Category Archives: books

500 Favourite Words: I’m part of a cool, new chapbook and word cloud project

Those are a few words I like to say.

Discombobulate.

Fiddle.

Goop.

Everyone has a few favorite words, but how many of us share the same word choices? ChapbookPublisher.com‘s

Dan Waber is setting out to find just that with his 500 Favourite Words chapbook and word cloud series. And, I am so excited to be a part of it.

So far the line features over a half dozen mini chapbooks, each filled with the creative contributor’s 500 favorite words.

500 Favourite Words word cloud

A screen shot of the growing word cloud from ChapbookPublisher.com

The pocket-sized 500 Favourite Words chapbooks sell for just $2.00 each and are available here (and also 100-word snippets of each available title.) That’s less than a penny per fun word!

Bringing this series together, is a world cloud. This cloud encompasses all of the 500 words all in one spot, much like you see in a tag cloud on a blog. This visual representation gives a picture on the most popular words in the series overall. So far, I am not the only one who has the word discombobulate on the list. Or fart. And, jazz appears on the most, although it was not on my list.

My list is random. No real order. Some words that appear next to each other may rhyme or fit in the same category or have the same root. It just happened that way. Some were coincidences (<– that’s a word on my list!) and others were a clear stream of though, such as when I wrote cheese and then proceeded to write Muenster. These 500 words made the list for various reasons. Some are fun to say. Some I use a lot in my own writing. Some I like the meaning. Others, I just like how they sound.

And, in doing this, I noticed my own little trends in words. I like words that start with ‘c’ sounds (clever, crisp, kumquat) and words that have v’s (fizz, buzz, rendezvous) and q’s (quirky, kumquat) in them. I like words that have historic (parchment) or natural, organic meaning (igneous, metamorphosis) to them. I like words with lots of syllables (diabolical, participle, onomatopoeia) And, a lot of words I like also have cars with the same name (Element, Escapade, oh, and Rendezvous).

When I heard about Dan’s project, I jumped at submitting my top words. And, as I was compiling my list, at first I struggled with choosing the words I like best, but soon found myself crossing of words to replace them with “better” words. And even now that my list is complete, my chapbook done, I am rediscovering words that I love and would be worthy of a Volume II!

I also love the word cloud feature. It’s no doubt creative, unique types would be drawn to this project, so seeing so many common favorite words is just fascinating. We’ll all so unique and different, yet attracted to the sounds or meanings of the same words.

To learn more about Dan’s 500 Favourite Words project and hist other projects (and, to support the project by picking up a chapbook or two, visit ChapbookPublisher.com. Other NEPA folks who are a part of this are poet Jim Warner and Andrea Talarico (no relation although she’d be an awesome cousin!) of Anthology Books.

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Do you suffer from Book ADD? How your bookshelf may be like your shoe rack and other signs you may be a book whore

Donna Talarico Book Collection

These are a lot of my reference and nonfiction books.

Yesterday, I blogged that I had Idea ADD. In my head, I coined that word. And then I made it official by jotting it down in my moleskine. No one else ever said it around me, so I take credit. Although, I am sure someone as clever as me also had the same idea. If fact, they likely had the same idea because they, too, have Idea ADD.

But, Idea ADD — while I think it’s a more serious condition for me — did not come first. At work, I was talking to my colleague of three years (and Words with Friend opponent of three days) about books. Actually, I wasn’t talking to him about books. I was telling someone else about books and he overheard.

It went down like this:

(lots of people were eating breakfast. it smelled good. so we were talking about food and one past fast-food favorite came to mind…)

Female co-worker: The chicken Whopper was so good, I ate three. In one day!

Me: Did you ever read THE DAY I ATE WHATEVER I WANTED by Elizabeth Berg? It’s a memoir and Augusten Burroughs recommended it (giddy sidebar to actual quote: he personally recommended it to me when I met him Philly). It’s really funny. (I then summarized the first chapter)

Female co-worker: It sounds funny.

Me: It is. Well, at least I think so. I only read the first few chapters.

Female co-worker: OK – that doesn’t sound promising. Thanks for the recommendation!

Me: Oh, no, no. I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just that, well, I just have book ADD. I set one down to take a break and then another one catches my eye. It’s lonely. It wants to be read too. And it IS an interesting book because why else on earth would I have bought it otherwise?

Female co-worker: (laughs and exits for meeting)

Male co-worker: Did you just say you had book ADD?

He then told me he was a fellow sufferer of book ADD, and explained how he downloaded a bunch of ebooks on the same topics, and read chapter one in one, and then the next and pretty much read only bits.

Me: You know what, they call people book whores for the wrong reason. I actually don’t have book ADD – I have ONE (chapter) NIGHT STANDS with my books and god damn it, I am coining that right now. (I get out my moleskine and jotted down my idea and dated it.)

Male co-worker: (laughs, inserts earbuds and rolls back to work, later throws Nerf dart at me)

donna books by wilkes university mfa faculty

This is a special shelf - books by faculty in the Wilkes MFA creative writing progra.

And that’s how it was decided that it’s ADD with my ideas, NOT books. No, it’s lurid one (chapter) night stands with an array of books.

  • I find them.
  • They fascinate me.
  • I touch them. Run my hand down their spines.
  • I bring them home. (Sometimes immediately marking them as my own by writing my name on them with a Sharpie.)
  • I get a glass of wine and open them up a bit. Get to know ’em a bit first. Maybe I find out a bit about where they are from, what else they’ve done, who is important to them in their lives.. you know.. whatever they feel like sharing.
  • Then, things get started. And for one reason or another, I decided to give it rest.
  • The next day, I often don’t call. It’s not that I don’t like them. I was very, very into them. But, the allure of the others… they are newer, shinier…
  • So, I begin again… one (chapter) night stand at a time…
  • That’s what I call a book whore.
donna talarico memoir collection

This is about half of my memoir collection.

donna talarico memoir collection 2

More memoirs. Can you tell it's my favorite genre?

But seriously, I do have an issue for wanting to read every single book recommended to me.

I collect books like some women collect shoes:

  • In all shapes and colors. (chunky fun fact books and hologram-covered coffee table books)
  • In many widths and heights. (tomes to chapbooks)
  • Some that my best friends have and I just want to look cool as they do. (okay. I didn’t buy Twilight yet)
  • Some that make a statement. (the God Delusion, or the one about kama sutra)
  • Some that are tried and true favorites. (Animal Farm, To Kill a Mockingbird)
  • Way too many for the shelves designed to organize them.
  • Some, just because they are on sale.
  • Pairs that don’t fit anymore, but you keep them around anyway. (The Pokey Little Puppy.)

But, even after all those comparisons for my collection, the one shoe that DOES fit my reading habits? A freakin’ FLIP-FLOP.


donna books 2

These are a buncha books about writing books.

Just like my Idea ADD, I need to schedule time to focus on reading one book at a time – maybe take a hiatus from buying books – and read more each day. When I focus on reading a book, I read quickly and love the satisfaction of reading something all the way through and then telling others to read the book, too. But, I start and get sidetracked, either my a newly purchased book or a magazine. I’ve recently subscribed to my daily newspaper, as well as The New Yorker and The Week – in addition to those I already receive: Fast Company, Inc., Website Magazine, Ode and Internet Retailer. I can’t keep up. But, I need to.

I joke about it, but when it comes down to it, I realize I have a problem with completing things sometimes. As I always say, it’s never professionally — but when it’s for my hobby or really, my dream of writing full-time, I am too distracted by other ideas and other books I want to read.

  • Any ideas? What do YOU do to read more and finish titles? I know many busy people – people with two jobs and kids – who read more than I do. What do they do that I don’t? Please share below.

donna talarico books again

And, I do have fiction books, too. I keep them on shelves alternating between bras, undies, socks, and camis.


Augusten said You Better Not Cry But I Did Anyway – a review of Burroughs’ new memoir

Note: I also posted this review on Amazon. It’s funny because I haven’t posted many reviews on Amazon, but the very first one I did post was back in 2005, and it was for Augusten’s Sellevision,  a quirky novel that made me laugh out loud. I wrote that way before I was so into memoir. Years later, I read Running with Scissors and he ended up being one of my biggest inspirations in the memoir genre along with Tobias Wolfe. Here’s that review.

It said it on the cover of the book, but I failed to follow the directions.

You better not cry.

betternotcryMy right ear was filled up with tears. I was hyperventilating. That was the precise moment I had to set the book down on my red sheets and announced to the entire world how much and hard I was laughing less than one chapter in to YOU BETTER NOT CRY. I posted this news on Twitter and Facebook from my iPhone and then went back to the book and read it, almost in its entirety before falling into a slumber and having silly, pleasant dreams.

YOU BETTER NOT CRY takes readers on a sleigh-ride through the (sometimes even ghosts of) Christmas past of Augusten, beginning when he’s eight-years-old and obsessed with shiny things (as we learned in RUNNING WITH SCISSORS) like tinsel, lights, and gold nuggets. We move rather quickly into Augusten’s adult life, spent in the most famous Christmas city of all, New York City. Here, the stories are not as gift-wrapped with material that prompts tears of hilarity: they are more about love and loss and growth- but the holidays are about that, too.

When I think about this book as a whole, the childhood chapters are like the angel at the top of the tree (or, the golden nuggets that Augusten begged for), while the adult stuff is more like a stocking-stuffer (like the crackers he wasn’t expecting so much of), even though the latter material fills more than half the book. I don’t want to say I was let down, but I so much adore Augusten’s humor and his playful, observant, imaginative, innocent, and curious view of the big world around him and the unique story-telling style that matches. So with that in mind, I wasn’t expecting the book to take such a leap from childhood to mid-twenties and later so quickly. Maybe it’s because I am obsessed with my own childhood, but I feel a certain comfort being in young Augusten’s world. The book unwraps with such child-like detail, such as students in his class folding metal chairs and stacking them so they “fit like Pringles in a can.” However, his details as a grown up are just as vivid and perhaps more moving, eloquent, and beautiful. It is through his descriptions and imagery that you can see how his impressions as a child have lingered through adulthood, giving that same knack for detail no matter what age he is writing from. I have dozens of pages folded over so I can go back and enjoy the passages again and again.

I felt the book was short and quick and over too soon, but nonetheless, very enjoyable. Nothing wrong with a quick read at all, so I don’t want to say that’s negative. However, it’s Augusten, so I wanted more. It was like the feeling you get after an exciting Christmas morning of smiles, laughter, and quickly tearing through gifts, and finally unwrapping the last one and staring at the empty tree skirt, knowing that, while you were happy for what you received, disappointed that there would be nothing else until next year. I wanted more from his big sack of childhood memories, perhaps stories of holidays that involved the Finches, the psychiatrist’s family we came to know and love in RUNNING WITH SCISSORS, and even sprinkled about his other titles.

Long-time fans of Augusten will surely enjoy YOU BETTER NOT CRY, as if familiar old friends are coming in from out of town for a holiday dinner after years of being apart and hearing new stories, getting new laughs, and learning more about each other. A familiar theme flows this book as well: Augusten’s alcoholism. We see how this affects his holidays, his loneliness, and ultimately even his happiness.

After reading this book, I could not help but reflect back on my own Christmases. I, too, made very specific lists, for one. But, more importantly, no matter how terrible I thought life was at any given time period, Christmas was always a happy time. That’s why this book is so relatable to so many people. Memories of holidays are about laughter, about hope, about family, about friends, and even the absurd and shocking. We get one Christmas a year, while regular days zip by. Perhaps that’s why we remember holidays with such detail, clarity, and often, with such fondness. Augusten, one of wise men of the memoir genre, recounting his holidays past captures that exactly the way the tree at Rockefeller Center attracts Manhattan tourists.

YOU BETTER NOT CRY is a must-read for Augusten fans. I highly recommend to those who have not yet read Augusten read RUNNING WITH SCISSORS first to get to know him better. It will make this holiday memoir far more understandable and enjoyable. And remember, if you are anything like me, you WILL cry, either from laughter or from inspiration.


Talented People I Know: Kaylie Jones, Novelist & Memoirist

Kaylie Jones's Lies My Mother Never Told Me is getting rave reviews

Kaylie Jones's Lies My Mother Never Told Me is getting rave reviews

For my second Talented People I Know post, I’m going to introduce you to novelist Kaylie Jones, who I’ve come to know through the Wilkes University MFA in creative writing program. She’s one of our fantastic faculty members, along with my two great mentors throughout the program, first Beverly Donofrio and then Becky Bradway. Kaylie, who primarily works with fiction students, has been a wonderful mentor to some of my friends in the program. The wonderful thing about the Wilkes program is that everyone learns from one another, so although I did not work one-on-one with Kaylie, I’ve definitely learned from her.

(Fun little sidebar: Actually, to be a little more specific, Kaylie and I really connected outside of Wilkes University on Twitter. We were having fun talking there and I casually mentioned that, because of my day job and interest in social media, I had pitched an idea for a workshop during residency on how writers can use Twitter and Facebook. Turns out her husband, Kevin works in the Internet marketing realm. She called the Wilkes program director, Bonnie and pretty much got the ball rolling on my proposed class. In June 2009, Kevin and I presented “Social Media for the Anti-Social Writer” which got many, many more Wilkes faculty and students on board with social media!)

Over the years, Kaylie has released several novels including A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries which was also turned into a movie of the same name. Speaking of daughter, she’s the daughter of famous novelist James Jones (From Here to Eternity). She teaches in a few different creative writing programs, including Wilkes and chairs the James Jones First Novel competition.

Kaylie’s new memoir, Lies My Mother Never Told Me, was released last month; but, I was lucky enough to over the past two years hear excerpts during her whole writing and publishing process at nightly readings during residencies. The book is so familiar now to the entire Wilkes writing community. It’s just truly amazing to be part of a writing community full of such support for one another, and while Kaylie is getting a lot of wonderful media attention right now, she’s forever promoting the works and honors of her friends, students, and peers, too. She’s just kind and generous like that.

kaylie_jones_donna_talarico_brooklyn_09_09

Me with Kaylie Jones after her launch party in Brooklyn.

A whole slew of the Wilkes people went to Kaylie’s book launch in Brooklyn a few weeks ago, and many students have been following her along the book reading route around New York and Pennsylvania. Her next reading is tomorrow at Anthology in Scranton, so that’s why I am writing this post: she’s top of mind. That, and I’m halfway through the memoir.

The press Kaylie has been getting for Lies My Mother Never Told Me is impressive. Publisher’s Weekly. New York Times. Washington Post. CNN. Lots of other larger city papers, too like Pittsburgh, Columbus, Palm Beach, etc. And, I even suggested a story to my features editor at the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, where Mary-Therese Biebel did a wonderful interview with her. The Wilkes-Barre area media has embraced Kaylie, actually. Here’s a link to her interview on WVIA-FM‘s (the local NPR affiliate) ArtScene, a daily arts program. She gives great kudos to Wilkes. While we’re linking to Erica Funke’s interviews, here’s one from another Talented People I Know, Jim Warner.

I will let this great video from Better tell you more about Kaylie’s history and about her new memoir:

Check out the memoir if you can. It’s fantastic! And better yet, if you can see her read, go.


Ski Patrol (1990) Movie: An Avalanche of Memories of a Great 80s Comdey

ski_patrol_movie_1990I grew up in the Poconos near Blakeslee Corners. There was no Blockbuster yet, or at least not in my area so the video store was owned by a local man. Dot’s Video was located on Route 115 in an old Texaco station a few miles down from my house on the intersection (if you can call it that) of Depner’s Road and Route 115. The man would post the new releases on his sandwich board-ish blinking sign — you know the kind– shaped like a big arrow pointing to the store, where you could change the letters in and out.

Word spread that Dot’s Video was moving to a bigger location– right next door to my house! I remember the day clearly. I was playing outside with some friends and we saw a truck with a trailer pulling the big sign, and “Dot” (his name is escaping me and I feel bad) was on the trailer holding the sign, waving to us. The man driving was honking the horn. His new location was in front of the junk yard (Delease’s) in a white house, but I am not sure if they lived there or not. Every time I had friends or cousins over we’d cross the little creek and go to Dot’s to get a video. We’d rent the same ones over and over and over. It’s the first time I learned what late fees were too, when I hid The Lost Boys so it never had to be taken back. When I moved away from that house I didn’t get to rent movies as much so I started to tape them from the TV. It was new technology at the time and I was a smart kid.

There was nothing cooler in the 80s to actually videotape a movie off the television. I didn’t do it often because we never had any blank tapes. (Do you remember blank media storage? I miss it.) But one of those movies was Ski Patrol (another was Teen Witch) which I think came out in 1989 but officially hit stores in 1990 so there’s the debate if it’s 80s or not. Given the style, we should categorize it 80s. I’d watch Ski Patrol over and over again. I skied at Big Boulder as a kid and my mom worked there as a ski instructor and even before that, she’d DJ there. So I was always at the ski hill. I think that’s one reason I liked it, and of course I loved comedy.

I just could not get enough of Ski Patrol. As an adult, I sometimes make pop culture references to Ski Patrol that I know no one gets, for instance snow tubing with friends at Big Boulder I said, “I think I lost a contact lens.” And friends thought I really lost a contact lens. (I learned quickly that pop culture references only work when the audience, or majority of the audience, get it.) But, at any rate, some of my childhood friends and I grew up to work at ski resorts in high school, so I imagine that’s why so many kids in the Poconos knew about and loved the movie Ski Patrol.

The Dutch version is called Ski Academy.

The Dutch version is called Ski Academy.

So what happens when Donna comes across something she liked as a kid? First of all, I was thrilled to find the trailer on Youtube. (Over the years when I mentioned this movie, people tried to tell me I was talking about Ski School, another 80s movie. Huh! This’ll show you for not believing in me!) Well, I get sucked into imdb.com, then Wikipedia (which this blog post already has more info than), and Google searches for actors which leads me more  primary sources, such as official websites. And that’s what happened to me today. Morning turned to afternoon as I research the old 1990 movie, Ski Patrol, which is still considered an 80s comedy. And let’s not forget about then going to eBay and buying things. I should mention that I know own a Goonies coloring book from 1985.

I dug up some stuff… . It’s just funny as a kid how we don’t pay too much attention to actors or are old enough to get a lot of the jokes, so rewatching this as an adult is sure to be a whole new experience!

Ski Patrol Actors: Where are they now?

ski_patrol jerry ellenRoger Rose Roger Rose’s main career is not an actor. He’s more of a voice guy. In Ski Patrol, he played leading man, Jerry Cramer. Jerry was both funny and the ensemble’s heartthrob, vying for the attention of ski schooler, Ellen. Roger Rose had lots of guest starring roles on popular 90s comedies, such as Seinfeld. In fact, in an interview I link to at the end of this blog post he says he’s still recognized for that episode. Roger Rose was also seen in Mr. Belvedere, Knight Rider, and others.

But, perhaps Roger Rose is best known for voice work. He’s worked on one of my all-time favorite cartoons, Tiny Toon Adventures, as well as The Tick, Pinky & the Brain, and hundreds more characters and voices. Today, he does a ton of professional voiceover work for networks, shows, and brands as his official website touts. In fact, he did the voice work for his former co-star George Lopez. Neat to see all these connections.

ski patrol murrayLeslie Jordan – Leslie Jordan played the head of the ski patrol, Murray. He was the butt of the patrol’s pranks and was really a lovable character. I found this picture on a movie animal website. The fella here is named Rascal. Leslie went on to many great acting roles, including winning an Emmy for best guest star on Will & Grace, where he played Beverley Leslie. He guest starred on a slew of shows throughout the 90s and still does today. He’s also a playwright and stage actor as well. His official site, www.TheLeslieJordan.com has lots of fun info, including his new book, “My Trip Down the Pink Carpet.”

Paul Feig – This guy played Stanley who seven years standing cannot make the ski patrol try-outs. Stanley was always my favorite. He was just so aloof and lovable in his role. And my favorite scene in the movie is was his lip syncing of “Dancin’ in the Streets.” I didn’t look him up first because Martin Mull and Ray Waltson were the “household names” that I knew. But boy was I wrong in my guess at who did the most since Ski Patrol... But first, a video of Paul Feig in his memorable Stanley role:

Kick Me, a memoir by Paul Feig who played Stanley in Ski Patrol

Kick Me, a memoir by Paul Feig who played Stanley in Ski Patrol

When I did look Paul Feig up on IMDB,  I was so surprised where he ended up. Not surprise; excited is a better word. Paul Feig is one of the producers on The Office.

(SIDEBAR: Hmm. I have an instant brainstorm for an episode. I live just outside Scranton, and there’s A LOT of skiing near Scranton, including Big Boulder where I grew up around. The Office should do a tribute to Ski Patrol by taking The Office crew on a company outing to a local ski area and Michael gets people wrapped up in a karaoke contest in the lounge, and Paul Feig makes a cameo as an opponent while Dwight goes on a rescue mission with the ski patrol… . okay. It was a long shot. But the Dunder Mifflin crew did Lake Wallenpaupak! They need more Pocono things!)

Emmy-winning Paul Feig also worked on Freaks & Geeks, Arrested Development, and oh my gosh, as writer, director, or producer on so many comedies that I loved and still love, like Roseanne and Drew Carey Show. I had no idea one of my favorite characters from an obscure 80s comedy was behind a lot of those laughs. Needless to say, he is enjoying an amazing career.

And also, how could I go through an MFA program studying primarily memoir and not notice that Paul Feig wrote two memoirs, Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence and Super Stud: How I Became a 24-year-old Virgin? Probably because I never made the connection to Ski Patrol with his name, since I just discovered who he really is today. And another reason is that they are older, 2002 and 2005. But still. I feel bad. Now I have two more to read. It’s like I am becoming a reverse Feig fan. Playing catch up, if you will.

Spanish movie cover for Ski Patrol, courtesy of Teen Movies Espana who has the mother lode of screen shots. Now I find this, AFTER I write the blog. Ha.

Spanish movie cover for Ski Patrol, courtesy of Teen Movies Espana who has the mother lode of screen shots. Now I find this, AFTER I write the blog. Ha.

T.K. Carter he played Iceman, the guy with the boom box. He did a lot prior to Ski Patrol, including Punky Brewster and a voice for Jem and the Holograms. After Ski Patrol, T.K. Carter was on the Sinbad show and another movie I totally forgot about from the 80s, He’s My Girl (I LOVED this as a kid.) Most recently, looks like he guest starred on Everyone Loves Chris.

Corbin Timbrook– Corbin Timbrook played the head of the ski school, Lance. Looks like he did some soap opera work and some guest starring roles. He’s producing lots of horror flicks, too.

George Lopez – perhaps he’s the most household name of this entire ensemble today, with his stand-up stuff and his show. But, his role in Ski Patrol was his first major acting gig. George Lopez played Eddie Martinez, and he was the guy who blew stuff up.

Ray Walston– Ray Walston left us in 2001. He’s likely best known by most for My Favorite Martian. I used to watch that on Nick at Nite all the time. He was in over 60 TV shows and movies; some I forgot about until looking them up now: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Private School, Silver Spoons, Popeye, and more.

Martin Mull– I saved Martin Mull, who played Sam the enemy on Ski Patrol, for last because he’s what started this saga today. I was looking for a trailer for FM, which I found. It’s one of my favorite movies. It’s from 1978, but didn’t learn about it until I worked in radio in the late 90s. I own FM on VHS and the FM movie DVD is rare. (Anyone have one??) Martin Mull and Eileen Brennan are both in FM and they are also co-stars in Clue together. Nice pair! Anyway, I found the trailer to the FM movie and it made me think about Ski Patrol. So, here I am. A whole Sunday dedicated to this. Martin Mull has been in a slew of comedies: FM, Clue, Mr. Mom, Mrs. Doubtfire, and more. He’s also been all over TV. I remember him most from Roseanne (which as you know, his Ski Patrol co-star Paul Feig produced but not sure if that’s a coincidence), but he was also on Growing Pains, The Ellen Show, and more. Today, he’s pretty devoted to his painting (check out Martin Mull’s artwork – cool– really abstract), but he still does some roles, including Family Guy.

Looks like some kind of alternative movie poster/cover. Prey is spelled wrong. Not sure if that's on purpose.

Looks like some kind of alternative movie poster/cover. Prey is spelled wrong. Not sure if that's on purpose.

Some Ski Patrol Links:

In my quest for random knowledge about this movie, I found lots of neat stuff. Far more things than I should have done on a Sunday afternoon. But hey. People may enjoy this.

A Podcast Interview with Roger Rose:

I found a podcast on a movie blog called Natsukashi.  Some guys did a VERY lengthy podcast video with Roger Rose, who had the leading role, Jerry Cramer. I don’t mean lengthy in a negative way at all. Pretty interesting stuff. It pretty much takes us through the entire movie with sound clips and has Roger talking candidly about the movie, the stars, and life after Ski Patrol. It’s definitely worth a listen if you have something to do and let it play in the background. Lots of little nuggets.

I never saw this site before, but it’s called Who Dated Who? and Ski Patrol has a page.

Finally, I also found a cool YouTube video from some dudes that review 80s movies– RandomCreatureFace. This one is about Ski Patrol:

So- after all this, I will be reunited with Ski Patrol on VHS. I just ordered it from eBay. An old rental copy. Amazon had a few, but none of the sellers had a picture listed. I won’t buy anything without a picture. I can’t wait to watch it again.


Stuff is Just So Cool: Office Supplies, Mags, Books & Non-Perishables

This is what I went in for.

p2240386

This is what I bought.

p2240387

Yeah.  So, I kinda overdid it.  But I really did need “sticky tabs” which I found out were professionally called Page Markers and Page Flags.  See, for those of you who don’t know, I am in an MFA in Creative Non-FictioWriting program at Wilkes University.  My required reading list this semester is 15 or so memoirs.  I am uber-excited about reading them- but trying to manage my time and keep organized is what I am battling right now.  So, I decided that in addition to the notes I am am taking, I will tag the pages I want to refer back to when I do my analysis of each book.  I found that Staples features a whole, entire wall of Post-It items- I wonder what 3M pays in merchandising fees for this awesome display.  At any rate, I bought for $5.99 a pack of multi-colored Page Markers- 500 count.  100 in each color.  Then, I also bought Staples brand Page Flags.  These guys are removable and pretty much can be used over and over.  I figure I will use the reusable ones for my own readings and cuttings, etc. while I’ll use up the 500 on the books I am reading.

p2240391I figured it wouldn’t hurt to look around.  What did I end up with?  Highlighters, new Sharpie pens, corkboard squares, white board squares (you post them to your wall and make your own display), a new orange writer’s notebook  (like a moleskine), a small flower-covered notebook, a stronge-durable three-hole punch that punches holes in more than three sheets at one time (I was in DIRE need of one of these- do you know how long it took me to hole-punch my 200+ page thesis?!) and finally, these cool push-pins and clips that are designed with old-fashioned typewriter keys on top.  (The picture is of two of my new cubey things.)

And that was just at Staples.  I am putting together a care package to send to my 17-year-old brother who just went away to Job Corp.  He now lives in a dorm.  I thought it would be really nice if I sent him some snacks.  He’s big into video games, but I was hoping now that he’ll have more time on his hands, he’d start to read.  My friend J suggested I get him books based on the video games he likes- adventure, etc.  Plus, he’s going into a business program- really likes computers and wants to own a company one day. I went to K-Mart yesterday to buy him snacks, toiletries and Uno but I wanted more.

p2240379After I left Staples tonight, I went to Barnes & Noble (I was sooo good on Sunday when I went for the Marlon James reading- only bought a big-ass green tea latte that I peed three times from while there), I went right to the magazine section, figuring I’d grab Wired or Inc. for him.  I ended up with two copies of Fast Company (one for him, one for me), Inc. for him and then for me– since I like business, my clients are in business and also want to begin freelancing for some of these magazines I figured I’d grab some for me- Success at Home, Small Business and Entrepreneur because the cover story this month is awesome.  Then, I peeked at the literary and writing magazines.  I had four in my hand, but settled on just Poets & Writers.  I also walked around the whole store, trying very hard not to buy a book for myself since I have 11 on the way from Amazon.  I succeeded.  I did.  Somehow.  I ended up with two teen novels for my brother- one by William Sleator who I read as a kid- – he’s still writing thriller books.  I also got one called Peak which is a mountain climbing adventure book.  Then, I saw a teenage Chicken Soup for the Soul.  I grabbed that too because he’s there alone and thought that’d be nice.

So, here I am.  With more stuff.  Stuff is just so cool.  Speaking of stuff. I have stuff to do.


Sunday Fun! Marlon James Reading at Barnes & Noble

jamesI love to brag about the talent that is attracted to the Wilkes University MA in Creative writing programMarlon James already had his first book, John Crow’s Devil published before he graduated.  Now, he’s a professor of creative writing and his second novel, The Book of Night Women, was just released this week.

Marlon did his first book tour stop at the Barnes & Noble in Wilkes-Barre (the one near the mall) today.  I met a friend from work there- had to show off the Wilkes talent to someone non-Wilkes for once- and caught up with a half-dozen or so Wilkes classmates and faculty.  It always makes me smile to see them.  : )

I’ve heard Marlon read before at the Wilkes creative writing residencies, as well as sat in on one of his classes.  Just a dynamic personality.   He read cuttings today from three different chapters in the book– and I am hooked on this story.  (I wish I didn’t have 14 more memoirs to read for school!)  Seriously- the book is soooo compelling.  The last cutting he read from had me on the edge of my seat, almost breathless. I can’t wait to curl up with this book and continue to learn about Lilith and the rebellion that is about to be had.

The Book of Night Women by Marlon James — a novel centered around Lilith, a woman born into slavery on Jamaican sugar plantation-  has already received rave reviews from Book Slut, The Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post- and that’s just awesome.  I know that Wilkes, and all his mentors, are so super proud of him!  He’s definitely a star in my book.  He a wonderful reader, teacher and of course, writer.