Friday, April 25, 2008

The Fulham Dray RIP

I'm sad to find out one of my favorite pubs, The Fulham Dray in SW6, London, is no more. I'm probably the last person on earth to find this out, as it actually closed its doors in 2002.

Shortly after I was employed by Teletext, The Dray opened right around the corner from my office. It became a favorite spot for our traditional lunch hour drink (and traditional lunch two-hour drink on Fridays) as well as a favorite on the way home. It was only the second pub I can really call a "local" after The Railway in Hatch End, where I drank heavily (in both quantity and frequency - I was there almost every day between the ages of 17 and 20.)

I would walk in and be greeted by the landlord, Ollie, who would pour my usual before I asked for it. We played pool, put the world to rights, and even did some work aided by the Fosters lubrication. The fact it was a Chelsea supporters pub mattered very little to me. On an average weeknight the crowd was a mix of the locals propping up the bar, the Teletext louts, a bunch of teachers (who taught at the school Tony Blair sent his kids to) and some postal workers who had probably been there since their shift finished. It was always friendly (apart from one night when... well, I wasn't involved but it all got a bit nasty in the street outside) and I have many, many fond memories of the old place.

The writing was on the wall shortly after the unpleasantness that one Friday night, and Ollie (wholly unrelated to it) moved on to take charge of another pub. I'm not sure I went there after Ollie left, as I was soon after to move to Manhattan, but I'm sure it was a bit rubbish without him there. I hadn't actually vocally ordered a drink there in more than two years, so it would have been like starting again.

Following its demise (assisted, I'm sure, not only by Ollie leaving but by Teletext moving to a new site miles away) it turns out it re-opened in 2004 as a trendy bar. Gone was the "burger in a basket with chips" and the pool table. In came a variety of fancy fancy and, in an effort to be a bit hoity-toity, a credit card only policy. Behold - a pub that doesn't take money!

Anyway, a little after the event, I ask you to raise a glass to The Fulham Dray. God bless all who sailed in her. Especially during Euro '96. Magnificent times.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Almost there....

So, with one day to go of Spring Break it has been a 100% pleasant experience.

Today's playdate left me kid-free for a couple of hours, so I went to the driving range and hit a few dozen balls with an frustrating slice. Got to work on that grip. I then had a magnificent Buffalo Chicken Wrap that was so hot, my ears stopped popping temporarily (and that's a whole nother story.)

After the kids were returned, we hung out and I mowed the lawn before going back to the park and hanging out for an hour or so. I now have a Bombay Sapphire and tonic on the go and all is right in the world.

Both the interested publisher and interested agent are leaving me hanging, but it's all good. Come Monday morning, school is back in session and I have to worry about my annual stand-up-in-front-of-100-people-and-make-a-speech thing as well as the '80s party I've been planning for months.

I also have lined up something so very exciting, I am going to shock the entire community. But that's still a while away... Plus, it looks like I am doing something else only slightly less exciting in June. I am some kind of excitement monster.

And, and on May 18, I turn 34, thus out-living Jesus. Yip. Eee.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Halfway There

Midway through SB and all is going well enough.

The downside of getting a little extra money in the bank is that it's never enough. Our tax rebate is holding up well, but it's clear we can't do everything we want with it. In an ideal world, we could pay off AmEx, resurface the drive, fix up the basement and take a vacation with Mickey Mouse... and still have the money in the bank for things like... oh, I don't know... the mortgage? Food? Clothes?

All that said, my recent mantra has been: "Nothing is ever as bad when it's sunny" and sunny it certainly is. We've been in the 70s and I've been wearing Banana Boat, my prescription shades, shorts and not much more all week. Nothing has changed in our situation other than the weather. That's enough.

Another playdate today, then I've got to get back on the phone to get through Thursday and Friday. I have a couple of leads, so it's all good. An (adult) party this weekend - we even have a non-family-member as a babysitter for probably only the fifth time ever.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring Break! Woo-hoo?

The words "Spring Break" mean a lot of things to different people.

Growing up, my spring break was spent wandering around shopping malls, playing tennis and, in my high school years, doing anything except revising for my end of year exams. I know US-based teens can take spring break to near mythical status with their ventures to the sunniest climes and going buck wild.

But to me, right now, SB means I have two kids waking up and asking me: "So, no school today? What else you got?"

I've been in a funk for a few days, but I'm starting to see that I can make this work in my favor by lining up a week of fun for them that doesn't involve me - and at low cost. I'm talking drop-off playdates.

The beauty of a drop-off playdate is that it works either way. If I drop my kids off, I don't see them for a couple of hours and it's all good. If I have someone else drop their kids off, the new arrivals take on my role as primary entertainer, and I'm free to do other things in a distraction-free environment. As long as I don't just drive off and leave a five-year-old in charge of my own kids. That would probably spoil the possibilities of another drop-off playdate happening. And probably come with jail time and my kids going into care.

So, five weekdays on the horizon and only one planned item on the agenda (today, library story time) means I have to get a grip on this week or get overwhelmed in an amazingly short amount of time.

Here's the plan:

1) Call friends for playdates.
2) Cook meals for quick, easy service later this week.
3) Stock up on kid-friendly snacks. A well-fed playdate-ee will want to come back.
4) Pray for sunshine. A trip to the park is low-maintenance, high-yield.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What's the opposite of "curb?"

My enthusiasm for all things book-related was recently revived by, of all things, a book signing I attended on Sunday.

Apart from one of those "it's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it" stories where the author of the book (that I was meeting for the first time in person but have "known" for more than a year thanks to the internet) turned out to be the sister of a guy I have been playing soccer with for the last five years, I ended up having an email exchange with an agent. Regardless of how that pans out, I think it's safe to say I have my groove back.

Publishers are certainly more interested in IGYB when they hear it's all done (proofed, copy-edited, type-set) and a few have shown some interest in the things I am writing now (one in particular) which has provided the proverbial carrot on a stick for me, the proverbial donkey (or "ass") to chase after.

However, I'm certainly not getting too excited this time around until I have the book in my hand. As the news continues to filter out through town and across my network of friends that the book isn't coming out in June after all, it's getting harder to tell the story again and again. I feel like months ago I announced I was pregnant and now as we near the due date I'm having to tell people it was just indigestion.

Still, it is with a renewed lusting that I'm back in the saddle and the stuff I have been writing recently (yesterday in particular) is still pretty darn good. And a little ego-massage from the semi-interested parties has only plumped up my creativity feathers.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


...cheered me up so, so much.

He's just being a goof on a slide, which is what I needed to see because, aren't we all just goofs on a slide?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"You're kidding me..."

Sometimes my faith in humanity is pushed to its limits.

I don't believe people are naturally good. I think people are naturally indifferent. And then some shithead comes along and has me start to doubt even that.

At my kids' pre-school, we had an empty water bottle where people deposited their pocket change. All the money collected in the bottle was to be used to buy books for the classrooms. I say "was" because at some point in the last two weeks, some shithead emptied the bottle of the collected money and made off with it, putting the empty bottle back where they found it.

Listen, times are hard for all of us, but there was probably $40 in this thing, made up of nickels and dimes, and it was all to spent on books for pre-schoolers. It was advertised as such.

I have a few hopes about this situation. To hope for someone to get guilty and give the money back? Not a chance. If you're enough of a turd to take it in the first place, you have no remorse. What I hope is that $40 in change was taken by an opportunist, and not someone (God forbid, a parent at the school) who knew it was there and what it was for. And I hope whoever took it really needed it, more than the three-to-five-year-olds they stole the money from.

And I hope karma kicks the living bejesus out of them. In front of their girlfriend. And shits in their shoes.

* The title of this post is a direct quote from everyone at the school I have told about this. I discovered the theft last week, but wanted to be sure there was no mistake/miscommunication. There wasn't.

Monday, April 07, 2008

To Nap or Not To Nap

Sometimes it feels like my wife is wishing my son's nap away. She constantly reminds me that it won't last forever, and "wouldn't it be better if he slept through the night instead?"

I'm no fool. If his sister is anything to go by, I have maybe six more months of naps from him before he no longer needs it. But that nap time is fast becoming my favorite time of the day. It's almost irrelevant if he sleeps through the night anyway. I never do.

People say I'm lucky that he still naps for at least three hours a day. But put it this way - if he didn't, we would be living in a rat-infested hell hole with no food in the fridge and I would be wearing dirty pauper's rags as clothes. Not because I spend the time when he's asleep cleaning, shopping, cooking and doing laundry. Far from it.

When he closes his eyes at about 1:30 every afternoon, I do what I have to do. This is often:

Watch SportsCenter
Watch Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law (thank you, DVR)
Watch the Yanks in a day game
Check out hot photos of Natalie Portman, Julia Louis Dreyfus and Sarah Silverman
Play card games with daughter
Play Wii with daughter
Eat a big sandwich

But it is because I spend his naptime doing this self-pampering stuff that I can spend time during the time when he's awake:

Cleaning the kitchen (twice a day - upon waking, then after dinner)
Carrying dirty clothes down to the basement, bringing clean ones up, folding them, putting them away
Reminding my son he needs to go potty (to avoid making more dirty clothes)
Read (Madeline books and anything with big trucks in)
Pouring Cheerios into bowls
Making a big sandwich

The day his nap dries up will mean a whole new outlook on my day. And I'm not looking forward to it.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Long Story Short

For the last month or so, the future of my novel "I Got You, Babe" has been in question. This week I found out it won't be published this June after all.

To cut a long story short (as Tony Hadley once sang) my publisher went into liquidation on Monday and my book rights have reverted back to me. This doesn't mean it's all over - some of my fellow authors with my former publisher have already been snapped up another house.

I haven't lost anything, except a little enthusiasm - and that will come back. And, as you will know if you read this blog, I have two more projects that will be done by this summer.

Sure, it's not good news - and the launch party BBQ in our back yard is now just a party BBQ in the back yard - but it's not terrible news either. And I'm not just saying that to soften the blow. I was pissed off and feared the worst when I first got wind of what was going on at my publisher. Since then the not-knowing was far more taxing than finally finding out I wasn't going to be published after all. In the end, it was a relief.

Sure, I'll take your sympathy and well-wishes and "what bastard luck!"s, but I'm fine and if I never find a home for it I (almost) won't mind, because if you read between the lines, IGYB is MY story and I needed to write it so I could write everything else I've written since.

That said, you can bet your left nut I'm going to push to get it published because the hardest part for me is that I feel like I've let a lot of people down. People like you, reading this now, gave me the energy to get the story written and keep pushing when I felt shitty. I'm sorry this happened. I'll put it right if I can.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

This year's April Fool e-mail

Names have been omitted to protect the 80% of recipients who are SUCKERS.


Hey all -

I have some awesome news about “Sub-Urban Sub-Species!”

After the successful pitch following the You Tube thing (when the “pilot” episode got more than 7 million hits last month and was named the NYT Buzz Worthy Video for March), CBS have officially commissioned a TV series to air in Fall 2009!

I know I’ve sent the link to the You Tube thing to everyone I know at least six times – but the plot for the series will follow a pre-historic time traveler who stumbles on a murder plot to kill the Queen of England. The format is a little like 24 in that every episode follows one day in Ugg’s life, but it gets complicated because at every commercial break, the time period changes, just like in the pilot when it jumped from 2012 back to World War I when Ugg used the crystal rune amulet.

Filming starts this summer in Allendale, Paramus (pending a permit to use Paramus Park after hours) and in North London where I grew up. The casting is kinda top secret still for another week or so, but Laura spotted the Variety story and... Well, I can’t deny Patrick Dempsey is interested :) However, Natalie Portman is filming a sequel to The Other Boleyn Girl, so she was unavailable (which was too bad for two reasons...) - but please keep that to yourself. We don’t want our second choice to know she was second choice :)

Here’s the extra exciting news – we will need extras for filming! Like when that sitcom “Ed” was filmed in Allendale, Paul and I will try to use local people as “in-jokes” during episodes. The Pettinato house will be the main base of operations for the MHWAH (the group hunting Ugg through time) while the exterior of the Fell House will be used (the interior will be in a studio) for the female lead’s house.

If you are going to be around the week of July 7-11 and would like to be in the show, please let me know BEFORE NOON TODAY. You will need an Equity card if you want a speaking role, but I can help speed that process up. You can get the details of applying for a card at

Thanks for all the well wishes – I will be in London starting tomorrow to assist with casting there, but I will be able to check my e-mail, so please let me know ASAP!

Adam K