Why Girls Are Weird

I devoured this book on my flight home to SF from ATL. I laughed, I cried, truthfully. The rawness of her father’s death stung me; as Anna arrives hours late to the hospital and finds her dad died while she was flying there, she feels a rustling and says her goodbyes to her father’s spirit. As for laughing, I admit to being unable to control my outbursts, meaning people around me thought I found Pirates of the Carribean (our inflight movie) hilarious in all the wrong places. Tiny wooden hand? I’m laughing now as I remember this section.
{off topic:}
I stumbled onto pamie.com last year and spent a day reading through the archives, doubled over with laughter. I’d never written a fan email to a website prior to pamie, and she responded kindly, just like the book. After joining her mailinglist, I found myself driving 6 hours south to LA to see her play “Call Us Crazy: The Anne Heche Monologues”. It was worth the drive and fighting LA traffic. Quick summary: a troupe of actors re-enacting Anne Heche’s autobiographical “Call Me Crazy”.
Scott Thompson was slated to guest star in the Valentine’s Day show, but had to cancel at the last minute after Touched by an Angel picked him up for two shows. Instead, we were treated to Edie McClurg (Mrs. Poole of Valerie, or Mrs. Beeker of 7th heaven fame). Thirteen other actors rounded out the cast. Each performed her reading of Call Us Crazy in a unique way, be it belting out a song about Mexican Lady Hands (Anne’s topless Fresno ecstacy trip was alleviated by a Mexican lady who took her in) or simply reading out the Table of Contents with special emphasis (“Love SLASH Other things”). Anne certainly set herself up for mockery with this book. I need to read it again to freshen my mind to the enormity of the humor. I think when I first read it I skimmed most to plow through the inanity. Pamie took the humor and made it bloom onstage. Bravo, Pamie!
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After finishing WGAW, I took out a pen and dropped some words of my own on paper for the first time in ages. I’m dying to post the tiny wooden hand story in our reprints section, but gotta ask Pamie’s permission first. Overall, I loved the book; not great literature, but a worthy addition to any library.

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The South Beach Diet

It was a little strange finally reading this book a few months after beginning the South Beach Diet. I got most of my information on the web on how to cut bad carbs out of my diet and go through the 3 phases. The wait list at the library finally brought this book to me, so I skimmed through and solidified some of the points that have been incorporated in my diet since late September. I was able to lose 6 lbs. during Phase 1, and have been keeping a steady weight since then, drinking wine & whiskey (but no beer), and dropping a lot of carbs from my intake. I also dropped caffeine from my diet, and am feeling healthier. Lately, I’ve been pretty bad, making full-on lasagna & chocolate souffles, but my beer belly is still much smaller than before.

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Cold Beer and Crocodiles

An expat journalist takes it upon himself to explore his adopted continent by bicycle. Through dust and wind and storms he trudges, dropping tales of chance meetings along the way. From Sydney, up the Gold Coast to Brisbane, across to Darwin, through the Kimberley to Broome (great beach town), around to Perth, through the Nullarbour Plain to Adelaide and Melbourne. Even a jaunt over to Tasmania, then circling back to Sydney. Sleeping outdoors or in roadside hostels, picking fruit, shearing sheep, conserving water for the desolate 100 mile stretches of 120 degree heat, cycling through the flu and road rash, meeting kind and unkind people along the way.
Quick read of an adventure story-sort.

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Moneyball

I could read this book all over again, starting tonight, when I just finished it. An insightful look into Billy Beane’s madness with the Oakland A’s. Bill James’ theory of baseball, taking luck out of the pitching stats equation (Voros McCracken). Scott Hatteburg’s lack of holes and incredible plate discipline, Chad Bradford’s unhittable underhand pitching. The tension between the front office and Art Howe, tension over allowing Ray Durham to steal bases (unnecessary risk which doesn’t lead to much of a reward). The supremacy of on base percentage and the rise of OPS. The valuing of ‘defective’ players by the A’s in order to get bargains. The 20 game winning streak of 2002. The insight into the Rincon trade, Billy playing other owners off each other. The future of baseball shaping up to include more teams that model themselves on the A’s strategy of more with less money (BoSox & Blue Jays). Most of all, the force of Billy Beane.
I want to read more books like this.

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Samuel Pepys

Thankfully, Claire Tomalin translates Pepys’ shorthand into distinct words for us and provides a glimpse into life in the 1660’s. Pepys public speaking training as a child helped him in his career; he would mock the king for his inability to speak publicly. Had to skim the last few chapters of post-diary section. Pepys recorded the dialog of his life, including “wind-fucker” for someone who pissed off his friend.

http://www.pepysdiary.com/

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Mediterranean Ricotta, Feta and Spinach Pie

1 bag (10 oz) fresh spinach, cooked per package directions
1 Tbsp dried whole wheat bread crumbs (leave off for Phase I)
1 cup reduced fat ricotta cheese
3 lg eggs
1/2 cup fat-free half and half
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
pinch of grated fresh nutmeg (or dried type)

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Cuban Black Bean Soup

Cuban Black Bean soup
1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, trimmed and finely chopped
1 medium-size green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 medium-size cloves garlic, peeled and pressed or finely minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
4 cups cooked or canned (drained and rinsed) black beans
4 cups defatted chicken broth
1 cup cold water
Salt & Pepper

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