Friday, December 28, 2007

Lovely Laziness

I am still in my pajamas at 10:42 in the morning. Lord, I love vacation.

  • The resolution of the mystery (which I'm sure has kept you all on tenterhooks): I went to Texas to visit my dear friend KTBB, who was staying with her in-laws in Fort Worth, and she and I took a girls' night at the Beaumont Ranch in Grandview. While we'd been attracted to the Beaumont because it promised a comfortable B&B experience on a real Texas ranch, it ended up being one of the most bizarre places I've ever stayed, starting with the spa/ranch combination, continuing through a reproduction 1880s Texas town on the property (utterly deserted), and culminating in a giant mural devoted to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Eventually Katy and I pieced together the Ranch's provenance: The "Beaumont" of the name was Ron Beaumont, former CFO of the infamous telecom giant Worldcom, and the Ranch had originally been developed as his private retreat-cum-corporate conference center. After Worldcom melted down (Beaumont turned state's evidence and was never charged), the Beaumonts opened it to the public as a dude ranch/B&B/spa. They're still working on the B&B piece, however -- despite excellent food and good service, there were 23 dead crickets found in our room on arrival, holey sheets, and zero security at night. Thus Katy and I do not recommend the Beaumont accommodations, but we thank the ranch for giving us many more memories.
  • From there I came home to Kansas City, where my Iowa family was waiting. Two inches of hard-frozen snow outside kept us from playing our usual game of Killer Klein Croquet, but because the Frog was at stake, my father and Uncle John devised a clever solution: They drilled holes in wood blocks to form standees for the wickets, and we played in the house, with inflatable plastic balls replacing the usual wooden ones. Everyone devised their usual impossible wicket setup (I created a ramp using a metal sign and a wooden "M"), and Melissa's dog and cat served as moving obstacles. It was a wonderful game, just as competitive and hilarious indoors as it always is outside. My cousin Hans came away with the victory and the Frog, which he will take to the Iowa caucuses on the 3rd before bringing it home to New York (upstate) later in January.
  • James and I went to see "Sweeney Todd" on Wednesday. Every time I see this show (which is now touring the U.S. on stage, in the brilliant John Doyle revival) I'm struck by what a paradox it is: a story filled with murder, cannibalism, rape, near-pedophilia, obsession, and betrayal -- undoubtedly the most misanthropic musical in the canon, with all the worst and ugliest parts of human nature -- portrayed in what is highest and best in human accomplishment: soaring, searing, unforgettable music and lyrics. The movie captured both sides of this paradox respectably, though Tim Burton clearly takes more glee in the spurting fountains of blood than the more subtle aspects of Sondheim's score. But Helena Bonham-Carter and Johnny Depp were both suitably demented and Alan Rickman is a perfect Judge Turpin. . . . I feel sorry for Timothy Spall, who plays the Beadle, because his physiognomy so often regulates him to those ratlike roles; someone should write a romantic comedy just for him and have him get the girl.
  • I love the Wii.
  • Reading on vacation: The Subtle Knife; Sondheim & Company; The Lonely Planet Guide to India.
  • I don't normally write about acquisitions here, but I wanted to note I just bought a manuscript that started as a SQUID: Olugbemisola Amusashonubi-Perkovich's (aka Mrs. Pilkington's) EIGHTH-GRADE SUPERZERO. Foremost among its many virtues are wonderful, wonderful characters and a terrific voice; I'm really looking forward to working on it and with Gbemi. Yay!


  1. Speaking of soaring music, for a few weeks, I was really obsessed with the soundtrack from Assassins. UNWORTHY OF YOUR LOVE, sung by Hinkley is beautiful, yet I always felt guilty listening to it.

  2. I'd just like to point out that 'holey sheets' is not simply a niced-up expletive comment on the 23 dead crickets -- the sheets really did have holes in them.

    And don't forget about how we we told it would be nice if we could check out early from the B&B... since the boss lady had just fired two staff members because the ranch couldn't make payroll -- three days before Christmas. Grinch city.

  3. The dude ranch had me giggling. Well, now you have a setting for um, quite a number of stories should you need one, right?

    And--congrats on the acquisition. You and Gbemi are both winners!!

  4. Congratulations Mrs. Pilkington!!
    I love the title. Your project is in good... er... great hands!

  5. I've had the distinct privilege of "coming along for the ride" as Gbemi has walked through this acquisitions process. (Just ask her how many PMs she received that said, "Have you heard from Cheryl yet??) I am delighted for both of you!

    Way to go, Gbemi! :)

  6. OK, so I had to come back and see if this post was really here because I'm SO EXCITED! Thanks so much for the good wishes; I am cartwheeling all over the place and thinking in capital letters because I am so looking forward to working with Cheryl on this. !!!!!!

    But...the holey sheets and dead crickets. I'm sorry.

  7. Hi Cheryl!
    The croquet and the weird ranch spa all sound very interesting! Also, congrats to Mrs. Pilkington, AND -- I have LP Guide to India on my nightstand too, not for any upcoming trip, but out of wishfulness!

    Happy holidays!

  8. I hope the Lonely Planet guide to India is written well enough to actually make you come here :)

    Hope you had a merry christmas.


  9. Damn the drywall, next time it will be wooden croquet balls. That soft-touch mamby-pamby croquet may be OK for graduate students, Federal Reserve bureaucrats, or school teachers, but us real players have to be able to whack someone.

    -the loser (but oh, it was fun)

    Way to go, Mrs. Pilkington.