Monthly Archives: December 2008

Sometimes I feel like the Girl in the Death Cab Video

This girl right here:

 Today was one of those days. I took a solitary window-watching trip from Texas to Vegas via Albequerque.  Sometimes, I look at an airplane full of strangers bursting with their own lives and since there is only me to remember my existence, sometimes, I wonder if I’m in danger of disappearing into their realities. If I don’t be careful, I’ll melt into the aisle seat’s carry-on, becoming a briefcase in a suburban  Atlanta woman’s real estate business.

It’s best to watch this video in low-resolution, full-screen. That way the lone traveler’s facial features are blurred at the edges in a way that allows you to imagine yourself residing inside her (or perhaps her luggage, if your sense of self is as fluid as mine). Sometimes, with the full-screen, even the locations are blurred into geographical androgyny. Or does that make the video creator’s point too obvious?


Merry Christmas

Las Vegas Snow Storm!

Merry Christmas, wherever you may be.

Behind the Scenes: The Making of an Article

When I was sitting on the airplane, waiting to fly home to Vegas from my childhood home in Texas, I got an email from my editor. My job, if I chose to accept it, was to attend the opening of Frankie’s Tiki Room from midnight to 1am and write about it.

Get paid to have fun? Yes! Now this is what I signed up for when I chose to be  a writer.

I dragged one of my friends to the opening, and we drank crazy tropical drinks, enjoyed the hipster scenery and had a general good time. This is what it looked like:

A few days later, I sat at the kitchen table and typed out my experiences (after 30 minutes of procrastination on Embarrassing, I know). Often, writing is a struggle for me, this time it wasn’t. I’m not sure the difference, but I think my looming noon haircut appointment allowed me to abandon my typical neuroses and get the job done. If only I could go to the salon every time an article is due.

The piece was part of a neat 24 hours in Vegas concept. Here’s how it turned out in the end:

How to Schedule a Novel

Everybody in my family is a reader, but my cousin Jens is a writer, too.

Yesterday, I was overjoyed to participate in a wonderful family ritual: I went to Half-Price Books in Arlington with said cousin . Walking among those beloved bookshelves, we chatted about books and writing.  Having finished his first novel in July, Jens told me how to finish mine. It seemed fitting that he gave me the secret to life in the comic section of my hometown bookstore:

Write 1,500 words a day. You will be done in three months.

This morning I got out the trusty calculator, and with math advice from both my mom and my cousin Jill, I made this writing calendar:

  • Today: 9,315 words written (nearly 10%)
  • January 16: 30,000 words (1/4 finished)
  • February 9: 60,000 words (Halfway!)
  • March 5: 90,000 words (3/4 finished)
  • March 30: 120,000 words (big party)

 Using the wisdom I gained from my master’s thesis horror, I added one day off a week into this schedule. Now comes the easy part…

Something to Make You Get Up and Dance

Amanda, this is for you.

The Birth of a Novelist

Guess what? I’m also writing a novel! I try not to tell people because it makes me feel like a jerk. I don’t want to be the coffee shop slave who is perpetually writing an unfinished novel. I’ve already gone through that hell with my master’s thesis. And then I had the advantage of a wonderful advisor to keep me on track. So let’s keep this novel thing a secret between you and me, please.

According to, the average length of a novel is 60,000-1000,000 words. As of now, I have 7,345 words. That’s a good start, right?

The Birth of a Food Writer

Last Thursday, Vegas food critic extraordinaire John Curtas gave me the grand introduction to food writing. We started the afternoon at Enoteca San Marco at the Venetian.  Over pizza, wine, a spagetti thingy (don’t kill me John for forgetting the name), and a plate of charcuterie he quizzed me on my food writing credentials. I finally gained his respect by telling of how I once ate andouillette and didn’t die. (Wikipedia says it tastes like decaying pork sausages.) Now that I was “in the club,” John ordered another bottle of wine and invited his totally awesome food writer friend Grace Bascos to join us.

Then the worst thing happened: Opera singers and their hourly tourist spectacular. We had to escape the racket, but where to?

Restaurant Charlie and its incredible cocktails was just down the hall at the Palazzo, and before I knew it, I was sipping a cocktail that tasted exactly like applesauce, but better. By the time we finished the cocktails we were hungry again. So we walked down the hall once more to eat Kobe heaven at CUT. Then we migrated to the MGM Grand, where I sipped my favorite drink (a dirty vodka martina) at Fiamma until the start of the suprisingly educational saki tasting at Shibuya. By then it was time for me to meet my editor at TAO, where I consumed absolutely nothing but bottled water.

This may have been the best day in my life.

 The Amazing Apple-Flavored Cocktail