Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday's Special Is...The Pacific Between!


Order HERE from Amazon.

Visit Ray's WEBSITE.


Morning everyone! Roast Master Jason here. I've got Ray Wong marinating backstage for his roast. Let's all pound on the table with our forks and knives to give him a warm welcome!

Interesting fact about Ray: he has two birthdays. Please remember that when considering his age, you must divide by two. Of course, counting by twos has it's benefits. He was the hippest 11 year old at the bar scene. But coming home smelling of whiskey got him grounded a lot.


Why two birthdays, you ask? (You did ask, right?) Because Ray has two cultural identities, each looking to a different calendar. He was raised in China, then moved to the United States as a teenager. It's more than metaphorically that the Pacific lies between these lives. Yet, in the face of all that distance, his two identities mix, sometimes in confusion, sometimes in unique harmony. Ray explores these themes in his novel, The Pacific Between, which centers on Greg Lockland, who returns to California for his parents’ funeral and discovers letters suggesting an affair between his father and his ex-lover, Lian. Suspicion, anger and jealousy take Greg on an transpacific journey to find the truth.

Let's take a look:

Rarely a summer would sweep by without at least a few days or even weeks spent discovering Lantau. It was only an hour or so of boat ride away, a quick escape from the fanatical rhythm elsewhere around this narrow nub in the South China Sea. The countryside was always lush with hues of green, and the surrounding sea seductive in deep, dark blue. On those early summer mornings, while we were high up in the hills, the layers of fog lingered in the valleys, forming a contiguous ring around the emerald heaps--scenery straight out of a Chinese watercolor painting, drenched in sublime divinity.

All I can see now are buildings and bridges and factories and construction sites and cars and people and a future without regard for its past.

Progress, I suppose.

On our way in, the taxi crawls through the thick traffic on the west side of Hong Kong Island, and I notice how things actually haven't changed much here on the strip, only more people, more stores, more cars, more cell phones, and less room to breathe. Gone are the Union Jacks. Instead, proud Chinese flags fly. Chaos abounds: loudspeakers, car horns, tram bells, stores brimming with Chinese herbs, dried scallops and ginseng root, side-street vendors and their cheap imitation merchandise, McDonald's, Ah Yee Noodles, obnoxious neon signs, tall glass houses. Hong Kong is like a grandmother--no matter how man more wrinkles she has, you will always remember her face.

The taxi drops me off outside of the Grand Hyatt in the fantastically packed Wanchai. It's a sparkling hotel towering on a prime cut of real estate. I check into a quiet corner room on the thirty-fifth floor that overlooks the spectacular Victoria Harbor and half of the Kowloon Peninsula. Down from my window, the new, mammoth Exhibition Center stretches out on the waterfront, a giant white turtle perched on a flat rock.

Breathtaking.

I sit on the King-size bed and extend my tired limbs, loop my hands around my sore neck, twist and crack it twice, and feel immediate relief. Exhausted, I lie down and shut my eyes for a second, catching my breath. It's so quiet that I almost forget I'm half a world away from Los Angeles and only moments into my past.


Ready to rock the contest?! Let your fingers do the walking on these three questions. And if you'd rather kick back and just chat, do that too! Ray is an actor and model in addition to his keyboard-intensive pursuits. Stop by his website (link above) and discover all things Ray!

1. If Ray gave you the Pacific, what would you put it between?

2. China spelled backwards is ANIHC. Using this as an acronym, give us the name of a charitable organization suspected of having a paltry membership. (For example, Association of Nobody Incinerating Hot Chocolate--A.N.I.H.C.)

3. Remember SAT analogies? Complete this one: McDonalds is to China as dipping sauce is to _________________.

I do declare the contest open!

103 comments:

jason evans said...

Welcome everyone! And welcome Ray!!

We're going to be swimming the Pacific this fine day. So let's break out the sunscreen, get some wind in our sails, and crank up a nice, blazing beach roast!

ChrisEldin said...

Oh, This sounds fun!!!

I'd put the Pacific between me and the refrigerator, because that's the only way I can ever diet.

:-)

Shona Snowden said...

Oh, I like these questions. And the pacific does lie between me and my home country; as do a few other things. So I'll take the last one...McDonalds is to China as dipping sauce is to haggis.

Phoenix said...

Hmm, wonder how long it will be before Ray claims NO birthdays a year. Or is that just an over-30 American woman phenomenon?

Ooh, Hong Kong. After this week's roasts, I think I'm going to feel like one well-seasoned traveler!

I'll squeeze into the middle between Chris and Shona and take the second question: Animals in Need of Interstellar Habitat Charity. Please give generously.

peggy said...

Good morning everyone! This looks like a fun roast and cool book! I think what I'd put between the pacific is an ocean..;)

ChrisEldin said...

Good morning!!

Just popping in to say hi. Will check back later....

:-)

peggy said...

Oh and a few more islands and maybe a pub or two Maybe I need more coffee :)

Ray Wong said...

Hi all! It's good to be breakfast.

And lunch.

And dinner.

Maybe a snack or two.

And yes, I do have birthdays. Every September is my 28th birthday.

I will tell you my own answers after dessert.

Good to see y'all here [putting on a fake Texan accent]

Ray

WendyCinNYC said...

Happy 28th birthday! Looking good. Oddly enough, I turn 28 this year too. Again.

Did you get everything you wanted on your wish list?

Kristie911 said...

Just dropping in to say "hi Ray!"

And for anyone that hasn't read The Pacific Between, it's a wonderful book! A definite must-read. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

1. probably Turkey with Mayo cause I really enjoy Pacific sandwiches.

2. Army of Nottingham's Institute against Human Cannabalism

3. McDonalds is to China as dipping sauce is to "KFC's Chicken Nuggets."

Sara Spock said...

Hi Ray and Host Jason. I loved Ray's book and bought copies for my sister and dad. His use of description is wonderful in a nonpurple sort of way. Wait, roast! Roasting Ray for breakfast? Eck!

My answers:

1. between writers and rejection letters.

2. Anthropomorphic Nihilistic International House of Cake.

3. McDonalds is to China as dipping sauce is to Chocolate Pants ;-)

Love you, Ray!

jason evans said...

Morning everyone!!

Wow, Ray, so one of your birthdays is nigh. *scrambling to get a present wrapped* Happy Birthday!

Oh my, I'm loving the acronym answers already. :D

Candace said...

Just bopping over from AW to say hello, Ray.

Vixey

Precie said...

1. If Ray gave you the Pacific, what would you put it between?

The moon and New York City
(You've got that song stuck in your head now, don't you? My work is done here.)

2. China spelled backwards is ANIHC. Using this as an acronym, give us the name of a charitable organization suspected of having a paltry membership. (For example, Association of Nobody Incinerating Hot Chocolate--A.N.I.H.C.)

Asian Nihilistic International Heroics Coalition
(No, I have no idea what that means.)

3. Remember SAT analogies? Complete this one: McDonalds is to China as dipping sauce is to

...a pupu platter.

Ray Wong said...

Hi all. Those acronyms are hilarious! It'd be hard to select a winner!

Kristie, Sara, Vixey, Wendy... everyone! Thanks. But you're supposed to roast me! I'm delicious in a chocolate pants kind of way (for those who don't know the in joke... sorry!)

Precie said...

And questions:

Is the whole novel in present tense? Did you find it challenging to write in present? What's your next project?

(and LOL that someone else already used Nihilistic and International)

Sarah Hina said...

You really know how to set a scene, Ray. Fantastic descriptions here! Now for the questions...

1) Me and my mom. Just to give her something new, and big, to complain about.

2) Alliance of Narcoleptic Illuminati for Hillary Clinton

3) McDonald's is to China as dipping sauce is to little kids' fingers.

peggy said...

All these answers are so fun! Ray you've done a great job with this excerpt too. Really sounds intriquing. Roasting Ray? Wait isn't that aginst human society rules..subchapter two, Writers in peril or is that ....

Ray Wong said...

Human cruelty is okay here. As long as I'm the one being cruel. Tee hee.

To Precie: No, part of the book is backstories and they're in past tense. But most of the present time story is in first/present. I find it challenging but also rewarding. There's an immediacy and extreme intimacy in the story that I really like. It's a journey and discovery and mysteries, and I wanted my readers to go along with the ride. They're in the dark just like the protagonist.

My next project is tentatively entitled A TERRAPIN'S TRAIL. It's a drama (and a ghost story) set in SE Asia during the Pacific War. A bit of romance, a bit of war, a bit of action/adventure, and magical realism. And it's in 3rd limited, past tense!

Ray Wong said...

Oh yeah, and thanks for Jason and Chris for inviting me... I mean, putting me on the menu. It looks like a really fun feast.

Ask me anything.

Haggis said...

Hey! Nobody told me there was going to be a pop quiz. That's just wong.

I'll be back after I study up some more.

Brian Jay Jones said...

1. I'd ask the waitress to put it between her knees and bring it to me with the chicken sandwich. But only because I want the toast.

2. American Non-participatory Institute of Hand Clappers

3. McDonalds is to China as dipping sauce is to Dippin' Dots.

Ray Wong said...

Will these organizations, we're going to start a revolution!

LOL.

jason evans said...

Oh man, Brian, that acronym slayed me! LOL.

Ray, here's a question for you. Do you feel like those cultural identities have shifted for you the longer you've been in the U.S.? I would imagine, however, that some vital and fundamental portion of the Chinese identity is immovable and forms the basis of who you are. The rest of you is probably built on top of that.

Janet said...

I've already got my own copy, so I won't try for the contest.

But I am quite amused trying to picture roasted chocolate pants. Isn't that kind of sticky, Ray? And chocolate burns so easily...

:D

Anonymous said...

1. Two slices of multigrain organic, one smeared with sundried tomato spread, the other dotted with honey mustard. Yum, now *that's* a Pacific Between!

2. Alliance of Nuanced Illustrators for Harlen Coben
Affiliates of Noteworthy Ignoble Hydrocarbons
Artists Neutering Insects for Harry Connick
Audaciously Naughty Illusory Hooded Clitorati

(Thanks for eating up a half hour of my life!)

3. McDonald's is to China as dipping sauce is to, ah, illusory hooded clitorati? Man, I sucked at those analogies...

Ray Wong said...

LOL.

Ray Wong said...

Jason: Interesting question. I really don't know. I think of myself as an American, but certainly the two cultures play a key part in my life. Chinese food, for example. I don't nearly eat enough Chinese food as I should -- I also love Italian, French, Japanese, etc... -- not because I don't like Chinese food. It's because I am EXTREMELY picky about Chinese food and it's just not very good in the US. Fortunately, I am not picky about other cuisines.

I'll let my friends talk more about how my cultural backgrounds mold me. But I'd say I still have a lot of Chinese in me, with all the pitfalls. I was taught not to ever brag; meanwhile American culture encourages tooting one's own horn. Also, things like "obey your elders" or "family first," etc. etc. It's not like they're uniquely Chinese -- I'm sure Americans like to respect their elders and put their families first, too -- but the pervasiveness of such thoughts could be very restrictive. One thing I tried very hard to shake is the notion of "guilt." The Chinese culture loves its guilt, and I've resented that ever since I was a young man. I'd have nothing to do with this whole guilt thing.

peggy said...

Guilt, your right Ray, That can be our own worst enemy if we let it. I'm glad you got rid of that part of life :)
we can roast you..a guiltless pleasure!
hee hee, I'm horrid today ;)

Ray Wong said...

Peggy, I'm all about guilty pleasures.

^^

Chumplet said...

Yo! Maestro! Wassaaaaap? Welcome back to the barbecue that never closes.

I'm working on a novel with alternating POVs and time periods, too. But I don't have the guts to make the present, yanno... really the present!

I want your book, so please be kind (or generous, or sympathetic, or whatever...):

1.I think I'd like my Pacific between a couple of lightly toasted slices of rye bread, with lettuce and tomato. Maybe a dollop of mayo. It's called a PLT.

2. Anonymous Nincompoops In Hilarious Clogs.

3. McDonalds is to China as dipping sauce is to elf ears.

Chumplet said...

Nobody's tried Deep Fried Elf Ears, dipped in maple syrup. Deeeelish!

I see Haggis dropped by. Study hard, Haggis!

Chumplet said...

Ray, my buddy Andrew Yuen says Canadian Chinese Food restaurants don't serve the real thing, either. I'd love to sample his mom's cooking.

Precie said...

{the lapsed Catholic tries to refrain from making a cynical comment about guilt and Catholicism...followed up by a cynical comment about respecting one's elders}

Ray--How has your family reacted to the book? And do they see China the way you do?

Kevin said...

I won't resort to comedy today. Just wanted to pop in and say that I'm a Wong fan. I read Pacific and I eagerly await Ray's next offering. Way to go, Ray!

Creative A said...

1. Me, and The Jonas Brother's fangirls. I went to one of their concerts with a younger friend. Baaad mistake.

2. Alabaster Noodles Incorporated: the Healing Crackpots. (so I cheated a little. So what?)

3. McDonalds is to China as dipping sauce is to the Statue of Liberty.

This was fun, Ray; thanks for mentioning and good luck with your books.

-C.A.

Donna said...

Wow, Ray, this is a lovely and intriguing excerpt. I'm sure your novel takes reader on a fascinating trip between cultures!

Okay, I'm going to tackle those questions:

I'd love to put the Pacific between me and FOX news. Two times over, if possible.

The Association for the Nationalization of Intractable Ham Consumers definitely needs your help today. Nitrites be gone!

And McDonald's is to China as dipping sauce is to Kraft Mozzarella sticks (a better fit than you'd expect, but still sort of weird).

Btw, do you have any favorite restaurants in Hong Kong you'd recommend?

Ray Wong said...

These answers are so funny. Love 'em.

Precie: My mom's only read a little bit. She didn't like the parents dying part. LOL. My dad's still waiting for the Chinese edition. Ha! They've been very supportive, though. And when I was working on it (or any of my WIP), they gave me a lot of space and quiet. They know it's important to me, even if they're skeptical that I will make it rich and famous.

I think they still love China and Hong Kong more than I do. It's strange since I was born and raised there, but I'm all American now. It's a generational thing, I think.

And hi everyone... kevin, chumplet, donna, c.a., donna... anyone I missed? I'm really bad with names.

Ray Wong said...

Donna: favorite restaurants? There are so many. I haven't been back for a few years so I don't know if they even exist. But just about everything is so good -- it truly is an International city. But if you're into Chinese food, don't go to the tourist traps like the Jumbo. Go where the natives go -- there's a really great Chinese dim sum parlor in Causeway Bay -- I don't remember the name, but it's in the same building as the Sogo Department Store, I think. My parents liked it, and they are VERY, VERY, VERY picky about Chinese food. So it must be really good.

cindy said...

i am HERE with bells on.
(and apparently, cliches oozing out
of me nose!)

and i'm looking for ray's new abs foto. where is that? why am i here? is this a roast or what??

/bootay shake!

hee!

cindy said...

1. If Ray gave you the Pacific, what would you put it between?

a bratwurst and sourkraut.

2. China spelled backwards is ANIHC. Using this as an acronym, give us the name of a charitable organization suspected of having a paltry membership. (For example, Association of Nobody Incinerating Hot Chocolate--A.N.I.H.C.)

Affiliation of Nerds in Hot Cheerleading Outfits.

crap, i added and extra O.

3. Remember SAT analogies? Complete this one: McDonalds is to China as dipping sauce is to _________________.

KUNG PAO!

MA PO DOFU!!

okay, i'm hungry now.

peggy said...

Rays getting roasted, broiled, fileted, stuck with chop sticks and having a good time! I love all the great info he's giving us though about cross cultures and being more American now. It's really fascinating stuff to read. I do think he needs a dash of Taco sauce LOL.
What fun info you have Ray :)

Ray Wong said...

taco sauce? I wonder where that goes...

Thank gawd it's not tabasco sauce. that would really sting.

ChrisEldin said...

I have Xujun's book which is on my TBR list, and before that the last book I read about China was a middle-grade book (my genre) called Dragon Wings. I think it won the Newbery Medal. Awesome read, even for grownups.
I'll definitely be getting The Pacific Between as well!

:-)

peggy said...

Ummm, I said it wrong LOL. Homemade Salsas is great with lots of Chinese food noodle dishes..At least the nonauthentic stuff we find here in Wisconsin. They have mostly Hmong folks here..spicey food. I meant no offense :)

Chumplet said...

You're supposed to be offensive, Peggy! It's a roast!

peggy said...

oh okay then :)
Let me pour some Salsa on Ray then.
I been trying to come up with something for ANIHC
Alien National Insiders Hiding Cats

maybe thats where I got 13 of them? hee hee

jason evans said...

With this crowd, maybe I should have selected one of Ray's more, um, expressive photos. ;)

You'll have to stop over at his website to see more revelations about Ray.

Ray Wong said...

Don't spread any rumors now. All the nude shots are very tasty.

Tasteful, I mean.

peggy said...

with salsa of course ;)

Donna said...

Thanks, Ray. I'll look for the long line around Sogo--my family has been talking about a trip to Hong Kong for a while, so it might happen!

Avoiding tourist traps and going where the serious gourmets eat works pretty well in the Bay Area, too.

cindy said...

well, let's just say the guy's hiding some assets. we post on an exercise thread together. =D

Ray Wong said...

Cindy! Those pics are for private viewing!

cindy said...

*grins*
as this is a private roast!

i like tabasco myself.
wOOt!

Anonymous said...

Ray is really a girl. Don't be fooled. I remember when s/he was writing this book and got to see it go through its various incarnations--always loved the descriptives.

The Pacific between me and all coal-burning power plants would be just fine. Or organ meats--yeah, the Pacific between me and organ meats.

~GW

Precie said...

now, cindy, that's just so wong!

omg, did I actually just type that?

peggy said...

Exercise thread? My goodness, no you are peeking everyone's interest!

Oh..in the book of course :0
whew it's warm in here ;)
wheres my Salsa?

cindy said...

what ? what ?

i thought this was a roast.
and ray pretending to be all
shy and humble. huh!

*cackles*

hee!

peggy, the exercise thread is
as exciting as exercise can sound.
i love a good gym work out!

peggy said...

All I do for exercise is play on my slider scooter, chase husband, hike in the woods and chase aliens. You guys have more fun! No fair!
:oD

Ray Wong said...

it's getting hot and sweaty here. Exercising, of course.

Maybe the lucky winner will get a picture of my abs... or maybe not.

Phoenix said...

Yeah, well, Ray's Website is just a tease, an appetizer. Where do we go for the ribs and rump roast? Cindy, help us out here, would you?

Ray Wong said...

ribs and rump roast. my oh my. the next thing i know people are looking for Chinese sausages.

Did I just say that? It's so wong.

Ray Wong said...

Ahem, changing subject.... go to my blog. There's some interesting writing-related stuff...

/ end plug

peggy said...

we all will be sure or have checked out your blog..but we may loose play time if we tarry...did I spell that right?
LOL. You guys are so fun today, I'm ready to crack a brewski here, anyone care for me to fire up the transporter? I can have a virtual brew there in no time. Well..maybe.
Last time I did it, the cold one ended up in Phoenix instead of Nova Scotia. Dang this machine. Is there a transporter repairman in the house, just in case it doesn't work proper...gotta be prepared and all. Do the Chinese folk make beer?

cindy said...

hahahaha!

okay, the exercise thread i speak of is for serious people who like to exercise. not for looky loos and voyeurs.

>=)

Ray Wong said...

Speaking of... I'm going to the gym. Will be back in a couple.

Be good.

Ask me anything.

peggy said...

I'm a lookey loo? wow thats cool, I thought I was a crazy person. I can live with looky loo. here we go looky loo here we go lookey li.
oh wait..thats a song for Saturday nigh tisn't it.

Really about exercising, meant nothing bad. I have to be careful exercising..I might disappear and all, but husband spends hours on the Gazelle and on the slider scooter. there just aren't any cool places to o here in BF Wisconsin, I admire you that can go to them and work out :oD

peggy said...

ratts..wish we could edit our posts..oh well, have fun at the gym Ray.

cindy said...

peggy, haha! i'm only teasing.

RAY--i want to know what you did at the gym! =D i skipped today. recuperating form my squats and pull ups.

peggy said...

I know you were, but I kinda like lookey loo...LOL. I hope you recuperate just fine, I only do those exercises at home..heh heh heh..oops, husband read this. gotta go!
LOLOL
dang ole menfolk!

Chumplet said...

Cindy, you are surprisingly evil! I love it!

ChrisEldin said...

How can we tempt Cindy into letting us know that exercise site?

Lawdy!

:-)

ChrisEldin said...

Okay, I just went to Ray's website---completely forgot he starred in Sex and the City!!!
I did know that at one point.

And that 'lookin good' shot is to die for. mmm hmmm

:-)

Anonymous said...

Just coming by to say hello, you sexy beast.
:oP

Elonna

peggy said...

my oh my..if the website don't get ya.. I don't know wat will. What a fun day it's been today! Ray, you've been such fun to play with.
Wait!!
Did I say that!
I wish for you...a Zillion sales, NYT best seller and love, life and everything you would need to be successful!
I just had to say it, cause it's been such fun today, Taco sauce, Salsa, Sushi and life. What nore could an alien bean ever want?

Nothing, but a good working temporal machine..that just happens to be screwing up today!

cindy said...

chumplet, what a compliment! i tone down a lot for my very proper and public persona. or else i'd show my abs, too! ;*)

boo.

is ray back from the gym yet??

wOOt!

*shakes her tobasco bottle* =D

ChrisEldin said...

I've seen Cindy's abs....
{They're all that. And more.}

;-)

cindy said...

it was good for me, too, chris.
<3 <3 <3

hahahaha!

is it sad that i laugh at
my own jokes? don't answer
that.

jason evans said...

Thank you everyone for a wonderful roast!! Truly, we had a blast. :)

The contest is now closed. Ray, as soon as you've selected a winner from the folks who answered, please post the big announcement here.

Then, if the winner could please contact Ray via his website, you guys can get that prize on its way.

Thanks again!

Ray Wong said...

wow.

just wow.

Yes, I worked on my abs. And arms. And legs. It's arms and legs day. Then I took a shower...

You're buncha lookie loos.

^^ X.0 >.< !! <3

Ray Wong said...

Oh ****. Now I have to pick a wiener?

peggy said...

pick a wiener? LOLOL.. your still crackin me up! Quit it so I can go watch star trek!
LOL..

Oh I wish I was an Oscar meyer Wiener..lets all sing it!

Cynthia Bronco said...

McDonalds is to China as chocolate is to pants.

There, I win!!!!
:)
P.S. I did read this book. Ray's characters suck you in.

Chumplet said...

...that is what I'd truly like to beeeyeee yeeee...

Chumplet said...

'cause if I was an Oscar Meyer Weiner...

Chumplet said...

... Raymond Wong would be in love with meeeeeee!

Chumplet said...

But since I'm not a wiener, I'll have to make do with dear hubby. Sorry, Ray.

Cynthia Bronco said...

I meant chocolate dipping sauce. Sara beat me to the pants refernce, sigh.

Ray Wong said...

HAHA, Bronco. You're not the first to think of chocolate pants.

Chumplet said...

We dip the pants in the chocolate?

Ray Wong said...

OK. It's very difficult to pick a wiener. So I picked two -- is that allowed? Is it?

Wiener #1: Chumplet. The enthusiasm is just outrageous! Plus you know the Oscar Meyer song.


Wiener #2: Cindy. Your nerds in Cheerleading Outfits just cracked me up. I couldn't get that image out of my head. So, okay, you cheated. But I'm all for bending the rules!

peggy said...

Wiener #1: Chumplet hip hip horay! and for Cindy too. Ray you've been great today to play with. May you have many sales and wonderous moments!

Chumplet said...

Oh, Yippee! I was always curious about your book, Ray, and I'm sure I'll just love it.

Me and Cindy will compare notes afterward.

cindy said...

chumplet, you mean we'll compare our ray's ab fotos, right?

hahaHAHAHAHhhhhahHAHAHAHAHAHA!

*dies*

RAY! I NEVER WIN ANYTHING!
THANK YOU!! I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!

/bootay shake!!!!

Ray Wong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ray Wong said...

peggy, i think i love you.

cindy and chumplet: I hope you like the book. And don't forget to talk it up if you do!!! That's how we small fry authors make sales. LOL.

It's been great and thanks everyone. You're all MAHVALOUS.

Chumplet said...

You're a bigger fry than me, Maestro.

I'll fire you an email. Thanks for a fun day!

Ray Wong said...

You're welcome.

Now, a couple more to push this thing over 100. Shall we?

Chumplet said...

That would be me! Ding, ding, ding!!!

Shona Snowden said...

Ray Wong 101

laughingwolf said...

sorry raymond, forgot all about the roast til today :(

grats chumplet and cindy! :)

illy said...

Hi Ray, it's Carole here - also known as the worst friend on earth! Being the self-absorbed person that I am, the 23rd came and went...*smacks head repeatedly*

Anyway, I'm thrilled to see all the roasty~toasty comments!