evany's extended cake mix
(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)
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Friday, Jul. 28, 2006 | link
BUT FIRST, ANOTHER READING ANNOUNCEMENT:
Do you live in Yay Area? Are you free and easy next Wednesday night? As in August 2, 2006, at 7:30pm? Have you long been longing for an opportunity to point at me as I point out scintillating details about your chosen sleeping pose(s)? Then come on down to Black Oak Books, located at 1492 Shattuck (that's right, "sail the ocean blue") in scenic, scenty Berkeley. Also featuring a reading from the amazing Dustin Long (of Icelander fame), and possibly followed by iffy, girlish drinks. Not to be missed!
One of my favorite conversational exchanges I had while I was in Seattle was with Ed Page (the assistant editor of McSweeney's website), which transpired while drinking pitchers and pitchers of beer alongside a spectacular lineup of drinkers: Megan, Scott, Jay, Brangien, my cousin Ben (happy birthday!), plus Ben and Brangien's two lovely friends, whom I liked a lot but whose names just escape me and my weak brain. And speaking of ailing grey matters, here's that Ed exchange I was talking about (remember that?):
Evany: I think it was Einstein who said, "It isn't what you know that's important, all you need are knowledgeable friends."
Isn't that awesome? It's like the world's shortest one-act play, a self-proving one-two-three punch! Though it turns out that I was kind of right: Einstein DID say, "Intelligence is not the ability to store information, but to know where to find it." Then again, it was Ed who found the actual quote for me, so I think the point still holds.
Really I do kind of live my life that way. I've been very, very lucky with the group of friends I've managed to assemble over the ages. And I really do rely upon them to spackle-yin my many yang-holes. This week alone, I've, a) hit up Paul for his amazing copyediting skills (I'm actually a fairly good editor, but I just don't have the right kind of anus for copyediting...unfortunately, few clients have the budgetary luxury to finance both, assuming they even know the difference between the two, which is a sweet rarity), b) leaned on the amazing and cheddar-sharp Jill for her great record-keeping skills ("Do you have the address for Y?" "What day are we X-ing?"), c) turned beseechingly to the fine Sunny for her vast hotelier connections, and, d) tapped my friend-since-third-grade Amy for her Italian bilinguality (I just got sent the proof for the Italian edition of my book (!), which was a utter "ummmmm?").
But more than just a library of resources and information, my friends are also an amazing pool of -- dare I say it -- INSPIRATION. They're just so busy beavering away on all these astounding, fascinating projects. Like, just take a look at these, a mere sampling of things my little kitten party posse has come up with as of late:
Maggie's very first book is now available for pre-order! It's called No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog, and if you order it from her directly, she'll inscribe it, lovingly, by HAND. Is that not the classiest thing you've ever heard of? Way to raise the bar, Maggie. Damn you. (Of course there's also an option for those of you who like your books Amazon style.) Oh yeah, and? She's having a baby. A baby sure to be as fantastically beautiful, generous, insightful, listener-friendly, and outrageously well-shod as his/her parents. Yay world!
Kristin Windbigler's heart-scalding short film, Boot Camp, is playing in the NYC's Rural Route Film Festival this weekend! Her section is called Cowboys 'n' Aliens, which I think is the world's shortest motivational argument that I've ever heard. (Them: "What's on the hotplate tonight?" You: "Hello? Cowboys 'n' Aliens?" Them: "Dude, we're in.") Pretty much a must-see for anyone even remotely in the area: 3:30 pm | Sunday, July 30 | Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue (at Second Street), NYC.
The inimitable Liz Dunn pushed and pulled out an amazing redesign at Technorati (see her narrated feature tours, here and here, for more details), which launched this week. The new interface is so clean and accessible, I can't quite stop using it -- I've been back seven times today, no lie! Pulling off a redesign like that, one that makes a site both easier and more compelling to use, that is not easy, no sir. I sure am proud of you, Liz Dunn! (Now that's what I call GITTIN' IT DUNN! No, A DUNN DEAL! Well Dunn? Medium rare? Meow? Prrrt?)
Meanwhile, Jeff's been working himself into some kind of frenzy in a series of truly nutty music videos, Gene has put together some pretty, little dirgies with his new band, and Paul's constructed an insanely detailed bridge blog called seven notrump, whatever that means.
So yeah, lots going on in my many splendored sphere. And, most impressive of all, it's all so very DIFFERENT. Movies and websites and cards and books and songs? My friends are geniuses. And worth every last penny! (Re: friendship payments...get it?)
On Thursday Playboy Radio had me on as a guest s(leep)expert during their Afternoon Advice show with Tiffany Granath. Since the station is subscriber-only, I didn't actually get the chance to listen to the show until I dialed in at the appointed hour and, while on hold waiting to be patched through to the live show, I heard Tiffany fielding calls from eager callers living across this great land. Wow. I'm not entirely sure why I was surprised, because really, what was I expecting? And yet my ears kind of boggled when I heard the Southern gentleman gloating about the "fuck machine" he built out in his shed. You know, because he and his girlfriend, they like three-ways? And yet aren't always able to line up a humanoid third? Annnnnnd "Up next it's EVANY THOMAS, author of The Secret Language of Sleep!" Oh man, here we go!
All in all, I was on the air for about forty minutes, helping Tiffany answer questions from callers. (CRAZY!!!) Did you know that many, many American men suffer from the problem of waking up from a deep sleep to discover themselves either having sex with or receiving orals from their lady friends? It is an epidemic, I fear. At least among 90% of the Playboy callers. HIGHLIGHT: Tiffany: "You know sometimes I dream about having an orgasm, and it feels pretty real, and very, very sexy. How about you, Evany Thomas, author of A Secret Language of Sleep, does that ever happen to you?" Evany: "Oh, sure." Evany (inside): Wait what? What did I just say? Oh thank 7-11 my father doesn't subscribe to Playboy Radio...OR DOES HE???
Hey! Do you live in Los Angeles, or plan to move there sometime within the next two days? You should totally come see me read outloud from my Sleep book! The reading is this Saturday at Book Soup on Sunset, and I'll be reading alongside the amazing Lisa Brown (creator of the inimitable and gift-friendly Baby Be of Use books). The show starts at 5pm, so you'll have plenty of time to go get a tattoo or go all drunk and topless at the Standard pool-bar directly afterward!
I feel like I owe Portland an apology. Or at least an explanation.
So here goes: I know how it may have looked, Portland, when I burst out of one of the bathroom stalls at your scenic Union Station, holding up a hand absolutely covered in whorls and peaks of brown. And then when I rushed over to the sink and frantically started scrubbing and soaping both my hands and my bag, that probably didn't look so great either. But that was chocolate, Portland! CHOCOLATE! You see, while I was in there, heeding nature's call, I happened to reach inside my bag and discover that the bite-sized chocolates I stole from last night's reading had melted, spectacularly, all over my hair rubberbands and also my Sidekick. (Of course, while I'm thumbtyping these words, I'm stopping periodically to lick newly discovered caches of chocolate off my keyboard, which probably isn't helping my case with Portland much, either.)
On the other hand, the rivulets of red running down from underneath my skirt earlier today ... you remember, Portland? It was while I was down at the Rite Aid? Buying tampons? That wasn't Hawaiin Punch or a melting popsical accident. That actually WAS blood. Note to self: Rite Aid doesn't have a bathroom for customers, not even customers experiencing a mortifying menstrual mishap. (Dear chivalry, my condolences on your recent death!)
So anyway, Portland, big sorries about all the confusion. I sure hope you'll find it in your heart to forgive me, because I'd like to come back for another visit some day, mostly because I really love the way you smell: like fresh grasses and heated cement, two of my favorite whiffs.
Oh and while I'm handing out apologies, I'd also like to say to the very nice couple Matt and Lisa (at least I think it was Lisa?), whom I met after the reading: I'm sorry that the very first thing I said to you was, "I've dated five Matts in my life!" And then proceeded to make it worse by explaining how those Matts were all pretty disappointing, and now whenever I meet one, I have to resist the urge to run for the hills. And then! My sloppy attempt at triage -- the part where I told Matt, "Oh, but not YOU of course," thereby earning a funny look from Lisa -- that was the best (by which I mean worst) of all! So yeah, sorry about that, and did I mention that I had three+ servings of the night's special drink, the "Red Carpet"? Another note to self: when you take a sip of a pink drink and the first words out of your mouth are, "Is there booze in this?" You're already in trouble. Switch to water immediately! Do not, at any cost, turn to the bartender and yell, "Well ROLL OUT THOSE RED CARPETS!" Trust me, I went down that latter route, and it only ended in a hangover and more than my share of cringe-tinged memories.
I've been thinking how weird it is that the people in charge of things make robots polite. Like, when you go to park in a garage, and the machine says, "Please take a ticket," would you actually be offended if the robot neglected to say "please"? And then when you go to leave a garage and you insert your paid ticket and it tells you to "Have a nice day!", does that actually brighten anyone's day? Knowing that a machine wished it on you? Maybe it's just me, but I think it would be tons better if they embraced the roboty nature of the machines and have them say like, "Take the ticket, HUMANOID! YOUR FLESH MAKES YOU WEAK!" in a satanic, "bow before me" voice. Or like, "Freakazoids, robots, I COMMAND YOU to report to the dance floor."
Which somehow reminds me, I was out of town for Marco's birthday, and he wound up taking himself out to one of the tired diners in the neighborhood for dinner (or wait, maybe this was on Christmas Eve? anyway, it was some super-depressing occasion where Marco had to entertain himself solo, which he claims to actually kind of like?). As he described it, the place was scattered with lank, grey-colored alcoholics and toothless lonely people, and the food was really bad. So Marco eats his brown, brown dinner and then he pays, and when he goes to leave, the awesome genius counterperson calls out, "See you next week!" Like some kind of chilling prediction. Haha! Now THAT's how it's done! Way to subvert those mandatory customer-service scripts!
PS: Jocelyn just sent me a link to a new article about the amazing bra people who fixed my form when I was in NYC. That last line, it made me mist! It's like a visit with Mr. Rogers, but with some extra bonus breast fondling thrown in.
Hair (Portland, day two): still wet from my shower of four hours ago. Acne: wretched, shocking (thanks a lot, FACE, I only have to get up in front of many (we hope) strangers tonight). PMS: 100% in charge.
Edited to add: Oops, it turns out the interview got bumped back to next Thursday, which is good news because now John has enough time to edit out my very weird "mamogram consultant" detour, which was the only profession my brain could think up when I sent it the very simple instructions to "please supply me with an example of a profession in which someone might be too busy to see his or her mate on a regular basis." My poor, improvished, on-the-fly thinks are terrifyingly unreliable.
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Did anyone happen to catch my interview on Seattle's KUOW today? John Moe, radio personality and author of many, many righteous pieces for McSweeneys.net (and also my new favorite person on EARTH, the man is so nice and chattable!), and I recorded it yesterday and I believe it's supposed to hit the airwaves sometime today? Not that I want you to actually listen to it or anything (I have a small, sinking suspicion that I came off as kind of boring and/or blonde-spotted), eek, ugh, ffffp.
Computer-typed at you from my very, very nice hotel room which I managed to obtain at a very, very nice rate, thanks to my generous and also well-connected friend, SH. Shhhhh! Hair update (Portland): cow-licked.
In an attempt to get a grip on my public speaking fears, I've decided to simply re-label my petrification as "excitement" and see if I can trick my brain into thinking that all this churning inside is really just a "night before Christmas" sort of feeling, the mark of tremendously good things to come. So, ask me how I'm doing. And I say, "Me? I'm totally, totally excited about tonight's reading!" See? I feel better already. (Where "better" equals so nervous that my breasts somehow ache??? Oh. Right. I'm also supremely pre-menstrual.)
I'm also trying out a new packing style on this trip. Usually I pack all my favorite, feel-good items, which has tended to leave me looking like a sort of overly mixed and matched craft fairy. This time, I packed interchangeable items. So: black pants, black skirt, black dress. Long jeans, short jeans. Many gut-covering long tees in a variety of cute patterns. And red flip flops, red closed-toe wedges, red open-toe Worishofer mules (and one pair of electric-blue no-slip sneakers for rainy or walky situations -- sadly I don't have red sneakers anymore, that really would have been perfect ... but to honor the gods, we must interweave imperfections!!!!). I'm hoping the uniform approach will cut back on the endless outfit indecision and general mismatched weirdness. And it's going pretty well: today it's raining (Rain Tour '06!), so I've opted for the black sweater+black puffy vest and scarf+jeans+electric blue no-slip sneakers option. So far, it's working out great.
One more theory: I say if you really want to get to know a town, ride the bus. Right now, I'm on the 73 to the "U District" (which is actually/coincidentally my little nickname for the lady parts), and on this bus can be found, a) one Chinese lady who has refused to get behind the yellow line despite the driver pulling over so she could turn and yell at the woman to do so, b) a sexy man-bear with mustaches and a USA cap, and c) a twenty-something boy with punkrock mohawk and hippy, hippy Polynesian sandals. Viva Seattle!
I've been thinking that maybe I should go on a tour across this amber-waved America, taking photos of my head in each city. And then when I find the spot where my hair looks the best, I'll MOVE THERE!
In other news, I forgot to mention that in addition to sulking, shopping, and eating, my recent trip to New York also featured some CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS! While we were waiting for a table at Westville (Westwood? Westland?), Paula Abdul cruised up and ordered some food to go. And let me tell you, she looks oceans better in person than she does on television, so much so that I almost didn't recognize her. ("THAT'S NOT PAULA ABDUL!" I said directly to the side of Paula's head, which was observing the menu not eighteen inches away (much to my friends' chagringe).) Which just goes to show: either Paula's makeup person is criminally undertalented, or the general level of "good looking" in the entertainment industry is so freakishly high that Paula's "hot and fresh in the human world" look translates to "brittle and semi-goullish" on the screen. Or maybe somehow Emilio Estevez is to blame? Paul and I also spotted Martha Plimpton and her friendly blond labrador buying a slice of pizza at Sal and Carmine's. And Sandra Bernhard weirdly ducked her head in at the beginning of the Sweet Paprika show and bellowed out her intentions to one day come see the show. Which was...nice of her? Semi-relatedly, while cabbing to the airport I also saw a dead body being gurneyed out of an apartment building while a bunch of bored policemen looked on. It was very authentic.
Speaking of gurneys: will you by any chance be at loose ends in Seattle tomorrow evening (Wednesday the 12th)? Then maybe you should come see me read at the famous Elliott Bay Book Company at 8pm! If you come up to me after the show, I promise to make deep, deep eye contact as I press my damp palm into yours for an uncomfortably long period of time.
Or maybe you're more of a Portland, Oregon, kind of person? More specifically, the kind who has nothing planned for this Friday (July 14th). And who just so happens to have ten to twenty dollars burning a hole in your magic wallet? Well, this is an eerie coincidence! Because I'm actually going to be presenting my sleep ideas down at the big Reading Frenzy fundraiser for 826 Valencia, to the tune of a ten- to twenty-dollar (sliding scale) admission! (There will also be some alluring presentations from the likes of Lisa Brown, Dustin Long, and Zoe Trope. Plus music. And DRINKS.) It's all happening at "Nocturnal," located at 1800 E. Burnside, show starts at 8pm. More details here!
--Thumb-typed at you from Baggage Claim in Seattle (which sounds like a bar, a very good bar, but sadly isn't). Hair: flat, yet staticky.
I locked myself out of the apartment yesterday. Again. I think it's the dog that's doing it to me, all the hustle and rush and frantic jumping and wiggling that goes into getting her leash on frazzles my brain, which is plenty flighty to begin with, and I just completely forget to grab my keys, which are RIGHT THERE by the door, resting in their little wooden apple key holder.
Since Marco didn't get home from work until 4:30, and since the lock-out occurred circa 1:30, I had about three hours of alfresco time to kill. So I strolled to 7-11 and got a Slurpee, then I set up one of the beach chairs in the backyard and alternately dozed and read my sidekick (and made a huge dent in the mimi smartypants archives, what a sweet treat to discover someone whose writing and outlook you really adore and admire so much you just want to BITE ITS CHEEKS OFF, and then lo! You dig a little deeper and discover that there's also a fat, fat archive to binge through, yes!). Basically, aside from the fresh-air part, Locked Out Evany spent yesterday the exact same way Regular Evany did every other day this week: lounging, reading, and drooling. Which gave me some pause. Maybe it's time for me to for real start thinking about getting a job? You know, before I completely lose the ability to maintain consciousness for longer than three hours at a stretch? But oooh, my job muscle is going to be so SORE when I get to working again! Assuming there's even work out there for me to be found, ugh.
In lighter, brighter news, I just got back from yet another trip to New York, and this one was a lot, lot longer and funner than the two-day windsprint of early June. Aside from one harrowing reading (my favorite Todd invited me to do some slide-showing in June's How To Kick People show, and despite people's assurances that "[public appearing] is going to get easier," the stage terror seems to be holding steady ... I blame it on the varied nature of the events I'm doing; each one is so radically different from the one before it, and each comes with its own new set of new alarming features, that there's really no way to get into a nice, comforting, nerve-soothing rhythym. For instance this time I was up there with two seasoned comedians plus the insanely poised and charismatic and comfortable and likeable Bob and Todd. And the show was held in a very "stand up"-style venue, with the low lights and the tables and drinks and the yelling. In other words it was terrifying, and terrifying in way totally different from the petrifying LA show, or the heart-stopping DC show, or the scary, scary first NY show.
So aside from the nerve-twanginess of the show, and aside from suffering under the dark influences of a fairly terrible cold (contracted the very day before my flight out of town), and aside from the great many surprise thundershowers (which as a Californian I just can not get my head around ... in these parts, if you look out the window spot solid blue skies, the entire day is 99.9% guaranteed not to require an umbrella, not so New York, you slippery, wet traitor!), and aside from an unexpected and embarrassing teenage-style "I'm a third wheel" sulk that I had while shopping with two of my oldest friends, Liz and Megan (context: Liz and Megan are both beautiful blonde size super-smalls and we were at Century 21 and the two of them found bags and bags of cute things to buy whilst I bought zero because I fit into NOTHING, which was unfortunately followed directly by a yucky conflict between my desire of "I crave doughnuts" and their "we crave an invigorating workout at the gym," which, if I'm being honest with my jiggly self, is potentially related to the afore mentioned "not fitting into designer clothing" issue? In short: isn't it amazing how hanging out with friends from high school can sometimes make you feel young again, and not always in a great way?) ... aside from all that, it was a very relaxing and delightful trip!
I finally did manage to find some cute clothes that fit me fine -- a sale skirt and a sale top -- plus two pairs of shoes and also some earrings. Also I got felt up by a Hasidic woman who then sold me six truly uplifting bras! And eventually my mouth and I did get the chance to pay my very favorite Doughnut Plant a visit (the coconut cream special was brain-bendingly tasty). And, once I got over my snit (and the ensuing horror over the fact that I, at thirty-six years of age, am still totally capable of irrational snits), I had a truly lovely time at my miniscule high school reunion: the three of us got in lots of walking and shopping and coffee and wine and heart-to-hearting and outfit-trying-on-ing; and together we invented a new term, the "blond spot," as in "Wait, what? Butros Butros-Ghali is no longer the United Nations' Secretary-General? Oh. Well. I do have a bit of a blond spot when it comes to political leaders." And later Paul treated me to a new restaurant, Knife and Fork, where I enjoyed a very long and rich meal and managed to resist showing the waitstaff my thematically appropriate tattoo, which I view as encouraging evidence of my budding maturity; younger Evany was a huge fan of forcing my commonalities on barely willing participants: "Hey, thanks for the [buttered popcorn/double-tall latte/nuclear iced tea] I really appreciate it because I TOO USED TO WORK AT [A MOVIE THEATER/STARBUCKS/RED ROBIN]!!" But wiser Evany, I'm thrilled to report, is capable of keeping her trap shut and her tattoo in her pants. The snit thing, however, is still a work in progress.
Oh and Jeffrey conveniently turned forty while I was there, and I got to celebrate it over a beautiful, bountiful meal prepared by his sassy, shoe-gifted girlfriend Teva. (Did you know that there are no cabs in Brooklyn? That you have to locate some weird little man in a glass box and request a ride, and then three minutes later a dark, unmarked car pulls up at the curb and you hop blithely in, and then, after haggling up a price, you drive off with some strange man who doesn't really know the area and you get lost and lost and lost? Well, that's what happens.)
Chinatown pig (with piglets).
Is Joan Jett suddenly now yogi Madonna's body double? Or maybe vice versa.
(Photo swiped from the Marco: for more amazing shots of the sweating Jett, visit Marco's Flickr island.)
PS: Did you catch that, I'm now thirty-six? It's true, it happened on June 19th. And to celebrate, the searing Sunny took Leisa, Jeff, Caroleen, Liz, Ivan, Jill, Halliday, and Marco, she took us ALL out for dinner at Asia SF, and then everyone chipped in to get me a snootful of girly pink drinks, which went very well with the girly girls dancing along the bar. My favorite: the sassy sarsaparilla who came out in in a baggy orange jumpsuit and danced around to "Car Wash," while snapping a towel, then -- at the half-way point -- she tore away the jumpsuit to reveal hot jeans and hot halter top, at which point both bartenders turned their drink guns in her direction and soaked her with sodawater. Happy birthday indeed.