Tuesday, May 31, 2005

2005 book 60

karen joy fowler's sarah canary
a nice work of slightly mysterious historical fiction, focusing on a chinese man in 1873 who finds a strange, mute woman in the woods and decides to take her to a local asylum. some wacky adventures take place and they run into several memorable characters as their journey takes them farther west. i particularly loved b.j., an asylum inmate who has a penchant for reinterpreting stories. there's a nice element of grisly dark fun in the story as well, as they encounter people involved in freak shows. anyway, i liked this a lot, and will definitely be reading more of fowler's work (which i know i said last time i read a book by her, but i still mean it).

Monday, May 30, 2005

2005 book 59

ignacio padilla's shadow without a name
men taking on new identities, men training other men to be the doubles of high-powered nazis, men being obsessed with chess, men trying to decode mysterious manuscripts . . . and yet, this book had no suspense or tension and barely held my interest. maybe it's a bad translation, but none of these characters had any personality and they hardly had any motivation either. plus, i generally feel that using nazis in a story is a cheap bid at heightening the drama, and that didn't even work here. luckily this book was less than 200 pages so i didn't waste too much time on it.

2005 book 58

rachel dewoskin's foreign babes in beijing
dewoskin moved to china after college to work for a PR firm, and ended up starring in a hugely successful primetime soap opera called "foreign babes in beijing," where she played jiexi, the brunette marriage-destroying vixen. while relating her adventures in china in the mid-90s, dewoskin also offers commentary on the shifting cultural and societal attitudes in china during that time, making for a richer narrative. still, it's dewoskin's own experiences in business, as an actress, and as a 20-something american in china that make this story such a good read.

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
christina and i spent a few hours at the pool today . . . from this picture, you can tell two things about me.

1) i tan very quickly, and

2) i am very bad at putting on sunscreen evenly.

my favorite bit o' pinkness is a long strip on my right leg, but that doesn't make as dramatic a photograph.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

richard buckner

after a yummy meal at akai hana (followed by ice cream at maple view!), the gang and i headed to see richard buckner at king's. awesome, awesome show, although unfortunately we only arrived in time to hear sara bell's last song. but really the highlight of the evening was that i finally got to have my very first SPARKS, which i have been trying to do for months, and which tastes like an alcoholic sweet tart, and which is my new favorite drink. ok, maybe richard buckner's performance was really the highlight of the evening, but malt beverages were a close second.

after the show we were unfortunately thwarted in our attempt to get to krispy kreme before closing--i'll have to get a glazed cake another time, i guess!

this weekend will be lots of fun: more shows, plus hanging out at the pool w/ pina coladas, and lots of relaxation and reading!

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
another item from my desk asks a very important question which i think you should all ponder deeply.

i, however, am busy asking myself these questions: why can't i stop sneezing? and why was joan of arcadia cancelled (for a show starring jennifer love hewitt as the ghost whisperer*, no less)? and why is my dresser suddenly leaning to the right and making all the drawers get stuck? and why does my internet keep going down when i actually need it and i'm not just goofing off?

obviously the devil has already gotten to me.

(that, and the judaism.)


*but wouldn't it be cool if they brought back that ghost writer show? does anyone else remember that?

2005 book 57

karen joy fowler's the sweetheart season
first of all, serious props to johnM for the recommendation--i thoroughly enjoyed this book and stayed up past my self-imposed trying-to-sleep time to finish it.i'm definitely going to have to check out more books by fowler (but probably not the jane austen one, since i'm not an austen fan). plot summary: small town, 1947, wheat mill/baking testing area with a betty crocker-like symbol, and the local girls/workers are talked into becoming a baseball team to advertise for their company. but really it's about small-town life, and petty rivalries, and young women's tenuous friendships, and wacky old men who want apes, and goddesses, and gandhi. the novel is narrated by the daughter of one of the aforementioned local girls, and it's never entirely clear just how much she's embellishing, but that's part of the fun. really great characters and story--definitely worth the sleep deprivation.

ps--the finale of lost! whoa! what was with the sex pirates? i have to say that i prefer finales that wrap things up a little bit more, and don't leave like seven cliffhangers to torment us over the summer, but i did like the final plane scenes quite a bit.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

harry potter 6

it looks like some hp6 details have been leaked by the printers of the book. don't click on that link if you want to avoid possible spoilers!!

note to self: call regulator today and find out about pre-ordering . . .

ETA: never mind--we can preorder online!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i spun this yarn today from this fiber that i hand-painted this weekend.

sorry for all the posts but i know my mom likes to see yarn pictures. :)

2005 book 56

zakes mda's the madonna of excelsior
mda, a well-known and award-winning south african author, takes a really interesting approach in this novel--it manages to discuss the chaotic political scene in south african in the 1970s and 80s by focusing on one family, whose matriarch, niki, was part of an interracial sex scandal (sexual relations b/w blacks and whites was actually against the law in south africa during apartheid, which probably you all know, but just in case you didn't, i thought i'd mention it). oh, and every chapter starts with a description of a painting by a local priest/artist guy, so the town's experiences are also filtered through his particular lens. i realize i'm making this sound very dry and political, but it's an excellent novel--the characters of niki's children, especially her mixed-race daughter, are very compelling, as are the many small-town intrigues that pop up during the story.

hmm--i really feel like i haven't read too much this month, at least compared to other months this year, but i'm 19 books ahead of where i was last year at this time, which is pretty impressive . . . unless this is somehow a barometer of how much of a life i have, in which case it's a little bit sad. :)

best compliment ever?

to deal with my unquenchable book lust, i took a brief trip to the chapel hill public library this afternoon. as i was walking to the building, i noticed an old bearded man on one of the benches out front (he was calling "hello, amigo!" to a kid going by). he noticed me too, and started saying "hello" and mumbling that i was pretty or something--of course i smiled, because i have a soft spot for little old men and anyway, he was calling me pretty! as i passed by, i heard him say something that it took me a second to process, preoccupied as i was by my list o' books.

he told me my chest was just as nice as dolly parton's.

he was already gone when i came out about fifteen minutes later, so i don't know if he had anything else insightful to say.

comics, etc.

i got some comics yesterday, primarily to kill some time before scott pilgrim volume 2 comes out. :) i really am enjoying the current storylines of fables and finder, and i even like plastic man these days (sometimes reading something goofy is fun!). and the nice nice nice andrew gave me some comics from free comic book day, whihc of course i missed b/c i was finishing up one final project or another--the comic festival book, featuring canadian artists, was definitely a highlight (and not just b/c there was a scott pilgrim story). i also really enjoyed the couple issues of kevin huizenga's or else that i picked up--i like his art, especially.

however, i really did not like this one book from oni that i picked up, which is totally disappointing, since oni is one of my favorite publishers. it was called f-stop and was about a wannabe photographer and some models and blah. they were all drawn with these huge chins, like caricatures of jay leno, and there was no characterization to speak of. onto the discard pile with you!

it looks like rain today, which means i'll probably get some spinning done this afternoon--or some reading. or both! i have been dissatisfied with my to-read pile, which means i should go to the library and not spend all my grocery money on books, as tempting as it is to just walk over to nice price and browse. then i can start hunting down the books you all have been kind enough to recommend--and more recommendations are always welcome. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

2005 book 55

l.m. montgomery's the blue castle
although i loved all of montgomery's books growing up (i mean, is it even possible not to adore anne of green gables?), this was always my favorite, and since i hadn't read it in a couple of years, it seemed time. plus i can't afford to buy any books right now, so summer reading will involve a lot of rereading. :) anyway, this is the story of what happens when an "old maid", cowed by an overbearing family but with a secret sense of humor and a secret rich imagination, is told by a dcctor that she has heart problems and doesn't have long to live. she decides to rebel against her family and take charge of her life, first by nursing a dying girl who is considered scandalous, and then through her relationship with the local rascal, who has secrets of his own. it's all romantic and stuff, with lots of lovely descriptions of canadian woods. definitely still one of my all-time favorites.

in other news, i was experimenting with dyes again today. making dye out of blueberries didn;t really pan out, but was surprisingly less messy than store-bought dyes. i'll just be using kool-aid from now on, so as not to have a permanently purple sink.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

wedding weekend

the only thing i regret about this weekend is that i didn't bring my camera into big lots.

lots and lots of photos are over at flickr.

point of fact: the drive home was exactly the length of three episodes of this american life.

thanks again to erin for coming with!

Friday, May 20, 2005

veronica mars moves to wednesdays

ok, it's kind of awesome that in the fall, veronica mars will be on right after america's next top model (and now all you antm fans have no excuse not to watch it!). it's a little less awesome that now it's on at the same time as lost, one of the only other tv shows i bother watching. oh well, that's what tv shows on dvd are for! see you in a year or so, sayid!

in other news, i'll be in elizabeth city for a wedding this weekend. pictures forthcoming, probably.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
this was the best thing on my desk today, i think.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

2005 book 54

mordecai richler's barney's version
richler--probably best known as the author of the jacob two-two books, but also a well-regarded novelist--has done what few writers can: created a totally lovable and sympathetic asshole. this book is narrated by barney panofsky, a canadian jew, who feels obliged to write his memoirs after an old acquaintance publishes diaries that depict barney in a decidedly unflattering light--as a philandering wife-abusing murderer. despite his failing memory, barney reflects on his past--his three wives, including the love of his life, his years in paris brushing elbows with great artists, and so on. as i said, panofsky is really a lovable asshole, and richler does a great job with this novel--the memoir is even footnoted by barney's son, much to my amusement. i love footnotes in fiction. this one is highly recommended and it's provided further incentive to check out the other books on the nextbook list.


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i made this!

medical dramas

my parents have recently recommended two tv shows to me, grey's anatomy and house, and i watched both of those this week. although they were more-or-less compelling, i probably won't be watching either again, b/c medical dramas are gross. i almost got sick during house b/c they KEPT INJECTING PEOPLE WITH NEEDLES. like, in every scene someone was getting blood drawn or jabbing themselves w/ a syringe or crying b/c the nurse couldn't get the needle in. thinking about it now is making me a little dizzy so i'll stop. yuckarama. maybe i should just watch that britney spears show next time i'm home on a veronica mars-less tuesday--it's got to be less nauseating. and no, i don't like britney spears, and yes, i think she and her husband are skeezy--that is how grossed out i was by house. [i kept flipping over to britney when the needles got to be too much, so it's not like i have no basis of comparison.]

grey's anatomy wasn't as bad by comparison--i was pleased to see the guidance counselor from joan of arcadia as the psychic patient of the doctor played by the girl who was gerard depardieu's daughter in that one movie.

in other news, i spent all of yesterday afternoon dying roving with kool-aid, now that i have re-mastered the whole spinning wheel thing. pictures are up at flickr, and probably they're totally bizarre looking (bowls of wet brightly-colored wool? yeah). all my reds came out the same, including the one i mixed with pink lemonade in an effort to lighten in--well, something to experiment with next time!

Monday, May 16, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i was trying to describe my old school uniform to erin (i went to a private school during K-8, and had to wear a uniform from grades 5-8) and have no photos that i can find, and so i sketched it out just now.

what isn't reflected in this drawing (b/c i am a crappy artist) is that the tunic-thing was pleated--but the style was to buy older used uniforms where the pleats had been ripped out, lending an even baggier effect to the ensemble. the cool way to wear this garment (if such a thing was possible) involved belting it around the butt, preferably with those hippie-style woven multi-colored belts with pom-poms on the ends. failure to wear a belt resulted in a one-dollar uniform fine from every teacher who saw you (on one careless morning, i was forced to unlace my sneaker and wear a shoelace as a belt when i realized i'd left without one). the pocket of the tunic featured the school seal. i wish i could appropriately reflect the bagginess of the outfit without making my little drawing look fat, b/c really, those tunics were unflattering. i'll try and dig up a picture, although i am fairly sure i didn't like being photographed in the uniform.

shirts were collared/polo shirts in white or turtlenecks in the winter (green cords were also allowed in winter, as long as they were the right shade of green--hunter green only!). shoes were either white sneakers, brown loafers (with the laces curled!), or brown suede bucks. socks and/or tights, of course, were white.

the only individuality we could express came from the boxer shorts worn under our uniforms (to further shield our budding feminity? i never really got that part of the dress code, although i loved the boxers). i still have my favorite pair, from 8th grade--joe boxers in a toothpaste-and-toothbrush motif. my dad is a dentist, you know!

now that i think about it, i wore those to sleep in last night.

for further information on my school, check out annie dillard's ode to pittsburgh/memoir an american childhood. she's one of ellis' distinguished alumnae.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

2005 book 53

robertson davies' the cunning man
first off, let me say that i really like the picture of davies on the back of this book--he's reminiscent of an intellectual santa claus. which sort of works, since the book deals so strongly w/ intellectual themes and is also giggle-out-loud funny at parts. however, it's also fairly disorganized (which is part of the framing device and doesn't really work), especially in the last quarter, when the narrator keeps interspersing parts of his story with notes for a book he plans to write. the resolution is also somewhat unsatisfying and seemingly rushed; i personally would have liked to see more on the apparently unsolved murder. on the other hand, the first half is rife w/ characterization and interesting plots (and i was pleased to see the return of the character ramsey from the deptford trilogy), and the third section is neatly narrated mostly through letters. and again, it's all very witty, which makes reading fun!


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
haircuts are also cathartic!

Friday, May 13, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
tonight i discovered that the cure for a bad mood is to make cupcakes!

these banana cupcakes are for the annual croquet/birthday party at matt and nathan's tomorrow afternoon.

luckily there was a second batch so i can have one tonight. :)

summer reading

i actually have some vacation plans this summer, which means i should start stockpiling books now! any recommendations?

note that i eschew the usual beach-reading fare b/c i am a book snob, which means i'm looking for fiction i can really sink into, interesting memoirs or essays, things that will make me giggle out loud (like the robertson davies book i've just started), but nothing too academic-y--i don't like to think too hard when i'm on an airplane or at the beach or whatever.

obviously if you're a regular reader of this blog, you've noticed that i do read all sorts of things, so don't be afraid to toss some names/titles out--i won't judge you! i am a devourer of books!

also re: summer reading: nextbook has a list of jewish-related books as recommended by some well-known jewish authors (i was thrilled to see savyon liebrecht appear--i'll definitely be reading the book she chose). i've only read 4 of the ones on the list so this will be a nice starting point.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

2005 book 52

rick moody's the ice storm
blogger was down for fucking forever, so here's this entry that i really wrote at 6 pm when it was too fucking hot and i wasn't really concentrating:

yeah, this book was pretty riveting. it revolves around two dysfunctional couples in the 70s and their equally dysfunctional adolescent children, all experimenting with sex as they wallow in loneliness and confusion. i guess that doesn't really sound like a good story, but it is. it was made into a movie--i think i saw part of it on tv once, briefly was interested b/c it starred kevin kline and joan allen and tiny tobey maguire and katie holmes, but ultimately turned it off b/c they were all so self-indulgent and annoying. it doesn't really come off that way in the book--they're all sort of searching for meaning in tumultuous times, and don't really know what to do with themselves. i think i liked this better than moody's short stories, even.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

vm finale

i was pretty pleased w/ the veronica mars season finale--not as intense as last week, which was a relief, but still some jumpy bits and some bits i didn't see coming (i totally saw the car thing, though, not that i minded). i really liked the end--although there is still a good amount of wrapping up to do. when does season 2 start? how long do i have to wait for dvds? when can i start taping the early episodes/when will they start rerunning?

so many unanswered questions! :)

i don't think it will break 100 pages on the twop forums like the last episode did, but i'm not complaining. i heart rob thomas (not the crappy singer--the veronica mars creator guy).

thus ends my last (probably last) veronica mars-related post until the dvds come out.

oh, and the gilmore girls? MORONS. don't they have the morning-after pill in connecticut? and as a law-abiding citizen, i really wished i could have smacked rory upside the head. i haven't even liked emily lately. and yet i still watch it pretty much every week--normally b/c i'm waiting for veronica mars to come on, but also b/c i'm curious. i will most likely watch it next week even though rory is an annoying dingbat all of a sudden (i really liked her in the early seasons, so i find the way her character has been written lately to be bothersome).

coming soon: more discussion of books! and ice cream!


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
by popular demand (well, JohnM's demand), here is my current reading list. as you can see, it hasn't changed much from last time, but i should have more reading time now that the semester is done. yay!


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
being done for the semester totally merits stopping for ice cream on the way home.

i realize i don't look very festive in this photo, but i was concentrating very hard on my yummy banana ice cream and couldn't really smile at the same time.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

2005 book 51

peter straub, ed. conjunctions: 39: the new wave fabulists
this was my birthday present from fellow avid reader JohnM, which i have been reading in bits and pieces over the past few weeks in between working on school stuff and being stressed out and whatever else i've been doing. it's a great, great, great anthology of fantastical fiction, with stories from big names like neil gaiman, peter straub, and jonathan lethem. my favorites--as much as i could narrow them down--were by karen joy fowler, kelly link, john kessel, james morrow (maybe i should dig out his last book and give it a shot), and elizabeth hand, which run the gamut from touching to sexy to skin-crawling. the volume closes out with two meditations on genre--gene wolfe's is an especially interesting take, one i wish i'd read while i was still taking popular materials. john, let me thank you again--these stories were really wonderful. :)

Friday, May 06, 2005

Thursday, May 05, 2005

digital camera woes

so, something seems to be wrong w/ my camera, and i'm hoping someone reading this can help. actually, the camera itself is working fine--but when i plug in the usb cord and try to upload the pictures, the usual happy beepy noise is multiplied and the message "the device is not ready" pops up. any thoughts? it was working fine the other day . . . i want to upload some pictures i took at the baby shower today (i only got a few before my battery died).

odds and ends

i really liked this article in the indy on album covers. by the way, casey burns is the next artist whose work will be shown at chapel hill comics, but i forget the start date of the exhibit, so you'll just have to stop by this saturday for free comic book day and ask. anyway, i especially was pleased to see the mention of the rosebuds' make out cover, b/c when i read the intro of the piece, that was the first album that popped into my mind.

today on my desk there was something called "the new angelic gospelodium." i just thought you should know.

i picked up a bunch of comics yesterday--the usuals: fables, y the last man, powers, and i forget what else right now (b/c i haven't read them yet), along w/ volume 3 of the collected peanuts. dude, i got three papercuts from that thing from running my fingers along the top to open up to where my bookmark was. be forewarned--those top edges are sharp!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

veronica mars, of course

i'm still practically hyperventilating from one of the best hours of tv i have ever seen. i was crying before the opening credits rolled. i am almost grateful i have a sick amount of homework over the next week, b/c it will help kill the time until the season finale--after which life will have lost some of its charm. thank god for summer reruns. and the dvds, which will be out septemberish.

i don't get it--what are you people watching that isn't this show? do you honestly think it's better????? dude, i won't even hesitate in saying that veronica mars is BETTER THAN BUFFY. especially buffy season one! (but will vm season two compare to buffy season two? only time will tell . . . i am hoping the fall dvd release will help boost viewers for season 2. it worked for 24 . . . )

i realize i write about this tv show a lot but for real yo, it's just that good. [ETA: proof at least of obsessive fandom: the episode has been over for 25 minutes and already has two more pages on the twop forums than the episode of gilmore girls that ended an hour an a half ago. and there certainly was plenty to say about that show tonight too! like: i liked lorelai, for a change, and hated her parents for not listening about logan. i hate logan still. rory is a kiss-ass. sookie is cute. and so on. not really as passion-inspiring as veronica mars, but still conversation-worthy.]

arcade fire

i know christina discussed this already today, but i think it bears repeating. she just got back from coachella and was saying how 12,000 people were there to see arcade fire, and were all singing along, and there was a jumbotron.

it was LESS THAN A YEAR AGO that they were at the cave. the night of june 7, 2004. here is what i wrote at the time:

01:11 am
just got back from seeing fan modine and arcade fire at the cave . . . arcade fire is totally my new favorite band; i am happier than god that merge signed them and not alien8 (smart arcade fire!). fan modine was doing a stripped down set, just gordon on the cave's badly tuned piano, with ash on guitar, and everyone was talking like it was just backround music! bastards! but as soon as arcade fire started, everyone was totally blown away. it's been a while since i saw chapel hillians so excited about a band, but there it was, despite technical difficulties, sweltering heat, and all 6 bandmembers being squidged into the tiny band-area. yeah, amazing amazing show--their cd doesn't do them justice . . . i'm psyched for their big merge release though. aww, i love such fun bands!!!

i'm totally deaf at the moment--wacky!

it was cute how every merge person was at the show, pretty much. the new intern was adorable, and so endearing when he crept up front to take pictures. christina got some great shots too . . .

in less that a year, their audience went from about 20 to about 12,000. that is pretty fucking amazing. i am seriously sitting here being AMAZED about it! maybe even more amazed than i was that night last june when i saw them live for the first time.

anyway, don't mind me--i'm giddy from finishing one of my final projects. :)


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
pinky gave me socks!

every girl needs monkey socks, especially during the trying time of finals week.

Monday, May 02, 2005

bruce campbell

dang. why isn;t he coming to north carolina on his book tour? i want to learn how to make love the bruce campbell way! :)

and jsut to get some veronica mars love out of the way: oh man, only two episodes left. oh man. and it's re-running this summer, so now there is NO excuse not to watch it. probably i will be taping it and forcing you all to watch.

speaking of tv, i caught the end of a really old cosby show episode this weekend--the one where theo meets a girl at the library and brings her home. more tv shows should highlight libraries as places to meet girls, i think--i mean, if people are still worried about getting kids into libraries. maybe they aren't.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

2005 book 50

rachel cusk's the lucky ones
wow, book 50 already! this calls for a celebration--when finals week is over and i have time for a celebration. :) anyway--although this novel is stylistically very different than the country life (it contains a series of interconnected stories), the same theme of troubled families struggling to work themselves out remains. her characters are richly drawn and vivid; many of them are trying to figure out their newfound parenthood and how having children affects the other parts of their lives. eh, i don't have much else to say about this right now--i liked it a lot but i need to get back to working on final projects now. :)