Saturday, January 31, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Oy, the pressure. My blog is light and fluffy, people! If you don't believe me, just check out my last post about Cashew Chicken.
I was inspired by a comment in Fresh Hell's blog about racism Virginia being a scary state. I do have to say, it's everywhere, even here in left-liberal Manhattan. But in places like this it's more covert. Lee-Jackson-King Day would never fly here, and if you say the n-word you won't be invitied to the next dinner party. But I have heard the following remarks, for sure:
When looking for a babysitter
"Whatever you do, don't hire a Caribbean nanny."
When applying to private school kindergarten
"Of course the Smith family will have no trouble getting junior in. They're considered 'diversity.'"
At a fundraiser
"I like supporting the scholarship fund so families like the Smiths can afford to send their kids here."
Such assumptions about those poor Smiths! Which, by the way, are untrue.
So our own negative prejudices are unlikely to go away anytime soon. But I do hope that electing the first black president is a huge step in the right direction on that front.
There, I was at least semi-serious in a post. And it didn't hurt a bit.
Next up: madderblue
Monday, January 26, 2009
It even has a wiki page!
How about you? Does your hometown have a particular restaurant you miss? Or are there any dishes you associate with your childhood?
Friday, January 23, 2009
I think I have about 15 subscriptions to literary magazines, and I read many online. I just prefer the structure, the freedom to explore unsavory characters, the experimental voice, and the themes often found in short stories. Of course, I read novels as well--every night. But many times I find myself thinking that I would have edited out about 1/4 of the book. No one is asking me, though, and maybe it's a reflection of my attention span.
Anyway, I do realize that this means I'll likely be toiling in obscurity for a good long while. Oh well, I'll be toiling happily.
How's your writing (or any other project) going?
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
It's tough to break old habits. The super-rad image I carefully crafted at age 13 lives on today. Only now it's not so cool. So the three of us are monitoring (read: badgering) each other so as to improve the overall speech in the Cebula household. It's funny, though, because we have slightly different issues.
I'm the like-er. Sometimes I'll, like, use the word "like" as a filler, like instead of "um" when I'm, like, trying to think of a word. I also use "goes" and "like" instead of "said" thusly:
Wait, how old am I? Oh, that's right. 38. Old enough to know better.
My seven-year-old is the Princess of Upspeak. You know, when every phrase? sounds like a question? Seems to be more prominent among girls? making them sound really unsure? When I turned it into a girl empowerment issue, she was more willing to work on it.
My ummmm nine-year-old is the ummmmmer. Ummmm, she has a lot to say, but, ummm, sometimes can't quite get it out. I suspect this problem will be harder to, um, solve.
What about you? Do you find yourself doing this? Or do you have any other verbal crutches?
Monday, January 19, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
So. Given that I'm not a gadget person *at all* and I know I probably shouldn't be making any decisions based on which is prettier, does anyone have any input? I've skimmed a few blogs comparing the two, but it seems to be pretty much a wash. I just want to it to download lots of books easily. It doesn't need to play music or give me a back massage or make dinner for a party of 12.
What do you think? And do you ever plan to join me on the dark side?
Monday, January 12, 2009
--My biggest piece of advice for getting along with the locals is this: get out of the way. We (and I think in this case, I can safely speak for everyone) like to keep it moving. When you get up to the cash register at the deli or store, look at the screen. It's unlikely she's going to actually *tell* you the total. I don't know why not, but she won't. Take your change and immediately move down a step or two. No one has patience for the neatly-put-the-change-in-the-walleters. Feel free to mosey on down the sidewalk, slowly checking out the sites. Just don't walk 5 people astride. If I can pass, I'm happy. That's really all it takes.
--If you are using public transportation, forget subway maps. Use hopstop.com. It's fantastic. And if you see people riding in their underwear, don't be alarmed. Chances are it's the No Pants! Subway Ride. Drop trou and join in. (Or...don't.)
--There's a very cool little "fake ice" skating rink directly behind the planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. In the summer, it's a water park for the kiddies.
--People who work at any location of Duane Reade seem to like to argue with each other. It has nothing to do with you. Pay them no mind.
And beware of these scams:
Hot Dog / Ice Cream Vendors
They look so friendly, don't they? But double-check the prices on everything, and add up the total in your head. Otherwise, that $2 Rainbow Pop your kid is screaming for may cost you $4. Distracted parents are the easiest victims, it seems. It's certainly not ALL vendors who want to take that extra dollar or two of yours. Most are fine citizens trying to earn a living. But I've had this happen to me more than a few times (I got my eye on YOU, guy at 96th/5th!), so I thought I'd pass it along.
The I'm In Need Of Help Scam
Do you have sort of a "nice" look about you? Well, you might run into this seemingly-panicked guy: "I left my wallet in a cab and now I can't get back to Westchester! Oh please help me!" ::Looks sad, might even tear up::
I had one man lay a slightly different version on me. He was a young Hasidic man (or, at least, dressed that way) and he had his wallet stolen. He went on and on about how none of the synagogues in the area would help him out, and he only needed ten more dollars to get a ticket home. It was quite the detailed story. I, being a former sucker, gave it to him. And I saw him doing the same thing to someone else two weeks later.
The Take The Long Way Home Scam
I don't think this happens so much with taxi drivers anymore. It used to be that tourists would sometimes get a tour of all five boroughs before arriving at their hotels from the airport, but now that it's a flat fee, not so much. Still, if you need to take a livery cab with no meter, settle on the price before you get in the car.
And, of course, if you see this guy:
Keep your hand on your wallet!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Can you find me? That's right, there, in the blue. Hang all over him, you little tart.
2. You will spend far, far too much time talking to said high school friends you haven't seen in 20 years and other people who write on your wall. As if you didn't spend enough time online. Get back to work, slacker.
3. People can kidnap you. I haven't quite figured that one out yet, but I've been bound and gagged in a potato sack, accosted with a spicy burrito and taken to Cancun, and handcuffed and thrown into a box. Scary.
4. You get a sad reminder that other people still have more friends then you. What else is new.
So, will you friend me? Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease? I'm Wendy Cebula.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I recently finished The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga and it was amazing--all about the social order in India and its crude underbelly told from the POV of a homicidial servant. I spent about a month in some of the poorer rural villages in Eastern India some years ago, so any books about India, especially the lower castes, appeal to me.
Before that, I read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski and ended up enjoying it despite its sloooow start.
Any recommendations for me?
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
But alas, it wasn't to be. You fizzled out, and your hook was just...well...inadequate, frankly. It didn't satisfy me. I don't think it could satisfy anyone. You couldn't quite figure out who you wanted to be. A story of racial tension? A family drama? Both were mediocre. And I've been thinking a lot lately about a completely different story. It's true. I'm sorry.
Au revoir, barely-started trunk novel.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
But ah, it's good to be back.
Did you have a nice New Year's?