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Archive for June, 2006

I know I don’t usually do the celeb gossip thing, but this article made me laugh so hard this morning that I cried and then my co-worker asked me if I had a black eye because my mascara ran. Yes, that is how hard I laughed.

K-Fed takes on the Mint

Seriously.

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I’m baaaack with the books, amid all the excitement of graduation and jobs and moving, June books sort of got lost in the shuffle. June will be a slightly abbreviated list to prepare for July, but here you go!

The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason

This is a intriguing novel which takes place in Burma, and it is part of a genre of books that could be called travelling fiction, or even transportation fiction. Mason’s aim, which he does very well, is to create a whole other world that his reader has little or no experience with and then spin a story that draws the reader in. His protagonist is a piano tuner who is ordered to travel to a remote Burmese village that lies in the middle of Burma’s conflict with the British. The piano tuner meets the enigmatic British “leader” of the village and incorporates himself into the life of the village even as politics continue to complicate life.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

This is one of the more, well according to me, masterful novels of the last 10 years, it is truly incredible. Meet Cal, formerly Calliope, and you will be introduced to the slightly disturbing but utterly fascintating story about a huge Greek family and the confusing sexual politics of gender identity. It is a gripping story that will keep you hooked from the moment you open it until it is done, it isn’t necessarily suspenseful but it is engrossing and very very good.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

Along with Middlesex, one of my favorites. This is life from the perspective of an autistic teenager, Haddon has worked extensively with autistic kids and this book is filled with observations and techniques that really make you think. The structure of the narrator’s perspective is so different from any other book out there, it really makes the book worth reading and you will learn things in the process.

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Yesterday Sara and Steve-O came to visit, it was so wonderful to see them and made me realize a little bit what post-college social things can be like, fewer people in the same place but just as wonderful a time. You all should come visit, we had a great day!

I picked them up at Union Station and we walked around Capitol Hill before going over to see an apartment that I wanted to look at. My sublet only goes until Aug 1st so after that I have to find a place for me and Mel to live. This apartment was perfect, the only drawback is that it is on the Hill, which doesn't sound like a drawback but it can be. It is only 3 blocks from work!!! This is a good thing clearly because I both can sleep in and save the environment by walking to work. The bad thing about living on the Hill is that it is very residential and so there isn't much around to go do, but there is a metro stop only about 7 mins away which makes it more bearable. The apartment is on the Senate side but if you go over to the House side there are some bars that are popular with staffers, a bookstore or two and a few restaurants, meaning that it isn't totally dead on the weekends, but almost.

The apartment itself was wonderful, big spacious bedrooms, a living room and a dining room, a kitchen with a dishwasher and there is central air. There is good water pressure and a back balcony which has a back entrance and a back common area for everyone in the building. It seemed like our neighbors would mostly be young couples and older people. There is a park nearby and two preschools and there is on street parking. Really the only drawback is that it is on the Hill, which makes it extremely safe (it is under the jurisdiction of the Capitol Police) but not very interesting or exciting.

I think we will apply for it unless Mel has some big objections and see what happens. It is a pretty perfect apartment and the price is right, so that has a lot to do with it. All this apartment stuff is pretty overwhelming, credit checks and guaranteers and utilities and leases, I definitely feel way to young to be dealing with any of it. We do have some time so if we want to wait that is fine too.

Anyways, after that Sara, Steve and I went over to the Library of Congress, which is beautiful. Since I am Congressional Staff and Steve had a Reader Identification Card, we got to go into the Main Reading Room (we snuck Sara in, the guard was nice). This reading room is straight out of Harry Potter and Oxford. It is so beautiful I couldn't even believe it. You can request any book and since I am staff I can take them out, but mostly we just pulled things off the shelves and read. I read the funniest book, it was the Encyclopedia of American Scandals, it was fascinating! They have all sorts of reading rooms but the Main one is the most beautiful I think. I felt like I was in a movie or something. Alden, Jen and MB, you would love it, come visit me!

Then we went up to Georgetown to meet my housemate for coffee and walked around M Street a bit. It looked like rain so we went back to the house and Sara and I proceeded to crash for an hour nap. Then we went out to Adams Morgan to have Ethiopian food, it was a real cool dining experience! They put this huge bowl in front of you which has a huge crepe like pancake bread thing. Then they pour whatever you ordered onto the bread and then you use smaller pieces of bread to scoop up the food with your hands. It was really cool! I will definitely go back.

Sara stayed the night but she left this morning during a pouring rainstorm and Steve went home last night. I slept in and now I am going to make some pumpkin bread, do laundry and hang out. I am definitely missing Williams and friends a bit, so everyone think about coming to visit! I can take you cool places in the Capitol and into the LOC. The 4th of July fireworks on the Mall are pretty amazing.

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Although I knew that many things were free in DC, guess what the pinnacle of free admission is for me?

The Zoo!

Some of you might know that zoos are something that I love, I know that people get all tied up in knots about caged animals and things, but for me I actually think that some good can be done for animals in zoos, especially if they can’t live in the wild. Also I think it is important to educate people about endangered animals so that we can better support them and make sure they stay in the environment. Anyways, for a while during senior year I thought that I was going to work at a Zoo after college, but we’ll save that dream job for another day!

Anyone who wants should come to DC and we can go to the Zoo for free, for real.

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Employment!

It looks like my last post was pretty accurate, I will be moving to Washington DC! I start my job on Wednesday. For a variety of reasons I’m not going to talk about my job on this blog, only that I am thrilled with what I will be doing and I will be working in politics.

Yay!

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Moving day

Well I've decided to move over here full-time now that I am longer a college student (tear). I've moved the book recommendation entries so they will be here if not dated correctly.

All other old entries located here on WSO

June books are on their way.

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May Books!

The time has come for May book recommendations. Also, if any of my tiny readership has a book they would like to see in my monthly book post, comment and I will include it!

Hope, Human and Wild Bill McKibben
Bill McKibben was on campus last week to talk about the future of organic farming and green technology, so I thought I would recommend one of my favorite McKibben books, and if you’d like to know about some of his other great books, let me know! Hope, Human and Wild is in response to his very successful book, The End of Nature. That book was a doom and gloom assessment of global warming that while ground-breaking and informative, not exactly cheerful! So McKibben went out and found three places in the world where he believes that the environment is being treated well, good policies are being enacted and there is general hope for the people of the world. He chooses his home region of the Adirondacks, a city in India, and Curitiba, Brazil. Curitiba is by far the most amazing portrait, and worth reading the book just for that section, but the other two are great as well. Go forth and read McKibben, you will become a convert and also feel a little more hopeful about the state of the Earth!

Ship Fever Andrea Barrett
Andrea Barrett is a recipient of a McArthur Genius grant and the National Book Award. She is actually a professor at Williams, she teaches one class in the fall semester and we are very lucky to have her. She writes wonderful fiction combining science and history and her stories are engaging, well-written and very interesting. She crafts deep characters that are grounded not only in history but also in her love of science. In Ship Fever one of the stories involves the mass immigration of the Irish to Canada and New York and the typhoid fever that came with them. The stories are wonderful, and I am looking forward to reading more of her books, she also writes about Artic exploration and other maritime related things.

Sailing Alone Around the Room Billy Collins
I was fortunate enough to hear a poetry reading by Billy Collins this fall, and I must say it was the best poetry reading I have ever been to! He has a dry sense of humour and a comical way of relating to crowd that is present in so many of his poems. This compliation is a collection of his favorites from a few of his books and some of my favorites, including “Walking Across the Atlantic,” “The Reader,” and “Dancing Towards Bethlehem.” He is delightful to read and light enough so that you don’t get bogged down with imagery and allegory, but still poignant enough so that you feel very connected.

The Time Traveller’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger
While the premise, a time-travelling husband and his love and marriage to his wife, sounds like something from a dopey romance novel, this book is actually a powerful novel about memory, love, and the meaning of time within our own lives. Henry, the time-travelling husband, has no control over when he goes and he always arrives naked and without money, food or clothes. He must figure out at what point in his life he is visiting and steal and beg until he is clothed and can make sense of what is going on. Claire, his wife, grows up with a list of the dates that Henry will visit a field by his house and their relationship is tortuous as Henry waits for them to meet in their real lives and he struggles not tell her the future in order to give her the best possible childhood. You might not believe me that it is a serious and thoughtful book, but I guarantee you will get hooked and not be able to put it down!

The Chronicles of Narnia C.S. Lewis
I know I know, most of this crowd has probably read these already, but I’m just getting into them and so I thought for the sake of putting a classic up I would recommend them to anyone who hasn’t read them or who hasn’t read them in a while. I am only half way through Book 3, but I am loving them and I am no longer scared of the White Witch or the scary animals like I was when I first tried them in 2nd grade! So indulge in beautiful fantasy with creative storylines and wonderful characters.

Those are the books for May, Enjoy!

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