Thursday, September 29, 2005

The World's Teeniest Reads

This ad was in the Sunday paper last week -- for just $1.95 you get three of the world's greatest books in an exclusive miniature collector's edition, plus a free miniature bookcase to hold them. Then, every month you get three more books at just $7.95 each plus shipping. Because they are miniature, you know they'll be worth tons of money in the future. Did I mention that they also have rich gold-patterned embellishments? And select ivory-colored book paper? Because they do.

I would kind of like to have one or two of these mini-books just to see how they condensed them. In fact, wouldn't that be a rather awesome job? "Let's see, how can I really capture the essence of Dante's Divine Comedy in in five cubic inches? Would it be okay to abbreviate Machiavelli's name? Can we just cover 'War' and leave 'Peace' for next month's volume?" Maybe they just had some kind of computer randomly select sentences from the book until they hit enough words to fill the mini-cover.

Honestly its hard to figure out if these would be better or worse to order than the dragon-clutching-crystals statue or the Rudolph Christmas Village set on the other side of the ad...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Nabokov in Kristy's Reading Corner

Yesterday I finished reading Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov. This is the first book Nabokov wrote while living the United States, and it's a powerful and poetic political satire (although more than that, really). The basic plot finds the recently widowed Krug, the foremost philosopher in a small, unnamed Eastern European state, living under the new dictatorship of Paduk, a former-classmate that Krug used to bully in the school yard. Krug's friends and eventually his son become pawns in Paduk's quest to get Krug to officially endorse his regime. Along the way the reader gets a wonderful parody of Hamlet, commentary on translation, poetic descriptions, humorous encounters, and really much more than I'm able to describe.

For a taste of the poetry, try this on for size:
"Old Azureus's manner of welcoming people was a silent rhapsody. Ecstatically beaming, slowly, tenderly, he would take your hand between his soft palms, hold it thus as if it were a long sought treasure of a sparrow all fluff and heart, in moist silence, peering at you the while with his beaming wrinkles rather than with his eyes, and then, very slowly, the silvery smile would start to dissolve, the tender old hands would gradually release their hold, a blank expression replace the fervent light of his pale fragile face, and he would leave you as if he had made a mistake, as if after all you were not the loved one -- the loved one whom, the next moment, he would espy in another corner, and again the smile would dawn, again the hands would enfold the sparrow, again it would all dissolve."

I bought this book years ago, but never read it. I'd read Lolita and liked it so much that I wanted to read more Nabokov. Then, when Josh and I moved in together, I was sorting through our collective books and noticed that we both had this one. In fact, we both had this exact same special edition with the awesome cover and introduction by Nabokov. I honestly can't remember if we kept mine or kept his, although I'm pretty sure the other copy is still at my old roommate's house.

This physical book is different than any of my other books -- it's a trade paperback, but with this stiff plasticy kind of cover, and deep red endpapers on the inside. The book is really stiff, but in kind of a comforting rather than irritating way. The pages are really thick and crisp. And just gaze upon back cover, which is even more wonderful than the front.


In other news, I know its boring to talk about ones health, but I am in the throes of the most horrible allergies known to man. My eyes are all crusty, the insides of my ears itch, my nose is about to fall off from itchiness, my throat is scratchy, and my head is killing me. Thus, I have stayed home from work and am able to compose long posts about books you should read... Ta da!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Oh my god, people. I went to Walgreens yesterday, and the cute little skull shot glasses (like the one Aloey Jr. is sitting in right now) are totally back. Plus there are matching skull beer steins and wine glasses -- wine glasses sadly not pictured in this ad. Do I rush out and buy the complete set now, or wait until after Halloween when they will naturally be at least 50% off? And do I really need a matching set of plastic skull-themed barware?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What's this guy waiting for?

Find out the answer to this and many more questions as you browse through the 1980s Vasectomy Brochure that I have scanned for your pleasure. Occassional snarky comments also available on Flickr -- make sure you start with the last picture in the set and flip through them that way for the most chronological of informative experiences.


In other news I bought this swimsuit off Ebay that arrived yesterday and it actually fits. Amazing. Now if someone asks me to go swimming or I find myself in a submersion-possible situation, I will be totally set. I still can't dive though.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Playing Hooky

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Yesterday I had this super-long 14 hour work day -- I was on the planning committee for this evening retirement reception for my boss at work, and after my regular work day I had to set up and attend said reception. My boss is a wonderful guy, and the reception went really well, but it totally wore me out.

After taking a fast shower, guzzling some bourbon on the rocks, and saying goodnight to Josh I set the alarm, went to bed, and started all over this morning with another early rise and trip to work.

Then I realized the wonderment that is comp time and left work today at noon. I love leaving work early. Its the perfect excuse to plop back into bed, read a trashy Interview magazine, take a nap, watch Tyra Banks' new show [may I digress and mention that this is the most awkward and uncomfortable show on earth? Its also rather disjointed, like it isn't sure what it wants to do yet, and Tyra tries on a new personality every time the camera changes angles. Plus she changes outfits at every commercial break.], and catch some Divorce Court. All this and it still isn't even the time when I would ordinarily be home from work.

My one productive act of the afternoon was to gather together all the pictures from our Las Vegas trip last year (pre, during, and post wedding), arrange them semi-chronologically, and put them all in a photo album. A week from tomorrow will be our one year anniversary (of marriage, six years of coupledom), so its about time I got my shit together in the photo department.

The end.

p.s. The picture above was taken by my little sister, and its one of my favorite pictures from the whole vegas extravaganza.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Small Family Happy Stamp

Everyone loves the power of the stamp. This stamp is so powerful that it can serve as birth control! Check out all of today's stamps and also be inspired to like weasels, kill deer, vacinate your baby, and use bio gas. Also, more circus animals from Romania.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Library Geek Out

I count on Angela to send me the hottest new library school information straight from Chapel Hill, since I am all out of the school-scene in my professional life. And what do I get? Oh my god, its the best thing ever: Library Thing. Don't believe me? Just get yourself an account (all you need to provide is a user name and password). Find a pile of books. Put in their ISBNs or words from their title and Library Thing finds matching records in the Library of Congress or Amazon catalogs and adds them to your profile. I am about three seconds from hauling gigantic stacks of books from the bedroom to my desk so I can start cataloging them. And scroll down on this page a bit and you can see the most awesome thing of all -- random books from my library just hanging out down there! The ones down there right now happen to be the ones in my "sell on Amazon or to Half Price" pile. And if you click on them, it takes you to the catalog record! I'm giddy with excitement over this discovery. Yay A.!


In other news today, at work I read a letter from someone whose first language was not English and they wrote floopy disk instead of floppy disk. I kept giggling about that all day. Floopy.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


I am aglow with culinary invention. I just turned a fridge full of weird leftovers into delicious red onion, red pepper, basil, and mozzarella quesadillas -- complete with leftover garlic-lovers salsa that some kind houseguests left behind for dipping. Then I cut up an apple and squeezed some lemon juice on it, which seemed to be quite a hit. Top it off with a little beer, and you've got yourself dinner, my friends.

Ta da!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Robot Grandmas

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Yes, folks, its time for another reading update. But first, just look at how lovely this cover is. I nicely happened upon this first edition hardcover version of the 1969 collection of Ray Bradbury's short stories entitled I Sing the Body Electric! at the Literacy Austin booksale earlier this year [note that the link goes to a newer version of the book on Amazon that includes an additional 10 stories].

And if you weren't impressed enough with the cover, take a gander at one of the coolest author photos of all time:

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I really like Ray Bradbury -- The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man are two of my favorite short story collections ever. I Sing the Body Electric! has a different, more nostalgic feel to it than the earlier collections, and balances out more on the side of traditional fiction than the science fiction that Bradbury is known for. That makes this collection different from his others, but really just as strong.

"The Inspired Chicken Motel" is my favorite story title in the book (although the title story is probably my favorite read, and it involves the Robot Grandma, by the way). Just read this paragraph, describing said motel, and try not to run out and buy the book:

"By its smell, some wild parties had died here. There was an odor of false sincerity and lust masquerading as love. A wind blew up between the floorboards redolent of chickens under the bungalow who spent nights running crazy from diarrhea induced by pecking the bathtub liquor that seeped down through the fake Oriental linoleum."

I dare you...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Strange Days

Usually my mornings are completely completely ordinary – I take the same bus at the same time, walk the same route to campus, and see the same people and things.

This morning, however, was rather strange.

First off I was really in a daze all morning because I was deep in a dream when my alarm went off. That makes everything seem very surreal and difficult anyway.

Then, while I was waiting for my bus, the blind man who usually waits for the bus on the other side of the street came tapping by like he does every morning. After he crossed the street however, he got a little turned around trying to avoid this woman who was walking her dog (and who didn’t reign it in – that is a big pet peeve of mine: people who walk their dogs should have some consideration for those who don’t want to be sniffed by strange dogs in the dark at 6:15 in the morning, especially if those people happen to be blind and can’t even see you and your dog). I could tell he was having trouble getting his bearings, so I asked him if he needed help and was able to talk him back into position. While I was doing that, I almost missed my bus, had to dash across the street, grab my bag and mug and jump on.

Instead of my usual small bus (the one that only has one door), we somehow scored one of the new giant busses with the red push buttons to request stops instead of the pull strings. I love those new busses, but it was disorienting to be on one this particular morning.

On my way up to work after the bus dropped me off, this old man stopped me to ask what time it was, and if I knew when the airport shuttle stopped by. Amazingly I did, even though I never take that shuttle. Old guy was made happy.

I also saw a bunch of ROTC dudes running in camoflauge with big backpacks on (no chants or howls this time), and a gigantic possum, and I almost got hit with a dump truck.

All this before seven in the morning. I think I’m pretty much done for the day….

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Its an addiction...

A stamp scanning addiction. I can't stop. Also I have a whole giant pile of other ones set aside that I haven't had a chance to scan yet.... Still, you have to admit they are pretty cool, especially this one which is the first in a Romanian circus stamp series I've found (the others of which are in the previously mentioned pile of mystery). Can anyone tell me what is going on here exactly? There is a clown on a tightrope and then also a lion? Or something? And maybe its on the tightrope too? Or maybe its in the ring below? A giant dog? Or some kind of sea mammal? Maybe its an animal that they only have in Romania...

Also make sure you check out this postcard from bucharest (yes, I don't only scan stamps...), with the most lovely bright cars out in front.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Really Big Puppets!

There really can't be too many ways to make your own really big puppets.

A flyer about this group that I found today notes that "Your celebrations will be more joyous, pageants more vivid, political demonstrations more impressive with giant puppets." I think that just about says it all...

Monday, September 12, 2005


I just bit the bullet this afternoon and super cleaned out our shower, including washing the shower curtain and putting up a new shower curtain liner. Then I took a shower that smelled chemically, and yet looked so shiny and nice. I didn't really realize how disgusting that shower was until I cleaned it. Well, that's not entirely true. I knew it was disgusting, but I didn't realize how much I like clean showers.

Not really that interesting, but its all I got, people. Its all I got...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Jar of Mystery...

What could possibly be in this jar? Body parts? Experiments gone awry? I spent quite awhile examining this jar when Josh brought it home and making up theories on its contents. What do you think it is? Guess first, then do what I finally did and look at the label.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Teen Wolves

Have you ever had a pack of 40 or so big macho ROTC boys come jogging at you at 6:30 in the morning, in the dark, carrying a big flag and chanting their marching songs really loud, and then, right when they are passing you, half of them break out into wolf howls? Its a rather disturbing way to start out ones day....

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Guilty Pleasure Reading Corner

Yesterday I finished a guilty pleasure read of The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, written by Jennifer Lynch (David Lynch's daughter). I would love to know why she wrote this book -- to cash in? Because her dad asked her to? Because she was really fascinated with the story? Why?

The book is, naturally, told from the point of view of Laura Palmer, the high school girl who is found murdered at the beginning of Twin Peaks. For the super geeks, this isn't the diary that Agent Cooper finds in Laura's room, but rather a super secret diary that she hides at the house of Harold, the cute, agorophobic shut-in to whom Laura delivers Meals on Wheels. It starts when Laura is 12 and ends a few days before her murder.

I think if I had read this book in junior high when I originally watched the series, it would have been one of my favorite books of all time. Its got all the great junior high motifs -- a misunderstood teenager leading a double life, lots of drugs, lots of sex, and a confessional diary form. Grown up Kristy liked the book because she loves Twin Peaks, but didn't really love it as a book itself. Still, if you love Twin Peaks like I love Twin Peaks, you will probably get a bit of enjoyment out of this book.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Stamp it out, weasel-style

You know you want to see what other stampy treasures await on my Flickr page... I can promise a return of the freaky panoramic stamp and a japanese bird with a giant head.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Stop smiling now, seriously

A brief reading update in which I harangue you about subscribing to a magazine:

In the past week I've read Achewood, Volume Five: An Empty Cup of Rum [which you should really check out - all the volumes, actually. And if you buy them this week (or any other Achewood merchandise), Mr. Onstad will give 10% of your cashola to the hurricane victims, which is very nice]; Love Life by Bobbie Ann Mason [a book of her short stories -- I really liked them, although some more than others, and I liked her novel In Country more], and finally the latest issue of Stop Smiling Magazine.

Now, there is no need to go over with you again how much I like subscribing to magazines. This one, however, is one of the few magazines in existence that I don't subscribe to -- Josh does, and I read his copies. But if he didn't subscribe to it, I would run right out and get my own subsription, because it is one of the best that come into my house. Not only are the themes, articles and pictures great (which they are, and they actually post a new piece every day on their website, so even if you don't subscribe, you should take a look over there), but this magazine is one of the most pleasurable things I've ever read. The paper is perfect, the fonts exquistite, the colors and layout devine. Its the kind of magazine you just kind of want to hold for awhile before you even read it. Then when you read it, it is even better than it felt.

Even if you don't have $25 for the basic subscription ($50 will get you a free limited edition 7" single with each magazine if you are a music nerd), you could probably cough up the $10 bucks for a single issue. Just look through the back issues and see what strikes your fancy.

Okay, this has not been a paid advertisement but just some genuine gushing. And the harangue is over. [Did I even spell that right? I'm not even going to spell check it, because I like to live on the edge).

Monday, September 05, 2005

I love...

... drinking almost a whole pot of really good coffee all by myself and then going out for lunch and drinking two strong margaritas outside and eating a giant plate of enchiladas and tacos.


Gardening with bar accessories!

Joolie's post about her new cactus Julio reminded me that I hadn't watered my dear Aloe plant, Aloey, for a long time. Like probably months. No matter, I've had Aloey for over five years, and have gone this long before without watering him. He is actually the only plant I've ever had that I didn't kill, including a cactus I had once. Although it was hard to tell if the cactus was dead or not, which was part of its charm. I do much better with animals than with plants.

Aloey's only complaint is that he is too damn big for the pot he is in. Unfortunately, I've never had a plant live long enough to need a new pot and I:
a) Have no repotting skills
b) Have no bigger pots
c) Have no potting soil/sand stuff, and
d) Have nowhere to do said repotting.

As a compromise, I extracted a piece of Aloey that was practically jumping out of the pot and transferred him to this novelty shot glass that I bought at Walgreens after Halloween a few years ago. I put a little water in the glass, and Aloey, Jr. seems to be doing okay for now. So, does anyone need a hearty aloe plant? I can guarantee that this one will take whatever abuse you give it, plus if you burn yourself, just snip off a piece of Aloey and his life juices will make your burn feel much better.

Disclamer: You will have to provide your own pot and sandy soil and I get to keep the shot glass.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Buggin' Out

Some more Romanian stamps from the archives -- this time, complete with bugs!

[And I just listened to Bush give his press conference after visiting New Orleans. Bleh. Christ, that guy makes me so irritated. It would honestly be much more uplifting for me if he would just not say anything at all. I'm frustrated.]

To ease my frustrations, I'm going to go look at those bug stamps some more....

Thursday, September 01, 2005


From UT Campus Watch:

PARKING LOT 39, 2300 Red River

Assault:  A UT staff member and a non-UT subject engaged in a verbal altercation when the staff member was unable to direct the subject to visitor parking.  After several words were exchanged, the staff member threw a foam cup of hour-old coffee at the left side of the subject's face.
Occurred on 8-31-05 at 9:12 AM.

How do you go from giving directions to throwing coffee at someone's face? At nine in the morning? Those must have been some pretty shitty directions....

The Dream Police

I know I have posted links to sites of historical anatomies before because they are practically my favorite thing that can be found on the internet. If you still don't realize how great they are, you are either a jerk or you have never seen The Dream Anatomy Gallery. Here we have fetus skeleton tableaus, three dimensional dolls from the 16th century with removable fetuses, and models like the dude pictured here who apparantly removed his own skin in one piece with a knife and is kindly holding it to the side so we can observe his muscles. Plus every image is availabe in high and low resolution forms, and each is annotated with a little bit of context, but not too much. Go now, and view every picture.


Also, did you see that the UT tower was all lit up in orange last night/this morning with a big number one on all four sides. It is fun when they light the tower up, but it makes me all happy inside when they write things on the side of it with the light from the windows...