summer viewing

Dude. (500) Days of Summer is so freaking good. That Expectations/Reality split-screen? Incredible. You seriously need to go see it. As a bonus during my movie time, I enjoyed the benefits of shared air conditioning. The city was a wall of humidity before the downpour on Wednesday night, so the relief was refreshing. I don’t have an issue with air conditioning as long as it’s shared. It’s only when no one’s using it or I’m here alone that I can’t bring myself to have it on. Unless it’s 100 degrees in August, which I’m sure we’ll be encountering soon. Last August was a gorgeous anomaly.

Around the time I was watching this scene…

(500) Days of Summer

…a huge storm rumbled in. In a rural New Jersey town, a tornado ripped some roofs off barns and took down a silo. I just wanted to point that out because a lot of people think that tornadoes can’t happen around here. They totally can!

I am happy to report that I handled my eye exam pretty well. When it was time for the hurricane-strength-wind test, I sat down in front of that hulking machine all like, “You and me, we’re gonna throw down.” But then the fear encroached. I had to put my finger up to feel that the air puff is really just a puff. My eyes got all twitchy and squinty, despite my efforts to psych them out. My optometrist told me that everyone gets nervous with the glaucoma test. I’m sure he was just trying to make me feel better. But when he told me that, I felt like less of a dork than I usually do.

The happy surprise was that I don’t need new glasses. My eyes haven’t changed at all in the past few years, for which I’m so thankful. The thing is, I’ve been getting all bleary eyed after a few hours on the computer. Apparently, it’s because I’m not taking enough breaks. You’re supposed to look away from the computer every 20 minutes for one or two minutes. Every 20 minutes! Sometimes it’s hours before I realize that hours have gone by. Short of Andy Bernard honking a bear horn and doing the Running Man next to my desk, I don’t think I’ll be able to pull my eyes away from the screen that frequently. But I will try.

There’s a rumor going around that all Barnes & Noble stores now have free Wi-Fi. If true, enjoy!

i’m such a spaz

I’ve been avoiding my annual eye exam. I’m afraid of the part where they puff air in your eye. Technically, it’s called the puff-of-air glaucoma test. A more accurate description would be the hurricane-strength-wind test. The machine even looks scary, all hulking in the corner, waiting to be the last part of your exam so you can’t even get it over with right away. Last year, my optometrist let me hold my finger in front of the puff of air first to confirm that, indeed, it’s only a small puff of air and I really need to chill. I’ve just always had this issue with things touching my eyes. So I get all nervous about the puff and build it up in my mind until it becomes this horrendous form of torture. When I was a teen, the eye doctor had to get other people to hold me in place to do the test. Seriously. And then they had to do it several times because I kept squinting and spazzing out.

This strange phobia is not exclusive to other people touching my eyes. It took me a ridiculously long amount of time to be able to wear contacts. I was about 15 or 16 when I first tried to put a contact in. The attempt was excruciating. I really wanted to wear contacts, but there was no way my finger was going anywhere near my eye. By the time I was done trying to put a contact in, it looked like my face had just been interrogated by Jack Bauer. Apparently, my determination to master this simple thing that everyone else has no problem with overpowered my fear, because I’ve been wearing contacts for years with no problem. I still have a problem with the hurricane-strength-wind test, though. No matter how much I tell myself to remain calm, I get so nervous!

I mentioned this on Twitter yesterday and got a response back from Glaucoma (!). Glaucoma said that there’s a new test now with no puff whatsoever. Awesome news! The device looks like a pen and it sits on the outside of your eyelid. I am really, really hoping my optometrist already has this genius pen thing. If not, I will be strong. Sharing this embarrassing story with you guys makes me feel better. It also gives me a reason to be brave so I can report back that I went in and wasn’t even nervous at all. Well, maybe I’ll be a little nervous. But I’m imagining that one of you is reading this and cheering me on. Here we go…

smiley faces

I still haven’t absorbed last Friday’s good news. How can I be on a Top Ten Bestseller list with J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman? They clearly have me confused with someone else.

Or maybe I’m hallucinating. That’s the kind of thing that happens when you’ve been scrutinizing copyedits for days. I’m obsessed with details, so I can agonize over a word choice for way longer than I should. Or whether a certain comma interrupts the dialogue flow. One detail I’m really happy about is that smiley faces are still part of the copyediting process, even though we’ve shifted to a new on-screen framework. Yay for the preservation of smiley faces, even if they’re not in colored pencil anymore:

Something Like Fate copyedits

Other happy things include this Running for Fiction review of Waiting for You. I recently posted links to Robby’s reviews of When It Happens and Take Me There. The most I can hope for is that my readers will relate to my books and maybe even feel better about their own lives. All of your kind words mean so much to me, I cannot even tell you. I feel extremely thankful for feedback like Robby’s. Most of the time it’s hard for authors to know how their books are doing out in the world. To everyone who has let me know how I’m doing: You rock. And for those of you who might want to connect with me, here’s where you can find me on Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter.

Dude, the loudest storm just moved in. We had such a downpour yesterday, all resonant thunder and powerful wind. The storm was so intense that my screens are totally cleaned now. Bonus! I like working while it’s pouring out, the sound of the summer rain, my warm desk lamp glowing. Back to the Something Like Fate copyedits. Maybe more smiley faces are waiting to be found.


Take Me There is a bestseller.

Take Me There by Susane Colasanti

I have not fully absorbed this yet. Last week, Take Me There made the Heartland Indie Bestseller List. This is the list compiled from independent booksellers’ reports in the midwest.

Dude. It’s unreal.

I mean, there’s my book with Markus Zusak and Sherman Alexie and Sarah Dessen (who has three books on the list – you rule, Sarah!). The complete list is here.

This is some serious indie love. Thank you, thank you, thank you indie booksellers! And ultimate thanks to my midwestern readers. You are the ones who made this happen. You are made of magic.

next step

Thanks for all of your excitement about Something Like Fate! I’ve gotten several emails from book reviewers asking about advance copies. Actually, it will be a while until the galleys are printed. I’m just about to go over the copyedits, so we’re still in the process of polishing the manuscript for greatest possible shine factor. If you’re a book reviewer who has a blog or other site and would like to receive a galley of Something Like Fate, you can send me the link to your site and your mailing address next February or March and I’ll add you to the galley list. it’s a bit too early to compile the list now, especially since Waiting for You just came out! Oh, and here’s a sneak preview of books coming out next spring from Publishers Weekly. Mitali from Alley of Books sent me the link because that’s just how sweet she is.

I was doing data entry of contact info we received after canvassing for President Obama’s health care reform petition (which you can sign here) when I recognized the name of an old student. I also recognized her handwriting, so I know it was her. I think she was my student back in 2000 or 2001. It made me think about how we remember the most random things, like what a person’s handwriting looks like even if we haven’t seen it for years, but at the same time we forget some big things. Like, friends from college will tell me about major stuff that happened and I’m all, “Really? I was there?” It’s just so interesting how our memories are filtered.

If you’re anything like me, you are familiar with the frustration of breaking in new summer shoes. My flip-flops have been awesome this summer, but I have a new pair of flats that are a trip to Blister City if I want to wear them for more than, say, two blocks. My usual strategy is to put clear first aid tape on to prevent blisters (more durable than Band-Aids, plus almost invisible). Now I have an even better solution. I’ve been trying to track down Band-Aid Friction Block Stick for a while and finally found it! I haven’t tried it yet, but my expectations are very high. Basically, you just rub it on, step into your shoes, and you’re good to go. I will put it to the flats test and report back.

Okay, time to get ready to focus on copyedits. Just like my recent line-editing experience, this will be my first time going over copyedits entirely on screen. It turns out that the shift from working with paper to getting our green on was a lot easier than I thought it would be. That’s the thing about changes. We’re usually not a fan, but lots of times unexpected changes make your life way better than you ever imagined they would.

things made of cool

Happy First Moon Landing 40th Anniversary! How are you celebrating? I’m going for a Firecracker Popsicle later. Those are the ones that are red, white, and blue and look like rocket ships. They are just so refreshing. In fact, a box of Firecracker Popsicles is the first thing I’m going to put in my freezer when I move to a bigger apartment and get to have a refrigerator with a freezer. It’s been a long six years with no freezer, particularly in the summer when you want something icy. Ah, the joys of NYC living. Location trumps frozen food.

Over the weekend, I did some volunteer work for President Obama. We collected over 1,000 signatures in support of his health care reform initiative. This freaking rocks. I am so sad and mad about all of the people who don’t have health insurance because it’s crazy expensive, all the kids who never go to the doctor because their parents can’t afford to take them, everyone living with serious health issues who can’t receive the care they need. And I’m horrified by the amount of older people who can’t take their medication because it isn’t covered by insurance. I really, really hope things change very soon.

A cool summer breeze flowed through my window that night, calming my rage. I woke up Sunday all excited to see that Waiting for You got a shout-out in The Philadelphia Inquirer. I have love for this newspaper since I lived in Philly when I went to Penn. I always love going back to visit Philly in that way where you have emotional ties to the places you’ve lived. Anyway, here’s the feature with some other hot summer teen reads. More cool links: Running for Fiction reviewed When It Happens. And the review of Take Me There that was posted today gives you a good idea about how the book’s plot lines are connected. It’s hard to believe that Robby is only 14. He has skills like that. Also, Kristin recently established Teens Read, a Ning for teens who love to read. I swear, if sites like these and online book discussions and Facebook and other ways to interact with my fave authors all existed back in the day, I would have been ecstatic. This whole Internet thing rocks.

I checked in at my Goodreads page and saw that the pub date for Something Like Fate has been listed. It’s May 13, 2010! I’m sort of freaking out that next year is 2010 already, but I’m more excited to see the pub date listed. I need things like this to make a new book feel real. At this point, the manuscript is in copyediting. I’m finishing my acknowledgments today. And then, you know. Getting that Firecracker Popsicle. Astronauts rule.

yip-yips discover mr. clock

It may finally be sinking in that it is, in fact, July. It’s day two of hot and humid, which is only slightly more tolerable than cold and windy. Everybody knows that I don’t do winter. I also don’t do uncomfortable heat conditions. I guess I’m just not into extremes when it comes to weather.

Since I’m enjoying the Great Indoors today, I’ve decided to post some vintage Sesame Street for your viewing pleasure. This is the last in a series featuring the Yip-Yip Martians. In this clip, the Yip-Yips discover a clock. Brilliance ensues.

Stay cool.

in which my neighbor was not friendly

Earlier this week, I was in one of those situations where my neighbor forgot to turn his alarm off before leaving for Europe. So every morning at 5:00 (or maybe 4:00 – I was too groggy to tell time, even on my digital clock), his alarm would go off and I got to wake up super early. Fun times! It was one of those alarms that get angrier the longer you don’t turn them off. It would start of all normal, like be-da-lee-dee…be-da-lee-dee. But then it would get all loud like EH-EH-EH. For an hour. There was no going back to sleep after that rude awakening. I think my super finally found a key, because the alarm didn’t go off this morning. Either that or I was so exhausted I slept through it.

This might not have been a problem if I was a morning person. My circadian rhythm dictates that I am a night person. Back in high school, it was always so hard for me to wake up early. I usually stayed up way too late. Every day of my teen life being the worst day ever didn’t motivate me to get up early, either. Getting up was easier when I was a teacher because I actually wanted to go to school, but it was still horrific to set my alarm for times like 4:45. No one should be awake at 4:45. That’s just wrong. So since I like staying up late, I couldn’t get myself to adjust to my neighbor’s alarm clock by going to sleep earlier. If I’m not making much sense right now, we can totally blame him.

In all of this huffufle, I wasn’t able to track down the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. The dude is away for a few days, so I’ll have to report back to you on that next week. Good thing Crumbs is always around. It’s been a while since I’ve shared any Crumbs cupcake adventures with you, so I stopped in to see what’s new. They are getting seriously creative with cupcake names. There was the Half-Blood Prince and the Elvis. When I saw the S’mores, I knew I had to document one for you:

S'Mores cupcake at Crumbs

For now, I need to catch up on sleep. I also want to find a power strip with a plug that fits flatly against the wall. I have a new Crate & Barrel entertainment cabinet that I wanted to push back against the wall, but the plug on my power strip behind the cabinet is so massive that there’s this annoying space between the cabinet and the wall. I guess a trip to Bed & Bath is inevitable. If I wasn’t such an organization freak, I’d think this type of preoccupation was a result of sleep deprivation. But no, it’s just me. Cheers!

awesome topping

The most amazing reading ever went down in Chicago this weekend and I missed it. Laurie Halse Anderson and Sarah Dessen did a bookstore appearance together! Were you there? If you were, I am totally jealous of you. And everyone else who got to go.

Distracting myself with other fun times just wasn’t the same. I saw Judah Friedlander and some other funny neighbors at Stand Up NY. Judah is hilarious. He has this thing where he’s all throwing down karate challenges and drinking shark tears. In case you haven’t heard, he’s the World Champion. It was a good 30 Rock fix by association while I eagerly await the fresh DVDs. Which reminds me – I Netflixed Party of Five, a show I’ve never seen. I was sort of expecting it to be a cheesy big family thing, but it’s not. It’s really good. I didn’t know it was about kids who are fending for themselves after their parents die. Which is a brilliant idea for a teen show, given that the parental subplots are always the least interesting anyway.

I’m still having a hard time absorbing that it’s July. The middle of July, apparently. I’m still on April. Or even 2005. I’m reminding myself to live in the Now and relax about time passing so quickly these days. One thing that helps accomplish these goals is ice cream. Can you believe that it’s the fourth week of summer and I haven’t had any Mr. Softee yet? I know! What’s summer without some ice cream truck time? Less awesome, that’s what. So during my break today, I’m going to track down the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. I like his tweet from last night:

Will be grinding up some interesting cookies tonight: chocolate/mint crispy thin things. I think you’ll like them on your cone.

Chocolate/mint crispy thin things! When he asks if I’d like a topping, I’ll be all like, “Chocolate/mint crispy thin things, please!” I have a feeling that dude gives you extra sprinkles. I’ll let you know if I find him on my Twitter.

in the nabe

Here in New York, there’s always something interesting going on. This is a welcome change from growing up in The Middle of Nowhere, New Jersey, where nothing interesting ever went on. Like, ever.

These things happened recently in NYC, courtesy of New York magazine:

  • During a massive food fight, staff at a high school called the police for backup
  • A man who had been impersonating his dead mother for six years in order to collect her Social Security was arrested
  • There was a runaway pony
  • Two balloon artists threatened a rival balloon man in Central Park
  • Office managers called the police about a Wafels & Dinges truck because it was making the neighborhood look unprofessional

The best thing about the Wafels & Dinges truck is, of course, the name. Added allure comes not necessarily from being able to have a fancy waffle with lots of toppings (“Dinges” means “toppings”), but the knowledge that you could have one whenever you want.

I’d like to share some other highlights of my nabe, including something very interesting that went down at Carrie Bradshaw’s stoop a few weeks ago. I was walking by her stoop (where the Sex and the City scenes are filmed, even though Carrie is supposed to live on the Upper East Side), when I saw this:

Carrie Bradshaw's stoop

New paint for the railings! Could it be for the next SATC movie, which I totally hear they’ll be filming soon?

These finger paintings are really sweet:

West Village window artwork

When I see things like this, I completely get why it’s called the Village.

The Fourth of July fireworks were awesome. They were at a lower altitude than usual (I think because it was so windy that night), but still awesome. I was mostly looking forward to the smiley face ones and the heart ones. When I saw some smiley face ones over in New Jersey before the Macy’s show started, I tried to capture one for you:

Smiley face fireworks

Clearly, I need a lot more practice with the Fireworks setting on my Nikon Coolpix. But see the smiley face? Sort of?

Lastly, I want to leave you with a photo I took on the High Line. Enjoy the summer breeze this weekend!

Empire State Building from the High Line