Monthly Archives: September 2011

I Picked The Yankees

My life revolves around The New York Yankees. I sat at the Stadium in The Bronx through the longest rain delay in MLB history (5 ½ hours). I was there when A-Rod hit his 600th homerun. I was there when Mariano Rivera made his 1000th appearance. I get goose bumps when I hear “Enter Sandman”. Everyone knows I am a HUGE Yankee fan.

It hasn’t always been this way.

Growing up in central Connecticut-literally ½way between Boston and The Bronx, you were either a Yankee fan, or a Red Sox fan, I am a girl, so I didn’t really care. I didn’t understand how important this choice was, and how it would shape my life and personality forever. Fortunately, I didn’t make a hasty choice.

I went to a couple of Red Sox games when I was little on bus trips with my Dad’s work. All I really remember about it was that on the way home, we ran out of soda on the bus, so the grown ups let us kids drink miniature beers. Ah, the innocence of the 70s…

But I digress…

I never liked the Boston sports. I am not sure why, exactly, but there is something about their fans that I could never relate to. They are kind of…what’s the word? Punks.

Back in the day when Hartford had an NHL hockey team and the Boston Bruins would come to town I was a waitress at a restaurant near the Hartford Civic Center. To this day, in all the customer service jobs I have held, Boston Bruins fans were the absolute worst people I have ever served. In. My. Life. And I wasn’t even a Yankee fan yet. Boston fans are so loud and obnoxious when things are going well, but the second the Red Sox start their inevitable collapse, they start talking about the Patriots. They give up on their own team! I mean, let’s be real here-I don’t fault you for being a Red Sox fan, I fault you for being a fair weather Red Sox fan…and that is what the majority of the really loud ones are. Those fans that quietly watch every game – hoping but never daring to think that they could actually win a pennant race – are the true fans. For those fans, 2004 and 2007 were years filled with joy and World Series rewards for their patient suffering, and I am silently happy for them…the non-punky fans.

On a side note, both of my sisters and their families are Red Sox fans. Just sayin’.

So being a Red Sox fan was never an option for me. That would make me a Yankee fan by default right? You would think so, but I didn’t think I was qualified to be a Yankee fan. Not a fan of bandwagon hopping, I didn’t want to be one of those people who only liked a team because they win most of the time. So I didn’t choose to be a Yankees fan.

I became a Minnesota Twins fan. Wait…what???

To make a long story short, I hopped on a bandwagon.

I was working in Florida, and my best friend there was from Minnesota. When you come from a state that HAS a team, there is no question where your loyalties lie. It was fall of 1991, and the Twins were on their way to winning the World Series. I knew NOTHING about baseball back then, I just knew that I liked Kirby Puckett and the way he wore his love for the game all over his face. And the way he hit home runs. I vividly remember watching a playoff game where he was being intentionally walked and saying to Michelle, “That’s not fair! They won’t even let him TRY!!!”

The rules of baseball were still a mystery to me at the time. I basically figured it was like kickball, but with bats instead of feet. No one gets intentionally walked in kickball.

So, for a few years, I was a Twins fan. But unless you live in the area where your team plays, you don’t get to see many games, and it is hard to follow closely. I had become a Twins fan in name only.

So how did the Yankees come about for me? In a way, I married into it, but it was a gradual thing. My husband was a lifelong Yankee fan, but being a chef, he was not often home to watch the games. When he was, he wanted to watch the game. This was fine with me. I would read, or do a crossword puzzle. He could watch his sports.

Then I started to get distracted by the game. I re-read the same paragraph twelve times. Alfonso Soriano would hit a homerun and I would look up, watch the replay, watch him go into the dugout and do intricate high fives with each of his teammates. I thought Soriano looked and played like Willie Mays Hayes in the movie Major League. I started to get caught up in the way the players interacted with each other and realized that it was like a soap opera for guys.

I like soap operas.

I started to watch the games when The Husband was not home. It felt wrong. It sure didn’t feel normal. I am a girl. I am watching a baseball game by choice. If The Husband had to go to bed early, I would turn down the volume and turn on the subtitles. I read the entire 2001 Game 7, which was one of the best games I ever saw…even though it ended with the Arizona Diamondbacks winning the World Series.

An unexpected side effect was that I could go to work and have intelligent conversations about last night’s game with GUYS who had been watching the sport all of their lives. Guys who, prior to my getting involved in the discussion, assumed that I was just a dumb girl who picked the Yankees because they were winners, and that I only watched during the commercials of Melrose Place. But I proved myself. I was part of the club now.

I’m not just a true YANKEES fan. I’m a true BASEBALL fan.

Ten years ago, if anyone had told me that I would be blogging, tweeting and cheering about the Yankees, I would have thought that person was from some kind of alternate universe. I can’t even begin to imagine what my life would have been like if I had been a Red Sox fan. I certainly wouldn’t be smiling as much! 

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No Adaptations Please!

I am not a fan of movie adaptations of my favorite books. As a reader, I get so consumed by what I am reading that I have very clear opinions about what characters should look like. I know I am not alone when I say that casting directors rarely get it right. In addition to miscasting, there is usually an omission of scenes that I felt were pivotal.

 

One notable exception to this is Lonesome Dove. I don’t usually read westerns, but this book is in my top five all time favorites. Granted, when a book is made into a six hour miniseries, it would be hard to cut anything. (Unless said book is a bazillion pages long as this one is). While watching it, I recognized entire conversations, word for word, and saw that all but two very minor characters were kept in place. Still, they could have ruined it with poor choices in casting.

 

I knew they had nailed it when I first saw Tommy Lee Jones as Captain Call. With his white beard and long silver hair topped with a cowboy hat, he looked exactly like who I had pictured: Kenny Rogers in The Gambler. The rest of the cast did not disappoint, and I frequently tell people that it was a great book, but if you don’t have time to read such an epic tale, watch the movie.

 

Normally, I say the exact opposite.

 

I love books by Nicholas Sparks, and because I loved The Notebook so much, I can’t bring myself to watch the movie. When the movie came out, I just read the book again. Every other movie based on one of his books has left me feeling hollow, wondering how they could get it so wrong? That is to say, the ones I took a chance to see. His books are not boring, but put Kevin Costner in a leading role in the adaptation of Message in a Bottle and suddenly, I am asleep.

 

Don’t even get me started on Twilight! Again…the casting director needs to be slapped. These movies are so well-liked, but I haven’t been able to force myself to watch any after the first one. Sorry, but there is NOTHING sexy about Edward, who always looks like he needs to find the closest bathroom, and someone needs to tell Kristen Stewart that a big part of acting is facial expressions. I think I saw her use two…maybe three in the whole movie (and in Adventureland, she only used the one…she doesn’t get a third chance to win me over). Was there NO ONE else auditioning that day?

 

Okay, sorry…I said not to get me started…my apologies to die hard Twilighters…

 

Now, I am not saying that the movie has to stick exactly to the book. I realize that certain changes have to be made. For example, the movie version of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s Pay it Forward, starred Kevin Spacey. In the book, the character he played was black. But, it’s Kevin Spacey, so he became a white burn victim. That was a change I could live with. If my book was ever made into a movie, I would change a female character to a male for Kevin Spacey!

 

In Stephen King’s short story, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, Red was a red-haired Irish dude-hence the nickname. Would that movie have been half as good if that was not played by Morgan Freeman? While on the King topic, I read Misery before the movie came out and I didn’t picture Kathy Bates, but this again was a brilliant casting choice and no one could have played it better.

 

So why bring it up at all? Just don’t go see the movies, if all you’re going to do is whine, right?

 

I wish it were that easy. Now that I am obsessed with YA series, more books that I love are being adapted to feature films, based on the success of Twilight. I want to ignore them, but so far, they look promising.

 

The first installment of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments in being cast as we speak. Jace looks exactly as I imagined, and I hear he can act. Clary also seems perfect, so I am willing to make whatever deals I have to make to get the husband to go see it in the theater with me. (He thought he was done with that when Harry Potter ended…mwah ha ha ha!)

 

Hopefully, they will get it right when they cast Alyson Noel’s The Immortals. I am SO looking forward to those! Damon and Ever already blow away Edward and Bella as characters, so now the movies need to be better too. (If Evermore sucks, I will be too heartbroken to see the rest).

 

I don’t know. I guess I am an optimistic pessimist. I’ll expect the worst, but hope for the best!

 

See you at the movies!

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Going Broke at Barnes & Noble / My Mid-life Crisis YA Obsession

Thanks Twitter. As if I didn’t already have a bunch of books on my ‘to read’ list, now that list is growing by the day.

When you follow writers on Twitter, you get to know and like them, so naturally you want to read what they are writing. This has resulted in my being hopelessly addicted to Young Adult novels, which are almost always part of a series.

It didn’t start with Twitter though. It naturally started with Harry Potter, a series I credit with wrestling the youth of America away from their computers and video games and back to the joy of reading. Now we were seeing teens, tweens, college kids, soccer moms, grandmothers, wicked cool aunts, and even businessmen on trains reading the same book. At holiday gatherings, family members of all ages were discussing the same book with equal enthusiasm as if they were discussing the latest blockbuster at the movies. Don’t quote me on this, but I think that was unprecedented. 

I thought that the Harry Potter craze was a stand alone phenomenon, but thankfully, I was mistaken. I called my sister one Saturday morning and apologized for calling so early. She said that she was already up because my niece Jackie was chomping at the bit to get to the bookstore to get the last book in the series she was reading. I asked what series, and when she said Twilight I had never heard of it, but was intrigued.

The very next morning I was watching CBS Sunday Morning, and lo and behold, they did a piece on Stephanie Meyer. I was then painfully aware that, unbeknownst to me, I had been living under a rock. This chick was a ROCK STAR! She walked out onto a stage somewhere, and these college kids were going nuts for her and holding up their cell phones like we held up lighters at concerts when I was their age. I had to read these books.

I borrowed the first one from my boss’ high school aged daughter, and the next three from Jackie. Each one I devoured in about two days. Was it high literature? Heck no, but it was entertaining. I had found my reading niche in YA.

For my *cough* 40th birthday, my husband bought me a book. He spent over an hour in Barnes and Noble trying to find something up my alley. He ended up choosing Evermore by Alyson Noel, and he was right on the money. He didn’t even know that it was the first in a series, and that she would also write a spin-off series from that series. I was going to go broke at the bookstore.

I started passing those onto Jackie, and she in turn passed on The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I was drowning in a sea of books that were feeding my addiction. Then Twitter happened.

First I started talking to @crazyauthorgirl* Jana Oliver, so I had to read her book, The Demon Trapper’s Daughter. It was a great read, and now the second book in the series, The Soul Thief  is out, and I have to read that next.

Next, along came @myramcentire and her debut Hourglass. Loved this one too, and I am anxiously awaiting the follow up.

After about four attempts, I finally was able to figure out how to download to my phone @Dan_DeWitt’s collection of short stories, Underneath, so I could read those and be totally creeped out by his knack for, well, creepiness. Plus he is the Snark Master, so there ya have it!

Next up I HAVE to read The Near Witch by @veschwab because she is funny, wears a witch hat to her appearances, and introduced me to the concept of cake pops, which automatically earns her my fanship. (or would that be fandom? Whatever. You know what I mean…I mean I am a fan for life.)

The book cover art for @GretchenMcNeil’s Possess is burned into my brain now that three or four people that I follow have been using it for their avatar, so that one definitely makes it onto the list.

Paranormalcy and Supernaturally, both by @kierstenwhite have such awesome titles that I jealously wish I had thought of, that I have to get on those also.

If I start reading Zombie books and Romance Novels, (are ya hearing me @clraven, @carrharr and @LaceyWolfe?) I may never leave the house again, except to go to the bookstore! And when would I EVER find time to actually write!

Oh, and @JulieALindsey’s debut, Death by Chocolate, comes out in 2012…of course I have to read anything written be the Twitter Goddess. #sleepisoverratedanyway

p.s. In addition to all this reading, once I finish the novel I am currently writing, I want to write Young Adult novels. Go figure.

* I used their Twitter names so that you can follow them, if you are not already.

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I am a writer.

I am a writer.

There. I said it. And I said it without blushing or averting my eyes.

I have always wanted to be a writer, but I have been plagued with excuses, starting with: Once I get a computer I will write my book. Well, I have had a computer for many years now, and still I am not published.

My next excuse was: I need to spend time with The Husband. How can I justify hours away from him writing something that may never see the light of day? Yeah, that’s the way to think…real positive. The thing is, he is super supportive of my writing goal, and would totally understand if I had to go into seclusion for a bit to get it done, but I still feel guilty if I spend all day at work and then spend more time away from him. It’s not him, it’s me.

Excuse number three: I have to work for a living, and I don’t have much energy left over to write. Well now that is just me being lazy. It is finally time to get off the excuse train and start taking my writing seriously.

I have been working on a novel for about 10 years – clearly not every day, or every month, or even every year for that matter, or it would be done by now. Usually, when I take a week off from work, my only goal for my vacation is to finally finish my novel. I make a lot of progress during those weeks, but I am still having a tough time making it more of a daily habit. I am hoping that by starting this blog, I will be shamed into writing. If nothing else, I will be forced to write the occasional blog post. Having something to report on my personal writing front would be helpful in that respect.

So, you may ask, what changed? What finally made the light bulb flicker? I actually have an answer for that.

Recently, The Husband and I were watching Kathie Lee and Hoda, and two of their guests were plugging their latest book releases – Jillian Michaels and Ice T. When Ice T started talking about his book, The Husband said, “Geez, who doesn’t have a book out? Oh yeah…you!”

Now this was all in fun and I took it as such, but actually he had a point. I mean, Snooki wrote a book (allegedly). Dubya wrote a book (which I actually read and found it to be surprisingly awesome!). Soap Opera characters are writing books that are published in reality. Why not me? The only advantage they have over me is that people already know who they are…oh, and they actually completed their manuscript.

Okay, so step one: Finish Work In Progress.

I thought I had come pretty close to doing this, until I realized that my word count was not quite what it should be. If I were writing YA, it would be perfect, but since I am not, I need to throw in about twenty to thirty thousand more words…piece of cake! I am on vacation the first week of October…I got this.

Step two: Get people to know who I am.

Enter Twitter.

I had no idea how advantageous it would be to join Twitter, until I started following writers. It started off innocently enough, with Alyson Noel and Cassandra Clare, authors whose books I was currently addicted to. I was really more of a Twitter voyeur then, just reading, not tweeting. Then on my vacation week in early August when I was in writer mode, I started following random writers that I had never heard of before, along with other writers and wannabe writers who followed also.

Enter Twitter Goddess Julie Lindsey, who made twimpin’ look easy, getting a whole bunch of us writers following each other for fun and inspiration. (There’s enough for another blog post to follow about this) A whole new world was opened up to me, as I realized that there were so many of us out there, just trying to live the dream of being writers, while juggling all the minutiae of daily life. Now I have writer buddies who are getting contracts and book deals and having launch parties and doing book signings. It is happening for regular people, like me, every day.

So I am on twitter, and now I am starting a blog. I hope I can keep it entertaining as I take you along on my journey. Thanks for stopping by!

Yup. I’m a writer. If I’m not, then who filled up all those blank sheets of paper with words and paragraphs and stuff?

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