Friday, December 31, 2010
"It looks like they're eating each other!" said loud woman.
"We don't know the context. It's just a preview," I said.
"Maybe it's about cannibalism."
Mostly this just made me think of the Seven Midnights of Kisses we celebrated here at the Vortex two years back. Seven days for each of us to find the type of kiss that makes our toes curl. Some of them were sweet, some funny, most iconic in their own way. If you weren't with us then, or wish to relive the fun for New Years Eve, here they are:
Midnight 1 Midnight 2 Midnight 3 Midnight 4
Midnight 5 Midnight 6 Midnight 7
Two years is a long time. We've covered so much kissing ground since! Who can forget
the hairy-chested Christopher Plummer kiss?
the world's thirstiest gerbil kiss?
my first kiss-ugh.
Robert Doisneau's The Kiss?
Elvis's Wild kiss?
With all this kissing, you'd think we barely had time to squeeze in Fabio, time travel and nineteen MacGyver references. (You know you want to follow the Fabio link again. What's better than a laaaaahve attack on New Year's Eve? You're welcome.)
My favorite kisses, though, are the ones you have yet to read. It is my fervent hope we'll add at least one to next year's list: the published kiss.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Monday, December 27, 2010
Both kings seem to think so, too.
I wish everyone a fruitful start to the new year, filled with certain 8-ball messages, happy memories and a comfy pair of pjs.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
What's the latest poster you owned?
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
complete with a skylight in the loft bedroom above so each step is a reading nook. Awesome.
Scattered, yes, but my favorites condensed to a manageable list, so all was worth it.
Last movie seen: Hitchcock's I Confess (thus the beautiful Monty)
What was the latest bookmark you added to your browser?
Monday, November 29, 2010
With enough ink to sink a flotilla of bad plot tangents.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Time slips have also been alleged at Bold Street and the Lyceum building in Liverpool.
It's fun to think about. Hell, it's fun to write about. But as I googled time slip, I found something equally amazing. TimeSlips is a creative, storytelling project aimed at cherishing the memories of those suffering from Alzheimer's. Without the pressure to remember things accurately, patients are free to explore wherever their fractured minds take them. It's a way for patients to reconnect with family and friends who may feel distanced by this disease and share their journey and creativity with their community. I could envision this being a community art project similar to Post Secret. A way to blend the lost art of storytelling with the stories of a generation we are close to losing. Inspiring. Truly inspiring.
Friday, November 12, 2010
My heart will always be with my native genre. It's so much a part of who I've become as a writer. But I've long sensed the tide shifting and was reluctant to acknowledge it. Change meant drifting away from author sisters, communing at writing conferences where the topic of conversation at the bar is not is there a tattoo plague infecting cover artists' brains? but perhaps Tolstoy or Vonnegut. Change meant owning that my strength as a writer is not in the intricacies of man-woman relationships or the physical manifestation thereof, ten pages, ad nauseum (never my favorite part to write). Change is foreign and scary and isolating. But it can also mean escaping familiar patterns, freedom from rules that never quite seem to change and the sense that every reader's bite is essentially vanilla, just coated with different colored sprinkles.
My characters will visit Romancelandia from time to time. Heck, they may even winter there (the beaches are very nice). It's one of the best places in the world, filled with stories that are important to understanding our human experience. It's a place of hope and love and enough hot heroes to sink it into the ocean.
So when you notice small changes in the evolution of my website, the blog (though I will always speak of Fabio with reverence), my tag line; and, perhaps, even my retreat into more androgynous content (L.A.= Lawrence of Arabia, Lester Andrew, Lennard Aaron) you'll understand why. I'm out seeking the time machine on other lands.
Anyone have directions to Thriller Island?
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
But what about that hard-to-shop for blog reader who seems to have everything? Specifically, Vortexers, who are pleased only by the rarest gems of pop culture and WTH-ery? Fear not, dear followers. Our second Etsy installment is here!
1. The Naughty Bits brooch
Spice up that next scrapbook gathering! Cri-cut machines go perfectly with such progressive jewelry. Or how about sending a special message to that grocery sacker at Kroger? I may be buying unleavened pita bread, but Puritan waters run deep. Extra points to the seller for marketing them from "trashy romance novels."
Enough said, right? Oh, the joy!
Men don't wear cuff links often enough. What could be sexier than being dressed up and ready for time travel?
So Jason looks like Curly and has a tumor growing out of his left cranium. Art, like writing, is so subjective. I have a pen and ink rendering of how the water pipes run under my house from the water heater repair guy. $30. Free shipping!
What caught my eye here is the model's pose. Show me a fan who hasn't longed to do this in an open meadow and I'll show you a hot liar.
Marrying a paper doll to a physics genius makes my heart sing. I would adorn him with colorful post-its, make him my muse and love him forever.
Would this prevent creepy hairy guy from speaking to me at Starbucks about his Camaro?
I would have distinctly remembered the lick. Artistic Liberty Schmiberty. On some fan fiction planet, this has inspired X-rated, I-want-to-believe fodder for Naughty Brooches.
Forty-five shopping days left, Vortexers. It takes time to find the crazy.
Next: The evolution of a brand
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
What about the guy sporting a Mohawk at left center in this undated photo? He does look a little lost.
What's your take on the boy and the Mohawk guy?
Friday, October 29, 2010
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Tuesday: Notorious Time Travelers Caught in Photos
Thursday, October 28, 2010
and this oneand this one but couldn't go inside any of them. Was there some sort of secret handshake to access? Did I have to calibrate my visit to the precise twenty minutes of the month when a caretaker returned to make sure it hadn't collapsed into the Atlantic? Was my only lighthouse thrill this trip to be the mysterious stranger captured in this ill-angled photograph?
Zoom if you must, ladies, but he was a refugee from a nearby tour bus. Where are the semi-naked lighthouse keepers?
By the way, feather girl here would have had to be in a coma to have endured the icy spray of the Atlantic and felt nothing but the lightkeeper's rapture. My toes could barely stand it.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The Hawthorne Hotel was not my first choice for accommodations when planning a trip to Salem, even though it had been on my radar since the Ghost Hunters episode that featured it, but the planned B&B did not work out. Sure, my bathroom rug at home was larger than the entire room and the shower was half the size of an airplane lavatory, but I would not have traded the experience for the world.
Around three am, I stumbled to the restroom (far, far too much beer) which was simply a hop from the bed's foot. Upon settling back under the covers, as tucked as Kate Gosslin after free surgery, I felt pressure on my feet. Like Gary Coleman had sat on them. Not a tremendous weight, but enough that it drug me out of my quasi-alert state. Gary didn't stay for long, just a quick pause. After a scientific assessment of the room that Jason and Grant would have been proud of (and no, the air wasn't blowing on my feet as they'd determined in the eppy), I settled back under the covers and waited. To be honest, I'm not the most skeptical person you've ever met regarding the paranormal, and I do fully understand the power of suggestion, but damned if Gary Coleman returned and brought his cat and an aluminum baseball bat with him.
And this cat would not do a donut and settle. For almost ten minutes, little pressure points disregarded my feet's willingness to drift back to sleep. Then Gary joined us and laid a heavy aluminum bat alongside my leg. This was no air current, Mr. Ghost Hunter. This was an entirely different kind of stroke.
Sorry. Couldn't resist.
Lest you think I'm nuts and there is no self-respecting ghost who would want to rub the putrid feet of weary travelers, I invite you to visit the Hawthorne yourself. Room 323. Just don't drop the soap. Really. You won't be able to bend over and pick it up.
Tomorrow: Romancing Plymouth: How the Mayflower Compact Left No Room for Negotiating Restrooms in the Promised Land
Monday, October 25, 2010
While in Salem, I had red velvet hot chocolate (I know!) at Jaho Coffee & Tea on Derby Street. Not only could I have written an entire novel in its atmosphere, but that cup was truly the flavor of my love affair with Salem. The perfect strolling partner on the one mile jaunt out to the Salem Harbor lighthouse. The most memorable cup of hot chocolate. Evah.
When I returned home, I found recipes for red velvet hot chocolate that encouraged me to add red food coloring to my mix. Really? Red velvet is SO much more than just its color. It took me some time, but I toiled and crafted in my kitchen until I had triumphed over this most delicious concoction. I hope it is Fall-like where you are this week and you consider trying it. Here, the butt-sweat level is still much too high for hot drinks. New England, I miss you!
Red Vortex Hot Chocolate
(you didn't think the first recipe here would go without Vortex did you?)
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa
2 tbsp. red velvet cake mix
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Dash of salt
Mix sugar, cocoa, cake mix and salt in a large Fabio mug. Heat milk in the microwave until hot. Add milk to powder mixture. Add vanilla. Top with whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Hawthorne has been on our radars since school, right? He's the most-read author in high school curriculums. I knew he'd changed the spelling of his surname to disassociate himself from his grandfather, Judge John Hathorne, who presided over the Salem Witch Trials and is buried along with most of his family in the Burying Point Cemetery in Salem. I knew his contempt with the town resonated in the themes of his writing, but beyond that and a few lesser-known stories I'd read in a college lit class, I didn't really know much about Nathaniel Hawthorne at all.
Just down the road from the now-infamous Bunghole Liquors, is the House of Seven Gables. The people preserving history and literature here do an amazing job. From the engaging tour guides who make climbing the secret staircase the best treat since that tree house when you were ten, to the gift shop that sells an amazing collection of writing craft books alongside classics from famous authors all over this historically-fertile region, the biggest draw has to be the view of Salem Harbor from the waters. Who wouldn't get inspired here?
The romancing part came when I stumbled upon tiny little pieces of him that resonated far beyond the writer-reader relationship: examples of early drafts, scratched through as many times as my own; how a particularly harsh rejection caused him to burn his manuscript; how he made his mother and sister swear to tell no one of his dream to be published and endured the gossip of the townspeople who all thought he should do something instead of wasting away in the house all day and taking isolated strolls along the harbor at dark; the purple sofa where he wrote his most famous work, The Scarlet Letter. Sure, mine isn't nearly as grand, but neither of us feel a desk is where the magic happens. From the moment I knew him as only another writer can, he seemed to follow me all around New England:
I skipped Walden Pond. Even writers tire of other writers after a time. I'd had my fill, and there were other less-weighty ways to spend an afternoon in Boston. Ben and Jerry's anyone?
Thursday, October 21, 2010
So, armed with my trusty Eveready flashlight, I would Nancy Drew it through my accomodations before any item of anything vacated the rental car. And not just the mattress and box springs. We're talking full-on combat mode on computer chairs, sofas, drapes, carpets. So where, you might ask, was the romance of rushing the window to feast my eyes upon breathtaking views of the rugged Atlantic coast or the splendor of the leaves I managed to nail at peak-change? Where was the romance of taking in antiques from an 18th century attic room and feeling, for that first moment, like I've stepped back in time?
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
My trusty New England tourist book neglected to mention that Cape Cod rolls up its sidewalks at eight. Trying to find dinner at 9 was no less a feat than erecting the Pilgrim Monument itself. The only flashing neon promised fatty bar fare and an Oktoberfest on draft. Heaven, right? So I bellied up to the dark Mahogany bar, planted a sweet smile on the blond behind the bar, and dropped the Y-bomb. Completely by accident, a casualty of being in the South too long. One might have thought I'd stood on the brass rail and shouted "Yankee's Rule!" for all the stares that ensued. A grizzly guy at the last stool gave me directions to a Chinese restaurant that stayed open until ten. Thank you, sir. You might as well have been speaking Cantonese for all I picked up in that seductive Yankee accent, but it was big of you to aid a woman in digestion distress. I might have pulled up the stool next to you and had beer for dinner had you not scared me so.
Dinner that night was hot fudge sundae at an adorable ice cream stop down the road. That's really how life should be lived, right? Dessert first.
My next kick-ass heroine will hail from New England. With gritty chops and no-nonsense delivery, she could bring the worthiest foe to his knees. As for the language of seduction? My heroes are always the strong, silent type, anyway.
Tomorrow: Romancing the Inns, or How Bedbug Inspection Kills the Mood
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Instead, Garmin gives me a pushy pitchwoman with a "recalculating" stutter. There would be more romance in Fantasia's voice, but together we conquered four states in nine days and she did work through the adversity of ancient rock, a NPR show on bedbugs, and Hootie-no-more-a-blowfish, ad nauseum.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Free Boston Lager samples at 10 am and the ZZ-Top-ish guy from the commercials? Yes, there is love in Boston, though not for poor Sam Adams. You see, Mr. Adams was just not enough of a hottie for the beer company's logo, so they tapped into Paul Revere's likeness. He was to early twentieth century beer as Fabio was to the non-butter industry.
On the green line, near Boston University, the vessel as packed as a telephone booth in a 1950's diner contest, I came to understand the true meaning of "beantown."
And I wept.
The romance was gone.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
"New England is quite as large a lump of earth as my heart can really take in."
I could write a poem, but I might struggle with finding a word to rhyme with bunghole, as in Bunghole Liquors in Salem, Massachusetts:Zoom it, Vortexers. It's there. And here. Nothing captures Autumn in New England like koozies that read "Planet Bung Next to Uranus", right?
But mostly, I could just give it the Vortex 10 treatment. This is no moth-ball smelling, photo album-snoozing regurgitation down recent-memory lane. This is Romancing New England, Vortex-style.
Each day for ten days I'll dish out a tiny, meaty portion of my quest to capture that elusive, famed, romantic state-of-mind that eclipses New England this time of year. Did I find it in the portrait of Barbara Bush on river rock? Or in the Mary Poppins-holding-umbrella flight through a downtown Boston alley? Or in the quiet moment of fail when I realized my continental breakfast had to be eaten outside in 40 degree post-dawn Maine? The Vortex 10 list will swell as steady as my stomach on chowdah and lobstah, so pull up a feed and check back often. Maybe you'll find New England, like I did, somewhere between a Hawthorne and a bunghole.
Seriously, what rhymes with hole? Filet of Sole? Hairy mole? Yeasty roll?
Tomorrow: Romancing Public Transportation, or There is No T in Romance
Friday, October 1, 2010
Robert Zemeckis, the movie director who brought us Romancing the Stone and the Back to the Future franchise to name a few, is returning to the time travel genre in Timeless. Warner Brothers is keeping the log line under wraps for now. And speaking of Back to the Future, Christopher "Doc Brown" Lloyd has signed on to play a time traveling scientist in a 3D Imax documentary called Time: The Fourth Dimension.
Oh, and remember the Most Attractive Male Physicist's Vote we stumbled across last week? We now have pictures! And voting bubbles. Two days left to cast your vote. Democracy is such a beautiful thing.
The next two weeks I'll be traveling all over New England in search of moderate temperatures, non-cow scenery and history far beyond "Remember the Alamo!" I promise to return with tales of adventure and vacay pictures, ad nauseum, as they relate to all things Vortex.
Be well until then.