NaNoWrimo: I Just Finished Writing a Novel

I just finished writing a novel. Of the books I’ve written, this was definitely the most pleasurable experience not least of which because it was brief. Novel-writing is one of the few phenomenon that’s actually more enjoyable the quicker it goes. Tequila is like that too, I suppose. If I hadn’t inflamed my liver last week I might consider a celebratory drink. Instead, I think I’ll acknowledge this minor personal accomplishment by printing the book out and rolling around in its pages like they do in heist movies when they get the loot back to the hotel room. Then I’m going to pass out. And dream of re-writing. That’s the real reward after this kind of trudge. Making it pretty. Until then, congrats to my fellow Wrimos! As Hemingway famously opined, “The first draft of anything is shit.” But what did he know?

Sonoma Slim Pencil Tree

Ceci N’est Pas Un Artificial Christmas Tree

When it comes to the holidays, it seems that nary a nanosecond transpired between Halloween and Christmas this year – just long enough for the Thanksgiving turkey to raise its head and lose it in the process. One of the chief symptoms of our compressed holiday season is the sudden proliferation of Christmas decor. Red and green, used to signify the color of blood and money, I believe, appeared everywhere the moment you closed the dishwasher last Thursday.

Chief among the decorations are the Christmas trees. In Northern California, we’re spoiled to have our choice of sustainably-grown, biodynamic and organic options (the “free range” trees fail to impress because it turns out, despite their freedom to range, they don’t). Further complementing our choices for ritual arboreal sacrifice is Burlingame-based Balsam Hill that offers a familiar-sounding solution: The Napa Christmas Signature Collection and its Sonoma Slim Pencil Tree. Though it’s an artificial tree, it’s also apparently THE MOST REALISTIC “PENCIL TREE” AVAILABLE. The caps are theirs but the amazement is all mine.

Superficial vs. Artificial Christmas Trees

First off, “Sonoma Slim” sounds like either a cheroot-smoking horse thief or the follow up book to the “Sonoma Diet.” Thankfully, the site explains that its name is “paying homage to the spectacular scenery of Northern California’s panoramic wine country.” What’s more, the Sonoma Slim Pencil tree is composed of True Needle that looks and feels life-like,” which sounds more like a marital aid than a Christmas tree. I suppose when one confuses “arbor” and “amore,” the gift can keep giving.

Here are three notions that would make the artificial pencil tree vastly more cool in my opinion:

• If it were REAL and could actually be used as a pencil. What if every branch came preloaded with a graphite center so that you could snap off a twig, sharpen it up and write with it. Schools could grow them to save on supplies. Get a genetic scientist and a botanist stoned enough and this pipedream could come true.

Unfortunately, if we’ve learned anything from sci-fi it’s that playing God with nature always results in getting eaten by an outsized version of whatever it was you started with. It’s probably safer to buy the cream-filling injection machine from the Hostess fire sale and pump the trees with lead like a Twinkie (which sounds wrong in so many ways).

• If someone could cook up a good joke with the following set up: “A pencil tree, a pencil skirt and a pencil-thin mustache walk into a bar …” What more is needed you ask? Well, some sort of challenge should ensue or a comic complication that culminates in a punch line probably involving a pencil. I’ve spent too much time on this thus far (half a minute) so I’m crowdsourcing solutions. Also, it should also be funny. Go!

• If, instead of being part of the Napa Christmas Signature Collection (which is trademarked by the way), it would interesting if a Napa Pencil Tree was part of a non-denominational Sonoma Solstice Collection (not yet trademarked) of X-mas Tree-shaped air fresheners. These could be dangled from your rearview mirror to cover up “the smell of puke from the drunk colleague you will drive home from the company holiday party,” says the Ghost of Christmas Future. Tip: Don’t think of your colleague’s offering as vomit but more like regifted cocktails.

Anyway, perhaps Balsam Hill will eventually move into artificial lawn vineyards to fill out their Sonoma-theme. Until then, I’ll content myself with my Sonoma Slim Pencil Tree. Even though it’s artificial, I can still be sappy.

Black Friday is Good, Black Monday is Bad

It took me years to realize that ?Black Friday? is actually a good thing, as opposed to ?Black Monday,? which was not. Nor ?Black Tuesday? for that matter, which somehow preceded Black Monday. Those were the days when the markets crashed in 1987 and 1929 respectively.

Oddly, some Christians call the day Jesus was crucified ?Good Friday,? which is probably better than ?Bloody Friday,? which, predictably isn?t on any calendars though there are about a dozen ?Bloody Sundays,? generally signifying various massacres. Continue reading “Black Friday is Good, Black Monday is Bad”

Bird(s) is the Word: The Turducken

Dr. Frankenstein is not a name often invoked during the Thanksgiving holiday, except perhaps when critics deride a certain culinary phenomenon that has crept upon plates throughout the past quarter-century. The Frankenstein monster, that crude assemblage of body parts stitched into an ill-fated attempt to recreate life, has at least one counterpart in our nation?s kitchens ? the ?turducken.?

More than mere portmanteau, the legendary dish comprises a whole turkey, stuffed with a whole duck, which, in turn, is stuffed with a whole chicken, all in a manner that recalls Russian nesting dolls ? that is, if nesting dolls were deboned and made of various species of fowl.

Continue reading “Bird(s) is the Word: The Turducken”

How to Turn Your Profile into a Page (And Why I Did It)

Those who visit me on Facebook might have noticed the curtains drawn and an impressive array of new locks on the virtual doors.

Don?t worry, I haven’t unfriended you. I’ve simply became a page. By “page” I don’t mean a congressional page (that program was canceled) or a page a la ?apprentice squire? whom one might have seen scurrying around ye olde medieval manor. Nope, I just converted my profile into a page, which somehow sounds like I’ve been flattened into the two-dimensional Phantom Zone from Superman. Continue reading “How to Turn Your Profile into a Page (And Why I Did It)”