Thursday, May 31, 2012

Former pirates go legit: KZSC radio celebrates 45 years

Here's a little story I wrote about a tiny station whose small "pirate" crew made their first broadcasts during the summer of love, and once tried to use an upside-down garbage can as an antennae. It's an unlikely success story that continues to the present day.

In 1967, the year of the Summer of Love, a group of UCSC students started an FCC-unauthorized campus radio station that broadcast from a clammy basement and tried to use an upside-down garbage can as an antenna.

The broadcasters initially put egg cartons instead of acoustic tiles on the walls, and the disc jockeys played the psychedelic single, “Incense and Peppermints” by the Strawberry Alarm Clock, so many times the record cracked. They kept on playing it anyhow.

“When I left campus, [the station] was very shaky,” said Marc Okrand (Stevenson College ‘70, interdisciplinary studies), who went on to have a far-ranging career that included teaching linguistics at UC Santa Barbara, doing research for the Smithsonian and, most famously, developing the Klingon language for Star Trek—both for the movies and also for Star Trek spin-off TV shows.

Read more right here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Banana slug cookies are selling out (plus, books)

Hi, both of you. I hope you're well. First of all, I just wanted to let you know that the banana slug cookies are selling exceptionally well. The bakery actually ran out of them over the long weekend, and now they're into the second printing. Oops,  I mean, baking. In some ways this is even more fun than the publishing thing.  My cookies, unlike my writings, do not provoke extreme emotional reactions. No one can go on Amazon and describe my cookies as arrogant or overly profane. They just gobble them up, wash them down with a nice cold glass of milk,  and that's it. Today I went into the bakery and I vowed to keep my mouth shut, just this once, but just when I was walking out the door, I turned around and said "Those are MINE! I designed those!" 

Now for those books I was talking about. The first one is called The Man Who Quit Money by Mark Sundeen. I've been a fan of his work for a long time so it's nice to see one of his books fly above the radar this time.  I just love his droll sense of humor and his writing style. The sentences are so well-tempered and clear. The other one I mentioned is Lydia Davis's translation of Madame Bovary, which is so good, it will make you want to write her letters asking her to translate his other books, too. More news about cookies and books very soon, and welcome back.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Help the Capitola Book Cafe "thrive and survive" this Sunday

I hope to see you all at the festive fundraiser at the Capitola Book Cafe.  I'm not an owner of the bookstore or in any way employed there, but I hang out there constantly and wrote a huge portion of my early draft of The Cactus Eaters there. It's also the place where I met the writing group that helped me get that early manuscript into good enough shape to get a scholarship for graduate school (it would have been impossible to attend without it; now I've rejoined that same book group, and they're helping me move forward with a brand new project, so I guess you could say that a big part of my literary life is tied up with this one store.) Aside from this, I've seen so many great writers there over the years and consumed about 10,000 cups of coffee. A bunch of writers who live around here (including me) will be speaking  around 5 or so. And here's the little blurb announcement: hope to see you there

 Sunday, May 20, 2012 • 3-6pm • Capitola Book CafĂ©


$10 at the door or click here to buy in advance.
(Kids under 12 free.)

Hell yes: my Banana Slug Cookies shall return!

Not to get you overly excited but I just heard that my big claim to fame -- the Super-sweet Extra-Crunchy Banana Slug Cookie with gloppy yellow frosting-- is going to be resurrected soon. Apparently, the Buttery Bakery in Santa Cruz is going to bake up another limited run of these cookies (which I invented and designed all by myself, including the cookie cutter, not to brag or anything like that)  in honor of the upcoming UCSC commencement ceremonies.

The fact is, you won't meet many author types who dabble in baked-goods design. A few of them treat baked items with outright contempt. (I was shocked and upset to read that my favorite fiction writer, Junot Diaz, doesn't like cookies at all.) Anyhow, I'm amped up about this and ready to take on the big corporate cookie producers. Watch your back, Entenmann's.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Friday night at the Capitola Book Cafe

Wow!!! Thanks everyone. Our place-writing class could very well sell out. Really looking forward to this.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Scrambled, out-of-order version of The Cactus Eaters appears in book store

I just heard from a reader who said she purchased a hard-copy version of The Cactus Eaters that begins on page 361.  I am assuming that one of two things took place. 1. Your book contains a printing error, which means it is a rarity, which means you can try to sell it online for $$$$, or 2. HarperCollins has printed a scrambled-up, surreal, non-linear version of the book to attract a more experimental demographic. I'm making inquiries and will try to get to the bottom of this soon. And keep those cards and letters coming. (by the way, I'm not making this up.)

Friday, May 04, 2012

My upcoming writing class

Here are a couple of recent blurb/announcements for the upcoming writing class on May 11 at the Capitola Book Cafe, one in and another in SF And here is the feature story in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.  I've fiddled with the list of authors just a little bit, and I've created some activities that should be fun for you, while creating food for thought for your place writings in progress. The Book Cafe has been sending out free mini-anthologies of place/travel writings and a couple of preliminary exercises for everyone who signs up.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

My hideous lawn

I now, officially, have the most hideous front lawn in America. Basically, the owner chopped down the shady pretty tree in front of our house and replaced it with a huge pile of jagged stones -- hundreds and hundreds of them lying beside my driveway like a midden of broken teeth. Personally, I don't know what we're supposed to do with all these (expletive) rocks. Unless Goliath attacks our house.  In that case, I'll be well-prepared.