...which is not to be confused with crazy love-making, a subject for a different day.
Well, kids, it turns out that scientists have produced brain scan images that show "fevered activity" for someone experiencing new love, finally proving that love will, in fact, fuck with your head.
According the article in today's NYT, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/31/health/psychology/31love.html?8hpib
being in love is "among the most irrational of human behaviors." Evidently one reason new love is so disquieting is because there's always the fear that the love isn't exactly requited (no shit) and the idea that being dumped heightens romantic love (another no brainer for the lab monkey typing this blog.)
So what are we to do with this info, eh, Dr. Strangelove? Well, I suppose we should all take a lesson from that great philosopher-bombshell, Mae West, who said it best years ago when she stated, "I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it."
Oh Yeah, the War Stuff
It has never actually occurred to me--like, EVER before--to associate Memorial Day with anything but the damn grocery store closing early, and the rain that invariably ruins those picnics reputedly happening in state parks all over America. I even have a veteran in the family--shout out to my Uncle Earl and his Purple Heart, who's 87-years-old, newly-wed and still chilling down in Macon!--but his story was just some distant folklore about a long-lost uncle down south who I didn't meet until his 80th birthday. It was somebody else's story, just like this has always been somebody else's holiday.
Except this time we are
at war--still--and it's an increasingly nasty war, insidiously spiraling toward uncontrollable violence. A few facts from today's paper alone:
Aside from the car bombs exploding every day all over Iraq, regularly killing a dozen people at a time, yesterday 34 people were killed in Iraq in the largest Iraqi-led counter-insurgency operation to date. And this is just the beginning of a new and even more hazardous chapter of the war, in which Iraqi policemen are being targeted by invigorated insurgents.
In the past year, over 10 percent of Baghdad's doctors have fled or been driven out of their practices--and sometimes even out of the country. A vast majority are the most senior doctors. It turns out that doctors are easy targets for violent gangs that specialize in kidnapping. Good luck to the dozens of people wounded everyday by those suicide car bombs and enraged insurgents.
And then there is the new war spawned by the scandalously conducted old war: the violent reactions that have already begun to emerge in Afghanistan and all across the Muslim world as more and more accounts of abuse and torture by American soldiers emerge from Guantanamo and Afghanistan. It turns out that if one Koran wasn't flushed down the toilet, others were desecrated in different ways. The detention situation of "enemy combatants" and "possible terrorists" at Gitmo is becoming increasingly questionable--American lawyers are actually lining up to take the little plane to Cuba to challenge the government's detention of these prisoners.
It's a little unclear whose evil we're fighting now.
It's 110 degrees in Baghdad today, there are power outages, doctor shortages, chaos, lawlessness, and a good chance that at least another 20 people will die. There are 530 remaining detainess at Guantanamo Bay, there are 300 U.S. lawyers who have volunteered to represent them, but most of the prisoners don't even know that they have an attorney.
Wait--so...what was the exit strategy?
An amazing weekend all around, but one of my favorite reunion moments came when an incredibly hot Princeton grad named Kristin revealed her spirit after the P-Rade by flashing a group of Princetonians (my parents included) with her www.ShakingHerAssets.com underpants!
I don't think the panties could have been displayed on a more perfect ass... However, if anyone would like to send us pictures of themselves in Shaking Her Assets
underpants (or in any other Shaking-related attire), we'd be happy to post them on the site.
Tiger, Tiger, Tiger!
Impossible to believe, but Renee and I are celebrating our 10th year college reunion from Princeton this weekend. While many classmates will be returning with husbands and babies (to say nothing of our female classmates), Renee and I will be returning to campus with a bunch of other interesting attributes and experiences under our very chic though possibly out-dated rhinestone belts.
Between us we've had about 30 jobs in 10 years, we've picked up a few graduate degrees, we've had countless meaningless and one or two meaningful relationships, and we've certainly consumed way more booze than advisable (which we intend to continue doing throughout the weekend. Go Tigers!) We've traveled, we've nested in small caves generously called "studio apartments" in NYC, we've had amazingly thrilling adventures, incredible embarrassments, and all in all, a hell of a lot of fun.
Not bad for the first ten years out if you ask me...
Us and Them
In case you were worried about Them, don't. You know, in this slugglishly recovering ecomony, still weakened by the big bust of 2001 and the nasty bear market years that followed, then with the waves of corporate scandals after that, all that scary talk of lay-offs and pension losses and outsourcing--well, it's a natural reaction to worry about all
But, good news! You don't have to worry about Them, because it turns out that the number of millionaires in the U.S. actually increased
last year. To a record high. The number of U.S. households worth $1 million or more rose 21% last year. Hallelujah, They're gonna be okay! And hold onto your seats, and possibly your wallets and your jobs, because there's more
good news: the number of households in the U.S. with assets of $20 million or more also
rose--and it's increasing by 3000 every year.
We can all rest easier now, eh?
your caption here
If it's good enough for The New Yorker
, it's good enough for us. That's why Renee and I are running our first official caption contest. What does this picture say to you?
To me, it says: "This was NOT the boob I was expecting!"
Beat my caption and win a prize...
A Sad Day for Sex Offenders
According to a wee article in today's NYT, convicted sex offenders will no longer be able to get their Viagra prescriptions taxpayer-subsidized. Until now, the kind folks at Medicaid had been giving a hand to sex offenders with pesky erectile dysfunction problems because imagine the indignity of suffering ED while in the middle of a rape!
In related news, those convicted of defenestration will no longer be given a discount at Sylvan Glass, those convicted in cases of poisoning will no longer get free samples of arsenic and Ashlee Simpson will no longer be able to perform live.
Things That Have Disappeared
Natalie Portman's hair:
While I do have an reflexive and uncontrollable reaction to turn away from anything including the word "Sith" or "Star"--and any of the related actors or characters--it's been hard to turn away from Natalie Portman's bald head. I have no idea why
she's bald, but good god, she looks...amazing. She just stands there beaming, bald, radiant, a starlet still, heartbreakingly gorgeous. She makes me want to shave my head. I clearly need care.
Lidsay Lohan's boobs:
Wherefore have the pillowy friends of the world's most nubile starlet gone? She hosted SNL looking very bottle-blond and sinewy, a little too Donatella really, and mostly...very flat. They were so fleshy and large, she's so damn young--it all worked so well together. Bring them back, Lindsay!
So we saw him in his tighty whities, all dumpy and well-endowed, scuffling around doing domestic chores. He was a tyrant humbled--humiliated, really--by that same sneering spririt of Wild West jingoism that seems to be driving the whole damn war in Iraq, yet another thoughtless soldier stripping a prisoner of his dignity. But so what if the world saw a picture of Saddam doing laundry in his underwear? It could be worse: he could be naked, sandwiched between a few of his body doubles in a human pyramid, or--I donno--wearing a dog collar, or simulating oral sex...
ANOTHER fantastic review!
Happy Monday and good news to report on the book review front. The excellent literary journal SMALL SPIRAL NOTEBOOK has spilled some ink on our book. And not only did they review it, they LOVED it. Click this link to read the full review (though be warned, it's a bit of a spoiler)http://www.smallspiralnotebook.com/reviews/shakingassets.shtml
So feel free to jump on the good review bandwagon and share the love...
Due to a viewing error at the Columbia MFA reunion (I'd been relegated to a seat in the balcony)I mistakenly thought it was Alan Ziegler, chairman of the Writing Division, who'd discussed the school's relationship to Vogue magazine. It has come to my attention that it was not, in fact, Alan Ziegler who made these comments and fawned at the pretty ladies. It was the dean of the School of the Arts. Apologies to Mr. Ziegler.
SWF Seeks Lucrative 2nd Book Deal
really like a lucrative second book deal, of course, but not so much for myself as for my erstwhile colleagues. To prove them right, to make them feel that there really is some truth, justice, and highly-paid authors in this world--and that I'm one of them.
See, our show hit a bit of a rough patch yesterday, and as people wandered about at the late afternoon cocktail-slash-wake--whiskey, plump shrimp, little pastry-wrapped wieners--there was much cheery exhortation of the idea that, well, at least Renée can write another book! Which vaguely translates as: Who needs this job, Neenee, when you can write a high six-figure--hell, a seven
-figure--follow-up to your flashy smash-hit novel! Right!?! They looked excited for me. I grinned broadly at them, showed teeth, went to refill my Pinot Grigio.
A more reliable source of enthusiasm, at least in the short term, is this newly-released book from a fellow GCC author... Marianne Mancusi's A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court
. Just out from Dorchester, the story is chick lit meets the round table, via time travel and, of course, some killer shoes. "If Mr. Blahnik could see me now, he’d be royally ticked off. Not that I’d blame the guy," read the first two lines--and it only gets more fun! Check out Marianne's website at www.mariannemancusi.com
, where you'll also find out about the seven
other books she has on the way.
Greetings from LaLaWood!
Just arrived on the left coast and have already done some exciting SHAKING recon work at the great bookstores of Santa Monica! First stop was the Borders on the Third Street Promenade where I met the Amazing Janet who was super cool & kind enough to allow me to sign the stock in the store. Then she agreed to showcase the book! THEN said she'd help hand-sell it to readers who came in looking for suggestions! I was so excited by this, I asked her to pose for a picture of us together as we stealthily moved the book into a more prominent display in the store (I'll get those photos up as soon as I figure out how to get them off the phone...)
Daniel at the Barnes & Noble just up the block was very nice, too, and I John Hancocked at least 8 more books for the good people of California.
Tomorrow I'm hot and heavy at E3, and feeling very good about this whole video game business -- apparently they're catching on! I send you all air kisses from the city of angles & angels!
Star Wars: Episode Who Frigging Cares
I wish I could say that I understand Star Wars
, at least in theory. That even if I personally don't appreciate it--like it, have any clue what it's about, remotely care--that I could appreciate the films' profound influence on popular culture, filmmaking, and generations of small boys the world over.
But I don't get it.
For a while I thought I got it, I thought that I too remembered where I was and how old I was when I first saw The Empire Strikes Back
--it was in Ithaca, New York, at the now-defunct State Theater with my little French friend, Joy, who was visiting for a few weeks, and who I secretly despised, and who much less secretly despised me, because she was a tomboy who could catch a baseball and who snickered at my turquoise shorts and was mean, but still cried like a 4-year-old because she missed her daddy, who I know for a fact found her ugly and unfeminine. The little bitch. Anyway
, we were both 8 years old, and she was super-excited--it was so
her kind of movie, and not knowing English probably wouldn't be a problem, so she was relieved about that, and I guess I will always remember the moment when the bicyle took off and flew, and the screen filled with the dark shadow of the bicyle against the bright full moon--wait...that was E.T
I don't know who the characters are in Star Wars. I don't know the story. I don't really know who the bad guys and good guys are anymore. I don't know who's related to whom, what we've learned over the course of the trilogies, what we still don't know, why some beasts grunt and others talk, why some robots don't talk and others wheeze like they're in end-stage emphysema. I don't know. And I don't care. I actively, in a hostile and agressive and militant manner, don't care. I deeply, profoundly, don't give a shit. It's like suddenly the world picking out puke-yellow as the world's favorite color, and everyone agreeing that puke-yellow is for sure the most super-dazzling fabulous color ever. Wouldn't you be a little freaked out? Wouldn't you be a little peeved that everyone seemd so genuinely excited about puke-yellow? Wouldn't you be a little irritated by this insanely global consenus that puke-yellow is just the best-est?
Well, should the point evade you still, Star Wars
is my puke-yellow.
Geek Heading to Mecca
Can't even begin to explain how excited I am for the E3 video game conference in LA tomorrow. Well, let me try: 011100111000111000001111000!
That's right, this former Millipede champ and current game-writer will be attending the expo in an attempt to network her ass off. I'm not exactly sure how that's done among gamers, but I'm thinking I can show them stuff they've never seen before. Yes, I'm talking about breasts.
Don't know if anyone who reads this site is going to be out there (I'm guessing the cross over between readers of chick lit and hard core video game players represents a very small portion of the Ven diagram) but if anyone else is planning to attend, shoot me an e-mail to the firstname.lastname@example.org account, and if possible we can catch up and play a game or two.
The Passion of the Renée
Renée and I often have spirited debates on all manner of subjects--everything from the true meaning of Stonehenge to the relative attractiveness/horrendousness of hipster hairdos. Turns out we frequently have wildly different ideas and perspectives, and we're both girls with strong opinions who like to make a point(though she may well disagree with me on that one...) Yet there are certain topics about which I wouldn't dare question Renee's absolute authority. The intellectual history of France is one, anything pertaining to dessert food is another.
Check out Renée's great interview on the subject of cupcakes on the aptly named Cupcake Blog, "CupcakesTakeTheCake": www.cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com
Nichelle, one of the bloggers who curates that site also has her own blog, www.nichellenewsletter.typepad.com
, and Renée and I are both HUGE fans... not just because she gave SHAKING a fantastic review, though that didn't hurt at all.
Entitlement: A User's Guide for the Delusional
Well, if nothing else it would appear we have consensus on the general suckitude of the Columbia MFA program. But let's scratch the surface a little more deeply, and give a think on this:
Was the program really
all that bad, or were we simply misguided assholes for participating in the folly that is the MFA? And wasn't it really
the promise of that Ivy League degree--the perceived golden ticket to love, happiness & success--which gave us the mighty, mighty sense of entitlement that ultimately became our albatross?
To wit, the folly. Because at least to a certain extent, wasn't it precisely this sense of entitlement that we were paying for when we (or our generous "patrons")wrote those tuition checks?
Cheap 'n Easy... Just the Way We Likey
Okay, you didn't know we were here before we got linked to on Gawker yesterday, but now that you are aware of our potty-mouthed presence, keep coming back to the site and feel free to bathe in the shower of our verbal abuse. Oh, dearlings, we've got more bile running through our veins than Al Roker pre-gastric bypass. And we can't wait to start whispering all our off-color comments in your ear. But sadly right now someone I know has to get back to her real job of writing children's books...
Happy Friday the 13th!
The Columbia MFA reunion, as much fun as a sabre-tipped colorectal exam
Struck me that it would be particularly enjoyable to go to my fifth year reunion from the Columbia MFA program last night, especially in light of the recent release of my first novel, SHAKING HER ASSETS. And enjoyable is one way of describing it. Another is "torturous skull-fuck."
The event took an immediate turn for the weird when I walked into the National Arts Club and saw Anna Wintour and a group of ridiculously stylie, brutally thin young women draped in clothes costing the balance of my student loan. Who were these Amazon blondes and what were they doing at a reunion of schlumpy writers? They were Vogue staffers, of course, and it was explained by the Writing Division chair, Alan Ziegler, that Vogue had been incredibly supportive of the writers in the program, and he hoped the relationship between the program and the magazine would continue. Who knew? But as I listened to him explain this to the crowd, I couldn't get the image of Shrek trying to woo Cameron Diaz out of my head.
The crowd was then welcomed by Bruce Ferguson, dean of Columbia's School of the Arts, and the man I'm holding responsible for recently trying to expel the best professor in the writing division, Richard Locke. Richard Locke was far and away the most excellent teacher and editor that program had, and without him, the quality of the classes will plummet. So as Ferguson waxed poetic on what a superior program we had with all the best teachers, I had all I could do to prevent myself from hissing loudly and spear-chucking a Vogue assistant in his direction.
Binnie Kirshenbaum, a faculty member and novelist then moderated a panel discussion between Morgan Entrekin Publisher, Grove Atlantic, Sara Nelson Editor-in-Chief, Publishers Weekly and Ira Silverberg Literary Agent, Donadio & Olson. They were all smart, thoughtful and candid panelists who were willing to spill the truth about publishing. And though it was nothing I hadn't heard before, perhaps specifically in light of the recent birth of SHAKING, every time they alluded to the fate of a young novelist whose books weren't flying off the shelves, they made me want to yank out clumps of my hair and hit myself in the head with mallet.
I couldn't bring myself to stick around for the schmooze-fest after the panel, instead I bee-lined for the elevator where I overheard Marina Rust explaining to William Norwich her aversion to the breast pump. As soon as I stopped rocking back and forth on the floor in the fetal position, I high-tailed it the hell home and did what I really learned to how to at Columbia, drink enough to make Papa proud.
I'm Too Sexy for My Book Tour
The crowd in the bookstore was gathering quickly, not necessarily for our reading--possibly there to buy other books--but we doubted it. As soon as we walked into the sleek Borders of the chic Time Warner Center, we felt a palapable buzz, and we suspected it was for us. They--a 22-year-old aspiring stand-up named Jamie, who grilled Robin for industry advice--guided us back to the "green room." First we went through the stock room, squeezed between a dolly and a short guy registering bar codes, and then plopped down in ratty office chairs to wait for the call of the crowd. At 7:05pm, five minutes after scheduled start time, the Borders rep suggested the crowd was a little sparse and did we wanna wait a few more minutes? Her sarcasm was so deadpan, we almost took her seriously: Oh, but she was funny! But of course we waited, because a diva always plies her fans tremble with yearning.
At 7:15, we couldn't wait anymore, and when we walked out into the reading area, hidden between the children's books and psychology, we knew that if we'd waited a minute more to come out, the old lady in the back row with the kerchief and bifocals would have fallen asleep or, perhaps, picked a fight with the pasty man slouching two seats over and staring off into space.
There were a few empty seats in the audience, but there were a few filled seats, too. So that was good. And when the pasty man asked a stupid question, I only reacted very badly--not very very badly. But, actually, it was a blast, thanks to the familiar faces in the audience, Robin's enthusiasm, and the very very excellent questions at the end...So thank you all who came!
Time Warner Center, Here We Come!
Borders in the sexy Time Warner Center is the place to be tonight, friends. Yes, that's where Robin and Renee will be giving their third consecutive reading at 7 p.m.! Hard to know what to expect from the dynamic duo this evening, so we advise arriving early (2 minutes should do it) and wearing a superhero costume.
We had a great deal of fun reading at the B&N on Court Street last night, and props to Matt, the book store's events coordinator, for so effectively coordinating our triumph in Brooklyn. He managed to keep the excited throng at bay, and we were able to slip in and out of the store without being hounded too severely by the press.
In the Q&A portion of the night, we were asked a variety of interesting q's, including one from a very hot male in the audience who asked if we could explain what an A-Line skirt was. Renee gave a masterful explanation, revealing that it's a slim skirt that resembles an A, small at the waist and belling out ever-so-attractively at the bottom. See that? Not just pretty faces are we! We knows our shit.
The reading concluded with me taking some pictures of our very pretty crowd (clearly we have the best looking fans of any writing tag-team). But unfortunately I snapped the images with my phone camera and I have no idea how to transfer them anywhere else (yes, I'm just that old.) So if you're curious to see the pics, I'll be happy to show you my phone.
Okay, so remember 7 p.m. tonight at the Borders in the Time Warner Center. See you there! http://www.bordersstores.com/events/event_detail.jsp?SEID=28335
It's All About Brooklyn (for today)!
It's 7 p.m., do you know where your favorite authors are?
Well, kids, if you guessed the fantastic Barnes & Noble on Court Street in Brooklyn, you'd be totally right. Yes, the Assets Girls (that would be Renee and me) will be giving a reading tonight at 7 p.m., and if you're wise enough to purchase a book, we'll be happy to lower its re-sale value on eBay by signing it to you personally!
We did a reading last night at Elise Miller's tremendously cool series, East Side Oral (www.eastsideoral.com
), at the Living Room on the Lower East Side. Elise was hilarious--as was her mother, Ellie, who came in for the show (and actually bought a copy of SHAKING--way to go, Ellie!) And there were three other readers, Margo Leitman (www.margotleitman.com
), the always funny Peter Hyman, author of THE RELUCTANT METROSEXUAL, (www.pdhyman.com
), and the incredibly engaging Mike Albo, author of THE UNDERMINER (www.mikealbo.com
Though the Sunday afternoon Mother's Day crowd was a bit sparse (read: 7 attendees)they were a boisterous and effusive lot who made it seem like there were at least 9 people present! It really was great fun, and we're loving Elise hard right now for letting us grace her stage and read 2 of our fav. (sex) scenes that ultimately got cut from the book.
If you want to know what we'll be reading tonight well then I suggest you figure out where Brooklyn is, and haul your cookies to Court Street. Or, if the thought of traversing a bridge to see us sends shivers up the crack of your Manhattan-centric ass, then you can come see us tomorrow night when we'll be reading at the Borders at the uber-swank Time Warner Center at 7 p.m.
See you there... PLEASE!
We said "NO PHOTOS!"
Int. Bubble Lounge
, an elegant bar/lounge in Tribeca. The beautiful space is filled with a collection of equivalently beautiful people quaffing Tattinger Champagne and Citadelle Vodka. They are smiling, they are happy, they are, in all likelihood, loaded... Music wafts in the background below the sounds of spirited conversation, laughter and the clinking of glasses.
CLOSE ON: Two women, RENÉE and ROBIN, who stand in the center of the room gaping in awe at their glamorous surroundings and the chic crowd.
I just said that.
Sorry, I wasn't paying attention. I was too busy admiring all the amazing people who've gathered to celebrate with us. Look at them!
It is an incredibly hip crowd. And they look smart, too.
How can you tell?
I just know these things. Do you doubt me?
Never. Except occasionally. But not tonight. And it's not just because I've been drinking a lot of gimlets.
How much do we love the owners and staff at the Bubble Lounge for making this happen?
I'd sleep with all of them -- oh, and I love them, too. And the good folks at Berkley Books?
They are good. They are very, very good.
This party has pretty much exceeded my wildest expectations. You?
I think we've been incredibly fortunate to have so many great friends, colleagues, wonderful family and a lot of hot randoms turn out to help us send SHAKING HER ASSETS into the world in properly glam fashion.
Author, author & ditto, lady!
ROBIN holds up her flute of bubbly and clinks it against RENÉE's. With great pleasure the two women smile at one another, take a sip and begin laughing... one can tell the girls have done this before and can't wait to do it again!
Champers and Canapes
Rivers of bubbly, platters of yummy hoo-has, vodka gimlets til you can't see straight--and that's all before the guests start buying and we start signing books: it's the book party tonight! The point is to celebrate until we can't tell our signatures apart. Or until my mom realizes that, yes, I do enjoy the occasional cocktail. More Taittinger, ma?
Some Ronson will probably be spinning, Tara Reid just might pop by--or out, as the case may be--and there'll be guaranteed appearances by Robin Epstein and Renée Kaplan, authors of--have you heard yet?--an extremely highly Amazon-ranked and surely-soon-to-highly-acclaimed novel called SHAKING HER ASSETS. I've read it, lovies, and it's kicky.
Not to mention funny, smart and hugely entertaining, as well as true to life--a smart and clever read. Not to mention a fierce good time. So hurry up and RSVP, come, don't behave, otherwise you might make it to Page Six, but ya won't make into this blog.
This is it, the day SHAKING HER ASSETS at looooooong last hits the shelves. Granted I've not yet been outside, but I imagine the air smells a little sweeter, the sun is shining a little more brightly and people across the world have lay down their arms to rejoice in this truly monumentous event!
What's that? What can you do to be part of the fun, you ask? What can you do to feel the magic? To experience firsthand the glory that is SHAKING HER ASSETS publication day? Well, if I were you, I'd find the "Buy the Book" link on the homepage, take out my credit card and order one, two or twelve copies of this utterly engaging, hilarious page-turner! Yes, it really is that easy.
You know what? Stop reading this post right now, click and buy. Or, run--don't walk--to your local bookstore and ask for that fab new book by those two great author girls (uh, that would be Renee and me.)
What are you still doing reading this post. Go! Buy! Go! Buy!
...And thank you for your support!
Paris to Attend Book Party!
Hilton's reps have yet to "officially" RSVP to the SHAKING pub. party, but the girl is everywhere hot, and therefore I think it safe to assume that she'll be putting in appearance at the Bubble Lounge Wednesday night.
Paris is quoted in today's NYTimes saying she's now gotten the partying out of her system -- I'm guessing it all came up in the third stall bathroom of Level V -- and she now wants to focus on building her empire. I say bully for her! She's just like the heroine of our book, Rachel Chambers, who also builds a business empire though without the trust fund, the rat-dog, Tinkerbell, or the night vision camera.
But if Renee and I were really being honest--something we generally like to avoid--we'd tell you that SHAKING HER ASSETS is actually the unauthorized biography of Paris Hilton. It's not that one day prior to publication we're trying to drum up publicity, it's that her fans around the globe have a right to know. And more importantly, it's that every news organization that has been salacious enough to devote serious column space and air time to this dumb bimbo should focus its attention on the hot book Paris's peeps have already made "No Comment!" on.