Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Introducing Rock School's newest All-Star...Ms. Carolyn Pagnotta!

Congratulations to the very beautiful, sweet, and talented Carolyn Pagnotta -- who is not only my son's signifcant other, but is now an offical Paul Green School of Rock Music All-Star - Alpha!

She's awesome! Apparently her performance of Siberian Khatru at the Trocadero impressed Paul so much she was immediately accepted into the All-Star program. This means that she's going to have amazing opportunities to play in front of huge crowds at famous venues all over the country and I am just totally thrilled for her.

(I just watched the All-Star DVD at the LA Knitting factory of Eric and the All-Stars and I'm freaking speechless. Sara Zimmerman, Katie Jacoby, Zach Miller, the Courtneys, C.J., Julia, Terry...good lord, what a treat!)


ETA: I know you are all dying to know how my reading went last night (ha ha). But I need to devote a separate journal entry for that because I have a lot to say for a change and I wanted Carolyn to have her own special tribute post so I'll be back later with the details of how it all turned out.

Community College Poets and Writers Festival tonight at 5:15 p.m.

Julie snapped this photo yesterday because I was moaning that it is impossible to take a flattering picture of me. This still isn't great, but at least I don't look like I'm a stunned circus freak -- my expression is more on the order of I've heard the news that Alito is being confirmed today. Monty dog, however, is his usual gorgeous self and as his custom whenever I sit down, attached to my hip.

So I know they're announcing the Oscar nominees later this morning, but before they do, I thought all Rock School parents would like to have a look at the list on the official Oscar site: List of Eligible Releases for Distinguished Achievements during 2005 78th Annuel Academy Awards.

What the hell. They say those damn penguins are going to take all the honors, but you never know...

Anyway, yay Rock School!!!

Last night I went out to dinner with Julie and boyfriend Matt at Las Cazuelas and I got all emotional, because among other birthday gifts he gave her -- such as three days next weekend in Montreal at the Ritz Carlton (oh boy is she my daughter) -- Matt put together an album of everything from ticket stubs to concerts they attended to photographs of the two of them doing all kinds of crazy stuff over the last two years -- the west coast Rock School Tour, Rock School All-Stars at Zappanale in Bad Doberan, East Germany, 2003, and their various vacations together as well as the recent trip to England the three of us took in October. He's even got our UK train tickets in there, and directions given to us by the owner of a hip hop shop as to where we could find the best rock CDs in London. Arghh -- this is probably too personal so I'd better stop before I embarrass them further, and besides, just looking at the album closed on the table right now is causing my eyes to fill up.

Damn hormones.

But my daughter is a lucky WOMAN (arghh again) to have found such a great guy. What an incredibly sensitive and loving thing to do.

So as previously mentioned, I'm reading tonight at Community College Spring Poets and Writers Festival on behalf of Philadelphia Stories and it starts at 5:15 at the Winnet Building, 2nd floor, Room 3, 17th Street just below Spring Garden.

I have butterflies and I don't know why. I've read at KGB in New York which is as good as it gets and wasn't nervous at all. Okay, yeah, who am I kidding, I was scared to death, but they had alcohol there and a glass of wine beforehand did wonders.

I'll just tell myself I'm there tonight to hear the great Randall Brown and then kind of detach myself from my body when they call my name. Maybe Randall will switch places with me so it won't be too much of a let down when they get me after they hear him.

Maybe I should just calm down and go practice reading my story.


Monday, January 30, 2006

Happy Birthday Julie!

Julie Slick, probably the most gorgeous twenty year old in the universe. Okay, so I'm prejudiced, but still...

Yep, Julie turns twenty today. A moment of silence while I recover from the shock of it all.

Alas, Drexel University does not allow time off for birthdays, so she is headed out the door with boyfriend Matt for a fun-filled day of classes and then we're going out to an early dinner somewhere in the neighborhood because Matt is taking her to the Franklin Institute at 8:00 p.m. to see the Bodyworlds exhibit, which is too cool for words. Go check out the website -- man, it's intense -- an anatomical exhibition of real human bodies. Here's a taste - it's called "Man Playing Chess"

Heh. Looks like something in a Neil Gaiman book, huh. Okay, that's enough Gaimanizing. I'm finally over it and plan to spend today calmly reading/memorizing the story I've written for the Community College reading tomorrow. Yikes, I found out I'm reading last -- there's only three readers -- but holy cow, I have to follow Randall Brown, who is one of my favorite short story writers. Oh, the pressure!

Wait -- hang on. Gaimanizing? I do believe I've just invented a new, wonderful word. I just did a quick Google search and I cannot believe it, no one has ever used it before. How is that possible? Hahahahaha - hey, if you saw/heard him in person, you would know just how brilliant this is and I think I should contact Websters and Wikipedia at once.


So as I mentioned the other day, on Friday Julie and I had our annual birthday lunch at Le Bec Fin. When we sat down, our waiter asked us if we'd like a glass of champagne. Okay, I'm a terrible mother, my daughter is not twenty-one and legal yet, but I said SURE, and this painfully handsome sommelier poured us each a glass and then the infamous owner, Georges Perrier, came over to our table and like every other man who sees her, gasped over Julie but then was kind enough to include me in his comment "To what do I owe the pleasure of these two beautiful women in my restaurant?" and Julie blushed prettily and I, ever the nervous bigmouth (see Gaiman post below) blurted "It's my daughter's 21ST BIRTHDAY" (I guess so as not to get arrested for allowing my daughter to underage drink -- oh my god, I really am such a dork it's pitiful)...anyway, he made a fuss, kissed her hand...I had insanely delicious salmon; Julie had some fish I've never even heard of...then we had desserts and I say desserts because we both had like five slices of each -- and here's a fun fact -- did you know that "stressed" backwards is "desserts"? In this case, it makes perfect sense, because when our waiter handed me the check, it was for $207.00. I blinked and tried to focus my eyes -- I thought I was seeing wrong; Julie saw my face and looked over and she almost fell out of her chair -- because oh my god, it turns out that our slender glasses of champagne were $48.00 (ha ha - I guess if you are wealthy enough to eat at Le Bec Fin, you don't bother to ask the waiter how much the champagne is when he offers you a glass)...but um, $207.00 for lunch is a little outrageous though Julie and I had a good laugh over what idiots we are...you simply cannot take us anywhere. Because after we realized we'd drunk $48.00 a glass champagne and how expensive lunch was, we sat there giggling uncontrollably though Julie did manage to gasp "Mom...seriously...please don't buy me a present, too - this lunch was my present" and I'm like, okay, right, sure, whatever...but of course in Julie's world, every day is her birthday -- she has both her father and me eating out of her beautiful little hand all year.

I will also give you a brief synopsis of this day twenty years ago. I went into labor, called my doctor, and you know, the contractions were coming pretty quickly and he said get to the hospital. It was the coldest day ever - it must have been fifty below zero, and because I'd been confined to my bed since October of that year because of all kinds of complications, I never bought a winter coat which would accommodate my pregnancy. So I wore this big old black coat with a huge beaver collar (arghhh...don't shoot me, PETA people, it wasn't mine) I'd inherited from my late mother and naturally because I hadn't been outdoors since October I had no gloves, no winter shoes, nothing available. Gary was like "No problem, Rob, we'll park in the inside lot adjacent to the hospital, you'll only be outside for a minute."

Cool, right?


We parked in what was the soon to be demolished indoor lot at Jefferson University Hospital in downtown Philadelphia. There were no available spots, so Gary kept driving up and up and up and up until we were like on the 17th floor of this thing and by now, the contractions are really coming hard and fast and I was starting to freak out. We get out of the car and head for the "EXIT" signs. Only one problem. Every door was locked. We then raced for a sign which said "Elevator"...only, the elevator had a sign "Out of Service". So then we tried to find stairs. Meanwhile, it may have said "indoor parking" but of course it was probably a hundred below zero in there; it was all open and we were up high in the wind...and I was in freaking agony.

We must have walked around that parking lot for a half an hour, me convinced I was going to die in there; Gary out of his mind altogether. Miraculously, we finallly stumbled on the one unmarked door that was actually unlocked and led to a staircase...only to walk down several flights to learn that the door on the ground floor was locked. Gary started pounding and screaming "SOMEBODY HELP US SOMEBODY HELP US!" At that point, we were both frozen solid and I didn't even feel the contractions anymore. Anyway, a pissed off looking attendant opened the door and said "What the hell are you two doing in here" and Gary started cursing at him about the conditions at the parking lot and I'm like "Um...I think I'm dying here" so we rushed into the emergency room and a couple of hours later, Julie made her appearance and life as we knew it would never be the same again and I swore she'd be an only child.

And six months later, I was pregnant with Eric.

In case you haven't guessed, I've adored being a parent and I've got a little sob caught in my throat right now as I realize Julie is no longer a teenager...and life is changing for me bigtime once again.

A little too rapidly.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

And I was worried about 2006 not being exciting (though I'm still cringing over the Gaiman incident)

Too funny - I found this photo online on some kid's blog. Yet another "the back of my head shot" at the Gaiman signing, where he is HOLDING MY PEN! I can add this to the collection -- I have a whole series of back of my head shots from England, where I made the mistake of entrusting my camera to my daughter and her boyfriend. Actually, in light of the photo below that Eric took of me the night of the signing and in light of the fact that everyone who meets me says "Oh my god, you are so much prettier than your picture" I guess from now on, it's back of the head or nothing.

And by the way, I also found a picture of the vampire who sat next to me. See? I told you he was a normal looking guy!

So yeah, I've been in a great mood except for the times when I'm cringing over what a dork I was that night. Because I was so sure I'd never be able to top 2005 and I started realizing that not only did 2006 start out with that incredible reading, I have a ton of really cool stuff coming up.

I'm reading at Community College Tuesday night at 5:15 p.m. and I've made my decision to go the humor route and read a brand new piece though I will talk about my book a bit.

And I've heard from my publisher which is great news because I was really starting to get neurotic about that and naturally assumed they thought my book was a piece o'crap. Anyway, they've told me that Another Bite of the Apple, which is the sequel to Three Days in New York, will be released shortly and in time for the RT Convention in Daytona Beach, Florida this May and yes, yes, I will be attending and what the hell, I'll even dress as a vampire. Wait, what am I saying. No, no I won't. Maybe I'll wear a corset, though. I've always wanted to do that, anyway. I just hope they have dim lighting. People really get into it at this convention - you have all of the romance people dressed as fairy princesses and the paranormal people in the aforesaid vampire attire and then there's the people like me in a black shirt and jeans who wonder what the hell they are doing there but Phaze does publish erotica and they lump us in there, too, even though I will once again say for the last time THREE DAYS IN NEW YORK IS A COMEDY though, okay, it does contain very graphic sex but I'm kind of poking fun at everything in it.

I've also written a couple of new short stories and have gotten a lot of good feedback on Embouchure, a story I wrote a few months ago which was recently published here. So that, along with the whole Gaiman "You must be Robin" thing, restored my confidence - hence my writing tear. Damn. I'm still kicking myself for not asking him how he knew that. I guess it's going to be one of life's unsolved mysteries.

In music news, Eric and his band Flamingo have a gig at the Knitting Factory in New York on February 7; he's got the April-May tour with Project Object which will take him all over the place and I'll be flying here and there to see his shows in selected cities...and he's got something really, really exciting happening this week which I will spill probably Thursday or Friday. It could be major. Meanwhile, Flamingo is busy recording their new CD and I've heard the rough cuts. It's amazing. Mind blowing, even. And this is without the vocals yet, which still haven't been added.

Tomorrow is my daughter's 20th birthday. I'll have a lot more to say about this momentous occasion then, as well as recap our lunch Friday at Le Bec Fin.

That's a pretty funny story in itself.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

You're tagged!

As stated yesterday, I've been tagged again but was first warned of that fact via e-mail. Ha ha - when I first saw that subject line I thought Holy crap, what did I do now? But it's all in good fun.

So here's the deal. Author Ellen Meister has tagged me for the below questionnaire that's making the rounds in writer circles. "Tell ten interesting facts about yourself". Most of you know everything weird there is to know about me, but I’ve dug deep into what’s left of my brain and hopefully there are a few surprises:

1. I’ve played guitar since I’m eleven years old but inexplicably I have only really mastered three songs in my entire life: The Girl from Ipanema, Jethro Tull’s version of Bourree, and Arlo Guthrie’s Coming Into Los Angeles. (Ha ha – I used to scream those lyrics at the top of my lungs. Look 'em up when you visit Arlo's above provided link and it won't be too hard to figure out why)=

2. My right eye is light green and my left eye is brown

3. I used to steal Barbie accessories from my cousin Annie because she had really great stuff and I had the five and dime knock-offs but I got caught when I tried to make off with her prize possession – Barbie’s pearl encrusted satin wedding dress for her marriage to Ken.

4. Speaking of Barbie, I once got in trouble for undressing her and Ken, taping them together naked, and wheeling them down the street in my (fake) Barbie car. Having just heard a rumor about how babies were born, I was hoping they’d make me a little Skipper or Midge doll.

5. I am an unbelievable cook. No, really, I am. I usually put myself down in every other area, but when it comes to cooking and baking, I rule. Therefore…

6. The Food Section is the first thing I read in the Sunday newspaper, not the book reviews or international news. You have my permission to shoot me now.

7. I have a fantasy that it’s my job to choose the music/songs for professional ice skaters and I can’t even watch the Olympics without picking out some obscure rock song in my head that I think would work much better with the choreography than the hokey songs they’ve selected.

8. And then there’s that other fantasy of mine to be a real rock and roll radio disc jockey…not the knucklehead Howard Sterns out there now but someone who plays great music and talks music and gives music history lessons and yes, I know, I’d have about five listeners but who cares.

9. I cannot do anything without listening to music simultaneously.

10. Not counting jeans, I wear only black clothing. There are no exceptions to this rule. I don’t even own a pair or shoes or coat that isn’t black.


Okay, now you know all there is to know about me. I tag the brilliant and hilarious Lori Young and the beautifully poetic/prolific Kat Denza!

Be sure to check on their blogs later today or tomorrow for what is sure to be a fun and interesting read.


In other news, I have a new piece up today in that favorite insane magazine of mine, Opium, which is part of a series of interconnected stories I've been working on for the past several years. And in case you didn't know, Opium is throwing a five year anniversary gala for themselves on February 4 in New York City. You'll see it advertised on their website, along with a list of the simply stellar authors who will be in attendance. Since Eric has a gig at the New York Knitting Factory on February 7, I'm seriously considering getting a hotel in New York for three days.

Ahem. Three Days in New York City?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Odds and Sods for January 25, 2006 (and Neil Gaiman is driving to Philadelphia?)

Eric Slick at the Digitech party in LA last week

Happy Hump Day.

So things are happening here -- looks like my son has an agent (and it's someone we all know and love and no, no, it's not me but I'm not saying another word until it's definite because I made that error with "that other band" with whom Eric was briefly involved and I've learned my lesson). There's a strong possibility that Eric will be out in LA again both before and after the spring Project Object tour in between going into the studio and recording some demos.

By the way, Andre of Project Object e-mailed me a mock-up of their updated website yesterday which includes Eric and I cannot wait to post the link once it's officially up. The group photo is absolutely hilarious and wonderful. But Andre does have the following in the "News" section already:

"Hey all. Hope u are well.....Stay tuned -we have a BUNCH of dates coming your way soon, the Spring Tour will be roughly mid-April to mid-May. AND -- a big change for us...Ta-da!! We have a new Drummer!! Yes indeed -- the wheel has turned folks....as with the REAL, actual Zappa band, occasionally we like to shake it up and get some new blood in there -- this time I have brought on board the incredible talents of ERIC SLICK - amazing Philly based drummer, some of you may have seen him sit-in at Philly shows, most recently at the World Cafe' Live , where he steered the band through the greatest version of 'King Kong' we have ever done. ERIC is also a graduate of Paul Green's School of Rock - and he appears in the movie ROCKSCHOOL about that great chain of schools. I've had my eye and ear on Eric's skills for a couple years now, but he had school and studio responsibilities that precluded the possibility of hiring him. Glenn Leonard will go on to other ventures, we wish him luck and thank him for his years of hard work in the band from 2002 to 2005. Stay tuned, you might even see him sit in on some tuned percussion somewhere....ALSO - this will be the first...100% PAUL GREEN SCHOOL OF ROCK STAFF TOUR!!! - Yes indeed, everyone in the band either currently, or in the past, has taught or attended the PGSOR..Besides Eric Slick's tenure at the Philadelphia school... I am proud to say I am now running rehearsals at the Bergen, NJ School, Eric Svalgard (KEYS/VOC) is a director/teacher, and Dave Johnsen (BASS/VOC) teaches, both at the Downingtown NJ location, Ike Willis (GTR/VOC) is at the Los Angeles school (with P/O alumni Carl Restivo)...special occasional guest Seahag/Robbie Mangano is at the NYC school..and finally Veteran Driver-Merch Goddess Laura Wilson worked at the NYC location anad still does some projects for them! WOW - Paul Green has..invaded Project/Object. Yikes!! SEE YA ON TOUR FOLKS!! more info soon...."
All I can say is, Yay, Rock School! Yay, Eric! He made a ton of contacts at NAMM and it appears they're paying off.

I like how he casually mentions to me yesterday "Oh, did I tell you Ringo's tech kept coming up to me and telling me how great I was?"

Err...no, dear, you didn't, or I'd have posted a billboard immediately. Oh well, consider it posted now.
In writing news, I was recently solicited by two separate publishers for anthologies -- one mainstream, one erotica, so I sent off two stories and I'm pretty psyched about that. More info as soon as I receive it.

I heard from Megan at Playgirl Magazine yesterday that my bio/interview will be in her next print column so you know I'll be screaming from the rooftops when that appears. Also, an excerpt from my novel will be on their website soon. Again, just listen for the screams of joy coming from the vicinity of the Art Museum area and you'll be able to figure out when that happens easily enough.

I also have a new blog with Phaze which will solely concern my projects with them. Here's the link to that but I don't have anything posted yet. Ha ha - Phaze doesn't know what they're getting into with me. I'm a serial blogger as you can tell. But the nice thing about having a blog at Phaze is that I don't have to mention Julie and Eric ad nauseam...I can simply promote my books there and not bother any of you with that unless...nah, scratch that, I'm still going to bother you.

Hey, speaking of writing, just a reminder that I'm reading at the Poets and Writers Festival at Philadelphia Community College on Tuesday, January 31 at 5:15 p.m. but of course I'll post more links and info on that either Monday or Tuesday morning. I have to decide what I'm reading...I have a few flashes which are funny and crowd pleasers, but I guess the businesswoman in me (ha ha ha what businesswoman? You mean this clueless baby boomer sitting here now in a faded black Who t-shirt picking sleep out of her eyes?) is saying I should try and find a PG-rated passage in Three Days in New York City -- there must be one in there somewhere, right? -- or one from the sequel. We'll see. I have fifteen minutes to read so I'll start fooling around with some things today, time myself, and make the decision based on that.
Julie also has something interesting in the works but trust me I REALLY know better than to spill that until it happens. Speaking of Julie, the little darling turns twenty on Monday and I'm still in shock over that one. The celebration kicks off on Friday when we have our annual lunch at Le Bec Fin, Philadelphia's five star French restaurant. Wow. I just realized it seems like yesterday that I posted a photo of our lunch there this time last year. Anyway, for those who care, I've already pre-selected my meal. The appetizer will be the "Gambas aux épices et salade de crabe, mousse de pommes et de céleri, émulsion au curry", or to plebs like me, better known as "spiced shrimp and crab salad, apple and celeriac mousse, curry emulsion". My entree, unless they have a spectacular special, will be "Pavé de saumon rôti,topinambour et champignons en feuilles de brick", a/k/a roasted salmon, sunchoke and mushroom in brick dough, rosemary chicken jus. For dessert, they wheel a round a pastry cart and it's an all you can eat affair. Take a look at what's offered. I have threatened to simply ask for one of each. Julie doesn't believe I will have the guts to do it, but this is a prix fixe meal and at $54 a head without wine, tax, or tip, I'm betting on myself.

If only they didn't come around every three seconds with baskets of hot rosemary olive rolls and softened butter...that's going to sabotage everything!

Her celebration continues when boyfriend Matt takes her out to dinner on Saturday night at one of her other favorite spots, Chloe, and then on Monday, her actual birthday, we'll all go out to dinner as a family...hopefully to a restaurant specializing in nothing but healthy salads under 400 calories.
And have I mentioned Neil Gaiman will be here tomorrow? I've had to swear one hundred times to Eric -- who is going with me to the reading reluctantly though I know he's going to have a great time because Eric is an awesome writer and artist as well as a musician -- that I will do nothing to embarrass either of us. Anyway, if you click on the link, you'll see that he's freaking driving here from Minneapolis! That's a 1,200 mile drive -- I know, because I looked it up. After going on Rock School tours with thirteen hour bus rides, all I can say is better him than me. But truth be told, it's such a hassle to take a plane anymore, I don't blame him. Besides, I read he's got the car of my dreams -- a mini Cooper convertible -- which he probably can't drive right now in icy Minnesota so he's probably looking forward to taking that baby out on the highway since at least here in Philly, we've been having Spring in January. How about last night, by the way? A thunder/lightning storm of truly magnificent proportions!

Anyway, I continue to keep to my promise to limit my online activities to about 1-2 hours a day while I work on my novel in progress...ha ha...my friends from Zoetrope will know why I put that in bold...sorry for the private joke, but I could not resist.

Also, speaking of my Zoetrope pals, I have just been tagged by my good friend Ellen Meister who was tagged by our pal Myfanwy Collins so now I know what I'll be posting tomorrow. This should be a blast. Make sure you check out Myfanwy's answers, too, and follow other links...like this link to the always fascinating Susan Henderson.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Eric Slick in LA - and now he's back -- and I'm torturing him and all of his friends for photos

But this one pretty much says it all:

That's Eric and Katie Jacoby, rock violinist extraordinaire (and thank you Katie and Esther, Katie's mom, for furnishing me with this first group of photos), and Eric's not awake to verify this, but I'm guessing they're at In-N-Out Burger and I wish to register a complaint: Why aren't there any In-N-Out Burgers on the east coast?

Actually, as I look a little closer, that's not In-N-Out Burger...that's...IHOP?

Hang on -- those aren't straws, they're chopsticks. Ah, okay, that's right. Eric told me that Paul took everyone out to dinner at this amazing sushi restaurant called Sushi Ya.

I'm going to put the "Eric With Celebrity" photos toward the bottom of this post so I don't have to shrink them down too much -- all of my links on the right hand side of this blog force me to minimalize my photos and I've never mastered that trick where you can shrink a pic and then click on it and make it bigger. Heh. Everyone please ignore any metaphors crossing your dirty little minds...

Here's a couple of Eric at Radio Station KLOS in LA where he did three songs on the Mark and Brian show. I just have one question. Where did he get those glasses?

Here's a shot of Eric on stage at the Los Angeles Knitting Factory:

Here are a few from the performance with the great Mike Keneally outside the John Lennon Bus (which will be available for you all to watch for free on the Lennon site in a few days and as soon as the link is up, I will post it):

Who wants some Zach Miller? Eric hasn't stopped raving about his keyboard wizardry!

Who wants some Zach Miller, Mike Keneally, and Eric Slick?

Okay, more celebrity photo time:

Here's Eric with Kenny Aronoff.

And Eric with his idol, Vinny Colaiuta, with whom he had a private meeting

Eric also hung out with Joe Satriani and I'm waiting for a kind soul to send me any photos he/she might have of that!

Anyway, I have a ton more photos on my photobucket site, and right now Eric is still sleeping...he'll probably sleep until it's time to leave for work (teaching drums today) at 3:00 p.m....so I'll probably get all the LA stories at different times during the week -- Eric was really fried when he got home last night and basically collapsed into bed. I'll report them as I get them.
I also have some writing news, but that deserves a separate post later in the week as well. Have I mentioned Neil Gaiman will be in Philadelphia for a reading on Thursday and I'm making Eric go with me? Hahahahaha - someone has to make sure I behave.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Eric Slick in LA - continued

Eric took this shot of outside NAMM

ETA: Here's some celebrity shots for you. Recognize this dude? Ha ha - yeah, you've got it, it's Constantine. (I'm not a fan, but what can I say...he's at NAMM). Below Constantine is Nancy Wilson of Heart and Dr. Epi (who the hell is Dr. Epi? Did I mention I'm out of the loop lately?)

So I've heard from Eric but only sporadically and not since early yesterday morning, right before the appearance on the Mark and Brian Show. Thank god for my pals on the west coast, because I heard that the kids killed! No one could believe them - apparently they did a version of Neil Young's Down by the River which gave my friends the chills -- they also performed Heart's Barracuda and The Who's Baba O'Reilly which rendered most people speechless.

Yay, Rock School!

But as far as the show at the Knitting Factory last night, I don't know how that went over yet, and I have no shots of the kids performing at Digitech, either, but Eric did find time to hit a Starbucks and forward me a couple shots which will probably only interest the parents of the kids involved, but what the hell, who knows who reads this blog anyway....here they are....

First one up is Julia Ranier and, I hate to say this but I'm out of the loop, an All-Star I do not know so if anyone wants to identify him or the others I mention I don't know, go for it in the comments section.

Don't know who these Rock School All-Stars are, either, darn it! How depressing not to know their names after being an integral part of Rock School since its inception. But they look cool whoever they are...

Okay, this kid I know. Hi, Eric!

This is Sara Zimmerman, the best slide guitar player on the face of the planet other than Bonnie Raitt and maybe Ben Harper...

Oh, look, the obligatory photo of the clouds from the plane. Ha ha, Eric. Are you in competition with your father for "art shots"? Heh. What next, shots of the ceiling lamps? Better not - your dad has that territory covered already. (I have shots of the ceiling lamps from every Rock School show dating back to 1998. If you think I'm kidding...sadly, I am not)

All kidding aside, Eric is a very cool photographer and here's a few other shots he took:

Anyway, I'm hoping Eric calls me this morning or gets to a Starbucks before he performs with Mike Keneally on the John Lennon bus this afternoon...I'd love to be able to post some action shots.

That's it for now. I'm actually trying to limit my online time and stick to a strict writing in longhand schedule. I have to say that the other positive thing about writing in longhand is that it removes the temptation to visit cyberworld. I find it impossible not to go on line and play when I write, even though I tell myself I'm doing "research". And then there's that AOL thing that goes off "YOU'VE GOT MAIL" and god forbid I shouldn't check that right away.

The only drawback to writing in longhand is forcing myself to type it up and discovering it's not as brilliant as I thought it was when I first wrote it. Ah well. Baby steps, right? Better than nothing.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Where's Eric? And somebody, anybody...what the hell is a meme?

Eric Slick in Hollywood


So after the Rock School All-Stars performed at the Digitech party last night, this guy came up to Eric, shook his hand, and said "You'd have done Ringo proud. You did some things on the drums that he only dreams about." (rim shots, apparently)

Or something like that.

I'm like, ohmygodohmygodohmygod "Eric, do you know who HE IS?"

"Oh yeah, I know," said Eric. "Yeah, a bunch of guys gave me their cards..."

Oh god. Nice to be so jaded, Er. Nice to give your mother heart failure as she sits here pouting in Philadelphia.

(I just had to sign him up for some daily passes for T-Mobile Hot Spots and he promises me he's going to be sending me photos and more info later today via his laptop. Apparently the Guitar Center gig tonight is cancelled so he's got down time to....hopefully go to a Starbucks and send mother an email and pics? Hahahahahaha - there I go dreaming again)
(original post of this morning)

Okay, Eric phoned me late yesterday to let me know he was safe and sound in L.A. and was heading off to sound check for the Digitech party, and that's the last I heard from him, though he did give me the news that he's tentatively having breakfast this morning with Mick Fleetwood.


(Ha ha - yawn? Not really! I want details! I want photos! I want to be there, damn it!)

So while I wait to hear from my errant son, something I keep forgetting to put out there is...what the hell is a meme? And do you pronounce it me, me? Or is it pronounced, god forbid, like memo except mem-eh? Or does it rhyme with dream? You know, you become a Neil Gaiman fan and you not only come upon links to sites which show graphic horrors (heh) like a skinned, roasted rat that some dude actually ate for New Years Eve dinner, but you learn all kinds of new words and "meme" pops up with every google search. Like a million times. So I tried looking up what it meant and I'm not satisfied with the answers I'm getting. Is a meme a trend? Is it something intangible, like an idea? Why are memes and Neil Gaiman synonymous? And yes, once again, how the hell do you pronounce it because every time I've typed it here, I've called it something different in my head.

And by the way, there's a new Neil Gaiman store where he is asking his fans for suggestions as to what they would like to see for sale. On Tuesday, not being able to help myself, I wrote in the space provided on said site that I'd like to a black t-shirt with a lime on it. And what does Neil write in his journal yesterday? "Me, I want a t-shirt with a lime on it."

Coincidence? I think not!

Okay, okay. I'm delusional.

Meanwhile, where's my son and why hasn't he called? Gossip central here is reduced to watching The Today Show. Kill me now. Please.

But first tell me what a "meme" is.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Eric Slick in LA - Part One - The Riot House

So here's the hotel where Eric is staying in LA for the next five days:

"Just as The Rainbow was the meeting spot for the rock and roll elite, the “Continental Hyatt House” was where the party always ended up. The Hyatt House (now the Hyatt West Hollywood) was nicknamed “The Riot House”, and for good reason. The parties are legendary. Virtually every rock and roller who was worth his or her salt stayed at the Riot House at one time or another. Three reasons come to mind as to why the Continental Hyatt house became a central point in L.A.’s rock and roll sub-culture. They offered (and still offer) band rates on multiple rooms, it was within minutes of no fewer than 32 record companies and probably more importantly, the Hyatt was merely a short limousine ride (or drunken stumble) east from The Rainbow and the Roxy. Not much has been told of the goings on at the Hyatt House."

Tonight Eric and the Rock School All-Stars are performing at a very special party sponsored by Digitech where there's going to be a very special presentation and some very special guests and Eric said if I blab one word of any of these top-secret details this morning he's going to kill me and since he's got his laptop with him and can check, I'd better stop right now before the temptation is too great. But he's going to be in touch with me either late tonight (ha ha - he knows I wake up at 5:00 a.m. and he'll probably just be getting in at 2:00 a.m. LA time) or early tomorrow and your Hollywood reporter here will file her report as soon as she gets the okay.

Oh man, this is killing me. I wish I could give at least one hint.

But alas, that's all for now, darn it. Stay tuned..

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Eric Slick invades LA again

So Eric leaves for NAMM among other things in California early tomorrow morning. The above is the poster for the LA Knitting Factory show this Friday night - Eric and the Rock School All-Stars are opening for Volto, which is Danny Carey's band. (Danny Carey is the drummer from Tool).

Anyway, I'm so jealous. Take a look at Eric's schedule for the next few days:

6AM- Meet at Rock School
8:45AM- In the air to LA
12:10PM- Arrive in LA
2PM- Go to NAMM
4PM- Sound Check for Digitech Show
7PM- Start of show
?- End, and back to hotel

4PM- Guitar Center Sound Check
7PM- Show at LA Guitar Center
8:30PM- End of show

FRI 20
7:30AM- Set Up for the Mark and Brian KLOS radio show
9AM- Live on AIR
9:30AM- Approximate end for radio show
4/5PM- Load-In/Sound Check at Knitting Factory
7PM- Doors
8PM- Show

SAT 21
1-1:30PM- Show at the Lennon School Bus

SUN 22
5:30AM- Arrive at LAX airport
4:10PM- Back in Philly

Now with each one of these events, there are pretty exciting details and I could do some serious name dropping here as concerns various rock stars/legends in attendance wih whom my son will be hanging out, but Eric is like, Mom, don't post anything yet, wait until they happen, I'll call you or email you every day. (I won't hold my breath but yep, you guessed it, when I don't hear from him, I'll ring him up and threaten him with sanctions (ha) if I get his voicemail.)

So I'm off to help Eric pack and then oh yeah, out to dinner!!

Random Highbrow

So I read about this little contest which interested me because I love playing with words (translate: love to procrastinate with internet writing games)...anyway, here's the rules:

Random Highbrow competition

Writers - your task is to take ten words and write a very short work of fiction or a poem (250 words maximum). All ten words must be used. The frequency of their usage is up to the writer.

This competition's ten words are from Machiavelli's The Prince.


I mean, some of the words are easy but try and use rapacious and patrimony in a 250 word story without coming off like a total pretentious asshole and see if you can do it.

So here's the link in question which features my story as well as all of the other entries over at Grimm Magazine and please don't hold this one against me -- it was done tongue in cheek and is totally and completely politically incorrect but what can you do -- better that than a pompous piece of PPA (prose performance art -- my term for stream of consciousness writing where oh-so-hip authors string fancy words together to form artful, nonsensical phrases and we're supposed to "get it", stroke our chins and whisper in reverence "Brilliant! Simply brilliant!" Though in a contest such as this, I guess I'll tolerate a little PPA.

But only if it makes me laugh.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The things I find on my computer...

Huh. I just found this on my iphoto desktop thing. I guess it's my son, Eric, impersonating a lamp? I do know one thing - that's not his bedroom and it's not my house.

Eric's got a tough life. Tomorrow he packs for his five day trip to LA and NAMM, yesterday and today he spent in the studio recording four or five new songs with his band, Flamingo, and yes they are definitely doing a show at the New York Knitting Factory on February 7 -- you can buy tickets right here.

So there's an eating fest in University City all this week - all of the best restaurants have prix fixe dinners topping out at $30; most $20 or $25 for three courses. Julie and I have our week all planned. Tomorrow we will be dining for $25 at Bubble House at 3404 Sansom Street as follows:

Lemon Grass Dumplings
Pork & Shrimp Suimei, Chicken Teriyaki or Flavorful Vegetable with Soy Vinaigrette Dipping Sauce
Mixed Green Salad
With your choice of dressing: Miso Vinaigrette, Toasted Sesame, Sriracha Ranch, & Strawberry Vinaigrette
Sweet Potato Fries
With tangy Orange Ginger Sauce


Thai Red Coconut Curry Chicken or Tofu
Spicy, Rich and Creamy Coconut Milk based Curry with Basil, Lemon Grass, Scallion and Carrots served over Rice

Grilled Salmon with a Fuji Apple Glaze
Grilled Salmon over Snow Peas and Wasabi Mashed Potatoes with a rich Fuji Apple Glaze

Bibim Bap
Our take on a traditional Korean dish. Grilled Marinated Chicken, Beef or Shrimp
On a bed of Greens, Basil, Mint, Daikon and Carrots over rice with a tangy Sesame Lemon Vinaigrette

Chocolate Ginger Mousse
Cinnamon and Sugar coated, Fried Cheese Cake Roll with Raspberry Sauce
Crème Brulee Medley for 2
Assortment of three

I'm thinking I'm having the sweet potato fries, the grilled salmon, and there's no way in hell I'm passing up fried cheese cake.

Julie, whose body is obviously her temple unlike mine, which I treat like...God, I don't even want to imagine the simile...wants the Bibim Bap. I like the way those words sound, even if it's not a dish I'd choose. Bibim Bap. Bibim Bap. Cool name for a band. The Bibim Baps. Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm a sick puppy.

Hey, speaking of bands, another really great Rock School alumni band, Atlas, is playing at The Khyber tomorrow night and they're awesome. It's a late show, damn it, or I'd go because it's over 21 and most of the Rock School kids who would normally fill the place up are 18-20. Anyway, at the very least go to Atlas' site and listen to their music...very nice stuff.

Here's the link to Flamingo, Eric's band. When you listen to the muscianship in both Flamingo and Atlas, you can really see where some day you'll be watching Behind the Music and there's going to be all these bands out there who say "Yeah, I was in Paul Green's School of Rock Music".

I was just thinking: Eric and Julie would make really sucky candidates for Behind the Music. The worst story either one of them can come up with about their childhood is "My mother is a hippie who thinks the CIA killed John Lennon. And...and...when we were little, she told us it's okay if we swim naked in the backyard pool..and...and...ooh, ooh, here's one...sometimes she gave us cake for breakfast and pancakes for dinner even though we don't like cake for breakfast and pancakes for dinner because we are health conscious and thin, despite our mother's terrible dietary habits."

So that's pretty much it for today. I did a bit of writing this afternoon once Matt and Julie cleared out of here. They're going to a concert tonight but should be home by around 9:00 p.m., just in time for Eric to arrive here with girlfriend, Carolyn, whom I believe is also spending the night.

Arghhh...I'm so glad for that fountain pen and journal since it appears I'm going to be banished upstairs this evening. But one thing I still haven't mastered is this: How do left handed people use a fountain pen without smearing? I have an artist friend who is also a lefty...hmmm...and he strikes me as a fountain pen user (because he's British and a writer? Ha ha - no, it's not Neil Gaiman) so maybe I'll drop him an email and see if he can't provide me with any tricks of the trade. I've been loving that pen, though -- I just need to get used to that line of black smear that extends from the top of my left pinky top to my left wrist.

Oh well. It looks like I have a couple of hours left before this house starts to fill again so let me go at least have a read at what I wrote today and pray I don't projectile vomit.

Later xo

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Three Days in New York City - #6 best small press novel, 2005

Julie Slick on bass outside of the Los Angeles Guitar Center

Fingers crossed for Julie, by the way. She's got an audition Wednesday night with a very cool, established band -- I'd post a link to their website but I don't want to jinx anything. I listened to four of their songs and they're really, really good and right up Julie's alley musically. So here's hoping and stay tuned later this week for more details.

In other news...

Holy cow, I really did come in at #6 in the Predators and Editors poll, best small press novel 2005. If you don't believe me, here's the final standings.

So that's way cool and hopefully all of you voters/readers are breathlessly waiting for the sequel which I completed a few months ago. As soon as I have any news on that as far as publication, well, you know I'll be putting up the usual billboards.

Hey, do you guys know about this site... Free Albums? Definitely worth checking out.

Anyway, I know it's been pretty dull here at Robin Slick's blogworld lately but this week should be totally exciting. Eric will be taking his laptop and digital camera to Hollywood and NAMM with him on Wednesday and will be feeding me daily reports and photos while he hobnobs with biggies in the music industry and all of his rock star pals. I will try not to eat my heart out and kick myself for not tagging along on this trip, but hey, I know, I know, I gotta cut the cord one of these days and it may as well be now. Ugh, I should have waited until something less exciting came along to do that, huh, but good timing was never one of my better traits.


Saturday, January 14, 2006

You're kidding me...did I end up on a Star Trek forum board or something?

Okay, look, I'm totally shocked, but right now I'm #6 at the Predators and Editors poll for best small press novel, 2005. Voting ends at midnight tonight. So if you haven't pulled the lever, obviously I won't be torturing you anymore after this, so please vote for Three Days in New York City right here.

I really am in said parallel universe. But to whoever you all are voting for me, THANK YOU.

Also, I can rest easy now...Neil Gaiman was kind enough to post the Temple University reading info on his blog. Anyone want to go with me? It's on Thursday, January 26.

"Neil Gaiman's reading at Temple University has been moved to
Main Campus, Mitten Hall 1913 North Broad Street(at Broad
and Berks), which is located one and a half blocks up Broad
Street from the Cecil B. Moore subway stop. The reading is
scheduled to begin at 8:00 P.M."

So that's about it for now. Eric is rehearsing with Flamingo; Julie is with Matt; and the dog and I are contemplating ordering Thai take-out.

Oh, I know what else. I found a really cool music site for some hard to find CDs, or even better, CDs you never even knew existed. Click here.

Mind you, I like all kinds of music - everything from the blues to punk -- but I really dig sixties/early seventies British rock. I just found some impossible to get Procol Harum CDs. Hey, if you aren't hip to Gary Brooker, you should be, no matter what your age. But I must admit, I almost had heart failure a few weeks ago when I was watching TV, clicking through the channels, and saw the movie, Evita. Now obviously I despise Madonna, but there was a group of men singing a great rock song in the movie so I lingered there. One of the vocalists sounded really familiar, and then I saw his face, and HOLY SHIT it was Gary Brooker. Seeing him in that movie was way weird; even weirder was seeing how my heroes have aged. But nothing was as big a shock to me as seeing Peter Gabriel last year...

Oh what the fuck. He still sounds great. I hate when people diss older artists. What, Keith Richards can't play guitar anymore because he's 60? And Keith Richards jokes are so cliched. I think the guy is handsome/sexy. I hope I look that good at sixty...and certainly hope I'm still cool.

What's that? I'm not still cool? Be quiet, kiddies. Oh. They aren't even here. It's their little evil voices I'm hearing in my head. Best to sign off and go eat some Thai food, huh.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Final days to vote; I'm reading at the Spring (?) Writers festival, and Where the hell do I get Neil Gaiman tickets for the Philly reading?

I'm on my knees here one final time, asking you to vote for Three Days in New York City as your favorite small press novel, 2005. Voting ends midnight Sunday.

You'll just have to conjure up your own mental image of yours truly on her knees for now but rest assured I am not above pulling out my webcam if you guys land me anywhere in the top ten.

So in case you haven't gotten around to doing so, I promise, I'll leave you all alone after this, but here, once again, is the link.

And from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Also, I know I've mentioned this before and you know I'll be mentioning it again but it's the first time I've seen the press release:

Spring 2006 Poets and Writers Festival
On January 31, Philadelphia Stories joins the Community College of Philadelphia for their annual Spring 2006 Poets and Writers Festival. Our reading will be held at 5:15 on the main campus at 1700 Spring Garden Street. Readers will be: Robin Slick, who is widely published on both the web and in print. Her novel, Three Days in New York City, was recently published courtesy of Phaze/Mundania Press and is available in paperback at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Voices and Visions Bookstore. The sequel, Another Bite of the Apple, has just been completed and is currently awaiting publication in 2006. Randall Brown is a fiction editor with SmokeLong Quarterly, an MFA in Writing candidate at Vermont College, a recipient of a 2004 Pushcart nomination, and a three-time winner of Zoetrope Workshops Top Story. His work has appeared in many publications, including his story "Flies: Wet, Dry and In-Between," which appeared in the Summer issue of Philadelphia Stories. David Floyd was born in Philadelphia and currently teaches at Rutgers University-Camden and Temple University. His book-length manuscript The Sudden Architecture of the Dark was recently a finalist for the 2005 TampaReview Prize for Poetry and the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. He lives in Lansdowne, PA, and can be found reading poems by Jack Gilbert; Plato's Republic, and Lauren Grodstein's collection of short stories, The Best of Animals.

So that's pretty cool.

Now. To find out where the hell to buy tickets to see Neil Gaiman at Temple University Center City Campus. Like I said, five minutes from my house, I went to the campus and the security guard looked at me like I was crazy.

"Who you want?"

"Neil Gaiman."

"Who that?"

"A writer. He's supposed to speak..."

"He not here."

"I know he's not here, he's...never mind. Can I speak to...I dunno, the librarian?"

"She on the main campus."

(Which is like three miles away and in a place where I got lost within minutes only to eventually be told the same thing (he not here) and sent back to the Center City campus five minutes from my house)

Anyway, what I did manage to find out is that Temple University is still on Christmas break and that the staff and students do not return until this coming Tuesday, so I'll let you know how I make out then.

Sigh...it would have been so much easier to go to New York on Monday and see him there.


Odds and Sods for January 12, 2006

So when Julie and Eric played the Rock School Music Player Live Event (MPL) in New York City with Adrian Belew, Jack Bruce, John Mayer et al back in October, one other performer I forgot to mention was Lisa Loeb.

It was strange and I didn't quite get it at the time, not being a real Lisa Loeb fan or anything and so overwhelmed by the fact that Jack Bruce was listening to my daughter tell him what a major influence he had on her bass playing, but there were people with massive video equipment following Ms. Loeb everywhere she went at the event like she was the freaking star of the show (trust me, she was not).

So through the grapevine, I found out that the entire MPL concert was filmed for her new (trying hard not to gag at the phrase) reality show and will be televised starting January 22.

#1 SINGLE (E!) - The cable channel has confirmed the Lisa Loeb-led dating series will premiere Sunday, January 22 at 10:00/9:00c. Here's how the network's press materials describe the half-hour project: "Being single in the city takes on a new twist in this new series following Billboard-topping singer Lisa Loeb on her quest to have it all: love, success; career and family. And E! Entertainment Television’s new unscripted series will be there to capture each step in the process. Newly single, Loeb is moving back to New York, where she will dip her toe into the dating pool for the first time since college. The performer’s one-of-a-kind approach to life will be the subject of this new eight-part half-hour series."

Bleh. Oh, sorry...

Anyway, it's just a guess, but if you tune in, I'm sure you're going to see some familiar faces because there's just no way the Music Player Live Event is on the cutting room floor. I mean, there were superstars on stage that night...

But yeah, okay, I'm probably dreaming -- the show is about her so I'm sure it's just her performance you're going to see but perhaps there will be backstage shots of the kids, etc.

I thought she was married to the bald Zappa kid and they had some kind of weird cooking show on TV together but what do I know -- oh, it does say she's "newly single".

Wait, hang on: Eric just woke up and told me that he had to sign a Release for her show, and so did Rock School sax player/vocalist Dom Malandro and maybe some other kids...hell, now I really do have to watch it!

Actually, the whole Les Paul meet-up at MPL with Rock School and performance with CJ Tywoniak, Eric Slick, and Max DiMezza was filmed as well for a documentary. I recently read that the PBS crew we met that day has been following Les around for a year for this project, and as soon as I get more news in that regard, I'll let you know immediately.

Other than that, there's nothing new...I have a couple of short stories which should be popping up in some magazines shortly and I'll post the links when they do; there's a Rock School tribute to Jethro Tull at Indre Studios this weekend and barring any water on the roof or any other lovely homeowner/parental incidents, I will be there to see the last of the original Rock School kids perform one final time although scratch that, I'll be at the King Crimson show in the spring and Eric tells me that when he goes on tour with Project Object, the Rock School All-Stars will probably open for them when they play Philadelphia (yes!)...so I'm sure I'll still be around.

And that may or may not be it for now...I haven't gotten the news of the day from Julie and Eric yet and I'm still waiting on some other new and exciting publishing news of my own, so...

Later xo

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Eric Slick with Project Object!

That's a photo of Eric playing with Project Object at World Cafe in November, 2005.

And guess what? Eric is now drummer for Project Object and will be going out on tour with them from April 14-May 14, 2005, returning home one day before his 19th birthday which I can guarantee you now, will be the blow-out of the century. Here's the details:

Project/Object Spring Tour
April/May 2006
The Music Of Frank Zappa

Andre' Cholmondeley - guitar, vocals
Dave Johnsen - bass, vocals
Robbie Mangano - guitar, vocals (selected shows)
Eric Slick - drums, vocals, electronics
Eric Svalgard - keys, vocals
Ike Willis - guitar, vocals

-the tour is "Eastern 1/2 of the USA"
-BRAND NEW Project/object sets
-Special "Joe's Garage" set due to Ike's solo presence

So how freaking cool is that!

It's already being discussed on the Zappa forum board right here along with some congratulations and that same photo I posted above. There's also another blurb somewhere on the forum but I can't find it. All I can say is, if you are forum board savvy, you'll probably locate it easily. I am not. Those things scare me.

Oh man, if they have an end of tour concert at the World Cafe Live in Philly as is there usual custom I will personally see that it is sold out both shows...you know me, I'll start posting the billboards now, both physically and via the worldwide web. Seems to me I once got drunk and even joined that aforesaid Zappa forum board -- I'll have to try out my usual screen name and password to see if it works but I'm getting a vague memory of hanging out buzzed and discussing Zappanale with people there...and then I lost where the thread was and never went back....yeah, that's what happened. Okay, then, I'll start a new thread where I can find it. Whatever!
But this isn't until April, and in the meantime, Eric's got all the stuff going on next week which I mentioned a few days ago, like going out to Hollywood, etc. and doing a Shannon Penn Band gig in February...I'm pretty sure Shannon has a bunch of shows lined up with Eric as well. So does Flamingo...there's that New York Knitting Factory show in early February. The boy is going to be busy doing what he loves. Lucky, lucky him.

Anyway, sorry for the tone of yesterday's post. I was in a funk but I feel better today. I started weirding myself out that I was becoming reclusive or worse, agorophobic. And then I read all of these blog posts written by people who went to the Neil Gaiman reading in NYC and had a blast and I beat myself up for not going...arghh...why can't I just admit I was tired and stressed from a weekend spent draining one thousand gallons of icy water off of my roof and didn't feel like taking the long train/cab ride to New York? No, I had to start diagnosing myself with psychiatric disorders and use a lot of four letter words.

Oh well. Can I blame it on artistic temperament?

Ack, the truth is, I'm insecure about some new material I've been working on...there are days the writing goes really well and other days I'm convinced it's complete garbage and I should just sell apples on the corner.

No matter. Julie and I are going out to breakfast this morning at the lovely Cafe Lutecia at 23rd and Lombard where they serve hot, fresh baked croissants and yeah, yeah, then I will do my dreaded banking and pharmacy run while Julie heads off to her first class of the day at Drexel U. In a perfect world, I'll even walk the mile or so home for exercise...bleh.

Or do it the usual Robin way and hail a cab.



Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Yeah, yeah

Yeah, yeah, it's crazy, but Three Days in New York City still has a chance of finishing up in a very respectable spot at Predators and Editors top small press novels of 2005 and voting ends on Sunday so please, please, please, if you haven't voted, here is the link.

I did ask you to vote for me earlier this month as your favorite Phaze author -- this is a totally different poll and I apologize for being such a huge bore, but it would be very cool to have Three Days finish in the top ten and would do much to help this black hole of depression swallowing me at the moment.

Yes, it's true. I've got a case of post-holiday blues and so do a lot of my friends. We've all kind of gone into hiding. One of my very best writer pals -- with several books published worldwide -- has had to take a day job which is a travesty because he's so incredibly brilliant but there you have it...we are one fucked up society right now with a skewed value system as concerns the arts and well, everything, really.

And unbelievably enough, after talking about it for weeks, I did not go to New York last night for the Neil Gaiman reading because all of a sudden, the thought of taking the train to Penn Station at rush hour and then making my way all the way up to 92nd Street just seemed so fucking unappealing -- maybe because I've been to New York at least one hundred times in the past year and I've finally decided I prefer Philadelphia because we have everything NY has except we are smaller, more accessible, and you can get a cab anytime and anywhere you want -- or, the real reason: Neil Gaiman is coming to Philadelphia in two weeks at a venue five minutes from my house so, like, it's not that I'm a crazed groupie who needs to see him twice in a month...

But I'm still a bit worried about myself. I haven't wanted to leave home at all lately...I just want to stay here and write and/or veg out alone. I suspect a lot of people go through that in January...but it's weirdly become agony for me to venture out even to do banking, etc. Though I must admit, I had a blast shopping for sushi supplies and cheesecake with Julie last week, so maybe it's just the mundane things I want to avoid right now.

And train rides to New York.

(Ha ha - if you've read Three Days, the opening chapter starts out with the female character on the train from Philly to NYC where she has a series of um, unfortunate incidents. The irony is not lost on me.)

Ah well, I do have other news including some cool stuff happening for Eric (can I trade lives with my son?) but this is just one of those posts where I need to vent and loosen up my fingers for my day's writing.

Sorry. I promise to be cheerier next time.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Odds and Sods - January 8, 2006

So here's the latest addition to the Slick family guitar collection. We're all like little kids over this one. Cool, huh.

Hey, I'm still in that parallel universe. My book is hanging tough at #10 in best small press novels of 2005. If you haven't voted, here's the link to put a check mark next to Three Days in New York City. Thank you, thank you, thank you and if you write to me and tell me that you voted for my book, I will give you candy.

Nothing much else happening here except that I'm extremely jealous my son gets to go to The NAMM Show 2006 in Anaheim, California next week, where, among other things, he will hang out with everyone who is anyone in the music world (including his hero, Bill Bruford) and he'll perform a couple of songs with Mike Keneally on the John Lennon Bus. While he's out on the west coast, he's also got a gig Friday night at the LA Knitting Factory and is playing a party on Wednesday at the DigiTech party at NAMM.

That, and the lucky bastard gets to eat In-N-Out Burgers for five days.

In other Eric news, he's recording a new CD with his band, Flamingo and they're playing the New York Knitting Factory on February 7, 2006.

Much to Julie's dismay, she returns to Drexel University on Monday following Christmas break where she's taken a really heavy class load this semester, but she's got an upcoming gig with McRad in February and has some other fun stuff coming up this month, like her 20th birthday, so I'm not too worried about her.

Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday, a few friends of mine from Zoetrope Studios have won some pretty spectacular writing awards lately. Over at Night Train Magazine, my pals Myfanwy Collins, Kathy Fish, Todd Zuniga, and Jim Ruland were winners in the annual Richard Yates Short Story Awards. And Jim Tomlinson has won the Iowa Fiction Prize and his collection will be published in 2006. So good on them!

My life is a nightmare at the moment. It seems I have six feet of water on the roof because the gutters are filled with leaves, so yesterday's excitement had me threading a hose attached to a sump pump from the bathtub and up through the skylight in Eric's bedroom so that it could all be drained off before the dreaded visit to the roof today in freezing cold weather to do the unclogging thing. I wanted a one hundred year old house WHY? But I knew the doors weren't closing properly upstairs and then I heard a drip, drip, drip coming down through the fireplaces in my bedroom and living room, and I knew there had to be big trouble, especially as I just had a new roof put on just last year.

And now I learn Eric's girlfriend Carolyn is spending the day here, and I love her, but this is just not good...my other plan for this morning was to take down the dead, disgusting Christmas tree, but oh well, what's another day.

Right. But tomorrow I'm going to New York. Oh, okay, Tuesday then. And maybe sometime in between I'll get a chance to write?

A girl can dream...

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Um, that's what remains of a slice of Banana Foster Cheesecake from Darling's, 404 South 20th Street (20th and Pine) in Philadelphia. I'd eaten half the slice before I remembered I wanted to take a photo and write about it, so I put some whipped cream in the missing spot on the plate to make it look better.

(Have you noticed in the last few posts that even my dinner and dessert plates are black?)

Man, that was some fine cheesecake. Julie had the pumpkin, and the shop also offers Grand Marnier, cherry, and chocolate. It was sick!

"It's Philadelphia cheesecake, not New York," the owner told me. "Very rich and full of flavor, but lighter."

In the meantime, Julie and I saw slices of homemade coffee cake and pounced -- we munched on that before we even left the cafe. We both agreed it beats out the coffee cake at Le Bec Fin, that's how good it was...sickly full of butter, nuts, and cinnamon. Nadine's also offers lunch on baguettes baked on premises, and their fresh mozzarella and tomato is sprinkled with fine olive oil and cracked peppercorns and comes in at around $5.00 which is a hell of a lot cheaper than most downtown shops and the fact that they bake the rolls on premises....mmmmm.

In other news, my pal Leslie is meeting me in New York on Monday so I no longer have an extra Neil Gaiman ticket but what do I read this morning -- my luck -- he'll be in Philadelphia on January 26 speaking at the Center City campus of Temple University which is like a five minute walk from my house. Grrr....

(Neil: Would you like to have dinner with us beforehand? Hahahaha - Julie makes some mean sushi.)

(Just kidding, just kidding.)

Actually, it'll be cool to see him speak twice. Because I need to be inspired. I've been reading some of his older essays on writer's block, where do ideas come from, etc. and I think it's just the ticket (oy, a cliche) to get me out of my winter doldrums. I've been manic lately. I'll write for a few days straight, feel wonderful, then spend the next three days in my pajamas, not leaving the house and feeling sorry for myself because all I seem to do is veg out on line or worse, eat until I can't move because I'm putting tremendous pressure on myself...and...truth be told...now that I no longer have a real job, writing is my job, and naturally, since it's now a job...you get the picture. I am actually thinking of going back into the nine to five workplace a couple days a week just to break this self-destructive pattern!

Or not.

Both Julie and Eric are still asleep so I have no news on how their shows went last night. Julie played a big punk rock fest last night and Eric did some recording at Indre Studios so as soon as I talk with them, I'll be back with a full report.

Also, a couple friends of mine have won some pretty impressive writing contests/awards over the past two weeks and I've neglected to mention that...hmmm...it really requires a separate post complete with links to their work, so yeah, yeah, I will do another post on that by the end of the weekend as well.

But right now, it's coffee time...


Friday, January 06, 2006

Julie plays with McRad tonight...she makes the world's greatest sushi...and I still have that extra Gaiman ticket for NYC

So come see Julie play bass with McRad tonight at The Chestnut Room. It's Philly punk night. (Wait. When isn't it?)

And I still have that extra Neil Gaiman ticket for Monday night but I guess if no one wants it and emails me, I will give it to one of the students standing in line an hour prior to the event in hopes of scoring one of the few remaining tickets at a discount. By the way, here's a really cool interview with Gaiman about the NY event.

Also, I know I'm being greedy because I've already asked you guys to vote for me as your favorite Phaze author, but it seems I'm listed on the Predators and Editors website as a candidate for all-around favorite author and book of 2005. Right. I have a real shot in hell on that one. But just in case, here's the link to vote for Three Days in New York City.

Ha ha - it's nice and cozy here in dream world where I live.

ETA: Hey, somehow I'm #10 on the list? What did I do, enter a parallel universe? Okay, please, please vote for me...I'm not beyond begging and carrying out strange favors in return.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for. How was Julie's sushi? Well, obviously I'm typing this so she didn't kill me or herself.

Let me just say this. I've eaten at one of the finest sushi restaurants in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest is world famous for their fresh fish. I eat at the best sushi restaurants in Philadelphia and New York City all the time. Can I just say without any parental prejudice at all -- because God knows I call it as it is with Julie -- that she made some of the most incredible sushi I've ever tasted in my life? She made a spicy scallop roll with a chili aoili that was to die for and an inside out roll made with fresh tuna, avocado, wasabi cream cheese, and shredded carrot with a wonderful, vinegary sticky rice -- I mean, she flavored the rice like you would not believe, which blew me away and essentially made both dishes. She's raised the standard of sticky rice...I'll never be happy with the ordinary stuff again. Eat your heart out, Iron Chef. So I know you are dying to see the photos, and I am happy to oblige.

Ha ha - I just realized, in these photos you can really see how laid back I am about housekeeping, but you can also see examples of some of Julie's great artwork on the walls so how about if you just look at that and the food and pretend the messy table does not exist. First up, the scallop rolls:

Here's the tuna roll:

And now, in a total tease, I'm going to give you a preview of a future post about the dessert we had following the sushi, where I will talk about Darling's, a wonderful, wonderful cafe Julie and I stumbled on yesterday which is the "originator of the famous Bananas Foster Cheesecake". Since Eric is not a cheesecake fan, we bought him one of Darling's awesome homemade chocolate chunk brownies. Eric is slightly freaked out, both by how great the brownie was and that I snapped his photo while he was eating, especially as he had just taken a shower (hence the wet hair), but I love this photo because Monty dog is obviously trying to send us all telepathic messages that he would like a brownie as well. And yes, I know, it's January 6 and my Christmas tree is still up. So shoot me.