Thursday, November 29, 2007

The holiday season is upon us, part deux

Second in my series of holiday gifts for that special bibliophile in your life.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The holiday season is upon us

Here's "the perfect gift" for the bibliophile who has everything:
And since the label is pretty much illegible in this picture, it's a perfume called "In the Library" and is described on its website as "English novel taken from a Signed First Edition of one of my very favorite novels, Russion & Moroccan leather bindings, worn cloth and a hint of wood polish."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The aftermath

In the end, the journey to Buffalo was easier than I had thought. Too easy. There was no rush hour traffic going to the airport, we had no trouble finding parking, and we sailed through security. It was eerie, to say the least. See? This is what happens when you obsess about how painful something will be: it isn't painful. Gotta love it.

My trip to Buffalo also served as a last-ditch effort to get through Watership Down, by Richard Adams. My friend, T, lent me this book about three years ago as it was one of her favorites growing up, but I couldn't get past the first ten pages. Well, folks, after two days and three nights, I'm only on page 175. For a person who routinely reads several books per weekend, this is an extremely slow pace.

So why the trouble? I think maybe because the plot (or what there is of one) hasn't grabbed me. Sure, there are a group of rabbits who leave a warren they deem unsafe to start a new one elsewhere. And there's danger. And they have adventures. But what's the story? I was discussing this with a high school friend of mine over brunch today, and he said, "This sounds like one of those books that's really an allegory. I bet the book is really about evil WWII-era companies. I'm not saying that for any reason, it's just what I think." Well, according to Wikipedia, he's scarily close: Watership Down is apparently about "fascism and appeasement." I'm fairly certain I hadn't reached the F&A storyline yet, but it isn't quite enough to make me read on. It isn't often that I can't bulldoze my way through a book, even if I'm not enjoying it. But I think three years is long enough to try, especially considering the teetering stack of books I have here next to me, waiting to be loved. And anyway, my book-as-allegory muscle has atrophied.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

By the numbers

Number of projects I'm on at work: 5
Number of scheduled hours of work this week: 24
Number of hours I need at work this week: 80
Cost of machine parts I ruined over the past two days: $500 (and counting)
Number of times I fantasized about tearing said machine apart over the course of the day: TMTC (too many to count)

Projected number of travelers at my airport tomorrow: ~100,000
Projected number of hours to be spent waiting to go through security tomorrow: 2.5
Project flight time: 1.5 hours (one way)
Projected driving time to destination if bumped off flight: 8 hours (assuming no traffic)

Current estimated blood pressure: 140/90

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Judging a book by its cover

Have you guys seen the new Penguin Classics covers? They're absolutely *gorgeous*, and I want to snatch up every last one of them (you can read more about the new "graphic classics" covers here). Here are just a couple of examples:

I'm thrilled that Penguin is putting so much energy into designing these new book covers. In fact, I was just as thrilled when Knopf put put a new edition of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series:
The content of a book is clearly most important, but the reading experience is really enhanced for me when the book is printed on nice paper and the cover's attractive as well. Am I alone in this?

In other news, I just found out that the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair was this weekend. How much of a nerd am I that I'm bummed I didn't get a chance to go?!

Friday, November 9, 2007

People think I'm crazy

People who know me well know that I have certain completely irrational and random fears: swimming in deep water when I don't know what's under me; throwing up; grating my skin with a cheese grater; being in a plane crash; insects; insects feasting on my flesh; me being inside my house when it explodes from a massive gas leak; somehow cutting my eyeballs...I'll stop here to keep from further embarrassment.

Well, one of these fears has been realized: tonight my grip on the Parmesan cheese slipped and I grated my thumb and pinky on my right hand.

I have a few things to say about the matter:
  1. Ow.
  2. It won't stop bleeding.
  3. Ewwwww.
  4. OW.
  5. It wasn't quite as awful as I had imagined, though it is pretty awful if I stop and think about it for too long.
  6. See numbers 1, 2 and 4.
And since you were wondering, I was using the "extra coarse" grater.

Seriously, though, I should just sit quietly on my couch not touching anything for a few days. Last night, after finally finding the time to get my humidifier ready for use, the (full) water tank slipped out of my hands, fell to the floor and shattered, flooding my bedroom with about 4 gallons of water. The sound of water pouring down into my heat vent (and realizing that my feet were soaked) pulled me out of my did-what-I-think-just-happened-happen reverie, and I spent the next half hour using every extra bed sheet and towel I own mopping up the mess.

Please add "bed falling through rotted-out hardwood floor into basement while I sleep" to my list of irrational fears.

So it's no surprise that all of my equipment only started working today as soon as I left the lab, and that when I came home tonight I made like the Romans did with Rabbi Akiva. The pinky is oh-so much worse off than the thumb. I actually have ice on it trying to get it to stop bleeding.

Apparently the universe thinks that getting a PROMOTION and an excellent raise is adequate to balance out all of the above insanity, and I have to say that I'm inclined to agree.

Please excuse me while I wrap myself up in padding and sit in the middle of my couch watching TV. I can't even risk finishing my book for fear of unnatural papercuts or freak spontaneous combustion of ink.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

New camera edition

How I love you, November, with your cool, crisp days and your extra hour of sleep! To celebrate, I headed out this morning to get myself a special breakfast treat at my favorite local bakery, Bread and Chocolate:

Now doesn't that look delicious? Especially since it was taken on my new camera, to be referred to hereafter as The Best Birthday Present Ever. I've been having a great time getting myself acquainted with all of TBBPE's features and exploring the limits of its 12x optical zoom.

This afternoon I'm going to see my favorite opera, La Boheme, with my family, and will finally have the opportunity to use the opera glasses I inherited from my grandmother. They were not originally hers, but as she had been the recipient of almost all of her family's things, I'm not sure who they belonged to originally. They are beautifully inlaid with mother of pearl, and from my pokings-around on the internets, it appears that they date back to sometime in the second half of the 19th century and are French.

I'll let you all know it goes! This will be my first time going to the opera State-side, so I'm excited to finally be able to read an understand the subtitles accompanying the performance (the majority of my other opera experiences were in German and Czech speaking countries).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

But can I wait a year?!

This is possibly the best TV news I've heard in ages! I may implode from all of the excitement! Must! Use! More! Exclamation! Points!