Prudie lays into a reader who's trying to talk/guilt her single, pregnant, college-age sister out of placing her child for adoption. It's a beautiful thing.
November is National Novel Writing Month, in which contestants write a 50,000-word novel over the thirty days of November. I've taken part six times, and I can't recommend it enough to aspiring writers: Nothing demystifies writing like pounding out 1,667 words every day for thirty straight days. One of the first questions people ask when I tell them about "competing" in NaNoWriMo is "what do you get if you win?" The answer, basically, is: Nothing. You win the right to say you wrote a novel in one month.
This year, though, there will be a prize. The good folks at University Book Store are hosting a competition for local NaNoWriMo winners: Just drop off or e-mail the novel you wrote for NaNoWriMo 2011 with University Book Store by December 2nd, and one winner will be chosen to be published by University Book Store Press. (What that means is that the winner will receive ten free copies of their book, their novel will be stocked on UBS shelves for at least three months, they'll take part in a special reading to celebrate the contest, and they'll get a $100 gift card. Two finalists will get $50 gift cards and will also take part in the post-contest reading.)
I'm one of the judges for this competition. I'm looking forward to reading your book. More information about the contest is right here.
It's going to be a lot of fun. Get your tickets—just $5—right here.
* Get a load of this line, from Ron Charles at the Washington Post: "It’s a remarkable episode, drenched in the matinee carnage of classic horror but elevated by the power of Whitehead’s prose to the level of those other ash-covered nightmares imagined by T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Cormac McCarthy."
Tonight is the kickoff party for State v. Pan, a fundraising campaign for the unlikely trial of local artist (and Stranger Genius Award winner) DK Pan.
The short version of the story (you can read the long version here): A few years ago, the SPD and FBI collaborated on a years-long surveillance project. They watched a group of friends in Seattle, some of whom were artists, some of whom were lefty dissidents (marching at Republican National Conventions, that kind of thing), and some of whom broke minor laws—poker games, personal drug use, throwing after-hours parties. But the SPD and the FBI weren't looking for card-playing and pot smoking.
You can buy tickets (just $5!) right here.
If you're new to the idea, 2BE1BL is a bookish swap meet: Your entry "fee" is two books you've read and loved. The books you bring are added to the tables of books placed all around the Hugo House's cabaret area. For every two books you bring, you get to choose one new-to-you book from the stacks to bring home with you! All the books left over are donated to Friends of the Seattle Public Library, who will sell them at their twice-yearly book sales to raise money for SPL. There will be a bar, with drink specials. And some music.
The drunky book swap fun starts on Thursday, October 13th at 5 pm at the Hugo House. If you want to explain to some random stranger why they should take your book home, we're setting up a recommendation station where you explain on a Post-It exactly why the book you brought is so special. This worked really well last time. Feel free to sit in the Hugo House's cabaret with a drink or two and read through the books you're thinking about bringing home. Hell, feel free to strike up a conversation with a stranger or two about the books you're looking at. These events are always fun, laid-back, and literary. You should come.
Ain't love grand? Congrats you two. All of your friends & frenemies at Slog wish you many, many more happy years together.
Tonight at 7 p.m., at the onomatopoetic SPLAB in Columbia City, two poets who don't suck:
1. David Rowe* of New Orleans, reading from his collection Unsolicited Poems—poems that not only acknowledge their unsolicitedness (unlike all those other poems, trying to pretend they're wanted), but also are unpretentious, unannoying, often funny, and possibly great. If you require more adjectives, Bookslut.com called Unsolicited Poems “beautiful and chaotic and sexy and sonorous.”
2. Alex Bleecker, whom Paul Constant calls "local awesome poet" and who claims to have spent most of 2010 "being the falangster of love in southeast Asia" (I don't know what that means, either)—Bleecker is also one of the facilitators of Capitol Hill's Breadline reading series at Vermillion on Capitol Hill (the one tomorrow looks good).
Part of the mission of the Unsolicited Poetry Tour is to gather submissions for Dorado, a letterpress literary magazine from David Rowe's publisher, so poets are urged to bring poems (making them, for once, solicited).
*The conflict of interest here: David Rowe and I went to college together. He lived directly upstairs from me in the dorms at one point, and I could hear him walking around. He wore a wool plaid jacket—of the hunting variety, not professorial—nearly constantly, as far as I recall. He seemed brooding, but was actually quite pleasant when you talked to him.
Who are you?
Elicia Sanchez. I'm a stand-up comedian and a video store employee who splits my paychecks between comic books and happy hour. Also, a responsible adult and maker of good decisions. You will most likely see me on the bus sometime.
What is The Enematic Cinematic?
It started as a blog about the shitty movies I watched that turned into a podcast. The podcast episodes consist of me convincing comedians, filmmakers, friends, and/or random people to come over to my apartment, drink some beer, and then record ourselves talking about the movie we watched in segments such as: what we learned, favorite quotes, or a name from the end credits that sounds like a nickname for a penis. And so on.
That's the tagline for the Drinky Movie Show (Sunset Tavern, 9 pm), "an alcohol-soaked descent into film nerd madness." Anchored by the prodigious talents (and drinking problems) of hosts Travis Vogt, Kevin Clarke, and Derek Sheen, tonight's Drinky Movie Show will also feature Level-6 Mage Mike Drucker and grumpy nugget of delight Elicia Sanchez. In case you're a dummy who doesn't know anything, those are five of the funniest people in Seattle. For serious.
Featuring short films, contests, prizes, and drink specials, this will be a full-on multimedia extravaganza that everyone can enjoy! And by "everyone" I mean "People over 21 who watch too many movies and regularly drink alcohol to excess."
Tuesday, Aug 23, Sunset Tavern, 9 pm.
I, Lindy West, will also be in the show. I will be drunk and yelling about movies. So, you know, just another day at the office.
So, there's nothing like discovering that one is an accessory after the fact to grand larceny.
Dan left a bit out of his story of Waiters' Revenge. After he collected a silver service for 12, he didn't take his ill-gotten but oddly deserved gains home. Noooooooo. He wrote me a letter—this was so pre-internet—and asked if I could ask my friends in London to store some stuff for him, as he was doing some traveling around Europe before heading back to the States. My friends—actually, the poor-as-church-mice daughter and son-in-law of one of my professors, two lovely people I hadn't met in person but whom I have become great friends with—said they'd be happy to. Over a year later, I come to London to discover that they'd had to put this duffel bag full of silver under their bed in their Dickensian two-down, two-up house in Forest Gate.
And I was the mule bringing it back to Chicago after my own Grad Student With Backpack summer travels. "Just tell customs you got it used at Camden Market," Dan instructed me. He himself probably didn't know it was over 10 grand in silver, and this was all pre-9/11. The extra weight required me to pay for overload for my luggage, too, now that I think of it.
But I got my own revenge years later by tossing out a lot of shit he'd left in the family basement.
And as for foodservice: I'm writing this while tending bar. Cheers. My own stories of waiting tables can wait for some future Slog thread.
If you've already read the book, feel free to dive right in with your questions and observations. There's a lot to discuss. If you've read other books by Charles Portis (Norwood and Masters of Atlantis are also favorites of mine) we can talk about the differences between his novels. Since there are two very interesting True Grit films, we can talk about the pluses and minuses of film adaptations. We can discuss voice and narration in prose, too (some people can't stand Mattie's narration). Just be sure to start your conversations here, and we'll come and find you. In addition to your fellow book clubbers, librarians and booksellers are standing by.
None of Colson Whitehead's novels are like any other of Colson Whitehead's novels. He's written books about semi-mystical elevator inspectors, crazed stamp enthusiasts, well-paid experts in the art of naming things, and a tight-knit clique of young African-American kids in a mostly white vacation community. His next book looks to be a dive into a new genre for him: Zone One is a novel about a group of survivors trying to re-colonialize Manhattan in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by zombies. Whitehead is one of his generation's best novelists, and he's a witty, clever speaker, too, so this should be a lot of fun.
Of course, the author is just part of Verse Chapter Verse. If you haven't attended before, here's the setup: The featured band plays three or four songs, the author reads for a little bit, I'll interview him for a little bit, you'll interview him for a little bit and then, while the author signs your books, the band comes back onstage and plays us out with a set of four or five songs. This time around, we'll be pairing Whitehead with The Curious Mystery, a psychedelic, garage-y outfit whose atmospheric songs should be a great complement to Whitehead's creepy, funny ode to the months after the end of the world.
So save the date: This edition of Verse Chapter Verse will be Thursday, October 27th at Chop Suey. It'll just cost you $5. Third Place Books will be selling copies of all of Whitehead's books, there will be plenty of booze for everyone, and I guarantee you'll have a good time. I'll let you know when tickets go on sale right here on Slog.
Posted by news intern Megan Burbank
In case you missed it, Salon has an excellent piece on the origins of Mitt Romney's old pro-choice stance: it turns out that one of his relatives died from an illegal abortion in 1963.
He alluded to this in a 1994 debate with Ted Kennedy, but Salon finally identifies the woman as Anne Keenan, the sister of Romney's brother-in-law, who died when she was only 21. The article states that Keenan's "grief-stricken parents asked for memorial donations to be made to Planned Parenthood; and that the family apparently wanted to keep the death quiet because Romney's politically ambitious father, George, was then governor of Michigan."
The piece also describes Romney's pro-choice action as a politician:
That year , he even attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser, and his wife, Ann, gave $150 to the group. And while he used much more muted language, Romney vowed during his successful 2002 campaign for governor of Massachusetts to uphold the state's abortion laws. But in 2005, as he prepared to seek the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, Romney switched gears and announced in a Boston Globe Op-Ed that he was changing his position, describing himself as "prolife" and arguing that states should be able to set their own abortion laws.
Well, at least we know where Romney's backbone went. He left it in 1994. Read the whole thing here.
In the wake of ideological attacks on abortion—like the latest craze, legal personhood status for fetuses—and literal attacks on abortion—like last month's firebombing attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in McKinney, Texas—I respectfully request the return of Mitt Romney, 1994 model. But perhaps we can take cold comfort in the knowledge that at least his hair is as majestic now as it was then.
One the most-watched IGB videos isn't technically an IGB video at all. It's the video for Rise Against's "Make It Stop (September's Children)."
Everyone at the IGBP—it's not just me and Terry anymore (and hasn't been for a long time, RSCC)—is hugely grateful to Rise Against for their outsized and moving contribution to the project. And we were thrilled to learn today that "Make It Stop" has been nominated for a VMA award in a newly created category: "Best Video With a Message.” Also nominated: Lady GaGa's "Born This Way," Eminem & Rihanna's “Love The Way You Lie," Katy Perry's “Firework" (which Perry dedicated to the IGBP), and Taylor Swift's “Mean.”
Rise Against's video sends a powerful message and it's reached and touched countless LGBT teenagers and their straight peers. Gay sex-advice columnists standing up against homophobia is one thing; punk bands with millions of straight fans standing up against homophobia is another thing altogether. We wanna thank Rise Against for the stand they've taken against the bullying of LGBT kids, for their enormous contribution to the It Gets Better Project, and for all they've done to make it better. We also wanna thank MTV for acknowledging the video and what it stands for.
And, hey, MTV viewers—and only MTV viewers (cough, cough)—are invited to vote for for all general VMA categories at vma.mtv.com. MTV viewers (cough, cough) who are only interested in voting in the "Best Video With a Message" category can go straight here. Voting's open through August 16.
All the books in the Songs About Books project have one—and maybe only one—thing in common: I love them. So I was a little nervous when Levi Fuller, the brains behind SAB, decided to read all five books before the concert. What if he didn't like the books? These four novels (and one book of poetry) form an indelible boundary—on one side is good taste, and on the other is bad taste. You could have personal disagreements with one or two of these books, but what if he hated three or—choke!—even four of them? I would hate to discover that Fuller, who came up with this project in the first place, had bad taste.
Luckily, all five of Fuller's thoughtful book reviews are up, and I was relieved to discover that he has good taste. If you'd like to learn more about the books before you come to the concert, you should read his posts.
Go read his reviews, and then buy your tickets for the Songs About Books show. It's on August 19th, and you get a CD of the literature-inspired songs to keep with your tickets. I promise it'll be fun.
And if you're curious to hear what a musical book review (or a musical book report, or just a song about a book) sounds like, you should visit the Ball of Wax blog, where Levi Fuller has posted four songs from the project for your free listening pleasure.
These are books that I love, interpreted and experienced by some really wonderful musicians. That just about sounds like a perfect evening, to me. Hope to see you there.
Tim Keck, the man who inflicted the thing known as The Stranger onto the world, is the subject of a profile by the Seattle Times' Jonathan Martin. Martin calls The Stranger "crusading, constantly profane and sometimes hilarious." Considering the sorts of things we call Seattle Times, I'll take it.
...feed 'em Mars Bars and Snickers instead:
Children and adolescents who eat candy tend to weigh less than their non-consuming counterparts, according to a new study published in Food & Nutrition Research, a peer-reviewed journal. This is potentially important news given the current state of the childhood obesity epidemic. But lead researcher Carol O'Neil, PhD, MPH, LDN, RD, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, wants to ensure the study is put into perspective.
"The study illustrates that children and adolescents who consume candy are less likely to be overweight or obese," O'Neil said. "However, the results of this study should not be construed as a hall-pass to overindulge. Candy should not replace nutrient-dense foods in the diet; it is a special treat and should be enjoyed in moderation."
This is a potentially important detail: "This research project was supported by the USDA Agricultural Research Service through specific cooperative agreement 58-6250-6-003. Partial support was received from the USDA Hatch Project LAB 93951. Partial support was also received from the National Confectioners Association." (And where did the study's authors find "non-consuming counterparts," e.g. children who don't consume candy. I would've imagined that finding kids who don't consume candy would be at least as difficult as finding men who don't consume porn.)
Thanks for making things look so good all of the time around here.
Take your dad to brunch. Maybe coax him into getting that extra bloody mary. Then, after he's railed about the Commies and puked all over his own khakis, tuck dad into bed and head to Central Cinema tonight to watch Stranger writers Cienna Madrid and Derek Erdman (along with the Hugo House's Brian McGuigan) talk about their awful fathers in an audio-visual odyssey titled "Fuck Father's Day." After you've heard the hilarious, mortifying stories they have to tell about the men who knocked their moms up, you will call your drunk, slightly racist dad and thank him for not being one of these three terrible men. That's a successful Father's Day, right there.
Here's the deal: Three readers—Brian McGuigan from the Hugo House and Cienna Madrid and Derek Erdman from The Stranger—will tell personal stories of their own bad dads, with visual accompaniment playing on Central Cinema's big screen, while you drink beer and eat food.
All your bad-parenting-story needs will be met. Alcoholic fathers? Check! Absent fathers? Check! Crack-addicted fathers? Check! Bad fathering, including putting whiskey in a baby's bottle to get the kid to quiet down and go to sleep? Check! A lifetime of spiritual scars, including body issues, relationship problems, and self-loathing? Check, check, and check! This ought to be hilarious.
If you like to laugh and you hate fathers, you should buy your tickets right here.
Come and have a drink and talk about books, the internet, and everything.
We're having an editorial meeting for two hours, which means there will be no posting on Slog until 11. See you then! Do you think there's something we should be discussing at this meeting? Put it in the comments!
In the meantime, if you're looking for something to do, here are some lesbian sex tips, including good advice for masturbators of all genders and orientations:
How to Use Your Sex Parts (If You Are a Lady Having Sex with a Lady)
Masturbate. A lot. Try different positions, different toys, different orifices (and beyond). Try for different types of orgasms—don't just go for a direct hit (unless you only have five minutes in a public bathroom). Indulge yourself; foreplay isn't just for when other people are around. Play with your fantasies, kinks, and desires. Read up on female sexuality and erotica. Confidence is key when it comes to sex—and the more you try out, the more you will know what works for you and the less timid you'll be about your own and other people's bodies. Plus, that post-orgasm glow looks really good on you.
Communicate. A lot. Everyone's bodies (and brains) are different, even when you are working with similar parts. Rid yourself of preconceived notions about what ladies do with lady parts. You don't have to be romantic and slow. Don't be afraid to fuck. Ask for and take what you want (remembering to make sure everyone involved is on board, of course). Embrace the fluidity that female sexuality has to offer, and play with all the tools you were given and the ones you've bought.
Your hands are your primary tools, so get ready to get arm-deep. Keep your nails trimmed, get latex/latex-free gloves, and lube. With patience and lots of talking you can look forward to fisting, G-spot orgasms, and ejaculating. Strap-ons can also be powerful and exciting. Psychic dick is an amazing thing to experience—so if you are game, it's worth investing in. (Any previously acquired cock-sucking skills can still come in handy when working with silicone.) And don't neglect your classic oral-sex techniques. Three 6 Mafia and the rest of us would rather get some head, and you have the advantage on giving a lady what she really wants.
In the comments of this Slog post, Goldy writes:
Not just the "tastiness" of the pudding... the mouthfeel. Geez... you just don't get it.
I immediately jumped in and chastised Goldy for using the word "mouthfeel," when "consistency" would work just as well. (Presumably, pudding would be smooth, no matter which orifice you stuffed it in. It's not like the mouth brings anything special to the texture of the food.) A number of other commenters backed me up.
And so now a moment of great solemnity is upon us, Slog. We have gathered to decide whether we should forever ban "mouthfeel" from Slog. To make our final judgment, we call once more on that most ancient of traditions, a scientifically binding Slog poll:
Goddamn kids! I'll tell YOU the trouble with kids today. All they care about are their goddamn Pokey-Mans, iPods, Sunny Ds, Pop Rocks, Kid Bopz, Razor scooters, internet porn, bear traps, sandwich fixings, IUDs, Elmo, karate lessons, Santa Claus, Katy Perry, Lady Goo-Goo, Shaun Cassidy, sexting, unicycles, jaguars (the animal, not the car), fist pumps, saxophone solos, binge drinking, caramel corn, raising the national debt ceiling, monster trucks, flash mobs, Pogs, Ninja Turtles, pizza pie, Dig Dug, Indians, mayonnaise, Pilates, graffiti, wedgies, swirlies, weight lifting, tongue piercing, Cracker Jack... (DEEP INHALE)... fried shrimp, the MTV, go-go dancing, beat poetry, ice cream trucks, Steven Seagal, Japanese war memorabilia, pogo sticks, diamonds, Silly Bandz, Halloween, handjobs, and comfortable shoes.
ALL OF WHICH CAUSES A PERSON TO WONDER...
Webby Awards, which are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, are a big deal—Lisa Kudrow is hosting the ceremony!—and, as a Webby winner, I'm in some rarified company (past winners: Al Gore, Ariana Huffington, Roger Ebert, Twitter). The problem: I have to give an acceptance speech. From the Webby's Wiki:
The Webbys are famous for limiting recipients to five-word speeches, which are often humorous, although some exceed the limit. In 2005 when accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award, former Vice President Al Gore's speech was "Please don't recount this vote." ... In 2008, Stephen Colbert shouted “Me. Me. Me. Me. Me” when accepting his award for Webby Person of the Year. Accepting the award for Best Political Blog in 2008, Arianna Huffington’s speech was “President Obama ... Sounds good, right?" Other popular speeches include "Can anyone fix my computer?" (the Beastie Boys); "Everything you think is true" (Prince); "Thank God Conan got promoted" (Jimmy Fallon), "Free, open... Keep one Web" (Sir Tim Berners Lee), “Holy - Fucking - Shit, Buzz Aldrin" (Jake Hurwitz), and "Holocaust. Did it happen? Yes." (Sarah Silverman).
I'm under a lot of pressure to come up with a five-word speech that is 1. memorable (I want my speech to make the Webby's wiki page!), 2. doesn't come across as too glib (the award is for the "It Gets Better" Project, not "Savage Love"), and 3. allows me to work in my real age (34, per last Friday's Seattle Times story).
Help me out, Sloggers! Write my five word Webby Award speech for me!
Tonight, from 5:30 until 8 pm, we'll be hosting Two Books Enter, One Book Leaves at the Hugo House. For every two books you bring to the reading, you can take one new-to-you book from the stacks of books tastefully arranged in tables around the House. While you're deliberating over which books to choose, you should buy a drink at the Hugo House's full bar and sit in the cabaret area, where the acoustic stylings of WEGO will entertain you.
You can find a FAQ about the event here. And we'll be trying something new at this 2BE1BL. Caitlin, a bookseller at University Book Store, had a great idea: She said she didn't want to just cast her old books out into the cold, cruel void with just its back cover text to explain itself. She said she wished she could write a little recommendation on a Post-It note and stick that on the cover of the book. Thanks to Caitlin, we'll have a table with pens and Post-Its at the event so if you want, you can explain to browsers why the book you brought is so awesome and why they should take it home.
And every book that's left at the end of the night is donated to Friends of the Seattle Public Library, so it's all for a good cause. I hope to see you tonight.