Annual Party at my Publisher’s

My publisher is Algonquin Books, an imprint of Workman Publishing, and every year they have a party during the BEA (Bookexpo America). It was packed as always. People just love my publisher’s parties! The bigger crowd was to the right, where the bar was set up, and there was another huge crowd downstairs (where I suspect there was another bar).

I just flashed on my alcoholic days, when of course I would have too much to drink at parties. Shudder. Everyone is mostly sober these days, it seems. Or knows enough to keep their drinking to themselves. It used to be I’d see at least one person, usually more, over-doing it at any social event, and I’d think, ‘so glad that isn’t me.’ But all those people have disappeared. You never see drunks at parties anymore.

Well, good for all of them, and me, because …

I got to have a life that led to this day, this party, and seeing my book on the Algonquin shelves!!

Talk of the Nation

Announcing my first book related thing! I’m going to be on NPR’s Talk of the Nation on Monday, June 3rd (my birthday) at 3pm est. The guest host that day is Ari Shapiro, NPR’s White House correspondent who also happens to be a singer. This should be fun. And a little terrifying. Let’s face it, my entire future is riding on this. (Exaggeration alert.)

An NYU graduate walking down Broadway. Congratulations to all graduates of all schools everywhere!

New York University Graduate on Broadway, New York City

The Bachelorette 2013, Season 9

I have never missed a single season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. But this season premiere had more awkward, cringe-inducing moments than any other, and while these moments can be entertaining in their way, I need at least one person to root for.

First, Desiree seems like a bit of an idiot. I know it’s only week one, but she didn’t display a hint of intelligence or humor, and while she weeps, she expresses her emotions like a drunk. Her tears come far too easily and they feel excessive to the moment. She’s more sentimental than deep.

And this group of bachelors! It’s the worst decent-to-ick ratio on The Bachelor/Bachelorette yet. There were maybe two or three seemingly decent guys, and the rest have one problem or another.

At first I was smitten with Ben and his adorable son Brody, even though using his son in this way was a little iffy. I was willing to keep an open mind about that, his son was that cute. But then Ben said he hunts and Desiree was completely okay with that, so now I dislike them both. I hope Ben wins. I want better for the two or three decent guys.

A few highlights.

The poor ER doc. Yes, I felt pity for him. So clueless, and I guess drunk. Also, he was funny with the guys. But I completely understood Desiree sending him home. Pity certainly isn’t a reason for keeping a guy around.

Zak, the abs and jump in the pool guy, who got a rose. See: Desiree is an idiot. Although he wasn’t a hateful idiot, I didn’t dislike the guy. So who knows.

And finally, Fantasy Suite Guy. “My love tank has not been depleted in years.” Without question the creepiest thing I’ve ever heard on reality tv ever. I guess the fact that Desiree sent him home proves she is not a total idiot. “My mom thinks I’m good looking.” Oh God, this poor, pathetic guy.

But there was something about the way she initially shut him down. We didn’t know he was a creep yet, and it could have just been an “it seemed like a good idea at the time” thing. Although maybe her “I’m not that kind of girl,” response was her trying to be cute, And to be fair, perhaps she was picking up on his creepiness in a way that we couldn’t from a distance. Because after that, it was clear he was truly creepy. Once he saw her reaction, to not just say, “Okay, that didn’t work,” and “sorry, I just meant it to be funny,” and instead try it not once more but again and again?? So maybe her immediate reaction was more evidence that she is not a total idiot.

But, but, who can’t pronounce Juan Pablo? In his bio on The Bachelor website Juan Pablo says he doesn’t read. Hmm. As a writer it’s going to take some doing to get past that. But, well, look at him.

There’s a new bike rental program in the city called Citi Bike. This is a bike station only a half a block away from me. Too bad I’m way too terrified to try to ride a bike in the city. Cars act like bicyclists are either invisible or targets, and the NYPD treats them like they’re terrorists.

Citi Bike, New York City

My Quest for a Cruelty-Free Moisturizer Begins

A while back I learned that the cruelty-free products I’d been using were no longer cruelty-free. Turns out China requires all beauty products to be tested on animals, so if a company wants to do business in China they have to torture innocent creatures first. Pretty much all U.S. companies have opted to torture animals. Terrific.

As I run out of various items I’m going to switch to a new cruelty-free brand. First up, moisturizer. I had switched to L’Oreal because it does the job and it’s reasonably priced, but they’re doing business in China so … I bought some samples from Paula’s Choice Resist line. I will report back!

Here is Bleeck checking out the samples. Sniff away little fur dude. These people have refused to hurt creatures like you. Thank you, Paula’s Choice.

Bleecker Checks Out Paula's Choice Samples

Peace Abroad and Peace at Home

I posted this on Facebook in response to a friend asking me what Obama has accomplished. I will probably edit it a little though and fix the typos.

I do not understand the extent of the hate for Obama. George Bush, who by the end of his second term had left our country in such terrible shape, did not get this level of vitriol, and that’s not counting all the anti-christ, not-American, not-Christian garbage.

Obama inherited two wars, the worst financial crisis in I don’t know how long, probably going back to the depression, a world that hates us, a country that hates each other, and he had to fix this nightmare stew of fiascos with the kind of republicans who have now admitted that their goal was to not let him have any kind of success, to block everything he tries to do to fix the mess they dumped in his lap. And then they have the gall to point out that he can’t get them to work with him.

In spite of all this he has accomplished a lot. I beg of us all, give credit where credit is due. We averted a depression, everything is slowly improving, the deficit is falling, unemployment is falling, the stock market is at an all-time high, he ended the war in Iraq, he’s winding down the war in Afghanistan, and to those who listened to his speech, he is now winding down and limiting the war on terror, and even though many presidents have tried to institute some form of national healthcare, Barack Obama gave us the Affordable Care Act. I could go on, but here is a list.

One could argue that the list was compiled by [fill in the blank] but nothing on this list in untrue. I suggest reading it to the end to truly understand what he has accomplished (because, for instance, the science stuff, some of my favorites, are towards the end!).

To that list I would add (because they came after it was compiled) immigration reform and helping usher in an age of civil rights for gays.

Disagree with the guy if you want, I do at times, express disappointment when he doesn’t act when he should, or as strongly (Guantanamo Bay) but for the love of god, let us end this period where we have to hate each other when we have different opinions, and vilify the other party’s representatives. We can do better than this. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this myself, but I will do better in the future.

I’ve posted pictures of this spot before. It’s the northern end of Washington Square park. This section makes me feel at peace and happy. Weirdly, even though it does that for me, and is also arguably the most beautiful part of the park, it is always the least populated.

NOTE: I’ve got the Naval Academy graduation on in the background, and their responses in the ceremony are yelled with such vigor! And they all sound like if they sang in the choir they’d be basses.

Washington Square Park, New York City