Saturday, April 28, 2007

it's a wonderful day in the neighborhood

I’m going to whine for a moment about my head~i try hard not to dwell on it, believe it or not, but sometimes it just really gets to me. I have had a tremendously evil migraine pretty much continuously now for about two and ½ weeks straight~well actually, i did have one day of a break but that’s all~do i really need to tell you how much that sucks?

Not only do i have this damn chronic daily headache thing which is a total pain in the head, to say the least, then comes this big, sharp, jabbing, stabbing, indescribable pain that just won't let up. And then the nausea ~like seasickness on dry land, vertigo, hallucinations (smells, sound, and light) and dry heaves. And when its really bad, light causes pain, and sound causes pain, and moving causes pain, and all i can do is lie there and try to think of something other than pain.

And people ask, "isn't there anything you can take?" Well no, not really~because you can only take pain relievers or migraine meds two to three times per weeks then your into rebound headaches~and if it doesn't work that first time then i might as well give up, because i know it won't do any good. And i feel like if i grin and bear it and drag myself to work because i have to, because i can't afford to loose my job ,and i don't have any sick days left then people don't believe it can really be that bad, and they ask "how can you stand it?" or "how can you can on?" when really, how can i not? what choice do i have?...oh poor, poor me, wah, wah, wah...

But i do have a new neuro, and we are going through a new round of trials so maybe... (yeah maybe, after thirteen years of trying this i still have some hope... i have to) I just keep thinking haven't i yet learned what i'm supposed to learn from this???

begging for sleep

Nebula and Hugo award winning author Nancy Kress has yet another wonderful combination with her Beggars Trilogy (also known as Sleepless trilogy) which starts off with Beggars in Spain, continues with Beggars and Choosers, and comes (almost) full circle with Beggars Ride (although all three books can easily stand alone.)
Beggars in Spain started out as a novella and that novella still seems visible within the novel, which had three very distinct parts (in some ways it might have been better left as a novella~or in separate parts as it did seem to drag on a bit, and the breaks were quite visible). The basic premise (though there are so many philosophical ideas and arguments tossed about in these books it's a little difficult to narrow down) is that if people could be genetically programmed to function without sleep they would be able to accomplish a great deal more. These genetically enhanced humans are known (logically enough) as Sleepless and not only do they have superior beauty and intelligence, they also do not seem to age. What could be better than that? Well apparently being like everybody else, because as societies have proven again and again, "if it is different we must destroy it." Examining issues of diversity, genetic engineering, meritocracy, socialism, separatism, and enterprisism, Beggars in Spain offers much food for thought without being too didactic.
Kress displays her flexibility and versatility in Beggars and Choosers by effectively alternating the narrative between four extremely different voices. Beggars and Choosers picks up about 15 years after Beggars in Spain ends. The world is further enmeshed in economic and social upheaval, and we now have the "Super-Sleepless" even more cognitively advanced than their Sleepless progenitors, and thus, more feared. More questions than answers here, but well worth considering, nonetheless.
Beggars Ride advances this continuum even further. This third novel seemed to be a bit more brutal and graphic than the other two (though looking back they all had their moments~perhaps i just felt my senses to be more assaulted at the beginning of Beggars Ride~perhaps because it is a tale of a society already in visible crisis...) The trilogy both keeps a continual narrative line alive while introducing new stories and characters; each book has its own tale to tell, and each tale is well worth hearing. All three books address moral and ethical concerns without offering easy answers. These are books that make you think. Kress is a very wise woman.
I think sometimes in our quest for convenience and economy we forget about enjoyment and delight. There is absolute joy to be taken in a stolen nap or a good meal that might be left behind if we find ways to circumvent sleep or other sources of nutrition. I know i don't want to let that go. Kress addresses so many more issues than this, some of which might have even flown right over my head, but i did want to get that thought out.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

need help breaking your man out of the hoosegow~just ask your local librarian...

So, i'm in my usual spot, when a woman comes up asking for help with the computers because she's "totally stupid when it comes to the internet." (just the type of patron i love to get). So i follow her back to her computer, where she has a letter from her man telling her to get onto the internet to find out when he's being transferred from our local county jail facilities to a federal penitentiary. He's given her fairly good instructions on how to do this but she's having trouble following them. I look at the html address he's given her, type it in the address and get no page located. I begin to tell her i don't know what to do but then decide that maybe his punctuation is off and try putting the address in a couple of other ways and eventually we're in. I follow the directions to the place where we need to start putting his information in and notice that she's down to about 45 seconds left of computer time and there are people waiting so i tell her to just come up to the desk.
At the reference desk i have trouble remembering the hoops i jumped through to get to the page we were originally on but eventually i get back there. She gives me a couple of different ID#s (SO#, FBI#, Registration#, DCDC#, etc, etc,) but no luck on the transfer date, there's a whole bunch of info flashing by on the screen and some vague, nagging voice at the back of my head but i perservere (i think maybe i'm still suffering from that viral ignorance infection). We type in his name Incarcerated SpouseandorHusband and birthdate still NoGo. She tells me, "Incarcerated's fingers would just be flying on that keyboard and he'd be right in there." (if only he weren't in jail...)
Finally she calls the Federal Marshall (who i think she had on speed dial) to ask for their assistance, which they were Not inclined to give, in fact the woman was downright snarky about it. "That information is NOT publicly available."
um, yeah, maybe it's not such a good idea to let people know exactly when and where they are being transfered...
"We'll I'll just have to tell Incarcerated when i talk to him tonight," she said, thanking me as she left.
"Sorry, i couldn't help you," i apologized.
I looked up Incarcerated SpouseandorHusband to see what he was in prison for. Identity Theft. Ring Leader. Yeah, i'm sure his fingers would have been flying on that keyboard...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

do you think stupidity/ignorance just might be contagious?

I was reading this very entertaining post about the contemptible and ubiquitous THEY who seem to send everyone into the library for all sorts of things that would never be found at the library (although WE do happen to have DMV manuals at THIS particular library~we even have them in Spanish which they Don't have at the DMV) when a perfectly reasonable patron came up to the desk and asked me if we had dictionaries here. For some reason i had to contemplate that question for a few moments before i could come up with an answer.
At a library?
Let me see...
"Why, yes we do, let me show you..."
To further muddle my already befuddled brain, by the time i got to the shelf and looked up at my patron, it was a completely different girl~although she was still wanting dictionaries and the other girl was standing around the corner, so i assumed they were together and slunk back to my desk to regroup.

I had been accosted earlier by a woman who asked me, in a whispered voice, where the anti books were.

“Excuse me?”

“The anti books,” she repeated.

(Oh right, because my library has moved beyond the antiquated Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress Classification Systems, we don’t even use synthesized systems such as Bliss, Colon, Cutter, Universal, or Brinkler; we have just simplified everything down to materials for the kiddies; fiction you will like; fiction you might like; and fiction you won’t like (why do we even collect that, you might ask, well because librarians are duty-bound to include everything); non fiction we divide into pros (everything for everything); cons (everything against everything); and neutrals (the wishy~washies)~actually we haven’t quite progressed that far so…) i’m forced to bite the bullet here, “Anti-What?”

“Anti-{actually i’m not going to tell you what she really said~where’s the fun in that?~i’ll just leave it up to your imagination (pretend you live in a community with a predominant something and insert anti in front of it)

I diplomatically led her to the section where those books might be located without comment because i wasn’t sure if she was actually looking for information or if she was looking for somewhere to place incendiary devices, and left her there.

When my usually very-organized manager couldn't find the stack of papers she had been carrying around just a few moments before i told her maybe she had left it in the anti section.

And then there was the man who came up to ask about getting his wireless internet card to work with our wireless system. I asked him if he had a library card. He told me he didn't want to use OUR computers, he wanted to use HIS laptop with OUR wireless. "Yes, i understand that sir, but in order to access our wireless network you need to have a library account or purchase a temporary library wireless access card to get an account number and password."

"I have a wireless card."

"Yes, but you need a library card or a temporary card to gain access to our network."

"What does that have to do with my wireless card"

(that is what i'm trying to explain here, your wireless card is useless without the account number and password to access our network, just as your brain is useless without the cognitive processes necessary to compute information...) "Why don't you go over to the circulation desk where they can get you set up with some kind of card?"

"They can help me over there?"

(I doubt it, but i really don't want to talk to you anymore), "Sure."

(of course once he got his library card it wasn't over because then i had to show him how to operate his laptop)

And i really do love helping people with the computers. People who can't seem to read little pop up screens that tell them that they need to add money to their card before they can print, or that the page that they want to print cannot be printed, or that the printer is out of paper, or whatever else the computer or the printer is telling them in plain English EXACTLY WHAT THE PROBLEM IS, but they have no idea what the problem is all they know is that they must come running to me and tell me that something is WRONG with MY printer (and i have always had great curiosity about the use of this personal pronoun when there is something amiss, because in all other situations it is just THE printer). When they come up to inform me of this great, mysterious emergency, i often want to respond by rushing to the printer at MY desk, examining it and saying "No, it seems to be fine, but thanks for your concern." or, better yet, by grabbing my purse and saying "Oh thank you, I better run home and take care of that pesky printer of Mine."

But no, i dutifully ask them what the message on the computer said and they dutifully respond that there was no message. So i follow them back to the computer, point out the non-existent message, solve the problem for them, cancel the 37 print jobs they sent to the printer after the first one didn't work (because, as we all know, if the first time you try something, say washing your dishes by banging your head against the kitchen wall and it doesn't give you the desired results~clean dishes~the best thing to do is to do the exact same thing in the exact same way, perhaps even with more force, many, many more times before even considering the possibility that there is something wrong with your methodology~or maybe your head) This is definitely why i amassed all that debt getting my masters degree (anyone feel like banging their head against the wall?) And no, i'm sorry, Miss i can't do anything about the fact that that page cannot be displayed, believe it or not, the library does not control the internet. And no, Sir, i don't know what your email password is even though you did set it up on our computers we have no way of keeping track of those things (i feel that old head banging urge coming on...)

Next i got to deal with a mob of old men wanting to know where the "Human Implementation Project" was meeting. "I really don't know."

"Well where are your conference rooms?"

"We only have one conference room, and it is back at the end of that hall there." i said, clearly indicating the direction with a very helpful point of my hand.

As the mob moved towards the hall i heard one of them ask another "What did she say?" "She didn't say anything, she just waved me off..." This annoyed your little rampager slightly. I wanted to run over to them and shout "I did say something, I told you exactly where to go, and i didn't wave you off, i pointed very clearly (an entirely different gesture~one i make with my palm pointed in an opposite direction to when i wave someone off, i might add). If i had known you were deaf (as well as blind) i would have spoken louder. And if you didn't hear (or see my direction indicating point).,how did you end up in the conference room when you could have ended up in the computer room just next to the hall you walked down?" but i restrained myself.

Okay, deep breaths, where i'd put that "I love being a librarian!" attitude? Maybe over in the "Pro" section? Maybe with the dictionaries...

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy,

i do love my job...most of the time...just a little venting...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

music to live by

The Soundtrack of My Life

here's a nice little exercise (in what, i'm not quite sure~maybe to give you just a taste of how eclectic my musical selection is?) from a meme that's been going around~apparently you:

1. open your music library
2. put it on shuffle
3. press play
4. for every question, type the song that's playing
5. when you go to a new question, press the next button
6. don't lie and try to pretend you're cool

(like, why would i do that~i mean, i have been constructing my own life's movie soundtrack for years now but if it's going to be random it's GOING to be RANDOM~you know what i mean???)

opening credits: come calling (her song) cowboy junkies

i just don't know what to say about this...

waking up: carnival is over dead can dance

knowing how i feel about sleeping & dreaming i guess this title seems somewhat appropriate...

first day at school: tara's dance LoDuca (lyre, lyre, hearts on fire xena soundtrack)

nothing like a little amazonian warrior princess song and dance to show how well you will be fitting in with all the other little kiddies the first day of school

in love: the lady is a vamp spice girls

interesting idea (the song title juxtaposed with being in love, i mean)~i guess there is no getting past that there is some spice girls in my music library~oh the shame of it all

fight song: why annie lennox

exactly what kind of fight are we talking about here?~'cause at first i was all set for a little rampaging fistacuffs~but i think with annie divaing in the background that might have to be in slomo at the very least~OR it's the love story, emo, argument, gnashing of teeth, heart-breaking, soul-ripping, sensitive, poetic, type of fight...

breaking up: get out macy gray

kindof spot on, eh?

prom: nobody loves you garbage

yeah, this would be my prom theme

life's ok: crying vonda shepard

CRYYYYYING...OVER...YOU....CRRRRYYING OVER okay can life be? I'm asking you?

mental breakdown: damascus, virginia the buzzrats

the buzzrats are an absolutely wonderful band from Ann Arbor, Michigan whose sound defies definition~something like "alternative/folk/rock/psychedelic/funk"~i'm sure you've never heard of unless you've read my blog, or are from the A² area, or know one of the truly great guys in the band~i'm not sure if this song qualifies as mental breakdown unless it references my breakup with one of said guys but since he will always be one of my best friends for life and that is what we always should have been i really don't know...anyway do check out the buzzrats....

driving: let's spend the night together the rolling stones

my car be bouncing down that road

flashback: I love a man in uniform gang of four

Any song from the 80s dancefloor scene gives me flashbacks (in all sorts of ways...)

getting back together: I'm shakin' the blasters

all i can say is hmmm...

birth of child: rollin' luscious jackson

i really don't plan on birthin' no babies in my lifetime so i'm not sure what to make of the tune or the insertion of the credit here~but i DO LOVE luscious jackson~here's the lyrics, if that helps at all (and don't you find it interesting that the birth of the child comes before the wedding~yet another thing i don't foresee in my future~but then again, maybe it's not my wedding, or my child for that matter...)

wedding: don't change inxs

don't you want this to be YOUR wedding theme?

final battle: trouble cat stevens

this is where things start to get interesting (although i do have to wonder what the final battle might be~perhaps a library customer?~i guess we never know until we get there)

death scene: it's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine) R.E.M.

now isn't this one just perfect, i have always loved this song, and it has never failed to cheer me up

funeral scene: thorn in my side eurythmics

this IS such a cool song~i love, love, love it!!!~i'm thinking i might even request it at my funeral~tho' i'm not sure the family would appreciate it~and it might not set the right tone...

end credits: endless deep u2

and off i go into the great unknown...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

"A Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew walk into a room..."

Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Pricilla Warner were virtual strangers brought together by their mutual desire to write a picture book for their children which would highlight the connections between the three Abrahamic faiths. Their talks soon led to more misunderstandings than connections so they decided to further investigate their own stereotypes and preconceptions. They continued their meetings recording each one and keeping individual journal entries, this book is the result of those meetings; told through their alternating three voices.
Ranya is the Muslim who originally came to Faith Club feeling like she had her faith but possibly no religion, like other Muslims might look at her as if she were not a "real Muslim" because she did not cover her head or follow the ritual in the proscribed manor. The other two saw Suzanne, as the Christian representative, as the "lucky one" possessing both religion and faith (rather rigidly as Pricilla saw it, initially) and living in the majority of the American population. Pricilla had the most doubts and came to Faith Club with religion but no faith.
Through their faith club meetings they not only came to a new understanding of each other's faiths but began an inner soul searching and began questioning their own beliefs. The three felt like they had come away from it each with two new intimate soul friends and a deeper understanding of their god and the Abrahamic brotherhood.
What did i come away from it with? Some very interesting thoughts, an ever-lengthening reading list, and a still agnostic soul. I would still recommend this book and would love to see a few thousand faith/understanding clubs sprouting up never know, it might lead to a more peaceful world...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

so, this is kinda cool, and kinda true...

not quite spot on~but, then again,it if it were, i might have to reevaluate my entire life...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

not my favorite flower, but what can you do...

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

(my favorite flower is the forget-me-not, just in case you were wondering)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

today is yesterday's tomorrow

i will not write of death

i will not second guess

wonder what could have been done

if it had been done

instead of what was done

sooner than was done

signs were noticed

(can we stop crazy?)

and should we force

(and can we force)

(and where does it end?)

(and what of guns?)

More guns?

Fewer guns?

and will we ever feel safe

in public space?

can we ever feel


and warm

and at




what i will do

is hold on to


And remember that in this world

there is


and there is


and to know one

we must know

the other.

Monday, April 16, 2007

"nostalgia is the whore of memory"

~John Fante
I am not sure that working in a bookstore carries quite the same cache that it used to. When i was in high school and then later, in college, all of my friends wanted to work in bookstores (actually a bookstore or a record store~as music stores were still called back then even though vinyl was already on its way out), like that would be The Coolest job. My first bookstore job was as a Christmas temp at a mall Waldenbooks (and i had actually had a job working at a music store~in that same mall a couple of years earlier~a chain that now also sells books~go figure) where i worked for a month and then quit to work another temp job at a ski resort with my boyfriend (i also had two other jobs at the time so my schedule was a bit full). About a year later i started at a tiny B. Dalton in the same mall (again it was a third job), i stayed there for about a year before i moved out of state to start library school and i loved it (actually it reminds me very much of the library i work in now~the staff feeling at least), minimum wage and all (by that time i had ditched my food service job and was squeaking by as a bookstore clerk, library shelver, and library volunteer~pay was lousy but i figured it was good experience, and it did put me ahead of many of my future classmates~surprisingly few had any public service experience~but at the time the last thing i wanted to be was a Public librarian~ugh).
Anyway, i do like to read books by fellow bibliophiles and bookpeople to try and recreate/evoke (re-evoke?) that whole feeling. I was rather excited to hear about Wendy Werris' An Alphabetical Life: Living It Up in the World of Books hoping for just such a tale, and i was actually a little disappointed. The book actually had great reviews so i can't really say why it didn't grab me, perhaps i didn't really care for Werris' personality (or what i could sense of it through the covers of a book)~perhaps she was a little like me~i've often wondered if i am very likable~tho it doesn't concern me much. Perhaps it was the sales rep in her. Perhaps it was that there were very few parts that felt like a personal story to me (or even a story of a fellow bibliophile). I do know that she seemed to be limited to her own world though she was speaking for the publishing world at large because i caught her in a few mistakes and inconsistencies which i knew to be wrong just from my own little book world (and that just irks me). Overall i'm glad i read the book, glad i didn't purchase it (don't you just love libraries?), but that's just my opinion~most of the reviews were much more positive...
Time was Soft There is a much more entertaining read although, in it, Jeremy Mercer tells of a bookstore unlike any other, George Whitman's Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, France. I found Time was Soft There to be a much more appealing and relatable book than An Alphabetical Life. Although, as i mentioned, Shakespeare & Company is an entirely unique store (one that serves as new and used book store, a lending library, and a kind of free hostel for struggling writers) i found many of the characters somewhat familiar and, in some ways the bookstore itself almost recognizable as the bookstore i called home/work when i was in grad school. Mercer was definitely a much more likable voice for me as well.
Shakespeare and Company, in its current incarnation, opened in 1951, first named Le Mistral it then changed its name when Sylvia Beach, the owner of the legendary first Shakespeare and Company (publisher of Joyces Ulysses and rhapsodised about in Hemmingway's A Movable Feast), died. George Whitman, a communist, likes to think of his store as a "socialist utopia" and will let writers stay there for the price of their biography, their help with opening the store in the morning (dragging all the boxes out to the street and setting up the shelves); an hours worth of work in the store per day; closing the store at night; and reading one book per day. Sounds almost cool~though the living conditions aren't the greatest~but it is Paris. Wonderful, wonderful book.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

a Grimm tale

I was watching The Brothers Grimm last night and it suddenly occurred to me that maybe the problems in my head are caused by my genetics (well that is quite obvious~but my meaning is a little less obvious~i’m referring to the geographical source of my genetics being German, French and Irish and their natural tendencies to war with one another…) I was rather impressed by the movie itself, incorporating as it did, familiar fairy tales into an entirely new story (and i must admit a whole new admiration for Heath Ledger)~i always have been a fan of the Terry Gilliam genre of fantasy/comedy.

Perhaps unsurprisingly i was afterwards inspired to pick up my copy of the Annotated Brothers Grimm to further read up and refresh myself on the history of both these folklorist (and LIBRARIAN) brothers and their times as well as some of the more unfamiliar and familiar tales. I found myself quite enthralled in the whole thing.

One of the purposes the brothers had in collecting the folktales was to try and retain the legends of their people during the French occupation of Germany~they saw in the German tradition of oral folklore something unique to the volk (perhaps a mistaken impression on their part which also lead to further mistaken impressions later when their cause was taken up by the Nazis and they were later seen as Nationalists~which they were not~they just wanted a record of German folktales as Perrault had earlier done with the French and as later scholars would soon attempt to replicate with their own countries. We often think of the Grimm's tales as violent and bloody and well grim but the truth is they didn't start out as quite so. The first editions included much more sex and less violence. The Grimm's thought their audience was more adult and didn't realize the stories would appeal to children so much. With each subsequent edition they began to edit out the sex and add in more violence (interesting eh?)

Anyway, if you have an interest in fairy tales i recommend both the book and the movie...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

a meditation on the absent parent

He was an African, a Kenyan of the Luo tribe, born on the shores of Lake Victoria in a place called Alego. The village was poor, but his father, Hussein Onyango Obama, had been a prominent farmer, an elder of the tribe, a medicine man with healing powers. My father grew up herding his father’s goats and attending the local school, set up by the British colonial administration, where he had shown great promise. He eventually won a scholarship to study in Nairobi; and then, on the eve of Kenyan independence, he had been selected by Kenyan leaders and American sponsors to attend a university in the United States, joining the first large wave of Africans to be sent forth to master Western technology and bring it back to forge a new, modern Africa.”

~Barack Obama in Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Barack Obama grew up hearing stories about his father from his mother and his maternal grandparents. Raised in a white household Barack doesn't know what it is to be an African-American and so feels out of place among both his white and his (very few) black classmates. When he is six his mother marries an Indonesian and he then moves with the two of them to Djakarta, Indonesia. His mother taught English to Indonesian businessmen at the American embassy and young Barack attended the local Indonesian school reinforced by three hours every morning of his mother's teaching of American correspondence courses. Indonesia also brought his baby sister, Maya. Once the correspondence courses were exhausted Barack was sent, at ten, back to Hawaii to live again with his maternal grandparents, his mother promising that she and his sister would be joining him soon.

That Christmas his mother did come, as did his father. It was to be the only time he would meet him. A few months after his twenty-first birthday he received a call from an aunt in Africa informing him of his father's death. Dreams from My Father is the tale of a search for identity; a search for family; the search for a connection in the world; of what it means to part of one family; and of the family of man; and of what the influence of both the known and unknown can have on who you are.

Obama eventually travels to Kenya to meet the family of his father and his many siblings and is welcomed as a long lost son. In many ways he feels like he has found something he has lost as well as many more questions left unanswered. If Audacity of Hope read like some kind of campaign propaganda (which it did in some ways) Dreams from My Father reads more like a beautiful novel written truly from the heart. I found it very moving (maybe all the more so because my own father is such an absence in my life, and my identity a little up in the air for reasons of my own). The writing is quite unpoliticianlike (and i mean that only in the nicest way!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

but I'm from Texas...

time for yet another installment of "Yes, there are Some Stupid Questions," but this one is more along the lines of "if you already knew the answer then why did you ask the question?" (or maybe, just perhaps, "I'm the Librarian, damn it!" so, of course, I'm Right~Meow.)
Today was a loooooooong day, starting with an 8:00 a.m. committee meeting (all my meetings seem to come at 8:00 a.m. which is still nighttime, as far as i am concerned~not too big on mornings.) The reason why i bring it up is that, it seems, whenever we reach the end of one of these meetings and are trying to schedule the next one, someone always seems to say "I CAN'T come in on That morning because I work that night..." To which i always want to respond, "So?" or "And..." because i work all nights and here i am... (yeah, i know, wah, wah, wah...)
So my first customer of the day is looking for a book on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Real story. I tried explaining to her that the movie was not based on real events but i could probably find the novelization for her.
"No, I want the real story."
I tried further explaining the idea that Tobe Hooper had invented Leatherface (yes, Ed Gein~from Wisconsin, mind you~did provide some inspiration for the skin mask and cannibalistic aspects but what movie serial-killer hasn't drawn some broad inspiration from Ed Gein?) and the whole chainsaw thing (it came to him while standing in a hardware store, or so i've heard) but she was from Texas and she could remember when it happened (the chainsaw wielding, cannibalistic serial killer, that is), so i just couldn't get the concept to stick. I think she left thinking "Silly, silly non-Texan librarian."
Next is the woman who wants a listing of all the presidential salaries from George W(ashington) all the way through George W(. Bush). At first i thought this might be a difficult task but i actually came up with the figures rather quickly only to be told that they were wrong (because she knew for a fact that George Washington was only paid $200 per year which didn't match my $25, 000~though he did refuse it.) I had to come up with three other sources, all giving the same information before she could be convinced that she was either a)misremembering or b)whichever source she got it from was wrong to begin with (this is the same woman who always seeks Me out for My Information~i feel so blessed).
Our resident crazy newspaper guy, who on Saturday accused me of removing all of the ads from all of our papers so he could not see them, asked for the third day in a row how long we keep the papers, because there is an article he really wants and he would even be willing to dig through our recycle bin for it if it comes to that; And could i use "our special librarian databases" to find a Washington Post article that he needs and email it to him?
"We don't have access to any databases that our patrons don't, sir," (well, not the kind you seem to want, anyway~then, after telling me it couldn't be found online, we found it online~hip, hip...)
And my third strike for the day? A woman comes in looking for a book she has in hold but she can't find it on our hold shelf. When i look up her card i tell her it is being held for her at a different branch. "But my card said This Branch". (since the computer system i'm using is the same computer system that printed the card i doubt it, but whatever.)
"It is being held for you at The Other Branch."
"But my card said This Branch." (hmm, this conversation seems to be going nowhere.)
"Well, i don't have the book here, what shall we do?"
"The card said it was here."
. . . . .
Things continued like that for quite some time, but i won't further bore you, just suffice it to say the migraine that i had for an entire week, which then gave me a day-long break, is coming back.
My library is located right next to some low-rent apartments (which isn't quite as much fun as being across the street from the baby gangster junior high, but almost...) These apartments give us a nine-year-old boy whose fondest dream is to hide in the library after everyone has left (and he has actually succeeded once or twice in doing so~therefore he has been banned until he and his mom come in to talk to our manager. They also bless us with a four-year-old girl who once wandered in, by herself, trailing behind or sitting by random adults until my manager noticed and walked her home. The little girl's mother came in today to use our courtesy phone to call the police because her four-year-old who had been "in and out of the house, playing, you know?" was nowhere to be found and she thought she had taken off with the nine-year old neighbor who thinks its a fun game to take her by the arm and they both run away from the girl's mother and she can't stop them from going "wherever."
As i'm listening to this, i'm wondering, "do you really want to let the police know that not only have you lost track of your four-year-old who you do not seem to supervise in any way, but that you also have seem to be incapable of control or proper supervision if you did try?"
One of the neighbors did find the girl (sitting by herself in some unattended car, by the by) just before the police arrived but the mom wanted the officer to go talk to the mother of the nine year old to tell her that her son couldn't play with her daughter. I had to stay in the library, so i didn't hear any of the officer's conversation with ANY parents, though i think it might have been interesting.
And then our crazy family comes in. Mom and Dad, both seem to inhabit some other world~who knows where, so, of course, their two sons are out of control. They are wandering about the library, causing their usual chaos, when one of the boys notices the beautiful, brand, new stuffed tiger that our Marketing department just brought us for display. He wants it (and of course if your child wants something, you just give it to him, right?) So Dad tries to get it down, only to discover, that the very-wise Marketing people had tied it down with wire. Failing to have his desire met drives the child into a kicking, SCREAMING (eardrum-shattering) temper-tantrum (which lasts much longer than i gave the human lungs credit for). His temper-tantrum coincides with another child's temper-tantrum because she is being forcibly separated from some library item (i'm too over-occupied with the first problem to see what that item is). Meanwhile Dad is trying to calm his brat by offering him all the other stuffed animals we have atop our shelves (because when your child is throwing a fit you should prove to him what an effective technique throwing a fit can be). The boy takes our flamingo and alternately beats it against the floor and lets out a high-pitched squeal to let Everyone know he still isn't happy. I sit at my desk trying to decide if i want to deal with any of this (have i mentioned this family is a continual problem? talking to any of them rationally is difficult)
Finally the family leaves and everything feels just a bit calmer. I mention something along those lines and our new shelver asks "how many kids are in that family anyway? Five? Six?"
"Two, just two." my head is on the desk as i hold up two fingers.
Luckily we are in the final stretch and as i am going through my pre-closing routine, on my way back to the computer room to start turning off the Internet computers, i am stopped by a befuddled-looking woman standing in front of our "One Book" display. "What are these books here for?" she asks.
I do a quick little blah, blah, blah spiel and am met by a look of confusion i have neither the time or inclination to try and clear. I point to the poster above the display explaining the program and now i encounter that kind of slack-jawed expression i recognize as, "You mean i have to Read? Multiple Words? On a poster? Duh?" she stares at the poster for a while then asks, "So you can check these out? And read them? And bring them back?"
That's the basic concept of a library, yeah. What, didya think you were walking into a liquor store 'cause that's a ways away. (I restrain myself to a simple "yup" and quickly scamper away.)
Once i did get most of the computers turned off and i noticed a guy go from an on computer, to turn one on that i had already turned off, when i noticed him going to a third i marched back there.
"Did you need some help, Sir???" (i must admit i was a touch grumpy by this point)
"Those other computers didn't work"
"If you're having trouble with the internet computers you should just come up to the desk and let us know," (so that this ever-so-friendly and Helpful librarian can come show you how to enter your 1-2-3-4 password~and, yes, that's actually what it was) "I just turned those computers off because we're closing. So, did you need help getting on the internet?"
"Why, are ya closin' or something?"
"Well, yes, actually, (like i just told you, and announced, a few times, but oh well) you only have a few minutes left."
"Oh, well here's your card back," he tosses his one-day internet card at me.
Okay, whatever dude.
Where's a chainsaw when you need one?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

spinning alone on a not-so-cold night

the world spins

my mind swims

things change so slowly

and so quickly

i don’t know who you are

i don’t know what I am

time was

once upon a time

the story goes

there was a girl

i was a girl

who didn’t know

who i was

what i was

where i was going

but didn’t care


the world spun

my mind swam

and pain didn’t matter

but now


when alone

feels lonely

and it matters

that i don’t know

pain isn’t so easy to forget

swimming in fog is just

swimming in fog

and the pain is

no longer lost

but i am.

And being


isn’t so



And pain just carves permanent roads

in the mind.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"My idea of life, it's what happens when they're rolling the credits."

~Violet in Feed

Titus’s world is so fast-paced that the girls must dash off to the bathroom, not only to touch-up their make-up, but also to change their hairstyles, just to stay current with the latest fashions. M.T. Anderson has envisioned a commercialized future in which the corporate world truly controls everything, including things like the (no-longer-quite) public education in School™ (indicated by the trademark symbol~they took over once the government could no longer afford or control it) and the environmental-like special effects such as Clouds™ (necessary once most of the true environment was destroyed). These corporations also control America’s citizenry, not through any type of “Big Brother” oversight, but through almost more insidious means: direct computer Feed.
At birth the majority of the American population (about 73%~basically the ones who can afford it, but they are the only ones who really count in this marketing culture) have a transmitter chip implanted directly in their brain. Through this transmitter they can receive (and transmit back) everything: the latest new music, fashion, entertainment in all its current forms, they can instant chat their friends and family, buy and track items from all over the world, anything their little hearts and minds desire. The feedcast also allows corporations to market directly to the population, to instantly collect ALL their demographic information and to TELL them exactly what their little hearts and minds desire (perhaps before they are even aware of it themselves), and how, when, and where to get it and at what price. Right Now!
The illiteracy of the population is demonstrated, not only through Titus’ first person narration (a voice which Anderson captures perfectly) but also by the name of one of the most popular feedcasts: Oh! Wow! Thing! News of what is actually happening in the world, politically, environmentally, culturally is of no real matter to most people as they are too obsessed with what they can buy and how it makes them look to others. Even things like the lesions beginning to affect everyone become a fashion statement rather than a health concern.
Then Titus meets Violet, a girl who dares to think differently and he doesn’t know quite what to do. All does not end well. This young adult novel is seriously dark, with a wonderful ironic tone, and it might just accomplish the feat of making the teen reader think of the implications of rampant consumerism.