Currently Reading: Anne Robinson, Memoirs of an Unfit Mother (insert gratuitous "blah blah blah Weakest Link ... goodbye!" joke here); the Pushcart Prize anthology.

I don't think much of Robinson's writing style but that's hardly the point with that book, is it?

Currently Listening To: A Rasputina CD that was only available via their website -- I can't remember the title to save my life. They do remakes of "Wish You Were Here", "Tourniquet", and "Rock and Roll." It's neat -- if you like Rasputina, you'll like it.

Currently Watching : The rebroadcast of "Hush," a Very Special Buffy Episode that I didn't get to see the first time around, or even during F/X's reruns. It's outstanding. Even people who don't watch the show might want to give this episode a try if you ever see it come up in TV listings.




Now We Are 33.

gilligan the cat


That's my mother's cat Gilligan. He allowed me to take one picture of him in this spot before he got up and wandered off. Luckily the one shot was a very good one, if I do say so.

Bill and I broke with a long-standing tradition by actually attending The Big Company's Christmas shindig on Saturday. The last time I went to this thing was in 1995, and I found the whole experience miserable. It was the night before my birthday, I didn't know I'd already met the man I was going to marry, I had a painfully unrequited crush on someone I attended the party with, and I left the party alone that night feeling disgustingly sorry for myself. Between that and the fact that the party was crammed into one weeny ballroom stuffed with hundreds of Big Companyites who were liable to break into the Electric Slide at any given moment, perhaps you understand why I've stayed far, far away until now.

This year, the Big Company moved the party to another hotel and had the foresight to rent out every ballroom and lounge in the place. Because I'm still in Christmas Fun Girl Mode I decided the new party venue might be worth checking out. It was still insanely crowded, but Bill and I found handy seats in the Filthy Evil Disease-Spreading Pariah Pen, otherwise known as "The Smoker's Lounge." We don't smoke, but we aren't fanatical anti-smokers and we weren't about to pass up a chance to sit and eat without spilling food and drink all over our fancy clothes. I introduced Bill to my coworkers and had a great time bitching about my previous supervisor with another woman who'd gotten on her bad side once upon a time. I can actually imagine not waiting six more years to go to the next party.

On Sunday we went out to Chesapeake Beach to my mom's house for my annual birthday visit, and on Monday we indulged our inner eight-year-olds with a day of hooky from work and a return visit to Dave and Buster's. I wasn't sure we could outdo the Lips lamp we won with our last batch of tickets, but we did it. We took home a bobble-head Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin doll ("Crikey! Me head's falling off! Musta been bit by a big croc!") and the infamous pets.com Sock Puppet. ("Grandma, what's that?" "Gather 'round, children ... it's from a foolish time when everybody thought they'd make millions of dollars from the Internet...")

The Strange Case of N.K. Stouffer. Every now and then I get dangerously obsessed with a given topic. I'll spend hours on the Net digging deep into Google looking for new things to read about it, and I can't let it go until I've bored at least one person to death about it all.

A snippy comment on Fametracker got me all curious about N. K. Stouffer (she used to go by Nancy, but changed to N. K. in a move she swears had nothing to do with J. K. Rowling or Harry Potter). She's the American author who claims that J. K. Rowling stole big chunks of her work for the Harry Potter books. I realize that most people who'd actually care about this topic have probably read all this before. I'm sorry. I'm forever behind the curve. I've been vaguely aware of this situation for a while, but I didn't know the specifics until last week.

If you've been living under the same rock I've been under all this time, I can't think of a better site to get you up to speed than RealMuggles.com, Stouffer's personal website. Those weird little dancy baby things on the index page? They're Stouffer's Muggles, and they're at the core of this dispute. I'm not going to go into great detail about it all because the whole kerfuffle's so fucking complicated that I can't do it justice in one journal entry. And I don't know how many of you really care anyhow. If you do care, you can read the press releases and the chart with the shocking parallels between Stouffer's work and Rowling's books. (F'rinstance, they both write about lakes with boats going across them. Wow. Pretty blatant stealing, that.)

Something about Stouffer's self-interview and press releases and her general attitude throughout the site already had me thinking "Legend in her own mind." And then I read the introductory chapter to "The Legend of Rah and the Muggles."

"No mercy was shown to even the children of the abandoned citizens. Their cries for help went unrecognized as they rang out with piercing resound. Despair painted their faces like a mask of terror. Moans of anguish echoed in the air with dizzying repetitiveness as the have-nots struggled to clear the debris from the entrance of their cavernous prison."

Let's get a few things on the table first: I am not the Goddess of Great Writing. Far from it. I'm not even an unpublished author, much less a published one. I entertained delusions of being the Next Great American Writer once upon a time, but a few snotty rejection slips from august journals like The Rocky Mountain Oyster Quarterly killed that desire dead. The hell with putting my name and address and title on every fargin' page and sending SASEs with suckup letters begging some faceless stranger "Oh, please please pullllease love my story" and all that. Turns out I don't love writing quite that much. Oh well. You live, you learn.

So, that being said, BAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! If Stouffer honestly thinks that somehow J. K. Rowling read this crap back during the five minutes or so when it was apparently available in the U.S. and said "Blimey -- if I stole all that and changed a letter or two I could make a bloody fortune," oh dear Lord. Stouffer's beyond my pity, my contempt, or my help.

And, you know, "The Year of the Purple Haze?" 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky, but I think maybe I've heard that phrase somewhere before, and maybe people getting all cranky and possessive about the words they say they own ought to watch their own shameless borrowing.

Of course, reading about the suit got me so curious that as I write this, copies of "Rah and the Muggles" and "Larry and Lilly Potter" are on their way to me. Stouffer may be an idiot, but I'm a bigger one.


The next entry.

Previously, in Insomniaville...

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