Sunday, October 31, 2004


So. Two things. One, I"m totally hyperventilating over the start of National Novel Writing Month tomorrow. I realized, suddenly, that the outcome of Tuesday's election could have a terrible impact on my ability to write. So this is my official disclaimer that I may bow out of NaNo...oh man, I hope not, but I'm anxiety ridden at the moment.

Two. The Philadelphia Eagles are undefeated and for the first time in franchise history, begin their season 7-0. This is totally surreal to me because undefeated football team and Philadelphia are never mentioned in the same breath. But even though I really don't care and even I know not to get too excited because the season isn't even half over yet, my whole street is really happy - people are running around outside right now toasting with beer cans, etc., my daughter and her boyfriend who are closet jocks are son hates sports altogether but he likes a good party so he's happy...

Anyway, I guess I'll enjoy it while it lasts. The weather is great so I'm going to barbecue them all some burgers before the trick or treaters arrive. This is probably my last conscious post. I'll either be stoned on chocolate or so worried about NaNo tomorrow and the election that I'll be hiding upstairs.

Some favorite authors...

Oh my god, I went for the bike ride and now I'm dead. It was awesome while it lasted but the pain I have in my ass and thighs right now should only ever be a result of one thing and it isn't bike riding. Oh well. That'll teach me. The Planetarium doesn't open until 12:30 and that will sufficiently fuck up my watching the Eagle's game so I guess I'm passing on that. Normally I could care less about football, but since we're undefeated, it's kind of fun.

Anyway, I want to use this last day of freedom to hawk four brilliant great friends of mine who are also brilliant authors. I'm going to probably be repeating this post a lot so it doesn't disappear into the archives, because their books are that good and deserve your attention and recommendation to others.

They are:

Tom Saunders
Brother What Strange Place is This

Steve Augarde
The Various

Richard Madelin

Maryanne Stahl
Forgive The Moon and The Opposite Shore

But in other news...

Savoy Brown

While I'm all hopped up on sugar again, and also am only too aware that this is my last day of screwing around because I've got to get serious about my novel, I thought I would bring in some musical thoughts. Despite growing up with a jazz musician dad and adoring all things jazz, I'm not a snob like other jazz musos and my tastes run all over the board, with the exception of modern country music and obviously all things Britney pop. Oh. And rap music. Rap music incites violence in me. I abhor it.

Anyway, I want to talk about two bands that have slipped under the radar all these years, Savoy Brown and Blodwyn Pig. They totally blow me away, and you can pick up their CDs at my favorite online haunt, Though I have to be honest, I dislike buying CDs on line and only do it if I can't find them at traditional CD stores. I also dislike buying at chains like Tower Records - who the fuck do they think they are charging $18 a CD? Aren't big corporations supposed to cut you a break because they buy in volume? Screw that. Lucky for me, Philadelphia has a lot of indie record stores, and if I'm going to spend $18, I'd rather give it to them, but big surprise, you can usually find them a hell of a lot cheaper and my money goes to actual people living in the area, not some mother corporation who probably supports Bush and the war in Iraq. Anyway, I digress. But I do love buying CDs at an actual store - there's something wonderful about leafing through racks and racks of CDs and finding something spectacular you didn't know about or have been wanting forever but haven't been able to locate. But when all else fails, I go to, because if they don't have it, they have a wish list and so far they've gotten me everything I've ever wanted, with the exception of a CD by the American Dream, which I do have on vinyl, but which only came out briefly on CD in 1986. I haunt ebay for that all the time, and am convinced one of these days I'll find it. Interestly enough, there's a connection here. Nicky Jamison was one of the original members of American Dream, which was a Philly Band. Nicky went on to be a member of Foghat, who are an offshoot of Savoy Brown. See? I know my stuff. I realize there's a place on this blog for audio clips...I'm gonna try and see if I can figure out how to post some music.

Savoy Brown is music to which to get laid. Pure and simple. It's the sexiest music I know.

Blodwyn Pig is an offshoot of the original Jethro Tull. Guitarist Mick Abraham left Jethro Tull after the first album and formed Pig. Jack Lancaster is on sax. I can't believe no one knows about them anymore...even the most underground, classic rock radio show here has yet to play any of their stuff. I know, because I'm nuts enough to wake up at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings and listen to the one great still unprogrammed FM radio show that features music chosen by a real DJ with exceptional taste.

Okay, I'm off to figure out how to post sound clips. I'll probably fail, but you know, at least it'll give me something to do for a few minutes while I continue to speed courtesy of all this fucking chocolate.

...Happy Halloween, continued

Oh my god, I just did the math. I ate around 57,000 calories yesterday. I have an explanation, though. My middle name is Joy and I always thought my name, Robin Joy, sounded like the candy bar and I therefore have a special place in my heart for them.

Oh fuck, I should really stop bullshitting, especially if I'm using this blog as therapy. I'm addicted to both coconut and chocolate. Offer me either and I'm yours. I guess I'm going for that bike ride. But what I might do, if I live through this exercise in sadism, is ride my bike to the Planetarium after doing the eight miles round trip and just collapse in one of their comfy seats and stargaze. Not just as a reward...if the truth must be known, the Planetarium is about a six block bike ride from West River Drive and there are no hills - it's a flat, easy pleasurable ride down the Ben Franklin Parkway. The ride home to my house, however, while also six blocks in the other direction, is straight uphill. And I have an old lady bike. Meaning, I could never master hand brakes so I bought myself a vintage bike with foot brakes like the kind you rent on the boardwalk - it's bright turquoise and has a dorky white wicker basket and a little bell instead of a horn because as I've said, I'm totally pathetic...but anyway, it doesn't make riding up hills easy and I usually concede defeat, hop off, and walk it home instead.

Here's a pic of the Planetarium. How lucky am I to live so close. See? This is why I vacillate when I think about leaving Philadelphia.

Happy Halloween

It doesn't get any scarier than that, does it? Happy Halloween.

So I'm such a loser, I forgot to set my clock back last night after all, which means I've been awake since 3:30 a.m. The good news is I awoke to an empty house - the kiddies went to a party last night and slept out. I actually have several hours of quiet!

The bad news is I'm eyeing a Snickers bar for breakfast, but must refrain. Note to self: Next year buy all crap you don't like for the trick or treaters, like Skittles and Dots and Twizzlers and Sweet Tarts.

Yeah, yeah, I say that every year.

So now that I'm up at dawn, I know I should be writing, but with National Novel writing month starting tomorrow, I'm thinking I should go out and enjoy myself today. I have this urge to go to the Planetarium, which is just a few blocks from my house. I've loved that place since I'm a kid -- there's something so magical about sitting back, the room goes dark, and the first few stars begin to appear while great classical music plays in the background. I don't usually listen to the lecture itself, I just sit there dreaming, staring up at the night "sky".

What I should do instead though is ride my bike down the river drive and undo the damage of eating all that candy because it's the last Sunday it's closed to traffic and it's four miles in each direction of pure beauty...changing leaves, boathouse row...hmmm...let me see if I can find a picture:

Anyway, at the moment I'm totally undecided...but there's nothing new about that, huh. I dunno, I guess I'll make another pot of coffee, put on some music, and figure things out.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

John Lennon

"I always was a rebel...but on the other hand, I wanted to be
loved and accepted...and not just be a loudmouth, lunatic,
poet, musician. But I cannot be what I am not."


Hey, I figured out the art thing...


Jesus Christ, I just ate an entire bag of Almond Joys I bought for trick or treaters. What the fuck is wrong with me?

I'm hoping it's election anxiety.

Yeah right. I'm an addict, who am I trying to kid. Chocolate does it for me. I need to stay away but I can't. There. I've said it. The first step. Which is as far as I'm going, because I'm not giving it up.

So anyway, now that I'm bouncing off the walls on a crazed sugar high, I have in fact decided to use this blog as a vehicle for my 50,000 word novel in thirty days starting November l, which of course is the NanoWrimo thing. ( This is an appalling decision, I know. Because what it means is that I'm going to post 1,667 words a day of totally unedited crap. It's worse than being naked in Bloomingdale's window at forty years old and covered in cellulite. I also know I should probably get a separate blog for this project. But I am a lazy technology challenged person who is having enough trouble trying to figure out one blog let alone juggling two. So that's my reasoning there. And to make matters worse, I'll probably continue to post whiny daily entries as well because even though I worry about using this blog as my own personal psychiatrist in my post below, I'm realizing that this is far, far better than any so-called traditional therapy. So anyone reading this will not only get to read the novel in progress, they'll get to read me moaning and groaning about it. I'd better not look at the site meter because I have a feeling that could get pretty depressing. I still haven't figured out how to upload art to this thing, either, damn it, but I'm hoping my son will show me tomorrow since he's the computer geek in the house.

Ugh, I just realized tonight we turn back the clocks. I truly, truly hate that. It's pitch dark out when I leave work at 5:00 p.m. and it makes me feel like I've been working 24 hours. I don't understand why we don't just stay at daylight saving time, but I don't understand a lot of things these days. No wonder I just want to hide behind a computer screen. As you can imagine, I'm terrified by the election this Tuesday. Four years ago, when that snarky dolt stole the election, I pulled the covers up over my head and didn't get out of bed for almost a week. I'm deadly serious. I'm afraid to say anything more about it at this point because my emotions are running really high. If I hear "Ah'm George Dubya Bush and Ah approve this message" one more time I will puke. For real.

A really brilliant friend of mine assures me Kerry will win because he has the same initials as JFK. I laughed but he wasn't kidding. He told me not to worry. Okay. I'll try.


With the house to myself, normally I would be writing today but since I know I'm starting the novel November 1, I've decided to just have kind of a lost weekend as a reward. Yeah, some people do it with booze, apparently I've decided chocolate. But I am going to read a manuscript by a friend of mine which so far is blowing me away... so much so that I'm wondering to myself why I even bother to write...and then maybe use the On Demand feature on Comcast Cable to order up some episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Sometimes you just need to laugh. Especially when you feel the complete opposite.

More insanity..

Last night was my first experience in the real world as Philadelphia Municipal Liaison for National Novel Writing Month. It ended up being pretty cool, and I had to kind of step outside of my body and pretend to be a social kind of person, which I am not. We met on the second floor of a pub which didn't really lend itself to mingling - they sat us a long table. The guy next to me turned out to be an attorney (of course...they haunt me wherever I go, having worked for them for two decades) and he said "You should get up and introduce yourself to everyone here and mingle". Oh god. Much to my shock, there were like 25 people who showed up, and it was so, so weird. I should really look into taking Paxil or some other meds. Nah, just joking. So I quickly drained my beer and did what he said, and I ended up not passing out from fear after all. Turns out a lot of these people are first time novelists and they asked me a lot of questions as if I had all the answers. Ha. I wish. But it was admittedly fun to tell them about my soon to be published novel, and how it originated on NaNo, and then I realized by their reaction that they seemed to think getting published wasn't going to be that difficult. Har har. I tried to be positive and didn't tell them about my year in hell with that book -- how one publisher tried to turn it into a romance novel and how another went belly up bankrupt. And how even though I have a publisher now, the world won't stop and bow down to me the day it comes out -- and I'm going to have to work my ass off to get anyone other than my family to read it. Oh wait. My family won't read it, either. What am I thinking. Okay, my close friends. All two of them.

Kidding, kidding.

So yeah, the night ended up being fun after all but had I known what it entailed (i.e., being social) I might have thought twice before volunteering.

Then I came home and my daughter was in full attack mode - don't know if it's PMS or what - but now she's making it up to me and just made me an omelet so I'll be back to talk more about THAT later.


Okay, back, and thank God she just left for the day. Holy shit. Both my son and daughter are in college now and by rights should be living at a dorm -- not because I want to get rid of them (I don't - I'm madly in love with both kiddies obviously) but because I think they're missing out on the whole college experience. They're both freaking out at me all the time now because they're at the age where they don't think they have to follow any rules - hell, I feel the same way and I'm just as miserable as they are. They should definitely be out on their own and so should I. I keep thinking Damn, I've got at least another twenty years left of fun in me...I've lived in Philadelphia my entire life...maybe it's time to just chuck everything, sell the house, leave the country (a serious, real possibility depending on the outcome of the election on Tuesday. That idiot from Texas steals..I mean, gets back in, I don't know how I will bear it), and just go somewhere beautiful and write full time. I've had so much tragedy and insanity in my life; I just want solitude now. Or at least the chance to give it a try. I don't know how people can so easily walk away from their lives, though. The thought of selling my house and quitting my job terrifies me, even though I'm desperately unhappy. But I love being alone and I'm used to it. Writers need their space. So why the fuck don't I just leave and chuck it all? Oh right. The kiddies. But yep, change is a-coming. Watch this space for further details.

Oh crap. I was afraid of this. I'm using the blog as my personal psychiatrist. This is no good. I think I'm gonna go see if I can find some cool stories to post, or maybe write a new short story and post it here for some instant gratification. Yeah, that sounds like a much better plan.

Okay then!

Saturday, October 30

So I've decided to blog. I haven't decided how I'm going to use this forum yet, right now I'm just playing around to see if I can even do it correctly.

I may post excerpts from my novel in progress; I may whine and rant about my life; or I may just post my favorite recipes - what the hell do I know.

All I know is, I'm doing it and whatever happens, happens.

And now to figure out how to post photos and other cool stuff....