The Academy Awards sucked, but not because of Seth MacFarlane. Though some of his comments were cringe-inducing, his stuff was tamer than his usual antics. The producers are really to blame for the pacing of the show. I’m surprised they didn’t tap more of the Seth’s dance and singing ability since the “theme” was music in the movies. Whatever.

The Oscar producers should finally learn that they need to change their archaic production and forget trying to be cute or entertain –get to the stars and to the awards. A too-long monologue and staged presentations, mixed with never-ending trailers that everybody has already seen is a redundant recipe for boring. The Golden Globes has it figured out. The public is sick and tired of the parade of commercials, from the clothing to the swag-bags to the movie-ads. We’re over it. I mean, totally. Get the message Academy, because if you haven’t already, you’ll lose the next generation of people who are being instructed by YOU to not to care an iota about any of it.

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl.

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My dear friend had her annual holiday tea at the Peninsula Hotel yesterday. It was our usual time to “catch up” with a two-hour year-in-review before we all ran off to our respective family winter breaks. Of course there was the required group picture in front of the Christmas tree, and, of course, the shot was posted on Facebook.

This is how crazy I am. Instead of seeing the tagged photo and remembering what fun I had hanging out with my long-time sisters, I became pre-occupied with the fact that the shirt I wore made me look pregnant. As an aside, one of the girl’s brought a handful of of pix taken at a bachelorette party from 10 years before where we all looked like super-models on a tear. (Those weren’t posted, btw.) Talk about body issues. Please, my next book could be exclusively made up of years of journal entries beginning with what I ate, if I worked out or Do I feel fat today? Certainly, at my age, one should rightfully cease to care about the silliness of this stuff except that with Facebook, etc. anyone from your high school guidance counselor to a camp mate to an old flame to your chiropractor is privy to your bad-hair-chubby-chinned memories.

Remember that Seinfeld episode where George thinks of a great retort to a conversation he had and then the next day he goes to deliver it but it’s lost its power. I feel that way plenty, like I wish I had said this or that, then what-the-hell, it’s too late.

That’s the reason I’ve taken to my blog instead of putting a simple one-line protest under the posted Facebook pix claiming that, “Hey, I’m a size 6, I just have big boobs!” (because that would be psycho, right?) What better place to clean out the rattling halls of my brain from the I should have said blah blah blahs… than my public soapbox? Since everything we do is so broadcasted, why not just rant here? Explain myself. I didn’t eat healthy, exercise, quit smoking a million years ago and keep up my hair color to have a bad-angled picture of myself floating around cyberspace for eternity. But, then again, now that I’ve said that, it’s like a do-over. Here’s the picture, I admit, I’m a kook. Everyone’s gorgeous as ever and I’m obsessively vain.

There’s no end to this madness. Damn the beauty industry, curse L.A. and its homecoming queen-based culture. Why couldn’t I have been French?

While I’m clearing the air, so to speak, I may as well share a story that has driven me nuts forever. At a Beverly Hills Oscar event a couple years ago with this same group of girls, I visited the fabulous home’s washroom. It was occupied by a now ex-husband of one of my friends. After he leaves and I go in, I almost pass out from how much he compromised the place. I suffered through my two minutes in there and when I came out, a very well-known TV Star (who is the husband of another guest) goes in after me. In that split second, I needed to say, “Wasn’t me.” But I didn’t. I laughed oddly and ducked back into the festivities. Guilt by association. Only a forensic scientist could have pardoned me after that. Ever since that night, I run into this guy time after time and I know he thinks I’m the culprit who destroyed the powder room. I’ve told people in our common circle the story in hopes that maybe they’ll tell him and he’ll finally know that I wasn’t the pig at the party. I doubt he reads my blog, but hey, if you know the story and who I’m talking about, pass this on. Wasn’t me.

So, let’s review. I’m a nut-job, I’m not the size of a Metrobus, and I didn’t inconsiderately take that dump at the fancy awards party. And ultimately, I’m grateful for my health, my family, my life and I’m proud to be an American and none of this matters. Was the disclaimer Miss USA enough?

I feel so much better. Thanks for listening and Happy Holidays.

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl.

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One of my favorite shows on TV is Comedy Central’s Key & Peele. The stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, both Fox’s MADtv alum, are indisputably talented writers and performers –from Obama’s Anger Translator Luther to their LMFAO parody of two party guys that just want to go home, they consistently nail the essence of the ridiculousness of modern American life.

Why I love the show, however, is not for the obvious reason of their almost perfect pitch, well-ended sketches (which SNL rarely achieves), but that they explain the genesis of the bit. It’s awe-inspiring to be taken on the journey of their creative process and then get a peek at their method through their expert facilitation.

Another thing that seems to work for Key & Peele is that technology allows them, with the modest budget of Comedy Central compared to major networks, to digitally film stuff with special effects that would have less impact is limited to the stage.

Though they are not returning with new episodes until Fall of 2013, Tivo this past season of Key & Peele on Comedy Central or catch some clips on YouTube. You’ll be hooked like me.

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl.

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Snowflakes : Cartoon Santa Claus , vector

 

Some mom’s and I were on an email tear over gift ideas for our kids. I have an eight year old daughter – not that hard. Justice, American Girl, blingy things, art-n-crafts, Judy Moody books. But it can be an intense time with what you have to do to get ready for the holidays.

I think we can safely agree that we are over Oprah’s Favorite Things. It was fun when the show was on and we were all-in on the unsuspecting audience getting a cart-full of overpriced loot. But now that it’s pretty pictures in a magazine, seriously, am I going to spend $285 on an Italian Vegetable Soap assortment? Reality, people.

But don’t stress. First off, MAKE a list. Then schedule two hours for Marshall’s and some quality Amazon time. That’s right. Marshall’s. Amazon.

I found legit must-have’s in every department – men’s, kids, home, shoes, DVD’s, books, Xbox. Hip, high-end. I even scored American Girl crafts. New. Shiny, happy. Stocking stuffers of beautiful glass magnets, Swarovski Crystal key chains (for your little diva’s backpack), Sketcher sneakers, a gangsta hoodie, and, of course, everyone’s fav, underwear. Get to it.

Don’t forget your nieces and nephews. For pre-teen and teens, they don’t need your weird translation of what you think is happening in their world, they want their freedom. Say “I get you” with Abercrombie, Hollister or Gap gift cards so they can pick out what they will actually wear. Need more? iTunes or GameStop. Joy.

Nix those tired scented candles and $10 wine for your hostess gifts. Buy a set of Riedel stemless goblets or a box of groovy glass-i.d. bling for parties. Everyone craves them but finds it too indulgent to buy for themselves. Not over-priced, just WANTED.

What of the hard-to-buy person who has everything? How about a monogrammed beach tote from Lands End in various sizes and colors for under $40? And why give your husband a $400 gadget that you can’t afford or another tie with Calvin Klein boxers? All he wants is sex. Put a ribbon in your hair and give it up, girl. Merry X-mas.

I didn’t forget about you. With all these deals I’m throwing your way, pick up some swag for yourself. I got an August Silk cardigan for $19.99, a couple of $20 glam tops and velvet Hue leggings at Nordstrom’s Rack.

Rock it.

 Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl.

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Inspired by the recent Hurricane Sandy news about the uncovered shipwreck on Fire Island, I began to ruminate. What if there’s treasure in the splintered remains? Surely there’s got to be some interesting artifacts.

This led me to fleshing out an idea. Maybe there’s a homeless-from-the-flood couple, sleeping on floors of friends or family. They’re badgered by their hosts, it’s evident their welcome has worn out and the tensions are high – for buried reasons — ha! Theme. They read the article about the ship on their smartphone. Disenfranchised by the unbearable situation and state of the clean-up effort, they scheme to venture toward the ruined, cordoned-off island to find the gold they’ve convinced themselves is out there.

I tell my husband how this is going to be a deeply personal relationship story, with the destruction and recuperation from the storm as the backdrop. The drama of the journey is the forward action juxtaposed against the constraints of the disaster clean-up effort.

“Good right?” I said to my husband.

“Yeah. And when they get there, the wreck is overtaken by zombies,” he said.

Not exactly the moving story I was pitching. But hey, what adventure isn’t improved by sprinkling in a few spooks?

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @plexigirl.

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It’s hard to believe that less than a month ago Robin’s Blue was published. It was a long road. Ten years to be exact. And no easy feat. There was a lot of market study, design and prep. But it’s paid off. 12,000 sales in two weeks, top listing on Amazon Bestsellers.

I’ve received mostly good, but also, some very bad reviews. I try to avoid looking at the remarks but I crane my neck toward the car wreck, nonetheless. My husband noticed, the assertions seem to be consistent with each other. Outrage at the despicable behavior of my characters. Some simply refuse to believe that there was a time when AIDS wasn’t on the tip of everyone’s tongue, that children were wholly unsupervised or kicked out of the house by the time they were teenagers, that overt recreational drug use was more of an expected behavior than a considered handicap. But I can say, having lived to tell, that it WAS totally like that.

I’m thrilled that I’ve received unsolicited kudo’s beyond my close-knit circle. An author on Twitter used the word “verisimilitude” to describe my writing. I had to look it up to make sure he wasn’t insulting me. I was pleasantly surprised with and grateful for the compliment coming from a fellow writer.

I’ve been asked about my “research” for my heroine Robin. I didn’t have too look far, she was everywhere in those days. Just watch the movie Almost Famous –there were half the girls I grew up with. We all made a life for ourselves beyond the party, after those tumultuous late teen and early twenty years.

I’ll discuss more in future blogs. I’m excited now about my decade of work reaching an audience. And I’m going to enjoy that for the time being. If you haven’t gotten it yet, do. And if you happen to live near me, I’ll be happy to sign your copy.

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook and Twitter @plexigirl.

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So excited. 5500 Kindle downloads, 5-star reviews. I couldn’t be happier with the launch of my debut novel.

You still have two days to download your FREE Kindle version of Robin’s Blue. Read it. Share it.

“Robin’s Blue” is a brilliantly vivid time capsule of blank generation 80s decadence fused with a poignant and sensitive coming of age tale that’s totally timeless. – Erik Himmelsbach –Contributor, Los Angeles Times

“Addictive Read.”

“Juicy page-turner.”

Pam Alster, former TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available now in Kindle and Paperback. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook and Twitter @plexigirl.

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You think I’m going to be all old school about this Lance Armstrong thing — it’s about the fairness of competition and the lying, blah blah blah? Well, I’m not. Lance Armstrong is a win-or-die sociopath freak show, without a doubt, but I’m over the hypocrisy of outmoded laws of competition that prohibit the use of steroids. It’s been pervasive in sports for more than a quarter of a century, starting with Arnold and his Mr. Universe days.

Seriously, people.

Everyone keeps it on the down-low because it’s illegal in professional competition, but everyone, EVERYONE, is doing it. Why don’t we just come out with it already? Imagine the data to be gleaned with the truth of its use. We’d have twenty-five years of “lab mice” to examine, and that’s just the retired NFL players!

I purchased a series of B-12 injections from Groupon last year and ended up at a hormone and steroid dispensary disquised as a weight-loss, health clinic. There was a lot of we offer Human Growth Hormone, with a description of eternal life and wink. There were signed framed pictures of famous people and athletes on the wall. “How do you think they stay so young looking,” the practitioner said, and gave me a fistful departing literature with a price-list that went into the thousands. The side-effects? Once you end the “therapy” you turn to dust as quick as the portrait of Dorian Gray converts into a nightmare. The continuance of the drugs demanded forever, until death do you part.

Sounds like a deal with the Devil, huh? Well, Lance Armstrong made it, as did all those busted Olympians, the football and baseball players, the body builders who now look like disintegrating negatives of themselves, all loose-skinned and craggy.

I hate the hypocrisy. This whole Lance Armstrong scandal may finally rattle the cages of professional sports enough to cause them to embrace the truth and use steroids for what we all really want — some mutant Gladiators to entertain us blood-thirsty Romans before the fall. At the very least, let’s get some FDA approval and legal research going so I can have supple skin and toned muscles on the cheap into my next century of life.

Pam Alster, former stand-up comedienne, Lifetime TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her novel debut Robin’s Blue available everywhere November 1st. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook and Twitter @plexigirl.

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              I don’t remember Mommy dying, only the finned taillights of my father’s car pulling away from Nana’s curb, the smell of skinless paprika chicken baking in the kitchen, the chime of a grandfather clock. Fragments: Up, Up and Away by the 5th Dimension, Chanel No. 5, a guitar. Mommy’s death marked the passing of my happiness but since I learned early that people didn’t respond well to gloom, I achieved an astounding ruse of lightheartedness.

             Saying my mother died of complications due to infectious pneumonia became like saying my name was Robin Elizabeth Daniels. It was my moniker, like being born in Philadelphia, October 25th 1962, like being the skinny, funny one of the two Daniels girls, like having a stepmother who didn’t attendPTA meetings. It wasn’t the grief that fell like a curtain over the face of the recipient of this information, it wasn’t my daily incubus of suffering to bare, it wasn’t my mother, the floating apparition, who haunted my waking hours, because her image faded with each day that passed. Pictures. I have them. Flat perfect squares of color –a diaper clad toddler at the beach, a woman kissing her, holding her with one hand, a bucket in the other, my sister Melanie in the background splashing knee-high in the breakers.

             Daddy didn’t talk about my mother; he didn’t not talk about her either. She was the pervasive sidestepped presence. Melanie and I only spoke about her in private. For me it was because I didn’t want to bring our desolation out for inspection, but for my sister, I think it was because she kept her grief like a polished trophy for herself and never trusted Daddy to share in it. She involved me in remembrances as a sounding board, not as a confidante, I’m certain. But it wasn’t like Daddy ever referred to Mommy in any of the ways I’d seen in movies or on TV when a mother has died, like “You remind me of her,” or “She lit up every room she entered,” or “She loved the rain.” Instead, she was a constant vaporous tableau, mentioned randomly, thoughtlessly and regrettably at once in the same breath.

            And I assumed that because Daddy lived instead of Mommy, he loved me unconditionally despite his absence, his anger, and my striking resemblance to the woman who’d forsaken him.

Available in Paperback and on Kindle November 1st.

 

Pam Alster, former stand-up comedienne, Lifetime TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her debut novel Robin’s Blue available everywhere November 1st. www.pamalster.com Find her on Facebook and Twitter @plexigirl.

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If your over the glut of celeb bios & you’re hungry for some epic literary fiction, Pam Alster ‘s Robin’s Blue available November 1st from Plexigirl Publishing.

Pam Alster, former stand-up comedienne, Lifetime TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her forthcoming debut novel Robin’s Blue. Like her on Facebook andTwitter @plexigirl. www.pamalster.com

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