Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Oh my subconscious. Particularly telling, I think, is that I've had dreams like this beginning in elementary school, but that they didn't stop after choir did, when I graduated from choir and high school in 1998. Instead, panicky dreams about being unprepared for something I loved so much and someone I respected so much continued into adult life.
One theory is just that HYOC stands in for whatever I'm worried about currently. Perhaps particularly if it is something I love but am afraid to fail at.
Another theory is that Auntie Nola IS a demi-god, and she is dream-calling me home, like "Mothership calling. You have spent enough time away. It is now time to move home, pop out babies, send them to HYOC, and then spend your weekends shuttling snacks to rehearsal and offspring to performances, DUH."
In this early January morning, both seem equally plausible.
But. But. But.
He is the calmest, most unruffleable man you'll ever meet. This is sometimes awesome, and sometimes really irritating.
When his phone alarm woke us both an hour ago, he went right back to bed. I, instead, was startled quite awake and so started worrying about how we were going to fit a California-apartment's worth of stuff into the new Brooklyn Heights place. I was especially worried this morning, for some reason, about what we are going to do about the kitchen: it is small, with about 1/10th the counter and cabinet space. It consumes me that in Burlingame we had so many cabinets, we had one designated for home bar liquors and accountrements and another just for vases; we had so much counter space, we had one exclusively for the purpose of storing our cutting boards and implements.
Obviously, what to put in the limited cabinet space we have is not about to be our problem.
I was so consumed by this worry, I kept tossing and turning--I'll admit, partially to disturb his calm. It didn't work. He kept sleeping. Finally, I very huffily said, "I'm WORRIED." He said, "About what?" like all this moving stuff was the furthest from his mind. I said, "About the move. About fitting all our shit into the new apartment. Aren't you worried?!"
Everyone who has had a girlfriend knows there is one answer to this question.
Dave sleepily said the other answer. The non-correct one. "No."
"No?! You're not worried?! How can you be not worried?!?!?!" I said, my panic rising in each question.
"I'm concerned." He was still half-asleep, I think.
"What's the difference?!?!!!" I exclaimed.
"I'm not going to let it keep me up at night." And literally, within about a minute, he had drifted back to sleep, and I was left alone and awake with no recourse but to blog.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
You can guess what kind of day I've had if this is the highlight of it.
Some days New York just kicks your ass, and it was that kind of day for me. The kind of day where you actually might have done better just staying asleep through it. The kind of day that makes you think how easy life is in California, but then you kick yourself and tell yourself to shut up because you don't want to seem ungrateful or like a stupid bitch who always thinks the grass is greener wherever she's not living.
Anyway. Let me go make the best of today. Onward PRONTO towards the bath and the wine!!
(P.S. Wife, if you're reading this, I love you & today was not your fault. The you part of the day was swell; it's my school/apartment/financials/outlook that are getting me down.)
Then we will be back in Brooklyn, reporting live from our unfurnished apartment where we hope to clean and paint before the movers show up around February 4 or 5.
See ya on the flipside!
Monday, January 28, 2008
I arrived in the wonderful world of bloggyness circa March 2006 via Friendster. A year later I signed my lease, gut-renovated, and moved into this space here on Blogger, where I've continued to tinker, but for the most part have been quite happy with the square footage and amenities. Although I arrived in cyberspace years after the trendsetters deemed blogging to be rather passe, per usual I arrived on my own damn time: late, but I'd like to think fashionably so.
These are all my names: Clarissa, Mayumi, Alohilani, Kaleilikokalehua, Shimose, Avery, Poe. I've also, at various points, answered to May, My, Yums, Yumi, Maybe, Miami Mice, Sweet Pea, LBJ.Lo, Peanut, and Poptart.
I am 1/2 Japanese, 3/8 various Caucasianness (Irish, English, German, Scottish, I believe), and 1/8 American Indian. My husband is 1/2 Filipino, 3/8 Hawaiian, and 1/8 Chinese. This means that when we have children someday not too far in the future, they will approximate a summit meeting of the United Nations.
I am new to Brooklyn, by way of Burlingame-Pacifica-NewYorkCity-Astoria-Bronxville-LosAngeles-Honolulu-Sacramento. And what they say is true: You can take the girl from the islands (Oahu, Manhattan) but never the islands from the girl. I live in pretty, bourgeoisie Brooklyn Heights with the best husband in the world, and we are determined to prove to our friends that while this video is alarmingly accurate, Brooklyn is not the place where married people go to die.
I like alphabetizing; aprons; babies; Bang! (the card game); blogging and reading blogs; Brooklyn Heights; brunching (always); bunnies and other fluffy-furry animals; cocktail hour; coffeecoffeecoffee; cookbooks; cooking elaborate meals with good friends; cowboy accoutrements; crème brûlée; dance movies; eggs benedict; exploring cities (esp. by getting hopelessly lost in them); filing; languages; lists; magazines; mah jongg; MFA programs; New Yorkers; organization; picnic baskets; real jewelry; sake; shiny objects; singing in the shower; Tahitian black pearls; tattoos; teapots; the written word; travelling, especially internationally to pretty cities and/or countries where they put umbrellas in your drinks while you lounge on the pristine beach sand; Wii (esp. bowling, at which I excel); wine fridges; wine tasting (Napa or otherwise); writing me some fictions; and xmas tree ornaments.
I love my husband, my rabbit Lapa (RIP), our families, and our friends who continue to spread themselves across the world, and I have a complicated but nonetheless deep affair with New York city.
I entertain the idea of having children and adore the idea that you never know where or how you’ll end up.
I dream of living in Japan, of having money and fame and being as happy and surrounded by love as I am today, and about a lot of other weird things.
I've wanted to be all of the following (see also here): a ballerina, a marine biologist, a writer, an editor, a publisher, a tambourine girl in a band, owner of an indie tea shop, hip-hop video ho, lyricist, a teacher, a weekly columnist, an advertiser, a painter, a restaurant owner, a pastry chef, a model, and a jill of all trades in service to my Uncle who oversees this business, this business, and these festivals. My life and those of my friends continually astound me and remind me that anything is possible. It's all about clearly and thoroughly visualizing exactly what you want and being willing to put in the work to get there. And being careful about what you wish for. So, don't be surprised if someday I blog about my upcoming tambourine girl gig or the delicious treats I am now making at my new job as a pastry chef-cum-model-hiphop video ho.
And, finally, thank you. YEAH, YOU. For stopping by and for spending some time out of your day with me. I welcome your comments and your return visits.
As to what Mr. Big will be doing in the SATC movie is unknown right now. New Line, which is producing the film, has not released the exact storyline for the film. I'm guessing that one of the ladies will be murdered and Big will reveal himself to be Detective Mike Logan, NYPD, who has been working undercover. Yea, that's it, that's the ticket.
Hahahaahahaaha. How much would I love if the powers that be combined Law & Order and Sex and the City?!
But this article was just mean. I totally got hoodwinked. I totally believed that Carrie and Big got married, and that the girls decided they were boring now and vowed to start living lives. I was dubious but still following when Charlotte decides to enter the world of dogfighting. But I had to draw the line when Ashleigh Carrington-Worth reported that Carrie gets pregnant, has a quickie abortion, and then begins a column as follows: "Retail therapy is the best way to cope with surgically induced postpartum depression." Carrington-Worth then goes on to suggest that Mr. Big has a love child from a sleazy fling in South America, coupled with the fortuitous return of Petrovsky, who carries with him a copy of Settled at Last and who tells her, "I read whole shitty book so I might sex you forever in style of dog." Petrovsky also has the advantage that unlike Mr. Big, he does not want children, "but I will buy you diamonds as big as fists." Carrie isn't sure, but eventually even in the most cynical version of events, Mr. Big and Carrie end up together, happily ever after. At which point Carrington-Worth ends her uplifting spoilers column with the following jaded caption: "LOVE STORY Philandering commitmentphobe and immature narcissist, together at last."
Clearly, not a fan. NOT TO MENTION MEAN, I TELL YOU. CRUEL, IN FACT!!
But this last snippet is pretty good:
I dreamed I was at a football game between my high school and another. Our team was as I remembered them: largely little (either short or skinny, sometimes both) and Japanese, and the same age, personality, and physique they were back in high school. I, however, was my age, personality, and physique now. I'm not sure why I was at the game, but there I was, and unlike high school it had nothing to do with being a colorguard for the marching band. (No sequins were involved, thank god.) What was funny was that being me now looking at them then, it was not much to look at. Back in high school, there was a player or two I would have thrown myself at--had I had the courage. But the Now Me was actually following the game and couldn't have been less interested in the players. This all despite the fact that the players were wearing the shoulder pads and jerseys and helmets . . . but no bottoms (!) . . . while they played.
Dream analysis: At least this time I wasn't the naked one. I've had enough dreams where I can't get dressed so I'll be thankful for the small favors and leave it at that. But you aspiring dream analysts out there can feel free to leave commentary . . . I always find it interesting.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
See this article on Manhattanites who are sick of New York getting destroyed, and the ultimate Top Ten List of Destroyed New York movies here.
By this equation, Mayumi doth not equal a New Yorker, because Mayumi is not at all cool about famous people.
The first thing to mention is that I am legally visually impaired without corrective lenses. Without them, I cannot drive a car, operate any machinery (including, like, a TV), or even walk in a neighborhood I don't already know intuitively without becoming horribly lost. The second thing to note is that prior to May 2007 I did not have contacts and I hated wearing glasses. Therefore, the entire time I lived in or around New York (August 1998-December 2005), I did not see many people--famous or otherwise, stranger or friend--unless they were directly in front of my face.
I now have contacts and even wear my glasses sometimes, which convinces me 200% that with this move back to New York city, the streets will be dripping with fame and I will be positively tripping over celebrities.
My list of famous people sightings is a short one:1. Candace Bergen. circa 2002. at Serendipity iii. It was definitely her because she was seated right next to me and I saw her closely when I banged my head getting up from the table.
2. I swear I saw Claire Danes in the West Village, circa summer 2004, but don't listen to me because, again, I was without corrective lenses on this day.
3. Keanu Reeves. circa June 2005. At the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park and the afterparty in Belvedere Castle. I was, like, ten feet (and sometimes less) away from him and I didn't even talk to him. Nevermind throw myself at him, hug him, ask for an autograph, make out with him, or at least touch some part of him, like my 11-through-18 year-old self was screaming for me to do. Yes, I still hate myself for this, a little bit.
4. Phillip Seymour Hoffman. circa June 2005, also at Shakespeare in the Park.
5. Alec Baldwin. circa April 2007. in the lobby of the Central Park West apartment building on the UWS where my SLC don was having her book party. I know it was him because I was wearing glasses. Dave elbowed me, subtly, to which I responded by (a) trying to play it cool, (b) failing miserably, (c) doing a little hop-skip-dance thing, and (d) giggling in the elevator all the way up to the twelfth floor.and, finally . . .
6. Brandi Ryan. Some of you might wonder who the hell she is, and I would have to stop being friends with you because if you don't know that means you didn't watch "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila." I didn't love Brandi the way I loved Dani Campbell, but I did think she was pretty smokin' hot.
So. The Brandi Ryan sighting happened circa, umm, LAST NIGHT. At a bar called Heathers (yes, like the movie) that I wasn't even supposed to be at. That was kind of the theme of the evening: the way your night can surprise you when you're willing to roll with the punches.
The evening kicked off when Wife sent me an e-mail asking Dave, Androoo, Wife's friend Liz, Liz's "wife" Alex, and I to dinner to celebrate (1) Androoo's recent birthday, (2) Dave's recent birthday, (3) Liz's start of grad school, (4) Dave's and my return to New York, and (5) everyone's general fabulosity. Not only was the restaurant she picked booked till 11:45 pm but also Androoo was out of town at a wedding and Liz was stuck at work. So we scrapped the plan, ended up having dinner with Wife, our dear Luke, Dave, and I. Liz and Alex showed up at the end of dinner, ready to drink. We tried to get into Max Brenner's for "choc(olate)(cock)tails" but the wait was too long. Then we tried to get into Angel's Share, but every seat in that tiny little bar was filled . . .
INCLUDING TWO THAT WERE FILLED BY OUR FRIENDS FRANK AND BENNETT! ACCKCKCKCKCCK!!!! This was hilarious because Wife and I used to live with Frank, and we all view it as this halcyon period in our lives where the livin' was easy, before Frank and I both moved out, got married, and ended up, respectively, in Canada and California. So we were all understandably thrilled to see each other. Perhaps if my sense of shame could have held a candle to my joy I might have been embarassed that the entire bar whipped around to glare at us for shreiking FRANK! like wicked banshees when we saw the two of them. But no, the joy won out. (It always does.)
From there, Frank, Bennett, Liz, Alex, Laura, Dave, and I all ended up at Heathers in the EV. We fought viciously for a table and eventually landed a good one in the corner. We tucked ourselves in with a few rounds of drinks and gossip, grooved to the DJs, and then . . . then . . . then Dave saw Brandi Ryan at the bar, chilling with two older (late 30s?) dudes, who--may I add--were not quite up to par with Brandi in the looks department. From the moment that Dave elbowed me about Brandi, I spent the majority of the rest of the night semistaring at her, trying to figure out if she was indeed herself, trying to be "cool" in case she was herself, failing miserably at being "cool," freaking out when she left the bar, vaulting over three people to catch Brandi's guy friend before he left the bar to verify her identity, doing a little OMG she is herself dance when her identity was confirmed, gloating about how I would so blog about the sighting later, and then trying to play it cool again--and failing again--when she and her two guy friends came back into the bar.
I am such a freakin' loser.
Okay, and no. I didn't even talk to Brandi by the end of the night, but I did declare to David that if I weren't totally in love with him, I'd probably be a lesbian. Maybe. Or maybe I'd just try it on for size. Then I'd look at Brandi some more, giggle, and then declare to him that I'd definitely be a lesbian. Except for the whole vagina part. Sorry, but no thanks. If I were a lesbian, I think I'd just make out, cuddle, touch ladies' boobs, and giggle a lot. This is why I am not a lesbian.
So, there it is: the truth. I am a fucking retard when it comes to the famous folk. Dave told me I should have just gone up to her and said, "Are you Brandi Ryan?" And if she confirmed, say "SWEEET!," and walk away. Wife--being "marginally famous," in her own words, herself--discussed further with me that it is a little different to talk to a reality TV star than an actor because it's not like you can say "I like your work." (To which I quipped, the best you can do is say: "Whoa. I saw you on xxxx show and you are a piece of work." Ha.). Wife said that, instead, perhaps I could say, "Are you Brandi Ryan?" and if I got a yes, that I could simply say that I was a big fan of "A Shot at Love" and I had been rooting for her (Brandi).
Now, why couldn't I think of that instead of giggling like an idiot?!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Me (to two friends): As for Laura, she isn't going anywhere. They'll have to carry her out of here on a stretcher.*
Laura (walking into the last part of the conversation): It's true. I'm here all the time.
Me (cracking up): La, I meant New York city, not the bar.
* And I've said it before too: here.
This is going to be our new neighborhood. This desperate wish is about to come true.
Can you even believe it?! Me neither. Let's not talk about this any more till Monday when we've actually signed the lease.
my (archived) interests.
Polynesian tatau (tattoos). Our new wine fridge (!). All our new toys off our registry. Christmas trees. New Yorkers. Trashy novels. Sake. Cocktail hour. Magazines. Writing me some fictions. Mythology. Poetry. Tahitian black pearls. Brunching, always. Far and away. Living in Japan. Languages. Luxury lofts in SOMA. Dance movies. Cookbooks. Aprons. Organization. The wee hours in which I can hardly sleep. Being emotionally moved by commercials (see: ARMY, Banana Republic, and anything surrounding Father’s Day). Quietly watching time pass in the form of wedding invitations, babies growing up on Christmas postcards, and mass mailngs from people flung far and wide. Lists. The feelings ballpoint pens make on the flipside of a page when you’ve written your heart out. The idea of going back to school. The idea of having children. The idea that you never know where or how you’ll end up. Picnic baskets. New Yorker magazine b/c it makes me feel nostalgic, homesick, & for 1 hr. like I’m still in the club.
OK, so how much do I love that two of my longed-for interests--(a)going back to school and (b) moving back to New York--are now in 2008 being (a) actively pursued and (b) accomplished?!
Also, nota bene: "The idea that you never know where or how you'll end up." Word, self, word. Like who knew--really and truly and for surely--that we'd be back in New York? And even funnier, who could have guessed that after a handful of years of fighting even visiting Brooklyn, I'd move in . . . with open arms . . . and like it?! HA. Life is so funny.
The tempura was exacting, and the portions of the shrimp and vegetable tempura entree were generous (and included best ever tempura: yam).
The sushi (with choice of sushi rice or brown rice) was also very well made (no falling apart here) and sized to perfect mouth proportions. I hate when you go to a fusion restaurant and they make the sushi too big for you to eat in one bite. Personally it is impossible for me to bite a piece of sushi without the other half ending up on my lap, so this can really be a dealbreaker. So, good sizes here, check. The two rolls I ordered were a seared salmon roll and the peach roll. Seared salmon roll? Pretty good, but I couldn't really tell, per se, that the salmon was gently seared instead of raw. But who doesn't love salmon anyway, in any form--all those omega 3s swimming around up in there. (Right--and the mercury.) BUT THE PEACH ROLL WAS ASTOUNDING! The peach roll took my already favorite roll (any restaurant, any time)--the tuna, avocado, caviar roll--and stuck a petal of peach over it, almost like how they do nigiri sushi. I mean, the peach looked like really fresh fish. But it was more genius than that! IT WAS PEACH. This is seriously one of the most delicious and amazing sushi rolls I've had in my LIFE. Next time we go to Ki Sushi, I will order ONLY the peach roll, and I will order, like, three of them. For myself. Then maybe I will order one more peach roll to share with Dave.
Last but certainly not least, we come to dessert. Dave was stuffed so he just had some ice cream, which came garnished with those little cigar wafer cookies. I got the ginger-lime crème brûlée, naturally, because I love crème brûlée nearly as much as I love eggs benedict. The "crème" of the crème brûlée was actually gingery, the brûlée crust was crisp yet thin and easy to break, and it was garnished in an approximation of a yin-yang symbol: candied ginger on half of the brûlée, a thin and curving wedge of lime on the other half. I then took that lime and--manners be damned--squirted it all over the brûlée so that the flavor seeped into the custard. Mmmm, "delicioso," as Jenna Rink (13 going on 30) would say.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I especially love these two lines: "If you’re reading this and you’re not where you want to be right now - I hope this gives you hope. If you’re reading this and you are where you want to be, I hope this reminds you of your roots."
Well, that and when she told us she gets her great skin by pooping. Thanks, JA, thanks.
1. BAKED, in Red Hook (see entry here)
2. Think Coffee, in the village (see entry here)
3. Flying Saucer Café, in Boerum Hill (see entry here)
Here's a link to other cafés in Brooklyn with WiFi.
And here are two more cafés I haven't had the opportunity to blog about:
4. Retreat/Coffee Box, in DUMBO. This was a beautiful little café on one of the main drags of DUMBO, Front Street. It has exposed brick walls, displays art, and provides charmingly Victorian-esque, shabby-chic chaise lounges and couches. The food/drink menu is more abbreviated than one would hope but what they did have was delicious and reasonably priced. Finally, they also feature a bar at night, which is the Retreat part of the space.
5. Aroma Coffee, almost in SoHo (see articles here and here). I love love love love love this Israelian coffeeshop. They provide WiFi and a cheery, well-lit space for working. The only problem is getting a spot when customers tend to hole up for hours at a time, even after having polished off their drinks and/or food. The coffee is AMAZING. If you drink Aroma Coffee, you will never again look at Starbucks the same way. Also they give you a cute little chocolate alongside your coffee, which is a sweet touch. And their food proportions are fair (at least when I last partook) and the food is delicious. Did I mention that I love love love love love them? I want to go, like, tomorrow. Oh wait, LOOKIT ME, I'M IN NEW YORK SO I CAN!! HAHAHAHAHHAHA.
And I am very happy & proud to report that one of my new Blogger friends has gotten off to a great start with this: Cassie asked out the FedEx man! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hey, we all knew what I meant. It just came out a bit muddled.
"In the human heart new passions are forever being born," said French writer Francois de La Rochefoucauld. "The overthrow of one almost always means the rise of another." I suppose that's true. We all have longings that come and go as we evolve. But I'd also like to propose an equally valid and contradictory truth: In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity. Our destiny revolves around them. These are the passions I hope you will define with precision and nurture with alacrity during the next eight weeks.
I assume Free Will is telling me that my writing career is about to be really jump-started by my acceptance into a MFA program with all expenses paid. At least that's what I'd like to assume.
I also keep in mind de La Rochefoucauld's quote in light of the sad passing of Heath Ledger and the explorations across the Internet about the costs of fame. The key, I guess, is to keep finding new passions, to never stop learning, wanting, changing, dreaming, and chasing passions. It keeps us red-blooded and alive.
My café tour of Brooklyn continues, because I am still out of an office. We actually got kicked out of our hotel room today because the head maid of Comfort Inn insisted that the room be cleaned every two days. It's pretty funny, actually: we leave the "do not disturb" sign on the door all day long because (a) I'm there working a lot and (b) we do have some valuables in the room. But the hotel staff must wonder about the "guests" that bothered to come all the way to New York only to be "not disturbed" in their hotel the whole time. I think they must think we're getting busy all the day long. Ha.
Anyway, Dave and I are sitting in Boerum Hill, at the Flying Saucer Café (494 Atlantic Ave, between 3rd Ave & Nevins St. 718.624.0139), drinking, respectively, a Chai tea and a hot chocolate. The drinks are yummy, the atmosphere is homey, and there are many industrious people about. We too are "getting work done," which means I should now sign off Blogger and open a Word document so Dave doesn't catch me blogging. Like, again.
We find out about the Brooklyn Heights apartment we really really want tomorrow or Saturday. Wish us luck and send us good apartment-finding-&-securing-&-landlord-willing-to-lower-the- monthly-rent vibes. We need all the help we can get.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
As if it isn't weird enough that he wanted to jump off the Empire State Building--and live . . . he also wore a fat suit and got apprehended because a guard grabbed his foot. Totally weird.
The Baltimore Sun had this to say about the passing of Bobby Fischer--
Too often, in the world of competitions, a person reaches the pinnacle of his or her life at a very young age. And nothing after that can ever match what they did at age 30 or 25 or even 18. That’s tough. But if they handle the reality with grace and intelligence, what they did in their youth can be a springboard. In the case of Fischer, who was on top of the world at age 29, it didn’t have to work out the way it did. Chess isn’t that kind of game. You can be superb for years. In fact, Fischer was. But there were other things going on — invisible demons is the best way to put it, I guess — that contributed to making him a victim of his own early phenomenal success.
--but it seems it would also apply to so many famed others.
The Rawness also further explores the costs of fame here rather brilliantly.
I stick by my advice, Britney. Buy an atoll and escape from fame. And, honey? Buy some tampons.
Think is awesome. It's chock full of people and it's been off-and-on snowing this afternoon, which only makes the drinking of coffee and gossiping and pretending to work more cozy and enjoyable. The mocha was delicious and well-fueled, and the bathroom graffiti was diverse. Among my favorites were "I hope everything you ever love dies in your arms," "Make yourself or be made," "You have no idea what I’m going to do to you," and a witty, rhyming verse about going to the bathroom that was a bit too vulgar to actually post word-for-word on my blog.
And duh, my wife is still awesome. She is as pretty and witty and warm and wonderful and full of naughty and funny stories as ever, and it is honestly like I never left. I did stumble my way through our old apartment, remarking on every single thing that was different from the last time I was there. I got to see my portrait-painted-by-Luke in the long red hallway, and La's matching painting-by-Luke, the twin of the one he painted for me when I left New York two long years ago, which he entitled "San Francisco is pretty, but New York misses you." And then I got presents: a newsboy cap to match La's, von Hottie underwear, a von Hottie shirt for Dave, a PonoHolo ranch beer cozy, and a free pass to brunch on Wife. Sweet.
As for an update on the move: After seeing something like twelve apartments in under 48 hours, we found one we really really like. It is in the area we want to live in, it's just slightly above the price we want to pay, the space (while tinier than CA) is something we can work with . . . but the landlord is out of town till Thursday or Friday. This sucks because we had hoped to have a lease signed and an apartment in the bag by, well, tomorrow, so that Dave could then fly back to CA, supervise the move, and get back to NY in time to work at JFK again early next week. Then, at the end of the month, Dave and I were both due to fly back to CA to clean our (emptied) apartment, hand over the keys, and send ourselves off with a party with all our CA friends. But now we're waiting on this landlord/owner, and everything is sort of in a holding pattern, throwing off the whole ideal schedule.
In addition to our CA lease expiring on February 1--and my work/grad school app deadlines on, respectively, February 1, 5, and soon thereafter--I have a cosmic threat hanging over my head as well, according to Susan Miller:
Keep in mind that Mercury will retrograde from January 28 to February 17, not a time to make any key decisions. Don't sign a lease, buy anything expensive (especially not any electronics like a flat screen TV or computer, as two examples), or shake hands (or sign) on any new ventures. The situation will be very fluid and certainly not one that will promote sound decisions. Later you will wish you had waited, if only you had known what was to come. That is not to say the decision would necessarily be bad, just different from what you expected, and you may be passing up a better opportunity in your haste.
Mercury will retrograde in Aquarius, ruling all things digital, so be sure to back up your computer and install any new software early in January as FAR away from January 28 as possible. If you received a new computer for Christmas last month, you should plan on setting it up in the first week of January to avoid any potential problems.
Needless to say, we're a bit anxious about the apartment situation, but it's also a bit of a case of whatareyagonnado.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Her voice sounds like that of someone much older and more experienced, especially on the pop while she dances around. She didn't even do so badly on the opera, though voice lessons might help her to use her diaphragm to really project her voice out a bit more. Also, while we're making a list, someone might want to buy her some dance lessons.
All in all, though, she is a very pretty, talented, and confident young woman. I like her stage presence. I like that she dresses appropriate to a twelve-year-old, rather than trying to seem precociously/sexually aware, ala Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera. And--again--she's only twelve!
Nice. I dig it.
I especially dig the interactive map. (The character who thought the above words could probably have used such a map.)
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Look at me. I look so damn happy.
I wish you could really see this dress too. It was a ridiculous dress. I still own it and it takes up so much damn space in my closet, but the price, the space, the fact that I've so far worn it once ... despite all these things, the dress was still 250% worth it. I got the dress from Stella Dallas on Thompson St. between Bleeker/ west 3rd, which was my favorite vintage store in New York, partially because I used to live so close to it that to go to the subway every day I had to walk by it. I have so many ridiculous things from there: the deb ball dress, a beautiful long skirt with painted ribbons on it (see in this entry), a pair of red leather lady gloves with amazing button detail, a pair of elbow-length off-white ball gloves with incredible beading, etc. (Once we get resettled, after the move is done, somewhere around the middle to end of February, I will try to find a better, more full length picture of this dress.)
In other news, New Yorkers: please invite me to more events to which I can wear all my ridiculous clothing. Oh, how I've missed this.
Good news. Momofuku is still good—despite that ridiculously long wait. We haven’t been back in over two years, and in the time we’ve been gone, they (a) renovated extensively, over doubling the size of the original restaurant and (b) became known by every.single.person in New York that didn’t already know about them.
In the two plus years we’ve been gone, the East Village has changed a lot. I can’t believe how many non-EV types were crammed into every nook and cranny of Momofuku when we went in last night: hipsters, suits, b-boys and girls, and hot people on dates. I dare say if 1st Avenue is so mild nowadays, I’m guessing the grittyness of the Alphabets must be decreasing as well. I’m betting this pisses off a bunch of New Yorkers, the ones that get very upset about gentrification either because (a) they are personally affected by it or (b) because it makes their neighborhood lose some sort of street cred/charm. Me personally? Not so bothered. Sorry. I’m an asshole. But it’s true. I like living in, eating at, drinking in, and exploring bourgeoisie places. That’s just who I am.
It’s funny because when we first went to Momofuku about three or so years ago, it was on the recommendation of my co-worker at the time, Maggie. Maggie was always on the cutting-edge of things, especially food. Especially especially excellent food. But for her there was no food so good that it was worth dropping a shitload of money and waiting a really long time. (A sensible girl, that Maggie.) So she was already leaving Momofuku behind in her quest for other, cheaper, less waitful food by the time we started going.
Anyway. The ramen is still incredible (D and I always get the Momofuku ramen and split it), and the pork buns are exactly as we remembered (we get an order for each of us because it is too difficult to share). The pork they use in the ramen and the buns—Berkshire—is just amazing pig pieces, I tell you: fatty, rich, marbly, wonderful. They now handmake their own house soft-serve: right now the flavors were gingersnap and eggnog and they were delicious. They have nice beer, including a delicious one from Okinawa. Momofuku also has a very nice selection of sake on hand—provided, coincidentally, haha, by my Uncle Chris’s company, World Sake Imports, a former and sometimes-still employer of mine, the somewhat silent sponsor behind the annual Joy of Sake festival, which occurs back-to-back in Honolulu, San Francisco, and New York.*
In sum, Momofuku is still worth the wait. You can watch the chefs make your food if you sit at the bar and occasionally interact with them, and the wait staff is knowledgeable and very pleasant, especially considering the sheer volume of customers they deal with in an evening. I pitied the pretty little hostess, who was very short and spent the evening running about through the crowds with a scratched off wait list in hand trying to be heard calling out names in the roar of the room. I probably could have done without the burly white dude who kept saying inane things like “another round! Sa-kay it to me, baby!” but whatareyougonnado. Otherwise, all around, still worth the wait. Or do as we’re planning to do and go for a weekday lunch instead of a Saturday night dinner.
something new: Junior’s
In terms of eating Junior’s cheesecake, Dave and I may be the last two people in the world that have visited or lived in New York to partake. Dave says “three thumbs up” and this is quite the compliment considering cheesecake is to Dave what eggs benedict is to me. We tried the carrot cheesecake and the regular. And while it’s embarrassingly non-hip to like them since they are now a tourist destination (to the extent of having opened a location in Times Square), I’m pretty sure we’ll be back.
* Come by to the New York festival this year. I'll more than likely be there . . . working hard, and then hopefully partying harder. :)
551 Amsterdam Avenue @ 87th Street
New York, NY 10024
Today the prodigal daughter returned home to the site where the Eggs Benedict chronicles began. It’s true: it all began here, lightly, larkingly*, at Popover Café. I’ve been questing for a good six years or so, and I doubt that I’ll ever find a Benedict to surpass the Eggs Benedict Arnold served therein.
I totally heart Popover Café. There are several good reasons they maintain such staying power, there on the UWS where they’ve been since, like, 1981. Because of the adorable teddy bear deco. Because of their homeyness. Because of the wonderful Popover Plums gift shop, in which you can browse while you wait for your table. Because they are worth the wait. Because of the Chai milkshake. Because of good strong coffee, which they keep abundantly flowing. Because of—duh—the popovers, especially served with strawberry butter and chunky strawberry preserves. Because of the absolutely incredible—but seasonal!—bacon, cheddar, and cranberry omelets. And, finally, because of the Eggs Benedict Arnold.
The “bread” of their benedict is (not surprisingly) a popover. Today the eggs are overmedium (and I do prefer them overeasy, but this is surprisingly not such a big deal). And, finally, I have never—in my life—tasted such perfect Hollandaise.
One might wonder from the scarcity of my promised eggs benedict chronicles that I was not such an intrepid investigator, afterall. But the truth is I did much of my dedicated research before I ever had a blog and so never recorded the results of my study. I hope to revisit those sites of my early research that showed good results, and to this time actually post my research here.
* It’s a word now, bitches.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Well, it must be true.
Not only did I meet the dad of an adorable hapa little girl, aged about one and a half, who totally had stubborn mannerisms and cute flirtatious moves that reminded me of ... well, sadly of myself, age NOW, but also the dad said I looked like a twin of a friend of his.
Then, at Momofuku tonight, the Asian hostess had a certain confidence in her skin, an exotic (how I hate to use that word to describe Asians but in this case it's all I've got) beauty, and a flair for fashion that made me think of my friend Seiko. Later, walking through Times Square on our way to the subway, Dave left a voicemail for his cousin Neily because Dave had passed someone on the street who reminded him of his cousin . . . and made him miss him.
And, finally, as if all that wasn't enough, all day I've had Wifey on the brain . . . and then I saw her on the train! Late this evening, in the reflection of the Q train's wall, I saw a woman that looked so like my Laura that I whipped around to make sure it wasn't. The doppleganger had long blonde flowing locks like my La, the same nose as my La, the same brow and build as my La. Her hair even fell down out of its messy-pretty bun the same way as hers does. But the doppleganger eyes were not full of naughtiness like La's, and she was not close to as lovely. Furthermore, the doppleganger was dressed all in white--without a single flash of fur, sparkles, "diamonds" (by which I mean rhinestones), hot pink, or red on her person, which is how I knew for sure the doppleganger couldn't be my wife.
I often see strangers that remind me of people I love. (Though usually not so many in one day.) Whether it is physical looks or just mannerisms/the way they live in their skin, the likeness can be uncanny. But I've never seen anyone that I would mistake for myself. Have any of you? That, I think, would be skin-crawly creepy.
We managed to find seats aboard a semi-full car of the 4 train, which was awesome. There were a few people plugged into their ipods, one was napping, there were a couple larger groups of friends just hanging out and talking. But, mostly, everyone was minding their own business quietly. UNTIL. Until a boy in one of the groups of friends cranked up his boombox to top volume, playing some hip-hop song I didn't recognize; in turn his four ladyfriends all shrieked, presumably in excitement over the song. The volume, like I said, was as loud as you can imagine, so everyone else on the subway car was (a) irritated and glaring at the group, (b) irritated and resigned, or (c) appalled. I started out in the (a)/(b) category and ended up, alongside dave, in (d) digging the music. In my case, (d) also stands for too-California-friendly, embarassingly transparent, and embarassed.
One of the girls caught me bobbing my ahead along to the music, and she poked her friend who poked their other friend and then they all laughed and whispered amongst themselves that I was liking their music.
This is where Brooklyn wanted to bitchslap me. Because I liked their music.
Man, you can't win with these urban youth. They play their music loud and shriek and sing along; they want people to look at them. In fact, they want people to glare at them so they can in turn get back in those people's faces. But if you god forbid assume a "can't beat 'em so I'll join 'em" attitude, it's not like it goes over any better.
Anyway, I stopped bobbing because it was catching me such flak. But then--then--that Flo Rida song "Low" came on, and all the girls shreiked again. All four got up and started doing a dance routine in the middle of the four train, moving or stopped, they didn't care. And I couldn't help it, their enthusiasm was contagious, I was bobbing again, they were noticing and giggling again, and I was trying my best not to let it bother me, because--fuck--they don't own that song. I don't have to be black to like it. I don't have to be hip and urban to see a bit of myself in the "apple-bottom jeans, boots with the fur . . . " Shi-it.
Friday, January 18, 2008
This is your cervix writing.
I know, you might've forgotten I existed until you got this e-mail just now (what with vagina and clitoris always hogging all the attention). I bet you wouldn't even recognize me if you saw me — me, your very own cervix!
Well, that's exactly why my pals at Planned Parenthood have a few ideas for you on how to show me some love. They've been helping women screen against cervical cancer for decades, and right now they're offering a few easy ways you can take care of yours truly (or, for you guys out there, how you can make sure your sisters, spouses, daughters, and friends stay healthy, too):
Top Three Ways to Love Your Cervix(or the Cervix of Someone You Love)
1. Get a Pap test. I know, I know, this seems obvious. But think about it: When WAS your last Pap test? Start taking care of it this very moment. It couldn't be more important, and Planned Parenthood couldn't make it easier for you to find your nearest health center and make an appointment. Please don't put it off; you owe me a Pap and a cervical cancer screening at least once a year: Make your appointment now.
2. Get the HPV vaccine. You may have heard about this one in the news — well, now it's time to take advantage of it. Protect me from the types of human papilloma virus (HPV) responsible for 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases, not to mention genital warts. Check out these YouTube videos to learn more about me, HPV, and the HPV vaccine.
3. Have safer sex. Okay, duh. But seriously, when I say safer, I mean using protection every time. Add HPV and cervical cancer to the long list of reasons why safer sex is sexier sex, and remember: your cervix cannot protect you, so please protect your cervix. Find out more about protection and safer sex here.
Did I mention making your appointment — now?
Happy National Cervical Cancer Screening Month!
P.S. Don't have a cervix? Forward this e-mail to the people you love who do have cervixes!
If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up to receive Planned Parenthood emails here.
Today = 200% awesomeness.
Dave headed off to JFK this morning, to go meet a whole slew of new co-workers. We're meeting up in a few hours to see apartments with some realtors.
Wish us luck!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
In other news, Dave and I were surprised (dubiously) to learn that Long Island has wine country. But is it any good? Has anyone had Long Island wine? What was your take??
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
1401 Chapin Ave, Burlingame, CA 94010
Here, then, is an ode to Tip & Toe Salon, in Burlingame, California. It should be added to my list of what I will miss about California. How can you not love such a cute little shop, complete with Shop mascot “Puddle” the puppy? “Donna,” the proprietress, is amazing. I love her. I want to marry her. Not only can she do beautiful manis and pedis, gel and acrylic, she also dispenses an impressive and steady flow of chit-chat to all customers in English and her co-workers in what I thought was Korean but I think has turned out to be Chinese—all of it heavily accented with “honeys,” “my darlings,” and sincere compliments about one’s being. She intersperses tips about the best nail shape based on your hands with advice about relationships, marriage, and how to keep your man wound around your finger. How can you not love someone who says, without prompting, that you’re skinny and wants to know “how do you do it?” when you’re feeling anything but? How can you not adore someone who remembers your name and the length you like your nails at and who says she’s going to miss you when you move to New York? I felt like I was breaking up with her or something: “Donna, it’s not you, it’s me” … “I’ll never find someone as good as you … to do my nails” … etc.
My nails are now beautifully long, red, and shiny. I totally overtipped her at, like, 30 percent. But I love her, and, seriously, Donna’s as good as it gets. And I like having turned into the kind of person that doesn’t count her pennies. When service is good and the price tag was cheap anyway, I like to tip like Hollywood.
Her mind is clearly a fertile playground, her wordplay is downright fanciful, and while she may detail places some of her readers have never been, somehow she makes her worlds feel more like “home” than somewhere exotic and foreign.
I will eagerly look forward to more of her stories, and, since she lives in Brooklyn, I hope to stumble on some live--and free--readings.
Call me crazy, but has she ruled out trying to find peace in life? I mean, shit. If Britney Spears wanted to quit being Britney Spears, go suburban on us, having a brood of children, and never sing another song in her life . . . we could let her, right? Couldn't she sell all those Hollywood houses and buy herself a little piece of anonymity in, say, New York, where nobody really cares about celebs, or Tahiti or something. If she stopped acting like a star, wouldn't the interest die down eventually? Or am I being naive? Do you think that even if Britney didn't do another interesting thing in her life that the paparazzi, at least, would all be waiting, forever, to be that paparazzi that captured the moment she did the next interesting thing?
Isn't she totally rich? Couldn't she and Federline have bought themselves some island and stocked it with a 7-11 and a Starbucks and unlimited wife beaters and trucker hats? Maybe they could make themselves some more babies. Live off the oodles of money Britney already has made, and give up on fame for peace, quiet, and some home-owning private beachfronts where Britney could run around without panties to her heart's content, instead of flashing paparazzi when crawling out of limos, or flashing entire stores full of people by wandering nude out of her dressing room.
I mean, little dotted lines have been draw between the pending fate of Britney Spears and the tragic ends of the lives of others: Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, and even Princess Diana.
But does it have to go that way? Once fame is obtained, does it never go away?
Dave has an inexplicable but tangible distaste for Feist, which is really unfortunate because I really like that song "1, 2, 3, 4." This means every time I play the song off my ipod in the car, I get Dave chiming in "1, 2, 3, 4 ... tell me that you love me more ... 5, 6, 9, and 10 ... I gotta go school and learn to count again." Or something like that. Which can kind of ruin your sing-along, rock-out mood.
Anyway, there I was, having to feistily defend poor Feist . . . again. So I tried to summon the reasons that the people love her so.
May: They like her for her indie, hipstery, ironic, I-wear-neon-stretch-pantsedness. They like her bangs.
Dave: I don't think people like her for her fashion sense.
May: Are you kidding?! Just think of Frank and his many colored unitards. And understand that there's, like, an entire demographic out there like him.
Dave: Unitards. are. never. okay.
And . . . that's a wrap. Dave and me on fashion, folks. Thankyouverymuch, thankyouverymuch.
May: I'm fairly certain they do.
Dave: Then they could have a bathing suit style with yellow polka dots, but it could come in different colors. Like, you could order the suit in red ... with yellow polka dots. Or black. Or white. They could call it the "teenie weenie."
May: So long as it's not the name of their men's line. Har har.
you can stand under my umbrella ...
(Both pictures were taken during a rainy April in Paris, where we were celebrating my 25th birthday. As for Marié, she rocks it hardcore. She's Japanese-Irish; yay for hapa people! MUTTS OF THE WORLD UNITE!)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
There isn’t much I can say about the simple joy of the film Juno that hasn’t been said already. (For a small sampling, the New Yorker said it here, Entertainment Weekly said it here, and the very smart Cynematic said it here.) The storyline is delightful, the characters vivid, the soundtrack irresistible, and the casting spot-on. Ellen Page, the young Canadian actress who plays the titular character, is a revelation: there is literally no one else I can think of in all of the acting world that could have nailed the Juno role with the same precision, light touch, and sense of timing. And I say this despite the fact that previously she was a mere Kitty Pryde X-Men blip on my radar. Michael Cera, too, is carving out for himself a particular kind of geeky charm, reminiscent of Anthony Michael Hall in all those 1980s movies (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, etc.). Jennifer Garner has gotten some knocks in reviews I’ve seen here and there, but I actually think she did a beautiful job with Vanessa; I won’t ever forget the sight of such a prim woman kneeling in the middle of a suburban strip mall to talk—tenderly, awkwardly, yearningly—to the stomach of a teenage girl. And Jason Bateman was—importantly—equal parts likeable and despicable. Much of this is no doubt thanks to the comedic genius of director Jason Reitman, who was also responsible for 2005’s smart Thank You For Smoking, and the scriptwriters.
But what I loved the most about this movie is that it is a very real story of a very real girl. So many movies concerning teenagers are pure sugar (Mean Girls, Bring It On, etc.) or pure shock (Thirteen). The story of Juno, by all accounts, is shocking and unfortunate and timely (hello, Jamie Lynn Spears), but it is also funny, and sweet, and ultimately rather romantic. Juno is so many teenage girls I knew growing up, too smart for her own good, snarky, dorky, and ultimately yearning for the answers to some very big questions in such a pure and naïve way that even she realizes she has to disguise such shiny desire with sarcasm. She doesn’t wear “cool” clothes, she doesn’t have a closet that revolves on remote, she doesn’t hang with the “right” crowd, she is so far "out" that she's almost "in" again.
When Juno reveals her news to her family, her father is understandably disappointed in her, resulting in him saying: “I thought you were the kind of girl who knew when to say when.” Juno’s reply is “I don’t really know what kind of girl I am.” She says this, and I believe it, for she is only sixteen, and she’s got a lot of life ahead of her. But at the same time I marvel at how remarkably self-assured she is, in comparison to the selves my peers and I were at 16. Her life as an outsider up-till-sixteen hasn’t managed to completely destroy her self-esteem; being flagrantly pregnant in high school where people are always looking to create “in” and “out” groups doesn’t destroy her; making the difficult decision not to abort but to give up her child for adoption doesn’t destroy her; carrying and giving birth to and ultimately handing over her child doesn’t destroy her.
A recent Op-Ed in the New York Times claims this moment isn’t real, that it turns the movie into a fairy tale:
“As any woman who has ever chosen (or been forced) to kick it old school can tell you, surrendering a baby whom you will never know comes with a steep and lifelong cost. Nor is an abortion psychologically or physically simple. It is an invasive and frightening procedure, and for some adolescent girls it constitutes part of their first gynecological exam. I know grown women who’ve wept bitterly after abortions, no matter how sound their decisions were. How much harder are these procedures for girls, whose moral and emotional universe is just taking shape?”
While it may be true that such a decision comes with an unknowable and lifelong emotional cost, I disagree with that Op-Ed writer. I think the film’s arc—including its concluding scene leaving Bleek and Juno on a stoop alternating dueting verses on a love song—is genuine. I think it speaks to the kinds of characters the director, writers, and actors have created. I think Juno can give up her baby and move on with her life, knowing she, Bleek, Vanessa, and the baby are all the better for it. I really believe she is that kind of gal.
Juno is totally my hero. Let’s hope this is just the beginning of the worship of the Girl Geek. I want more movies that celebrate a girl so strong in her selfhood that life doesn’t faze her. I want “Superbad” for chicks. Juno/Ellen Page is a girl/woman that teenagers today could actually identify with and aspire toward being—oh, right, fine, except for the pregnancy part. Seriously, though … if I had a teenage daughter and she found herself in Juno’s shoes, I wouldn’t worry so much that she was ruining her life if she also had Juno’s head on her shoulders.
A big cheer to Ellen Page who--from various interviews I've read--sounds quite a bit like her character. Yay for tomboys and smarties and geeks. Check Ellen Page out more on her imdb page, and in articles here and here.
Once you're in a committed relationship/married to someone you adore, The List is the enumeration of waivers you get to diddle around with somebody famous. This is something generally agreed upon by married folk and even young parents, as I have learned by doing far and wide surveys with large sample sizes by objective participants. Nah. Actually it's something I've enjoyed gabbing with some of my gals about over drinks, making the only thing large the pupu sampler size and nothing left objective after several rounds of drinky-drinks.
MY LADY LIST:
1. Angelina Jolie
2. Kathryn Moennig
3. Shannyn Sossamyn
4. Dani Campbell (of "A Shot at Love," season 1)
5. Meghan Fox
MY MAN LIST:
1. Brad Pitt, ever and always
2. Keanu Reeves, in the wonder years of his youth, we're talking circa-Point Break, maybe even into his Speed years, but no further. Oh who am I kidding. I'd still probably (a) throw myself at him or (b) throw up of nervousness if I was able to reinsert myself into a fifteen-foot radius of the man.
3. Taye Diggs. Uhhhhmmm.
4. Jonathan Rhys Meyers
5. Aidan Shaw. I mean, John Corbett. No, fuck that. Really I mean Aidan Shaw, after Carrie cheated on him, got dumped by him, and then wormed her way back into his graces. Aidan Shaw 4 EVA!
and, finally ...
MY UNDENIABLE, UNSKIPPABLE THREESOME LIST:
1. Angelina Jolie + Brad Pitt.
Yeah, that's it. Short list, that.
I haven't the energy to fully tease out all the things jumping about in my brains right now--even just the things set a-jumping by said issue of the New Yorker.
But I will say this: It is a fine line we editors walk.
The article "Rough Crossings: The Cutting of Raymond Carver" explores how the absolute power of one such editor (Gordon Lish) both "created" and in some ways destroyed the genius of one of America's most treasured writers (Raymond Carver). It was so hard for me to believe that the minimalist restraint that young budding writers have been taught to note and aspire to emulate--this skill we all so ooohed and ahhed over and coveted--was largely due to the skills of an editor, not a writer.
As both an editor and I writer, I toe this line from both sides daily. The whole issue fascinates me, really. I've written before about how I feel about cutting down an author's voice and style; then again maybe I feel so strongly because I sit around doing it to other people all day long. But you too can see the line and how easy it is to cross it. Right? I mean, if Lish hadn't first edited Carver down to a sleek style, would he have ever been "known" enough to put his foot down and refuse to be published except as his own mental stability and ego could handle it? Not to knock his later, expanded, fleshier style of fiction, which is gorgeous prose in its own right, but only a Carver, an Updike, a Dostoevsky, a Hemingway gets to decide how an editor edits his work. You have to have an established style and publication record before you control what your style actually is on the page. You have to be a rockstar of the prose to even have a say.
The unnamed writer of the article on Carver writes:
"Editing takes a variety of forms. It includes the discovery of talent in a relatively obscure literary magazine or in a “slush pile” of unsolicited manuscripts. It can be a matter of financial and emotional support in difficult times. And, once faced with a manuscript, an editor ordinarily tries to facilitate a writer’s vision, to recommend changes—deletions, additions, transpositions—that best serve the work. In the normal course of things, editorial work is relatively subtle, but there are famous instances of heroic assistance: Ezra Pound cutting T. S. Eliot’s 'The Waste Land' in half when the poem was still called 'He Do the Police in Different Voices'; Maxwell Perkins finding a structure in Thomas Wolfe’s 'Look Homeward, Angel' and cutting it by sixty-five thousand words."
Word about the editing taking a variety of forms. It can be as formal as you can imagine, a series of cold exchanges about punctuation, polite power plays about deadlines, and references to numbered rules in style manuals that could single-handedly serve as effective doorstops. It can be as informal and warm and wonderfully rewarding as you can't even imagine, resulting in the editor ending up with buddies who buy her drinks, send her flowers, e-mail her missives from Denmark or PNG about their growing families, or send her free copies of their new books. It can be symbiotic, cooperative, collaborative--the whole improved by the sum of parts continuing to improvise with each other on it. It can involve stylistic changes to bring a manuscript in line with house style; minor corrections to often-made grammatical errors; minor surgery to repair the mangled English language; or advanced triage and major surgery to "correct" organization, grammar, style, and meaning. It can be rewarding, and deeply gratifying, to be needed, especially when also acknowledged as such. It can be equally gratifying to find those academics who are also highly stylized and precise writers, whose prose one doesn't touch except to leave pointless comment bubbles like "Thank you for making my job obsolete. Your writing is flawless." On a good day it can make me beam with satisfaction; on a bad day it can make me want to throw the phone, laptop, style guides, and anything else not nailed to the desk over the balcony.
To remind me of my absolute power (mwaahahaha)--and [frowning at self] how it must not be used for evil--I remember that Raymond Carver once wrote to his editor Gordon Lish: "Just knowing you were there, at your desk, was an inspiration for me to write, and you know I mean that. You, my friend, are my idea of an ideal reader, always have been, always, that is, forever, will be."
And then to keep myself humble, I remember that the great William Faulker once remarked to an editor: "I know you mean well, but so do I."