In the Office…Editorial Library, 9th floor.
Maybe it’s because July is sailing by, or simply because of our office’s proximity to the Hudson River, but the Workman editorial crew sure is feeling nautical today.
In the Office…Editorial Library, 9th floor.
Maybe it’s because July is sailing by, or simply because of our office’s proximity to the Hudson River, but the Workman editorial crew sure is feeling nautical today.
As a baby, Themba the elephant lost his mother to a terrible accident. When no other female in the herd adopted him, vets at the South African nature reserve where he lived found him an unlikely companion: Albert the sheep. Although initially wary of one another, the two soon bonded. They napped in tandem, played together, and Themba even rested his trunk on Albert’s woolly back as they explored their enclosure.
Below, check out a clip from the National Geographic TV show “Unlikely Animal Friends” that captures their special relationship, from awkward first encounter to best-friends-forever.
This is just one of 47 spectacular—not to mention adorable—stories of interspecies companionship featured in Jennifer S. Holland’s Unlikely Friendships. Pick up a copy today and let the awww-ing commence!
Last week I introduced my plan to become financially literate (and financially zen) by following the 6-week program outlined in Ramit Sethi’s hip book I Will Teach You to Be Rich. In my introductory post, I wrote of the preemptive agony I felt at the prospect of having to learn how to invest and how to create a conscious spending plan. In a nod to pop culture, I even said that I expected the experience to be about as fun as Harry Potter’s final battle with Lord Voldemort.
Well, during Week 2 (Beat the Banks), I found that optimizing my bank accounts is not all doom and gloom after all. In fact, the simple step of taking action—last week signing up for a credit card, and this week opening a high-interest online savings account—has made me feel powerful…unstoppable…INVINCIBLE. I’m basically the Rosie the Riveter of personal finance.
Not even a monstrous insect on the lam could stop me from completing my Week 2 task. That’s right: Last night, as I was sitting on the sofa, laptop at the ready, I caught sight of some movement out of the corner of my eye. I whipped my head around to take a look, already feeling a sense of dread wash over me. There it was: an insect the size of Moby Dick, lumbering calmly across my living room floor. It had wings. And I was the only one home. This is an example of what I like to call Erin’s Law: Giant bionic roaches and other fearsome creatures will only invade one’s home when all of one’s roommates are out, leaving one alone and defenseless in the face of the beast.
(Disclaimer: I’m not normally so skittish about bugs. A ‘fraidy cat I am not. But when they look like they could topple furniture, I think that is cause for alarm.)
Luckily, I was able to keep the beast at bay (by standing 10 feet away and trash-talking it aggressively) long enough for my roommates to come home and help me vanquish it (Jen trapped it under a bowl, slid a magazine between the bowl and the floor, and calmly carried it outside. Alive.) After it was safely out of sight, I could get back to business: the business of earning more money.
In I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Ramit advocates online banks like ING Direct and Emigrant Direct. These banks have eliminated overhead—meaning they have no branches, no tellers, and spend very little money on marketing. They pass this savings on to their customers in the form of lower fees (or no fees at all) and higher interest rates. Take ING, for example. When I compared ING’s Orange Savings Account with the savings accounts offered by my neighborhood bank, I found that the neighborhood bank offers an interest rate of between .01% and .50%. At the end of a year, the amount of money you’d earn at that rate is squat compared to ING’s average 1.00% rate. The best part about ING is that their account is simple and straightforward. Even their account disclosures (which are normally so long and tedious, you’d rather do anything—even clean the frathouse bathroom after an all-night rager—then read them) are written in plain English. Everything is explained up front.
Besides ING and Emigrant, HSBC also offers a great account with a high interest rate. The way I see it, you just can’t go wrong with one of these babies. And I would know, for I am Erin, Woman of Action and Purpose (well, maybe not when it comes to bugs).
Hi again! It’s Jennifer, friendly intern and your eyes-and-ears into the Workman office. By now you’ve heard about my time in sales and at Algonquin Books. My next stop was the Workman editorial department.
I’ve had a great time sifting through “slush,” which is a colloquial publishing term for the unsolicited proposals sent in by people without agents. At first, I was armed with just the guideline that Workman does not accept fiction or memoirs (that’s the domain of Algonquin), so my “Maybe” pile soon towered above the “Yes” and “No” piles. However, after sitting down with one of the editors, who patiently pointed out the reasons why proposals would or would not be accepted, I gained a better understanding of what it takes to be published. It isn’t often that a proposal from slush is actually realized as a published title, and there are several reasons for that. For example, calendars, which I saw a lot of, usually do best when they already have a brand or book behind them. My Gift Sales boss has been talking about how popular LEGO: The Calendar is going to be; its success will be based on the timeless appeal of LEGOs.
The proposal also has to be well researched and backed with the proper credentials. Perhaps more importantly, the idea has to be original and innovative, and should not be too similar to titles Workman already publishes or is thinking about producing. There were some picture book proposals in the pile, but generally, the children’s books that Workman publishes are more than just picture books—they are machine-washable and “indestructible,” or interactive, or fun to touch; they are more than just a story. Submitters should take heart in knowing, however, that their proposals are not left to languish in a corner. Every proposal is looked at by a real person (and, no worries, not just an intern—proposals are screened after I look at them, too).
I’ve also done some fact-checking for 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and The Obits: The New York Times Annual 2012. For 1,000 Places, fact-checking has involved determining hotel rates with more calling (but fewer abrupt farewells, because hotel staff can’t really hang up on someone who might be a customer). Most people seemed unfazed by or indifferent to the fact that the hotels they work at are being featured in a well-regarded travel book, but it was nice when people, such as one woman at a hotel in the South, maybe one of the Carolinas, asked which book I was fact-checking for and expressed pleasant surprise when I told her. (The woman I’m talking about answered, “Who doesn’t know about it?” when I asked if she knew of 1,000 Places.) Fact-checking for The Obits has been more computer-based, but it’s still fascinating to read these posthumous celebrations of people’s life accomplishments. I especially enjoyed reading the obituaries for the distinguished Elizabeth Taylor and for Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run as a Vice Presidential candidate for a major political party, about whom I learned in US History class this past year.
I can’t believe I’m nearly finished with my internship. I could work here forever and may attempt to do something like that, as my experiences so far have really piqued my interest in working in the publishing world. I would love to do this as a career, although I am a little sad that I would have to choose a department and stay there instead of floating around to different ones.
Thanks for reading!
My roommate and I moved into our new apartment in late March, but we didn’t throw a housewarming party until last week. Why? First of all, we were disorganized busy. But more importantly, everyone knows that summer is a much better time to throw a party! Back when we schlepped all of our belongings across the city, it was cold and rainy and our cute party dresses were still in storage. Now that it’s July—well sure, it’s scorching hot, but all the more reason to pour a cool summer cocktail and head to the roof. So that’s exactly what we did.
The event was a pot luck, and, being kind of a dud in the kitchen (or at least more of one than my roommate, who is a certified whiz), I decided that my best bet was to take care of drinks. But I didn’t want to just put out a tub of beer and a bottle of Coke and call it a day. Oh no. If I was going to be the bartender, I was going to do it right. So I flipped open my copy of the gorgeous Artisan book Raising the Bar (seriously, have you seen the cover?) and found the perfect punch for the night: a beautiful golden champagne sangria. It didn’t take long to assemble, and the results looked spectacular and tasted even better: sweet and fruity, and very refreshing on a hot July night in New York.
So follow the recipe below and treat yourself to a cool drink. Go on, it’s hot; you deserve it.
Champagne Sangria (page 171 in Raising the Bar by Nick Mautone)
Makes fifteen 8-ounce servings
Plan ahead: Chill all ingredients for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Place the plums and sugar in a punch bowl and stir well to extract juice.
Add the nectar, plum wine, and brandy. Stir well and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, remove the mixture from the refrigerator. Add the sparkling wine and stir briefly to combine.
Float mint leaves on top and serve immediately. And enjoy!
This weekend, champagne corks popped and wedding bells chimed—around the world, to be sure, but they were especially loud here in the state of New York, where the Marriage Equality Act officially went into effect and same-sex marriage became legal. Hundreds of couples flocked to their local marriage bureaus to tie the knot in front of family, friends, and the whole world.
Some of us Workmanites were lucky enough to be right in the middle of the action on Sunday, when we headed down to the City Clerk’s Office in Manhattan and joined in the festivities. Last week we wrapped up copies of Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners in true wedding-gift style. Then on Sunday morning we donned our tissue-paper boutonnieres and met up outside the government building to greet the revelers.
What we found was spectacular! There was a real spirit of celebration and camaraderie in the air as people lined the sidewalks to cheer the happy couples emerging from the City Clerk’s Office with marriage licenses in tow. People hugged and took lots of pictures, and there was music coming from everywhere. We even ran into NY State Senator Tom Duane, the lead sponsor of same-sex legislation in New York. He was clearly proud to be there amongst the people for whose rights he had been fighting for so long—especially because the law has a direct effect on his own life: Joked his partner Louis Webre, “We had an 18-and-a-half-year engagement!”
One of my personal favorite parts of the day was when two women got married under a rainbow-colored chuppah. After they were officially married by the state, they came out to the park and were married by a rabbi. Then much singing and dancing ensued, and their kids got piggy-backed all over the place. I had never been to a Jewish wedding before, and now I can say that not only have I been to one, but that the ceremony was performed on the streets of New York!
So fun was had by all, as they say, not least by those who got married. We all had a great time congratulating the newlyweds and handing out wedding gifts—such a great time, in fact, that as you read this blog post, we’re there doing it all over again! Feel free to stop by and say hello this Monday morning, and grab a copy of Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners while you’re at it. Plus check back later for more photos and maybe even some video of the happy scene here in Manhattan.
AND! If all this talk of marriage has you worrying about your own love life, be sure to watch Steven Petrow’s latest video on 365Gay.com, where he tells us once and for all if it’s really that big of a deal to lie on your online dating profile (Hint: Yes!).
We’re doing a new feature called Workman Nights and Weekends in which Workman employees reveal their hidden talents, secret hobbies, and other extracurricular pursuits. The first installment features a member of our Art Department, Jose Martin Vegas.
Five mornings a week, Jose Martin Vegas is up with the birds. Actually, he wakes up before the birds—as a professional falconers at one of the city’s major airports, it’s important that he gets to work before the avian population starts its day. These feathered birds, some of them quite dainty, paradoxically pose a tremendous threat to the enormous steel birds taking off and landing on airport runways. Falcons are sent up in the air to keep the little guys away.
Jose’s love of falconry goes back to his childhood in Lima, Peru, and, fittingly, began with a book. Browsing in the library one day, he found a visual encyclopedia on birds of prey and was immediately hooked. His mother (who must be the soul of patience and fortitude) let Jose get a falcon of his own. He built a mew (an enclosed room for birds) in his backyard and soon, he was training up to five birds.
Falconry remained a hobby until his late teens when, seeing a business opportunity, he and a couple of fellow falconers hired out their services to the local vineyards and other companies needing to keep birds away. A few years after moving to New York in 2004 with his then girlfriend, now wife (and Page-a-Day designer) Cynthia Garcia, the opportunity arose to do the same work for the airport.
It’s remarkable to think that in an age where computers and technology make so many things possible, the best way to protect airplanes from bird strikes is to send up a bird that no other bird wants to mess with.
Thanks for sharing, Jose!
As you’re probably aware, last month New York state passed the Marriage Equality Act, legalizing same-sex marriage for the entire state! The law goes into effect this Sunday July 24, when thousands of New York couples will flock to their local city marriage bureaus and make their unions official. In fact, so many people are expected to turn up at the City Clerk’s Office here in NYC that the city has set the cap at 764 marriages (divided amongst the five boroughs). Couples—gay and straight—who want to get married on this special Sunday had until today at noon to enter their names in a lottery, and the lucky chosen ones will be notified on Friday afternoon. Can you imagine planning a wedding in just 48 hours?! It’ll be stressful but undoubtedly worth it, especially for those people who have waited years to see their dream become a reality.
We here at Workman are so excited about this weekend’s nuptials that we’ve decided to share a little wedding gift with the happy couples. On Sunday and Monday, a team of intrepid assistants and interns (myself included) will take up posts outside the City Clerk’s Office in Manhattan and hand out copies of Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners—not just to the brides and grooms, but to their friends and family, gay and otherwise, who could likely benefit from a little guidance on this special day and at gay weddings in the future.
After all, “traditional” weddings are steeped in old rituals, but how does the game change when there are two brides or two grooms? Who pays for the rings? How do you introduce two men who are married—as partners? as husbands? What happens to the conventional mother-of-the-bride role when there are two brides, each with her own (potentially domineering) mother? It’s a new and exciting world out there, but it also leaves a lot of questions, all of which are answered in Steven Petrow’s definitive guide to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) life.
Will you be goin’ to the chapel/government building this weekend to get your marriage on, or even just to enjoy the festivities? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re in Manhattan, be sure to come say hey—we’ll be the ones snapping pics and jumping for joy (oh, and handing out copies of the book).
Want to know more? Check out this radio interview with Steven Petrow on The Brian Lehrer Show (click the link or just stream the interview below), where Steven not only covers the logistics of this weekend’s historic wedding event, but answers lots of caller questions about other aspects of modern life for LGBT folks and the people who love them.
The lottery to get married this weekend in New York City may be closed, but Sunday’s weddings are just the first of many more to come!
It’s no secret that I love Tina Fey. My favorite chapter in her book Bossypants was devoted entirely to her father, Don. She writes, “My dad has visited me at work over the years, and I’ve noticed that powerful men react to him in a weird way. They ‘stand down.’ The first time Lorne Michaels met my dad, he said afterward, ‘Your father is impressive.’”
Well, Lorne, I think it’s high time you met my dad, Bruce. (This is all going to tie into credit cards, I promise.)
Because of his natural tendency to be boss, Bruce sometimes does dad-ly things. For instance: One evening in high school, a young man (now a good friend) came to pick me up for a date. (We were going to see Finding Nemo.) I made sure to still be upstairs when this young man arrived, so that I could make a grand entrance. Well, years later I found out that before I got downstairs, my dad actually pulled this young man aside and interrogated him à la dads on sitcoms: He made my date confirm that he would have me home by 10. He may have actually uttered the words, “What are your intentions regarding my daughter?”
So you understand that my dad is just looking out for my best interest when he says, “Credit card companies are out to get you. They’re just looking to get your money.” Naturally, my dad is right. In fact, credit card companies are so notorious for nickle-and-dimeing their customers that the federal government has stepped in on numerous occasions, enacting laws to reign in the companies’ evil ways.
Nevertheless, if you want to save lots of money over the long term, you need good credit. I learned this as I embarked upon Week 1 (Optimize Your Credit Cards) of the 6-week program to financial literacy outlined in Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You to Be Rich.
“Our largest purchases are almost always made on credit,” Ramit writes, “and people with good credit save tens of thousands of dollars on their purchases. Credit has a far greater impact on your finances than saving a few dollars a day on a cup of coffee.”
But, Ramit, can it be? Is this really true?
Yes, he says: “If you have good credit, it makes you less risky to lenders, meaning they can offer a better interest rate on loans.” And though I’m not looking to pay for a wedding or buy a house anytime soon, I know that, someday, I might do both. And you say all I have to do to save thousands of dollars in future interest is pay my bill on time each month, not carry a balance, and get my APR lowered and all fees waived? No problem. After all: I’ve never had a credit card.
Believe it, folks. I have managed to live out three post-graduate years without the aid of a credit card. As far as living within my means goes, I’ve made Bruce proud. However, such a scenario does not bode well for aforementioned hypothetical Big Expenses. Of course, perhaps this hypothetical Mr. Right and I will decide to elope. And perhaps we’ll raise our family in a (fabulous, sprawling) rent-controlled New York City apartment, instead of in a house with a mortgage. Regardless: There will still be costs. Furniture. Vacations. Baby strollers. We might need that loan. And in order to get it, I’m going to need that credit.
Which is why I headed to my bank, where Ramit told me I’d find the simplest credit cards for beginners like me. I signed up. I plan to make my dad even prouder: I’m gonna pay that bill in full every month with my future Tahitian vacation in mind. Here’s to you, Dad.
I way a day camper, through and through, so it’s not a given that I would be nostalgic for the color wars and bed checks depicted in Laurie Susan Kahn’s Sleepaway.
Day camp had its own charms: For a few summers, my mom worked in the building next door. After years of jealousy of the kids with stay-at-home moms who could go home for lunch in elementary school, I felt special when my working mom picked me up fr0m camp and took me out to lunch. Instead of our own camp songs, at day camp I learned all the words to the songs in Grease (the rite of every pre-teen girl–we didn’t figure out until years later how dirty those lyrics were). We didn’t have a fire to tell ghost stories in front of, so we would try to sit as still as possible in the racquetball courts, hoping the motion sensors wouldn’t detect us and the lights would turn off. My lanyards eventually rivaled those of even the most entrenched sleepaway camper–I could do the box, the barrel, the double box and barrel, and even the elusive triple box and barrel.
So no, I never went to sleepaway camp. But I feel like I did. I love any kids’ movie set at camp–remember the beginning of The Parent Trap, when Lindsay Lohan (or Hayley Mills, if you prefer the original) finds her long-lost twin at camp in Maine? Last summer, my camp fix was ABC Family’s brilliant TV show Huge, set at a weight loss camp for teens. And the This American Life episode on camp is one of the show’s best. Camp is universal, even for people who never experienced it. This is why I like Sleepaway so much–finally, I’m privy to the secret rituals of those sleepaway camp girls, with their s’mores, canoes, camp socials, and lifelong friendships.