All posts tagged reviews

  • What I know now // 028

    I wanted to try a different format because I’ve transitioned mostly from articles to podcasts since starting work. Instead of a monthly list of some of my favorite articles, maybe a deep dive into some really great podcasts I’ve listened to recently?

    Recently I listened to Revisionist History, a podcast hosted by Malcolm Gladwell. In general, what has stood out to me about this podcast compared to others is the strong stance that Gladwell takes on topics. I’m used to the kind of “here’s all the information, you decide” reporting of other podcasts, but Gladwell is clear about his positions, I first noticed this in Food fight. 

    He did a 3-part series on education and you better believe that I really liked it (education is everything). It’s also really hard for me to summarize them, but I’ll try—I realized I was fighting the urge to just retell everything in the podcast. If you are in a time crunch, the first one, Carlos doesn’t remember, is my favorite of the series.

    Hope you enjoy!

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  • PHAMETRICS // 19

  • What I know now // 004

    How To Be Alone (2010) from Andrea Dorfman on Vimeo.

    It’s a long one: it’s the last two weeks.

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  • The mysterious re-appearing act

    Last week was my craziest in New York yet. My good friend Paul from Denver came to visit, I worked full-time at Nick Jr., and was still freelancing. Basically, my sleep depravation will take a few weeks to recoup but I had a grand time.

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  • woah woah woah WOAH!

    Ok, I have been absent for so long! Holidays, man, holidays. Should I tell you all about it? It’s going to be a hot mess…Not even sure you’d care, but here goes!

    01 | Two weeks ago, Jordan, Laurie, and Clay came up to visit for a concert = first guests in my new apartment = hosting extravaganza!

    On the menu for dinner:

    • Macaroni & Cheese with cauliflower
    • Rotisserie chicken (Thanks, King Soopers!)
    • Mustard roasted green beans (really delicious and simple: marinade green beans in olive oil, salt & pepper, and mustard overnight–I put mine in a gallon baggie–and then cook at 375-400F for about 20 minutes)
    • Loaf of multi-grain bread warmed in the oven
    • Pineapple upside-down cupcakes

    Sorry, I didn’t think to snag a picture before we ate…but all foods are accounted for in this picture.

    02 | For breakfast the next day we had: Oatmeal pancakes (with pecans), Matt’s fantastic scrambled eggs (think cinnamon), and breakfast sausage. I love breakfast.

    03 | Jordan went home (boo!) but the rest of the gang met up with Grant and his friend Dan and we went skiing/snowboarding at Copper Mountain. I am still horrible at snowboarding. But it was a lot of fun anyway! We ate a restaurant called Moose Jaw in Frisco that was okay. They only had one chef, one waiter, and one bartender and they were full to capacity so the to say the service was slow would be being generous. Still, they were friendly and the food was good.

    What else? I feel like a hundred things have happened!

    04 | Matt mad this incredibly delicious eggplant & ground beef moussaka for dinner…

    The picture doesn’t do it justice. It was warm, flavorful, moist, and absolutely melted in y our mouth. Probably not ideal for dieters, but great for anyone with a human heart.

    05 | Last Wednesday, as a last minute decision I drove up to Laramie to see the lovely Sarah who is back from France, featuring this sweater:

    SO much fun to be had. A lot of ukulele playing, a lot of catching up, and not enough young-coconut drinking (my favorite drink of all time). We even drove down to Cheyenne on Thursday to see Katie who is back for the holidays from England! My friends, I love them.

    06 | I went to a Christmas Eve party at Carissa’s sister, Laura’s, house with Savannah (that was a lot of words) and had a really great time. It’s been too long since all of us have gotten to hang out. Carissa and I watched Midnight in Paris later, it was ok. I felt like it wasn’t a very substantial movie and it was definitely more about “look at these people we know!!!” But Rotten Tomatoes seems to be head-over-heels for it, so maybe there’s something I’m missing.

    07 | Christmas with the phamily was the usual. Ate to excess and felt incredibly guilty about it. But my uncle did dig out these pictures that I love:

    And later that night I watched Submarine, a movie that I did really like. It’s a British film, a really funny coming-of-age film in that perfect, awkward way.

  • Alter-blog-ego

    Regular posting again? Win!

    Ok, so 30 Rock is hands down my favorite comedic TV show. It has all the things that make laugh: the dark, the dry, and the absurd.  Even though I could never watch it during school, I watched every single season on my computer this summer. Mmmm, so good!

    So it would only be natural that I would be excited for Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants, which my mother conveniently had on audiobook upon my arrival back to the Omaha/humidity. To be honest, I had heard about it in passing before but had forgotten about it. Then, my friend Bob texted me while reading it in an airport to tell me I had to read it. He said that her humor reminded him so much of me. Which is to say that it was sarcastic and largely self-deprecating.

    I am currently on disc five (which I would have finished yesterday if it hadn’t gotten stuck in my iMac) and…gosh, I like Tina Fey. I’m fairly sure every girl who thinks she is somewhat witty believes that she has “a lot in common with Tina Fey,” so….no, yeah I totally do think I do too. At least as humor goes. One part that really stuck out to me in the book was when she was talking about The Gift of Anxiety. That’s me to a tee! I’ve actually written about how much I appreciate my anxiety and almost constant guilt as a way to make me an obsessively upstanding citizen and Puritan worker.

    So I was thinking about the possibility of my writing like her on my blog (I’m already pretty dry on my Facebook page), but then I realized that I’ve barely let out an inkling of my humor on this blog. It’s like this blog is an alter ego where I try to mimic the inhuman craftiness of One Pearl Button and/or the domestic perfect that is Summer Harms (currently AWOL because of a new baby).  Not that this blog isn’t me. I am oddly optimistic and hyper-encouraging to everyone, while at the same time being extremely dark and full of self-loathing. Which I feel like is kind of what Tina Fey describes in her book: she’ll describe herself as shy and non-confrontational in her interactions with others, but at the same time we’re listening to her shrewd inner monologue.

    Anyway, what I’m getting at is that maybe I’ll try to be more me, in that bi-polar way that is me. I should give up on the idea that I will draw in viewers by being perfect (an idea that had numerous flaws to begin with) and try to just…I don’t know…whatever. Maybe. Let’s see. I keep getting this ideas that I don’t execute.

  • Stealing Buddha’s Dinner

    “I read to be alone. I read so as not to be so alone.”


    I just finished reading Stealing Buddha’s Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen that my friend and fellow English major gave me months ago. It’s about the cultural-conflicts a Vietnamese-born American girl faces growing up in Michigan. Basically. So much of it resonated with the same feelings I felt growing up. I’ll admit, that her’s seemed intensified by also having a Mexican stepmother and a fixation on food, but my own story is intensified in different ways.

    I wrote to my friend, Harry, thanking him for the book and confessing that it made me want to write about my own family again. When I was little, I wanted to be a writer. I was convinced that I was going to be the next great American writer :). I would begin many cliched stories that I never finished. Then, in my junior year of high school, I was accepted into this special program through a local college to take a university course over the summer. Of course what else would I choose but the English course: Autobiographical Reading and Writing. I had never considered writing about myself, but I realized after taking that class that it was something that was much more do-able for me because I knew how the character felt and how the story ended. My professor was really encouraging  and I loved the class. By the end, we had to combine our three, five-page assignments into what was supposed to be a flowing 15-page vignette of moments in our lives.

    I love reading memoirs: Jenneatte Walls, Frank McCourt, Betty Smith, Amy Tan, Dave Eggers…. I always admire how brave they are to write about their own crazy families and share with the world their intimate feelings. I always think I could never do that. What would my family think? My mom would scoff and make her clicking Vietnamese disapproval noise, most likely.

    But what do you think? Who would want to read it? Even a book like Nguyen’s, I wonder who would want to read it besides other Asian-American or “outsiders” or people who are forced to read it in class.

    It reminded me of my strong desire to Americanize when I was little, my harsh denial of my Vietnamese culture. I longed for American food and snacks, like Bich. I remember our unkempt yard, wanting more than anything for our house to be like all my American friends (I still do). Having my blond, blue-eyed friends all throughout elementary school and wanting to be more like them. Visiting their house, trying to absorb all the normalness their homes exuded. At the same time, feeling out of place in my own Vietnamese family. None of us had an ao dais which was a constant embarrassment during family holidays, my dad didn’t (doesn’t) work and is the abrasive black sheep of the family, and my parent never taught as Vietnamese because they thought it would hold is back in school so we always had to face the disappointment of our relatives when they tried to communicate with us…

  • Goings On

    Deep breath—here we go!

    Reading: What is the What? By Dave Eggers. Sad book based on a true story of a Lost Boy of Sudan.While the subject material could make for an overly dramatic retelling of war, death, and displacement, Egger’s treats the subject well and it is a very good story that is approachable. Not finished yet, but getting there.

    Bought: Half Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls. I bought this book with the gift card Evan’s parents gave me (thanks!) and I’m really looking forward to reading it. After Walls’ first memoir, The Glass Castle, I was waiting for something else to read by her. she has lived an unbelievable life.

    Recently Recommended: Though, perhaps not for everyone, I recently recommended Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore (NOT Michael Moore, as my mom thinks whenever his name has been mentioned). This is a humorous book  describing the undocumented years of Jesus’ childhood through his plucky best friend’s Biff. Though I’m not typically one for funny books, I really enjoyed reading this. I’ve read about four of Moore’s book, and this is by far my favorite.

    When I first read this book, I tried to get everyone to read it, but I couldn’t seem to explain in properly: either my friends were worried that it would be blasphemous or my agnostic/indifferent friends were worried it would be too religious. I felt that it was just a funny story. I recommended this for my friend who loves David Sedaris.

    Nails: Kind of a weird category…but I’m recently using Nail Envy by OPI for my horribly weak and chip-y nails. I’ve dabbled in some of the Sally Hansen ones before and I think they improved my nails a bit, but I got this for Christmas and although I like it better, I’m not quiet sure its worth the extra money as of yet, I just started use it. It could be my imagination, but I feel like my the polish makes my nails feel better than the Hansen’s did.

    Productivity Over Winter Break: 2.7/10. Yeah…got even less than I thought I would done, not entirely unexpected, but I was hopeful. Procrastination is the name of the game.

    Very Important Goings On: Pam Day is today!