New Mercury Reading, Baltimore, OCTOBER 23rd, Be There

Posted by Lizzie on 10/22/10

Just to get this whole “postin’ on new site” thing on the road, a quick note to let you know I (with Ann Finkbeiner and D. R. Belz) will be reading at the New Mercury Reading series tomorrow, Saturday 23rd, at Federal Hill’s Light Street Gallery. Revelries begin at 6. I don’t KNOW what happens. They’re already pretending I’m still a Baltimore resident; I may be asked to steal someone else’s identity, for all I know.

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The Double Helix

Posted by Lizzie on 10/14/07

I am sorry it has been so long. Actually, for most of the summer, I was walking around former colonial superpowers and didn’t have a computer. Then I downloaded–there’s no reason, I just did–something from AOL called Helix, which, as AOL promised, let me “multitask in fewer clicks and with fewer hassles”, mainly by crippling Windows* so absolutely that two baffled computer scientists, after two or three hours of tinkering, looked up and asked, “You backed up your data, right?”

Anyway, I have also, for various reasons, been thinking of finally officially closing down the blog, since several print publications with subdomains of their own have stepped into the whole “clever dinner party guest at a vast, faceless table” with great dispatch and enthusiasm (look above for VQR giveaway) and will probably trundle along for at least a few years before post-aperitif fatigue hits. If I did read blogs, I would read those, but lately I’ve been disentangling myself from the grid, since marching around my old daily online reading circuit seems to crescendo into a Nickelodeon-viewing level of overstimulation for me. Maybe it’s because after your twenties, when your thoughts are a crucial part of the public discourse, you’re supposed to descend into a period of hiberation until you’ve saved up enough opinions to be a blowhard through most of your dotage? Maybe it’s because I’ve finally had a karaoke breakthrough? (With Joni Mitchell, yet.) I don’t know.

That said, the decision to close down occurred at exactly the same time a bunch of strangers, unprompted, came forward to say they liked it and not to Helix the whole thing**. So I’m going to leave it up for the archives if you want them, and do mostly what I have been doing lately, which is to give you giveaways, slap up some Speedreaders, and let you know what I am doing in the world of print. (This is today’s review, and my debut, in the LAT, and I have some other things coming along soon, god willing.) If I want to tell you something or you want to tell me something, give me a call or messenger me a cuneiform tablet and I’ll see what I can do.

(But, if I were going to have a last personal side note, I would probably say something about, oh, I don’t know, a nonevent this morning’s at a farmer’s market [or Baltimore’s version a farmers’ market, which is located in an underpass, with an assemblage of rutebagas and used condoms and the aroma of crab cakes and urine]. So I am standing at the smoked-things stall when I heard this grating voice to my left. The voice happens to belong to a former boss, but believe me, it would be grating on anyone, even on someone I loved, and it’s unfair to bring it up but I just did. I didn’t realize it was said boss until I saw they were running out of sourdough to my left and I had to dash and could put grate to face. But here’s note on ignoring former employees whom you know very well are people you know when they are standing next to you and you are being too slow with the smoked-things guy: I’m not sure you should pointedly ignore anyone you know after the age of 13, but ignoring former employees, unless they stole from you or urinated on something, is fired–not least because the best way to torture a former employee is by being the bigger person. Seriously, I have had umpteenth teachable moments with this boss that have yet to take root in any action that I can see. Step it up, lady; I’m not made of patience. As anyone knows, taking it upon yourself to mortify a former boss with a huge hug and sparkling small talk gets old.

Anyway, I’m already the bigger person.

Okay, one last time:

YouTube Preview Image

* Please, Mac people, do not tell me to get a Mac. I don’t care.

** Before you tell me to get a Mac again because you haven’t been paying attention, I don’t care.

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Also, have no land line. Help! How did people do it in 1897

Posted by Lizzie on 06/09/07

UPDATE: Procured phone; thank you Shannon, family, Verizon lady.

Yesterday, jacked up car*, then spilled beet juice on phone and killed it. The last time I went to Europe, before departed, totaled car and was mugged, so…progress*.

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A) It’s called “Family Auto”, seriously and b) we got $50 back

Posted by Lizzie on 04/11/07

We’ll return to books eventually. BUT. Is it good business practice, would you say, to greet the customer with, “I’m in a bad mood….I was up ALL night with this car,” and then tell said customer you’re taking anger management classes because you chased a man through a parking lot and beat him senseless for touching your bike? Fuck you, give me my car. And explain to me what this $399 is for!

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Divest, Young Man! Divest!

Posted by Lizzie on 04/10/07

What day is it again? Okay, this is not a joke. Apparently there was something, or someone, in the fuel tank. Anything is possible at this point. When we reached the mechanic at 4:28 today, he was wrestling the apparatus and its inhabitants to the ground, and claims, circa 4:30 p.m. Tuesday April 10, 2007 A.D., that it will be finished two hours from same. Sure, whatever. Turning, as one does at such times, to questions of spirituality, those of you not in the know should be advised that we here at OHQ have actually had all our worldly belongings in storage since September since leaving Baltimore, currently sublet from a dear friend in NY, and have, we’re slowly realizing, stayed with about 19,845 others just in these last many months like some well-showered version of a vagabond. This perforce losing of the car, our last possession, along with our ability to “steer” our own “course” while drinking from a “travel mug”, is, we are starting to realize, *a sign*, and we would like to say OKAY, WE GET IT, and remind God once again that we CALLED THE AMBULANCE for that GUY for god’s sake and that we have taken all this advice from above to heart and are reading “Eat, Pray, Love” and bought a travel guide and a map and are putting all our stuff up on eBay and taking three months off to travel the world because we have something like 75,000 points on our OnePass and feel free to lay off the heavy symbolism any time now.

UPDATE: Are we jinxing ourselves? Lord, we hope not. As of 11:16 p.m. it is declared fixed. We are declared to bed.

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Never Leaving Baltimore Update. For Those of You Who Care…

Posted by Lizzie on

…the part that arrived was apparently in worse shape than the part that needed replacing. A new part will apparently be here “by 4”; we will apparently be out of here “by 6”. We would just like to remind God WE CALLED THE AMBULANCE FOR THAT DEAD GUY, and it’s not our fault he wasn’t dead.

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Monday Morning Updating

Posted by Lizzie on 04/09/07

Sorry for the week-long silence. We were too busy a) figuring out why our car was shaking in that strange way while we drove to Baltimore, b) learning how much Baltimore would charge to make it stop doing so, c) prevailing on a friend to help us find the best rates at Enterprise, d) happening upon an apparently dead man — really! he looked dead! not drunk or anything! — calling the ambulance, being scornfully told by what was apparently the entire Baltimore City fire department he was NOT DEAD, HON, e) finding out at the Enterprise counter our license was expired and that card we had been carrying around was actually a CHANGE OF ADDRESS CARD and not a TEMPORARY LICENSE, for God’s sake, f) learning that it costs only $30 and 2 hours to get a new license in a state where you haven’t lived in half a year, g) driving to West Virginia, e) discussing coal-mining in the 1900s, dining from dollar buffets to Muzak f) buying a strapless bra, g) giving our first toast at a wedding h) eating bacon. SO MUCH BACON! i) depending, unconscionably, on the kindness of strangers and non-strangers pretty much all over the place, lolling around on their spare couches and beds, eating them out of house and home, and j) calculating that we may have paid it back by calling the ambulance for that man on the street. BECAUSE HE REALLY LOOKED DEAD.

1) Congratulations and love, Marshall and Emily!

2) If you did not see it, here’s our latest review in the Times.

UPDATE: Interesting. So, apparently, WE ARE NEVER GOING TO BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE BALTIMORE. The starter engine is dead, and there’s a huge tsunami headed towards the New England coastline if we don’t start cutting energy costs by using fluorescent lighting, or something. On the plus side, this didn’t happen in West Virginia, where it’s still December. People we’re thanking so far, in order of forbearance: Jane, Anton, Margot, Liam, Liz, Aunt Virgie, Shannon, the boys at Enterprise, Liz again. NOT the Swedes, or the people at Stadium Auto. Not until they stop shaking their heads every time we pull up, that is.

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We were angling for “Not That Kind of Crabs”, but it didn’t take

Posted by Lizzie on 08/23/06

Hey you all. Sorry for not blogging. We have had little to blog about, because we live small lives in search only of crabs and those black and white cookies from Wegmans while swimming here. BUT: we will be on Maryland Morning discussing Baltimore’s new-ish slogan, “Get in on It” today (Wednesday) from 9-10. We’ll post the direct links later today, but you can stream it live starting around 9:43 this morning.

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We’re just going to keep repeating “$300 a month” and leave it at that

Posted by Lizzie on 09/29/05

We spend about 8 seconds a day lamenting that we missed out on the Baltimore housing boom. Apparently, we are brilliant.

THE thought has occurred to just about everybody who owns a home in a hot housing market: maybe it’s time to cash out. The hard part is figuring out how to do so. Only a few families can actually pick up their life in, say, California and move it to Nebraska. The other option – renting – has long been derided as the equivalent of throwing money away. But renting might deserve another look right now.

The problem is, we HAVE picked up our life and moved to the equivalent of Nebraska. Does that count?

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From Funniest Response Ever department

Posted by Lizzie on 06/17/05

Yesterday, while I was getting out of the car in the parking lot, my skirt blew up completely, and the only other person in the parking lot, a weary man having a smoke, said, “Welcome to Baltimore.” I wanted to tell him we’d both been here awhile, but whatever.

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If you out-of-towners mess up our $600 rent, we will mug you ourselves

Posted by Lizzie on 05/26/05

BALTIMORE — Last year, Terence Trader and a friend paid $77,000 for a crumbling, six-bedroom home here with garish yellow asbestos siding.

After partially renovating the property, which abuts two boarded-up homes, the former social worker agreed to sell it last month — for roughly $300,000. The buyers, a young couple from Washington, D.C., say they plan to settle down here.

“It’s kind of a diamond in the rough,” says Jennifer Hoover, a doctoral student in psychology, who is buying the house with her husband.

The transaction marks a small victory for Baltimore as the city recovers from one of the nation’s most relentless urban declines. [Thanks, Alizinha!]

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And who says this man is not a true resident of Baltimore?

Posted by Lizzie on 04/21/05

Still, a melancholic note creeps into Hutchisson’s voice when he discusses Poe’s final, unintentional visit to Charm City. In 1849, still grieving Virginia’s death but newly engaged to the widow Elmira Royster Shelton, Poe was on his way from Richmond to New York to gather his belongings and bring his beloved Muddy to Virginia. How Poe ended up in Baltimore is uncertain, and how he spent his brief time here is unknown, but he was finally found insensible and delirious in an alley, wearing another man’s clothes. He was conveyed to Washington College Hospital, where, muttering and incoherent, he breathed his last. The cause of his death was ultimately unknown, and his body never made it back to Richmond, remaining here in Westminster Burying Grounds. [via Schauby]

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We KNOW this is getting boring. Now give us some money

Posted by Lizzie on 03/14/05

We will try to get over our jealousy that BoingBoing used another blog to post this plea, but, seriously, if BoingBoing is doing it, everybody should. Also, our board meeting is tonight, we’re sick, and we still need $30,000.* Don’t make us puke AND be penniless. Remember, you can donate at Network for Good or send a check to the address listed. The other blogger made a smart point about not going directly to The Book Thing site today, since Doctorow’s totally totally going to overload it. If you want to read more about it and/or really have NO IDEA what we’re talking about, click here.

*Replace “board meeting is” with “Jimmy Thumbs is coming over”, and you have the makings of an excellent illegal transaction of some sort gone terribly, terribly wrong.

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(Yes, the post is back) In Which Our Proprietrix Demands Cold, Hard Cash

Posted by Lizzie on 03/10/05

Friends, it is once again the time when I ask you to give me money. Well, not ME money, so much, as money for The Book Thing, the free-books bonanza that some of you have TOTALLY been jacking ever since I posted this plea, while others have given freely, generously, nay, OVERINDULGENTLY. If you have forgotten/don’t care/don’t want to care about The Book Thing, I’ll remind you that it’s a free books emporium that recycles and regifts thousands of books every week to anyone who wants them, including the indigent, the curious, and the just plain greedy. The Book Thing is moving to a new location and needs to make the down payment, or it will disappear forever, a beautiful dream that was too visionary for our $29.99 trade paperback world. You’re totally going to let this be your time-wasting exercise today, you goddamn blog-reader, smoke-breaker, and coffee-fetcher. Checks of ANY size (dolphin or kitty illustrations tolerated) can be sent to the following address:

The Book Thing of Baltimore, Inc.
PO Box 2197
Baltimore, Maryland, 21203

Or you can donate at Network for Good.*

* I see we’ve installed one of those bright-red temperature thingies that rises steadily to mark our process. Our goal is a little more modest, but people who have not had sex in forever or get cold easily still might find it psychologically satisfying to give a lot more.

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The City That Actually Does Read

Posted by Lizzie on 02/24/05

We’re going out of town for the rest of the week, so that’s the last of our piddling information for all three of you. Before we remind you once again to give, though, we would like to draw your attention to two wonderful works, John Rowell’s The Music of Your Life and Liam Callanan’s The Cloud Atlas (not the one you think), the latter of which is up for an Edgar — which pleases though perplexes the author, as it is apparently “not a mystery.” the author. We have no idea why we said it waas not a mystery; THAT, my friends, is the mystery. (B-more BFF Laura Lippman also has her last Tess Monaghan mystery By a Spider’s Thread in the running — the entire series is a must-must-read.) We had the distinct pleasure hearing these gentlemen read last night, then chatting with them about how much Sideways sucked and hookers and suchlike. Arthur Bradford was also there, and though he did not read, he is cuteNOT AS CUTE AS LIAM. Buy his book, too. What the hell, while you’re at it, buy my other friend Laura’s book, and visit her husband’s blog. We can’t think of anyone else to pimp right now, but we think this should be enough to fill King Wenclas with a bilious rage.

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If the back page were “Local Shootings,” we’d be golden

Posted by Lizzie on 02/09/05

Blogger Rachel Kramer Bussel discusses her “conflicted” relationship with Lucky, a favorite of some people we know:

The last page is actually the most helpful, and features quickie guides to local spas and shops, which I have actually used to find a good manicure. For me, Lucky is a little bit of late-night escapism, because the truth is, even with all the money in the world, I could never pull off being a true Lucky girl, wearing the best in office casual, knowing when to wear a ruffled blouse and having a daytime and nighttime outfit. I still like to dabble in every kind of color at Sephora, consider purple fishnets a fashion statement, and am thrilled when I can match my skirt to my shoes, so perhaps I’m beyond Lucky’s help.

We were deeply pleased to Lucky called out yesterday for shameless Gladwellizing. (We weren’t that upset about the Holocaust/concealer analogy. Six million, six shmillion, THERE’S A GOOD CONCEALER OUT THERE?) Our main problem with Lucky is their back page on local delights, which says “D.C. and Baltimore,” then SHAMELESSLY lists fifty spas in D.C. and one old taco stand in Annapolis or something. We know we have to chew our toenails instead of getting good manicure service out in the rat-packed alleys of Charm City; we don’t need a weekly reminder.

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They could probably get something going with “Wood” and “Would”, too

Posted by Lizzie on 01/25/05


We’re not religious, so does it show some increasing level of sappiness that we find this touching? Maybe it’s just our near-trembling devotion to homonyms.

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He may have no teeth, tobacco breath and a gunshot wound through his jaw, but still

Posted by Lizzie on 11/21/04

If you are feeling ugly, move to Baltimore immediately and head to the nearest dive bar. Not only will a patron insist on giving you tips on how to hit the corner pocket off the rail, as you lean over to make the shot, he’ll say. “You’ll make it. Of course you’ll make it. You’re too pretty to miss.”

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Seriously: Wait. Wait. Don’t tell me.

Posted by Lizzie on 11/03/04

If you cannot read the horrifying updates from the NYT anymore and are in desperate need of amusements, take a break from the end times and listen to Laura Lippman’s recent appearance on NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. It’s not your imagination: EVERYTHING was better a week ago.

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