We trekked up to Lawrence Farms Orchards again on Saturday to have an apple-picking/pumpkin-picking/picnic party for India’s 5th birthday and the unseasonably warm October weather was absolutely perfect for it! (More pictures @ Flickr.) India, who doesn’t like birthday parties at all, handled things pretty well, though she had no interest in her cake and didn’t warm up to the idea of opening her presents until we peeked behind the wrapping paper of one of them and she realized a Care Bear was inside! Prior to that, she had dissed a gift bag full of clothes as “boring” and was insisting that I give her the Pliplup (Pokemon) figure she knew was in another bag because she’d spied it at home a few days earlier.
The rest of the day, she carried around the smaller of the two Care Bears she received (Grumpy Bear, ironically) and the talking Chimchar (Pokemon) I wanted to claim as my own! It’s kind of funny that years after Pokemon has pretty much faded into the pop culture background, my old cards buried in the back of the closet, both Isaac and India have discovered them in various forms, from the toys to the cards to the video game itself.
And no, that’s not my direct influence at all, though I fully encourage it now that the interest is there! 🙂
My new favorite toy, the Creative Zen 4GB, arrived last week and I’ve been having fun playing around with it, loading it up with 3.25GB of the most random selection of music from the 60s to today, and finally dabbling with some podcasts via Zencast. So far, the CNN Complete Update, MLB.com’s Gameday Audio Rewind, and NPR’s Latino USA have been keepers, but I’m still looking for the “killer app” that really sells me on the concept as a viable standalone feature. As much as I loved Pump up the Volume, most podcasts seem to be the digital equivalent of bad pirate radio, so any recommendations of particularly compelling content would be welcomed!
Skipped 13 last night and finally caught an episode of K-Ville and it was pretty good. Not great, mind you — the plotting is very by-the-numbers and the writing isn’t quite as crisp as I’d like it to be — but as I expected, Anthony Anderson and Cole Hauser work well together, and one of the sub-plots, the petition for reinstatement by cops who went AWOL during and after Katrina, is a pretty compelling one. I won’t necessarily skip 13 too often to catch it but I’ll finally hook up the DVR box to make sure I don’t miss any future episodes. Now I just need to get on track with Private Practice and work Grey’s Anatomy back into my schedule and all will be right on the TV front.
And so the baseball season ends in NYC, not with a bang, but with a gag. In stereo, at that! First the Mets pull an historic choke over the final two weeks of the season, losing a playoff berth that was all but guaranteed at the beginning of the season; then, the Yankees test the “better to have loved and lost” theory by storming into the playoffs only to pull an embarassing no-show for three out of four games, getting eliminated in the first round for the third year in a row. Not even the Teflon Don himself, Derek Jeter, was immune to the Choke, hitting a paltry 3-for-17 (.126) and a single RBI.
And what of Joe Torre, the beleaguered manager who, depending on the time of year and who you ask, gets too much or not enough credit for the Yankees’ successful run during his 12-year tenure? He’s been a great manager for them, this season more than ever, but he’s simply not the right guy anymore because Steinbrenner demands better than Bobby Cox. If Torre had the slightest shred of the dignity he’s so often credited with, he’d resign today before Steinbrenner can lower the axe. And please, no one suggest the Mets hire him as a bench coach for Willie Randolph. That would be an insult to both of them.
I have another Spindle update going up later this week, featuring a varied batch of contributors dominated by people I don’t know personally who found the site via marketing efforts on Facebook, Duotrope, NewPages and the flyers I printed up and gave out at 13 over the past few weeks. In putting it together, I had to deal with my first outright rejections, which was painful but necessary.
I tried to find the right tone for the rejection note, seeking a balance between expressing sincere appreciation for the submissions and being clear that the material wasn’t up to par, without going into any detailed critique which I simply don’t have the time for. I showed it to Salomé after I’d sent it to a couple of people and she was appalled! We went back and forth over it and I finally saw her point, realizing that maybe I shouldn’t have developed it in the context of answering one specific submitter who had clearly not read the guidlelines at all.
On the bright side, I’ve lined up two poetry editors and am talking to someone this week about writing a regular column; plus, I’m working on the first interview of interesting NYers that I hope to be a regular feature. and I have our first solid fiction submission, though it’s a bit long and may have to be serialized. Good stuff!