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?"


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.