Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pub Day!


They say the Facebook posts explode on pub day...
They say there's desperation in the air...
But when you refresh Amazon
And your book's not at number one*
Frustration sets right in and you're nowhere....

*pronounced "Juan" for rhyming purposes

 They say that Twitter treats you fine on pub day....
But looking at it just gives me the blueeeeeees
'Cause how you gonna make the Times
When all you got are subpar rhymes**
And supbar rhymes won't even buy your booze

**I'm just being mean, these are par

For those whoa are not fans of smooth jazz soul ballads about becoming a Broadway star, that was a parody of "On Broadway," which I first fell in love with when it was used in the soundtrack of 1988's Big Business, when Roone is riding a Greyhound bus from Jupiter Hollow to New York, wearing very tight jeans.

But I digress.

It's PUB DAY! Which means my new book, LIKE NO OTHER, is finally out in the world. You can find links to buy it from the online retailer of your choice at the top right of the sidebar, or you can walk into a regular bookstore like you've got legs and you know how to use 'em. Or you can be lazy and wait for me to put the links right here in the post because I know that's what I'd want:







Thank you so much for all of your support and tolerance of this self-promotion. Even though I rarely blog these days, I'll never forget this is where it started, and that without you guys I'd just be some pantsless troll searching the internet each day for Andrew Shue memorabilia.

Oh... wait.
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Friday, May 2, 2014

LIKE NO OTHER news: McNally Jackson event and signing July 24!

Hi guys,

My latest YA novel (which just got a starred review in Publisher's Weekly, something I'm pretty sure would have been impossible for my mom to plant) comes out July 24, and to celebrate, I'll be appearing at McNally Jackson Books in SoHo to read, make awkward chit-chat, sign copies, etc.

If you live in or near New York City and can make the trek, I would LOVE to see you. And if you can't make it for geographical-, schedule-, or longstanding grudge-related reasons, you can pre-order a signed, personalized* copy from McNally Jackson using this link.

Thanks! You may now return to your regularly scheduled Friday afternoon time-wasting.

*All personalization requests will be granted, no matter how uncouth. 90s pop culture references accepted and ENCOURAGED.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Celebrity Autobiographies That Need to Exist for the Good of Humanity


Bacon Bits, by Kevin Bacon
I mean, duh. This is a no-brainer, like Geiss Cubes from 30 Rock.

Woah is Me: Blossom-ing Out of My Shell, by Joey Lawrence
Am I the only one waiting for this? You know what, don’t answer that.

I Once Got Busy in a Burger King Bathroom, by Humpty Hump
Sells itself, plus bonus fast-food advertising tie-in.

Barack The Boat: Paddleboating With POTUS
I’m envisioning a coffee table book with lots of glossy photos of Barry in cut-off shorts.

You Can’t Spell Tyranny Without TYRA, by Tyra Banks.
Optional subtitle: … or Tranny!

Duckie Tales--OR!--Cryer me a River, by Jon Cryer
He worked with Charlie Sheen for eight years. Let the man tell his stories.

Ione Have Skyes For You, by Ione Skye
I may be taking this a little far.

Any of the following by Tori Spelling:

PurgaTORI 
Public lavaTORI 
Rectal supposiTORI 
NoninflammaTORI Gastroenteritis 
Finding the cliTORIs
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Monday, April 21, 2014

My Writing Process--Not That You Asked!

Last week I featured Patty Chang Anker on the #MyWritingProcess blog tour, and now it's my turn! Gird your loins and grab some Tootsie Rolls. This will be only semi-educational, I promise.

What am I working on? 

The following sentence would make the teenage Una experience a debilitating euphoria not felt since Allison Parker kissed Billy Campbell at the end of episode 29 of season one of Melrose Place: I’m in various stages of writing three different books. My second young adult novel, Like No Other (which you can pre-order here!), comes out July 24 from Razorbill (Penguin’s YA imprint), and right now I’m doing early publicity, like speaking at schools and libraries, as well as awaiting the final manuscript to approve before it goes to print. My book of comic essays, Unabrow, is with a copy editor at Plume (coincidentally, another Penguin imprint) as I type this, and I’ll be getting a galley to look at in the next month. It won’t come out until late March 2015, but publishing houses generally start working on promotion and publicity at least 6-8 months ahead of time… which explains why so often, I hear friends and family members say, “Wait, that didn’t come out yet? You’ve been posting about it for what feels like my entire adult life.” (I choose to hear this as a compliment rather than a complaint.) Finally, I’m very excited about a third YA novel, also with Razorbill, that I’ll be starting to write in May, for publication in the fall of 2015, but since I haven’t signed the contract yet I can’t share more details right now.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

It’s my firm belief that the primary (and sometimes the only) thing that distinguishes one creative work from the next is the author’s voice and point of view. Back in college, I remember my film professor telling our class that there are really only about 10 different plots in movies when you break them down to their bones, and that the important thing isn’t about coming up with an idea that no one else has ever had before (a feat which, in today’s over-saturated market, is close to impossible), but to tell the story in a way that no one else could. And that was a HUGE relief to me, because we all have an authentic, original voice and point of view, which means that we are all capable of writing--or painting, or photographing, or dancing, or whatever--in a way that hasn’t been done.

That said, I’d like to think that what distinguishes my young adult writing is that I balance out the angst and drama (which, let’s face it, are the two most important ingredients in most stories set amidst the emotional minefield of post-adolescence) with wit and humor. I think that we don’t give teenagers credit for being able to appreciate the humor inherent in the fumbling path to adulthood. As far as my humor writing goes, again, I hope what distinguishes me is simply my voice and my way of interpreting and reflecting on life experiences in a way that other people can relate to and laugh at. I haven’t had a particularly exceptional life on paper. I haven’t had crazy experiences or terrible tragedies. I am awed and humbled by people who do have extraordinary circumstances and incredible stories to tell, but I’m happy to just write about universal stuff like unrequited crushes, althletic humiliations, and wondering if the people behind you in line at the drug store are judging you for buying wart removal pads and a double-feature DVD of My Girl and My Girl 2 that was on sale for $4.99.

Why do I write what I do? 

This photo should, much like Clarissa Darling,  explain it all.
I write humor because it's the lens through which I can best understand and process my own life. This is not to say that I don’t take things seriously, or that all I do in real life is crack jokes. In fact, I yell a lot at inanimate objects and cry probably more than is normal. No, what I mean is that seeing the humor in awkward or painful moments helps me to cope with them. To be honest, I never imagined I would write fiction, but now that I’m doing it I want to keep doing it for as long as people will let me. I love writing YA, even though it sometimes makes me feel old. It lets me exercise a different creative muscle, get my head out of my own ass (writing exclusively about your own life can make you into an insufferable narcissist if you’re not careful), and it gives me the chance to reach someone who, like me, might have more books/pimples than friends. I know I’ll never be Judy Blume, but if I can make a kid laugh during a shitty week, or make someone connect to a character in one of my books in a way that makes them feel normal and understood, or see a window to a future in which high school won’t define them anymore, that’s good enough for me.

How does my writing process work? 

It’s chaos, I won’t lie. I wrote my first book (Five Summers--out in paperback soon!) when my son was 6 months old, and basically I would write during his naps and after he went to sleep. I was stressed and exhausted all the time, and I freaked out on a daily basis. By the time I wrote my second novel I had a slightly better grip on how to manage my time, but as a full time stay-at-home, work-when-I-can-hide-in-the-bathroom-during-Blue’s-Clues parent, I still make it up as I go. Generally, I will create an outline or loose structure for a book first, either a series of paragraph-long chapter summaries or, in the case of Unabrow, a grid I taped to the wall and covered with Post-Its like a cray-cray Carrie Mathison.

The only difference is that my office isn't nearly this clean and Mandy Patinkin almost never visits.

Then I’ll make a schedule for a first draft over the course of about 12-16 weeks, and then I crack open some wine and place myself at my editors' mercy. I now have babysitters in the mornings for three to four hours, so I do the bulk of my writing then. I still work during naps and at night, but I’ve discovered that my creative brain isn’t very functional post-8 pm, so whenever I can I take nights off. I do work on weekends whenever my husband takes our son on an outing, but I don't write at the same time every day and--get ready to have a heart attack--I don't even write every day. Almost all writers will tell you that you HAVE to write, EVERY DAY, to WORK ON YOUR CRAFT, or else you are NOT A REAL WRITER. But riddle me this, Jonathan Safran-Foer: does a brain surgeon operate on brains every day? Does a rocket scientist science rockets every day? Does a plumber plumb every day? And is he not still a plumber, nay, the best plumber of his generation? OK, fine maybe not the best, but he's still a plumber. Which is my point.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, whether you are a writer, an aspiring writer, not a writer at all, or (fingers crossed) Inigo Montoya clicking a Google alert on his own name.

To continue the #MyWritingProcess tour, I am tagging:

SUSAN GLOSS

Susan's debut novel, Vintage, was published in March! Booklist said that she should have "a built-in fan base for this book-club-worthy story of redemption, healing, and love." She also writes every Wednesday at The Debutante Ball, a blog for debut authors. Find out more at susangloss.com.

LEILA HOWLAND

Leila is the author of Nantucket Blue and the forthcoming Nantucket Red, which are set on the titular Massachusetts island but are so, so much more than beach reads. Her debut not only garnered a starred review in Publisher's Weekly, but also praise from The New York Times. THE NEW YORK TIMES. Follow all of her awesomeness at leilahowland.tumblr.com.

(Sorry for the delay tagging a second author; apparently I can't get my shit together. Which is really the overriding theme of my writing process, so we've come full circle.)

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Patty Chang Anker on Her Nervy Creative Process #MyWritingProcess Blog Tour

I'm so excited to be a part of this month's #MyWritingProcess Blog Tour, where writers from across genres and continents talk about how they write. Today I'm featuring the incredible Patty Chang Anker, one of my costars in Listen To Your Mother, whose debut book, Some Nerve: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave, was called "downright inspiring" by Oprah.com (OPRAH! DOT COM!), and was chosen as a Book of the Day by Elizabeth "Eat Pray Love" Gilbert.


As a fellow non-genetically-predisposed-to-bravery (let's not say coward, shall we?) woman, I so identified with Patty's struggle, and it didn't hurt that she wrote with incredible warmth and humor. I cannot wait to see what she tackles next!

OK, enough fangirling out; now I'll let Patty take over in her own words (she has a way with them...)

What am I working on? 

Right now I’m working on blog pieces for PsychologyToday.com (about overcoming anxiety during the learning process), BikingtheBigApple.com (about Team #SomeNerve training for the TD Five Boro Bike Tour), and Facing Forty Upside Down (about finding community as a way to fight fear). I’m also preparing a talk, and drafting content for the paperback of Some Nerve. The long term thinking, working, revising a book length project have turned into quick turnarounds for shorter pieces, mostly about how to apply the “lessons learned while becoming brave” in our lives. It’s fun to take the stories from the book out into the world.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My work is part immersion memoir, part journalism, part self-help. It’s different from most memoir because it’s set in the present and is as much focusd on other people as me. It’s different from most journalism in that while I do often observe classes, therapy sessions, and other interactions without interfering and I do interview experts in traditional settings, I also actively participate at times. I will introduce someone with a fear of driving to a driving instructor, or take friends with a fear of heights to a ropes course. I set story lines in motion without knowing what’s going to happen and then write about what does. And it’s different from most self-help in that the information, whether it’s techniques from Toastmasters or psychological approaches used by therapists, is related by what it’s like for me or others to experience these things and not through case studies or tip sheets.

Why do I write what I do? 

I write what I need to read. I need to acknowledge all the crazy talk in my head, poke a little fun at myself, figure out how to find strength to push forward when I’m scared, have enjoyable--even peak--experiences more often, find out how other people tick, imagine being different tomorrow from today, and then commit all of this in writing so that my girls will remember me as more than “Mom sure was tired.” I’ve been through many periods of feeling alone--and I write to reach anyone else who feels that way, to tell them it’s ok, come out into the sunshine, come laugh with us and we’ll become brave together.

How does my writing process work?

For quick short pieces I write well during the day while the kids are at school but for the book, the old “butt in chair” and “writing is a job show up for your job” or “every day set a timer produce X number of words” advice didn’t work at all. I found the enormity of writing 100K coherent words on deadline overwhelming, and when things needed to be done for the house or the kids once interrupted I couldn’t pick up again. I was so consumed by what I call my Greek Chorus of Perpetual Doubt--“You can’t do this, you don’t know how, another day is gone, tick, tick TICK”--showing up for my job left me exhausted and actually steps behind from where I was the day before. I realized I needed to forge my own way, which was to focus on research until I felt ready to write. This took 8 months out of the 14 I had before my deadline and was nerve wracking. I’ve always performed best close to deadline but it’s one thing to do that for a term paper, it’s another for an entire book! But I’m glad I allowed myself to just be in the field because once you’ve fully absorbed the experiences the stories take root and the brain makes connections to other stories from your past and before you know it elaborate plots with fully developed characters are alive and begging to come out. Once I was ready I wrote when I felt most free to write – at night when I was least likely to be interrupted, when everyone else’s needs were met and I wasn’t expected to be productive. I wrote until 4 in the morning, alone and in the dark but laughing and weeping with all these people I’d grown to care so much about, remembering incredible stories of them at their most courageous, feeling less alone than I’ve ever felt.

So much of writing is getting out from under the guilt that we should be doing something else, or we should be doing this a whole lot better. I say wherever and whenever you can push through that secret bookcase that leads you to a hidden room where you feel most free, that’s where and when to write.

***

Patty tagged me (obviously), and Ava Chin, a native New Yorker who is the author of Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal (coming in May), which Kirkus Reviews called “A delectable feast of the heart.” The Urban Forager blogger for the New York Times, her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Saveur, the Village Voice, and Martha Stewart online. She blogs about foraging, green living, and DIY-food at www.AvaChin.com.

I'll be posting my own answers (and tagging more kick-ass writers) next Monday, so come on back, y'all, ya hear?
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Sunday, April 6, 2014

How to Wish Someone a Happy Birthday on Facebook and (Maybe) Not Sound Like a Douchebag

Disclaimer: I wrote this a few years ago, but since my birthday is coming up next week, and I've been riddled with guilt from not wishing OTHERS a happy birthday on Facebook, it's been on my mind.


Once upon a time, when a family member, close friend, or loved one celebrated a birthday, you were expected to send them a card. In the MAIL. That you wrote a personal message in. And bought a stamp for. Okay, seriously, stop laughing.

Then, e-cards absolved us of the oh-shit-grandma’s-birthday-is-TODAY guilt. Plus, phone calls were still valuable emotional currency. And maybe I’m just unspeakably rude, but it’s gotten to the point where I only call blood relatives on their birthdays. Close friends might get texts if I remember, but EVERYONE gets a Facebook message.

Why? Well, partially because without Facebook’s upper righthand corner, I would never know when anyone’s birthday actually was. And also because the Facebook Happy Birthday has become the lowest common denominator of affection. It’s so easy (now you don’t even have to go to the person’s wall–the message box appears right on your homepage!) and you’re already there–so, really, unless you have a legitimate reason to hate the person whose birthday it is, you’re basically obligated to throw your uninspired well-wishes onto the pile.

BUT WHAT TO WRITE? You’ve got some options:

1. THE CLASSIC

Happy Birthday!

(Of course, you can lowercase the B if you want. Get crazy. A single exclamation point is standard. If you don’t use any punctuation, you look like a serial killer, just FYI.)

2. THE INTIMATE CLASSIC

Happy Birthday, Mike!

(This proves you took the time to glance at the person’s name and retype it. This obviously makes you and Mike BFFS, and straight-up schools the impersonal Classic writers.)

3. THE OVEREAGER INTIMATE CLASSIC

Happy Birthday, Mike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope it’s a GREAT ONE, BUDDY!!!!!!!!!

(I pity these fools, but at the same time, I get it. Say you really ARE besties with Mike? How are you supposed to distinguish yourself from the other people who so thoughtfully included his correctly-spelled first name, other than have the most exclamation points, plus a generic message of goodwill? Oh! Maybe…)

4. THE INTIMATE CLASSIC, NICKNAME EDITION

Happy Birthday, Mikey Skidmarks!

(Yeah, in your face, sycophants. Nobody knows Mike like I do.)

5. THE RSVP 

[Insert any of the previous greetings here]. Can’t wait to douse you in Jager bombs on Friday!

(Nothing says love like a passive-aggressive intimation that you are invited to someone’s party and the rest of these poseurs aren’t.)

6. THE MINIMALIST

hbd

(This is the James-Spader-in-Pretty-in-Pink of FB birthday messages: cool, pretentious, with a cigarette hanging from its lips and a sneer of superiority. What has two thumbs and only had to use one of them to type Mike’s birthday message? This guy.)

7. THE ARTIST

H
A
P
P
Y

:-D

B
I
R
T
H
D
A
Y
!
!
!

(Someone always has to get fancy. Yeah, thanks for making me scroll down for this vertical version of what everyone else already wrote, asshat.)

8. THE NO-SHOW

[...]

(I take it all back. Who says you have to write on Mike’s wall for his birthday? Maybe you didn’t check Facebook today, because you were too busy waiting on line at the post office to send him a card. Retro is so hot right now, just look at Instagram! And hey, when he gets it sometime next month, he’ll know you care the most. Definitely more than that d-bag with the Jager bombs.)

NEXT TIME: How to Memorialize a Dead Celebrity on Facebook and (Maybe) Not Sound Like A Douchebag. Hint: Do not express shock and awe that the person in question wasn't already dead. 
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Monday, March 3, 2014

Brief But Important Lessons From the 2014 Oscars

1. Formal Khaki is the New Black


I am admittedly biased, because "white person flesh" is my least favorite Crayola shade, but here's a new party game: See if you can distinguish Angelina Jolie from a jaundiced polar bear, or Cate Blanchett from a pair of honey beige control top pantyhose! Winner gets all the flan they can eat in one sitting.

2.  This Was the Year of the TuxedNO


Before you say anything, yes, there is a time and place for a white tux--it is 1977 on Fantasy Island. There is also a time and place for a red tux, and it is on the decaying body of Beetlejuice at his wedding to Lydia Deetz (which incidentally ends with him being eaten by a Sandworm). There is no time nor place for formal jams, Pharrell, I don't care how much "Happy" makes me dance.

3. Liza Don't Give a Fuh


As someone might say in the mid-nineties, or as my mom would still say to this day, "You go, girl."

4. BREAKING NEWS: John Travolta is not gay!!!!


Because what self-respecting homosexual man can't pronounce Idina Menzel? Case--and closet--closed.
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Most Important Frosted Mini Donut Taste-Test Of All Time (Also Possibly The Only Frosted Mini Donut Taste Test Of All Time)

Well, hellooooo, friends who succumbed to my insane social media pressure to click on this link. Since I've been AWOL since late December, I don't expect that many people are refreshing the ol' SaCu (which is a nickname I just made up, pronounced sack-uh) on the regular anymore.

But that all changes now. Because I just ate 30 mini frosted donettes and I'm here to tell the tale.

Why, you ask?

I guess I could say it's for the good of humanity, and that I just want my fellow wo/man's each and every frosted mini donut experience to reach the pinnacle of its incredible potential. But really, I finished my first draft of Unabrow and I'm waiting for notes and I have nothing better to do. Incidentally this may also be why I've been conducting late-night searches for "Reality Bites outfit" and "crop tops for middle age" on Etsy.

I have long had a love affair with frosted mini donuts. I think it's because they combine chocolate and smallness. I find smallness to be key in my ideal binge-eating experience, because the smaller a foodstuff is, the more of it you can eat without coming off as totally disgusting. It's a special mind trick, both for yourself and for others. Like, if I eat two King-size Twix bars, I feel like Jabba the Hut, but I can eat eighteen miniature Twix bars and maintain the illusion that I am a delicate flower.

The same principle applies to donuts. Normal-sized donuts aren't bad--not by a long shot--but mini donuts are fucking cute. Just look at them; how could a sweet little nibble like that cause heart disease or obesity? They're like kittens, except even more adorable:

My inspirational poster, forthcoming on Etsy.
Now, yes, I know I could have just stuffed my face in private and shut up about it, but in my planning I realized that my pointless gluttony might just be legitimized if it were presented as a "blog post" rather than a "cry for help." (Also, I can write off the $14.94 I spent on materials. Stickin' it to the man!!)

Oh, and you know what else legitimizes it? Lab report format. BOOM.

QUESTION I'M TRYING TO ANSWER:
1) Which brand of rich frosted (i.e. chocolate-drenched) mini cake donut is best; 2) Can 150 grams of sugar and 45 grams of saturated fat consumed over a ten minute period cure my Seasonal Affective Disorder?

HYPOTHESIS:
1) They probably all taste pretty much the same, meaning unbearably delicious; 2) Maybe? At the very least I should get sleepy.

MATERIALS:
  • 1 sleeve Hostess Frosted Donettes
  • 1 bag Little Debbie Mini Frosted Donuts
  • 1 bag Tastykake Rich Frosted Mini Donuts
  • 1 box Entenmann's Rich Frosted Mini Donuts
  • 1 sleeve Entenmann's frosted donuts (different! smaller!)
  • 1 bag Nice! Frosted Mini Donuts
  • Milk (palate cleanser)
  • Posterboard
  • Knife
  • Jeff (optional)
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Ennui
  • Shame
Wait, scratch that last item. I forgot to bring shame.

PROCEDURE:
I stored the donuts in the fridge until all brands were present and accounted for. (Full disclosure, there are other brands of frosted mini donut--notably Freihofer's, Mrs. Freshley's, and a few obscure smaller companies with names like Bunny and Dolly and Lady Linda--but I stopped short of ordering them online; I only used brands I could find locally, because apparently my particular brand of food fetishism has city limits.) I allowed them to come to room temperature, and then had Jeff place the donuts on an arena I had pre-prepared so that I wouldn't be bringing any of my preconceived notions or prejudices about our nation's larger baked goods chains into my super scientific analysis.

As may be obvious from the title, I took it super seriously.
But after consuming five donuts I realized there was a sixth brand I'd forgotten in the fridge, so I had to re-do the whole thing. Because, science.


(This one has more of a noir feel because I had to wait until nightfall, after Sam had gone to sleep, because if he saw me eating "assert" without him, he would have lost his damn mind.)

Anyway, first, I took physical measurements and notes on external appearance. For this segment of the experiment I pretended I was Mariska Hargitay on Law & Order: SVU, examining a body.

Next, I cut each donut in half and observed the inner cake. Using milk in between bites, I used one half of each donut to conduct independent taste tests of frosting and cake and recorded my notes. I then ate the other halves of the donuts in order to judge the taste as a whole. Then I ate all of the remaining donuts while watching Parks & Recreation on Hulu and drinking wine.

[Imagine Barry White playing]
In giving each donut a score, I took into account size (smaller being better for reasons stated above), beauty, the flavor/quality of the frosting, and the flavor/quality of the cake, and the crucial, final, mouthfeel and taste of everything together. I also did some serious reflection on my priorities, but chose not to write those notes down.

RESULTS:

Here is a purely mathematical presentation of my findings on a scale of 1 to 6, with 1 being the best and 6 being the worst:


But the true Mathletes among you may realize that the averages don't add up; in other words, I based my final, overall rankings not on the numbers, but on a certain je ne sais quoi otherwise known as my mouthbrain.

I will now defend my choices, in reverse order.

#6: Entenmann's, small version
I had high hopes for these, first of all because I just assume Entenmann's is fancy--Why, though? Why is this? You can find them in every echelon of grocery store, from Stop & Shop to my local bodega, the one which is filled 10 am to midnight with middle-aged men smoking cigarettes indoors while playing the scratch-off lotto. How did Entenmann's fool me into hero worship?--and also because they were hands down the most attractive donuts of the bunch, perfectly round with a cute, sphincter-y hole and evenly coated with thick, dark frosting. Unfortunately, the individual taste tests revealed that said frosting was sweet but had almost no discernible chocolate. The cake was also bland city. And for some reason, when combined the donut had a weird, off-putting flavor that I couldn't pinpoint.

(BTW, just in case I have tricked you so far into thinking this post has any valuable takeaway, or you are an Entenmann's exec weeping into your pecan danish ring, this was Jeff's #1 donut. So apparently I know nothing.)

#5: Little Debbie
The good news for Little Debbie is that her inner donut is aces; I thought this was the best-tasting cake of the bunch. The bad news is that otherwise she is a pockmarked outcast who reeks inexplicably of cinnamon. This donut looked like a regurgitated turd compared to the eye-blinding beauty of Entenmann's, with a topography like one of Edward James Olmos' cheeks covered only in a thin, watery frosting that tasted more like cinnamon than chocolate.

#4: Nice!
You can tell Nice! isn't going to be good based on the name alone. First of all, there's the exclamation point--amateur overkill--and then the word choice. "Nice." How was the sex with your date last night? It was... nice. No, it wasn't. It was terrible and you're just being polite. You can't tell whether the word "nice" is a compliment or a sarcastic put-down unless you know the tone. And I have the feeling the people behind Nice! were being sincere, but also maybe that English is not their first language? Anyway, Nice! is pretty Meh! Thick, plastic-tasting frosting, stale donut, bigger than all but one of the other competitors, thereby robbing me of my ability to feel dainty while eating them by the wagonful.

#3: Entenmann's, big n' tall version
These are the Andre the Giant of mini donuts, twice the size of any of their miniature brethren, so I had to remove points right away, despite their enticingly polished presentation and the sensual crunch upon tooth-frosting contact that sets off my most secret, mostly Cheetos-triggered pleasure center. What relegated this to the #3 spot was a cloying sweetness in the frosting and a citrus-y aftertaste in the cake, which was a tad too light for my liking, dissolving almost immediately in my mouth. I like my donuts like I like my men--stocky and hard to bite through.

#2: Tastykake
OK, so the sixth brand I forgot about in the original study? This one. So in the interest of full disclosure I should admit that I really half-assed the second set of data. I didn't section the Tastykake and pick it apart, because--deep breath--I'm not actually a scientist, I'm just a girl, standing in front of six bags of donuts, asking them what I'm doing with my life. So I just took bites of all of the other samples and then ate a Tastykake and tried to rank it that way. And it stood up well. The frosting is really rich and strong, almost a dark chocolate flavor, which sets it apart right away, and the cake is dense but not stale. Philadelphia, you can't spell, but you're onto something here.

#1: Hostess (with the mostess)
In the individual tests, I gave Hostess the worst cake flavor rating, because it had a sort of stale, licorice-y aftertaste. But then I gave it the best frosting rating, since its coating was the only one that actually tasted like real chocolate frosting you might buy from the naked Pillsbury Doughboy. And wouldn't you know, it turns out you can have your assy cake and eat it, too, as long as the frosting's yummy, because hot damn, this one was the BEST. I should have known the company who trademarked the word "donette" knew what they were doing. Also, the donette is the smallest mini donut of all, so a sleeve of six is basically like a bunch of organic kale, calorically-speaking.

CONCLUSIONS:

  1. I need to start working again soon. Really soon.
  2. Contrary to my long-held and totally disgusting prejudice, all mini frosted donuts are NOT "basically the same." In fact they were totally distinctive, and some of them when compared to the others aren't very good at all.
  3. I will still buy the not good ones, though, as long as they're there.
  4. Jeff and I may have to reevaluate our relationship based on The Entenmann's Parallax. Incidentally that will be the name of the movie based on the book I write about our contentious, snack food-fueled divorce.
  5. You know what? I AM pretty sleepy.

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

10 Fail-Proof New Year's Resolutions


1. Wake up hungover on January 1st and immediately ruin your planned juice cleanse with a Denny’s Grand Slam.

2. Continue to write previous year on checks through October.

3. Unsuccessfully attempt to save a gif file.

But if you do manage to save one, make it this one.

4. Once a month, make online reservation for a yoga class. Then cancel at 2 am the night before, 3/4 of the way into a bottle of Chardonnay.

5. Curse more extensively upon opening phone bill.

6. Take more accidental iPhone videos of people standing still, posing for a photo, while shouting “Why isn’t it taking it???”

7. Watch four episodes of Law & Order: SUV in a row while drunkenly Tweeting.

8. Mispronounce John Boehner’s last name on purpose.

9. Make ill-advised impulse purchase in the checkout line at Best Buy.

10. Wash something dry clean only.

May your 2014 be marked by health, wealth, happiness, and Beyonce manifesting in your living room to personally deliver your stuffed-crust pizza from behind her left ear.
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Off the Rails

A silent film starring a mother, a toddler, a Northeast Regional Direct, and crappy, low-light iPhone photos. (Note to potential investors: I'm still finessing the tag line.)


















































FIN.

(But seriously, WTF is up with my face? It looks like my Scooby Doo mask is coming off. I hope Santa knows a good dermatologist.)
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