Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Blog Smorgasbord

At long last, the Yardwork Injury Curse has been broken, as I emerged unscathed after perching high on a ladder and using an electric hedge trimmer. My bruises are healing, and what’s more:

The new contract is here! The new contract is here! At long last, my new contract from Random House has arrived, full of legalese that I am helpless to understand. (Thank you Magnificent Agent Laura, for deciphering the fine print for me.) I am apoplectic with joy. Commence with the signing and initialing where indicated!

My new garden is in, too. While putting the finishing touches on it this weekend I hunkered down to eavesdrop on eight leather-bound, dusty, surly, helmet-free, tattooed, bandanna-wearing bikers who pulled over near our house to discuss their route. One of them fielded a phone call from a guy named Tom. At the end of his shouted conversation he said, “Okay. See you there. Love you, man.” And the stereotyped image I held of “a biker” exploded, debris missing my right eye by mere centimeters. Remember how in the seventies bikers did angel dust and ripped people’s hearts out with their bare hands? No more, my friends! Now they wear sunscreen, eat Luna bars, and share their feelings. They even star in commercials for incontinence protection.

This breaking down of traditional roles been going on for some time, as I'm sure you know. Hell, even I have a tattoo and spent the weekend around a bonfire swigging homemade liquor. (I also interacted awkwardly with adolescent children who seemed mildly disappointed to learn that I do not write children’s books. “No, they’re pretty much for adults,” I said. Awkward pause. Then, because one young man’s mother was with him, “In fact, you should probably be 18 to read them.” Said the hypocritical writer who read Cujo, The Shining, and Night Shift at the age of 12.)

Anyway, despite our ingrained urge to compartmentalize in order to impose some kind of order on (and thus wrap our heads around) anything unfamiliar, the moral of the story is that when you stereotype, you make a stereo of a type you never want to listen to Barry Manilow on.

But maybe you could listen to this album on it.

Or if you're not a gay dog person like I am, how about something a little more festive?

The diagonal mismatched font was mandatory for all artists wearing white jeans with white shoes in 1983.

My eyes are painfully drawn to his Lyle Lovettesque hairdo, which almost looks like the insult known as my own hairdo in 1989. Sorry, I haven't built up the courage/drunk enough cheap wine to post a photo from that era yet. And the shirt! The pastels...the scribbled angles...was this visual molestation meant to distract us from the fact that his fingers are mere nubs of their former selves? Dear god, how can this man eat Cheetos like a normal person?!?! He can't, that's how. Because he's wearing white pants. And everyone knows that you just don't eat Cheetos in white pants, especially when your fingers have been buzzed off in a painful circular saw accident, perhaps while trimming the brushpile that you call your hair.

Oh, and rumor has it this photo was taken AFTER Labor Day.

I don't remember where I found these album covers, but they're out there. Somewhere.


  1. hahahahahah! jess is back!

    congrats. on the contract.

  2. Anonymous9:22 AM

    That guy in the white pants totally bogarted my tenth grade haircut. I was going for Molly Ringwald-esque and that's what I ended up with, right before the first day of school, a new school. It's not an exaggeration to say I cried for several days.
    And dude! A ladder and electric hedge trimmers? With your track record? Methinks you have a death wish :o)

  3. Congrats on the contract...

    And I think the least of this guy's worries would be that the photo was taken after labor day...

    But I am dying to hear these albums...Songs of Gay dogs... and Rulli Rendo...(Do you think that is his stage name???)

  4. Good news! I believe half the guys in my high school looked JUST like Mr. White Pants. The 80s - fear them.

  5. the jump from the nubby fingers and the white pants to not being able to eat cheetos made me like you even more...cause seriously, can't eat cheetos?! the horror!

  6. oh, sheesh...i forgot to add congratulations on the contract! happy happy day.

  7. Anonymous1:35 PM

    congrats on the contract!

    aww... hell, i didn't know dogs could be gay too but then, i can't tell the difference between their sexes in the first place.

  8. Congrats on the contract!
    Perhaps when you find that pic of you in 1989 you could use it for your author photo????


  9. yay! new contract good. mumbo jumbo legalese not good.

    as for those uhmmmm albums? sometimes you scare me.

  10. Rulli Rendo - all growed up, with the same haircut

    Thanks Jess. Like I needed more distraction.

  11. Hey, I HAD that shirt! Seriously.

    Ummm, that's not a good thing is it.

  12. LOL! Jess, this was great.

    Your critique of the bad album cover is priceless. (You must do more of these.)

    And hey, congrats on the contract!

  13. whoa - all aborad the random train! I love it!

    Cheetos and white pants are no as intractable a rule for me as "no patent leather before memorial day."

    It's nice to learn new things, don't you think?

  14. Anonymous7:15 PM

    Ms RIley, with those album covers alone you have driven my mad blogcrush over the edge into fully fledged blog-stalking. This is genius.

  15. I like Trish's comment!

  16. Yay on the book! When I have a release date, I'm adding you to my "to be read" pile. YAY!

    Love the pics, and yeah, no eating cheetos in white pants, even WITH fingers, because that's where you wipe off the orange crust from your least, if you're trying to teach your daughter that smacking your fingers is considered bad manners. If she's not around, it's a whole different story. ;)

  17. Just when I'd successfully blocked my own 80's nightmarish memories...

    SO many bad perms and psuedo paint-splattered shirts and, gasp, white pants even in the winter.

    I know.

    More book news and less 80's next time, if you please. :)

    The gay dog can stay.

  18. Congratulations on your contract, Jess! Things are moving along well for you :o)

    Happy to hear your bruises are fading the the garden is growing.

  19. A contract? I am so envious. :)