Thursday, July 27, 2006


Tonight was a book signing at the St. Louis County Library for Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, promoting their book "Peter and the Shadow Thieves". The event was the library's second annual Family Reading Night. I have to say, it was a huge success for them.

Dave and Ridley have been traveling around the United States for the past month on this book tour and tonight was the last signing before heading home. As feeble memory serves, I believe St. Louis was the finale for last year's tour as well. Maybe it's because Ridley lives in the area.

I was running horribly late due to work constraints, but my good friend Judy went to save me a seat. Fellow DB bloglit, Sharon, was also there. I told Judy to look for her; then while I was talking to Sharon to tell her I was running late, I heard Judy's voice asking if she would be Sharon. We discussed logistics, hung up.

I quickly called Sharon back. "Judy just got back from Ireland, you just got back from England. Discuss."

With the two of them being so shy and introverted, I thought they could use a little conversation-helper from me.


Another friend of mine, Kathy, was supposed to be there also. But I received a text message from her that she was still sitting in the airport at Midway waiting to get home from a business trip; and they quit giving them departure times.


Anyway, after breaking several landspeed records and a few traffic laws, I got there and found a "create your own parking spot".

As I walked in, I thought I was at some sort of medical convention, or a meeting of the People Who Are Very Afraid of Pandemics. There were giant posters of Germ-X everywhere. I daresay, there were more posters of them than there were of the book. This particular book signing had sponsors. A number of them. Germ-X, Commerce Bank, Mont Blanc, and Plaza Frontenac.

The Bank was nice enough to give out $100 savings bonds. Of course, you had to be between the ages of 10 and 18 and be one of the three to have written an award winning review of Peter and the Shadow Thieves.

Germ-X gave us all Germs. OK, not really. They gave us all complimentary bottles of their product and a pencil.

Yeah, I didn't understand the pencil, either.

At the end of their reading, the Mont Blanc guy said he would like to present Dave and Ridley with a little something. Then he fumbled around for a few seconds before Dave said "Then do it!" Of course, they received pens. You'd think they would have recieved Mont Blancs, wouldn't you. Don't know how those Bics got in there.

I don't think any of the other signings had a master of ceremonies, but ours was Julius Hunter; a local celebrity. As he was talking away, I noticed Sharon giving him a puzzled look. I asked her if she knew him and she admitted she didn't. I told her that he had been a news anchor for several decades and now is VP of Community Relations of St. Louis University, and an all around ambassador of goodwill for St. Louis. The picture I took of him tonight is really bad and I have too much respect for him to post that one, so I'll link to one on the internet:

Julius Hunter

He warmed up the already warm crowd with some "it's so hot in St. Louis how hot is it jokes."

OK, I'll admit it. It wasn't his best material.

Then the boys came out. Trust me, the photo I took of Julius was worse than the one I got of Dave and Ridley.

Even though they've been strumpetting for the past few weeks, they were as sharp, fresh and witty as though this was their first event of the tour. It appeared as though Dave had recently had his hair cut, and I didn't recognize his shirt at all.

There was a huge crowd; with a substantial number of kids. The crowd was large enough that they had an "overflow" room set up with a screen to watch the reading via video feed. If it hadn't been for Judy and Sharon, I would have been in that room with the other outcasts.

Dave did get booed (slightly) at one point when he ventured into sacred territory. He dissed the Cardinals. He mentioned that their band, Rock Bottom Remainders, had played in St. Louis at The Pageant. He went on to say that a number of us may not remember that as that was when we were in the World Series. "Too bad no one told your team that," he observed.

OK, so it's true, but HEY!

Accompanying me to the signing, of course, was the giant Leetiehead.

I had hoped to get her ironed out, botoxed or something; but that didn't happen. I did raise her up in the air a few times, but not much. There were a number of kids behind us, and I didn't want to block their view. The kids there were really excited and had some wonderful questions for the guys. Each one asking a question received a Peter and the Shadow Thieves tattoo.

Then it was over and time to wait for our numbers to be called to the Signing Room. Judy told me that beforehand, she had gone up to the podium and had left a note "Today is slyeyes' birthday", and knows that Ridley saw it. But she figured they had their patter down and didn't deviate from it.

Quick sidenote about Judy. Several years ago, I was going to a Cardinal game with Jenni and a number of my friends. Jenni asked if we were going because it was my birthday. I told her no one knew that it was, and I didn't particularly want them to know. Jenni blabbed and when I joined everyone at the game, they had banners for me. Then Judy took me by the hand and had me stand in front of our section. She yelled out "This is the woman with the birthday!" and they all broke into song "Happy Birthday" just like she had prepped them.

Then there was my 50th birthday cruise that I went on with my sister and a couple of friends. Judy got the entire Lido deck to sing to me.

I gotta learn not to hang with her on my birthday.

Anyway, she had to leave, so Sharon and I sat down to wait and to get acquainted. We were soon joined by other bloglits who recognized the Giant Leetiehead.

These are Sharon, Ramona/Ramada/Romanda -- she said to pronounce it like "Ramada"; her granddaughter, Britney, and Novanglus. Ramada isn't a DB bloglit, she knows Ridley's family. She and I recognized each other from last year's signing where we had struck up a conversation.

Another bloglit, lind, came by and recognized the Leetiehead and chatted with us for a bit.

After our number was called and we went to stand in the Great Line of Those Hoping To Meet Dave and Ridley, a woman walked by and then came to a screeching halt. "I know her" she said, pointing to Leetie. "Who are you all?" Sharon and I introduced ourselves and she recognized our names. She's Mary, a writer for the local paper, and a reader on the blog, though she rarely comments. We exchanged business cards and promised to get in touch. Her young son walked up (10 or so) and she said "This is slyeyes." He perked up and said "You do the "24 thing?" I said that I was one of the bloglits who comment on that thread. He said "Cool!"

I'll admit it, that was neat.

A young lady whose job title was "The Person To Keep Things Running Smoothly" came by with a pen and post it notes. She asked us if we wanted our books personalized and how. I handed one to her and said it was to be made out to "slyeyes from the blog".

She rolled her eyes.

Several minutes later...........(drumroll).....we entered THE ROOM. The Signing Room. The room in which the signing was to be done. The room full of Germ-X posters, a multitude of actual bottles of Germ-X and a couple of glossy 8 x 10's of Peter and the Shadow Thieves.

As we got closer, Dave looked up and exclaimed, "The Leetiehead is here!" We discussed how the Leetiehead doesn't travel well, and Then he looked back and forth between Sharon and I and asked "Which one is slyeyes?" I owned up to it.

He stood up, threw his arms wide and said "Happy Birthday!" And gave me a big hug.

And a kiss.

OK, it was a chaste little kiss on the cheek, but still.

And through it all, I could hear Sharon say "and we're not getting a picture of this."

And even though the program for the evening said NO POSING WITH THE AUTHORS, we posed with the authors and had our picture taken. The pirate paraphernalia was courtesy of Novanglus.

Sharon and I walked out into the steamy muggy night, said goodbye and promised to stay in touch (and we will).

Then I called everyone I knew and told them Dave kissed me.

And Kathy is still on the ground in Chicago.



Yes, today is my birthday. I usually take it as a vacation day; but that won't work this year. Tonight, I'm planning on going to a Dave Barry book signing, and then to a local venue to hear some music.

And my girls sent me a gift certificate to to buy shoes. YAY.

A "tradition" has begun with the DB book signings. A certain woman in Washington DC couldn't make it to one, and sent her picture to someone who was attending. It was blown up and put on a stick and she attended in absentia. (Let's pretend I used that correctly, OK?) It has since been shipped to other signings across the country.

I received it today and I'm in the process of trying to flatten it out because it currently looks like this:

Anyone have an iron I can borrow?

Thursday, July 20, 2006


"It's 98 degrees and no chance of a storm."

I said those words yesterday. I honestly did. That was just a few hours before our area got nailed with what has been termed "the worst storm in recent history". Brick buildings fell on bridges, semi's overturned on bridges, the airport roof landed on an interstate. At Busch Stadium, the dugouts had 3 feet of water in them and the walkways had water neck high.

Then there were the trees. Falling. On cars, houses and across powerlines. Knocking out the power. They've called out the National Guard because we've got 480,000 people without electricity.

And where was I, the predictor of "no chance of a storm"?

I was with a friend sipping wine at a local restaurant. We were safe, we were dry. If I opened my cellphone, I could see to eat my salmon and spinach salad in the now darkened restaurant.

What, me worry?

Then the sirens went off and the wind got worse. A hanging planter banged into the window.

I called a friend at home, Judy, to ask if the storm was anyplace near and if we needed to take shelter.

She said the kids were over, they had turned off the TV and it appeared the worst was over. Oh, look over there, blue skies. All is well. We looked out the window and didn't see blue sky anywhere. What was she smoking, we thought?

At some point in time, the proprietor threw us out. OK, he really asked us to leave as the backup generator was losing juice and the lights were dimming. We carefully drove home, dodged downed trees and noticed a lack of electricity. Except for the lightening.

My house was dark, and Kathy said she'd give me a call when she got home to let me know whether or not she had power. Thankfully, she did, so I packed up by candlelight and headed to her house.

1. Searching through your closet by candlelight can be very dangerous.

2. Colors don't look the same in candlelight. That is why I showed up wearing pink and lavender pajama bottoms and a teal blue pajama top. Only it wasn't a pajama top so much as it was a t-shirt that was in my pajama top drawer. Thankfully, I didn't have to stop on the 3 minute drive to her house.

We had an uneventful evening watching "Sex in the City" reruns on TBS.

The next morning, I did stop by my house on the way to work and YAY! electricity!! I had a text message from Kathy that her office was closed because they have no power.

And I talked to Judy while I waited for the bus. Remember, she was the one where the worst was over, there's blue sky on the way, etc. Well, her son's girlfriend's kids were over during the storm and were very scared, so she was downplaying it. To me, who was calling to find out how bad it was. "I see blue sky!" This morning, she said, "Donna, it was one of the worst storms I've ever seen."

If we'd known that, we would have had more wine.

Here are some photos that were submitted to KSKD's website by local residents.

This is a picture of what someone calls "storm" damage.

It was submitted by a Ladue resident who apparently doesn't get out much.

This is REAL storm damage.

And this is the damage from Stadium Eye View.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I'm running short of time. Twenty-four hours per day just isn't cutting it. I still want to share with you the following:

10 Things I Hate About Staining; or the family that stains together has clothes that can never be worn again.

A Clandestine Affair: purse shopping in Chinatown

...and many many more. But work has been busy. This weekend, I will be going to visit the newest member of our family.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


I have no cable. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

These are the phone conversations I had today with Charter Communications (and what a misnomer THAT is):

Automated Voice: I will need to ask you some questions first so we can quickly solve your problem.

Me: Oh great.

AV: Hmmmm, I didn't quite get that. What is your phone number.

Me: (gives it)

AV: What is your address

Me: (gives it)

AV: For security reasons, I will need the last four digits of your social security number

Me: (gives it)

AV: What is the nature of your problem.

Me: It won't work.

AV: Hmmmm, I didn't quite get that.

Me: (pushes "0")

AV: I understand you want to speak to a representative but this really will go faster if you answer my questions.

Me: (expletive deleted)

AV: Hmmmm, I didn't quite get that. It would be better if you answered with "Yes" or "no".

Me: When did I take the stand to testify?

AV: Hmmmm, I didn't quite get that. In a short sentence, what is the nature of your problem?

Me: How the heck am I supposed to say that with yes or no?

Av: Hmmmm, I didn't quite get that. What is the nature of your problem.

Me: There's no signal.

AV: Let me check that for you. (mysterious beeps and switching noises). We are checking that and will get an answer for you in 12 - 36 hours. Is there anything else I can help you with? Press 1 if you want to sign up for our automated payment, press 2 if you want Charter Cable Phone Service.

Me: (presses 0)

AV: That is an invalid response.

Me: You want an invalid response, I've got your invalid response right here.

AV: Hmmmmm, I didn't quite get that. I will switch you to a representative.

Me: Hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

New Automated Voice: All of our representatives are busy taking care of other customers. Please wait and your call will be handled in the order in which it was received. When your representative answers, please ask about the $150.00 you can save a year with Charter Cable Phone service.

*45 minutes later*

Representative: Would you be interested in Charter's automated bill paying service.

Me: No.

Representative: Would you like to save $150.00 a year with Charter's Cable Phone Service?

Me: No.

Rep: How can I help you today?

Me: My cable doesn't work.

Rep: What is your home phone number?

Me: The automated voice lady said she got all of that information to make this process go faster.

Rep: That information gets dropped when the call is transferred.

Me: You've got to be kidding. (gives number)

Rep: (asks all of the other questions the automated voice lady asked)

Me: What is the nature of your problem.

Me: No signal.

Rep: OK, I'm sending a signal to your Moxi box, you will have service in 15 minutes. If not, please call back.

Me: Is there a number I can call that gets through faster than this?

Rep: No.

Me: Then how about if I just hang on the line until it starts working.

They were quite amused by that request (not really) and hung up.

Show of hands, how many are NOT surprised that I didn't have a signal after 15 minutes.

So I go through the phone calling process:

AV: I see that you called earlier today. Has your problem been resolved?

Me: Would I be calling if it had?

AV: Hmmm, I didn't quite get that. Are you still experiencing the same problem?

Me: Yes.

MUCH later, I was again talking to a real person, who told me that they should NOT have told me 15 minutes, it would be more like 45 minutes, and I could call back then if I still didn't have a signal. I said that 45 minutes has passed due to their wait time.

So they said that someone would have to come out. I would get a call in 24 to 48 hours to schedule a time next week when they would come sometime between 8 and 12 or 1 and 5.

For what I pay a month, they should get their little tukas' over here pronto.

So, I cancelled the service. They told me they would be here on the 20th, between 8 and 12 to pick up the box. I said, "You just don't get it, do you?"

They also told me they will disconnect the service as of the 20th.

Still they aren't getting it.

To sum up, Charter Communications SUCKS.

I'm now looking up the number for the satellite people.


When we were in NYC last year, we had attempted to go to dinner at Carmines with Jeff and Jackie before going downtown for the fireworks. Carmines was closed for renovation, so we went its sister (brother?) restaurant instead, Virgils.

This year, while Jenni and I were enjoying the matinee of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Jeff and Jackie went over to Carmines to get in line for a table.

If they renovated it last year, they managed to maintain that much-sought after "unrenovated" look, complete with an extremely cramped bar area and confusing entry-way.

But it's all about the food, isn't it.

The gentleman who showed us to our table told us a little bit about how dinner at Carmines works with its family-style dining. The manner in which he delivered this information was somewhat like a soliloquy. As soon as he left us, Jackie explained "In New York, your wait-staff are most likely wannabe actors."

Then our waiter came up and introduced our specials in such a manner I thought they were upcoming guests on Letterman. He advised us that ordering 2 appetizers and 3 entrees would allow us to walk away from the table comfortably. I glanced to the tables around us and noticed the size of the servings. "Walk away comfortably" is to him what "waddling away while belching and unbuttoning the top button" is to us. A platter of their fried zucchini appetizer was approximately 14" x 8" x 6".

We opted for calamari for an appetizer, and a manicotti dish and rigatoni with sausage and broccoli in olive oil for entrees. We didn't finish any of it and left somewhere inbetween "walking away comfortably" and "waddling away while belching and unbuttoning the top button."

We then went on a waddling tour of midtown with Jeff and Jackie.

Oh, and we did NOT get up at some freakishly early hour and go down for the Today Show. We found that the crowds were much smaller at 9:00 at night.

After some discussion in the rain as to the best way for us to get back downtown to our hotel, we ended up on either the M1 or M6 bus and transferred at 14th Street to either the M6 or M1 bus. However we did it, we got to where we wanted to be. Jenni did want to get off the bus a lot earlier, thinking it was our stop. She saw a Duane Reade Drug Store across the street from a Starbucks. I pointed out to her that occurs hundreds of times in Manhattan. And so we traveled about 15 more blocks, passing 55 more Duane Reeds and Starbucks.

Give or take.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Yes, we findally saw the Naked Cowboy. But we were rushing to catch the matinee of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, so we couldn't stick around for a better picture. Yeah, I'm just heartbroken.

Other celebrity sightings, but no photos of them taken by me, Edward Hibbert and Bob Martin on their way to the theater where they are appearing in The Drowsy Chaperone. Hibbert was also Gil Chesterton in Frasier.

And Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was very enjoyable. Everything I see written about it credits it's being inspired by the movie with Michael Caine and Steve Martin. THAT movie was a remake of Bedtime Story, starring David Niven as the sophisticated and seasoned con man and Marlon Brando as Freddie Benson, the crass wannabe. Good movie.

Remember this name: Norbert Leo Butz. He's great. Also from St. Louis.

More tomorrow about dinner with Jeff and Jackie.


We are staying at boutique hotel. "Boutique" apparently is Hotel-talk for "petite". This is our closet and dresser.

I'd show you the bathroom, but the camera won't fit in there.