Saturday, October 29, 2005


Can nerds and cool kids find love with each other, let alone be in the same room together?
Call me a cynic, but I think not.
I've long disliked cool kids: fraternity rushing, cheerleading, football playing, alcohol poisoned, most-likely-to-be-arrested-for-insider-trading, Umbro shorts wearing, clique-following punks who have about as much culture as a Chile's Restaurant.
And, we're not getting along anytime soon, soooo it's only natural for nerds to eventually gravitate towards one another in nerdy love (siiiigh---insert dreamy-eyed emoticon HERE!).
What nerdy traits do you look for in a future mate? Or am I completely off mark and you guys are ACTUALLY INTO the cool fools???


The Japanese are onto something here.

Friday, October 28, 2005

CIRCLE by Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians

On a totally (un)related note, the following is one of my new favorite songs, even though it's actually from a couple of years ago (I think). I recently heard it on an episode of CBS's Cold Case, the only other televison show that makes me cry as much as Animal Cops does. The cold case of the evening was this little girl's murder back in the early '90s. The girl happened to be a nerd. So, at the end of the episode, the usual musical montage shows how everything is resolved. Those of you familiar with Cold Case know that Lilly always sees the deceased (she's such a great character, a recluse who can only connect with the dead people whose murders she's solving), nodding a thank you to her or something. So, the little nerdy girl rides her bicycle past Lilly. The bike has streamers and everything and she's wearing her glasses and a big, lumpy helmet. It's touching and the song didn't help my tear ducts either. Following are the lyrics. Download the song when you have a minute (Oh, and just for the record, I have no idea whether Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians are nerds. I know that they are very bohemian in that I-lived-through-and-never-managed-to-claw-my-way-out-of-the-70s sort of way, which probably makes them more cool than anything. But are they nerdy? Who knows, really. For the purposes of this blog, however, let's pretend like they are.):


Me, I'm a part of your circle of friends
and we notice you don't come around
Me, I think it all depends
on you touching ground with us.
But, I quit. I give up.
Nothing's good enough for anybody else
it seems.
And I quit. I give up.
Nothing's good enough for anybody else
it seems.

And being alone
is the best way to be.
When I'm by myself it's
the best way to be.
When I'm all alone it's
the best way to be.
When I'm by myself
nobody else can say goodbye.

Everything is temporary anyway.
When the streets are wet --
the color slip into the sky.
But I don't know why that means you and I are
- that means you and....
I quit -- I give up.
Nothin's good enough for anybody else it seems.
But I quit. I give up.
Nothing's good enough for anybody else it seems.

And being alone
is the best way to be.
When I'm by myself it's
the best way to be.
When I'm all alone it's
the best way to be.
When I'm by myself
nobody else can say...

Me, I'm a part of your circle of friends
and we notice you don't come around.


I am a nerd.

Today, my assistant, after seeing my blog for the first time and discovering that I went trick-or-treating until I was 17.5 years old, declared: YOU ARE A NERD!
It was a proud moment, indeed.

Monday, October 24, 2005

My nose: a plea!, part II

And it has nothing to do with the piercing. It's actually the tip of the right nostril that hurts. Someone diagnose me (and I know at least 6 of you guys out there, so don't flake out on me, please).

My nose: a plea!

To all of my medical nerds out there: my nose hurts. Why?

Friday, October 21, 2005

OMG: It's Nerd Magnet Poetry!
Don't forget to share your sentences with the rest of us!

(Hmm, so Craig, I still need help with the links....)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I haven't been this excited about a vegetarian food product since I first became a vegetarian and discovered seitan, the-better-than-meat-fake-meat-product. Morningstar Farms' Thai Burger is a revelation, a symphony of flavors and textures in my mouth. And at 100 calories a pop, it's way healthier than it tastes! Hmm, hmm, good. This veggie gives it two thumbs up! By the way, in the pic, it's the burger box behind the okra burger (which I'm so going to try next week!)...I couldn't find a pic of it on its own.

Monday, October 17, 2005


(above: an artist's rendering of Sabila moving her books; aren't I stylin'??? However, I don't seem to be activating any of my muscles at all! Hell, I'm on the verge of collapsing! I know how to activate my muscles, dammit! Who in the hell commissioned this joker?! I demand my money back! Grrrrrr.)

I've loved books for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, I'd save up my allowance for weekly visits to the bookstore, from where I'd emerge with DOZENS of books. Two things go without saying: 1) I LOVE MY JOB...working for a publishing company is like being a midWestern, Bush-loving Christian conservative in the plastic lawn decorations section of the hardware store during a going out of business sale (is that EVEN where they buy that horrendous stuff?) and 2) I have more books than normal people.

Anyway, I was pretty bummed this past Sunday and anyone who knows me knows that I deal with anger, frustration, sadness, depression, basically any negative feelings I might have by doing busy house work. I clean up, rearrange things, mop up the kitchen floor, alphabetize the food in the kitchen cabinets, wash the fridge racks (all on the same day). So Sunday's depression energy ended up directed towards my books. I own over a thousand books, you guys. My room is bursting at the seams with them. They're everywhere: in my shelves, in boxes under my bed, in boxes in my closet, in my closet shelves. My room is my books. They are one in the same.

For the longest time, I've wanted to incorporate the books throughout our apartment, placing them in unexpected places. I fantasize about a visitor sitting down on our sofa and his eyes falling on the mini towers of books on our center table or on the side table, at the foot of the antique bureau by the front door, or haphazardly strewn on top of the speakers of our sound system and under the potted plants. And the visitor's heart will sing because there's nothing better in the world than to be surrounded by so much literature! What a treat! What a dream! He can flip through Jack Kerouac's On the Road or Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello or Wynonna Judd's Coming Home to Myself as he waits for dinner to be served or for my father to get off the phone. He can look at the jacket art of On Beauty and feel the smooth edges of Terrell's The King of King's County. Oh, and he can read Borges' Collected Poems and leave our home so much more cultured and inspired than when he arrived. This has always been my dream and on Sunday, I took all of my sadness and I arranged books in random piles and stuck them everywhere. Corners and table tops, under furniture and on top of furniture--they are EVERYWHERE. This is the home of a family that loves books, the new arrangement says. These are people who want to be constantly surrounded by their books.

Somehow, nothing else seems to matter when I've fallen through the open pages of books and have lost myself in words, so many glorious words! And on Sunday, I adorned the apartment with books until, exhausted, I fell asleep on my bed surrounded by the countless books (thousands, I tell you!) that still remain in my room. And while the task didn't heal me completely, it did make me forget for a while and that's all that matters.

Sunday, October 16, 2005



PAKISTANIS FOR AMERICA (this is my dad's organization, which educates the Pakistani-American community about the local and national electoral process and encourages inter-community dialogue in New Jersey...we will soon have a website!)
will be collecting the following items for the millions left homeless by the earthquake:

¸ Blankets
¸ Tents and sleeping bags
The following items for men, women & kids
¸ Sweatshirts (used or new)
¸ Jackets and coats (used or new)
¸ Socks (new)
¸ Thermals (new)
¸ Unopened over-the-counter painkillers & upset stomach medicines (Tylenol, Advil, Immodium)
¸ We will also be accepting monetary donations for the relief effort as well. Please make out checks to Pakistanis for America

*If you know me in real life, you can drop your donations off with me or call me with any questions that you may have. Or else, you can mail donations to 122 W. 45th Street, Bayonne, NJ 07002 (don't get too excited, this isn't my address).

Thursday, October 13, 2005

AS I LAY DYING! (I bet you didn't think an exclamation point would be appropriate for this title, now did you??!)

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Okay, so I predict that all of Faulkner's books will make an appearance on my reading list because he's one of my favorite writers of ALL TIME! Truly, he's one of a kind. If you haven't read any Faulkner, boy do I feel sorry for you! You see, reading Faulkner is the most visceral experience with literature you will ever have IN YOUR LIFE. His words are not just read, they are felt and experienced and LIVED.

I read As I Lay Dying as a junior in high school (St. Dominic Academy is the alma mater). The class, American Literature Accelerated (to all the haters out there, AP English was only offered in senior year. Yes, I took it and yes, I rocked the AP Exam), was one of the best classes I've ever had the pleasure of taking. From the opening words of the novel straight to the end, I was hooked, totally engrossed by the Bundren family's pilgrimage to bury their recently deceased matriach, Addie Bundren, in her hometown. Each brief chapter is told in the voice of a different character and the characters are brilliant!

There's Addie's bastard (okay, illegitimate...but oh, how I love saying "bastard"!) and volatile son, Jewel, who has always been his mother's favorite. Darl is the sensitive son, who eventually goes insane by the end of the novel. He is an aloof observor and the closest thing to a subjective narrator the novel offers. (Poor, poor, POOR) Cash, is Addie's eldest son. He is very analytical and clearly has issues expressing his grief. His way of dealing with his mother's death is by devoting himself to making her coffin (AS she lies dying!). You will become very familiar with the advantages of making a coffin on the bevel in Cash's chapters. Then there's Dewey Dell, who I always, perhaps unfairly, judged to be slutty because she's pregnant, and comes across as quite dumb. So, she's had sex with this guy Lafe in the cotton fields and is now pregnant and obsessed with getting to town where she will buy pills to abort the fetus. Finally, the youngest Bundren is little Vardaman, who is simply trying to make sense of his mother's death. He has one of the shortest, yet most thought-provoking and loaded chapters in literature: "My mother is a fish." Yep, folks, that's it! THAT'S the chapter! It's towards the front of the novel and I still remember becoming downright giddy when I came upon it as a teenager! Who knew one could do ALL of this craziness with literature! It was an ephiphany.

Anse is Addie's selfish, hunchbacked husband who wants nothing more than to get a set of false teeth from town (no wonder Addie had an affair). And then there's Addie. We hear from her even as she is carried from county to county, a smelly, rotting corpse. She's had a tough life. I mean her dad told her from as far back as she can remember that, basically, the point of living life is to get ready for death. Before marrying Anse, she's a schoolteacher who can only connect with her students (the only other people in her life, so it would seem) by beating them. Needless to say, she isn't the most loving, caring mother to the Bundren children.

So, those are the main characters of As I Lay Dying and they stay with you long after you're done with the novel. Sure, As I Lay Dying, along with The Sound and the Fury and Light in August--Oprah's summer book club selections--were what made Oprah decide to embrace living authors once again (her readers, apparently, didn't take to Faulkner very well, something that I'm still bitter about. I bet they were reading her on their bloody commutes---YOU CAN'T READ WILLIAM FAULKNER ON THE TRAIN. IT'S DAMN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE, SO DON'T TRY IT AND THEN DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT NOT LIKING THE FREAKIN' BOOKS WHEN YOU DON'T GET ANYTHING OUT OF THEM ON YOUR RIDE HOME FROM WORK. Sheesh). But we must remember that Faulkner is not light reading. Read his work with a concordance in hand to fully understand and appreciate the complexities of his novels. Read him with additional outside material (perhaps Rich R., our former teacher extraordinaire and current English-grad-student-in-London can help us here! Babe, can you share your reading materials, notes, etc. etc. etc. with us (and when I say "us," I really mean "me," because I so want to reread As I Lay Dying again!)). Do it guys! You won't regret it! Once you go Faulkner, you don't go back!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


OMG! Take the test!

Craig (yes, Craig of Puntabulous fame!), how do I add links to this thing again? And how do I add a link to your fabulous blog?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Laughter like sweet bubble gum cough syrup

I've had a rough weekend and haven't been much in the mood to update the blog. Between the earthquake in Pakistan and my uncle passing away on Sunday, I've been in a funk, to say the least. But I promise I'll be back soon.
Because laughter still remains the best medicine.
Love you guys. Thanks for your support!

Monday, October 10, 2005


Okay, i got this list of organizations that are collecting online donations. Wish the links were active...

Federation of Red Crescent & Red Cross link/

UNICEF link/

Islamic Relief link/

Mercy Corps link/

ADP - Association of Development of Pakistan link

APPNE (Association of Pakistani Physicians) link/

SARID (South Asian Research Institute for Development) link

HDFNA (Human Development Foundation) link/

OXFAM link

Hidaya Foundation link/

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Pakistan Earthquake

I awoke this morning to the awful news that a magnitude 7.6 earthquake had hit Pakistan and portions of India and Afghanistan. Officials are now saying that the death toll will exceed 18,000 in Pakistan.
The quake's epicenter was 58 miles north of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, where most of my relatives from both my mom and dad's sides of the family live. Needless to say, we spent a very distraught morning, attempting to get in touch with family members to make sure they were okay. Everyone is fine, Alhumdullilah, though shaken. My father's sister, for instance, lives across the street from the collapsed building they keep showing on the news. My father's brother-in-law is from Muzzafarabad in Kashmir and is still attempting to contact his relatives.
While recent natural disasters all around the world have reminded us of our own mortality and vulnerability, we still do have control over how we react in these disasters. I think everyone should help the people of Pakistan as best as they can. I'm sure that well-known and reputable agencies such as the Red Crescent and the Edhi Foundation are accepting donations for the Pakistani quake victims. I plan on contacting the Pakistani Consular General's office in Manhattan for further information about how we can make a difference in this desperate time.
The coming days will see the number of dead increase; we will see injured people and displaced families. As citizens of the world, we cannot just sit aside in an apathetic stupor; we must work together to alleviate the pain of others as far away as they may be.
Please help...and please keep the people of Pakistan in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, October 07, 2005

NERD OF THE DAY: Emily Dickinson (Sigh)

I can't seem to mention Emily Dickinson without sighing. How can one not sigh at the thought of a frail, reclusive poet, who chooses to experience the world from her bedroom overlooking a cemetery? She never married and lived her 56 years with her family (her brother, marrying the girl next door, MOVED INTO the house next door and her sister was, like Dickinson, a recluse). One biography mentions that, during her life "[Dickinson] attended almost exclusively to household chores and to writing poetry." Dickinson's isolation provided her a unique and sharp focus on her world, and she wrote poems solely based on her own experiences, thereby making it difficult to place her within a historical or social context. In describing her experience with poetry to her sister-in-law, Dickinson said, "If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry." SIGH. The hold that the written word has over me is just as visceral and, dare I say, devastating as it was for Dickinson. It was after her death that Dickinson's family discovered close to 1800 poems in her room. They were published posthumously. Sigh.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Nerd of the Day: Ken Burns

I first discovered Ken Burns as a bespectacled and earnest 8th grader. We had just completed reading Stephen Crane’s THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE out loud in class (and, yes, by out loud I mean OUT LOUD. Mr. Kuka picked a different kid to read each chapter as the rest of us followed along in our own copies of the book. Most of the kids droned on and on, reading the most violent and raw battle scenes in voices so monotonous that I started to slightly hate them. The book, though, was marvelous---perhaps it will be a future book club recommendation!) when our teacher, Mr. Kuka, announced that we were going to watch a Civil War documentar. So, the following week, we spent two hours a day, watching Ken Burns’ The Civil War. I use the word “watching” very loosely, as most of my classmates slept through the riveting and heart wrenching eleven-hour film. Ken Burns made the past come alive for, well for Mr. Kuka and me, since we were the only two people in the classroom who appreciated the film. Not only is Burns a genius filmmaker, but he’s also a gifted story teller and historian. The camera pans over still photographs, actors read authentic letters from the battleground and the home front while a Civil War-era soundtrack plays in the background and the result is stirring. Yes, I cried, sitting in my corner of the classroom, not worried about the other kids seeing me wipe my eyes behind my glasses.

Also, a baseball freak like myself can’t talk about Ken Burns without mentioning what is, in my opinion, his greatest work to date: Baseball. The 18-hour film, which took four years to make was, clearly, a labor of love for Burns:

"We divided our story into nine chronological chapters, or innings, and insisted as much as possible that the past speak for itself through contemporaneous photographs, drawings, paintings, lithographs, newsreels, and chorus of first-person voices read by distinguished actors and writers. We dissected the ballet of baseball with special cameras that ran at 500 frames a second (instead of 24); interviewed on-camera nearly ninety writers, historians, fans, players and managers: employed the services of twenty-one scholars and more than two dozen patient and talented film editors, delighted in getting to know one of the most remarkable men the game or this country has ever produced, Buck O'Neil; filmed for weeks with the gentle and generous people at the archives of the National Baseball Hall of Fame; and hovered for hours above ancient diamonds in Iowa, West Texas, South Carolina, and a particularly beautiful old park built in a marshy area of Boston called the Fens."

I can just imagine a young Ken Burns (perhaps he was called Kenny by his parents and his brother Ric, who also happens to be a noted documentary filmmaker) spending his weekends at the library, lost between the pages of dusty old history books. Sigh. He’s made a bunch of other documentaries, among them the Oscar-nominated Brooklyn Bridge, Mark Twain, and Jazz. Watch any one of them and I promise you'll be hooked.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W. Somerset Maughm
I had initially planned on hitting you guys with a book that none of you would've guessed as being one of my reading recommendations. Although, I plan on keeping things interesting like that, my plans were sidetracked when I walked into a colleague's office to find a mass market edition of Maughm's maserpiece OF HUMAN BONDAGE, sitting on his desk. He told me to take it after I'd "oooh'd" and "aaah'd" over the book for a good five minutes. I still have my Penguin's classics' edition from NYU, but am not a fan of the sea foam green color of the package. In any case, I took this experience to be a sign and now OF HUMAN BONDAGE is my first reading recommendation.
Maughm's finely crafted Bildungsroman (a coming of age novel or "a novel of formation") follows club footed orphan Philip Carey, who ekes out a miserable childhood with his aunt and uncle. His handicap makes him a target of humiliation by classmates at school, where he manages to excel (WHAT A NERD!). A quest for the meaning in life takes him to Germany, Paris and London. Along the way, he encounters a large cast of characters who help him develop emotionally and intellectually. Who could ever forget miserable art student Fanny Price whom Philip meets in Paris? Living in poverty, she's devoted her life to her art, and no one has the heart to tell her that, well, she sucks. When someone does, poor, poor Fanny Price hangs herself. Or the wanton, older temptress Miss Wilkinson who seduces Philip.
Trust me, this book, though long is BRILLIANT. I could write more but it's 1AM and I have to wake up at 5AM so I gotta go.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I'd like to preface this next entry by emphasizing that I don't watch slutty or skanky films. They're just not my thing. That being said, I did watch a couple of films produced by Troma Films, the king of B (hell, the king of C, D, and E) horror movies, back in high school when I was a little obsessed with B movies. These films were all good, folks, I swear (and by good, I mean, not that slutty). I watched them with my brothers for pete's sake. One of them was a Troma classic: The Toxic Avenger. As I recall, it involved some sort of monster born in the pollution filled Pine Barrens of New Jersey, who massacred a bunch of people in trailer parks. There was another movie about a monster that killed people in their dreams---Freddie Krueger syle---as they slept in their trailers.
Okay, that was my long-winded preface.
Here's the main feature: Troma Film's Killer Nerd/Bride of Killer Nerd. Yes! Troma Films has made a film about the revenge of a nerd! Here's a link to a synopsis of the films on Troma's website. I should host a movie night with this film as the feature. This sounds more gory than skanky, anyway (because God knows I don't want to watch a skanky film with you guys). Enjoy!


Sure, there were some more obvious choices. We have the nerd for all ages, Albert Einstein, who happens to shares a birthday with me (many, many geniuses are born on March 14). Bill Gates, the richest nerd---um, homo sapien---on the PLANET, may also have been on your list of nerds to kick off our blog. How about uber-nerd, Stephen Hawkings, whose daughter Lucy happens to be a--get this--chic lit author?
However, anyone who knows me knows that Stephen King has always had a special place in my heart. He is my Numero Uno Nerd, THE nerd I looked up to as a little girl, reading books like Needful Things, Cujo, The Shining and Carrie into the early morning (I spent way too many childhood nights in the bathtub with a Stephen King book, from where I'd call out "But I'm constipaaaaated!" to my mom, who demanded that I go to sleep). Not only is he brilliant but he fits the part of nerd perfectly: impossibly thick glasses, a nearly lipless mouth set in a constant smirk and a tall, gangly frame that he hasn't quite grown into. Man, I was the homecoming queen in high school if Stephen King didn't get beat up on a regular basis as a kid.
He reads ALL the time. I just saw him at the Yankees-Red Sox game, reading a freakin' book. It was a lovely sight, in spite of the repulsive and nausea-inducing Sox cap he was wearing. He is the reason I, myself, often read while walking (not the safest habit, I know, but I'd like to point out, for the record that Stephen King was NOT reading when he was run over by that van!).
So, here's to Stephen King, NERD NUMERO UNO!

Monday, October 03, 2005

BLOG & I: A Match Made in Cyber-Heaven!

Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you, stop pinching yourself because you're awake, your anti-psychotic drugs are still working and, no, your brain isn't crying out for another shot of caffeine! This is, indeed, MY blog!
Welcome friends, family and random cyber-trippers! Yes, it's finally happened! I've found a blog and we are now happily settling in cyberland, where we'll create thousands of posts to keep you tickled, entertained and happy---that is assuming, of course, that you give a sherpa's behind about what I have to say. Tell me if you do and lie to me if you don't...
For those of you who have requested reading lists from me in the past, I'm planning to post up a weekly reading selection. Let's call it Sabila's Book Club---watch out Oprah (and if, by some cyber-miracle, Oprah happens upon my humble blog: I LOVE YOU! I TIVO YOUR SHOW DURING THE WEEK AND WATCH IT ON THE WEEKENDS! I DON'T REALLY WANT TO TOPPLE YOUR BOOK CLUB EMPIRE (although it would be swell to have my finger on the best-seller switch! What power!)! YOU'RE FABULOUS AND I WANT US TO BE FRIENDS!)!
Your comments and feedback would be much appreciated...hell, ANY traffic on my blog would be great! So, keep reading folks, and I promise to keep writing.