Tuesday, February 28, 2006

2006 book 31

mary gaitskill's veronica
i kept reading good things about this book, but whenever i picked it up it just didn't seem that interesting. it turns out you should stick to your first impressions, b/c it turned out to actually not be interesting. it's about a woman who was once a model who was friends with a woman with AIDS. that's about it. i expected something a little more thrilling from the woman who wrote the story secretary is based on, but oh well.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

2006 book 30

noel streatfeild's ballet shoes
my nostalgia kick continues with ballet shoes, streatfeild's first--and arguably best--children's book (not that the rest aren't good, just some of them seem formulaic after this one). anyway, this story, originally published in 1936, revolves around three adopted sisters. when their family falls into a financial decline, the girls are enrolled in a performing arts academy, so they can earn money as child actors and dancers. the eldest, pauline, is a fine actress, and little posy was born to dance, but the middle girl, petrova, longs to be a pilot but feels obliged to perform to earn money for the family. such drama! actually, i love these characters--petrova was always my favorite, probably b/c i hated ballet classes too--and their story is a sweet and heartwarming one. great reading for those chilly days when it's better to be curled up on the couch underneath a hand-knitted afghan.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


i want to be ira glass when i grow up!! (actually, i think my biggest regret is that i'm too old to be ira glass when i grow up.)

anyway, he is an amazing speaker. props to whoever at memorial hall arranged that show, and i hope you guys recorded it, b/c selling it would be very lucrative for you! i know i'd buy it.

Friday, February 24, 2006

i wish this is what elections were based on

(actual cnn poll, right now)

radio radio

i'm back on the air (after two weeks off!) this sunday, 3-5 pm, 88.7fm/wxdu.org. so listen, y'all!

in other music news, i just love my ipod. like passionately love it. i would marry it if i could, after the awesome selection it played for me this morning. <3<3

in other news entirely, this is my favorite thing of the day. it tastes good AND tells my fortune!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

2006 book 29

scott simon's pretty birds
i haven't been reading much over the past week--i thought it was b/c i was sick, and not in the mood for books, but it turned out that i just hadn't found a good book to read. and let me tell you, guys, this book is good. simon--npr's weekend edition's scott simon, by the way, writing his first novel--tells an extremely moving story of sarajevo in 1992. now, b/c i was just a middle-schooler in 1992, i never really understood what was happening in sarajevo, but this story makes the tragic, harrowing situation of ethnic cleansing very clear. the novel revolves around a teenaged girl, formerly a basketball star, and currently a sniper for the muslim side. i don't want to say too much more than that, b/c i'm recommending this book to everyone and think you should let the story unfold for yourself. but as a note to myself, i'm going to say that this is an early front-runner for one of my top ten books of the year.

ps: unrelated, but i meant to say this a couple days ago. i'm really enjoying the early start of daffodil season! such an unexpected bright spot on those cold rainy days.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


i picked up this beautiful little pop-up book at chapel hill comics today--it had been on my amazon wishlist and i was thrilled to come across it on the way home--and i cannot recommend it enough. seriously. it's beautiful.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

adventures in foodstuffs

Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i made bread again! i actually wanted to try making challah, but the recipe i had (from temple sinai's "incredible edibles" cookbook, circa 1988) just kept being too sticky, no matter how much flour i added! it came out ok as a big loaf and a mini-me loaf, and my apartment smells SO GOOD OH MY GOD.

in other awesome food news, i finally ran across some girl scouts today and stocked up on cookies, so now my coworkers and library patrons won't have to listen to my "where are the girl scouts?!???? i need some cookies!!! i can't believe i went home sick the day they were on campus" rant again (at least until next year).

Sunday, February 19, 2006


huge congrats to everyone who was involved in thon* this year!!!! i'm hearing reports that you guys raised a whopping and record-breaking $4,214,749.18!! AMAZING. i am so proud of all of you!!!

(i can't find any official news stories yet, so will update this later with links.)


*penn state's dance marathon, a no-sitting, no-sleeping, 48-hour dance marathon held every February, also the largest (and oldest?) student-run philanthropy in the world, which raises money for the four diamonds fund, and every year i get totally pissed off when dance marathons at other schools (like unc) don't give psu credit for creating thon, and for generally being amazing.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

2006 book 28

rick moody's the diviners
i was kind of disappointed in this book. the first bit, which consists of several pages of pretension about the light shining on various places, should really have tipped me off, but the main chunk of the story--about a small production company that gets involved in trying to make this crazy epic miniseries, and the zillion other people who come into it--was actually pretty interesting, despite the fact that it never really seemed to be going anywhere. but the end was just dumb. DUMB. screw you, rick moody, for making me read this whole long stupid book!

don't mind me--i have a terrible cold and am about to crawl back into bed.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

all-of-a-kind family

here's a lovely article on the all-of-a-kind family by the author of girl sleuth (that book about nancy drew). i looooved those books when i was a kid (and still do).

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
there are lots of birthdays coming up so that means it was cupcake time! christina and i are the cupcake queens. here, she is icing the banana cupcakes with the awesome squeezing-a-plastic-bag technique.


two thumbs up for driving around on a warm sunny afternoon with the windows down, the music blasting, and a lemon curd loco pop in one hand (don't worry, i can drive one-handed).

two thumbs down for books that are much longer than they look! that new rick moody book is over 600 pages--it really didn't look that long when i grabbed it off the shelf, but i got to around page 200 and wondered why the story didn't really seem to have started yet and then checked the page count. it totally merited a "d'oh!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

2006 book 27

the airport and airplane time yielded surprisingly little reading this time--at least of books. i was in a magazine mood, i guess! anyway, briefly, 'cause i'm tired:

kathryn davis' the thin place
this novel is a little disorienting if you, say, put it down and don't read it for a couple days 'cause you're saving the rest for the airplane. there is a large cast of characters and sometimes you sort of have to go, "oh yeah, andrea murdock, she's the bookbinder" and remind yourself. but it's ok, b/c it's a good story--it's about one summer in a town that's sort of on a thin place so sometimes weird things happen, like a little girl who has the power to resurrect the dead. my favorite bits were the ones with the dogs, who were delightfully doggy. there's a lot of really interesting things going on sort of subtly in the story, and i'm sorry if that doesn't make sense but i'm sleepy so forget it.

Friday, February 10, 2006

metropolis symphony

dude. i just discovered the existence of the metropolis symphony (the score of the part entitled "lex" came across my desk this morning). here are the composer's notes on the pieces.

i can't believe no one ever told me it existed! apparently the composer also has works dealing with barbie and jackie o (which i believe is an opera, in fact). i wholeheartedly approve of pop culture infiltrating the so-called high arts!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

2006 book 26

dai sijie's balzac and the little chinese seamstress
this story is about two teenaged boys sent to the mountains of china for reeducation after their parents--doctors--are denounced. they end up with a translation of a novel by balzac, and with their newsfound obsession with western literature--along with one's relationship with the daughter of the local tailor (the titular seamstress)--trouble seems inevitable. a fast and entertaining read.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

2006 books 18-25

maud hart lovelace's betsy-tacy series
[there are actually ten books in the series, but since the first few are shorter, i'm only counting it as eight books.]

for some reason, most of my favorite books when i was a kid were written decades before i was born--we're talking books by edward eager, noel streatfeild, l.m. montgomery, whoever wrote mrs. mike, and, of course, maud hart lovelace, author of the betsy-tacy books. written in the 1940s-50s, this series takes place in rural minnesota in the early 1900s, and follows the irrepressible betsy--who longs to be an author--and her best friend tacy, along with many other assorted characters. when i was a kid, i only owned the first three volumes of the series, because the rest were out of print. i distinctly remember checking the rest out from the carnegie library in squirrel hill--every week i'd get a new one and i knew exactly where they were on the shelf [the same was true for other books that struck my fancy later--like up the down staircase and the girls of huntington house).

i remember being perhaps a little inconsolable when i finished the final book (betsy's wedding) and there were no more adventures to follow. i've reread the first three more than a few times over the years and was pretty gleeful when i rcently discovered that the whole series had come back into print. being the obsessive sort of girl that i am, i promptly bought the seven i was missing and devoured all ten in more-or-less one go. the first three were just as i remembered, and the fourth followed suit (these first four are also all illustrated by lois lenski, a great author in her own right). however, i hit a snag with the fifth (heaven to betsy), which follows betsy and her older sister in their quest to convert to episcopalianism (??), and which was a little off-putting, being so, well, christian-y. luckily by the sixth and seventh things picked up again (betsy is occasionally a prig in those, but in a very realistic teenage way) and when i couldn't not read the eighth immediately upon finishing the seventh, i knew i was as hooked as i'd ever been.

hallmarks of the series, for me, include the characters' early stirrings of feminism, the accurate reflections of teen life (these books are very autobiographical, apparently), betsy's constant worries about her hair, the loyalty to friendships throughout all the books, and--of course--the intellectual, self-made hunk based on lovelace's husband. i think joe willard was the first fictional male i ever had a crush on (definitely before gilbert blythe, and probably also before dickon from the secret garden).

now if only the complete works of streatfield would come back into print!


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i know you guys love the endless photos of my frequent haircuts, so here's the latest. :)


click here!

Monday, February 06, 2006

love and rockets

salon has a nice article on the new collection of jaime hernandez's stuff from love and rockets. i own all the issues already but i'm always tempted to pick up the books anywya, b/c they just look so pretty.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


YEAH STEELERS!!!! big ben, the bus, the long-haired guy, and the rest of the gang--congrats!!!

of course, i'm not really surprised--i didn't even know seattle HAD a team until this superbowl, so they can't have been that exciting. ;)

highlight of the game, for me: my betting-happy friends taking bets on everything from coin tosses to fumbles to sacks to the color of mick jagger's shirt to what kind of mike he would have. good times.

oh, and my parents report that pittsburgh-area schools have a two-hour delay tomorrow! i think that should extend even to pittsburghers currently living out of state. :)

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i made bread from scratch today!!

i know these loaves aren't terribly attractive, but they taste pretty good so i guess it all worked out ok. there actually is a third mini-loaf, but it wasn't very photogenic after i cut some slices for a taste-test. :)

one of these days i'm going to try for some challah!

Friday, February 03, 2006

2006 book 17

joe pernice's meat is murder
i picked up a couple of the 33 1/3 books at ala for five bucks apiece--mad props to the girls running the continuum booth, who let me take them on sunday since i was leaving first thing monday morning! anyway, we've gotten some of the series at the music library, but i guess joe pernice's novel didn't really qualify for the stacks. i think writing a novel that nicely encapsulates the high school experience of falling in love with an album, crushing out on someone, etc is an interesting approach--and frankly, it's more interesting than some of the other books in the series (don't get me wrong--most of them are awesome. but a couple that i've seen are sort of unreadable unless you're a diehard fan of whichever album is being discussed). maxing out at 102 pages of teenage smiths love (anything over 100 pages counts!), this was a quick and fun read.

oh yeah

i'm djing this sunday, 3-5 pm, 88.7/wxdu.org. you should listen, 'cause what else are you doing the afternoon of superbowl sunday, besides assembling 7-layer dip or whatever?

go steelers!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

2005 book 16

anthony bourdain's kitchen confidential
i swear i remember liking this the last time i read it, and i was in the mood to read about food a couple of weeks ago when i started this, but then i discovered that it's not really about food. i think this is the sort of book where, to really get it, you have to either have worked in a restaurant and/or be familiar with new york food culture. unfortunately neither applies to me, and i really had to force myself to finish it.

marvel romance redux

i've been giggling over this comic book for like the last hour. seriously though, it's really funny.