Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bringing The NFL To Its Knees

The NFL and Major League Baseball have had a gentlemen's agreement over the years that, during World Series Week, the NFL would not schedule a Sunday Night Game.  This year, the NFL not only scheduled one, but it was a pretty enticing matchup -- New Orleans and Pittsburgh, the past two Super Bowl champions.

Personally, I don't have a problem with it; I've always been a football first, baseball second, followed by basketball and hockey type of guy.  It is interesting though.  I'm sure Bud Selig isn't thrilled about it, especially since Texas-San Francisco isn't exactly a marquee matchup for the World Series (not that the NFL could predict that in April when they put the schedule together).

Of course, this is Bud Selig we're talking about, the commissioner who does everything wrong.  He'll get hgis revenge.  Next year he'll probably schedule exhibition baseball games the night of the Super Bowl.  That'll bring the NFL to its knees!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Birthday, The Sequel

I survived another birthday.  I went out for dinner/shopping with friends, and then to a bar/restaurant in Shirley to see my friend Rebecca's boyfriend jam with a band.  All in all it was a good time.

Of course, I'm pretty beat now.  The beauty of my birthday is that, being the day before Halloween, it has a way of blending in with Halloween festivities and becomes a two-day extravaganza.  So I'm gonna call it a night and prepared myself for Birthday, The Sequel.  See ya tomorrow.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me

It's been my birthday for 20 minutes now, and I finally finished my two workshop samples for this winter's upcoming residency.  Apologies in advance for those in my first workshop, in which my submission was 21 pages -- three pages longer than the 18-page maximum.  I'm workshopping two 11-page chapters, and I hate stopping mid-chapter.  So, those of you in the MFA program, help me warm people in advance.  The good news: my second workshop submission is only 16 pages.

Anyway, I got an early birthday present.  About six hours ago I got an e-mail from an online lit journal, which has graciously accepted a 5-page short story I wrote a while back.  I've gotten several rejections for this story, so it was doubly fulfilling.  It was a bit of a distraction trying to finish up my workshop submissions while jumping up and down with excitement about a short story.  I'm not gonna say it's the best present I've ever gotten, or even the 10th-best present.  But it's always a good feeling that someone wants to publish something you've written.  (Besides yourself, publishing your own blog.)


Thursday, October 28, 2010

When Thursday is Really Friday

Not a long blog tonight (and after last night's blog, your eyes probably need a rest anyway).  My stories for winter residency workshop are due.  According to the most recent e-mail from Mother Hastings, the stories were due Friday, Oct. 28, which is impossible, because Thursday is Oct. 28.  However, I've taken the liberty to interpret the e-mail to mean that our stories are due Friday.

Ah, liberty.  This is what made America great.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Can See Colors!

So last night while I was writing my blog, I accidentally found out I can change the color of the text on my blog.  Now I'm going all in, fooling around with both text colors and text background colors.  It was like I spent the day with Bill Walton, trying to reach the omega point at a Grateful Dead concert.

Anyway, this is going to be a short blog, as I have to get 36 pages of my novel out for my grad school program by 11:59 p.m.  But let me know what you think of my sudden burst of color -- love it, hate it, or if you have any suggestions for future colors.  Rock on.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Paul The Octopus -- 2008-2010

I was saddened to learn today that Paul the Octopus, a soothsayer who went 8-for-8 in correctly predicting World Cup soccer matches earlier this year, died in his sleep yesterday morning.  He was 2.

(Seriously?  2?  And apparently that's about the average lifespan of an octopus.  Man, talk about drawing the short straw as a species.)

It's always sad when an octopus dies.  But to me, what made Paul special was his love of liberty.  Iranian president Mahmous Ahmadinejad criticized Paul several times as a pawn used to spread  "western propaganda and superstition."  Any cephalopod who gets under Ahmadinejad's skin is an ally of freedom.

Then, I learned that Paul's agent, Chris Davies, said "It's a sad day, Paul was rather special, but we managed to film Paul before he left this mortal earth."

Huh?  Paul had an agent?  Either he was much more of a rock star than we all knew, or Chris Davies is an agent who's really hurting for clients.  Still, you have to give major props to Paul for marketing himself.  I wonder how many agents Paul interviewed before settling on Chris Davies.   

Monday, October 25, 2010

Postmodern Phil

The other day someone called my writing style "postmodernist."  I wasn't sure what to make of this.  I hear the term "postmodern" tossed around every once in awhile, but I've never really understood what postmodern meant.

My research offered no real answers.  According to Wikipedia, "Postmodern literature, like postmodernism as a whole, is hard to define and there is little agreement on the exact characteristics, scope, and importance of postmodern literature."

So I'm not sure whether being postmodernist, if I am indeed postmodern, is good or bad.  This may have been intended as a scathing insult.  Oh, well.  I guess I've been called worse.    

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Night Football -- Where 8:15 Is Really 8:32

According to my cable listings, Sunday Night Football begins at 8:15 p.m.  Well, someone needs to tell NBC.  Maybe 8:15 Central time, but definitely not Eastern time.

To demonstrate this, I now present the play-by-play of what happens on NBC from 8:15 p.m. until the actual kickoff.

8:15 p.m. NBC’s Football Night in America is still on, showing flash highlights of several of this afternoon’s games.  Mind you, they’ve already spent the last hour and 15 minutes showing detailed highlight packages of these same contests.  Apparently there’s going to be a quiz later.

8:16 p.m. More quickie highlights, this time of the Patriots win over San Diego, at least I get to relish in the Kris Brown missed field goal that won the game for New England.  The last time I remember Kris Brown, the Patriots blocked his field goal in the AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh after the 2001 season and ran it back for a touchdown.  Suffice it to say, Kris Brown is the Patriots’ bitch.

8:17 p.m. Rodney Harrison tells us how proud he is of Brandon Meriweather for conforming to the league’s new zero-tolerance blow to the head rules. As a Patriots fan, I’m proud of Meriweather too, Rodney, but we’re running a little late.  Let’s move it along.

8:18 p.m. Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison announce today’s Subway Winners of the Day – DeAngelo Hall and the Tennessee Titans.  Huh?  What the hell is the Subway Winner of the Day?  Does this mean free subs for Hall and everyone on the Titans?  Playing well in the NFL really has its perks.

8:19 p.m. Dan Patrick just threw it out to Green Bay, where Bob Costas is now prepared to give us his “final word.”  Now it’s official.  The game won’t begin until Wednesday morning.  

8:20 p.m.  A house commercial tells us that Halloween Thursday on NBC is coming up, featuring Scared Shrekless. Does Shrek play offensive line?  Hey, isn’t there supposed to be a game on now?

8:21 p.m. Did you know Tim Cahill is one of nine kids who dreamed big, opened a small business because he needed a job and is now one of America’s best treasurers?  Just so you know, he wants your vote for governor.  I can’t wait for this election to be over with.

8:22 p.m. Faith Hill begins belting out the theme song.  “Hey Jack, it’s a fact, the show’s back in town.”  She looks about as enthusiastic as a political prisoner.  Oh boy, Dick Ebersol is the executive producer for Sunday Night Football, according to the opening credits.  Do they think I give a shit what Dick Ebersol is?  I’m here to watch the football players, not the executive producer.

8:23 p.m. Wow!  Fred Gaudelli is the producer.  A Fred Gaudelli Production really lends some much-needed credence to this broadcast of a league that’s been around for 90 years.  I’ll definitely have to recommend a Fred Gaudelli Production to my writers’ group.  By the way, Faith is still singing. 

8:24 p.m. It’s not over ‘til Faith Hill sings: “’Cuz the NFL Rocks on NBC!”  Finally! Oh, if you’re scoring at home, Drew Esocoff is the director and Geoff Butler the technical producer.  These NBC TV folks must have a hell of a union.  If you’re Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, aren’t you pretty pissed that Drew Esocoff is in the opening credits and you’re not?

8:25 pm. Al Michaels is setting the stage.  Since tonight’s matchup is the Vikings at the Packers, and Brett Favre is returning to Green Bay, this could add an extra 90 minutes of pre-game hyperbole.

8:26 p.m. Cris Collinsworth: “Maybe tonight’s the night it all comes together for Minnesota.” Maybe it is, Cris.  But probably not, because there’s no indication anybody will stop yapping long enough for a game to start until Monday or Tuesday.

8:27 p.m. NBC wants you to know Spanish audio for tonight’s game is presented by Telemundo, and…commercial break.  You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.  This game is now 12 minutes late.

8:28 p.m. Somebody please smack the e-Trade baby.

8:29 p.m. You should own a Verizon phone.  Why, you ask?  Because, according to this commercial, if you’re lost in the woods and you turn on your Verizon service, the Jets and Saints will magically appear and start playing a game in the middle of the forest.  Oh, and NBC just told me I can follow Andrea Kremer on Twitter.  Tremendous.  Maybe if I follow her, she’ll reciprocate and follow my blog.  Finally, here comes that music that accompanies the NBC shield, and the voice-over says, “NBC Sports welcomes you to the following presentation of the National Football League.”  I have to admit, the shield intro does get me pretty jacked and pumped, to use Pete Carroll terminology.  If I were outside right now, I might tackle someone.

8:30 p.m. Andrea Kremer presents the right-before-kickoff interview.  Tonight’s lucky interviewee: Green Bay receiver Donald Driver. I wonder if Driver follows Andrea on Twitter.

8:31 p.m. Wait a second, this is really weird.  I see Mason Crosby lining up as if he’s about to….oh my God, are you kidding me?  Green Bay is actually lining up to kicking off.  There it is!  There it is!  This is like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin. 

8:32 p.m.  Kickoff.  About fucking time.

I Am The Worst Person In The History Of The Universe

There's a Hess gas station/convenience store five or six blocks from where I live. Often I walk there, but if I'm on my way home from something or in a hurry, I'll drive into the parking lot.  Recently the owner put a gigantic trash bin (seriously, we're talking Tyrannosaurus-sized) on top of what used to be a parking spot.

This means there's only one parking spot on the western end of the property. There's also a curb where you could make a de facto second parking spot, but yesterday somebody whose battery died was occupying that space.

This left me with three choices:

1) Drive past the gas pumps to the east side of the property, which, means crashing into a car somewhere, as every gas pump was occupied at this time.  Verdict: Not A Viable Option.

2) Drive onto Route 9 and back into the east side of the property, which, as Route 9 is a divided highway, meant I would have to take a right out of the parking lot, drive about 10 blocks, sit at the red light, make a U-turn, pass the Hess station and go another 10 blocks further to the next intersection, wait at the red light, make another U-turn and double back to the Hess station.  Estimated time: 7 minutes.  Verdict: Not A Viable Option.

3) Park in the empty handicapped spot.

I'm sad to report I chose Option 3.  For the handful of groceries I needed, I figured it would take so little time it would not put anybody out.  That said, for the 49 seconds I was in the store, I felt like the worst person in the history of the universe.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The New York Yankees: A Tradition of Failure Since 1903

I always hear fans of the New York Yankees rattling off their team's accomplishments, which is baffling to me.

I'm here to celebrate the unparallelled failures of the Yankees, those losers of more World Series (13) than any other team in Major League Baseball history.  Their 6-1 loss to the Texas Rangers about a half-hour ago marks the 81st time in their storied history that the Yankees have failed to win a championship.

The Yankees haven't failed in all their goals, though.  In their 4-game-to-2 loss to Texas in the American League Championship Series, the Yankees had a chance to lose four straight to the same team for the first time since they blew a 3-0 ALCS lead to the Boston Red Sox in 2004.  But, after Texas won three straight games, the Yankees totally blew it, winning Game 5 at Yankee Stadium.  Yankee manager Joe Girardi is at the trying to put a positive spin on this right now at the post-game press conference, pointing out that the Yanks' monumental choke at the hands of the Red Sox still marks the only time in MLB postseason history that a team has blown a 3-0 series lead.

So, the next time a Yankee fan points out how "the Yankees always find a way to win," look at this fan as if he or she has three heads.  I look at the Yankees and see failure all around them.   

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Game Show Fun

Interesting day in the wacky world of game shows.

On The Price is Right, a young woman was lucky enough to be called into Contestants' Row, and proceded to bid $420 on EVERY item.  I mean, first of all, I'm all for the decriminalization of marijuana (and I know Drew Carey is too), but when you're on a game show and people are trying to get on stage to win a sail boat or a trip to Honduras, nobody really cares how you feel about dope.  Secondly, anything you can win on TPIR costs significantly more than $420, so you're stacking the deck against yourself.  Not surprisingly, this woman never got on stage.

Later, on Wheel of Fortune, a puzzle read FI_ING FRANKS & FRENCH FRIES.  Two contestants whiffed on that final missing letter (they asked for the P and the M).  I felt bad for the third, who probably was the smartest of the bunch.  Unfortunately, she hit BANKRUPT, before it wrapped back around the the first contestant, who finally had the presence of mind to call for the "X."

Yep, there are some interesting contestants out there.    

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Survived Student Reading Night

I did it.  I successfully made the trip down to Connecticut for my Fairfield U. MFA student reading and back home to Massachusetts, all in one piece.  I'm proud to be the only Masshole who made the trip.  My right knee also aches, a side effect from a total of four hours of driving.

Reading a passage from your writing is actually pretty nerve-wracking.  Writing is a pretty personal act (even if it's fiction).  Reading personal musings in front of about 50 people can give you a case of the jitters.  Fortunately, my novel-in-progress seems to have been pretty well received.

Not only did I gain some valuable reading experience, but thank to Tina I also came home with two cans of Coca-Cola (I could've had three but I felt that'd be TOTALLY milking it) and two winter jackets.  Jackpot.  Now, since I'm exhausted, it's time for bed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Impersonal Rejection

Until last month, when I started blogging, I never really understood Twitter.  It's like Facebook, if Facebook was just the status update.  Still, that didn't stop me from joining Twitter last year.  I figured what the hell, I'll see what it's all about.

What really baffled me was that a handful of people I've never met began following me on Twitter.  I didn't think much of it, because for my first year on Twitter a posted a grand total of two Tweets.  But I still don't know them.

It seems that one of these "followers," however, figured out that he and I have nothing in common.  As of a few days ago, this person "de-followed" me, dropping my total number of followers to 14.  Coincidentally, that's the same amount of followers I have for this blog, though I know every one of my Philloverse followers.

I say good riddance to this disloyal follower.  I remember looking at his profile and thinking to myself, "What the hell is this person following me for?  We have nothing in common."

Still, that doesn't mean a part of me isn't crushed by this rejection.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Late-Night Quarterback

There was a lot of buzz this morning on sports talk radio.  "What the hell?  Why didn't Bill Belichick's try a 62-yard field goal attempt at the end of regulation Sunday in favor of a Hail Mary pass.  They could've lost in overtime." The pass ended up being intercepted.

I understand hindsight is 20/20, but come on. The wind had died down by the end of regulation.  The chances of Gostkowski making a 62-yard field goal werre about as slim as....completing a Hail Mary pass.  Probably less, when you consider there could've been a pass interference call on the Hail Mary, or, as the Patriots proved in their last game against Miami, the kick could've been blocked and run back for a touchdown.  It's kind of like saying, "Why didn't you play the lottery?  You'd have had a much better chance at winning Mega Millions than at winning the slots at Foxwoods!"

* My favorite Gruden-isms from Tennessee's 30-3 snoozer over Jacksonville on Monday Night Football.....

1) After a graphic showing that Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson have exactly the same stats over their first 36 games (seriously, it was eerie, one had 736 carries and 3,721 yards, the other had 737 carries and 3,721 yards), Gruden said, "I'd buy a ticket to see either one of them."  My question to Jon Gruden: Why?  You're paid to be a color commentator, you could get a press pass to see any NFL gane you want.  What would be the use of buying a ticket?

2) After a replay showing a Jacksonville receiver had indeed fumbled the football, Gruden said, "Those super-slo-mos are unbelievable."  Yeah, dude, it's awesome.  They've only had replay for, like, at least 40 years.  Seriously, does he smoke dope before the games?

* The worst thing about the Monday night game -- it ended at 11:35, exciting for me because I can flip over to NBC just in find out Jay Leno's in reruns this week.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Long Live the King

I'm going to bed shortly because I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow (actually, later today).  I'll leave you with this: Burger King commercials get creepier and creepier all the time.  This new batch of commercials where people play the flute and sing goofy tunes as if they're on their way to the Battles of Lexington and Concord are just plain disturbing.

The King was kind of a weird guy, but at least those commercials had some charm to them.

Breaking News: Most People Have Saturday Off

Even though I'm currently out of work, I've still been able to keep track of what day of the week it is.  Apparently, in this regard, I'm one up on some of the employed.

At 10 a.m. yesterday (Saturday) I went to get a haircut.  The woman sits me down in the chair.  "So," she says, then pauses as if she's about to say something profound.  Then she adds, "You have the day off today?"


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Jinxing Myself

I should know better.  Yesterday I wrote about how I (actually, someone else with my name) died a few weeks ago.

So all day long I found myself being hypervigilant, driving slower than usual, actually stopping when the traffic light was about to turn red, watching every step I take when I go down the stairs.  The last thing I wanted was to die for real on a day that I wrote about "dying."  I drove myself nuts.

And since I'm discussing death again, I think it's time for me to just shut up now. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Phil 2.0 -- Rising From The Ashes

I Googled myself the other day. Many of the 57 results that came up were fascinating.  There are still stories posted online that I wrote 12 years ago at The Hartford Courant.  I totally forgot that, at one point, I had a MySpace page.  Apparently there's an award named after me at Cal State University - East Bay, though what exactly what the award honors is a mystery.  There's a web page that gives me a "hot rating" of 8.2 -- not sure if that refers to my physical attractiveness or my proximity to the equator.  And there's a voter database that lists me as a Republican (which I am not) and another one that lists me as a Democrat (which I also am not).

But the most interesting one, to me, was the one that said I died last month in Ogden, Utah.  Apparently the cause of death was natural causes (I was 75).  I died 5 days before I was laid off, and a week before I began this blog.  At least it's a little refreshing that I didn't meet my demise in a fiery car accident, ambush crocodile attack or falling from a cliff.  I suppose natural causes is the way to go.  I have to say, life dealt me more than my share of curveballs, but overall it was a fun ride.

Seriously, though, I think it's pretty obvious that, like the Phoenix, I've risen from the ashes.  Shouldn't somebody be doing a story on me right now?


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Phone Interview

People seem to be fascinated with how I did at the job placement agency yesterday.  It was pretty bland, more or less what I expected -- yes, we like your resume; no, we're not working with any companies that have immediate openings; yes, we'll call you when a suitable opening pops up; what's the lowest you'd be willing to make per hour, etc., etc.

I also spoke with a company that wants to do a phone interview with me this afternoon, and another that wants to interview me next Tuesday.  I'm always skeptical of phone interviews.  To me, a phone interview is a company's way of saying, "Your resume isn't bad enough for us to disqualify you immediately, but you're probably not going to end up on our short list."

But maybe I'm just being too cynical (I know, I know, you're shocked, me, cynical?).  You never know.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nowhere To Go But Up

I have an interview with one of those professional job placement/staffing agencies later today.  I should probably go to bed instead of blogging.  But I'm also doing some more work on my novel, and I'm up anyway, so....

Anyway, I don't know what to expect at this intwerview.  Two years ago, when I was last unemployed, I want to one of them.  I interviewed on a Friday afternoon, took a couple of tests, proved that I'm at least reasonably proficient in Microsoft Excel, etc.  The guy I interviewed with told me I was a good candidate and that if I called him Monday, he had a couple of job leads and he'd refer me to them.

When I called back Monday and asked for him, the receptionist said, "Oh.  Sorry, he no longer works here."

I guess my experience can't be any worse than that.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Favre = Pure Evil

Brett Favre just keeps becoming more and more unlikeable, and I'm not just talking about his constrant retiring and unretiring, or his lacklister effort tonight against the Jets. Now he's accused of sexting a female Gameday host during the 2008 season when he was a Jet.

When will it end?  What's next?  Brett Favre grabbing cats by the tail and flinging them into the river?  Brett Favre grabbing foul balls from 9-year-old boys at baseball games?  Brett Favre coming out in favor of the terrorists? 

Sounds Familiar

Every 90 seconds I see a commercial on CBS for this upcoming new show called The Talk.  It apparently features several prominent woman -- Sharon Osbourne, Leah Remini, Sara Gilbert, Julie Chen and Holly Robinson Peete, as well as one of two others whose name escapes me -- as they talk about current events.

Huh? Isn't that The View?

ABC should counter by lauching a game show where people guess the prices of new cars and boats called The Cost Is Correct.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I Give It a Thumbs-Down

This semester I've been a fiction reader for my grad school's literary magazine. I've read dozens of stories and given my thoughts (i.e., Yes, No, Maybe, followed by a brief synopsis of why) on whether they're fit for publication.

Sometimes the story just doesn't agree with me.  I'm not gonna go into more detail that what follows, but I was in a snarky mood today and this story made me snarkier.  This is what I wrote in response. 

"No. And if there were a "Hell No" option on the dropdown menu, I would select that. In a word, WTF? The author is too cute for his or her own good. The unorthodox writing style could work if there were an actual story here. Instead, it's just a group of people preparing for a party in which an acquaintance has unexpectedly decided to attend. And in the meantime, the author takes the annoying steps of stopping the story to introduce him or herself to me personally, interrupting the story to bore us with two long and clunky poems, making a ridiculous analogy about a conversation being like Pearl Harbor, and ending the story with random, disconnected snippets of dialogue from the party. Extra points deducted for not double-spacing (hence the demotion from "No" to "Hell No"). Sure, some of the lines in this story are creative. But someone needs to sit this author down and explain that a story is more than cutting and pasting random lines of text together. The sum of its parts has to add up to a cohesive whole. Now that I'm all riled up, I'm gonna go outside and kick someone's ass."

I don't know.  Maybe if I had read it on a different day, I'd have been more inclined to like it.

Friday, October 8, 2010


It's a little disconcerting being out of work.  But it must be more disconcerting being the woman in front of me in the checkout line at Price Chopper yesterday afternoon.

She rang up a bill of $170, and ran her credit card through the swipe machine.  It was declined.  She ran it again, intending the split the bill in half and pay for her groceries using two credit cards.  Declined again.

Then she moved her grocery cart to the front window and said, "I'll be back.  I have to run to the bank."  The cashier canceled the order and then proceeded to ring me up.  "That was embarassing," the cashier said. 

I shrugged my shoulders and said, "I suppose it happens to the best of us sometimes."

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I just want to take this opportunity to thank Sebastian for becoming the 10th "follower" of my blog.  It's particularly flattering because, if news of this goes public, Sebastian's country-club membership could be revoked.  Now that's devotion.

Hopefully I haven't pissed anybody to the point where they "un-follow" me, because for the past 12 hours I've really enjoyed being in double-digits.  What started as an escape from sheer boredom after I got laid off has turned into a national obsession.  Okay, maybe it'd be a national obsession if I were in a micronation like Nauru or Liechtenstien, but you know what I'm trying to say.  It was flattering when I didn't post something one day, or when I didn't post until the afternoon, and people would e-mail me, "Hey, no blog today?" 

So, I appreciate all the support.  Thanks to everyone.  And spread the word so that, hopefully, soon I'll have 10 more.     

Who Wants to be Part of the Worst Audience Ever?

So yesterday was my annual pilgrimmage to New York City to attend a taping of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."  I was up at 3:30 a.m. so I could catch the 5:45 Acela train out of Providence.  New York was a fun time; I only got almost-hit by a taxicab twice.

The taping was fun, too, though I was part of the worst audience ever. We saw three episodes, over that time we were called on by a contenstant seven times.  Three of those seven times we got the answer wrong, including one time when 62% of us voted for the wrong answer.  It got so bad that, toward the end of the taping, on a question when 67% of us voted for an answer, the contestant actually went against us and picked an alternate choice -- so, of course, that time we were right.  Nothing's sadder than watching a "Millionaire" contestant who sabotaged herself make the sad walk off-stage.

Now I'm stressed, though.  When you go to a taping they give you test, and if you pass the test you're eligible to be a contestant.  I passed.  After the taping, I was interviewed by the show's staff, so my performance in that interview will be the key.  I was pretty zonked after being up for 12 hours and taking the train down to NYC, so I don't know how vibrant I sounded.

I'm also scared that, if I do go on the show, I'll get an easy answer wrong and embarass myself on national TV.  This absolutely terrifies me. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


No time to write today, other than to say, Tuesday night TV sucks. See tomorrow.

See ya tomorrow.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Master of the Obvious

One of the fun parts of watching sports on TV is listening to the announcers.  Sometimes they can be funny, sometimes they can be dumb, which is even funnier.

Exhibit A: Tonight's (actually, it's last night's now) Patriots-Dolphins game.

Best comment: after the Pats blocked a punt and returned a kickoff and blocked field goal for a touchdown, the Dolphins faced a fourth-and-two on their own 45. Mike Tirico said, "If I'm Miami I'm scared to put my special teams on the field."

Worst comment: after the Patriots blocked the punt, Jon Gruden pointed out that the Miami also had a punt blocked last week against the Jets and twice in the preseason. Then there was a pause.  I expected Gruden, a former Super Bowl-winning coach, to come up with am insightful comment on how teams have exploited a weakness on the right side of the Dolphin line, or the up-back's blocking technique is terrible, or the punter takes four steps instead of three before booting the ball away.

Instead, Gruden said, "The Dolphins are really having a problem with their punt-protect team."

Really, Jon?  Ya think so?

This is why we need color commentators, for the crucial insight we can't figure out just watching alone.

Two Weeks' Notice

I've been told (by a shameless self-promoter) that I don't promote myself enough.

My efforts to try to reverse that begin now: On Oct. 20, I will be reading at "Inspired Voices: Fairfield MFA Student Reading" at the Borders on Post Road in Fairfield, Conn. I'll be reading from my novel-in-progress. This is, of course, assuming that I find the Borders, since I've never been there before. But I figure if I give people a couple weeks' notice, they might be more like to clear their schedule.

Now I have to figure out what excerpt to read.

Apologies to those who think I already talk about myself too much.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Don't Ask Someone Who's Never Heard of Dr. Pepper Cake Where The Cake Is

Just got home from a birthday party for one of my writer's group friends. Great time. (I mean, if it's 2:30 a.m. and you're just getting home, either your car broke down or that's a pretty good endorsement.)

The only downside happened early in the night. One of the big highlights of the night was the Dr. Pepper birthday cake. I asked someone (who shall remain nameless) if those "things over there on toothpicks" were slivers of the cake. This person said yes. I grabbed one and started to eat it.  Emphasis on started, because it was actually some hideous vegetable thing that I had to run to the bathroom to spit out, which probably made my friend's roommates think I have the manners of a pig -- which I often do, but I try to hide this outside of my circle of friends.

I know, I know, it was stupid of me to think something on toothpicks was a slice of Dr. Pepper cake. But it was black and shiny (which I thought was the frosting), so at the moment it made sense. The person I asked had never heard of Dr. Pepper cake until the party started and really was in no position to know what the cake would look like either.

Lesson learned.

Friday, October 1, 2010

If Jasmine Can Get Published, So Can I

Sometimes, when I sit here in front of my laptop, I wonder what word choices other fiction writers would make.  Tonight, I learned the answer.

On The Tonight Show's "JayWalking" segment, Jay Leno asked a self-described fiction writer named Jasmine what it means to go Dutch.  She responded it means to "go steady," then when informed that was wrong, her second answer was "to write books with someone else."  Later in the segment, she said coitus interruptus means "interrupting someone when they're being coy."

There are times I feel I'm crazy to write a novel, because the chances of my getting published are slim to none.  And then there are times like tonight, when I convince myself that if Jasmine the Fiction Writer can get published, so can I.