Saturday, January 15, 2011

This Will Be the Last Post on Ananka's Diary

Hi Everyone! As you may have noticed, I have stopped posting on Ananka's Diary. Going forward, all new posts can be read at my new blog, Bank St. Irregular. (Why did I create a new blog? Click here for the explanation.)

A few of you have told me that you have a sentimental attachment to Ananka's Diary and its black template. So I'm going to find a way to preserve it somewhere on the Kiki Strike website. But it only serve as an archive of posts from 2006-2010.

I hope you all will join me over at Bank Irregular!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Note to Russian Readers

1. Have you ever seen a wild hamster?

2. Sorry about the video. I have a very good friend who speaks Russian, and I should have asked him to look at it before I posted.

3. Have you seen the Russian edition of The Empress's Tomb? I haven't seen the cover, and I can't find a pic online. If you can find a photo, please send it to I'm really curious to take a peek, since the Russian Kiki Strike had the best cover EVER!

Take a Look at the New Blog!

It's still a work in progress, so let me know what you think! I haven't published all the old posts from Ananka's Diary yet, but I promise they'll be there soon.

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'll Have More to Say on the Subject of Hamsters Soon

UPDATE #2: Even bigger thanks to deepasm for sending me a link to the crazy hamster video without the soundtrack! ENJOY!!!

Uploaded with

UPDATE: Thanks to Russian-speaking reader deepasm, I have discovered that the video I posted here contains colorful language. To put it mildly. (I should have known.) If you listened closely, you might have learned every Russian curse word. Now I'll admit, I've also been known to curse when attacked by wild hamsters. But I hope no Russian readers were offended by the language in the video. (Which was apparently, really, REALLY colorful.) So I'm trying to do one of the following: disable audio on the original video, find a new video, or post screen shots. Back to you soon!

In the meantime, please enjoy my favorite poem.

(Thank you, deepasm!! I didn't post your translation for obvious reasons, but I am forever in your debt!)

But I wanted to post this video right away. One of the many great things about Russia? Wild hamsters.

I may be ready to share my blog improvements soon! Cross your fingers. My computer is about 100 years old, and it's very temperamental.

Monday, January 10, 2011

On a Lighter Note (Maybe)

All I will say is this: I was truly touched by this video. And I wonder how many works of genius are hidden away in storage facilities across the US.

I Hate Snow

(Above: A lighthouse in Ohio, completely encased in ice.)

I'm going on the record. Yeah, I know it's pretty (for a little while). But I'm sick to death of snow. Did you hear about the blizzard that hit New York the day after Christmas? (Yes, I know it hit other places, too.) It took THREE DAYS for the city to plow the street in front of my house. And thanks to Brooklyn's dog population, most of the snow was neon yellow by the time it was finally cleared away.

Now there's another snow storm headed in our direction. My parents, who live down south, just had 18 inches dumped on their doorstep. (I'm glad you're enjoying it, EQ.) I can't even imagine what's in store for New York.

OK, Canadians, this is your chance to tell me that I'm being a ninny. (Goodness knows I got enough grief when I posted about the Brooklyn tornado.)

Oh well, maybe I'll just go outside and make an "Oscar-worthy video" (see below).

Idiot With A Tripod from Gothamist on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Well Hello There!

It's been a while, hasn't it? Some (but probably not all) of you may be wondering what I've been up to for the past few weeks. Well here's a little list (‘cause you know how much I love lists):

1. I've been working on Kiki 3, The Darkness Dwellers. It's almost finished. Every day I receive emails asking WHEN IS IT GOING TO BE OUT?!?!? I must admit that I don't know the release date yet, but I will post it on this blog THE SECOND I find out what it will be!

2. I finished the sequel to The Eternal Ones, which will (almost certainly) be called All You Desire. Right now, it's looking like it might be on shelves in August, but once again, I will post the release date when I have it.

3. I read the Hunger Games trilogy. I only intended to read the first book, but I devoured the entire series in four days. I thought it was amazing (and I hear I'm not alone).

4. I watched True Grit. I've always steered clear of westerns—whether movies or books—so I wasn't aware that the hero of True Grit is a fourteen-year-old girl. Smart, savvy, and a good shot, Mattie Ross is everything a girl should be. In fact, she reminded me of Luz Lopez (one of my seven favorite Irregulars). The movie is quite violent, (though The Hunger Games makes it look like Mary Poppins). If you're cool with blood and guts, I think you might enjoy it.

5. I’ve been contemplating some improvements to my blogs. (Yes, I have more than one. That’s the problem.) Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll start to see a few changes. Don’t worry, though. I’ll keep posting about all the weird and wonderful subjects that have captured my imagination. (And I’ll be posting MORE OFTEN than I have in the recent past.) But the blog’s name might change, and there will be more ways to access it. I’ll also be on Twitter, so you can follow me there (or on Facebook) if you prefer.

BTW, I have a new name in mind for the blog. But if any of you have a suggestion, feel free to post it in the comments!

So that’s about it. The next time I disappear for a few weeks, this is where I’ll be.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vacation Time

Hey everybody. I’m taking the rest of the year off. I’ll be back in 2011! So have a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, or Fabulous Festivus!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

In the City on Sunday?

If so, stop by the fabulous Books of Wonder store (18 W. 18th St.) tomorrow at noon. I will be there, participating in the Great Teen Novels event! Check out the other authors who will be there as well!

I've Seen the Future: Glowing Trees

Scientists in Taiwan believe they may have discovered a way to turn ordinary trees into streetlamps. Injecting gold nanoparticles into their leaves could make entire trees glow red. And no electricity would be consumed!

Read more here.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Awesome Holiday Gifts, Part II

Unfortunately, I can't figure out where to purchase them. UPDATE: Now I do, thanks to a Facebook friend!!!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Unicorn Wouldn't Last Ten Minutes in New York

You may have already seen this online. But I think it's a nice example of how one simple, cheap idea can make a million sullen New Yorkers laugh. (OK, "laugh" might be going too far. How about "consider laughing?" Still a remarkable accomplishment.)

Read more here.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Awesome Holiday Gifts, Part I

Looking for a (relatively) cheap present for your favorite wannabe superhero? These webbed gloves are the perfect solution!

Friday, December 03, 2010

I Love, Love, Love This Site

I can't believe I didn't find this site earlier. John Kenn is a Danish television director. In his spare time, he draws pictures on monsters on Post-Its. There are literally hundreds of monsters on his website. And all of them are unbelievably awesome.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Ghost Boots of Central Park

(Above: No, that's not Central Park. Click here for more info.)

For the past six years, New Yorkers who have ventured into Central Park at night have often come across an unsettling vision: A pair of large cowboy boots waiting by a park bench, with no owner in sight. Is Central Park haunted by a boot-wearing ghost? A New York Times blogger investigated and discovered that the truth is much, much weirder.

(Thanks for the tip, Kartoffel!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

National Library's Secret Chamber

Sometimes an article is so awesome that I must quote it.

National Library [in the Indian city of Kolkata] has always been reputed to haunted. Now, here is a really eerie secret. A mysterious room has been discovered in the 250-year-old building a room that no one knew about and no one can enter because it seems to have no opening of kind, not even trapdoors.

The chamber has lain untouched for over two centuries. Wonder what secrets it holds. The archaeologists who discovered it have no clue either, their theories range from a torture chamber, or a sealed tomb for an unfortunate soul or the most favoured of all a treasure room. Some say they wouldn't be surprised if both skeletons and jewels tumble out of the secret room.

Read the rest here!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Can a Food Be So Gross That It's CRUEL to Serve It?

American readers should be familiar with the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits "cruel and unusual punishments."

When I think of the Eighth Amendment, I usually imagine torture techniques like drawing and quartering or being burnt at the stake. But there are some folks who believe there's a certain food that's so disgusting that feeding it to imprisoned criminals constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. It's not a toxic or rotten food. It's healthy and wholesome. Just unbelievably disgusting.

It's called Nutraloaf. According to this fascinating article, it's often served to prisoners who misuse food or bodily waste.

Want the recipe? (I'm talking to you, Remy.) Well here it is! Bon Appetit!

(I'm pretty sure my mother used to make this.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Notice Anything Strange About This Subway Sign?

No? Click here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

You Could Be Famous, Too!

Meet Remy Mumby, ten-year-old star of the web series Food Oddities. The kid will eat anything. Dung beetles. Pickled pig lips. Scorpions. Anything. (Except pets. Gotta draw the line somewhere, I guess.)

But I have a little challenge for Remy. It's coming up in the very next post. (UPDATE: The post AFTER the next post.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm Never Taking a Shower Again

Scientists at MIT have developed a camera that can shoot pictures around corners. (Shown above.) According to Professor Ramesh Raskar, "It's like having x-ray vision without the x-rays. But we're going around the problem rather than going through it."

In honor of this great scientific development, I shall remain fully clothed for the rest of my life.

More here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Little Red Riding Hood

Slagsmålsklubben - Sponsored by destiny from Tomas Nilsson on Vimeo.

The music kinda drives me nuts, but otherwise this is pretty darn cool.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Even Kiki Strike needs heroes. Meet Mamika. She's 91 years old. She survived WWII (and saved 10 people from the Nazis), communism, and the 1980s.

Now she fights the forces of evil with her grandson, French photographer Sacha Goldberger.

Find out more about Mamika (and see more photos) here!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Someday I'll Write About . . .

Fredericka "Marm" Mandelbaum
. One of the most notorious criminals in 19th century New York was a portly Prussian woman. She worked out of a store at 79 Clinton St. in Manhattan (the building still exists today). Marm made a living fencing stolen goods. She also planned and financed some of the most impressive capers in New York history. But Marm was no "common" criminal. She threw swanky dinner parties for the city's finest citizens. And she was said to be a stickler for good manners.

But what interests me most about good old Marm is the school she started. The Grand Street School was Manhattan's elite academy for young criminals. There were classes in pocket-picking, safe-cracking, blackmail, and confidence games. Children under the age of ten were welcome to apply and those who graduated at the top of their class were hired by Marm herself. Hmmm. Sounds like a Dickens novel, doesn't it?

Here's Marm's obituary from the New York Times. She led an interesting life.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Amp Up Your Test Scores

A while back, I came across an article that listed a few study habits that are guaranteed to help a student improve her grades. For instance . . .

Don't study in the same place all the time. Get up and move around. It will help you absorb more information.

Don't focus on a single subject each time you sit down to study. Try to switch between a few related subjects. (Like math and physics. Or vocabulary and literature.)

A few short study sessions scheduled over the course of a week will help you learn much more than a single super-long study session.

Zapping your brain with electric current will work wonders on your math skills.

(Oh right. I found that last fact here. Do I need to say don't try it at home?)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Check the Band for Inscriptions!

More here. (Why do all the pictures available of this ring have someone's eye in the background?)

Let the Debate Begin!

According to a recent study conducted in Britain, children without brothers or sisters tend to be happier children. In fact, the more siblings a kid has, the more miserable he/she is.

Does this sound right to you? There were plenty of times in my youth when I wished I was an only child. But I was still pretty darn happy. And these days, I couldn't be more thrilled that I have a brother and sister. But who knows? Maybe I would have been SUPER happy if I had been the only kid in the family.

So what do you think? Does having siblings make a kid HAPPIER or MISERABLE?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Guerilla Gardening

(Photos: Daniel Phillips)

Someday soon, you might just stumble upon one of the unusual vending machines shown above. But I wouldn't recommend chewing on the contents. Instead of gumballs, these machines dispense seed bombs. Pop in a quarter, and you'll receive a ball made of of clay, compost, and seeds. Toss it into any crack, crevice, or abandoned lot, and soon tiny plants will begin to sprout. Each seed bomb is guaranteed to make the world a little bit greener.

Interested? You can find vending machine sites here!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Claudia!

Remember: You're never too old to be dangerous!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Visit a Secret Subway Stop!

The City Hall subway station has been closed for 65 years. And for 65 years, New Yorkers have broken every rule trying to get a glimpse of one of the city's lost treasures. Why? Because City Hall may be the most beautiful subway station in Manhattan, with arched ceilings, chandeliers, and fabulous skylights.

Until recently, one of the only ways to see the station (aside from infrequent tours) was to sneak onto a downtown #6 subway at the last stop on the line (Brooklyn Bridge). The #6 trains use the City Hall stop to turn back uptown, but passengers haven't been allowed to go along for the ride.

But now they've decided to stop kicking people off the trains! Just stay on the downtown #6 after the last official stop, and you can ride through City Hall station without getting in trouble. And no one wants to get in trouble. Right?

(Thanks Nathaniel and Paige!)

Monday, November 08, 2010

Test Your Detective Skills

Can you spot a fake smile? Most people can't. There's a great test on the BBC website that will let you see if you've got what it takes. For the record, I scored 17 out of 20. Yeah, I'm bragging. See if you can beat me. Click here.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Public Service Announcement

Wondering how to improve your SAT scores? One New York high school student recently uncovered a few helpful tricks. So what does this say about SAT scores? Hmmmm.

The Strangest Beach in the World

See the beautiful little beach in the photo above? It's nowhere near the shore. Gulpiyuri Beach is completely inland. Yet it has sand, waves, even seaweed.

How is this possible? Read more here.

The Greatest Job in the World

(Above: A New York City street in 1893.)

Robin Nagle has my dream job. She's an anthropologist who works with the New York City Department of Sanitation. What does that mean? It means she gets to study the relationship between people and their trash.

I've long been fascinated by sewers, garbage collection, plumbing, and all of the things that make modern life relatively sanitary. It wasn't long ago that the world was a filthy, disgusting place. And New York City may have been one of the nastiest cities on earth.

Here's Ms. Nagle describing the average New York City neighborhood in the late 19th century:

Imagine, on your own block, that you can’t cross the street, even at the corner, without paying a street kid with a broom to clear a path for you, because the streets were layered in this sludge of manure, rotting vegetables, ash, broken up furniture, debris of all kind. It was called “corporation pudding” after the city government. And it was deep -- in some cases knee-deep.

Wow. The rest of Ms. Nagle's interview with onearth can be found here!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Any Halloween stories you'd like to share?

Here's one. It's a bright, sunny day here in Brooklyn. I'm sitting on my couch in the living room, writing this post. I can hear someone upstairs. S/he's walking around in my bedroom. The only problem? I'm alone in the house. No. I'm not joking.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Was a Time Traveler Captured on Film?

A man in Belfast claims to have discovered something rather remarkable in some old movie footage from 1928. A woman appears to be speaking into a cell phone. (And no, there weren't any cell phones in 1928.)

Check out the footage below. It's clear that she's clutching something small and rectangular in her hand. And she seems to be speaking into it. (Watch the whole video for slow-mo and stills.)

Here's my question. OK, let's say she's a time traveler. Who's on the other end of the phone?

I think an obvious explanation has been ignored. She's an alien.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ever Wonder Why Squirrels Are Evil?

We must have done something really, really bad to them at some point in the past.


I'm sorry I'm a day late!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Be Careful! The Animals Are Up to Something

(Above: Coming to get you?)

An English florist discovered a deadly South American poison dart frog in a batch of tropical foliage.

Two monkeys have been made station masters at a train station in Japan. They don't look terribly competent if you ask me.

You say they're "pets?" Tell that to the neighbors, lady.

There's an animal that is able to clone itself. We must stop them before they take over the world!

Earlier this year, a stalker pheasant was terrorizing England, and an escaped hippo was roaming free in Montenegro.

Painting with maggots.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ah the Wonders of Science

Veruca Salt: Will Violet always be a blueberry?
Willy Wonka: No. Maybe. I dunno. But that's what you get from chewing gum all day, it's just disgusting.
Mike Teavee: If you hate gum so much, why do you make it?
Willy Wonka: Once again you really shouldn't mumble, 'cause it's kinda starting to bum me out.

I was in kindergarten the first time I saw Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (that's the original version). I recall being rather intrigued by two things in particular. Everlasting gobstoppers. And the "three course meal gum." Now, researchers may have made flavor-changing gum a reality. Let's just hope they've managed to get rid of the unfortunate side effects.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Know Where Batman Lives

Now you do, too. If I ever win the lottery, (come on, universe, throw me one!), I'm going to do something similar with the Irregulars' logo. (Perhaps a little something involving topiary.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good to Know

Need to ask your dad, brother, uncle, or grandfather for something? (Karate lessons? Bail money? A kidney? A place to hide while you're on the run from the law/gangsters/CIA?) According to a study conducted by a major pharmaceutical manufacturer (I'm going to let that fact go without comment for now), men are more likely to grant the wishes of a female loved one at 6PM.

Gee, I wish all studies funded by major pharmaceutical manufacturers were this practical!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Zombie Barbies

One of the things I love about Brooklyn is that people here go ALL OUT on Halloween. Half the houses on my block are already decorated for the holiday, and the creativity on display is pretty astounding. (I should really take some pictures.)

I probably won't have the opportunity to decorate my own house this year, but I may have found my theme for next Halloween. I recently came across a guide to building a Zombie Barbie Garden. (What are you supposed to do with all those mangy old Barbies, anyway?) I love it!

Adventures in Texas

I just got back from my second favorite city in the world--Austin, Texas! I always love going to the book festival down there. Not only is it a chance to meet some wonderful authors, it's often my last chance to experience a little good weather before it gets dreadfully cold here in New York.

This year, there was a big bonus: The chance to participate in a panel that was held in one of the coolest settings ever. (See above.) The room was in the Texas State Capitol Building. I have no idea what kind of business usually takes place there, but I felt very, very powerful. Ha. And the panel itself was pretty amazing. That's me (trying to look tough) with authors Mary Mancusi (Gamer Girl, Bad Blood, Girls That Growl), Andrea Cremer (Nightshade) and Heather Brewer (The Chronicles of Vladamir Tod). And a big thanks to Soren for stopping by!

I'd also like to thank the lovely ladies from Amarillo who saved my butt later in the evening. (And Andrea's and Heather's.) We were stranded at an event. No taxis in sight. Then six heroines appeared in a minivan and offered us a ride to our hotel. If only I could think of a way to repay you . . . (And I WILL repay you. I never forget a good deed.)


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Might Just Get an Eye Patch

(Above: Yes, I know that's not a pirate.)

The other day, I was reading about pirates (as I'm wont to do), and I came across an interesting "fact." Some pirate experts (can you imagine a better job?) claim that sailors may not have worn eye patches to look tough or to cover up injuries. Instead, the eye patch might have been a trade secret of sorts. If a sailor always kept one eye in the dark, that eye wouldn't need time to adjust when the sailor went below deck.

Interesting, right? (Perhaps you already knew?) Anyway, I was thinking that this might have a few practical applications for those of us who don't spend our days on the high seas. Perhaps you have some suggestions?

Monday, October 11, 2010


A bomb was just discovered in the Marble Cemetery! I'm not making this up. Check out the news report here!

Here's a little message for the person responsible. Soon, you will wake up in the middle of the night to find a pale, elfin girl with colorless hair staring down at you. Don't bother to beg for mercy.

(And I would just like to state for the record that I wrote the previous post long before I heard about this. What a bizarre coincidence!)

UPDATE: This report from the New York Times leads me to believe that the device was discovered at the OTHER Marble Cemetery. (Yes, there are two of them. They're about a block apart, and people tend to get them confused.)

It's Monday. Let's Take a Moment to Blow Some Stuff Up

(Thanks, Emily!)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

What the Heck Is Happening in Upper Michigan?

Earlier this week, residents of upper Michigan reported hearing the sound of an explosion in the woods. When they investigated, they discovered a mysterious crevice had suddenly appeared. The crack was over 600 feet long and up to five feet deep in places. And it's growing. There have been no earthquakes in the area. So what do you suppose could have caused the fissure?

Anyone out there in Michigan feel like doing a little investigative reporting for Ananka's Diary?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Who Knew Carrots Could Be So Interesting?

I live in New York. I know nothing about horticulture or farming. So maybe you guys are already aware of the facts I plan to put forth in this post. But I gotta say, I just had my mind blown. By carrots.

Are you aware that carrots were purple before the 17th century? Yeah. Purple. Apparently the Dutch are responsible for their current color. (Did they breed orange carrots because they were tastier? Or to celebrate the powerful House of Orange? Who knows? The Dutch work in mysterious ways.)

Among the other things I recently learned about carrots. (All taken from this enlightening post.)

1. Carrot seeds are they key ingredient in an ancient concoction proven to counteract the effects of poison.

2. The Romans believed carrots were aphrodisiacs. Everyone in ancient Rome grew them.

3. That whole "carrots improve your eyesight" thing? It's an urban legend cooked up by the British government.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Reading Tomorrow!

Tomorrow evening, I’ll be reading from my new book, The Eternal Ones, at the Jefferson Market Library in Manhattan. So if you’re in town, come say hi. (And be sure to check out the other authors who will also be reading. See the list below!)

(6-7:30, Jefferson Market Branch of NYPL, 425 6th Ave, at 10th St.)

Maria Boyd, Will
Matt de la Pena, I Will Save You
Kirsten Miller, The Eternal Ones
Lauren Oliver, Before I Fall
Samantha Schutz, You Are Not Here
Suzanne Weyn, Empty
Lizabeth Zindel, A Girl, A Ghost, and the Hollywood Hills

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So What Do You Think?

Does this guy get paid to scratch giant rodents--or is he a little eccentric?