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

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sunny Daze

Remember back in the old days when no one had to show up for school when it was nice out- when you could just pack a lunch in the morning and go for a hike in the woods or park a towel on a beach and spend the day thinking about how your life has so much meaning and wondering what that meaning might be?

Ok, you caught me. That never really happened*. Just some wishful thinking on my part. But god damn, it's nice out, and all I really want to do is be outside in the sun. I know I should probably throw in some concerns about not having any sunblock and damaging UV rays and all that, but at this point I really don't care, this pasty pale skin cannot be a sign of good health. Tomorrow is supposed to be 70 degrees. 70 degrees, people. In March. In New England. If that is not a sign that we should be free from such menial things as education, then I don't know what is.

The kids here are quite prepared for the summer. We have the usual contingent of boys that wear shorts year-round (which is highly amusing/vaguely alarming on those days in mid-January when you can feel your nose hairs freeze upon going outside), but this global warming has lots of other kids busting out the flip flops and tank tops. I feel like I should issue a warning to some of these kids: don't rejoice too soon, my friends- it's possible (in fact, probable) that there will still be a major snow storm between now and summer.

Anyway, what if the sun collapsed in on itself tomorrow and then there was only the cold and dark from now until eternity and we'd have to dig down into the Earth's core just to stay warm and keep the human race alive? Just sayin'. We should take advantage while we can.

Sometimes it sure would be nice to ditch.

*When it does happen, it's called unemployment. Sweet, sweet unemployment.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

100% Pure

I am a writing fool.

Apparently I missed my 100th post; you know as well as I do that I certainly would have mentioned that little fact if I had been coherent enough to notice it. Regardless, we are just going to pretend that this (104th) post is actually the 100th so that we can celebrate together.

What are you still doing here? WHY AREN'T YOU OUT CELEBRATING?

Anyway, what the eff did I even have to talk about for 100 posts? Well since I can barely remember last week, let alone all the way back to October, I started to look through some of my old posts. I had to admit, it's kind of nice to have a chronicled archive of my daily library life all laid out. At the same time it's a little embarassing, like reading your journal from 6th grade and remembering when you thought the viola-playing, cystic-acned boy in front of you in homeroom was hot as hell*.

But I digress. I hope this centennial post reflects my pride in continuing to write a blog that is strange and incongruous and disjointed, albeit grammatically correct, all for your viewing pleasure. Obviously my starting a blog was a flagship moment in history- someday you will all be thankful that you were there when the magic started.

*Viola boy was actually better than this guy.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Six Gun Salute

A few things to clear up:

First off, I managed to get stuck in a technology tangle yesterday for the duration of my workday. You know when you're having one of those nightmares where everything you try to do is in slow motion and you're trying to speak clearly and normally but it's all coming out wrong and you just keep getting more and more frustrated? Well I felt like everyone else was having that nightmare yesterday and I was the only one wide awake but still stuck in it with them.

Secondly, some sad news. When I got back into the library this morning, I saw a crowd of kids circling the giant fish tank. Not a good sign, as they tend to gather only for collective destruction and/or violence. I cleared a path, only to find my giant sea robin fish belly up in the tank. Before I knew what was happening, I was surrounded by a surging mass of distraught children claiming that Sea Robin had been their loyal friend, and what had happened to him and could we have a burial service? I'll tell you, when those nasty spider crabs got eaten, I was the first to rejoice. But despite his creepiness, I actually felt a little sadness at the passing of the Old Man of the Sea. And also a little guilty, since I laughed at him yesterday when he was bobbing vertically in the tank- I mean, how was I supposed to know his time was up? So I drew a few pictures of happy, smiley fish swimming in the ocean and taped them up over the tank until we can get some new marine life up in this piece. RIP, buddy. You'll be missed.

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Lastly, the next two weeks of school are testing and so I am anticipating 1.) that I will be bored out of my head with no classes coming in, and 2.) that the students will be antsy and edgy and generally irritable. I don't blame them- I'd be cranky, too, if I had to sit for hours on end taking state exams aimed pitting school districts against each other in the race to have the best-test-taking children.

With that said, I apologize for the lack of posting yesterday. A little running, some R & R, and I'm back on track.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Game Is Afoot

Apparently there is some type of game going on, in which a certain beloved librarian gets TAGGED and has to write a blog entry on the first ten songs that show up shuffle-style on her iPod. Well nerds, you asked for it. Don't be jealous that my gigs are cooler than your gigs. Ready, nano? Annnnnnd.... go!

1. Recycled Air- Postal Service
2. Satan Is My Motor- Cake
3. Eriatarka- The Mars Volta
4. The Incomparable Mr. Flannery- Clutch
5. Song For Whoever- The Beautiful South
6. Rock and Roll Queen- The Subways
7. Unsingable Name- Mike Doughty
8. Seven Seas of Rye- Queen
9. The Hand That Feeds- Nine Inch Nails
10. Off The Record- My Morning Jacket

Wow, my music taste doesn't look half bad in that list. Thank God none of my Shakira or Fallout Boy came up, I wouldn't want everyone knowing about *that*...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand

The currents are changing. Today I wore impractical shoes to work and my feet were cold, I really should have known better. It's something in the air, pushing me towards the illogical.

My blood is warm and I'm feeling tempestuous, dangerous. Like I have a power over my life, my fate. Silly; I know it is an oxymoron to claim to have the power to change fate, yet also emboldening, because I know that feeling will be fleeting and I'd like to keep it as close as I can. Spring is coming, it changes everything. It brings questions and encourages no real answers. It's a time for shimmery and gossamer objects, for floaty and hopeful thoughts, and for impractical shoes.

* Thanks to Penelope Dullaghan for her beautiful illustrations.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Oh, and BTW-

Gen M

An article in Times this week has stated that this generation has become so able to rapidly toggle between tasks that often times we feel as though we are able to do two or more things at once when in reality, we are simply multitasking at an extremely fast pace. There were a few aspects of the article that really got my attention:

  • The article states: “Teenagers who fill every quiet moment with a phone call or some kind of e-stimulation may not be getting that needed reprieve. Habitual multitasking may condition their brain to an overexcited state, making it difficult to focus even when they want to.” I see this every day- not only in school, but in my own life. I know that I am unable to carry on a normal phone conversation when I am on the computer, I am unable to read (effectively) while listening to music, etc. I've also found that it is very difficult for me to sit still- no conversations, no computer, no phone, no TV- for very long. My shower in the morning is probably the only time that I am not getting in some kind of stimulus. I can't imagine that this is a good thing for my poor little brain.
  • "When people try to perform two or more related tasks either at the same time or alternating rapidly between them, errors go way up, and it takes far longer- often double the time or more- to get the jobs done than if they were done sequentially." If this is true, I'd estimate I make at least 1,400 mistakes in any given work day.
  • "Thousands of years of evolution created human physical communication-facial expressions, body language- that puts broadband to shame in its ability to convey meaning and create bonds. What happens as we replace side-by-side and eye-to-eye human connections with quick, disembodied e-exchanges?" This constant ability to have everyone and anyone available to talk to in a variety of formats (phone, IM, email, text message), at all times of the day, has created a kind of interpersonal ADD.

Don't get me wrong- I love modern technology and gadgetry. It allows me to continue relationships with people that otherwise would have fallen by the wayside, simply because they're far away. It helps to keep me connected to people. But I've come to the realization that when I am with someone, having a conversation, I don't feel this pull towards electronic media. And that's a little bit of a relief- that I can have personal connections without having my cell phone attached to my hip and without checking myspace comments every hour.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I'm a huge fan of the Stott pilates class at my gym. It involves all kinds of fun little props- the stability ball, the fitness circle, the resistance bands, the hand weights. It builds core strength and gives me a chance to do something that doesn't require any technology- no treadmill, no iPod, no TV, just me and my muscles. What I'm not a huge fan of is the crazy bizarro instructor. While she's walking around the class observing different people she has no problem with grabbing limbs and twisting them into different positions. I hold my breath when she walks by me, praying that she doesn't find anything wrong with my form. Once she was molding another woman's arm position from behind and leaned around her, rested her head on the woman's shoulder, said something barely audible about her clavicle, and as she walked on to the her next hapless victim I heard the woman whimper,
"She smells like tuna".

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Her instructions are vague and somewhat inappropriate, things like: "Pull your shoulder blades down and together, as if I had reached up under your shirt and was pulling down on your bra strap." Umm... huh? How 'bout you don't do that. Her eyes are always half-lidded and she's forever making comments I don't quite get: "Good, people, good. The energy in this room is healing. You're healing me. The energy is circulating, you're creating energy. Warmth floods the room." In the full-wall mirror at the front of the room, I can see the other's expressions. Their eyes are saying: Damn you, woman! You can't actually "create" energy! Just shut up and let us work our obliques!

It doesn't matter where you place your mat- the very back, the very front, way off to the side behind a pillar- oh, no. She'll hunt you down and make sure your joints are ratcheted to the maximum degree possible. Needless to say, her presence gives me one more reason to make sure I am concentrating on my breathing and positioning... lest she decide she wants a little hugging/bra-pulling time with yours truly.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Weekend Redux

On the blogging roller coaster I feel as though I am almost to the bottom of that first big hill, nearing the next incline. Like the excitement has crescendoed and you're feeling a little concussed, but still enjoying it? Translation of that poor analogy: I feel like my blog has been a little weak lately. But seeing as how most of you are probably hungover from your weekend of Irish revelry, I don't feel as though I need to be particularly impressive today.

I'll do my best, though, since these entries are archived and occasionally the worst entries mock me from the sidebar.

Anyway, since you're dying to know, last weekend was fantastic. Friday night I was treated to an amazing show by the California Guitar Trio, and rather than jam ourselves into a crowded Irish bar with mass quantities of drunken college students we opted to enjoy a more relaxed drinking environment. If you have never heard of or seen the CGT, I would highly recommend locating some of their music- their skill and passion makes me sad that I don't have a talent as great as theirs. And it was totally obvious that they loved every minute of performing. One word: awesome.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing random fun activities- so much so, that when Sunday evening inevitably rolled around I needed to take a two-hour walk just to wind down and clear my head a little. Of course, finding a super shoe sale and drinking delicious bubble tea definitely helped a little.

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But lucky, lucky you- I'm back. And lucky, lucky me- this blog might not always reflect it, but I am honestly, truly, very much happy with what I've got, even with the craziness and the busy-ness. So I'm making an effort. I vow to keep writing until I've got nothing more to say, and we all know that will be a while.

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence." -Helen Keller

Friday, March 17, 2006

Top o' the Mornin' To Ye

Library lover by day, Guinness lover by night!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Loneliest Number

Once in a while I get a little sad that I'm all alone here in the library. Just me and the fishies. Me and thousands of books to correct. Me and my crazy ideas. Then I see some of these kids in the hallway and I remember: I only have to see them once in a while. Their teachers have to see them every... single... day.
I love the library.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Without the constant hum of computers, fish tank air filters, and fluorescent overhead lighting the library is surprisingly silent. So silent you could hear the rustle of someone turning a book page. I would know because we did not have power today for over three hours. So when the band decided to use the room next door to the library (since that room actually had windows and a minute amount of light to see by), I was treated to some insanely loud guitar renditions of Yankee Doodle Dandy all day long. At least it wasn't kazoo day.

I also got to serve on graffiti duty, patrolling the halls to preserve our pristine student bathrooms from idle pencils and impromptu groping sessions.

Today made me glad I was not a librarian before electricity, I would have lost my sanity before I made it through even one week of monastic silence.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Library Find of the Day

Excuse me, but do you happen to have any books on youth gangs in contemporary urban America? Pretty much anything that shows students the true dangers of wearing leather jackets and tapered jeans while hanging out on a busted-ass IROC will work. Preferably something involving grafitti and at least one crazy 'stache. Oh, you do? Thank god. Kids these days just don't understand what it's like to open up a can of West Side Story on someone's ass.

I think I actually saw this gang in downtown Rochester last weekend. If I had known they were so famous (infamous?) I would have asked for their autographs. Maybe they would have signed it with a blood-stained splinter from their wooden stake, maybe they would have airbrushed it on my ratty white t-shirt. Menace2Society 4Eva!

Monday, March 13, 2006

All's Well That Ends Well

Well my blogettes, it is done. I have secured a place in the Upstate New York Visitor Hall of Fame. My picture is on the wall of dozens of Rochester establishments with my arms around the owner's shoulders and my name is commonplace on the menus of the local eateries. "The NPW": Complete coolness on toasted ciabatta bread. Can you handle it?

Ok, not so much.

For real though, NY was a good time. I even got a chance to up my "time spent in Canada" ticker by a few hours. Here are some highlights of the trip:
  • My first time at Dinosaur BBQ.
  • Getting a misty facial from Niagara Falls (Canada side, yo) and exploring the seediness of Ontario safely from the car.
  • Losing every Canadian quarter we had in their foolish Canadian slot machines.
  • Watching a random jazz club at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo (home of the original buffalo wings).
  • Going to the Rochester St. Patrick's Day parade and seeing just how drunk Rochester can get, when it wants to.
  • Eating lunch in the flagship Wegman's, where grocery dreams DO come true.
  • Enjoying the sun and the hippies at the public market.
  • Getting to spend time with amazing people.

Despite the bleak drive in a car with no cruise control (damn you, Civic!) I would definitely make that trek again. Thanks Rochester- I'll be seeing you!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Miles From My Home

This afternoon I'm taking a little solo car trip to the much-heralded upstate New York area. Does anyone have any suggestions about must-sees in the Rochester area? Anything fun/interesting/crazy would be great; I'm going to once again attempt to quell my love for New England long enough to see what the non-Manhattan part of NY has to offer.

Try not to cry too much. I'll be back on Monday, I promise.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Here's the thing...

Sometimes I want to write about my life in a way that isn't humorous or vague or anecdotal. I tend to hold certain things back because of my position in a school and although it might feel unfair at times, I would rather keep my job than keep my blog*. So even though this daily routine might not be exactly cathartic, it is at best amusing, at worst a quick read.

Yesterday I was feeling mentally worn down, like my thoughts and emotions had slowly been fading to black since we started back after break. I needed a recharge just as badly as my little nano, and no amount of caffeine was juice enough. But all the coffee and chai and ginseng tea and wheatgrass smoothies in the world wouldn't cure this ennui. Was that even what it was? Or was it simply a boring day? Or am I just boring? Maybe I just have too much time to contemplate whether I'm completely mad as a hatter or completely normal. This mindless repetition of binary barcodes frees up ample space in my head during the day for randomness.

In any case, I understand that many people read blogs for updates on daily life, for pictures of parties and friends, maybe in hopes of catching a glimpse of their name mentioned in a post. But my blog is destined (doomed?) to forever maintain a balance of library situational comedy with some of my personality thrown in. And that will have to be enough for me, no matter how many (or how few) people read it.

*So for all you badasses out there who feel as though I may be "censoring" my writing, I will tell you unequivocally: yes, I am.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Looking A Little Dim

Today I had a realization as to why most people do not choose to go into the library science field. It dawned on me only after spending three hours poring through a Bulb Direct catalog, searching for exactly the right bulbs for our antiquated overhead projectors. I'll be straight with you pimps, this was not the way I planned on spending my days. I'm down with teachers asking for a bulb replacement here and there. Hell, I'll even go get it myself in the AV room and change it for you. But to actually sit and read through the exciting world of J Lamps and Osram bulbs... well that may just be bordering the ridiculous.

On the scale of horribelocity, things quickly escalated. I needed to figure out base size and shape, the base code, the diameter of the bulb, the lens color, the type of machine it would be used for... oh, the list goes on, people. Soon my forehead started to break out in a cold sweat, the droplets falling onto the pages of my catalog, blurring the tiny columns of numbers and codes. The cheap catalog paper permanently shriveled and turned pulpy. MoFo, was that an Edison screw? Or a recessed contact? Did I decide on a mogul socket with a 4 mm base, or MR16 Holder with 3 mm base? I was feeling woozy. Would this torture never end? I quickly broke out my #2 pencil and jotted down some numbers I seemed to remember on the order sheet and pushed it aside, my labored breathing slowly returning to normal.

In the end, I think my bulb-related purchases totaled somewhere in the vicinity of $680. They may not actually fit into any of our machines, but hey, I'm just grateful to have that ish off my desk.

Monday, March 06, 2006

New Kicks For The Library Chick

There is nothing more exhilarating than the thought of a good sale. So Filene's "Everything Must Go" sale is a girl's dream come true. On Friday afternoon a friend and I decided to just pop in to see if the sale hype lived up to it's expectations and I will be the first to admit, I got a little overexcited. At one point I caught a glimpse of myself in the store mirror and I was scared for myself. This is what I saw: cheeks flushed a deep pink, hair a bit mussed up and crazy, arms and shoulders straining under the weight of boxes of shoes and hangers of clothes, and my eyes bright as if with a fever.

Yes I know. It's a sickness.

But still we carried on with the shopping till all departments were explored and I had purchased my new Rocket Dogs kicks (amongst various other things) before we had to head back to sell tickets for the school play. Were the sales worth my sudden (yet fleeting) pitch into dementia? $54.95 to $21.95. You do the math.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Line 'Em Up, Move 'Em Out

Avid readers of this blog will remember my post from way back in October about the Chinese family residing in my library. Well my friends, I neglected to mention the little soiree we recently had in the faculty room in their honor: apparently, two of them are now U.S. citizens. I wish with all my heart you could have been there to hear the heartwarming speech in broken English re: the evils of communism in China. I know I cannot do it justice here, I won't even try to recreate it. But it did almost bring a tear to my eye. They didn't even need to bust out the talking translator.

Then there was the red, white, and blue cake, diligently divided into chocolate and vanilla squares among the teachers. How very American of us. "Welcome, Chinese compadres, here is your ceremonial induction cake!"

I guess this means the rumors of international espionage going on here at the middle school were unfounded? Unless this is all part of their sinister plot... dun dun DUUUUUN.

To Be Continued

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The 93rd Day

Sometimes I marvel at how horribly wrong things tend to go for me. Like when someone sends me a link for a website on which my estranged aunt is posing in a leather bustiere. Other times it seems everything works exactly how it should. Today appears to be both.

On the bright side, I had entirely forgotten that we have split pay and that we get a pay increase at the 93rd day of school. So what does that mean for the fortunate NPW? Well that right there just paid for my $80 a month gym membership. Plus we have three pay periods this month. March is where it's AT, yo.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Little Flickr Fun Doesn't Hurt Anyone

I told myself I wouldn't get involved with photo tagging and image editing. I told myself that sites like myspace and friendster were for kids and music people, a distraction more than anything else. And yet... it all holds an odd charm. Sites like flickr and photobucket can keep me entertained for hours, especially when combined with Photoshop. And it's good to know I can keep up with the technology the kids are interested in. But it's come to the point where I need to draw the line- there is a finely chiseled balance between fun and obsession and I'm close to toppling over the edge. I only hope these kids appreciate the lengths I go to to keep informed.


"In the nonstop tsunami of global information, librarians provide us with floaties and teach us how to swim." -- Linton Weeks, Washington Post, Jan. 13, 2001.

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