Monday, July 31, 2006

a.b. yehoshua

was interviewed in the nytimes sunday magazine this weekend. i'm definitely excited for his new book, but sad to read that he's lost some of his optimism.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

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Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
my parents and i went over to lake ella today--these are just a few of the hundres of ducks we saw. aww, baby ducks!

2006 book 93

shelley jackson's half life
first of all, i think that descriptions of this book don't really explain that in the slightly futuristic world this novel takes place in, siamese twins are not much of an anomaly. i was all excited to read this story about siamese twins--one of whom has been asleep for years, the other of whom is considering undergoing an operation to split them apart--but there's a lot of weird political jargon that i wasn't expecting (there are lots of pro-twin groups in the story with various levels of propaganda). anyway, the main character is trying to make this big decision, and is her twin waking up or is she just going insane? this was a good book, don't get me wrong, but the book jacket really makes it out to be some other sort of story--this has a sci-fi twinge to it that i was really expecting.

jackson, by the way, is the chick who wrote a story by having words tattooed on a few thousand people.

Friday, July 28, 2006

2006 book 92

sara gruen's water for elephants
two thumbs up for this book! i loved it. it's about a 93-yeard-old man in a nursing home remembering 1931, the year he was 23 and came to work for a circus. it's a riveting story, and feels a little reminiscent of carnivale (the second season of which jsut cmae out on dvd), only without all the apocalyptic mumbo-jumbo. it does nail that 1930s dirty desperation though, as well as featuring really well-written characters. according to this interview, there's supposed to be a biblical overtone, but i didn't see much trace of it (and believe me, i looked!). still, it's an amazing story even without that layer, and i thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

summer mix 2006/etc

well, i was long overdue for a new mix, so here's the one i just made! it features my usual motley assortment, plus since it's summer, it has the HITS. or whatever.

1. juana molina, micael
2. long winters, fire island, AK
3. white whale, one prayer
4. the thermals, an ear for baby
5. asobi seksu, strawberries
6. portastatic, just like a real book
7. regina spektor, better
8. camera obscura, lloyd, i'm ready to be heartbroken
9. starlight mints, pumpkin
10. calexico, cruel
11. hot chip, look after me
12. barbara morgenstern, alles was lebt bewegt sich
13. club des belugas, hip hop chin chin
14. the emperors, my baby likes to boogaloo
15. the supremes, up the ladder to the roof (original 45 single mix)
16. bettye swann, angel of the morning
17. dj dolores, trancelim de marfim
18. ursula 1000, ragnarok
19. kingsbury manx, ruins

in other news, it's time to clean! my parents are coming in tomorrow for a weekend visit!

and then next weekend . . . georgia!!! three nights of shows, one of which is a prom, seeing friends i totally miss, and having a sunday afternoon cookout: should be an awesome time.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


john corbett was probably my first indie-rock crush. imagine my shock and chagrin when, flipping through the channels, i encountered this! [warning: sound]

chris in the morning, why have you forsaken me???


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i had a long and busy day so i'm treating myself to a hardback!

in the meantime, here are some of the flowers in my backyard to keep you entertained--aren't they cool-looking?

Monday, July 24, 2006

white whale day!

tomorrow is white whale day, officially recognized by the representatives of kansas!! celebrate by buying the album, b/c it's really, really GREAT!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

2006 book 91

david payne's back to wando passo
eh, i had mixed feelings about this book. it basically is telling two parallel stories that both take place at the same house in south carolina--one in the present day and one during the civil war. the characterization in the past story is very cliched--i didn't at all buy the love story there, b/c it was really not well-developed. it felt like pretty much every novel about the civil war, love between races, and so on. the present story, centering on a washed-up musician trying to win back his wife, was slightly more believable, but i did find the ending really farfetched. actually, as i reflect on this book more, i really didn't like much about it at all.


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
sorry for the lack of updates this week--i've actually been busy socializing, visiting various local bars and restaurants, shopping with a coworkers at cute local stores, and c&c stopped by for a visit on their way to the beach! they took some cute pictures on campus (where someone had put bubbles in the fountain on the main quad) so maybe i'll post one of those eventually. it was great to see them and i can't wait to see them again in two weeks for the prom!! big ups to charles for pointing out that the pilot of "heat vision and jack", that wacky show featuring jack black as a superbrilliant astronaut on the run and owen wilson as his motorcycle, is on youtube for everyone's viewing pleasure. i certainly was pleased to view it.

this is a picture of a plant i bought yesterday, called salvia guaranitica. apparently hummingbirds like it, so now i'm thinking of getting some other plants that they like and having a hummingbird garden on my deck. hummingbirds seem to like really pretty plants!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

2006 book 90

katharine weber's triangle
so, this is a novel about the last living survivor of the triangle factory fire of 1911, and her granddaughter the geneticist, and her granddaughter's boyfriend the musician, and the extremely unlikable caricature of a feminist historian trying to get her story. i had some mixed feelings about this book--i'm not sure if the truth of the matter was supposed to be a surprise to the reader, or if the point was to see how the other characters all dealt with it, but i figured it out reeeeeeally early on (perhaps due to the rerun of law and order:svu that i watched earlier tonight which had, weirdly, a very similar plot--also weirdly, there was a mention of law and order in the novel), except for one small twist which a more careful reader might have noticed. i mean, obviously i was interested in the outcome, b/c i read it all in one go to see if i was right, but it just seemed so obvious! also, there was a little too much on musical composition for my taste; i guess it was symbolic but i'm not really into that stuff. however, the three main characters were all well-written, and the glimpses of the life of a jewish immigrant in the early part of the 1900s remind me to dig up more of my own family history.

Monday, July 17, 2006

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Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.

hey, check it out! i saw my first show in tallahassee tonight! i was delighted and surprised to discover earlier today that hotel lights would be at the beta bar tonight, so i dragged a coworker out so i could get all blissed out on one of my favorite chapel hill bands. openers were the local collar hollis (a dude with a guitar--i liked his songs, but he went on a little too long for a dude with a guitar. you know i lack patience for these things) and jennifer o'connor (who apparently is signed to matador). then, hotel lights!!! there was a criminally low turnout but the band rocked it out for us anyway and i was just thrilled to see them and even more thrilled to hear all my favorite songs of theirs. excuse this crappy cameraphone picture of them; i didn't bring my real camera to the show. by the way, i loved the beta bar, it was just like all the other rock clubs i've known and loved, and my coworker said that he could definitely picture me hanging out there often. i guess it depends what bands come through. :)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

2006 book 89

adam langer's crossing california
hey, this book was pretty great. it focuses on some of the residents of a mostly-jewish chicago neighborhood in the late 70s and early 80s who are all interconnected and all going through various issues. i guess that makes it sound really serious and heady, but i actually read it in one sitting, so obviously it was entertaining (or, conversely, obviously i don't have much else to do with my sunday afternoons). the cast includes pot-smoking teens, politically aware pre-teens, a lovelorn adolescent filmmaker, a wannabe jewish-themed rock star, and a myriad of interesting adults as well. there's a weird movie-script-style portion in the back of the book that indicates a sequel exists, so i might have to hunt that down.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

2006 book 88

annie dillard's an american childhood
i swear i've read this since i started this blog--i have a vague recollection of writing about dillard and pittsburgh and whatnot--but i can't find any trace that this is actually the case. interestingly, it wasn't the mentions of pittsburgh that stuck out for me on this reading, but dillard's budding interest in nature--her first microscope, her observations of a moth, etc. i guess that's the fun part of rereading--noticing and remembering new things every time.

meanwhile, there's this crazy show on food network now wherein five people are competing to create a new ice cream flavor. oh man, that totally looks fun!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

project runway!

hooray, season three started! there are already two dudes i think are pretentious jerks (guaranteeing that at least one makes it into the top five), a couple guys and gals i think i might like (i have no strong feelings about angela, but i do love the skirt she was wearing at the start of the show), and i really don't think the winner of the first challenge should have won (for reasons i won't go into, in case you all haven't seen it yet). apparently episodes can be downloaded from itunes, if those of you who don't get bravo are into that kind of thing.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

comic books

i had some mixed feelings when i heard about miriam katin's graphic novel on her family's experiences during the Holocaust, but after seeing this feature (and some excerpts) on nextbook, i've become a lot more intrigued.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


i meant to post something about this yesterday, but was tired and cranky and it slipped my mind. i just wanted to note my sadness over pittsburgh mayor bobby o'connor's diagnosis with a rare form of cancer; he started treatments today, the same day the all-star game is being played in pittsburgh. o'connor is actually a friend of my parents' so this news was especially heartbreaking. my dad tells me that less than 50 cases of this kind of lymphoma are diagnosed a year, so it's hard to get good data on prognoses. my thoughts and prayers are with him and the city right now.

i'd been dithering on what book to read next--somehow i have a big stack, and several are epic-length--but now i think it's time for a reread of annie dillard's homage to pittsburgh, an american childhood.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

2006 book 87/other stuff

justine larbalestier's magic or madness
this is a sort of YA fantasy novel; the main character has been raised on tales of her evil witch grandmother, but when her mother goes nuts, she's sent to live with the supposed witch. magic adventures ensue, and there's a mysterious ending that seems to indicate a sequel is in the works.

speaking of endings leading up to sequels, i saw pirates of the caribbean 2 today and it's totally the empire strikes back of the series. more curses, swashbuckling, truly terrifying teeth, and a little romance make for an entertaining enough movie, but seriously, total cliffhanger ending.

but all is not lost! my favorite hour of summer television is tongiht--entourage followed by the venture brothers!

plus, i have been listening to the white whale album nonstop for the past couple of weeks, and i am totally excited to see them in august. can you believe i haven't been to a show ALL SUMMER????

Saturday, July 08, 2006

amy sedaris/cupcakes

amy sedaris' cupcake recipe has been revealed!

i don't know about you all, but i'm pretty excited about amy's upcoming book. she surely must be the hostess with the mostess.

Friday, July 07, 2006

2006 book 86

gina frangello's my sister's continent
there's a blurb on the front of this book from steve almond saying that frangello "writes about sex, psychology, and sisterhood with a rare sensitivity and tremendous wit." that's an apt description of this story, which centers on identical twins, one a former ballerina, recently injured, one on the verge of being married. family secrets are revealed and stuff happens. it's not particularly funny, per se (actually it's very bleak at times), but it's well written and engaging. my only problem was the narrator's obtuseness about certain things that are made clear to the reader, which fits the story and all, but just annoyed me a tiny bit. still, i did like this book a lot, would recommend it, etc.

last unicorn graphic novel!

whoa! my all time favorite movie (and one of my all time favorite books) is being adapted into a graphic novel. scholastic is putting out so much awesome stuff lately--the first babysitters' club book was adorable, and they have a lot more coming out in the next year that i'm really looking forward to.

i'm a little nervous about the last unicorn though . . . will it be as awesome as the book and movie??

Thursday, July 06, 2006

2006 book 85

pagan kennedy's confessions of a memory eater
this story of a washed-up academic who gets mixed up with an old friend and his old friend's new drug (which allows the recreational user to relive old memories) was a fascinating one, and a fast read.

but what's MORE fascinating is what happened while i was reading it! i was lounging on the couch while a thunderstorm waxed and waned outside. the cable kept going in and out so i turned off my law and order: criminal intent rerun and concentrated on this novel. suddenly a burst of lightning struck just outside my window! and at the same moment, there was a weird flash over by the tv!

a little later i finished my book and went to turn the tv back on--and nothing happened. "hmm, that's weird," i said, trying the remote a few more times before getting up and hitting the power button on the tv. still nothing. i called my mom, who suggested i unplug it and plug it back in. nope.

DUDE. in a week, THREE electronic devices in my house have been totally fried by lightning strikes--my cable modem, my external hard drive, and now my sweet 27" tv. WHAT THE FUCK, FLORIDA???? is there something i can do to prevent the loss of any more of my beloved appliances? i have a call in to my south florida grandparents for some advice, but i am pretty stymied.

i mean, the tv wasn't even ON.

ETA: the tv is working again! the one in my bedroom was out too, but then i fixed them both by plugging them into other outlets. weird.

ETA again: ANOTHER APPLIANCE DOWN!!! i discovered on the way out this morning that my stereo died sometime in the night. of course, this is the same stereo that regularly blew a fuse every couple weeks till my dad one time put the fuse in backwards and it's been fine for the last three or four years. so maybe it was its time . . . but i find the whole thing to be a little fishy!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

2006 book 84

julianna baggott's the miss america family
another fun read from baggott, this book focuses on a fairly dysfunctional family, and is narrated alternately by the webbed-toed teenage son, ezra, and his mother, a former miss new jersey. i liked this a lot--it was the perfect book to read out on the deck on the 4th of july. maybe i should check out that book she co-wrote with steve almond, after all.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

2006 book 83

sarah hall's haweswater
this is actually hall's first novel, but apparently it's being reissued this fall since electric michelangelo was so successful. anyway, it takes place in a rural town in england in the 1920s and 1930s, and has that sort of slow, rural, old-fashioned feel to it. it really took me a while to read, though things do pick up partway through, as the small town finds out that a new dam being built is going to flood them out, and a young girl from the town gets involved with someone from the water company. it's not a cheerful book by any stretch of the imagination, but it's certainly well-written. and a note to triangle locals: hall apparently lives in north carolina part of the year, and will be doing readings in the raleigh-durham area, so check that out.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
two thumbs up for green peridot, where i got these sweet multicolored highlights today (and a trim)!

i also saw "the devil wears prada" which was pretty stupid, but not stupid enough to warrant a rant. i totally want the lipstick anne hathaway was wearing in the paris scenes--classic red!