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  • I read a lot, and I have a lot of opinions, so I can't believe I haven't made a list like this before. If you are even a little bit like me or you want to get a peek into my psyche (you probs don't), these are the books to read.

Archive for May, 2010

Goodbye to all that: The LOST finale

Posted on May 25th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Okay, before last night I’d watched approximately one and a half hours of Lost in total in my life: half the pilot, and an episode maybe a month and a half ago I remember precisely none of. So, obviously, I was the target audience for last night’s finale. Just kidding! Nobody expects punks like me to watch this stuff. OR DO THEY? Because they did air that two hour long recap which I totally watched and made the finale a piece of cake to understand. Seriously. I know it’s the journey and not the destination, you guys, but I felt entirely unconfused by the Lost finale, and I know that some of this is because I don’t have any questions they didn’t answer because I DON’T HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PERIOD, still, you’d think that I’d be like, “Whuh?” a couple of times. But the story is actually very simple, so simple that I was kind of sad for everyone who spent six years obsessing over this show. The secret of the island is that there’s a secret plug that…something? And if you remove it, then…something? And Desmond has to remove it because…some reason? And Jack is the protector of the island because…some other reason? I mean, there just was not a lot of compelling stuff in the island-centric portion of this finale.


And don’t tell me the plug keeps the Evil at bay–the world is full of evil, duh. That plug in the island isn’t really preventing any murders. And considering that the guy who plays Jacob (the good guy, I guess?) is the guy who plays Lucifer on Supernatural, I’m not really inclined to believe anything he says, anyway. Also, the Man in Black’s name is Esau. Duh, it has to be. They’re not really reinventing the wheel on this one, you guys. So I found all the island shenanigans (I mean, I know duct tape is strong, but can you really repair a commercial airplane with it?) kind of dumb. I know I have no place saying that considering I don’t watch the show, but it didn’t feel very grand or epic to me. Except the very end, with Jack stumbling through the bamboo and finally laying down to die with the dog at his side. I did tear up, I admit.

I did, however, love the revelation of what the flashes sideways were all about. My one question (merely a clarification request) to my friends while we were watching was did the nuclear explosion (now that I’ve had a few hours away from it, I don’t remember WHICH nuclear explosion, maybe the one that killed Juliet?) cause the separation of the dimensions, to which they replied, “Yes.” Which they were obviously wrong about because the sideways world in which the plane did not crash is in fact just a metaphysical ‘tween place where the souls of the dearly departed Losties are working through accepting what they’ve been through and their deaths in order to move on as a group because they’re the most important people in each other’s lives (spoiler, I guess). That was a nice bit of symmetry. It made perfect sense to me, and it allowed die-hard Lost fans to get to see their beloved characters happy after all that they’ve been through. That’s some deft narrative maneuvering that I really loved, and I kind of cried a little. Anyway, I was wholly satisfied by the finale, not that you care. You’re welcome for these very relevant thoughtsicles re: Lost. What would you have done without them?


Also, this Lost cake is pretty FTW.

With love and rhino cakes

Posted on May 21st, 2010 by annakjarzab

What follows will be a boring post about my boring life. Also, I suspect that while I find this incredibly funny, it’s one of those stories that you had to be there for. You can tell me in the comments, I guess.

So, as some of you know (because you’re my friends in real life! Very few other people read this blog), I am a legal adult and therefore am allowed and choose to imbibe the occasional alcoholic beverage. There are many, many places to do this in New York City, but I prefer one bar in particular in the East Village, because…well, they have weekly trivia, and we do it every week, and since it’s been like two and a half years since we started going we now know all the bartenders, who are cute Irishmen and give us the occasional buy back UNLESS YOU’RE COLIN READING THIS IN WHICH CASE NO THEY DO NOT WE PAY FOR EVERY ONE! Just kidding, Colin doesn’t know how to use the Internet.

Anyway, some time ago the only non-Irish bartender, Jeff, got a degree and went off looking for a 9-5. So of course the boys hired a new bartender, a sweet young lad from Dublin named Dave. Except, the bar already had a bartender named Dave, so we called them Old Dave and New Dave. Old Dave is a delight in his own way, sort of grumpy but I believe he’s grown used to our faces in the last few years and tolerates us admirably. New Dave, however, is just the loveliest puppy-type person you’ve ever met in your whole existence. He’s got a cherubic face and a wide smile, and when you walk into the bar he looks up, grins at you, waves and says, “Helloooo luv, nice ta see ya!” EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And then we shout, “NEW DAVE!” by way of greeting. I’ve never seen the man in a bad mood or upset, and he’s very charming, but not unsettlingly so. Sincerely so.

So the other day, we went into the bar and Old Dave was working, and Colin, the manager, was behind the bar. I remember being thrown by that, because I almost always go on Wednesdays and Colin doesn’t work Wednesdays, but it was Saturday, so that was my first mistake. I ordered a beverage from Old Dave and asked, “So where’s New Dave?”

“Fired,” he said.


“We had to fire him,” Old Dave said. “He was stealing.”

“Money?” I asked in a daze. I mean, New Dave? A THIEF? Impossible!

“No,” Old Dave said. “Rhino cakes.”

Okay, so what are rhino cakes? But Old Dave has a pretty thick accent (we like to rank the bartenders by how difficult their accent is to understand; 1, being the easiest, is Brendan, and Old Dave is at 4 with the hardest). Later, Brendan came in and I grabbed him by the shoulder with my Talons of Rage and asked, “DID NEW DAVE SERIOUSLY GET FIRED?”

“Oh,” he said, nonchalant and disinterested. “Yeah.”


“He was stealing urinal cakes.”

OH, URINAL CAKES. At least that’s a real thing. Although my roommate did say, when I told her this story, “Rhino cakes makes more sense to me than urinal cakes. What’s a urinal cake?” So…

Anyway, they told us that he would steal boxes of the urinal cakes and then sell them to other bars. And we were like, what? That’s a thing? But they assured us that it was, and that New Dave wasn’t coming back. We drowned our sorrows in cheap beer that night, and then a few nights later we were eating dinner and trying to come up with ways to figure out how to get New Dave re-hired. WE LOVE HIM THAT MUCH, Y’ALL. We wished we had his phone number so that we could find out where he was working now and make that our bar instead. We contemplated buying a box of urinal cakes, dumping it all over the bar and saying, “HERE’S YOUR STINKING URINAL CAKES! We want New Dave back!” We thought about paying for our tabs in urinal cakes. We thought about bringing them upstairs to the owner’s apartment and demanding that he allow New Dave to come back. Meanwhile, we were cracking up hysterically, but we were half-serious.

Then I forgot all about it, honestly. It’s been a busy few weeks.

But guess what, you guys? Those assholes were just messing with us. New Dave didn’t get fired, OF COURSE. He had the night off! Like a normal human being! WTF were we doing believing that idiotic story? Although, I will say that Brendan is the MASTER–I don’t know if Old Dave warned him before that he was telling us this, but when I said, “Is it true New Dave got fired?” he completely verified the story without hesitation. That’s pretty impressive.

I’m not even mad, because you know what? I’m just happy to have my New Dave back.


Ten Rules

Posted on May 17th, 2010 by annakjarzab

If you’re a Wheaton Warrenville South student looking for my 10 rules for writing, you can find them here. Even if you’re not a Wheaton Warrenville South student, you can still find them there. Democracy! or whatever.

Here’s a cute picture of a beagle:


Total Eclipse of the Heart

Posted on May 6th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Admittedly, I’ve only watched about ten minutes of Tuesday night’s episode of Glee because I thought it was on on Wednesdays and also yesterday was Cinco de Drinko (I have a life, you guys, and friends, I bet you forgot JUST KIDDING I know you know I’m very busy and popular), but I did catch some clips on Jezebel and while the episode itself seems like yet another stinker (remember how YAWN last week’s episode was? I do, because I just watched it two days ago and also I wrote this blog post), I found Rachel and Jesse’s performance of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” actually very sad and poignant.

Okay, so Rachel is very often the worst (in the best way, naturally, but I wouldn’t want to know her), and after trying to browbeat Finn into dating her/sing him to death she finally found someone whose booked the same flight and hotel for their MASSIVE ego trip that she did and it’s a match made in Narcissism Cove or whatever (did that make any sense?). My point is: Jesse + Rachel 4 LYFE. But also, in the end it’s always been Rachel + Rachel 4 LYFE because deep down Rachel never thought that anyone would “get” her (i.e. “tolerate” her), so WTF does Rachel do when someone tries to puncture her oversized opinion of herself that is usually kept intact only by virtue of the walls of delusion she keeps high around herself to stave off the near constant assaults to her actually very fragile self-esteem? She acts like a total idiot and makes a woefully misguided attempt to seem “sexy” by singing “Run Joey Run” with three different guys in some weird video that nobody but the glee club kids are ever going to see and they’re already pretty set in their impressions of her (negative). OF COURSE SHE DOES. She’s Rachel. She actually doesn’t understand the meaning of sexy. She and Jesse should’ve done some hot song/dance routine in the cafeteria at lunch wearing skimpy clothing if she wanted to spice up her image. At least that makes sense. Or she should just come to terms with the fact that Jesse thinks she’s sexy (we think? I’m still confused by their relationship and whether or not Jesse is actually in it for Rachel or for Vocal Adrenaline or at first for Vocal Adrenaline but now for Rachel or what) and that’s enough because WHO CARES.

Ugh, Rachel. But still, I’m a big fan of this “Total Eclipse of the Heart” video and I’ll miss Jonathan Groff when he’s gone.

Wednesday win!

Posted on May 5th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Guess what you guys? Jonathan Groff is maybe probably sorta kinda coming back to Glee next season! (I think that picture is of Groff and Lea Michelle, even though she looks like Penelope Cruz. Or maybe it’s Penelope Cruz? Hard to tell.) This is good, because I was just whining to my coworker today about how it was rude of them to waste one of Groff’s six episodes last week (that boring “Home” episode) by just having him stand in the background and sing back-up on “Beautiful” without having any lines or much to do when we know that he has nefarious plots a-brewin’ and I would like to know about those plots please thank you!

I THINK IT AND THEN IT HAPPENS. I have to figure out a way to harness this power for evil–I mean good–just kidding, of course I mean evil.

Related: Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence are getting their own sitcom on ABC Family! Did you guys see My Fake Fiance? It was so stupid! But it turns out that Joey Lawrence is kind of scrumptious? Anyway, for pure camp factor this is great news.

AND: Apparently a Breaking Dawn movie is so in the works that they’ve hired a director? I don’t know how they’re going to make Renesmee at all believable, so I’m glad that’s not my job.

Stop the presses!

Posted on May 5th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Okay, so two things. First of all, I want a dog hella bad, mostly because hello, dogs are the best things. In order to stop me from going out and buying a miniature beagle this instant, I keep telling myself that I can get a miniature beagle when I’m thirty (I assume that by this time I’ll have my shit together, which means my own apartment, but maybe not! If so, Eesha, guess what’s coming home with me January 13, 2014!), and I will name her Scully, after Dana Scully OBVS, and dudes, by the way, miniature beagles exist, totes magotes. It’s going to take me that long just to save up the $$ for a miniature beagle, because, you guys, genetically modified animals are SO EXPENSIVE THESE DAYS (what is up with the economy amirite?), and also it will take me four years to figure out how to square with the fact that they are creating miniature versions of regular normal animals just because they’re cuter.

Also, do you read Videogum? If you don’t, you’re ridiculous. Wait a second, these thoughts are related!

Because, you see, Videogum has a new mascot–editor Gabe Delahaye’s new…Shiba Inu? I’m bad with breeds. Whatever, her name is Birdie and she is adorbs-town! Observe. Erin mentioned that the Hanson video brought her spirits up after a tough day–imagine what Birdie can do. Bookmarking it!

Best. Music. Video. Ever.

Posted on May 5th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’

HANSON | MySpace Music Videos

If this video doesn’t make you love Hanson, then you are ridiculous. That is all.

Oh, and I’ve been killing myself trying to figure out who that guy playing the tambourine is–it’s Weird Al Yankovic.

On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Posted on May 5th, 2010 by annakjarzab

For the sake of not being such a broken record, I will avoid apologizing for my considerable absence from this blog, although really I just brought it up so I must apologize, it would be rude not to. I’m sorry! I don’t even know how many people read this blasted thing, but I’m sorry to you all! Good, that was good. Had to get it off my chest.

One of the reasons for said considerable absence was the fact that I still have to finish Untitled Book 2 Formerly Known as MB No I’m NOT AT ALL SURE What It’ll Be Called. The other was that I went on vacation! Yes I did! Don’t argue with me, I’m telling you that I did! Very out of character for me, I know, but R&R must be had on occasion. Where did I go on vacation, you ask? The title of this blog post says it all. I went to Mississippi with my parents to attend the Morgan family reunion.

Who are the Morgans, you ask again? My, you are so full of questions today! Well, quite a few years ago a man named Leonard Morgan and his wife, Della, had a grip of kids, ten of them I think, down in Amite County, Mississippi, which is right over the border from Louisiana. Anyway, one of those kids was my great-grandmother, Ruby. Thus, I am a Morgan, and every year there is a Morgan family reunion, in which all of the various descendants of Leonard and Della get together in Mccomb, MS and have a grand old time. I’ve been attending this reunion since I was a very little kid, but I haven’t been in many years (school/work/various commitments always seemed to get in the way), not since before Hurricane Katrina. I was looking forward to seeing cousins I hadn’t seen in YEARS, as well as spending some time in New Orleans. Our trips to the reunion always involved a jaunt to New Orleans, and I love it there. It’s so unique and charming, and I really, really missed it.

My parents and I flew into Jackson, MS on Thursday morning and rented a car to drive down to New Orleans, where we were set to spend a few days before the reunion on Saturday. As soon as we got onto the highway, my mom and I saw the sign for the Eudora Welty house and demanded we stop there. Eudora Welty is an author that, I’m ashamed to admit, I haven’t actually read, but my mother is a big fan and has written pretty much everything she ever wrote. Welty lived for most of her life in Jackson, except for a brief period where she attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Columbia University, and her house has been a museum in her honor since her death in 2001 at the age of 92. It’s not actually the house she grew up in–that house is a couple of streets away–but her parents moved there when she was sixteen, and she lived in it for most of her life, although she always considered it her parents’ house. The house is kept exactly as it would have been in the mid-1980s, because that’s when she bequeathed the house to the state of Mississippi (they graciously allowed her to continue living there for almost twenty more years). The detail is pretty painstaking; she left her possessions to her nieces, but they donated about 97% of them back to the museum, so the only things that they did take (a few pieces of furniture) were reproduced and placed in their original location in the house. Her sofas and the surface areas in almost all the rooms are littered with books; there is even an open pad of paper with an uncapped pen laid out for her on a table in the breakfast nook where she used to begin writing every morning with a cup of coffee. The ladies who ran the tour really knew their stuff; I expected a short guided tour, but we stood in every room for about ten minutes listening to stories about Eudora and her family.

Even though she was a highly celebrated author, winning the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom among others, she was incredibly humble, and not just in the “Oh shucks” sort of way. When she died, they literally found all of her awards–including her Pulitzer!–on the shelf in one of her closets. The only award she ever received that she displayed was the Raven Award, given by the MWA to “non-writers who contribute to the mystery genre”–Welty didn’t write mysteries (although to call her a “non-writer” would be, in a word, false), but she did love to read them. Since they’re keeping her house the way that she had it, that’s still the only award in the house–the others are on display in the office next door in a glass case. The Pulitzer Prize is actually a little underwhelming; it’s just a certificate. I could whip that up on my Mac in two seconds! Shouldn’t there be, like, a medal or something? Maybe there is. There’s at least a cash prize, I think.

Anyway, I snapped some photographs of the house with my iPhone camera. I think somewhere along the line I switched to my real camera, so I only have a few Welty pictures on my phone, and of course the only one I took of the house itself is slightly obscured by my finger. I’m obviously a top notch photographer!





It was super cool, though, and it made me want to read her stuff. My mom says I should start with Delta Wedding, but I decided to start with something else–One Writer’s Beginnings, a short book of lectures she delivered at Harvard–for now.

After Eudora’s house we drove down to Mccomb to visit with my cousin Pearl. Pearl is actually my grandmother’s cousin (their mothers were sisters), but I think by the time you get to as many generations as we Morgans have you just call everyone “cousin”. Pearl lives in a lovely house in rural Mississippi. I just love being there. It’s so peaceful and lush. I remember writing a nonfiction-y piece about being at Pearl’s house when I was in grade school, and my teacher even said that I “displayed a talent for writing” after I turned it in. This is where it all began! Or something. Anyway, here are some pictures:


img_02881That’s Pearl and my mom.




After we left Pearl’s, we went to New Orleans. We stayed in the French Quarter, as we usually do, even though my great-grandmother Ruby, who was pretty religious, used to say that it was evil. She wasn’t a big fan of the drinking and carousing, apparently, although I can’t see why not! Actually, it was pretty tame in the French Quarter last week. I don’t know what it was, but I didn’t see very much carousing, although maybe that’s because I was with my parents, I don’t know. I was a little disappointed, to be honest. It was also pretty dark. Thunder storms were predicted all weekend, but on Friday it was just overcast, with what we were calling “spitting rain.” Not enough to soak you, but enough to spatter up your glasses. My dad decided to go to the city of New Orleans offices for work, so Mom and I were on our own for a while. We went to Jackson Square (my personal favorite; I love looking at all the art hanging on the fences surrounding the square) and poked around in some shops. We also went inside the St. Louis Cathedral, which I think is one of the most gorgeous churches I’ve ever been in.



Wow, apparently those are the only pictures I have from Jackson Square. I bought a painting while I was there, my first original piece of artwork. I need to snap a photo of it so I can show you–I think it’s pretty gorgeous. My mom called it “Tim Burton-y” although I’m not sure that’s a compliment. I think it is!

When my dad got back, we decided to drive down to the Garden District and do a self-guided tour. My parents like to do this–they buy a guide book or pick up a tourist map and then make me give them a tour of wherever we are. That’s how I ended up dragging my family around Pompeii for two hours babbling like I really knew what I was talking about, when really I was just reading out of a guide book. But I love it, because I get to talk my fool head off, which is something I love to do. One of the things I really wanted to do when I was a kid was give guided tours. I didn’t even have a specific thing in mind, I just really wanted to be a tour guide. I still regret not ever having done that; maybe someday when I retire I can be a docent somewhere. I don’t even need to get paid! I just like to tell stories.

The Garden District was a blast. I have a lot of pictures, because everything seemed worth taking a picture of. For those of you not familiar, the Garden District is the area of New Orleans that used to be plantations, where the Americans settled (the French Quarter was, obviously, mostly French and Spanish settlers, and eventually Francophone creole people). The houses are stunningly beautiful, in a wide variety of architectural styles, although some are just downright creepy (getting to that!). We parked down the street from the Lafayette Cemetery and walked through there first, so that’s where some of these photos are from.



Aside from the obvious, there’s something very sad and sobering about walking through a centuries-old cemetery. As you can see, so many of the tombs are falling apart. They’re just not being maintained, probably because they’re so old that the descendants of whoever is buried in them have long moved away from New Orleans. Those pictured aren’t even the worst ones–some are in such a state of disrepair that it’s impossible to tell who is buried there, and some have even been stripped of their marble and the bricks are collapsing inward. It’s really upsetting, although I guess the people buried there probably don’t care. There was some debate amongst my parents and I as to whether people are still being buried in Lafayette–the oldest marker we found on a tomb was from 2003. I kind of feel like many of these tombs can never be opened again, even if it’s possible to be buried in Lafayette, because they’ll just crumble to pieces! If we’d had more time, I’d have insisted on taking a cemetery tour. We took one of the St. Louis cemetery once, and it was so interesting. Less voodoo in Lafayette, to be sure, but it’s bound to have a wealth of history.

Below are some pictures of the beautiful mansions we saw in the Garden District. Again, it’s so sad the day was so dark–the pictures don’t come out quite as amazingly as the houses were in person–but it was nice not to have to be out in the sun, because to tell the truth you’re already getting swampy, sub-tropical humidity and heat in late April down in the deep South, and it would’ve been so uncomfortable had the sun been out.







Again, I’m seeing that a lot of my pictures were on my regular camera. Well, you get the gist. The most exciting part of the Garden District tour was how I totally cyber-stalked Anne Rice to find out where her New Orleans house is. Turns out, she owns/has owned three, but that’s not the point. Through careful sleuthing, I was able to figure out which house (which she owns) was the one where she set The Witching Hour. If you haven’t read The Witching Hour, you really should, although I should warn you that it’s psychologically terrifying and also contains some nasty bits of a sexual and violent nature, so be prepared. But I would say that my top three favorite Anne Rice novels are The Witching Hour, Interview With the Vampire, and Violin. I also got a picture of the house Violin is set in (although as I remember a lot of it takes place in Vienna), but that must be on my camera.


I can just see Deirdre rocking back and forth, semi-comatose, on this front porch. Spooky! Also, note my finger at the top of the frame again. Even spookier! No it’s not.

After our walking tour, we were exhausted, so we went to this little quaint shopping center in town and I went to Anne Rice’s favorite bookstore, Garden District Book Shop, and bought a copy of One Writer’s Beginnings (see how it’s all circling back? Genius). They didn’t have AUT there, but that’s okay, I forgive them. I see this post is getting quite long. Hm, maybe I should speed it up a bit? Anyway, then we went to the reunion. It was lovely. We had it at my cousin Betty Sue’s cabin. The end.

No, wait, I have to tell you how stupid getting home was. So there were thunderstorms threatening Mississippi since we’d arrived in Jackson, and they finally started on Saturday (right when we got to the reunion, yikes!), and by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around my flight to Chicago was so delayed that I missed my flight out of Chicago to LaGuardia. So I had to stay overnight in Chicago with my parents and then hop on the first available flight on Monday, then go right to work. It totally sucked! Good trip overall, though. Aren’t you glad you read this thing to the end?