Monday, June 28, 2010

I Heart NY

Fabulous. My trip to NYC was absolutely fabulous. Last week I traveled to the Big Apple with my mother-in-law and hubby's cousin for a week and stayed in Times Square.
Here is our adventure in pictures.

Gray's Papaya hot dogs. Had to try one!
I met literary agent, Mark McVeigh, for coffee (well, I had iced tea) in Chelsea. We had a great visit talking shop and everything else. He's so easy to talk to! Mark will be one of the agents featured in WriteOnCon in August!
The next day I visited Douglas Florian at his art studio in Hell's Kitchen. He was kind enough to sign and give my children one of his many wonderful poetry books, Monster Motel. His newest poetry book is Poetrees! He's such a clever and talented man.
Us girls went to the musical, Billy Elliot. Those kids are so amazing and talented! We walked around Times Square afterwards. Who, me, smile?
On Thursday morning, my mother-in-law and I walked to Rockefeller Center to check out the Today show. I told my hubby to tape it and we were on it! I mouthed, "Happy Anniversary, Chris" to the camera for my husband as it was our 15 year anniversary that day (We celebrated over the weekend with a bottle of champagne and True Blood. We're crazy like that.).
Then the three of us took a pedicab tour of Central Park. It's so beautiful. Our pedicab driver, Akmal, was so informative, telling us all kind of cool facts about the surrounding buildings. He pedaled us around in 93 degree weather!
Here I am in Strawberry Fields near the building where John Lennon once lived.
Bethesda Fountain. Isn't it gorgeous? We also saw the famous "Friends" fountain, too.
Shopping. Shopping. More Shopping. My mother-in-law knew all the great spots to go to.
Cousin Anna and I featured on the huge American Eagle billboard in Times Square.
Our last night in NYC. And my first alcoholic beverage of the week! It was so hot, I drank so much water throughout the week! The week flew by. It was an awesome break from the norm, but it's great to be back home with the kids.
So, what have you been up to while I was gone?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Three Things for Thursday

1. Thanks everyone for humoring me in my love for everything vampire! The winner of the random drawing for the Charlaine Harris books is Suzanne Casamento! Congrats, Suzanne ! Please email me with your address (email on my profile), and I'll send Bill, Eric, and Sookie on their vampy way! And you all go check out Suz's Question of the Day blog!

2. Guess where I am going next week? New York City! For the very first time! I am going to the Big Apple with my mother-in-law and hubby's cousin. I am very excited to explore the city, catch a Broadway show, maybe hit a talk show here or there. Of course I have a few writerly things planned as well. Don't worry I will be back to air kiss you all in a NY minute (or in a week)!

3. Have you heard what is going down in August?! The most amazing internet conference ever...and it's free! WriteOnCon is happening August 10-12. Check out their website to find out more. I am so in! Are you?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bloody Good Contest

Guess what was on last night? The season premiere of True Blood! My husband and I sipped our O positive Tru Blood blood orange beverage while we watched our favorite show. It was fangtastic!

A few weeks ago I attended the True Blood Ultimate Fan Experience with my mother-in-law and hubby's aunt Beth. We are fans of True Blood on Facebook and registered to receive passes to the event. The fan experience was at 11pm on June 1 across the USA in fifty cities. A late night event, but we are Truebies so we were giddy to go. We arrived at the movie theater and received a free pop (my choice, Coke of course), bought some popcorn, walked the red carpet, and sat in the packed theater to view the finale of True Blood Season Two. Then there was a live via satellite Question/Answer session with the cast. When we left we all got a free swag bag.Photobucket
I didn't get home til 2am! But it was worth the yawning the next day. Very cool HBO offered that for the fans!

Since I've been a lucky winner in so many generous blog contests (my latest, thank you to Candace Granger for the $25 Amazon gift certificate, and you must check out to see who's dancing at Carol's Prints for her recent contest), I've decided to hold another contest here - True Blood style!


You can win not one, not two, but three of the books that the True Blood HBO series is based on. I am giving away the first three books in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Each season of True Blood is based on a book in the series. They also add lots of awesome plots on their own as well in the series. All you need to do to be entered in the contest is be a follower and tell me your favorite vampire (literary, movie, TV, whatever!).



Speaking of vampires (you know I love them), my mom, sister and I went to Printer's Row Lit Fest in Chicago yesterday. I met Norm Cowie, author of YA book Fang Face. I bought the book and am looking forward to reading it. If it's anything like Norm, it is sure to be a hoot and a holler! Check out the Fang Face website!

Here's Norm, Fang Face, and me.


Contest closes at 10pm CST on Tuesday! Now, who's your favorite vamp? Can anyone guess mine?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Poetry Friday is Here Today!

Welcome poets, pals , and random peoples! Please post a note about your poem and link in the comments, and I will add you to my list throughout the day!

"School's out for summer!" sings Alice Cooper and all of us at the Polark house this week. It's our first full week without school. My five year old calls it "fake summer" because he says that summer doesn't really start until the 21st. As spring and "fake summer" ends, I give you my original poem about spring that I wrote for a contest this year at Word Wrangler. I am happy to say goodbye to icy rain and hello to sunny days at the pool. How about you?


Spring is a tease.
She embraces me with her warmth one day,
Then she pummels me with ice the next.
She asks for forgiveness with cold raining tears
And flowers every color of the rainbow.
Then once again she’s bitter and cold.
I think I prefer to be friends with her sister, Summer.
Summer’s hot.

-by Kelly Polark, all rights reserved.

Amy LV at The Poem Farm has an original poem titled "Here Poem!" today.
Kim Kasch shares "Before Summer Fades Away" today at her writer's blog.
Charles Ghigna has "Racing the Wind" from his collection A Fury of Motion: Poems for Boys at Father Goose.
Tiel Aisha Ansari shares an original prose poem titled ""For the Protection of Consumers today.
Laura Evans has a poem by Mechtild of Magdegurb at All Things Poetry.
Susan Taylor Brown shares some amazing poems by incarcerated teens.
Julie Larios has "Seal Lullaby" by Rudyard Kipling at The Drift Record.
Laura at Author Amok is talking poetry today with Ellen Hopkins and posting one of her poems.
A Year of Reading is sharing a praise song today. Also, you can sign up to host a future Poetry Friday at her blog as well!
Carol is moving right along with a poem by Kay Ryan at Carol's Corner.
Ruth is in the roundup today with Verlaine and the summer of '87!
Irene Latham is in with a poetic update and an excerpt from an original poem entitled "True Things Learned from Cats."
Linda at Write Time shares "What I Learned" poems from students.
Laura Salas has some fabulous poetry news and a shout out to Alice Schertle!
Laura Salas also shares 15 Words or Less poetry inspired by a cool beach sculpture.
Today Kurious Kitty talks about NH's Celia Thaxter and her poem, "Dust." Celia Thaxter is also represented at Kurious K's Kwotes

A little silliness is happening at Random Noodling with A.A. Milne's "Furry Bear."
At The Write Sisters Diane shares a lovely little poem by Muriel Stuart, "The Seed Shop."
Jeannine Atkins shares a post about Scrap by Scrap: Writing Poems from History.
Jama Rattigan is presenting a little melodrama by way of "Making Lemon Curd."

This week on The Stenhouse Blog they have a great poem by Ralph Fletcher. You decide: is it possible to write a poem about a squished squirrel?
Tanita Davis in today with some Whitman - To A Stranger.

Maclibrary has two poems today: A Naomi Shihab Nye poem at Check It Out and one about the heat or lack there of at Deowriter.
At Wild Rose Reader, the subject is GRASS. Elaine has two original poems on the subject--a list poem and an acrostic--as well as a poem by Valerie Worth.
Sally is talking Shakespeare plays at Paper Tigers Blog today.
At Blue Rose Girls, Elaine has a poem by Robert Wrigley entitled "Mowing."

Karen Edmisten is in with Ted Kooser today.
Shelley has intriguing episodes at Rain: A Dust Bowl Story.
Liz Scanlon shares a post on the Gulf Coast troubles and a Natasha Trethaway poetry project.
Doraine Bennett shares "Deep Sea Diver" at Dori Reads today.
Priya has Ted Kooser's "A Rainy Morning" at her blog today.
Janet Squires is linking the book "The Night Before Summer Vacation," written by Natasha Wing, and illustrated by Julie Durrell.
Maya Ganeson is sharing an original titled, "Step."

Monday, June 7, 2010

I Want to Rock and Roll

all night...and rock every day.
Me and 26,000 others rocked out all day and night at the Q101 Jamboree on Saturday. Q101 is a Chicago radio station; they hosted a concert of nine bands at a main stage and four others at a side stage. Of course I had to be there. My husband's cousin Matt and I (see pic) arrived at the jamboree at about 2pm during the second band, Janus's, set. The concert started at 12:30, but we watched most of my son's baseball game before trekking to the outside ampitheater. I knew it was going to be a long (but fun) day of bouncing to the beat so we were okay with missing a few bands. Not only was it a good day to watch the bands, but the crowd was gawkworthy as well. You would not believe some of the inappropriate tattoos we saw!

Here's the rundown of the day in pictures (no pics of the tasteless tats, I didn't want my butt kicked).

Saliva. A rock band from Tennesee. Famous for song "Ladies and Gentleman" and "Always."
See my concert review from a previous show here.

Coheed and Cambria. I didn't know any songs, but the lead singer had a good voice. Can you see his face? We couldn't all concert either!

Puddle of Mudd. Matt and I jumped up and down singing to the songs during this set. They have some great songs including "Psycho" and "Blurry." The lead singer allegedly seemed a bit whacked out. He even brought his son out to play during one song. Awesome, right?! He told the audience to put up their middle fingers throughout the performance including when his son played (which was a song about drugs-nice pick, Dad). Then after he introduced his 12 year old son, he asked the crowd to yell, " F&%$ Jordan!" (his son's name). I'm not kidding! In his warped mind, I'm sure he meant it as cool, but couldn't he have asked the crowd to yell, "Jordan rocks!?" Bizarre. Then at the end of the set the band tried to demolish the stage and threw the instruments, amps, and what they could.

Here's a pic of lead singer Wes Scantlin and his son playing and a short montage of the Puddle of Mudd set that ends in the onstage carnage.

Dinner. Matt and I stayed in line for almost an hour in the rain for food and missed 1/2 of the next band for this. I do have to say it was delicious (and no, I didn't eat the whole thing!).

Hollywood Undead. I only knew a few songs by this band. They have at least four singers that rap and sing. Pretty fun to watch.

Papa Roach. Best band of the day/night hands down. The lead singer, Jacoby Shaddix, goes all out every time I've seen them live (this is my third time). He always comes out into the audience (see pic here from last show), and he's moving and running around throughout every song. We screamed our lungs out singing along. I was so tired after this set, because the band makes you jump around and go nuts!
Here's a pic and short montage of the concert that includes us singing "Last Resort."

Seether. I tell you it is hard to follow Papa Roach. Seether is a great band, but the music is much more mellow, Nirvana-esque. We had fun listening to hits like "Remedy" and "Broken," but the energy of the crowd was definitely more sedate.

Three Days Grace. This band is pretty big right now with hits like "Break" and "The Good Life." The energy came back with Three Days Grace. Fun set complete with pyro! Matt and I left this band early as we got a text that tornadoes were about an hour southwest! So we got out of Dodge! It was pouring raining for the last three hours of the concert, luckily we had covered pavilion seats. The lawn was uncovered but remained packed during the downpour!
The day was pure entertainment!
For fun here's a pic of Matt and me 15 years ago this month! (He was one of our ringbearers!) With us is my cousin, Kat, who just graduated college to become a teacher like her cousin, Kelly. Then there is my husband's cousin, Anna, who just got married and owns her own dance studio. I am going to NYC for the first time with her and my mother-in-law in a few weeks. Next to me is my cousin, Bobby, who is a married Phoenix firefighter. The blond is Matt, who attends University of Iowa. A great group of kids (okay, adults!).


Friday, June 4, 2010

Poetry Friday

I have been revisiting S.E. Hinton in the last month. My son and I read The Outsiders together. I then reread That Was Then, This is Now. I intend to revisit other favorite Hinton books this summer and read her newest book as well . Read my Spreading the Awesome post about S.E. Hinton HERE.

One thing I loved about The Outsiders main character Ponyboy Curtis was his love of poetry. This greaser from the wrong side of the tracks could recite poetry. So today's poem for Poetry Friday is the Robert Frost poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay."


Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost

Check out Ponyboy (played by C. Thomas Howell) reciting the poem in The Outsiders.

Here are some other interesting facts related to this poem and The Outsiders that are also (shocker!) music related. I learned some of these facts from this site.

1. Like I mentioned in the Outsiders post, Josh Todd, Photobucketthe lead singer of Buckcherry, has "Stay" tattooed on his right knuckles and "Gold" tattooed on his left knuckles. (sort of like Anita and Tina's tattoos! ;)
2. Pete Wentz, guitarist of Fall Out Boy, quotes "Stay Gold" on his upper right arm in ink. His clothing label, Clandestine Industries, also has has some items with "Stay Gold" on them like this.
3. In The Killers' song "Smile Like You Mean It," a lyric says "Looking back at sunsets on the East Side".
4. Bowling for Soup has an album named Let's Do It for Johnny!.
5. Comedian Julie Brown's eighties novelty hit "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun" ends with, "I did it for Johnny," as the explanation of her killing spree. (Sidenote: I also held a squirt gun and sang this on a float during my high school homecoming parade. These were times before real school shooting sprees obviously.)

Kelly at the Cazzy Files is hosting Poetry Roundup today. Click to her blog to find more wonderful poetry links. Next week the roundup will be here!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tune for Tuesday

A cover song is a song sung by a singer or band that was originally recorded by another artist, basically a remake.
Did you know that "Respect" by Aretha Franklin was first written and recorded by Otis Redding ? "Hound Dog" was recorded in 1952 by Willie Mae Thornton. But it's definitely known as an Elvis Presley song. It is even #19 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Aretha Franklin's Respect is #5 on that list!
My favorite cover song is "Helter Skelter" by Motley Crue. The originator? The Beatles. What famous song did the Beatles cover? "Twist and Shout" by the Top Notes. My second favorite cover song is "Landslide" by Smashing Pumpkins. The original is by Fleetwood Mac. All great songs.
Yep, I could talk about cover songs (or music in general) all day, couldn't I?
Instead I'll share a song/video cover song that sounded strange to me at first, but then it grew on me.
Remember Wham!'s 80's staple, "Careless Whisper?" Rock band, Seether, recorded a rockin' version of this pop ballad. I was like, "What?" when I first heard it, but I do think it's a cool version. I can't wait for Metallica to record a cover of "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go!" :)
I will get to see Seether perform this song live this weekend. I am going to an all day concert with lotsa fun bands: Three Days Grace, Seether, Hollywood Undead, Papa Roach, Saliva, Puddle of Mudd, Janus and Story of the Year. There's a side stage with other bands, too!

Today's Tune for Tuesday is Seether's cover, "Careless Whisper." Check it out.

And for kicks here's WHAM!

What's your favorite cover song?