The 2010 Toy Fair opened this Sunday, and my fancy New York momma friend Angela is hypothetically there promoting her creation, Norman PhartEphant. Yes. A plush elephant that will make one of eight different farting noises each time you squeeze his tail.
He's a little bit embarrassed about it. (But it's not his fault! He's an African elephant that was adopted by a U.S. zoo, and the change in diet has lead to gastrointestinal difficulties.)
Angela's also writing a series of picture books about Norman, which I've been copy editing in exchange for dinners and purses. It's a good gig, and Norman's a toy that I highly recommend for anyone who likes soft, cuddly elephants and/or who has a sense of humor that frequently involves flatulence. Say hi to Angela for me if you happen to find her at the Fair! She'll probably be registered under the name of her company, Fierce Fun Toys.
Best restaurant news of the week is that chef Andy Gonzalez from Steinbeck's, aka Lauren's Favorite Restaurant in Atlanta That Is Very Very Small, is helping revamp The Standard space into what shall be known as Young Augustine's. They've started posting news snippets on Facebook, including an opening menu that sounds very much in the style of (though happily more extensive than) Steinbeck's: gastropubized comfort food from multiple cultural components of Atlanta's cuisine, including Southern, Mexican, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, and Indian concepts. I'm actually looking forward to driving all the way down there when it opens.
Also, a thing I've been anticipating ever since I graduated from UF's undergrad creative writing program has finally happened. No, That Prof isn't dead yet. That'd be rad, but this is radder: One of my writing workshop classmates has gotten a book of short fiction published, and it's getting the kind of reviews that make me feel like a total writing slacker. If it were anyone less talented or friendly than Justin D. Taylor, I might be upset. (While I was busy angsting about class deadlines and being a proportionally compact spaz, he was turning in consistently good work and inviting me to parties that I never attended 'cause, yeah, spaz.) I haven't read Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever yet 'cause my copy's in the mail, so I can't recommend it personally or with extreme accuracy, but I suspect I'll be able to do so soon. In the meanwhile, you can read a story from the collection and form your own opinions.