October 31, 2010

-image-lotsa questions about books

I got this from Lisa.

1. Favorite childhood book?

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I was obsessed with living in a museum for a very long time. Until I was like 23.

2. What are you reading right now?

A few things: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller; The Lost City of Z, David Grann; The Brothers Karamazov — which, yes, I’ve never read.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?

Uhm, none?

4. Bad book habit?

I don’t get it. Is there such a thing? Like, do I rip out pages and smoke them? Do I binge eat book covers? What are you getting at?

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

You make a lot of library assumptions, Mr. McMemey.

6. Do you have an e-reader?


7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?

See #2 above.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

No. Should they? Am I doing it wrong?

9. Least favorite book you read this year?

Drood, by someone whose name I don’t even remember.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?

I loved Goolrick’s A Reliable Wife. Oooh! Also The Passion by Winterson. I’ve gone back to both of those books repeatedly. So many passages just take my breath away.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?

“Comfort zone” meaning what? Do I sometimes read wearing tight pants? Do I sometimes read while riding naked on the bus? You use terms but you don’t define them.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?

Loose clothing. Cushy chair. Yes, I know what you mean, but I’m just being a sassypants.

13. Can you read on the bus?

I’m sure it’s allowed.

14. Favorite place to read?

In my big chair at home. Sometimes in bed, but I always fall asleep.

15. What is your policy on book lending?

“Policy”? Please contact my HR department.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?

Sometimes. I mean, look, I end up sleeping on top of them. I’m not proud of it, but things happen in bed. Things you don’t intend.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?


18. Not even with text books?

What?? Okay. No, then. Not even with textbooks. And you mean, of course, the textbooks I’m regularly reading? Like the Calculus textbook I slept with last night?

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

Again, what?? Damn, I really wish this meme was in Urdu. It’d be so much better.

20. What makes you love a book?

Goodness. The goodness of the book. And if it sends me chocolates. And tells me I’m pretty. The basics.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

I’m rarely “inspired” to recommend a book. If I like a book, I’ll get excited about it and tell people. The word “inspired” is ooging me out here, but I guess “liking/loving it” will “inspire” me, if you insist. I don’t know. I’ve given up on recommending books to others, really. So that’s not too inspiring, is it?

What I’m saying is that I don’t tell people, “Oh, you need to read this book!” I say, “I really liked this book.” (And the person can do whatever the heck he wants with that information.) I don’t like being all enthusiastic about a book and having someone tell me they read it based on my enthusiasm and — oh, also — that they hated hated hated it so what the heck was up with my inexplicable enthusiasm??

This whole answer is uninspiring. Whatever. Go read a book. Of your own choosing.

22. Favorite genre?

I like lots of things. I’m an omnivore.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)

Well, you know, I rarely read several of the genres mentioned here: the “on request at the library” genre, the e-reader genre, the comfort zone genre.

24. Favorite biography?

Most recent favorite was probably Marie Antoinette by Antonia Fraser.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

Yes. I think I’ll need one after this meme.

26. Favorite cookbook?

The Barefoot Contessa. The one that Jayne should write. If Pioneer Woman can do it, I see NO reason Jayne cannot.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or nonfiction)?

You’re really into this inspiration thing. I have not been overly “inspired” in my reading this year, but there’s still time for that Tuesdays-With-Morrie experience, I guess.

28. Favorite reading snack?

Snack? Sometimes I’m drinking coffee when I read. Is that a snack?

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.

Hm. Well, I don’t usually jump on a hype bandwagon right away. I mean, I’m basically always late to the party on things and that’s okay with me. So why let hype “ruin” my experience? I either like the book or I don’t. “Hype” doesn’t affect my opinion.

And I shall name the case Guillermo.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?

Sometimes yes; sometimes no. And I’m sure the critics are biting their nails over it, too.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?

It must be me, I guess, because some of these questions just strike me as odd. Then again, I’ve had a couple of margaritas. Honestly, Memepants, does any author anywhere give a tiny rat’s bottom what I might say about his or her book? The way the question is phrased it presupposes that I’m perched on my lofty critic’s pedestal, doling out literary lollipops or lumps of coal. So, yeah, I’m fine about “giving bad reviews.” Hahaha. I mean, I don’t think that Waller wanker would slit his “last cowboy” wrists because he heard I hated The Bridges of Madison County with a white hot hate. Am I supposed to feel guilt about “giving” these “bad reviews”? Which of us has had too many margaritas, Memesy?

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?

Didn’t we cover this? No?

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?

I can’t think of a book that intimidated me, really. I mean, if I’m picking up a book to read it, I’m doing so because I’m looking forward to it, because I WANT to read it. At least, it always starts out that way.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?

I hate the way this question is phrased. Pass. “Most” intimidating? “Too” nervous? I’m not the Cowardly Lion, dude.

35. Favorite poet?

Auden. I’m really into William Carlos Williams right now.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?

I don’t usually check out books. And I really don’t check them out now because I have two books that have been overdue for a year. Shhhh.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?

Well, if I ever return the above-mentioned books to the library, they will be unread. Which is weird considering I’ve had them for the 3-week checkout period X 20.

38. Favorite fictional character?

Just one? Seriously? Well, I do so love Jane Eyre.

39. Favorite fictional villain?

The Thenardiers made me shiver.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?

What is a vacation?

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.

Well, I read every day. Something.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.

In high school I was supposed to read Giants in the Earth, but I just couldn’t finish it. I couldn’t get past all the Norwegian names. Argy Bargy Volstagaaaaard. Narwhal Parwhal Omerkring. Shmeleg Vrleleg Shmundebaaaarg. I was lost. Reading those names felt like having dry heaves. I think I read the Cliff Notes.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?

Well, Norwegian names, clearly.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

I say this all the damn time, but it’s true: The Bridges of Madison County is a truly fine movie, thanks to Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep and the ruthless editing of the original piece of poo from whence it came.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

Well, I’m preparing myself to be disappointed by the film version of Life of Pi. It keeps switching directors. Last I heard it was Ang Lee, which actually gives me some small hope. I’m not sure this will actually ever get made. I don’t see how it can be done. Or, rather, done well.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?

100 bucks?

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

Always. Is that often?

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?

Boredom. Bad writing. Norwegian names.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

I would like Sheila or Lisa to keep my books organized. I don’t wanna talk about it.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?

I keep them. And I don’t have space for them. I will die in a book avalanche. I don’t wanna talk about it.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?

Another weird question. “Avoiding”? Like, we went out on an awkward first date? It has an unrequited crush on me? I owe it money? I mean, books just sit there. So far, I’ve found it pretty easy to “avoid” them. But if War and Peace starts to camp out in front of my house with binoculars and night vision goggles or jumps out of my closet wielding a Bowie knife, then we’ll have an avoidance problem, I guess.

52. Name a book that made you angry.

Well, they usually already HAVE names, but let’s name the book that made me angry That Piece of Crap Oprah Recommended.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?

You know, I don’t generally pick up a book going, “Ooooh, I can’t wait to hate this!” I guess I can say that I didn’t “expect” to like Twilight as much as I did because liking it might make me ask myself deep probing questions I’d rather not ask, but I liked Twilight. It kept the toe tappin’.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?

Well, That Piece of Crap Oprah Recommended comes to mind. Actually, there were several of those. I have never liked an Oprah recommendation and I gave up on being cool enough for her club long ago.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?

I don’t get it. You’re implying my pleasure reading is supposed to be guilt-ridden — which is weird. Are you in the FOC, Memehead? If everyone feels guilty about what they read for pleasure, there’s not much pleasure in it, is there? You know, I can’t answer this question. I’m not smart enough to keep up with your word-smithery.

-image-11 years

Since Eg*pt Air 990.

Rest in peace, Aunt M and Uncle B.

October 30, 2010

-image-“swim skirts”

Oh, for the love of Care Bears. This is insane. But it’s Halloween weekend, so it all seems appropriately skeery somehow.

Now in the name of modesty, some companies are offering “swim skirts” to hide a woman’s shame.

Here’s one, pippa:


Uhm, how does anyone swim in that? How can you have any freedom of movement for, again, SWIMMING?? They do look very efficient, though, for that competent 9-to-5 look we all want at the beach. Oh, and please rest assured that this narrow skirt comes with attached pants for coverage. You know, in case those Great White sharks are lookin’ up your cool swim skirt like the relentless pervs of the deep they are.

But the holidays are coming and maybe you know someone who needs a new swim skirt to …. uhm, wear to work. Or maybe you just need a little chuckle. So don’t let me stand in your way. Here’s the website for all your swim skirt needs.

Seriously, if I’m going to cover myself up at the beach, I’d rather look like these girls:


Don’t they look cute? And fun?

Do the Modesty Mongers remember FUN??

Bonus for these girls: The bloomers keep the pervy sharks away.

-image-“puget sound on the pacific coast”

By Albert Bierstadt, 1870.


Isn’t it gorgeous? LOOK at that light, that mood.


October 29, 2010


‘Member when I told you I was taking my big nasty 2-day exam 2 weeks ago? And how I was all a’quiver with fear and, let’s face it, nausea?

All my friends who’d taken the exam recently had failed. The news was getting bleaker and bleaker. I was going to slit my wrists from anxiety.

My results were due today at 5 p.m., but they came in yesterday at noon, which was nice, actually. Caught me off guard. Spared me another 30 hours of anxiety.

And, well, I passed.

With High Honors.

Pippa, I got that email with my results and burst into tears. Then I ran around my house screaming and clutching my head like a fat crazy black lady who’s just won the Showcase Showdown on The Price is Right. If Bob Barker had been in the room with me, I swear I would have mowed him down. I’m not kidding. I was crying so hard, so blind with tears, I’m surprised I didn’t plow myself into a wall and knock myself out.

I called MB sobbing and — with 2 family members with cancer right now — I had to preface the news, “These are good tears. I’m fine. Nothing’s wrong, blah blah blah.”

The man had to pull his car over, he was laughing so hard, so happy for me.

“I knew it! I KNEW you’d do it!”

“I didn’t.”

“I did.

And on and on like that. I love that guy.

Frankly, thank God I passed. No WAY did I want to do THAT again. Shiver.

But is it wrong to say “Yay, me?”

Too bad.

Yay, me.

October 28, 2010

-image-“stuck like glue”

By Sugarland.

I’m sure I’m the last person in the world to discover this video, but I’ll post it nonetheless.

I’m not a huge country music person, but this song is catchy and the video is hilarious. The concept is clever and she just makes it work. She’s so over the top with the insanity. She has to be. I love that she’s totally committed to it. It wouldn’t work otherwise. So many things are funny to me in this: the station wagon, the whores workin’ it in the lineup, the ice cream cone bit, the unicorn painting, the insane unitard dance about halfway through, the photo wall, the fact that the guitar player is her benignly smiling accomplice.

Oh, and I love love love that red dress. It wouldn’t make the cut in The Modesty Survey, but whatevs. It’s gorgeous.

“Call me!”

October 26, 2010

-image-zombies, ninjas, and enron

Dear blog friend Cara, feeding our mutual weird obsession with zombies, et al:

With his ice cold hand, he lifted my chin so I had to meet his eyes. Gently he brushed my hair off my forehead, and then pulled the zombie finger from the mess of my hair, and tossed it into the trash with the burned money. I blushed, knowing a lady should not have extraneous zombie body parts in her hair. I did not look my best at all, with the zombie spatter and tentacle juice stinking upon my Edwardian-pale skin. But I felt that he looked beyond that, to the soul inside.

“Mr. Skilling, you’re making me quite dizzy,” I murmured.

I stood beside him, feeling warm inside. How could a man so dead make me feel so alive?

You HAVE to read the whole thing. Hysterical.

October 25, 2010

-image-why i can’t do twitter

“Get short, timely messages from Tracey”?




What? Like, “Oh, thank God. Tracey tweeted that she ate a PB&J. Phew. Just in the nick of time”?

I can’t hang with that. It’s weird. It’s weird. The use of that word. There’s nothing I’ve ever said in my life that could ever be labeled as timely. Actually, DON’T call anything I say “timely.” I think it just might be code for “boring” but my jury is still out on that. Still, until they come in with a verdict, just get away from me with the “timely” already.

You know what “timely” is? Timely is the reverse 911 calls people in So Cal get when they need to flee their homes immediately or be crisped into ashes by the annual marauding flames. THAT’S some timely useful crap, pippa. Nothing I see on Twitter strikes me as “timely.” Random, yes. Timely, no. And I have NO problem whatsoever with random. My entire blog is random. But don’t call random timely. Don’t do it. Although Twitter has already done it without consulting me and tons of people seem unmoved by how totally damn-ass annoying it is, so who am I in a world full of timely tweets? Well, I’m just some Betty who knows what timely means, that’s who. Damn.

I am disproportionately annoyed by this. It’s the little things that make life unbearable.

So I now basically have a semantics problem with Twitter, annoying fraternal twin to my lingering aesthetics problem with Facebook.

I don’t know. I don’t like feeling like I’m supposed to do something because everyone else is doing it. My entire life, I’ve always been an insanely obstinate holdout that way. (I mean, Poor Perky Bob couldn’t get a lunch date from me.) Maybe it all reminds me of the FOC somehow. Maybe it all makes me feel like I’m just supposed to get with the program, join the ever-expanding Borg. Or maybe I’m just an ass.

That’s always a serious possibility.

But besides all that, I can’t understand the slightest thing that’s going on with any of the Twitter pages I’ve looked at. It’s like watching a movie where the audio skips. There are all kinds of micro conversations that no one but the people involved can even follow. And that’s the thing. I don’t think you can “enjoy” Twitter unless you’re part of Twitter and Crackie hates that kind of stuff. I can enjoy a baseball game without being on the team, but nope. Not with Twitter.

You have to be on Team Timely and I don’t wanna.

Okay. Something’s wrong. My crankypants are getting REAL tight.

I’ll be back later sporting a nice mellow muu-muu, I swear.

October 23, 2010

-image-paulina on aging

I love Paulina Porizkova. I loved her in the 80s at the height of her fame and gorgeousness. I loved her a couple of seasons ago as a judge on “America’s Next Top Model.” She didn’t stay and I don’t know the specifics of it, but if I had to guess, I’d imagine there was more than a little bit of jealousy on Tyra’s part. Paulina is beautiful and smart and shoots straight and I have a sneaking suspicion that Tyra does not share her Queen Bee status willingly.

But I just found this article from Paulina on aging. It’s smart and honest and, well, I just like her, is all. At one point, she simultaneously compliments and throws Sarah Palin under the bus, and although I’m no huge fan of Palin’s, I still found it a bit of a clang — the only clang for me in an otherwise engaging and transparent piece.

Here’s a tiny bit:

When you’re used to one sort of treatment, it’s really hard to get demoted, even if that new treatment is still better than the average. Boohoo. I know. My life is sucks. Now, I don’t actually know the exact cut-off age where beautiful ceases and “must have-once-been-beautiful” begins. It’s true it’s not forty-five. I can still get attention when I try really hard, even if it’s greatly reduced. But would I ever have dreamed that I would miss the time I couldn’t walk past a construction site unmolested? These days when someone whistles at me, it’s mostly a bike messenger about to mow me down.

It’s definitely worth a read. Check it out, pippa.

October 20, 2010

-image-my place

The theater where I grew up.


The glowing windows on the lower left side of the building kind of make my heart ache. That’s the green room.

Look. People are hanging out in there right now.

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