Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A hiatus from my first love.

     I hate working in retail.  Thanksgiving was less than a week ago, and I already feel my brain turning to fuzz.  Which leads me to conclude that I will have to take a short break from reading.  I hate to do it, but I'm useless.  I can't focus.  I can't remember characters, what they did, events that have happened, etc.

     So until I can get my brain back on track, I'm taking a rest.  I just want to spend my free time relaxing, doing things that don't require thinking.  That doesn't mean that I won't be posting anything; I have some plans for Hanukkah (which starts tomorrow night) and Christmas.

     So sit back, relax, make yourself some cocoa... and come back tomorrow.

Monday, November 22, 2010


     My next conquest is called Sheer Abandon.  I was going to read something else, but I kind of know the author, so I want to put that on hold until I find out if I could possibly get an interview.  I'm super excited at the very thought.  I love being a nerd.

     I thought it might be nice for me to start introducing books instead of just saying "Oh by the way, this is what I'm reading now."  So here are the stats:

Title:  Sheer Abandon
Author:  Penny Vicenzi
page count:  626 (not including the extras*, which bumps it up to 639)
Publisher:  Broadway Books
Year of Publication:  2005
ISBN:  978 0 7679 2625 6

     Stand back while I crack this spine.

*reader's guide; excerpt from the author's next novel.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Love You Beth Cooper: A concise review.

     I Love You, Beth Cooper was a fast, easy read for me.  It took me all of three days; I looked forward to reaching its conclusion, and then felt a sense of loss when it was over.  It reads less like a book and more like a crazy, unbelievable teen movie that John Hughes would have directed.

     When Denis declares his love for Beth Cooper in his valedictory speech, he could never had predicted the calamity to come.  The night includes all the makings of a memorable graduation night:

1 dork
1 best friend of questionable sexuality
3 beautiful teenage girls
1 foolish infatuation
1 angry boyfriend
2 of angry boyfriend's cronies
1 lame party
1 wild party
2 wrecked cars
10 broken laws
2 calls to the police
1 group shower
Countless beatings
Several minors in possession of alcohol

and a bunch of other things that fall under the umbrella word "trouble".  All things considered, I Love You Beth Cooper is a riotous, coming-of-age story to which everyone can relate.  It is the journey of one young man looking for requited love.  But does he still want her once he stops dreaming of her and starts to really see her as she is?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Words I Don't Know: The nerdiliciousness ends here.

voracity (n.):  gluttony.
surreptitious (adj.):  acting in a stealthy way.
Euclid (n.):  3rd century (B.C.) Greek mathematician of Alexandria; author of Elements, which sets out the principles of geometry.
aural (adj.):  of or pertaining to an aura.
temporomandibular (adj.):  of, pertaining to, or situated near the hinge joint formed by the lower jaw and the temporal bone of the skull.
supine (adj.):  inactive, passive, or inert, esp. from indolence or indifference.
dirge (n.):  any mourning song or melody.
negritude (n.):  the historical, cultural, and social heritage considered common to blacks collectively.
pastiche (n.):  a work of art that mixes styles, materials, etc.
cudgel (n.):  a short stout stick used as a weapon.
cathartic (adj.):  purgative.
cacophony (n.):  harsh discordance of sound.
melange (n.):  a mixture; medley.
piquance (n.):  the quality of being agreeably stimulating or mentally exciting.
pulchritude (n.):  physical beauty.
fluorine (n.):  the most reactive nonmetallic element, a pale-yellow, corrosive, toxic gas that occurs combined, esp. in fluorite, cryolite, phosphate rock, and other minerals. 
epistaxis (n.):  nosebleed.
proscenium (n.):  the arch that separates a stage from the auditorium.
alacrity (n.):  cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness.
contrite (adj.):  filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement.
milieu (n.):  surroundings, esp. of a social or cultural nature.
chiaroscuro (n.):  the distribution of light and shade in a picture.
concentric (adj.):  having a common center.
mire (v.):  to involve; to entangle.
augur (v.):  to divine or predict, as from omens.
expeditious (adj.):  quick.
umbrage (n.):  offense; annoyance; displeasure.
coxswain (n.):  the helmsman of a racing shell.

inchoate (adj.):  not yet completed or fully developed.

definitions from dictionary.reference.com

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Words I Don't Know: And the nerd goes on.

detente (n.):  a relaxing of tension, esp. between nations, as by negotiations or agreements.
purveyor (n.):  a person or thing that habitually provides or supplies a particular thing or quality.
replete (adj.):  stuffed or gorged with food and drink.
triage (n.):  the determination of priorities for action in an emergency.
dendritic (adj.):  of a branching form.
anterior (adj.):  pertaining to or toward the front plane of the body, equivalent to the ventral surface of quadrupeds.
hypothalamus (n.):  a region of the brain, between the thalamus and the midbrain, that functions as the main control center for the autonomic nervous system by regulating sleep cycles, body temperature, appetite, etc., and that acts as an endocrine gland by producing hormones, including the releasing factors that control the hormonal secretions of the pituitary gland. 
aficionado (n.):  an ardent devotee; fan, enthusiast.
exigency (n.):  a case or situation that demands prompt action or remedy; emergency.
exculpatory (adj.):  tending to clear from a charge of fault or guilt.
interdental (adj.):  situated between teeth.
fricative (adj.):  characterized by audible friction produced by forcing the breath through a constricted or partially obstructed passage in the vocal tract; spirantal; spirant.
sibilant (adj.):  characterized by a hissing sound.
ex tempore (adv.):  without preparation.
profundity (n.):  the quality or state of being profound; depth.
pianissimo (adv.):  very softly.
craven (adj.):  cowardly; contemptibly timid; pusillanimous*
axiom (n.):  a self-evident truth that requires no proof; a universally accepted principle or rule.
braggadocio (n.):  empty boasting; bragging.
ballast (v.):  to give steadiness to; keep steady.
vaccaphobia (n.):  fear of cows.
cantilever (n.):  A projecting structure, such as a beam, that is supported at one end and that carries a load at the other end or along its length.
epidemiology (n.):  the branch of medicine dealing with the incidence and prevalence of disease in large populations and with detection of the source and cause of epidemics of infectious disease
impetigo (n.):  a contagious skin disease, esp. of children, usually caused by streptococcal bacteria, marked by a superficial pustular eruption, particularly on the face.
pithy (adj.):  brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression; full of vigor, substance, or meaning; terse;  forcible.
simian (adj.):  of or pertaining to an ape or monkey.
bacchanal (n.):  a drunken and riotous celebration.
kibitz (v.):  to offer advice or criticism to as a kibitzer (busybody).
zaftig (adj.):  full-bodied; well-proportioned.
*Look, a former WIDK!
definitions from dictionary.reference.com

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Words I Don't Know: Paranoia and phobias.

cliquetator (n.):  the dictator of a clique.
insouciance (n.):  lack of care or concern; indifference.
prophylaxis (n.):  the preventing of disease.
triangulate (adj., v.):  composed of or marked with triangles.
semaphore (n., v.):  an apparatus for conveying information by means of visual signals, as a light whose position may be changed.
sisal (n.):  a Mexican agave plant, Agave sisalana,  cultivated for its large fleshy leaves, which yield a stiff fibre used for making rope.
pusillanimous (adj.):  lacking courage or resolution; cowardly; faint-hearted; timid.
epistaxiophobia (n.):  fear of nosebleeds.
rhabdophobia (n.):  Fear of being severely punished or beaten by a rod, or of being severely criticized.
agliophobia (n.):  fear of pain.
gymnophobia (n.):  fear of nudity.
athazagoraphobia (n.):  fear of being forgotten or ignored or forgetting.
gypsum (n.):  a very common mineral, hydrated calcium sulfate, CaSO 4 ⋅2H 2 O, occurring in crystals and in masses, soft enough to be scratched by the fingernail: used to make plaster of Paris.
calcaneus (n.):  the largest tarsal bone, forming the prominence of the heel.
defenestration (n.):  the act of throwing a thing or esp. a person out of a window.
aubergine (n.):  a dark purplish color.


definitions from dictionary.reference.com except "cliquetator", which is not a real word.  phobia definitions from phobialist.com

Words I Don't Know: Super Braininess

Denis, the main character in Larry Doyle's I Love You, Beth Cooper is a mega nerd with a strong vocabulary.  Being a minor nerd myself, there are some really odd words I don't know.  Like these:

infitudinous:  is apparently not a word.  Can anyone find the definition for me?
disgorge (v.):  to give up (as illegally gained profits) on request, under pressure.
scurrilous (adj.):  characterized by or using low buffoonery; coarsely jocular or derisive.
Liebfraumilch (n.):  a white wine produced chiefly in the region of Hesse in Germany.
rhetoric (n.):  speech or discourse that pretends to significance but lacks true meaning.
reconnaissance (n.):  the process of obtaining information about the position, activities, resources, etc, of an enemy or potential enemy.
ostensible (adj.):   outwardly appearing as such; professed; pretended.
bonhomie (n.):  frank and simple good-heartedness; a good-natured manner; friendliness; geniality.
malefactor (n.):  a person who does harm or evil, esp. toward another.
hypertext (n.):  method of storing data through a computer program that allows a user to create and link fields of information at will and to retrieve the data nonsequentially.
esoteric (adj.):  understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest.
supercilious (adj.):  haughtily disdainful or contemptuous, as a person or a facial expression.
autonomic (adj.):  under the control of the autonomic nervous system.
hippocampus (n.):  a mythological sea creature with the forelegs of a horse and the tail of a fish;  an enfolding of cerebral cortex into the lateral fissure of a cerebral hemisphere, having the shape in cross section of a sea horse.
preternatural (adj.):  out of the ordinary course of nature; exceptional or abnormal.
ergonomic (n.):  designed to minimize physical effort and discomfort, and hence maximize efficiency.
modicum (n.):  a moderate or small amount.
anthropology (n.):  the science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind.
penumbra (n.):  a shadowy, indefinite, or marginal area.
formalin (n.):  a clear, colorless, aqueous solution of 40 percent formaldehyde.
mutagenic (adj.):  capable of inducing mutation or increasing its rate.


definitions from dictionary.reference.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Love You, Spine Crackers

     All my work for The Secret Life of Laszlo, Count Dracula is finished.  My next conquest:  I Love You, Beth Cooper.

     I first encountered I Love You, Beth Cooper (written by Larry Doyle, who apparently used to write for The Simpsons) while browsing my favorite book store.  This was before the movie came out, before the trailers for the movie came out, before I was at all aware that there was a possibility of a movie.  Before it was in paperback, even.  (Based on the copyright date-- 2007-- it was probably as much as two, two and a half years ago.)  I was browsing fiction when the comical red cover caught my eye; against the bright background was a sketch of a dorky, acne-ridden teenage boy looking positively terrified.

     I held the heavy hardcover in my hands, gently turned it over to read the teasers on the back.  Immediately the outrageous, unbelievable story caught my attention.

     Dorky Denis Cooverman announces in his graduation speech, "I love you, Beth Cooper".  This could have been a really sweet, scene-from-a-movie moment... if Beth Cooper even knew Denis existed.  Not to mention, her beefy boyfriend is in town and he is not happy.  What follows?  Hilarity.

     I haven't seen the movie yet; I've been wanting to since it was released over a year ago, but I generally can't stand to watch a movie before I read the book.  Unless I don't know about the book, in which case I am probably not interested in it anyway.

     I came home, added it to my monstrous wish list.  I finally bought it last winter when someone thoughtfully gave me a gift card to my favorite book store.  I'm ashamed to say that I did buy the copy with the movie cover, but for one reason:  it was considerably cheaper, and I am not one to waste good gift card money. 

     For nearly a year, it's been sitting on the shelf with all my other hopefuls.  I Love You, Beth Cooper, today is your day.  It's your turn.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Words I Don't Know: This is it.

ennui (n.):  a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom.
derisive (adj.):  characterized by or expressing derision; contemptuous; mocking.
pedantic (adj.):  overly concerned with minute details or formalisms, esp. in teaching.
extenuate (v.):  to serve to make (a fault, offense, etc.) seem less serious.
poignant (adj.):  to the point; cutting or piercing.
vertiginous (adj.):  whirling; spinning; rotary.
aberration (n.):  the act of deviating from the ordinary, usual, or normal type; deviation from truth or moral rectitude; mental irregularity or disorder, esp. of a minor or temporary nature; lapse from a sound mental state.
circumvent (v.):  to go around or bypass.
gentry (n.):  well-born and well-bred people;(in England) the class below the nobility.
equipage (n.):  a carriage drawn by horses and attended by servants.
clout (n.):  a blow with the hand or a hard object.
ardor (n.):  great warmth of feeling; fervor; passion.
sub judice (n.):  before a judge or court; awaiting judicial determination.
implicit (adj.):  unquestioning or unreserved.
scrupulous (adj.):  punctiliously or minutely careful, precise, or exact.
tenacious (adj.):  pertinacious, persistent, stubborn, or obstinate.
majordomo (n.):  a man in charge of a great household, as that of a sovereign; a chief steward.
lugubrious (adj.):  mournful, dismal, or gloomy, esp. in an affected, exaggerated, or unrelieved manner.
rictus (n.):  the gaping or opening of the mouth.
parapet (n.):  a defensive wall or elevation, as of earth or stone, in a fortification.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Words I Don't Know: Overwhelmed.

sumptuous (adj.):  luxuriously fine or large; lavish; splendid.
epicene (adj.):  flaccid; feeble; weak: an epicene style of writing; effeminate; unmasculine.
[delirium] tremens (n.):  a withdrawal syndrome occurring in persons who have developed physiological dependence on alcohol, characterized by tremor, visual hallucinations, and autonomic instability.
miasma (n.):  a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere.
rancor (n.):  bitter, rankling resentment or ill will; hatred; malice.
expunge (v.):  to strike or blot out; erase; obliterate; to efface; wipe out or destroy.
enteric (adj.):  of or pertaining to the enteron; intestinal.
speculum (n.):  a mirror or reflector, esp. one of polished metal, as on a reflecting telescope.
prodrome (n.):  any symptom that signals the impending onset of a disease. 
in extremis (adv.):  near death.
sanctimonious (adj.):  making a hypocritical show of religious devotion, piety, righteousness.
subterfuge (n.):  an artifice or expedient used to evade a rule, escape a consequence, hide something, etc.
incontrovertible (adj.):  not controvertible; not open to question or dispute; indisputable.
juxtaposition (n.):  an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, esp. for comparison or contrast; the state of being close together or side by side.
meritocracy (n.):  rule by persons chosen not because of birth or wealth, but for their superior talents or intellect.
indolent (adj.):  having or showing a disposition to avoid exertion; slothful.
animus (n.):  strong dislike or enmity; hostile attitude; animosity.
paregoric (n.):  a camphorated tincture of opium, containing benzoic acid, anise oil, etc., used chiefly to stop diarrhea in children; any soothing medicine; anodyne.
stoical (adj.):  impassive; characterized by a calm, austere fortitude befitting the Stoics.
poignant (adj.):  keenly distressing to the feelings: poignant regret; keen or strong in mental appeal; affecting or moving the emotions.
cacophony (n.):  harsh discordance of sound; dissonance.
ordure (n.):  dung; manure; excrement.
surreptitious (adj.):  obtained, done, made, etc., by stealth; secret or unauthorized; clandestine.
refectory (n.):  a dining hall in a religious house, a college, or other institution.
barque/bark (n.):  a sailing ship of three or more masts having the foremasts rigged square and the aftermast rigged fore-and-aft.
stevedore (n.):  a firm or individual engaged in the loading or unloading of a vessel.
officious (adj.):  objectionably aggressive in offering one's unrequested and unwanted services, help, or advice; meddlesome.
collegiality (n.):  cooperative interaction among colleagues.

definitions from dictionary.reference.com