Friday, September 25, 2015

Checking In

Greetings from the Worst Blogger Ever. I'm sorry I've been such an absent blogger lately! First it was because I was taking a much-needed work break, and now it's because all I ever do is work. I have a new book and I'm so excited for the day when I'm finally allowed to tell you guys a bit about it. For the moment, I'm working hard at it, trying to get it finalized. It's a strange book, and I don't know what anyone's going to think. That's out of my control, so I'm not worrying about it too much for now. I'm mostly just immersing myself in the experience of creating it. Once I'm allowed to talk about it, I think I'll have a LOT to say here about the process of writing it.

Soon I hope to be able to tell you what it's called, the premise, when you might actually be able to see it, etc…

In the meantime, I'll probably keep popping in now and then with more randutiae! Today I really, really appreciate Anna March's article at Salon, "Stop calling Pope Francis progressive: You might love his pastoral style, but don’t fool yourself on Vatican substance." YES YES YES. "Progressives should require that Pope Francis, or any leader, meet a minimum standard — to support equal opportunity regardless of race, gender, sexuality, class, disability and migrant/refugee status. To fail in any of these categories is, quite simply, to fail. And Pope Francis certainly fails. Progressives can do better than to laud this man. Progressives can be intersectional in our approach." Please read this article – and please stop calling Pope Francis progressive.

For fun: At the Guardian, "Saint Étienne's urban doodler with a sense of humour." A street artist named Oak Oak makes site-specific art. Love the walrus, the tight rope walker, and the little guy escaping from jail.

I appreciated Kate Harding's article about Susan Brownmiller at Cosmopolitan:  "When a Feminist Trailblazer Turns to Victim-Blaming, It's Time to Let Go of a Hero."  Excerpt: "If, 40 years from now, someone asks me what I think about young anti-rape activists, I hope my ego will allow me to profess admiration for whatever work they're doing to better the new world they've grown up in. But honestly, there's just as good a chance that I'll respond like Brownmiller, carping about kids' lack of historical awareness and respect for their elders, then adding a bunch of crap that sounds hopelessly outdated to anyone pre-menopausal. Either way is fine with me, really. If I get to the point where I have no idea what young activists are on about, or why they don't seem concerned with what most concerns me, it will probably mean they've taken what they needed from my generation's feminism and left the rest behind. I'm pretty sure that's what progress looks like."

Loved the pictures in this tiny slideshow of "The World's Most Iconic Skylines" in Elle Decor (there are only nine).

I love Flipboard's "Pictures of the Week," which bring me the rest of the world on a weekly basis. Every week, the range of topics is stunning. There are so many things going on every day in the world that I don't have the slightest clue about! Lately, I notice that the pictures keep coming back to Syrian migrants and refugees trying to make their way to safety, and I really appreciate the way the photo editors are doing it. Sort of like, "Yes, there's a parade in Mexico City, yes, people are praying in South Sumatra, yes, there are devastating fires in California and Porsche has released a new model... and here's what's still happening to the Syrian people."

Finally, for the pure glamour and weirdness that is New York Fashion Week, here is "New York Fashion Week Goes Glam: Pictures," at Flipboard's Photo Desk.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Long-Overdue Randutiae (Yes, I'm Still Here!)

Enjoy, everyone :o)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Lengthy Linky Randutiae. Also, Rainbow Nails

Ready?
  • David Levithan and Billy Merrell are putting together an expanded edition of The Full Spectrum and are looking for essays about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning and other queer identities by writers under 21.  If you have a story you want to tell, go to www.queerthology.com for details on submitting.  Deadline is August 1st!
  •  If you have 15 minutes to watch a video: Sydney Opera House / Living Mural. "A global animation project by Universal Everything, collaborating with over 20 different animation studios worldwide to create a living mural on one of the world’s most iconic buildings." In other words: lights and pictures specially designed to be projected onto the Sydney Opera House. Pretty cool.
  • In Cosmopolitan, I enjoyed "12 Things Every Twentysomething Woman Needs to Do to Get a Bikini Body," by Lane Moore, and before you think I've gone to the dark side, the subtitle is, "Spoiler: You already have one." Number 11 is, "11. Realize you already have a bikini body because you have a body and a bikini can physically go on it. Also, I have literally never seen a woman and thought, Ugh, she doesn't belong in a bathing suit, because I am not human garbage. And I like to think most people aren't either."
  • From @TechnicallyRon on Twitter, a sample of Ron's new erotic novel, "Love in the Time of Autocorrect." I suppose this is, technically, safe for work, thanks to autocorrect :o).



Friday, June 26, 2015

Dear Supreme Court, I love you, will you marry me?

The Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. States cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize these unions.

Dear world: THANK YOU FOR SOME WONDERFUL NEWS.

ETA: Check out the White House facebook page!!!

 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I have the solar system on my fingernails

This was pretty challenging, especially because in order for everything to line up correctly, the more complicated planets had to end up on my dominant hand. Turns out it is really hard to paint a tiny Saturn with a nail polish brush and toothpicks, right-handed!

I tried to represent their relative sizes correctly, more or less. Well anyway, I did my best, given my limitations of tools and skill. :o) And yes, Pluto gets to be part of my solar system!

Click to embiggen.


On the far left (my right pinky) is the sun. Might be hard to see here.

I'm quite pleased with Jupiter and Mars.

My palette!

The giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) and Pluto.

Thanks, Kevin, for the pictures. Somehow we failed to take a close-up of my right hand, so here's a bad iPhone selfie, just to share details:

Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

My Lion and My Unicorn

Sometime last fall, I discovered the strange and beautiful work of Pete at The Builder's Studio. Pete creates his work by hand out of wood. I got in touch and asked him if he would consider making me a lion robot.

This guy showed up on my doorstep a few weeks later.

Oh my goodness.

Look at his mane.

He's wearing GLASSES.

 I wrote back to Pete.  I said something along the lines of, "Pete, given that this is the most wonderful thing I've ever seen, would you consider making me a unicorn robot?"

A lot of time passed. I had given Pete a specific window of time for the lion, but I decided not to do that for the unicorn. As the months went by, Pete emailed me now and then to let me know how it was going. He was having trouble with the mane, he couldn't get various parts quite how he liked them. I wasn't in any hurry. I foresaw no emergency need for a unicorn robot. I told him to take his time.

Boy am I glad I did, because look what just showed up on my doorstep.

Oh my GOODNESS!

Look at his hooves.

Look at his horn.

LOOK AT HIS FACE.

Some details.

More details.

I'm sharing these photos because I don't know what your personal robotic sculpture needs are, but you should talk to Pete about them. The lion is just over 4 inches long and about 3 1/2 inches tall. The unicorn is almost 6 inches long and about 5 inch tall. They do not have moving parts. They are SO GREAT. They are shown standing on my scanner, which is where they like to hang out at the moment.

Pete, thank you for your gorgeous work!


Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Book Group

Some industry news: my marvelous agent, Faye Bender, formerly of the Faye Bender Literary Agency, is forming a partnership with three other fabulous agents, Julie Barer, Brettne Bloom, and Elisabeth Weed, to form a new literary agency. They're called The Book Group. ((1) Isn't that a great name, and (2) how was that name not taken???) Together, these four women represent a broad diversity of literary interests, including fiction and non-fiction, literary and genre fiction, and middle grade, young adult, and adult literature. Check out some selected titles. And here are their submissions guidelines.

And, children's writer Rebecca Stead will be joining them as an agent! Faye and Rebecca are two of my favorite people so it's hard for me to be all objective and reporty about this. You will have to take my word for it that it's going to be GREAT. Aw, look at this picture of Faye and Rebecca. *melts*

Here's one of the press releases. And here is the agency's new website! Shiny.

Faye has been a joy for me to work with from day one, and she tells me that her partners have a similar approach to their authors and to the industry... which makes me think that The Book Group is going to be wonderful for its writers, and just a little bit of an industry powerhouse :)

Congratulations, guys, and godspeed as you set out on this exciting new venture.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Q&A at Write the World

Write the World, a global online community for high school-aged writers, is currently running a fantasy story contest for writers aged 13-18, writing 400-1,000 word stories. Go check it out if you're interested, and take a look around their website while you're there! To coincide with the fantasy contest, I've just done a Q&A for their blog.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Cindy Pon's Serpentine Cover

There are a bunch of things going on that I really want to blog about, but work is very consuming right now. I keep telling myself I'll just wait until I have a long moment, then blog them all at once, but I'm finally accepting that this is not going to happen. So instead, I'll do what I probably should have done in the first place, which is blog each of them separately when I can…

The first is the beautiful cover for Cindy Pon's new book, Serpentine, coming out in September!


Um, sorry about that enormous blurb covering her hair, which actually makes this a somewhat embarrassing cover to post on my blog (because it feels self-indulgent)! If I'd known they were going to do that, I would've given them one of those one-word blurbs. "Awesome." But putting that part aside, isn't it a lovely cover? You can read more about Cindy's new book over at her blog. An excerpt from the description there: "Serpentine chronicles the tension and struggle among mortals, demons, and gods in the Kingdom of Xia as it tells the story of Skybright, a handmaid, who worries about her growing otherness upon her discovery that she’s half demon." For my own part, I find this book to be wonderfully fresh, unusual for the YA market in the way it deals with sexuality and interpersonal relationships (more books like this, please!), and not to repeat my own blurb, but the fantasy world and the Kingdom of Xia setting drew me in immediately. (More books like this, please!) Here's the cover reveal page from Month9Books, and I'm kicking myself, because I see there's a giveaway that ended on May 29, which makes me really sorry I didn't blog this sooner.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Rainy Tuesday Randutiae

  • Apologies for the broken link in my dresses post from May 5... the link was working for a while, then it broke, and I can't for the life of me find that page anymore. Agh! Here's a slideshow of dresses from the Met Gala, from another source entirely.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Discouraged writers, join hands and repeat after me: BOOKS ARE JUNK

Today I took my plan for the revision I just finished down from the wall and put the plan for the book I'm drafting back up on the wall. I moved all the books, papers, and notebooks for the finished revision off of my desk and piled all the stuff for the new book in their place. I pulled all the notecards and pictures down from the blinds and put up all the new notecards and pictures.

Then I spent the next several hours stomping around the house with a storm cloud over my head, checking email, sending texts, playing Splash on my phone, reading the news, knitting, eating rice pudding, worrying needlessly about any unrelated thing that came to mind, and basically doing anything I could to avoid having to look at the book plan for the new book. I JUST DON'T WANT TO KNOW. I wrote in an email to some friends, "I truly don't understand why I ever thought writing a book was a good idea. BLECH BLECH BLECH. BOOKS ARE JUNK."

I have three published books, two contracted books in revisions, two uncontracted manuscripts that are too awful ever to be published, and this new book I'm trying to get back into. This new book is the eighth book I've ever endeavored to write. Therefore, I know from experience that today was normal. Tomorrow, I'll probably get myself to reread the book plan for the new book. Parts of it will give me indigestion and other parts will make me SO HAPPY. Shortly after that, I'll get myself to reread what I've written of the book so far. Parts of it will strike me as horrifyingly awful and other parts will make me SO HAPPY. The parts that make me happy will get me excited about the book again and determined to fix the crappy stuff, enough to start moving forward. Everything will be okay.

For the moment, though, I'm giving up, because writing a book is pretty much the stupidest idea I ever had.

Dear writers: I thought I'd share, in case this is the sort of day you're having, too.

(PS: Thanks to Ethan, a two-year-old who helped me write this post.)

Monster

A friend of mine, Anindita B Sempere, was a teacher in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's middle school. Now that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death for his participation in the Boston Marathon bombings, Anindita has written a reflection piece, called "Monster," that you can read here. (For the Walter Dean Myers readers among you, the title is, in part, a reference to Myers' book.)

Speaking for myself, the piece is helping me articulate my own sadness and confusion on the entire oppressive topic of the bombings, manhunt, trial, and sentencing, so -- thanks, Anindita.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Some Dresses to Go With Your Hats

I just finished a massive revision. I am celebrating by lying on the couch, staring at the ceiling, and occasionally taking bites out of a cheeseburger. It is THE BEST.

Some End of Revision Randutiae for you, dear readers:
  • Fancy dresses from the Met Gala. Some of these dresses are actually beyond my powers of comprehension, but Lily Collins looks great. [ETA: I've become aware that the link no longer works, but I've been unable to find one that actually does! Sorry!]

Sunday, May 3, 2015

And now for something different...

The hats of the Kentucky Derby, in pictures.

In other news, it's supposed to be near 80°F today (26°C), and I can't remember how to do that. What do I wear again? Do I bring a layer? Should I open the windows? What's going on?

Only a few days ago, there were still piles of snow…

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In Baltimore

The (familiar and simple) story the mainstream media is telling us about what's happening in Baltimore doesn't match the on-the-street stories of the regular people who are describing what they're seeing and experiencing.

Why?

Here are a few tweets of people describing their experiences in Baltimore today:

https://twitter.com/tchopstl/status/592868784077156353

https://twitter.com/amaditalks/status/592870570494205953

https://twitter.com/Nettaaaaaaaa/status/592895284688134144

And here's an interesting article from the Baltimore Sun, dated September 28, 2014, about their police department's use of undue force (with upsetting photos): http://data.baltimoresun.com/news/police-settlements/

Thanks, B.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

My Prey

These mice will rue the day they wandered across my writing notebook.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Event, Sunday, April 12, Pittsburgh

Dear Pittsburgh,

Please come see Joshua Bellin and me on Sunday, April 12, at Carnegie Mellon University! Joshua's workshop (11am) requires advanced registration. My lecture (2pm) does not and is free and open to the public. More information is at the Parsec website. I'm not completely certain, but I think I'm going to talk about failure. (This gives me an out if my lecture is a complete failure, right?)

x's and o's,
Your Friendly Authoress


Monday, March 30, 2015

Okay, One More

Kishi Bashi at SXSW in 2014.



Also, yesterday it snowed all day, but this happened on my writing desk:


Friday, March 27, 2015

A Song for You and an Upcoming Pittsburgh Event

A Friday night song for you: Kishi Bashi, a violin, and a loop pedal in the park!



The song is "Manchester" and it's from his album 151A. Thanks to my brother outlaw Darren. :o)

Also -- on Sunday, April 12, from 2 to 3 PM, I'll be at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh talking about my work. Then I'll be signing for about an hour after that. The event is free and open to the public. I will provide more information soon about this, but in the meantime, I just wanted to get it on people's radar!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring

It is RAINING NOT SNOWING. Today I wore SNEAKERS NOT BOOTS. It's all of 36°F (2°C), but there was only one possible choice of umbrella.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Event Reminder, Thursday, 5 PM, MIT, and Here Are Some Directions (ETA: And Parking Info!)

This is your friendly reminder that on Thursday, from 5 to 7 PM, Marah Gubar, Kenneth Kidd and I will be speaking about darkness, dystopia, and trauma in YA literature at MIT. Should be pretty cheery. Please join us. :o)

The MIT campus can be a bit bewildering for outsiders (possibly also for insiders), so here are some directions to the event at 66-110 on the MIT campus:

66-110 stands for room 110 in building 66. Building 66 (also called the Ralph Landau Building) is on Ames St in Cambridge. The street address for the building is 25 Ames Street. If you're coming from Kendall Square, walk away from the Longfellow Bridge (keep the Kendall Hotel on your left and the Marriott on your right) down Main St. until you see Ames St. Take a left on Ames (the Koch Institute is right on the corner) and walk 2 minutes until you see the MIT List Center on your left. Across the street on your right is building 66. The side of the building that you'll enter comes to a sharp point (66 is shaped like a large triangle). Walk into 66 from the edge facing Ames and continue down the hallway (you'll see classrooms on your left and labs on your right) until you reach an open area. Room 110 is in the corner of this open foyer. There will be a large poster board with 'MIT Communications Forum' outside the room, and you'll see posters for the event by the door.

(Thanks, Cora, for the directions!)

ETA: Info about parking!  A list of the parking lots near MIT: http://web.mit.edu/facilities/transportation/parking/visitors/public_parking.html. Apparently the lots at 4, 5 and 7 Cambridge Center are the closest to building 66. Otherwise there is metered parking along Memorial Drive, Ames Street, and Amherst Street, if you're lucky.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Warm Day Randutiae

  • In the category of It's All Relative, it's 41°F (5°C) and raining today, I was just outside, I was wearing a light long-sleeve shirt and jeans but no coat, no hat, no scarf, no longjohns, and it was GLORIOUS. It's not supposed to snow again until tomorrow. :D?
  • It turns out I was wrong about two things about the event last night. First of all, it was totally snowing. Secondly, it was also snowing in New York, which meant that poor Marie spent an hour or so sitting on her plane on the runway before they finally canceled her flight. Marie was not able to make it to last night's event. Waaah! I did my best to read from The Winner's Crime and talk up her beautiful series. Happy book birthday, Marie. Here in Cambridge, we miss you. Thank you, everyone, for coming out on a snowy night!
  • Is G your favorite letter?


Monday, March 2, 2015

Event Reminder

This is your friendly reminder that tomorrow evening, Tuesday, March 3 at 7 PM, Marie Rutkoski and I will be at the Harvard Book Store for a Q&A and signing. Marie will read briefly from her new book, The Winner's Crime. I think I'm going to read (VERY briefly) from Fire. Then we will brilliantly pepper each other with brilliant questions before turning it over to the brilliant audience. We will all be very smart and incisive. You don't want to miss it. And at the moment, it's not even snowing, nor is it supposed to be snowing Tuesday evening. Hope to see you there!

Looking ahead, my MIT Communications Forum is March 19. I'm happily doing some reading and rereading in preparation for that, as well. At the moment, it's Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle. Next up, Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tax Season, Semi-Frozen Waves, and Beethoven

This is what tax season looks like here in the office. Sigh.

Today my friend B linked me to these beautiful pictures of semi-frozen waves in Nantucket, taken by photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh. And now I'm linking you.

In other news... it's been a while since I geeked out about Beethoven on the blog. In recent days, the symphonies have been my background music. A few days back, I listened to the seventh intentionally, because I needed to calm down and I knew the peaceful repetition would help (as opposed to the strident repetition of the fifth, which I knew would not help!). Then, when the seventh came to an end, the ninth began playing automatically. I have this problem wherein once the ninth starts playing, I need to listen through to the end. It doesn't matter what other thing I was supposed to be doing; now I'm listening to Beethoven's ninth. When it ends, I certainly do not feel that I've wasted my time. My chosen recordings are Christoph von Dohnányi and the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus.

Have an hour and thirteen minutes today? Below is the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna Singverein performing the ninth, conducted by Christian Thielemann. Press play. :o)


Saturday, February 21, 2015

On Writing: The more complicated and unusual the book, the more the little things matter.

The book I'm revising right now has an unusual structure and an unusual narrative voice. For the reader who isn't looking for a puzzle or a job, it has the potential to be a bit offputting. My job is to help that reader wherever I can. I want that reader to feel grounded, pulled in, and welcome in this book; I don't want any reader to feel frustrated and confused!

The unusual structure and the unusual narrative voice are integral to the book, so neither is something I'm willing to abandon. But I find myself doing a lot of other, little things throughout – things that happen on the sentence and word level – to help the reader wherever I can. I'm not sure if these things are working as well as I hope they're working, but I thought I'd share them, just in case any other writers out there are in a similar situation of trying to help the reader get a hold on a weird and complicated book.
  • When faced with the option of using either a pronoun (he, she, it, etc.) or a noun/name (James, Lucy, the painting/courtyard/whatever), I am using the noun much, MUCH more often than I usually do. Rather than writing, "'I saw it hanging on the wall,' he said," I will write, "'I saw the painting hanging on the wall,' James said." The latter choice requires less work from the reader. The reader can relax and not have to keep reminding herself what's being talked about or who's involved in this conversation. I try not to overdo it – avoided pronouns can become annoying, and dialog in particular needs to sound natural. Also, I don't want the reader to think I think she's stupid! But in this particular book, I choose nouns over pronouns wherever I can. It's about finding the balance. Each book you write will require a different balance for comprehensibility.
  • One of the characters is a dog with a human name (like, if you were to name your dog Edward, for example). I refer to this character frequently as "the dog" or "Edward the dog." This way, the reader doesn't have to work to remember that one of these human-sounding people is actually a dog. The reader is less likely to find himself comfused when, for example, Edward is suddenly whining and stepping on his own ears (my dog character is a basset hound ^_^). I try not to overdo this, as well. I do it wherever it feels natural.
  • This book takes place in a large house that has numerous rooms, floors, wings, balconies, bridges, and staircases. At any given moment, a character might have four possible staircases available to him, all of which would lead him to his intended destination. In the first draft of this book, I over-explained where everyone was, where everyone was going, and how they were getting there, at every moment. Who's on which staircase, for example, being watched by which person on which balcony. Who's rounding which courtyard in which direction. As always, I gave an early draft to a number of readers. Too often, in the notes they gave back to me, they wrote something along the lines of, "I'm completely lost right now. Do I need to see exactly how this is happening?" Feedback like this is so helpful! In my current revision, I'm being careful to explain directions and locations explicitly only when they're necessary to the plot. And when I do explain, I'm keeping it as minimal as possible. Note that this bullet point stands in opposition to the previous two bullet points (about the pronouns and the dog), which were about being more clear and specific. The idea behind this bullet point is to allow the reader the freedom of not caring, of not needing to know, unnecessary details. When it comes to directions and locations in a complicated setting, being less specific sometimes frees the mind of the reader – as long as you're still providing any information that is actually necessary, and as long as what you vaguely describe does have some realistic physical interpretation.
  • In this book, I'm allowing for more repetition than I usually do. Readers are smart, and in my experience, YA and middle grade fiction includes less needless repetition than adult fiction does. (SO MANY TIMES, when reading adult fiction, I find myself thinking, "Yes, you've already told me that five times. If my editor were editing this book she would have started striking it out long ago.") But the book I'm writing contains a lot of detail and has a peculiar, somewhat confusing structure. I can't expect the reader to retain everything. So, perhaps I mention early on that Edward the dog was born on a pirate ship because his mother's owner was the pirate cook (not my real story), and suppose that later on in the book, the reader needs to know this information. Rather than assuming the reader remembers, I state the information explicitly again. As with all of these bullet points, this one is about navigating a delicate balance. Repeat information too many times and the reader begins to find the book tedious. She may even begin to resent the implication that she's stupid. Repeat information too few times and the reader will come away feeling stupid! Every single one of my (extremely brainy!) early readers has identified some place in this book that has compelled them to say to me, "This part makes me feel stupid." If the reader feels stupid, it's because the writer has failed to navigate the information-providing balance. In my current revision of this book, I have made the conscious decision to err on the side of repeating information too often (risking annoying the reader with the implication that he's stupid), rather than not repeating it often enough and leaving my reader actually feeling stupid!
  • In a similar vein: if the reader needs detailed information in order to understand something, I try not to provide that detailed information until the very moment the reader needs it. I don't want to overburden my reader with the responsibility of remembering things unnecessarily.
  • Most importantly: I'm already making a list of friends whom I will ask to read this revision, when it's done. It's very hard for the writer to maintain the objective distance needed to determine whether she's getting any of these balancing acts right. I will need the eyes of other people who will read every line, then tell me when and where they are lost, confused, forgetful, annoyed, or overburdened with description.

There are probably other little things I'm doing. Perhaps this blog post will have an addendum as I think of them. In the meantime, it's snowing in Cambridge. It's okay: I put feathers on my nails.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

"Mom, It's Time We Had the Talk"

Go listen to my friend Amanda MacGregor and her eight-year-old son Callum talk about sex on the podcast The Longest Shortest Time. It's twenty-two minutes long and wonderful. Amanda and Callum, I salute you.

In case you were wondering, at this exact moment, it's not snowing, but it was snowing earlier and I have no doubt it will snow again momentarily. It's difficult to get around as a pedestrian – there is no footing or visibility, often you need to wade through a small, slushy river, and, because of the snow mountains, you basically have to walk into the street in order to figure out if there are any cars coming – and the drivers are MAD. They are mad all the time, at everyone. I'm thinking perhaps the city should set up seated massage stations at every street corner to help with the frayed nerves. Parking is impossible and everything is getting cancelled. Jamie told me this morning that the Boston Globe recently tweeted something along the lines of, For the foreseeable future, everyone will be late to everything. Yes.

Last night, Cambridge. I think this one looks like an icecream sandwich.

If you look at the light, you can see it's snowing.


This morning, Somerville. Look closely -- it's snowing.


ETA one hour later: Snowing. And sunny. The sky is confused.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Five Emails and Several Pictures on the Topic of SNOW

It's becoming difficult to take pictures that convey the absurdity of the situation here in the Boston area. The pictures just don't do it justice (and it's hard to get a full view of anything, because backing up quickly puts you against a snowbank). It's not unusual to walk down a badly-shoveled sidewalk with walls of snow to either side that are taller than you are. I would say that on any given street where parking is allowed (which isn't many streets), 60% of the cars are mostly covered with deep snow and 20% of the cars are so deeply buried that they're invisible. The icicles are, um, LARGE.

First email today from Becca:
This poor dude is standing on top of a snowbank right outside my window and trying to scoop/shovel down into it. His face looks very perplexed. I can only assume that he knows that somewhere inside that snowbank is his car. The snowbank is way too big to show any hint of it though. I wonder if he’s positive this is where his car is or if he’s at all unsure.
Second email:
He has unearthed (unsnowed?) something that has the angle of a back windshield. Now he is dumping snow onto the sidewalk. I am unthrilled about this on behalf of the people who work so hard to keep this sidewalk shoveled. Not that I know what the answer is. There is noplace to put it all.
Third email:
Did I mention it is snowing?
Fourth email:
He is now working hard to place the snow on a different peak of the snowbank. I feel for him again.
Fifth email:
The man is gone. No car has been uncovered. The section of rear windshield that was exposed is slowly being covered by new snow.

Oh dear. I think this poor man might be wandering around the streets, digging into snowbanks, LOOKING FOR HIS CAR.

Meanwhile, last week, after the long weekend of snow, JD cleared the roof of his house. Mid-clearing, he shared this picture. After he finished, it snowed two more feet. JD, I hope you like shoveling in high places.


What made me sad about the cars in the picture below (taken late Sunday) is that these were clearly the cars people had already gone to great effort to unearth, then it snowed another two feet.


I took the picture below last Wednesday night. Then showed it to Kevin, who dismissively said, "That side mirror is totally snow-free." As it's snowed a lot since then, I'm guessing this is no longer the case...


Here's a note some friends and I found on a car Friday night. I am totally on the side of the note writers.


It is a truth universally acknowledged, that if you park in this space but you are not the person who dug out the spot and put the chair there, you are a jerk.


Meanwhile, my sister, codename: Apocalyptica the Flimflammer, has been sending pictures from Pittsburgh, including the two below. In Pittsburgh it's not nearly as snowy, but it's been VERY cold. Chain link fence --


And a cobweb in Highland Park.


Here in Cambridge, I'm doing my best to stay cozy, using my usual coping methods.


As I publish this blog post, it's snowing.