February 28, 2001
Yes, yes, yes, I'm back. I had planned to be back around the
second week of March, but I finished a couple of assignments early.
Still busy, as this week has me changing my site, writing two articles,
and not only changing the format of the book but also doing a complete
wall to wall rehaul of the marketing and promotion I have planned for
For some reason, all of the sudden, I feel sick to my stomach. No,
seriously. Not just figuretively (hah hah I have lots of work to do so
it's turned into pain!) but literally. I think it's the Stouffer's
Macaroni and Beef with Tomatoes (microwave for 7 minutes) I just had
The book, "Book, With Words and Pages," will be out on May 1, and you can pre-order it now!
That page will give you a description of what's in the book, ordering
info, and even has a few excerpts so you can have a little taste of
what's in the book. And see that little box to the right of this
column? Put in your e-mail address and I'll send you an occasional
newsletter about the book and other things I have planned (plus you'll
get news and special offers not available to anyone else). Is that a
good deal or what? (Note: you might notice that many of my articles are
no longer in the archives. Yes. I did that because many of those pieces
are in the book, so they will not be here. The book also has 8
essays/stories that have never before been in print or on the web).
The Notebook, you might have noticed (since you are reading
this very sentence), is now on the front page. It just looks better as
a column on the front, and, heck, maybe it will give surfers an added
incentive to read what's here (they won't have to click to another
section). No, I'm not going to go on and on about web site design. I
think a lot of readers find that boring. So, here's the new site
(version 7.0, if you care). If you like it, cool. In fact, if you like
it, buy my book!
Jeez…the shameless self-promotion begins…
*Maybe it's wrong to imply that it's the fault of
Stouffer's and/or one of their products. That's not what I meant. Maybe
I just ate it too quick or something, or maybe it's a combination of
eating too quickly and working on the book and actually having it read
by a lot of people. I really like Stouffer's products. Their pizza,
their individual meals, their pasta dishes. Mmmmmmm. Don't sue me.
February 6, 2001
I'm taking a break.
The next month promises to be one of being busy, busy, busy! I'm
preparing my book for publication, which means a few intense weeks of
editing, correcting, formatting, submitting, editing, correcting,
formatting, submitting, etc. I want to have the book out by May or
June, in time for my world book tour (which will center around, um,
Massachusetts probably), so that means a month of doing nothing else but
concentrating on getting the book done. Oh, and reviewing sites for the
2001 Webby Awards, and being a moderator for Mediabistro.com.
But no Notebooks or other site updates until March. Sometimes the web
site has to take a back seat to more pressing concerns. What does this
mean for you, faithful reader? Well, for one, you'll have to go about a
month and a half without any new updates to the web site. CAN YOU STAND
IT? I thought you could. March will also mark the debut of a new
fiction area of the site as well (which I will cleverly title
So, enjoy what you see at the site, and enjoy the rest of the winter.
I'll be back some time in March, with info on the book and lots of new
stuff. But check back every week anyway. If I have a new piece
somewhere on the web or any new news to bring you, I'll post it on the
main menu page (in the cleverly titled "NEW" section). OK? Thanks.
Now I have to go shovel.
January 27, 2001
What do your dreams say about you? I wonder if there's really a consensus about this. Why do I ask? In a moment. But first…
People who work at home are weird. A friend sent me one of those
questionnaires you see floating around the web once in a while, one
where you name your favorite movie and favorite food and favorite color
and then forward to other friends. One of the questions was "Favorite
Day of the Week?" I thought and thought about this and came up
with…Wednesday. Yeah, exciting, eh? Wednesday. You see, people who
have regular 9 to 5, Monday through Friday jobs will probably pick
Saturday or Sunday, because they are days that they are not working
(they might pick Friday, but only because it's the last day of the work
week). But writers and other work at home types don't have days that
they can separate into "work" and "away from work" zones. I work a lot
on Saturdays and Sundays, and some weekdays I might only work half a
day. Often I work well into the night. It's all so weird. So that's my
answer. Wednesday. Besides, Ed and The West Wing are on
Wednesdays. Saturdays? Eh. Saturday is just a weekday in casual
clothing, with more yardwork thrown in. Sundays are Saturdays with less
traffic.* Though Sundays are by far the best day for novel-writing and
relaxing on the couch. That's my observation for today: your favorite
day of the week depends on the type of job you have. An obvious
observation, but there you have it.
Oh, yes, the dream. I'm at an elementary school (not sure if I'm
a teacher or some city official – I'm wearing a suit). The school is to
be closed for lack of funds. Meanwhile, on the ground floor of the
school (the basement? the gym? the cafeteria?), a major black tie party
is being held. Everyone wants me to do something to save the school. I
walk into the underground parking garage (yes, this elementary school
has a massive parking structure) where I see a coked-out Charlie Sheen
running at full speed toward a parked car. He jumps on to the hood,
where he is tripped by another person who appears out of nowhere,
sending Charlie into the windshield on his back. The windshield
shatters. THE END.
Make of that what you will.
*Why do I have the feeling I'm going to get a lot of e-mails about this?
January 18, 2001 (Oooooo, futuristic!)
So, another New Year's Eve has come and gone.
Mine was exciting! And thrilling! And boring! I stayed home, with the
television and a bottle of Cointreau as my companions. It's the year
2001. Can you believe it? I remember when the year 1999 seemed so far
away – and not because of Prince singing about it around 1982, but
because of the horrid Space: 1999 show in the 70s. This wasn't
just space…this was space IN THE YEAR 1999! And now here we are in
the world of Arthur Clarke. But it's rather disappointing. I mean, the
hell with DSL and Palm Pilots and getting the web on my phone and 30
HBO channels. Where the hell is my jet pack? My hovercraft? My cities
on the moon? My ray gun? Where are all the things that the best
scientists and magazine covers promised us in the 50s and 60s? Damn it.
Oh, by the way, here's Reason #72 why we don't need 24 hour news channels:
CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News all had LIVE coverage of the arrival of guests
to the christianing of Madonna's baby. I don't think there's anything
else to say about that. Let's talk about something else.
This has been an odd year so far (or should that be odd century?).
For the first two weeks of January I was in that just-after-Christmas
funk that I always get into. What, the holiday is over? Wow. Let's rip
those trees out and throw them on the sidewalk! Let's stop playing the
happy music! Christmas cards? They're just in the way, falling over
every time you walk by them and create a swirl of wind. It's amazing
how people can go from holiday attitude to just another day attitude.
Depressing. That's why if I'm really honest with myself, I don't mind
that the holiday "season" begins around the first of November. Any
earlier than that would be annoying, but I'll take two solid months of
Not to mention (but I'm about to) the fact that my major source
of writing income has vanished. The publishing web site I worked for
changed their business plan and got rid of a bunch of us editors. Oh,
we could have stayed, for no money. Yeah, OK, I'll do that. So now I'm
mode. That's a hint, by the way.
But I've already been rambling too long. I have an article due
Friday and it looks like it's gonna be another 2AM night. Until next
week, check out the main page
for recent articles (and my new "NEW" section that will keep you up to
date on what's going on). And sign up for the newsletter while you're