Monday, December 14, 2009

Finals Week

Well. One paper down, one written test and one more paper to go. And of course, I can't bring myself to write much until I read a few more articles. Just a few more. Always just a few more.

There is quite alot of victory in having one paper down though. It was chock full of good interview quotes and interesting theories, if I do say so myself. I hope my professors agree.

The most exciting news of all is that tonight I get my craft cabinet! My husband and I commissioned a cabinet to be made to store my sewing machine, all my fabrics, yarn and sewing supplies, my knitting stuff, my collage clippings, my card supplies, and on and on. You know: the crafties! So the cabinet is getting delivered to our house tonight!!!! YAY! Better than a Christmas tree in so many ways!

The good news is, we will have to paint it, and I need to pick out a color. That will prevent me from spending tonight locating, organizing, sorting, and finding spots for all my crafties. That project really does not need to be distracting me from the reading and writing that has to get done by Thursday. THURSDAY!

Le sigh.

Monday, November 30, 2009


I'm writing! The writing has begun!

Yes, yes, I realize that blogging is writing as well, but that's not the only writing I'm doing.

I've decided to compose two pages a night, which, if I can maintain it, will get the whole paper written with a couple days to spare for edits and reorganization. Plus, two pages a night is such a nice, rightly-sized chunk.

Tonight the topic is Foucault, OOTD blogging, and care of the self. Woot!

Man, if I can, I really ought to just take one wee little picture tomorrow. Something to spruce up this monotonous blog space of mine.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Busy Thankful

Late night web ramblings are rarely decent the next morning. But in the holiday spirit, I'm thankful for time to get work done. And for the willingness to get work done. I have one paper due on December 9th, and a second paper due on December 17th, both on the research I've been doing. It feels like there's so much to do, yet I'm pretty happy with what I've been able to get to so far.

Tomorrow a little trip to see some family, and then, for the rest of the weekend: work work work. Could be a truly fruitful weekend.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Research In Progress

I seriously can't tell you how excited I am to be doing my first ever interview today. In sociology you can pretty much decide to go in one of these directions for research methods:
  • theory
  • qualitative
  • quantitative
  • mix of the above
So far I've done a bit of quantitative and a bit of theory, but this will be my first foray into qualitative research; doing interviews.

My research question: how is identity situated in relationship to the process of blogging daily outfits?

I have found online many brilliant women engaging in this activity and I want to know more about how it all works. So today I'll start to learn, then I'll do more interviews on Friday and some on Saturday and maybe with this work, I'll be able to get a better understanding of the question.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sewing like a madwoman

Man! I just:
  • Cleaned the feed dogs on my sewing machine
  • Finished sewing a drapery for my living room
  • Hemmed a pair of work slacks
  • Fixed the back of a work dress
Oh, and before that:
  • Folded laundry
  • Got a new air filter for the house
I am all kinds of accomplished. It's amazing what a great sewing machine and excellent lessons can do for you! When I was learning, just a couple of months ago, I was pretty fearful that once my teacher wasn't around I would see that I really couldn't do projects on my own.

But dude! I can! It's insanity.

This is a totally a post that should have pictures, but I'm now tired and ready to tune out and watch football.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Today I am 30!

This is what I looked like one week ago:
I made some of my outfit myself, but the corset was made by Natalie, from the earlier Ren Festival post.

So yeah. Age. Fun. Yeah.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Riff is teh awesum.

Oh my word, I am so in love with this video. Linked by Gelman's Blog, source is Minimum Safe Distance blog, music is Royksopp.

Remind Me from Röyksopp on Vimeo.

Crossposted to LiveJournal.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Class Project: You

Hey! I wanted to give you all an update!

Remember in August when I posted about possibly doing a research project on fashion blogs? Well, the dream is coming to fruition.

So, for the next phase of the project, I am hoping to talk with people who:
  • keep a blog and
  • post pictures of their outfits on their blogs
I am considering either having these conversations by phone, or by instant message. I anticipate them being approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour long.

That means you! Ela, Annie, Lar, Cath, Christen, Megan, Esme, Christine, Katy, Krystal, Jessica, Robyn, Heshka, Jenni: you are the project inspiration. You're doing something unique, and I'd like to talk to you about it, and analyze it a little bit within the sociological framework, based on information you can provide. I know you're not the only women doing this, so if you don't want to participate, but you know someone who might, that would be great as well.

Also: Bijou Living: I know you don't fit within my qualifications, but you have had a really interesting take on this project, and I would love to interview you as well.

If you're interested, let me know. You can leave a comment or email me at

Ah, the life of a graduate student, right? You people ROCK!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Over The Top

The awesome Annie Spandex tagged me! She says it's the Over The Top award. Everyone I know is over the top! We are the Over The Top branch of the interweb, and I like it that way.

Answer these questions with one word and then hand the award over to others.

Where's your cell phone: N/A
Your hair: shiny
Your mother: busy
Your father: hardworking
Favorite Food: pizza
Dream last night: didn't
Favorite drink: tea
What room are you: office
Hobby: gaming
Fear: ennui
Where were you last night: home
Something that you aren't: stuffy
Muffins: blackberry
Wish list item: cashmere
Where did you grow up: Fresno
What are you wearing: vest!
Your pets: Peachy
Friends: badasses
Something you're not wearing: socks
Favorite store: Target
Favorite color: scarlet
Last time you laughed: morning
Your best friend: CK
Place you go to over and over: Target
Person who emails you regularly: CK
Favorite place to eat: SushiZone

I have never been tagged before, so can I just break a rule and not tag anyone? Rule breakers don't ask!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I just got back from Lyons, Kansas. My husband's aunt Mary Kay got married there on Saturday. It was a beautiful event. They're both in their 50's, it's her second marriage, and they were so happy. They held it at the Lyons country club, and put wonderful work into making it inclusive. My husband's dad, who is a judge, did the ceremony, my brother-in-law designed the menu, a family friend did the video-taping, two of Mary Kay's three sons brought their ladyfriends to their first major family function; all of that stuff doesn't come together without someone's careful attentiveness.

Mary Kay is right in the middle (age-wise) of eight children. There were these neat generational lines all partying it up. A couple 80 year olds, a bunch of 50-60 year olds, a bunch of 20-30 year olds, a handful of teenagers, and one baby. The colors were red and black, and Mary Kay was given away by her brother and his partner, Scott. Because, as my husband would say, "Mary Kay never misses a chance to make a statement."

Indeed. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Peeps

These are my favorite people in the world.

Photo credit: Russ.

From L to R: Steph, me, Natalie, CK. Awww...

In other news, grad school is so overwhelmingly monopolizing my life, that I can't think straight any more, and I can't sleep through the night either. So. Yeah, blogging is pretty pointless because nothing makes sense any longer. That is all.

Monday, September 7, 2009

All kinds of awesome

Martial arts and hip hop, together as one.

I fully want to see this.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Time Management

If there's one thing I'm learning about the combination of being almost 30, a full time grad student and a full time office employee, it's that time management is crucial. One notably important aspect of managing time in a busy life is leaving room for doing nothing.

It is almost true that I should be reading and studying in every spare minute. However, the three-day Labor Day weekend is providing a respite, and I am taking every advantage. Today I mowed the lawn, watched a movie, went for a walk, sat on the porch and yeah, just generally did nothing. I didn't read. I did drink beers. That is it.

Granted, one other interesting thing about my day today is that it is the first day of Kansas football season. I don't care for American football. I love college basketball, and I like men's soccer (the true football), and that's about all the room I have in my life to pay attention to sports. So why would it matter that today is the beginning of KU football season? Because I live little more than a block from the stadium. Heh. It's been a trip.

My husband and I bought this house in February, and we knew it was going to be crazy come this time of year. People have been asking us if we will sell parking spots. It's a small town and a big sport. Folks come from all the neighboring towns and cities to watch the local college football games. The college kids drink, tailgate, act out, and throw horse shoes. It's not my deal, but I do love spontaneous neighborhood parties. They're weird and neat. They don't happen in suburbia. They smell like barbeque. They start at 11 am and go until the game at 6 pm. It's just oddly interesting.

So no articles, no books, lots of blog reading, lots of general whatever. Letting the mind wander. It needed the fresh air.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Today I yammered on in class, incoherently, for a good three minutes, about Nietzsche and Foucault. I'm tired of hearing myself think. I apologize to whomever experiences it, if I come off like a know-at-all at times. I shall now go window-shop at Forver21 to relive the academic-static brain.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fall '09 Class #1: Qualitative Research Methods

OK! So I started my fall semester today. My class on Thursdays is Qualitative Research Methods. I went, and it was great, except for one small thing: I need a research project. Well really, I needed a research project like yesterday, because when we went around the class and everyone talked about what they wanted to research, I was the only one without a clear plan.

I've been mulling over the concept of looking at womens processes of self representation in fashion blogs. That would tie many of my interests together. The research question would be: what factors contribute to womens decisions to write online about what they wear? I can think of several bloggers that I would be interested in interviewing.

But first I need to do a literature review. What have other people written about with regards to this concept of networked female sartorial representation... fashion as motivation for networked female authorship... I mean, this isn't a social justice issue. But it's a social expression and community-building issue. So... I don't know. I'm still thinking it over. One thing the professor said a couple of times is that we need a clearly defined rationale.

What is the rationale behind this project? What does it contribute? I do think there's something there behind the fact that some women get self-motivated, personally involved, and driven to express themselves through this medium. How is this form of social expression safe? How is it risky? How is it a positive experience? How is it a negative experience?

Hm. Just thoughts.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Health Care Reform

Almost everyone I know has troubles with health care, and we're just normal lower middle class people. Some are students, some are unemployed, some are barely hanging on to their jobs, some freelance, and some make such paltry wages, I don't know how they keep up with all the fiscal responsibilities.

I've been appalled at the resistance to health care reform in this country. It's scandalous. The health insurance system in this country is broken. The only people with decent coverage are those with stable employment, but jobs are scarce, and businesses are faltering and closing their doors. Reform legislation needs to pass with bi-partisan support. The anti-reform movement is powerful, and the pro-reform people need to stay vigilant. That's why I like the simple presentation of info on the White House's Reality Check site. Smart, simple, and clear. That's powerful.

Also, because I never totally drink the government's kool-aid, no matter how cool the president seems to be, I like the PolitiFact site for staying on top of what's real and what's just smoke, mirrors, and false rumors.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dresses. Again.

Yesterday was payday, and I went online shopping! I bought two dresses from Modcloth, and I can't wait for them to get here. In the process, I kind of realized something about my style.

It's always going to be kind of pin-up/50's flirt. There's a natural affinity between this style and the hourglass body type. Whether that's in or not, with the rest of the world, seems kind of irrelevant. It's what I like.

So that was kind of a revelation. Lately, going to stuff with friends, I've been finding myself defending my desire to get dressed up for even the simple get-togethers. But, frankly, that's just who I am. I like getting dolled up. I do that thing.

It's fun!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

American Dream by DeParle

I just finished reading American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation's Drive to End Welfare by Jason DeParle.

Wow. What an amazing book. DeParle is a reporter for the New York Times, and in American Dream he follows three families off the welfare rolls as the U.S. transitioned from AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children - a federal program of welfare) to TANFF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families - state run programs of welfare). The three families are essentially single parent households headed by Jewell, Angie, and Opal. Sometimes they have live-in boyfriends, but definitely no full-time fathers or husbands. DeParle looks at their stories from the legislative angle of Bill Clinton's policy decision, the bureaucracy angle of Wisconsin's management of the new responsibility, from the historical angle of the Caples clan that were once slaves on a Mississippi plantation, and from the cultural angle of what it's like to be a black single mother on welfare.

This book is expansive!

Jason DeParle is an incredible journalist. He is the real deal. Man, if it weren't for the New York Times.

Also, he's married to Nancy-Ann DeParle, Obama's Health Reform czar.

So, it's not a cheerful read, by any means, but it's a well-written and very important book that has helped me to gain a better understanding of how U.S. policy on poverty has evolved in the last couple of decades. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Dress Pursuit

I gotta say, the Bandha experiment didn't work out too well. The dress came in the mail, I put it on, and my husband's response was, "Um... you're not going to like it." My husband is the best. He is so smart. I value his honesty way more than I can accurately describe.

The dress has gone back. It made me look like a Mormon, and that's just not a look I ever want for myself.

In other fashion news, I am watching the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it's triggering major fashion flashbacks. Figures, since it aired in 1997, the year I graduated high school. The tiny black skirts always worn with tall black boots, the perfect mini-dresses, the unique overcoats, the white tees with cutesy screen-prints. She was totally copping some riot grrl tendencies, wasn't she? I can clearly recall longing for the perfect dress that didn't cling too much, but just enough, and that would make my legs look miles long.

Le sigh.

Different day, different dress, same searching.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Clothing

In the Kansas summer, there are only two clothing items I ever want to wear when I wake up in the morning: sleeveless shirts and dresses. The clothing item of choice to accompany a sleveless shirt is generally a skirt, and the companion for a dress is a light sweater or cotton jacket.

Shorts are... just not that much fun. I wear them, bermuda for work, and shorter ones for play, but I never feel really awesome in shorts.

I generally feel totally great in something swingy and flirty. But I also walk to work in some pretty humid heat, so I can't ever wear polyester, satin, or silk. The sweat problems with those fabrics would be insurmountable.

This is where Patagonia comes in. I just ordered the Patagonia Bandha dress from We'll see how it goes when it comes in. I'm crazy excited about owning a swingy dress in a high performance fabric.

That's also why I like Athleta's stuff. I wore their Melody Miniskirt to see Stevie Wonder play at an outdoor venue in 97 degree heat, and although I danced my booty off, my awesome skirt held its own.

Now that's a good summer clothing story.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Requiem for Firefly

My heart aches knowing that in seven years, Fox still hasn't come to its senses and begged Joss Whedon to re-start Firefly. One movie wasn't enough. That show was brilliant.

I am not much for TV. I think it's mostly rubbish. I frequently campaign my husband that we discontinue our service. I would probably win that argument if there was some other reliable way my hubby could catch all the good international football matches.

Perhaps that's why, after renting the DVD's of Firefly, I really cannot conceive of how this wonderful show got canceled after one little season. HOW was that possible? I realize that FOX is just a crap-spewing media company. I realize they strive for mediocrity, and that their "news" is sensationalized hooey appealing chiefly to poor ol' put-upon rich white people. But if The Simpsons could survive this long, why not Firefly?

I know, I'm late to the party. Seven years late. I just have to say it once more, for the multiverse to hear: Firefly is one of the greatest television shows of all time. It is a travesty that there are only 14 episodes and one awesome movie.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Getting Amped for South Africa

I know. It's a year away. And the U.S. just lost again in the Confederations Cup. Giuseppe Rossi: you're dead to me.

However, it's still really exciting. When my husband and I got married in 2007 we postponed the honeymoon for World Cup 2010. Now it's just one year away, and I'm starting the research and the budgeting.

My resources:
2 travel books on South Africa - See It South Africa by Fodor's, and another one by National Geographic
The Frugal Traveler
Hannah Britton, my friend who is a Poli Sci professor. She makes annual trips to South Africa.

My goal:
To live for three weeks, in Pretoria and Durban, out of a carry-on. That better be the best prepped carry-on known to man, for I am a girlie girl. Yet, my experiences from World Cup 2006 will inform my planning, so it's not a totally hopeless goal.

Any recommendations?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I just finished reading the 45-page article by John Heilemann entitled The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth. It was published in the November 2000 issue of Wired and it covers the Microsoft monopoly trial, including events leading up to the trial, the trial itself, and some post-decision follow-up.

I can't remember exactly how I heard about the article. I have subscribed to Wired magazine off and on for nearly 10 years, and I also subscribe to their RSS feed. I do know that I bookmarked it to read more than a year ago, and just now got down to actually doing it. It was a VERY worthwhile pursuit. Heilemann is a great author.

I think the most salient thing I took from the article was that the technology industry is, and always has been, just another industry. At times, especially in the dot-com boom, sometimes I did buy into the idea that computing technology was so weirdly different, that it couldn't be fit to any other industry's standards. Yet reading this article, it was clear that Microsoft is a company, much like any other. I'm glad the Department of Justice sued them. It was a good move for business in America, and it was a good process to remind all involved in the tech industry that men are not gods. No matter how much money they have. Good stuff.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Michelle Obama Look Book

One of my favorite things right now is the Michelle Obama look book.

First, I have to say, that from a pure fashion standpoint, I truly love her style. She does five things that are just so cool:
1. Dresses to flatter her body type.
2. Wears dresses frequently.
3. Wears sleeveless tops in professional venues, often with a cardigan, which later comes off.
4. Embraces color.
5. Pushes the First Lady sartorial envelope. Asymmetry? Sheer? Sleeveless? Could it get any better??

Above all, she doesn't conform. It's so refreshing!

Off the shoulder, non-traditional floral top by Basso and Brooke, mixed with white cropped pants (a trend that is very of the moment, but also very difficult for most women to pull off). She is brilliant.

Hence, I like to see what she's wearing. NY Mag is so great to keep the updates rolling.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dance Party: From 1 to 100

My honey sent that to me. Like he said, you definitely don't need to listen to the music to be able to enjoy the video. Isn't it cool?

My favorite is how people are running up to join. You don't see that kind of enthusiasm too often. But I guess that's the glory of a snowball effect.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dialogue or Fight

What I love about Banksy is how his art always shows the push-pull. There are no winners and no losers; ideas are in conversation. War and innocence. Privacy and surveillance. Beauty and anger.

Food and pets.

This is probably one of the coolest art installations ever. On a personal level, I'm trying not to eat meat more than once or twice a week. It's about being green, reducing carbon emissions, resisting a heart attack, eating more vegetables, grains and beans, urban homesteading, knowing what's in my food, saving money, and a bunch of other ideas that have been floating around in my brain.

Now it's also about not eating pets.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fashion Blogs

This morning I was reading The Cut, and in a post on MObama wearing the Tracy Feith dress that she wore a couple months ago out in public for a second time (BRAVO!) a commenter said, "who cares what she's wearing.... seriously."


You're reading a fashion blog. Fashion blogs are about what people are wearing. People who read fashion blogs... wait for it... care what people are wearing!

Which is only just a funny story lead-in to a blog post expressing my gratitude for fashion bloggers. Some of the great blogs about other people's fashion (like famous fashion) include:
The Cut
The Budget Fashionista
Go Fug Yourself
The Sartorialist
The Clothes That Got Me Laid

The coolest by far are blogs about people's own fashion. It is so easy to be critical, witty, and chatty about other people's fashion. But it's brave to post about your own wardrobe. And it makes sense. People who care about fashion often have great fashion. I wish EVERYONE posted what they were wearing. So cheers to these blogs especially:
Annie Spandex
Ink and Leather

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

aM laboratory

I love the ToneMatrix that Andre Michelle made. He must be really cool, because that toy is crazy fun.

Once again, found via Gelman's blog.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Religions and Political Affiliation

I swear, I won't be blogging about religion and politics forever. Maybe just once in awhile, but this is also very cool (click on the picture to see larger), found on Infosthetics via Andrew Gelman's blog. Truly, it's very interesting to think about the fundamental ideas within a political affiliation and the ideas within a religion. It also makes so much sense once you've read The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber.

It's fair to say that a constant gripe in the jellybean house is over the willful ignorance of evangelical Christians. Separately, recently in one of my classes we did a whole unit on Abstinence Only programs, and if you want a concise understanding of how jacked up that topic is, read the Waxman report on Abstinence Only "Education" Programs. Also, randomly, NOVA just ran Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial. It was quite good, see it if you can. Also, I'm a sociology major, so I think about how ideologies relate to one another and how systems work. Also, there was a creepy segment in Maxed Out, which I watched Monday, where there was a preacher telling his congregation that when people are having troubles it's almost always because they're not tithing enough.


I guess it's just been that kind of week.

Oh, did I mention I just finished reading On The Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche?

He is so amazing.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Christians and Climate Change

OK. I don't really know how to break this to you. But climate change, to the extent that we're experiencing it today, is REAL, and HUMANS CAUSED IT.

I know. You need to sit down now, right? It's going to be OK.

When you've finished composing yourself, please call up your freaky white evangelical Christian brother, sister-in-law, auntie, or parent, and share the news.

Yes, his/her understanding of science is very hazy. Yes, he/she probably thinks that scientific proof carries about as much weight as myth and stories. Yes, he/she has been brainwashed by creationism and abstinence only programming. All we can do to save these people is to keep chipping away at their ignorance. I know that sounds pretty evangelical, but the earth people. The EARTH is our ONLY RESOURCE.

Thank mother earth for the Pew Foundation. Keepin' it real since 1948.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Quite honestly, that is how the day feels.

I am consistently reminded of the long view over the past couple of days. One month until the end of the semester. Mere days until warm weather. One year until South Africa.

If you aren't a high anxiety person, you probably won't be able to identify with what I'm saying, but isn't it an exquisite feeling when you let yourself just be? I had this foreign impulse this morning that it would be simply fine to look slightly messy today. Earlier in the morning I had the impulse that my normally very long Tuesday would end up totally fine if I got up at 4 am, as my body was wanting to do, and started working on my paper. On my way to work, I felt certain that showing up three minutes late, with a warm cup of strong coffee and a chocolate muffin, would absolutely not end in cataclysm.

Exquisite is the only word.

LUE generally conspires to knock you flat on your ass when you feel certainty, but sometimes it's actual instinct, rather than reason that has set you on your path. Instinct knows when to lean into the cracks, as Bjork would put it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Radical Movies

I was just reading this post on about five great movies that need to be seen, and three of them aren't even available on Netflix.


Come on! Netflix is huge. I have to say, I don't think I'm a conspiracy theorist to wonder if there's not a reason for this. Netflix is huge, but Monsanto is huger.

Here are the films:

The World According to Monsanto
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
Food Fight

Now that I can't get them easily, I want to see them even more!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Class starts tomorrow! Gah! So exciting! I hope I get good grades this semester. I hope I kick some ass and write some good papers!

In case you're interested, as some people seem to be, here's the reading list for Sociology 802: Modern Social Theory taught by Robert Antonio this semester:
  • Dewey, John- Individualism Old & New 1-57392-693-0 (paper) Prometheus Books
  • Durkheim, Emile - Division of Labor in Society 0-02-907960-8 (Paper) Free Press (Halls Translation)
  • Marx, Karl - Capital Vol. 1 (unabridged) 0-7178-0621-9 (Paper) International Publishers
  • Mead, George Herbert - Mind, Self, & Society 0-226-51668-7 (Paper) University of Chicago
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich- On the Genealogy of Morals & Ecce Homo 0-679-72462-1 (Paper) Vintage
  • Weber, Max - From Max Weber (eds. Hans Gerth & C. W. Mills)- Oxford University Press (Paper) 0195004620 Oxford
  • Weber, Max - Protestant Ethic & the Spirit of Capitalism with Other Writings on the Rise of the West (Paper) 978-0-19-533253-7 Oxford University Press (Kalberg Translation)
And here's the reading list for the other class I'm taking, Women and Gender Studies 689: Concepts in Human Sexuality taught by Charlene Muehlenhard
  • Stombler, Mindy; Baunach, Dawn M.; Burgess, Eliasbeth O.; Donnelly, Denise; & Simonds, Wendy. (Eds.). (2004). Sex matters: The sexuality and society reader (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson. ISBN: 0-205-48544-8
  • Wiederman, Michael W. (2001). Understanding sexuality research. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. ISBN: 0-534-50958-4
I've read some of the Stombler book just this evening and it's really easy and accessible. I might just read the whole thing this weekend to get it out of the way and leave time for the other texts during the semester.