The Llama Scribe

June 11, 2008

Nerdily

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 11:52 pm

Instead of writing here, I have been keeping myself occupied through several methods, the least nerdy of which is a new job as a novelist’s assistant. Here are a few of the nerdier things that have held my attention over the last month or so.

David Sedaris: When You are Engulfed in Flames

It occurs to me that I and my ilk have made David Sedaris very rich. It sort of pains me to read his description of the Business Elite class when flying between New York and France, a ticket which he freely admits costs $8,000, when last night I agonized for hours over spending $316 to fly between here and NY next month instead of taking the train, which would still cost over $300, and would destroy four whole days of my life. What are the chances, I ask myself, of becoming morbidly rich by writing hilarious anecdotes concerning my family, which is competitively insane? It must be worth a shot, at least.

The new book is not as choke-on-falafel-and-die funny as some of his earlier stuff, but it’s solid. It seems like a stable relationship has maimed Sedaris’ ability to weld reality and absurdism; I’d call the new stuff generally “straighter” than his twisted canon, but I’m still reading.

Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

This I truly loved. In sharp contrast to AHWOSG, which ran something like 300 pages, of which I would have liked to excise 100 or so, I wouldn’t remove a page of Chabon’s 600+ page masterpiece. It’s gotten a lot of much-deserved praise, so there’s really no need for me to prattle on about it. If you haven’t read it already, get to it.

Firefly

Here’s where the nerd-bird flies in through the open window and wrecks up the place. I’ve made a point of keeping my nerdiness to a minimum, refusing to play any video games less cool than the Marios and Guitar Hero (I won’t go anywhere near World of Warcraft, Starcraft, or that golden calf of nerd-dom, Final Fantasy). I likewise won’t flirt with Battlestar Galactica, no matter how much praise it receives (and it continues to receive a lot of praise, from people whose critical opinion I highly respect). I’m only a couple of precious inches and a gender away from Comic Book Guy as it is, and I savor that distance. However, there are some instances when veering ever closer to the world of greasy ponytails and splotchy facial hair is acceptable, and my nerdiness is, as a chick, somewhat attractive to the opposite gender (at least that’s what Nick tells me, when he’s not railing on me for being such a nerd). All this to justify the following: Firefly, a space western spanning one television season and a feature film, is about a thousand kinds of awesome. From its cast of “That Guy” actors, to its biting humor and sweet soundtrack (sometimes I try to pretend that I don’t dig bluegrass, but the music festivals my parents brought me to as a kid are some of my favorite childhood memories), Firefly is a show for the cool nerds. Like me.
Freaks and Geeks

As with Firefly, I’m a few years late to the party on this one. But the advantages of growing to love a TV show years after its cancellation include never having to know the heartbreak of a fan scorned. It’s also fun to see the cast, a few of whom (Rogen, Franco and Segal, sharing the top left corner) I recognize from their more current ventures in TV and movies. But more than that, I enjoyed the hell out of Freaks and Geeks because of its counterpoint to That 70’s Show; both are set in roughly the same decade, both concern high school students, and they aired simultaneously for F&G’s single season. However, Apatow’s show doesn’t beat you over the head with cultural references, and the humor is infinitely more subtle (wanna call it a “dramedy”? Want to be punched in the face?). At any rate, I liked it, and I’m belatedly mourning its loss. ‘Nuff said.

While there are other things noshing at my attention span this summer, the above constitutes the bulk of my entertainment recently. I’ve also gone home to Charleston for two days, spent a bit of time in St. Louis, and occupied myself with apartment-hunting, with a marginal success rate. I will be spending the week of Fourth of July in Brooklyn, and allowing my excitement to percolate for the next two weeks, or until I explode with the bagel-lust. I have started writing again, at the encouragement of my new employer, and that’s something new. So far, this summer is eons better than the last two, which were spent suffering through fruitless job searches, crappy jobs, and the long-distance relationship-mutilator. This weekend I explore Urbana’s Farmer’s Market and public pool, and if one out of two is decent, I’m calling it a win.

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