Thursday, March 31, 2005

childhood book love

i was walking home from class tonight and glanced in the window of that used bookstore on franklin street (i never remember its name). anyway, they had this whole easter/spring sort of display up, and one of the books in the window was this--which, in keeping with my loveof bunnies mentioned below, was one of my faaaaavorite books when i was a kid (i don't remember learning math from it, but maybe the math lessons are subtle?). i almost ran in and bought it, but i really wanted to get home. i think i might wander by there tomorrow, or at least call my mom and see if she thinks we still have it somewhere . . . i can't believe i forgot that book existed.

also, an unrelated meme, but if jason and rossi are doing it, it must be cool.

How to make a wordnerdy

1 part friendliness

1 part silliness

5 parts empathy
Layer ingredientes in a shot glass. Add a little cocktail umbrella and a dash of caring


becky b. just forwarded me this article explaining how knitting is not just for grandmas anymore! it is a hip new hobby!

seriously, what the fuck. i was complaining about that lame attitude in articles at least two years ago. the new york times really needs to hire better writers, or at least ones who are both more original and more clued-in. between this article and the ones on "omg! comics are for grownups!" or "omg! girls read comics!" i am starting to hate the new york times. even if you want to write an article on the (not very new) trend of 20-something knitters, must you frame it with a discussion of the golden girls? anyway, sophia rocks. this girl obviously has no idea what she's talking about.

chapel hill comics

here's an awesome article on the new chapel hill comics store from tuesday's paper. the author was obviously sympathetic--it's one of the better articles i've read about comics in any paper--none of that stupid "grownups read comics! and girls read comics!" crap. plus, there's a nice bit on local middle schools getting comics for their students, and the teacher talks about how awesome andrew is about recommending stuff. it's true, too. whenever i go in there i ask him or matt "hey, what else is new that i might like?" after they give me the stuff i have on hold. i actually was talking to andrew about reader's advisory when i stopped in on tuesday, b/c our popular materials class will eventually be reading graphic novels.

anyway, i'll stop rambling--go read the article though, it's great.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

a new friend, courtesy of pinky. bunnies are my favorite! Posted by Hello

2005 book 34

shalom auslander's beware of god
i heard auslander on this american life a couple weeks ago, telling a story about how in high school he made money by working at a jewish funeral home and sitting with the bodies overnight. i figured his stories would have a dark sense of humor and jewish themes, which are things i like in stories. and sure enough, they do! highlights are the ones where god and death try and kill a guy who's inadvertantly not-died a few times, and the one w/ hamsters, and the one w/ the golems. i didn't really like the one where god goes to an ad agency and is a big asshole, but otherwise they were all entertaining and bleak and hilarious.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

2005 book 33

jonathan safran foer's extremely loud and incredibly close
first things first: i loooved everything is illuminated. but when i heard jsf was doing a book centering in 9/11 and a precocious little boy, i had absolutely no intention of reading it. then salon gave it a good review so i succumbed to curiosity--which i regretted almost immediately, having read several other reviews that all boiled down to "this is just like his wife's book, only hers is way better." and i have to say, i spent the first 3/4 of the book muttering, "this is so fucking annoying!" the precocious boy, oskar, is the world's most unbelievable character. his bizarre mannerisms and habits and fears are reminiscent of the kid in curious incident of the dog in the nighttime, only oskar isn't autistic, and he's just as precocious and annoying before his dad dies on 9/11. the only parts that made this worth reading at all are the parts that focus on his grandparents, both survivors of the dresden bombings. i actually liked the end, too, mainly b/c there are fewer moments where oskar is being a prat about something, and b/c the grandparents find some closure.

veronica mars

thank you, salon!

there is a lovely article on veronica mars today. (they also have an interview with its creator, rob thomas--though of course it's not as indepth as the one on television without pity.)

new episodes start again tonight-at 9, on upn! [this makes me so happy, i hardly even mind that my car is in durham getting a new battery.]

when we last saw veronica, she had finally tracked down her mom--but that creepy security guy who stalked veronica and pinned lily's murder on abel koontz, clarence weidman, was just around the corner looking pissed! total cliffhanger!

anyone who calls me b/w 9 and 10 tonight will receive a stern talking-to. anyway, you should all be watching this show yourself.

Monday, March 28, 2005

2005 book 32

sarah waters' tipping the velvet
well, all of the praise this book (and its bbc miniseries) received was definitely on target. this was a really engrossing (and sexy) story, set in england in the 1880s and 1890s, focusing on a small town oyster-girl who falls in love with a girl who dresses in drag to perform at music halls, and who takes the oyster-girl with her when she goes to london. lots of dramatic events unfold, which i am loathe to give away, so trust me when i say the characters here and their relationships are really compelling, and at times surprisingly graceful. i am definitely netflixing the miniseries!

happiest girl in the world/local music

so here i am, making a mix cd of local music just for fun and b/c i can (it was harder than i thought--i had 40+ local bands on my itunes) and just in case people are curious about the local music scene or whatever and now i will be able to say "here are 21 of the bands i love." i wanted to put the nein's "paid in the escalade" on there, but they took it off their website and it's not on their new cd. WHYYYYYYY. it's my favorite song of theirs!

but in AWESOME local music news! while i was burning this cd, i noticed that two of my favorite band-guys are playing a show on my birthday!! at the conveniently located nightlight! now my birthday will be awesome. just like the time work clothes and crooked fingers and superchunk saved my 23rd birthday with an amazing show--this completely erases the trauma of turning 26! audubon park/dave nahm and erie choir, i love you!!!!!!! (also everyone should come to the show on the 1st at the duke coffeehouse--me and my compadres will all be there.) (also, david, if you read this: where the hell is goldie's?)

anyway, here is my mix cd's track listing. i tried to put songs i hadn't put on mix cds before, but i can't always remember every mix cd i make, ya know?

1. shark quest, rosetta barrage
2. audubon park, green refuge
3. bellafea, while we are still young
4. ben davis, blue-hearted sleeve
5. omerta, blind date
6. chamber corps, ora e sempre resistenza
7. comas, all over the school
8. des ark, send jolly raleigh
9. hotel motel, waitresses of the avant garde
10. erie choir, ballad of erie choir
11. hotel lights, you come and i go
12. kingsbury manx, fixed bayonets
13. regina hexaphone, ice
14. schooner, who let the cat out
15. rosebuds, waiting for the carnival (demo)
16. sames, i wish you'd written this song
17. portastatic, drill me (acoustic version)
18. shallow be thy name, maxi-yow-mini
19. work clothes, song i don't know the name of
20. natasha, struck out
21. superchunk, slack motherfucker

if your band is not on here and you are sad, please don't be. maybe i don't have your cd yet, b/c i am poor, or b/c i spent all my money on alcohol when i came to your show (which is more likely). :)

i realize this isn't the point of the article

they're making a movie "based on the writing of" in cold blood?
and sandra bullock is playing harper lee????

who else remembers that outland book when berke breathed talked about getting a letter from harper lee? typed on onionskin paper . . .

i'm sort of shaking my head and going "what the fuck" right now.

on the other hand, i do agree with the article's comment that there aren't many female buddy comedies out there. not that i am planning on seeing miss congeniality 2, b/c i saw ms. bullock do enough pratfalls in the first one to last me for a good long while.

Sunday, March 27, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
today hamsters 53 and 54 were in my mailbox at the station--hamster 53 is taller than the usual hamsters, but has the same size arms, so resembles a t-rex (also, he has an x on his abdomen). hamster 54 is another princess-y hamster--i now have 6 of those, i think.

mr. romance

i'm not even ashamed to admit that i've watched this show twice now--it's incredibly hilarious. not just b/c of the silly competitions (the hot buns contest, the posing-with-a-bow-and-arrow contest) but b/c there are these three guys (adam, the personal trainer, tj, the actor, and justin, the graphic designer) who aren't at all taking it seriously, and are playing the funniest pranks on the muscle-bound lunkheads. they got one to pose in front of a mirror (and eventually take off his pants--and he was going commando) in front of all the competitors for like ten minutes while they all laughed at him--and he never even noticed they were making fun of him. and whenever the ones who do take it seriously do badly in something they thought they'd be awesome at (i.e., the "alpha male" photo), they just crack up. i love it. plus, fabio does commentary.

other great things i've caught on tv in the past couple of days:

--a special on the travel channel about israel where the narrator pronounced "yarmulke" the way it's spelled.
--crud, i forget the other thing. i'll edit this post if i remember.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

2005 book 31

carol emshwiller's carmen dog
this book has a really interesting premise--all the women in the world are becoming animals, and all the female animals are becoming women. the main character is a dog (named pooch) becoming a woman who dreams of singing opera. she runs away w/ the baby of her family after its snapping-turtle mother bites it, and gets caught in the middle of a freaky doctor's experiments and the events of various other pseudo-political groups. the book is pretty short and is a quick read, but definitely provides food for thought, especially re: the expectations of society when it comes to women (and animals).

Friday, March 25, 2005

today jodi and i baked hamentaschen for purim--probably close to 6 dozen cookies all together. :) you can see our wacky baking adventures here, assuming i linked to the ofoto album correctly (i only have space for 11 more pictures on flickr, so ofoto it was!). it was a very yummy day. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

more famous friends

oh man, this might even be awesomer than the popstrology book. no, i don't know the count [oh my god, how cool would it be to know the count?!]--but i do know his companion. :)

there is some weird drumming thing going on right outside my class right now. and possibly some fireworks. or maybe just fireworks.

eh, just click the link! ITS COOLNESS WILL BLOW YOUR MIND.


this book is featured in the new yorker's talk of the town section this week.

i kind of think it's the awesomest thing ever. get the new yorker this week if you don't believe me.

yeah . . . that one's going on the ol' amazon wish list for sure!

2005 book 30

frank peretti's this present darkness
gag. this week's assignment for popular materials was to read a work of inspirational (i.e., christian) fiction. now, let me be clear: i have nothing against works that are heavy on the christianity--i looove c.s. lewis--or that involve demons and angels--i looove good omens--as long as they're well-written. this book isn't. but kate suggested it, saying that it's what all the evangelicals were reading back when she was in college, so i figured i'd get down and dirty with a really popular evangelical work (it's been checked out from davis 108 times since 1990). anyway, basic plot summary: demons are plotting to take over a small college town and are corrupting its inhabitants, the good guys/host of heaven are plotting to prevent this, and there are also a bunch of human characters both good and bad being used as pawns/catalysts/whatever. there is also a hell of a lot of praying.

for those just tuning in, i have a master's in religion/biblical studies (NERD!), so i take this stuff pretty seriously--hence some of my (many) problems with the book. here is a brief list of some of the things that annoyed me while i was reading:

--on the first page, a carnival is described as "a wild time, a chance to get drunk, pregnant, beat up, ripped off, and sick, all in the same night." i knew right then i wasn't going to really like this book. (i happen to think carnivals are good clean fun!)

--most of the non-demon villains are professors and administrators at the town university. the main human villain is a professor who more-or-less brainwashes her students.

--one of the main characters, a good pastor, talks about "the Word" a lot. also, his catchphrase is "let's pray!" he doesn't really have much of a personality beyond that.

--i got annoyed that although the demons consisted of a warrior sort and the embodiments of bad traits (complacency, lust, sorcery--which meant drunkenness for some reason), the angels are just warrior types. why can't they have little minions running around spreading charity or goodwill or whatever? these things should be balanced. also, one of the head demons has the title ba'al--b/c of course all ancient pagan religions were actually all about demons!

--speaking of the demons and angels--peretti seems unaware that there's an established judeo-christian mythology re: the host of heaven. you should see the insane names he creates for his angelic characters. kate tells me that for evangelicals, if it's not in scripture, then it doesn't matter, so actually he probably is unaware of all the stories about angels--or knows his audience isn't aware of them, anyway.

--the villains are described as "vampirish" and mostly all have jet-black hair and/or eyes. surprise, the heroes are all blondes and redheads.

--pagans of all sorts are evil. karma and reincarnation are evil ideas. the villains here are heavily influenced by eastern thought: "It's all a con game: Eastern meditation, witchcraft, divination, Science of Mind, psychic healing, holistic education--oh, the list goes on and on . . . " (315). any non-evangelical-christian ideas are part of the villainous demonic plot. mention is made of pagan blood sacrifices on more than one occasion.

--also communism is evil--one of the evil things the villains are doing is abolishing private ownership! those bastards!

--the day is predominantly saved through praying. all the non-pastor heroes accept jesus into their hearts. the end. (i think they all end that way.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
these are the books in my to-read stack--rewards for finishing the "inspirational fiction" i am reading for class.

Monday, March 21, 2005

spring holidays

my favorite conversation of today (so far) involved this weekend's holidays. it turns out unc has off for easter weekend, as an official university holiday--so friday is not one of the days where the library is closed but i'm there working anyway. this is awesome timing, b/c of course purim starts thursday night and this means i can spend friday making hamentashen! [and as jodi just pointed out, thursday night i MUST go to happy hour, since it IS a mitzvah to drink. no excuses this week, kids! it's a religious thing!]

to back up a little: i only just figured out today why easter is a full month earlier than passover--b/c it follows the regular lunar calendar, whereas the jewish calendar is modified so that the harvest holidays stay in the correct seasons, and of course that extra month adar II was added in this year, pushing everything back a month. i always thought easter did that too, since it makes sense to have easter and passover at the same time, but i guess not.

which i think is sort of a shame--b/c now easter is the same weekend as purim (or as i affectionately call it, "drunk jewish halloween") and purim really doesn't have the same gravity as easter does. passover and easter--obviously!--fit together thematically, but this year, all the christian kids will be all reverent while the jewish kids are getting drunk and eating dessert. (i almost want to say: "ha ha, suckers!" except that passover is my favorite holiday--besides the whole no corn syrup hassle, and the occasional lack of birthday cake--and i'm sad that it's still a month away. and yes, i probably will be having a seder again this year. i have four jewish or part-jewish friends to attend now!)

and that brings me back to hamentashen--jodi and i will be baking a bunch on friday, probably of the cherry, apricot, and chocolate chip varieties. let me know soon if you want some and i will try and accomodate your request. jews and part-jews get first dibs! :) door-to-door delivery of these mashloach manot is also a possibility, since they're supposed to be given out on purim day.

now, back to reading my christian book for popular materials. sigh. it will be a purim miracle if my head doesn't explode while reading it.

satanic mark

i kind of think it looks more like bowser.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

iron chef america

all this talk about cheese made me think it was a sign when tongiht's iron chef america battle was the battle of the CHEESE!! (italian cheeses, specifically.) often i root hard for the challengers on iron chef america, b/c i think bobby flay is a cocky jackass, but tonight iron chef mario batali won my heart with his humor and his intriguing use of cheese (he had a little too much veal for my taste. but the challenger used a FEMUR in one of his dishes--which the judges loved! EWWWW!).

the best part is that alton brown's comments are somehow always in earshot of batali, so when floor commentator kevin brausch asks alton something like, "have you ever deep-fried a calzone?" and alton replies, "kevin, there are few foodstuffs i haven't put into a deep fryer," batali is primed to say in an exaggerated accent, "that's becuz i'm from the south!" to which kevin replied, "alton, i think the iron chef is making fun of you." hee.

also, i like when ted allen (from queer eye) is a judge. he always says such neat things about the food--and he will always be in my heart for the queer eye opening credits, where he purposefully grabs a whisk and strides away.

food network is really on fire tonight (metaphorically speaking): now they're having a pizza competition! what is better than cheese? cheese on bread with STUFF! food network, i love you. but you make me so darn hungry!

2005 book 29

frieda arkin's hedwig and berti
the story starts in 1938, when a londoner is startled by the arrival of a women who is apparently his cousin (along with her timid husband) fleeing from germany. hedwig is something of your large german braided stereotype, stuck in her family's glorious past. their family routine is changed when she gives birth to a daughter who turns out to be an extremely ill-tempered piano prodigy, and the novel follows the family from london to new york to kansas. i have to say this story threw me for a loop--the "twist" toward the end was entirely predictable, and followed by another twist i never saw coming. the ending is a little bit weak and feels a little bit rushed, but on the whole this was a pretty incredible book, with the character of the daughter being particularly interesting and slightly tragic.

Saturday, March 19, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
the view from my driveway!

yes, that's right, it's farmer's market time again.

my favorite booth is the chapel hill creamery's--no smoked mozzarella till next week, but they do have an awesome cream cheese-like cheese made with whole milk. yum.

Friday, March 18, 2005

2005 book 28

francine prose's a changed man
the folks over at bookslut have been praising this book to the heavens, so i figured i'd give it a go myself, despite my leeriness re: its subject matter. it's about a white supremacist who shows up at a human rights organization run by a well-known Holocaust survivor, claiming he's had a change of heart and wants to "save guys like me from becoming guys like me," and he ends up staying with the organization's divorcee fundraiser and her two teenage sons. i mean, it sounded like it could be more than a little bit tacky--but it isn't! it's actually rife with dark humor (i laughed out loud a few times) and the characters are really compelling. the tension of the book also works well--you just know those white supremacist guys aren't going to let a guy off the hook who steals a truck and cash and drugs and then goes and joins a human rights foundation. this is definitely one of the best books i've read this year--i even found its resolution satisfying, when it easily could have gotten smarmy. don't let its weird-looking cover throw you off--it's worth the read.

chapel hill comics

today i decided to walk home, b/c it was so nice out and i didn't have anywhere in particular to be--and b/c i wanted to check out the new chapel hill comics location. guys, seriously, the new store is gorgeous. they did a great job painting and the layout is really nice--and of course they still have all the same great comics!

today i got:

--fables #35--part 2 of the jack story
--love and rockets #13--i'm really enjoying the hopey stories especially
--hopeless savages b-sides--a really cute one-shot about how zero's band got together
--blue monday #4--more crazy teen antics! bleu confesses her crush to her teacher!
--street angel #5--i liked the blaxpoitation parody, could have done w/o the limbs being sliced off
--plastic man #15--was actually funny!

aaaaannnd an AWESOME new anthology put out by the people who did the also awesome project: telstar anthology--this one is called project: superior and has superhero-related stories by bryan lee o'malley, farel dalrymple, jeffrey brown, paul pope, jim mahfood, rob ullman, scott morse, and many other cool people.

in short: BUY STUFF AT THE NEW CHAPEL HILL COMICS STORE. they have a bright blue and yellow awning so they're easy to find. if i hadn't left my camera at home, i'd have taken pictures of the awesomeness.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

2005 book 27

michael chabon, ed., mcsweeney's enchanted chamber of astonishing stories
the nice things about anthologies like this is that you can put it down for a few days, and pick it up again when you're in the mood for a semi-creepy story, and not have to worry about forgetting major plots or themes. and this anthology was satisfying on the whole--i like ghost-y stories, and especially enjoyed the david mitchell, ayelet waldman, and heidi julavits selections. the china mieville one was interesting too, and joyce carol oates does a pretty fair impression of poe. there were only a few letdowns; the worst story by far is the one by stephen king (disappointing! his different seasons is pretty good), which echoes misery in its stupid-sounding curse-word substitutions ("smucking"? come ON) and which isn't the least little bit scary or even tense. you're slipping, old man! and being in an anthology with all these awesome younger writers only shows it more. i think i liked kelly link's stories better, but there were some tasty tidbits in here that made sleeping a little bit harder some nights. :)

farmer's market

the carrboro farmer's market opens this weekend! my favorite part of the farmer's market (besides buying cheese from the chapel hill creamery, and of course assorted fruits and veggies) is giving dirty looks to the people who park in my parking lot. BECAUSE I LIVE RIGHT ACROSS THE ROAD FROM THE FARMER'S MARKET!!! take that, suckers!

if you're my friend you can park here though. i'm hospitable that way.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

2005 book 26

calvin trillin's feeding a yen
trillin is one of my favorite food writers--well, one of my favorite writers in general. he has such a light and easy, funny tone that it's hard not to love his work. this is a collection of his food-related essays, several of which have appeared in the new yorker and other magazines (i particularly remember the ones where he visits his new granddaughter in san francisco, and where he tries to get a hold of louisianan boudin). these essays made me hungry and also made me want to travel around the world, sampling local cuisine, so i can be a chowhound like trillin. yum.

rash update: still itchy.

Monday, March 14, 2005

2005 book 25

edwidge danticat's the dew breaker
another short summary brought to you by allergic rash: day three. this book of interconnected stories has been nominated for like every literary award, so i figured i'd check it out, and i certainly wasn't disappointed. the premise is that an adult daughter discovers that her father wasn't the past political prisoner she believed him to be--he was actually a guard in a prison, who took delight in torturing prisoners. most of the stories touch on these characters only indirectly, but read as a whole, they form a pretty compelling picture of a complicated family in a time of political turmoil.

i have vague recollections of writing a paper on papa doc and baby doc for a class in college on civil war and genocide, but knowledge of haiti's chaotic political situation isn't a prerequisite for enjoying danticat's tales.

st patrick's day at king's

for those of you who were too lame to make it to the great cover-up in december, you have another chance to catch the best performance of the year! the dudes who did the little river band are playing at king's on thursday for st patrick's day. featuring dudes from torch marauder, razzle, sorry about dresden, erie choir, chamber corps, plus jeffy h .and other local luminaries, this is NOT TO BE MISSED.

(i meant to post this on friday but forgot due to being allergic to antibiotics and heavily drugged with benadryl.)

ayelet waldman

the new biweekly column in salon by mystery writer ayelet waldman (who is also the wife of michael chabon) started today.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

2005 book 24

marilynne robinson's housekeeping
very short summary, due to insanely itchy rash brought on by allergies to my new shower gel (or adversely, to my antibiotics--the jury is still out). anyway: this is the story of two sisters whose mother abandons them and then commits suicide. eventually their aunt comes to raise them, though her increasing need for transience and the younger sister's quest for normalcy threaten to tear their little family apart. very good coming-of-age craziness, very different than robinson's gilead.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

pop culture round-up

--seriously--why was jenny mccarthy hosting the brady bunch reunion special on tv land? i am not sure what qualified her for this position, besides her fawning fandom. of course, it was still worth watching--christopher knight saying "pork chops and applesauce" never does get old. peter was always the cute one . . .

--i saw a commercial the other day for america's next top model--they're doing tryouts at nc central this week. go apply! all sizes and shapes are welcome--as long as you're between 18 and 27, and over 5'7". now i'll never be a teen model!

--the extremely in-depth dissection of karaoke revolution three over at is the funniest thing i have read in weeks.

--alton brown will always be my hero. his episode on nuts--complete with a wacky squirrel puppet--made me hungry AND giggly.

--i bought some comics last week but haven't gotten around to writing about them yet. the scheherezade women's comic collection was ok--it didn't have any major problems w/ legibility, despite editor megan kelso's apparent disavowal of the project, but i didn't think most of the stories were worth reading. off the top of my head, the only one i can remember liking a lot was ellen forney's (no surprise there), but i know there were one or two others. it's not a great track record for an anthology, though. i'm honestly not sure if it had to do w/ choice of contributors (there were definitely some deserving artists who weren't included) or w/ lackadaisical editorship, but i found the whole thing sort of disappointing.

--dude, the E! thing where they reenact the michael jackson trial is really weird.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

neko case

according to chapter 13 of this book, "deep red bells" was inspired by the green river killer.

besides the (SO COOL!!) chapter on neko, the book also features information on gram parsons, joe ely, kris kristofferson, steve earle, lucinda williams, and tons more (chapter 8 is called "More Red": Revved-Up Jug Band Music and Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful--which really just makes me think of Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, the only holiday special i actually really like. my dad loves it too, b/c emmett otter is awesome, as is jug-band music).

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

harry potter 6

somehow i got on the borders bookstore email list--really, i have no idea how, but as of this moment i no longer mind, b/c they just emailed me a picture of the cover for the new harry potter book!

here, see for yourselves:

harry and dumbledore

i think i dreamed about the new harry potter book the other night. or maybe i just got sleepy while watching the first harry potter movie on tv. i don't really remember anymore.

is it july yet????

bookslut/trivial pursuit

the new issue of bookslut is up today, with an awesome and hilarious feature on the book lovers' trivial pursuit that came out last summer.

i of course bought it, being a big nerd, and my friends and i played it at christina's exactly once (my team didn't win, much to my chagrin). i'm pretty sure it didn't take an hour for any of us to get a wedge, although i do dimly recall that after two-plus hours of play we were nowhere near done, and were forced to institute a tie-breaker round just so we could get the hell home.

anyway, the article is pretty funny--be sure and click on the pictures, too.

now i kind of want to play again!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

2005 book 23

nicholas shakespeare's snowleg
this is one of those searching-for-identity and searching-for-lost-love stories all combined with heady political chaos in east and west germany in the 1980s (shakespeare does seem to like the male characters getting stuck in political intrigue while longing for some woman or another). anyway, the main character here is a british boy named peter, who discovers on his 16th birthday that the man who has raised him is not his father, but that his biological father is a german prisoner who his mother knew for just one day. this spurs him to study in germany, where on a weekend trip to leipzig, he falls in love with the titular character and then publicly disavows her--something he regrets for the next twenty-plus years, and something that poisons all of his relationships, including those with his family. the end is not entirely unpredictable but is still ultimately satisfying--for most of the book, i kept thinking, "i liked the dancer upstairs better," but by the end, i was pretty pleased with this story.

2005 book 22

ruth reichl's comfort me with apples
this week's popular materials assignment was to read a work of non-fiction--pretty broad, no? i tend to like memoirs and biographies of the literary types, and i also like food a lot, so reichl's memoir seemed like a good bet. i remembered liking her first memoir, tender at the bone, and by page two i realized that i had also read this one--well, it came out four years ago! i can't be expected to remember every book i've read, if it's not on my bookshelf to remind me! or maybe i'd only read an excerpt. it all just seemed so . . . familiar. anyway, reichl is a pretty engrossing writer--she's had an interesting life, and it's pretty cool to read about her experiences meeting and eating with wolfgang puck before he was famous, and danny kaye, and california food luminaries i'd never heard of. her travelogues are also pretty exciting, and she doesn't seem to hold back when it comes to discussing her personal life either. every chapter ends with a recipe, so it's basically the perfect combination of memoir and cookbook.

anyway, now i have this blog entry to remind me that i've read it before, and i might seek out a different non-fiction work for thursday--rereadings just feel like cheating somehow, even if it is inadvertent!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

2005 book 21

gish jen's the love wife
another fine novel from jen, this is the story of a mixed-race family with two adopted daughters dealing w/ upheavals after the birth of a son, the death of a mother-in-law, and especially the arrival of a relative from mainland china. it's narrated by all the characters in chunks--not chapter by chapter, more usually page by page, which is very effective at times, as though they're all interrupting each other while telling the story. things do go a bit haywire toward the end, as a big ol' plot twist comes up and things get somewhat dramatic, but on the whole i enjoyed this story, and especially thought the characters of the two daughters were well-done.

Friday, March 04, 2005

amy krouse rosenthal

oh my! amy krouse rosenthal made cnn! i loved her latest book, a memoir in encyclopedia form.

also, when you visit her website, you can send away for a sample of the perfume she wears, which she mentions in the book. i actually did this, always in search of a perfume i'll wear, and i really like it! i'm wearing it now, as a matter of fact.

i don't know ms. rosenthal or have any affiliation with her in any way, and yet i got all happy and proud when i saw this cnn article. now than cnn supports my recommendation, you all should definitely check out encyclopedia of an ordinary life.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

bruce campbell

bruce campbell's new book, how to make love the bruce campbell way, will be released on june 1st! yay!

but according to this interview from the beat, it's not actually a relationship guide . . . but a mockumentary mad caper sort of novel. i will read it anyway, b/c i am the sort of nerd who loves bruce campbell. his first book rocked!

campbell also talks about evil dead 4 in this interview, and the proposed evil dead 1 remake. will they keep the tree-rape, i wonder?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

i know a celebrity!!!

the multi-talented david connerley nahm (of audubon park) had a a story in mcsweeney's today!! D.C. NAHM IS THE COOLEST MAN ALIVE.

2005 book 20

peter beagle's tamsin
this week's assignment for popular materials was a sci-fi or fantasy novel--beagle, of course, is the author of one of my all-time favorite books (fantasy or otherwise), the last unicorn, but i'd never read any of his other works. this is a more conventional modern fantasy book--your awkward 13-year-old girl moves from new york to england when her mother remarries, and in the midst of adjusting to her new life, discovers all sorts of "old weirdness" in the old house her family is restoring. fans of harry potter will recognize some of the british folklore--the black dog is similar to rowling's grim, although here it serves as more of a warning than as an omen of death, and boggarts appear as well, although as little mischievous elf-types, they are hardly the embodiments of fear one finds in potter. my favorite mystical creature was the pooka, a shape-shifting troublemaker. of course, the major weirdness that jenny runs into is the ghost who inhabits her third floor--the troubled titular tamsin, who, despite being dead for 300 years, is in great danger, and jenny has to help her remember why. really a great story (though there were several typos! WHYYYYY!) and now i must seek out more of beagle's works. you're 2 for 2 w/ me, peter!

random pop culture withdrawal

tonight is the first of four veronica mars-less weeks. NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! life without veronica mars is hardly life at all.

also i just found out that ida cancelled their march 6 show here. again: NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! i have been waiting to see them live for years! and with erie choir opening, it was going to be even awesomer!

at least i have law and order reruns to sustain me. and a good book, which probably i will post about later tonight, after i recover from an indian food coma.