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where the heartache ends and the fever, it begins.

This one goes out to all homies on the West Side - hi Mom!

It's another week in fabulous Kent, Washington, where sometimes it rains and there are multiple places to purchase submarine sandwiches. In case you ever wanted to save me the travel time and bring me a sandwich directly: I like Italian BMTs from Subway, with shredded cheese, pepperoncinis, red onions, tomatoes, and spinach when it's not infested with death. Last week Erica and I had Quizno's, where I got a Turkey Bacon Guacamole sandwich. I spent most of my life not eating avocadoes, until last Election Day when I was callled upon to try the guacamole and ascertain whether it suffered from an excess of lime; I've spent my years since fiercely determined to make up for lost time. Especially since I spent my early days in California, land of sunshine, avocadoes, and eternal youth. I miss California. I go there to regress.

Speaking of places where I'm not, I realized the other day that this is the first autumn I've spent on the west coast in five years. I'd sort of forgotten that Washington really had a fall. I think in my head Washington is just a dense forest of evergreens, which is of course not really true - there are all sorts of deciduous trees, plenty of them lining West Valley Highway alone, turning all sorts of mad colors and losing their leaves as October darkens.

I'm reminded of the east coast, of course - I always think of driving with friends, being ferried from place to place, bus rides to New Jersey (Port Authority crowds, racing through to make my bus on time, bag banging against my hip, sweating lightly under fall layers; trudging down streets, get your friends delivered. like pizza!), bus rides back. Getting lost. Teenage girls. I enjoy being a passenger, sitting back and letting someone else drive. Looking out the window, listening to someone else's music, unfamiliar streets, saltbox houses, the nice neighborhoods, pet shops, malls, churches - I have a strange love for east coast suburbs. They'd wonder why I wanted to come visit them instead of them coming to me, but it was all so simple - I just wanted someone to make me breakfast.

Thanksgivings: the first in Connecticut (half an hour away - what's the point of a state that's half an hour away?), crisp fall cold, bright blue skies, family (I did so miss my family those autumns, always trying to wrangle invitations to visit my friends at their houses - houses, homes, families, even if not my own). Donuts and fallen leaves and sunshine, board games and warmth. Washington, D.C. my second year, and my mental model of the east coast townhouse from now on - two floors, a backyard garden, big bedroom, fireplace, warm gold kitchen. Cold, borrowed scarves, the National Gallery, the embassies. I can't remember where I slept but I remember Matisse and leftover turkey salad. New Jersey the year after that - Nutley! A variety of cheeses, Apples To Apples, painstakingly sliced bell peppers (never put me in a kitchen and arm me with knives), egg rolls hot from the pan. Long Island, after, Stephanie and Freeport, then Manhassat. Steph's broken down car and the LIRR. Laundry in the basement, apple martinis, cheese. Tile. MTV.

This year I'll be spending Thanksgiving with my grandparents, which'll be nice. I hope. Sigh.

New developments in X10ery: Sarah MacKay! She slices, dices, and writes copy. I've been teaching her stuff, which is neat. On that note, in case you wanted some tips on writing more conversational copy, here are some.

Sara's tips on writing conversationally:

- Contractions are nice. Even if you have to write it more formally (if it comes more naturally to you, which it might well after years of essays) first, go over it afterwards and change every "should not" to shouldn't, and so on.
- Commas read well, semicolons and periods not so much. It's okay if they pause but you don't want to have too many stops – compound sentences are your friends. I'm a big fan of the dash, as you can see, but I don't think it's a proper sentence unless you're getting across thirteen different ideas at once, so you probably should just leave it up to your personal style.
- Read it out loud. If it sounds awkward out loud it'll probably read awkwardly too. You can get away with more in writing, that's true, but you still need to have an internal rhythm there. Think of it like poetry – iambic pentameter sounds good because it mimics human speech patterns, at least rhythmically.
- Even if your style runs toward short, choppy sentences, try and tone that down at least in the opening paragraph. Think of it as a long tumbling sequence before you stick the landing. The landing (the sale) can stop you, but on the way you need to keep going without stopping or losing your footing. You want that sort of tumbling rhythm in your opening paragraph so people feel compelled to keep reading.

And that's my advice for the day! Take it to heart. Take it to dinner - but somewhere nice, please, don't be a cheapskate.


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Did I ever tell you my parents wanted to invite you to Thanksgiving? I had to explain to them that you have your own family. It confused them. Then I had to remind them that we are scary when we eat and it's not good to show outsiders. I'd like to keep you for a while.

I, as you know, adore reading everything you write. You've got such a great style, and I will take your tips to a very nice dinner, spend all my cash and have none for you this weekend. ;)

(I am finishing this comment quickly so I can go read Owen's blog. and MacKay's blog! That's way more exciting. What does it say about me that reading your x10 blogs are the most exciting things about my day?)

Wow... that's deep...... =)

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