be neglected."

"I was tired," I said. "And busy. Had a lot going on. That baby I had last year? Still not a reliable sleep-through-the-nighter. Anyway, you were fine--I checked in on you. People were still commenting on posts."

The blog pointed a spindly finger at me. "Don't presume to know how it was. I had emails from hordes of people, writing in about all kinds of things....and you just left me to deal with it all. How do you think that makes me feel? I wanted to delete myself!"

"Drama queen," I told it. "What emails did you get? Show us one."

"Here's one right here," the blog said, holding up a stained and crumpled piece of paper. 

"E-mail doesn't come on stained and crumples pieces of papers," I pointed out. 

"You're talking to a digital concept that you've anthropomorphized," the blog spat. "I hardly think an email on an old scrap of paper is the thing to be questioning here. Anyway, this one is asking you questions about all kinds of things--all the e-mails you got asked questions. Like, what are the best books on grammar and style that you recommend. What kinds of books or classes might a person take if they want to become a technical writer. Which fall television shows you plan to watch. What music you listen to. How your little boys are doing. How the writing is going."

"Those are a lot of questions," I said. "It will take me time to answer them all."

"Well, get on it," the blog snapped. The top came flying off a fresh bottle of Jack. 

"This conversation...."

"What?" the blog asked.

"This is so ridiculous. You think people want to read this silly exchange? No one's going to sit around for this."

The blog nodded knowingly and leaned back in its massive leather executive chair. The chair swiveled back and forth a bit as the blog considered me.

"What am I here for?" it asked.

"Here we go." I sighed. "You're getting philosophical again. Last time you did this, I stayed up all night redesigning you. Honestly, I don't have the energy for that again. I'm only just starting to get full nights of sleep."

"That," the blog said, "is lunacy. How old is that baby of yours? And he still doesn't sleep through the night?"

"He does, mostly. Anyway, to answer your question, you're here to serve as a place to talk about writing. And to plug in with the writing community. And to share ideas. And to work through ideas. All of that. And, of course, you exist to amuse me."

"See that you remember it," the blog said, and faded away into a mass of CSS code, other incomprehensible characters, and the lingering fumes of Jack Daniels and cigars.