ultimate office throwdown

Think about the things you’re obsessed with. Now narrow them down into categories (books, music, shows, movies). What’s your #1 show? For me, it’s The Office. I should note that My So-Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, and Dawson’s Creek are included when it comes to my hardcore fangirl obsessions. I should also note that I ranked #1 in the Dawson’s Creek Trivia Challenge back in the early days of Facebook. Okay, I was only #1 for like a day (this Australian girl was always beating me with her scary knowledge of everyone’s license plate numbers and birthdays). But still. My obsessions don’t play.

You know how you feel a sense of ownership with your fave show? Like no one could possibly know anywhere near as much as you do about it, including those super obscure details you only know because you froze the screen to read that address/note/flyer? That’s totally me when it comes to The Office. Which is why, when Carmen and Layla were visiting this summer with their incredibly cool parents, I challenged them to the Ultimate Office Throwdown.

Ultimate Office Throwdown participants

We immediately bonded over our love for all things Office the second we met. We spent hours tossing around quotes, reenacting scenes and cracking up over the kind of inside jokes only hardcore Office freaks like us would understand. I would have been impressed with anyone who could match my Office skills like they did. But Carmen and Layla are in middle school. That made them way more impressive. Could I let some middle school boy best me in the world of Jam? It was time to throw down, girl power style.

Carmen and I wrote 20 questions each (Layla also wrote some good ones!). We were not allowed to consult the show or anything online. Our questions and answers were strictly from memory. We had the option of challenging if we didn’t agree with an answer. But please. We’re so hardcore the answers had been burned into our brains long ago. If you think we tossed out easy stuff like What does Dwight grow on his farm?, think again. We didn’t call it the Ultimate Office Throwdown for nothing.

Here is a sampling of my trivia questions. These were the hardest ones I could think of with answers on the spot. If you love The Office, you might want to challenge yourself with these. The answers are listed at the end of this post.

Ultimate Office Throwdown Questions

1. How many words per minute do Pam and Jim type?

2. What is the street address of Dunder Mifflin?

3. When Michael wants to do Yankee Swap at the Christmas party, what does Jim say Yankee Swap is called? What does Pam say they call Yankee Swap in her family?

4. When Michael cooks his foot on the George Foreman Grill, what does he ask Ryan to get at the gas station that they didn’t have? Which town is the gas station in?

5. At Pam’s art show, what does Michael have in his pocket?

6. How much did Michael pay for the iPod he gave Ryan for Secret Santa?

7. At Dwight’s wedding, what is the first thing Dwight says when he sees Michael? What is Michael’s response?

8. When Dwight meets with Jan secretly trying to steal Michael’s managing job, near which outlet do they meet?

9. What new nickname does Andy give Jim the morning of Jim’s job interview in New York?

10. What is the name of Jim’s avatar in Second Second Life? What does Pam call his avatar?

11. When Dwight is taken to the hospital for a concussion, what does he tell Michael his middle name is?

12. What are Michael and Jim’s final lunch orders when Michael takes Jim to Hooters?

13. What time is Michael’s birth moment?

Dude, Carmen was crazy good at answering these. The throwdown was a tie! And we had the best non-coincidence after. We all went to Central Park. The kids were climbing a tall boulder. This couple walking by looked up at the kids on the boulder and said, “Hardcore parkour!” No one jumped into a Vance Refrigeration box, though.

Ready for the answers?

Ultimate Office Throwdown Answers

1. Pam – 90 wpm. Jim – 65 wpm.

2. 1725 Slough Avenue

3. Jim – Nasty Christmas. Pam – White Elephant.

4. Yams. Carbondale.

5. A Chunky bar

6. $400

7. Dwight: Michael. I can’t believe you came. Michael: That’s what she said.

8. Liz Claiborne

9. Big Haircut

10. Jim Samtanko. Philly Jim.

11. Danger

12. Michael – Gourmet hotdog. Jim – Ham and cheese sandwich.

13. 11:23 am

So. How did you do?!

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moment of zen

Pink cloud views from my home office always bring a Moment of Zen.

Pink clouds, New York City

I enjoy experiencing a good Moment of Zen while I’m working. Especially this month. This is the first year I’m participating in NaNoWriMo and I’m loving it. Have there been some setbacks? You know it. But I like the feeling of community, that we’re all in this together. That I can be writing in the middle of the night and know that some of you out there are doing the exact same thing. Friendly neighbors on Twitter have reassured me that it still counts if I’m only using NaNo to finish a first draft. So yay. It’s a writing party up in here!

One of the best parts about writing? Is turning an actual negative experience into something positive on the page. Yeah, that was me having a full-on rant/meltdown/enraged fit in front of the new Starbucks in the most historic part of the West Village. I moved from that neighborhood over two years ago, so I didn’t know how many mom-and-pop stores on historic Bleecker Street had been shut down and turned into obnoxious strip-mall conglomerates like Starbucks. And don’t even get me started on the 16 Handles.

I might picket outside their windows.

My beloved West Village street was unrecognizable. I was scandalized by the bright new windows where shops that had been there for decades no longer existed. The store that had been at the Starbucks location before was a Village institution. It had been there for 17 years. Thankfully it only moved around the corner – when I saw it I stood in the middle of West 4th Street with my arms in the air for victory.

The day after you might have seen me yelling how the Starbucks was wrong and it didn’t belong there and how could something like that have been allowed, I wrote a fun scene. All that negative energy got turned into a positive part of this first draft I’m working on. Maybe you’ll read it in book two of my City Love trilogy. And if it doesn’t make the cut? Both the experience and the writing were part of the journey. A Moment of Zen realization, NaNo style.

Have a wonderful weekend, friendly neighbors 🙂

orion reunion

When summer is over and fall starts getting cold and sunset is at 4:45, Susane tends to be grumbly. Everyone knows this. But being a positive person (or at least struggling to be positive in pitch afternoon darkness while wrapping three scarves around my head to go down the block to the deli) means that I always look for the positive aspect of a negative situation.

There are good things about this time of year. Like Orion coming back into prominent viewing.

Orion, constellation

Back in high school when I sketched the moon and anything else I could see with my little telescope, Orion was a winter fave. The upper left star is Betelgeuse, a red supergiant. The lower right star is Rigel, a blue supergiant. Those two stars are so bright that you can see the tinges of red and blue just by observing Orion with the naked eye. Try it and see!

When I saw those red and blue stars through my kitchen window last night, it was like reuniting with old friends.

red and blue old friends
orion in my window
wistful reunion

You got me, fall. You’re not all SAD and despair over shorter daylight time. You shine brightly in your own special way. (But this does not mean I’m forking over five bucks for a pumpkin spice latte anytime soon). Here in New York, we don’t get to see a lot of stars. Light pollution creates a high albedo effect that makes observing incoming starlight pretty difficult. Humidity also interferes, which tends to be higher in warmer temperatures. So yay for cooler nights. Yay for sharper skies. Yay for…I mean, kind of yay for fall. (And no, I would not ask for extra whip and caramel sauce on that pumpkin space latte I have no interest in). Shine on.

city love cover shoot

Do you heart behind-the-scenes book stuff? Same here. That’s why I’m loving this behind-the-scenes video from the City Love cover shoot:


Everything from the adorbs models to the New York City skyline sparkles. And I love how the tagline is used. Look up. Anything is possible.

The first book of the City Love trilogy will be out on April 21. Please stay tuned for lots of fun treats and my national book tour schedule! I’ll be traveling across the country in April and May.

Read on, friendly neighbors 🙂