He had me at Salsa

Most of my readers can skip this one, cus I know you don’t watch So You Think You Can Dance.

I don’t really have an opinion about Ryan’s head spinning freakish breakin’. But I so loved his first salsa routine, much the way I liked Jamile’s ballroom dancing. Cus they really got it.

Poor Snow shouldn’t have been in the bottom two last week, because her hip-hop routine with Ryan was awesome. So that’s why I was relieved that Ryan wasn’t eliminated. (Although between Melody and Snow, I knew Snow would go. I miss her already.) I actually called and voted for him.

But based on last night’s show, Ryan was either trying to do some reverse psychology on the voters, or he just wants out of there. Can’t blame him. He’s thinking, “If I have to do one more ballroom routine and mess up another girl’s chances…”

And hoo boy, was Destini giving up attitude at the end there or what?

So yeah, Destini and Ryan are going home next week.

Paper jam from hell

It’s almost too much of a cliche not to write about.

I had never had a paper jam in the two-year history of my printer. Last week, when I was sending out submissions to literary agents, it was being a little crotchety, but no big deal, it seemed to be a feeding issue.

Today, I get the e-mail I’ve been waiting for. Someone wants me to send them the whole manuscript. She’d prefer it via e-mail, but oh, no I can’t do that because the Czech letters might show up as gibberish and that might count against me.

So yeah, it jams on page 32 (of 218). And yeah, as a matter of fact I do think the way to clear a paper jam is to just yank the page right out. And no, I wasn’t really all that surprised when the page tore. What did surprise me was how tight the little rollers in my Dell P1500 personal laser printer wanted to hold on to that sucker. It also surprised me that my owner’s manual gave me not one single bit of advice about clearing paper jams. Not even the obvious “lift the top cover and take out the toner cartridge” bit that I’d already done.

I search the internet and the Dell page and I can find nothing at all about clearing paper jams out of this particular model of printer. And I’m using tweezers to tear the bit of paper into little shreds thinking this is some kind of solution, stopping every few minutes to check for the little tab or level or roller that I’ve somehow missed that will release this scrap from my printer’s clutches.

You know what finally cleared it? I used the buckslip I received a few weeks ago from another agent–the first rejection that didn’t start with Dear Author. Technically it did start with Dear Author, but she had crossed out Author and written my name, along with “This was a close one. You have a strong voice and and interesting heroine, not to mention and unusual setting. Keep submitting!”

I pushed the shredded paper out with that buckslip. How poetic is that?

Then I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t print when the toner cartridge was sitting on my carpet. It’s jammed twice while I’ve been typing this. But I yanked the paper out with a little more care. It’s done printing now. I have to go stuff it in an envelope so I can get back to watching So You Think You Can Dance. Thank goodness Ryan didn’t get voted off.

The Fugees

You all know that I’m not actually so shallow as to think my bad pad thai experience in any way compares to the madness that’s happening along the Gulf Coast, right?

Looking at tsunami devastation a few months ago made me wonder if natural disasters are just earth’s way of regenerating itself. You can’t stop or avoid a natural disaster and even if you’re prepared for it, you never really know how it’s going to play out.

I state the obvious when I say it’s terrible that people died and others lost their homes and all their belongings.

But the lawlessness that followed in New Orleans was much more disturbing. It’s hard for me to watch more than a few minutes of the news. I couldn’t imagine how we could even get water and supplies to those people without starting a riot. Then the other day I saw a guy on TV, pushing a cart along and very calmly passing out bottles of water.

And how did all those news cameras get in? I may get to find out in the coming weeks, as I have been put in the rotation of reporters available to cover the aftermath.

Hope I get to cover the cruise ship refugee camps.

No street wokker

Had another bad pad thai experience. Ordered pad thai and thai ice tea at a “Vietnamese” restaurant. All the other vegetarian dishes (which included a barbecued pork appetizer) were labeled spicy and had vegetables I didn’t think I could chew.

The waiter asked “how spicy?” I said “not spicy at all,” doing my usual criss-cross motion with my hands to signal “not spicy.” He started to write it down and then said, “It’s spicy already when I make it. Do you want me to make it without any spices?” Fearing that would leave me with rice noodles in ketchup, I said something to the effect of, “Just go ahead and make it your regular way.”

The ice tea came in a bottle. Not the pink and white concoction that needs to be mixed. I almost decided I didn’t want it, but poured it into my glass with ice and rather liked it. More than the pad thai, which, amazingly enough, was spicier than I like it. It wasn’t like really spicy, but I would call it one star, when what I wanted was zero stars.

I didn’t care for it, but asked for a box after I’d eaten maybe a little less than half. He goes, “Too spicy?” And I of course said “No,” because I didn’t want him mocking me and my sensitive palate.

OK, so I know it’s no “There’s no such thing as half-sweet” barista. But it made for a disappointing lunch.

What would you take?

If I had time to pack, I’d take my plastic file box, some of the books I haven’t read, photo albums and picture frames.

If I had to be evacuated by boat out of my second-floor apartment, it would be just me, my laptop and Emerald.

A family that meditates together…

Yesterday Rob and I went to Tibet Fest at the Seattle Center. Cus, y’know, we’re Buddhist. We were watching some Tibetan dancing, and I was thinking about the booth selling cupcakes to benefit Tibetan orphans. In between bites of pad thai (which the food court lady was making with Hunt’s ketchup, perhaps turning me off pad thai forever), I said to Rob, “We don’t have to adopt a Thai orphan, you know. We could adopt a Tibetan one.”

Rob, who was camcordering the dancing, looked at me like I was nuts and said, “What martial art does Tibet have?”

And I’m going to be thirty!

In six weeks. I must be excited about it, or scared, because I keep mentioning it. It’s a big deal, right? I’m sad that Chelsea feels bad about her impending 29th…not that I think she has any reason to.

My whole life, at about this time of year, my current age has started to seem awfully young, and I’d start identifying with the new age. When school started, or even during the summer, I’d never say I was 7. I’d say, “I’ll be 8 in October.”

29 seems young, but 30’s still an adjustment. I think that’s why I keep saying it. Maybe it doesn’t seem that old to me because my boyfriend’s almost 35!

I’d probably be depressed if I weren’t in a serious relationship by the time I turned 30. I think that’s pretty common, even among strong, independent women. But not only do I have a boyfriend, our relationship far surpasses anything that I could have imagined before I met him. It’s warm, comforting stuff.

I’m not so incredibly sure about my career future, but I’ve achieved what I’ve wanted to so far, and I’ve got some big plans that seem promising. And I think a person of 30 is more qualified to handle them than a 20-something.

I’m going to buy a house — not for several months — which I can sort of afford. Unless my big plans don’t pay me in the manner to which I’ve grown accustomed. But most people I know are still renters, so I don’t feel like 30’s a deadline for becoming a property owner or anything.

Kids? Who knows. I don’t think that’s going to freak me out til 35. Or at least 32. I don’t even care if that puts my fertility at risk, because I’m so all about adopting Thai and/or African babies.

Hunger

A side effect of only eating soft, vegetarian food is that one’s options are limited. Seriously, I’ve had a really hard time this week, deciding what I want for lunch. The other day I actually sat in my car unsure of which direction to drive.

Just decided on a smoothie. Or an egg salad sandwich and a Green Tea Frappucino.