I Don't Understand Anything Anymore (Part 1)

Debra Victoroff

Debra Victoroff
New York, New York, USA
September 11
Warner Brothers
Writer, editor, singer, artist. Still adore Obama. He is brilliant, sincere, unpretentious, classy. A true leader, gazing down, bemused, as the petty GOP contenders claw each other's eyes out like 13 year old girls. The country is poised on the edge of recovery, thanks to his steady hand: unemployment is down, the stock market is up, the car industry is back in business, and banks are paying back the bailout money, with profits going to the government. Bin Laden is dead, and our boys are coming back from Iraq, just as he promised. If only he could get his jobs bill past the obstructionist Republicans, who are willing to destroy the middle class simply to regain power, this country would be back on its feet in no time! So glad there is absolutely no competition for his office. All the sane Republicans know there's not one among them that could handle the most difficult job in the world, so they're in hiding, while their two representatives, Romney (aka Romney-the-Dog-Abuser) and Gingrich (aka Gingrich-the-Wife-Abuser) battle it out.

APRIL 17, 2009 12:58PM

NYC OS Soiree! (aka, Someone Take the Camera Away from dcv)

Rate: 42 Flag

Well people of OS – Here is my reportage on the Soiree, aka The Salon, of Salon that took place last night, Thursday, April 16, 2009 in New York City, from approximately 6:30pm to 9pm (or at least that’s when I left to go to work – half in the bag as they say, but that’s nothing new; my employers kind of expect from me), after which, Lord knows what happened. 

[I have to apologize for the quality (or lack) of the pictures; I suck at this, and although I like to take pictures, either me or my camera doesn’t have the hang of it and so I was glad when Frank took my camera and took a few, that were equally blurry or red-eye-ish, so don’t be mad!]

It all started with courtesy and excitement of meeting new people, fellow Manhattanites, Brooklynites, NJers, Connecticuters and some other areas that I’ve vaguely heard of, all writers, all witty, urbane, sophisticated and mature.

The site was a midtown bar, conveniently located near Penn Station so that should something untoward happen one could escape quickly, with or without one’s purse, wallet, or dignity. 

In my nervous apprehension I’d had the foresight to connect with OESheepdog, sharing my cel phone number with the Shaggy pup so that when I arrived, I would have someone to find, and sit with, and with whom I imagined, I could sit with our backs against the wall, picking out this one and that one, guessing at who they were, and trying to remember who wrote what, and did I ever comment on that one’s blog, and feeling bad and guilty if I hadn’t.

Sheepdog sent me back a cel number and for reasons that will become obvious, I was so glad I didn’t discuss what we were wearing and if Sheep thought I would be trying too hard if I wore a skirt…

Exterior Bar

I was the third to arrive – after the famous Kerry Lauerman and Thomas Rogers:

 k and t

 ...both of whom I recognized immediately and greeted as you would any celebrities, with much more familiarity than was prudent, since one always feels like you know them, even though to them you’re one of the masses: unknown, seeking love, recognition, and approval.  They were kind and welcoming; albeit, perhaps a little nervous as well, since after all, half of us are unregistered nuts. 


 They gestured to me to join them upstairs, but I had to get a beer before I could possibly be expected to offer any of the clever repartee that comes so easily in 4-sentence comments on a blog, and yet is always stuck in the back of my throat when it comes to meeting actual humans.  So I got my ($7!) Sol (much like a Corona for those who like their beer in yellow-tinged bottles) at the downstairs bar, and thus fortified, made my way upstairs. 

Awkward at the start but it’s amazing what a few beers ($7 for a Sol!) will do to lubricate a party.  Soon after everyone’s third drink, it devolved into shouting, fist-fights, making out under the table, broken glasses, accusations of Troll-nicity and at least one cream pie thrown from close range.  Not really; in fact, I was kind of hoping for that kind of action, but it was, in fact as civilized and polite as you would expect a party of probably essentially shy writer-type adults to be.  

 I had expected there to be 20, 30 maybe 40 of us, milling around like blind people who can finally see!   But actually it was a small crowd – and then I realized that the meat of OS is not in NYC but really scattered all across the country, and the world, when you think of Padraig and the Canadians and a few New Zealanders (et al), which when you think of it is so cool, and makes OS so much more interesting.

I found that almost no one had heard of me, or if they had, it was: "oh you're dvd!" or "you're ddt!" or "you're add!" or "you're dtv!". 


Group #2 

group #3 

 And soon I found my pen pal and cel phone partner, OE Sheepdog, who was to my consternation (I couldn’t remember what I’d written to him, thinking that he was a her…) that he was in fact, a HE!  An attractive and warm gentleman who would have had (I assume) so little interest in my outfit that thank God I didn’t burden him with that conversation.


me and oe 

Next I introduced myself to who I, in a fit of total illogic, thought must be Padraig (even though he's on a mountain in Sri Lanka), and found out was Frank Apisa who is just as handsome as Padraig, and could have pretended he was he, since I was so befuddled by OESheepdog's being a man, that I would've believed anything.

p and cindy 

Cindy and Frank (above).

Then I introduced myself excitedly to Verbal Remedy, who turned out NOT to be Verbal Remedy, but in fact Cindy Capitani, who must've thought I was an idiot, but was herself charming and gorgeous and gracious and kind.

me and cindy 

c and Bob 

Bob and Cindy - sorry so dark!! 

 So!  In this group we had appearances by: OESheepdog, Bob Eckstein, Kerry, Thomas Rogers, Cindy Capitani, Redstocking Grandma, Frank Apisa, Marco Acevedo, Katina Choovanski, BenSen, BlogOCentrism, and Alex Zola (and maybe one or two others whose names I didn’t get… forgive me and someone send them to me please).

Red Stocking Grandma made a slightly late appearance, wearing bright red - and I even thought maybe it was Redstocking Grandma and was thrilled when she actually was!  Man, meeting the actual people behind the avatars is so damn cool, that I'm thinking of replacing my own photo with one, because the reveal is just so sensational.  

rs g 

RSGrandma is hilarious and witty, and has the most amazingly beautiful hair and glowing skin, you want to have yourself sanded down to be able to take a photo next to her.   Also a wonderful meeting with Katina Choovanski, there in the back - had to catch her off guard.

rs g eyes closed 

(I liked this photo, even with eyes closed - RS with her wonderful laughter!) 

me rs and frank 

Frank, me, and Red Stocking Grandma (above). 

Bob Eckstein is as handsome and gentle as he is in his posts; a gentleman and a gentle man.  


Bob Eckstein (famous author of the wonderful book "The History of the Snowman") and me (above). 

 We wondered what was going on in the mid-west, up east and far-west parties: people riding in on horses, gun-play, duels, making out with cowboy hats or pork-pie hats or Joan/Aretha hats (or whatever the local rage is), and in fact Katina Choovanski was attempting when I left, to connect with the San Francisco group, which would have been so cool – I must leave it to her to report on whether that came to pass.

After about a half hour, it was turning into a real party; guys leaning against the railing (thank God there was a railing):

k and ben 

Kerry and BenSen (above) who I did not hardly get to talk to - too bad!

3 guys 

Frank, BenSen and Kerry (above). 

cindy bob 

Cindy and Bob (above).


marcos frank 

Marco Acevedo and Frank Apisa (above).  

All in all, we had a swell time, gossiped about everyone (some interesting secrets revealed, which shall not be shared by me) and had some yummy appetizers, fried this, and battered that...



... paid for by (I hope) Kerry, but more likely by the last person there (always leave a little early I say!), and if so, and I owe you money, let me know, last person.

kerry leaving 

Kerry departs with secrets of OS safely ensconced in glowing briefcase... (above). 

We also broke at least one glass (YAY!) which everyone denied doing and no one would stand near the shards so I could get a picture, acting as if it had happened spontaneously, which was wonderful and a highlight in my mind. 


glass 2 

 Suggestions for next year: someone else handle the camera; we must have a theme song to sing together with arms around shoulders, a funny centerpiece, harder, cheaper alcohol ($7 Sol!!), and gag gifts.

(NOTE: I took more pix than this but if they weren't good - eyes closed, blurry - I didn't include them... sorry if shots are missing that people expected to see - you'd thank me, really!) 



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seven dollars for a sol??!!??!!??
Another great post about NYC's party. Thank you for all of the detail on who is in each photo as I can now identify everyone that was present. I plan to make it to next year's so my wish is that everyone present yesterday will be there and some additional members, as well.
Good pix, Deb. Looking forward to many more meets with this great gang...although as you probably realize, I'm gonna force a change of venue to the Frying Pan the moment the weather turns.
I love this. Thanks for sharing.
Wonderful account. Thanks for all the kind words. Taking a picture of me without my eyes closed requires a grandchild. I so enjoyed talking to you .
Don't be so hard on yourself - taking pics indoors with little light is damn difficult - you did fine.

Oh, thanks for the intros as well, as I haven't met anyone and only know Kerry and Thomas and Bob and Frank thanks to their avatars.

Sounds like it was a fun time, Deb. Thanks for bringing it home for those of us who couldn't be there.

What a handsome group, and some cute guys Deb [wink wink]. Write me a PM immediately.

These are great pics and you are hilarious. Looks like a great time.

Padraig - somewhat gorgeous? how about hot?
Just jealousing on throught here . . .
I had two Brooklyn Lager drafts and a burger w/fries which can to twenty eight bucks. This was a great group. I thought designanator would be there. Oh well, next year.

Why are these places so loud anyway? To discourage the use of cell phones?
Excellent commentary, great pics.....fantastic job, DCV....felt like I was there with you guys!
$7 for a Sol?!!

Oh you did a really nice job of walking me through last night without my personhood being included. I really, REALLY, wished I would have made it in. Everyone looks like I'd expect, for the most part.

I think your photos were quite nice. The problem is the indoor lighting/bar issue (basically everything you shoot sucks in a bar unless you make some manual changes on your camera.)

And lastly, $7 for a Sol?!
Looks like you all had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing your report and your photos.
Dang. Wish I'd been there.
Very nice, you dickens. Looks like a blast.

Hell, I wouldn't have needed to pay $7.00 for a lousy Sol. It would be so overwhelming to have all that talent around, I'd piss without the beer :-)
I was a late-comer to the gathering, which was appropriate since I'm a latecomer to OS, but it was good to meet people in person before meeting them online, like in the old days.
You made me feel like I was there. In fact, I am now hungover!
Looks like a good time. Broken glass always = good party.
for some reason the Cheers song keeps going through my head...I can see it now, montage of all of the OS partyers, with that song in the background,....
Gorgeous group. OES is handsome fella! Frank looks just as his photos. Ben Sen is another handsome fella! D you are gorgeous! ;-)
(hubba hubba) Bob Ecstein isn't a real human being, he is a robot programmed to be "the world's nicest man".

How cool.....xcept you which is more towards hot!

Sure looks and sounds like a great time...

Is Sheepdog the one with the mop of black hair? Hubba hubba... same for Kerry but sadly, we don't play for the same team. Oh yeah, plus I'm married. Not to mention too-courgared... wait, this isn't about me. You did a GREAT job. And you ladies are flat out gorgeous. I should have come. You took me there. Thank you!
Awesome post dvd, i mean dct i mean my new pal! (all I see from these pix is ... I need a a haircut lol). Ya know, these pix so did not look so dark on your camera! We all had a blast and can't wait for next pow-wow!
it really cracks me up that you thought the Sheepdog was a woman and you were going to talk about outfits, also that you thought Cindy was Verbal. The pictures are wonderful and you look like you are a total social butterfly. Great post.
Squirrel - Do ya believe it? What do charge at your place? A buck? Sheesh. NYC.

Designator - Hey, you were looked out for, and missed! Come next year, OK? We'll be waiting for you.

Frank - T'was a pleasure to meet you. Yes, the Frying Pan would be a superb venue next time!

Aim - Thank you! And see you soon, I think??

RedstockingGrandma - Thank you! It was a pleasure and an honor to have you reveal yourself. And I got one pix with your eyes open, and I think Frank got another!

Padraig - Garsh.... thank you. Seriously, you and handsome Frank look separated at birth. It's uncanny.

BeyondBlueEyes - If it's cheap, I actually love weak piss! But the price has to be right. (my other beer choice is Rolling Rock. Is that uncool?)

BillS - You are very kind, but had you been there, I think the photos would have been fantastic. Because you would have been in them, mostly.

Denese - Yes, they were, they certainly were. PM on its way.

Padraig (again) - No one gets drunk n beer anymore, do they? Even if it's Stella Artois.

Grif82600 - I feel the same about you! Although: what happened to the rest of you? (new avatar?)

OwlSaysWho - It was great but would've been better with you.

OESheepdog - My MAN! T'was a tad loud, and t'was a tad expensive. $7 for a Sol? I'm still shaking my head. But $28 for two beers and a burger? Now we're getting downright criminal. Such a delight to meet you, may I say again - expensive libations aside.

OneCorgiLover - Again, it would've been even better had you been there!

Beth Mann - I swear that's my new mantra: "$7 for a Sol?" I did have a choice between that and a $7 Cosmo, but there was no way I was gonna walk into that crowd with that in hand... NYC girl with a Cosmo - cliche anyone? Still...

Coyote - And thank you for visiting at least via the blogs!

Americain - You missed it by THAT much (as Maxwell Smart would say, or Steve Carroll in the terrible movie). Too bad!

Christopher Roberts - Believe me, you were all there in spirit at least. And frankly, the beer was so weak, I didn't even bother to piss it out. (sorry to be so graphic!)

Donald Brown - I agree with you in principle about meeting people, and yet, there was something so cool about meeting the people I knew only via their writing, in person. Like a gigantic blind date, only no one excusing themselves to go to the bathroom and never coming back. At least, that I noticed...

Joe Cantwell - 2 aspirins and plenty of fluids. That's what I did. Sorry you missed it, and we you!

Emma Peel - Broken glass, shattered crockery - you're so right - sign of a successful get together. As long as it's not at your own house!

Sandra Stephens - That's it! That's the song we should all sing at the next gathering - only the lyrics will be, "Where everybody knows your avatar...."

Kind of Blue - I must say it was a very "handsome" group. I regret that we didn't take on of those group shots with the black corrugated sign in front with the date and event (remember those 3rd grade class photos?).

Trig - You is the nicest fella. It was fun and you were missed, and yet, you and everyone else, were toasted, if not roasted!

Sally Swift - I'm hunting you down and dragging you to the next one, I swear! You must not miss it!

CindyCapitani - Yes, it was a blast - and meeting you was a highlight. You can call me STD if you want - I'll still love ya!
This was excellent reporting. Being rather a newbie here I really liked hearing about the whole experiences of the different locations.

I now have more faces behind the comments...will have to make the effort next time! Well done!
Wish I'd been there. Looks like it needed a bar fight.
Yay! More pix. Fabulous rundown with a real feel for the flow of the evening. Thank you. And thanks for the captions, too!

You’re funny here - in that self-deprecating way.
I LOVED your reporting of this but am very curious, what kind of work exactly is it that you do that you had to leave at that hour? Hmmmmmm. You are awfully pretty. Just saying....... ;)
Very Nice photo story of NY OS. Thanks. Great pics of Red stocking grandma - she is beautiful.
BuffyW - You must come next time - it was really fun. We can split a beer, or 4 of us can go in on one...

Skip - Yeah, I was kinda hoping that would happen... a bar fight. Yep, you were missed!!

DavidDecker - I mean to be funny - any way I can. Glad you liked it!

Cartouche - You doll. Thank you - you're quite the looker yourself as I know from pix I've seen on here... I edit a TV show that will go unnamed for now, from 5pm to 11pm usually. Love the job, hate the hours.
Glad you guys and gals had a great time. I met here in the rural Ohio with two deer, a possum, a cyyote, four geese and a drunk skunk, so we all had to keep it down so the skunk wouldn't be aggravated. All in all a very Disney get together.

Love the pixs! Looks like you guys had a fun time!
Dammit! The one time I wasn't quick enough to duck behind Marco when the camera came out. I seem to recall you saying something about being a wallflower but I now beg to differ.
That was fantastic. And you are so pretty!

In fact, everyone was so wonderful looking. Dang. OS has attractive people here.
You had me laughing out loud with the commentary, and the more pictures the better. Thanks for a fun story!
Love the Pics and love the reporting! =o) Wish I could have been in New York/Florida/Chicago/San Francisco/Los Angeles/Seattle last night. For all that I wonder if the Internet has been a good thing in human history, gatherings such as these would be impossible without them. RATED.
Looks and sounds like a lot of fun.. Wished I was there..
Damn, wish I could have been there! These parties sound like so much fun if only to see the actual person--in person!!!
This has not helped me with my Marco problem.


(thumbified for mmmm....Marco. And the rest of you, of course! SEVEN dollars? Jeez...)
Jodi! LOL! What problem would that be? Well, dvvd took the one OK pic of me. I show up in Frank's set swilling a beer looking like I'm thinking "Man, can't believed I dropped seven bucks on this s__t."
As for the broken glass, I'll admit the truth here. It was a successful experiment in group psychokinesis. We all trained our superior OS brain waves on the hapless glass and it shattered all on its own. I'm just too proud not to let our accomplishment outta the bag!
What a great time! Our little get together last month was a highlight for me, so I know what you mean about meeting the porson behind the avatar. I couldn't make the Miami connection because I had to deliver Mom to the airport at two, (Plus Miami is 200 miles each way) but I'll just blame it on Mother.
PS. You are just as hot as I thought you'd be and that Cindy is smokin', too!
LeondeDelmare - Thank you for stopping by... and yes, RS Grandma is stunning and funny as hell.

Monte - You are hilarious! I can picture it perfectly, including the Disney music tinkling in the background...

WithoutAPaddle - It was really, really fun, I kid you not.

Katina Choovanski - I use the camera to keep myself from sitting there looking like a knot in the woodwork. Old trick I learned from my dad.

Odette - OS does attract a fine specimen. Of what, I'm still not sure...

KellyLark - Thank you! I wish the pictures were better, but glad you enjoyed the commentary.

FireEyes - We wish you were there too. Of course.

From the Midwest - Seeing the actual person: priceless.

DaveScriven - Missed you too. Wish you all lived nearby.

Jodi Kasten - Marco is a dashing fellow, no? And yep: SEVEN.

Marco - Now I know why you had your head in your hands toward the end... and I thought you were bombed!

MichaelRodgers - Too bad you couldn't make it, but family first. And Cindy and I were not smoking.
Thanks for everything Denise. Past couple of days alittle kooky so just seeing everything. I really enjoyed meeting you! See you next time (sorry I had to leave early to go to work).
great report, thanks
Ok I know New Paltz is the sticks up here but how did I miss this? How do I get on this list?
Wow what a gathering. Famous people no less. We had a wonderful group of non famous writers, most of us rather shy and wondering about all this, but by the end of the evening all of us deciding to meet on a regular basis monthly to gab, gossip and share love of writing. Check out my blog to see the pics.
I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to talk to you too. I came so late I thought it was almost over. Thank you for this valiant effort in that terrible light. Having remembered the names alone was a feat. You definitely have personality and I saw the warm smile.
Boy, real estate is more expensive in SF, but apparently NYC makes up for it on the charges for Sol!

Great report, Ms. D - and some not so bad pix at all. Don;t be so hard on yourself. Kerry looks actually scared in that first one - as well he should have been.
Yep. I'm with Skip on this one.
BobEckstein - Thank you for you visit here and the pleasure of your company last week. Actually, my name is Deb; my friend Denese (another OS member) who you've confused me with, is the one who bought your book (and loves it, and the personal inscription). I'm the cheap one...

BrianB - And thank you for reading it!

GregCorrell - Ah, man; New Paltz is not that far away! Sorry you missed it. I'll make sure you get a personal invite to the next one.

PoetOfLoganSquare - How cool that you guys are taking it one step further! I'm heading to your blog immediately. Can I commute to your writing group meetings?

BenSen - Yeah, it was a big disappointment not to get to talk to you! I know your blog and have followed your comments from the beginning. I think perhaps the pile of shattered glass kept us apart?

LonnieLazar - Hmm, it just occurs to me, having read your comment, that yes: Kerry must've been more nervous than all the rest of us!

PabloManriquez - The next year we'll plan the bar fight early so OS members can put money on their "favorites". Maybe you and Skip could duke it out? More fun!
i love love love how terrible you are at taking pictures because i am also lacking in that area. but you got some great shots! it is soooo cool to see people's faces and everyone is so freaking cute and fun. your writing, as always, is fabulous. very veyr veyr funny and self-deprecating. i love that you were wrong so many times about who the people are. and i love that RSgrandma is so veery cool. i so much expected that she would be/is. love love lveo and gratitude and tons of envy. no oregon get together. hmmm, unless i wasn't invited. whatever.
oh and you are so adorable. you look so familiar to me and i love that.
Theo - thank you! You are "familiar" to me too... wish you'd been there. Maybe I'll have to come to Oregon??
I enjoyed this vicariously! I laughed because I thought the sheepdog was a she awhile back as well. His gender switch in my mind is still recent news. And this: "They gestured to me to join them upstairs, but I had to get a beer before I could possibly be expected to offer any of the clever repartee that comes so easily in 4-sentence comments on a blog, and yet is always stuck in the back of my throat when it comes to meeting actual humans."

You are not alone. Not alone. If I ever attend an OS party, I'm sure I'll be the quiet observer in the back corner near the artificial plant. Contented and silent.
Scupper - I think we are not the only ones who like to find the plants in the corners and sit by them, thinking up wise-cracks for things that were said 20 minutes ago. At least the artificial plants are impressed at our quick wits, knowing no better.