Saturday, February 27, 2010

Then. Now. In BookLand.

 " My comic updates every day, because that is the expectation. I wouldn’t be able to not show up a few times a week at a regular job and still expect to get paid, and I don’t do the same on my site."
--Natalie Dee, crunchgear interview

I wish I could shoot the photo for the new book today -- at the exact same size 2 that would match the photo on the last book jacket in 1999 -- but at the moment, I have a very unfortunate haircut.

Today, I'm working on the Outline, and I'm trying to work faster than I'd like so the whole project can be wrapped up before the production guy who put together the last one retires.

Working faster now means something a lot different than it did in 1999. It took six years to put together that collection partly because I wrote a monthly column. I post everyday now, from either the netbook or blackberry, whereas that entire book was painstakingly typed out on a 486 and handed in on floppy disk, to beat... Y2K. The book did have a website (the kind you still cranked by hand) -- ably put together by A Guy named Bob, where you could read old columns and "buy the book" ... if you wanted to transcribe an address and mail in a check. I didn't have a blog (I'm sure some people did, but apparently I handed out columns door-to-door), and of course there was no facebook or twitter. According to the book, I did have a cellphone all the way back in the early 90s, and since I was (for once) an early adopter, it was the size of my Toyota. As was the fax machine (where we exchanged and transmitted information on real pieces of actual paper, if you can imagine).

I've changed houses (once), cars (once),  hair color (once), and boyfriends (don't ask), since that book.

I did have cable (I wasn't marooned on a desert island or anything), and I know that because there's a chapter about the one time I stayed home sick, had fever dreams, and insisted to everyone that HBO televises executions during the day. (I am pretty sure they still don't.)

Today I'm reviewing a decade's worth of old columns written in the intervening years between the last book and now, and seeing which, if any, make the cut. I'm finding that most don't. One I do remember somewhat fondly is about this Oscar de la Renta dress which is the only time I've ever ripped a dress out of the pages of Vogue and bought it.

Here's a little clip from May 20, 2001 (which indicates to me that at least in some ways, the more things change, the more it stays the same):
"I handed Hop Sing the 'emergency' gold card and dispatched him to the web. (And I can't TELL you how MUCH it pained me to do that - as the daughter of a woman who proudly views Crystal Light as an 'extravagance.')

The next Monday, I walked by his desk while he was on the phone with 'couture' at Neiman-Marcus, describing the Vogue clipping in front of him, just in time to hear him say, "That's not how it works, doll. I'm not buying tobacco here. You tell ME how much it costs, not the other way around."
   I never saw what the fuss was about designer clothing until this came into my life - and it's everything I love about art and architecture all rolled into one.
  I feel like a different person when I wear it. (I imagine I would also feel like a different person if I wore cowboy boots and a white-fringe jacket... but not in a good way.) I don't care if it takes duct tape and carpet tacks to get me into it (and keep me there), no sacrifice is too great.
  I wish it came with its own riding crop, because it makes me want to whip bad men and make them call me Miss Kitty.
The final challenge is the Guest List for the Party. Hop Sing is in a STATE that I don't want NewGuy to come. (After repeated questioning, it turns out that he really thought the two of them had 'a moment' at a party a few weeks back - when the guy reached out for my Kate Spade bag, a job usually delegated to Hop Sing himself. Yet, my faithful manservant handed it over, and apparently, he misconstrued that one moment as the 'Changing of the Guard.' He said he felt like he was 'passing the Torch.' He was 'handing over Martin Sheen's briefcase on the West Wing - the one with the Big Phone and all the secure numbers.') He's distraught that I'm not taking this relationship more seriously.
  Ultimately, I vetoed his appearance, reminding Hop Sing, "I just can't work and date at the same time. I need to keep my hands and mouth free." (May 2001)
Today, as I write the Outline, I am looking over the old book and figuring out what I will do differently and what I might do the same in the new book. A few things stand out:
  • I probably shouldn't mention ringworm as it pertains to kids I don't know.
  • I will definitely refrain from reprinting wedding toasts I have made.
  • I should make a note to check in more often with my friend, Stan, because he is hilarious.
  • I must never, ever replace a roof again. Even if a roof collapses around my ears, I must move.
  • I can stop being defensive when people insist I'll change my mind about having kids. Game over. I win.
  • I need to take more trips, because funny things (like food poisoning) always happen to me when I do.
  • I should host more baby showers (for the same reason). 
  • I should not muse aloud about the odds of which of my friends' marriages will make it and which ones won't (judging from the book, I'm only accurate about 70 percent of the time, and you know what, not one of them has thanked me when I turned out to be right).
Mostly, I am just wondering whatever happened to JenniCam? I had a whole chapter devoted to a conversation with my friend George about her, and the whole notion seems so quaint in the youtube era (to say nothing of jerkyourtube). At least George is still my friend.

[comic from the the crunchgear interview with Drew "toothpaste for dinner" and Natalie Dee . Toothpaste for Dinner (Ambien Walrus) here]

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure what jerky-our-tube is, but I like jerky, so . . .

    I think I'll put a link to this one on Todd Wright Here. Nice post!