SURVIVOR: chronic city (jonathan lethem)*
CHALLENGER: sense and sensibility and sea monsters (jane austen and ben h. winters)

jane austen's sense and sensibility was her first published novel (begun in 1795, when she was 21 - that will always be more vexing to me than jonathan safran foer's everything is illuminated, published when he was about 25), and some argue that it's a bit patchier than some of the later works;** as roger ebert notes in his criticism of ang lee's 1995 film adaptation,*** most of the story is spent waiting for someone or other to get back from london. that gave first-time novelist ben h. winters (who will be responsible for android karenina, god help us, in june) some room to stretch out and quip in sense and sensibility and sea monsters, quirk books' second commissioned jane austen parody (after pride and prejudice and zombies).
(on sir john and lady middleton's locally celebrated offspring)

On every formal visit a child ought to be of the party, by way of provision for discourse, or in extreme cases, if someone needs to be thrown overboard to satisfy the piranhas trailing the boat. (34)

(on sensibility)

"[Liveliness] is what I like; that is what a young man ought to [have]," sighed Marianne. "Whatever be his pursuits, his eagerness in them should know no moderation, and leave him no sense of fatigue. Because it is when you are tired that the monsters get you." (50)

(on willoughby's puzzling withdrawal from marianne)

"I am persuaded that Mrs. Smith suspects his regard for Marianne, disapproves of it, and on that account is eager to get him away. Or, alternatively, he has in his quest for treasure disturbed the burial site of a pirate captain, and incurred the wrath of the pirate captain's ghost, who has thusly cursed him to wander the seven seas until fate should claim him. It's one of those two." (82)
some of his more complicated descriptions are fun as well; london, for instance, becomes sub-marine station beta, a domed city four miles beneath the sea.*** according to winters,
I had room to describe Sub-Marine Station Beta at considerable length, by the way, thanks to one significant difference between my book and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In that work, [Seth] Grahame-Smith wrote 15 percent of the final text; the rest was Austen. The readers who gobbled up Zombies reported back to Quirk that as much as they loved the Jane Austen stuff, they wanted a little less of it. So my mandate on Sea Monsters was to deliver a book that was 60 percent Austen and 40 percent me. Which made my life easier: I don't know if you've ever tried to describe a city built entirely underwater, where wealthy Britons attend costume balls dressed as pirates and government scientists conduct ill-advised experiments whereby fish organs are transplanted into men, but it takes a few paragraphs.
i find it's best to appreciate the creation without dwelling on the depressing austen-lessening. people are reading 60% austen instead of watching 100% jersey shore, and that's something, right? the station is enjoyable, anyway, and the marine angst that surrounds it is a clever slapstick treatment of the class system in regency england. (the human lower class is all over the place, of course, but it doesn't strike back; the gentry get what's coming to them via cow-sized lobsters and the devonshire fang-beast, and that works for me.) without spoiling the story (for i do think this one deserves a read as well), i also quite liked winters's (straight-out-of-h.p.-lovecraft) approach to poor, forgotten margaret; her hair is growing back by the time the story ends, but boy, being a third child can be rough.

VICTOR: lethem. each novel is the product of jillions of influences and references, but lethem's is a much more lethal new thing. also, winters couldn't resist the urge to make a tentacle sex joke.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 which artists' early accomplishments stand out for you?

02 were kate winslet and emma thompson miscast as marianne and elinor dashwood in ang lee's sense and sensibility?

03 is reading classics-intercut-with-critters preferable to ignoring said classics altogether?

04 pride and prejudice v. sense and sensibility: from where you're sitting, which wins?

05 would you stay in an underwater resort like the one i linked?

06 do you have any sea-related fears? (mine is the kraken. i used to have nightmares about the kraken.)

*previous battle here.

**upon reflection, i actually think i prefer it to pride and prejudice, though. i really found elinor's reserve affecting.

***aside: when i searched for "sense and sensibility emma thompson," google predicted "sense and sensibility emma thompson too old," which BITE YOUR TONGUE, GOOGLE, SHE WAS LUMINOUS.

***not unlike the undersea resort that popped up on apartment therapy yesterday. i don't know that i'd be comfortable staying there.


our walls have been nude for a long time. we wanted to paint the wall behind the sectional, you see, and we couldn't possibly know what color to use until said sectional actually materialized, grey meaning different things to different people and all. it materialized on friday, thirteen weeks and a day after we gave up and ordered it. (it's no accident, incidentally, that the last piece we settled on was the biggest and squishiest by far; couch-shopping-weariness seeps into your bones and steals your will to live. i was on the verge of napping under a generic yuppie coffee table when we decided to buy this thing.)

the sectional is transit grey, i'd say, for it is the size of a bus.

day 173: Бегемот

joe sent me a photo on his blackberry. "it's the david byrne big suit of sectionals," he said. the big suit was an arty statement, though, and the sectional is an "i order furniture drunk" statement. it's not returnable, for grey was one of the sort-of-standard-but-not-standard-enough-to-take-fewer-than-thirteen-weeks color options. i suppose we could try to unload it on craigslist, but i don't have a lot of interest in selling at a serious loss, squiring skeevy craigslist types around in our apartment,* or shopping all over again.

so we slapped ten pictures on the wall in a granny cluster, the theory being that a big vertical gesture might counter a big horizontal one. we also added a scorpion pillow, for scorpions just make things better. it's possible that my design ego is just buffering itself at this point, but i...think i don't hate the sectional quite so much now?

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 have you ever made a terrible furniture decision? how did you deal with the mistake?

02 how would you un-bus this sectional?

03 {esoteric kidchamp bonus question} one of the ten pictures we slapped up on friday is of tucson; another is chicago, another is oxford, and another is detroit. which is which? (large version here)

*i know we ourselves are skeevy craigslist types; this is my point.



SURVIVOR: the simple art of murder (raymond chandler)*
CHALLENGER: chronic city (jonathan lethem)


the thrill of recognition you get from a novel that really roots around in a place you know well is a rare treat. i wanted so badly to find the san francisco in lisa lutz's spellman books that joe and i actually took the muni out to the philosophers club, an old bar in our first neighborhood, and quizzed the bartender about her (they'd never met). i've read a handful of manhattan novels** over the last few years, but i have yet to find my mysteries of pittsburgh.*** jonathan lethem has turned in some fine work about brooklyn (i loved both motherless brooklyn and the fortress of solitude), and i've been all kinds of excited to see how he'd handle my island, as it were.

lethem devotes quite a bit of time to regions (the upper east side) and issues (construction of the second avenue subway) i know very well, as it happens, and it is indeed thrilling to see those things through him (he's not rose-colored glasses, but he's something like a holga: everything is a bit more intentional, a bit sexier.). like raymond chandler's, his imagery can be immensely satisfying ("the green-gray sneakers like mummified sponges glimpsed within a janitor's bucket."); a monied dinner party sequence in the first hundred pages won me over completely. i knew those people, twenty years and several million dollars ago. he also writes three-legged pit bulls well. i've known a few of those, too.

lethem gets into a bit of trouble when it's time to add mystery to the mix. his narrator, former child actor chase insteadman, is unreliable because he says he's unreliable; in fact, as written, he seems a bit too keen.
These guessing words I find junked in my brain in deranged juxtaposition, like files randomly stuffed into cabinets by a dispirited secretary with no notion of what, if anything, might ever be usefully retrieved. Often all language seems this way: a monstrous compendium of embedded histories I'm helpless to understand. I employ it the way a dog drives a car, without grasping how the car came to exist or what makes a combustion engine possible. That is, of course, if dogs drove cars. They don't. Yet I go around forming sentences.
what chase does or doesn't realize about himself, his friends, and manhattan (plus a number of stoned conversations about culture, conspiracy, and marlon brando that enraged michiko kakutani is the novel's bulk and its fulcrum, so the plausibility of his cluelessness is rather important.

speaking of michiko kakutani's rage, she's pretty upset about lethem's goofy names (pynchonesque!) and magical realism (a bit helprinesque, i'd say). i forgive lethem his absurdism, for unlike pynchon's, his characters aren't wholly "plasticky;" they're types, sure, but i give a damn when one of them suffers. the physicality of perkus tooth, the mentor character whose rants are supposed to drag chase into the real world, is in some ways more tragic than anything he argues: tooth never stops sounding silly, but the way he falls asleep on a sofa kills me. the final scene, dependent though it was on a few plot twists i found kind of tiresome, revived me and killed me again. that lethem nailed something about manhattan in it...doesn't bode well for me and the neighbors, does it.

VICTOR: lethem. he makes a few missteps, but he wants it more - and his footwork is as fancy as chandler's.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 have you read a novel that's representative of your city, or one that was way off?

02 does michael chabon get pittsburgh in the mysteries of pittsburgh?

03 how do you feel about characters with faintly ridiculous names?

04 do you like magic realism in contemporary novels? in which novels does it move and/or annoy you?

05 do you agree with kakutani's review?

06 is obstinate dust (in chronic city) infinite jest?

07 is the grey fog that's settled permanently over lower manhattan a fitting translation (in lethem's alternate manhattan) of 9/11?

08 what novel, if any, says "new york" to you?

*previous round here.

**mark helprin's myth-a-riffic, turn-of-the-century-ish winter's tale (1983), don delillo's cosmopolis (2003), the tale of a limousine ride across midtown, and great jones street (1973), a much older novel about fear and loathing in the east village.

***which could be a horrible caricature, for all i know (i've never been to pittsburgh) - it just felt lived to me.


makeshift manhattan

it's been a handful, this handful of days: we auditioned for a kitten, joined a bourbonfest in an old bank, were told the cat might lose his tail, said our goodbyes to the princemas tree, made pudding, visited the gaf, returned to the old bank, collected robot paintings, and took the cat in for surgery (no tail was lost, happily; joe will take him home in an hour or so and begin convincing him to forgive us).

many of those things are complicated, but one (the pudding) is simple, and you must summon it yourself without delay. with no more than sugar, water, corn starch, vanilla, and milk - and a bit of patience - pure, unadulterated joy (in tupperware) can be yours. this was actually my second batch, and i cut the corn starch nearly in half to avoid the first batch's flannish consistency; with that tweak, and with a bit of sea salt cracked over it at the end, it's damn fine. sometimes focusing on damn fine pudding is the thing to do.


on wednesday, a friend of mine updated her facebook status with a note about how she'd donated to the haiti relief effort via oxfam. this friend worked in the nonprofit world for quite a while (and oxfam gets an A- from the american institute of philanthropy, a charity rating group), so i figured i'd follow suit. i gave what we could afford, updated my status with the same blurb, and moved on.

then the twitter updates about mobile donations started whizzing about: texting YELE to 501501 would donate $5 via wyclef jean's yele haiti, HAITI to 90999 sent $10 to the red cross,* and so on.

by yesterday morning i was getting haiti mail from...design within reach (per "help within reach," they'll be matching up to $25K in donations to unicef) and heath ceramics (from 1/15-1/17, they'll be donating 25% of sales to architecture for humanity's reconstruction efforts).*** today at whole foods, a bored-sounding guy announced over the public address system that we should all consider making donations as we checked out.

the viral elements of the charitable response to the situation in haiti are heartening. we can encourage one another to pitch in without the flecks of opportunism, though, right? bearing in mind that i'm probably a horrible person for saying so, picking commerce out of my charity alienates the bejesus out of me.

*i'm not entirely sure everyone knew right off the bat that the donations would be added to their mobile bills and weren't, say, the cellular equivalent of painless giving on sites like freerice.com, but accidental donations spend the same (and the process had been made clearer in the past few days), so i say no harm, no foul.**

**aside from the whole funds-not-getting-to-the-red-cross-for-ninety-days part, that is.

***"We’d love your business to support this cause; visit our store(s), shop online (free shipping through Sunday) or donate directly to AFH."



SURVIVOR: the simple art of murder (raymond chandler)*
CHALLENGER: why buffy matters: the art of buffy the vampire slayer (rhonda wilcox)

it became apparent over the weekend that rhonda wilcox's why buffy matters, not jonathan lethem's chronic city, would be bringing the pain to chandler; WBM was my subway book, and i spent a hell of a lot of time on the subway (chronic city, a hardcover, is my nightstand book, and i also spent a hell of a lot of time sleeping). as i thought about how rhonda versus ray would unfold, i realized that i've been rooting for the lady for some time now. chandler champions the detective story like, well, a champ; i re-eally wanted professor wilcox to throw a few of those punches for buffy the vampire slayer in her essay collection. buffy the television series has been close to my heart since my freshman year of college, when my hippie roommate's dad called from vermont and insisted we find a set and watch this thing about high school and the undead;** it's one of the scariest ("hush"), funniest ("once more, with feeling"), most moving ("the body") things ever to happen to network television. affection biases me, of course. does it bias wilcox? as one critic noted in a rather scathing review,
One thing that doing graduate school work on Star Trek taught me is that while academia had given me a new and powerful vocabulary to discuss television, and enabled me to put the smackdown on people who disagreed with my analysis much more effectively because a lot of people are intimidated by academic-sounding phrases, it didn't particularly make me a better critic of shows or movies of which I am a fan.
that's a bit harsh; enthusiasm and a critical eye don't have to be mutually exclusive. some of my favorite critics are tough lovers, if you will. i do, however, think wilcox is unconsciously preaching to the converted; though she addresses her introduction to both pre- and post-buffy readers,*** she doesn't always show her work. i love, for example, a riff spawned by her discussion of riley (buffy's milquetoast mid-series love interest) as virgil's aeneas:
At this point I can't resist indulging in a brief digression. The other two major Greco-Roman epics [re: the Aeneid] are, of course, the Iliad and the Odyssey; their heroes are Achilles and Odysseus, respectively. Aeneas, Achilles, and Odysseus certainly represent three very different types of hero. And it seems to me that they correlate to the three main romantic interests in Buffy's life. Achilles, who sulks and broods in his tent, is an extraordinarily powerful warrior who sometimes fights for the right and sometimes does not, and gloomily ponders his own curious form of immortality--Achilles is of course Angel. Odysseus, who has a wonderful facility with language, who is a trickster in both word and deed, who is a great fighter but does not seem to take that as his defining characteristic, who enjoys having sex and is more or less kind to the various women he encounters but is basically a one-woman man, who actually enjoys hanging out with and fighting alongside the goddess of defensive warfare (Athena) - Odysseus, my favorite, is Spike.
do i love it because i'm pro-spuffy (that is, spike plus buffy; spuffy's web presence is a frightening thing) or because she makes a good point? at the end of the day, wilcox has done some fine work (in "pain as bright as steel," on the operation of joseph campbell's monomyth in buffy) and some not-so-fine work (did the world need "when harry met buffy," on "buffy summers, harry potter, and heroism"?). if you're already a fan, she'll drive you to rearrange your netflix queue (or drive you to your DVD collection, if you're that type). if you're not, she'll...hmm. i will tell you what my friend george thinks of buffy as art if i can trap him under something heavy and force him to read it.

VICTOR: chandler. though the audience was with wilcox, ray (the critic) has ice water in his veins.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 are you a buffy fan?

02 if so, who's your favorite of the love interests? do you buy wilcox's parallels?

03 if not, what's wrong with why not?

04 have you ever written an academic paper about television? (full disclosure: i wrote a freshman civ essay on odysseus and james t. kirk. let us draw the curtain of feigned forgetfulness around my TA's response.)

05 what do you consider the scariest, funniest, or most moving things on television, network or otherwise?

*previous round here.

**the writers' treatment of buffy's cataclysmic breakup in season 2 was especially resonant for me, though in retrospect anyanka the vengeance demon and i had more in common than angelus the once-again-evil vampire and my poor ex ever did.

*** "I hope you will read the succeeding chapters and find it easier to believe that television can be art - and that you will then begin (if you have not already done so) to watch Buffy."


jude in 2001

four months ago i told our little cat the story of how we met. i told him about how handsome everyone at the SPCA always thought he was, how i used to worry about joe rolling over on him in the middle of the night when we first brought him home, how i loved the way he'd curl up like a snail in the crook of my arm and fall asleep with his chin on my hand. i told him that he'd been the only thing about my time in san francisco that really made me proud. i sat on the toilet lid; he cowered between our shower curtain and liner.

a brass band played in the plaza across the street for hours that afternoon. trumpets puked swing music as joe and then our vet joined me in the apartment, as i gathered up and tried to soothe our terrified, skeletal little cat, as i sat and held him while the sedative took effect and the vet laid him out on our coffee table.

i'm no longer in that apartment every time i stop thinking of other things, but i'm there more often than i thought i'd be. we spent three years giving jude what was ultimately a daily dose of subcutaneous fluids, trundling him off to the vet for urinalysis and blood tests, feeding him (and chuck) pasty prescription food. specialists would make me feel like shit for not having $30,000 for a kidney transplant, and poor, sweet jude broke my heart every time he forgave me for holding him down and putting a needle in his back. i can't tell you how good it felt to rip the IV bag hook from our kitchen wall that afternoon in september. i should have used it on the fucking brass band.

joe and i went up to animal care and control in harlem today. we met ziggy, a sweet adult stray, a grey and white fellow who kneaded his towel and butted my head when i opened his cage. "he's a really great cat," joe said, "but it feels like he's someone else's great cat." i don't know if we're ready for one who isn't ours.

i miss you, puppy, and i'm so sorry.


i make note of what i read fairly casually. i name-check the latest twelve books here at kidchamp HQ (in the column at right), i keep a longhand list on a spare page of my weekly planner each year,* and i chat about notable bits now and again. all of that is amusing enough, but it's not especially useful. i reviewed my 2009 list as i snazzed up my planner with a crisp new annual insert, and while i know that raymond chandler's the long goodbye was, to me, the best of the bunch (and that kazuo ishiguro's marvelous never let me go gave it a run for its money), i'd have to chew on my thumb for a bit before i could tell you why. as many former english majors and current black turtleneck wearers know, immediate, biased hierarchies can be much more fun (unpacking, all the works and days of hands: there will, forgive me, be time). moreover, the part of me that's twelve and a boy has been thinking about deathmatches, as one does. so: 2010 will be a year of immediate tussles. when i conclude a read, i'll explain (with the flush of the endpage yet upon my fingers) why it did or didn't best the reigning champ. two books enter, one book leaves.


SURVIVOR: pride and prejudice and zombies: dawn of the dreadfuls (steve hockensmith)
CHALLENGER: the simple art of murder (raymond chandler)

first, let's recognize steve hockensmith's good sportsmanship in taking on a completely original prequel to seth grahame-smith's cult hit (last year's pride and prejudice and zombies), a novel which is 85% jane austen; i shudder to think of the comparisons and superfan enmity in store for him. that said, hockensmith came up with new zombie jokes and eschewed the scatological stuff (e.g. wickham's spectacular and frequently referenced incontinence) that bogged P&P&Z down - and he had an interesting take on why elizabeth bennet is eventually so resistant to mr. darcy (she has been disappointed by two would-be suitors: dr. keckilpenny, the too-cerebral zombie whisperer, and master hawksworth, the secretly marzipan-filled deadly arts instructor). dawn of the dreadfuls could have been better (i vastly preferred the original satire), but it could easily have been much worse.

and then there's the rusty-but-perilous buzzsaw of the simple art of murder, a collection of entertaining-but-not-epic stories by one of my favorite writers that begins with a really spectacular essay. chandler defends well-written detective stories as nimbly as austen defended novels in her day; it's satisfying to see genre snobbery deflated. i don't even mind his fightin' words for sir arthur conan doyle, for he's right:
Every detective story writer makes mistakes, of course, and none will ever know as much as he should. Conan Doyle made mistakes which completely invalidated some of his stories, but he was a pioneer, and Sherlock Holmes after all is mostly an attitude and a few dozen lines of unforgettable dialogue.
one could say the same thing about chandler himself - in fact, that's my reaction to the rest of the stories in the collection - but the attitude and dialogue really are indelible.

VICTOR: chandler, without breaking a sweat. he'd better rest up, though: i just started jonathan lethem's chronic city, and it's fabulous.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 what was the best thing you read last year?

02 anything good on the nightstand at present?

03 speaking of conan doyle - and fighting - have you seen guy ritchie's sherlock holmes? what did you think?

*as one of my sisters does, as we discovered over the holidays; is that a common thing? did art garfunkel's celebrated reading list move the nation?**

**i considered turning my list into artgarfunkelwouldbesodisappointed.blogspot.com, but my sloth's claws are too unwieldy for two blogs.



i tipped my fuzzy hat to raymond chandler by ordering a gimlet in brooklyn last week. i botched the recipe* when i accepted the drink with ice, which could account for the mayhem that followed later that night; i mean, i'm only 75% likely to drag a random christmas tree down the street on my own. i was feeling a bit bereft, though, as i was about to finish the simple art of murder. unless i become a serious pulp archaeologist and start hunting down old issues of black mask, i'm running out of chandler - which is a damn shame. i am extremely picky about who is** and isn't*** allowed to write about california, and chandler makes most of the good guys look like amateurs. to borrow a phrase from a subway poster that always makes me giggle, when chandler is on fire, no one can touch him.****

(from "the simple art of murder," a 1944 essay on detective stories)

There are no vital and significant forms of art; there is only art, and precious little of that. The growth of populations has in no way increased the amount; it has merely increased the adeptness with which substitutes can be produced and packaged.

Other things being equal, which they never are, a more powerful theme will provoke a more powerful performance. Yet some very dull books have been written about God, and some very fine ones about how to make a living and stay fairly honest.

(from "the king in yellow")

Steve stared into her eyes and said softly: "I'm an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard."

(from "pearls are a nuisance")

I bent over and took hold of the room with both hands and spun it. When I had it nicely spinning I gave it a full swing and hit myself on the back of the head with the floor.

(from "smart-aleck kill")

There was a smell of food and liquor and perfume and face powder. The dance floor was an empty splash of amber light and looked slightly larger than a screen star's bath mat.

(from "nevada gas")

Francine Ley said: "I didn't have anything to do with it, Johnny." Her voice was as dead as the summer before last.

so if you live in los angeles i wouldn't mind having a look in your basement, is what i'm saying.

*per terry lennox in the long goodbye, "a real gimlet is half gin and half rose's lime juice and nothing else. it beats martinis hollow."

**joan didion.

***thomas pynchon. i will find you, pynchon.

****(without tongs.)


small confession: it really is a bit different to host for the holidays in a place that's yours. joe and i have already had every sort of holiday at our place; i remember a particularly improvisational san francisco party at which we floated sliced red onions in a vase. being married for the past few years didn't affect things much, either: when you've been with your partner since college, you don't exactly have to merge when-i-grow-ups, bank accounts, pet populations, and so on. we and our little hell's kitchen apartment were more or less the same. having our family over this time around, at a place we sweated, cried, and bled over for the better part of a year? i won't lie. there were frissons. good ones, happily: once we knew for sure that the dining table we ordered (thanks again, by the by, for weighing in on that) would arrive on time, we got excited about making things to plop atop it. christmas eve dinner with joe's parents went something like this:

christmas eve table

i dug out spare candlesticks from the questionable cupcake stand project of '08, split a mixed bouquet into minisettings for our four thousand random vessels, and got out of the way; joe made wild arugula, poached egg, and some-sort-of-foofy-pork* salad, and artichoke and crab quiches for his mother's handmade crusts. had our sectional** arrived in time for christmas (alas), we'd certainly have formed a (drowsy, contented) human levee on it.

day 149: new year's day

dinner on new year's day was a slightly more aerodynamic variation on that theme: we used our wedding dishes again, but we swapped the neighbors' stemmed wine glasses out for my beloved etched glass skull and thrifted don ho tumblers, i brought out a few more fabric roses, and we broke in the boss placemats my sister made and brought for christmas. joe made artichoke marinara over fresh pasta, which...i am not going to describe in detail, for there's a bit left in tupperware and i don't want to remind him that it's up for grabs.

speaking of sistercraft, in addition to jo's placemats, the marvelous gingerbread beings jo and em made in california for me, and the friendship bracelets i made for them when i had pneumonia,*** you guys:

galaga quilt detail

wedding quilt! it's a galaga ship, handmade by my sister jo (with hand quilting backup from mom). "you didn't seem like the wedding ring types," said jo. to say that it was worth the wait would be a gross understatement.

a thrifty, bougie-tablescaping, crafty-like-ice-is-cold new year to you and yours, my people.

*i would be a terrible food writer. "and then there was a meat, i don't know, it smelled greasy."

**we address it apostrophically, to the confusion of those about us. GET HERE NOW, YOU COUCH!

***good excuse for errors, no? there were errors. i haven't made friendship bracelets in (cough).


what ho, internets! our first contingent of holiday visitors arrived on monday the twenty-first, and our last departed yesterday evening; the holiday fortnight was festive, to say the least.

day 144: woodside

{on our way home from a sripraphai feast with joe's parents}

joe, chris, decibel

{sake in the east village with my sister and her fiancé*}

day 148: amos, george, cari, and dan

{new year's eve in brooklyn}

social dance, cont'd.

{bowling with a live band}

jo at the back room

{wee hour drinks on the lower east side}

i'm not one to resolve things - not on specific occasions, anyway - but i did vow that i won't brunch in 2010. i'll also try to wear the boots i inherited from joe's dad (hey, having big feet paid off for once!) at least once a week.

*so cal wedding types, i apologize in advance for bombarding you with questions related to their OC shindig next year. per sis, they need a deejay who can mix kanye west with "dance magic."