Lexd's Blog

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On Bookmarks October 22, 2010

Filed under: other — lexd @ 10:22 pm
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I’m the kind of person who uses ANYTHING as a bookmark. I think official bookmarks are kind of a silly idea (although I appreciate that some of them are actually kind of cool looking). I’m a pretty voracious reader, so as you can imagine, I got a lot of bookmarks as gifts/stocking stuffers/souveniers. I could just never keep track of the darn things. Therefore, I use anything within reach. I’m not against dog-earing, but I’d rather just use something and protect the integrity of the book.

As I was ready to get my read on the other night before bed, I realized I’d left The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest downstairs, and I was so comfy that I decided going to get it was out of the question. I reached over to the enormous bookcase in my room (which is also host to a ton of Disney VHSes in the original white packaging … I know), and pulled out Lisey’s Story by Stephen King. I finished the book a few years ago, after buying it at Half Price Books, and enjoyed it — but I realized I didn’t remember a damn thing about it. Totally an acceptable situation for a re-read.

So I opened it, and the bookmark I’d been using fell into my lap. Naturally, I picked it up to see what bit of detritus I’d stuffed in at that point in time.

Before I tell you what it was, I just want to say that this is my favorite part about my bookmark habits. If I took all the bookmarks I’ve used over the years, I could probably create a scrapbook of my life — a better scrapbook than one that just included the photos I’ve taken.

See, the bookmark for this particular book was my boarding pass from one of the worst flying experiences I’ve ever had — the leg from Philly to Orlando in February 2007 — on my way to visit BF while we were still living apart, before I moved to Orlando. The rush of nostalgia made me smile (even though it was a horrendous experience … probably explains why I don’t remember much about the book). I love this feeling. I get it more intensely from stuff than I do from photos, oddly enough. And, it’s why I love my bookmarking habit. I’m constantly reading (and re-reading) books, so it’s a fun practice for me.

Over the years, I’ve also come across a NYC Metrocard, a Metrocard from the London tube, a coaster from a bar in Austin, TX, receipts for a variety of purchases, leaves (I must have been fairly desperate), ribbons embellished with puffy paint from high school volleyball tournaments (these tend to stick to the pages, a poor choice), sheets of stickers and even greeting/birthday cards.

Am I crazy? Does anyone else do this? Or are all of you just boring, tasseled-bookmark users? 😉

Currently loving: Adele (seriously, just listen to her. She has such a unique voice),  time management games (like Diner Dash), that my sister woke me up this morning shouting “CABS ARE HERE!” in a very Pauly-D voice

image from Lucia’s…

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Holidays, busy, back on the wagon December 30, 2009

Filed under: food,gaming,other — lexd @ 5:56 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Right, like everyone else I’ve been busy, hence the lack of posts.

I had a very enjoyable Christmas, thank you for asking. I got pretty much everything I asked for (and before you go off on a “you are so spoiled” tangent, I asked for things like scarves. This was not a big-budget list), which is great. I actually scored not one but two cast-iron skillets (bf sort of mismanaged the distribution of my list).

And, I am shamelessly keeping both of them. I seasoned them the day that I got them and can’t wait to use them to put a wicked crust on something. And then slide it in the oven to finish, no pan transfer necessary! *swoon*

I had to return a cookbook (I already owned it), and ended up getting the most recent “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman. It’s got the highest reviews I’ve seen in a LONG time for a book on Amazon. I am so excited about it.

BF challenged me on Sunday night, claiming I have these awesome cookbooks and I never use them. Ultimately, this is true. I didn’t realize I’m the only person I know who reads (and re-reads) cookbooks like actual books, not just when I need a recipe. Of course, I do cook from them (I think I’ve made 1/3 of the recipes in Ina Garten’s Back to Basics). So, I went through my Cooking Light 2006 cookbook and made this badass broccoli/potato puree.

Stay with me on this one. You take 2 c. of mashed potatoes (either your own or store-bought if you are on a serious time crunch), heat them, put them aside. Boil ~8 c. broccoli florets (it sounds like a lot, I know) for about 7 minutes, and put them in a food processor with 1/2 c. parmesan cheese, 1 t. olive oil, 1/4 c. milk, and 1/4 t. red pepper flakes. Pulse the hell out of it (the recipe says “until smooth”) and then mix all that with the mashed potatoes. Salt to taste.

It is awesome, and it is good for you (as long as you don’t make your mashed potatoes 50/50 with butter). Try it. I urge you.

Speaking of food, as I previously mentioned, I fell off the wagon before — and during — Christmas. Hard.

I refuse to dwell on it. I did really well, dammit, considering my food compulsions. It’s over, and Monday, I turned over a new leaf. I am eating well, and kicking ass at the gym. I am no longer on birth control. My pants are fitting just a smidge looser. This is encouraging.

I got a mixer called “The Ninja” for Christmas from my mom (bonus points for the sick name). It’s like one of those magic bullet blenders, but way better. Her timing was actually perfect, because at the beginning of each year, I usually do a 3-7 day cleanse just to start things off on the right foot.

Last year I did one of those GNC packs, but since I already eat pretty well, I didn’t feel like it had much of an effect on me. I think it’s designed for people whose bodies are really in bad shape, and as I’ve mentioned, I’m probably at the healthiest I’ve ever been (albeit the heaviest, but working on that).

This year, along with one of my coworkers, I think I’m going to do a juice (or maybe just raw foods) cleanse for anywhere from 1-3 days … maybe longer if I think I can hack it.

I’ve been making this drink for the last couple days that I’ve seen on Oprah. You’re supposed to make it in a juicer, and what I didn’t realize, is that this is different from my Ninja. Ninja is a mini blender, perfect for shakes and smoothies (and sauces and hummus and on and on … yes it came with a cookbook). Not a juicer. This makes drinking this beverage a challenge, because it turns into veg-sludge if I don’t add enough water. And even with lots of water, it ends up being thousands of miniature chunks of produce.

Hard to swallow.

I am working on what to do about this, but I think this is the route I’m going to take for the cleanse. It’s just 3 days, right? Has anyone ever done this before?!

Also, Zelda: Spirit Tracks is freaking awesome. That is all.

skillet image from cbertel’s Photostream

broccoli image from supa_pedro’s Photostream

Ninja photo from Amazon

 

Things I Wish I’d Created: Audiobooks December 14, 2009

Filed under: other — lexd @ 6:16 pm
Tags: , ,

My name is Lex_D, and I am an audiobook addict.

While I’ve listened to a handful of audiobooks in the past (mostly when I drove from Seattle to Orlando with BF), in the last four months they’ve been integral to my daily routine.

I didn’t realize how true this was, until this morning, when I finished Juliet, Naked (next month’s book club book), and decided I’d have to go to the library at lunch to pick up a new book to start on my commute home.

And, this is important (because I say I’m going to do things all the time, and never do them): I actually did it.

You should know that I am a dedicated “book in hand” reader (get your fancy-schmancy Kindle out of here), and a very visual learner. I wrote off audiobooks when I first heard about them. Even as an addict, there’s still nothing like reading a well-loved paperback in a coffeehouse, on the beach, or even just curled up in my living room. And yes, I like the musty smell of libraries and books.

But this sort of free time is becoming scarce in my life. On weekends it’s nice, but for me, it’s hard to put a book down for five days and then get 100% back into it.

A friend of mine from book club has a commute that’s similar to mine (in time spent in traffic, at least), and she encouraged me to try out an audiobook to see if I liked it. The clincher actually had nothing to do with books … she said it lowered her road rage. Given my high blood pressure reading at my last doctor visit, I was sold.

As it would happen (and this is how I know I was meant to get into audiobooks), I was perusing iTunes in mid-October, and just in time for Halloween, Carrie by Stephen King was the audiobook of the month, on sale for $9. I’ve been wanting to read Carrie, I am a huge Stephen King fan and the audiobook was actually performed by Sissy Spacek (who was the original Carrie), so I figured it would be a good trial book.

After one full day of commuting, I was hooked.

Since then, I’ve listened to/read (what is the correct terminology?) Carrie; Eat Pray Love; Juliet, Naked; and today I picked up Duma Key by Stephen King.

My friend was right, it does lessen road rage. And sometimes I catch myself sitting in my car in the parking lot at the gym, at home or at work, seeing if I can finish a chapter. Nerdy, I know.

While there’s no substitute for devouring the words with my own eyes, audiobooks are pretty damn fun.

In addition to the ones I’ve listened to since October, I’ve also listened to Freakanomics and Angels and Demons.

I am totally open to recommendations. Duma Key is 18 discs and by far my most ambitious book so far, but

a) it’s Stephen King

and

b) it’s read by John Slattery (Roger Sterling from Mad Men, he has a great voice)

so I think I’m going to stick with it.

kid reading book image by KOMU News’ Flickr

 

This kid is awesome May 26, 2009

Filed under: other — lexd @ 6:38 pm
Tags: , ,

Recently on BoingBoing, I saw an entry about a question on Yahoo!Answers regarding the legality of keeping a private library of banned books on a school campus (for use by other students). 

I’m mainly linking to this because this kid is AWESOME. He’s using some empty lockers to hold the books, and he gives due dates to borrowers, keeps logs, etc. I’m glad he got serious props in the Answers section. 

Then, I looked at the list of banned books. He explains he attends a private school (so I know they can pretty much ban whatever they want) … but I was still blown away by the works that were banned. Speaking from experience, many of these books are repeatedly a huge part of the AP Literature test — is that course just not offered? Seems kind of silly to deprive students of college credit because they don’t approve of some of the books used (but, who am I to judge.)

Here’s a partial list of the books he lends:

“>The Perks of Being a Wallflower
>His Dark Materials trilogy
>Sabriel
>The Canterbury Tales [SERIOUSLY!? I read this in 6th grade]
>Candide 
>The Divine Comedy [Blown away by this and Candide]
>Paradise Lost
>The Godfather
>Mort
>Interview with the Vampire
>The Hunger Games
>The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
>A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
>Animal Farm [sigh]
>The Witches [Okay, this one got me fired up. This book kind of scared me when I was little, but I read it like 6 times! Dahl was a great children’s author]
>Shade’s Children
>The Evolution of Man
> the Holy Qu’ran

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest [I didn’t read this until college, but I wish I’d read it earlier]
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Slaughterhouse-5
Lord of the Flies [I thought this was mandatory reading everywhere]
Bridge to Terabithia [WTF]
Catch-22 
East of Eden
The Brothers Grimm Unabridged Fairytales.

Also, I laughed when I saw that he didn’t want Twilight polluting his school. I love me some Twilight, but I’d probably throw a fit if the private school I was paying for was having my kids read that. Enjoyable? Yes. Great literature? No.