Posts Tagged With: Books

It Is A Truth Universally Acknowledged That When One Is In Need Of A New Pair Of Pants No Store Within A 300 Mile Radius Will Have A Single, Solitary Pair In Your Size…

By Kiki Keane

Ugh! I’ve dropped several dress sizes this year, which means that I have to do the thing I dread the most: Shop. I hate shopping. I really, really do. I thought I would love it. I thought things would be easier. Sad truth is, it still takes going to every store within a 300 miles radius to find a single pair of jeans in my size! Where did they all go? Everything below an 8 that does not show one’s ass-crack or cut off one’s circulation have disappeared from the shelves of New Mexican stores. Also, size 6 shoes. They have all vanished. I suspect everyone has been replaced by body snatching pod-people with large feet. Or maybe (Gulp!) I’m the pod-person…

Okay. Enough grumbling.

I really wish that I had something interesting to write about, but my life is currently uneventful. (I know. I know. Enjoy it while I can!) One would think with all this downtime, I would find something productive to do. I have not. I have not studied Arabic. I have not read more than 30 pages in a book. I have not read my book club selection. I have not exercised. Mostly, I just move from my bed to my Papasan and back with a few trips to the kitchen. Okay. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. I’ve made some trips to the library for books I most likely won’t read. I have also gone on a wild book hunt for used mass market copies of my favorite noir novels. (I can handle anything except an extended period without my hardboiled private dicks and femmes fatales.)  I came up mostly empty. I can find them in trade and ebook form online, but trade are big and sometimes heavy and I just can’t carry all that with me on my travels. And there is just something repulsive about reading classic noir on a kindle. However, I did find my favorite Science Fiction novel, Invasion Of the Body Snatchers, in a first edition Dell mass market. It’s a little musty and little worse for wear, but at least I’ll be able to take it with me! I’ll also be able to have my favorite spy (007) with me.

Needless to say, all this moving from bed to chair to bed has left little time for news gathering. I am not proud. However, I have been paying some attention. Here and here are the latest from Richard Engel who is still in Syria.

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Scott Bakula, Productivity, Something That Rhymes With Bob, Goals, Or Why We May Go Crazy This Week…

By: Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

We are back! Like genital warts, you just can’t get rid of us! What have we been up to? I (Rachel) have been applying for a new rhymes with “bob”, watching shows about food and fantasizing about Scott Bakula. (What’s this Scott Bakula? You’ve brought me bacon flavored ice cream? My hero!). And I (Kiki) have been feverishly reading, watching TV, sleeping and eating my weight in popcorn (with lots of butter and parmesan cheese). I was, however, somewhat productive trip wise. I made an appointment to get our shots for the upcoming trip. We will have to drive about 4 hours to get to the clinic, but I guess that’s the price one pays to get inoculated against yellow fever and typhoid. Rachel is apprehensive about getting such shots, but I (Kiki) would rather get shot up with the vaccine than die that terrible death. I (Rachel) am apprehensive about getting several vaccinations at once, but I’ll suck it and just die a terrible death from vaccine reaction instead of a terrible death in Egypt. Is one death worse than another? I suppose it’s preference. For example, Kiki would much rather die by gunfire than drown.

It is also goal day!


What did I accomplish? Far more than I usually do, I am happy to report. I finished two books, though neither of them were trip relevant. However, I have started two trip relevant books, so that makes up for it, right? Right? I watched three movies, all of which I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve watched (Leap YearHead Over HeelsLook Who’s Talking). I also called the vaccine place and made an appointment. So, I guess I rocked this week! I have, however, panicked more than once and forgot to call about the visas.

New Goals:

1) Finish a fictional book and a book relevant to my trip 2) Watch a movie 3) Call the visa people 4) Not panic 5) Finish 1984


I did moderately well on my own goals. I read Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore and One Good Dog by Susan Wilson. No more sappy dog based fiction for me! I took some pictures for the blog. I’ll get them up tomorrow. I put up Haiku on the blog. I have been slacking a little on Kiora’s trick but she has had several good sessions last week. I applyed for two postions today. Hurray! It wasn’t one of my goals but I also watched one film this week: Inception. It was very good, I should have watched it sooner.

New Goals: 1) Read two more books 3) Watch one movie 4)Apply for 4 positions 5) Post lots of photos on the blog

Joint Goals:

We studied Arabic! Maybe not as much as we should have, but certainly more than we have in the past.

New Goals:

1) Study Arabic Rigorously

Categories: Adventure, Books, Goals, Job Hunting, Life, Nerd, Photography, Uncategorized, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will We Go Out With A Bang Or A Goal?

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

It’s that time of the week again, folks!


What have I accomplished this week? Mostly TV watching. Although, I did research vaccines and visas, so I would say I was pretty productive trip wise. Also, I helped Rachel send out for her birth certificate so that she can get her very first passport. Apparently, I helped Rachel not panic as well.

Accomplished Goals — I watched three movies (The FedsDark Shadows and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy).

I did not finish any of the books I have started nor did I finish 1984. I haven’t written a word in over two weeks and I have definitely panicked.

New Goals — 1) Finish a fictional book and a book relevant to my trip 2) Watch a movie 3) Call the vaccine place and make an appointment 4) Call the visa people 5) Not panic


I accomplished some of my goals this weeek: others not so much. Just think of it this way Constant Readers: If I set no goals I would also accomplish none. This way I have accomplished something! I did read books, more than I set for myself in fact. I read  Click To Calm by Emma Parsons, Raw Meaty Bones Work Wonders by Tom Lonsdale and Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides. I nearly finished a fourth book but was prevented from completing it because I was reading it in the bookstore and someone purchased it. Sad day. I did  not get any photos on the blog but I have taken a few so we are halfway there. I did post some Haiku to the blog. Kiora is well on her way to a complete understanding of the cover-her-nose trick. She is offering the behavior freely and I have begun to introduce the verbal cue. I have not applied anywhere.

New Goals:

1)Read at least one book 2) Attempt to read materials pertinent to our trip 3) Post photos on the  blog 4) Blog with frequency and elegance 5) Post more Haiku on the blog 6) Refine Kiora’s trick.

Joint Goals

1) Study 45 minutes of Arabic Daily 2) Read books related to our imminent travels 3) Not panic about kinks in the works of the aforementioned travels 4) Go for a hike so Kiki won’t die on trip when we suddenly have to get our butts off the couch…

Categories: Adventure, Books, Dogs, Goals, Life, Nerd, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Blog In Which The Authors Tell Everyone Things They Probably Don’t Care About… Oh, And Some News Stuff

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Due to a scheduling conflict involving the watching of a certain show called “Game of Thrones,” Rachel is absent for this blog session. So, I (Kiki) will be doing it today.

Today is the one day a week that is eagerly awaited by all, I’m sure. It is goal day! The day that we humble bloggers take stock of our accomplishment (ha!) and failures.

I’ll do Rachel’s first:

Technically Rachel didn’t set any goals last week, or at least she didn’t post them. But this is what she wishes me to put under the “goals met” category: 1) Practiced photography 2) Read 4 books and 3) Watched a couple of movies (I think Hunger Games was one of them).

New Goals: 1) Read 1984 2) Survive the school week


What goals did I meet this week? Well…I’m tired of giving excuses (mainly because I’m running out of them) and I’m sure you’re sick of reading them, so I won’t waste the space. I accomplished exactly 1.5 out of 3. Actually, that’s better than last week! I did half of what I set out to do, so I won’t beat myself up to bad. I finished one book (Carrie, by Stephen King) and I worked on my novel (I won’t be winning the Pulitzer anytime soon).

New Goals: I am simply going to do a cut and paste from last week… 1) Finish at least one of the books I’ve started and read 1984 2) Work on my book 3) Watch a movie 4) Not panic or have a panic attack about any of the following: my unemployment/bum status, lack of funds for my upcoming move to Egypt/N. Africa/Mid-East, the fact that I am a single (not actually something I’m upset about), unemployed, soon to be 28-year-old woman with a cat who lives with her grandparents (don’t judge!).

Collective Goals: 1) Practice Arabic 2) Be blogging goddesses!

Newsy Things:

1) The latest on N. Korea: S. Korean government will be reduced “to ashes”

2) ‘Gaia’ scientist was an ‘alarmist’ about climate change

3) Sudan bombs S. Sudan; 3 killed — moving photos

4) Chinese Murder Mystery

Categories: Books, Destopias, Goals, Life, Media, Nerd, Photography, Uncategorized, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Ode To Libraries During National Library Week…

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

We are sitting in the New Mexico State University library where Rachel has lost her mind, or perhaps I have just discovered that it has long been missing. She is completely transfixed by the darkened aisles. I’m worried she might be a vampire. She says, “A vampire of literature!” I prefer a nicely lit place to enjoy my pros, such as near a big window in a papasan or some other giant chair, just me and Dickens, or maybe Austen, Poe on rainy nights and Tennyson or Keats when depressed.

We are waiting for the Jazz concert to start. We have about two hours to wait, so why not spend it in a room full of books? The only thing better would be if these stupid knuckleheaded students were not here. Oh well. I guess they have every right to be here. Wait tell I rule the world, though! All libraries will be mine! Muh ah ah!

Rachel also agrees that we should have the Library to ourselves. Then we can walk the cool and dark aisles, solitary, breathing in the dust and the smell of books. Old books rich and musty, new books crisp and sharp, some smell like mildew and others like honeyed butter. Then we can sit down in a quiet and comfortable corner surrounded by stacks of bound paper. We will open a book and read words, modern or ancient, wise or inane, words that twist and flow, like dancers, across the page. The external world will fade away and all that will exist is the universe of language filling our minds with its endless possibilities.

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Panic Attacks, Research, Goals Met And Not Met And Other Topics Of Interest, Or Why Kiki Is Going Crazy…

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

What a week! Rachel finished her book! Actually, she finished three, which means she has made up for her slacker ways of weeks pasts. Kiki, on the other hand, is still a slacker.

Trip news: We looked at camera lens prices. Hopefully, we will be able to get one soon. We also glanced at cell phones, international plans and egyptian plans, though little information was had. Well… unless your planning a short, touristy trip. Also, we had a mild panic attack (actually, Kiki had the panic attack. Rachel seemed stoic) regarding our tickets. FYI, (and Kiki, international traveler that she is, is embarrassed she forgot this tidbit) the name on your ticket must be the same as your passport if you are traveling internationally.

Rachel did slack on researching international vaccination requirements, she was too busy reading. She claims that she still has one more day before the end of the week. Two out of three goals is normally respectable. However, vaccinations are a fairly important aspect of our trip, so shame on her (LAME!).

Kiki already blogged about her goals. She failed at her new goal (reading two books). She only finished one, though she has started four others.

New Goals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kiki: 1) Read and finish two books 2) Watch a couple of movies

Rachel: 1) Read and finish two books 2 ) Watch at least one movie 3) Research vaccinations 4) Practice photography

Collectively: 1) Study Arabic 2) Not panic 3) Come up with better things to blog about 4) Not spend money (after today because Kiki needs an Arabic book and dictionary)

Categories: Adventure, Books, Goals, Nerd, Photography, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Blog About Not Much, But It Is Still Totally Worth Reading If You Want To See Us Possibly Die By The End Of The Week…

By: Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Since we are terrible at finding things to write about, especially things pertaining to our *goal, we are going to set some personal goals for the week, which we will then blog about. We are doing this in an effort to establish some kind of accountability.

So, here are our goals:

Rachel: My goals for the week are to read an entire non-fiction work; lately I’ve been reading 1/2-3/4’s of books and never finish them. I will also read and entire fictional work, which I have never previously read. Also this week, I will not induce Kiki to murder me. Lastly, I will try not to scold people who don’t know what they are talking about.

Kiki: 1) I will finish (FINALLY!) Bernard Lewis’s book Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the MIddle East. 2) I will find and acquire the book The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany’s Bid for World Power. 3) I will re-read Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy before I go see the film. 4) I have to finish my book club book, Nightwoods.

Collective: 1) We will study Arabic! 2) We will catch-up on news about Syria, Iran, etc. 3) Take some pictures and post them on our blog! 3) Find some history/current event books pertaining to our goal! 4) Will not spend money unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary.

Rachel also wanted to mention that she went to see The Secret World of Arrietty today. She feels that the film was charming and timeless, something to be enjoyed by people of all ages. The borrowers were sweet and innocent folk, undeserving of the criticism that they have received by those who are biased against tiny humans. Kiki thinks they’re creepy…

FYI: Kiki blogged about Richard Engel’s new iPad series for Rock Center a few days back. The first episode on Timbuktu is now on the Rock Center website. Check it out! 

*Our goal is to leave Las Cruces in September for the Middle East and Africa. This is mostly Kiki’s crazy idea (she is going to attempt to be a Freelance Foreign Correspondent). Rachel is coming along for moral support and to do some photography/video. Please see our Bio for more info.

Categories: Adventure, Goals, Journalism, Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Little Note on Sir Richard Francis Burton, or Who I Wanted Be When I Was 10…

By Kiki Keane

A few days ago, I bought a biography of Sir Richard Francis Burton. I’ve read several biographies on the man. I have loved him, respected him, admired him and wanted to be him since I was ten. I spent many sleepless childhood nights wishing and dreaming that I could be brave and adventurous just like him. My fingers would dance along the classroom globe, tracing the routes of his adventures.  As a child, I thrilled at his adventures and exploits. Later, I learned to respect and admire his scholarly contributions.

It has been a long time since I’ve thought about him. I wasn’t looking for the book or anything like it. I just happened to notice it as I walked by. It’s been nice to visiting an old friend…

In case anyone is interested in the book, it’s called: Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton: The Secret Agent Who Made the Pilgrimage to Mecca, Discovered the Kama Sutra, And Brought the Arabian Nights to the West, by Edward Rice. Don’t take this a recommendation.

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Avoiding Angsty Vamps and Angry Werewolves by Drinking Bad Coffee and Eating Stale Pastries, or Why We Will Probably Die

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Well… this may or may not be a lengthy blog because we may or may not get dragged away (against our will) to watch angsty, sparkling vampires and angry, hormonal werewolves battling it out for seemingly the only vagina in town.

Until then we will write… something.

We are sitting in a bookstore eating stale pastries and drinking false macchiatos (real macchiatos are dry cappuccinos whereas false ones are layered lattes) and being forced to listen to Reba McEntire and Vince Gill. Kiki’s complaining because she hasn’t heard this much country “music” since she ran away from her country lovin’ town nearly 15 years ago… She say’s that Gaga lady would be preferable, although this comes from a girl who has the soul of an 80-year old woman. She’s kind of cantankerous that way. Rachel is trying to avoid attracting the attention of a less-than favorite relative who happens to be sitting just one table over. If he’s noticed her he hasn’t shown it…she is hoping for an outcome of zero uncomfortable conversation.

Earlier today Rachel got her piercing jewelry changed for only the second time since she’s gotten it. This was the first time changing the nose screw and it was not easy. First you have to pull it out straight and then twist and twist. Unfortunately the twisting produced discomfort and not being a masochist she opted to have the professional do it for her. Eventually she will have to do it herself, but not today. Her new jewelry is a black star.

I (Kiki) have been enjoying, or trying to enjoy, my last few days of freedom before entering the corporate world (thankfully it’s only for about seven months). I have spent my time watching Murder, She Wrote, Investigation Discovery and reading Hemingway and news articles via Here is what I have learned. 1) You can’t fool Jessica Fletcher 2) I kind of want to be her just because she’s so kick-ass 3) Anyone could kill you 4) You could die from a scratch, so we have to remember to bring Iodine or anti-bacterial ointment when we (finally) get to the Middle East/Africa 5) It will be near impossible for any non-state entity to get an atomic weapon 6) Anything is possible 7) Nations (fill in the blank) are not likely to launch into an atomic war 8) Anything is possible 9) I may have to change my reading material.

I (Rachel) wish I had time to watch T.V, between class, work, and chores I don’t have much time for that. Oh why does the temporal dimension only head the one way? Perhaps when the Big Crunch happens time can reverse and I can read backwards.

Looks like we may be heading out, although we fortunately seem to have missed our showing, such a pity. *sarcasm*

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By Kiki Keane


Okay. I’ve never been very good at this blogging thing. I have started a half-dozen and have never posted more than once or twice. I find it…weird. But, here I go…

Good Things That Have Happened This Week:

1) So, I got a job! Yay! Check that off the very, very, very, very long list of what I like to call: “Things That Need to Happen Before We Embark On Our Adventures (or Fall Flat On Faces)!” So excited! Well… Okay. It’s not the job I was hoping for, but it is a job and I am grateful for it. Also, I now feel less like a bum.

2) Rachel also got a job. It’s a part-time holiday job, which we hope will turn into a permanent position.

3) In addition to my new job and all the planning I’m doing for the trip (my brain never stops when it comes to adventuring), I am also in a monthly book club. I have succeeded in reading exactly 10 pages and 5 sentences in this month’s selection. That may seem like no big deal, but considering that this might be one of the worst books ever written, I would say it is a pretty amazing feat, equal to, say, climbing Everest or colonizing Mars.

4) Met some new people and reconnected with some old friends.

5) The following bit from The Big Bang Theory made my week: “Oh no! They sent the wrong Spock! Live long and suck it, Zachary Quinto!” — Sheldon Cooper.

6) Discovered that Murder, She Wrote is on TVLand.

7) Named Rachel’s new puppy (she says she’s not keeping it, but I know better). I call him Riker. As in Will Riker. Because he’s a lady-killer.

Okay. I’m going to stop now. I promise to write better posts in the days to come.

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