Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Years Later, She Still Wondered Why She Never Had a Boyfriend in High School

My sister and I spent Hurricane Sandy scanning old photos to make albums for our parents. The payoff was big--both of them shed tears upon opening our gifts (crying is #2 on my list of hoped-for reactions, immediately following this). But the downside was having to come face to face with things like...

Yeah. The laugh you are having right now is my gift to you. Warmest wishes for a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Better Haircuts, Access to Tweezers, Invisalign Braces, Clothing Not Made Out of Old Bandanas, and Three-Dimensional Breasts.

XO,
Una
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's The End of the World as We Know It

A lot of people think the world is going to end tomorrow. You know, the Mayan calendar, the alignment of the planets, John Cusack, aliens, etc.

The joke's on us, though, because the world ended last week. Last Friday. At least, the world ended for 27 families in Connecticut. And the ripple effect has knocked the wind out of me.

I don't know what to say about the Sandy Hook shooting, except that it is unthinkably awful and unbearably sad. As a self-labeled curmudgeon, I can be kind of a misanthrope. I don't believe that all people are inherently good. I expect them to lie, cheat, and steal; to make offensive jokes; to merge lanes without signaling; to clip their nails on the subway. But this... this makes the world seem unlivable. This makes me want to defect from the human race. I've been feeling extra pessimistic this past week. Part of me wonders how I could have possibly brought a child into this kind of world, which is not only warming itself to death but also driving its citizens to murder each other in increasingly horrific ways, at increasingly young ages.

But there's no reset button.  John Cusack does not (spoiler alert!) swoop in at the end to save us... and even if he did, kickboxing--sport of the future!--isn't enough to protect us from the rising oceans, the melting ice caps, the deranged gunmen. The only choice is to cling to the hope that things can and will get better. That hearts--and laws--will change, and that we'll all start taking better care of ourselves, each other, and our earth.

To that end, I'm trying.

I hope you are, too.

Wow, is this the most depressing way to wish you happy holidays, or what? I'm like Eeyore with a UTI. I'll be back next week with more Christmas cheer.


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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Let's Talk About Book, Baby. Let's Talk About You and Me. Let's Talk About All the Good Things and the Bad Things That May Be. Let's Talk Aboooooout Book. Let's Talk About Book.

So let's talk about this book. (Spinderella cut it up one time! OK, I'll stop.)

First of all, thank you--each and every one of you--for your comments and tweets and Facebook messages. I am so overwhelmed by my amazing luck, not only to have this surreal experience, but also to have such a fantastic and funny and supportive group of readers.

And because I love you so much, I want to make you a promise:

I will NOT become one of those bloggers who writes a book and then can't talk about a single other goddamn thing.

You can hold me to that.

I mean, of course I'm going to mention it from time to time, especially leading up to its release in May. But I hate it when bloggers get a break and then turn into self-promotion robots. Or disappear completely. But luckily I've been slacking off for like a year now, so you guys are used to it. Remember this prescient post?


Anyway, what I'm going to do is get all of my self-promotion ya-yas out right now, so that we can go back to our regularly scheduled Tyra Mail.

Here are some things you can do if you want to help me publicize the book over the next few months:
  1. Tell your friends. Especially friends who have adolescent or teen girls. For maximum effect, go to a middle school and stage-whisper the following in the middle of a large crowd of students: "Have you read FIVE SUMMERS? It's supposed to be like Twilight times a billion, except instead of vampires there are camp counselors. And then there's this game of Capture the Flag that's basically The Hunger Games only no one dies. Also I heard Justin Bieber licked every single book jacket personally."

  2. Become a fan of Five Summers on Facebook. (I created the fan page, and it's run entirely by me.)

  3. If you have a blog, share this button in your sidebar (email me if you need instructions):

  4. The Sassy Curmudgeon

  5. "Like" or pre-order Five Summers on Amazon. I totally get it if you don't have $12 to spend right now on something you won't get until May 16. But if you could just hit "like" on the page that would be amazing!

  6. If you or someone you know is in the position of reviewing YA books in print or online, please get in touch with me so that I can arrange to send a galley copy!
It would mean so much to me if you guys would help me get the word out about my book. I'm not expecting this to change the face of publishing as we know it or anything, but I figure every little bit of buzz helps.

Thank you again, and I promise to shut up about it for at least a week or two. In the meantime, if you have any questions that you'd like me to answer in a future blog post about Five Summers--the process of writing it, or the plot, or who I had to sleep with to get it (spoiler alert: Jeff)--please email me. I love getting RAQs (Rarely Asked Questions) in my inbox!

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Monday, December 10, 2012

The Big Reveal... That I Basically Already Spoiled With Hints Because I Am Incapable of Keeping Secrets

Please listen to this song while reading the post. Yes, I am being overly dramatic. So what? I never have big news.

 

It happened kind of suddenly, last spring.

Sam was only eight months old. I thought, how am I possibly going to do this?

I thought, I have no idea what I'm doing.

But I also thought, this is what I've always wanted.

And I was happy. So deliriously happy.

And then I totally and completely got my ass kicked. But in the end it was worth it.

And now I can finally share the news.

Like J.D. Salinger, David Sedaris, and Tyra Banks before me...

I have written a book.


Now, I know what you're thinking. This is not my oft-promised autobiography Unabrow: Confessions of a Hirsute High Schooler, nor is it my oft-dreamed of Billy-Allison Melrose Place fan fiction bodice-ripper, 50 Shues of Hay (it takes place in a barn).

No, Five Summers is a good, old-fashioned young adult coming-of-age novel about four best friends from summer camp. I like to think it's the kind of thing Judy Blume might have written if she subscribed to UsWeekly and used the phrase "douchebag." It's (hopefully) funny and (definitely) angsty and ON AMAZON ALREADY, which means it's real. Oh my God it's real. I wrote a book*. Jesus fuck.

And I guess I can't say things like "Jesus fuck!" when twelve year-olds start reading my writing. But I don't care. Shit, you guys. Fuck. I'm gonna get it all out now.

*Longtime readers might recall that this is technically my second book. But When Cathy Learned Sign Language had a very limited print run. So this is big for me.

I have a lot to say about it, but pretty soon you'll be sick of hearing about it, so I'm going to save any more gushing/expletives for later.

In the meantime, if you have ever truly loved me (or even just kind of liked me), please spread the word. And if and only if you are so moved, please like or pre-order it on Amazon so that the Amazons (not the all-female warriors of Greek myth, just, you know, Internet people) think I'm the next J.K. Rowling, trapped in the body of a woman who sometimes, after a few glasses of wine, looks disturbingly like Vinnie from Doogie Howser.

I'm sure I'll do a give-away on the blog, too, and obviously I'll be buying up hundreds of copies of the book myself, so that I can shoot them out of a tee-shirt cannon in Times Square like a modern-day Mary Tyler Moore.

Maybe, just maybe... I'm gonna make it after all?

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Sassy Curmudgeon's Cheap and Easy (Not Like That) Holiday Gift Guide

December is a magical time of year. In New York, the air is crisp; the rats go underground or freeze to death; and the tourist clusterfuck shifts slightly to the northeast, from Times Square to Rockefeller Center. You may even find yourself so filled with good cheer that you actually consider buying a bag of hot roasted nuts from a street vendor, despite your husband’s giggling. But there are downsides, too--black ice on subway stairs, that Paul McCartney Christmas song that Duane Reade has on Satanic, stab-yourself-in-the-eye-with-a-shard-of-peppermint-bark repeat, and, of course, the stress of calculating appropriate gifts for a list of what suddenly seems like everyone that you have ever met.

Well, I'm going to make it easy for you.

Without knowing anything about your loved ones, like a ninja I'm going to find something that will delight everyone on your list... for less than $10 (not including tax or shipping, which doesn't count, especially if you just keep clicking "complete order" while looking away from the screen and sipping your wine). Because--I'm about to lay down some realness, and please note, this is coming from an unabashed materialist--spending more money does not make Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/the winter solstice better. That said, online shopping--even for cheap shit--does. So, onward! Who brought the eggnog?

Your Mom

Your mom needs another Crabtree & Evelyn soap basket like Kate Middleton needs another telephoto lens pointing at her FUPA.

So here is what you get... this is your mom's secret wish (unless you have two moms, but even then I bet you they want to see this movie anyway, just for the laughs) ... she will act weird when you give it to her, but trust me, you will be the favorite child after you lay this double whammy on her:

Magic Mike iTunes rental (not HD, we are not Trumps): $3.99
+

PLUS!!!

+

Trader Joe's Coastal Syrah, $5 at Trader Joe's (image credit)

Your Dad

Here is what dads like according to the universe: 1) golf; 2) beer; 3) propane grills; 4) their own humidor (in truth I do not know what this is); 5) golf again. But it turns out not all dads are geriatric frat boys. Who knew? Get him this. It's literally miscellaneous. And genuinely interesting. Plus it looks classy. This all equals a WIN for you.

$4.49 on Buy.com (plus $4 for shipping = $9)
Your Brother

If he's older than six, I guarantee your brother likes Louis C.K. If he's younger than six, he's got to learn sometime.

$9.99 on Amazon
(Pssst! You could win this for free. Scroll to end of post for details!)

Your Sister

This is a cheap play on words, I know, but check it:
  • It is a biological fact that NO HUMAN FEMALE can resist a double feature DVD sale.
  • Kathy Najimy! BAM. You did not see that coming.
  • At the risk of sounding like Winona Ryder in Reality Bites (kidding; I take pains to sound that way at all times), you guys... Sister Act is a really good movie.
$9.99 on Amazon
Your Husband

It's not often that one product manages to wed fine art, dick jokes, and home decor. So snap this up pronto.

$9.99 at Switchplate Superstore
Your Wife

It is also not often that one product combines jewelry and Ryan Gosling. This is a goddamn shame.

$8.25 by CalamityJayneDesigns on easy

(If you have daughters, sons, or other more specialized relatives, please tell them I got too lazy to pick gifts for them, and just select from the above items.)

And now for some more tricky types--

The Person Who Makes a Lot More Money Than You and Who Can Buy Themselves Pretty Much Anything

I bet they don't have a novelty mustache pillow! (Unless they are Tom Selleck, then you're on your own).

$10 at LoraliDesigns on etsy
The Person With Whom You Are Not Close, But Whom Your Office Secret Santa Pool Mandates You Shop For

Ugh, this type of giftee is the worst. You can't be personal but you also can't bribe them with something expensive. I remember when we did a Secret Santa in my second grade class, I gave someone some lame-o books, and I ended up with two huge bags of candy: Whoppers and Starburst. Maybe just go with that, actually. Candy in a paper sack is actually what one of the wise men brought to Jerusalem, I think. The myrrh was just a cover.

$10 will buy you at least 5 candy bars, even in New York.

The Mayan Apocalypse Conspiracy Theorist

Um. If s/he expects a gift on December 25, they are doing it wrong. Just wave at them while you eat the $8.71 worth of candy you bought for yourself and play R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" ($1.29 on iTunes)

The New Parent Who Still Needs To Feel Cool

The other day, while walking home, I found this on the street:


Yes, that's right. Who gets to listen to "Fat Bottomed Girls" on the glockenspiel? THIS COOL MOM RIGHT HERE.

The Queen one is actually $16 (unless, like me, you like picking through other people's trash), but the company makes a lot of other CDs, some of which (AC/DC; U2) you can score for less than $9 on eBay. You have never heard a harp rock harder in your life, I swear.

__

I hope this helps to make your holiday fast and easy, as Jesus intended.

OH. And. I'm making a big announcement on the blog next week. There's some news I've been waiting to share for months and now I finally get to! And I would tell you right now if I could (I've already written the blog post with the announcement, that's how excited I am), but I have to wait until I get the go-ahead from some other people. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a viewing of Magic Mike with a nice cheap syrah while you wait.

__


UPDATE!: I found a brand-new Season One Louie DVD/Blu-Ray double disc set under my TV stand. Wrapper in tact and everything.

If you want it, leave me a comment with your favorite under-$10 gift and I'll pick a winner at random by Monday (and will ship to you next week in plenty of time for Xmas--although the plastic wrap is dusty, I'm not gonna lie. When I found it I felt just like those people on Hoarders who find dead cats under mountains of empty Lean Cuisine boxes--only much more joyful).

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