Thursday, July 30, 2009


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
I tried to make confetti cupcakes from scratch--as you can see, the colors didn't last--next time I try this recipe i won't mix after adding the sprinkles! (The colors ran almost immediately.)

Luckily they're still pretty tasty!

2009 book 154

Mary Yukari Waters' The Favorites
I suspect at least parts of this novel are autobiographical, as one of the main characters resembles Waters quite closely (physically, at least). Anyway, it starts off focusing on a young half-Japanese girl and her mother visiting family in Japan, then sort of expands to be about all the women in the family and their tangled relationships. I loved the first half but thought the last bits could have been fleshed out more. Still, great characters and descriptions. B+.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

2009 book 153

Jennifer McMahon's Dismantled
This is kind of an I Know What You Did Last Summer for the literary set, as the death of a friend ten years earlier--and its cover-up--comes back to haunt a married couple and their daughter. The resolution was pretty good, but I wasn't impressed with the rest of the story. B/B=.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
Night five of xxmerge was a great wrap-up to the weekend (and I especially enjoyed sitting down by that point). Wye Oak rocked as always, Mark Eitzel did some amazing torch song-esque versions of his songs accompanied only by a piano, and She and Him has the crowds (mainly the young women of the crowds) dancing in the aisles. I was actually impressed by Zooey Deschanel live--she can belt it out for sure! We also enjoyed mocking her back-up vocalist's crazy prairie ensemble, but I don't have a picture of it as we weren't supposed to take pictures.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
Night 4 of xxmerge was AMAZING! (And I say that having missed the first two bands due to my work schedule--apparently Telekinesis and Erectus Monotone both rocked.) Still, I got to see four GREAT bands perform--Ladybug Transistor, who are always fun live, M. Ward, who put on an incredible set w/ a full band (and an encore featuring Zooey Deschanel on the Beatles' "Birthday", which I did not get a picture of), a solo Destroyer set (check this awesome photo!) punctuated by drunk Christina shouts, and Imperial Teen, who were my favorite band when I was 16, and who played several songs from the album I almost wore out back then ("You're One" was like the third song in their set and when I realized they were playing it I almost started crying, but twittered about it instead). Also they had adorable color-coordinated clothes. An amazing end to the Cat's Cradle shows, and tongiht we get to rock out w/ Wye Oak (and American Music Club and She & Him of course!).

Plus the show ended early enough for a trip to OCSC, where I discovered my new staple drink (Firefly and Coke) and then to Time Out for cheddar biscuits and boxes of bones. Awesome.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
Night three of xxmerge was AMAZING. It started off strong with one of my all-time favorite bands, the Essex Green, playing several of my all-time favorite songs. (We all jumped and danced quite enthusiastically b/c they are awesome!) Then Spent came on (Jon Wurster hilariously claimed they hadn't played live in 22 years, whcih people totally bought. Do the math, Merge has only been around for twenty! heh) and they were totally great live.

THEN! Lambchop came out! And performed one of the most amazing shows I have ever seen! They brought the funk. They played some jamz--with a Z! Two dudes were overwhelmed with the awesome and danced frantically right next to us! They covered "Once in a Lifetime" in the most amazing way and Kurt Wagner even stood up. The crowd was totally into it, too. Just awesome.

Polvo and Pipe were up next, but it was hard to follow such a great set (Though Pipe is of course great to watch live--beer cans were flying) and Spoon headlined, though were beset by technical problems (I left during their set since I have work today).

It will be hard to top that show--though by process of elimination we have figured out which bands have to play tonight--and it should be pretty sweet.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
I probably should stop taking photos of the xxmerge bands--I can't seem to get many good ones from my vantage point (but if I go closer, I can't see anything, so it's worth it!). Anyway, here's a shot of Broken West, one of my Merge faves! Also playing last ngiht: Richard Buckner, Guv'ner, Versus, 3Ds, and Superchunk! Old school Merge ngiht FTW!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
xxmerge night one was amazing! Things started off w/ Pure, who I'd never even heard of, but quickly picked back up with a Lou Barlow-Oakley Hall-Clientele-Magnetiic Fields-Rosebuds lineup (I left before Conor Oberst came on. I am not a fan of him or his wacky hat). Anywya, it was a great show. Lou Barlow is still one of the only dudes with a guitar who can make me pay attention, Oakley Hall has such awesome energy live, the Clientele and Magnetic Fields played all their hits (though the latter was attacked by a huge flying bug of some sort--I kept hoping someone taped that for youtube!). And y'all know I love the Rosebuds. They're great live b/c instead of just playing stuff from whatever their latest album is, they play the songs that are best to dance to! And closed things off with an audience singalong to "Nice Fox"--such a great end to the evening.

This photo is of Ivan Rosebud about to rock out. Excuse the poor quality of my photos; I was too busy enjoying myself to take the time to get good photos too! Also excuse the photo below this--I was testing the flickr to twitter thing and apparently sent it to my blog instead. You can see that my cameraphone is kind of sub-par anyway.

Can't wait for tonight!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

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Originally uploaded by wordnerdy

2009 book 152

Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife
At this stage in my life, I should honestly know better than to read a good book in bed, b/c I'll keep on reading b/c I HAVE to know what happens--even when I already know what happens b/c I've read it before. (I keep seeing the trailers for the movie and was compelled to reread the book. The trailers are pretty great and maybe Eric Bana won't be a terrible fit for the role after all.) So yeah, it's past my bedtime and I have work tomorrow and xxmerge starts tomorrow and I'll be a zombie! But I really like this book, so it's ok.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

2009 book 151

Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden
I loved Morton's The House at Riverton and was psyched to see she had another book out--and it didn't disappoint. It's similar to her first one, with people unraveling a mystery from the past, only it flashes back and forth in time a bit more. Anyway, it's about a woman whose grandmother dies, and she takes on the task of unraveling her grandmother's identity after discovering she was shipped alone from England to Australia at the age of four with no papers or clue as to her identity. The flashbacks encompass the grandmother's search, the granddaughter's, and the initial events to great effect, and the story is totally riveting. And yes, there is a reference to The Secret Garden. A.

craig ferguson honors the moon landing anniversary

Monday, July 20, 2009

2009 book 150

Jennifer Brown's Hate List
I somehow got an ARC of this in the mail--thanks, folks at Little, Brown!--and had read a few reviews, all positive, and it seemed a fitting read for a rainy afternoon. It centers on a teenage girl who is returning to high school following a school shooting--where her boyfriend was the shooter. She and her classmates have to come to terms with the shooting and her part in it, which Brown manages to make believable. I had some mixed feelings about the end, but will admit to getting teary. A-/B+.

catching fire

The first chapter is available online! (Scroll down a bit.) I'm off to read it right now! Seriously, September 1st is too far away. The wait to read this is making me nuts!

2009 book 149

Kathleen George's The Odds
It's interesting that the words "a mystery" appear right on the front cover of this book when it's not a mystery at all (unless wondering how soon the police officers will solve the case counts as a mystery, as the reader is given all other information). Anyway, George's Pittsburgh cops are back, trying to solve a murder that's linked to a major narcotics ring. Meanwhile, a kind man with ties to the drug ring gets involved with four local children living on their own (and they're GREAT characters). But yeah, not actually a mystery, though still a fairly compelling read. B+.


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
Look at this sweet puppy face! I finally got to meet my brother and future sister-in-law's dog and she's a sweetheart. She was sleeping (and snoring) next to me on the couch till I woke her by taking her picture. Sorry, Petunia!


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
Here is a picture of me and baby sister all gussied up for our future sister-in-law's wedding shower. Check out my sweet new teeth!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2009 book 148; hp6

Hyatt Bass' The Embers
A fairly run-of-the-mill book about a family with a tragic past and the grown-up daughter on the verge of marriage. Fairly boring. B/B-.

I also saw the HP6 movie today, and had mixed feelings about it. I'm not entirely a purist for the text--I understand the need for changes to get the story to flow in a short amount of time--but some of the changes they made just baffle me. The visuals were amazing, the teen romance stuff was great, but the backstory was sorely lacking and there wasn't a lot of intensity. It felt pretty choppy, actually. Everyone else I was with liked it, so take my negativity with some grains of salt. :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

2009 book 147

Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Haven't gotten much reading done--it's family time!--but did reread this book, which is still GREAT.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2009 book 146

Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
I enjoyed Shanghai Girls enough to see out Snow Flower, which has been a popular book group book for ages. It's about two little girls in 1800s China who are contracted to be lifelong friends. It starts off strong and See's details are great--especially in the footbinding scenes--but gets pretty boring and lame 3/4 of the way in, despite burgeoning revolution. B.


Suddenly, Michael Gambon's terrible characterization of Dumbledore makes sense--he's never read the books! Ridiculous.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

2009 book 145

Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games
Just felt like re-reading this awesome YA dystopian fantasy book--the sequel comes out this fall, though I'm hoping to somehow score an ARC before then. Anyway, the story totally holds up and sucked me in all over again. Can't go wrong with a televised battled to the death with a little romance thrown in.

vote for best craig musical puppet number!

The Huffington Post is running a poll to see which is the best musical puppet number that Craig Ferguson has done--there are a few clips I've never seen and they're so worth watching ("Lonely Goatherd"!!).

Friday, July 10, 2009

2009 book 144

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Well, if I was re-reading the 6th one, it seemed silly to leave things hanging and not re-read the 7th . . .


There's a new Anne of Green Gables book coming out!!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

2009 book 143

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Christina and I decided to both re-read this before the movie comes out next week. I have to say, I am not looking forward to watching Michael Gambon over-emote the speeches about Love and the potion scene. All the teen romance should be fun though.

more craig ferguson

I'm starting to feel like it's my duty to post Craig Ferguson's puppet-laden dance/lipsynch monologues. This one was pretty good, though I didn't actually know the song (embarrassing, I know!).

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

partially read

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's The Strain
I'm giving up this horror novel at 129 pages. It started off strong, as people react to an airplane that, just after landing, suddenly goes dark, and everyone on board is found dead. Great atmosphere, not a surprise from del Toro. But it's just boring after a while as people try and figure out what could have caused this (the book jacket reveals that it's vampires of some sort, which really ruins the narrative tension). Even a Holocaust survivor armed for battle against evil can't make things more interesting (which is a mark of how quickly things get boring, despite the choppy chapters that feel like quick scene cuts). I don't love horror stories to begin with, but this probably should have just been a movie.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

2009 book 142

Vestal McIntyre's Lake Overturn
Kind of a sweeping epic centered in Idaho in the 1980s, this novel manages to bring a wide variety of characters to vivid life, from two single moms in a trailer park to a junior high boy struggling with his sexuality to his older brother, a Mexican raised by rich white foster parents and torn between both worlds to a pair of high school girls desperate to flee their small town. Plus more! The characters are definitely the highlight here, as most of the plot is small-town-family stuff, and things do take a turn for the depressing at the end. The title refers to a phenomenon where a lake gives off CO2 gas and kills people, the subject of s science project by two of the characters. A-/B+.

Monday, July 06, 2009

2009 book 141

Elina Hirvonen's When I Forgot
Translated from the Finnish, this vaguely stream-of-consciousness novel deals with a young woman reading a book in a cafe and reflecting on her troubled family and her American boyfriend, who also has a troubled family, on the eve of the Iraq war in 2003. I had no strong feelings about it either way. B.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

2009 book 140

Jane Hamilton's Laura Rider's Masterpiece
This was a ridiculous and depressing novel about a woman with literary aspirations who engineers an affair between her husband and a local radio personality. D.

2009 book 139

Kate Walbert's A Short History of Women
I remembered enjoying Walbert's previous two novels, so figured I'd give this one a shot even though it was getting middling reviews. But ugh, it was not very good. It's the story of five generations of women (who take turns narrating chapters) and what happens to them after the first decides to starve to death in the name of suffrage. I kept waiting for there to be a larger point, or a twist, or anything of interest, but it was mostly five women whining a lot. B-.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

2009 book 138 1/2

The Merge Records Companion: A Visual Discography of the First Twenty Years
What a nice surprise to find this in my mailbox (with volumes 7 and 8 of the Score! box set celebrating Merge's 20th anniversary). This has very little text, so it's hard to count as a full book, but I certainly spent plenty of time perusing it! The awesome folk at Merge had band members, Merge employees, family, and friends pose with each and every album Merge has released in its 20 years--of course it was fun to flip through the first ten years of Merge album covers and marvel at the art, but the last ten are the ones that got to me! Those were the ones that I've played on WXDU, and bought and loved (sometimes more than once--I own three copies of Essex Green's Cannibal Sea, b/c I kept forgetting I owned it already and wanted them to have my money anyway), and even reviewed occasionally. I am awash in nostalgia! Anyway, the visual discography is a really cool idea, this is a great presentation, and I'm proud to know people whose hands appear here! It will be on sale later this year, so keep an eye out for it if you're not a Score! subscriber.