Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hello!

Hello and welcome! If you’re here, it’s because you just asked me a question that probably has something to do with my having been a former child actor.  No offense but after thirty years of answering these questions one at a time, I’m kind of over it.

I’m really pleased my weird childhood hobby pleased you, but I’d love to talk about anything else at this point and that includes why one of my cats keeps vomiting, because at least that’s a topic which, sadly, keeps renewing itself. Talking about what amounts to three years in my childhood is, ultimately, like speaking a dead language. But I also totally respect that you have questions and am happy to answer them; let’s see if this helps:


I loved you in “The Goodbye Girl” and “Family.” You were adorable!
Thank you!

 I also loved you in “All In the Family” and “My World and Welcome To It”!
Actually, those were other actors.

Are you sure?
Yes.

What was (person with whom I worked) like?
All right, here’s the thing; I have a terrible memory. I mean, I was never another child so maybe all children have terrible memories, but my childhood is a few blurry snapshots in my head and most of my memories would sound like this:

 “Remember that time I saw that cat?”

 “You mean when we were at Versailles, Quinn?”

“I think so. Anyway, it was a mackerel tabby.”

So when you ask me about anyone from my childhood – be it Richard Dreyfuss or my third-grade teacher – I have virtually nothing to say, which means they were nice. If someone is horrible, I remember. If I behaved like an idiot in front of them, I remember. If they’re nice, I remember their dog. So when I say “They were great,” I don’t remember much about them but they probably were, and are, wonderful people. And yes, some people with whom I worked were going through some stuff and weren’t that pleasant to be around but I’m certainly not going to tell you because I’d hate to think someone was using my behavior at a bad time in my life to paint my entire character.

Are you still in touch with (person with whom I worked)?
No, but this says nothing about them and everything about me. For the most part, I was a child and they were adults which meant we weren't exactly going to be hanging off-hours. Also, I'm not in touch with anyone in my life. Ask my friends; I don't think to just call someone and say "Hey!" I'm an only child and a classic introvert; it never occurs to me see anyone. I'll be dead weeks before anyone notices.

And on that happy thought...

What have you been doing since then?
You mean since I was twelve? Well, I got bangs. And then I grew them out. Now I have them again. If you want more than that, there’s always my books or Wikipedia. The only thing missing from both is that my business partner in Hiphugger and I got a patent for our design, which still astounds me, being as I can’t be trusted to cut my own bangs, which was part of the reason I grew them out.

 Where can I see pictures of your daughter?
You can’t. I’m barely a public figure; she isn’t one at all.

Why aren’t you nuts?
Let me assure you, I’m not well (see: my blog), but I get it; why aren’t I robbing banks and huffing glue? For one, my parents didn’t confuse me for an ATM. Here’s a hint; if the parent is also the manager, the kid has a longer and harder path to sanity because you can either have a childhood or be responsible for paying the mortgage.  Mostly, my mother always knew she was raising a person and not an actor, and I’ve always assumed that’s what saved me.

 Do you still act?
No.

 Do you miss it?
I miss the bit between “Action!” and “Cut,” but that’s a very small percentage of what acting is. Had I stayed with acting, my joy would have been measured in hours each year, if I was lucky. It’s way too hard a job to stay in unless you can’t imagine doing anything else. Lucky me; I prefer writing.

 Would you read a script I wrote/be in an independent movie I’m directing/come to my workshop?
Thank you, but no. I like my life as it is, with very little relationship to all that. I sincerely wish you luck, though.

How did you get started?
We had a neighbor, James Wong Howe, who was a world-famous cinematographer. He thought the funny little kid with the freckles walking her dog could be an actor. He sent me to an agent, who sent me out for an interview that very day. I got the commercial and was on the set the next morning. I walked on my first set, realized I only had to do three hours of school, saw the craft-service table filled with snacks and thought “I’m home.” Two years and some commercials and television shows later, I got ‘The Goodbye Girl.”

What are you up to now?
I write, I am an enthusiastic supporter of animal rescue, I homeschool my daughter which, by this age, mostly involves getting her to people who can actually teach her, because if the point to education is to learn something correctly, I should be kept far away from the kid’s brain.

You’re not fat!

It's not actually a question, but it comes up enough that I'm obligated to answer it. 

No, I'm not.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Turn It Off, Like a Light Switch



It would appear that the case of sexual predation of teenage boys leveled against certain powerful figures in Hollywood is getting wider. The lawyer at the heart of this case, controversial Florida-based attorney Jeff Herman, is quoted as saying of the new plaintiffs, “They are ready to come forward” and that the case “cuts across all of Hollywood: studios, agents, directors, producers, and actors.”

"And," I thought to myself, "managers."

It was the early eighties. I was thirteen years old. While shepherding me to one weird child-actor event or another, my mother developed a casual friendship with a manager escorting his young clients to the same activities.  "Mitchell" was funny, witty, well-educated; exactly the sort of person you rarely get in a room full of people who happily describe themselves as "Momagers." My mother stayed in touch with Mitchell, to the point where they became friends. We'd go to his house for barbecues. It wasn't onerous for me; there were always kids for me to hang out with. Actually, there were always boys for me to hang out with. Mitchell only represented boys between the ages of twelve and about sixteen, young-looking, similar in features, hairless. I knew they were hairless not only because I’d see them swimming on those hot afternoons but because Mitchell had big blow-up pictures of them mounted throughout the house, brooding into camera, hair swept just so, shirtless and in cut-offs. The pictures were all taken by "Patrick," who had been Mitchell's client when he was in his early teens but was now a professional photographer. Patrick lived in the house with Mitchell, as did a rotating collection of younger boys, shuttled into Los Angeles for months at a time by their parents, to attend school and audition for Hollywood. In all the time I knew Mitchell, I don't remember a single boy getting a part above a walk-on. After a couple of years, they'd stop living there and be replaced by yet more boys, fresher boys.

There was one boy, though, who stayed past the usual sell-by date. I liked "Bryan". He was a couple of years older than me, gentle and funny, easy company to be around.  When I was about sixteen, my mother told me that Mitchell had discovered Bryan had been using drugs in the house. She said that while Mitchell had tried to help Bryan, Bryan had run away and was living on the streets. Two years later, I heard that Bryan had come back to live with Mitchell. We came over and saw him; he was as gentle and funny as always. He was also dying. Bryan was the first person my age I knew who died of AIDS. 

I never saw Mitchell doing anything to those boys. I'll never be called to testify against him or any of the other managers I heard whispered about -- the ones who always seemed to have parentless boys nearby. But here's the thing: I was thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years old and I knew something was...weird. Why didn't any adult see fit to question why a grown man needed a constant flow of underage boys? I don't blame my mother for missing what might have been some pretty damning clues. Mitchell was her friend and at that time society understood sexual predators to be strangers in vans. My mom was a recent widow with a teenage daughter so it’s safe to assume all her vigilance was pretty much used up on me. But there were other people who knew Mitchell, and other managers like Mitchell, and as far as I know, no one ever stood up to any one of these grown men and said "This must stop." Like everyone else in town, I knew the names of certain people, the people you'd never let alone with your young sons. And like everyone else, I did nothing. I rationalized. I didn't have evidence. This city loves to gossip. If something was going on, someone would have been arrested by now, right?

And the predators used our desire to avoid social discomfort to continue hurting children. 


Do I think all names we're about to hear will be guilty? Maybe not. Do I think opportunists will make financial hay out of whatever is going to come of this lawyer's case? You betcha. Do I think that some young men who are legally underage are capable of making decisions sexually and may consider a relationship with an adult to have been consensual? Oh, absolutely. But I'll tell you this: when each name of a famous or important person come out, someone in the business is going to read it and think "Yeah. I knew that.” I wonder how many will add “...And I should have tried to stop it."

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Want the World To Know

I really, really don't want to be the Person Who Keeps Talking About Vaccinations, if for no other reason that I have sat next to these people, on both sides of the coin, at dinner parties and I'd sooner eat an oyster than be that person and oysters make me vomit.

And yet a couple of items slipped under the door today and I felt as if I should give them attention, which is another way of saying I'm currently avoiding writing something and aggravating people is possibly the second-best way of procrastinating and I've already cleaned the copper-bottomed pots. 

First, a Berkeley student with measles rode BART over three days, potentially exposing tens of thousand of people to measles. Unfortunately, San Francisco has a lower-than-average rate of vaccination, which means that people who might normally be protected, aren't. Also, there were people on those trains who were under the age of six months, or going through chemotherapy, or living in some immune-compromised way or another and they are now at risk. People like my daughter's friend who, because of poultry allergies, cannot have the usual course of vaccinations and must rely on herd immunity to remain healthy. Enough of the population gets sick and she's at risk, and since she has underlying respiratory conditions, this is a higher risk than her family would ever have taken.

When families choose not to vaccinate, they are making that decision for other families as well. "So?" people might ask, "It's just measles. People get measles all the time; it's not a big deal." In fact, I got a totally respectful comment to the last blog I wrote about this: I think that vaccinations have gone too far. When I was a kid i had chicken pox and therefore got the lifelong immunity. Also German Measles. Never got anything else, like mumps, but got vaccinated for those. I don't think every little childhood disease needs a shot, but having said that you must consider the overall health of the child, family history, etc. Love the blog. Thanks for your kind words about the blog and thanks for not escalating this.

I've already lost people in my life over my belief and had people unfriend and unfollow me over this; polite disagreement is a glorious thing. Now, let's consider what you said: You had chicken pox and are now immune. Good! But thanks to Livestrong.com and the CDC, here are some potential side effects of having chicken pox:
  •  pneumonia 
  •  bleeding problems 
  •  infection or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis, cerebellar ataxia) 
  •  bacterial infections of the skin and soft tissues in children including Group A streptococcal infections 
  •  blood stream infections (sepsis) 
  •  toxic shock syndrome • bone infections 
  •  joint infections 
 [On an anecdotal level, my mother was permanently deaf in one ear because the fever from a "Harmless childhood illness" was so high it cooked the nerve to the ear.]

And from WebMD:
  • Pregnant women who have chickenpox during the first half of pregnancy may go into labor early (premature labor) or have a miscarriage. 
  • Pregnant women who have chickenpox in the last part of pregnancy are more likely to develop varicella pneumonia. Even a healthy pregnant woman is at risk of dying if she develops varicella pneumonia. 
  • Up to 2 out of 100 fetuses whose mothers have chickenpox during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy will also get chickenpox. This is called congenital varicella and can cause birth defects that can include one limb (usually a leg) smaller than the other, scars on the limbs or eye problems such as cloudy lenses. Low birth weight (weigh less than expected at birth).
  • Seizures. The baby can have seizures after birth.
  • Intellectual disability.
  • Shingles. Fetuses who have chickenpox will not have chickenpox again. But they can still have shingles, even as babies or young children. 
  • Death. Up to 7 out of 100 of the fetuses who get congenital varicella die. 
So, those can happen, but let's assume most of these complications don't happen that often. Luckily, there isn't any complication with a high rate of probability, right? Except, there is. Once you have had chicken pox, you carry the virus for the rest of your life in your nerve cells. As you grow older, or have secondary health issues taxing your immune system, or are just under the stress that being alive can offer, the virus can flare up and cause shingles. If you've never experienced shingles, count yourself lucky; I've been told the pain is terrible.

The CDC says that 1 in 250 people will be diagnosed with shingles annually, but when you consider that shingles is not usually a disease of young adulthood, the odds of getting shingles get higher as you get older. My mother-in-law developed shingles and then developed a secondary nerve condition where she was in agonizing pain nearly all her waking hours. For years, every day she'd have to decide whether to stay alert and in agony or take her pain pills and feel better but be completely zonked out. My mother-in-law was a wonderful person. I loved her and I smile when I think of who she was, but part of me wishes she had died the day before all of this started, because I don't think she had a good day for the last five years of her life. People suffer terribly from shingles, and anyone who doesn't vaccinate their child now is as much as saying that they are prepared to let that happen. Chickenpox isn't nothing.

Yes, most people get through German Measles without incident, but there is a percentage of the population for whom it can be catastrophic. If a pregnant woman gets German Measles, she can miscarry or have a stillbirth. If the developing fetus makes it to term, there is up to a 50% likelihood of  Congenital Rubella Syndrome, which is devastating.

Imagine that Berkeley student on the BART was infected with German Measles. How many pregnant women, how many fetuses, could he have risked? This used to happen all the time, and then we decided as a society that vaccinations were for the common good and pregnant women, and mothers of infants, and people like the family of my daughter's friend could go out and not worry about dying of certain diseases. That luxury is being taken away from us as a culture, and a small percentage of our population is doing it.

[Assuming I just lost another chunk of people who read me. Sorry.]

If you have less than two minutes to spare, I think Penn and Teller did a lovely if profane job of summing up the cost/benefit analysis of vaccinations.

That's it. I'm done. I promise I'll try to go back to being the other person you don't want next to you at a dinner party, the one who fishes out her phone while hooting "Wait! Let me show you my cats!"

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

You're Building a Mystery

Called Los Angeles Unified School District for homeschooling housekeeping question. Me: I wonder what standardized tests you recognize besides the ones taken in the classroom. Person on Phone: No. I actually laughed. Me: You do realize "No" isn't an answer to that question, right? Oh, LAUSD, you overworked behemoth, never change. Right, you won't.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I'm Coming Out

(Written in response to this article.)

 For the last few years, I've added "...and vaccinating" to the end of "In polite company, never talk about sex, politics or religion" adage because, honestly, I'm no better educated than Jenny McCarthy and who needs another marginally-public figure running their mouth? Also, I know I've got readers who believe deeply in certain things and if the following hurts your feelings or makes you think "Quinn doesn't GET it" or boycott my writing then I'm sorry. But here goes.

 I'm Team Vaccination.

 While we're at it, I think antibiotics are an awesome invention and are the reason I didn't die of one of my numberless sinus infections, throat infections and bacterial lung infections. Antibiotics are the reason my daughter is here to complain when I insist she brush her teeth, another thing which, like vaccinations, prevent bad things from happening.

Side note: I do not think antibiotics are awesome for feed animals nor do I think people should get them for viral infections and I happen to be very concerned about overuse of antibiotics, which is not the same thing as being concerned about the use of antibiotics.

 I'm Team Herd Immunity.

The educated bohemian parents who are deciding not to vaccinate are putting not only adults whose vaccinations have worn off at risk, they're putting my daughter's oldest friend and people like her at risk. "Layla" cannot be vaccinated because of allergies to eggs and chicken. Her parents would LOVE for her to be protected from diseases which could kill her, but they have to rely on the rest of the population to be vaccinated and not expose Layla; they can't rely on that any more. Now the only tools they have are reminding Layla to wash her hands constantly and prayer. As far as disease prevention goes, Layla now lives in the 18th century.

 I'm Team Science.

The original study which set this whole thing off was debunked. I quote:

 An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study's author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study -- and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible. 

 For those who thought it was the mercury in the vaccinations doing the harm, I give you Science Daily, 1/8/2008:

 Autism cases continued to increase in California after the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal was eliminated from most childhood vaccines, according to a new report.This suggests that exposure to thimerosal is not a primary cause of autism. 

 And for those who've told me not having diseases mean the body is losing opportunities to grow and develop, I give you my mother's first memory, which is of the priest over her bed giving her last rites. She had mumps; she was three. Her mother had made the dress she was to be buried in. Yes, my mother pulled through, with only lifetime deafness in one ear to show for it, but several other children in her small town that winter didn't. I assure you they weren't less healthy or worthy than my mother. My grandfather died of a burst appendix because there were no antibiotics at the time. People died of infected cuts in within the last century. Life before modern medicine was a crapshoot and I'm no gambler.

 I'm Team I Don't Want to See My Daughter Die of Something Which Was Avoidable. For that matter, I'm Team I Don't Want to Die of Something Avoidable. I have asthma which is aggravated by coughing. I could be that luckless bastard who gets whooping cough and dies of an asthma attack. Which means I just realized I have to get a Pertussis booster. And I say while I hate parking at my doctor's office, I thank God the vaccination is there.

 To sum it up, we can be friends, and we can agree not to talk about this, but I'm not going to just smile and look pained any more if someone starts slamming modern medicine.

 I've got too much team spirit.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I've Changed My Routine/Now I'm Clean

It's not that I hate the dishwasher, exactly; it's just that the position of "Thing which does nothing but sit around the house and not work" in this house is already filled by the cats.

 When we first got the dishwasher, it was replacing the dishwasher which had come with the house, a house which had been owned by people with deep ties to the shoddy appliance industry. If it was an improvement of the 20th century, we had the crappiest version of it, always with some name that almost sounded familiar: Amenna; Kenmoore; Mootag. The stove celebrated one Christmas Eve by propelling the oven door halfway across the kitchen into my abdomen. Luckily, I think the thing was made of pressed cardboard covered in asbestos, so it didn't hurt as much as it might have. The dishwasher, in cycle, made noises like it was washing Augean stables;. There was so much chugging, groaning, lamenting went on that we arranged to run when we were out of the house because it frightened the then-baby. And yet, for all that noise, the dishwasher had only two speeds; anemic sneeze and throat-clearing. It wasn't that the dishes got washed so much as the food particles got a spa day.

 Being as money was going elsewhere, we made do. We washed the dishes ahead of time, which always struck me as enabling that thing. We ran rinse cycles in between loads, the clear any particles which might have accidently been shook loose from a dish. We treated the washer like it was half invalid, half dish storage unit. It's fair to say our expectations were very realistic. When it died and we were obligated to buy another washer, a great cheer was heard as we piled into the car and headed to Sears.

 New dishwasher was solidly middle: middle-range price; middling degree of extra cycles; it's even sort of a middling beige. As we were filling out the delivery paperwork, I patted it and whispered "We're fond of you. Now let me never think of you again." And the first few months, it appeared my pathetic little dreams were to be realized. I would open the dishwasher and LO! Dishes which were clean and there was a great joy among the people, mostly this people.

 A few months later, I started to notice something. Yes, the dishes and glasses were cleaned of their particles, but it seemed that new particles were being left in their place. Honestly, I'm not that obsessive that I know what particles go where; there was a bit of sand/coffee ground/microsludge on everything and I haven't served sand/coffee ground/microsludge in years. I showed it to Consort. He informed me that I wasn't rinsing the dishes sufficiently. I briefly hated him for always taking the appliance's side and sullenly washed the dishes. The ghost slurry went away. Consort didn't gloat.

A month later, even though I was still pre-washing, the ghost slurry was back.

I did gloat.

Consort did that thing where he brings the tools from the garage and made a great deal of noise and swore and there were little washing machine partlets all over the kitchen and the ghost sludge went away again.

 And then it came back.

 Tools.

Noise.

 Swearing.

Partlets.

 Gone.

 Back.

 "It's the drain-trap!"

 Gone.

 Back.

 "No, it's the crimped intake pipe!"

 Gone.

 Back.

 "How did you not notice there was a spoon caught in the drain trap?"

 Gone.

 Back.

 There's always a reason, there's always a fix; there used to be hope. Now there is only the cynicism one feels when a friend is heading to her fifteenth trip to rehab, swearing that this time, it's definitely going to stick! Sure, honey. Let me just keep the vanilla extract and the Sterno at my house, okay? For the moment, we can't replace it. Frankly, I'm not sure I even want to. Before we went to Sears, we read Consumer Reports; we got reviews raving about this exact dishwasher. Maybe it's not that the previous owner bought every crappy appliance on the market so much as living in this house causes appliances to give up hope. We're prison, they're here for life, and the only joy they can find is to screw with our heads and carefully apply ghost sludge. Fine, I say. FINE.

Now, if you will excuse me, the dishwasher ran last night; I have a lot of dishes to do.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

This is the End

I start this by noting that until he met me, Consort had exactly one pet in his lifetime. It was a spaniel named Brownie when he was a child. Brownie destroyed a few things and was sent by Consort's parents to live on that wonderful farm all obnoxious pets went to before 1980. Not only was he not used to animals, the man is allergic to cats. I repeat; CONSORT SPENDS EVERY DAY OF HIS LIFE SNIFFLING JUST SO I AM HAPPY.

Consort is a wonderful man. So wonderful, in fact, that he has never, not once, not even in a covert way, suggested he'd be happier with only bipeds in the house. Doesn't mean I don't think it, though. At least once a day I'll catch Consort running the defurring roller over a sweater, or blocking a cat trying to make a landing on the kitchen table, or letting the dog outside to pee for the fifth time in an hour (he's an old dog.).  I'll think to myself "That man never wanted pets." And then I Swiffer to atone. We go through a great many Swiffer pads. With all this in mind, I will tell you the following story. I will attempt to keep it dainty, but make no promises.

The cats, Diana and Squeakers, also known as the Merry Mistresses of Mayhem, have habits. One of these habits is that before they go to sleep for each night, they must mightily use the litter-box. Usually, I take care of any litter-boxish chores. If I feel like listening to whining and mutinous mumbles, I make the kid do it. I try very hard to keep this from being Consort's responsibility (See: Never Wanted Pets, above). But this late-night ritual, mystifyingly, must not happen while I'm awake. If I fall asleep at 9, it will happen at 9:30. If I stay awake until very, very late, with the specific intention of tending to this chore - because Consort has had an especially pet-laden day and doesn't need more - the cats will wait until late, late-thirty to finish off, as it were.

Consort inevitably stays up later than I do because he needs a quiet house to work so, all too frequently, he deals with it. Them. It's quite horrible. I feel terrible. He has sworn it's not that bad, because he's wonderful and also lies. Two weeks ago, I awoke early to find a note on the table. When one partner is a day-person and the other flies by night, a lot of your relationship is conducted by Post-It. The note said only "HAVE YOU CHANGED THE CAT'S FOOD?" I was baffled by this. Just because he's tolerant of our plethora of pets doesn't mean he notices their culinary details. Hell, Consort still refers to Diana and Squeakers as "The boys." So why would he even notice the cats had a different kind of --

Oh.

"The worst thing I've ever smelled in my life," Consort announced that evening, when we had a chance to talk, "And I've smelled death." And readers, I was left with a conundrum. The food was, of course, not cheap and need I even mention I had gotten the larger size? On the other hand, for weeks to come Consort was going to have to stop working on an Excel spreadsheet to confront genuine evil. (I'd suggest that just meant he was going from evil to evil, but Consort and I have agreed to disagree on the relative merits of Excel.)

The money! The odor! The waste! The odor! In the end -- you should pardon the expression -- there was no question of what do do. We went back to the regular spread. The food of evil emanations went to Sante D'Or who passed it on to a woman who feeds a feral population she's trying to get spayed and neutered. I figured it was healthy, the fish oil would help their shabby coats and if she did manage to catch them and wrangle them to the vet, they'll avenge their lost gonads in the stinkiest way possible.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Same As It Ever Was

Here's the problem with waiting to write until something worth writing about happens: something worth writing about has to happen. Or, rather, if you're me, something worth writing about which hasn't happened numberless times before.

Earworm holding me hostage? We've covered that. (Although I would love a moment of renewed pity  as I've been listening to "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" carom around my head all day.)

My love of a classic (read: stunningly dull) wardrobe contrasted with my need to simultaneously worship and make fun of VOGUE magazine? I believe you know how I feel about that.

My vague desire to adopt yet more animals? Well, good Lord, I got an entire book out of all the blogs I've written.

I mean, there are new things. Blogger is eating comments and indicating I've deleted them, which I haven't, but that strikes me as a less than completely captivating subject. Although if it was your commment, please know that I DIDN'T DO IT AND AM ABOUT TO SIC CONSORT ON FIXING IT. Which could lead to the blog "Consort swears when he fixes things". But guess what? Yes, I've covered that. It's just all so humbling.

Sure, I can intellectually say that we're born with a set of specific character traits and only by possessing  a heroic will or living in a war zone might change these traits, but it's another thing to realize that I am almost exactly the same person I was ten years ago. Actually, it gets worse; I realize my quotidian wardrobe was set in the 9th grade when the best-dressed girl in class was Lisa Katz, who wore 501s, loafers and striped shirts. My closet is still being informed by someone whose greatest life-struggle was Geometry and whose president was Reagan.

Yes, there are new things. www.learningdangerously.com is new and, if I say so myself, pretty darling and useful. If you're thinking about homeschooling, if you wonder why anyone does, or if you just want some of the tools homeschoolers use for their families to supplement your child's education, go see the website. Honestly, go see it even if none of those apply to you, because you can see video of me and see what our home office looks like when it's clean. When we shot this, Daughter came into the office and said "I've never see the office like this!" She then pointed to the corner where I had haphazardly jammed all the stuff which was usually strewn about and said flatly, "Now that, I recognize."

And there are other things I've been bashing away at, but the former actor in me is superstitious enough so that you'll hear about it when and if a contract is signed. Backsies on good news is never a fun conversation. Ooh! Here's one. I bossed Consort into being vegan and it seems to be helping him. He's not congested in the mornings and an old injury hurts less. On the other hand, I slide out of the house at least once a day to sneakily eat something which could be best described as "Butter in a Light Butter Sauce", the kid has informed me that almond-milk cheese is just weird, and Consort has been quoted as saying, bleakly, "I'm a little tired of hummus." I know, baby, I know. Here, have some salad.

This means I'm cooking more than I was, which is easy because when you start at zero, anything above that looks impressive. In sum, I'm back. And no better than ever.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Money, Money, Money, Always Sunny

I just wrote my first check to Sante D'Or from the proceeds of PET SOUNDS. This is awfully exciting and yet makes me long to write larger checks; I'm like that. So I am going to do something insane and possibly foolhardy, but unlike the last time I did something which could accurately be described that way it won't involve a knife, a slice of whole wheat and a red-hot toaster. (After the initial unpleasantness, it worked beautifully.) Here's the offer; if you buy PET SOUNDS and don't love it, I'll buy it back. I think you'll love it. I hope you'll love it. And I'm prepared to put my Paypal account where my mouth is. Now, it's time to see what the radio sounds like in a full bathtub.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Farm Living is the Life for Me

I stand in a grocery store tapping and investigating the watermelon as if I am learning anything about it besides the fact that I'm pretty certain it's a watermelon. And my mother's agrarian ancestors gaze on in spectral disgust and whisper to one another "This is what you get when you marry city people."

Lookin' For a Better Way To Get Up Out of Bed

Yep, going to try for a small blurb each and every day.

So, I can tell you how the summer is going or I can tell you three things:

1.  PET SOUNDS IS GETTING GREAT REVIEWS! IT MAKES PEOPLE HAPPY AND ALSO FEEDS ANIMALS WAITING FOR THEIR FOREVER HOMES! CHECK THAT BABY OUT! IF YOU LIKE IT, PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

2. THE YEAR OF LEARNING DANGEROUSLY comes out in paperback on August 6th! It's cheap, it's easy! I'll come interact with your friends and loved ones at book clubs if that tips the balance towards buying it! If the thought of me near you is off-putting, I promise to stay many feet away.

3. The kid has had a fully-realized summer. In related news, I drove 3,000 miles in two weeks.

Wait, there's another snapshot:

4. I spent this glorious summer afternoon sitting in my car eating a half-finished container of seaweed I found in the glove compartment while waiting for the kid to first finish sports-practice and then for her to finish being an altar-attendant at a funeral. On the plus side, ALLIE BROSH'S BOOK IS COMING OUT! I READ IT AND ATE SEAWEED! It's glorious! Get it at Vroman's in Pasadena!

Now that I think of it, it's been a pretty great summer.

Monday, July 01, 2013

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

Dear Southern Evangelical Christian Mommy-Blogger,

I read your blog. I started reading it while doing research for THE YEAR OF LEARNING DANGEROUSLY and never stopped. You and I agree that your daughters are adorable, your life seems happy and fulfilled and that no sane person should ever turn down a devilled egg. We're less in agreement over the inerrancy of the Bible, but no friendship is perfect. Yes, I used the word "Friendship" for someone I've never met. I know I'm wrong, but I feel as if I know you. I know what small city you live in. I know your daughter's names; I even know your daughter's middle names. I know where you like to spend Tuesday afternoons. Actually, I know more about your life than I know about people I have on my speed-dial.

Which brings us to this letter.You write with an assumption that your readers are mostly like you and while I imagine many of them are, some of them are not. Not everyone looking at your pictures of your pre-school age daughters posing in their swimsuits is benign. Those pictures don't just exist on your website; they exist on the Internet and can go where they will. Putting a watermark on it is nice, but that isn't going to keep those pictures off websites dedicated to people who find small children sexually appealing. And then you've given those people all the information they need to stalk you. You obviously adore your daughters,  and you're so cautious about outside influences in their lives, but this blog is no longer just read by their grandparents, which is what you've said was the original intent. As much as I enjoy watching your girls grow, I'm begging you to take them offline.

Yours truly,
A Concerned Reader



(Now it's your turn; am I being overly-vigilant and paranoid? Don't worry about hurting my feelings, I've been called both before.)