… To the Sublime


Funny story: Jay (Mr. Temple says I can call him Jay) is a city boy, born and bred. I am a small town girl in my heart, despite over a decade in the city. And yet, when it comes to camping, Jay is down for it and I am…

I am a princess, okay? Camping is cold and damp. It involves eating two-day old cold cuts being kept marginally cool in an increasingly soggy cooler. It’s lying awake at night, wondering if the noise outside your tent is a raccoon, a moose, or a bear with a taste for the flesh of nervous romance writers.

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No Thing Sunday, Vegas Style 

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Mr. Temple and I do something called No-Thing Sundays at home, wherein in we attempt to do as few things as possible. It sounds more intentional than Nothing Sundays, which to me sounds like you just kind of let the day slip by.

The Vegas version of a No-Thing Sunday involves rolling out of bed a the shiny our of 7:30, because jetlag’s a bitch. Fortunately, coffee fixes all grievances and a chocolate croissant is just the little bow on top.

At least the view from our room was pretty.

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If Virginia is for lovers, then Vegas is for walkers. I know it’s easy to imagine the gamblers, slumped over their dwindling stack of chips, or endlessly pulling the slot machine handle in an ergonomically shaped lounger like the ones they had in Wall-E, the picture of sedentary zombification. But if you want to go anywhere on the Strip, most of the masses walk, and that shit is far, even if the sidewalks are equipped with escalators and breezeways to keep you moving. The walk from our palatial home at the Palazzo to dinner at the Cosmopolitan is a half hour, whether we liked it or not. So our Vegas No-Thing Sunday involved something our home No-Thing Sundays rarely do: physical exercise. Don’t tell my mom.

At least the food was good. Seriously, as someone who doesn’t gamble, I feel like my time in Vegas is mostly spent waiting for the next gourmet meal. Not that that’s a bad thing. Because between lunch’s onion rings and dinner’s…well…everything–I mean, look at this. It’s a tiny cone stuffed with eggplant, anchovies and red peppers. Delicious and adorable!–you’re going to eat.
The last component of our No-Thing Sunday (I know it sounds like a lot, but I promise there were also several hours of Storage Wars and lounging by the pool) was a late showing of Absinthe, in the red & white Spiegl-Tent at Caesar’s Palace. Mr. Temple and I saw a Spiegl show in Toronto about a million years ago and it was a hilarious mix of tits and old-timey burlesque variety acts. There even was a clown who read from the phone book and that shit was funny as hell.

The Absinthe version has been a bit Vegas-fied which oddly means there are fewer strip teases than I expected. Namely, there was one. And aside from that, the only other female acts were Wanda, the assistant MC, whose function seemed to be to find out how many graphic penis jokes she could squeeze into a 60-second bit, and Gertie, whose bondage gear and giant latex balloon act is both the stuff of nightmares and fantasies. After that, it was a spectacle of male athletic prowess. If you like your entertainment feature guys with eight-packs doing feats of strength (I count the jugglers and tap dancers in that group because, dude, they were working it), then this is the show for you! Honestly, there are so many plot bunnies in my head this morning! So much eye candy!

The humor is crude, they seem to be operating under the assumption that if they offend everyone equally (in addition to the penis shtick there were jokes about Muslims, Asians, lesbians, and Republicans), we’ll all leave laughing. But what Absinthe has going for it is that it’s actually very un-Vegas. The tent seats maybe 500 people. The special effects are non-existent. Stage hands scramble about picking up discarded clothing and assembling and disassembling the stage as needed. The ‘splash zone’ involves handing plastic sheeting to the folks in the first two rows and letting them fend for themselves as the extreme jugglers toss water bottles and the bathtub acrobat (the focal point of this morning’s plot bunnies) spins and spurts water like the world’s sexiest fountain…or possibly an erotic lawn sprinkler. In short, 9/10 would recommend to anyone who is feeling the overwhelm of 20-foot tall LED Britney Spears staring down at you every time you go for a walk. Absinthe is still old-timey fun, just with fewer pasties than you’d expect from this locale.

Our No-Thing Sunday ended very early on Monday morning.

Today we’re off to Utah, and the very un-Vegas splendors of Zion National Park. I expect it to be picturesque and with limited Wi-Fi, so the next time I see you could very well be in Denver!

Until then,

A

From the Ridiculous…

The Road To GRL – Part 1

Six years ago, Mr. Temple and I came to Las Vegas to see good friends get married. We flew in on a Friday night, taking the last non-stop flight from Toronto. We were supposed to land around 10 pm, but a sick passenger and several delays later, we checked into our hotel at midnight. We were tired, but felt like we should celebrate, so we went to the lobby bar and had a cocktail. As we settled into bed sometime around 1 am (that would be 4 am Toronto time) I whispered to Mr. Temple “if jet lag wakes you up in four hours, don’t wake me up.”

The next thing I heard was a whispered voice.

“Are you awake?”

“What time is it?”

“Five-thirty.”

We weren’t married at the time, but the way I felt in that moment, it’s a miracle we got down the aisle at all.

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My Mom Might See This

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Last week there was much righteous angst and furor over Romance’s ‘feature’ in the New York Time Book Review. Apparently it started out promising, with an entwined couple on the review’s cover. The NYT promised readers a Roundup of the Season’s Romances. Then things started to fall apart, the roundup written by someone who either has an axe to grind or couldn’t be bothered to do anything like research.

By the time I heard about the sexist and patronizing drivel contained in said roundup, the editorials and angry rants had already started happening online. I mean, some of the books cited weren’t even published this season, or even in this decade. What was the point of the title? And then the review’s author rounded it all up with “Why shouldn’t women dream?”

Thanks. I didn’t need your permission. I’ll dream on my own terms.

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No New Ideas

Nearly done editing (for now), which means I’m going back to drafting Martin and Seb. I’ll introduce you to them properly soon, but the basic premise is this:

Martin is an out of work university professor who’s come to Red Creek to live with his brother. The only job he can get is working part time at Dog Ears Used Book Store. It’s humiliating that it’s come to this, but he’ll manage. What he doesn’t plan on is the prickly artist who lives upstairs from the store, Seb.

Seb has his own view of things. His work involves cutting up the unsellable books at Dog Ears and turning them into something new. Martin prizes the written word above everything, and Seb’s work doesn’t sit well with him. Seb sees Martin as just another academic snob.

You can guess what happens.

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#tbt review: Wolfsong by TJ Klune

#tbt reviews is a periodic feature in which I gush about a book I finally got off my TBR pile. I don’t read fast enough to review new releases. This is what you get.

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I often don’t realize how much enjoyment I get from a book is determined by random circumstance.

TJ Klune is new to me. I’ve been suffering from were- and shifter fatigue for a long (LONG) time. In many circumstances, I wouldn’t have picked up Wolfsong, much less devoured it in two days. But sometimes things come together in the perfect circumstantial storm.

Circumstance 1: It was on sale on Amazon.

Circumstance 2: I couldn’t sleep.

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