Aug 11

A babbly post for no reason at all

Reading about all the hurricane stuff kind of made me wish I was back in New York! Then I remembered that having no power really sucks, as well as dealing with flooded streets and subways, so I STFU and appreciated the clear skies here in SF.

Yesterday was productive, except that I didn’t do yoga as planned. I did a quick little hurricane-related blog post, then spent most of the day researching and writing a blog post for work. We did manage to get out of the house around 1:30. Grabbed some lunch at our new favorite diner-ish place, Toast, which is usually packed on Saturdays for brunch and lunch, but was half-empty that day. Maybe because all the annoying people have left for Burning Man next week (yay!). Then we walked over to Japantown, where we worked in a cafe for a couple of hours.

I finally finished work in the early evening, then did a couple of loads of laundry. Pizza and Greek salads for dinner! Then Torchwood and Burn Notice, which always manages to put me to sleep for some reason. Or else it’s always late when I watch it.

Today, another work-related blog post and yoga, hopefully!

Aug 11

Hurricane vicariousness

Reading about Hurricane Irene and how people are getting ready (or making fun of people getting ready) makes me feel like I should be doing something. Like rushing to the grocery store and buying all the buttermilk and quinoa, or canceling plans (not that we have any), or preparing to hunker down all weekend with movies and a good book (which I may do anyway).

The only hurricane I remember experiencing was Hurricane Gloria, back in 1985. I was in the eighth grade, and got into an argument with my dad who insisted school for me wasn’t canceled the next day although my brother’s was and, more importantly, it was officially announced on the news. My father thought only the younger kids didn’t have to go to school, and that I as an old junior higher-er still did, although I kept pointing at the TV and yelling, “There! It says Clifton T. Barkalow school canceled! THERE! THERE!”

Unlike with my mother, I could argue with my father without apocalyptic repercussions, and when he was finally convinced I did not have to weather the “storm of the century” to go to school the next day, he apologized.

Yesterday I checked in with my mom. “The grocery store was soooo crowded!” she said. People were going nuts, acting like it was the end of the world. Her friend was supposed to have a mah-jongg party on Sunday, and the friend’s daughter insisted she cancel. “You can’t go outside at all!” she told her mother, who apparently wants the party to go.

“You guys grew up in Taiwan,” I said. “A hurricane’s no big deal.”

“Yeah,” my mother said. “We know typhoon.”

On the other hand, my mother hadn’t heard a thing about the earthquake earlier in the week. “Did you guys feel the earthquake?” I asked that day.

“What? Cupcake?”

Needless to say, they didn’t feel it nor even know about it till I told them.

One natural disaster at a time.

Aug 11

Writing update

I’m sure you’ve all been dying for yet another writing update from me, so here it is!

The Frisky. Last week I published a piece in The Frisky called I’m Divorced, Get Over It, which is about how while I understand people’s sympathetic reactions to hearing I’m divorced and the reason why, I get sick of the pity, especially when it’s obvious, at least to me, that I’m in a good place now.

My Tiger Mom and Me. Remember the essay I was working on for that My Tiger Mom and Me contest/anthology? Well it won first place! Yay! The e-book anthology will be available for the Kindle soon.

Word stuff. Here’s my latest wordy post for work, Commonly Confused Words. In a nutshell: nonplussed, ironic, affect and effect, bemusing, and literally. Literally literally!

New York Press. It was announced this week that New York Press would be shutting down. I’m sad to see the paper go, but couldn’t help but laugh at editor-in-chief Jerry Portwood’s 52 Funny Things About the Death of the New York Press, especially number 12:

Susan Shapiro has to launch her own publication, titled “Sue’s News,” to publish all of her students’ first person humiliation essays.

Ha! So true. My very first personal essay, which I wrote in Sue’s class, was published in New York Press, after which a whole slew of my classmates got published too. Then last year I had a second piece published.

Rejections project. To remind you, this month I launched the 12 Months, 60 Rejections project. Last week I submitted an essay to a literary magazine, just under the wire. I thought I could use their online submission manager, but when I checked it at 4 PM, it was already closed for that reading period. Like a madwoman, I threw my essay in a Word doc, formatted it, printed it out, threw it in an envelope, and ran over to the post office, which luckily is one block away and stays open till six (I think). Whew, got it in just in time!

Before the month is out I hope to submit two more short essays. I handwrote a draft of one over the last couple of weeks, and today finally had a chance to type it up and see what kind of shape it was in. It sucks. Glorified blog post. About too many things. Tomorrow I hope to start again with a new angle.

Aug 11

A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin

Aug 11

Writing update: 12 Months, 60 Rejections

I’ve been working on a bunch of things lately (hence, the slackness on the blog) and as usual, they’re all due at the same time. I’ve got one assignment, one submission to a literary journal, and one to an online magazine. The assignment is in good shape (I think), thanks in part to YP and his sharp eye, but the other two are less, um, developed. In addition, I’ve been writing a lot for work as usual (this post on dog breeds is particularly fun).

Recently I read this article from poet Brett Elizabeth Jenkins about her project, “One Year, One Hundred Rejections,” the goal of which was “to garner one hundred rejecton letters within the course of one calendar year.”  This idea immediately appealed to me. I feel like I don’t submit as much as I could, and look for anything to motivate me.

I don’t think I’d be able to collect 100 rejections in a year. That would mean at least 8 submissions a month, and with longer form pieces (I’m assuming Brett submitted mostly poetry but I could be wrong), that would be virtually impossible, at least for me.  But maybe that’s because right now I don’t feel like I have a really good, polished piece that I could send to a bunch of places. Last year I did (An Old Man on The Frontier Loses His Horse), which I submitted to at least half a dozen places, resulting in a contest win.

Anyway, the arbitrary goal I’ll pick is 60, which means five submissions a month, starting this month. So far I have one from Sun Magazine. They accept previously published work so I was able to quickly submit a piece from The Nervous Breakdown which I’m particularly proud of. Standard form rejection. Oh well.

Obviously the goal isn’t to try to get rejected, but to submit pieces and pitches to a sufficient number of places that *might* add up to 60 rejections. And I know I could call it the Sixty Submissions Project (which kinda has a better ring to it), but rejections makes it seem more daring. Like, who cares, I’ll just take a chance and submit to this hoity-toity magazine since I’m “trying” to get rejections anyway!

So counting Sun and the two possible rejections I’m working on, that’s three. I also plan on writing and submitting another piece that’s due at the end of the month, that’s four. And maybe if I feel okay about the more literary piece I’m working on, I’ll submit it to a few other places before the month is out.

I’m gonna need a spreadsheet.

Aug 11

100 ATRO #78: British slang

If you didn’t already know, ATRO stands for Awesome Things Rip-Off because I totally ripped off the idea from this guy.

Man it’s been ages since I last did one of these! I’m an Awesome Things Rip-Off slacker.

Anyway, now that a lot of our favorite shows are on summer hiatus (except for Breaking Bad, True Blood, and Louie of course) MB and I have been watching a few British shows off Hulu, Netflix, and, ahem, by other means.  I love these shows not just because of shots of London, the cursing, nudity, and, the sometimes better acting.  I love picking up on British slang and differences in casual conversation.

For instance, on Law & Order UK and Luther, they say copper for police officer.  Copper seems to be said in old American movies, but nowadays U.S. crime dramas use cop or officer, or like on The Wire, PO-lice, as in “He’s good PO-lice.” The British copper seems to have the same sentiment – someone who’s a police officer not just in occupation but to the very bone (by the way, Idris Elba who plays bad guy Stringer Bell in The Wire plays copper John Luther in Luther).

For the longest time, MB and I couldn’t figure out what DS was, till finally he figured it out: “Detective Sergeant!”  (In the U.S. it’s just detective.)  “All right?” people say instead of “How are you?” or “What’s up?” which I first heard in the Harry Potter movies.  Same with mental, crazy, or ment-ul.  There’s ending sentences in yeah? which seems like our equivalent of ending sentences in right?  “You were at your mum’s all night, yeah?”

Then there’s the name calling, which the misfits in Misfits are fond of.  Wanker.  Tosser.  Twat.  Prick (which Americans use too).  There’s fanny, which on the this side of the pond is a prim way of referring to the ass, but over there actually means vagina (note to self: do not refer to my fanny when in London).   When the misfits talked a about fancy dress party, I automatically thought formal or black tie.  Wrong!  Fancy dress is what we’d call costume or masquerade.

There’s “It’s not down to you,” like American English’s “It’s not up to you.”  “Are you finished with me?” instead of “Are you breaking up with me?”  “Are you taking a piss?” seems to be the same as “Are you joking around?”  “Are you dicking around with me?” seems to be a more hostile version of “Are you taking a piss?”

It’s also interesting to see the differing degrees of slang between the shows.  Sherlock and Torchwood seem to have less while Misfits has a lot, which I love, as well as a couple of accents I can barely understand (Kelly, I’m looking at you).

I know there’s tons more slang and colloquialisms I’m not aware of, and you bet your fanny, uh I mean ass, I’ll be writing them down.

Aug 11

Stories for Nighttime and Some for Day, by Ben Loory