Monthly Archives: March 2014

Let’s Discuss the Clown Effect

I think every girl at one point or another has sat and watched her mommy carefully apply makeup in the morning. The various brushes, the different colors, each different tube had a different use and it was fascinating to my young mind. I always asked to wear some and she always said no. One time we were having family over and she let me put a tiny bit of powder on my face and some lipstick which she applied very delicately. Every ten minutes or so I would sneak upstairs and apply more powder and more lipstick. After a few trips upstairs, mom took one look at me and marched me to the bathroom to wash it off. I also may have stolen some of her pink lipstick when I was in third grade. I put it on during the bus ride in. I’m pretty sure it didn’t go well.

Why do I bring up makeup? Well I work in an office building. I’m the only girl in my office but I run into a lot of different ladies in the bathroom who work on the same floor as I do. There is this one girl who everyday spends at least an hour if not more in the bathroom. She stands there and applies coat after coat of makeup. It’s ridiculous! First of all, shouldn’t you be, I don’t know, working? Secondly, some of us might like a little privacy in the bathroom and that is not something we can get when you’re in there painting your face. Despite the fact that you are taking up most of the counter and mirror space, you apply your makeup like it’s going out of style and like you don’t have a mirror.

There are many things that I want to say to this individual. “Do you really think that looks good?” “Don’t you have a job to do?” “Why don’t you do this at home?” “Haven’t you ever heard that whole ‘less is more’ statement?” “Are you going for the clown look? Cause you nailed it.” Or maybe “so how much do you charge an hour?”

I have always been under the impression that makeup was supposed to improve how you look. I wear it from time to time, but I try to make it look subtle. I don’t want to come off as a whore and I’m sorry, but that is the impression I get when I see someone wearing two pounds of makeup. You end up looking like a cross between a clown and a whore. It’s not a good look.

So maybe this post can serve as a lesson to all the girls out there. Maybe there is an off chance that the woman who cakes on her makeup in the bathroom will read this and will stop. Doubtful, but one can hope.

 

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Book Signings – Part Two

Last week I began to tell my story about how I went on an adventure (all the way out in NJ) to meet one of my favorite authors. We left off at the book signing. This is what happened next.

After Brad Parks did his reading, told his jokes, sang his songs, the actual signing began. I was planning on hanging out for a bit, so I just hung back while everyone else got their books signed. He took pictures (so mad that I didn’t think of that), told stories, answered more questions, and signed books. Once the line had died down, I went up to him and he asked if we were going for that beer. I’m fairly certain there was a grin on my face from ear to ear. I played it off very cool of course, and told him I would be up for that. (Right…)

I sat down next to the table he was signing at while he finished up his ‘author-duties’ and shook the last couple of hands, plus signed some copies to be left at the bookstore. Then, Brad Parks asked the woman who owned the shop where we could get a drink around here. Turns out that there were two places in the entire town with a license to serve alcohol, so we went to the place that wasn’t T.G.I. Fridays. I do not remember the name of the place but it was nice.

We pulled up two stools at the bar, and ordered some drinks. Sadly, they did not have Blue Moon on tap (or anything on tap) and so I broke my ‘no tonic’ rule (again with the lent) and ordered a vodka tonic. Brad had a beer. And we got to talking.

A lot of what we discussed had nothing to do with the fact that I am an aspiring writing while he is a published author and therefore should have *some* connections that I could use to my advantage. Instead, we talked about his family and we talked about The Boyfriend. I told him all about my cats and my dog because I’m that person. I learned that there is no cat named ‘Deadline’ (the cat’s name in the Carter Ross series) but there is a cat named ‘Scoop’. Apparently his cats didn’t get along well with his son when he was little so they now live with his parents. He now has a beta fish. I informed him – dipping into the font of useless knowledge that I have – that if he held a mirror up to the bowl the fish would spread his fins and prepare to attack. I also told him that baby elephants suck on their trunks like human babies suck on their thumbs, once again with the useless knowledge. I then told him that penguins have an organ above their eyes that convert seawater to freshwater. His reaction? “They can save the humans!” There is no denying that Brad is a funny guy.

On relationships: Brad told me that he doesn’t care what anyone tells you, sex is a great foundation for a relationship. Apparently, if Gwyneth Paltrow or Rihanna came up to him propositioning sex, he would say no thanks, I’d rather be with my wife. Admirable, if a bit strange. I also learned that Brad met his wife when he was nineteen and didn’t get married until he was thirty. So The Boyfriend and I aren’t all that different in that respect. Although I do plan on tying the knot before I’m thirty, fingers crossed and all. We will see.

On writing: We did discuss writing a bit. He told me to stop making fucking excuses and sit down and write! He cursed a lot, but it was funny. I was informed that I have to sit down, write a book, and then throw it away because it isn’t going to be published. According to the wise Brad Parks, no one has their first novel published. Because of this insider info, I have decided to pause my one novel because I really like the character and write a whole new book (9,000 words and counting…), which is going pretty well. Sometimes, you just need a stranger to give you that kick in the ass to get you started.

On authors: I learned some very interesting inside details about some authors that I admire whom Brad has met. I learned that (unsurprisingly) Ken Follett is a boss. He sounds like a really cool person to meet and hopefully, some day, I will! I learned that a certain author who loves alliterations is a real dick. He apparently got his panties in a twist over the lack of his particular rum not being present at the party he had to (gasp) share a limo to. I learned that Charlaine Harris is a total sweetheart that spends her money on books now that she has it. (I very much enjoyed Brad’s southern accent as he impersonated her). We discussed various authors and I got a few names out of him of new people that I have to read now. There really is something about meeting someone who shares that same affinity for reading that makes time fly.

And that is where we ran into some issues…time did fly and The Boyfriend expected me home around 9 or 10. At 10, he asked jokingly if he had invited me up to his hotel room yet. I am a very sarcastic person, I know – shocking, and so I responded in a sarcastic manner. You know what doesn’t come off over texts? Sarcasm. So when I said, ‘yeah, that’s what happened’ well… The Boyfriend didn’t take too kindly to that. I thought it was kind of funny that he would suggest that because (no offense Brad) but the guy I was hanging out with and enjoying discussing everything is not exactly my type. He’s closer to Dad’s age then he is to mine and he reminds me a lot of Dad. I love my Dad and all, but I’m not planning on having an affair with someone who reminds me of him. All that, on top of the fact that I love The Boyfriend very much and would never do anything to hurt him made the whole suggestion a little ridiculous to me.

Finding the text about the hotel room amusing, I shared it with Brad. At this point, I was about to burst so I ran to the bathroom. Leaving my phone with Brad. The Boyfriend called twice and Brad ignored it. Not sure it would have been better if he had answered…either way, The Boyfriend was getting a little pissed. He had asked what the plan was. Brad thought he ought to respond to this message. His text? “She’s coming back to my place and we’re going to make like it’s discovery channel. What do you think is the plan?” This did not go over well AT ALL, as I’m sure anyone can imagine. So The Boyfriend got in his car and drove all the way to Jersey.

Side note: During the book signing, Brad mentioned that he would love a stalker so he could get better publicity. “Just ignore the restraining order when I have a new book coming out”. I told him later that he came close to getting that publicity he wanted. Of course, it had the possible side effect of The Boyfriend kicking his ass and possibly being thrown in jail.

I guess it worked out for the best that Brad and I parted ways (and yes, I did drive the wrong way out of the parking lot) soon after that. We actually stayed at the restaurant until it closed. It was a lot of fun. At the point, I had almost no battery left. This was a big problem because I had no idea how to get home. In a way, it was a good thing that The Boyfriend got all jealous and drove to ‘rescue’ me from the preying author because otherwise, I might still be wandering around Jersey, lost. I called The Boyfriend to let him know I was on my way home and he told me he was almost to me. I was shocked because he really isn’t the jealous type at all but at the same time I was kind of impressed. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that people like me – lack of self-esteem – and so his valiant efforts to save me from another man were overall well received. My phone died and I stopped at a bar to use the phone. The Boyfriend came and found me and I followed him home. He wasn’t in the best mood, but I had a great time. Maybe next time I will make sure to keep my phone on my person and call… Either way, it made for a great story and meeting Brad Parks made me realize just how much I want to be a writer. The secret to which is of course, to sit down and fucking write. Thanks for the tip Brad. 

Book Signings: More Interesting Than They Sound – Part One

My Friday night was rather exciting I have to say. First off – I have been tweeting with an author with a fantastic mystery series (Brad Parks who writes the Carter Ross series). This in itself was pretty cool. Then, I find out that this author is doing a book tour and coming close to me. He mentioned this in a tweet, asked if Flemington, NJ was close to me. It’s sort of close, close enough that it was worth driving through the horrors that are NJ streets full of idiot drivers and roundabouts (I really dislike those). Plus, there was the addition that during our tweet conversation I asked if he wanted to grab a beer and let me pick his brain. He said yes and although the boyfriend told me not to get too excited because he might just be saying that, I had a feeling this author was actually going to grab a beer with me. It made the drive all the more worth it.

So I find out that Flemington, NJ is about an hour away from me. Sadly, I checked this when I was at my parents house, so in reality, it was more like an hour and a half. Plus, I left at five on a Friday. Welcome to rush hour. The signing started at 7pm and I got there around 6:50pm. I only made one wrong turn, which must be some kind of record for me. But I made it and I was really hoping that there would be some extra of the ‘Carter Ross Emergency Kits’ that they were giving away. The announcement on the website said the first ten people. Luckily, they lied and there were enough for everyone present.

Now, if you haven’t read this series you wouldn’t know what would go into a ‘Carter Ross Emergency Kit’. This character, well, he really likes his pizza and his coke zero. So low and behold, there was a coke zero in the bag along with a reporter’s notebook, a copy of the paper that Brad Parks used to work at, and some coupons for local places. I was planning on making a comment about how there should have been pizza in the bag as well, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to stand out that way. Then the woman who owned the shop announced that the pizza had arrived. WHAT?! They actually ordered pizza for everyone. I opted not to have the ‘Carter Ross’ special (2 slices and a coke zero) and just had one enormous piece with some water. (My non-Catholic self gave up soda for lent). The pizza, if you were wondering, was amazing. It was that great, greasy, small-shop kind of pizza that doesn’t feel mass-produced. The pizza itself made my night. But then it got even better.

So I had never been to a book signing before and didn’t really know what to expect. I don’t think most book signings go the way that this one did, but it was an experience. First of all, Brad Parks knew pretty much everyone there including a woman who used to change his diapers. He read a passage from his book and did all sorts of funny voices, which was quite entertaining. He also spontaneously burst into song. Like three times I think. He has a really nice voice too! In addition to this, he also told stories about his writing process. Apparently he was at his go-to writing place, which is a restaurant of sorts in Virginia. When he gets stuck, he either goes for a run (when he mentioned this he stuck out his ‘hard as iron’ leg to this one girl in the front) or he will just walk around, muttering to himself. He was doing this one time in the restaurant parking lot and the cops almost picked him up. Awesome.

Even though I tend to be rather timid in a new setting, I decided that was stupid and asked some questions. I asked if he was planning on doing a stand-alone novel anytime soon. Brad Parks let me know that he was planning on sticking with Carter Ross for a while longer before trying a stand-alone. He doesn’t think he is well enough established to write a stand-alone novel and have it sell any copies. Apparently there have been a few books that he wrote but scrapped because they were terrible in his opinion. I told him I would read them anyway. I also asked if he had thought about writing a novel from the perspective of a different character in the Carter Ross world, like Sweet Thang. He kind of laughed at this, apparently lots of his fans ask about Sweet Thang. She was one of the more entertaining interns. But at the moment, there is no ‘spin-off’ novel planned. Oh well. A reader can dream…

The book signing itself was a lot of fun, but it was only the beginning of quite an adventure. You’ll just have to wait until next week to find out what happened!!

 

I’ll be Your Friend, I Can Pick You Up!!

That was my catchphrase when I was a kid. Making friends was that simple for me. I would tell someone they were my friend, and then I would pick them up. Just like that. Friendship is an easy thing when you are a kid. It comes naturally; you don’t have all the insecurities that develop once you grow older. I know that I am not alone on this.

For a long time, I have always found myself gravitating towards guys for friendship. I think there are a lot less dramatics involved with friendships with guys verses girls. I have had close girlfriends in the past, but always felt betrayed in one way or another and the friendship ended. Ultimately, I don’t regret these lost friendships because most of them were toxic. Despite the knowledge that shedding these poisonous friends was for the better, I still find myself craving female companionship.

But how does one make friends at this point in life? It certainly isn’t easy. First of all, how do you go about meeting new people? Once you meet someone you feel is a potential friend, how do you actually make that move from casual acquaintances to actual friends? I don’t want any of these women to think that I am hitting on them, but isn’t striking up a new friendship kind of like dating?

Not too long ago, I decided to search for friends through Craigslist – something that I have attempted before but never been successful at. My ad? “Introvert Bookworm looking for a friend” and I was pleasantly surprised at how many responses I got. There were some weirdoes that had to be weeded out, but I found my kind of weirdoes in the mayhem. One girl I have already had two ‘dates’ with and we chat frequently as well. We have a ton of the same interests and I can see this developing into a solid friendship. I’m cautiously optimistic. There is another girl who I’ve chatted with a lot, but we haven’t met in person yet. Hopefully it will happen soon.

Those are the friends that I have sought out myself. Another way that I found friends in the past has been through the boyfriend. He has several solid friendships and those friends inevitably bring a new girl into my life. One of my closest friends I met through his friend (and now they’re getting married which I’m very excited about)! Another one of the boyfriend’s friends (B) came over this weekend and brought his girlfriend (C). I’ve met this individual quite a few times, but haven’t really hung out just us four. She is a very sweet person and I was excited to hang out with her.

Several glasses of wine in, C & I were hanging out in the living room, giggling hardcore while B & the boyfriend kind of rolled their eyes at us. One thing led to another, and I’m not sure how it happened, but we started singing Disney songs. We started with the Beauty and the Beast title track, and then sang (my personal favorite) “Part of Your World”. Not only that, but we sang all three parts, the song she sings in her secret cavern, the one she sings to Eric when she saves him, and the one she sings on the rock while staring at Eric and the water splashes up all around her. Then we sang what we could remember from “Les Poissons” and erupted in laughter. I’d say that’s a pretty solid foundation for a friendship.

Right now, I’m open to a lot when it comes to making new friends, although I do have slight reservations about being murdered by some stranger I meet online. So far, it hasn’t happened, so if you don’t hear from me in two weeks, maybe give the cops a call. Having had a couple small successes, I’m feeling more confident. Who knows, maybe I’ll actually ask the girl who I see everyday in the bathroom at work if she wants to get a drink. I’m almost positive I know her name, but there are ways around that. And I’m pretty sure she isn’t the murdering type.