Monday, July 30, 2007

The Constitution, is my permit

Have I mentioned lately that I'm a little busy?

I have?

Oh, okay, well, still busy.

For those of you who only follow along online, my mom is getting married this weekend. :) You may leave your congrats in the comments section below, *hint, hint*. So, Lanie, here's your advance notice. When I fly out of town on Thursday, I'm toying with the idea of not posting until I get back in town a week and a half later. For those of you who don't remember. . .

In the mean time, here's what I did over the weekend. Read the NY Times article, sign the petition, stay up to date about this issue with Picture New York, watch the YouTube clip below, or browse through the rest of my flickr photos from the 1st Amendment Rally at Union Square.

Picture New York.

Picture New York WITHOUT pictures of New York.

Send a message to Commissioner Katherine Oliver, Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting.

Sign the e-petition.


Friday, July 27, 2007

D'oh, the simpsons


Why yes, that is a Kwik E Mart! If you happen to be in midtown within the next few weeks, make sure to stop by and grab a squishee. Located between 8th & 9th on 42nd Street this Kwik E Mart is full of all your favorites, from Buzz cola to Krusty-O's cereal.

The next time you take a break, make sure to surf by The Simpsons movie website where you can create an avatar, play The Ball of Death, or my favorite The Wrecking Ball.

Oh, and for those of you who don't know. The movie comes out today!

Oh, and go here and watch all three previews! So absolutely funny!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Michael Bublé, feeling good

So I, um, got a little distracted last night playing in photoshop, so, no new HP photos today. In lieu of photos, please accept this music video. Enjoy!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

B&N, potter style

After the Scholastic party down in SoHo, I headed uptown to Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Square. They held a costume contest and a local performing arts school acted out scenes from the HP books. It was great fun.

If you want to see more photos that I took at B&N, click here.


These ladies were the first in line at B&N.




Look! It's Hedwig!


And yes, that radish is real.



Tuesday, July 24, 2007

SoHo, potter party

So last Friday, I slipped out of work early (with permission) and headed down to SoHo. Scholastic turned a section of Mercer Street into a faux Diagon Alley. It was fabulous.

My first stop was The Daily Prophet where I was given a press pass, after which I ran around capturing moments like crazy.

Just photos today and pretty much the rest of the week since, I'm a little busy. . . Wednesday and Thursday, I'll post some of the photos I caught at Barnes and Noble, and at the Grand Hallows Ball at Borders.

From the Whomping Willow to an entire Quidditch team the scene in SoHo was wonderous to behold. Wish you were there!


Click here, to see the rest of the SoHo photos.









Friday, July 20, 2007

HP & the Deathly Hallows, b&n party

Spoiler Free Book 7 Trailer

Well the time has come for all of you Harry Potter fans out there. Harry Potter, and the Deathly Hallows is finally here! In just a matter of hours, millions of people everywhere will be curled up with the book in bed, reading through the night to see what finally happens to the boy who lived.

Several weeks ago, I urged you to reserve your copy of the book, and to start brushing up on your Potter knowledge in order to be prepared for book seven. If you still haven't reserved your copy, it's not too late to do so. Simply call up your local bookseller right now, and you'll be set.

I swung by our local Barnes & Noble down at Lincoln Square to find out a timeline, or schedule of events, for tomorrow night's party. Here's the skinny.

7:30: Registration table opens. When you register, you will be given a wristband. Two types of wristbands will be given out, one for those who pre-ordered their book, another for those who didn't. Tim, our friendly B&N Event Coordinator, strongly urges you to reserve (pre-order) your copy of the book. You won't have to wait in line as long if you do. The Lincoln Square B&N number is 212-595-6859.

8:00: The costume contest begins at 8:00. If you plan to participate, you will need to sign up at the registration table from 7:30 - 8:00. The contest will be broken up into three categories, age 12 and below, ages 13 to 19, and adults. Broadway tickets will be given to the first-place winner in each category. Pretty fabulous if you ask me. Perhaps I'll dress up as Rita Skeeter.
There will be lots of fun activities to participate in; face painting, a balloon man, and a fortune teller. There will even be a craft table where you can make bookmarks. Of course this time is also a prime opportunity for peruse the shelves for new books.

If you're an avid reader like me, Harry Potter won't last you long. Might I suggest a book or two, if you are young I'd suggest the Uglies trilogy, Uglies, Pretties, or Specials, by Scott Westerfield. If you are a teen or an adult let me point you in the direction of the Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.

10:00: Wizards Chess will take place in the event space on the third floor. How cool is that, need I say more?

11:00: The lines begin. The Barnes & Noble staff will politely usher all patrons out of the store to form lines. One line for those who pre-ordered, the other for those who just show up. Your wristbands are not numbered, so be prepared to just get in line and wait your turn regardless of what time you signed in. There will be a little shelter from the scaffolding just outside the building in case of rain, but come prepared anyway, bring your umbrella.

12:01: The books go on sale. I've been assured that the lines will move quickly, but since they will process the pre-ordered line first, pre-ordered yours so you don't have to wait as long. Have I mentioned that enough?

Subway ride home: Please take care that you don't get too sucked into your book. You probably don't want to look up at the end of chapter four and realize you're up in the Bronx, or clear down at Coney Island.

Until Monday, Happy Reading!

p.s. Remember to stop and eat every now and then. Oh, and it would be nice if you remember to shower.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Addison, potter style

The Mother of Boys sent me this photo earlier today, it’s my nephew’s birthday. Can you guess who he and his brothers are fans of?

You betcha! The one, the only, Harry Potter.

Addison is certainly celebrating in style, complete with Gryffindor colors. They made little owls and attached the birthday invitation to its leg before passing them out. See the cake above for a image of the idea.

The cake has two layers, one chocolate the other vanilla with meringue frosting in the middle. Covered in a yummy butter cream frosting, the details and wording were shaped out of fondant, and then painted with food coloring and chocolate syrup to great effect.

Addison himself made the golden Snitch in the upper left-hand corner. His older brother made the wand on the top right and the lightning scar on the bottom left. The school owl with accompanying scroll, bubbling cauldron with 3-D flames, bludger, Sorting Hat, and Firebolt were made by other family members.

On the eve of the final book coming out, who wouldn’t want to celebrate their birthday like this! How exciting! Yea Mother of Boys, you’re going to be the coolest mother on the block!

Happy Birthday Addison!

Love, your favorite aunt,
-Antie Lou

. . .

(don’t ask)

. . .

(I said don't ask. . . . Fine. No, my name isn’t Lou, . . . but to my nephews it is. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter, orson scott card and patrick rothfuss

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows discussion between Orson Scott Card and Patrick Rothfuss. (You remember Patrick don’t you.)

For those of you out there who aren’t boycotting all words about the last Potter book, here’s a link to an ongoing discussion of the ending of the series. (Not the ending of the book silly, but the entire series as a whole.) And for those of you who are avoiding possible Potter spoilers, read it after you’ve finished the book.

So far, the posts are very interesting.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tag, i'm it!

the BB is no longer interested in your bathtime

Photo courtesy of Monkey Humper.

I've been tagged! I've seen memes floating around the blogosphere before, but have never participated in one. They remind me of chain emails, you know, those exuberant missives -- which I promptly delete-- regarding the $$$ Bill Gates will send you if you forward that same message to your closest 40 friends.

And since memes have the potential to become like the spam my friends & family sometimes forward me. I can't guarantee I'll play along if anyone tags me again, but I kind of like this one, and since Kitty, at NY Portraits, asked so nicely, I'll participate just this once. :)

The question: 'If you had the opportunity to do a 1-year internship in a company or field completely unrelated to your current career or specialty, what would be your top 5 choices?'

Since I'm a professional paper-pusher, this is going to be easy!

  1. Florist: I've always loved flowers, and when I was little I sometimes dreamed about becoming a florist when I grew up. So yes, I'd love to be a florist, at least for a little while.

  2. Professional Musician: Ideally I would like to play with the NY Philharmonic, or an opera orchestra. Some of my fondest memories while in school happened while sitting in the middle of an orchestra, or in the back of the 'pit' under a stage. I'd love to play again, even if just for a year.

  3. Travel Critic: I'd love to travel the world and write about fabulous places to visit and see. Sweeping vistas from Machu Picchu, white sandy beaches in Aruba, or the fabulous architecture and food in Morocco.

  4. Sound Engineer: I'd love to work on movie soundtracks. A geek at heart, I love new tech toys. While in college, I toyed with the idea of heading into the movie/soundtrack field of work. Boy would that have been exciting.

  5. Billionaire's Trophy Stay-At-Home-Mom: (Wife to the billionaire, mom to the kids) Of course, I'd like this one to last a little longer than a year, lol, no really, I think I'd make a great stay-at-home-mom. I like to cook and garden, I'm one of those awesome 21st century gals who is smart and likes tech toys. What more could you want in a stay-at-home-mom?. . . I can hear you asking, why the billionaire? In response, I'll ask you, how else will I be able to pay for the tutors, nannies, and staff?

I in turn am going to tag three other blogs. Yes, I know the others in this particular thread have tagged five, but I'm helping to cut down on the madness.

A note to those I’m tagging: Please feel free to a) spurn the tag (although it must be done in a formal post), b) halfheartedly comply with the tag and not tag any others in return, or c) enthusiastically embrace the meme and forthwith tag 40 of your closest and dearest friends.

  1. Fatty, at Fat Cyclist. Please, please don't stab me with your multi-tool if we ever meet in person.

  2. Ree, at Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. Whatever you do, please don't send Handy Randy to my place in retaliation. I only have one bathroom, and I need it.

  3. Dan, at Uncle Dan's Blog. Out of the three, you actually live the closest. Here's hoping you don't pedal your way up here and strangle me with your bike chain.

With all pleading aside, tag, you're it. Have fun!


p.s. Thanks Kitty, that was fun. Oh, and I promise not to hunt you down and stab you with my gelato spoon.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Grom, melt in your mouth goodness

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a new gelato place, named Grom, had opened up on 76th & Broadway next to Lush, and I thought to myself, fabulous! Next time I had my camera in tow, I’d stop by.

This past weekend, when The Drama Teacher came to visit and go to shows, I told her I knew the perfect place for an afternoon treat, and so we went. The weather was wonderful, not too hot and not too cool, so we strolled up through Central Park and then cut over to Broadway on New York’s Upper West Side.

We arrived at 12:30, with just enough time to eat a yummy treat and then book it down to the Theatre District in time to catch a matinee.


The staff was friendly and helpful, the décor clean and contemporary.



All of the flavors looked wonderful; I decided to go for something light and refreshing, so I chose to get ½ raspberry and ½ lemon sorbet.


The Drama Teacher went for the pistachio gelato.


With bits of pistachio and creamy goodness The Drama Teacher said she’d get it again and gave it three thumbs up. She asked Grom about the brownish-green color, and was told that since they don’t use artificial coloring it wasn't greener.

After snapping a few photos, we strolled down Broadway while eating our frozen treats. The lemon sorbet had a refreshing crisp tartness that was just sweet enough to keep a look of bliss on my face, and a pucker far, far away.

From the first bite of raspberry sorbet to the last, I felt like freshly picked raspberries were bursting in my mouth. The flavor was so delightful; it reminded me of picking raspberries as a child. For those of you who were lucky enough to have a raspberry bush in your back yard or a ‘pick-your-own’ raspberry patch nearby, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Worried that my photos might not have turned out, and maybe just a little bit interested in trying out the flavors once again (quality control, I’m sure) I headed back to Grom for a second time.

This time the line was just a little bit longer.


But it was worth the wait.

Incidentally, I don’t think the line is always this long, so don’t worry, just come. In the past few weeks while Grom’s been open, I’ve passed their storefront several times and not seen long lines. I think the fact that I snapped this photo on a weekend evening after a hot and steamy summer afternoon had something to do with the line’s length.

The lemon and raspberry sorbets were just as good as I remembered, and the chocolate gelato was divine. Rich and creamy, I felt decadent just letting it melt in my mouth. Simply remembering about the chocolate gelato makes me realize that with Grom being a hop, skip, and a jump away from work, it’s going to be torture to not run over there everyday at lunch.


If you happen to stop by Grom, report back and let us know what you ate and how it tasted.


Watch what the Today Show has to say about them, or read about them in the Gothamist or the NY Times.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, the movie

I went to see Harry Potter #5 a couple nights ago, and boy was it fun. Spectacularly filmed and directed, the movie was wonderful to watch and was beautifully produced.

Let me reiterate before we begin, I loved the movie, and thought it was great, but overall I felt something was lacking, your average movie watcher won’t notice, but uber-Potter-fans out there will. Let me start by telling what I did like about the movie.

I arrived at the AMC Lincoln Square Cinemas 45 minutes early, theater #1 was already packed. For those of you non-locals, theater #1, aka Lowes Up, is an 876-seat theater with cushy burgundy seats, a HUGE screen, a balcony, and Thai inspired décor--complete with golden elephants in relief about the room.

The demographic for the evening: a lot of adults from mid-twenties to early forties, and many, many older teens. I was quite happy to note that there was not a stroller in sight.

The lights dimmed, everyone clapped, and when the previews were over, we clapped again. Excitement buzzed from one corner of the theater to the other, and it took a moment for everyone to settle down.

The WB flashed across a mist filled screen moving ever closer, yet the music didn’t start, turning into one of those delayed gratification things. After we passed through the giant WB, the music finally started and an excited chatter made the rounds again, accompanied by applause.

I noticed immediately that the music was different, that it didn’t evolve into the well-used themes from before, and now as I think back, the distinct musical tropes that John Williams uses in his compositional arsenal were missing.

Instead we got a whole other kettle of fish, which I was quite pleased with. Having only seen the movie once and not having listened intently to the score, I can’t describe the new musical themes except to say they were perfect. For me the new composer was a welcome change. During one part of the credits-- I’m a credits watcher-- the music became so sad, yet hopeful. For several moments while the music played, I felt anything was possible that I could rise up out of sadness and conquer the world. All because of the music, which demonstrated a masterful use of color, theme, and scoring.

Watching The Order of the Pheonix was fun with this particular audience. All the way through the movie as particular scenes began, people in the audience cheered, bubbling with anticipation for what was about to happen.

Near the beginning, I loved it when Harry produced a patronus charm and flung it around. I loved the way the kestrals were portrayed; they looked quite real and were fabulously executed. I absolutely loved (yet again) the fight scene at the end, you’ll know what I mean when you see it.

And, if you can believe it, there was even a spot in the middle when everyone gasped in surprise and shock. This is quite hard to do with an audience that already knows the story. All in all, the movie was well executed, and if I hadn’t read the books and had only been a fan of the movies, it would have been just great.

Unfortunately, I’m an avid fan of the books, and have read them each many times. So for me, I came away from the movie with a vague sense of disappointment.

The movie felt quite a bit short. I suppose that having watched Pirates of the Caribbean, At World’s End so many times in a row didn’t help, but never-the-less, it felt a little rushed.

Speaking of Pirates, I suppose my level of expectation has risen to an obscenely high level and needs to be readjusted. Yet I hoped anyway. How could the director of Harry Potter ever hope to match the ease in which Pirates left bread crumbs for the careful watcher?

So with my Pirates, At World’s End bias admitted and pushed aside, let’s move forward.

I think that when you get right down to it, the reason why I am so disappointed with Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, (the movie) is that there were too many missed opportunities to delight and surprise us, the loyal readers and fans of the series.

Yes, I know that the movie would be ten hours long if the screenplay matched the book scene for scene. And I understand why it is necessary to cut things from the story, (keep the plot moving forward and keep pacing strong). But there were many instances when things could have been tucked into the movie that readers would recognize, know, and appreciate; but that the average watcher couldn’t care about. And more importantly, there are times when the audience trilled with excitement at the beginning of a scene only to have the buzz fall flat as a gutted scene left us wanting.

And this is what my disappointment boils down to; I think the director aimed to please just the surfacey fans of the series. The ones who wouldn’t miss the details, and wouldn’t recognize the strangulated scenes that left us to deal with weakened characters.

I’ll soften my opinion by saying, perhaps the choices in what to show and what not to show was a case of do it all and end up with something mediocre, or choose a few things and succeed beyond their wildest dreams. If this is the case and they chose the latter, then they succeeded. The movie was brilliant. But frankly I’m one of the ones that wanted it all.

It was a mistake to leave so many of the little details out. In the end, it will just succeed in alienating the loyal readers of the series, the ones who made the movies possible in the first place. (For example look at the poorly made movie, Eragon. Except Eragon was so badly gutted and rewritten, it doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned on the same page as Pirates and Potter.)

It wouldn’t have taken much to keep us going. Just a little bit here and there. As we noticed the trail of crumbs left us, we’d have felt like we were part of the inside crowd and ‘in the know’. Instead what we see are the missing things and are left puzzled, saying, “But Why?”

Yes, I’ll go see it again. It was a great movie, and very well done. I just wish it hadn’t left me wanting.


Spoiler specifics behind the cut, (the things I wish they'd done differently) and just a few of them since I’ve um, written enough already!

Update, . . . so blogger doesn't allow me to selectively put part of my posts behind a cut, it's either all or nothing. I'm going for the nothing route. If you don't want to read any potential spoilers, don't read past the line of *'s.
It wasn’t until most of the movie was over that I began to notice the missing parts.

I wish…

-that we’d have seen the screeching portrait at the Order’s head quarters. We saw the troll’s leg, but not the portrait screeching. Just catching a glimpse of her screaming in rage would be enough.

-that both times Harry entered the Ministry of Magic, that he would have been given his visitor’s badge. They didn’t have to talk about it, or show a close up. Just the simple act of him emerging from the telephone booth with it on, would have been enough.

-that the script writers hadn’t written in Cho Chang as the betrayer of the ‘Dumbldore’s Army’ and since they did, the least they could have done was tattooed the word “Snitch” across Cho’s forehead in purple boils. As it stands, Cho gets alienated, the hex that Hermoine so cleverly worked into the sign-up sheet gets left out, and the whole group ends up in detention writing who knows what with those ‘special’ quills that Harry used when writing, “I will not tell lies.”

-that they would have shown the swamp in the hallway that Delores Umbridge couldn’t clear up.

-that the scene where the twins wreck havoc on the school wouldn’t have been as weak as it was.

-that in the final fight scene at the Ministry, we would have seen the jelly-legs curse, or the brains that get attached to Ron.

And lastly, I’d like to tell you about one particular scene that left me feeling iffy. It’s the one where Delores Umbridge is throwing Sybil Trelawney out of the school. It was beautifully set-up, Emma Thompson, as usual, did a fabulous job setting the tone and scene. All the students were there, anticipation was building, and low and behold, Dumbledore stormed out into the courtyard to save the day, only he didn’t. People cheered when the doors to the school flung open and he appeared, but what followed next was a pale imitation of the original. As Firenze failed to appear and Dumbledore strode about not doing much of anything, the excitement in the theatre ebbed and eventually fell flat.

These are just a few more things I wish we’d have seen. In all, the acting, directing, CGI, and music was fantastic. It’s just the little things that let us down, it wouldn’t have taken much to delight us, just a crumb here or there.

It appears the director needs to be reminded that it’s the little things that endeared us to Harry in the first place, and if you leave them out, well notice and wonder, “Why?”

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Midsummer Night Swing, take 2

So I was a little busy today...and am now just barely able to post. And since I have a couple other things to write at the moment, I'll be summing up a lot more than usual.

Remember, how I was going to take pictures of the fireworks, well you see, it was raining and I thought to myself. Self, expensive digital camera, new, . . . and rain. Not a good combination. So I went out for dinner instead. After eating, I decided to walk up to my favorite bookstore on the way home and happened to pass Lincoln Center, where music was drifting on the wind.

So I stopped by for a look-see.

It happened to be salsa night, as part of Midsummer Night Swing. You know, I wrote about it a few weeks ago. I ended up staying all night, the music was great, and the dancing was fabulous. And boy could some of the older couples move. Everyone had fun, wish you could have seen it for yourself.

Since you weren't there, I dug a clip for you. Not the best clip, and doesn't do justice to the actual sound, but it gives a tinsy insy winsy idea of how it was. :)

There are still a few nights of dancing left, if you happen to make your way to the UWS, make sure to stop by, you won't want to miss it!


Oh, and one more thing. Harry Potter Rocks!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Yankee Stadium, and the fourth of july

A couple of weeks ago, I was offered a pair of free tickets to a Yankee’s Game for the Fourth of July. Having wanted to go to a game for a while, I snatched the tickets up and made plans. I called up Colette, she said she was in, we were set.

Here’s a photo of Colette at the game, modeling her Canada hoodie. Being a Canadian, it was perfectly acceptable to wear that jacket to the game.


The tickets arrived the next Tuesday, and I immediately searched the Yankee’s website to see where the seats were. It took a moment, but I finally found the section labeled 63. It was tucked up at the top right side of the stadium, up high in the stratosphere. Being free seats, they were perfect.

My normal Fourth of July festivities include going to a parade in the morning, perhaps a barbeque in the afternoon, followed by fireworks in the evening. Being fairly new to the City, I didn’t know if any parades were going on, and it isn’t easy to barbeque in the City. Last year I only managed to catch the fireworks. This year, I thought a Yankee’s Game would be perfect.

Game day arrived, so I took the A train down to 125th where I met Colette, and then we took the B train from 125th to Yankee Stadium. We budget time for it to take about 30 minutes, somehow the subway becomes a giant time suck so we planned for extra time, it took 15.

We had planned for at least 15-20 minutes to navigate our way from the subway to the gates at Yankee Stadium. It took about 3.

Our gate was literally just steps from the subway. Since we were so early, the lines were not long, and we breezed right past the attendants who were checking and scanning tickets in no time at all.

We wove our way along the concourse and reached the first open gate, section numbers were proudly displayed along the top of the frame. Thinking it would lead to one of those never-ending ramps that would take us to the upper level and spotting our section number, we ducked to the left to follow the signs.

This is what we saw.


Quite a bit different than what we were expecting, wouldn’t you say? This is where we ended up sitting, right up front where we could see all the action.


The day was overcast, but the stadium lights were on and shining brightly. After about five minutes I wished that I had a pair of sunglasses to wear, or at the least, a stylish Canon sun-visor.


We sat around and watched the crowd as they filtered in, taking their seats. A young girl near us kept busy collecting signatures from the players as they walked by.


Everyone ate their favorite ballpark treats. Hot dogs and Cracker Jacks, what more could you want?


The game started not too much later.


This is the view we had for most of the game…


We had some nice half-time (can you use that word in baseball?...) entertainment, field maintenance workers dancing to the tune, YMCA.


Here’s hoping that Nancy and Charlie were facing the scoreboard!


A rowdy fan caused quite a ruckus on one of the upper levels and was evicted from the game. He was standing right behind the yellow pole, you can’t see him, but you can see the fans reactions around him. (Update: To get a closer look, click here and here.) Looking back through my photos, it appears that one of the fans caught it all on video, via his camera.



All in all, the day was great. Due to the rain I didn’t go to take photos of the fireworks, I still had a fun evening, but I’ll wait to tell you what I did until tomorrow. Hope you had a great Fourth!



Mass Transit, how I got my word count in for the day

I actually got to sweat today while attempting to reach my goal of writing 1250 words for the today. Yes, I said the word sweat.

The great thing about writing today, was that I accomplished 90% of it while riding around on mass transit. I wrote during my 40 minute commute to work, then during the 20 minute ride out to the Wal-Mart in Jersey (where I bought a blowup mattress), during the 25 minute wait for the bus in the Wal-Mart parking lot in 90° weather (this is where the sweating happened), and during the 45 minute commute back home.

While in the parking lot, I couldn't help but laugh as sweat rolled down my back and formed on my face. One would say I glistened, but when you get right down to it, it's sweat. I could only think of Sven, and hoped one day of sweating would be enough. I think I'd prefer to keep my writing locations air-conditioned.

Sven Says Sweat

The last bit of writing was the trickiest, the ride home on the A-Train with all my loot. You see, I picked up just a little bit more than a Coleman queen-size blowup mattress. I routinely seem to forget how much I'm capable of carrying home on trips like this. Each time I swear that next time I'm gunna bring a grandma cart, but I never do because every time I go out shopping "I know" I'm only going to buy one or two things.

I piled and stacked my bulky purchases in front of me and on my lap, the tower threatened to topple over many times while sacks slid off my lap, and I worried about the cheap plastic sacks ripping. Somehow, I managed to pull out a notebook and write nonetheless.

I made it home this time, but just barely. I had to stop every 25 feet or so while in the subway and out on the street, to let my hands and forearms rest. (Wal-Mart didn't have big enough bags to hold the storage containers I'd purchased.) Suffice it to say, that the compulsory wide grip I maintained in order to carry the container and miscellaneous goodies home gave my hands a workout that rivaled any workout session using one of these little beauties.

Much to my relief, I made it home with bags intact.

Word count for the day, 1401. Turned out quite well, if I do say so myself. (1796 if you count this post, well it was 1796 until I started editing this post in blogger.)


Update: It's 1:00 in the morning and 85°'s outside. How sad it that?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Harry Potter 5, have you purchased tickets yet?

Have you gotten your tickets yet?

Here are a couple of teasers to get you psyched up to go, that is, if you're not psyched up already.

Harry Potter, Order of the Pheonix Trailer

Short Behind the Scenes Look


Old Man's Smell, john scalzi's new perfume


SciFi writer John Scalzi has been urged to start a new fragrance collection and is now searching for possible scent combinations and names for his new product line.

Most of his loyal readers agreed that in honor of his best selling novel, Old Man's War, one of his fragrances should be called Old Man's Smell.

Omaha Lisa described the "complex fragrance [as] combining the scent of burnt wiring, old running shoes, and sweat with just a touch of peanut butter." Coming soon to an upscale shopping center near you, ask about it at your local fragrance counter.


p.s. Yankees photos and post coming tomorrow

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Seventy Days of Sweat, or whatever it is that writers do when they write


You're probably wondering what this photo has to do with 70 days and sweat. Why absolutely nothing of course! Except that biker blurring across the bottom right-hand corner, he's probably sweating up a storm. (I just remembered you can't see the biker. Until I tweak my blog layout, my photos will continue to get chopped off. . . if you really want to see him, just double click on the photo.)

Moving on, yesterday I happened to surf past Diana Peterfreund's blog and became very excited when I read that there was a writing challenge going on. I liked the terms of the challenge, and the thought of working together as a group and being accountable to the other writers sounded perfect.

Of course, that was yesterday. Today, I'm still glad I signed up, but my wheels in my mind are still spinning.

Last fall when I wrote Book 1, I finished the first rough draft--all 60,000 words of it--in a month and a half. I wrote every day, and though uncomfortable, I kept on typing. All the things I'd read in Stephen King's book On Writing, and online--mostly at Holly Lisle's site--reinforced the impression that writing is hard work and you just have to buckle down and do it, so I did it. Each time my rear end started to ache from sitting on a hard plastic chair too long, or I became uncomfortable from sitting at my makeshift desk, I'd just adjust my posture and keep on going. (I straddled a rectangular cardboard box in front of a credenza, with my iMac on the credenza and my keyboard on the box, I'd type until I couldn't sit there any longer, or my arms began to ache.)

So, it's been a little crazy for me since I started Book 2 a month and a half ago. Sometimes I write, but most the time I don't. Today, like many days that have come before, I sat here in front of my laptop for three hours, document open and cursor blinking unable to put words to page.

It's not a matter of not knowing what to write. Beyond the story arc, I have a few paragraphs ready to transcribe, written during a commute to work last week. I know what comes next.

For me, I think it's just a matter of delving in and getting started. Once the words begin to flow, it becomes easier, and time slips by more quickly. The trick is getting started.

So here I go, wish me luck. If all turns out well, I'll have at least six new pages written by the time I close up shop for the night.


p.s. If you're interested in either joining or learning more details about the challenge that Alison Kent, Larissa Ione, Stephanie Tyler, Jo Leigh and HelenKay Dimon have issued, you can read about it here.

p.p.s. During the next several weeks, feel free to prod, poke, and spur me along if you don't see any writing progress showing in the sidebar on the right. If I'm keeping it up and doing well, congratulations and words of encouragement will be accepted just as readily.

Update 7/8/07, 4:22: Okay, I'm a wimp! After reading this, I'm done complaining. I've written consistently before, I can do it again. I just needed to realize, again, how much I want it. (To write that is.)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Note To Self, buy machete

I just took a zombie apocalypse survival test. 1 in 3 isn't that bad. . . . Is it?



Okay, okay, I'm sorry! i got sucked into a book

Fireworks - July 4th 2007, originally uploaded by bnittoli.

From the comments section, Lanie said... "I'll write again on the 5th." Lies!!!! Where is the next blog?????

Dear Lanie,

Please accept my sincerest apologies for the emotional and psychological trauma you have suffered the past couple of days due to the lack of posts on my blog.

I have no excuse for my thoughtless behavior, suffice it to say, it will not happen again*. Should I decide, to take a couple days off again, I will endeavor to alert you far enough in advance so you can stockpile alternate reading materials.

Henceforth, I will make a better effort to keep my faithful and loyal reader’s wishes and interests in the forefront of my mind.

As a token of my sorrow and goodwill, please accept this small video tribute (rated R, for strong language).

p.s. Hope your audition went well today!

*Unless I get sidetracked by another book.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Fourth of July, what are you planning to do?


Hi all, just a short post today to wish you a great Fourth of July! Last year I got together with a friend and watched the fireworks from the FDR and 34th? Street. This year I'm going to a Yankees Game, and might go down to Brooklyn to photograph the fireworks with the City in the background. We'll see.

Here are a few links for those of you who have yet to make plans. gives concise advice on where to see the fireworks, the hot dog eating contest, or take a cruise.

And for those of you with kids, the NY Historical Society is having a little shindig for kids.

Just a short post for today, Grandma Bitter (age 85) had a heart attack yesterday afternoon and was rushed into surgery to have a stent put in, she is doing much better now. She lives out West and fortunately has lots of family nearby, so both she and Grandpa Bitter are being looked after. I'll be using up my lunch break today to call her, so I most likely won't be checking in with you all later. And since I'm taking tomorrow off, I'll see you on the 5th.

Hope you have a great Fourth, and I'll report back on Thursday with photos from the game.


Monday, July 2, 2007

Jedi of the Caribbean

You can find all sorts of goodies on Youtube! :)


Pirates of the Caribbean, at world's end

There are three maybe four movies that I've looked forward to seeing this summer. First Pirates of the Caribbean, At world's End, Ocean's 13, The Bourne Ultimatum, with Harry Potter 5 bringing up the rear. I'm counting Casino Royale as a spring release.

Ocean's 13 was great, loved it. I can't wait for The Bourne Ultimatum, and as for Harry Potter, I've already purchased my ticket for Wednesday night July 11th at 7:30.

Which leaves us Pirates of the Caribbean. I absolutely loved the first two movies, saw them multiple times in the theaters and bought them both on DVD as soon as they were out. Swashbuckling adventure, comedy, and a little romance mixed in. What more could you ask for? Awesome tech toys, yes, but they didn't make them back in those days. Fancy compasses and unsinkable ships, yes, but electronic gizmos, no.

I looked forward to Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End so much that I counted down the days until I could see it, then ran down to purchase a ticket on my lunch break a couple days in advance. My coworkers and I talked about it at least twice a day, and we googled it online. We played around on the Pirates website, and talked about how soon we all would see it. Okay, well, scratch the we on that last part. I harassed everyone to see it ASAP.

Which brings me to a comment that Lanie, of my coworkers, made to me late last week. She couldn't believe that I hadn't blogged about it yet.

"I haven't?" flittered across my brain before I responded, "Oh." I don't remember my exact response, but the conclusion was that I would correct the situation as soon as possible. So here it is, my thoughts on Pirates of the Caribbean, At Worlds End.


It was so fabulous in fact that I saw it five times in the space of four days. It would have been perhaps as much as seven times,-- shhhh don't tell anyone, people might think I'm weird,-- but the shows were sold out and I couldn't get tickets. I even traveled down to Times Square because one of the theaters down there was showing it non-stop.

It was Friday night when I saw it the first time. I got off work a few minutes late, ran down to Lincoln Center, but made it just in time to slip in to catch one of the first showings of the night. The place was packed. But since I came alone, I was able to find a place up front, but not too close. Just how I like it.

The theater lights dimmed and everyone cheered and clapped. Excitement and energy hummed through the hall, and I smiled in anticipation. I swear, there is something about crowds that go to movies on opening night. It was great. After the previews and a little more cheering, everyone quieted down and the movie began.

Many critics didn't like this film, I think they're idiots. The trick with the third installment of Pirates is that you actually have to pay attention during the show. I think they were probably lazy.

Before you see At World's End, I know you want to, make sure to watch the first and second movies, or you'll miss a lot of the sub-plots. Boy, are there sub-plots. All the story threads weaving in and out were one of the main reasons why I saw it so many times in a row. I am a savvy watcher, but I still picked up new things on the fifth time through.

Have you ever read a book more than once, and on the second time through picked up foreshadowing and clues that you'd missed before? Well At World's End, is exactly like that. Once I knew how it ended, it was fascinating to watch each character and how they interacted with the others.

I was riveted from the first moment until the last. I laughed, I cried, I was shocked and completely blindsided twice (which rarely happens to me), and I felt sad. There were poignant moments and thrilling scenes, epic battles and wry twists on words.

Geoffrey Rush gave an excellent performance as Captain Barbosa, a few of my very favorite moments in the movie are of him calling out orders while at the helm and while swaggering through the hold of his ship.

Orlando Bloom gave a great performance as Will Turner, in what I would say was a challenging roll, this time around Will's character is more behind the scenes. It's a crucial role, but the first time through I wasn't quite sure what he was up to. Most of the fun I had while re-watching the movie, happened while I tried to figure out exactly what Will was up to, what he knew, and when.

It's too bad Orlando Bloom isn't a pirate in real life, even though he's single. I think I could fall quite hard for a guy like Will Turner, along with pretty much every other female in the world...actually now that I think of it, it's probably a good thing he's not a pirate.

And Bill Nighy, once more shows that it doesn't matter how much make-up you have on. A convincing emotional performance is possible, even when your face is underneath thick layers of latex.

The rest of the crew gave brilliant performances in all! I just wanted to highlight a couple favorites.

There's not too much more I can say about At World's End without giving away any spoilers, so I'll wrap up now by saying, make sure to stay until the end of the credits. There's a thing at the end. It's a long wait, but worth it. Of course, I'm one of those people who sit through the credits anyway, so take it for what it's worth, about 2 cents.

Report back after you've seen it.

Here are a few Youtube clips I found, Harry Potter Style, Star Wars style, and a cartoon.

Potter Style #1

Potter Style #2

Star Wars Style

Regular w/ Light Sabers

Cartoon Style