Friday Five

1. In July Reggie and I drove down to the great state of Tennessee to visit my mom (who is recuperating nicely, by the way). This is a 15-hour road trip which requires its own brand of ingenuity, especially when I’m the only human in the car and Reggie decides to bark ferociously at every toll taker along the way.  Having made this trip about a dozen times now, I’ve learned a thing or two about traveling with a dog. So I was invited to guest post over at Two Pitties in the City where they have a special series called How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog. (Actually, they invited Reggie to guest post, but his agent wouldn’t let him.)

Please pop on over there for some great tips and fun photos of you-know-who. And be sure to leave a comment because they are donating funds to the rescue group of choice for the How to Be a Tourist post with the most comments. I hear the competition is getting stiff.

Move over Mr. B and Miss M, the resident pitties of Two Pitties. there’s a spaniel in town. Reggie would like Mr. DeMille to know that he’s ready for his close-up.

2. Venture capitalism has gone grassroots. I learned about the Kickstarter website this week through a writing newsletter. It’s a clearing house of sorts to raise money for creative projects. Let’s say you’d like to start your own magazine showcasing the mysterious and wooly world of llamas, but you need a few thousand dollars you don’t have. List your project on Kickstarter and people can contribute to your cause, no strings attached.

I was instantly drawn to a children’s book project and pledged funds. The husband and wife team were so close to their goal with the deadline near. There is a time limit on raising the funds. Contributors pledge to give a certain amount only if the goal is reached. I also noticed a project listing for the Secret Science Club which meets a few blocks from my apartment once a month to discuss things like quantum physics in a way that actually holds my interest. (True! A few months ago, 300 people packed into the room to hear a Princeton University astrophysicist talk about the big bang. You could hear a pin drop.)  They are almost 1/3 of the way to their goal of $9,975, which is pretty ambitious. Remember, if the goal isn’t reached, they don’t get any of it, and you aren’t obligated to pay your pledge.

What an innovative way to help  people in creative fields get financial backing. And, good news. The children’s book project ended up being fully funded. Yea!

3. In a brownstone courtyard near my apartment, there is the most interesting sculpture, I thought you’d like to see. At first glance, it looks like a tree without leaves.

But look closely and you can see  that the “branches” are actually hands carved from metal.

I bet the average homeowner’s association would have something to say about this in the front yard, but I think it’s neat and eccentric.

4. My next round of fiction writing workshops began this week. This workshop will be four weeks through the month of August, held at the Brooklyn Zen Center. I haven’t held classes there before, but I imagine it’s going to be a very calming experience. I’m also going to plan another round of writing techniques classes in September. Each class focuses on a different aspect of fiction writing such as dialogue or suspense. But in a town where you can’t toss a dime and not hit five writers, I’m surprised at how difficult it has been to spread the word and generate consistent interest. Any marketing gurus out there have any suggestions, I’m all ears!

5. This is one of those quirky neighborhood things that makes Brooklyn feel like a small town sometimes. On the main sidewalk leading to Prospect Park, the homeowner puts out this bucket and hose (and sign) every morning. Now I can’t say I’ve ever seen any birds hanging out here, but I’ve seen plenty of dogs taking a drink on a hot summer day.



  1. I love your Friday Five. Good to hear your Mom is doing well.
    Kickstarter is excellent! Thanks for sharing the website.
    And, I love the tree. Very cool.
    With the heat, it is nice to know neighbors are remembering our furry and feathered friends. Too cute! Have a wonderful weekend, JC!


    1. My mom is doing much better now. She’s just starting to put weight on the bad foot after 8 weeks. The doctor has been happy to see the progress.

      I’m so glad to have stumbled across Kickstarter. It can be so hard in creative fields to get any kind of funding. This is such a great way to get support from people who care about the arts.


  2. Oops, I meant to put the sculpture comment here. I read both posts right after the other.

    Kickstarter sounds wonderful! I am also interested in quantum physics, so would love to hear those lectures.
    Will hop over to read about traveling with a pet as I’ve done it a few times.


    1. It sounds like you would love the Secret Science Club. It’s been going on about 5 years and has gained so much popularity, it’s not really a “secret” anymore. Most times the room is SRO, so you have to get their early.


  3. I would love the Secret Science Club. I listen to a lot of science podcasts and the TED talks, and am amazed at how really brainy people are sometimes great speakers, managing to explain very difficult concepts to lay people – without making them feel stupid.

    I took a look at your guest post about travelling with Reggie. He’s so cute in the photos! Will probably only get around to commenting when we get back from our trip to the Kalahari.


    1. I have no doubt that you would love the Secret Science Club. I wish they recorded videos of the lectures so you could see them. It’s not easy to hold people’s attention on this kind of subject matter, as evidenced by some of my former high school teachers, but these guys are great.

      Thanks for stopping by to read about Reggie’s travels! Have a wonderful trip! Can’t wait to see your photos.


    1. I’m always so touched by that bucket. It’s a thoughtful, neighborly thing to do.
      Hope you’re doing well and I hope your crazy busy period comes to an end soon. 🙂


    1. Thank you so much for featuring Reggie on your blog! It was great fun to write that post. I think the fame is getting to his head. He’s now requesting Perrier in his water bowl.


    1. I think so, too. Someone who is quite talented created all of those hands and branches. A conversation piece to say the least.

      The dogs love their impromptu canteen also. I’ve even seen a few dogs splash around in there on a hot summer day.


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