Tuesday, February 28, 2006

March 1st: 13 days until the day of our Nerd's Birth

I thought I'd have a countdown to my birthday on my blog because, after all, it is my blog. I celebrate other nerds so, why not, have a blog-celebration for myself?
Anyone up for a blogeration?
So, I'll be sharing stories about myself with you......which isn't very much...um... unlike most of my other blog posts (ahem)--

But keep in mind that these stories will be in blogeration of the Nerd! Hooray!

Fact: in the same year that I won both the math bee and the spelling bee in elementary school (1985, I was 6 years old), I managed to get one of those tiny Crazy Glue caps (the tiny ones, with a pin that goes inside the glue tube) stuck in my right nostril.
I don't know what I was trying to do but I do remember lying on the floor playing with the tube of glue. Maybe I was trying to sniff the cap? In any case, the next thing I knew, the cap was wedged deep inside my nasal cavity. I panicked. I didn't want to tell my mother and get into trouble, so I ran to the bathroom and blew my nose into a wad of toilet paper.
I blew again and again, but the cap was still stuck up my nose.
I started to cry a little as I thought about the horrible things doctors would make me go through in order to retrieve the Crazy Glue cap: open nose surgery was on top of the list.
Fearing for my life, I gave my nose one last blow, putting every ounce of my tiny frame into it.
Out came that awful little cap.
I haven't touched Crazy Glue since.

UPCLOSE AND PERSONAL: The Nerd's Unpleasant Walk

I'm a fast walker. As long as I'm wearing flats, people can't keep up with me. I become antsy if I can't walk fast, hence I always have walking shoes on hand. My best friend and I went on a Caribbean cruise together last winter and she couldn't understand why I wouldn't slow down. She even confronted me at one point and said the following words very, very slowly (I paraphrase, of course):

"Listen Sabila. I understand that you have to walk very fast at work because working in Manhattan is fast-paced. But look around us. We are NOT in Manhattan. We are in the Caribbean. We are on vacation. Vacations are supposed to be relaxed. So slow the hell down."

There might have been some explitives thrown in there but I am censoring for you dear reader.
Anyway, the point is, I walk fast, oblivious to my surroundings most of the time, with only my destination in mind. Today, when I left the office after a nearly 10 hour workday, I was determined to reach the PATH station as quickly as possible.
So, I was flying down the sidewalk, full force forward, not aware of much around me other than the fact that it was freakin' freezing. I didn't even have to stop for traffic; I was either getting walk signs or no traffic at all where the light was green. Three blocks before the PATH station, I was blessed with another walk sign and was happily minding my own business, walking along, when my left foot landed in something squishy. It almost felt like I'd stepped into a squished banana.

Whatever was fruit doing in the middle of the street, I wondered to myself as I looked down and,


I saw that what I had stepped in was not fruit at all.

I'd stepped in a pigeon.
Yes, readers, the nerd stepped on roadkill in Manhattan.

I whimpered into my scarf the rest of the way, slowing down to wipe the sole of my left boot on the sidewalk with every step I took.

And, to top things off, being the animal rights activist that I am, unlike most tri-state area residents, I happen to like pigeons. I even have a newspaper cutout of pigeons taped to my office door (my colleagues who are reading this, drop by and see it with your own two eyes. Unlike James Frey, I speak the truth).

Suffice to say, I died a little on the inside when I stepped on that flattened and bloody pigeon. Once I was standing on the PATH platform, I mustered the courage to see if there was...ahem...pigeon...on the bottom of my boot. I nearly squealed as I picked my foot off the ground to check. I'm relieved to announce that there was no blood, guts or feathers on the bottom of my boot.

However, I still made sure to remove the left boot before stepping into my apartment and disinfected it later that night.

This is my life.

ps: I used a photo of pigeons flying against a blue sky to commemorate the life of that poor pigeon. Let's remember the pigeon for how he/she lived and not how he/she died.

I'm so serious it's not even funny.

Monday, February 27, 2006

I LOVE YOU (for reading this)!!!!!

If you're reading this post, I LOVE YOU! Seriously, I do. I've consistently been getting close to 90 page visits and 170 daily page views.
You like me! You really like me!
I don't know what I've done to earn this honor but there are so many people I'd like to thank.
First, thank you dear reader, for actually reading my blog. I think this means that you must at least be able to stomach what I write, right? In case you find yourself in the grips of nausea, however, please turn away from the computer when you feel that you're getting your sick on.
Next, I want to thank my parents for immigrating to the United States in 1980. I don't know where I'd be had we stayed in Libya or if they'd decided to move back to Pakistan. I CAN say with some certainty, however, that I probably wouldn't be blogging right now for the simple reason that even the best internet connection in Pakistan is pretty damned slow and I'm a very impatient person. That just wouldn't have worked out. Oh, and I so wouldn't have majored in English Lit. I'd be a physician right now, of this I'm sure.
I want to specifically thank my dad, who loves reading so much that he'll read just about anything. From crime novels to children's books and nonfiction, if it has words, abu will read it. I sometimes wonder if I would've been the bookworm that I am without his influence. And, of course, my love of books goes hand in hand with my love for words. It's the reason why I blog.
My brothers have been two of the strongest influences in my life. They are way cooler than I'll ever be and I credit them with instilling the tiniest splinter of cool that I currently have in my soul and which just might be bringing you folks back to revengeofthenerddd.blogspot.com. Thanks guys!
I want to thank my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Bromerski, for not only teaching me how to read, write, color in the lines and "socialize" with other kids (the only P I received in my kindergarten report card--P for poor--was for my lack of socializing skills; this, of course, made me sad, gave me a complex and resulted in me becoming even more antisocial) but she also taught me, with the help of a speech therapist, how to prouncounce the "s" sound (it's skirt and not SHkirt). I don't know what this has to do with me blogging but whatever.
Thank you Ms. Sobers, my 7th grade teacher for stockpiling our little 7th grade library with Harlequin romances; this most definitely stoked a love for reading amongst the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.
Thank you Ms. Molinari for teaching two of the best classes I had in high school--American Literature Accelerated (the reason I majored in English) and AP English.
To Zanadune, my sweet cat: thanks for sitting with me and providing me with your quiet, feline company whenever I blog.
Thank you punks in elementary and high school for picking on me, confusing me with a boy and being backbiting idiots. I hated you then and am too busy and fabulous to care about you now (ahem).

I really do appreciate having readers.
So, thank you!

Sunday, February 26, 2006


My otherwise wonderful, intelligent and open-minded male friend said the following to me in conversation today.

"You are a truly great girl but I don't know if the whole intellectual approach will be entirely appreciated by most guys. Obviously there are exceptions but what desi (desi means Indian or Pakistani) guys have read and appreciated AS I LAY DYING?"



Yah, so maybe I do need to live it up a bit so I don't end up alone, full of regret and in a nursing home at 87...or a 30-something bookish bank teller who gets duped by the rock and roll guy she thinks hearts her and ends up a freakin' cold case. I've been parasailing. That counts as adventure, doesn't it?
Anyone want to go skydiving or to a rave or something?


And, why, in God's name, were the Olympians marching to American songs during the Opening Ceremonies when the Olympics were in Turino. Like, WHAT?!


...and bad-girl-turned-spinster Lily Rush is being pursued by a guy-on-a-Harley from her past. Like, seriously, what is this shoe trying to say? Am I being paranoid?


It's 8:30 and I'm currently watching CBS' Cold Case. In today's episode, "Dog Day Afternoons," the Cold Case gang is investigating the 2000 murder of a bookish bank teller. The librarian-type bank teller is wooed by a rock and roll type who, it seems, convinces her to help him and his buddies rob the bank where she works. In trying to convince her to help him out, he tells Roe (that's her name) about some woman at a nursing home where he volunteers whose biggest regret was that she never lived it up. He tells her that she's going to wake up one day, find herself to be 87 years old and full lof regrets.
Oh my God.
I need to be less nerdy and more worldly.
I need to live it up.
Right now, I need to get back to the show.
We'll discuss more later.
Oh man, I'm fretting, though. FRETTING.
Talk about a show that changes your life.


The nerd, upon looking more closely at the hugging bunnies, apologizes for the gay artwork used in the post below.
I'm sorry.
I should've used something that wasn't quite as blatantly lame ass.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


As bitter, disillusioned and spinster-y as I often sound, I LOVE love.
Yes, I'm talking about YOU!!!!!!
I wish you happiness, joy and lots of LOVE!

This calls for some Tom Jones:

Love is in the air
Everywhere I look around
Love is in the air
Every sight and every sound

And I don't know if I'm being foolish
Don't know if I'm being wise
But it's something that I must believe in
And it's there when I look in your eyes

Love is in the air
In the whisper of the trees
Love is in the air
In the thunder of the sea

And I don't know if I'm just dreaming
Don't know if I feel sane
But it's something that I must believe in
And it's there when you call out my name

Love is in the air
Love is in the air
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh

Love is in the air
In the rising of the sun
Love is in the air
When the day is nearly done

And I don't know if you're an illusion
Don't know if I see it true
But you're something that I must believe in
And you're there when I reach out for you

Love is in the air
Every sight and every sound
And I don't know if I'm being foolish
Don't know if I'm being wise

But it's something that I must believe in
And it's there when I look in your eyes

(Repeat Chorus 4X)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I first discovered Tiny Tim's song, "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" in a pre-teeny bopper novel called STRICTLY FOR LAUGHS. I was in the 6th, maybe the 7th grade and bought the book at a school book fair (oh, how I hearted those book fairs! I'd leave with DOZENS of books tucked under each arm! IT WAS FANTASTIC).
I remember that the author, some chick called Ellen Conford, dedicated the novel to her husband who she said changed her tire in the rain one night and had been sending her into "transports of delight" ever since (even back then I found the dedication to be wholly inappropriate for my pre-teeny bopping peers. That was just too much information, Ellen Conford. Ugh...I'm kinda suprised I remember all that though...).
In any case, the novel is about an aspiring comedian (I believe her name is Joey) and her shy-aspiring-dj-best-friend-who-she-secretly-loves (I wanna say his name is Peter). The two Long Island teens get the potential break of a lifetime when they're tapped to fill in for a radio dj who's on vacation or maternity leave or dead or SOMETHING. Things get complicated when the best friend convinces his crush, a beautiful guitar-playing, genius folk singer chick (Dinah? Diana?), to host the radio show with them (yah, WHATEVER you guys. Sure, it's a stretch, but it's a pre-teeny bopper book! C'mon)...
Fret not. Joey (?) and Peter (?) do end up together and most likely go on to destroy a perfectly wonderful friendship with sex, but that's beside the point.
Let's get back to my favorite song of the moment---quite possibly my favorite song OF ALL TIME. The kids decide that they're going to open their show every night with Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe Through the Tulips."
THAT'S how I happened upon it.
It's great.
Check it out.
Following are the wonderfully trippy and happy song lyrics:

Tiptoe through the window
By the window, that is where I'll be
Come tiptoe through the tulips with me

Oh, tiptoe from the garden
By the garden of the willow tree
And tiptoe through the tulips with me

Knee deep in flowers we'll stray
We'll keep the showers away
And if I kiss you in the garden, in the moonlight
Will you pardon me?
And tiptoe through the tulips with me

Monday, February 20, 2006


My 10th year saw me go from being a cute kid to an awkward little girl. It was like the fates had bitch slapped me. And, yet, this turn of events made sense: I was the only daughter in the family and, with my mom having recently lost interest in making me her fashion guinea pig (just the thought of the sequined velvet jumpsuits makes me shudder), I’d naturally gravitated towards the jeans, t-shirts, and sweats favored by my brothers and their friends. On top of that, my own foray into the world of style usually failed. I can still remember clutching a magazine cutout of Pat Benatar to the hair salon and telling the stylist that I wanted hair just like hers. Growing up, I’d always had short hair, but this particular cut in combination with my androgynous wardrobe was DISASTROUS.

You see, people started to think that I was a boy.

One unfortunate experience, in particular, has been forever seared into my psyche.

It was the fall of 1990. My family and I were spending Thanksgiving weekend in North Carolina with my aunt and her children. Amma—my mom—upon discovering that a dear childhood friend had recently moved to Cary, NC, decided that we should pay him a visit. I went along happily, dressed in black jeans and a white sweatshirt. I sat demurely in the family living room and, while my brothers were busy talking to each other, I listened to the adults recount the days of their youth in Islamabad.

I had always been a quiet, observant child and I didn’t mind not having company that night. But our host’s eldest son tried to recruit his little brothers to play with me. The three of them were in an attached room behind me and I could hear the older brother talking to the kids:

“Why don’t you two play with that little boy? He looks awfully bored.”

“No way! We don’t want to play with him!”

“C’mon, he looks like a nice kid. Just give him a chance.”

“NO! You play with him if you like him so much!”

Please God, tell me that they’re talking about Sabahat and Shafaat, I remember praying. But my brothers were hardly “little” and looked anything but bored. So I sat very still and continued to listen to their exchange.

“We don’t like him! We’re busy!”

“Don’t be rude, boys. He’s our guest. Keep him company.”

I was shocked; I was outraged.

WHAT? They thought I was a boy?! Me? Adding insult to injury, the brats crawled underneath my chair and started poking my legs until their brother finally saw them torturing me and pulled them out.

You think that’s bad? It gets even better, dear reader.

During a lull in their conversation, my mom’s friend waved towards me and my brothers and said, “So, wow, you have three sons.”

My brothers chuckled.
I felt the blood rush to my face. HEL-the hell-O! Couldn’t the idiot see my earrings?? Okay, so the earrings were tiny hoops and I suppose he was old and a bit blind but how could he not tell??? I didn’t know what to say. Panicking, I turned to my mother, who calmly replied, “I have two sons and this is my daughter.” She smiled at me as if nothing was the matter.

Later, in the car, I sat with my brows wrinkled, my mouth set in a frown. My brothers’ chuckles became full blown laughs and they laughed until my dad told them to cut it out.

“I guess he’s aging faster than the rest of us,” my mother said, looking at me in the rearview mirror. “His eyes are going if he couldn’t see that you’re a little girl. C’mon, you even have your ears pierced!”

The larger population’s confusion about my gender continued until the boy cut grew into pixie licks and waves that framed my face, sharpening my (very feminine, I’ll have you know) features.

As traumatized as being mistaken for a boy was, I didn’t start obsessing about it; the hurt that children suffer usually doesn’t make sense until much later in life. After the initial experience, I’d gone back to wearing jeans and sweatshirts. So, my lack of fashion sense didn’t make me the most popular girl in class. I was still fortunate enough to have good friends who were willing to accept my increasingly ragtag exterior as I, too, started to experiment with fashion. The tomboy clothes were eventually integrated into a wardrobe of COLORS…lots and lots of bright and random COLORS that should only be thrown together within the confines of HELL…stomach rolling, head spinning, blinding COLORS, which, in combination with round glasses that covered half of my face should give you a pretty good indication of what—in spite of having a handful of good friends and a loving family—my nerdy childhood was like.

Things only started to fall into place for me in college. It was in college that I decided that maybe black and white tights topped with a hot-pink Planet Hollywood t-shirt that reached my knees wasn’t the wisest in clothes options…or that perhaps that t-shirt I’d designed in the 6th grade (a plain white tee on which I’d written with fabric paints the titles of all of Stephen King’s books) shouldn’t be worn anywhere beyond my bedroom. So, I toned down my fashion choices. I plundered my mother’s vintage jewelry and, for the first time ever, my money went towards pretty things, things other than just books.

My shifting interests especially confused my brothers. “Why are you wearing makeup?!” they’d ask when I’d return home from school, wearing blush and lipstick.

“Because she’s a girl,” my mother would answer for me. Sadly, even they needed the reminder.


Since I'm still feeling a bit blocked, I thought I'd recycle an old JE about someone else's poem from Naseeb. Please keep in mind that this JE had been the last in a flurry of JEs about some of my favorite poems. The anthology to which I refer is "The Morrow Anthology of Younger American Poets." Enjoy:

Okay folks. I promise this is the last of my English Lit. nerdiness for the night. I was just flipping through the anthology I mentioned in my previous je, when I happened upon this lovely poem by Daniel Halpern; I fell in love with it when I read it for the first time in the opening of Audrey Niffenegger's THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE. It's simply perfect (please replace the wine with soda, if you're Muslim and the lamb can be substituted with seitan if you're a vegetarian like I am; this poem will still work like magic):

"How to Eat Alone"

While it's still light out
set the table for one:
a red linen tablecloth,
one white plate, a bowl
for the salad
and the proper silverware.
Take out a three-pound leg of lamb,
rub it with salt, pepper and cumin,
then push in two cloves
of garlic splinters.
Place it in a 325-degree oven
and set the timer for an hour.
Put freshly cut vegetables
into a pot with some herbs
and the crudest olive oil
you can fine.
Heat on a low flame.
Clean the salad.
Be sure the dressing is made
with fresh dill, mustard
and the juice of hard lemons.

Open a bottle of good late harvest zinfandel
and let it breathe on the table.
Pour yourself a glass
of cold California chardonnay
and go to your study and read.
As the story unfolds
you will smell the lamb
and the vegetables.
This is the best part of the evening:
the food cooking, the armchair,
the book and bright flavor
of the chilled wine.
When the timer goes off
toss the salad
and prepare the vegetables
and the lamb. Bring them out
to the table. Light the candles
and pour the red wine
into your glass.
Before you begin to eat,
raise your glass in honor
of yourself.
The company is the best you'll ever have.


Yes, I have writer's block.
Yes, it feels like my insides have melted and are now drowning my creativity.
Anyone know CPR? Anyone? Anyone?
Yes, it's 4AM. Yes, I'm about to go back to sleep. Yes, I just felt like dropping my readers a note to apologize for my recent string of glaringly lacking in substance posts (not that there was much substance in my previous posts...but dudes, you know what I mean).
In the meantime, how about you folks submit to me your Nerd of the Day applications.
I've received not so many ever since asking for them (and by not so many, I mean zero). Jeez, one would think that 1) you don't care to be my Nerds of the Day or 2) you're (gasp!) cool kids.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


I think that a person's iPod playlist says a lot about the person. What mine says about me, I'm not so sure. In any case, following are my 25 most played songs from my iPod playlist:

1) "Don't Phunk With My Heart" BLACK EYED PEAS
2) "Yellow" COLDPLAY
3) "The Blower's Daughter" DAMIEN RICE
4) "We Used to be Friends" THE DANDY WARHOLS
5) "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" THE DARKNESS
7) "A Lack of Color" DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
8) "Don't Leave Home" DIDO
11) "Collide" HOWIE DAY
12) "Maybe I'm Amazed" JEM's cover of Paul McCartney
13) "Take Me Home Country Roads" JOHN DENVER
14) "Daughters" JOHN MAYER
15) "Jesus Walks" KANYE WEST
16) "Breakaway" Kelly Clarkson
17) "Mr. Brightside" THE KILLERS
18) "Something Pretty" PATRICK PARK
19) "Trouble Sleeping" THE PERISHERS
20) "Slow Hands" INTERPOL
21) "A Sorta Fairytale" TORI AMOS
22) "Sweet Thing" VAN MORRISON
23) "American Idiot" GREEN DAY
24) "Seven Nation Army" THE WHITE STRIPES
25) "Gone 'Til November" WYCLEF JEAN

Saturday, February 18, 2006


There will be no revenge today.
On this day, our nerd is without spunk, without comedy and without those two extra d's...
Her heart is a balloon that's floated to her throat; the warmth that once filled her chest cavity has been replaced by a cold, cadeverous fist.
For obvious reasons (ie the floating heart and the fist) she is out of commission at the moment and asks her dear readers to submit their best jokes to her.
She needs a laugh.
Even a smile will do.
Thanks for your interest...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

WHAT ABOUT BLANKET (or the Nerd talks about something other than herself)?

I want to take this opportunity to talk about something other than myself.

I'm not trying to poke fun at the unfortunate luck of the draw that's put these kids in the hands of Michael Jackson, but, seriously, if Paris and Prince Michael Jackson are returned to Debbie Rowe, what happens to poor Prince Michael II (aka, Blanket)? His secret mother needs to step up.

Man, this sucks.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

GREAT NEWS (or not so much)!

Background info: Y is my archenemy.

Mom: X had some good news for us today.
Nerd: Really, what was it?
Mom: Her daughter, Y's boyfriend propsed to her.
Nerd: Wow. That's great.
Mom: He gave her a huge ring.
Nerd: Really?
Mom: X was glowing. GLOWING. She was so thrilled.
Nerd: As she should be. That's some news.
Mom: Y's fiance is from such a good family. Such a good boy.
Nerd: Very good.
Mom: Very tall, too. He's getting his PhD.
Nerd: He sounds great.
Mom: His dad is a surgeon.
Nerd: How accomplished
(Silence as we watch American Idol)
(Commercial Break)
Mom: The wedding, it's going to be in India because X and her husband wanted it to be in India.
Nerd: Really.
Mom: Y's future mother-in-law had four diamond sets (Indian and Pakistani brides receive tons of jewelry
from their parents, inlaws, aunts, uncles, older cousins...basically, everyone you can think of) made for her. And of course she's going to buy some more jewelry from India.
Nerd: Ahan.
Mom: Really, X looked soooo happy.
Nerd: Yah?
Mom: Can you believe Y is done with her MBA already?
Nerd: Nope.
Mom: She JUST started. Now she's almost done with her MBA AND engaged!
Nerd: Great.
Mom: Did I tell you that the ring is HUGE
Nerd: Yah.
(Silence as American Idol stars up again)
(Commercial Break)
Mom: Now X is busy getting preparing for the wedding.
Nerd: (nodding)
Mom: The wedding is in December.
Mom: I suppose they're going to go to India in November some time.
Mom: She's getting married at a good age. 27 is a great age to get married.
Nerd: (getting up)
Mom: They can have their first baby before she's 30.
Nerd: (walking out of the room)
Mom: Actually, they can have TWO babies before she's 30!
Nerd: Yah, so there's something I have to do...
Mom: Hey, don't you want to finish watching American Idol?
Nerd: (from the other room) Um. Not so much. Bye!

Sunday, February 12, 2006


7:00PM, Saturday night: The snow has just started to fall. Our nerd has been craving sushi ever since talking to a friend who told her about the over-priced sushi he enjoyed for dinner on Friday night (it should be noted, for the record, that she's in no way blaming this friend for her current sickly state), so on this night, she orders the following for dinner: grilled octopus to start and a spicy tuna roll and an eel avocado roll for her main course. She happily eats the meal in front of the television; she's rented Just Like Heaven starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo because she's in a romantic comedy sort of mood.

11:00PM: The film and the sushi were great. Our nerd had ordered the sushi, not from her usual joint, but from a new place and she is thorougly satisfied with the meal they provided. Her brothers dropped in for a visit and the family had a great time chatting. Now, our nerd sits down to talk to a friend on the phone and it's just a wonderful way to end a wonderful day because this is a wonderful friend.

12:30AM: As she settles into bed, ready to get some sleep, the nerd suddenly feels a bit nauseous. How funny. Thinking that sleep will help, she closes her eyes and, just as she begins to doze off, her stomach starts to cramp.

1:30AM: The nerd awakes to terrible waves of nausea and stomach cramps. Oh jeez, she thinks to herself as she hightails to the bathroom, I think I've been food poisoned!

2:00AM: The nerd curses the sushi joint as she vomits some more.

2:15AM: Our nerd moans and groans as her great mother sits by her side in bed. The cramps! Oh, the cramps! Damn that bloody sushi to bloody raw fish hell! She drinks some Pepto Bismol, hoping that will do the trick.

2:30AM: The Pepto Bismol is no longer in the nerd's system. Damnation!

3:30AM: Yep, our nerd's body is still in the process of "cleansing" itself of everything. The nerd is expecting to vomit out her heart soon. It's not a fun time for her.

4:30AM: Yep, the vomit and diarrhea march on.

5:15AM: Is there anything even left in our nerd??? Her body seems to think so...

11:00AM: After a sleepless night, our nerd sleeps in until 11AM. She awakes to find her parents watching the weather report on televison. It's snowed 23" in Central Park! But our nerd won't get to play in the snow though, thanks to that good for nothing sushi! Even though there's nothing left in her body to get rid of, she feels nauseaus again and runs to the bathroom.
Feeling like she's going to be sick again, the nerd stands over the toilet. Suddenly, she feels like she's dreaming. Everything seems to be speeding up and slowing down at the same time. Our nerd is confused. She shouldn't be worried though, because, dude, she's asleep really and this is a bad dream. As she comes to, she's clutching onto the toilet (ew), calling out to her mom (pathetic scene, I know, but freakin' hell, it's not her fault! that damn sushi). Her parents escort the nerd to their bedroom and tuck her into bed. There's talk of calling 9-1-1, except everything's buried under snow. The nerd tells her parents that, if they must go to the ER, she's gonna have to shower and change. Even though they're too worried to do so, our nerd feels like if her parents were the types to roll their eyes, now would be their moment to do so.

11:15AM: The nerd's brothers have come over now and she's talking to her health plan's on call nurse. She can hear them talking to her mother, telling her that the nerd needs to eat meat, that this vegetarianism (she's been a pesco-ovo-lacto veggie for a year now...booyaa!) is silly and is eating away at her resistance.

11:30AM: The nerd, after her fainting spell, has been told by the nurse to sip water (1-2 tablespoons every 3-5 minutes) until she feels better. At that time, she can eat starchy, dry foods like toast and crackers.

12:00PM: Water sucks. Being stuck in bed is the worst! Feeling the water you've just sipped first do a terrible disco dance in your guts and then float up to your neck is awful.

12:15PM: I wish I could walk around in the snow. :(

12:30PM: Effin' bad sushi.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


...this Walt Whitman t-shirt. It's about as badass as the following t-shirt, which my brothers and I each own:

WALT--he'll always be the nerd of my heart...

I CAN'T believe that I haven't yet posted anything by Walt Whitman. He just happens to be one of my favorite poets of all time! Jeez. What was I thinking?
Whitman is, in my opinion, the most influential and well known American poet. A decade after Emerson wrote "The Poet," calling for an original, American poet--someone who spoke for and of this country--Whitman answered his call with his first publication of Leaves of Grass. The first edition consisted of 12 poems; the collection was Whitman's life's work and, by it's 8th edition, it had grown to a little less than 400 poems. At the time of its publication, Leaves of Grass was criticized (when it wasn't being overlooked) for its use of free verse as well as for it's obscenity (Whitman is very frank about sexuality and celebrates the pleasures of the body).
If you want to learn more about Walt, first pick up a copy of Leaves of Grass (soooo do it! It will change your life!) and then read Walt Whitman: A Life, Justin Kaplan's National Book Award-winning biography of the poet.
Now, here's a taste of what WW has to say. The following is an excerpt from his preface to Leaves of Grass. Enjoy!

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the rich fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body...


Yes folks, you originally saw this posting on Naseeb...

Okay folks, here's one of my favorite poems. It took me a while to dig this one out, so please do read it. Why was finding this poem so difficult? Well, firstly, I didn't know the poem's title or the name of the poet who penned it. Secondly, while I remembered reading it once back in college in an anthology of modern poetry, the name of the anthology escaped me. I did remember, however, that it was a white book. I couldn't remember what it was about, but did know it had something to do with brothers and, for whatever reason, though there might have been kites involved (once you've read the poem, you'll realize that, clearly, I was mistaken about the kites). For those of you who've seen my room, the fact that this was a daunting task is an understatement. I have books coming out of every corner of my little, blue room and, sometimes, they all look the same.
In any case, I found it. The anthology is called "The Morrow Anthology of Younger American Poets," the poem title is mentioned above as the title of this je and the poet is a gentleman by the name of Leon Stokesbury.
Please note, neither one of my brothers is in pain; they are healthy, handsome and strapping men who do not need me to send (or rather, not send) them a message.
So, here it is:

"Unsent Message to My Brother in His Pain"

Please do not die now. Listen.
Yesterday, storm clouds rolled
out of the west like thick muscles.
Lightning bloomed. Such a sideshow
of colors. You should have seen it.
A woman watched with me, then we slept.
Then, when I woke first, I saw
in her face that rest is possible.
The sky, it suddenly seems
important to tell you, the sky
was pink as a shell. Listen
to me. People orbit the moon now.
They must look like flies around
Fatty Arbuckle's head, that new
and that strange. My fellow American,
I bought a French cookbook. In it
are hundreds and hundreds of recipes.
If you come to see me, I sh#t you not,
we will cook with wine. Listen
to me. Listen to me, my brother,
please don't go. Take a later flight,
a later train. Another look around.

Gum, anyone?

Dramatis Personae.

SabilaK (the Nerd)
Dude #1
Dude #2
Important Editor
Random Woman

Setting: in an elevator

(Our Nerd is working busily on unwrapping a pack of spearmint flavored Trident gum)

Dude #2: Trident

(The Nerd looks up from her pack of gum to see that Dude #2 isn't talking to Dude #1, and that the observation, instead, seems to have been directed towards her. Dude #1, Dude#2, Important Editor, and Random Woman are all looking at her. They seem to be waiting for her to say something).

Nerd (holding the pack out to Dude #2): Want one?

(More silence, broken only by the Random Woman's coughing. Dude #2 is looking at the Nerd, trying to figure out if she's serious and how he should respond. He's smiling).

Nerd (waving the now-unwrapped pack of spearmint flavored Trident gum): Because, I have...like...(ahem) so, uh, many sticks of gum here.

Dude #2 (holding out his hand, shrugs): Sure. If you're offering.

Elevator stops on Nerd's floor and the doors open and remain open as the Nerd, standing between them, attempts to fish out a stick of gum for Dude #2. Dude #1, Important Editor, and Random Woman wait impatiently. As she finally manages to take out a stick of gum for Dude #2, she hesitates for a moment, feeling guilty for not offering the others any gum. She wonders if now is an appropriate moment to do so.
Quickly deciding that the answer is more likely than not NO, she hightails it right outta there.


Okay, so that was a lame excuse for a play/script/whatever (yah, the other characters were like part of the stage set) but the story is a true one.
It's one of those you-just-had-to-be-there-or-hear-the-Nerd-talk-about-in-person stories. Seriously.
Anyway, hope it was not THAT lame. I'm extremely sleepy and mustn't be held responsible for the content of this blog.

FYI, the very first thing I did after tripping and falling in my gym's parking lot last year was get up and call my brother on my cell phone. It was a panic reaction. I had to do something busy so I wouldn't have to think about what a dork I was. For the same reason, I found myself---upon stepping out of the elevator---offering a stick of the spearmint flavored Trident gum to everyone I encountered.

Goodnight peeps!

Friday, February 10, 2006


Like, where did you go?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


For a better view, click on the pics...

It is SUCH an HONOR to be the #9 result in the Google search for "Addie Bundren and her revenge." I'm 8 search results away from cliffsnotes.com and one away from randomhouse.com! I've been put on the AS I LAY DYING map. Gosh, I feel good.

I wonder how jipped the kid who was trying to plagiarize an essay for his AP American Lit class felt when he stumbled upon Revengeofthenerddd.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


All of those Catholic school horror stories you've heard about kids suffering from corporal punishment at the hands of nuns are TRUE!
I am the product of 13 years (kindergarten through high school) of Catholic school education. During those years, I mostly encountered the best teachers, devoted to making the learning experience an unforgettable one for their students. My elementary school was as diverse as was my hometown of Jersey City. Black, white, brown, and yellow kids walked the cavernous halls of our school in single file, wearing identical uniforms. The education we received reflected that diversity; religion class focused on Catholicism but the teachers always made an effort to discuss the religions of the students in their classes.
My experience could have been a great one. I could've walked away from that school with only great memories of meeting my best friend for the first time in kindergarten, receiving a love letter and a drive by kiss from a boy named Chucky (whom I hated at the time), and dressing up---along with my aforementioned best friend---like a rock star for the halloween parade in the 6th grade (looking back at photos now, I realize that Roselle and I looked a lot more like prostitutes than we did rock stars---what were our mothers thinking!?).
Alas, this is not the case. My 13 years in Catholic school included 2 very bad years: the 2nd and 4th grades. This journal is devoted to my and my classmates' experiences in the 2nd grade.
I entered the 2nd grade just as eagerly as I've entered every school year (please note, I am a nerd). My hair must have been tied in pig tails, a style of which my mom was a fan when I was six; with lunch box in hand and a too-big bookbag on my back, I was ready to begin a new school year and learn to write in cursive!
Sister Jerome was built like a boulder. She was as squat and as wide as the sequoias at Sequoia National Park in California which, nearly two decades later, would remind me of her more than any inanimate object has ever reminded me of a human being before. Her face emerged pinched and poxed from her tight habit, her long, thick nose as intimidating as the rest of her. When she walked, Sister Jerome's wide butt moved like a seesaw and sometimes we could almost forget how cruel she was when she led us like a master conductor as we sang her favorite song, "Peanut Butter and Jelly," every Friday.
Oh, but she was frightening.
And I got a taste of just how frightening she was on the first day of school.
Shorlty following assembly, we were given an assignment to copy a long paragraph she'd written out on the blackboard into our penmanship notebooks. With the pencil gripped between my little fingers, I worked diligently to transcribe the words into the notebook. When I was done, I looked up at the other kids for the first time, only to find that they were still working on the assignment. I was the first to be done! Happily, I left my seat (the first seat in a row directly in front of Sister Jerome's desk) to show Sister Jerome my neat handwriting.
"Done already?" she asked me.
I nodded and gave her a wide smile.
She had barely bent her head down to look at the notebook when she asked me to give her my hand. I did. Was she going to give me a sticker like they did when I was the first to hand in assignments last year? Maybe she'd give me the button candies I so enjoyed.
She pulled on my hand sharply and taking out a ruler from somewhere in her desk, she whacked it one-two-three-four-five-six times. "You're six-years-old. You should be able to follow directions," she told me, her eyes ablaze with anger. "I asked you to skip lines."
I walked back to my desk very slowly. I don't remember whether or not I cried (I can't imagine that I wouldn't have cried, but who knows, really). I'd gotten beat down on my first day of second grade. And, although she never hit me again, things just got worse for all of us from that day forward.
She made us line up by her desk during that first week of school so that, one by one, we could have a good look at the paddle she kept behind her desk. I still remember it vividly. It was shaped almost like a cricket bat, but smaller. On the flat side of it, there was an illustration of a red-headed boy, bending forward, as licks of fire shot out of his butt (I kid you not). We looked at the paddle with heavy hearts, knowng that first grade was over and done with and that second grade was a whole new ballgame.
The paddle wasn't just for show. Sister Jerome used it almost everyday on kids who misbehaved---mostly the boys. She would lay them down across her lap, as the rest of the class watched on in gradually numbing degrees of horror, and thwack them until they cried.
One boy in particular, S, received the brunt of her torment. He had recently been adopted from India and, not having a firm grasp of the language, there always seemed to be missed signals between him and Sister Jerome. His punishment alternated between the paddle and something that Sister Jerome liked to call "The Dog Pound." The dog pound was the leg space in Sister Jerome's desk. When kids (again, moslty boys) were bad, they were made to sit in the dog pound, WHILE Sister Jerome sat at the desk. The poor kid was witness to everything that lay under the nun's habit and I still remember seeing his white teeth sparkling from the darkness as he tried to keep up with our lesson plan.
And, finally, there was the teeth pulling. Yes, the PULLING OF TEETH. The 2nd grade ushered in loose baby teeth, a phenomenon that we welcomed with the eagerness of kids who couldn't wait to be big. During any given recess period, one could find a long line of grinning boys and girls, waiting eagerly for Sister Jerome to give their loose teeth a wiggle, and determine whether or not they were ripe for the picking. If she decided that it was time, she'd clasp the tooth tightly with a paper towel and yank it right out. I, like everyone in my class, walked away with a bloodstained papertowel and a tooth in my pocket, at least once that year.
I don't know what Sister Jerome's problem was. She was mean and scary and she took out whatever rage and frustrations she had on six and seven year olds. It wasn't the best way to learn and Roselle and I still talk about how frightening school was for us that year. And, despite the blatant abuse, none of us ever said anything to our parents. Neither I, whose punishment for scoring a low grade on a spelling test was to clean up my vomit (kids throw up A LOT in grades kindergarten-3, don't they?) nor J, who was slapped and paddled more than any of us; nor S, who got up close and personal with Sister Jerome in the dog pound. No one.
The last time I visited my elementary school was when I was a freshman in college. Roselle and I giggled as we walked through the old hallways; I traced the brick patterns on the walls, just as I used to when I was a little girl. Nothing had changed. They were the same floors, the same color walls, the same number of doors opening into the same number of classrooms. Even the brown door leading to what we thought was a haunted room in the yellow-walled girls bathroom was still there. The walls were still yellow.
While the school still stood as it once had when we attended, it felt different, almost dwarfed. The ceiling no longer loomed above our heads, the halls didn't go on for miles and miles. The desks were tiny and some of the teachers looked only a few years older than we were. While in my memories, everything about it loomed or glowed, was sinister or dreamy, I was now a changed person and, in turn, the building itself was different in its sameness.
"Hey, whatever happened to Sister Jerome?" I asked one of the administrators, as we ended our tour of the building.
"Oh, she died last year, dear," the older woman told me, her lips pursed with emotion.
Roselle and I didn't say anything as we walked down the stairs towards the exit.


...Norah Jones' LONESTAR. I'm currently obsessed with both Jones and Van Morrison. If they were to have a love child, he/she would be a music god/goddess. I used to want to marry Van Morrison a little, but after googling his image I got over him. Norah can have him.
Please note that Norah Jones and Van Morrison are NOT dating. In a perfect world, they WOULD be (hell, in a perfect world, Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal would still be together), but in this world, she's probably still dating that tall guy in her band.

Lonestar where are you out tonight?
This feeling I'm trying to fight
It's dark and I think that I would give anything
For you to shine down on me

How far you are I just don't know
The distance I'm willing to go
I pick up a stone that I cast to the sky
Hoping for some kind of sign

MY IPOD: Everything might very well be fucked after all

I went to the Apple Store during lunch today and purchased a fancy sports case for my iPod. After weeks of working out without my iPod--the cacophony of gym-sounds providing a displeasing soundtrack to my evenings--I was ready to finally lose myself to my music of choice. Who did I feel like listening to today? Norah Jones? Van Morrison? Coldplay? Eminem? Kanye West? It didn't matter; they'd all do, really. And the power to control them with the click of the wheel was now back at my fingertips. I couldn't help but grin a little at the schmuck of a Pakistani airport employee who was trying to figure out how the hell to listen to an iPod without earphones or how to recharge the damn thing sans charger. PUNK.
Man, I looked like someone who had it together with my video iPod nestled in the futuristic bulk of the sports case, which was attached to an arm strap. I felt good to have a world of music at my disposal.
So, I removed the earphones from the pouch on top of the sports case in which they were kept. I smiled happily as I unwound them, thinking about how the iPod had brought a smile to my lips during a most miserable weekend and would be such a respite from the very long day. I plugged in the earphones, climbed the exercise machine and started the iPod.
Hm. Perhaps I didn't press the wheel hard enough.
Nothing still. How peculiar.
Maybe I need to hit the middle part of the wheel.
And so I had to come home, recharge the bloody machine (it was fully freakin' charged until last night) and now it appears to be functioning properly.
I swear, if it malfunctions on me again, I'm taking it to the bloody Apple store and hurling it at a genius.
This experience did confirm that everything is always fucked.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


I'm not having a very good day. It's been a very bad day, as a matter of fact. I didn't go to sleep until 6AM this morning, woke up at 1PM, putzed around for a while in my pajamas, pigged out on FiberOne and raisins (Jeez, I can't even pig out properly when I'm upset), took another nap from 3-4:30 and then woke up still feeling sad. I'm so upset that I can't even bring myself to watch television or to run the errands that I needed to run today.
So, it's pretty obvious that I didn't have anything to smile about and my mouth was set in the same straight line for most of the day.
But then my birthday present (the bday's on 3/14) to myself arrived: a brand-new black iPod with an inscription in the back that reads, The Nerd's iPod, Sabila Khan rocks and rolls.
I smiled.
All's not that fucked, after all.


Dear Readers,

You thought I’d forgotten about RevengeoftheNerddd.blogspot.com’s everyday Nerd of the Day (NOD) contest, didn’t you? Or, maybe you thought I was just kidding about making YOU, my readers, NODs.
Well, you were wrong, dear folks.
On this day, it is my honor to present to you RevengeoftheNerddd.blogspot.com’s first-ever everyday Nerd of the Day:

Richard Arlington Russell!!!

Our nerd stands above the rest for many reasons:

1) He’s a native of Ocean City, NJ. As much as everyone thinks otherwise, ask native NJ residents like myself and Rich how much NJ rocks and we’d say, A WHOLE-HELLUVA-A LOT.
2) NOD is as tall as Walt Whitman and does, literally, stand above the rest of us.
3) As you will see in the attached pic, NOD is just as fetching as Walt and I can think of nothing more endearing than a good-looking nerd.
4) If our nerd hadn’t been a nerd in his own right, these comparisons to Walt would’ve certainly made him a “nerd by association,” or a NBA.
5) Unlike Whitman, this nerd’s days aren’t spent loafing the woods or on the shores of Long Island (actually, I wonder how much actual “loafing” Walt did? I have to whip out my copy of Justin Kaplan’s National Book Award-winning biography on Walt soon to figure this out). Instead, NOD is an extremely busy grad student currently attending the University College of London. He is set to graduate later this year with a Masters Degree in English.
6) In addition to the BA our nerd holds from NYU and the above-mentioned Masters degree towards which he is working, NOD also has a Masters of Science in Teaching degree. That’s what I call a healthy arsenal of degrees. I mean, seriously, what is a nerd without a desire to continue learning and a love for academia? A lonely sole that has lost its way in this journey of life, that’s what.
7) Our nerd, when applying to graduate programs in the States and in the UK, was accepted into Oxford. He chose not to go. Seriously, how impressive is THAT!
8) NOD, like Whitman, taught for two years. Whitman taught out on Long Island and our nerd taught freshman high school English and Modern Fiction classes in the ubercompetitive school district of Allendale, NJ, which I like to call the East-coast’s-answer-to-the-OC, even though I have no empirical evidence supporting my claim. It should be noted that although Walt inspired whispers of a sex scandal involving a young student (I beg that we don’t judge WW by this brief transgression, which really can't be proven) while our NOD inspired a future generation of English nerds by being a passionate, dedicated and genius teacher—the kind of teacher every single person wishes he or she had.
9) Nerd of the Day succeeded yours truly as the EDLO’s (NYU’s English and Dramatic Literature Organization) indomitable leader from 2000-2001.
10) Among the HUNDREDS of poems, short stories, plays and screenplays that he has penned, is an epic poem, in which I (thinly disguised as the damsel in distress, Princess Forkinspoon), along with the many folks we knew at NYU appear as characters. The poem is long. I’ll be honest: I didn’t think any living person, albeit someone my age, could write an epic poem. It is excellent.
11) NOD had his play, The Tubist, produced at NYU.
12) He is the only person I know whose emails alone verge on literary masterpiece.
13) Everything that our nerd experiences becomes an endlessly entertaining email.
14) His interests include literature and literary theory, screenwriting, Postmodernism, film and cinema studies, women’s studies, popular culture, Buffy the Vampire Slayer* and James Joyce
15) *Once, shortly after we graduated from NYU, I asked our NOD, “Who was that friend of ours in college who LOVED Passions (Passions being that bizarre daytime soap)? to which he replied without a bit of hesitation, “Why, it was Spike.” For those of you who don’t know, Spike was Buffy’s arch-nemesis, turned shag boy-vampire-toy on the series.
16) NOD is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and the William Blake society
17) He’s just in love with dead poets, writers, and playwrights as I am and, like me, he often refers to them by their first names.
18) He believes in love letters and, not only writes them, but inspires others to write them as well.
19) He wrote me a love poem! Like, who in today’s day and age, expresses love for a friend in a poem? What an exceptional and nerdy person.
20) Our nerd took it upon himself to submit a formal application to become Revengeofthenerddd.blogspot.com’s Nerd of the Day, even before I decided to have this competition. That’s what I call NERDY!
21) Finally, I don’t think that anyone but our NOD can demonstrate why it is that he’s been chosen to be our first Nerd of the Day. So, here is what he wrote in his application for the position (which is also his statement of purpose that went out to grad programs):

Elizabeth e-mails me to say, “I think I believe in astrology now. I want you to visit this web site and have your birth chart generated,” and so ok, ok –– and after entering information such as name, time of birth, date of birth, sex, and so on, a five page so-called description of who I am appears. And then I remember that I don’t believe in astrology. (I’m sorry, Elizabeth, but I don’t.) But still, there is something beautifully intimate about the line that reads, “Richard Russell is eccentric, intelligent and lucid. Complex love life. He is happy in his imaginary world and thus is happy nowhere…” –– because I take “his imaginary world” to mean the world of literature and of writing. And how could the real world ever hope to compete with that symbolic dreamscape?
In my Honors Modern Fiction class at Northern Highlands Regional High School (Allendale, NJ), we read Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying in January. I like to wait until everything is a little colder and more desperate before starting upon my favorite book in the course. My high school students, bright as they are, are, in general, either turned off by Faulkner’s polyphonic prose or forced to merely feign interest on account of my much-professed admiration for the work. There are few students who will defend Addie Bundren in discussion, most finding her selfish, manipulating, and, as one student wrote in a recent paper, “noxious.” Maybe the students who sympathize with her most are also those who understand her well enough to know that for Addie, who thought language was so inadequate, that Addie would not want some prolix declaration of support. So the closest I have come to “rescuing” Addie, during my now three years teaching HMF, is a student’s journal entry admission that he cried after reading the last line of the book: when Anse replaces Addie with the new Mrs. Bundren. And I cried a little too, at his words this time and not Faulkner’s.
I try to explain to my students Addie’s philosophy. “Isn’t it true,” I state, “that, what Addie says of love –– if love exists, then there is no reason for us to have a word for it: that the word love would just be ‘a shape to fill a lack’ as she declares? Wouldn’t it be the same for something like happiness –– that if we truly were happy we wouldn’t need to provide the term?” And now, as I reflect upon Addie and my students and that line from the birth chart, I’m struck by the possibility that I am content nowhere in life because I am most content in literature and in language: I am more happy in the word happy than I should ever be in a state of happiness.
And so graduate school: my students first suggested the notion to me. “Mr. Russell, you’re way too smart for high school. You would make an amazing college professor.” I know the classroom is where I want to spend my waking life, and a college professorship is the next step I am looking to take: because one can really only do so much within the confines of a high school curriculum, after all. I continue to realize that my life isn’t that of your typical Bergen County resident. Lunching at the Applebee’s in Paramus on a recent Saturday afternoon, the restaurant packed with shoppers talking about their cars or their clothes, my friend Amanda and I were having a heated tête-à-tête concerning Beowulf. One of our colleagues (the new Honors British Literature teacher) had never read Beowulf before and, as Amanda informed me, was planning on taking it out of the curriculum for next year. “But,” I said, “but –– it’s Beowulf! It’s British Literature! She has an obligation to her students. Her students (and, in fact, most people) outside of school are not going to pick up Beowulf on their own –– ” and then after pausing a moment to consider this, I conceded, “Well, I mean, –– I read it on my own. But that was only because Seamus Heaney had written a new translation.” Amanda smiled and gently mentioned, “You do realize that you’re not most people, Rich. You do realize that you’re not normal, right?”
“What makes you say that?” I asked, still upset over the prospect of a Brit Lit sans Beowulf. “Is it because I spent last Friday night watching three different film versions of Jane Eyre –– or because I just joined JASNA [The Jane Austen Society of North America]?”
Amanda smiled. “So what are you going to study?”
“Well, though a teacher of modern fiction, I am still a student of twentieth century authors myself. That beautiful synthesis of expectation and despair that prevailed during the first half of the twentieth century –– how would I give that up? But as a focus, I should like to explore British novelists between the wars [World War I, World War II]. In many ways, that period seems symptomatic of our current American circumstance –– waiting for the next turn of the gyre, as it were.”
For in addition to a love of literature and a desire to pursue teaching at the college level, I want to enter graduate school for the same reason Jude Fawley wished to go to Christminster: to be a scholar. I want to return as a full-time student, having now occupied the other side of the teacher’s desk, and work towards my doctorate and a chance to serve the University. I can think of no place I would be as happy.

Le sigh.
Let's tip our hats and our hearts to Rich Russell!


...and I thought counting sheep would do the trick!

It's 4:38, Saturday morning and I still haven't slept at all.
I used to be a great sleeper. I wonder what went wrong.
My poor cat is keeping me as much company as she can, sitting by my side as I feverishly blog, following close behind as I pad through the place.
I was kidding before (on my AIM away message). Sleep is not overrated.
This sucks.


Not only is the site not allowing me to post up pics with my new blog posts but it just erased two of my latest posts. I'm so glad I had saved what I wrote in Word.
It's 2:40, by the way (actually, it's 3PM; I was up until 6AM this morning, struggling with a relentless insomnia. Blogger deleted all of my posts from that time, so if you notice a discrepancy between the time I say it is and the time noted at the bottom of my post in the upcoming posts, please disregard).


If he claims that his heart is a dead organ and possibly incapable of ever pumping love blood again, does that REALLY mean he's just not that into you?

PAKISTANDARDS: Lahore, Rail Cars and the Nerd

It's late summer in '91. The Khan family is enjoying (and by “enjoying,” I mean “not enjoying”) their vacation in Pakistan (the eldest Khan boy is 19, the second son 17 and the Nerd is 12...as teens or preteens, first generation Americans are almost genetically programmed to dislike the country of their parents. The Khan children have been ill from the day they arrived to Pakistan, they don’t like leaving the air-conditioned homes of their relatives to suffer under the sweltering South Asian sun that burns the pavement and, in turn, turns the underside of their feet into toast, they’ve been assaulted by Pakistani mosquitoes (which, I might add, pack a lot more punch than the American variety), and they don’t like much the load shedding that plagues them on an almost nightly basis, shutting down the electricity of several city blocks in order to manage the high volume of energy consumption. We’d be dreaming a collective pipe dream if we assumed that they are anything other than miserable during this vacation.).
Abu (Urdu for father) has decided that there is only one answer to curing his children’s misery: a visit to Lahore. At one time, the capital city of the Mughal Empire, Lahore is the cultural and academic center of Pakistan. Unique and exquisite Mughal architecture still stands in the city, drawing tourists from around the world. Naturally, the Nerd’s father is a genius, albeit a laid back and unassuming one. His knowledge of South Asian history is vast, limitless, encyclopedic in its breadth. He tells his children stories about the Mughals, tales from the history books he read when he was even younger than they are now. And, in spite of the years, he remembers history as if he had a book propped open right before him.
The kids, already on the verge of complete meltdowns (well, actually, only the Nerd, who as a pre-teen, doesn’t enjoy most things, is on the verge of a meltdown. Her brothers are too cool to be mentioned in the same sentence as the word “meltdown.” Meltdowns don’t melt them…they melt meltdowns) start to look forward to Lahore.
But then their father announces that they will take a train from Islamabad to Lahore. And they don’t think much of it until he tells them that they won’t be traveling first class; the looks on the faces of their mother and cousins is enough to fill their already on-the-verge-of-exploding-with-emotion hearts with enough fear and dread to transform them into terrifyingly whiny creatures (and by “them” I mean “the Nerd”).
You see, the Nerd’s father is a man’s man. He likes to rough it when he travels. There’s no way that one can truly feel the land from behind double paned windows and inside air-conditioned cars. He believes that to know Pakistan, one must meet it face to face; this is the only way that the motherland will get under the children’s skin and spark in them a desire to know their history.
And, so, on the morning of the journey, the Nerd is dressed in traditional garb. She frowns and stomps her feet the entire time, fidgeting with the shalwaar kameez and the giant black shawl that they’ve wrapped her in. She’d rather be wearing jeans and a t-shirt but her aunt has cautioned them about allowing the Nerd to wear western clothing during the journey in the rail car. The Nerd grimaces at just the name of their mode of transportation and stomps her feet a few more times.
Clearly, the Nerd is a spoiled brat.
The family driver delivers the Khans to the train station from whence their rail car destined for Lahore will depart. Upon arriving on the platform, the Nerd takes a look at her grimy, dingy and shady surroundings and promptly bursts into tears. While too afraid to stomp her feet and draw anymore attention to herself, she does demand to be taken back to the United States.
Her parents and brothers sigh, leading her to the rail car (she continues to shiver at the name).
Once in the rail car, the members of the Khan family try to make themselves as comfortable as they can in their seats. The parents sit side by side while the children sit in the row directly across from and facing them. An open window rests between them, promising spectacular views of the Pakistani countryside. The Nerd, as upset as she is, gets ready with her camera, her eyes still red from the episode on the platform.
The Khan family engages in conversation. Abu tells them more about Mughal history and the assortment of pre-Mughal, Mughal and British colonial architecture they will see. Names such as Muhammad bin Qasim and Akbar, Shah Jahan and Jahingir dance syllabically from his mouth.
The Nerd almost forgets that she’s sitting on a rail car seat that is currently rendering her rear end as numb as would an anesthetic.
But then the rail car comes to life, raring to go on its journey. As it chugs along the tracks, past the magnificent countryside, dust flies in waves so thick that within a couple of minutes, the Khan children, all of whom are wearing some black, appear to be dressed in khaki. The dust is attacking the family with the force and tenacity of a villain and the Nerd’s mother tells her boys to close the window. The strapping young men stand up, and together push down the window…only to discover that there is no glass. The window is merely a frame.
The Nerd, sniffing back her horror, returns the camera to her bag.
So, the Khan family is acquainted with the relentless dust of Pakistan and is unable to see much of the view from eyes that are squinted and, in the case of the Nerd, full of angry, angry tears. The deafening sounds of the train drown out any further conversations that could be had.
By the time the train pulls into the Lahore station, the Khan family is covered in layers of dirt. To top things off, the Nerd must pee. She’s wanted to pee ever since the train left Islamabad but her fear of discovering what the bathrooms in the (shudder) rail car might look like, the Nerd has held it in for a very long time and is once again—surprise—on the verge of tears, for she must go very badly.
The Nerd and her mother make their way to the ladies’ room. Amma (Urdu for mother) tells the Nerd that she will wait outside as the Nerd walks into a stall.
What lies behind the door of the stall inspires more tears from our Nerd.
Sobbing, she walks out and tells her mother that the toilets are holes in the floor, that she’s NOT going to pee in a HOLE IN THE FLOOR!
So, the Nerd sobs, further annoying her amma and drawing stares from the shalwar kameez-clad travelers who have just walked into the restroom. An exasperated amma announces that she’ll accompany the Nerd to the toilet and together they can figure out how the Nerd will do what she has to in that stinky HOLE IN THE FLOOR!
Meanwhile, the women continue to listen, their faces studies in confusion.
So, amma slams the stall down behind her and her daughter and scolds the Nerd into peeing into the HOLE IN THE FLOOR!
The Nerd cries the entire time, first complaining that she simply cannot do it and then finally acquiescing but crying even harder.
The women still wait outside the stall, even though two other HOLES IN THE FLOOR are free. They are curious to see what in the hell is going on.
The Nerd looks at them and sheds some more tears.
In spite of this most hapless of starts to their Lahore expedition, and in spite of the fact that the Nerd, upon her arrival to Pakistan’s historical and cultural center, develops a fever and falls ill, the Khan family has only the fondest and the funniest memories of their vacation.
Oh, and the Nerd absolutely LOVED the fish she ate in Lahore and decided that it was almost worth the miserable journey to the city.
The family, it ought to be noted, took a first class train on their return journey to Islamabad.

Friday, February 03, 2006



I think I've made it pretty clear that I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day. Cupid could choke on a mitten full of heart-shaped chocolates for all I care; the world would probably be a better place for it. However, in these days leading up to Valentine's Day, I'm very curious to know how my readers feel about the holiday.
So, tell me: how do you feel about Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I realized today at the gym how bloody annoying "Take Me Home" by Phil Collins is. He sang "Take, take me home, cause I don't remember" until I was ready to take a dumbbell to the head. YOU KNOW WHAT, PHIL? YOU DON'T REMEMBER! AND SAYING IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN IS NOT GONNA HELP YOU REMEMBER. EFFIN' HELL!
I also realized how much the gym's choice of songs sucks.
Here are the lyrics for those of you who care:

Take that look of worry
I’m an ordinary man
They don’t tell me nothing
So I find out what I can
There’s a fire that’s been burning
Right outside my door
I can’t see but I feel it
And it helps to keep me warm
So i, I don’t mind
No i, I don’t mind

Seems so long I’ve been waiting
Still don’t know what for
There’s no point escaping
I don’t worry anymore
I can’t come out to find you
I don’t like to go outside
They can’t turn off my feelings
Like they’re turning off a light
But i, I don’t mind
No i, I don’t mind
Oh i, I don’t mind
No i, I don’t mind

So take, take me home
Cos I don’t remember
Take, take me home
Cos I don’t remember
Take, take me home
Cos I don’t remember
Take, take me home, oh lord
Cos I’ve been a prisoner all my life
And I can say to you

Take that look of worry, mine’s an ordinary life
Working when it’s daylight
And sleeping when it’s night
I’ve got no far horizons
I don’t wish upon a star
They don’t think that I listen
Oh but I know who they are
And i, I don’t mind
No i, I don’t mind
Oh i, I don’t mind
No i, I don’t mind

So take, take me home
Cos I don’t remember
Take, take me home
Cos I don’t remember
Take, take me home
Cos I don’t remember
Take, take me home, oh lord
Well I’ve been a prisoner all my life
And I can say to you

But I don’t remember
Take, take me home...


So, my relationship with Egyptian coffee guy--ECG, as I'll call him from here forward--took a turn for the weird today. I walked up to his cart, hawking up a lung (while the cold is essentially over, the nagging cough lingers) and struggled to order a medium coffee with skim milk and two Equals between my coughs. The following conversation ensued:

ECG: You still sick?
Me: (cough, cough) Yes. This has really been the worst cold of my life (cough, sniffle, slurp).
ECG: Climate change is what does it.
Me: (cough) EVERYONE in Pakistan was sick. I just caught it from the folks over there.
ECG: Climate. I go to Egypt and I'm fine. I come back and I'm so sick (shaking head). Last time, I was DEAD. I was NEAR DEAD. In bed for weeks.
Me: That's (cough, sniffle, cough) awful. That's bloody awful (cough).
ECG: You sound bad.
Me: (cough, cough, cough) It's getting better, actually. (slurp, sniffle, cough, cough, cough) I'm feeling a LOT (cough, cough) better than I was last week.
ECG: You want pills?
Me: Say (cough) wha (cough)? (Just for the record, I don't actually say "say wha?" in real life. I just threw that in here for comedic purposes. I AM NOT LYING TO YOU ABOUT THE DETAILS OF MY LIFE A LA JAMES FREY. Just embellishing for the sake of comedy).
ECG: Pills. Medicine. I have it (nodding and shrugging like he's just told me he used the Holy Grail as a book end on his shelf at home).
Me: (cough, surprise, cough) Oh, you don't say (cough).
ECG: I can bring it in, if you like.
Me: (not having the heart to tell him that I don't take drugs from strangers and...coughing) Wow! I'd really appreciate that!
ECG: I was so sick last two weeks ago. Near dead. I ate one pill before going sleep and I was fine (snapping fingers) like that!
Me: Is (cough) it (cough) an (cough) Egyptian (cough) medicine (cough)?
ECG: No, no (leaning towards me in confidence). It's from here.
Me: Great! I look forward to having some...of the...(cough, cough, cough, cough, cough) pills (thinking about how I WON'T sample the pills that my COFFEE GUY gives me). Thanks for the coffee! See you and THANKS AGAIN! BYE!

My ECG is the best CG EVER!
I'll keep you folks posted.