You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2007.

Or it almost was, anyway. This happened just around the corner from my office. Which means I spent most of the 3-4pm hour looking out the window at the helicopters, then looking back at my computer screen to watch the live feed from the helicopters. Awesome. SOO productive.

Also, it always makes me laugh that, when the bomb squad shows up, they have to blow the “suspicious package” up to make sure it’s not a bomb. I don’t understand this.

The second best part of the whole ordeal was, after my co-workers had given up watching the video feed on their desktops, I was giving commentary. As they put the package on the truck and drove away, I said, “Well, it looks like it’s over now. They’re turning onto Main Street, away from our office… Oh My Gosh, the truck just blew up!” and my co-worker M actually believed me! I didn’t even try to sell it that hard–mostly because I was afraid someone would actually believe me. She was like, “I just felt my heart clench up a little when you did that…”

The best part, though, is that I get to make this joke…
Police still have not told the press what was in the “suspicious package”, but a source close to the investigation says it was a d*ck in a box.”

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Title: The Areas of My Expertise
Author: John Hodgman
# of pages: 256
Date Started: 1/6/07
Date Finished: 1/15/07
Thoughts: This book is completely hilarious. However, I could only read it in small spurts, so it took me a while to finish it. (It reminded me a lot of when my little brother was in elementary school, and he always took things one step too far. It was funny the first 100 times. 101, not so much.) So, the hobo names were a little out of hand. The 50 States were intermittently funny. But the attack ads/how to win a fight were freaking hysterical (“Go ahead and use henchmen”). And I keep randomly yelling out “WERE YOU EVEN AWARE OF IT?!?” Which scares my co-workers. Oh well.

Sometimes I get a little down on my alma mater.  I had a hard time adjusting there, and I tend to paint my entire four years that way, forgetting that’s not entirely true.  Today, I wrote a letter (an actual snail mail letter, can you believe it? who does that anymore–I know right?) to a friend of mine from college.  She’s having a rough time, and I’m trying to convince her to move here to be near me.  Here’s what I wrote:

Especially this time of year, I think about all of the time we spent together your senior year.  I realized that all the best parts of my college experience have you in them.  If I could freeze one night of my life and live it over and over again Groundhog Day-style, it would be one of those times…  A chilly night when we spent hours in the Bryan Center café, watching the café boys and getting our drinks with skim not WHOLE milk.  And then went back to your room and pretended to do our awful French homework until the wee hours, while simultaneously trying to annoy/flirt with T and C.  And, with G’s help, changed A’s white board to say embarrassing things like “ChlAMYdia” and “I want to go visit “KissAMYee St. Cloud, Florida” while she was out on dates.  And put on dinner-theatre shows for J singing “PEEE-EEET” instead of “Dulcinea”.  Leave it to Southern girls to put four syllables in Pete.  

It really was good times.  I posted that here so I can remember.  I’m writing a post on my reaction to the Duke Lacrosse stuff, and I think it will help to remember this.  I hope to have that post up by the end of the week.  We’ll see.  It’s been a hard thing to write.  I may break it up into pieces, and see if that makes it easier.

Title: Digging to America
Author: Anne Tyler
# of pages: 288
Date Started: 1/1/07
Date Finished: 1/5/07
Thoughts: In general, I really liked this book. But there is one little tiny thing that keeps digging in to the back of my skull and keeps me from fully enjoying it. Just a quick synopsis for those who don’t know much about this book… It’s about two little girls who are adopted from Korea. They arrive on the same flight and are delivered to different families, whose lives become intertwined for the rest of the story. It begins in 1997 and continues through the early-to-mid 2000s. (If I counted correctly, at least 2003, possibly 2004.) One of the adopting families is Iranian. But Tyler never really talks about September 11th. Once, when they all go to the airport, they complain about not being able to wait at the gate anymore, and another time, some of the extended Iranian family makes a joke about “flying Muslim.” That’s it. I’m sorry, but it is unbelievable to me that a story that focuses so much on immigration, international adoption, Iranian traditions, and the isolation or integration of immigrants wouldn’t be impacted by September 11th. (I know that it is Ms. Tyler’s style to leave out major world events and focus solely on the family.  I’m not saying she should have described the day, just the impact it would have had on the rest of the story.)  In my work with college freshmen before and after Sept. 11th, I have seen the huge (and sometimes startling) impact on that group, and it’s naive to think that an Iranian family and a super-privileged American-born family would continue their friendship without some bumps along the way. If anything, the Iranians become less annoyed by the American-born family after September 11th. Prior to 2001, the Iranian dad gets into a physical fight with the American-born dad, and entertains his less-assimilated relatives by mocking the American-born family when they’re not around. After 9/11, his treatment of them becomes much more tender, and they become real friends. Now, since the book mainly focuses on the anniversary of the girls’ arrival each year (which is in August), it’s possible that in the intervening year, something happened and their friendship would have been solidified by it. I just wish Ms. Tyler had put it in! Other than this one issue, she really renders human emotions beautifully, and it’s an interesting read. I just feel that if she’d attended to the 9/11 thing, she could have taken it to another level and created something truly amazing.

In order to help me achieve #1a*, I have ordered one of the new (2nd generation) iPod shuffles. And because I totally heart technology**, I am very impatient about receiving my new toy. So I’ve been obsessively checking the USPS package tracker on Amazon. (Good thing I didn’t list “stop obsessing over little things” as one of my resolutions.)

Apparently, my order left Greensboro, NC on December 31, and the estimated arrival is January 10. Ok, people. I live in Durham, NC. So you’re telling me that it takes 10 days to transport .55 oz of pure joy 55 miles? Seriously? I finished a marathon in 7:28. I could walk to Greensboro and back before January 10.

Though calling it “.55 oz of pure joy” made me start thinking of what to name it when it finally gets here. I think I’m going to have to rename my other iPod, too. It’s one of the original click-wheel only varieties, so it’s a big ‘un. I’m thinking of Big Mama or maybe even Large Marge (to pay homage to OMGthebesteffingmovieever). Ok, I just decided. Large Marge it is. But for the new baby? I was originally thinking “Mini-Me” but that seemed too obvious. Then I thought, what about “Little Piece of Techno Perfection”? It’s been a long time since I named something like that.***

Well, we’ll see. Apparently, I’ve got 6 more days to ponder. Ooh, it’s after five. I think I’ll go hit “refresh.”

*********************

*And with the help of a handful of Amazon gift certificates from the relatives–thanks Aunt S and the Northern Ls!

**I love technology, but not as much as you, you see, but I still love technology…

***The others being “My Little Piece of Polish Perfection“**** and “My Little Piece of Freckled Perfection.” Yeah, I’ve got issues. I know.

****Incidentally, I got caught staring at My Little Piece of Polish Perfection’s ass while in Cameron back in November. I’m not even a little bit embarrassed about that. Again, issues. I know.

I don’t normally make New Year’s Resolutions. Every so often, I set goals for the next big milestone in my life. For example, in January 2000, I said I would run a marathon before I turned or while I was 25. (I ran the Austin Marathon in February 2003, 2 months before I turned 26. Just squeaked in.) In January 2004, I resolved to skydive and climb Kilimanjaro before I turned or while I was 30. Sadly, it looks like neither will happen by that deadline. (I could go skydiving tomorrow, really, but right now it seems silly to shell out that kind of cash when I have so many other things I want to do and so little money with which to do it.) I haven’t given up on either, I just don’t think they’ll happen by the time I turn 31.

So, this year I actually made a list of resolutions. Mostly, they’re “bigger” goals, with a few specific steps for each one. So, here goes:

1. Be healthier–physically:
a. Run a 5K in 30 minutes or less by my 30th birthday (in April).
b. Do 30 “boy-style” push-ups in 1 minute or less by 1.1.08.

2. Be healthier–emotionally:
a. Find an organization that does good work in this area and start volunteering with it.
b. Take classes, join groups, even try Match.com if that’s what it takes to meet new people.

3. Be healthier–intellectually:
a. Read 50 books by 1.1.08. See the book list here.
b. Explore options for grad school. Maybe even take a public policy course in the fall.

4. Be committed to writing:
a. Make at least 1 submission to a writing contest.
b. Hit at list 50K in one of my novels-in-progress.
c. Post here at least 3 times a week (including book journal posts).

5. Be less of a consumer (that’s the only way I can think to put it):
a. Cut down on fast food.
b. Get a library card, especially considering #3a.
c. Shop locally, when possible.

Ok, I think that’s it for now.

Happy New Year!!

So, I got excited about the whole 50 books in 2007 thing, and actually started a little early. (This one won’t count in my 2007 total, though!) So, here’s my first book journal entry!

Title: The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
# of pages: 288
Date Started: 12/23/06
Date Finished: 12/25/06
Thoughts: I totally loved this book, but I cried constantly while reading it. I wouldn’t recommend that others read this around the holidays (since I tend to cry a lot more around the holidays, and a lot of others I know do, too). The one thing I do have to say is that I think Sebold went too far with the ending. I bought into most of the leaps of faith she asked the reader to take, but not the end. Overall, though, the story was sweet and touching, and she did a good job of making all the emotions seem real.

(I’m trying not to give away any major plot points in my “Thoughts” section…)