Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Guest Author: Hank Phillippi Ryan


If you want to know what time it is, don’t ask me. I only know what time it is for me.

I see you looking baffled. But here’s what I mean. I don’t know what time it really is—because I’m fooling myself about it. And somehow, it works. How can we fool ourselves? I mean, we should know, right?

For instance. The alarm clock-radio on my nightstand is set nine minutes fast. So when it rings at 7:30, the time I usually have to get up, I creak open my eyes, try to focus on the green numerals, and my brain yells: GET UP! It’s 7:30.

Then there’s a pause, while the other half of my brain happily reminds me that it’s really 7:21, and I delightedly hit the snooze.

Why? Why not just set the clock for the real time? Then set the alarm for, say 7:21, then hit the snooze for nine minutes and get up at the real 7:30?

Because then I don’t get the precious nine “extra” minutes of sleep.

There’s a clock in the bathroom where I do my hair and makeup—I set that one about 12 minutes fast. Here I’m fooling myself to get me to hurry up. I look at the clock, mid-mascara: it’s 8 o’clock already! I panic. Hurry! Then I realize it’s actually just twelve minutes until 8 o’clock, and I have plenty of time, and I can relax a bit. I’m no longer behind—I’m ahead.

Does that make any sense? Do you do that?

I do it with the clock on my wall at the TV station where I work as a reporter—I set that fast, too, but it makes sense in the world of unmissable deadlines. I suppose. My husband says: why don’t you just set the clocks to the REAL TIME?
And I see his point. Kind of.

I also fool myself with money. On payday, I enter the income into my not-so-perfect checkbook register—but I put the deposit amount as less than it really is. So I have a little pad.

My husband says—why don’t you just write down the real amount? So you know how much money is actually there? Not some theoretical amount? Yeah, I see his point. But that doesn’t work for me.

I also hide money from myself in my wallet. The other day, I unzipped a little pouch on the side and there was the secret 20 dollars I had tucked there for emergencies. But I had forgotten it was there! So much for the emergency idea. But see—I’ve done that several times. And I always forget it’s there. Then I’m always delighted to find it.

Is reality so complicated and unmanageable that we have to fool ourselves into making it all work? My little self-trickery makes me happy, and it makes my life work very nicely.

Do you face reality? Or do you have your secret ways?

It’s time for AIR TIME! Charlotte McNally goes undercover and with a hidden camera into the not-so-pretty world of counterfeit couture! And to celebrate the publication of book 3 in Hank’s best-selling mystery series, those who comment will be entered into a drawing for an ARC of the Agatha-winning book one, PRIME TIME.

Award-winning investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan is currently on the air at Boston's NBC affiliate, where she's broken big stories for the past 22 years. Her stories have resulted in new laws, people sent to prison, homes removed from foreclosure, and millions of dollars in refunds and restitution for consumers.

Along with her 26 EMMYs, Hank’s won also won dozens of other journalism honors. She's been a legislative aide in the United States Senate (working on the Freedom of Information Act) and at Rolling Stone Magazine (working with Hunter S. Thompson).

Her first mysteries, Prime Time (which won the prestigious Agatha Award for Best First Novel, was a double RITA nominee for Best First Book and Best Romantic Suspense Novel, and a Reviewers' Choice Award Winner) and Face Time (Book Sense Notable Book), were best sellers. They were both re-issued this summer from MIRA Books.

Just released: Air Time (MIRA Sept. 2009) (Sue Grafton says: "Sassy, fast-paced and appealing. This is first-class entertainment.") Watch for Drive Time (MIRA February 2010.)


Pamela Keener said...

I understand the concept but seriously I don't think it would work for me. I would get too anxious and probably when I do realize I have more time because I fooled myself I'd be PO'd that I spent all that time worrying. I can be a nervous nelly at times and I truly hate that feeling in spite of myself. Hope this post makes sense *wink*. I like the idea of hiding money though that would be a pleasant surprise when I found it. I love putting my hand in coat pockets only to find I am 5 bucks richer LOL.
Love & Hugs,
Pam Keener in PA

Michele Hauf said...

Welcome to the convertible, Hank! Still working on getting those pictures up. I think it's a Blogger thing today. It doesn't like any pictures we try to post.

Helen Brenna said...

Welcome Hank! So sorry for the issues this morning. Never a dull day in the vert.

I do this, too! I think it works because I forget that I've set my clock ahead. I forget I've stashed 20 bucks in the jar in the kitchen. Which means I also forget when I need it the most! lol

Congrats on all the success, Hank! Very cool stuff!

Mint said...

I have to admit when I have to set my alarm to get up for something I usually set two. My regular clock and then my cell phone for 15 minutes later. I'm not a morning person so I usually have to force myself to get up. I usually stash my change away to see how much I can save up and then I wonder when I need to pay for something why I never have that 2 cents on me and have to break a dollar.

Linda Henderson

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, thanks guys. And look at the bright side--you can just--imagine my photo. And imagine my covers. What fun!

And the hidden money thing..what's so interesting about that, is that you DO remember or find it--just when you need it!

And the link to my website works, yay! Commenters who go there and click on "contact" and email me a mention of the Top Down--will be entered in a drawing for an ARC of (the Agatha winning) PRIME TIME!

And yes, Pam. Finding money in coat packets is the best! ANd fall is coming up..sigh..which means lots of coat pockets.

Melissa said...

I totally deceive myself, lol. I set my clocks ahead a few min.s, and use my cell phone alarm, because it's really annoying, and I have to get up to turn it off. I hate to be late~~so I trick myself about time, lol.
And I hide money, too~~in my car, in side pockets. Usually it ends up being spent as fun money for my daughter, but that way I always have some just in case cash.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hi Hank - Welcome, welcome and thanks for riding with us today.

I say, if it works for you, lie. I used to do the set the clocks ahead thing but it drove my dh nuts. Now they are accurate and I'm always about 5 - 8 minutes late. there's a message there somewhere.

BTW - have we ever asked how such a gorgeous woman got the name HANK???

Paula R said...

Hello Hank, I do the same thing with my clocks. The clock in my bedroom is set 20 minutes fast, to ensure that I have enough time ahead to get ready for work. The one in my bathroom is 10 minutes fast, so that in my sleepy daze, when I look quickly, I trick myself into thinking I don't have enough time. The one is the second bedroom just stays a hour ahead...think laziness plays a role here? My computer, cell phone and the clocks on my appliances tell the "real" time though. I usually remember why, but there have been many occasions when I can trick myself and believe that the time is really later than it is. It seems to work, except on the weekends of course. It is just something about the work week that makes the brain just believe what you want it to. Congrats on the release of your latest book. I can't wait to get it. I have been hearing a lot about your books, and I am excited to dive into the world you have created. Have a wonderful time blogging here today.

Hi Helen!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Yes, Melissa, *Love* to find money in the car. I read somewhere that the average family has ninety dollars in change just lying around their house. Sounds true to me.

(Where do they come up with that stuff? Go around and look for change in people's homes? Anyone ever come to your house to count change? Maybe it's actually a fun TV story for me..)

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Hey Paula: An hour ahead? That's truly radical. (And thanks for looking for the books--hope you love them.)

There was the day that my computer didn't switch over to daylight savings (or whatever) and I thought it was an hour later all day than it really was.

It was kind of fascinating..I was ready for lunch when the computer said it was 1:00--even though it was really 12. I got my script done really early. My brain was going by the clock! Self-deception at its best.

But when I need to wake up in the morning, I can program my brain to wake myself up at, say, 7. ANd I wake up on the DOT. But it's the dot of the clock 7, not the real seven. (Why is that?)

Ah..does this make any sense? What time is it anyway? ANd don't even talk to me about time zones.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Welcome, Hank!

My husband does the clock thing, and I don't, so it makes for some excitement sometimes. He's backed off on most of the house clocks, but I have to remember that the clock in the pickup is 10 minutes off. Have to admit, I'm late more often than he is, but setting the clock wrong doesn't help me.

Funny thing is, Clyde grew up on Indian Time, which non-Indians think of as late. But Clyde's people start when people get there. It suits me better than it suits him.

The book sounds wonderful. It's on my list.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

KAthleen--thank you so much!

Starting when people get does have a certain sweet charm.

HOwever--in TV news, it would not be terribly successful. Can you imagine me asking my news director--ah, can I go on at ten after 6 instead of 6? I'm not quite...ready...

Oh, yeah. Goodbye job.

Anonymous said...

Adored Prime Time and am halfway through Face Time! Charlie's relationship with her mom is LOL hysterical...great characters all around.

Met Hank at RWA and she's just a warm and charming in person as onscreen!

I also do the clock thing. My clocks are set 15 minutes ahead in the house & on the watch. Strangely it's 34 minutes ahead on the car clock--must allow for awful traffic, right? yes, it's quite insane, but I'm never late...never. ;)


Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Hey Carla--how lovely of you! Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, my real mother, when she started to read FACE TIME, was not too happy about the portrayal of Charlie's mother!

Steam was coming through the little holes on the phone receiver, know what I mean?

I reminded her that it was fiction. Then I convinced her to go ahead and read the whole thing--and then call me back.

She did, in tears. And she agreed with me that it was a murder mystery--but also a mother-daughter love story. (Whew.) Lots of book groups choose it for that reason--and it's really made some differences in opening up relationships.

Going home to Indianapolis for the weekend--Mom's coming to my signings. (Anyone in the area? LOVE to see you!) That ought to be a hoot!

catslady said...

Every winter I leave money in the pockets of my coat so that I have a surprise each year lol. I think it started when I really forgot money and decided it was such a nice surprise that I'd keep doing it. It's never the same amount and I really do forget how much.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, catslady...what a great idea. I'm going to do that, too. It's leaving a little treat for yourself to find later. I love it.

Paula R said...

Leaving one of the clocks a hour ahead is purely incidental, Hank. I just never change it after Daylight Savings Time. So, when the time changes again, it is often an hour off, but my mind always seems to know that. Crazy!

I do "hide" money from myself too...emergency/rainy day funds. But, I can't seem to forget sometimes, and I usually rationalize and find some reason to use it. I do put it back, though. The first time I put money away, it was accidental, and I found/remembered it when I needed to. Now, I just do it, just because. It is really great talking to you.

Twisted Sister Meg said...

I do both the clock thing as well as the money hiding. Each purse I have has a little bit. There have been a few times when I needed the cash while on the road.

Wonderful reading about your and your novels! Can't wait to start reading!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Hey, Meg, thanks! Let me know what you think...

Paula, I'm laughing out loud! That is quite an amazing feat.

One of my favorite stories: I was anchoring the news in Atlanta. Years ago.

The weather person turned to me, live, and said, all perky: "And remember Hank, tonight is the night the time changes!"

And I said: "Well, you know, the time doesn't really change, it's a continuum. WE change. WE change the clocks. But the time really stays the same."

The next day at work, I got yelled at by my boss. He told me that was a weird thing to say on live TV. AND: that I should "practice my ad libs."

I'm not kidding.

Paula R said...

Hahahahahaha, Hank! Whenever people ask me why the clock is so fast or if it is behind, I tell them that the clock isn't wrong because it is whatever time it is, somewhere else in the world...I hope that makes, it is 5 o'clock somewhere, as Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson like to say.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hank!
Happy to meet you, for-me-a-new-author, here :)
looking forward for my chance to read your works.
I'm surprise that many people do that clock thing, hide money somewhere.
It's my habit to set my all clocks at my home several minutes Ahead. About 15 to 20 minutes ahead. Except my pc and my mobile. I used to set my watch and my clock 1 hour ahead. It helped me alot for not being late at work *g*
As for money hiding thing. I do it till now. Sometimes i just forget where i hide the money. It's only a small amount but in several places around the house. I have them in my jacket, my books, my purse, a jar, drawers, err what else ?;)
they do help me when i need in emergencies.

Nice talking to you!

Lori T said...

Hi Hank~

I used to do that with my clocks. The ones in the house were always at the right time, but the one in my car and on my watch were always at least ten minutes ahead. This worked for awhile, but then I started thinking...oh this is set, it stopped working. Plus, it drove my husband and kids crazy.

I would love to be entered.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Paula--I completely understand! (Very very scary...)

Mariska--welcome! And thank you so much--hope ou love the books. Let me know, okay?

Lori--you're entered!

It's almost midnight in Boston..and I have a big interview tomorrow. (The story will be on next week..I can't tell you what it is just yet.)

I have loved the woderful top-down ride today! ANd I'm flattered and thrilled to be invited to ride along.

See you all soon..and keep in touch! (I'll let you know who won books...)

xoxo to you all

Mare F said...

LOL. None of the clocks in our house are set at the same time for just the same reason. Now if I could only master the money part.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Hey Mare! Lovely to see you here in the convertible..

You know Lynne Griffin, the wonderful author? She says her husband calls them "tuckies"--little bits of money you tuck away to find later.

Try it!


D.D. Scott said...

Hi, Hank!

D. D. Scott here!

I'm sooooo showing your post to my DH who's mortified with my "alarm" tactics that so very nicely parallel yours! Woot!

And I go huge leaps further with your approach too! I set the clock in my Jeep six minutes ahead (don't ask me why six works but it does), my watches, all the clocks in the house, plus the coffee maker and microwave times.

I feel like I'm squeezing an extra six minutes out of every hour I'm awake! Yesss!!! And I soooo need that additional time! LOL!

Thanks for sharing!

Sexy, Sassy, Smart Timing Is Everything Wishes --- D. D. Scott

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Yes,D.D.--I absolutely agree! You get 6 minutes more out of every hour. Very wise!

(Tell your DH hi from me..)

Monica Manning said...

Hunh! All this time I thought I was the only crazy one.

We have four clocks in our master suite: three in the bedroom, one in the ensuite. My bedside clock is 18 minutes fast; my husband's is 27 minutes fast; the mantle clock on the faux fireplace is correct; the one in the ensuite is 10 minutes fast. Why? Same reason. And since I suck at math, it forces me to drag my sorry self out of bed, rather than do the calculation to figure out what time it really is.

*shrug* It works for me.

kd easley said...

I used to do that with my clock until someone gave me a clock that sets itself. :) Couldn't figure out how to get around that.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Monica--that's elaborate! But hey, if it works...sounds great.

KD--a clock that sets itself? Yikes. Scary. I think the humans should be in control. :-)