Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You don't have to call the airport ever again

Google has a cool new feature. You just type an airline and flight number into the search field, and the first link that pops up takes you to a page that shows if the flight is on time or delayed, and will even show you a map of where the plane is in the country right now. Amazing!

Of course, it's probably not so specific as to mention things like "flight has been delayed by a man with explosives down his pants," but it's the closest that you can come to that!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

My favorite questions


A patron just came up to me and asked very seriously, "Do you know anything about words?"

I just stared and waited.

She stared back.

I could only stammer out, "Words?..."

I do know about words. I know lots of words, too. And about a lot of them. Definitions, spellings, and hey, whatever I don't know, I can look up right here on my computer.

I didn't say any of that, but we're staring each other down high-noon-style, willing the other to stop acting crazy and know what they're talking about.

She said, "Yeah, on the computer? Words?"

And I said, "Oh, yeah, I know about Microsoft Word?" That sentence ended as a question, because it felt more polite somehow. "Is that what you're working with?"

"Yes."

We changed her page from portrait to landscape and then the world went back to normal.


*Just as a note, in case you think I'm a bad librarian for dumbly repeating back questions to patrons instead of asking them for more information: I only do that if I'm really caught off guard.

Most of the time I can jump right into a quest for more information. For instance, when a patron called on the phone today and said to me, "I'd like to know the protein difference between a McDonald's hamburger and one from Burger King" I smoothly jumped right into a serious consideration of this crazy question while bringing up Google and hoping like crazy that the internets would know. Without missing a beat I said, "Oh, you know I bet that would have to do with the size of the patty," thinking that I could look up the weight of the hamburger patties somehow.

I was only a little nonplussed when I realized it was my brother-in-law, Doug, messing with me. But I do have to say I was proud of the way I just glossed right over the crazy and jumped right into trying to figure it out.

Don't any of you get any ideas! I don't want to keep getting crazy prank-calls from family members. I can only handle so much crazy every day and there is plenty of it to go around already. I have to deal with really hard questions about words n' stuff.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Season

A few of you know that I love the blog, Cake Wrecks, where they celebrate professional cakes that have gone wrong. Today they started a charity campaign that I wanted to plug on my blog (to all 15 of you that read it). They realized that their readership is so big, that if all of their readers donated $1 to a charity, they could raise $80,000. So they decided that each day until Christmas, they're going to pick a new charity and donate $200 to it, and encourage their readers to donate $1.

I'm really inspired by this idea, and I think it's a beautiful idea at a time of year when I'm feeling so bombarded by businesses and advertising and the push to BUY BUY BUY.

Click here to read about their plan.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Well, I did it.



Yep, I went to see Brandon Sanderson. And I was verbally brilliant and witty and he looked way impressed with me.

That doesn't fool you? Fine. Here's the story.

After reading my post about Brandon Sanderson from last week (you'll want to read it before continuing), I think some family members felt motivated to improve my track record with the fantasy author, and my brother-in-law who knows him offered to take me to Barnes and Noble today to meet him (again). Which is really nice, because then you have an introduction rather than, "Hi, I'm a crazy fan and I think your books are so awesome, and could you possibly name one of your characters in your next book after me?"

As I was walking up to the store I caught sight of my hugely pregnant self in the window and the thought occurred to me that I was spying at him from behind bookshelves at Borders last week (too shy to approach and say hello), and I hope he didn't notice otherwise he might develop a (not unfounded) psychological complex that crazy pregnant women are stalking him. Probably on top of a complex that people think he looks like Alan Rickman. Obviously, I was a little nervous.

Anyway, I stood in line for awhile listening to other fans ask him questions about his books and mentally thrashing myself for not having thought up a good question beforehand... and maybe writing it on an index card so that I wouldn't forget or phrase it incorrectly (just kidding). But I brought a book for him to sign so I figured that was excuse enough for me to be there. While I was waiting with my brother-in-law, Kimball, I realized that Brandon Sanderson might think that I was Kimball's wife. I mentioned it to him, and he was like, "Nah, no way, I'll introduce you."

So we get up there, and Brandon recognizes him right away and is super stoked to see Kimball, and I waited quietly for the overtures to finish and my big introduction. But then it was quiet and Kimball picked up a copy of Warbreaker for him to sign, and Brandon looked back and forth between us and said, "So how are you guys?" And of course I had to put a stop to that right there so I said, "I'm Kimball's sister-in-law," and he says, "Yeah! We've met before, right?"

omg, he remembered.

So I blurt out, "Yeah, but I made a fool of myself because I was so excited to meet you, so I came today to save face. And oh, could you sign this for me?" and pushed my book towards him like maybe that could erase the words I just said.

But of course he was incredibly nice and acted like I totally wasn't crazy at all last time (I was), or this time (borderline, I'd say) and took my book to sign and was so polite and kind.

And then he returned to chatting with Kimball, and was so pleased to see him that he told everybody in line behind us (who I don't really think were listening but that's okay), that he and Kimball had been cubicle-buddies at BYU together when he was writing Mistborn.

*Update 9/10/10: I had an anecdote here about how I thought Brandon Sanderson asked how to spell the word cubicle, but I was told later that I misheard him, and he was asking how to spell Kimball.  At the time, I stopped myself from making a snarky comment, thank goodness, but I've decided to take the whole thing out of this post.  I'm reading Way of Kings right now, and it's so obvious that he's an amazing writer, I can't in good conscience leave in a quip about him not being able to spell something like cubicle. Now the rest of my story:

I asked if we could take our picture with him (and inadvertently, random guy standing in the background who seems to be a major player in that photo, don't you agree?). And that was pretty much it. Not bad. Incrementally better than last time, I'd say. If things continue this way, I might not embarrass myself at all the next time I see him. But it's me we're talking about...

p.s. while chatting, he mentioned that his wife is due with their second child in January, just a few weeks before me, so if you think about it, he probably IS surrounded by crazy pregnant women.

p.p.s. Wait, did I just insult his wife? Forget I said anything.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Your friend the rat

I just saw this adorable little "documentary" on TV:



It's from the rats of Ratatouille, and they're educating us on rat history and facts about rats today, which sounds disgusting, but has been done so charmingly and encourages us to be more open-minded about rats.

And it almost makes me change my mind about rats. But... NO.

They especially didn't win me over when they admitted that rats can enter your home through the toilet (time index: 6:30).

No thank you.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Maybe admitting more than I should

Yesterday - "Black Friday" - I stopped by Borders to pick up something, and was surprised to walk into a big group of people right when I entered the store. I saw a huge stack of Mistborns and other Brandon Sanderson books, and behind them a table with the author himself. Who is looking very much these days like Alan Rickman in Love Actually, but with darker hair:


I found a covert spot to spy from and decide whether or not to wait in line to say hello. But I was insecure already because I met him once when he was at our library signing books, and I was so excited to meet him that I was a babbling idiot and stammered out about how I just LOVED his books, blah blah, and basically walked away feeling completely stupid. So anyway, at Borders there were a whole four or five people in line, so I wussed and went on my way looking for my item, since I've already had enough humiliation in front of this guy to last me a couple of years. Plus a pushy salesman kept asking if I needed help while I was trying to scope out the whole situation, so I finally relented and had him look up my book on their inventory.

While I was waiting I said, "So is that really Brandon Sanderson over there?" He told me that it was and I smiled and said, "I'm a huge fan of his."

And this guy says to me, "Oh, have you read his books?"

...no, I'm just a HUGE fan of how much he looks like Alan Rickman right now, YES I'VE READ HIS BOOKS.

I didn't say that to him, but I'm pregnant and cranky and he's lucky I didn't. Thank you sweet grace that kept my mouth shut. I swear one of these days I'm going to lose control and some poor patron is going to get a crazy-pregnant-librarian-telling-off.

Brandon, I'm sorry, but is there some other reason that someone would be a huge fan? Are you an excellent air-hockey athlete? Maybe you turn ceramics when you're not writing? You've started your own line of graphic-imprinted designer jeans (a la Jon Gosselin)?

Anyway, there's no exciting conclusion to this story, I skulked out of the store without saying a word to Brandon Sanderson about how I think his work is brilliant or how cool his books are, and how I'm even so much of a dork that I want to buy a vial of allomantic metals from his website. Yeah. I admitted that one to my husband and the look he gave me pretty much stamped out that desire right there. Anyway, Brandon will be at Barnes and Noble in Orem on December 5th if I really start feeling any regrets... but I think I'm okay.


*In case you're wondering, "allomantic metals" are a major element from his Mistborn series, and the characters in the books carry around vials with the metals inside. So... you know, it's like wanting to carry around a "phaser" or wear Bajoran jewelry. Guh, please don't tell me you don't know what THOSE are either. Excuse me, I have to go crawl into a hole in the ground somewhere.

**My sister called and said I had to post a picture of what Brandon Sanderson REALLY looks like, because she and her husband know him. The whole reason I asked the Borders employee "is that really Brandon Sanderson?" is because he looked so different from the last time I saw him. Here he is, looking NOTHING like Alan Rickman:

This work originally uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Nihonjoe

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Did I mention I love the muppets?



Adrienne, I'm posting this for you, because you don't have tv.

I love the way miss piggy can really get a crowd moving.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some Head-shakers

I had a teenage patron approach me today holding up one of our books and asking me, "Do you sell the books?"
I simply shook my head slowly and sadly at her and made a sympathetic face.
Do we sell the books? Do you even know what a library is? You can have it for FREE! It's really a very advantageous system, if you just know how it works. I would have explained it to her, but really, explaining how a library works? "You borrow the books and if you bring them back in a few weeks, it's all free." Really, I couldn't muster the words. Plus she walked away.

Last week a patron came up to me wearing a big coat and his head was covered with a hoodie. He asked me if we were open the next day, and I told him that yes we were, and he gave me this really annoyed look and said, "I can't HEAR you." I then noticed that he had two headphone earbuds coming out from his hoodie, obviously going into his ears and I wanted to say, "Well take out your earbuds, idiot." But I didn't. See? Evidence that I have exercised self-restraint.

Speaking of headphones, when I was working on the "quiet" floor two girls were sitting together at a computer chatting and giggling. I went over and asked if they could whisper. One girl looked up at me and said, "What?" Then she said "Oh," and pulled out one of her earbuds and looked at me. I asked again if she could whisper and she said okay... but seriously. You're on the quiet floor.... chatting... with earbuds in?

Not all of my stories are so distressing. Last week someone called and I answered the phone with my usual, "P___ Library, this is so-and-so, how can I help you?" A lady on the other end said, "Hi, I'm wondering if you have granny smith apples, and if so, how much?" My head was reeling with all of the possible responses that I could do, and I finally asked, "At the library?"
"Oh!... no," she said, "Do you have the number for Sunflower Market?"
See? She was just one step ahead in her thinking. That is understandable, and I could make the same mistake. But get annoyed with someone because I'm wearing earphones and I can't hear them? I hope that day never comes for me.

*I should add a disclaimer to say, okay, I really wouldn't mind explaining to someone how a library works, especially if they really didn't know. I'm a librarian after all. And there could have been more of a good reason for her to ask that... maybe she couldn't get a library card or she needed the book permanently for reference purposes. But I've never been asked if we sell the books before, I had to have some fun with it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gift ideas anyone?

I couldn't resist re-posting this from Awful Library Books.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mission Impossible

Dilemma:
You teach a blogging class at the local library. The class is tonight, but your boss tells you the internet is down for the rest of the day, but the class is still going ahead as scheduled.

Your mission:
You have 1 and 1/2 hours to build a new 1-hour curriculum still based on blogging WITHOUT using the internet. Go.



So when I was something like 12 years old I lived in San Diego, and I was lonely (frowny face). So one day my brother came to visit and I asked him how his college classes were going. He told me that he learned how to make web pages, and I asked him how. He realized that he could show me how to do a few simple things on my computer.

So he had me open up Notepad (of all programs!) and showed me how to save a web page file right on my computer. Then he taught me little html codes that I could type in, and when I opened it in Internet Explorer - voila! Italics! Underlining! Titles and headlines! Images and links! Oh, I felt so special.

When I got to high school and there was a web page creation class I thought, "Awesome, I'm practically a pro already." So I took the class and learned how to do even MORE stuff and create even fancier pages - like with borders and dancing images, the best 1999 had to offer!

Then I got to college, and it turns out some of that dinky "web experience" meant that I could do little odd jobs at my brother's office. So I did that, and I learned how to do more and more and more... with a lot of help. And then I flexed my web-page-creating muscles and felt so powerful, mwa ha ha!

And then one day I had to teach a class on blogging with NO internet. And I remembered those very early days when I was just typing in puny html codes on my computer and watching them come to life in Internet Explorer - without actually needing to use the internet.

And that's how I figured out how to teach a WHOLE HOUR of blogging with no internet connection.

*bow*


(Some notes if you feel like you need some explanation: understanding even very basic html codes can help you understand blogging better. Most of the time Blogger.com creates html code for you, but knowing what html code looks like and how it works can help you to fix problems, edit things, and even add code from other websites - like adding videos from YouTube. VERY handy. By the end of tonight's class, my students could recognize what the code looks like when Blogger adds an image for you, and the knew how to move it around or add text before and after. They also knew how to tell the difference between what code looks like for an image, what it looks like for a link, and even what it looks like for something big like a YouTube video. I was so proud.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I really do fantasize about this



I know. I know if you know me and you've ever seen my office you're eyebrows are up right now and you're like, "THIS is your fantasy?" But it totally is. I fantasize about having everything in clear plastic boxes lined up neatly on shelves that span the entire wall. With LABELS. And I would totally dance around like that, even PREGNANT, if that's what my office looked like.

**Deep sigh**

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blogging Class

Tonight we started another 7-week series of the blogging class at my library... which I'm teaching. So needless to say now that tonight's class is over, my hands are swollen and I'm still a little shaky.

Can I just tell you how baffling it is for me, how utterly confusing and startling it is, when people laugh at my jokes? I think I must react like a surprised animal, snapping my head back and looking from side to side trying to figure out what's going on. I just don't feel like a funny person - I think I assume that when people I'm talking to one-on-one laugh, they are being polite and saving me the humiliation of just staring at me when I make a joke (thank you, people). But in a classroom situation, you are one of a group, and you don't have to do anything you don't want to do (and believe me, people don't... the phrase, "Please wait until everyone catches up" is useless in a large group). So it's startling when not just one, but SEVERAL people start chuckling and I realize it's in response to me. Nothing freaks me out more. And I mean that in the best possible way. Pleasantly baffled, you could call me.

We had 19 people there tonight. When I taught the blogging series last time, I had a grand total of 8 people through all of the classes. This is 10 people more. And there were CHILDREN. (Actually they did awesome, and supported my theory that maturity is higher in children than young adults). But it all went well. No one glared at me or threw anything or walked out, and that has to equal success, right?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A gem

Saw this amazing video on another blog today.

This video was created by a FAN of the song - it's not even the official video. But I've watched it several times already, I'm mesmerized.

Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear from Gabe Askew on Vimeo.



At first, as stunning as the visuals of the video are, it was kind of hard for me to relate to a song about two guys. Then I went to the creator's website and read a bit about the video from the his point of view:
"Even though the song involves two guys, I really tried to connect their relationship to the relationship with my wife. The theme of fighting to keep a relationship together is universal."
"For me the song is about insecurities in a relationship that can bubble up. Then having to soldier through your hurt feelings and let the other person know you'll be there no matter what."

That seems really true to me. Relationships go through rough patches, and it's important to make sure each of you knows that you're committed to staying, so you can work whatever it is out.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Food for thought

Yesterday a kid about 4 or 5 years old was climbing all over the furniture in front of me, so I gave him my stern librarian face and shook my head. He came up to my desk and started asking me all these questions:

"what's this?" A stapler.
"what's that do?" It staples things.
"what's that for?" It turns on the lights.

And the whole time he was looking all around my desk, back and forth.
Then he looked at me and said, "Well, you don't have any candy, so..." and walked away.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Give me back the mortal coil

I've been having insane dreams for the past few weeks. Last night was an hours-long whopper, but I'll just relate my favorite part. I was in the forest at this campsite (no, family, not the location of our recent family reunion), and these wolves were hunting me down this dirt path. Well, they were sort of stalking me and I was backing away from them slowly. But if they got too close, I'd lift up my jacket to make myself look as big as possible and ROAR at them, and they'd back away freaked out, but then they'd start advancing up on me again. So I roared at them like 5 times but they were getting used to it and coming closer and closer, and suddenly over my right shoulder this gigantic head came into view and lifted itself up several feet above my head and really ROOOOOOAAAARRRed. It was a freakin' bear. A freakin' gigantic bear. And you know what my first in-dream thought was as this happened? Can you guess??

"I HAVE to blog about this."

Yeah. So there you go.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ice cream and cakey cake

You know how you see a weird commercial and you're not really sure what you think of it? And after seeing it a few times you decide if you like it or not?



I've decided: I love this commercial. Especially the dancing dinosaur! He's my favorite.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Because I thought you needed a couple random opinions of mine

This is one of my favorite MJ videos:



Besides being a great song, I have this shameful suspicion that it's one of my favorites because there are so many bright shiny things and lasers and my low IQ is overwhelmed thinking, "preeetty."

I also think that this Usher video is an homage to the above video, though I've never really looked into it:



Don't you think? Shiny things - Check. Lasers? Check. Ok so there's no rhinestone jumper, and they've added a girly, but does anyone else see the connection?

Plus, I'm still caught up in all those lights thinking, "ooo, preeetty."

Monday, July 6, 2009

Celebrate

Darn it, it's a bit late to post this, but I just can't help mahself.

Friday, July 3, 2009

In celebration

If you're excited about the 4th, I suggest you celebrate by heading over to this Cake Wrecks post, where your national pride is sure to burn a little brighter:

http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2009/06/cake-wrecks-salute.html

Monday, June 29, 2009

Did you know I have this crazy fascination?

I've been noticing a trend in my preferences for movies and books over the last year or so. And I'd have to say the thing that excites me most is best described by the word "apocalyptic." Anything that has to do with the end of the world, or an apocalyptic scenario, or a post-apocalyptic society or future, and I'm on board! I love it. One of my favorite books from last year was "Life As We Knew It" - where an asteroid hits the moon, knocking it closer to earth and basically everything goes wrong. Earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, storms, and it's all told through the journal of one teenager trying to make it through the winter in her home in suburbia. I was mesmerized and started freaking Michael out with long conversations about what we'll do if there's an earthquake or a natural disaster and there's no phones or food and what if we're separated? whose house will we meet at? what if cars don't work? does he think we could walk to his parents house 20 miles north? how many days would that take?
He seemed a bit unsettled - what a weirdo.

Anytime there's a new movie coming out about any kind of world-ending situation, I'm allll over it. Pretty much every one I know hated War of the Worlds - and I bought it. Ok? Are you seeing the obsession here? Every once in awhile the history channel does a special on Nostradamus and all of his predictions that seem to be right and his many predictions of destruction (and all the ways they think it could happen) - and darn it, I keep watching those. They also have a fabulous series now called, "Life After People" that shows the breakdown of man-made cities and structures should humans suddenly disappear.

I'm trying to paint a picture for you. It's not that I think the world is going to end or that I'm expecting this stuff to happen. It's just a personal fascination. What I really love about these books and movies is seeing how it changes normal society, how it breaks down human reactions and behaviors and suddenly it's such a different world.

So can you imagine my reaction when Michael showed me this?:



Yes! Michael was even like, "I don't know if it looks very good..." and I was like, "it looks aaaawesoooooome! did you see that ground just dropping away beneath that plane? it could totally happennnnn!"
No, it couldn't. But I loved it anyway. Usually I don't bother with movies that look pretty crappy, but if it involves the end of the world, you can talk me into seeing it pretty easily.
Plus, I kind of have a thing for John Cusack.

If anyone has some good movie or book suggestions, lay it on me!

p.s. Speaking of apocalyptic, did you see that Norway is building a giant shelter for the end of the world? So if the end of the world happens and you're still alive, try to make your way to Norway.

p.p.s Here are some books and movies that are right up the apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic world/society alley for me:

Books:
Life As We Knew It
The Dead and the Gone
Uglies
The Hunger Games
Unwind
Ender's Game
The Host

Movies:
War of the Worlds
I Am Legend
The Matrix
Children of Men
Independence Day
V for Vendetta (ok, borderline, but I really like that movie)

I know Armageddon and Deep Impact should probably be on that list, but they're not. They just don't make the cut. Waterworld is also banned from the list. I almost put Cloverfield on there but I don't want you to completely lose respect for me. Jury's out on The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Any recommendations?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In which I pat myself on the back.

We often have people call and ask us for the phone numbers or addresses of businesses. I usually google it even though we have phone books right at the desk with us. But I had a lady call in today and ask me for this:

She: "I need the name and number of a realty office in American Fork that's near to Wasatch Nutrition. It's really close by, like a couple doors down, I think."

Me: "And you don't know the name of the realty office?"

She: "No. Like I said, it's really close to Wasatch Nutrition."

Aaaaaand I found it for her. That's right: I'm amazing.


Ok, I can't take all the credit. I'd like to thank Google and Google Maps.

Here's how I did it:
I googled "Wasatch Nutrition in American Fork"

Then I took the address from one of the listings and put it into google maps.

Google maps brought up the business along with a list of options including "Search Nearby"

I clicked on that and typed in "Realty" (Note: you can type any general business type into this field and google maps will find them for you. In the past I've search for "Laundromat" and "Dentist" and "Dry Cleaning")

Several nearby Realty offices popped up on my map.

I asked my caller if it was west of Wasatch Nutrition and on the north side of the street - she said yes and - voila. Awesomeness.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I waited a long time to get 4 lousy nuggets

Today there was an older lady in line ahead of me at the Wendy's drive thru. You know how there are two menu boards at drive thrus now? One with some menu items listed, and then a second one that actually has the speaker? This lady was giving her order to the non-speaker menu board. And then she got no reply and looked really confused. And I think her husband was in the car with her, and they were both totally baffled.

I was sitting in line behind watching all of this, and the librarian in me was chomping at the bit to help her. I kept thinking, "Should I go up there? I could just hop out and run up and tell her where it is. But that's such a stupid librarian thing to do - do I have to help everybody all the time?? Besides she'll think I'm crazy, coming up to her window and telling her what to do."

I guess I debated too long, because then she put on her blinker to curve around the drive-thru lane, passed the speaker menu completely, and went to the window to pick up her order. She talked to those people at the window for a loooong time.

p.s. To Wendy's: 4 nuggets for 99 cents? Are you really so lame that you took it from 5 to 4 pieces? Is that really bailing you out of this economic crisis - 1 less nugget in an already almost worthless menu item?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Three encounters

These all took place on a busy day at the library.

#1
There's a guy who has computer trouble and yells at me, but I like him because when he's done yelling he is really nice and laughs and is easy-going, and it gives me personality whiplash. You'd think this would be unpleasant, but it amuses me - he is quirky. It's easy to be patient because I know he'll be nice in just a minute. But he yelled at me today when another patron could overhear us. He asked me how long it took for a paper to come out of the printer once you printed, and I told him that it happens almost immediately, and he yelled and said, "NO! I mean WHEN does it come OUT??" So I repeated: when you hit the print button the papers come out within a few seconds. He said, "Oh really?" and walked away. The witness patron who had stood there through it all said confidentially to me, "You said it just fine. It was perfectly clear what you were saying the first time." And I smiled and said, "Oh, it's no problem." Now I look like an awesome librarian, incredibly patient and understanding of crazy people who yell at me, when really my good attitude is just because this guy cracks me up. I love my job.

#2
An older gentleman came in asking for consumer reports, which I told him were on the second floor, and he nodded and said, "I thought so."

Then he stood there for a few moments considering me, then he leaned in and said intently, "You'll have to watch out for me, I just had the swine flu!"
"Oh yeah?" I said. He says, "Oh yeah, but I saw a fine medical representative - A veterinarian!" At this, I laughed politely.

He considers me for another moment. Then he says, "I used to have a dental practice right over there on that corner [pointing out the window]. I had a lady come in once to me, and she said, 'Oh, I'm so sorry, [he puts his hands on his cheeks here] I've been so busy, I haven't had time to brush my teeth!' And so I said, 'Oh don't worry, I've been so busy, I haven't had time to wash my hands!'"

I laughed again, and feeling that he had sufficiently entertained and charmed me, he left looking for consumer reports. Some patrons are entertaining on purpose.

#3
As librarians, we generally try to exercise common sense and human decency. So when I had an elderly couple come up to me asking for a movie and looking so fragile that they might keel over at any moment, I invited them to sit on a soft bench while I found the movie for them. They were really impressed (but really, it seems like an obvious thing to do). When I brought them their movie, they had this little exchange:
Man "I should give you a card! Where are my cards?"
Woman "oh yes, give her a card, he does these cards, you see."
Man "I have some cards, have you seen them before?"
Woman "Here they are, get one out for her"
Man "Here you go, these are my special cards"

And then he handed me this:
(I've blurred out his name and contact info for his protection)

And of course - he stood and waiting for me to give him a smile back, which was easy, and accompanied by a "thank you."

I hope I am that cheerful when I am their age.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Moon

Did you hear that the trailer for New Moon is out? If you'd like to see it, I found the perspective on the Miss Nemesis blog to be my favorite, complete with fan reactions:

http://missnemesis.blogspot.com/2009/06/funniest-thing-ive-seen-all-week.html

Monday, June 1, 2009

Falcons in SLC

There are some falcons nesting on top of a building in downtown SLC. They have a webcam set up right at the nest and I've been watching as the mom falcon sits on red speckled eggs. I just re-visited today, and there are baby falcons up there now! They are pretty still, so I was worried that something was wrong, but they move around every once in awhile. Unfortunately, it looks like one of the eggs didn't hatch.

You can read about them here:
http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=6383297

There's a link to the webcam at the bottom of the page. But it takes about a minute to load, so be patient.

Old News

Sometimes I save news articles to talk about on my blog, but never get around to posting about them.

Here's one about how the Obama administration is looking to put some contemporary art in the White House.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-melber/a-warhol-for-the-west-win_b_170439.html

Mostly, it seems like posturing to me, to appear that you're breaking with the past, like you're trying to appear more in touch with contemporary society, and things that reflect contemporary society.

But I love contemporary art, so I can hardly complain. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hang on a sec

Found a new blog today, by Diana (Douglas?), who I don't know very well, and should probably google, but I know that her husband wrote Quiet, Please: Dispatches of a Public Librarian (he and I also exchanged a few emails last year when I added his book to my to-read list on Goodreads. Very nice. We talked about the Anaheim Library and my faint childhood memories of pinocchio).

Anyway, An interesting post of hers highlighted a few sexist ads from earlier decades. I clicked on this one for a close-up view:



And I almost didn't notice the woman at the bottom of the photo - faceless, nameless woman, hanging onto a rope, and who looks like she isn't getting up that rock face any time soon. And get a load of the men above her - chatting with each other, ignoring her! The one on the left looks like he's reeling in a salmon, in my opinion. Personally, I don't blame her for being a drag. First thing I would do after getting home from this trip is find some hand balm and a divorce lawyer. Thank goodness I was born in the 80s.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blip

Told a room of co-workers about a rude thing a patron said to me the other day, and they all gasped indignantly for me at the same time. Made it all better.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Because my heart rate wasn't high enough


Our fire alarm went off at the library today. It was an odd moment when I thought, "who's in charge?" and then I realized,
"oh, that's me. crap."

As we were moving people out of the building, a woman came up to me looking agonized, and holding a little girl - maybe 1 and a half.
She said, "I think my baby set this off."
I asked where they had been, and she pointed to a wall where there weren't any fire alarms.
So I asked, "How did it happen?"
She said she wasn't watching her little girl (for just a second, of course), and she stuck a pencil into an outlet. My first thought: good grief, your kid is sticking things into outlets? My second thought: Wait, that wouldn't set off the alarm.

I told her so and she looked skeptical, and I had to say, "There's no way that would set off the alarm. She'd have to have pulled the red alarm... thingy." (Yes I am a master of communication) The young mom looked immensely relieved, and told me how she had turned around just as her daughter was sticking the pencil in, and at that exact moment the fire alarm went off. I would wonder, too, with timing like that.

As she walked away I heard her say softly to her daughter,
"It wasn't your fault, honey" in this reassuring and loving way.
It was so sweet!

+5 points for being a sweet mom.
-10 for the outlet thing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Music Crush

Michael and I are both crazy about this video:



To the point where we've watched it several times by now...
I think it captures my total love for dorks. Not that Michael is a dork. He's cool. He just happens to be a cool person who knows who the Jem'Hadar are.

More about that later.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Renaissance

Recently I had a big discussion with my Oldest Sister about The Pioneer Woman, a blogger who was a city-girl, then met and fell in love with a cattle rancher and now lives on this gigantic ranch with him and their four children. She blogs all about her life and experiences on the ranch, and it's so interesting because it's from an outsider's perspective... she seems almost bewildered that she fell into such a life. Her blog is wildly popular, and she has won several blog awards on a national level.

This made me think a lot about the blogs that I read. Right now I'm subscribed to 61 blogs on my reader, and I realized that almost all of them are written by women. I know this probably just reflects my interests, but it is sort of remarkable when you stand back and think about how many women are blogging and what they are saying.

The more I think about this the more it amazes me. My favorite blogs are written by women who I would never know or have any contact with in any prior era. But because of this technology, I can read about their experiences and how they see the world, and I find myself amused, enlightened, and inspired by them everyday.

Blogs have given women an outlet for their creative talents like we've never had before. In the Art History field, there's a big discussion about how history has so few great women artists because they were in the home, taking care of family and children and the house and it was just easier for men to find the time to invest in art. Blogs, however, open up those creative avenues from our very homes.

I mentioned all of this to Oldest Sister in an email, and she responded: "Oh, I so agree with you about giving women an outlet, I think of Pioneer Woman's isolation on that ranch--and how it's totally overcome. Not only hundreds of friends, but national recognition for her talents! I think a creative, talented woman like that would have gone bonkers in the past--not having an outlet."

I'm not trying to burn my maidenform or anything, but personally, I think what is happening is special. I know to some degree or another, women have been able to express themselves before now, obviously. But I don't think it has been done with this much ease by so many people, and anyone can do it.

Maybe blogs will become passe and go out of style. Maybe they will overrun the world. But I think right now they are giving something to women that we haven't ever really seen before: the easy, free, from-home ability to express themselves, and be recognized.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Shared trials

Here's a clip of a terribly important instant-message conversation I had with my brother today:

Adam: it seems to take me about 8 McNuggets to empty out a package of BBQ sauce

Adam: that means for a 10 piece Chicken McNugget, I only use about 1/4 of the second package of BBQ sauce

Adam: what do I do with the other 3/4?

I face this problem myself every time I get these. The only solution I can think of is the same one Adam came up with: carefully wrap it up in 3 different containers so it doesn't ooze out all over the trash bin. It was freaky how similar things were getting, until I realized that there is one big difference in our two experiences:

I get the sweet and sour sauce.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I encounter a freaky spider: a thought process.

Oh holy crap. That is the freakiest looking spider ever. And it's in my house. Look at him go. There's no way I'm touching that thing. I have a strict no-touching-spiders-with-fur policy. But I can't just let him free to run through my house and attack me when I'm sleeping.





I should get Michael. But he's asleep, and I really don't want to wake him up (he's sick and needs his sleep). But I can't let this thing remain free. Maybe I can just watch him for a couple of hours until Michael wakes up? No, that won't work, I'm already starting to feel nauseous. I should just squish it.







Uh... That spider looks like the kind that could jump 20 feet right onto my jugular. Or the kind that's secretly built with internal fangs so if you squish him, he gets his last revenge by injecting you with poison from his secret fang. Definitely a secret fang spider. This is a job for Michael.

I need some sort of containment system.





Perfect.
But what if Michael wakes up and comes in here to do the dishes, and unwittingly lifts up the cup and is immediately set upon by the jugular-jump of death?






Brilliant.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bel Canto

At work we have genre reading assignments. Basically they ask us to read a book from an assigned genre every couple of months. This is a great idea because it exposes us all to a variety of genres and makes us better able to give recommendations to patrons who may not have the same reading preferences as us.

Right now for this assignment I'm reading Bel Canto. I've only just started, but here's what's happened so far. In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists storm the party. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home.

I'm really enjoying the author's voice in this book. Sometimes, that's all it takes for me to really love a book. Here's an example regarding some of the younger terrorists who heard the soprano sing while they waited to storm the party:

"When a girl in their village had a pretty voice, one of the old women would say she had swallowed a bird, and this was what they tried to say to themselves as they looked at [her]: she has swallowed a bird. But they knew it wasn't true. In all their ignorance, in all their unworldliness, they knew there had never been such a bird."

*Update for Adam: The genre we have right now is "General Fiction." To me, this is really more an exclusionary category... no historical fiction, nothing that falls under fantasy, sci-fi, romance, or mystery. These books usually deal with people in realistic places and circumstances. Sometimes people come in wanting a no-nonsense book, and since I read mostly fantasy anyway, genre assignments like this are good for me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Small Victories

Yesterday I went shopping for some new pants for work, and I officially fit comfortably into the next size down. Hurrah! Also, I've been able to wear my original wedding ring on my ring finger - though I have to take it off if my hands get too warm. So that's not quite as cool as it could be, but you have to understand, I haven't been able to wear it since 2006, and I mean I couldn't slide that thing on even in the middle of winter. So it was a big deal when I slid it on back in February for the first time in close to 3 years.

What have I been doing since 2006 when I couldn't get the ring on? Well I went without one for awhile. I didn't even really mind the question I got about once a month, "Why don't you wear your wedding ring?" It's sort of a funny question to me, because it smacks of, "Did you lose it? Did you never have one? Do you not love your husband? What is it??" But after a very... friendly patron asked me out and was hugely embarrassed that I was married, I decided I needed a decoy. Since then, I've been wearing a $15 ring that I bought off of Amazon; it's a generous 4 sizes bigger. But ever since February, it's been sliding dangerously down my finger if I move my hands too much. I'll probably lose it soon, but the thought that it was only $15 is a comfort.

Which brings us to an important point. What happened to my goals? The last we heard of my goals was back in February, the day before I got my wisdom teeth removed. And while I had no idea what to expect, I soon learned that one can NOT exercise while blood is gushing out of giant holes in their mouth. Nor even soon afterward. So I haven't done it since February, but I'm ready to try again.

Now I want everyone to know: I can be a thrill-seeker at times. I am very tempted to go skydiving. But right now, I am going to attempt quite a feat: when I leave the computer, I'm going to go do one of those 15-minute workouts. This is more risky than you think. In December, I went to the hospital with a kidney stone that had been dislodged because I started this workout three days earlier. After a month of recovery, I started my workout again and the next day went back to the ER because I had dislodged a SECOND kidney stone. So. It's been 2 months since I worked out last. If there are any lurking kidney stones in there, they could be dislodged now. This is scary stuff! Here I go...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Maybe not the happiest place on earth?

It certainly wasn't for this guy, who was arrested at Disneyland today. Not that I feel sorry for him. But what a place to get busted!

And think of the thought process behind that move - you rob a bank and then head down to Disneyland? You almost need to rob a bank to get into that place these days.

"You've just pulled a heist, now what are you going to do??"
"I'm going to Disneyland!"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ode to my blogging class

Tonight I finished up the last class in our blogging series. And while I enjoyed it very much, you can imagine my surprise to find that some of the people taking the class enjoyed it, too! To the point where one of my class-goers wanted to take a picture with me after the class was over. I mean, either he really enjoyed the class, or I was dressed goofy or my hair was messed up and he wanted to capture it so he can blog about it to all of his friends later...

I'm sure there's a very boring and rational reason for it, but for a couple of seconds there you can bet that I was pretending that I was a rock star.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sabbatical

Sabbatical - any extended period of leave from one's customary work, esp. for rest

It's been awhile since I've posted, hasn't it? After being sick, I'm well enough now to start moving around and interacting with the world some more, so hopefully I'll have some good stuff to write about. Being sick is sort of a lame excuse, I know, but I try to be positive on my blog, and it's hard to be positive when I feel just about as cheerful as the demon dog from the Ghostbusters.


When I'm sick, I'm also just about as cuddly, Michael can attest to that. A lot of people were really annoyed that they couldn't reach my by phone during this time, and I think I may have done you a favor, because you really don't want evil incarnate on the other end of the line, do you? That is, if I could have said a word anyway.

So now that I'm returning to more of a Louis Tully state-of-mind (is that really better?), I think I can blog now without wanting to rip the keyboard out of the computer and hit myself over the head to try to knock myself unconscious.

How about a library story while we wait for life to kick in? I was at work on Saturday, and two little girls came up to the desk. Adorable thing #1 and adorable thing #2. We will call them thing 1 and thing 2. The older of the two couldn't have been more than six years old. They said they lost their mom. I asked them what she looked like, then realized how stupid this was as they launched into a stuttered, hesitating attempt at any description that came to mind. I stopped them and asked what color hair she had (they said brown like theirs), and what her name was. I got on the phone and called the the second floor and the children's librarians, and asked them to look for her.

I understand that only having a name and hair color is not much to go by, but there is one other distinct feature that will clue us in on who the mom is: she will be frantically searching for her children. (Usually). There is something very singular about a woman with fear in her eyes, walking quickly up and down the stacks, peering into each one, turning her head, scanning all areas of the room. I got calls back from the other librarians that there were no frantic mothers nearby. Thing 1 was starting to get upset, even though I didn't let her know we hadn't found her mom yet. I hung up the phone and looked straight at her and said, "We've got lots of people looking for her and we're going to find her [insert smile]. Why don't you guys wait on this cushy couch right here? It's really soft to sit on." Thing 1 and thing 2 run over and plop down, and probably the most useful part of this is that they are staying in one place, and not running randomly around the library looking for mom.

Sure enough, two minutes later, their mom comes in from the parking lot with fire in her eyes. Relieved but angry. I could hear her yelling at them from the other side of the room. But really - I thought - didn't they do the best thing they could have? They realized they were lost, and they found an adult. And not just any old library-patron adult. But a real, bona-fide librarian adult. And we got a whole team of people helping them out. They did the best they could possibly do outside of having her cell number memorized. But at the same time, the mom was probably blowing off steam. She got worked up and freaked out and couldn't reign it in once she found them. But I really do think they did the best they could have.

Monday, April 13, 2009

This week's music crush

I'm back from vacation. I bought this song right before we left, and on the road I realized that it was this week's music crush. Nothing like riding in a car to give new life to a song. Upbeat songs are my favorite kind, and this one fits right in. I especially like the chorus. (00:54 if you want to skip ahead)


Do The Panic - Phantom Planet

Speaking of the road, I saw this on a marquee outside of a mechanic shop:
Line 1: Huge Tire Sale
Line 2: Going on now
Line 3: Small tires too

It got a chuckle out of me. I love it when the marquee guys are creative.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Small details

A couple of young ladies came up to me this evening.

Y. L. "Do you have a phone number for - uh - someone who could come unlock our car?"

Me: "Let me do a quick search and write down some numbers for you."

Y. L. while I'm writing down numbers:
"Wait - Do we have to - like - pay?"

Me: "Uh. I don't think they do it for free... "

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lost in linguistics

One of my favorite parts of the book Bridget Jones's Diary are her conversations with her friend Magda, who is recently married with young children. Magda often breaks into the conversation with directions to her kids, but there's no segway like, "Hold on, Bridget" or "I have to say something to the kids real quick." She just jumps right into what she's saying to her kids. Here's an example from the book:

"Bridget, hi! I was just ringing to say in the potty! In the potty! Do it in the potty!"

There was a loud crashing noise followed by the sound of running water and screaming in manner of Muslims being massacred by Serbs with "Mummy will smack! She will smack!" as if on a loop in the background.

"Magda!" I yelled. "Come back!"

"Sorry, hon," she said, eventually returning. "I was just ringing to say . . . tuck your willy inside the potty! If you let it hang out it'll go on the floor!"


My own sisters do these no-segway interjections to their kids a lot. I understand that it's something every parent goes through, but it really cracks me up, especially when what they're saying to their kids is bizarre when taken in the context of our conversation. This morning I called my sister and it went something like this:

Me: "So then the doctor prescribed me some probiotics, which I thought sounded good."

Sister, sounding longsuffering: "No. You have to put underwear on."

This made me giggle so much I couldn't stop.

And aside from the conversational absurdity, a whole ream of questions come into play: "Someone doesn't have any underwear on. Do they have anything on? I bet it's breezy. Why is there no underwear on? Did they take it off? Maybe they like it breezy. I don't think I would. I wouldn't want anyone to sit on the furniture that way, nightgown or not."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I think I'm in love


So did you hear? Jimmy Fallon is taking over late night for Conan, and Conan is taking over the tonight show for Jay Leno (June 1st). So I've watched Jimmy for the last couple of nights. He starts the show like usual, with a little stand-up routine. And it's pretty... awkward. The jokes fall short, the audience is pretty quiet, and there are long pauses where I'm not sure if the teleprompter isn't keeping up or if Jimmy just can't remember the next joke..... Wait. What was that? Jimmy Fallon just smiled. Are those dimples?
...I can't remember what I was talking about. Uh, like I was saying, great show!

Ok, so the opening stand up falls short. But the celebrity interviews are fun, and Jimmy seems much better at them, good at improvising off the top of his head rather than pre-written jokes. He's good at the friendly banter, and pretty dang charming at the same time, too. And yeah, a little awkward. But I think that's more his personality than jitters. Maybe it's an acquired taste. But I think I'm in love...

Here's my favorite part from last night's episode:

Friday, March 20, 2009

You just blew my mind

I saw this posted at Cafe Rock, and had to pass it along.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's day

I wasn't going to say anything. I was just going to let it slide by, because this year I don't particularly like this holiday. I didn't even wear green. But what happened when I was closing the library merits a post.

Three patrons were left on my floor, and I headed over to encourage them to get a move on. As I approached, one of them saw me and started a friendly banter:

Guy #1: "Well, you guys must not like massage studies very much!"

Me, thinking this was an odd thing to say: "What?"

Guy #1: "You know, massage studies!" He then pointed to his shirt bearing the logo for a local college of massage therapy.

Me: "Oh! Because you go to ***** College of Massage Therapy. I get it."

Guy #2: "Yeah! You know, so you guys must not like therapeutic massage studies very much if you're kicking us out."

Me, understanding that while this is very weird, they are still being friendly which I can appreciate: "Haha... well, I don't discriminate... them's the rules."

Guy #2, suddenly eyeing my body in a strange way and taking a few steps towards me, "Heyyyyyy! You're not wearing any green, are you? Am I gonna have to?..."

Me, backing away and stuttering out, "OH, well, you know, actually, there's this rule about.... " (here I am thinking frantically for something that sounds official) "librarian-patron... confidentiality."

All three laugh, thankfully. Guy #1 comes to my rescue by recounting how he used to be a government employee, and that any aggressive act or threat towards a government employee is an arrestable offense. I have NO IDEA if this is true or not, but am nodding and smiling in an apologetic way at Guy #2.

Guy #2, to my intense relief: "Okay, then. I'm sending you a mental pinch. And sometime, somehow, you're gonna feel it."


All in all, a St. Patrick's Day fiasco nearly averted. Though I will probably have to undergo counseling for unblocked memories of Patty's Day pinchings in grade school. (P.S. Probably the most wonderful thing a mother could ever do for her child is to make sure they are wearing something green when they head to school on this holiday. Possibly more important than feeding your children)

Charmant


As an art history major I have to re-post this (you can click on the image to go to the site where I got it from). I think it's fantastic. Who says you can't "enjoy" art?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Sorry about that"

I often say this at the library when somehow we fall short for our patrons. As in, the book they want is checked out, the book they want we don't own, we can't find the book they want that should be checked in, the computer isn't doing what they want it to and I can't make it better, etc.

A lot of people don't apologize for these menial kinds of inconveniences, because it's usually not really our fault. And I totally understand. But I choose to apologize, just because I think it shows a bit of sympathy and understanding for their frustration. Some people also say you shouldn't ever apologize for anything that isn't your fault because it shows weakness - but I think... I'm a librarian. What do I need to show strength for? I'm here to help them, not draw them into little power plays.

So I've been feeling very pleased with myself for this little show of sympathy, but I've been wondering lately: what if these apologies are really for me? Because, usually, when I do apologize, the people give me the frown/smile and say, "It's okay." Maybe I'm just in it for their small reassurances that these inconveniences aren't ruining their day, maybe they give me a sense that I'm not totally inadequate, that they understand that it wasn't my fault. Maybe this is all a play of my defensive system and sense of insecurity.

And then I think about what my five-year-old nephew said recently,
"I think women should just relax."

Good advice.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Conversations I had last week

With my library patrons...

Young boy: I'm looking for a book. The author is Nuff.
Me: Okay, do you know the title?
Young boy: No.
Me: Do you know what it is about?
Young boy: No. It has, like, a brownish cover.



Woman: Hi, I'm having trouble finding a book.
Me: Okay, which book is it?
Woman: Dante's Inferno.
(I know about The Inferno by Dante, but that there is also a Mystery novel called "Dante's Inferno")
Me : Is it a mystery novel? Or is it the classic book?
Woman: It's the classic book.
Me: Right, where he goes down into hell?
Woman: Yes. It's by someone called Lovett, I think.
Me: Actually... Dante's Inferno is by... Dante.


*note: We did find that Nuff book. It has a purple cover.
*note2: The woman had typed in "Dante's Inferno" into the Title Search field. That is a mystery novel by Lovett. But you'd hope that people who know about the classic book also know that it was written BY Dante. But I'm no expert on some things, either. As a good co-worker said, "When library patrons do things like try to locate materials by ISBN number instead of call number, I try to remind myself that I'm equally ignorant when working with services from institutions I don't understand."

Oh, this one is from January but I forgot to post it:
Lady: do you have the winceawards?
Me: sorry, what was that called?
Lady: the wince awards.
Me: wince?
Lady: Yes.
Helpful man next to her: The Winds of War

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's been two days...

Conversation with my brother today:

Adam: hey, did you happen to fix the clock in my car the last time you were in it?
Me: I don't think so. I thought i left it cuz the time change was so close. Is it wrong now?
Adam: no, it's right now
Me: oh well that's why
Me: you went with it wrong for 6 months
Adam: yeah, and it's confusing the heck out of me
Me: you do know we just had the time change two days ago, right?
Adam: NO!

*Update - 10:30pm*
At almost the same time that Adam and I were having this conversation today, his car was in the shop getting the battery changed. The battery! Do you know what that means? That means that his car clock was wrong for 6 months, then it was RIGHT for two days, but it just confused him, and at almost the same moment that he found out that it WAS right... it got changed.

Weekly music crush

I heard this just last night and knew instantly that it was this week's music crush.

It's a remake of Careless Whisper, George Michael's 80's song that laments, "I'm never gonna dance again, these guilty feet have got no rythm..."
The song is so outdated and sappy, and it just cracks me up that Seether did a cover of it... Seether. It totally breathes new life into the song. Too bad it can't do anything for the sappy lyrics.
Honestly, I'm pretty partial to the original song. Love, love, love this remake, though. This is just a 30 second clip, but you can listen to the whole clip here. I'd encourage you to listen to the whole thing, if only so that you can bear witness to the fact that Seether redid a George Michael song.

(RSS feeders, you'll have to visit):

Monday, March 9, 2009

Reasons why people think Utah sucks

Friday, March 6, 2009:


Sunday, March 8, 2009:


Monday, March 9, 2009:

Plain English

This week I'm going to start teaching a class on blogging at the library. For our first class, we have to start with the basics: i.e. what is a blog? My co-workers told me that there was a video online that I could use that it is simple and easy-to-understand.

So I watched it, and not only was it simple and well-done, it was just... fun. Very visual ... more visual than just showing a video of someone's computer screen, because this is more mobile. Check it out:



So I did a little digging and found out that the people producing these videos are a little husband-and-wife team working out of Seattle. And they produce a lot of these simple, basic educational videos for businesses and schools. Brilliant!

I wanted to do a plug for them because I think what they're doing is pretty cool. Some of my other favorite videos from them are:

(I think everyone should watch this first one)
RSS In Plain English
Investing Money in Plain English

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

To brighten your day



Also as a note:
I'm feeling well enough to re-resolve on my goals. I'm going to start tomorrow morning, 8:00am. Remember, these are my goals: in bed by 12, up by 8, and I'm going to do at least 15 minutes of working out everyday at first, just to build the habit back up. 21 days!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Weekly Music Crush

Driving home tonight, a song came on my radio that I really liked.

I have a theory that alternative rock songs (my most preferred genre), don't always have the best/most understandable/easily deciphered lyrics. And my theory further postulates that country music (probably my least preferred genre, with a few notable exceptions) has really great/easily understood/very meaningful lyrics.

So I heard this song and I thought, "Holy Cow. It's an alternative song with great meaningful lyrics that I can understand." The perfect fusion. A shining example...

I got home and googled it, and it's by... Miley Cyrus! Gah! I wasn't expecting that. And listening to it again... it's not quite completely alternative... okay it's kinda country. But I've thought about it a lot and - I still like it.

I guess it's like brand-spankin'-new. I can't even buy it on iTunes yet; the album is coming out on March 24th. And it was dang hard to find a bootlegged version to share with you guys. The best I could do is this ripped-off version with advertisements (creepy voice man says "1075 the river" scattered throughout) But it's this week's music crush.

(Rss Feeders, you'll have to visit to view this:)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sixty-Five degrees

It is such a miracle that the world can become warm after it's felt like a freezer for so long. I have to hand it to winter: if you weren't so depressing, spring wouldn't be so invigorating, amazing, joyous.

I stood outside of my apartment today, and from my yard (and even from my windows), I have a pretty view of Utah lake. Today the sun was warm and neighbors were outside being happy (because, after all, it's warm). On days like this the lake reflects the sky, and it becomes this unearthly band of color within the landscape.


The sun went away when I tried to take a picture, but still the warm air makes everything so enjoyable, even murky landscapes. It made me think of another Denise Levertov poem called, "What One Receives from Living Close to a Lake." It's a little corny but I still like it.

That it is wide,
and still - yet subtly
stirring; wide and
level, reflecting the intangible sky's
vaster breadth in its own
fresh, cold, serene
surface we can
touch, enter, taste.
That it is wide
and uninterrupted save by
here a sail, there
a constellation of waterfowl -
a meadow of water
you could say,
a clearing amid the entangled
forest of forms and voices,
anxious intentions, urgent
memories: a deep, clear
breath to fill
the soul, an internal
gesture, arms
flung wide to echo
that mute
generous outstretching
we call lake.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

This week's music crush

Thanks to everyone for your responses to Thursday's post. I feel so encouraged - you've convinced me to stick with this life thing. It also occurs to me that while I'm sad about not working at that great job anymore, I'm really grateful that I had a chance to work there at all. I was lucky to be there and it gave me direction for where I want to go in life.

In the meantime, here's my music crush this week. Pretty harmonies. Generally, I rarely listen to the lyrics - so they're not really a strong point of songs that I like. But I like songs that have something interesting musically going on.

You should listen to at least the first minute, then you'll get an idea of the chorus. (For you RSS feeders, you'll have to visit this page to see the song. But on the plus side, you can check out my new skin - I did it all by myself, aren't you proud of me?)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I was on the front page of BYU's paper today

That's me in the lower-left corner.
You can click on the image to go to a .pdf of the newspaper.



The photos are from September 2007. It's hard to know what to say about this - really it's kind of cool but sort of bitter-sweet at the same time. I really loved that job and I was so sad to have to leave. Isn't there some sort of saying about how ghosts from our past creep back from time to time?

And they could have spelled my name right. =) Just kidding, that's not a big deal. Actually I'm sort of more miffed that they used photos that I took of Kelsey without any credit to me... of course they had no idea who took them, I'm sure. That was actually something like Kelsey's first or second day working there, and she was obliging me by standing in for some photos - but we were being a little silly and she was making too-serious faces in some of the photos. So of course they chose to use THOSE photos on the front page of the dang newspaper. Poor Kelsey. She would appreciate me adding a disclaimer here - she in no way looks as "pleh" as she does in the photos, and is, in fact, a very attractive person. (In fact we were chatting about it and she said, "I could sue them for defamation of character") lolz.

Actually, I've been in the Daily Universe once before, when we were installing the Minerva Teichert exhibit that I worked on in different ways for about a year - first helping with the curatorial process of getting the exhibition ready to go (and the book that accompanied the exhibition), and then later I moved down to the registration department and had the good luck of getting to help install the show - so I was involved in a lot of the steps. It was great experience - it really showed how an exhibit goes together from beginning to end. So I like it that I had a little commemorative newspaper appearance to go along with the exhibit that was so important to me.



But today's article? Not really as gratifying. And I know that so many students do great jobs as employees at BYU and are inevitably let go when they graduate, and I bet that a lot of other students had jobs that they really liked and wish they could have continued. It kind of depresses me that I'm just another brick in that sad wall. Just another student employee who wishes they could have stayed. And now there are new student employees that stand out much stronger in the minds of those people who work there permanently, and if positions do open up, they go to the latest kids... I become more obsolete with each month that goes by. And that's really kind of sad.

Sorry! I have to dump a little. Last April, when I turned 24, I was so excited for the upcoming year. I thought it was going to be a great one. Instead, it has been the hardest and most difficult year of my life. Last summer life was so difficult to cope with, then my miscarriage in the fall, then winter rang in with kidney stones and five ER visits, and now we're swinging our way back to April with my wisdom teeth being removed (and now infected).

I'm aware of all the silver linings. But life is just so baffling and overwhelming sometimes. And we get little reminders (or, if not little reminders, then someone uses large space on the front page of the newspaper) - reminders that show us where we've been so far.

And sometimes it makes me just a little nauseous.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

If river stones were real money, I'd be rich.




I saw this advertisement a few weeks ago when I was at work. I've been thinking a lot about finances lately and for some reason I was struck with how simple and visually appealing this little financial lesson is.

Who knew things could be so simple? Finance is just one big Jenga game with stones.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Denise Levertov

Denise Levertov is a poet who died in 1997. She was born in England, but lived in Washington at the end of her life. I've been going through some of her poems lately. I keep thinking about one that I read a few days ago:

Empty Hands

In the night foundations crumble.
God's image was contrived
of beaten alloy. A thin clatter
as it tumbles from its niche.

Parts of your body ache,
each separate, ominous,
linked only by emplacement within
a worn skin. Convictions

wheel and scatter,
white birds affrighted.

In time you sleep. But wake
to the same sensation: adrift
mid-ocean, frayed mooring ropes
trailing behind you, swirling.

Yet when you open
unwilling eyes, you see the day
is sunlit. You walk
down to the real shore.

Over the city,
a scum of brown. But it is quiet
among the trees, grass
strewn with first-fallen leaves,
a sheen of dew. The past night

remains with you, but your attention
is drawn away from it
to taste the autumn light, falling
into your empty hands.


Further on in the book of her poems, I found one that seems like a companion piece to this, yet they weren't intentionally linked in any way, except for her own repeated motif.

A Gift

Just when you seem to yourself
nothing but a flimsy web
of questions, you are given
the questions of others to hold
in the emptiness of your hands,
songbird eggs that can still hatch
if you keep them warm,
butterflies opening and closing themselves
in your cupped palms, trusting you not to injure
their scintillant fur, their dust.
You are given the questions of others
as if they were answers
to all you ask. Yes, perhaps
this gift is your answer.

Coraline

The movie Coraline is pretty surreal in concept and visual imagery...


On top of that, seeing the movie in 3-D was pretty stunning and magical.


But seeing Coraline,
in 3-D,
while on percocet...
Well, it was pretty awesome.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wisdom Teeth

All four got taken out on Thursday. They said that on the third day I would have the worst swelling, and that's pretty much true: today is the worst day yet as far as swelling and pain are concerned. I know I'll be fine soon enough, but not today, and maybe not tomorrow (but soon and for the rest of my life).
So, of course, I'm not exercising at all. But oddly enough, I've been able to do the 12-8 sleeping schedule just fine. Well - it's pretty easy to fall asleep anytime when you have painkillers like I do. Also I have discovered how blissful two bags of frozen corn can make your life.
I don't look like a chipmunk, you can barely see the swelling on the outside, but inside it's a pillowy land of pain. I do have lots to eat, though, lots of jello, applesauce, soup, mashed potatoes, etc. I can't wait to chew again, though.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

8:00am

Gahh.... desperately want to get back in bed...

you all... are evil...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Give the people what they want

Thanks, everyone, for voting in my poll. Here are the results:


In bed by midnight and up by 8:00am it is!
Actually, I'm not far from this schedule right now, so I was a little disappointed that this wouldn't be more challenging. But I keep thinking: routine, routine! I think it's really important for me to establish a routine so that good things will come more naturally to me (rather than being awash in whatever urgent matter I can remember at that moment). Plus, I've heard that getting healthier involves a three-pronged attack: exercise, diet, and rest! So what's wrong with making sure I get a little rest? Bring it on.

So, for the next 21 days, the two most important things that I absolutely have to do are: 1. get in bed by midnight and set the alarm for 8; and 2. exercise every morning.

I have other ideas for things I want to add to my routine, and I can try for those, but if I'm feeling tired and want to throw something out of the window, it absolutely can't be #1 or #2.

Now, I'm planning on starting tonight and counting tomorrow as my first full day, but there's a problem. Tomorrow I'm getting my wisdom teeth out. Tenative plans are: go ahead with the goal as expected. If I'm absolutely out of commission from the wisdom teeth, then I'll postpone the goals for a few days and start early next week. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Validation

Set aside 15 minutes to watch this video.

If you don't have 15 minutes, you can just watch the first 2 and a half minutes, but the whole thing is better.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Vote

I had to postpone my Thursday polling due to illness, but we're ready today. I'll leave this up for voting until Monday or Tuesday, and then I'll start my new goal next week.

In the meantime, I did all of my 21 days of workouts before I got sick, so I was very glad to have accomplished that goal. I returned to my workout today and I feel great and I'm noticing some more nice changes in my muscles. I'm excited to keep working out and to add a new goal next week. Line upon line.





Some Notes:
These are my personal goals - I hope that if some of you guys are already pros at this stuff, you are glad that I'm trying to get better (and hopefully you don't think I'm gross or ridiculous).
One of these options was "Increase the daily workout from 15 min to 30 min every day," but I've already been doing this, and I just felt like putting it on here would undermine the fact that I've already committed to do this. So off it went.

Also, if you want to start your own goals and you want to keep track, consider using http://www.joesgoals.com/
They have some handy tools and hundreds of goal ideas taken from other site users.