Sunday, February 27, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
hamsters 50, 51, and 52. there are now too many for the keyboard-drawer on my desk, and i am trying to figure out where to put them all to best display their adorable-ness.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

book meme

hey, it's exactly the same as that music meme, but it's about books.

1) Total number of books in your house:
approximately 1200, not counting the bookshelf (and boxes) of graphic novels

2) The last book you bought was:
i think it was the dancer upstairs, which i bought last weekend at nightlight. most of the other books i've gotten recently have been from the library.

3) What was the last book you read before reading this message?
see below. :)

4) Write down 5 books you often read or that mean a lot to you.

a. mark helprin's winter's tale. i used to read this annually, although i haven't done it in the last couple of years. i always loved the mix of fairy tale and big-city immigrant story and rich people shenanigans. helprin really is a great writer.

b. john irving's the hotel new hampshire. i read this book probably 20-some times through middle and high school and college--it was the first irving i'd read--my dad gave me his old copy, i imagine forgetting the whole incest subplot. i liked it anyway, and proceeded to read every other irving (except the 158 pound marriage, which my dad would not let me read when i was 13ish, and which doesn't really appeal to me anyway). it's not irving's best, but i always liked it for some reason.

c. sharon creech's love that dog. a kids' book, told all in poetry, about a boy's love for his dog. i cry every single time i read it.

d. haruki murakami's hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world. i first read this in asian lit in college, and i've reread it many times since. it's still my favorite murakami.

e. ann patchett's bel canto. one of the most amazing books i read before i started to keep track of the books i've read. i haven't reread it yet (my mom still has my copy) so maybe it won't hold up, but in my head it's absolutely brilliant and moving.

5) Who are you going to pass the stick to (to three people) and why?
david n. if he wants to. john m., if he does things like this. i don't know who else talks about books, really. :)

Friday, February 25, 2005

2005 book 19

nicholas shakespeare's the dancer upstairs
wow, this book was pretty freakin' riveting. it starts with a journalist in peru who wants to write the story of the minister of intelligence, famous for capturing a notorious guerilla leader after 12 years of terror. unable to get the interview and despondent, he randomly goes to a cafe, where he meets the police detective who tracked the guerilla down, and whose story is pretty fascinating. if this wasn't a work of literary fiction, but was a more genre-related mystery, it probably would have a line on the back like, "but will his obsession w/ his daughter's dance teacher get in the way of his investigation?" rejas, the detective, is an extraordinarily well-written character, and the story is a compelling one, highlighting the political chaos in latin america while relating the tale of a man falling in love.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

that darn pope

so the pope is in the hospital again. i used to really like that guy, b/c when i was living in israel he came to visit, and he very respectfully put a note in the Wall, ostensibly asking forgiveness for the Church's inaction during the Holocaust. i thought that was pretty freakin' classy and thereafter thought the pope was an adorable old man.

well, that dude is just totally addled with old-ness these days. i mean, first there was that whole "dignity of women" debacle, where he talked about women's great sensitivity and i believe implied women should be nicer to their husbands (i can't find the references right now). but when i saw this on bookslut this morning i about screamed. ok, pope, i get that you are against gay marriages b/c you're the pope. whatever. but there is no need ever to compare abortion to the Holocaust. (for one thing, there are plenty of actual genocides to compare to the Holocaust.) this is just as un-classy and insensitive as the anti-abortion protestors who were outside eisenhower auditorium when elie wiesel was speaking back when i was a little college freshman. their signs also compared abortion to the Holocaust--and also features MUCH-larger-than-life photos of fetuses.

my point is this: it's your own business if you think abortion is a huge crisis. maybe you should take a more proactive stance re: abortion if it bothers you that much--you know, give kids condoms and stuff, or adopt all the babies that would otherwise be aborted. but the one thing you shouldn't do is co-opt a completely unrelated tragedy to try and make your own position more sympathetic. abortions are nothing like the Holocaust--there is no band of women out there going, "hey, i hate fetuses! let's all get knocked up and then abort them!" the Holocaust--and all genocides really--is a disgusting piece of history because one group specifically targeted another for extermination. abortion is a personal issue for each woman--it's not a campaign of hatred. it's not deliberate. so SHUT UP, pope!

god, what if his successor is worse?!


aww, the duke chronicle cares about local music! check out this article on des_ark.

by the way--the cd release party saturday at 506 is free (more money to spend on booze at the bar! thanks, glenn!) and work clothes is opening. we just got their new cd at wxdu, but i haven't heard too much of it yet. suffice it to say: this show is going to be awesome.

tob semifinals

roth vs. ozick.

i read and enjoyed both of these books, so figured i'd throw this link up, even though i got bored w/ linking to the tob every day (i mean, it's not like i'm bookslut). but i really agreed w/ the assessments here and was pleased with the outcome.

i fully predict that cloud atlas will kick that dumb wolfe novel in the rear, and then triumph over roth for the title of BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR! if i had to pick just one, that's how it'd come out for me, anyway. i mean, the roth scared me so badly i was shaking--but the ending was a little bit weak. david mitchell just amazed me through and through.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

2005 book 18

sarah vowell's take the cannoli
well, yay to the unc library for having this book that i've been wanting to read. though actually, i didn't like it quite as much as partly cloudy patriot. for one thing, there was wayyy too much frank sinatra in this book. but it did have some high point for me--i really liked the first couple of essays, about her dad and her experiences in band, and the one about the chelsea, as well as the last couple of essays, especially the one about learning to be goth. that was pretty hilarious. the one about making mix tapes rang pretty true--and of course i loved when she said her boyfriend would call her "the second he'd finished reading a novel and just had to tell me about it, and i know it sounds hokey and librarian-ish to say so, but i just swooned when he did that." hee. well anyway, she also has some essays in here about american history and traveling and whatnot--the one on the trail of tears starts off strong and veers a little too much into self-indulgence for my tastes, but really, the goth story made up for everything.

more 80s (and 70s) nostalgia

ha! look what just came across my desk at the music library! the photos are amazing.

chapter five is called "drag."


good music this weekend

friday night at the cradle: various local acts doing an elliot smith tribute. ash bowie is performing, and erie choir i think (the audubon park blog will have more details, i'm sure).

saturday night at local 506: des_ark and bellafea are both releasing their long-awaited cds! this is girls' night out for sure, so forgive me if you see me and i'm extra-loud and giggly--my ladies and i will be going out for drinks beforehand. and probably will get drinks during, as well. :)

Monday, February 21, 2005

seriously, watch veronica mars

this week's episode (featuring guest star alyson hannigan, from buffy) looks to be totally amazing. there will be an 80s dance. logan will be dressed as tom cruise in risky business. veronica will be in a madonna-esque ensemble. and i imagine the writing quality will be as consistently smart, funny, and riveting as every other episode has been.

so why aren't you watching yet?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

2005 book 17

connie mason's the pirate prince
in case you couldn;t tell from the title, this is the romance novel i read for class. and first, let me commend david nahm on his recommendation of pta thriftshop as a romance-buying locale--their selection of books was pretty remarkable, and i only paid 50 cents for this one (a quarter more than the herman wouk book i picked up!). also, props to jodi, who is letting me use her computer to blog this from skylight, since i did not bring mine with me.

and onto the plot! it is a historical romance, taking place in turkey in 1564, and revolves around a prince who takes to piracy after his evil brother kills all their other brothers to maintain hold on the empire. as revenge, prince dariq hijacks (or whatever pirates call it) a ship carrying "a great treasure" destined for his brother--an virginal englishwoman with lush pink lips, destined to be his brother's concubine! gasp! dariq decides to trade the enticing englishwoman for his mother, still trapped in his evil brother's castle, but finds himself unable to resist her womanly charms. the typical plot twists ensue, along with an extremely large number of sex scenes (kate a. once told me that one of her college classes read romance novels and one thing they all had in common was no sex before page 100--that held true here, although there was a LOT of sex after page 100). i spent most of this book snickering and sharing the especially lusty passages with my homework-doing cohorts, so i guess you could say i enjoyed it. :)

for those interested in other exotic and racy romance novels, this author apparently has one about gypsies due out in may.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

2005 book 16

a.l. kennedy's paradise
one of the nice things about being a little bit sick is that between all the naps and sniffling and coughing, there is some time to do some just-for-fun reading. although kennedy's latest novel is fairly dark--it's the story of an alcoholic who gets involved with another alcoholic--it certainly qualifies as reading enjoyment. it's somewhat circular and confused--which makes sense, as the narrator begins the story having just emerged from a blackout, and has to piece together her recent activities and her life in general. never having been an alcoholic, i can't really say whether or not the characterizations are accurate, but they're certainly very powerful and gripping. this is probably kennedy's best novel to date, although it is slightly more distressing than her other works. still, i'd highly recommend it.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

2005 book 15

andy duncan's beluthahatchie and other stories
the mysterious john m., fellow avid reader, left this for me to read. and i have to say, i enjoyed it pretty thoroughly. duncan, who has local ties, only missteps in the two stories where he writes in dialect--although the title story, about a blues guitarist who takes a train to the suburbs of hell and runs into the devil, is engaging enough to get past this. his stories are a mix of fantasy and dark humor and romance and history and good ol'-fashioned mountain music--highlights for me were "the executioner's guild," about a traveling electric-chair operator, "the premature burials," about a wife who makes her husband promise to be buried with her when she dies, "the map to the homes of the stars," about cars and lost childhood and things of that nature, and "liza and the crazy water man," about a girl from the carolina mountains with an amazing singing voice. if those descriptions don't give you the hint, i'll point out that duncan's stories really have a surprising range, meaning that most readers could find something enjoyable in here somewhere. thanks for the recommendation, john; i'll return the book tomorrow. :)

tob/philip roth

round two of the tournment of books has begun. i actually got a little bored w/ posting links to the tournament, especially since i hadn't read some of the books, but i think maud newton really nails just why roth's novel was so frightening and effective. again, i did read it jsut before the election and was terrified out of my wits, but even a reviewer reading it in february should have picked up on the allusions to the present administration. kudos to maud newton!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

romance novels

i have to read a romance novel for my popular materials class next week. does anyone know of one that might entertain me, as opposed to making me want to claw my eyeballs out? i mean, i'm not totally a terrible book snob (i did think that mystery book i read was fun), but romance novels always seem extra silly and formulaic. i am pretty sure chick-lit doesn;t count, which is fine, b/c i don't really like chick-lit (it is jsut as formulaic and silly as regular romance books, but everyone is so much more fashionable and adorably neurotic!). i mean, if i'm going to read some torrid love story, i'd rather there at least be some bodice-ripping and maybe some horses for scenery.

as a side note, does anyone know where i can obtain a romance novel? the kids at nightlight made fun of me for buying that mystery book, until i defensively explained that it was for homework.

best headline ever, ever, ever

i meant to post this on monday, but i forgot.

[insert your own snarky comment here]

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

2005 book 14

michael ondaatje's in the skin of a lion
this novel left me with only the vaguest impression of plot--but i certainly don't mean that in a bad way, as it's beautifully written. characters sort of float in and out, but everything comes full circle by its memorable end. apparently two of the characters here appear in another ondaatje novel (the english patient? i can't remember, it's been years since i've read it), which sort of intrigues me. anyway, the highlight here is definitely the language--it's a dreamy story with romance, languor, actresses, and jailtime. pretty awesome.

Sunday, February 13, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
hamsters 48 and 49!

is the one with the toothbrush a dentist? do dentists wear cute little hats in japan?

i love it anyway--being a dentist's daughter and all.

thank you for the valentines, anonymous friend.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

bizarro world

finally picked up my copy of the bizarro world anthology today (along with the latest issue of fables) and was pretty pleased with it. like the last one, it was sort of hit and miss, but there were some great bits. the highlights for me were the dylan horrocks/faryl dalrymple one (and i also loved the supergirl one that dylan horrocks did the art for), the leela corman one, the justice league take your kids to work day one, and the last two stories as well. it was also nice to see contributions from evan dorkin, craig thompson, beto hernandez, and andi watson, and the jaime hernandez cover was cute, but i really could have done w/o the dave cooper, whose art just gets more and more grotesque as time goes by. bleah.

prom photos

prom photos here, if you can get the link to work . . .

Friday, February 11, 2005

arthur miller

damn, arthur miller died.


aww, the lovely audubon park-ers gave me posting access at their blog. that is just so sweet! we'll see how long it takes before they get tired of my rambling. :)

(probably sooner than i thought, if i keep accidentally posting my own posts to their blog. crazy blogger setup . . . ) *blush*


the tournament of books continues!

local music love

for anyone in the triangle area who is sort of intrigued by the concept of local music, but doesn't know where to begin, a new comp aimed at local college kids is a good place to start. the cd release party fun for heard together began last night with the sames, portastatic, the comas, and the rosebuds at the cradle--all the bands were in top form, all had great new material, and the rosebuds nearly rocked the roof off. other bands appearing on the comp play tongiht at local 506 (schooner, gerty, some others) and saturday night at the cave. click that link for info and track listings--even though the font is hella hard to read, i have ascertained that these songs are all pretty awesome.

another great local comp is the compulation that pox world empire put out a year or so ago--all new stuff from all amazing bands, and volume two is in the works (i am sooo excited for volume two). i can't praise the compulation highly enough--it was required listening in my car for months on end and some of my most-played itunes tracks are from it. :)

both of these cds should be available in local record stores, if you're curious.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

audio culture

just got this really interesting book of essays at the music library. authors include brian eno, glenn gould, john zorn, chris cutler . . . and umberto eco?!

i found the sections on electronica and electronic "(re)production" to be most fascinating, but there are some other gems in there as well.

tournament of books continues

round one gets more awesome as cynthia ozick's latest novel is thrown into the mix.

another of my top ten books of 2004 is being judged tomorrow--cloud atlas. it had better win!

(also, i'm not sure how that new tom wolfe book even made it to the tournament, but i really hope it goes down in flames when it comes up for judging next week. granted, i have not read it, but that's b/c the excerpts were TERRIBLE).

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

2005 book 13

janet evanovich's hot six
for popular materials next week, we have to read a mystery. a couple of girls in my class recommended janet evanovich's stephanie plum series, noting that it features transvestites, ex-hookers, and dudes who loved ducks. i called my mom--a connoisseur of mysteries--to get her take on the series, and she about died of excitement, noting that "when i read those, i laugh so hard i practically pee my pants!" this was a pretty ringing endorsement, so when i won a round of trivia last week and had a 1/2-off gift certificate at nightlight, i picked up the 6th book in the series (the only one they had on the shelves). and it was actually pretty funny and entertaining. it was about the fastest read ever, and the plot mainly involved the main character (a bounty hunter) being thwarted every time she tries to have sex with her boyfriend (a cop) b/c of this wacky case involving murders and guns, and also b/c her grandmother is staying with her. she has a pet hamster named rex, so i was all about that character. i did laugh out loud a few times, even, although there was no pants-peeing.

don't worry--i'll be back to the usual literary fiction asap. :)

bookslut etc

the new issue of bookslut is up: the highlight for me was definitely this month's judging a book by its cover, which takes on romance novels. hee. there is also a review of outwitting history, which i read and loved.

also, the tournament of books continues.. i really liked this review. i forgot to post yesterday's; i can't even remember what it was about, which maybe means i hadn't read either of the books. either way, there probably is a link from today's judging.

i might post some stuff about tv later, or not. i'm tired and have classes this afternoon and evening. :)

controversy: million dollar baby

re: this metafilter thread (all about how pissed people are about reviewers and headlines ruining the end of million dollar baby):

actually, i'm kind of glad to know what the movie is about--now i'm a lot more inclined to see it. i couldn't figure out why everyone was giving such good reviews to some sports drama, but suddenly it seems a lot more interesting.

audubon park

is, for real, the best live band in the triangle area. ross grady even says so! tonight proved no exception. i would write a lovely coherent entry about their awesomeness and fun-ness, but they let me come out drinking w/ them at fuse (formerly henry's, and basically the same, only w/ crazy art. i mean, the robots are ok, but the fucked=up version of guernica is just not cool) (OMGGGGG i went drinking w/ the band they are sooooo COOOOLLL!!! hee. ok.) and i had a couple drinks at 506 and really, i am not up to coherent right now. suffice it to say that whether i'm sober or tipsy, they are the nicest, funniest, most talented guys, and everyone should come see them when they play again. i seem to recall writing down a march date but i can't remember when or any details really.

don't worry guys, i made it home jsut fine. :)

robert, i owe you a drink! remind me! :)

ps--don't think i'm tipsy enough to forget that dave volunteered you guys to come over and move my stove so i can get to my water heater to adjust it! seriously, i really need for the hot water to last more than ten minutes. i'm a girl, you know. and you are several strapping young men! so move my appliances, dammit! :)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

veronica mars

hey everyone! don't forget that new episodes of veronica mars start up again tonight (9 pm, upn). it's the best, cleverest, most intense, and most adorable show on television--although tonight's episode (guest-starring anthony anderson) doesn't look as exceptional as the past few episodes (probably i will be pleasantly surprised, b/c i always am). alyson hannigan guest-stars on the 22nd so start watching now and be prepared!

i actually will be at the aududon park/rogue wave show at 506 at 9 pm tonight--but don't worry, i'm taping it and will stay up as late as necessary b/c i couldn't stand the suspense of waiting till tomorrow to watch it.

Monday, February 07, 2005

reference books

we just got the newest edition of this at the music library.

Volume 1: Aaliyah to Lynyrd Skynyrd

Volune 2: MC Hammer to ZZ Top

Volume 2 also includes topical essays and relevant indexes (i swear the correct pluralization is "indices"). The topical essays include "Grunge: A Brief History of a Hard Rock Genre," "Rap's Emergence into the Mainstream," "The Transformation of Commercial Radio," and "The Music Industry: Economics, Marketing, and New Artist Development."

It's pretty entertaining.

tournament of books

(via bookslut)

the first round has been judged!

anthony, seriously, what's wrong w/ your sister? plot against america was one of the best books i read last year. granted, it was probably a lot more chilling when read by a jewish girl right before the election, but still. it terrified me. and i'm not really a roth fan! maybe 21 year old girls don't have the gravity to be book judges. just kidding, i'm just jealous b/c i want to judge books.


the guardian had a feature on bookslut this weekend. that's awesome--bookslut is one of my favorite reads! i love that the webmagazine part has a column on book covers, and that jessa reads as many comics as i do.

maybe someday i'll get free books b/c of this blog. spread the word, tell your friends! make people think i'm influential! please?

deborah lipstadt

deborah lipstadt's book history on trial (about her lawsuit with Holocaust denier/ bad-historian david irving, who sued her for libel) is reviewed in salon today.

i'm not sure if reading it would make me too angry and depressed, so i might not seek it out. but charles taylor's review is worth reading, for sure.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

2005 book 12

suad amiry's sharon and my mother-in-law
i really wanted this to be a book i could recommend to people to let them try and understand some of the major problems w/ israeli occupation, and why palestinians should have their own state already, goddammit. i read a great review of this in the guardian, but it really didn't live up to my expectations. not b/c of amiry's (completely justifiable) bitterness and anger, but b/c she's just not a very good writer. i really wish whoever had written that guardian story had done a book about amiry, b/c amiry (a professor of architecture and the founder of the centre for architectural conservation in ramallah) is just not that great with the prose. first of all, the little vignettes are all pretty short, so it's difficult to learn anything about the characters, including amiry herself. it would be so easy to show the pathos of living under israeli occupation, and amiry's anger is very evident, but she just doesn't do a very good job of making herself and her family sympathetic. the only remotely interesting anecdotes involve how she got her little dog, and the two short chapters where her mother-in-law is staying with her. i jsut wish amiry wasn't so heavy-handed or something . . . i mean, i could quote endless examples of how clunky her writing is, but it seems pointless. i'm pretty disappointed with this book, as more stories from the palestinians need to be publicized, but having poorly written stories doesn't really help their case much, unfortunately.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

2005 book 11

david mitchell's ghostwritten
although i didn't like this one quite as much as his other two books, it was still a solid story. each section revolves around a new character (from a poison-gas-using cult member in osaka to a late-night dj in nyc), with a tenuous connection to the one before (and often, minor characters from one section appear as minor characters in another section). it's really interesting to see how mitchell's novels have evolved, especially in terms of structure--and there's even a mention of a comet-shaped birthmark in this one. definitely a great book, though of course it would be hard to surpass cloud atlas for sheer ingenuity and devourability. :)

Friday, February 04, 2005

graphic novels and mix cds

sadly, the bizarro world anthology has not made it to chapel hill this week, but i consoled myself w/ berlin #11 (i've of course forgotten the entire plot since the last issue came out--time to go dig them out!), runaways vol 2 (still a cute series), and the latest masterwork to come from pantheon, gemma bovary (michiko kakutani reviews it in the ny times here). it's really a great take on the madame bovary story, with soft wash-style drawings interspersed with paragraphs of text . . . anyway, i recommend it highly, plus i have no idea what kind of paper they used, but it smells REALLY good. like the way a book SHOULD smell.

lots of reading and movie-watching is on the agenda for the weekend--and making mix cds! one for my dad, and one for jenny w., who i always think of as the coolest girl in school. fun projects!!

ps, and on an entirely unrelated note: i am all sad that ossie davis died. that guy was awesome and totally made me cry when i saw bubba ho-tep. seriously, i loved him in that movie (and in the many other things he's done that i've seen).

Thursday, February 03, 2005

2005 book 10

amy krouse rosenthal's encyclopedia of an ordinary life
rosenthal used to have a column on handwritten thing with lots of little drawings--and i loved it. i was sad when she no longer seemed to be updating online anywhere--i even considered buying a book she wrote about parenting, b/c i enjoyed her work so much. and lo and behold, she comes out w/ a memoir! it's really quite lovely, but in terms of presentation and of writing--the jacket is great, the illustrations are perfect. it's organized like an encyclopedia, sort of like an irreverent, non-fiction see under: love. its short entries make the book quick reading--i read half last night, and half while i ate leftover curry in the student lounge--but now i wish it had lasted longer. her writing is just so affable and sweet and adorable, and every so often i found myself saying, "yes, that is SO TRUE!" although she says her life is pretty ordinary, that's what makes this book so great--she's not ordinary at all.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

this one's for the ladies

the ten cutest comic book creators of 2004. (via the beat)

speaking of comics, i got a good haul today. by the way, for those of you not on the chapel hill comics mailing list, they're moving into the old love and peace storefront on franklin street (by moshi moshi and med deli, across from cd alley and internationalist), probably sometime in march.

here's what i got (i haven't read it all yet):
--y the last man #30--oh man, i really like this series.
--powers #8--ditto!
--fables #33--again!
--luba #10--crazy melodrama! (not in the bad way.)
--sip #70--katchoo and david got married. i hardly even care about this anymore, sadly.
--plastic man #14--meh.
--pigtale #1--looks to have cute art. i haven't read it yet.

i also got the ex machina trade, and as long as i was on a vaughn kick, i picked up the first little book from his old marvel series (runaways). it's about a group of kids who discover their parents are supervillains and i quite liked it. i also picked up the first dork collection (who's laughing now?) b/c i don't have much of that material, and the first trade from the new ashley wood series, lore, which looks pretty interesting, if it doesn't go too over the top.

but alas, homework beckons, and comic-reading must wait for the moment.


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
here's me wearing the scarf from below--it's gotten more compliments than any other, i think. plus it's nice and warm! (i had just come in from outside when i took this picture, hence the red nose.)


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i put some more knitting pictures up at flickr--this is a close-up shot of a scarf i knitting longways--an alpaca border around some awesome handspun yarn from


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
hamsters 46 and 47!