Friday, June 30, 2006

I DON'T CARE FOR...Nail Salons: Why the Nerd Stops to Smile Even Before the Manicurist Pulls Out a File

I hate getting manicures and pedicures.

I can feel precious minutes that could be spent on more productive endeavors being clipped away and brushed aside like fingernails and toenails. The vapid women’s and celebrity gossip magazines that nail salons offer bore me until I’m squirming in my chair, eager to be free of base coats and buffer blocks, cuticle pushers and cutters, nail polish and fingerbaths. The most excruciating part of the entire ritual, however, comes after my nails have been perfectly filed and painted: drying the polish to a hard and long-lasting gloss. Yes, the drying process is even more agonizing than the pressure of having to choose one or two colors from the hundreds of polishes that salons offer as time-pressed manicurists look on impatiently. I never know how long to expose my finger- and toenails to the six minute drying cycle (fan-only followed by heat plus UV light followed by fan-only). So I end up sitting through four or five cycles, looking on embarrassedly as women who start the cycle after me breeze out before me.

It all leaves me extremely distraught.


I could go for one of the following treatments right now (preferably the carrot & sesame body buff; sigh):


I'm bone-tired yet I can't fall asleep.
I don't even have the energy to write a haiku about insomnia.
Damn, that image is effed up.


I'm exhausted and need a timeout.
Please talk amongst yourselves.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Dear Annoying Gym Guy:

You look like an idiot wearing your khaki shorts, Hawaiian shirts and white socks that barely cling to your calves to the gym of all places. You look like an even bigger idiot when you start bopping your head and playing air guitar on the elliptical machine. When you do this, I don't know what I hate more: you or that poor excuse for a cardio workout machine. Plus, you smell funny, like you don't wash your Hawaiian shirts or (shudder) those khaki shorts. Try to take care of that, please.

The Nerd

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

JADE: Chapter 5

So, 10 year old SabilaK spent a lot of time setting up the story and introducing the characters in the first four chapters but, rest assured, the action (as well as the "spookiness"--young SabilaK's favorite word) begins in Chapter 5 of Jade.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

It was 11:50 and Zach and Todd were ready to leave. They had to go to Michael's room to get to the third floor (why?).

Todd followed Zach, singing a song to himself, loud enough to be heard in China (gosh, this is so 10 years old of me).

"Todd, will you shut up?" Zach whispered angrily to Todd.

"Don't blow up, cause I ain't gonna sing anymore," Todd said (Todd's so stoner chill; I really hope I don't kill him off).

They finally reached Michael's room and tiptoed upstairs (Michael's apparently living in a duplex). They reached the third floor to find Michael, Jim and Earnest.

"Hi guys," Zach greeted. "Where's Sean?"

"Sean is waiting for the girls from Lakewood and, oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, he's bringing Scott Johnson along," Mike said (it's apparent that I'm just throwing in random characters to be killed off by zombies at this a zombie version of Dynasty Warriors, with the zombies killing large quantities of Kettleburg U students).

Suddenly, the five boys heard something.

"Let's hide," Zach ordered.

Everyone scrambled to hide somewhere.

They heard footsteps followed by a door opening.

"Guys, it's us. Sean and Scott," they heard Sean's nervous voice.

"I knew it was you guys all along," Mike said smartly, as he got up from behind a large box (punk).

"Sure you did," Zach said, plainly (clearly, the Nerd was a fan of the adverb back in the day) annoyed.

"Well, I brought Scott, the book, chips, beer, and girls (doesn't all of this sound like a Budweiser commercial?). There were six girls standing behind Sean and Scott. "Guys, this is Betty, Jessica, Mary, Karen, Wendy and Elizabeth (Jesus. I'm imagining the requisite big breasted women in demure cardigans and poodle skirts).

"Sean, why is it so dark? Aren't there going to be any lights?" Betty asked (I imagine her already clinging to Sean's arm).

"Sure Betty. We have a flashlight," Sean answered (what an asshole).

"Hey, let's pass out the beer," Mike suggested.

"I don't drink," Zach said as Mike came towards him with a beer (Mike should know better than to offer his childhood friend who happens to be a teetotaler a beer).

Mike didn't answer and just walked away (jerk knows he doesn't drink! He's gonna act all pissy and disappointed now. Shoo!). Zach could see he was angry.

"Sit down everyone. Sit down as I read from this book...ah...," Sean started, "...Jade, the Mystical Power." He turned on the flashlight and began to read. "Jade was a power used ten thousand years ago to communicate with the spirit world, the world of the dead. It was named after a peasant girl. Her name was Jade (...since Jade was such a popular name among peasant girls at the end of the Ice Age...).

"How did they communicate?" Scott asked.

"Let me see," Sean said, turning the pages. "Here we are. It says everyone has to sit in a circle. Now, join hands and repeat after me: Dono apros aloo shanpar."

"Dono apros aloo shanpar," everyone repeated.

"Donts, carpon, lartusee, menk, sha--" the flashlight went out before Sean could finish (spoooooky). "There's something wrong with this thing," he complained.

Suddenly, a draft blew through the room.

"Ah, listen guys, we have to go and er...ah, study," Mary said nervously and before the guys could say anything, the girls quickly got up and left (I was so wrong about the floozies from Lakewood. They're not floozies at all. They may just be the most intelligent token big-breasted girls--if not the most intelligent characters, period--in a scary movie/story/novel. I was very obviously a feminist at 10).

All of the boys, except for Zach, started shouting at each other, arguing (about what exactly?). Zach sat back and stared at them innocently.

Michael turned around and looked at Zach. "I don't drink. Just give me milk in a bottle," he said, imitating Zach (seriously Mike, you punk, freakin' get over it already).

"Come on you guys, let's get back to our rooms, cause it's not anyone's fault those girls left. It's their fault. They don't know how to have any fun," Sean said.

"Yeah! That's right. It's THEIR fault," Mike said like a little boy (more like a despicable git).

They all returned to their dorm rooms and went to sleep.

(Okay, so there really wasn't any action in this chapter, after all...but I promise it's coming!)

*End of Chapter 5

Stalker Nerd??!

*A few years ago:

At the insistence of her only Pakistani friend, our Nerd grudgingly signs up to join, an online social network very much like Friendster and MySpace, but geared to young Muslims, looking for the same things as everyone else: friends and activity partners/soulmmates/etc, etc. She doesn't immediately upload pics or thoroughly describe herself in the section labeled "about me." However, she goes on once or twice a week to read her friend's original writing (Naseeb has a journal feature where members can write about whatever they please).

One day, while trolling around the site, our Nerd stumbles across the profile of a person, who shall remain unnamed, who did her wrong a few weeks earlier (sure, he wasn't right for her and sure she wasn't really that into him to begin with but, oh, the mortification of being beat to the "you aren't right for me" and "I'm not so into you" email was…well, it was mortifying). So, she becomes slightly obsessed with said person's profile on the site and calls her colleagues over so that they too can see the mug of the person who has done our Nerd wrong (or right, depending on how you look at it). Over the next couple of (ahem, several) days, she carefully studies person's profile, reads person's journal entries and canvasses person's friend's profiles.

Not too long thereafter, our Nerd has dinner with her Pakistani friend and proceeds to tell him about person-who-wasn't-right-for-her's profile on Naseeb and her mild but shortlived obsession with it.

Pakistani friend sits across the table from our Nerd, butter knife frozen over roll. "But you're not a paying member," he states.

"Ah, duh. The day I pay for that shit," she laughs.

Friend puts down knife and then puts down roll. Placing his hands on table, he leans forward in his chair. "You do realize that each and every time you visited his profile, your profile popped up in his "Who is Viewing Your Profile?" window.

The Nerd finishes chewing her roll and then very calmly asks, "And when you say each and every time, surely you don't mean each and every time."

"Oh no," Friend says, still sitting back, his eyes circles of shock now. "I mean EACH and EVERY time. And your screenname…"

She looks at him, hovering somewhere between laughter and tears.

You see, her screenname on the site is SabilaK.

Our Nerd laughs. Friend laughs.

The following day, our Nerd chooses to "pay for that shit" and become an official member of that site (with ability to invisibly browse profiles…ahem).

Monday, June 26, 2006


Clearly, my future offspring are screwed:


Sunday, June 25, 2006

JADE: Chapter 4

The Nerd's 17 year old story continues with chapter 4...

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3


Mike entered his dorm room. "Hey Jim," he called out to his roommate, Jim Dawson.

"Yes, Mike?" Jim asked in a low voice.

"Do you want to come with us to the third floor at midnight tonight?" Mike asked. "Sean is going to bring some girls from Lakewood and we are going to read a spooky book."

"I don't know Mike..." Jim said.

(C'mon Mike, pull the Nick card, pull the Nick card!) "Jim, you HAVE to come tonight, OKAY?" Mike said.

"Well, all right," Jim answered (wow, that didn't take much convincing. Clearly, Jim is a wuss).

Jim's family was in the construction business. Even though he was filthy rich, Jim didn't brag about his fortunes (a filthy rich wuss then. Apparently, one has to be a multi-millionaire to attend Kettleburg University, the all-boy's prep college. Where are the scholarship students, dammit?).

"What time do we hav to go?" Jim asked (someone needs to tell Jim that he doesn't HAVE to do anything. What a sad sack).

"Twelve midnight," Mike answered.

"Who's going to be there?"

"Sean, Todd, Zach, you, me and five or six girls."

"Can I ask Earnest to come too?" Jim asked (Jim is becoming lankier and more acne-ridden as I continue reading this chapter).

"Sure Jim," Mike answered.

Jim quickly dialed Earnest Pokamen's number. Earnest was Jim's best friend and a nerd like Jim. With his thick glasses and ugly clothes no one could believe that Earnest was the youngest son of Dan Pokamen, the owner of a chain of health clubs, who also had a perfect built (WHY is everyone a bloody millionaire???)!

"Earnest said he will come too," Jim said after haning up the phone.

"That's fine Jim," Mike said (since when has Mike been a man of such few words? He probably thinks he's too good for Jim. Jerk).

"You have to help me pick out my clothes for tonight," Jim continued (how Queer Eye for the Geek Guy).


Sean Robinson called up the last girl on his list, Betty (but is anyone called Betty anymore; like Bruce, it's a dead name), who said she would be glad to meet up if she could bring two of her friends with her. There were a total of six girls coming.

Finally he asked his roommate Scott Johnson if he would like to come along.

"Sure thing," Scott said (wow, the third floor spells P-A-R-T-Y for these sad losers).

Sean looked at his watch. It was 8:00 PM, exactly four hours to go to the third floor.

*end of chapter 4

Saturday, June 24, 2006


One of my brothers' closest friends, who is also a great friend of the family, is getting married in the winter. My brothers are groomsmen in the wedding. Sabahat received a plus one invitation, as did Shafaat. My parents received a seperate invitation addressed to both Mr. and Mrs. K.

It's all a great family affair, right?

Well, what about the SabilaK? What about our nerd? Is she invited to the wedding? If so, does she have to go as one of her brother's "plus ones" (a slightly humiliating prospect)? If not, is it assumed that she's the third wheel that will tag along with the Mr. and Mrs. (an even more humiliating prospect)? And what if her brothers have "plus ones" of their own to take to the shindig? What then?

Hell, what if the nerd has her own plus one? Is it that unbelieveable that she might have her own plus one by December?

I suspect she may boycott the wedding.


I made a mean sugar-free apple blueberry sorbet last weekend (pictured above) only to leave it in my brother’s freezer and totally forget about it. When I dropped by his place this morning he asked me when I planned on eating the sorbet and we removed the ice cream maker from the freezer to find that the surely delectable dessert was rock solid. I carried the bucket home and then spent a very long time scraping the sorbet out into bowls for my parents. After using several utensils to scrape the sorbet (a fork, a teaspoon, a tablespoon, a large plastic fork, a knife), I found the tablespoon to be the most efficient scraper. Even so, the entire process required me to walk away, wave and stretch my arms (I’ll tell you one thing…scraping rock solid sorbet hurts as much as any of my more challenging bicep routines), and read a few pages of a manuscript I need to get through by Monday before I could start the scraping all over again.

It was a pain in the ass.

My parents enjoyed the sorbet (or whatever the hell it ended up becoming) very much.

I’m never making sorbet again.

Friday, June 23, 2006

JADE: Chapter 3

During a rather lackluster week, my zombie thriller has provided great entertainment. While it inspires laughter now, I remember how serious I was about this story all those years ago, spending hours writing in bed at night, a pen gripped solemnly in my hand and the words written so fiercely that they almost bleed through the page. I loved this story then and, the truth of the matter is, that I still love it now (as much as I’ve slammed it in my previous posts). If nothing else, it shows that I had imagination.

So, here’s chapter 3 of “Jade” and because I'm feeling nostalgic and emotional, I'm not going to include any parenthetical comments. You can do that on your own.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

The bell finally rang. Psychology class was finally over. Zach got up from his desk and walked to the door.

Mr. Ross was talking about family problems and all that crap. It was just plain and simple boring boring boring. Zach wanted to just doze off when he got back to his room. Who knows, if he was tired enough he would sleep from 5:00PM to 6:00AM. He’d done that before.

Someone called Zach’s name from behind him. He turned around and saw Michael waving for him to come over.

“Zach, I have some news to tell you,” Mike said in an excited voice. “You want to come to the third floor with some of the guys?”

“Mike, the third floor is closed. No one’s allowed to go up there, not even the teachers,” Zach said.

“But this is going to be great,” Mike said nervously, afraid that Zach wouldn’t join them. “Sean is going to bring some chicks from Lakewood, you know what I mean? Sneak them in or something.”

“No way am I going to be a part of this. If we get caught, Dean Norwood is going to kick our asses. Anyway, I’m too bushed. I’m going to my room to get some sleep,” Zach said.

“Listen, I know you’re not a party animals but there’s always a first time,” Mike said. “You think sleeping is better than going to the third floor with chicks and reading a spooky book. You know what else? There are no lights on the third floor. We’re only going to have a flashlight. So, please Zach, come with us. Please, please, please,” Mike nagged like a child.

“No,” Zach said with a firm shake of his head.

“I bet if Nick was still alive, he would have come along,” Mike said sadly.
Zach knew that Mike had won again. Whenever he mentioned Nick, Zack would do whatever Mike begged for. After a long moment of silence, Zach nodded and said, “Okay,” so softly that he could hardly be heard.

But Mike’s ears were wide open, wide enough to hear Zach’s answer. “Yeeeeees!” Mike shouted. “Thanks bro,” he said with a smile. “Meet me on the third floor at 12 o’clock sharp.”

With a quick nod, Zach turned around and walked to his dorm room in the other building.

When he got to his room, he lay down on his bed and closed his eyes but opened them again in shock. Someone had turned on banging music on the stereo. His eyes fell on Todd, who was listening and singing along. Zach’s roommate was the wild type. Always going out on dates and driving fast cars, Todd was almost impossible to stand.

“Todd, turn the music down. I’m really tired,” Zach shouted over the pounding.

“Okay man, I’m turning it off,” Todd said flatly.

The son of the owner of the Chicago Art Museum, Todd Matthews wasn’t at all sophisticated. He just listened to music and didn’t pay attention to school at all!

“Hey Zach, are you going to the third floor tonight?” Todd asked.

“Yes, Todd. I am going to the third floor tonight,” Zach answered in a tired voice.

“Well, so am I!” Todd said eagerly. “It’s going to be awesome.”

Zach got up. He wouldn’t be able to get any sleep with Todd talking so much. “Todd,” Zach said, “I’m going to take a shower. You can play your music as loud as you wish. But when I get out, that stereo should be turned off. All right?”

“Sure man,” Todd answered as he turned his music on.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

JADE: The Second Chapter of a Zombie Thriller Written by Our Nerd at 10 Years Old

Wow. I have nothing to say except that this story sucks. Just remember that I was 10 when I wrote this, the second chapter of “Jade,” a zombie thriller unlike anything that you’ll ever read (well, for your sake, I hope it’s unlike anything you’ll ever read). Again, I’m including my own parenthetical, present day comments.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Sean Robinson walked into the library. He sat in his usual spot, at a table towards the back, thinking of what kind of book he wanted to read on that day. Not being able to decide, he walked to a shelf and pulled out the first book his hand fell on. This one had a raggedy cover. He pulled it out, curious, and was surprised by a tap on the shoulder. He turned around to find Mike Edwards. A twinge (good word for a 10 year old to know) of sadness hit him when he saw his best friend’s little brother (gosh. Mike sure does depress the hell out of everyone, which blows pretty badly since he seems to be such a happy go lucky guy, not at all hung up over Nick’s death). If Nick was still alive, he would have been a senior like Sean.

Mike was the spitting image of his brother. Sean knew that he was responsible for Nick’s death and could never get over the guilt (Sean: suicide is an option. Why do I feel like Sean will be the first casualty in this zombie thriller?). He was supposed to be his best friend’s ride home from the dance that night. But Sean was hurt about breaking up with his girlfriend (this is back when these prep college students were actually into girls. The homosexual undertones in this story are ridiculous), so he left early, forgetting all about Nick (what a bastard).

Everyone Nick knew had already left the dance. Nick was left with one choice and that was to hitchhike home (really? Was that really the only option? What would a smart, rich kid be doing hitching home anyway?). A drunk man in a station wagon picked up Nick. His car ended up crashing into a truck. The impact caused Nick to fly out of the car. The drunk man suffered only from a broken foot.

If only Nick didn’t have to hitchhike home that night…(damn straight. It’s ALL your fault, Sean, you murderer!).

Sean was distracted from his thoughts by Michael, who was making strange faces at him (Mike seems obnoxious).

“Earth to Sean?” Mike asked. “Sean, are you all right?”

“Oh yeah,” Sean answered, “just thinking.”

“I knew that,” Mike said with a smart look (what a prick. Nick would’ve probably hated his guts had he been alive). “Hey, that’s a raggedy (raggedy seems to be one of younger SabilaK’s favorite adjectives) old book you have there.”

“This actually sounds interesting. It’s called Jade, the Mystical Power (ahem).”

“This Jade sounds like one hot chick,” Michael said, whistling softly (I repeat: what a prick).

“Shhhhhh,” the librarian warned (bet the librarian is a dude too. Kettleburg University seems to be devoid of females. Interesting... )

“Jade isn’t a girl,” Sean explained as he skimmed through the book. “Jade is a power that was first used by a girl. According to this book, it was a force used in the old days to communicate with the spirit world.”

“Hey, hold it right there,” Mike said, raising his hands in the air. “Is that book spooky? (I want to kick Mike’s ass so badly. What an asshole).

“Well it does talk about the spirit world and all that crap (wow, I was such an eloquent writer back in the day),” Sean pointed out as he ran his hand through his brown hair.

“Well, I don’t want to hear about it right now. Why don’t you call all the guys to the old room on the third floor at midnight and we’ll take turns reading it (and then we’ll make out),” Michael said.

“Hey, that’s a good idea (it always starts with something that sounds like a good idea in zombie thrillers…). And maybe we can sneak some of the girls from Lakewood University in (This doesn’t mean that the guys aren’t gay. I’m guessing the girls from Lakewood are just the requisite big-breasted sluts in low-budget horror flicks). I hope the dean changes his mind about the “no girls in college” rule (well, it IS an all-boy’s prep college after all, Sean; this explains why even the librarian is probably a male),” Sean said sadly.

“Okay. You could call up five or six girls (it’s obvious that Mike’s isn’t happy about having girls over: he’s limiting the number PLUS he’s having Sean make the calls. What part of “guys” didn’t Sean understand? Gosh!) We’ll meet on the third floor at 12 sharp,” Mike said with a wicked smile.

“You’re on,” Sean said.

If only Nick was here, he thought again, watching Mike walk away (clearly Sean was more than a little in love with Nick)…

*End of chapter 2

JADE: The First Chapter of a Not-Very-Good Zombie Story from the Nerd's Childhood

After finding the undelivered letter to my cousin, posted below, I’ve become a bit obsessed with my old correspondences, notebooks, book reports, diaries, anything. I was looking through a box of old notebooks when I found one on the verge of disintegration. In it is a story called “Jade,” that I wrote when I was around 10 or 11 years old (additionally, on what’s left of the cover of the spiral bound notebook, I’ve drawn a pair of giant hearts that are linked together by a smaller heart. In the giant hearts, I’ve written in careful cursive letters “Christian Slater” and “Sabila K.”). The story, which I suspect is unfinished, consists of seven (not very good) chapters.

And now, for your reading (dis)pleasure, I present to you the first chapter of the zombie thriller “Jade”! I’ll try to keep my present-day parenthetical comments to a minimum.

A group of college students from Kettleburg University, an all boys prep college (what exactly is an all boys prep college?), find a way to communicate with the dead. Now the college doors are locked by a supernatural power, the phone lines are dead because of the hurricane that is raging outside and a terror caused by the mystical power of Jade is taking over.


Zach (because all cute boys back in the day seemed to be called Zach) Thompson, a junior at Kettleburg University was sitting outside campus (outside campus? What’s that?) and enjoying the autumn leaves that were on the ground around him.

Zach was a good looking blonde and had no trouble making friends. First of all, his family was one of the riches in all of NY and he was also one of the smartest guys at Kettleburg, which was located in Southern California (a hurricane in SoCal?). He wasn’t the snobby type, like some of his friends. He liked small towns instead of big cities. He enjoyed the country air instead of noisy streets and he liked trees instead of tall skyscrapers. He was a little old fashioned, but that was his style.

“Hi Mike,” Zach said as he saw his friendly but snobby friend.

A twinkle appeared in Michael Edwards’ green eyes when he heard Zach greet him.

“Hey Zach, how’s it going?” Mike asked with a childish look on his face (huh?) that made him look more like a high school freshman than a college freshman

Zach had always been like a big brother to Mike. They had grown up together despite the age difference. Ever since Michael’s older brother Nick died in a car crash, Zach had always stayed with him like Nick used to. Plus, Zach’s father, David Thompson, and Mike’s father, Marshall Edwards, were good friends and business partners.

Michael was spoiled by his family. He got everything he asked for. Ever since Nick died, he got more attention than ever. He usually caused trouble but was never struck by trouble itself (damn, that’s deep).

He always wanted to do with Zach did. Mike got into Harvard and Princeton but came to Kettleburg because Zach went to school there (how Felicity of him). He shopped at the same stores Zach shopped, got the same hair style that Zach had, and said everything that Zach said (how very single white female of him). It was a pain to Zach but he was used to his friend.

“Okay,” Zach responded to Mike’s question.

“Working hard as usual, Mr. Brain?” Mike asked as he pulled out a pocket-sized mirror and started to comb his black hair.

“Hey, look who’s talking. I wasn’t 15 points away from a perfect score on the SATs.”

“Well, excuse me,” Mike said with a funny look on his face. “I can’t help it if I’m smart, okay.”

“Har, har, har,” Zach joked. He looked at his watch and suddenly stood up. “Hey, I’m late for Psychology. Catch you later or Mr. Ross is going to blow a fuse.” He cursed at himself silently for being late as he ran towards the building, leaving Mike staring at him in disbelief (what’s so unbelievable about this anyway?).

Zach entered his psychology class right on time. As he took his place, he looked around at the small classroom. It was the same boys in the same building, and the same balding teacher. And then he realized that he would have to sit through the same 30 minutes of boring lectures.

*End of chapter 1. I’ll post the second chapter up tomorrow.

Monday, June 19, 2006


*The Nerd in Jr. High

I was digging through some of my old folders when I found a letter that I’d written to my cousin back in 1992. Back in the day, I was famous for writing long, detailed letters that I never mailed out. This one was meant to go to my cousin F, who was living in Pakistan at the time. I was 13 and, clearly, boy crazy. Read it and enjoy; I’ve included parenthetical comments:


Dear Pinky (that’s F’s nickname):

How are you?! Uncle Talat told me that you were waiting for my letter but I already sent one to you (yah, and by “I already sent one to you,” I actually meant that I’d written her a letter that was sitting in a sealed envelope somewhere in my room with no hopes of ever being mailed out)! It probably got lost in the mail, so I guess I’ll just write you a whole new letter!

I’m not sure if I’ve told you about this new series of books I’ve been reading called Sweet Dreams. I’ve only read the first two books in the series, Play Me a love Song and Backstage Romance. I’m keeping my eyes open for more Sweet Dreams. Guess what? I’m back into Sweet Valley High. I (insert a heart here) them. They really are the best! (Just for the record, I wasn’t only reading teeny bopper romances in elementary school. I started reading Stephen King in the 2nd grade—no joke—and was reading the classics. I swear. I don’t want this to tarnish my reputation)

Summer vacation started three days ago on the 10th. I got straight A’s on my report card and made first honors!

We went on four field trips this past year. We visited Newark Symphony Hall on the first field trip of the year. It was pretty boring because we had to listen to the orchestra play music and we saw Mr. Mezz, the 8th grade teacher sleeping! The second field trip was boring too because we went to Newark Symphony Hall again!!! But it was a little better than the first time (I wonder why it was better the second time around…).

Our third trip turned out to be a complete blast! We went to the New Jersey State Aquarium in Camden (Camden is a pretty scary town but Walt Whitman spent his final years there. We should’ve just visited his house. Sigh), which is south of Jersey City and very far away. It took us around two hours to get there but we had loads of fun on the bus (I remember that the sluttier girls were dancing and shaking their butts at passing vehicles). We saw so many different kinds of sharks and fish at the aquarium! Ilene’s mother, Mrs. Sosa, was the girls’ chaperone and she’s the coolest. Shazia, Roselle, Ilene, Irene, Rakhee, Rita, and Shafaq were in my group. When we were leaving the aquarium, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to find a group of BOYS (so, I’m going to put in caps everything that is underlined and bolded in my letter, since Blogger won’t let me format as such online) who looked like they were around 15 or 16 years old. We just kept on walking but then one of the boys, who was VERY CUTE, asked me for my number (I don’t see how this is possible. Surely, someone as cute as a button like Shafaq or Irene was standing next to me, and this guy wanted her number and I only thought that he was asking for my number. If only you could see my pics from this period of my life, you’d understand. Perhaps I’ll post one up). My friends and I giggled and continued walking. When we got outside the aquarium, we discovered that our group was the first one to complete the tour and we had to wait for the others to get done. While we were waiting, someone pinched Roselle on her BEHIND!!! (Hahahahahahahahah! Oh man, I remember this. She was LIVID). She was VERY angry. Mrs Sosa blamed us for everything, saying that we’d been acting like flirts, which I guess is true. My friends and I are usually quiet by ourselves but when we get together we act crazy. When boys at the aquarium walked by us, we giggled and this encouraged them to talk to us (Gosh, I make us sound like sluts. We were anything but sluts). For example, while we were waiting outside for the others, this one boy went down the row with us, asking each one of us if he could sit on our lap (to be honest, I was sitting last in the row and he sort of skipped over me). Of course we all said no! But I can see how our giggling might have made him want talk to us (ah, dur).

Later, we ate lunch in a park next door to the aquarium. Shazia, Roselle and I were eating together and these two OLD police officers walked by us and we, being in crazy moods, offered them some potato chips. Pretty soon we were talking to them like they were old friends (this, in retrospect, is a little creepy. I wonder these middle-aged cops could possibly have to say to 13 year old girls). As you can see, our field trip to the aquarium was lots of fun.

While our final field trip wasn’t as good as the one to the aquarium, it was funny because of one incident. On this trip, the 6th and 7th grades walked to Liberty State Park (because Catholic schools are poor as shit). Once we got to the park, my friends Shazia, Roselle, Arshia, Rita and I were pretty bored, so our teacher, Ms. Sobers, took the five of us exploring. We walked, speed walked, and jogged around the park (I can only imagine how out of breath I must’ve been). We saw a replica of Henry Hudson’s ship, The Half Moon. We also jogged past this large barge and saw a very CUTE guy working inside the barge (I still remember what this dude looked like. He had a long scar that went from his left temple to the left side of his chin. He was handsome in spite of it). On our jog back, we discovered that the barge was actually a museum. Ms. Sobers asked the guy if admission was free (I suspect she was kicking it to him) and he said that it was but he had to drop something off somewhere and so, we’d have to wait for him to return before we could get in. He had the nerve to leave us standing there as he STROLLED away (doesn’t seem like Ms. Sobers’ kicking it to him was very effective). He was gone forever and, when he returned, he was licking a popsicle.

The first thing we saw when we entered the museum was a very large structure in the corner. It was very strange and looked like a giant slinky (for real. It was a contorted giant slinky). We asked popsicle guy if the structure symbolized something and he said “Nope.” We asked him if the metallic tubes attached to the top of the structure were chimes and he said “Nope.” We asked if the metallic tubes or the structure made sounds, if it was a musical instrument and he said “Nope” (seriously, what a bloody jackass). Finally, Ms. Sobers asked him if he was eating a popsicle. He smiled and said “Yes.” What an idiot (I’m glad that, even back in the day, I could recognize a jackass/idiot) And then he started asking us questions:

TOUR GUIDE who knows what a barge is?
We were quiet until Roselle said: a very big thing. (clearly, we were trying to be cheeky)
TG: What kind of a big thing? What does it do?
Sabila: It transports things.
TG: Right! What does it transport?
Rita: People?
TG: Would you like to be lying in a barge with 50,000 people? I don’t think so.
Sabila: Goods.
TG: Exactly. Now, what pulls a barge?
Shazia: A boat.
TG: What’s a boat?
Rita: A piece of wood that floats on the water (to Ms. Sober’s chagrin, we were all cracking up and playing along).
TG: (he explains what a boat is) So, what pulls a barge?
Roselle: Er…A boat?
TG: Do you really think that a regular little boat could pull a barge across the river to New York? I don’t think so.
Shazia: A speed boat?
TG: Um, no.
Rita: A tug boat?
TG: Exactly!

As you can see, we were acting very dumb and were cracking up the entire time. But I haven’t even told you about the funniest part of the day!

TG: Let’s go see the captain’s quarters. The captain’s quarters are where the captain sleeps during the voyage.

We followed him to an extremely small room. There was a very small bed crowded in the corner and popsicle guy sat down on it.

TG: What’s your name?

I thought that he was asking all of us, so I turned to Rita, who was first in line, expecting her to say her name first. But Rita didn’t say anything. When I turned around to look at the tour guide I saw that he was asking me.

TG: What’s YOUR name?

Sabila: Oh. Sabila.

TG: What a beautiful name. Come and sit next to me, Sabila.
He was patting the space next to him on the bed. I sat down next to him as he described how the captain and his entire family slept on that tiny little bed. The bed was hard and it hurt my behind. I saw Roselle cracking up, trying to make me crack up. I started to giggle and turned my face away from the guide towards the wall so that he couldn’t see that I was cracking up (if I remember correctly, we were all on the verge of dissolving into giggles for the duration of our time in the barge). I guess he noticed because the next thing he said was, “You can go back to your friends now if you’d like.”

It was a complete blast! Yo! It’s 1AM and I have to go to sleep. I guess this letter was all about field trips! Hope I didn’t bore you too much (ahem. I’m almost glad it didn’t make its way to her). I miss you and please write me an equally long letter!

Love ya (Love ya? Seriously?)
barf bag)

PAKISTANDARDS: Pakistani Vegetarianism?

Our nerd holds a bowlful of cholay earlier this evening as her family chows down on a meat-heavy Pakistani dinner.

There is no such thing as Pakistani vegetarianism. There is only cholay (curried chickpeas). This dish has saved me from going hungry or pathetically nibbling on plain naan and salad at many Pakistani parties. There are times when I, craving variety and effort on the part of our host(s), find myself getting sick and tired of cholay, even hating the dish a little bit.

But that's wrong. Because cholay's been there for me...and I appreciate that.

Thank you cholay, for everything.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

HEAVENLY BODIES: Endangererd Skies and the Nerd's Teeny-Bopper Summer Romance That Never Was

The dark and starry night is endangered and one of the world’s leading academic organizations studying light pollution has predicted that the last truly dark areas in the US will be gone by 2025. The National Park Service’s Night Sky Team, comprised of three people, travels from national park to national park, studying some of the darkest skies in the country, assessing light pollution and gathering data that might increase awareness of the problem (who really is aware of the problem? I, for one, was not before reading about it in this summer’s double issue of National Geographic Adventure) as well as help lobbyist push for better lighting laws.

Back in the summer before senior year of high school—yes, during those wonderful awkward days of our nerd’s life—I spent six weeks in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, in a summer program for smart kids. The highlight of the program was a weekend of canoeing and camping in the Pine Barrens. The highlight of the canoeing and camping weekend was the second night, when we decided to forgo our tents and, instead, slept under the night sky in our sleeping bags.

It was one of the most spectacular experiences of my life. The vast stretch of celestial sky seemed to go on forever all around me and I easily lost sense of where the heavens and the earth met. Hundreds of thousands of scintillating stars surrounded me, closer and more real than I’d ever experienced them in my life, while the voices of the kids on either side of me seemed to float from space like phantoms. The ground dropped away and I could’ve been flying, my pillow person clutched to my side—

Oh right.

I took my pillow person with me to Lawrenceville.

I also took my pillow person with me on the camping trip.

It rode with me in the canoe.

It slept with me in my sleeping bag.

Yes, I was a loser.

I was also a hormonal teenager and, keeping company with boys my own age for what was, sadly, the first time, I had high hopes for that summer. Like the heroine of a teeny-bopper romance, I fully expected to fall in love with and KISS some preppy Caucasian boy from suburbia, ideally one who played football and/or soccer, was gifted with the social skills that I lacked, was on NHS and student council, read the classics, tanned easily, and would see me for the swan that I was. Ahem.

Suffice to say, the frizzy hair, big-ass spectacles and the extra 30-40 pounds weren’t helping my cause. That pillow person, however, was what did it, slamming the door shut on any possibilities for teeny-bopper love………

Right…getting back to light pollution. Not being able to see the stars would suck. Unfortunately, James Vlahos’ illuminating (okay, bad pun) article, “Night Rangers,” doesn’t seem to be available online but I’ll dig around some more for you folks. It’s a good article and you should read it.


Donald Hall is the nation's new poet laureate. While I'm not familiar with his work, a Washington Post review of "The One Day," a book-length poem published in 1998 cites the following as the climactic line of the work:

"Work, love, build a house and die. But build a house."

I think that's beautiful.

I must purchase "The One Day."

Read more about Donald Hall here:


...who's with me?


So, the other day, I'm on the phone with an audio publisher and somehow we start talking about alcohol and I mention that I'm a teetotaler. He says, "You don't need alcohol, Sabila; you're flirtatious enough without it."

My response: "Oh."

Well. I guess I'm a bit of a flirt then. Ahem.


I took an elective music class in college, which intorduced me to John Cage, the avant-garde composer of the last era. I’m sure many people have been as blown away as I was by, among his many strange works, the provocative and legendary silent piece, 4’33”, which pushes the envelope, forcing the audience to reexamine the very definition of music. Check it out here:

In this week’s issue of The New Yorker, Alex Ross writes brilliantly about Morton Feldman, who was, not only a fast friend of John Cage but, was also one of the major 20th century composers (Ross describes him as“…a hard-core avant-gardist to the end”).You can read the article here:

Ross writes of Feldman:

The often noted paradox is that this immense, verbose man wrote music that seldom rose above a whisper. In the noisiest century in history, Feldman chose to be glacially slow and snowily soft. Chords arrive one after another, in seemingly haphazard sequence, interspersed with silences. Harmonies hover in a no man’s land between consonance and dissonance, paradise and oblivion. Rhythms are irregular and overlapping, so that the music floats above the beat. Simple figures repeat for a long time, then disappear…Certain later works unfold over extraordinarily lengthy spans of time, straining the capabilities of performers to play them and the audiences to hear them…

Naturally, I downloaded some of Feldman’s compositions—“Three Clarinets, Cello, and Piano,” “Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety,” and “The King of Denmark”—and they are uncanny and bizarre, vast yet spare and hauntingly beautiful. Like Ross says, for Feldman “The sounds animate the surrounding silence” and that with the composer’s works “we are in the region of Wallace Stevens’s ‘American Sublime,’ of the ‘empty spirit/In vacant space.'

If you are at all interested, click here for a few samplings of Feldman’s works:

Thursday, June 15, 2006


My friend surprised me with tickets to an Arctic Monkeys show at Roseland Ballroom last night and it was spectacular. And I’m not saying that just because it was my first time.

Shock! Gasp! Horror!

Yes, dear reader, I speak the truth. It’s a lame truth, but I speak it anyway and fully expect you to do one of two things once you’ve fully comprehended this truth: laugh or shake your head in disappointment. What can I say? I was sheltered in my youth and didn’t necessarily dabble in all of the “football-and-apple-pie”-ness of Americana.

So, last night, standing amidst a sea of teenagers—preppy, punk, geeky, they were all represented—a few soccer moms and small clusters of grups, I took in the thick smell of sweat commingled with smoke and smiled as I was pleasantly jostled. A band called We Are Scientists opened for the Monkeys and while I had no idea who they were before last night, they were a fun band.

As for the Monkeys, I was quickly able to get over the fact that they look like fourteen-year-olds because they put on a most excellent show, starting off with “Riot Van” and finishing with “A Certain Romance.” They were up there for about an hour and had the swagger of seasoned professionals. I had such a good time that, in spite of the fact that, by the end of the night, I’d been on my not-the-most-comfortable-shoed feet for over two hours, dancing to the music, I felt amazing. I was positively bouncing on my way home.

Special shout out to my friend M for the show! You rock! I can only hope that some of your coolness will eventually rub off on me.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Clearly, you guys aren't so into Sophie/Sebastian.

Monday, June 12, 2006


So, I was summoned to my brother's place at 5:30 this morning (yes, you read that correctly...5:30AM) because Sophie/Sebastian had cried all night, keeping S, my brother, up. S tried to calm the kitten down for hours and hours: he fed it more food, reasoned with it, even turned on the radio for it, but nothing worked. S finally decided to let the kitten loose in the bathroom, but it just ran around, crying and distressed. When I got to his place, Sophie/Sebastian was still meowing heartbreakingly. Sitting down on the bathroom floor, I picked up the kitten, wrapped it up in my sweater and held it in my arms. Sure enough, it stopped crying and started kneading my sweater. Kittens knead upon receiving a signal from their mother that she is ready to suckle. When kneading, a kitten is using its paws to draw out milk.

Clearly, Sophie/Sebastian had been crying for its mother the entire time.

Anyway, we let the kitten run around my brother's bedroom and, eventually, relinquished it to Dorothy, the cat rescuer who lives in the building next door to us. According to S, Dorothy runs a no-kill cat shelter by the Liberty Science Center and was thrilled to have this new kitten to foster. Plus, she's agreed to call it Sophie/Sebastian (depending on the gender, of course).

I'm still awaiting pics of the kitten from S and will post them up as soon as I have them. Anyone interested in adopting the little girl/guy?

Sunday, June 11, 2006


I received a frantic phone call from my brother at circa 8:30, telling me to come downstairs to the parking lot asap, that the kitten had returned. I ran downstairs. The kitten (photo TK) was adorable, approximately 4-5 weeks old and meowing to the high heavens, demanding food. We tiptoed and whispered around it in the darkness. I placed a canful of catfood in the kitty carrier that K had left with us and placed the carrier by the blue Toyota of which the kitten seemed so fond.

Drawn to the oceanfish variety of canned cat food, the kitten approached the carrier slowly, crouched low to the ground. It eyed us for a moment before proceeding to examine the carrier, trying to figure out how to get inside. Then it gingerly stepped inside the carrier. Holding my breath, I waited until I saw the last bit of its tail float into the carrier and, slowly, I approached it. Swooping down, I threw the door closed and almost had it but the kitten managed to push past the door and, before I knew it, it was on the other side of the fence, meowing vexedly.

My heart was ready to explode and, honestly, I was on the verge of an anxiety attack at this point. I hadn't realized just how young this kitten was and now that it was outside the lot, I felt afraid for its safety. My brother asked me to pull myself back from the anxiety attack that I was on the verge of and I had to double over for a little while and take in some deep breaths.

"Okay, now, when the kitten goes inside the cage, throw the blanket in"--the carrier came with a little blue blanket--"pick up the cage at an angle and shut the door," my brother instructed.

I nodded and, after repositioning the carrier and waiting for several anxious minutes, we heard the kitten's meows again and, soon, it was peeking out from behind the blue Toyota's tire. This time, it made its way swiftly to the carrier and I tiptoed over even though her tail was still poking out of the door. Following my brother's instructions, I managed to trap the kitten! Success!

So, now the kitten, whom I will recommend be called Sophie if it's a girl and Sebastian if it's a boy is in the kitty carrier at my brother's place. At first the poor thing was shaking in its boots, it was so scared but pretty soon, I was feeding it cat food with a plastic fork through the carrier door and it ate enthusiastically. If either my brother or I stepped out of the living room, Sophie/Sebastian would cry out for us!

Anyway, as much as I'd love to keep the little gal/guy, my Zanadune would not be happy at the arrangement and will surely eat her new friend. Plus, throwing a new cat into my household would probably kill me (remember, I'm allergic). My oldest brother can't keep the kitty because he, too, is allergic and my other brother (the one who helped me rescue the cat) might also be allergic and doesn't think he can take on the responsibility of adopting a cat.

Sophie/Sebastian is spending the night at my brother's place and tomorrow will be delivered to Dorothy, a cat rescuer who lives in the building next door to ours. I will help Dorothy find a home for the kitten, so if anyone's interested, contact me. I'll post up pics I've taken of the kitty soon. The kitten's precious.


So, I had no luck finding the (phantom) kitten on my third trip to the parking lot. I hope it's all right, wherever it is. I often wish I had the ability to communicate with animals like St. Francis of Assisi or Dr. Doolittle so that I could reassure them that I always come in peace. Wasn't there a superhero that could communicate with animals, as well, or am I making that up??? Anyone? Anyone?

Naturally, I was feeling very sad and dejected as I stepped into the elevator to return home. I went to hit my floor, when lo and behold, what do I see next to the button for floor 19 but a tiny black ladybug, looking grossly out of place. The ladybug was lovely with one red dot on either side of it but it looked distressed as it attempted to navigate the rough terrain of floor buttons 1-22. Being empty handed, I had nothing to pick the ladybug up with until, scanning the floor, my eyes fell on the corner of a candybar wrapper that some inconsiderate litterbug had dropped carelessly. I'd never been happier to find litter in my life. Picking up the little piece of wrapper (it was no more than a couple of inches), I put it in the ladybug's path and she stepped onto it without a hitch. Holding the wrapper in my right hand, I cupped my left hand under it and watched as the bug sped back and forth, from edge to edge, wondering what it'd gotten itself into.

I rode the elevator back downstairs and released the ladybug onto the leaf of a tree in the parking lot.

Finally, sweet success!


Concluding that the kitten was likely napping somewhere, we decided to reconvene in an hour. I couldn't help but feel annoyed with my brother. Not only had he been willing to leave the kitten alone last night but his decision to feed it before K's arrival was a bad one as well; the kitten had no reason to show itself until it was hungry now. Of course, I should've been available for my expertise in the field last night, but I'm not available 24/7. What do they think I am? PETA?

My brother, K, her kids and I did, in fact, reconvene at 4:00. The security chief met me at the entrance as I was heading out, shaking his head and appearing downhearted. "I checked for the kitten three times. No sign of him, sweetheart." The five of us walked around the perimeter of the lot for another 45 minutes, following sounds that we swore were the cries of a kitten. The little guy, however, didn't materialize.

"You should've tried grabbing it while it was eating earlier," I told my brother, sighing as we, once again, sat on the curb, our eyes peeled for the furball.

"Sabila, you're the cat lady of the family. You know I'm not so skilled in this whole rescue thing," he said, sadly.

"I'm the animal lady, S," I told him. "I'm an equal opportunity rescuer...and, you know what, with the amount of animals in distress that cross our path, we should keep a giant net handy."

He thought about this for a while and then nodded. "Hmm. That would be a wise investment."

Getting up from the curb, I decided to crawl around the parking lot for a little while longer while my brother exited the lot and walked across the street to check for the kitten there. K and her kids continued calling out for it. But no luck. K had to eventually get back home but she left us with the kitty carrier, just in case the kitten returned later on during the day.

I'll keep you guys posted.


Yes, readers, this animal rescue attempt is currently underway.
Allow me to give you the details.
Earlier this afternoon, circa 1:45, I was returning home from having spent the night in NYC. Walking towards the entrance of my apartment building, I noticed that my mother and brother were standing towards the back of the parking lot; they motioned for me to join them when they saw me.

"Hey guys, what's going on?" I asked, concerned.

My brother brought a finger to his lips, asking me to keep it down. "Look over my shoulder," he instructed.

A few yards away, sitting next to the tall fence by where the lot abutted the sidewalk, was the tiniest greaseball of a kitten. It was busily eating cat food that my mother had brought downstairs.

I barely had a chance to say "Ohhh," when both my mother and brother launched into the story. My brother was heading out to dinner the previous night with his friend K, when they heard the cries of the kitten. Upon further investigation, they located the kitten but, in spite of their best efforts, couldn't grab it. K wanted to take the kitten home. My brother was apparently trying to get in touch with me all the while but, alas, my phone had been switched to silent mode. Now, K wished to continue her pursuit of the kitten but my brother insisted that they go to the restaurant (I'm still upset about this). They did, however, leave food for the kitten before heading out.

Anyway, by the time I came upon the kitten, my brother had already called K who was heading over with her kids and a kitty carrier to sweep it away to a happier life with two feline siblings. The three of us watched as the kitten devoured the cat food and scurried under a blue Toyota.

"Wait, where's it going?" I asked, alarmed.

"Oh, don't worry, that car is the kitten's hiding place. It was running under it all night."

Not convinced, I handed my bag to my mother, dropped to the ground and peered under the car. The kitten wasn't there.

"It's not there," I called out.

"What do you mean it's not there? We just saw it go under!" my mom exclaimed.

"It's not under this car," I repeated.

"How about under the next car over?" my brother asked.

I spent a good five minutes flat on my belly, peering under the rows of cars on either side of the blue car. The kitten was nowhere to be found.

K drove in with kids in tow as soon as I got up off the ground. The three of them were crestfallen when we broke the news to them but recovered quickly, as they were determined to help us find the stray. The six of us swarmed the east side of the parking lot, the side that according to my brother and K, the kitten was partial to. The bright, beating sun and the whipping wind both alternated the roles of friend and foe as we walked stealthily, squatting down to look under cars. As street lights and flags on poles danced and squeaked in the wind, every sound we heard seemed to mimic a kitten's cry. We ran from one end of the lot to the other in pursuit of phantom cats. When K started to meow like a kitten, trying to draw our little stray from its hiding place, I pushed her aside, lay on the ground by the blue Toyota and started to meow like a mother cat. Wouldn't a kitten be more drawn to the cries of its mother? We called the head of security in our building so that he could locate the owners of the two cars we suspected the kitten could be hiding in--the blue Toyota and a brown van. The owner of the van was kind enough to come downstairs, pop the hood and honk the horn a couple of times. There didn't seem to be a kitten hiding in the car to scare out in the first place. Because the owner of the Toyota wasn't home, we decided to shake the car a little, causing the alarm to go off. Again, the kitten didn't seem to be in that car.

So, the seven of us (head of security included) sat on a curb, trying to come up with our next move. It was 3:00, well over an hour since I'd returned from the city and my stomach had long been protesting its emptiness (I, SabilaK, breakfast's #1 fan, hadn't eaten that most scrumptious first meal of the day). Keeping my eyes at ground level, I willed the cat to materialize so that I could finally go home and eat. But, still, it remained hidden.

To be continued...

Friday, June 09, 2006


Dear People at the Scene of an Accident:

Get it together. You’re an embarrassment to humanity and you often make me sick to my stomach.

While no one particularly wants to see the crumpled body of an elderly woman who’s just been hit by a truck, you have two choices: either be hysterical at a good distance from the victim or take a deep breath, calm yourself down and then help us tend to the victim. Don’t cry out to no one in particular to call 9-1-1 while standing over the victim. You’ve joined us at the scene approximately 5 minutes after the accident. It’s safe to assume that a few of the dozens of people lingering on the sidelines have called for help. Also, try not to call out “She’s not dead! She’s breathing!” Chances are that the poor woman is already freaking out, seeing that she’s had a truck knock the teeth out of her mouth and leave her unconscious and all. I suspect that your utterance of the d-word as you hover over her is not appreciated.

Now, I’d like to talk to nannies at accident scenes: you are NOT getting paid to show your wards bloody people, so please move right along before I slap you. Such scenes are often too awful for an adult to stomach and yet you, in your infinite wisdom, are exposing a child to it? You better believe that ES and I blocked your view earlier today. You are an ignorant git and shouldn’t be allowed around children or accident scenes. It would probably be in the best interest of the greater population to lock you in a closet and throw away the key.

Finally, it’s just you and me, camera-phone-photographer-of-other-people’s-pain, otherwise known as you-no-good-bastard. How dare you pull out your cell phone and snap photos of a woman who has just been mowed down by a TRUCK and is lying motionless in her own blood? Have you no shame? The next time I see you pulling such a cold-hearted, insensitive and stupid act, I swear I will grab that phone from your hands, probably smack you upside the head with it before running to the west side and chucking it into the Hudson River. You make me sick. Really you do.

Get it together, you jerks.



DEAR READERS: this isn't a haiku

Alternating between knitting five rows and reading ten pages is consuming my life.
Please note, neither the woman nor the child in the above photo is your nerd. Just FYI.

DEAR READERS: A (pretty lame) haiku

I've neglected you
by not posting yesterday.
My apologies.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


So, I was going to post up the following pic of my nose and write about the history of nose piercings in the Asian Subcontinent and how important my nose pin is to me (I was paying homage to all of my female ancestors and to the rich culture from which I come, on that warm winter day in Miami four years ago, as I sat before a skinny, thoroughly pierced and tattooed young man who held a very long and thin needle between his fingers at an establishment called The Moshpit).
But I'm not going to do it now because I'm already half asleep.
I'll save that for another time.

I spent most of the night sitting up in bed with Zanadune, alternating between knitting and reading George Orwell's "Why I Write" (5 rows of knitting followed by 10 pages of reading); at one point Aimee Mann's cover of "One" started playing on my Mac and it was just perfect. Because I was knitting and reading Orwell with my cat sleeping next to me and it wasn't lonely at all. It was quite wonderful.

Don't listen to the lies: one isn't the loneliest number that you'll ever do.

And now I sleep.

Monday, June 05, 2006


I'd like to chuck the following pick-up line right into the "things best expunged from memory" wastebasket:

"I can make you number 96, baby..."

Pardon me.
Your Nerd.

Clearly, more guys need to read the following book:


Just for the record, I HATE flossing.
I do it because it is, after all, the right thing to do.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


On my way to work last week, I found myself standing next to a former high school classmate on the train. I debated saying hello to her but decided against it because who really wants to be cornered into a conversation during her morning commute? I, personally, don't mind (just for the record) but I didn't want to bother her, so I went back to reading my New Yorker. A little while later, unable to restrain myself--and throwing all morning commuter etiquette to the tracks--I tapped her on the shoulder (you must understand, I hadn't seen this girl in nine years):

Me: Excuse me. Did you go to (insert high school name here)?
Former high school classmate: Yes.
Me: (insert girl's name here)!
Former high school classmate (nonplussed)
Me: It's me...Sabila.
Former high school classmate: Sabila! I didn't recognize you AT ALL!
Me (sighing with relief): Yah, I used to wear glasses...

Thank goodness for small miracles.


...(Yes, I HATE, because I don't like saying "I don't care for..." anymore; because the fact of the matter is that I either hate or I love...not too many things fall in the in between for me; because I don't want to mince my words) living with other people.
I'm a person who appreciates quiet time and I don't get enough of it.


It's taking years off of my life.
It bloody sucks.
It sucks ass.

Friday, June 02, 2006

RESCUE ME?: The True Story of Yet Another (Failed) Animal Rescue Attempt

Back in March, I posted a blog entry entitled “Rescue Me?” in which I described my exhaustive, day long efforts to rescue a duck that appeared to be injured as it sat, stone still, in my building’s parking lot. After having called my cat’s veterinarian, a couple of animal shelters, the Office of Fish & Wildlife, the police department and the fire department, I finally paged a PETA volunteer in DC, who encouraged me to trap the duck in a large box and transplant it to the nearest park. Emboldened, I emerged from my building with a giant, empty computer box in hand, determined to take care of the situation once and for all…only to find that the duck had flown away. At the same time, the PETA volunteer was calling a duck expert in South Jersey—who, unlike Fish & Wildlife, didn’t close shop for the weekend (I’m still bitter about that)—to figure out what was wrong with our duck…the short answer to the question: nothing, apparently. Ahem.

Well, dear reader, that wasn’t the only time I went to absurd measures to rescue an animal. I do it all the time. I find it impossible to walk away from an animal that I think is in trouble. What's more, my eyes are always on the ground, peeled for animals in distress. Seeing that these animals are rescued becomes something of an obsession. Whatever I happened to be doing is pushed aside and I, putting on my blinders to everything else, shift into rescue mode. This single-minded approach to animal rescue has been a source of great vexation for my family and friends. They often have to suffer through the hours of rescue with me and usually end up pretending they don't know me.

To illustrate what I mean, I want to share with you the story of the night I spotted a dog that was lost and/or abandoned and distressed, sitting outside the Newport Mall Path Station. My friends—who aren’t very fond of animals—and I had just finished eating dinner and together, we were walking to Starbucks.

Me (squinting): Is that a dog?
Friend #1: Yep, that's a dog.
Me (still squinting): What's it doing out here alone? It doesn't look like a stray.
Friend #2: Looks like it's waiting for someone
Me: I think it's lost. Oh no!
#1: I'm thirsty. I want coffee.
Me: I can't just leave the poor dog here. Gosh, look at its doggy-brows. They're knitted together with concern. And those eyes are so heavy with sadness.
#1: we go again...
Me: You guys want to go to Starbucks now? Seriously?
#2: Yah (walking away).
Me (still looking at the dog): Hey doggie, doggie, doggie. Come here boy, come here, come to SabilaK (yes, at this point, I'm naive enough to think that the dog, sensing that I'm a vegetarian animal activist looking out for its best interest, will trot right over to me. This, I quickly learn, is a pipe dream. The dog ends up looking at me suspiciously out of the corner of its eye. I've, very quickly, become the enemy. Crap.)!

I talk to the vendors who've been in the area all day; I ask them questions to help me determine from where the dog came. They can't tell me much beyond the fact that the dog has been in the same spot, its sight frozen in the direction of the PATH station as long as they've been there. Figuring that this is all I'm going to get from these vendors who don't seem to give a rat's ass about the dog, I try approaching the animal slowly and manage to go in close enough to see that its wearing a collar with a tag. However, I'm forced to retreat when it starts to growl at me.

Next, I decide to call my friend, colleague, fellow vegetarian and dog lover, ES. I'm happy to hear someone just as concerned as I am. She suggests that I try to lure the dog with dog food, whild she Googles the numbers of local animal shelters that might be able to assist me. I run to a nearby deli--after first asking the few remaining vendors to keep an eye on the sweet dog--and buy a small bag of Purina Dog Chow as well as a package of styrofoam bowls. Back by the station, pedestrian traffic is heavy on this lovely evening and I wonder about the peculiar picture I must paint for them: all done up in a Friday night getup, I kneel on the sidewalk, filling a bowl with dog food, all the while cooing to a dog that is very clearly frightened of me. Thankfully, ES calls me back right then and I'm relieved to talk on the phone and appear preoccupied, even normal. As we've suspected, all of the animal shelters are closed for the evening so, once again, I am on my own. I make a few desperate phone calls to my family, begging them for advice. Each person I speak to wonders out loud how it is that I ALWAYS find myself in these situations. Each person I speak to recommends that I give up, bloody leave the poor dog alone and join my friends at Starbucks. I hang up on each person.

The stupid dog still isnt' coming anywhere near me. The vendors are laughing at me. The pedestrians are giving me funny looks. Frustrated and near tears, I ask for divine inspiriation. I even channel St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, for guidance, dog treats, the ability to talk to the dog, ANYTHING!

What do I get? Friends #1 and #2 step out from Starbucks, wearing matching sheepish grins and swearing that they are ready to help me in anyway possible. I'm still a bit pissed at them for abandoning me but I take their help, which doesn't involve much more than #1 shaking the bowl of Dog Chow a bit and #2 stading next to me with her arms crossed and nodding as I tell her what they've missed so far. For what it's worth, I appreciate their show of support. They also genuinely awww over the poor dog, who's still the image of sadness and anxiety. It's also still growling at me as I approach him.

Friend #2: Is it growling at you? Doesn't it know that you want to help it?
Me: No, I'm the enemy apparently.
Friend #1 (as I get closer to the dog, dog food in hand): Be careful. It might be rabid.
Me (pausing): Great, thanks. The thought of this dog going all Cujo on me is...inspiring.

Suddenly, the dog leaps up as if it's decided that it does want to go all Cujo on me. I shriek. However, instead of taking a bite out of my neck, the dog runs past me and down the long stretches of sidewalk in the Newport area of the city.

Friends #1 and #2 (in unison): Oh no! It's getting away!

I don't have time to comment. I've already started running down the sidewalk and into the darkness after the dog. Yes, I'm trying to run in my heels. Yes, my hair at this point is a frizzy mess. Yes, my makeup is melting and streaked. And, yes, the dog is running as if its life depends on it.

I can't catch the dog, especially not in my heels. I walk back to Friends #1 and #2, a little out of breath but not entirely dejected. We run to Friend #2's car in the lot and proceed to crawl through the streets, looking for the sweet dog.

But it's too late. The dog has run off into the darkness and I've failed, yet again, to rescue an animal.