Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lost art

I love the idea of e-books and I can't wait to have my own eReader or Kindle or whatever emerges as the affordable, workable front-runner. However, I will miss books. Not the yellowed, small print insides that make my eyes burn, but the covers. The covers! I grew up in a house piled with books, and I could tell at a glance who had just been in a room by the book lying there.

Was it a paperback with a picture of a flowered teapot behind a knife with blood dripping on it? One of my mom's mysteries. Was it a 4"thick tome with a photo of a rock crag or some long-dead historical figure? My dad's. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, Rosamund duJardin - mine. S.E. Hinton - my sister's. Now what will we see? Where's MY Kindle? No - that's MY Kindle. We won't be able to pick up books that 'look' interesting or make a mental note when we see someone laughing out loud or completely absorbed in a book. We'll have no idea what they're reading - could be a pdf instruction manual for a digital camera (strike that- no one ever reads those manuals, but you get my point).

I will miss the cover art. I still love the silhouette of Nancy Drew from her book covers. I haven't fully recovered from the loss of album cover art. I know we have CDs, but it's not the same. What is replacing this void? What are all of those artists producing? Even if I purchase paintings, my walls will fill up quickly, and E and I will both be constantly compromising. With books and albums, you were 'stuck' with the art and forced to look at it over and over, finding new depth and meaning in it. Covers that at first struck me as odd became interesting over time. I miss albums, and soon I will miss books. I can't be surrounded by grey appliances. I've already been putting stickers on our computers - E loves that, believe me.

Suggestions, ideas? Or am I a dinosaur, doomed to mumble about the good old days of art as I fade away?

Friday, April 17, 2009

If only I knew an interesting character

I'm a busy lady. Much as I adore E, when he leaves in the morning, I do not linger at the front door for twenty minutes reflecting on the hidden meaning behind his parting words - I go upstairs and get to work. This morning, for some reason, he waited just long enough for me to go upstairs and get settled before returning to the house, ringing the doorbell, and growing impatient while waiting for me to hike back downstairs andunlock the door. He got in through the garage and complained about being locked out. This prompted a discussion about door-locking etiquette, which admittedly I could have dropped, but I kept it alive until he sent me this e-mail:

General guidelines for proper use of front door security systems - Simplified Users guide.

The front door look is designed to prevent access to the house by unwanted persons or intruders which pose a threat to you, your loved ones, or your stash of fresh baked goods. Be sure you know who falls into this category and who is a family member.

- Securing the front door when leaving the premises:
1 - make sure the door is currently unlocked.
2 - arm the alarm system by entering the proper code.
3 - If the alarm system is in an "arming" state and you have forgotten something in the house, don't panic! You can disable the alarm, get what you need and re-arm the alarm by restarting the procedure at step 1.
4 - exit the house
5 - lock the front door (from the outside) using a copy of the key.
6 - Place the copy of the key in a secure place. It will be required later to interface with the door again.

- Securing the front door when remaining in the house:
1 - Approach the door and look out the window located in the center of the door. If there is a family member or other recognized person in visual range or in the driveway, stop now and do not proceed to step 2.
2 - apply gentle pressure to the door with the palm of your hand pushing outwards to ensure it is closed properly and latched.
3 - Insert a copy of the key in the inside lock and turn it clockwise until it will not turn anymore.
4 - Turn the key counter-clockwise until it becomes free of the lock and can be removed. Note that this should take at most 1/2 turn. Anything more may be considered an "unlock" operation. See user guide entitled "Front door unlock function - so you want to use the door" for more information on the "unlock" feature of the front door security system.
5 - Place the copy of the key in a secure place. It will be required later to interface with the door again.

Troubleshooting Tips:
- Door is locked and a family member or other recognized individual would like to open the door: Call 1-800-555-1212 and request brochure 12-167 entitled "getting more out of your front door".
- Door is unlocked and zombies or other threats are present at the perimeter: Simple apply procedure "Securing the front door when remaining in the house" noted above. Once this is complete, select your weapon of choice from the gun locker and "lock and load"!

We hope you will enjoy your model T67 lock for years to come. Just remember, when in doubt, don't bolt and bolt!

Is he funny or needing medication? This stuff is not even novel-fodder worthy - too unbelievable. What kind of lunatic would react to being locked out (although technically not, since he does actually have a key to his house) by writing a door locking procedure guide? I'm the one who needs meds.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I should be celebrating, but I feel like upchucking. On the table next to the front door sits a lovely book mailer stuffed with one partial and one full manuscript freshly-printed and ready to be mailed to the agent who requested them at the conference I recently attended.

So celebrate - woo hoo! Sending requested material is a good thing, and an essential step in the process - yahoo

But... I feel nauseous - the odds are I will see my SASE in the mailbox about 2 months from now. At that point it becomes a question of 1 - did I receive the dreaded 'dear aspiring novelist' or 2-a more personalized rejection? wait and see... and keep writing. And yes, I know - EVERYONE gets rejected.. Stephen King, J.K. Rowling... yes, I know. It still won't be fun.

E has been good (I think) throughout the psychotic process of polishing my pages before sending them. I have been up (I'm a GENIUS - this is BRILLIANT) and down (this SUCKS and makes no sense and will all go straight in the NYC recyling bin). He's been giving me a lot of time to myself while he works in his 'robot lab' which curiously still just looks like his workshop with the TV on. Whatever. He's been supportive, and even picked up a copy for me at the print shop on his way to get plywood or 4x4s or something.

If he finishes that freaking robot and then co-authors a best-seller with the robot I will lose my mind.