July 28, 2010

Could You Do Me A Big Favor?

I'm so excited...my new novel, Mr. Right-Enough, is now on Amazon.com. And that almost feels like I've made it to the New York Times best seller list.
Well...I did say almost.
Anyway, now I need your help getting it noticed. So...would you write a review for me? Just go to the Amazon page and scroll down to the Create Your Own Review button, and then say wonderful things about my book! I'd be ever so grateful.

July 21, 2010

I'm a TV Star!

Okay, "star" might be a little strong but I seem to be a regular on WGN. Okay, "regular" might be a bit strong but remember when I was on Channel 9 last January (me and 40 other people) to promote Too Hot to Handel, the jazz/gospel version of Handel's Messiah that I sang in at the Auditorium Theatre?
I digress. Anyway, last Friday Bill and I wandered down to where the filming of Transformers 3 had taken over Michigan Ave. And a news reporter (with camera man in tow) from WGN waved us over and asked a couple questions. We didn't think any more about it, totally forgot to watch the Channel 9 news, and then here's how I found out we'd been on TV.
There's a homeless man who sits on a street corner in a wheel chair who has a leg missing and just a couple of teeth, and he sits with a cup, jangling the change. I've seen him there three or four times a week all year 'round for at least the last four years and I always say good morning and sometimes I put money in his cup.
So this morning he stopped me and said, "Was you on TV?" and I said no. He said he was sure he saw me, must've been my twin, said he told his girlfriend he knew that lady (he has a girlfriend? and a TV?? Is it a flat screen?). And then I remembered and said, "Oh, was it about the filming of the movie?" and he said yes. I said, "Well then, that was me!" He said, "I knew it! Next time I want a autograph!"
And now here's the really amazing thing about the world we live in. I found the footage online and here it is, for your viewing pleasure!

July 20, 2010

The Girl Who Fixed the Umlaut

Have you seen the movies or read the series by Stieg Larsson? The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire? If you have you'll appreciate this Nora Ephron parody. It cracked me up.

The Girl Who Fixed the Umlaut
by Nora Ephron
There was a tap at the door at five in the morning. She woke up. Shit. Now what? She’d fallen asleep with her Palm Tungsten T3 in her hand. It would take only a moment to smash it against the wall and shove the battery up the nose of whoever was out there annoying her. She went to the door.
“I know you’re home,” he said.
Kalle fucking Blomkvist.

She tried to remember whether she was speaking to him or not. Probably not. She tried to remember why. No one knew why. It was undoubtedly because she’d been in a bad mood at some point. Lisbeth Salander was entitled to her bad moods on account of her miserable childhood and her tiny breasts, but it was starting to become confusing just how much irritability could be blamed on your slight figure and an abusive father you had once deliberately set on fire and then years later split open the head of with an axe.

Read the rest of the article in the New Yorker.

Update on Dupuytren's

I got an email from Ann Whitaker in Waco, TX who is the first person I've heard from who's had the enzyme injection for Dupuytren's since it's been on the market. So I wanted to share her story. Lots of good info here. Ann's contact info is at the end if you have any questions.

Just wanted to thank you for participating in the trials for Xiaflex. I've had Dupuytren's since 2003 (or maybe before and didn't notice) and had been waiting for an alternative to surgery.
Like yours, mine isn't painful or debilitating but ugly and annoying. I definitely didn't want surgery because I can't imagine not having the use of my hand for weeks. I have long, curly hair (no way I could wash it and comb it left-handed). Like you, I do a lot of writing, and I just can't imagine how I'd function with only my left hand.

I had the first treatment a month ago and my second two days ago. Since I'm now on Medicare (66 last Feb.), that and Aetna, my supplemental, will pay all but $138 each time.
I really like my hand/ortho doc (40-ish, so I assumed he had steady hands), but I felt I knew almost as much as he did after reading your blog, watching your YouTube videos, and reading the physician's and the patient's manuals.
Too, I was the first person in Waco to take the Xiaflex plunge (not as scary as bungee jumping, which I would not do) and my doctor was a Xiaflex virgin, though he had done the needle aponeurotomy. The drug rep was even in attendance to make sure the vials were mixed properly and nurses kept coming in to watch. If my doc was nervous, he didn't show it. If he had, I might have backed out. Then there was the fact they'd ordered this stuff just for me.
My husband kept calling me a "lab rat." You, however, are the real risk-taker. You were really brave to undergo all that pain twice. And thanks to you (maybe the screaming helped), the technique has been refined.
When I went back for the first manipulation the next afternoon, I was prepared for the worst and hoped the pain would be tolerable. I'd also insisted on going alone. When I asked the drug rep if anyone had screamed when she'd witnessed the manipulation in Austin or Dallas, she looked baffled and assured me they hadn't.
So I had no idea he would deaden my entire hand. That part was not in the literature I read. But he did. In fact, he used two different "caines," a short acting and a long-acting, and my hand was still completely numb at midnight. I thought about you a lot that day. I also thought--when this wears off, my hand is going to hurt like hell. It didn't. The pain from the deadening was the worst part, and it elicited only a contorted face on my part when he stuck a really long needle into my wrist, causing involuntary movements of several of my fingers. And, no, contrary to what my husband thinks, I do not enjoy pain.
My first treatment was for the area under my pinkie, more on the palm than the finger. This week was for my middle finger, mainly puckering and drawing up in the first segment. More swelling the second time, but today it's almost back to normal.
My main fears were that he might rupture a tendon, inject the solution into an artery, or that I'd go into anaphylactic shock. He admitted there was some risk but assured me they had a crash cart nearby. Luckily, none of that happened.
I have to wear a brace at night for four months (ugh) to keep the cord from reforming. That has been a challenge, but I want it to work, so I'm trying to be a good girl. And no mummy wrapping. He sent me home after each injection with a bandaid, telling me to use the hand, just not try to pop the cord myself. No problemo there. Nor did I have any gashes. Yikes. Yours looked painful. I had just a couple of tiny tears.
After four months I'll decide whether to do the thumb area (so far all this has been on my right hand). I didn't even notice the thumb was affected so I may skip that. But the pinkie on my left hand has a nodule that causes my finger to bend, though I can straighten it manually, so that's a maybe.
I didn't intend to write so much, but I did want you do know that your blog and videos were very helpful when I was trying to decide what to do. I've found the entire process fascinating, maybe because, as my doc said yesterday, it's "cutting edge."
I'm sorry the woman who wrote you may have to pay for her treatment. I would think insurance would pay if it's causing her a loss of dexterity or pain. It's still cheaper than surgery, so I'm thinking insurance companies would save money since it's all out-patient.
Anyway, feel free to share any of this with anyone who contacts you. The fact I'm even typing virtually pain-free the next day is amazing to me, and the swelling has almost all subsided.
Thanks again and congrats on your book. It looks like a fun (and well-written) read, and I've ordered a copy.
Your Texas Xiaflex protégé,

July 16, 2010

Are You High Maintenance?

So I was having dinner with a friend and here's how she ordered: "You know how when you order a Caesar salad you can add shrimp to it? Well, I don't want the Caesar, I want the cucumber and tomato salad but I want to add shrimp to that, can you do that?" "Yes," said the waiter. "But I only want shrimp if they're from Mexico, where are they from? Cuz I don't want them if they're from Viet Nam or some other third world country. Are they from Viet Nam?" He didn't know but would check. "Okay, but then I don't want the red wine vinaigrette. I want vinegar and oil instead but I don't want regular vinegar, I want balsamic."
The waiter said, "If the shrimp are from Viet Nam do you still want the salad?"
"Yes, just no shrimp. Oh, and could you bring some olive oil and cheese for the bread?" she said as she sat there pulling the guts out of the bread and eating only the crust.
Here's how I ordered: "I'll have the ribbon pasta with the veal ragu."

July 15, 2010

Movie Review: I Am Love

New name for this movie: I Am Bored.
Everything about this movie is very melodramatic, from the credits to the annoying music to the storyline, and that's not necessarily a bad thing except if you have to sit through it. I like a good sex scene as much as the next person but there's one in this movie that just goes on and on and on and on, the camera moving slowly over curves and body parts (nothing graphic), and then back over them again. And again. Now I know that may cause some of you to run right out to see this film but don't waste your time.
The story moves very slowly and is very contrived, especially at the end when an improbable tragedy causes some sort of catharsis. If there was chemistry with any of the characters, either to each other or to the audience, it might have worked, but there isn't. No stars for this one.

July 11, 2010

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

"I'd make a good realtor," my friend Judi told her husband Vern as they drove to Itasca to hold an open house at the townhome they're trying to sell.
And when a couple showed up Judi was very professional and charming as she showed them the house, mentioning all the features, making realtor-like comments. As they toured, the couple mentioned they'd been living in an apartment for 18 years and were looking to rent. So Judi thanked them for coming and showed them out, then went back upstairs. A few minutes later, she yelled down to Vern, "That couple doesn't have a pot to piss in," and proceeded down the stairs where they were standing in the living room talking to Vern!

July 10, 2010

Movie Review: Cyrus *****

Cyrus is a gem of a movie. It has it all: remarkable acting, great direction, fabulous writing. Marisa Tomei is one of my favorite actors and she's perfect as the vulnerable, protective, love-starved mom. John C. Reilly is her love interest - not your typical leading man. As he says in the movie when they meet at a party, "Are you flirting with me? I'm like Shrek. Why would someone like you want to talk to someone like me?" or something close to that. And it's true. He is like Shrek, not someone you'd be attracted to at first glance but someone who becomes so endearing. John C. Reilly is such a great actor. His facial reactions are worth the price of the ticket.
Jonah Hill is also great as Tomei's grown son who throws a monkey wrench into the works of their new relationship and from there it's alternately sweet, funny and even a little creepy. It's an unusual story that really works. It has warmth and humor, and real emotion. Don't miss it.

July 7, 2010

Reviews for Mr. Right-Enough

Such nice comments - thanks so much (click on them if you can't read them)!

Get a copy by clicking the Buy Now button. Let me know if you want it signed.

July 3, 2010

Have You Reconnected With Your High School Sweetheart?

Do you have a cute story about reconnecting with your high school sweetheart? A funny story? A sad story...or even a creepy one? Whatever, I'd love to hear it. Send me an email samanthahoffman@aol.com and tell me your experience.

Read Libby Carson's story here.