The ins and outs of a young library media specialist's life. Rock, rock on.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Rockin' Playlists

I'm sure I should be busy getting stuff done for the big move tomorrow, but instead I have built a playlist for our "I Hate Boys Club". This is volume 1, with others to come, I'm sure. The goal of our club is actually not a bitter one in that we only hate boys and not men. Unfortunately, we have met relatively few actual men- that is, men who behave like men and not children, so there is a lot to discuss about the ridiculousness of boys in general. We have a fairly broad agenda, as you can imagine.

One wise friend of mine (also a member of the IHBC) has come up with a theory: boys do not know what they want in any way. They might think they do. They might profess feelings that indicate they know what they want. But in reality they just do what they feel like until something confuses them, then they drag you down into their mess right along with them. They can't simply figure things out on their own, they must also ruin anything good that they can along the way.

In any case, I feel that the IHBC vol. 1 compilation album is a satisfying melange of angry girl rock, alt fury, and a smattering of lamenting "why do boys suck so bad?" ballads. Feel free to make yourself such a playlist, making any appropriate modifications to fit your current mood.

Recipe to rock your socks off:

Not The Doctor 3:47 Alanis Morissette
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight 4:46 The Postal Service
You're No Rock N' Roll Fun 2:37 Sleater-Kinney
The Old Apartment 3:22 Barenaked Ladies
The Denial Twist 2:37 The White Stripes
What's My Age Again? 2:29 Blink-182
Erase/Rewind 3:38 The Cardigans
Shameless 4:52 Ani DiFranco
Least Complicated 4:11 Indigo Girls
The Sound Of Settling 2:12 Death Cab For Cutie
You're the Reason I'm Leaving 2:21 Franz Ferdinand
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams 4:20 Green Day
You Keep It All In 2:54 The Beautiful South
Mr. Brightside 3:43 The Killers
Numb 4:00 Portishead
Portions For Foxes 4:44 Rilo Kiley
Chocolate 3:11 Snow Patrol
Terrible Lie 4:38 Nine Inch Nails
That's Just What You Are 4:25 Aimee Mann

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Giving It Up

I don't understand New Year's resolutions. First of all, does anyone ever keep them? Secondly, what's wrong with who we are from year to year? There may be some things about my life I'd like to change, but why wait until January 1 to do it? Plus, how can anyone be expected to start their resolutions with a massive New Year's Eve hangover?

I know it's all symbolic, the changing of the calendar year mirroring the changes in our lives and all. I'm down with the metaphor. But I'm sick of the hype. So this year I've resigned myself to doing it up 200 Cigarettes-style, maybe meet myself a little Elvis Costello and wake up in Martha Plimpton's apartment with my party hat still on. (Or just hanging out with some friends in a low-key bar setting. That's good too.)

Side note: I think next year I want to have a masquerade party for New Year's. A ball, even. Who's in?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Merry Vacation

Merry vacation! Oh yes, thanks to all of you who prayed for me to get my iPod. Baby Jesus loves me after all! And it looks so cute in it's tiny green tube.

I must ask, is there any better way to spend a week long vacation than sitting around in your pajamas in front of the fire listening to rad tunes on your new iPod nano and watching the entire season 4 of Alias? I mean, unless you have some awesome trip plannned to Costa Rica or something. Otherwise, I am perfectly content to lounge around, sleeping in and wearing pj's 24 hours a day.

But actually I have been quite busy this vacay, painting and packing and shopping. Visiting. Drinking. Downloading cds like a madwoman into iTunes. So I apologize for the delay in writing, it just couldn't be helped. I hope you are all enjoying your freedom as much as I, and if you are one of the masses who must report for work detail this week then I'm more than a little sorry for you. May I recommend joining the ranks of educators?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Kiss

Yesterday I watched the episode of Felicity where Noel asks Felicity to go to Berlin with him over the summer, but at the same time she has to decide if she wants to drive cross-country with Ben. And Felicity goes to Ben's loft and says she can't drive with him because of their "almost kiss" moment, and because he and Julie just broke up, so he just gets up and kisses her and says, "I've wanted to do that for a long time". I seriously almost cried at how awesome it was. That's some damn good t.v. I will never get tired of Felicity and her college-y angst. It brings me back to my own college days, when the biggest thing I had to worry about was whether I should nap or go to class, and which kind of cheap schnapps I wanted for that weekend.

I know this post is early, but I'll be busy with family merriment for the next few days. Merry Christmas Eve, peeps. Over and out.

Friday, December 23, 2005

My Debut Performance

Although we did not get a mechanical bull for our Faculty Holiday Party this year, we did manage to have some fun. This is largely due to the fact that our guitar class was "hired" to play some holiday music. Our first gig! I knew I was destined to be a rock star.

Not only did I rock the electric bass in a rousing rendition of Jingle Bells, but I also played some mad percussion for Feliz Navidad. The crowd of teachers went wild, singing along and clapping. We got a standing O. I must admit, a tear sprung to my eye, despite the fact that I was blushing like crazy. "Wow", the teachers commented afterwards, "we didn't think you'd be so good. We just wanted to laugh at you."

Well, colleagues, you underestimated my mad music skills. See that it doesn't happen again.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Yes, I Am Literate. Really.

"Classic: A book which people praise but do not read." -Mark Twain

I know I don't write much here about books or the things that I'm reading. This is mostly because who really cares what I'm reading? Just because I'm a librarian, it doesn't mean that I only read quality literature. But I think once in a while I can throw some stuff in, since I have a captive reading audience and all.

Every summer I force myself to read a classic novel. By "classic" I mean something either from the Western canon, the Harvard Classics list, or one of the Great Books. I'd say I've read a fair number of them, at least more than most people can claim, but in the end I don't know that they've enriched me any more than, say, Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, or Augusten Burrough's Running with Scissors, or Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.

Over the summers I've slogged my way through Anna Karenina, Four Plays by Aristophanes, Nicholas Nickleby, Le Rouge et le noir (which I was supposed to read in a college course and never did), the Aeneid, and a few others.

Don't get me wrong- it's not that I didn't enjoy some of these books. And I'm also not claiming that J.K. Rowling should replace Dickens in the annals if British literary history. I'm just saying that there's room for lots of different kinds of literature in one's head. Right now, for instance, I'm on a mini-John Bellairs kick. These formulaic Gothic novels intrigue me. They're spooky without being overly violent and they're well-written. Bonus: Edward Gorey did the illustrations for his books.

Because I was a Literature major as an undergrad I feel as though this summer ritual keeps me tied into academia in a way- a way that working with 8th graders can't provide. But maybe this summer I'll give myself a break and stick to the YA stuff. I do work in a middle school, after all. I can finally finish up the second and third summers of the traveling pants and get a foot in the door with the Princess Diaries. Sweet!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

You Could Have It So Much Better...

...and I will. After Christmas is over, I will have everything better. My life
will be fan-friggin'-tastic. Rock, rock on.

But today I don't want to rehash my sentiments about this detestable month. Instead, I would like to have a little laugh with you over the plight of the good citizens of New York City and their MTA crisis. I personally know people who have had to walk 8 miles to work in 30 degree weather and while I really do feel for them (really), it gives me such a lift to think that I can feel bad for them from the warmth of my car.
However, in an attempt to provide some constructive advice for those making the Mahattan Trek this week (and to assuage my slight guilt over being so amused), here is a list of alternatives New Yorkers may use to get their sorry asses into the city.
  • Learn to drive the subway trains and city buses yourself. How hard can it be? Also, you wouldn't have to make any stops other than your own. Glorious.
  • Avoiding the people learning to drive the subway trains, just walk the underground subway tunnels to work. You'll stay warm(er) AND you might discover a flowing pink river of slime deep below the city.
  • Ride Johnny Damon's body sled-style right into Rockefeller Center, once the Red Sox fans are done with him.
  • Hire the homeless to pull you in a cart or a wagon for a cup of coffee and a bottle of Jack.
  • Construct a molecular transporter. The time is ripe, folks. Step up to the challenge.
  • Find jobs in the burroughs. Ha!
  • Invest in a moped. They're convenient, cheap on gas, easy to park, and so damn adorable. Especially the pink ones.
  • Get Mommy and Daddy to drop you off at work. Don't forget your lunchbox!

Otherwise, cancel your gym memberships and start buying long underwear because you're going to be getting a lot of (cold) exercise in the coming weeks. Happy walking!

PS- I heard a rumor that the Scottish wonder Franz Ferdinand and my own fave Death Cab are going on tour together in the spring. Can anyone substantiate this? 'Cuz that would rock my world.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

2006 Is A Comin'. There Ain't No Stoppin' It.

Things are back on track here in Library Land, folks. Spine labels are being affixed, books are being shelved in proper Dewey order, and SLJ reviews are being read and duly noted. If only the rest of my life were in such a perfect state of organization and clarity, I could use that Zen superiority to solve all the problems of mankind.

So today I get the U.S. New and World Report with a cover that states 50 Ways to Improve Your Life in 2006. "Great," I think, "they've already done all the work for me. Now I can just follow their guide. 2006 should be a snap." Was I ever wrong.

Their advice includes tips such as: pull the plug on tech distractions. Check email hourly, not every 5 minutes. I mean, HELLO? What if a teacher had some kind of overhead projector crisis, or needed a suggestion for a book title by the next period? And I just lazily ignored my computer for over an hour? What kind of advice is this? Are they actively trying to get me fired?

Another tip from the geniuses: learn to multitask. Are there any jobs left that don't require people to multitask? Even the term multitask is insulting in this day and age. 10 year olds are creating Power Point presentations and looking up images on Google and getting facts from their textbooks at the same time. If you can't do more than one thing at a time, sign up for the nursing home today because I predict some serious problems for your 2006 future.

Some other brain busters: pay your bills online, meditate, dive into a life-changing book. Gee, U.S. New and World Report, where would I be without your divine wisdom? I can't believe the journalistic sages you must have working for you. Thanks ever so much.

Ok, I didn't mean to go into a tirade about the absurd magazine article, but I couldn't help feeling that it's ridiculousness directly applied to the ridiculousness that is my life. Conclusion: I'm sticking with what I've got for 2006. Because if it's already better than what they've got over at U.S. News, at least I know I've got a leg up on millions of people.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Rant With No Rave

Without going into the details of my sad-sack life, I think at this point I am allowed to say that this is officially the worst holiday season of my short life. Basically, it would take a Christmas miracle for me to muster up any red-and-green-type cheer this year. Or at least a break from this chest-crushing cough I've developed and kept for well over two weeks now.

On the brighter side, I did have another snow day last Friday, which allowed me to stay cocooned in my blankets for most of the daylight hours (and all of the dark ones), thus effectively sealing my fate as the official least-prepared-for-Christmas-person alive. I did get up for long enough on Sunday to brave Wal*Marts crowds in search of curling ribbon (at the request of my mother), and the mullets and bickering I encountered were enough to send me straight back to bed. I also managed to whip up a batch of my spiced pecans for my volunteers, hopefully the seniors will be able to chew them.

Maybe this is one of those times I'm supposed to encourage my readers to telepathically send me wishes for a wonderful 25th- you know, like when Santa needs Christmas cheer for his sleigh to work? But really I'd rather you just send me wishes that I get an iPod on the 25th. So don't waste your wishes on Ms. Grinch.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


"Hard-covered books break up friendships. You loan a hard covered book to a friend and when he doesn't return it you get mad at him. It makes you mean and petty. But twenty-five cent books are different." - John Steinbeck

It's much the same with Christmas presents, don't you think? How do you know an appropriate amount to spend on someone? What if you find the perfect gift for someone you think is a close friend and they buy you a pair of socks? Then, on top of the stress of the holiday season in general, you have to cope with the fact that your friends do not know you at all. At all, I say.

Common sense would dictate that we abolish the faux-liday season entirely. Except the songs. Those can stay as reminders of an age when people were actually religious.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

December Schmecember

How do I hate December? Let me count the ways:

1. Temperatures colder than the human body should be made to endure. Or, as I like to say, colder than a witch's tit.
2. Snow.
3. Ice.
4. Slush. Especially of the dirty variety.
5. Shoveling all of the above.
6. Driving in all of the above.
7. Christmas and all forms of shopping during this time. Also Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and any other Decembertime holiday other religions might make up to try and rival Christmas in its commercial glory.
8. Mall parking lots. And the people that stalk you to your car so they can get your hard-earned spot. Oh, suburbia.
9. Students and teachers at the end of their collective ropes, on edge, ready for vacation.
10. The thought of packing all my stuff and moving, but also the fact that I have to wait three more weeks to move.
11. This insidious cough that has kept me awake for three days running.
12. Keeping my cats from climbing into and nesting in the Christmas tree.
13. The fact that we're all supposed to be jolly and get along, simply because it's the end of a calendar year. If I didn't like you before, why would I like you in December? And if I did like you before, I'll probably like you less right now because it's December.
14. Ersatz Santas roaming about, ringing bells and scaring children (and me).
15. Things such as mistletoe, kissing balls, and any other wreath that tries to confuse our sad little brains into believing love=buying lots of expensive items*.
16. The fact that people still find it funny to bring up just how terrible fruit cake really is.

Just keepin' it real. Things I don't hate about December:
1. Harpoon Winter Warmer.
2. Eggnog.
3. Red wine.
4. Holiday-type music.
5. The smell of Christmas tree in my house.
6. Holiday vacation. And snow days.**
7. The possibility of soon owning an iPod.
8. Taking naps by the fire.
9. Watching Christmas specials on TV like it's the 1950's or something. Except I Tivo'd them.
10. Thomas Kincaide paintings. (HA! Got you!)

*That's what Valentine's Day is for. Also, a side note: Valentine's Day is my second least favorite holiday. Some day I will compile a fully ranked list of holidays for you so that you can keep track of which ones I actually enjoy and about which I won't complain quite so bitterly.
**Yes, I know snow days means snow. And shoveling. But it also means sleep. Gloooorious sleep.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

That's What Family Is For

The holiday season is a time to be spent with family and loved ones, waxing nostalgic at the days of your youth while comfortably ensconced on the couch watching A Christmas Story for the 9 millionth time. And since my infamous cousin Gabriel has decided he wants a blog entry all to himself, I will share a few of our memories with the rest of the virtual world. Maybe it will help me get in the mood to at least do a little holiday shopping.

Once Gabe and I were playing outside in the summertime and I ran inside to get a quick drink of water. When I got back to the porch I saw Gabe across the yard laughing maniacally and waving his arms about. As he ran towards me I realized that he was not laughing; he was, in fact, screaming in terror as an entire hive of bees stung his little head. Since my older cousin was once again in charge of watching us, she filled an enormous mixing bowl with ice and made Gabe dunk his swollen head in it for the rest of the afternoon.

Gabe and I were also computer savvy, even in the days of Commodore 64. We laughed ourselves silly playing Goonies on the good ol' C64, making Mama Fratelli dance a jig as counterfeit money fell all around her. We became Lemonade Stand tycoons. We traveled around the world with Carmen Sandiego before she had an a capella group to back her up. We LOAD *8 *1'd ourselves into a computer frenzy.

We used to shake up the powdered iced tea container and then lift the cover and inhale iced tea dust into our lungs. When you're 9, everything is funny.

Gabe was also the undisputed King of pranks when we worked together. He once shaved down an alka-seltzer tablet with a pocket knife and hid it in his mother's package of NECCO wafers. Once he drank a co-workers bottle of coke and then squeezed balsamic vinegar into it (very forcefully, so that it looked foamy and bubbly like coke). One time I drove up to visit him at Keene with a friend and we ate cold jambalaya in her car on the way up. We stayed up all night drinking, then drove back down to open the store the next day at 6 a.m. in a car that smelled like old sausage and paprika, rice everywhere.

One time Gabe at a dead bee out of my grandmother's windowsill.

There were all the family camping/beach trips. One memorable night my aunt told us a story as we were driving to the campground about how the fog on the road was actually the ghosts of dead people. And then she sang Molly Malone in a scary deep voice. We shrieked in terror and then demanded more.

Then there was the time we did Secret Santa at work. Gabe's Secret Santa bought him a computer scanner. Mine bought me a bag of jelly beans. Good times, good times.

Yes, Gabriel and I have had our share of moments. I miss the goof, I think he should move away from the dreaded Big Apple. But I know he's happy, and so I'm happy for him.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Fleurmione and the Goblet of Eggnog

In a recent email a friend tried calling me Madame Umbridge, which, of course, I immediately took as an affront to my character. I informed him in no uncertain terms that I demanded to be Fleur, or Hermione, or at the very least a respectable Professor McGonagall. Turns out, he was actually just really impressed with himself for being able to insult me, Harry Potter-style.

To make up for it, he dubbed me Fleurmione because I can speak French, but also have Hermione's bossy, know-it-all attitude*. So I will accept the hybrid Fleurmione. This friend also tried declaring himself Dumbledore, then tried to backtrack and say that he only picked Dumbledore because he's an old man now. Which is true. But there are very few people who can call themselves Dumbledore and get away with it. So we have decided on him being Neville Longbottom, minus the unfortunate Brit mouth. He's a bit mopey but brilliant with the Herbology.

Fo-shizzle, I think I should also mention that I am distinctly NOT in a holiday mood. I admit, I begrudgingly bought tickets to the staff holiday party, but the only reason I did is because I would hate to miss any teacher throw-downs, fist fights, or drunken debaucherous moments and have to be filled in weeks after the holiday break. Confirming that this will be a non-fun event, my suggestion for the holiday party at the staff meeting was met with blank stares- I wanted to rent one of those mechanical bulls. Seeing teachers and administrators thrown from a bucking bronco onto big fluffy mats would be hilarious. But I guess no one sees HUMOR during the holiday season.

I was listening to the radio the other day and they had this contest: two people had to rattle off as many things as they could think of that fell under the topic "Things You Should Not Do At A Company Holiday Party" in ten seconds. Now, let me preface this by saying that both contestants failed miserably at this task. But I thought it odd that both mentioned that one should not "defecate on the company floor" at a company holiday party. Is this something that occurs frequently at holiday parties? Was I unaware of this as a cultural phenomenon? Or am I right in thinking that strange?

*And I'm not really that bossy. I'm just often correct. So there.

Friday, December 02, 2005

My Mum

I'm fairly certain that my sense of humor is a direct result of the genes I inherited from my mother*. She and I laugh at the same things and we're easily amused by mocking others. Behind their backs. Although, my mother would have no problem with throwing down if it came to that.

Once my cousin and I were out drinking and of course, where else would you end up afterwards but the local Denny's? What we didn't expect to find was my mother and my aunt, standing on a booth playing air guitar, as inebriated and my cousin and I were. (We also didn't expect to steal the entire jelly caddy, either, but fortunately my cousin had a gigantic purse.)

Another time my parents rented a limo to go to a show and later ended up going for some late-night Chinese food. When the waiter threatened to kick them out for being "rambunctious" (read: loud and obnoxious), my mother informed the gentleman that she was, in fact, Mick Jagger's sister. He apologized and let them lay laughing in the booth all night.

Yesterday my mother laughed and laughed when I told her about the DDR Dance Off party we held at school. I told her the kids were very impressed with my dance skills; they were in awe, cheering me on. Then I heard one 6th grader say: "Of course she's good. She's the LIBRARIAN, what else do you think she does on Friday nights?"

My mother and I find it supremely amusing to have WWE-like smack down wrestling matches in the living room. We chuckle at people's outfits in Wal*Mart. We enjoy randomness.

Yes, my mother has many, many admirable qualities. She's a great cook. She's smart and sassy. She's interesting. She's cares about everyone and she's super-sentimental. But her sense of humor... her sense of humor is priceless.

*This being said, I have no idea why our taste in movies is so divergent, she being more of the Nicholas Cage/Die Hard-type variety. What can you do? We're not clones! Geez.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Just Wondering

Did you ever have one of those days where everything you do seems a little bit far away? When there's a disconnect between your life and any sense of your actual self?

Have you ever been so caught up just watching another person live his or her life that you forget to live yours? Have you ever been so consumed by something, some project or thought, that everything else seems entirely unimportant?

When you see strangers on the street, do you see their lives laid out in frames? Neat little boxes with events and details?

Oh. Me neither. Just wondering. December's off to an odd start, folks.

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