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

Monday, April 30, 2007

NH: Rave-Ready

Spotted at a local New Hampshire eating establishment recently:

Oh, did I mention this was in the bathroom?

I can't even tell you how many times I've been hard-pressed for glow sticks while in the bathroom. Thank god someone understands my needs.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Busy Bee

Sorry for the non-post this morning, but if you understood how much work I have all of a sudden you wouldn't hold it against me. We had the brilliant idea to hold a book drive to bring in "gently used" books to the library; apparently I didn't realize the lengths to which these competitive children would go to to win a pizza party. Seriously, some of these kids gave me hundreds of dollars worth of books in exchange for maybe two slices of cafeteria pizza. Part of me feels badly about this, the other, more rational, part understands that these children have more books and more money at their disposal than I will ever have in my lifetime.

Of course, if all the books are like this one, then maybe I'm overpaying them with pizza?

Seriously- when is this book from? 1974? What kid is reading that?

I guess maybe I should have realized the book drive would end up like this. These children really, really like to win- i.e.: the magazine drive when they pretty much whore themselves out for weepuls.

Anyway, please pardon me for being so out of it this week. As it is, only three classes have brought their books down to the library so far- that's out of 30, mind you- and there are already over 200 books. So as you can imagine I've got cataloging up to my eyeballs. And did I ever mention that cataloging is one of my least favorite parts of being a librarian? Because it so is.

Happy end of week. Have some fun for me!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

So Weak

This week actually kind of flew by and I realized that there are now only 7 weeks left of school before the gloriousness of summer commences. Woot. I also realized as I was driving in to work this morning that even though there are still a few little patches of snow left where there were once giant piles, all the leaves and the trees are starting to show some green. It's so very pretty outside I just had to go for a walk, so I went downtown to pick up an iced coffee and drop off some mail and stop in the bookstore quickly to see what they were buying for young adult stuff. Did I ever mention that I love walking when it's nice out? If it was 75 and sunny every day I would never be in a bad mood again.

Ok, that was a big fat lie. But it would definitely make it that much harder to stay in a bad mood, rather than the days on end of miserable weather we usually get here that seem to egg on irritability and instability. You know how everyone always says that you can only truly appreciate something good when you've already experienced the worst? Yeah, I'd like to kick whoever said that in the shins. I've paid my dues, yo. Bring on the searing desert heat.

Enough about the weather! I'm sick of the gd weather. Anyway, I thought about doing a Thursday Thirteen today and I just don't have the time or the energy for more than a couple of weak bullet points.
  • The very big news I have to tell everyone is still unconfirmed. It's likely and probable that I could report the news now and be safe but I don't want to jinx anything. You know how it is.
  • All packages have been mailed. Expect them forthwith.
  • I can't wait for the weekend. Natch. I don't even have any big plans, I just want to sleep in. Although I must admit, it's much easier to wake up in the mornings now that it's actually light out.
  • Last night we watched a couple of episodes of the first season of Arrested Development. Did anyone else watch this show? HILARIOUS.
  • I am right now resisting the urge to drive up to the MSPCA to see if the Tuki has gone home with anyone yet.
  • Ultimate frisbee is starting up again. Wee! I only hope I don't get knocked unconscious this year.
  • Speaking of wee, I really want a Wii.
  • I just bought a diet green tea drink and almost choked when I read that one bottle is 6 servings. Six! That may still be 0 calories, but it's 420 miligrams of sodium. I'm surprised my insides aren't corroded.
  • I bought a cute Proenza Schouler shirt at Target and I've received about 12 compliments on it. Good on ya, Target. I love me some cheap one-season clothing.
  • Oh, crap. I better bustamove- my to-do list has become ridiculously long and I just keep staring at it uncomprehendingly, hoping it might just go away if I pretend not to understand it. Kind of like Chris does any time I start to talk about something that bores him. Ha!
You know it's bad when you're wishing you had a meme to post. See you fools tomorrow for some Friday Fun.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Faux Paw

Nerdstar Runners: sorry to disappoint, but I've got nothing for you today. My brain hurts and my heart is heavy. My little Tuki doll might have traitorous fur, but as Chris and I were leaving the MSPCA yesterday she kept staring down at him from her perch and meowing reproachfully. She wanted to come home with us. She couldn't help it that she caused us to itch out of our minds. She misses us.

Or, you know, she could be totally fine; maybe she'll go home with some awesome people who will understand that she's the coolest cat around and treat her as royalty. Maybe she has no awareness whatsoever that we even wanted her. But those eyes... it's hard to shake the feeling that she knew we were leaving her there.

Anyway, I'm sure you'll all be glad to end this week of NPW's Cat Drama Mini-series and get back to my usual trippy librarian stories. With any luck the end of this week will bring the good news I know you're all dying to hear. Till then, I leave you with my current list of summer job options:
  1. Nanny/Au pair/glorified babysitter
  2. Tutor
  3. Camp counselor
  4. Porn set fluffer
  5. Bookstore
  6. Pouring concrete
  7. Mover
  8. Shaker
  9. Selling ginsu knives at state fairs
  10. Becoming a Mormon, filming commercials

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cats: An Off Broadway Drama

First off, thanks to everyone who left me congratulatory cat messages yesterday. We have yet to pick her up since the MSPCA is conveniently closed on Mondays. Also, I got a snotty message yesterday from some woman that works there. When we saw Tuki* (the beautiful dragon cat) on Saturday, she had a bit of a bald patch on her belly. The person we talked to thought it was allergies, and told us she was taking some kind of supplement for them, but that the vet would check her out on Monday- as in, yesterday.

According to said snotty message, the visiting vet is "only available for emergencies" on Mondays, and she didn't know who could've possibly told me that the vet would be looking at Tuki, but if we wanted her looked at we'd have to schedule a special vet exam.

You know I'm irritated when my brow furrows and I'm frowning while listening to a stupid voice message.

Regardless, Chris and I want to go see her and make sure she's doing okay before we take her home. Of course, C never leaves work before 7:30 p.m., and the MSPCA is only open until 4. Way to get your animals adopted, MSPCA- close before people even get out of work.

So that is the Tuki drama, up-to-date and current. I just hope she's not miserable being crammed in with all those other animals and being subjected to all those uncouth degenerates trying to pick her up and mussing up her lovely fur.

*I kind of love the name Tuki, but I also want to just call her Fizzgig because that's how I think of her. Chris has started calling her Kathleen Turner because of all her long flowing "hair", which makes me laugh until I pee every damn time I imagine Tuki starring in Romancing the Stone.

edit: We just got home from the MSPCA and Chris and I are both itchy, sneezy messes. This happened last time we went, too, but we ignored it for the sake of our mutual cat love. I don't think, however, that we could successfully ignore allergic reactions every day for the rest of Tuki's (or our) lives. What does this mean? I suppose it means no Fizzgig, no Kathleen Turner to sweep us off our feet with bad romance novels.

This is a sad day, my friends. I really loved that cat.

Monday, April 23, 2007

8 Weeks Till Summer and Counting!

I'm back, nerdlets! Not that I really left, per se, but the true spirit of NPW is back. My vacation seemed to be the very definition of situational irony: the discrepancy between what is expected and what actually occurs. I expected glorious sunshine and lots of walks and iced coffee. What I actually got was a lot of rain and a drain that will not unclog.

Fret not though, intrepid readers. I did manage to accomplish a few things over break. For example, I... um, well, I got new athletic socks. You might not think that was such a big deal, but that is because you have never seen my old running socks. You see, I hate, hate, hate when socks are baggy and so I always pull the backs of them up so that they're not all loose in my sneakers, but then it's like the ankles are all up around my achilles tendon and then Chris makes fun of me. And rightly so, it's pretty unsightly.

Ahem. Anyway, I did not intend to write a post about my athletic socks. What I meant to say was, my vacation was less than stellar, but better than work. And good news for my blog winners of yesterweek, the packages are ready (mostly) and will be mailed out tomorrow (I think). You will be happy to note that Chris is jealous of the packages, as I have them all laid out on my dining room table, and he wishes he commented so that he could've won.

I would've mailed them all out today, but I have a list of things to do a mile long and it's only Monday morning. This afternoon is a staff meeting, followed by yoga (hopefully outside, since it's a ridiculous 80 degrees and sunny, now that I'm back at work), and then I think I'll go for a run to take advantage of this lovely day.

I also have one other errand I need to do, involving something that happened over the weekend. It seems as though Chris and I have adopted a cat. I think. We went to the MSPCA on Saturday afternoon just to look around at the cute animals and we had almost decided it was time to go when we saw her. She looked like a Chinese bearded dragon mixed with a long haired cat, mixed with Fizzgig from the Dark Crystal.

Yep, that's her! As soon as I saw her, I knew I wouldn't be content with the knowledge that she might have to go home with one of the nasty white trash people milling about the MSPCA. Especially not with the grubby kids pulling at her tail and matting her fluffy fur with their sticky popsicle hands. No, they would not love her darling peanut butter face like I would, they wouldn't buy her treats and play laser beams with her, and open the window so she could sit on the sill in the warm sun and stare disdainfully down on our neighbors. So really, the answer was simple: I had to have her. The only minor problem being that our lease specifically says "No Animals".

We filled out the adoption paperwork anyway, and Chris sweet talked our landlord into agreeing to let us keep her. Now I just have to pick her up and make a pit stop at Petco (where the pets go) for all the accoutrements of once again being a pet owner. This also means that my master plan has finally been set in motion: cat now, dog later. I mean, once we have a cat, how is our little Greek landlord going to be able to say no to a sweet-faced little boxer? Right?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Little Visit

Must type quickly- the sun is shining and I need to get out there before the weather realizes what's happening and reverts back to its usual state of apathetic gray drizzle.

Yesterday in the brief bout of sunshininess I decided I wanted to go a-touristing and drove myself to historic Concord, home of Walden Pond and the houses of Thoreau, Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott. I quickly scratched the Walden Reservation off my possible to-do list because of the recent flooding- I hadn't brought my wellies and I sure as hell didn't want to end up knee-deep in historic, albeit poetic, lake mud.

So then which house to see? Each one cost about $7 with a student ID (thank goodness my grad school ID has no expiration date- that thing saved me one whole dollar!) and I figured I'd try one and see if they were worth the price of admission. So I picked the Alcott house because really, who doesn't love Little Women?

Let me do you a favor- I'll save you those seven hard-earned dollars and give you the tour run down, as remembered by my (admittedly faulty) brain:
  • The woman handing out tickets for the tour was doing a little needlepoint that read "Jesus love me, this I know". I didn't have the heart to tell her she forgot the "s" on loves.
  • The first 15 minutes of the tour consisted of watching a video in which a woman pretends to be Louisa May Alcott, answering questions about different problems in today's society. "Louisa, what do you think about global warming and people harming the environment?" "Well I do believe that people should take care of the places they love. It is our duty to make sure our homes are livable." Whatevs! I'm pretty sure in reality Louisa would've actually said something closer to this: "Huh? What the eff you talkin' about, global warming? We don't even got no coal for our stove 'less I sell these here books and winter in Concord is like 19 months long or some shit and you askin' me about global warming? Bring that bitch on."
  • I realized halfway through the movie that I was on the tour with about 15 Mormons. How did I know? They had their Elder badges on that said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! They seemed very intent on the movie so I thought I might be able to snag some super spy photos, but the needlepointing lady kept peering intently into the darkness and I realized it would be horribly embarrassing to have to tell people I got kicked out of the Alcott House on my break. Suffice it to say, they were satisfactorily horrified when they realized that Bronson Alcott allowed his daughters to choose whether they wanted to marry or have careers, and that some of them actually chose careers.
  • The girl that actually gave us the house tour looked like she had fallen off a motorcycle going 70 mph directly onto her face. I don't know what the road rash was from, but I don't remember one word of the tour, I was so fascinated thinking of things that might have happened to her.
Anyway, the whole place was very pretty and predictable. There were some interesting little vignettes about the family stories and it felt very authentic. I felt a bit funny when we were standing in the parlor and a guide mentioned that May Alcott had gotten married right there, with Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Louisa May all in attendance. Crazy.

"Welcome! Now give us money."

The place looks a little scary for the scene of Little Women, no?

The house is a landmark, but the actual orchards? Strip malls.

The needlepoint lady told me that 80% of the things in the house actually belonged to the Alcotts, but didn't seem to like it when I asked if this was an original toilet sign.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday? Already?

Thirteen Things about NPW's "Vacation"

1. After 28 years of life here in New England I've come to learn that you have to take what the weatherpeople say with a grain of salt. So when they predicted rain for the entirety of my vacation week I admit I scoffed a little- it certainly can't rain the whole time, I thought.

Want to know how wrong I was? I haven't seen so much as a hint of the sun in the last 6 days. It's either been pouring, sleeting, or drizzling at any given moment. Yeah, it's been pretty sweet.

2. So yesterday I thought, screw this rain, I'm going shopping down in Harvard Square. I had some prizes for certain winners that I wanted to pick up, and I also figured I could do some Jasmine Sola shopping and partake of some delicious bubble tea while I was there.

I drove down to Harvard (the first mistake of many) thinking no one would be out in these miserable conditions and I'd have no problem finding parking. After 45 minutes circling around trying to hawk a spot, I pulled into one about 10 minutes away from the Square. I got out to put money in the meter and realized I only had one quarter. Well, that bought me 30 minutes- I had better get moving. I started walking and a giant truck breezed by me, launching a solid three foot wall of water onto my torso. Too late to turn back now, I was in this for the long haul. I kept walking, my umbrella turning inside out in the blustery wind and my glasses coated in a spray of drizzly mist. Soaked from the waist down, I made it to the Tannery to look at some shoes when I suddenly felt those tell-tale cramps that signify "I am woman, hear me whimper".

In case you don't know, there are only two bathroom options in Harvard: the nasty underground hole in the basement of the Garage, or the infinitely preferable Harvard Coop. The Coop was closed for inventory. You get two guesses where I ended up next. By the time I exited, my 30 minutes were up on my parking meter and I still had a ten minute walk back to my car in the freezing (and now pouring) rain.

So. That was a fun adventure. I spent the rest of the day huddled in blanket watching movies and shivering.

3. Today I decided that to make up for the Harvard debacle I would serve a little mall time. I gathered up my cousin and Aidan and dragged them to store after store. To their credit, they both handled my aggressive shopping with composure. Especially for a ten month old and a new mom. Thankfully, this trip was indoors and far more successful.

4. But... do you think I have a problem?

And those are just the flats that I have unpacked!

5. I have mostly put together the winning packages from last Friday's contest. I have a couple more things I want to pick up but they're shaping up. I like them enough to want to keep one for myself, but I won't. They'll be on their way very soon.

6. Monday at the gym I caught the winning runners of the Boston marathon and let me tell you, there is nothing more inspiring while running on a boring-ass treadmill than watching those runners hit Kenmore after 25 miles and then bust out in a sprint. For about 2o minutes I thought how great it would be to have such a big goal and meet it. Then I got bored of the songs on my ipod and bored of the treadmill and switched over to the elliptical. And then I realized: my ADD is far too advanced at this point to do anything for a solid two and a half hours.

7. Seriously, this child does nothing but smile. If I knew I'd have such a happy baby I think I could handle the idea of having one of my own.

8. I don't want to get ahead of myself here, but I think there will be some very good news at the end of this week. Very good news. I will keep you all informed.

9. I've been spending some of my many, many indoors hours looking for summer employment. This has been both frustrating and amusing; it seems every job that entails summer hours pays $8 an hour and/or requires no prior telemarketing skills. Anybody need a summer librarian? I catalog real good.

10. I'm also looking to trade up cars. I've had mine for three years now, and that's been about two years and eleven months too many. A few weeks ago I test drove the Nissan Murano. One word: awesome. Can't you just see me hauling ass on 93 every morning? I would get so many speeding tickets in that thing.

11. Speaking of cars, I was having a discussion yesterday with my mother about vanity license plates. It's a well-known fact that New Hampshire has the highest number of vanity plates per capita of any state in the country- about one in 4 cars. It really adds up. Sometimes these plates are infuriating (BIGBRAT, NHRULZ, HOWUDOIN), sometimes stupid (ALRITY, T42&24T, DRNKUP), and sometimes just incomprehensible (PRYNCS, ZOBS, PGDIGR). On my quick trip up there today I saw DODIRT and SMAHHT. My mother saw a Corvette with the plates: STRPR. Way to advertise your bidness, hos.

I'd post pictures, but I get the feeling that might be illegal in some way.

12. Must go see Hot Fuzz this weekend. And Grindhouse. Yeah, must see both. Movies!

13. How many more weeks till summer vacation? Too many.

Must. Get. Warm. Soon.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Drumroll, Please...

I was tempted to throw up a random post about stuff like what I had for lunch, and who won the Boston Marathon, and the fact that I have Full House on in the background while I write this (did you know that Bob Saget was supposed to be 33 years old on that show?!), but then I thought it might be just too mean to keep you all in the dark about the results of last week's contest. And what a contest it was!

Seriously, you people pulled it out big time. It even exceeded my pipe dream of 40 comments, which is no small feat for this small time writer. So I think I owe a big thank you to everyone who read and commented over the last few days. Sure, I pretty much had to bribe you all, but whatevs!

Without further ado, the winners:

The "secret magic" number I had chosen beforehand was #23. No reason for it, it just popped into my head as I was writing. And since I didn't really think things through when I posted I'm going to go ahead and designate two winners- one for the 23rd comments including mine, and one for the 23rd comment not including mine.

#23: Ween! This sunny CA lady is currently studying to be a librarian and I often feel her pain when she describes the trials and tribulations of Cataloging homework. And if I know library school, she could probably use a good grin.

#23 (not including my comments): Megan! My lovely friend Megan now lives far away in Denver and I miss her terribly. Especially now that she's totally preggers with her first baby and I probably won't even get to see him until he's 18 and flies here to follow in our footsteps and spend his college years drinking in Boston. Meg, you don't know how hard it was for me to refrain from posting the picture of you wearing those goggly-eye glasses freshman year at Brandeis! I can't wait to send your stuff.

And the very special comment #40 goes to: Aaron! The Acerock has been a bit gloom and doom-like lately, but I aim to change all that with a mini-package of smiley face odds and ends.

Congrats to everyone! And if you didn't win, please know that I still love you. A lot. And maybe, if you're good, I will host another contest sometime in the future. For now though, it will be good to go back to my regular number of comments- the thrill of seeing those numbers go up was a bit much for my poor little librarian heart.

So if the big winners could kindly mail me their addresses I will make it my Spring Break Goal to get those packages mailed out before I head back to school for the long haul 'till summer.

Happy National Library Week, everyone!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Help A Girl Out

Despite my best efforts, the number of comments I usually receive hovers around the 6 to 12 mark, and I want to see that number get above 20 before I sign off for my vacation. Call it ego-boosting, call it shameless self-promotion, call it whatever you want, but as a blogger I would be remiss if I didn't push the limits a bit to see what I can get out of it. I mean, besides the satisfaction of writing something every day, of course.

So I've decided to host a little self-run contest! I am going to pick a random number, and the person to be that number commenter on this post will receive a personalized gift from yours truly, sent directly to your doorstep. Or P.O. Box. Either way, you'll get something great.

And by great I mean something that will forever remind you of me.

This might be pushing it big time (and tempting fate for me to get no comments whatsoever), but if someone manages to be the 40th commenter, I will also send that person a prize. A fabulous, life-altering prize.

Here are the rules:
  • The contest begins... well, when I post this. And ends... oh, hell, I don't know. The next time I post.
  • It has to actually be a comment. It can be on any topic you like, or it can be some burning questions you have for me that I haven't already answered in the myriad of memes I've completed, but I will not accept jumbled up letters as a comment. Unless, of course, it's from Aaron, since I know that's all he's capable of.
  • You have to be willing to send me your address so that I can send you your gift. I promise not to stalk you, unless you are Matt Damon and your address is in Southie.
I so just pulled those rules from my ass. Let's just see what happens with this, ok?

In fact, I'll make it even easier for you with a couple of photos you might discuss:

And I know you have something to say about that last one.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Is It Vacation Yet?

Thirteen Things about npw's week

1. I was feeling rather uninspired yesterday afternoon, hence the youtube clip. Yes, it was the lazy girl's answer to a quick post, but cut me some slack. I can't be brilliant every moment of every day. Or can I?

2. I just paid my student loans, car payment, insurance, heat, electricity, and cell phone bill all at once. I felt a bit like crying. But then I found a dollar on the floor of the library. Who says education isn't a lucrative profession?

3. There have been some school-related frustrations on this end and they all sort of came to a head this week. I don't know who out there still believes that the education world is simple, but I do know that anyone who does think that is probably simple in the head. It's been like playing a giant political game of Risk over here for the past few months. I will tentatively state that I have secured some additional funding for next year's budget, but I'm preparing to have to fight to the death to spend it how I want.

4. As I believe I've mentioned, I have next week off for my Spring Break. To kick off the spring-like celebrations, the Boston weatherpeople have been predicting 4 inches of s
now today and another 4 or 5 inches on Sunday. Add to that the fact that absolutely every friend I have from school is going away, and you have one cranky NPW. Yeah, because I love going to lunch and hearing about trips to Aruba, Chicago, Turks and Caicos, Cincinatti, Costa Rica, Denver, and Florida.

I try to play it all cool, like I'm choosing to spend the week sitting on my couch watching movies, but damn if I couldn't use some fun in the sun right now. I suppose I could've planned in advance for this (seeing as how I've known about it since September) but now I am a.) missing a travel partner, and b.) broke as a joke.

5. This brings me to another complaint: Chris needs a new job. Stat. I have never heard of a job where you are required to stay at work until 8 p.m. every night and are not allowed to take your vacation time or personal days without being harrassed, and yet here he is, smack in the middle of that very special position. So: no hope of him get
ting to take a day or two to go somewhere fun.

6. I discovered yesterday that there is a contingent of 8th grade boys who have been falling asleep in class every afternoon. No one could figure out why until I overheard a conversation this morning in which said students were discussin
g how they go to bed at 10, set their alarms for 1 a.m., and get up to play xBox until it's time to head to school at 7. I do believe that none of them even bother undressing or showering, simply going to bed in their clothes and rolling into school in the same unwashed state in the mornings. You know I dig the gaming, but seriously with the smell? Not cool, kiddos. Not cool.

7. Oh, good. The snow just started.

8. My new membership at the Cheapest Gym in America has been going well so far. Three afternoons this week I've enjoyed watching Red Sox games while listening to music and running. Of course, I can't help but make some comparisons to the Gym of Dreams, the biggest one being that I forgot what it's like to work out alon
gside men. Men whose eyes never quite make it to your face, as they seem to get stuck just a foot or so lower. I wouldn't say it has reached the "leering" stage yet, but it's close. Ah well. What can you do? Ten bucks is ten bucks.

9. Yesterday a co-worker and I decided to sneak over to Starbucks for a pick-me-up chai. On the short walk I managed to twist my ankle, fall to the ground, scrape up my hands and legs, and bruise my wrist. Then someone left their bag out in the gym locker room and I slammed my toe into it, causing me to curse and jump, then smash my shin into the open locker door. I put the word of the day ("shinjury") to good use, I can tell you.

10. The last few months have been a movie-going drought for me, partly because Chris is so tired when he gets home after 8 every night that all he wants to do is sit in front of the tv or computer and appear brain dead, and partly because I haven't felt a strong urge to see anything. But now there are at least three movies that I must see in the upcoming weeks: Grindhouse, Aqua Teen, and Hot Fuzz. Anyone feel like an afternoon matinee next week, shoot me an email.

11. A co-worker came running in the other day to tell me she had a great book recommendation for me. Then she whips out this beat up paperback that was based on some shitty-ass show that got cancelled from the Hallmark channel. Is the proper response to this:
a.) smile politely and accept the book, exclaiming that you can't wait to read it over break while actually crying on the inside,
b.) look at the book in a vaguely disgusted way and say, "Uhh, no thanks. Loser",
or c.) smack the book out of her hands and warn
her that if she ever tries to pull something like that again it'll be her head getting the smack down.

I chose A. How 'bout you?

12. Wait, snow and hail? Oh, New England. You're so funny.

13. I haven't decided yet if I want to post over break. I mean, seeing as how I'll be really, really busy. I'm sure I can probably pencil in some posts. Especially since the weather forecast looks like this every day for the next 10 days:

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Comic Relief

Every morning on the way into work I listen to NPR news. Sometimes it's just too much, hearing every single morning about all the people being killed in Iraq. Sometimes I have to switch stations quickly to avoid the dreaded mascara running. Because once I start bawling about teachers attending former student's funerals? It's hard to stop. And there's no crying in the library.

So it's a relief to finally get a bit of a laugh out of the whole war situation. Throw in some ribbing of Steve Jobs, and you've got yourself a winner.

Oh, MadTV. Sometimes you do get things right.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Library Find of the Day

If Spring means one thing in this here library, it's that science fair projects are in full swing. Yesterday while helping some students search out books on chemical reactions, ballistics, and boiling points, I stumbled across this lovely volume:

It seemed innocuous enough at first, if maybe a little dated. I laid the book on the counter and forgot about it. A few periods later I was chatting with the science teacher and for some reason glanced down at the book again. Something was wrong with this picture, but I couldn't quite grasp it. Why was this kid alone, slowly burning objects over an open candle flame in a wooden shed filled with chemicals? Hey! Discovering Chemistry my ass! This little jerk is a pyro!

I mean, look at his face! You can't tell me that expression isn't pure evil.

Next thing you know he'll be jabbing that red-hot poker into a stray cat he trapped in a box.

"Why, hello there, young Mr. Ted Kaczynski. What's that you say? You say you prefer to be called the Unabomber? Well what kind of name is that for an upstanding young citizen, just out here discovering chemistry in an abandoned shed in the woods? And why do I smell burnt hair?"

Actually, I can't tell you what a relief it was to know that my students will be well prepared for life out in the big, big world. This library is not just a bastion of literary genius; I'm providing life skills here. My kids will know how to build their own meth chem labs before they ever even get to college.

Ohhhh... dang. He's from New Hampshire? Well there you go. Mystery solved!

Monday, April 09, 2007

It All Works Out In The End

The trouble with long weekends is that once forced to return to a normal work week I always feel like I'm somehow getting gyped. Like, for real? You expect me to work 5 days out of 7? Shouldn't we try to balance out this whole work time/play time thing a little more evenly? And I always feel pressure to use that extra day off to do something supremely productive and wise, like building my own fallout shelter, or cooking myself lunch that doesn't involve peanut butter or jelly; inevitably I spend it lying about in my pajamas, munching on stale tortilla chips, going for walks, and watching movies.

Luckily, once this week is over I will have an entire week off and I'll be able to waste all the time I want. I'm definitely due for another vacation- I mean, seriously, when was my last one? Like six weeks ago? Geez, people, I'm not a machine.

I did however, manage to gather up enough courage on Friday afternoon to head over to the local Planet Fitness to see what all the hype is about. After last week's POW debacle I was very hesitant to seek out other gyms, but fortitude is my middle name. After a little discussion and a brief tour, they showed me the huge facility (complete with juice bar, chiropractic offices, and circuit training room), informed me that in 5 months they were moving across the street to an even larger facility with all brand-new machines, and found out that I was a teacher. Then it was time to talk pricing. Get this: $10 a month for teachers. No contract, cancel any time. Oh, and if I want to upgrade to $15 a month? I can have unlimited guest passes for Chris and half-price drinks. $10 a month! No joke. That's like a beer and a half at the Burren.

Sooo... this afternoon I begin a new love affair with the PF. And tomorrow morning? Free bagels. Thanks, new gym!

Anyhow, I hope you all had lovely nondenominational weekends filled with visions of genetically hybridized bunny-chicks hiding psychedelic eggs all around your domicile. Chris and I spent roughly 80% of our Saturday making what turned out to be glorified cupcakes. On Sunday, my lovely mother prepared a banquet fit for 12 people, half of whom did not show due to violent illness: a persistent fever and cough, some throwing up virus, and varied other sicknesses. Which, whatevs- it just meant more leftovers for me! My Dad even bought extra tupperware in preparation. That's what Dads are for, right? Lavishing their lovely daughters with leftovers and plastic containers?

Often times my sister and I use my parents house to do the bulk of our grocery shopping for the week. This means that battles sometimes break out over who gets what and end with some variation of this scenario: my sister kicking me in the backs of the knees so that my legs give out and I'm knocked unconscious by the kitchen counter. Or my sister punching me in the arm and shrieking so that I'm distracted to the point of exhaustion and don't care what she takes. Or my sister stealing what I've already packaged up to take home and hiding it until it's time for her to leave, then smuggling my stuff out to her car.

Sometimes my mother will try to mediate with secret advance offerings- for example, if my sister shows up before I do, she gets the extra package of syrian bread. If I show up early, I pack up all the spinach pies with the mail that still gets sent to my parents house (mainly solicitations to donate money to my various places of education), and my sister is none the wiser. In the end, it all works out- Chris and I have lunches for the week and I usually only sustain minor injuries.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter Weekend!

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Thirteen Things about NPDoubleU

1. This week has been "Spirit Week" at school, which I loosely interpreted to mean "Yay! I get to wear jeans every day! Week". It had all the usual dress-up days- Favorite Team day (I wore my snazzy Red Sox t-shirt), School Colors day (thank goodness I look good in blue and gold), Western Day (Chris has a surprisingly good selection of cowboy gear and my new hair seems to like being in pigtails), Spots and Polka Dots day (WTF?), and Comfy day (where else do you get to wear pajama pants and slippers to work?). Plus, thanks to the Christian soldiers I have Friday off, and any Friday off is a Good Friday indeed.

2. Sunday is Easter, which to some people means the very holy day of Jesus's resurrection. To me, it means one thing: a huge-tastic family dinner (which usually occurs every few months anyway), but with the added stress of having to make something delectable that everyone in my family will eat. Fortunately for me, it also means that everyone I know that has been crabby and irritable all Lenten season (a certain someone I know gave up coffee; that seems like an abomination against god and a surefire way to lose friends if you ask me) will once again be able to bask in the glory and the gluttony that is every day secular life.

3. Easter also signifies the time for the annual tradition: my Aunt will be making her famous lamb cake. No, not a cake made out of lamb, but a cake shaped like a lamb! She has the little mold, and once it's done and covered in shredded coconut, she sets it prettily on a bed of fake green Easter basket grass surrounded by jelly beans and Cadbury mini eggs. Then she chops off it's little lamb head, boxes it up, freezes it, and mails it to some unlucky family member or friend.

Imagine my college roommate's surprise when she accompanied me to pick up a package in the mail room and realized I had not received bags of Easter candy and money but a decapitated lamb head. This should explain a lot about my family's sense of humor.

4. I finally watched The Departed. Yeah, it was awesome. I also watched Kicking and Screaming (the Indie one, not the Will Ferrell one) which was both funny and strange, and I've almost finished up Season 1 of Alias. When I tell people that I watched every season of Alias except the first one I get some strange looks. But not from my beloved Netflix! He doesn't care one bit, he just sends my DVDs when I demand them. Of course, every time I see that $15.74 deducted from my checking account I vow to quit Netflix and join a new gym instead. Then I remember that I have about 80 movies in my queue that I cannot live without seeing, heave a little sigh, and keep adding titles.

5. For those of you still wondering, my team once again failed to win the grand Spelling Bee trophy this year. The losing word? "Rathskeller", which I totally spelled correctly but was forced to change at the last minute by an insistent teammate. Bitter much?

6. Blogger has been acting screwy the last few days. I've been having problems with the fonts and font sizes (it's a good thing I know some minimal html so that I can go in and manually change it), but what the hell? April Fool's Day is over, Google. I don't want any wingding posts, thankyouverymuch.

7. Has anyone else checked out the Comcast OnDemand fitness channels? I thought it might be a cheap (read: free) alternative to joining one of the horrid gyms in my area. Then I watched the first two minutes of "Urban Dancing" and had a full understanding of why these channels are free. Fortunately for me, one of the parents at school is a yoga instructor and is offering 10 free classes to a bunch of us teachers starting next week. Hooray for being an edumacator!

8. My spring break (Take Two) is quickly approaching. I only have one more week of school, and then it's couch time for this here library lass. I wanted to plan a trip but unfortunately I don't think C's ridiculous schedule allows for anything longer than two days, and two days seems more like a hassle than a vacation. He did mention that he needs to get out to Rochester sometime in the next few weeks (I can't believe it's been more than 3 months already!), but whether or not I will accompany him is still undecided.

9. I sent out a survey to my school staff that asked for suggestions on materials they'd like to see added to the library collection. Here are some of the actual responses: North Star book tracking devices, laser tag vests, slip n' slide set, mini golf putting green, and unicycles. I'm afraid to look at the student surveys.

10. I was just given a bunch of money by some parents to kind of re-design the library layout. I think I'm going to buy a couple of Ikea Klippan sofas for one of the corners, but I have a few concerns: first, does going to Ikea to buy things for school qualify as breaking my New Year's resolution not to go to Ikea? And second, where can I place these couches so that I am always able to see who's sitting on them and in what position?

11. Tonight I am hosting the 007 Bookclub at my digs. I'm both nervous and excited. I've never hosted a book club before and I feel as though Kelli set the bar high with the last pick. However I'm sticking to my guns- I chose Looking for Alaska, by John Green, and I really enjoyed it. Hopefully everyone else did too. If not, I bought enough wine to get all 12 girls drunk enough not to care.

12. There are those of you out there who probably read this ol' blog in order to keep up with Christopher's antics, especially since he has recently put the kibosh on the brickwindow site. Please let me assure you that he is fine, he is just looking for a new job and doesn't want his name tied to a site that basically calls him out for being a slacker. Ha!

Honestly though, C is doing well, despite the fact that his job, his boss, and his hours are terrible. I have to give him major credit for not punching either of his bosses by now and not quitting even though it's probably the worst job I could picture anyone having. All I can do is make sure he's all good when he's not at work and support him in his quest for new employment. Well, that, and be my usual entertaining self.

13. Please do not cry when there is no post tomorrow. For explanations, refer back to the latter half of #1. I'll see you all on Monday.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I Wish I Was Making This Up

In a moment of loathing my own recent laziness I decided to check out some gyms around my place. I'd been dreading looking at other gyms after leaving the Gym of Dreams when we moved, but the time has come to move on and get back on the proverbial horse. As lovely as napping every day after school is, I don't want to become one of the women you see on Dr. Phil who's so huge she has no other option but to have the Jaws of Life cut an extra space in her doorway so that she can be airlifted to the nearest hospital for gastric bypass.

Or something like that.

Anyway, I decided to start with the closest gym to ease myself back into the process. On the short walk over there I mentally prepped myself; I knew there was no way it could compare to my beloved eucalyptus-scented place of sweatitude and I didn't want to be disappointed in a normal machine-ridden gym. There was just no way of knowing just how ghetto this gym could be.

This gym- let's just call it, oh, say, POW- was in the filthy dirty basement of what could comfortably house a meth lab but instead housed a number of decrepit, squeaky machines. I entered through a haze of Newport Light smoke emanating from three or four POW employees and passed through the metal detector, approaching a desk manned by four people. Then I waited. I stood there for about 3 full minutes, patiently waiting for them to stop yapping about their co-worker who had, apparently, just been arrested for dealing. When they finally deigned to grace me with a glance, I informed them I was interested in checking out the facility. Already regretting my decision, my newfound tour guide meandered around the windowless concrete dungeon, sometimes pointing at machines, but mostly silent. Until we got to the woman's locker room.

"You wanna see the locker room?" She looked hard at me.

"Uhhh... sure?"

"Good. Some people say, I don't need to see no locker room. And I say, whatever, you DO need to see the locker room because you can't know no gym if you don't see no locker room! You get?"

"Oh, yeah. Sure. Let's see the locker room," I nodded vigorously.

"Yeah, you needs ta see it to know it. Like see here? I always use the handicap changing room because it's twice as big as the regular room. It's like you got a whole room to yourself! Plenty of room for your wheelchair, or your shit." She looked at me hard again. "Ya also got some special 'quipment down in here for women only. Ya know, for your thighs and shit."

Things get a little hazy here. I think I probably gulped and nodded, looking around for someone else in case this girl decided I was challenging her in the locker room and wanted to throw down. Instead, she ushered me back out to a row of cubicles where I sat, relieved to be out of the dirty diaper-smelling locker room.

"Ok, ya got two options: one, you can pay $499 down and $19.99 a month, which is good foreva, like, for your life. Or you can pay $299 down and $29.99 a month. Right?"

"Well, I was kind of thinking I'd like to try the gym out for the day, to see how I like it?" I have a bad habit of posing my statements as questions when I'm nervous.

She looked at me suspiciously. "It's $20 for a day pass. You got $20 to try it out? You might as well sign up now."

I'm sure I looked as confused as I felt. I was dizzy from so much fluorescent lighting. "You're not going to let me try the gym out?"

"Oh, alright. Just leave your license behind so I can fill out all your paperwork while you're working out. Cuz I know you're going to join and it takes me foreva to get that paper shit done."

I slid my license over and got up to leave.

"You probably wanna keep your bag with you unless you got a lock for the lockers," she warned as I walked away.

Shaking my head, I snagged the nearest elliptical machine and plugged my headphones into the tv, making sure my bag was in plain sight next to me. The tv blared some Food Network show into my ears and two guys with dreadlocks stared at me while I futilely clicked the volume down button. Giving up, I fired up my ipod and got to the ellipticalizing. Almost immediately I noticed a shrill shrieking sound. Looking around in annoyance, I suddenly realized that it was me making the noise. Every upswing of my left leg a big "SHHHhrrrreee" wheezed out of the machine. Oh, so that was why it was the only available machine. Great.

I gathered up all my stuff and scoped out the treadmills, grabbing one as someone stepped off. Once I got going, I glanced to my right and noticed that the little twelve year old boy had stopped his machine to stare at me. Thinking if I ignored him someone would eventually come to collect him, I persevered. Ten minutes later he was still staring thickly at me and I could take no more. I wiped down the machine and stalked back over to the cubicles of doom. Then the real fun began.

"Yeah, I was just trying out some machines, so I need to get my license back."

"Ok, well why don't you take a seat. The assistant manager will be over to discuss plans with you."

"No, but I..."

"Just take a seat."

A very large man came to sit down next to me. "Well, missy, what do you think of our gym?"

I explained I wanted to look at some other gyms and that if I decided I wanted to join I'd come back.

"Well here's what I'm gonna offer you. We had this deal, see, that ended on Sunday. Like, last Sunday that already past. It was for $49.99 down and $19.99 a month. Normally I couldn't give you that price, since it's already past Sunday, but someone just cancelled so I have just one opening. You must be a lucky miss."

"Oh. Well, that's nice of you, but I still want to check out some other places."

"Hold up, hold up. If you don't take this now, someone else will. And that would be dumb, see? Cuz I want to give this to you, you know, like a little sumptin sumptin on the side?"

I stared at him dumbly. Did I not know what sumptin sumptin meant? Was he saying he wanted... no, it couldn't be.

He winked at me.

"Errrm... well, I'm going to take a look at other gyms. I know I might miss this special "deal" and all, but I haven't looked anywhere else yet..." I rambled on in my flustered state.

"Hold up. My regional manager is here. I definitely can't hold this deal for you, definitely not. But maybe I can."

At this point I was already partly angry at being corralled, partly amused at the situation, and mentally composing this post in my head.

The zit-faced regional manager limped over. "I hear you want me to hold the special deal just for you?" she demanded.

"No, I was just saying I'd like to take a look at other places," I reiterated, "I understand if you can't hold something for me."

"Well let me tell you what we can do. I can do you one better than that special. How about if I wave that $49.99 fee and just sign you up for the $29.99 a month? Manager's special." She leaned in conspiratorially.

I brushed her too-bleached hair out of my face and repeated my desire to shop around for places.

"Well you're in luck. Our actual owner is here today. Let's see what he can do you for."

"No, really, I..."

She stalked off, returned, and told me to head to the "back of the stalls" to meet with the owner.

"Well hi there, NPW. I'm GreasySalesman. You're a tough customer, but I like tough customers. So here's what I can do: you sign up today, right now, and I'm going to give you the $19.99 for membership for life, no money down, and I'm going to throw in a TV. A free TV! You'd be an idiot not to take this deal. A real idiot. In fact, if any of my salespeople didn't get you to take this deal, I'd fire them myself."

My reaction to his deal must not have been what he was looking for- probably a laugh or a face- because he suddenly looked angry.

"Look, there's no better deal at any gym in town. You know you're going to come here. Just sign up today. You're a real dope if you don't just take this and I won't be in tomorrow to give you this deal, so this is it."

"Uhhh. No, I don't think so."

He threw his hands up. "Fine. Nice to meet you." I got up to leave and I swear I heard him mutter "Dope" under his breath.

I finally reclaimed my license and left, TVless, to call Chris and regale him with stories of poor salesmanship.

As I was making dinner that night, around 8:00 p.m., my phone rang. "Hi, this is Mattie from POW? The owner told me to call you to let you know he'll be here till 9 if you decide you want the deal still. Should I have him call you?"

I looked at my phone like it was playing a joke on me. And then I clicked END and laughed.

In all my vast imagination, I don't think I can picture anything worse than being a POW "member for life". It's like a death sentence with no hope of pardon. So much for easing back into things, eh?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

In Which I Dutifully Answer Questions

It seems I have some bloggy questions to answer that come from my friend from Down Under (do Aussies really hate being referred to as the country Down Under? I probably would), Aly.

Here we go!

1.What is your favourite and most used (non-person) item in your house?
I would like to say that my favourite (I wrote it with a "u"!) item and my most used item would probably be different things, but if forced to choose just one that is both, I would say my computer. No, wait! My cell. No, definitely my computer. Seriously, what did we do before the internet? Life seems so hazy and unsatisfying back in 1994.

2. If you were forced to abandon your house due to an emergency (like stampeding elephants, or something) what would you take? [I should mention here that you can only take three things, maximum, because I am MEAN like that.]
I don't know if Christopher would count as a "thing", but I would definitely drag him along with me. I'd also grab my bag, I think, because it has my phone and camera and my cards and my checkbook and ID and insurance info and everything. And probably my box with all my pictures and scraps of papers and cards and personal mementos. All the other stuff I can just replace (and quite probably upgrade).

I feel I should mention that the likelihood of stampeding elephants in
Boston is unlikely, although I do live quite close to this:

3. a)What is your alcoholic beverage of choice? Usually beer. Or red wine. Or whatever's free.

b) Have you ever had an embarrassing moment with that beverage? Many, many, many.

c) Discuss! Once in a bar I was making fun of an old drunk woman's dancing by imitating her dance moves. When I had finished I went to sit down, entirely missed my chair, and fell straight to the floor. The band actually stopped playing to make sure I hadn't broken anything. Like perhaps my dignity.

4. Could you live in a place with absolutely no electricity?
Hmm. Indefinitely? No. At least, I wouldn't want to. If some kind of apocalypse occured and it was a situation straight out of The Stand, I suppose I could, technically, live without my computer and my blow dryer. If you call that living. But if you're referring to a lifetime of make-shift camping, then no. I need me some hot showers in the morning.

5. Who are five bloggers that you would recommend other people to read, and why do you think they're fabulous?

This is very hard to choose because I love them all equally and they fill in gaps with humor, thoughtfulness, and random interesting tidbits, but if you've never read any of them I'd recommend the following:

Ramblings by Alyndabear: because she's cute and Australian and a teacher. She's also hilarious and a self-proclaimed dork, which I adore. Plus, she wrote these questions for me!

Funky Carter: the Acerock himself. This man should be writing novels and screenplays. Instead, he entertains us on a daily basis with stories of crazy homeless people throwing things at him on his overnight work shifts.

Daily Tannenbaum: Always makes me laugh. Plus, she's an upstate New Yorker, and so can relate to my tales of woe when stuck in godawful places where there is no Target.

Roaring Through My Twenties: this lovely madam is not only a fantabulous blogger, but she also started the 007 Bookclub and invited me to join! (Ok, I kind of invited myself, but whatever.) The point being, she rocks.

Othersideofmyhead: Kirsten is one of my very favorite
Rochester people. She's amusing, and likes to talk about poop. Among other things.

Of course, I should mention that every one of the blogs in my sidebar are worth reading and they're all great, otherwise I wouldn't have included them in my sidebar. Duh.

So thanks for the questions, Aly! I've now fulfilled my meme duty for the month of April.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Welcome To The Jungle

More often than I'm comfortable with, I leave my office only to return to someone lounging around my desk, talking on my telephone, "borrowing" my scissors, or rifling through my stuff. Once someone had even closed and locked all the doors to my office while they were in there so they could have some privacy while using my phone. I'm not sure what it is that makes people feel as though they can just wander in and take/do whatever they feel like. I know for sure that they would never do that in, say, the main office. One, because the secretary would kick their ass so hard, and two, because it's someone else's space. Would you just wander into someone else's house and start flipping through their magazines? Probably not, unless you're crazy and feel the urge to be arrested.

In fact, I'm fairly certain that none of these people would walk into another classroom and just take things, either. Even the most laissez-faire of teachers would find it rude if someone just stopped in every now and then to steal their belongings. So what is it about the library that makes my co-workers feel as though they're entitled to everything I have? If it were just the kids that were doing this I could understand a bit better- I mean, it would still be bizarre and unacceptable, but at least they can blame it on being dumb kids who feel like everything in the world should be theirs. These are grown adults I'm talking about here, and I'm sick of finding jammed staplers, empty paper bins, and one lone, broken-tipped #2 pencil in my pencil holder every time I come back from peeing.

Any suggestions for theft deterrents would be greatly appreciated. Especially ones that inflict bodily harm on the next person to misplace my memory card reader.

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