Adventures in the Real World

I’ve been quiet this week partly because of work (editing Brett Battles’s The Destroyed, among other things), and partly because certain recent events made the Internet explode in anger and ugliness that just wore me down. I looked outside my window one day, the sun was shining, and I realized I should step away from the computer, go outside, and hang out with people in real life for a while.

One of the fun things I did was go to a party Mulholland Books threw for author Nick Santora for his upcoming novel, Fifteen Digits (out April 24). It was held poolside at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills, where Mr. PCN and I munched on arugula pizza and fried calamari and shrimp as Nick regaled us with funny stories about his experiences as a lawyer who won a screenwriting competition that got him his start in Hollywood (he’s written and produced shows such as Prison Break, Lie to Me, and Law & Order). CAA called him after the win but he didn’t return the call at first, assuming the biggest agency in NY (and LA) was some shady business that would charge him $300 a month to represent him. Luckily, someone set him straight.

Poolside at the Avalon

Nick (center) telling tales

My favorite anecdote was the one he told me about why he named a character in Digits Elyse, a moniker I obviously like. (It’s a personal story so it’s not my place to repeat it here.) It was also interesting to see how much of Nick is in his lead character, Rich Mauro.

After the party, I had to go check out the brand-new Sprinkles 24-hour cupcake ATM (yes, it’s a real thing!) that had just started operating to alleviate long lines inside the store. Since it was after nine p.m. on a weeknight, I figured I could sail right up, order a couple of red velvets, and be on my way. Wrong! There was a mass of people queued up in front of the machine, which kept needing to be restocked by employees baking their buns off inside the store to keep up with the demand. It would’ve been much faster if they’d just opened the doors and served us that way, but I guess the point was customers had to use the ATM after hours.

Now, I usually stay faaaar away from long lines because crowds scare me. I would fear for my life at a Black Friday sale, or at an Apple store the day a new iPad comes out. That’s why I almost left every time the line at Sprinkles stopped moving forward due to technical issues with the machine or because it was out of cupcakes. I didn’t want to be around if a riot erupted.

But something funny happened. The people around me encouraged me to stay, saying the cupcakes were worth the wait. The guy in front of me talked about the chai-flavored one like it was a sexy woman. He fretted that his girlfriend at home might get mad because he’d been gone so long. I said he should tell her he was only standing out in the cold for her, that he was being romantic and chivalrous. He said that wasn’t true, and that she may never even get to see the cupcakes.

We had a good laugh over it, and I realized a sense of community had descended over the crowd as we patiently stood in 48-degree weather waiting for cupcakes at ten o’clock at night (notice how I said earlier it was nine when I got there). And as much as I love cupcakes, after a while they were no longer the reason I was standing in line. For a moment—that lasted an hour and ten minutes—I was among people united over something, the mood was light and giddy, and that was the real treat I brought home.

Happy Friday, and may your weekend be full of sweet surprises.

Look at all the different flavors!

I chose Red Velvet

Finally, success!



  • Reply
    March 9, 2012 at 7:49 am

    This made me smile and gave me a sense of joy. Love it!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I love this post. I’m glad you got a cupcake, but even more heartened about your experience. People CAN be fun! It’s nice to be reminded of that every once in a while.

    Thanks for sharing the experience!

  • Reply
    jenn aka the picky girl
    March 9, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Oh my gosh, a cupcake ATM?!?! That is so so so cool. I love cupcakes, and amazingly in my podunk town, we don’t have a cupcake place yet. I know, right? How is this possible?

    Glad you had some fun real-life experiences. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 9, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Quite an adventure in Beverly Hills.

    How much did this cupcake cost and how good was it? Do you think this is going to be a new trend?

  • Reply
    Naomi Johnson
    March 9, 2012 at 9:39 am

    A cupcake ATM! Great idea – wonder what the start-up costs would be here in my town…

  • Reply
    March 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Sprinkles are definitely worth the wait, and the chai–delish. What you experienced in line at Sprinkles is what I experience every time I line up and wait to see U2. It is that sense of community and meeting people from different walks of life that I love. The line is almost as fun as the show itself.
    I’ve just had one bad experience in 20+ years. I may need to hit the Sprinkles ATM to get fix!

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    March 9, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    It’s so important to balance being online with being out and about and having real experiences. Yours were both lovely ones. And I think that cupcake ATM is the best idea I’ve seen today. You’re the kind of person who can turn queues into a positive experience, PCN. It’s great to see there are plenty of others who can do the same.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    you had me at arugula pizza, so the cupcake ATM really sent me over the edge…now I blame you for the Klondike Bar which is currently being devoured!

  • Reply
    Pop Culture Nerd
    March 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks for your comments, everyone, and letting me share the joy.

    Christine and Lauren, I definitely needed the reminder. I spend too much time in front of the computer muttering to myself.

    EIREGO, the cupcakes cost $4 a piece, and I guess if this ATM takes off (looks like it’s off to a good start), there will be others.

    Naomi, you’ll have to let us know if you start your own cupcake ATM in your city! Then share your info with jenn aka the picky girl so she can start one in her town, too.

    Debbie, you’re absolutely right about the bonding experience. And that’s two votes now for the chai. I’ll have to try it next time!

    Shell, I don’t know if I can take credit for turning the experience into a positive one. The other people in line were nice to me and I simply responded.

    Paulette, if it helps you, go ahead and blame whatever else you ate on me. I’ll take the blame for your lunch today, too, if you’d like.

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