Friday, February 26, 2010
Buckets of Snow
This is my lovely walk, remember? I couldn't go my normal shortcut up the stairs because they were covered.
Even the sidewalks were covered so I had to walk on the street:
Here's the view from the window during one of the crazy whiteouts:
Here's a slightly less snowy time. I love the snow tiers on the tower behind St. Barts:
I love that we are right next to Waldorf Astoria. Actually, my company owns it which makes it nice when we have our Christmas parties there:
I posted more work window photos back in 2007 here.
Well, today is my last day of work here in NYC. I'll tell you more about it soon!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
I'm going to leave the story there.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
That's How I Blog
I've been meaning to post this earlier so you'd have extra notice but I've been a pretty bad blogger lately so I apologize. But, lots of cool things are going on so you might want to check out the show.
For instance, we'll be discussing a book we are reading by Dan Simmons called Black Hills about a Sioux named Paha Sapa (Black Hills) and the ghost of Custer. So far I am really enjoying this book, although I haven't finished it yet. Eek! I read and reviewed his book The Terror and loved it.
Also, I have big big news that is going to be affecting my blog. You'll be the first to hear about it!
Go check out the That's How I Blog website and see the schedule! You can always hear the recordings of past shows.
Is there anything you would like me to discuss? If so, email Nicole at nicole [at] linussblanket [dot] com.
Have you listened or participated in any of the past shows? If so, what did you like or dislike?
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Discussing a Book
Friday, February 19, 2010
Swimming Inside the Sun - David Zweig
On the verge of success, struggling New York City musician Daniel Green has his life’s dream snatched from him. Despondent, Dan seeks solace and answers from the comforts of women, great thinkers from Marx to Kierkegaard, and the security of rice milk. Suffering from a darkly comical state of extreme self-consciousness, Dan begins to lose his grip on reality, and in a meta-fictional twist, the narrative shifts from first to third-person as his depersonalization peaks. All the while, the signs of his existential dilemma become, literally, the writing on the wall, as his studio apartment is increasingly taken over by The Notes he can’t seem to stop writing. Battling loneliness and a mind that can no longer discern between fiction and real life, Dan’s only hope may be the redemptive force of music. In a culture obsessed with tales of winners’ ascensions to the top, Dan Green’s story, defiantly, irreverently, is about what happens when you fail and the roads you take to figure out what next?
I think the rambling narrative reflects how we talk and think. Dan Green may be an unreliable narrator because it might not be a 100% factual narration of the events but then again who does not embellish for the sake of the story? Because every event and action was being narrated, you could really get involved with that particular part of the novel. So, yes, I did like the style in the way it was used to build the character.
How did you like the New York City setting?
In it's perverse way, the book does reflect what I consider to be the NYC Art Scene. Specifically what is considered "art" and the varying forms of accepted mediums. Without giving too much of the story away, Dan's reaction to the praise is very entertaining however a mild let down for the role the post-it notes on his wall played. Music, as an art form, was dialed into NYC because you will always find an audience for anything different, interesting, progressive, etc, in this city.
Best: Overall, I think the best part of the book is the writing itself. Just because I did not like the main character does not mean the book is a bad read. The author created a real person who is tangible, and as a reader I could follow. He also wove a story with a realistic and plausible origin and ending. My expectations going into reading this were slightly misdirected based on the back cover; I was waiting for the great big answer to fall out the sky. Answers are rarely that easy to find and I think David Zweig does a great job getting that "fact of life" across, we never know where we will end up.
**Do you and your significant other share books or discuss books? If so what?
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
It sounds chaotic but it really isn't. The whole story is narrated by Nelly, the loyal housemaid who retells the story to Mr. Lockwood, a new tenant. I still wonder what a different book this would be if the story was told from Cathy or Heathcliff's perspective.
The ending. LOVED it.
Favorite description of Heathcliff:
The light flashed on his features as I spoke. Oh, Mr. Lockwood, I cannot express what a terrible start I got by the momentary view! Those deep black eyes! That smile, and ghastly paleness! It appeared to me, not Mr. Heathcliff, but a goblin; and, in my terror, I let the candle bend towards the wall, and it left me in darkness.
Funny thing, I read Wuthering Heights mostly on my iPod touch using a cool app called 101 Classic Novels and it's free!
So the photo at the top is the cover I always associate with Wuthering Heights. I really like this newer one from Penguin but it kind of makes Cathy seem timid, which she is definitely not:I was so addicted to the story I starting watching the newer movie version staring these two:But I'm going to have to go back and watch some of the other versions. Like this 1992 version with Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche:
Or this 1939 version with Lawrence Oliver. Seriously, Lawerence Oliver was cast as Mr. Darcy, Heathcliff, Orlando, Maxim de Winter...and those are just the ones I've seen.
I can totally see how Wuthering Heights can be a love it or hate it book. Obviously not all of the characters were written to be likeable or loveable. But the story of jealousy, revenge, love, and hate just sucked me in and I loved it.Also Reviewed by:
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Walk to Work
Friday, February 12, 2010
I was commuting to work this morning and listening to my favorite podcast, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me! from NPR on my new iPod Touch (man is this iPod cool) when I learned about this book:
This is the blurb from Harper Colliins:
In Sneaker Wars, journalist Barbara Smit reveals the dramatic, character-driven story of these two power-houses. Started in their mother's laundry room in Germany, Adi and Rudi Dassler's shoe business was an instant success, their spikes worn by Jesse Owens in the Berlin Olympics. But a vicious feud soon pulled them apart: by the end of World War II, the brothers split the company, dividing their family and hometown.
What a bizarre true story! Did any of you know this weird fact about Puma and Adidas? I am going to have to pick this book up.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Eugenie Grandet - Honore de Balzac
Here's the story:
The story takes place in a small town in France where Eugenie is the heroine. Her father was a cooper who has become wealthy but miserly. Think of him as a French Scrooge but with a wife and daughter. Terrifyingly horrid thought.
One day, Eugenie's cousin, Charles Grandet from Paris comes to town. He is a dandy, foppish, and cute. Eugenie falls hard. However, bad news follows in Charles' footsteps. His father has gone bankrupt and has taken his life. Charles must leave to earn his own way and try to earn money to gain back his family's reputation. Poor Eugenie is left to pine for his return.
I'm going to leave it there. I don't want to spoil the ending or what happens to these two star-crossed lovers. I thought it was amazingly realistically portrayed. I was trying to think what stands out in Balzac's writing and I think the word is "humanism." Beware that this is no ordinary simple love story. Things don't always go as plan or turn out right. But I just really felt for Eugenie and her evolution as a character.
Honore de Balzac wrote a collection 95 finished pieces of work (essays, novels, etc) of interlinking novels for a collection he called La Comédie humaine or The Human Comedy. It is divided up into sections and Eugenie Grandet fits into the section called Scenes from a Provincial Life.
I am absolutely fascinated by this massive undertaking of Balzac's and how his novels and works really dig deep into humanity with realistic characters. I'll definitely be reading more of Honore de Balzac's works.
I read Eugenie Grandet online at Online Literature.
Snowy Day - View from Office
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Longitude - Dava Sobel
I love this book. I ended up buying this book so my husband could read it.
Longitude is actually subtitled: The True Story of the Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. This is non-fiction history at its best. It's a short book but it is thorough without being boring.
Here's the plot:
Throughout history, when people sailed the seas, they usually had to hug coasts to know where they were in the world. Then they figured out Latitude and people like Columbus could pretty much set a course based on Latitude and head on over to America. Or wherever they were going. But the problem was Longitude. No one at that time know how big the world was.
I don't want to give more away but the solution to the problem is fascinating. But I won't tell you who came up with the solution because that is the best part. I can't wait for my husband to read it so we can talk about it. This is one of those books you just want to discuss with someone.
Here's the cover of the version I bought:
I had no clue there's an illustrated version! My copy had some photos in the middle but I'm going to have to check this out too:
And there's a movie with Jeremy Irons!?! Oh the things you find when you Google search.
You can check out Dava Sobel's website for more information on Longitude and her other books.
Have you read anything by Dava Sobel?
Also Reviewed by:
Age 30+: A Lifetime of Books
Monday, February 8, 2010
Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
Let me warn you first that I've been in a weird reading funk this year. This is also my first foray into the works of Virginia Woolf, and while I didn't like Mrs. Dalloway, that doesn't mean I won't try again with a different work.
Here it is:
Mrs. Dalloway is the central figure of this story. The whole book takes place in a single day and starts off with Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway heading out to get some flowers for a party she is throwing that night.
It follows Mrs. Dalloway out into the city and there skips around in narration. The central figures are Clarissa and Peter Walsh (an old flame) who comes back from India and stops to see Clarissa. Other characters are Sally (a past best friend), Elizabeth (Clarissa's daughter), Richard (Clarissa's husband), and a few random park people. The story ends with Mrs. Dalloway's party.
Honestly, I loved the writing. Once I got used the rhythm I really enjoyed it. I was a little confused at the beginning because I had no clue how old Mrs. Dalloway was supposed to be. A bit into the book we find out she's 52 years old. But I guess I was thrown by the spunk of her character and the cover of the novel.
But halfway into the book I got bored. I lost interest in Clarissa, Peter, Richard, and the whole bunch. I really didn't care. The most interesting characters were Elizabeth, which we didn't hear much of, two very side characters of a ex-military man and his Italian wife, and a snippet of Clarissa's past friendship with Sally. Actually, had this book only been about those people, I'd have enjoyed it. I really just couldn't stand Clarissa or Peter.
In all honesty, I would never have finished this book besides the fact that I had signed up over at Sarah's blog for Woolf in Winter. That and I knew I'd never pick this book back up again...well at least not in the next couple of decades. I wonder if I'd like it more when I'm closer to Clarissa's age. Or maybe not. I guess I just felt that Clarissa and Peter just seemed so childish.
If you've read this and like it, or didn't, let me know what you thought! I'm off to read some reviews.
Also Reviewed by:
What we have here is a failure to communicate (and more)
A Striped Armchair
It's all about me (time)
Books, the Universe, and Everything
Friday, February 5, 2010
Ok. Here we go...
This is our little living room with our stockings and tree. I found some fun New York City Christmas ornaments at Duane Reade (and proceeded to break two of the four but that's ok). Forgive our wonky broken shades. We also used my husband's mechanical engineering drawings as wrapping paper. As he says, got to save those paper trees.
Here's a bigger version with our pups' stockings as well. And yes, we are recycling a tin can by putting a candle in it.
A Christmas tradition is to drink eggnog. I love eggnog and this is my favorite cup, made by the wonderful Brainella. Go check out her blog and Etsy shop for more fun stuff.
Of course we let the puppies open their stuff first. Here's Charlie with his new toy.I take more photos of Charlie because, well he's mine, and he's so photogenic. Look at those big brown eyes. Poor Anna. I think Robb is just taunting her with the toy.Finally she gets it:Charlie loves to sit or lay on my feet. I got a good picture of him giving me the crazy eyes look:
Then of course, like siblings do, they proceeded to fight over one of the toys while we finished opening up presents:Then it was on to the cooking. My goal was to make home-made cranberry sauce. I used the recipe I found over at She is Too Fond of Books. Absolutely delicious. I urge you to make this ASAP.
You take fresh cranberries: I had to take a close up:
Mix it with apples, pears, cinnamon stick, sugar, juice, etc: Boil it down and you get this yummy concoction. It was gone in about a day or two. Seriously yummy stuff.We also made green bean casserole. A must have for every holiday. In our fun little ethnic hood we couldn't find the traditional French's fried onions so Robb made home-made ones. For Christmas I treated myself to a set of mixing bowls I found at Urban Outfitters. Last time I cooked I had to use extra pots and pans as mixing bowls. So sad. But aren't the colors fun?Robb also made home-made stuffing. I know. We wanted to do it all home-made.Meanwhile I worked on the mashed potatoes (can you believe I'd never made them before?):And of course I made my favorite pie - apple. I make a mean apple pie: Go ahead, you can drool...We made ham AND turkey. I only managed to snap a picture of the ham. We thought, hey, while we are just cooking for us let's do it all so that if we mess up, it's won't be when we are entertaining friends and family. But they both turned out great! I love the turkey bag. That is a must.So this whole thing we managed in our tiny little kitchen. Seriously, when you open the fridge, it only misses the counter by a fraction of an inch. Here it is:Finally, dinner:
I hope you enjoyed our Christmas day pictures!