Posts Tagged ‘i win!’

12th March
2009
written by Steph
I suppose this round’s outcome counts as yet another upset in the sense that a top seed was unseated by a lower-seeded book, but I am anything but upset!  I was so glad to read that the judge, Mary Roach, agreed with my sentiments of the ultimate boredom & repetitiveness factor regarding Unaccustomed Earth.  Do I think Lahiri is a talented writer?  Definitely.  But do I think she would have been better served (or perhaps to be more accurate, I would have been better served) by just writing a novel rather than a short story collection here?  Yes. Next up is Shadow Country against The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.  I’m not sure at all how this will go, because all I know about Shadow Country is that it is a behemoth of 2666 proportions (read: 900+ pages).  I think this one will come down to what the judge has a tolerance for.  It’s hard to see how a quick reading YA novel will fare against something of sterner stuff, but the real issues is whether those 900+ pages are any good…  I think I'm going to pick Shadow Country for the victor here, but really your guess is as good as mine!
11th March
2009
written by Steph

Un pequeño Bolño

Un pequeño Bolaño

A while back I entered a competition over at The Quarterly Conversation in which the grand prize was the complete published oeuvre of Roberto Bolaño.  Don’t ask me why I did this, given that I’ve never read any Bolaño previously, but at the time I was intrigued by 2666 (which recently won its first round in the 2009 Tournament of Books over at The Morning News), and what can I say: I’m a sucker for trivia questions (even when they are pretty hard, as was the case with the 10 questions at TQC). [As an aside, all you book lovers are missing out if you don't check out the stuff over at TQC.  It's a great way of keeping in touch with the international literature scene - something with which I am sorely out of touch most of the time.] I forgot about the contest promptly after emailing in my answers, as you do with these sorts of things, and only remembered it when I received an email from the editor over at TQC telling me I won the grand prize.  I was shocked, because while I’m not exactly unlucky, I rarely tend to win things. Today, I received my prize in the mail!  Two big envelopes, replete with books – it was a joyous occasion.  Along with the 8 tomes they sent me (2 of them in hardcover!), I also received a slew of bookmarks (hey, I’m always losing mine, so that’s actually welcomed by me!), and perhaps the thing to really get you Bolaño-philes salivating (I know you exist): the first third of a heretofore unpublished manuscript by the late Bolaño entitled The Skating Rink. The complete rundown of books that I received:
  • Amulet
  • Distant Star
  • Last Evenings on Earth
  • The Romantic Dogs
  • By Night in Chile
  • The Savage Detectives
  • Nazi Literature in the Americas
  • 2666
Now begins the dilemma of where to begin… I suppose this means I have no excuse not to tackle 2666 anymore…
11th March
2009
written by Steph
And another upset befalls the tournament!  Only this one, I was expecting.  To me, Harry, Revised seems exactly the kind of book that judges at The Morning News would enjoy.  I still plan to read The White Tiger, as I've already got it out from the library, and it seems as though the book was still enjoyable to the judge.  For the full report, go here. Next up: Unaccustomed Earth vs. City of Refuge.  I am hoping that City knocks this one out - so far the top seeds haven't been faring too well, so it's always possible.  Hopefully the judge finds Unaccustomed Earth as tedious as many of us did!
9th March
2009
written by Steph
The result from the first match up for the 2009 Tournament of Books is up now, and can be read here. Can't say that this one was a surprise (especially since I predicted it would go this way in my previous post). Next up (though when, I'm not sure): Netherland vs. A Partisan's Daughter I haven't had the chance to read Netherland yet, but I'll be sorely disappointed if it doesn't take APD out.
19th February
2009
written by Steph
I don't normally use this blog to talk about my work - in fact, I often tend to specifically avoid talking about it, in part because the day-to-day rigors of a grad student don't exactly make for fun reading, but also because I like to keep that part of my life separate.  Sort of a "never the twain shall meet kind of deal"... only now, if you'll forgive me, I shall briefly allow for the twain to meet. For the past, oh, year and half, my advisor and I have been working on a project involving fMRI decoding methods (i.e., putting people in fMRI scanners and then trying to "read out"/categorize the subsequent brain activity as one of two things) and visual working memory (i.e., remembering what something looks like/visual information about an object even when it is no longer right in front of your face).  We've been trying to get this study published since August 2008, and it has finally come out!  This would be reason enough to celebrate, but to make the icing on the cake doubly sweet, not only am I first author on the study, but it wound up being published in the scientific journal, Nature (I say "wound up", as though it weren't a really exhausting and difficult process that involved huge amounts of works, and control experiments run and analyzed at the speed of light (all conducted by yours truly))!  For those of you in the scientific know, I need not elaborate, but for those of you who aren't: it's a big deal!  Nature is just about the best journal one can publish in (the alternative being, Science), so I'm really pleased. So far the article is just available online on Nature's website, but for those of you without institutional subscriptions to that magazine, only the abstract is available.  BUT, if you're interested, stories about the findings from our paper have been picked up by several popular press news sources, two of which you can read here and here (there are others, but I've avoided ones that fail to mention me (because I'm vain...), or ones that erroneously mention me, such as a slew of UK articles that have already conferred me my PhD (this is why you must always take what you read in the media with a grain of salt!)... and I've also not linked to any of the foreign language press).  I'm probably most excited about the second article, simply because I provided the bulk of the interview material for that one (as opposed to letting my advisor field the majority of the other interviews).  Lo and behold, I think I actually come across sounding quite smart.  Oh, and I must of course thank Tony for taking the lovely headshot of me that graces the first article! I will probably post once again when the article is printed in the physical print journal, but for now, I hope you'll excuse this small indulgence.  I suppose from now on, when Tony and I fight, I can no longer fall back on the old standard, "Well, I'm not a mind reader!"  😉 We now return you to your regular scheduled programming.
7th February
2009
written by Steph
Aren't we cute?

Aren't we cute?

Earlier this week I celebrated my 26th birthday.  I’ve been so busy with work stuff lately that I have to admit this birthday kind of snuck up on me.  It felt like pretty much any other day (maybe this is what happens when your birthday happens mid-week?), which might having something to do with the fact that for the past year or so, Tony & I have tried to mark each birthday with a nice little vacation get-away.  Last year we went to the Smokey Mountains and rented a really nice cabin for a long weekend, which was really lovely and relaxing.  This year, however, we decided to forgo that option since we were just up in the mountains over Christmas.  Instead, we decided to stay in Nashville and Tony did all that he could to make sure my birthday was in fact a special day.  I’m happy to report that it was! (more…)
28th December
2008
written by Steph
The first ever (and likely last) Stylista.  Surprised?  No?  Ok, good.

The first ever (and likely last) Stylista. Surprised? No? Ok, good.

I admit, the title of this post might be overly optimistic – as of now, I am not aware of any talks of their being future seasons of this show, which is probably just as well given that it was not very good. Then again, my go-to guilty pleasure, America’s Next Top Model, has become nigh painful to watch (no longer campy fun, it’s just embarrassing) and it’s unclear when the next season of Project Runway will air, so Stylista was my fashion filler tv show. And so, as I predicted from about the second episode, Johanna wins the dubious title of Stylista. Is anyone surprised? I mean, she was going up against Dyshawn (sp? I don’t really care enough to look it up), who had already been taken to task at least three times for copy errors. And I don’t care what Anne Slowey & co. would have us believe, we all know a junior editor at Elle (or any fashion rag) ain’t gonna be designing the layout or styling the photo shoots, since those positions are held by people like “graphic designers” and “fashion stylists”. Junior editors are primarily going to be performing those menial administrative/secretarial tasks (i.e., getting coffee, picking up Anne’s secretary’s dry cleaning, making photocopies) and copy editing text. So if you’re not a good fact checker, don’t have an eye for details, and are a poor proofreader? You’re not going to be an effective junior editor. Ergo, Johanna had to take the competition, especially when it came down to her and Dyshawn. (more…)
9th December
2008
written by Steph
I wish I had put money down on this season, since it turns out my prediction of the winners (Nick & Starr) was right. Then again, the returns on such a proclamation were probably not great given how obvious this outcome was. I realize that one of the things about the Race is that elements as intangible as luck can come into play and twist things around (I love when irony comes to play!), which is part of the fun, but at the end of the day, it’s always nice when you feel like the team that raced the best independently of chance and all that stuff actually wins. (more…)
21st November
2008
written by Steph
I was recently in Chicago for a conference (I'm kind of composing a post on the topic (of Chicago, not the conference, which can really be summed up with the following descriptor: "Grade 4 Science Fair"), but who knows if I'll actually decide to post it), and one of the highlights of the trip was trekking out to China Town (this time 100% gunshot free!) to grab some authentic Chinese food. Chinese food is fairly difficult to come by here in Nashville - well, let me qualify that by saying that *good* Chinese food is hard to find here. Japanese? Sure (in fact the best sushi I've ever had has been here in town)! Thai? Middling, but serviceable. Korean? Yup. But Chinese? No dice. So when I'm in a city that does have it (and better yet, has dim sum!)? I'm all over it. Anyway, I had super cheap, but super delicious beef with black bean sauce over rice noodles, and the first bite was gustatory heaven. It sounds like a terrible comparison, but it rocketed me back to the summer between my 2nd and 3rd years of undergrad, when I was technically a full-time student because of all the courses I was taking, meaning I was on campus 4 nights a week, over the dinner hour. Every so often, I would get dinner from the Chinese food truck that parked outside of Sid Smith, and get that very dish. So smoky, a hint of grease (but not oily), and beef so succulent and tender, I assumed it could only be achieved by a much more skilled chef than I. Which brings me to tonight, when I decided to whip together a cashew chicken stirfry for dinner. I think I make a decent stirfry, but I always feel like it tastes homemade rather than authentic. Tonight, all of this changed, when I discovered two important secrets: (more…)
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