Archive for the ‘Books I anticipate telling you about’ Category

Kissin’ summer goodbye

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

I would tell you about the books I’ve been reading if I hadn’t been so busy reading the Gossip Girl series (so what.  it’s summer.) and snuggling with a certain Halifax-bound young man.

For other things that tend to occupy my time wonderfully, see also:

a sneaky little buddy I discovered at my parents’ house:

Little bird

Little bird

epic hat fail (this is why they say to check your gauge, people!  omgf!):

tiny hat fail

tiny hat fail

tonight might be froggin’ night.  I love this pattern but I am a tiny knitting freak so will have to start all over again.  It doesn’t even fit on my head & I have possibly the world’s littlest head.  I am in love with this yarn but I don’t know if I can stand to look at it all over again.

Other time-occupiers: resume building.  That’s right.  Here I come, world!  (I know I keep saying this, but geez, do I ever mean it!)

Let me hear you sing.

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

My very sweet, hunky & oft-mentioned manfriend (OMC) summers in Panama and a myriad of Central American countries. This sounds more exciting than it is. In reality OMC is an archaeologist. And digs up pottery shards and puts pictures of white-tailed deer in his dissertation and talks about the emergence of hierarchies in Central America. And blows me away with his genius. This means two very important things:

1) You want him on your trivia team (seriously)

2) He knows how to cook (once I mentioned that he couldn’t make sandwiches and while that is true, he honestly can cook very, very well)

I had a dumb, grumpy day yesterday, which was why I was thrilled to come home to some Costa Rican goodness on the stove. OMC whips up gallo pinto like it’s his job, and while it is simple to make, it’s insanely delicious. I think you basically make some rice (we prefer brown rice, the rice of champions), add some black beans, tomatoes, garlic, red onion, and cilantro and call it a day. I am told that OMC, when in Costa Rica, likes to eat it for breakfast. Whatever floats your boat.

gallo pinto

Dinner!

Additionally, he surprised me with Kat Von D’s new book (which I have been secretly salivating over). My love of trashy television shows is nothing new to my legions of devoted readers, nor to OMC, and thus I have already started happily leafing through it.

Post-spicy & tasty dinner eatings and a nice trip to the dog park with my beloved and extremely fast mutt, we went with neighbor-pal Andu to see Dan Higgs at Morning Glory (in Morningside, my old haunt). I am so disappointed that this place wasn’t here when I lived in Morningside. It is lovely and cozy and warm, and Higgs was a fucking maniac (which is my highest compliment) and made us sing aloud. Last night reaffirmed my love of Pittsburgh. So often I fall out of love with this place and want to claw at my face to escape, but geez, leaving the house and seeing old friends sometimes does make it all better.

Bean enjoys spring-time

Bean enjoys spring-time

Battling the common cold.

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

I am currently terrified that I might be getting a cold. I have that weird itchy throat feeling. It started yesterday on the bus. My head got all bloaty, and my eyes were burning, and I was sneezing like mad. I kicked into cold-battling overdrive last night. No way am I getting sick this week. NO WAY. It is THAT time of year schoolwise, so hello tons of papers and hello tons of patrons. My precautions consist of:

  • frenzied handwashing (seriously every twenty minutes. I am out of control and was almost incapable of using public transportation today)
  • slurping down an Emergen-C once an hour (wasn’t this stuff debunked? Why am I still relying on it? I hope the debunking was debunked)
  • crossing my fingers and eating a Zinc lozenge every two hours
  • hoping that Emma is on to something with this incredible, delicious soup (I think you are, Emma! It’s amazing! I used way more garlic than you said to, but I am a garlic-hound and it only made it more tasty!)
  • laying on the couch last night, snuggling with my dogfriend reading Daddy’s Girl (Debbie Drechsler), David Chelsea is in love (David Chelsea), Aviary (Jamie Tanner) [I am honestly Not Wild About This Book At All), the Sportswriter (Richard Ford)--I know, I'm still reading it--and watching Always Sunny incessantly.
  • treating aforementioned dogfriend with all the love I can offer her. I don't like to be all animal-hokey (okay, yes I kind of do), but I swear she can tell when I am not feeling 100%, and on those days, she snuggles me like her life depends on it. Oh, this dog. Last night she got her special, favorite dinner of: normal doggie kibble (1/2 serving), 1/4 of an apple, 1 whole carrot chopped and peanut butter. Isn't this the face of a champion snuggler?
my special dogfriend

my special dogfriend

Time will tell if I’ve escaped the wrath of the common cold. Back the fuck off, cold. I’ve got my eye on you.

Spring break.

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

I don’t get a spring break, because I am a working class schlepp, so that title is a big ol’ joke. I get the week off of classes, which is good and fine, but otherwise–HAH. 9-5. I am taking an untraditional mini-vacay tomorrow and going north, the way the birdies don’t go (so not Cancun). OMC are taking a brother-trip to Toronto for a long weekend (we both have brothers there. We are so friggin’ cute. We planned it that way.)

I had to put off Louise Erdrich readings because I think I burnt myself out. I finished the Beet Queen and ultimately have high praise for it, but when I started to read the next in line, Tracks, I just couldn’t do it. I feel bad about this, but I’ll pick it up again later (I accidentally have two copies of it checked out of two different libraries. This signifies I have two problems. One: forgetfulness, the other: obsessiveness). Over the weekend I instead started the Sportswriter, by Richard Ford, which I kind of think is hilarious but am not sure if I’m supposed to. I will get back to this, too.

Other readings:

  • Jar of Fools: a picture story - Jason Lutes (Sherman Alexie wrote the intro and I was like, “Argh hero.” Pretty dec.)
  • Sweater Weather - Sara Varon (this book is fucking adorable and you will hug it close to your chest and want it to be your friend and drink hot chocolate with you, if you are anything like me. It reminded me infinitely of Salamander Dream, by Hope Larson, which is equally adorable and friendable.)
  • Walking Dead v.2-3 – Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore (I don’t want to think these are good, but there it is, they kinda are. Oops? I read v. 1 over a year ago and then kinda forgot about the series because I was so obsessed with Lucifer.)
  • Preacher v. 1 - Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon (This, so far, is AWESOME. I love the story. I loooove it. It’s seriously so exciting.)

Also, I finally got season 3 of Always Sunny (thanks OMC!!!). This show is probably for people who don’t have morals. What can I say. I think it’s incredible.

In Toronto, I will get to visit my favorite bookstore of all time, which means I will return with piles of loot that I don’t and won’t have time to read for months. This is part of being me, though, and I have accepted it. Stoked!

My burgeoning love of Louise Erdrich <3

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I don’t think it should come as a surprise to anyone that I can get mildly (or, uh, incredibly) obsessed with things/authors/directors/celebrities/series/people etc. I have a tremendous capacity for things like this. Say I discover an author. Let’s say, Ian Frazier. I read one book. I love it. I read another book of his. I love it. I think, “I have to read them all. OMG. Immediately.” So I start at the beginning. I read his first book. Then the next, the next, the next, and so on. I think about them, and conceptualize them, and talk incessantly to people who don’t care about how much his writing style has changed/hasn’t changed, how he loves Ojibwe Indians more/less than in the beginning, etc. I get so fucking consumed by the things that I love! I think this might be an endearing trait, but I’m not sure yet.

Basically, my new obsession is Louise Erdrich. Again, probably not surprising. Upon finishing Plague of Doves, I decided I had to read them all. So, in true “me” style, I’m starting at the beginning, with Love Medicine. 132 pages in, I’m so thankful there’s a family tree laid out at the start of the book. I really love this woman. This new love, it’s going to be bad. I can tell.

Also, weekend comic/graphic novel readings:

  • Julie Doucet-Long time relationship
  • Leanne Shapton-Was she pretty (neither of these was as remotely romantic as they sound)
  • Seth-It’s a good life, if you don’t weaken (adored this!)

Weekend non-comic reading that I am embarrassed to admit:

Coffee at Luke’s: an unauthorized Gilmore Girls gabfest (this isn’t even remotely good. Not at all. It’s fucking stupid, and annoying, and I hate 80% of the authors. I could barely get through this book.)

The items contained in this entry might forever shatter your perceptions of me. And I’m okay with that.

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

When I think about why I have no free time ever, I consider the fact that I have many unmistakably shallow pursuits. A few weeks ago, I changed my Facebook About Me to say: “I’m kind of really into unicorns, trashy vampire books, obnoxious accessories, Lisa Frank and gossip. AKA: I am 9 years old at heart.” This is my About Me, people. My public face to the WORLD, or the 600-some acquaintances I once deemed important enough to be my “friend.” My sixth grade boyfriend (who I never technically broke up with, and have therefore been committing adultery on since 1996) knows that I like VAMPIRE BOOKS. Trashy ones, at that! My logic professor from sophomore year (self-proclaimed “sexy logician”) might be aware that I like unicorns. I can’t say that I’m embarrassed people know that I like Lisa Frank, because I seriously have no shame whatsoever (and Lisa Frank is, excuse the pun, frankly kind of awesome), but I am a little aghast that this is what I spend my free time on. GOSSIP. Things I should have stopped liking in the 8th grade. Pony websites! Puppy websites!

I have been both a bad blogger and reader in the past week. I took two sick days last week and laid on my couch feeling pathetic, and desperately wishing that the New Yorker that I’d left in OMC’s car wasn’t so far away (aka in the car, two flights of steps away from his third floor apartment). I tried to get back in the reading game over the weekend, but there was a lil football game occupying my time and my mind. BTW, go SIXBURGH. I wanted to get some reading done last night, but when I sat down to read I couldn’t stop touching my hair. I have any number of bad, harmful habits that I won’t disclose for the sake of preserving my integrity to anonymous readers because these habits make me look absolutely batshit crazy. I will disclose, however, that when in class and while reading, I constantly touch my hair. I twirl it into little loops and try to tie it in knots and little twisty things and I try desperately to braid it. I am growing my hair out, and am in the dangerous state of growth that I fondly think of as “mad-scientist hair,” and as a result, I cannot stop touching the new length. Then I sometimes imagine, while reading, that I’ve stumbled onto some new fabulous hairstyle that I need to examine immediately in the mirror, and as a result, well, I can’t get any reading done. I want to tell you about Plague of Doves, because it’s GORGEOUS, but I cannot stop touching my goddamn hair.

For that aforementioned football game, I made banana cupcakes with dark chocolate icing (get it, black and gold?!). I probably ate too many of them. I didn’t take a picture because my camera is dead. I need to get back in the baking game, but school + work + being shallow can be really time-consuming.

Can I add, too, that now that football season is over, it is time for some motherfucking NCAA hoops? Holy shit. I am torn in two with love for both Jermaine Dixon and DeJuan Blair. My passion for Pitt basketball: it’s out of this world.

OH MY GOD. How could I forget. My newest shallow pursuit: Gossip Girl. I have only watched four episodes, and I kind of HATE IT, but I am completely unable to prevent myself from watching it. It’s like a terrible train-wreck dressed in amazing clothes, and I want out. It’s not good! It’s disturbing and horrible! But alas, I am hooked.

xoxo,

Shallow Girl.

Musings on Melt

Monday, January 26th, 2009

OMC and I made a trip to Ohio on Saturday to, amongst family visitings, eat at Melt.  Preface: this is kind of a disappointing story.  At Melt, they told us it would be an hour and 45 minute wait.  While I am not opposed to waiting many hours for delicious food (I have done this for Ethiopian food more times than I can count), add to that a 2.5 hour drive in the snow and we were looking at a 1 am bedtime.  I can barely keep my eyes open past 11 pm, and OMC collapses without hourly infusions of caffeine, so this was obviously Not Going To Happen.  As we were leaving, totally defeated and dejected, destined to eat Shmuffins and Shmiscuits, I noticed a Take-Out sign.  Thank god.  We got beers and sat there for awhile while they made our food, which provided for ample gawking at Cleveland-ites.  This restaurant has the weirdest clientèle.  1/3 hipsters drinking tall cans of PBR, 1/3 normies straight outta Shadyside, and 1/3 people who looked like my parents.  Their popularity was a good sign for us.  A place this “diverse” and busy must be tasty, right?  Our food was finished, and I was a little drunk, so we ate in the car.  In every picture OMC took I have copious amounts of food in my teeth, so they will never see the light of day.  But believe me this, it was good.  Worth the hype, and the drive, and eating in the car with no napkins.  Also they have vegan cheese, for vegan readers.

I am 20 pages away from finishing Apples & Oranges, and am dreading finishing it.  Lots to say about it.  I am going to miss my brother terribly.  Etc.

Also, a federal agent came to talk to me while I was writing this post, which might explain the disjointedness of it.  As I said to ol’ snags, “i was mid-blog when the feds stopped by.”  Weird.

On brotherfriends

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Those of you who know even one teensy iota of information about me know that my brother is my dearest, bestest friend and my most favorite person on the planet. This might not be reciprocal. I think he’s a riot but he might think I’m a lame-o. Our relationship is not one built on questions, or personal insight, though. Never would I ask: “Do you think I’m great? Do you love me? TELL ME.” This would be silly. This would result in me getting punched. Really hard. Our relationship is based on FUN, food, beer, making fun of people, doing yoga, being competitive, making bets whose winnings include either Dairy Queen cakes (those ones with the crunchy chocolate pieces inside) or pizzas, me imitating either women from Kentucky or yinzers or our mother, and primarily, my brother asking me to net him babes. It might go without saying that we have a goddamn blast together. However, should you not believe me, this picture should aid in convincing you:

Knowing all of this, imagine my consternation at learning that my beloved brother is moving back to Toronto next month. I am crushed, I tell ya. While I learned of this information weeks ago, is it ever more poignant as I have begun reading Marie Brenner’s memoirish book, Apples & Oranges. Brenner and her brother had one of those childhoods that seems utterly mysterious to me: siblings that don’t like each other? Siblings that fight and mean it? Siblings that aren’t fighting in traffic just to piss their dad off? Who’d have thought those actually existed!? Ever more mysterious to me is that Brenner and her brother continued this relationship until adulthood, ultimately and sadly, until her brother died. I will report back on this book, as it is really quite good, and so very well-written (thanks Michiko Kakutani! Your top ten list of ’08 was the shit!).

I finished the child soldier book last night, and kind of sat there sniffling at my kitchen table feeling like a big baby because of the ending. I don’t often get all writer-jargony anymore, but Beah had a terrific grasp on the narrative frame, and this made the book fly by for me. I continued to feel like an awful bitch when I was complaining about having cramps and he was writing about having a bullet wedged in his foot for three weeks, watching his uncle die, being addicted to cocaine, etc. I don’t often learn much about myself anymore from books, but this book truly did make me want to shape up and be a better version of me.

Perspective: what a bitch

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

I have been in the worst, meanest, crabbiest, most sensitive mood this weekend. Sometimes I am so irritating that I irritate myself. I was listening to the inaugural coverage on NPR this morning and they were all “omg history is being made here!!! Hundreds of thousands of people are arriving at the Mall for HISTORY!!” and I was like “grumble grumble why go to D.C. when I can just observe history from MY DESK grumble grumble I hate everything grumble if I were there I would be so complainy and miserable.” Can’t I just admire a remarkable, good thing like most of the country (all my skepticisms aside, it is a remarkable day and achievement)?!

Last night I started reading A long way gone: memoirs of a boy soldier, by Ishmael Beah. Beah grew up in Sierra Leone, and was a child soldier there in the Civil War of the 90′s. His descriptions of warfare are utterly, unfathomably horrific–I’m actually surprised I slept last night. I feel like such a terrible, awful bitch for being such a waste of life this weekend, for taking endless naps, complaining about walking the dog in the cold, neglecting the dishes and my laundry so I could sit and be grumpy. Beah lost his entire family–two brothers, his father, his mother, his grandmother, most of his friends. Because I only read about a quarter of the book last night, he hasn’t yet become a soldier–thus far he has just run and run and run and miraculously, miraculously, escaped rebels again and again and again. This book doesn’t need my acclaim or my praise–everyone in the world has already praised it. It is making me think and reflect and cry and want to be a lot stronger & better than I am. This is all that I can say for it yet.

Also, go Steelers. This is all.

I hate you New Years

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Once a year I like to reflect on my hatred of party holidays, i.e. my hatred of New Years. My hatred of New Years is, like my hatred of most things, extremely illogical. That said, I will continue to hate it. This year, I chose to spend my New Years cuddlin’ on the couch with my snuggly warm pup, OMC, a lot of beer, and oh hell yes, Batman Begins.

Other than New Years, my Christmas/holiday break has gone swimmingly. I journeyed to Canada, where I waded in (no joke) four feet of snow and discovered the many wonders of Value Village, where I had the great fortune of finding a really hideous drawing of a horse and her foal (swoon). I sat in front of a wood stove reading back New Yorkers and occasionally glancing over the Ottawa River at Quebec. I had a snowball fight. OMC pushed me into like six feet of snow. I knitted lots of mittens. And some scarves. I learned how to play Guitar Hero, and subsequently learned that I am really bad at it. I read Ian Frazier’s new & hilarious Lamentations of the Father and Tom Perrotta’s Little Children (I know I say that a lot of things break my heart, but seriously, this book did it too).

That’s not all! I randomly discovered this book on my mother’s bookshelf, Ann Patchett’s memoir Truth & Beauty: a friendship, in which Patchett writes touchingly of her eternal best friendship with poet Lucy Grealy, who’d suffered from a devastating form of jaw cancer at the age of nine. It was fantastic, and Patchett’s countless mentions of the writing of Grealy, in particular her own memoir, Autobiography of a face, intrigued me so much I had to hunt Grealy’s work down too. I am most of the way done with Grealy’s memoir, and it is so good, like the kind of book that you have to take with you places and then when you have thirty seconds of sitting in the car somewhere you hurry through a paragraph because you want to read it that much. My understanding of Patchett’s memoir is that her portrayal of Grealy is rather incorrect, but I feel that upon finishing Autobiography I may hopefully be a better judge of that. Also I don’t really want to turn my readings of either of these books into criticisms–as I do seriously want to mostly reflect upon a wonderful, supportive, rare friendship between women.

Anyway, I will get back to scowling at holiday merriment from my Batman tower. Yet to come: my caffeine-fueled look at “2000GREAT.”