Friday, June 26, 2009


I had never heard of horchata before moving to Texas, but now I love this cool, smooth, rice-based drink. And thanks to Mary P., I know how to make it at home! There are a bunch of recipes out there, but I used this one, and it turned out great. I don't like things to be too sweet, so I only used half of the sugar, and I might also try reducing the cinnamon just a bit the next time I make it. This couldn't be easier (although waiting for the rice to soak for three hours is a little hard if you are thirsty) -- go make it right now!

In other news, I'm heading north to escape the 100+ degree temperatures we've been having down here, to visit some family and friends, and to celebrate an awesome wedding on the fourth of July, so it might be quiet around here for a bit. Just drink a bunch of horchata and you won't miss me at all.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Tennis Handsome (1983)

Barry Hannah is an author that I keep myself from reading because I love him so much that I will be sad when I've read everything he has written. His slender but powerful novel The Tennis Handsome (1983) is just as awesomely wonderful and great as I hoped it would be.

The Tennis Handsome tells the story of a professional tennis player from Vicksburg named French Edwards who is not very smart (unless electrocuted), but (as you might have guessed) exceedingly handsome. Edwards is managed by Baby Levaster who is not very handsome but full of personality, sin, and quite often, liquor. As a young man Edwards is coached by Dr. Word, a staunch homosexual who changes teams when he meets his protogee's mother, Olive, and who changes everything after French catches the two of them in bed together. From that point on French wants to kill Word, Word wants to sleep with Olive, Baby also wants to sleep with Olive, Word wants Baby dead, and all kinds of other things shoot out at the reader, including the other main character of the novel, a Vietnam vet who mostly wants to have an affair with his aunt, but also wants to do a lot of reading.


This is the kind of book that rushes straight at you. Hannah is funny, insightful, and disturbing, and he has a lot of fun with the words that make up his intoxicating sentences.

Luckily once I finish everything he has written, I will have no problem reading them all again...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Free to a good home?

Does anyone need some shiny black thigh-high lace up boots? Because someone threw a perfectly good pair away in the trash can of my apartment complex's laundry room. I find that kind of sad, neat, and gross all at the same time...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pretty Good? Pretty Great!

Have you been over to the Pretty Good Things site in a while? You haven't? Then you are missing out on the most fabulous thesis project ever -- filled with illustrations, sculptural hats, wearable derivations, and a narrative to tie it all together. This project makes me very happy.

And, as always, there are lots of other fun things to shop for as well. I guarantee you will smile at least five times while poking around the site.

Still not enough reasons to click your mouse? Then go over to the Pretty Good Things blog and enter this month's giveaway. Or don't you like free, pretty and good things?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Egypt Game (1967)

For some reason I feel like I read a ton of Zilpha Keatley Snyder's books when I was a kid, but I think I really just read The Headless Cupid (1971) and The Egypt Game (1967) over and over again. Thanks to the lovely Choo, I just got to re-read The Egypt Game for the first time as an adult, and I'm pleased to report that it holds up wonderfully.

Eleven-year-old April Hall has just moved into an apartment complex in a new town with her grandmother while her mother, a struggling actress, stays in Hollywood with her agent/boyfriend. April wears giant fake eyelashes, teases her hair up, and talks about nothing but how great Hollywood is and how childish kids her own age are. Then she meets Melanie Ross, a girl her age in the same complex. They quickly become friends and bond over their active imaginations and their love of ancient Egypt. A loose board in an ally fence lets them into the unused back lot of an antique store run by the mysterious Professor. Together with Melanie's four year old brother, Marshall (who carries around a stuffed octopus named Security and who is my favorite character of all) they spend hours every afternoon making up rituals, decorating alters, and playing The Egypt Game. A few other kids from the neighborhood join in and everything is going great until a kid a few blocks away goes missing and then is found murdered. All the parents keep the kids inside and it looks like it might be the end of the Egypt Game forever.

This book is a fun read that perfectly bridges the gap between little kid games and pre-teen angstiness. It confronts "important issues" without being preachy and has a straight-forwardness that appealed to me as a kid and still speaks to me as an adult. If you never read this as a kid, give it a chance, and if you know a elementary school kid who needs something to read, throw this book their way.

[I just found out that Snyder wrote a sequel to this 30 years later (in 1997) called The Gypsy Game, has anyone read it?]

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Modern Times

Go rent the whole movie right now. And while you wait for it to come, watch this.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Gold Dust on His Shirt (2008)

Irene Howard's Gold Dust on His Shirt: The True Story of an Immigrant Mining Family (2008) is not a book that I would have picked up on its own, but since it came to me via the fantastic LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, I was happy to give it a shot.

This book tells the story of Howard's Norwegian mother and Swedish father who immigrate to Canada in the early 1900s, meet, and start their family. Her father began working on logging crews, and then for the railroad before beginning his work in the mines. Mining was the defining occupation of his life and shaped the experiences and opportunities of him and his family.

Howard's book is part memoir, part genealogy (she visits her mother's family in Norway and researches her father's hidden past in Sweden), and part social history. In a less experienced author, the personal history of the story might become too heavy-handed or burdened with detail, or the historical context could overburden the family's stories and personalities. Howard avoids those pitfalls and brings us an engaging, educational and moving portrait of a real Canadian family.

If you like Scandinavians, labor history, British Columbia, or family stories, then this is the book for you. Very well done.