Sunday, January 29, 2006

Reach for the Stars

As a child, I wanted to grow up to be an astronaut. I read everything I could on space exporation, I had my own telescope, and used it so often. At Christmas, I would always get at least one book on astronomy. My room was decked out in models of Apollo spacecraft and one of each space shuttle.

On January 28, 1986, I was a student at Goddard Junior High in Midland, TX. I would spend my lunch hour in the library, like many other nerds. I walked into the library and the librarian, Mrs. Whitlaw, sat me down and told me the space shuttle had exploded during launch. The rest of the school day was a blur as I wanted to race home, which I did. I recorded and watched the news coverage over and over. This was my Kennedy Assasination. I was too upset to cry.
I had always enjoyed school, and even knew a teacher who had applied to the Teacher in Space program.
In my first real act of writing, I composed a poem for each of the astronauts. They were published in my hometown paper. In hindsight, they were atrocious, but what do you expect from an 8th grader?

As time went by, and I realized how much math I would have to take to even think about becoming an astronaut, I quietly gave up the quest. Instead, I began to look at my aunt Kathy, who was a teacher, for inspiration. Even though I got sidetracked, I have always felt a special affinity for teachers, and try to work with them whenever I can.

Every year, I would remember the Challenger Tragedy a little less, as life just kept on going. Yesterday, however, was the 20th anniversary of the launch and destruction of the shuttle, and you cannot turn on a tv without hearing something about it. As I write this, CNN is tunning a special on the life of Christa Mcauliffe.

All of the emotions of that 8th grader have come flooding back, and the sadness is palpable. I mourn for the loss of the astonauts, and feel for the families they have left behind.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Million Little Annoyances

Unless you live under a rock, you have been aware of the media storm surrounding James Frey and his 'memoir' A Million Little Pieces.
Thursday, Mr. Frey appeared on Oprah to discuss the fallout. I say discuss, however, a visibly upset Oprah did most of the talking. Oprah grilled him on every aspect of the book, while he squirmed under the scrutiny. Many times, she would have to ask the question more than once, and drag the answers out of him. And when she was done with Frey, Queen Oprah turned upon his publisher, Random House.

I watched this with the upmost interest, as the entire publishing industry would be affected by this. Like everyone else, I give props to Oprah for going live on national television and admitting she had been duped. (There are other public figures who could follow her example.)
I don't have much sympathy for Mr. Frey. I actually enjoyed watching him duck questions and get called on all the fabrications. Even after he got this hunk of fiction published as the truth, he had ample opportunity to come clean. When Oprah called to tell him his book was picked, when the Smoking Gun report appeared, On Larry King, or even on his own.

As a reader, I rely on the publishers and authors to tell me what is fact and what is not. I do not expect to go into the Biography section and get something fictional.

Look at Carrie Fisher. She writes autobiographical novels. We all know they are BASED on her life, but so much is expanded or embellished. However, we know that most of it is untrue, because they are placed in the fiction section. There were so many ways to avoid all of this.

You also have to take into account how many other writers will feel the consequence of these past few weeks. I am sure there will be great memoirs that will not get published, or authors that won't even get the time of day.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Which Stevie Nicks song are you?

Which Stevie Nicks song are you?

You're a fairly happy song. You're living life your way - and enjoying it.
Take this quiz!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I'll let you know when I look like this

Thanks to some time on my hands, some guidance from a friend, and an invitation from some co workers, I started yoga tonight. Two of the girls from work go every Monday and they invited me to go along. I was very nervous about my first class, so naturally I hovered near the girls. Of course, they set up their yoga mats at the very front of the class.
Everyone always talks about how hard yoga is, and they are right. I was amazed at how well I did, but I know my limitations and didn't push myself too hard. There were times I had to just stop and go into fetal position to catch my breath. You may not move very fast, but you do get your heart rate up and work up a sweat. After the class, the instuctor and my two friends told me how well I did, which is a nice way to say they all realized I have a way to go...

In other news, John Grogan (Marley & Me) has agreed to do a signing in one of my stores in Kentucky next month. This is a major coup for me and my new position, as initially he was not booked. We were able to slide him in at the last moment. Anyone who is a dog person should read this book and meet him any time you can.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Gay Church

I have joined the Gay Church, or as most people call it, The Gym.

I joined on Saturday, but my first workout session with my trainer isn't until Wednesday, so I figured I could walk on the treadmill for the time know, get my heart rate up and all that. So for the past three days I have donned my cute outfit, plugged in my MP3 player and done a brisk walk at a slight incline.
What I failed to realize was that the Gay Gene would kick in and I would start strutting in time to the new Madonna CD and wrap things up with the live version of the classic Nicks hit 'Standback' the Mother of All Treadmill Songs. I am sure the other patrons think I am doing a bad Naomi Campbell runway walk, but I tell you, it does get my heart racing.
I have also learned to keep my hands gripping the sides of the treadmill, lest I start gesturing like Lady Bunny after a few too many.
The gym is open very late, so I can go in at 8 or so, when it's not so crowded...I bet if I got in even later, I could actually sing along and no one would be there to notice!!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Go Fish

One thing you get used to with a birthday that falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the fact that it tends to get lost in the shuffle. If you recall from my Birthday Post, I had a great one this year, even though I was away from Tom. I had a cocktail party thrown in my honor as well as the rest of the stuff I won't bother recapping here.
So it was quite the surprise when I got to work today to find a tiara and wand on my desk, along with a card from all my coworkers. Several people were out of the office on my birthday and they wanted to make it up to me, along with Jackie and Sean, whose birthdays also fall into that nebulous Tween The Holidays area.
We each got a card and were treated to lunch at this fantastic little hole in the wall diner. On top of that, our boss, Ed let us take the afternoon off to go and see Brokeback Mountain, as it just opened here. I won't give my review here, suffice it to say I Loved It. I don't recommend seeing it with your entire office, but I am glad I was with a group of people.
After the picture, we went back to the office for cake, and I wore my tiara at my desk for the hour or two I stayed to work, which ended up being even more embarassing, as I forgot it was on when I went to the men's room. The wand must have been faulty, as
We felt very taken care of, and it came at a time when my ego needed stroking a little.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The night the Trojans failed

One of the drawbacks of being a Regional Book Buyer is the need to have some awareness of what's going on in Sports. I HATE sports. Yes, I know that is a stereotype, but it's true. Now, movies featuring scantily clad jocks, I am all over, but actual sports, nah.
So it was a mild surprise when I realized I had a professional stake in The Rose Bowl. You see, if The University of Texas won, I would be spending half my day buying 'instant' books on their win and sending them to our stores in Texas. Well, that was just too much work for me to handle. I had better things to do with my time, such as pester authors to do book signings and gossip.
Well, the USC Trojans put up a good fight, but were creamed by the Longhorns. Which was doubly upsetting when it dawned on me that the USC marching band figured prominently in the Fleetwood Mac video for 'Tusk.'

Monday, January 02, 2006

2006 Entertainment News

Instead of New Year's Resolutions, I thought I would share things I would like to see happen in the entertainment industry in 2006:

Olivia Newton John's boyfriend will be found. He has been secluded in an undisclosed location writing Zanna Don't, the sequel to Xanadu. (10 point for anyone who can relate this back to Queen Eye for the Straight Guy)

The Spice Girls will finally put aside their differences and do a reunion tour to benefit Tragically, Scary Spice, (the lone holdout on the abortive reunion for Live 8) is killed when her platform shoes break in mid jump, and she crashes into a speaker.

Bob, Ted, Carol and Alice will be remade with Brad, Vince, Angelina, and Jennifer, better known as Brangelina Vaugniston.

Patti LuPone and Betty Buckley will star in the stage musical 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane' for Andrew Lloyd Webber. Tempers will flare when they are replaced for the Broadway run by Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. (On a side note, the planned film version is scrapped when stars Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler clash over Barbra's desire to direct the film.)

Stevie will finally write her autobiography and go on a coast to coast booksigning tour. When she graces one of my stores with her presence, she is blown away by my abilities as an event coordinator. I am then hired as her personal assistant.