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

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Puberty In Unity

Today my friend decided on a new motto for our middle school: Puberty In Unity. As it is both apt and highly amusing, I must agree with her. The mob mentality of some of these students is frightening. Take a simple thing like making flash cards- it is very likely that chaos will ensue. One student wrote down "titillate" and an entire class didn't stop giggling for 45 minutes solid. And you just never know what might set them off. One on one they are angels. All together, atrocious.

In any case, those are the middle school musings for today. In other news, January is so OVER. Can you even believe it? The only reason I bring it up is because tomorrow begins February, the most wretched month of the year. Cold, dreary, conversation-heart-filled February. There's a reason it's the shortest month of the year. But I promise you it will be ok. Just keep reading this blog and you will forget all of last night's nightmares of chocolate roses and Spongebob Squarepants V-Day cards. Just hold on- 28 short days closer to spring.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Mad Rap Battles

The scene: A middle school library in an upper-middle class town.
The time: A Friday afternoon.
The cast: A group of 8th grade students.

Here's how it went down: my group of students were diligently working on research projects, quietly computing math problems, and filling out Spanish worksheets. One boy, however, was continually begging me- please, please, please let us have a rap battle! I quieted him down, set him back to work.

With one minute to the end of class he looked up at me, the unasked question written all over his face. I looked at my watch. "You have one minute. Go."

He jumped up, put his cap on sideways and walked like a gangsta over to the rest of the class. What followed can only be described as the worst freestyle rap I have ever heard in my life. I wasn't expecting there to be any 8-Mile, Eminem-style lyrics going down. All I can tell you is that the lyrics I did hear involved saying things like "H to the Hizzy" over and over again.

I informed this gentleman in no uncertain terms that there would be no further rap battles until he had put in some serious practice time. "Yes, ma'am", he mumbled, and shuffled off to his next class.

Lesson for the day: just because you've got the bling, it does not a rapper make.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Aiming To Please

And that's all I have to say, peeps. See you next week for more adventures.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Area Librarian Tired Of Torn, Bloody Cuticles

Area librarian NancyPearlWannabe was quoted recently in School Library Journal as being tired of having torn and bloody cuticles. "Damn, yo. I must have more paper cuts than anyone on this planet. I'm kinda a mess. They definitely neglected to mention these types of hazards in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science application packet. "

Sources close to NPW do not deny the fact that she is in dire need of a manicure. "I don't know what goes on in that library, but I know for a fact she applies Intensive Healing lotion, like, every hour", quotes a fellow teacher in the staff room. "What does she expect, working with books like that?"

Despite her best efforts, NPW finds her shredded skin constantly catching on paper and clothing, further damaging the already fragile nail beds. Adding to her worries, scientists have recently confirmed that paper does, indeed, suck moisture from one's skin. NPW is currently working on an overnight concoction of lotions, balms, and plastic gloves to combat this medical phenomenon and keep her skin soft and smooth. "Dripping blood on all the books is getting seriously old. If anyone out there knows of a cure for ripped up cuticles, post it on a listserv, will you?"

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Thank You, Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Columnist

Normally I try to refrain from any kind of political commentary here in BlogLand because, frankly, it's boring to write about how dumb Dubya is. However I am going to make an exception today: I'd like to extend my thanks to Mr. Derrick Z. Jackson, op-ed columnist for the Globe, for publishing his commentary on Bush's education gap. While I do not have the energy nor the talent to publish articles on Bush's many failings, I am glad there are those out there who recognize the absurdity of cutting $12.7 million from education while we educators try to make el Presidente's miserable No Child Left Behind Plan work.

Oh no, Georgie, please, go right ahead- obviously, the rich should get tax breaks, and we can certainly see the pressing need to vote in an Iraqi president right quick. What's that you say? The future of America? The kids who will take over some day? Who cares. By then you won't be President any more, anyway.

Yeah, I'm not bitter or anything.

Also: what kind of middle name starts with a Z?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Lights... Camera... Action!

Today I returned from lunch to find students filming an action-packed spy/ninja movie in the library stacks.

Apparently, a group of 7th grade boys with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm for pretty much anything that doesn't include violent video games or Truth Or Dare decided to create a script- complete with plot, character development, and blocking- and film it in my library during lunch. Much drama, roundhouse kicking, and combat rolling ensued. What were they filming it with? These ingenious boys were using their cell phones to record their masterpiece in 20 second video clips and combining them on their video iPods.

On the one hand, I realize these boys should be at lunch. On the other, how could I refuse them the opportunity to showcase their true talents? Besides, I got a free show- and it was Hilarious. With a capital H. If I manage to get hold of a final edited copy, you can bet you'll be seeing it (and me) at the next Sundance.

Monday, January 23, 2006

In Which NPW Takes Over the School

Due to this morning's unexpected inclement weather (unexpected to me, anyway) many of the teachers were late to school. Not your faithful librarian, however- she was here with a (somewhat crazed) smile on her face despite the rapidly accumulating frozen pretty water. So when the principal asked that we watch some of the unattended rooms, I gladly obliged.

The kids were amazed to see me outside of the library. "What are you doing here?" they demanded suspiciously. I announced my new reign as homeroom teacher... and received a huge cheer! Who knew I was so very pop-u-lar amongst the 6th graders?

Easy as that, my disappointment over the non-snow day vanished. One cheer to get me through the day. I conveniently didn't mention that I was only homeroom teacher for the day. Let them hold on to a glimmer of happiness. At least until tomorrow, 7:36 a.m.

PS- I realize the picture has nothing to do with the post. But I am engaged in an epic battle for the most cute photo and we all know... I like to win.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Let's End This Week

...with all the CUTENESS you can handle!

So after yesterday's depressing news re: love v. mental illness I thought we could all use a dose of happiness to end this forever-long week. Be prepared- this site will make even the most cold-hearted among you say "AWWWWW...." repeatedly. So if you'd like to maintain your foul mood, do not click on the link above. Otherwise, happy Friday!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Sickness of the Brain

Yesterday I read an article in National Geographic; basically, it claimed that love and OCD are the same disease. Both are caused by almost the same chemical imbalance in the brain. Thus, being "in love" should count as a mental illness. This would also explain why regardless of how many times a person may get hurt by someone they are "in love" with, they continue to try their hand at the love game. It's an addiction, people- one meant to ensure that life on our planet continues. We are biological and chemical fools, and damned if we can do anything about it.

Bearing this in mind, I see two options:
1. We (and by we I mean the collective "we") revolt against our very natures and strive to live independently, alone, depending solely on ourselves for comfort and provision.
2. We revel in our helplessness and succumb to the inevitable. We will fall in love. And it will either last forever or it won't.

That is some mad Buddha wisdom. Word.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bed Time Story

This is a good one to tell your kids just as they're falling asleep. Guaranteed to keep them quiet.

Once there was an old man. He had a disease called Alzheimer's, which is not very pleasant at all and makes you forget things just as soon as they happen. Well one day, this old man decided to go upstairs and brush his teeth. So he got in his chair that rolled him up the stairs along the railing and headed up. On his way up he heard a terrible screeching noise and was startled, but promptly forgot about it when he got to the top of the stairs.

On his way back down, he noticed something strange on the stairs but couldn't really identify it and then promptly forgot about it. When he got to the bottom, his cat Princess was crying at the door to go out, so he let her out. As he walked past the stairs, he once again noticed the furry thing on the stairs. As he bent to pick it up, he realized it was Princess's tail. He also realized he had chopped it off with his stair chair.

He promptly forgot about it until his son came over a short while later and noticed both the tail and the missing cat.

That is the story as to why Princess is missing her tail to this very day. I'm recording it now so that we don't promptly forget all about it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Alive... And More Importantly, Sane

Well kids, I'm back from the Canada Extravaganza. A bit of advice from an old pro: one weekend trip with a hundred 8th graders = one year of your life gone forever. Maybe I'm naive but I swear I did not realize the extreme lack of common sense in 13 year olds. They were stampeding down the hallways of a five-star hotel with stacks of Gideon Bibles under their arms. Girls were going up to strange men (MEN) in the ski lodge asking if they could get a picture with them because they were "McHotties". I found tubes of lipstick in potted plants, broken wine glasses, and more iPod and PSP parts than I care to return. Lunch time? One boy had two orders of french fries, a giant cookie, two candy bars, and a Slush Puppie. I had two girls ask if their "friend" that they met in the hotel lobby could get a ride back to school with us even though they DIDN'T GO TO OUR SCHOOL. ("Oh, but he'd pay the bus driver! And he's sooooo cute!")We had two kids go to the emergency room. Six stitches and two x-rays later they returned, ready for some Rock N'Bowl.

But I also found some really sweet kids, and it was really nice to get to know some of the students better. And Quebec really does rock. Definitely a place to plan a trip sans the 7 hour bus ride with students grinding Fritos into each others hair and daring each other to eat tubes of chapstick.

Friday, January 13, 2006

O Canada

Au revoir, mes amis. A bientot!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Jane Austen, You Are My God.

Alas, I have been remiss in writing and apologize heartily for my absence, darling readers. Truly, had I for one second thought I should cause you any heartache or discomfort I would have hurled myself from the nearest highway overpass. I do hope you won't think ill of me, should you think upon me at all.

How could one hope to accomplish much of anything when one is living amongst the masses, striving to educate their poor souls in spite of their mob mentality and apparent affluence? Indeed, I must constantly assuage myself that my lessons are not in vain; that something good, nay, great, may come of their instruction, though they may loathe it so.

I must keep my fortitude in the face of adversity. I must continue to write so that you, dearest, will have something to occupy your long and lonely hours. Please do not spend another dismal afternoon crying in the attic window wondering when I would again bless you with my tales of despair, joy, and ambivalence. My weak heart could not bear the thought.

PS- Saw Pride & Prejudice last weekend and it confirmed my belief that I was meant to live in the Austen era. I suppose I'm turn of the century... just the wrong one. Of course, Jane Austen never found love and died at a fairly young age, a lonely spinster with a quill pen.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sin City

Good morning, Blogketeers!

I know I've mentioned that I am heading to Quebec in a few days. So you might be wondering: why would anyone hear about a skiing trip that involves an 7 hour bus ride with 100 rowdy 8th grade kids who barely understand the concept of personal hygiene (and who have also gone down in the annals of this school as officially the worst 8th grade class, EVER), and say, "Yeah! Sign me up!"

Because that's the kind of masochist I am.

Since I haven't skied in a year, I am relying on a combination of my radtagious ski-nom skills and pure luck to get me through the weekend. A friend offered to teach me to snowboard but I'm guessing the giant Mont St Ann is not the best place to begin my career as a professional boarder.

Yesterday I received warnings from no fewer than three teachers, with the disclaimer: "Watch those 8th grade boys. They're out of control." Watch them do what? Ski? I'm holding on to the hope, naive as it may be, that an entire day on a mountain in the cold will wear them out at least enough to ensure they will be in bed by 11 p.m. Then again, I may just be dumb. One of my parent volunteers mentioned, "Oh, you're chaperoning the ski trip? Great. Make sure my son doesn't end up in any girls rooms, ok?" Ok, first of all: if you think your son is going to end up in girls rooms, don't send him to Canada without you. Second, does that mean it's ok for girls to end up in his room? Or should I segregate him by gender the entire trip?

At this point, I just want to come out of this trip alive and unscathed. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Quarter Life Crisis

It's probably a good thing to go through a quarter life crisis. It prepares you for the inevitable mid-life crisis and it also lets you breathe easy throughout your thirties and forties. It's like a rite of passage to get all existential, angst-y, and whiny. But let me tell you- the mid-life crisis is not so pretty.

Evidence: my father recently bought a 52" inch television and called to tell me he was playing his Corvette racing game on PS2 and it was so realistic, he may just sell his real Corvette. Further evidence: all pictures of my sister and I have been replaced by pictures of the Corvette in the driveway, the Corvette in storage, the Corvette at the beach... you get the idea.

Maybe I should count myself lucky that I just sit around listening to Blink-182, agreeing that indeed, nobody DOES like you when you're 23.

Friday, January 06, 2006

What I Am Thankful For (Version 1.6.06)

There are quite a few things to be thankful for this January. Even though my happiness is probably not as amusing to you as my dark-itude, sometimes you just can't help feeling a little glad to have your life and not the life of a homeless bum sleeping in front of a pile of tires that are on fire.
  • I am thankful to work in a school district with lots of money, as it allows me to take long-weekend ski trips to Quebec with them.
  • I am thankful that I have joined the ranks of city folk and do not have to drive 25 miles to get coffee/go to the bank/get to an airport/see friends.
  • I am thankful I have friends with varied interests so that I can discuss books, learn to snowboard, screen print IHBC underwear, take walks, get new tunes, drink wine, and laugh a lot.
  • I am thankful for parents that make me delicious food and freeze it in tupperware so that I can have lunches all week. They also tivo my shows for me.
  • I am thankful for a family that laughs at the same things I do, ├žuz we're all weird in the same ways.
  • I am thankful for coffee; sweet, sweet nectar of life.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


What is your sexual appeal?

brought to you by Quizilla

Apparently, I'm a starlet. Dramatic, check. Popular, check. But unattainable? This bears some major contemplation.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I have this book in my library called Addiction (or actually, ADDICTION), and while it claims to discuss its causes, problems, and treatments, in reality it just makes it seem like a whole lot of fun to be a meth addict.

Considering I went into the library science profession to begin with, I am very much anti-censorship. On the other hand, I can't see how it's beneficial for a middle school library to provide children with a detailed instruction manual on how to use inhalants. Listen to this introduction:

"Tense? Take a pill. Unhappy? Have a drink. Want to have more fun? Light a cigarette" (Berger 1982). Of course, if you read on a bit you'll realize they are not actually advocating any of these behaviors. But how many kids will read on from there? At that point they're probably throwing the book to the floor and running down to the nearest 7-11 to have some high school kids buy them a pack of Camels and a 30 pack of Bud Light.

Anyway, my solution is to get rid of this book... BUT, replace it with a volume that is a little more updated and geared towards the appropriate age level. Still, I feel like I have a whole library's worth of these problems. Some of them are easy- no need to keep Some People Are Indians (an account of why the Indians were more than brutal savages), or American Negroes In Our Schools (an account of 20th century African Americans in the public education system). But some, like ADDICTION, are less clear-cut.

Time to do some serious weeding.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Welcome, 2006. We've Been Waiting For You.

Welcome to the new year! I know it's early yet, but so far 2006 has been shiny. I'm all moved into my new place, I have friends all around, I don't have to drive 25 miles to the nearest Starbucks, we have free cable and internet (for now). Life is good. Very good.

Of course, there are some things I still need to vent about, which is the beauty of a blog. And who wants to read about how lovely my life is? You people want to read about misery. At my expense. So you can feel better about yourself. Fine! Some complaints:

1. My new place does not have one drawer. I mean it. Not one. Not even for silverware.
2. Every single one of my friends had a snow day today but me. Not that I want to be here all summer, but still, disappointing.
3. An old man substitute came in to demand my help with a VCR. While I was trying to connect the cables he randomly pulled out, he slammed the TV into my fingers. Fun.
4. The fish in the fish tank are giganticum and hideous beyond belief, much larger and uglier than normal fish should be. This only confirms my radiation leak theory. I mean, how could they grow so much in one vacation week?! Worrisome indeed.
5. As co-founder of the IHB Club, I have been planning a girl's wine&cheese&vent night, as well as a housewarming party, so I've been kept plenty busy. Which is actually good, as it distracts me from my hating of boys in general.

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