Thursday, December 30, 2004

ancient history

i have some pretty entertaining stories about ancient artifacts, forgeries, and biblical studies/academic infighting, if anyone is interested. my former advisor is of course mentioned in the linked article--i have no love for the man, but the time he almost came to blows w/ another scholar in front of several thousand people at an academic conference was pretty awesome.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

art spiegelman

there's a strangely timed interview with art spiegelman in the onion today.

O: Obviously Maus is still on your mind, given that you still sometimes depict yourself as your Maus character. How do you look back on the series at this point?

AS: Oh, I'm very impressed with the guy who did that. [Laughs.]

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

ten good albums of 2004 (alphabetically)

arcade fire, funeral
erie choir, bad tsars is a drag
david kilgour, frozen orange
kings of convenience, riot on an empty street
lambchop, aw c'mon/no you c'mon
the owls, our hopes and dreams
palomar, palomar III: the revenge of palomar
schooner, you forget about your heart
shark quest, gods and devils
sun kil moon, ghosts of the great highway

a list of some of my favorite books of 2004 will be posted eventually.

Monday, December 27, 2004


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
hey, mad props to my dad, who suggested i look into the macro setting on my camera. so THAT'S what the little flower button does! it takes better pictures of tiny hamster toys!

thanks, dad! :)


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i finished my earwarmer today while i watched the extended return of the king!

lately this blog has been more about knitting (and self-portraiture) than reading. sorry about that. i swear i'll finish a book soon!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

happy holidays

Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i knitted this scarf last night. now i am about to go enjoy some holiday festivities, so it's a good thing i look festive!

have a great day, everyone!


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
another poor-quality photo--this one of hamster 43! his hat implies a robin hood sort of thing, although the rest of his ensemble doesn't really.

i've sort of been reading but haven't finished anything yet--mostly i've been knitting and watching movies and sleeping. i wonder if i can get one more book in before year's end. :)

Monday, December 20, 2004

book 113

michael griffth's bibliophilia
this book sucked. it had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. it begins with a predictable novella about a middle-aged sexually repressed librarian who ends up w/ a job at lsu monitoring the stacks for undergrads gettin' it on. the five short stories rounding off the volume aren't any better. i could go into why each of them are stupid and soulless, but that would require thinking about this book more than i want to.

ok, now i feel bad for writing this, b/c mr. griffith is probably a nice guy, and probably other people would really like this book, and find it funny and charming and a little bit sexy. i didn't, but that's just me.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

book 112

nick hornby's the polysyllabic spree
i decided to take a break from the crappy book i was reading and whip through this one instead, since i'm a hornby fan, he's a reliably entertaining author, and he was talking about books! i sort of wish the believer had waited a little bit longer to publish this, so there'd be more than a year's worth of columns--this book is a little on the slim side, and left me wanting more. of course, it did turn out to be entertaining, i got some ideas for books to check out, and i felt vindicated whenever he liked something i had also read and liked. note to self: pick up his songbook, preferably the older edition w/ cd if you can.


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
these are hamsters 40-42--note that the one in the middle is totally an old jewish dude, with a kippah and little glasses and a menorah stuck to him. i imagine the little pigtailed girl-hamsters are his daughters or granddaughters.

also, i apologize for the blurriness of all the hamster pictures. i can't get the camera quite focused for such tiny little adorable pieces of plastic.


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
this is hamster 39--pashmina!

actually, i got her before thanksgiving, but forgot to upload the picture in all the traveling-end of semester-getting sick hubbub.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
liquor store girl: uh, can i see some photo id?

me: sure, of course. *finds driver's license and hands it over*

liquor store girl (chuckling): oh, you don't look that old!


salon has an interview w/ jaime hernandez today about the locas book. it doesn't have any groundbreaking information or anything, but who doesn't like to read interviews about love and rockets? a sample page of the locas book is linked from the interview's first page.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

book 111

marilynne robinson's gilead
this novel is a letter that a dying pastor is writing to his young son, detailing his life and family history and his complicated relationship with his best friend's son, who happens to be his namesake. but you know what? nothing i can say to explain it will really get to the heart of what a great book it is, so next time you're at a bookstore, pick it up and flip through it, and if it seems appealing, you should read it. i'd give it five coffee-drinking bunnies, or whatever my ratings scale is.

awesome labels

stylus' top 5 labels of the year--merge = #1!! sonic unyon--new label of awesome chapel hill band the nein--is #2!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i got a haircut today!

so cool!

google is teaming up w/ university of michigan to digitize books and make them searchable and stuff! (link via metafilter)

hey, i also got some comics yesterday. allow me to plug chapel hill comics (formerly 2nd foundation) for second here: seriously, if you have not been there recently, go check it out. andrew and his wife are the nicest people ever and have been working really hard to make their store as awesome as it can be, with an extremely high success rate. and i know from comics, yo!

anyway, here's what i got:

--creased (little graphic novel by daniel miller)-a cute guy-meets-high-school-girl story. nothing groundbreaking, but i liked it well enough.
--in my darkest hour (wilfred santiago)-i got this for the cool art, though on closer inspection sometimes the art goes a little too far and takes you right out of the story (which is kind of convoluted as it is). i guess this is about a guy's breakdown and recovery or something. anyway, this book will no doubt be hailed as brilliant by more knowledgeable and/or pretentious people than i. i did like it, by the way, just wish it had been somewhat more straightforward. few comics handle the intermixing of unusual structural art with narrative well--kabuki is the only one i can think of right now.
--fables 31 and 32--awesome! this comic has yet to disappoint me.
--love and rockets 12--i so want ray and maggie to get back together. sigh. pipe dreams.
--y the last man 29--that wacky yorick!
--powers 6--this could be leading somewhere pretty cool . . .
--finder 35--i am constantly amazed at the thoguht carla speed mcneil puts into the social structure of the worlds in her comic.
--street angel 4--please stop w/ the introductions and get a plotline. thanks.
--plastic man--i swear, i really am going to stop buying this one of these months, b/c it's dumb. kyle baker, stop being dumb!
--angeltown--new vertigo miniseries--murdered woman, basketball player suspect, oj jokes . . . huh?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

book 110

sorry for the lack of posts: between the end of the semester and catching a vicious strain of flu (which i am still battling), i have not been getting a lot of reading done.

aaron lansky's outwitting history: the amazing adventures of a man who rescued a million yiddish books
thank you, aunt linda!!! my aunt picked out this book (along w/ some others) from my amazon wishlist (linked at left) for hanukkah. and this was pretty great hanukkah reading--the title was particularly apt. i'm not sure if i enjoyed this book so much b/c a) hello, it's about yiddish/jewish studies! and b) hello, it's about saving lots of books and making an amazing library!, but i really flew through this one. would this have as much appeal to non-jewish, non-library-students? i don't know--someone else read it and let me know. i think it's a pretty friggin' entertaining story, but that could just be me. i was especially interested in his trips to cuba and the former ussr--but really, the whole book is pretty inspiring. i'm still pissed they stopped teaching yiddish at duke right after i got here--and i'm now hoping this book will bring enough attention to yiddish that classes will spontaneously spring up around the country, even in places like north carolina. i sort of think aaron lansky is my hero now.

(please excuse rambling--like i said, i still have the flu.)

Monday, December 06, 2004


the regulator was having this awesome 20percent off sale this weekend, so of course i had to stop in and check out the selection. there was this one anthology that looked awesome: the new smithsonian book of comic-book stories: from crumb to clowes. i was all excited about it . . . and then i brought it home and looked at it more closely.

first of all, their selection of materials really sort of sucks. these are supposed to be the big-name people from the 60s on up, but some of them are really not all that well known*; melinda gebbie, for instance, is mostly known for being married to alan moore. i've never read any of her stuff before, and y'all know i read all sorts of comics. of course, i will not bitch about her inclusion, b/c she's one of only THREE women (out of 36 stories) in the entire thing. where's aline kominsky-crumb? julie doucet? jessica abel? ariel schrag? sarah dyer? all the chicks from the twisted sister anthologies? it's a little ridiculous.

plus, since most of the book is black-'n'-white, some of these great historic stories just look blah. the color is part of what makes works like the dark knight returns or watchmen or sandman so compelling, and that's really a major loss here. i realize there are such things as costs . . . which brings me to my last point.

uh, printer and/or editor error much? two stories are ruined by duplicate pages in place of other pages. what the hell, smithsonian!

don't buy this book. just don't. if you are looking for comic book anthologies, i'll look through mine and recommend some that are actually good.

*not that i don't think these artists are good--i mean, some of them are good--but i do think this anthology leaves out people who are more deserving.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

ny times/books = good gifts

the new york times' holiday book guide/yearly notable books wrap-up is up. i was especially excited to see a shout-out for my favorite cookbook of the year in their food section:

Karen Barker is one of the country's best working bakers, a Brooklyn girl gone South; she now makes desserts at the Magnolia Grill in Durham, N.C., where her husband, Ben, is the chef. In SWEET STUFF: Karen Barker's American Desserts (University of North Carolina, $29.95), she covers many bases, but the important chapters are the ones on cobblers and pies. Keep an eye out (and an oven preheated) for her deep-dish brown-sugar plum cobbler, maple bourbon sweet potato pie and peach cobbler with cornmeal cream biscuits and more bourbon -- remember, we're down South.

she also has an awesome recipe for blintzes. and she's doing another reading/tasting at the regulator in december, i believe on the 18th.

book 109

miriam toews' a complicated kindness
wow, wow, wow. this book was really, really good. it's about a young mennonite girl whose older sister ran away from home, and whose mother left shortly thereafter, and now the girl and her father are falling apart at the seams. i don't really want to say anymore about the plot, b/c it unfolds slowly and i don't want to give any of it away, but, i don't know, i like the books about teenage rebellion and angst that aren't all trite and boring. nomi is going through a crazy spiritual and familial crisis in this story, on top of all the regular teenage crap. anyway, toews really blew me away with this book--the writing is simple and honest and lovely. i'm definitely going to look for her other novels now.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

marc faris

local rocker/scholar (and former xdu dj) marc faris has a really, really cool article on the chicago sound--steve albini, shellac, jesus lizard, slint, etc--in the latest issue of popular music and society. seriously, my job is so cool.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


i don't really like either of the two books in my to-read pile (i think it's one of those things where i have to be in the mood to read them).

if you have any recommendations, please send them my way! free time is just around the corner and i will need plenty of books to get me through the chilly winter. :)