Friday, July 20, 2007


50. Erec Rex: The Dragon's Eye by Kaza Kingsley
This book was pretty good, but struck me a lot as a kinda Harry Potter rip off. Basically a kid realizes there is a magical world living below (near, and above)our own. He was possibly taken from this world as a child. He gets back into it, help saves it, but as it is the first book in a series all the mysteries are not explained. I am going to look for the rest of the books as they come out as I want to know what happens, but I thought this was just mediocre.

51. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
52. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling
After I saw the Order of the Phoenix movie I re-read these books in preparation for book 7. woo! Book 7! Anyway, I love Order of the Phoenix, it is one of my favorites. And even reading it right after seeing the movie didn't make me angry about things the movie changed. I do not love book 6 as much. I mean any Harry Potter is better than no Harry Potter, but I felt like a lot was added into this book that was not alluded to before, which kinda disappointed me. I am interested to see how much book 7 will refer back to older books, and how much with just go back to book 6.

53. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
Murakami's newest book, which was kind of strange like all his other books. I liked it, but it didn't have some of the quirky qualities I like in his other books. Still good, though.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Today we got a card addressed to The Zuberbuhlers*. Argh! I hate it! Why do people assume I am changing my name? It really freaks me out. I know some people will say, "what's the big deal? Why not get over it?" But it is a big deal to me, and goes into why I did not want to get married for so long. I think marriage as an institution has some scary roots in gender inequality, not to mention that it is not available to everyone AND the fact that it involves the government in my personal relationship, which is none of their damn business. Anyway, I feel like people are trying to squash my identity by taking away my name, which I love, identify greatly with, and is very important to me. The two pieces of mail combined with my viewing of the Alix Olson dvd are radicalizing my feminism once again. What to do with all this new radical feminist energy, though?

I would love to write more but need to get back to data analysis. Just wanted to briefly vent.

*pretend R's last name is Zuberbuhler.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why Fox News sucks

So there was a steam pipe that exploded in midtown. I was watching TV around when this happened. I happened to stop flipping on Fox, not realizing it was Fox. I picked up on what station I was on, though, when the newscasters started talking about how of course it made everyone think of 9/11, and especially in these dangerous times we had to think it was terrorism. Then the newscaster interviewed someone from the electric company (who is in charge of the pipes which carry steam all though Manhattan -- it is used for heating and other things. I actually watch something about them on tv, but I remember very little.) and just kept attacking the poor electric company person. The Fox guy kept asking why they didn't respond better and why they had pipes that could explode and basically was very combative. The poor electric guy was like, we did respond well, the pipes are old, dude, shit happens. It is sad that a person died because of it, but I think freak accidents are a part of life.

Anyway, all the other stations managed to mention that it was not terrorism in a non-sensational way, and did not attack electric company officials without reason. Stupid Fox News.

PS: be careful if you are on the New York Times web page as my sources say they write too much about the new Harry Potter on the front page. Do not be spoilered!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Your Score: Lion Warning Cat

65 % Affection, 55 % Excitability , 36 % Hunger

You are the good Samaritan of the lolcat world. Protecting others from danger by shouting observations and guidance in cases of imminent threat, you believe in the well-being of everyone.

Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

I love the lolcats so much. I think they are the most hilarious thing ever. See more here and here and here.

Thanks to Dancingfish for the quiz, which cured my heat exhaustion headache. PSA: wear a hat when you walk dogs from noon-2:00 and it is 85.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Return of Poetry Monday!

Poetry Monday returns with a multimedia extravaganza! The poem is America's On Sale by Alix Olson. The link will take you to her Myspace page. You can also see a video clip there.

Oh yeah, she swears, so you may not want to watch at work.

This Poetry Monday was brought to you by my recent viewing of Left Lane: On the Road with folk Poet Alix Olson, an awesome documentary which made me all ready to get going with the revolution.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

more book ketchup

44. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
I really liked Nick Hornby's earlier books -- High Fidelity and (especially) About A Boy. This one was still pretty good, but I think there were maybe too many main characters and it did not grab me as much. It is an interesting premise, though. 4 people meet on the roof of a building, as they all go up there to kill themselves by jumping off. The book follows them as they make a kind of club and re-visit their decisions to not jump. The characters were really vividly drawn, and I enjoyed the book while reading it, but not a lot stayed with me after finishing.

45. The Cleft by Doris Lessing
This is a strange book about how men were created, and grew different from women. It is from the POV of a Roman historian, recounting this history he has recovered from old manuscripts. According to the history, there was a group of women living on these cliffs by the sea, and they reproduced by themselves. Eventually, some boys are born from time to time, this gets more common, and the story deals with the differences between the men and women and how the women deal with this change. I thought the book was really heavy handed and dwelt too much on how men and women are naturally different. It might have been making the point that men and women together are better than women or men alone, but the fact that the women were often characterized as nags and neat freaks while the men were irresponsible really bothered me.

46. The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer
I picked this up from a free book exchange shelf when I was out of town, and it was an advance reader copy. I enjoyed this book a lot. It is about a wealthy family in Iran, and what happens to them after the shah is overthrown. I really came to care about the characters, and found the story very gripping. At parts, though, I found the story a little predictable. This may be because I have read quite a few books based in Iran after the revolution, and they have a lot of similarities. It was enjoyable and well written, though.

47. Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles
This book, and the next 2 are in my possession thanks to the wondrous Melinda and her librarian skillz and generosity.

This is a YA novel about childhood abuses within friendships. I thought it was kind of simplistic and way too obvious with its message which it kept hitting me over the head with. I might have liked it as a teenager, as there was a lot of drama, but I might also have been angry about its obvious lesson-teaching. Also, it started at the end of the story and then went back in time to explain how we got here. I have been running into a lot of this story telling device lately and I am really over it. Let's go back to linear stories for awhile, OK? You don't have to keep my interest by telling me what is going to happen -- let's try keeping my interest by telling a compelling story.

48. Beyond Escape! (Choose Your Own Adventure #15) by R. A. Montgomery
OK, I was sooooo excited when I got this because I use to love Choose Your Own Adventures so much. This is a new, re-released version, updated for the 21st century! R and I read this aloud and decided together which choices to make and as far as we could tell, updating it meant changing 'plane' to 'motor-glider' but it still wasn't quite up to the fancy plane advances I bet we have today. We were pretty disappointed by this book, as there were lots of pages without choices to be made, and it was really into the politics between the different imaginary countries. I think I liked the more fantastical Choose Your Own Adventures when I was younger, anyway, like with pirates or historical ones where I could be a pioneer or something.

49. The Pig Who Saved the World by Paul Shipton
This is a really fun book, again YA or maybe even a little younger than that. It is the second in a series and is about a member of Ulysses' crew who was turned into a pig and then, you got it, saves the world. I thought it was really funny and irreverent, and had a lot of awesome allusions to Roman and Greek mythology. Very fun and I wish I knew some kids who might enjoy it.

Good Sunday morning

Two donuts + hazelnut iced coffee + movies on TNT

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I just had a lovely evening with Maggie and Christopher and Corbett. Maggie and I went to MOMA and then to a diner, where Christopher and Corbett met us. Then we went to the most awesome bar ever where there were cheap drinks, and then I came home and stopped by McDonald's for a shake, but they were out of ice cream!!! How can I go on? It will be difficult, but luckily I had leftover pizza waiting for me at home. I am still shake deficient, though.


I'm actually a little disappointed by this:

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter quiz

ha ha! The quiz is a tiny bit risque. Hee hee.

Find out your Harry Potter personality at LiquidGeneration!


I spent June in a place that was not NYC, teaching at a very intensive program for smarty smart high school students. I taught 6 hours each weekday and 3 on Saturday. It was exhausting, my friends. Aside from this it was interesting for two reasons: 1) the teaching of the gifted and 2) the teaching of the under-aged. Part 2 was strange as I had to think about what I said to them ALOT, and I could not show R rated movies and at the end I had to talk to their parents.

While all that is fascinating, I really want to write about the fact that they were all gifted. Most of my teaching experience prior to this was at community college, where I definitely had some smart kids, but also had a lot who struggled. Despite that I have not yet met a student who was dumb. I would say most of my students who struggled were never given tools to help them in school, and a few just didn't care. It was impressive to see kids so confident in their academic abilities -- they were not fazed by a thing having to do with school. On the other hand, this at times lead to them demonstrating a sense of over-entitlement. Some thought they should just be handed everything in life, because they were so smart. And I heard some talk about how they don't 'act smart' at school, because they want to fit in.

It made me think a lot about all this labeling of 'gifted' we do. Does it really help people to be told they are gifted or not in first grade? I was put in gifted classes sometime in grade school, and school is really the one thing I have never questioned my abilities in. In a way, that was awesome for me, but shouldn't everyone have that chance? How many of the kids who aren't gifted would act more gifted if someone just told them they were smart and could do well in school? I was also troubled by the way we were taught to teach gifted kids. I guess it is true that when people memorize faster, you can move past that on to more abstract concepts and get to do more fun classroom stuff like creative projects and discussions and debates, but just because you have to spend more time on facts doesn't mean class has to be so boring. We were told so much about keeping it exciting for the kids and all I could keep thinking was, "Why do only the smart kids deserve interesting classes?"

I came out of it really missing my students who had to work harder, and to who stuff didn't come so easily. I met a lot of people who dreamed of teaching gifted students, and some who said that would only teach if they could teach the gifted. I don't know, but I don't think that's totally fair. Why should all these good teachers go to the students who might not need them? There's a lot of obsession with how to keep these smart kids interested in school, but it just left me feeling like the other kids were all forgotten.

In the end, I am glad I did the program, and would do it again, but it really made me appreciate my community college experience. Which is good, as since we are going to be a 2 academic family I like to keep my options open, and have greatly considered the idea of teaching at community colleges in the future. I think it would be great to have more professors at that level who also had research programs so that everyone could be exposed to that aspect of education.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

book catch up

mmmm... book ketchup

39. The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver
This was an interesting premise. Basically, the main character is tempted to cheat on her long time partner, and the book follows what happens when she does or doesn't -- like it follows 2 alternate possibilities. I liked how it kind of explored that there was no 'right' choice, but I think the book went on too long and belabored the point a little too much.

40. The Sweet Life by Lynn York
This was a book set in a small town about an older couple. It was boring and predictable.

41. Otherwise Engaged by Suzanne Finnamore
For some reason I was really into this book. It is about a woman's engagement, from the proposal to the honeymoon. It is more about the emotions during the engagement than the wedding planning, and for some reason the neuroses of the main character really spoke to me. Also, it was one of the most real portrayals of a relationship I have seen in a book, with a lot of humor and silliness thrown in.

42. The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall
This is a straight up trashy book about a Russian in China. It was pretty entertaining, for what it was.

43. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
This is a very fun book about the Greek gods living in London. They have to deal with the lack of belief in them, their diminishing powers, and, of course, they act silly and immature like they would if they were real. In the end, two nerds have to help save the world. I really enjoyed this book.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

licenses, NYC, fireworks and hotdogs, oh my!

Hello my little blog readers!

Here is a post about a bunch of stuff I have been up to.

Let's see. Last Sunday night I got back from my month of teaching the smarty kids. It was fun, the kids were awesome, I got to hang out with a bunch of NHPs (nonhuman primates), I lived in a dorm and the food was awful. I also missed my community college students and came to feel that teaching the gifted was not where my passion lies. Hopefully I can post more on that later. However, I also got an email saying my one community college adjuncting job was taken from me due to the hiring of full time faculty. Boo! hiss! Now I have NO sure teaching for fall so I am scrambling. Anyone need a bio anthro/anthro/biology/primatology/ or anything else teacher for fall? Let me know!

R surprised me and met me at the airport which was so nice! He was almost foiled by my flight being early, but we met up and had a taxi ride home together and he was able to help me with my heavy bag. Monday I was exhausted so I lazed around the house. At night we struck out for the Bronx and Yankee Stadium to watch the Yankees play the Twins. R and I cheered for the Twins, and it was very weird to be for the away team -- I have never had that experience before. Also, the Twins lost in a very embarrassing manner. Seriously, R or I could have pitched better than they were.

Tuesday we finally used the Empire State Building tickets R got me for my birthday. It was very cool! And the line was not too long. I'll have some pictures up on Flickr soon. After that we walked to Grand Central Station and R had oysters (I had a few as well) and calamari. It was R's end of first year of grad school present. After that we went to see Sicko, which was pretty good although not one of Michael Moore's best. Also, I already know the health care system in the US is screwed, so no new info there.

Wednesday was the 4th and we went to Coney Island to watch the hot dog eating contest. So fun! The MC was hilarious and the whole things was just awesome. The world record was broken twice! The winner at 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes. Actually, that is pretty gross, but it was fun to be there. Afterwards we met Christopher and Corbett, rode the Wonder Wheel, and then walked around Brighton Beach.

Thursday I did lots of wedding planning work like planning the ceremony and looking for readings. R had school related work, and at night we went to C&C's and watched some Battlestar Galactica.

Friday we met up with Christopher and Corbett again and headed down to City Hall for the marriage license! We stood in a wide variety of lines, reminiscent of the DMV, but emerged (we thought) triumphant. Afterwards we all headed to Chinatown for awesome tasty veggie dim sum followed by Chinese ice cream. We said bye to C&C and got on the subway to scope out Central Park for the wedding again, when we looked at the license and saw R's birthday was wrong, making him 6 years older than he actually is! Curses! There is a fee for corrections done more than 24 hours after getting the license, so we had to get off the train and head back to City Hall. Luckily the correcting went pretty smoothly and we got a correct license but by then we were too tired for the park so we came home, had leftovers and watched Mission Impossible 3 which is not a very good movie. Whew. What an exciting week!

Next week is all dissertation all the time. I keep joking that I will have it done when R comes back on the 21st -- I think ridiculous deadlines are good motivators for me.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I am back in NYC! Teaching was awesome but tiring. R and I have been frolicking all over New York, with big 4th plans for tomorrow. R is leaving town for two weeks on Sunday so I'm trying to hang with him as much as possible this week. I promise some new, good, posts soon!