Friday Five

1.  I went to hear Sarah Vowell on her latest book tour. Vanity Fair called her the queen of the literary hipster nerds for her almost savant-like attention to historical details. One of her previous books, Assassination Vacation, took readers to the sites where US presidents had been assassinated. Ordinarily I would find this macabre, but she keeps things lively (pun intended). You may also know her from NPR’s This American Life  and as the voice of Violet in the movie The Incredibles.

The room held about 200. When the doors opened everyone scrambled in to find seats like a game of musical chairs. Reminded me a bit like a David Sedaris reading. Latecomers were forced to stand outside the bookstore with their faces pressed against the glass. This was a far cry from my readings when The Subway Chronicles was published. Those events went something like this Onion article, sent to me by my friend @kenwheaton. There were times I begged, pleaded, offered the name of my first born to one of the bookstore employees to sit in a seat. (Please, sir, have a heart!) You know how it’s said that some people find public speaking a fate worse than death? Public speaking to two people in a room full of empty chairs is a fate worse than root canal.

Where was I? Oh yes, Sarah Vowell. She wowed the audience with her memory of the historical details of her new book, Unfamiliar Fishes. I can’t even remember what I had for dinner last night and she can pull dates and factoids from some deep recess in her mind, such as the literacy rate of Hawaiians in 1863. I’m looking forward to reading the book and filling seats at another reading.

2. I had no idea that the beach in Coney Island was open to dogs until Milena at A Brooklyn Dog’s Life mentioned it in a recent blog post. (You might remember this blog as the site where Reggie’s first interview was published, much to the excitement of his adoring fans.) Dogs are allowed until May 1, when the throngs of tourists and the medical waste return to the shore. That very weekend Reggie and I piled into the car to check it out. I’m not sure if he’d ever been to the beach before I adopted him, so I could only guess how he’d react. We went early and he ran around taking in all of the new smells. I encouraged him to test out the ocean, but the waves scared him. He’d scoot back like a football wide receiver in practice drills. Some water dog!

Reggie takes Coney Island.

Reggie poses in front of the Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone.

3. This lovely tree on my block is in bloom. Passersby always stop to admire it. The branches have been trained to arch over the sidewalk forming a delicate white canopy over the sidewalk. I don’t think this photo does it much justice, but here it is anyway.

4. Tonight I’m going to a show on Broadway, my first in about two years. I’d love to go more often, but tickets now cost about as much as a small house in Kansas, so I wait for special occasions. The last show I went to because my mom was visiting, and I’m going tonight because my friend is visiting. We’ll be seeing Anything Goes, a Cole Porter extravaganza starring Tony winners Sutton Foster and Joel Grey, father of Jennifer don’t-put-baby-in-a-corner Grey. The show has already received rave reviews so I think we’re in for a treat. More on that next week.

5. Major accomplishment! Way past my usual bedtime on Wednesday I finished editing a manuscript for a client. A 140,000-word manuscript. You know that feeling when you complete a huge project, whether it’s a presentation at work or painting your house? You want to run around like a five year old, jumping and clapping. Even if you were just slumped over your desk moments before, half asleep, rubbing the back of your neck, a sudden burst of energy happens when you finally finish. Hooray! That’s number 482 crossed off my list of 865 things to do this week. Yes!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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9 comments

  1. Oh, Reggie–I don’t blame you, that water’s COLD! Now, I bet if dogs were allowed on the Cyclone…well, THAT he might consider.

    Brooklyn is so beautiful in spring–I miss my old apartment on the edge of Prospect Park. Thanks for the reminder.

    Have a great time at the show. There’s always so much on Broadway (and off, and off-off, and…) that I wish I could see. It’s always magic to me. No matter how old I get.

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    1. It’s the smell of Nathan’s that sends Reggie’s heart all aflutter.

      The tulips are just starting to pop out all around the neighborhood and they’re beautiful. I’ll have to take a few photos for you.

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  2. You saw Sarah Vowell? How great! I’ve been a fan of hers for years. You’re right–she’s unusual in that she has a savant-like knowledge, but also has the ability to present it with fabulous wit. So glad you got to go, and so glad she had a great audience.

    Loved the Sedaris reference. He did a reading here a few years ago–he made us laugh for hours!

    (P.S. – I love Reggie!)

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    1. It’s terrific that you got to see Sedaris. He’s great on paper of course, but in person he just takes it to another level. What comedic timing.

      Reggie sends the love right back!

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  3. A reading by Sarah Vowell . . . (sigh!) I’ll have to make do with listening to her audiobooks.

    For a first-time visit it sounds like Reggie did fine. Bet he loved having lots of space to run around in. Did he did in the sand too? Rosie LOVES the beach. We’ve been taking her since she was 8 weeks old, so she’s very used to the crashing waves. The water is quite cold here too, so she just splashes around in the shallows.

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    1. How often do you take Rosie to the beach? Are the waves large in your area?

      I think that if I take Reggie more often he’ll get used to the waves, the little pitiful things that they are. As you can see, this is not the North Shore of Hawaii. 🙂

      He did dig up a couple of mussels from the sand and tried to bite the shells, but then dropped them.

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      1. We don’t live right at the sea, so we try to take Rosie to the beach on weekends. Yes, the waves can get quite big along our coast. The beach we take Rosie to (a beach where dogs are allowed) has quite a steep slope into the sea, with strong rip currents at times, so we don’t want her to try and swim. With her build, she’d probably just sink to the bottom of a pool, let alone be able to handle the surf! 😉

        Our previous dog (same breed as Rosie), loved going to the beach and “helping” Willie to dig up mussels for bait. She also never ate them.

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  4. There is a pond in the park nearby where dogs are allowed to swim. Reggie was nervous to go in there and there aren’t even any waves at all!

    Rosie seems much more adventurous than Reggie. She’s probably itching to dive right in if the waves weren’t so big!

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