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NaNoWriMo Day 30

I WON!

After pushing through today and writing 5,005 words. I was only able to write about 900 last night because I kept falling asleep, so today, I asked Maurice to meet me at the coffeeshop after work and poke me if I fell asleep so that I could finish. What a good friend he is, because he agreed. And near the end, I actually was falling asleep in the coffeeshop, so it’s a good thing he was there. Thanks, Maurice!

Congrats to Peauxdunque Terri who was also doing NaNoWriMo and who also finished!

And thanks to Jamey who came up with #teamemilie on Twitter to really make me feel encouraged and supported. 🙂 And for just generally being a great friend and always in my corner.

Thanks to all the new NaNoWriMo friends I made this month, many of whom finished earlier than me, then looked back and cheered me on as I crossed the finish line.

It’s been a crazy month. More later. This, for now.

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Filed under bragging on, Friends, NaNoWriMo, New Orleans, pop culture, writing updates

The May Lovely Bones Challenge

***Warning ahead of time: There are SPOILERS following! Mostly, for the movie The Lovely Bones, maybe also the book and The Time Traveler’s Wife.***

A while ago, I watched The Time Traveler’s Wife, which I’d just finished reading, on Maurice’s suggestion. I Tweeted:

is watching Time Traveler’s Wife. Very different from the book. I’ve no idea how this movie would seem to me if I hadn’t read the book. 12:18 AM Mar 30th

Thus began a conversation with Morganafq (Donna K), who I’ve never met in person. I can’t really remember how we came onto each other’s Twitter radar, but I suspect it’s STYCD-related. Morganafq does movie reviews under the heading “From the Rental Queue,” (#FTRQ), so it makes sense that she saw my Tweet and chimed in.

Donna K @emofalltrades I haven’t read the book TTW but recently saw the film. I thought it bland and without depth but saw potential. About right? 1:16 AM Mar 30th via Seesmic

@Morganafq: kinda felt like a Cliff’s Notes of the book. Only, a Cliff’s Notes that would’ve made u get a C- because there big were changes. 11:20 AM Mar 30th via web

@emofalltrades Thanks for the input – I’ll definitely check the book out as I thought the story seemed solid. 🙂 11:37 AM Mar 30th via Seesmic in reply to emofalltrades

@Morganafq: It is solid, good word. I had my issues, but was impressed with the way the author “built” the story (she’s a book artist). 3:48 PM Mar 30th via web

More recently, I Tweeted:

was really disappointed with The Lovely Bones for just about a thousand reasons. 12:54 AM Apr 27th

And a second conversation began:

Donna K@emofalltrades OMG I just watched that! How awful was that movie? No emotional anchor whatsoever. I’m so disappointed, truly. 1:03 AM Apr 27th via Seesmic in reply to emofalltrades

@Morganafq: Let me count the ways. 1) Suzie does nothing. I know she’s dead, but still. All that build up, and she DOES nothing? 9:03 AM Apr 27th via web

@Morganafq: 2) There was NO resolution for any of the other characters, even though we got really pretty shots of “where are they now.” 9:04 AM Apr 27th via web

@Morganafq: 3) Far too much style and far too little substance. 4) So confusing and precious. 5) Her 1st kiss = creepy. For all parties. 9:05 AM Apr 27th via web

@Morganafq: Basically, u summed it up w “no emotional anchor whatsoever.” Have u read the book? I was gonna, but now, I just don’t know… 9:06 AM Apr 27th via web

@emofalltrades Agreed on EVERY point you made about Lovely Bones. Haven’t read it but like you now I don’t know. I hear it’s vastly better. 12:20 PM Apr 27th via Seesmic in reply to emofalltrades

@Morganafq: Maybe one of us should read it and let the other one know. 1-2-3, NOT ME! 2:16 PM Apr 27th via web

@emofalltrades Oh no! You aren’t suckering me into this one! I’ll triple dog dare you to be the one to read it. 😉 3:06 PM Apr 27th via Seesmic in reply to emofalltrades

@Morganafq: Okay, so let’s make a blood oath (long distance) that we’ll both read it during the month of May and report back to each other. 3:38 PM Apr 27th via web

@emofalltrades What the hell… this could be fun, especially if we do a compare/contrast to the movie. Amazon here I come! 🙂 6:17 PM Apr 27th via Seesmic in reply to emofalltrades

So, we set up some rules for our May Lovely Bones Challenge:

[Me] Long isn’t too big a problem, but maybe we should max u @ about 2,000 wds. Seem fair? Rules! #1 Must have seen the movie b4 read book? 6:26 PM Apr 27th

[Me] #2 Must submit review/thoughts by midnight May 30th for publication on the blog May 31st. #3 Everybody has 2,000 wds. No more. 🙂 Yes? 6:27 PM Apr 27th

[Morganafq] I like it! Yes to all 3 rules, especially seeing the movie 1st. I want to know who really fell down on this – the author or Jackson. 6:42 PM Apr 27th

[Me] Yup, I think the pt of the exercise is the movie-book connection.  7:17 AM Apr 28th

So, here we go. Morganafq and I have each started reading. And by the end of the month, we’ll post our thoughts about the book and the book-to-movie transformation. You’re welcome to join in! But the key is that you see the movie first and then read the book for the first time. And you get your thoughts to us by midnight (my time, Central US time zone) on May 30th.  Enjoy, everybody!

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Bragging on book, music and film friends

Barb recently won second place for fiction in the most recent Barnes and Noble Discover Awards. If you haven’t already, you really should read her book of stories More of This World or Maybe Another. Phenomenal.

Was at the local Borders recently and unexpectedly saw my friend Lindsay Rae Spurlock‘s cd on the shelves. I had to be silly and snap a picture because I was so proud. She’s been doing pretty well for herself – touring a lot and her song “November” has been featured a few times on MTV’s The Real World.

Rheta Grimsley Johnson’s newest, Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming: A Memoir, is available. When I interviewed her about Poor Man’s Provence, she told me about this and it sounds hilarious and compulsively readable. Nicest lady ever and incredibly talented, so check it out.

Oh, just as I’m writing this, I got an email from Amy Serrano about her film The Sugar Babies and a screening at Prytania Theater on Thursday. From the website: “The Sugar Babies examines the moral price of sugar –present and past — from the perspective of the conditions surrounding the children of sugar cane cutters of Haitian ancestry in the Dominican Republic, and the continuing denial of their basic human rights.” Purchase the movie and check out the screening schedule.

My friend David Loti’s cd Amalgam is out. Loti is a fascinating, talented guy, who was in the popular Baton Rouge band A Soup Named Stew before going solo and going up to Vancouver for seminary school. It’s a weird thing to say, but I mean it as a compliment – I continually forget that I know Loti as I’m listening to the cd. He sounds both like and unlike himself, to me, as his friend. It’s a great cd. You can listen to several of the songs online, so check it out.

And here’s some fun silliness for you. Terri, of Peauxdunque fame (where I also met Amy), had a back-and-forth with Neil Gaiman via Twitter about the local restaurant Green Goddess. Gourmands may know one of Green Goddess’s chefs Chris DeBarr for his own achievements. But literary folks like me know him as Poppy Z. Brite’s husband. Well, having eaten at Green Goddess with the Peauxdunque gang, I now know him as both chef and literary husband. Yum!

@neilhimself Lunch tomorrow at Green Goddess, NOLA. Jealous? 4:08 PM Mar 2nd

@TerriSusannah very much so. Mention the Mezze of Destruction and something nice might happen. about 1 hours ago in reply to TerriSusannah

 

@neilhimself If I could pronounce it, I would! 4:21 PM Mar 2nd

 

After seeing this back-and-forth, I followed Neil Gaiman on Twitter and was ecstatic when he talked about The Magnetic Fields, one of my favorite bands, and posted pics from behind-the-scenes at their Milwaukee show. I knew that Stephin Merritt (of The Magnetic Fields) was friends with David Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, but didn’t know about the Fields-Gaiman  connection.

@neilhimself: so jealous u’r seeing The Magnetic Fields & having lunch w Claudia! But I had lunch @ Green Goddess yesterday w @TerriSusannah

@emofalltrades jealous back. Did you ask for the mezze of destruction? 3 minutes ago in reply to emofalltrades

@neilhimself: we did! I took a picture – @TerriSusannah will probably post soon. Thank you for the code words. It was a wonderful lunch.

And just so I can end on an incredibly light, sweet (but slightly sour) note, I’d like to announce (from the rooftops, really) that Pinkberry is opening a New Orleans location!! You might remember that I begged Pinkberry to open a New Orleans location in a 2008 post after I visited New York. But Pinkberry, whhhhhhhhhhhhhhy aren’t you open yet?

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Filed under art, book news, books, bragging on, Friends, literature, movies, music, New Orleans, pop culture

The offBeat “lynchings” and apology

It’s so ingrained not to speak up. Don’t make waves. Don’t rock the boat. But despite the waves of anger, disappointment and frustration since yesterday after seeing the offBeat cover, I can’t regret talking about how this cover makes me feel and what it makes me think.

Today, it feels really good to see the outrage is shared. In the microcosm world of my coffee shop, I knew we all had negative, visceral reactions to the cover, but now the response is coming from other New Orleans media, from other cities and it’s so good to have company.

Jamey, of course, responded last night.

Today, I saw a response from the wonderful Missy Wilkinson in The Gambit. The comments here were fascinating.

[3.11.10: Recently, I heard privately from a musician friend and after our discussion, I’m not sure I was clear about one point here on this post. The phrase “offBeat lynchings” is not my own, though I used it in full knowledge that it would probably grab attention. “Offbeat lynchings” was one of the most popular search trends people used to find my blog and, I can only assume, other discussions of the March offBeat cover. I thought that might’ve been clear by the tweet below, where I addressed offBeat and let them know about the search trends I’d seen about the controversy. Sure enough, I believe it did encourage a response.]

After noticing the search trends on my stats page today, I tweeted offBeat (one of several tweets since yesterday):

@OffBeatMagazine: I think you should know people are searching “offbeat magazine lynchings” and “offbeat magazine racist march” today. about 2 hours ago via web

Around the same time as this tweet, offBeat linked to an online apology in three back-to-back tweets:

Please see our apology about this month’s cover: http://bit.ly/dgLXfw about 1 hours ago via web

@emofalltrades please see our apology: http://bit.ly/dgLXfw. we’re really sorry for the insensitive decision we made with our cover text about 1 hours ago via web in reply to emofalltrades

@jameyhatley please see our apology here: http://bit.ly/dgLXfw. we’re very sorry for the insensitive decision we made about 1 hours ago via web in reply to jameyhatley

offBeat‘s publisher and editor, Jan Ramsey commented on my first post about their cover today:

Everyone here realizes we made a huge mistake. But we have way too much respect for music and musicians to have run this cover as a means to create controversy. That’s just disgusting. Being accused of being racist is blowing this faux pas so out of proportion, it’s ridiculous. I resent OffBeat being labeled as racist by anyone. It’s obvious to me that you’re getting a big kick our of keeping this bullshit going. Ah, the venality of our public. For 23 years, I’ve busted my butt trying to create someting positive about local music in OffBeat…way before any other pub into town took music seriously. So dismissing what we’ve done with a quickie label of racism is taking a lot for granted and is just plain stupid when you consider 23 years of work. Too bad you’ve never written for us Emilie, as I am sure you would never make such an egregious error as this one, right? Our “black eye” (oops, was that racist?) is certainly generating more traffic for your blog, now isn’t it? Why don’t you let us apologize and get on with your blog?

Still dissatisfied with both the apology and Jan’s comment because neither address what the intentions behind the “Strange Fruit” title were, I responded:

Dear Jan,

Thanks for writing.

Yes, my response to your “faux pas” is driving traffic on my blog. As well as your website, your Twitter account and etc. While I regret giving so much attention to something so ugly, I had so many negative reactions to your cover that I felt I had to say something. As I state, part of the reason I was so offended is that I have always appreciated the quality of offBeat Magazine and I felt that you have let yourselves, and us, down.

While I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt that the cover was a “faux pas,” I find it really hard to believe that among the educated editorial panel, no one suggested this may be a problematic, controversial juxtaposition. I am happy to hear you say your intentions weren’t to incite controversy. I’d merely like to know what the intentions were.

Thank you for the link to your apology on Twitter, as well. I appreciate the thoughtfulness in the response. However, I’m still left with questions.

First, you say in your online apology, “We believed that in 2010, the phrase “strange fruit” could be used without automatically evoking the Billie Holiday song and its subject matter. This was an error in judgment for which we apologize.” I’m still left wondering what you wanted to evoke with the phrase “Strange Fruit,” and what connection you felt it had to the article inside?

Second, will there be a printed apology? Would you consider re-issuing the March issue with a less offensive and more appropriate headline? I believe that retracting and repairing a “faux pas” of this caliber should require a genuine and, if necessary, costly, effort to demonstrate good faith to readers and everybody associated with the magazine, including contributors, the musicians profiled and advertisers. Please tell us with your actions, as well as your words, that this will not happen again.

Again, I thank you for your response.

Emilie

As I’m writing this, a table of students at the coffee shop are talking about the cover, outraged. One guy stands up while the others sit, waving the March issue and explaining the song “Strange Fruit” to the others and its imagery about lynching. I hear one girl say, “How could they be so stupid?!”

Since I saw the cover yesterday, I have managed to work on my book and write a more light-hearted bragging on post. I tried to distract myself so that it wouldn’t consume all of my time and mind. But, as I told Jamey today on Twitter:

@jameyhatley: I had to keep a notebook by me till about 5 a.m. this morning b/c my mind was whrrrrrring. about 1 hours ago via web

I have never mentioned the band pictured on the cover by name, purposefully. I don’t want to contribute to their name popping up side by side in search engines with charged phrases like “offBeat lynchings.” The band has tweeted today about the cover and the apology.

@emofalltrades @jameyhatley I hope you are understanding that we are as equally perturbed as you are about this unfornuate situation. 6 minutes ago via Tweetie in reply to emofalltrades

Me to them:

so glad to hear from you! and so sorry you’ve been associated with this. you’ve been put in an untenable position. rock on! less than 10 seconds ago via web

I would like to, as Jan suggests in her comment, “get on with my blog,” which does not usually take on this tone. When my stomach stops churning from anger and frustration, when it somehow feels more appropriate, I’ll post the bragging on post because I enjoy celebrating rather than condemning. I hope this is my last post about this ugly matter.

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Filed under music, New Orleans, politics

Fess Up Friday (the short hair edition)

That’s right, I have chopped off my hair for Locks of Love, the official summer hair cut. When I get a pic I like, I’ll maybe switch it out so everybody can see. I’ve gotten “Amelie,” “retro,” and “babydoll” as comments, if that gives you any idea.

Wasn’t sick at all this week, but I did somehow lock myself out of my bedroom while I was in my pajamas. Thank goodness for those painters and their paint knife after my letter opener broke.

So, I’m doing better with cutting down on my t.v., though I did watch AI and I have to say that, all respect to Danny Gokey, but the voters got it right with Adam and Kris. And Kris! He totally showed Adam up, which I didn’t think was possible. I had just been saying that though I love both “Heartless” and “Blame It on the Alcohol,” both songs were pretty silly performed live on AI. A lot of posturing and rough negotiating with all of the synths or whatever. And as if he heard me, Kris performed an acoustic “Heartless.” Whoa! Freaking whoa! And not only was it just a freaking great arrangement, it also demonstrated how amazing the lyrics are (that was clear in the original, but with a stripped-down version, they just jumped out at you). So even though I was unfortunately wrong with the top 3, I was spot on about the top 2. And you know what? Kris could win this, he really could. And Adam’s gonna have an amazing career no matter what, so it’s all gravy.

But you know what I’ve been overdosing on this week? Reading! I read 3 young adult books in like 2 days. The last, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, I read pretty much straight through last night/this morning. Thought I’d read a chapter as I was trying to fall asleep and got so consumed with the story, just had to know what happened, that I read until I finished at 5:31 this morning. And of course, it’s the first in the series and of course the next isn’t coming out till September. Oh, how will I ever wait to find out what happens next? Somebody send me an ARC! So even though my site says I’m reading, The Song Is You and that is true, I’m usually reading like five or six things at once. But The Hunger Games. Seriously, read this book. It is inventive and brutal and gorgeous, about a future society in North America that sends 24 “tributes” from its 12 districts to fight until only one survives. I love how some of the best characters in these brutal future-society books (think John Marsden’s Tomorrow series) are kick ass girls like Ripley and Barbara.

The socializing – I’m still doing quite a bit of that. Drove up to Baton Rouge for an “Electric Ladies” lunch celebrating David Madden (see pic) and went to Bud’s Broiler for the first time and the Insectarium. Overall, however, I’m doing pretty good at saying no to invitations (sorry!!!! I promise I’ll be less of a hermit soon!!!).

But that’s enough about how I’m failing to use my time wisely. Let me update you on all the progress I’ve made.

New words:

5.10 = 1,547 (3 scenes)
5.11 = 3,179 (2 scenes)
5.12 = 613 (1 scene)
5.13 = 558 (1/2 scene)
5.14 = 599 (2nd 1/2 scene)

But it’s not all about new words. I actually generated a significant amount of new words and scenes since last October, in preparation for filling out the parts that needed more. I have one complete draft and lots of loose material to work with. So the greatest part of the work I’ve been doing has been splicing the new work and the old material together, or editing. So, how’s this for linear thinking – I made an enormous jump and I have about 180 pages “done.” I’ll continue with my splicing and hope to have a few days or a full week at the end to do one more pass to make everything connect and work the way I’d like it to. Makes the book sound like a machine, doesn’t it?

During all the test runs I’ve taken it on, the book is performing well. Just like a top-end sports car, purring and growling enthusiastically, just revving up to show off what it can do. A friend recently asked me how the writing was going and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t sigh and shake my head and offer a lot of excuses. I grinned and chirped, “Great!” And meant it. That feels so good.

Toni sponsored a book-giveaway on my blog. Someday I’ll be more democratic with my book-giveaways, but this time instead of making y’all work for it, I gave the books to people I knew would love them. So the copy of Allison Brennan‘s Sudden Death went to Pam Gauxtreaux and the copies of Toni’s first two books (they’re gonna be re-released this summer under new titles) went to Kristin Sanders.

So, to conclude, a few items that grabbed my attention this week:

This is a GREAT idea (Amazon to reprint books).

This makes me incredibly sad (Coconut Beach).

And this is fascinating (Dan Baum, New Yorker, a story told on Twitter).

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A catch up

If you follow me elsewhere (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or even [gasp] real life), you might’ve heard my plea recently for you to enforce a May 1st deadline for my book. Like the heroes that you are, you responded with threats, promises, treats, condolences, coffee and chocolate.

I never intended to be done May 1st. Instead, I was practicing with a deadline. The first draft of the book got finished when I cut off almost all human contact, locked myself in my house for 10 days subsisting almost entirely on Rockstar Energy Drink (I’m plugging it in the hopes that they’ll send me a free supply for my new deadline) and vegetables suggested by Steph. I had to finish that book, there was simply no other option. A lot of crap resulted, but a lot of sleep-deprived genius also happened. Okay, some sleep-deprived genius, a respectable percentage when you consider the vast amounts of crap.

I’m a lot closer to finishing this book than I allow myself to believe on a day-to-day basis and around the new year, I set myself a deadline of June 1st. So this is my for realz deadline and I hope you won’t feel punk’d, I really did need your help for the dress rehearsal. And I continue to need your threats, promises, treats, condolences, coffee and chocolate. Not to mention Rock Star and veggies.

In return, I pledge to:

-spend less time playing with music
-watch less t.v.
-refuse most of your offers of recreational activities
-take on the least amount of freelance work I can
-ignore this blog and all of you as much as possible.

But only for one month.

With any luck, there will be only one blog post for all of May and it will happen somewhere around the 30th and will say something along the lines of: We won! The book’s done!

And then I will sleep and spend time returning your calls and begin the process of sending the book to its new interim caretaker.

So, for perhaps the last time for a little while, here’s some stuff I’ve noticed recently:

Seth Grahame-Smith is inventive, crazy cool and now rich.

I’ve been saying for years that we needed this.

Stephenie Meyer rocks – sold 16% of all books last quarter and reminded us all what a writer with a fan base is capable of. In case we forget, I’m sure there’ll be another reminder from her soon. Perhaps a spin off featuring J. and R. (aka N.)???

Just to prove I read other things besides MediaBistro, passenger lands plane.

This is a bad idea, but makes a great point about the length of AI.

Wonder if you can get carpal tunnel of the thumbs from texting. Or heart attacks from the bills.

Angelina will star in movie(s) based on Patricia Cornwell’s series.

Ron Howard defends Angels&Demons. Hasn’t the Church figured out they’re the only reason anybody cares about this movie at this point? Audrey Tautou gone? Me too. Though at least it looks like the mullet’s also gone.

I have two desks, too. Have for years. It’s a good idea. If you count Cheers, I have more like three.

Note to self: Don’t marry another writer. Or at least make sure you can communicate very, very well before you do.

The Soloist. I dug the long music/color sequence. Admired the chutzpah of Joe Wright. Had other issues, but not that particular one.

‘Bout to be kicked outta Cheers, gotta run. Cheers.

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Post-graduate studies

Someone commented recently in a private response to my blog that, “You don’t talk about your writing as much as you used to…is this because you’re not writing?”

Yes and no. Yeah, that’s the answer.

I’m making HUGE strides and progress and then standing still. Trying to motivate myself without beating myself up. Having issues with authority (writing about about an elderly, gay, multiracial man can be a real bitch, you know, when you are none of these things yourself, and this is on top of wanting to represent the circus and New Orleans aspects of my book respectfully and accurately as well).

So here’s the answer to what’s going on with my writing at the moment: I’m doing rigorous post-graduate studies with Professors Hatley and Causey (both of whom have cool news on their sites – go read!) with numerous visiting lecturers that range from the baristas at Cheers to my new roommate to whatever music happens to catch my fancy.

I’m continuing with a bit of freelance work, as always, which I realize I’m extremely fortunate to do. For instance, recently met Louie Maistros at a local signing and had a lot of fun hanging out with him, his wife and friends before, during and after the show. Check out his book The Sound of Building Coffins. He’s got a Baton Rouge event this coming Sunday, as well as more New Orleans ones. I’m going to interview him soon for 225, so be on the lookout for that. Speaking of, the 225 feature on Clarence Nero will be out next month.

Always, the book is foremost. Even if I’m not talking about it. There are just gonna be times when it’s a lot more fun to talk about yummy media or President Obama being a die-hard Twitter tweeter. I may actually join now, just so I can follow his tweets.

While I don’t condone thievery, of course, this short piece was heart-warming because it reminded me that at least books are still considered valuable…

And maybe it doesn’t seem so relevant, but I promise this is: I looooove the NY Times’ Paper Cuts Blog and here’s a great quote from Karan Mahajan, the latest author to blog a soundtrack. “I was post-colonial and didn’t even know it….Before globalization, the English-speaking middle class [in India] trusted things that were “imported” more wholeheartedly anyway — a sort of colonial hangover. So we embraced [Freddie] Mercury like he was our own because we thought he wasn’t our own, even though he was our own.”

Care to speculate why it’s relevant?

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Technology Resistant

It’s time for a new post. Beyond time, probably. I stand by my accordion post, but I got a few emails about that one. LOL. Eh, at least you’re writing me.

So I recently described myself as technology resistant. I should clarify that I understand most technologies, especially the ones I need to become accustomed to as a writer and for jobs. You’re looking at the product of one, actually. And, I was a squealy squealy girl when my friend Mel plugged a dohicky cord into my MP3 player, attaching it to her car radio and we got to drive around South Louisiana to my favorite songs. Her iPhone is pretty fantastic, actually. She can solve trivia disputes, find the times for movies, get directions, play music, etc., all with a single tool.

I resist, resist, reeeeeeesiiiiisssst the iPhone, however. I acknowledge its greatness and this is WHY I resist it. Once you pop, you can’t stop. Every iPhone owner I know tells me this and I take one look at it’s glittery goodness and I know. I will be come THAT person, the one none of us can stand, who is addicted to technology and helpless without it. I purposefully buy the cheapest, least glorious phone I can find and limit all the bells and whistles. And you know, as much as I complained about my basic red Samsung, I have dropped that thing a million times and it’s still going strong. It’s so dinged, cracked and scratched nobody would steal it. I took that thing to Europe, to Russia, to New York and back. It did the trick.

And what about cell phones? It used to be, you screened calls if you didn’t want to talk to someone. “Oh, I wasn’t home.” But there is something about my cell phone answering that urges a Pavlovian response. I can’t bear to ignore the call. And I feel like, if I miss a call, I must respond very quickly. Texts have to be returned asap. I’m connected. Some of the happiest moments are when I forget my phone at home or in my car, except then I’m worried my car will break down and I can’t call for help…

The thing is, folks, I can’t even remember phone numbers anymore. I’m entirely reliant on the pre-programed numbers in my phone. I can remember two of my best friends’ parents’ phone numbers from like 10 years ago with barely any prompting, but I can’t tell you my last boyfriend’s phone number. Or my best friend’s. If I should upgrade to a shiny iPhone, how much more helpless and dependent will I become?

The other day, I struggled for 20 minutes to find phone numbers for a friend using Google, etc. I got the wrong person when I did find a potential number and she promptly opened up her phone book and gave me several helpful numbers. Her phone book. You know, old school, a book. That thing the phone company throws on your porch periodically.

Are we capable of keeping our McGuyver-like, practical, real-world skills as we allow machines to further simplify our lives? Somehow I doubt it.

Another friend (you shall remain safely anonymous) recently asked me sheepishly, “What does LMAO mean again?” We’re not even 30, so don’t call us fuddy-duddies, but the thing is, everything is changing so much faster now due to technology. Sometimes, that’s a cool thing. But more often, it’s bewildering. I find myself saying old-fashioned things like, “Can you turn that down? Do you know correct English? WHAAAAT?!!” quite often. I dream of cabins in the woods without electricity and plumbing, then I kinda shake myself and wonder, “But what would I DO? I’d miss Bones and American Idol. I couldn’t write after it got dark. And outhouses??”

I’m the girl who’s almost desperate to go on Survivor and has confessed to friends that I’d like to be turned into What Not to Wear (Stacy would kill me), except I don’t want to be on t.v. I don’t want my 15 minutes of fame, my blogger stardom. I remember thinking, as a kid, that one of the best things about being a writer was that, unless you were Stephen King, everyone could know your work and not know your face. It was possible for your name to be famous, but you could also go to the grocery store unaccosted. We’re all competing in a super-saturated market.

So how do we market ourselves and our work and still lead private lives? That IS the question. This world is getting faster and smaller and to me, often, scarier.

Take Google Earth, for instance. Ohhhh. Yesterday, I walked up to one of my neighbors at Cheers and he waved me closer to look at his computer screen. And there was… our street. My front door. Satellite images (not real-time, thank goodness) of our street. Up close and personal. It was cool, but I felt a wave of terror and revulsion. I got a bit distracted, back at my own table, by plugging every address from my address book into Google Earth. I was fascinated and really, really creeped out. And you know what? With every address I checked, except for one, I could see front doors, yards, cars, whole streets outside their houses like I was going to visit for lunch.

When did we stop asking, “Just because we can — should we?”

And structured controls of things like satellite imaging and say cloning can get scary too, cause then we’re looking at Big Government, Big Brother type situations. So I guess it comes down to each of us choosing to make active decisions. To try to remember phone numbers, to stop morbidly typing in every address we know into Google Earth. Hesitate. What’s wrong with that? Take your time. We don’t have to jump into everything without thinking about it first, evaluating how it makes us feel, how it may change our lives.

Sigh. So this post all came together because I accidentally got AIM. I signed up for a MapQuest account so I could save my searches and apparently, simultaneously signed up for AIM. This entire blog/rant began there and then I remembered everything that’s happened recently that also pinged the same technology anxieties.

How do we have a private life these days? Between MyFace (let’s go ahead and add AIM, OkCupid, Twitter into all of that) and Google Earth and our iPhones. Everything is connected and some days, that can be great. But it can get problematic. I’m looking for a job right now. All a prospective employer needs to do is type my name into a search engine and this blog comes right up. Perhaps my MySpace, as well. Instantly, they read this latest post “technology resistant” and they’re uncertain whether I can work a fax machine (I can), scan (yep) or probably even type (fastest fingers in the southeast, folks). Maybe they’re resistant to hiring me because I’m technology resistant.

The consequences of everything are harder to escape because the world is small and faster. There’s nothing wrong with being careful, using our problem-solving and analytical abilities to work out what feels right for us, how and when we’re going to invest in the McMyFace world.

Another thing that sparked this blog for me was watching a slideshow of “weird news images” and seeing a picture of a robot acting in a play with a woman. This isn’t where I saw it, but where I found it, second image down. Let me know what you think.

The whole technology issue is brought up in He’s Just Not That Into You, by Drew Barrymore’s character. Her technology stress and anxiety is eerily spot on, very valid. Also, watch the hysterical Top 10 Cliches (under videos) that has three of the male actors (Justin Long, Bradley Cooper and Kevin Connolly) playing girls in cliche romantic comedy scenarios. Very, very funny.

Also, from a little while ago (and wordsmith.org), A THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Myth: we have to save the earth. Frankly, the earth doesn’t need to be saved. Nature doesn’t give a hoot if human beings are here or not. The planet has survived cataclysmic and catastrophic changes for millions upon millions of years. Over that time, it is widely believed, 99 percent of all species have come and gone while the planet has remained. Saving the environment is really about saving our environment – making it safe for ourselves, our children, and the world as we know it. If more people saw the issue as one of saving themselves, we would probably see increased motivation and commitment to actually do so. -Robert M. Lilienfeld, management consultant and author (b. 1953) and William L. Rathje, archaeologist and author (b. 1945)

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