Monday, June 25, 2007

does this really surprise Anyone?

You Would Be a Pet Cat

Independent and aloof, you don't like to be dependent on anyone.
And as for other people, you can take them or leave them. You often don't care.
You live your life by your own rules. And you have deep motivations that no one truly understands.

Why you would make a great pet: You're not needy or greedy... unlike other four legged friends.

Why you would make a bad pet: You're not exactly running down to greet people at the door
What you would love about being a cat: Agility and freedom

What you would hate about being a cat: Being treated like a dog by clueless humans

Your Ideal Pet is a Cat

You're both aloof, introverted, and moody.
And your friends secretly wish that you were declawed!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

an ode to the counter life

In The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: a memoir, a history Lewis Buzbee manages to evoke the first discovery/infatuation of books for those of us who later became obsessed by them. I could relate to so much of his description his childhood~memories of the Scholastic Weekly Reader and all those books i wanted to order but Mom would only let me buy a few (if only i had more of her moderation now).

Though Buzbee worked in bookstores and also as a publisher's sales rep he still visits bookstores of every kind and with every chance he gets. When he does so, he describes it with the love and awe that i remember having before becoming the "bibliocareerist" that i am today, and that i fear i've lost. It was wonderful to read about it and remember.

Buzbee also gives a wonderful history of booksellers and bookprinting that is interesting and gives details that i either didn't learn or have forgotten from my History of the Book and Printmaking (or whatever that class was called~i don't even remember) in Library School. He also makes a wonderful proposal:

"a two-year mandatory retail service for all citizens and legal residents. no amount of family money or influence, or college dedication, would relieve you from this service. Mandatory; no exceptions. Only the luck of the draw would put you to work in a record store or a bookstore; the rest would have to work in the food industry (tho Buzbee himself has never worked in the food industry~as i have~if he had he would know it is an entirely different beast) or at the Gap (some might prefer this option), or heaven forbid, Wal-mart.

* * *

The benefits of mandatory retail service are, I think many sided. The bank accounts of parents putting their children through college would be far less depleted by cell-phone charges, drinking games and trips to Europe, these liberated funds could be invested to support our failed and failing corporations. Social Security coffers would grow. Because retail employees learn firsthand about the basic tools of business, colleges and universities would be able to restaff humanities departments with the money saved on accounting courses. (i'm not so sure about that) Sales of sturdy shoes would skyrocket.

The greatest benefit to my little plan would be in the creation of a truly kinder and gentler nation. Imagine that every American citizen had at one time worked in retail, and you might glimpse the possibility of a future in which all us, participating in our national pastime, shopping, would have more patience. We would understand that items are sometimes out of stock and life does continues, that service without a smile is still service, that getting rid of your small change is not one of life's more laudable goals, nor is cashing out a speed trial."

Love the idea (of mandatory retail service)~as unrealistic and unpractical the issues of carrying out such a plan may be...

I really enjoyed reading this book, especially his recommendations of bookstores to visit on the West Coast and Paris. I was a bit disappointed in his admitted "undereducation" of stores in the Midwest or East coast as it marred his modern history just a touch with the over thirty-year history of (what has BECOME) a chain near and dear to my heart (tho i'm more than a little bitter about the whole chain/corporate aspects of it all~because that's not quite how it started out~but what can we do?) He also missed the small city that has the highest number of bookstores per capita, but other than those (very) small issues i loved the book...

Friday, June 22, 2007

runescape & heroin

for the past week or so, on one of my public library discussion groups, people have been debating the comparison between runescape (and other video/computer games) with various addictions most notably heroin (since most people seem to think, erroneously~by the by~that it the most addictive substance). Some of our ranks quite vehemently disagreed as the physiological component of addiction would be missing (i'm not sure i agree with that entirely~ a) certain chemicals must be present in a person for an addiction~even to a substance such as heroin to "stick" and b) isn't it possible that playing computer games fires off certain neurons that produce chemicals in your brain that could produce a physiological addiction?)
Serendipitously the American Medical Association is debating the same issue:

Video Game Addiction: a New Diagnosis?
By LINDSEY TANNER The Associated Press Thursday, June 21, 2007; 6:22 PM

The telltale signs are ominous: teens holing up in their rooms, ignoring friends, family, even food and a shower,
while grades plummet and belligerence soars. The culprit isn't alcohol or drugs. It's video games, which for certain kids can be as powerfully addictive as heroin, some doctors contend.
A leading council of the nation's largest doctors' group wants to have this behavior officially classified as a psychiatric disorder, to raise awareness and enable sufferers to get insurance coverage for treatment.
In a report prepared for the American Medical Association's annual policy meeting starting Saturday in Chicago, the council asks the group to lobby for the disorder to be included in a widely used mental illness manual created and published by the American Psychiatric Association.
AMA delegates could vote on the proposal as early as Monday. It likely won't happen without heated debate. Video game makers scoff at the notion that their products can cause a psychiatric disorder. Even some mental health experts say labeling the habit a formal addiction is going too far.
Dr. James Scully, the psychiatric association's medical director, said the group will seriously consider the AMA report in the long process of revising the diagnostic manual. The current manual was published in 1994; the next edition is to be completed in 2012.
Up to 90 percent of American youngsters play video games and as many as 15 percent of them - more than 5 million kids - may be addicted, according to data cited in the AMA council's report.
Joyce Protopapas of Frisco, Texas, said her 17-year-old son, Michael, was a video addict. Over nearly two years, video and Internet games transformed him from an outgoing, academically gifted teen into a reclusive manipulator who flunked two 10th grade classes and spent several hours day and night playing a popular online video game called World of Warcraft.
"My father was an alcoholic ... and I saw exactly the same thing" in Michael, Protopapas said. "We battled him until October of last year," she said. "We went to therapists, we tried taking the game away. "He would threaten us physically. He would curse and call us every name imaginable," she said. "It was as if he was possessed."
When she suggested to therapists that Michael had a video game addiction, "nobody was familiar with it," she said. "They all pooh-poohed it."
Last fall, the family found a therapist who "told us he was addicted, period." They sent Michael to a therapeutic boarding school, where he has spent the past six months - at a cost of $5,000 monthly that insurance won't cover, his mother said.
A support group called On-Line Gamers Anonymous has numerous postings on its Web site from gamers seeking help. Liz Woolley, of Harrisburg, Pa., created the site after her 21-year-old son fatally shot himself in 2001 while playing an online game she says destroyed his life.
In a February posting, a 13-year-old identified only as Ian told of playing video games for nearly 12 hours straight, said he felt suicidal and wondered if he was addicted.
"I think i need help," the boy said.
Postings also come from adults, mostly men, who say video game addiction cost them jobs, family lives and self-esteem.
According to the report prepared by the AMA's Council on Science and Public Health, based on a review of scientific literature, "dependence-like behaviors are more likely in children who start playing video games at younger ages."
Overuse most often occurs with online role-playing games involving multiple players, the report says. Blizzard Entertainment's teen-rated, monster-killing World of Warcraft is among the most popular. A company spokesman declined to comment on whether the games can cause addiction.
Dr. Martin Wasserman, a pediatrician who heads the Maryland State Medical Society, said the AMA proposal will help raise awareness and called it "the right thing to do."
But Michael Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association, said the trade group sides with psychiatrists "who agree that this so-called 'video-game addiction' is not a mental disorder."
"The American Medical Association is making premature conclusions without the benefit of complete and thorough data,"
Gallagher said. Dr. Karen Pierce, a psychiatrist at Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital, said she sees at least two children a week who play video games excessively.
"I saw somebody this week who hasn't been to bed, hasn't showered ... because of video games," she said. "He is really a mess."
She said she treats it like any addiction and creating a separate diagnosis is unnecessary.
Dr. Michael Brody, head of a TV and media committee at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, agreed. He praised the AMA council for bringing attention to the problem, but said excessive video-game playing could be a symptom for other things, such as depression or social anxieties that already have their own diagnoses.
"You could make lots of behavioral things into addictions. Why stop at video gaming?" Brody asked. Why not Blackberries, cell phones, or other irritating habits, he said.

interesting, aye?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

a Midsummer Night's wish

Every culture has, at some point in its history, marked the time of Midsummer and held it to be enchanted.

The Celts, the Norse, and the Slavs believed that there were three “spirit nights” in the year when magic abounded and the Otherworld was near. The first was Halloween, the second was May Eve, and the third was Midsummer Eve. On this night of all nights, fairies are most active. As the solstice sun rises on its day of greatest power, it draws up with it the power of herbs, standing stones, and crystals. In the shimmering heat-haze on the horizon, its magical energies are almost visible.

The cold dark days of winter and blight are far away, and the time of light and warmth, summer and growth, is here. We naturally feel more joyful and want to spend more time in the open air. The crops are planted and growing nicely, and young animals have been born.

Midsummer is a natural time of celebration.

~Anna Franklin
Midsummer: Magical Celebrations of the Summer Solstice

So it was an okay time at work tonight, i had the pleasure of kicking out a mother and her children (regulars) for the boys continued misbehaviour. As i said, this mother and her boys come in often and the mother gets on the computer and browses and the boys run about causing distress and turmoil for everyone~ the mother, of course, does nothing, i try to explain to them what they may and may not do in a library but they are not use to any type of discipline so they do not listen. After i had told them to not run twice, and they had not listened to me twice, i had a patron come up and complain that they had been running around the computer room, being rambunctious, disturbing everyone, and that they had knocked over a couple of keyboards . So i go over to talk to them and when they see me coming they start saying "We know, we know," to which i respond "No, you need to leave."

"What do you mean?" (this shocks them.)

"I mean your mom needs to take you out of the library, I told you a couple of times that you needed to stop running and now i've had a patron complain about you so you are done with the library for the day." the mother is also extremely unhappy, this has ruined her day.

"But it wasn't our fault."

"You need to go."

"Blah, blah, blah"

"You need to go." (as i follow them out the door.)

Earlier i had had my (not) favorite child in (the four-year-old girl who wanders around on her own and follows everyone around, patrons and staff alike, bothering them all equally, and is one of the most controlling people in the world). I asked her, "NotFavoriteChild, is your mom here?" (because she knows she is not allowed in the library without her~at least she had shoes on today, however big and ugly they may have been) "Yes, over there," she waved in the direction of the table Mom was sitting at, and continued to follow our circ supervisor out the door to collect the book drop.

"Well, you need to be with your mom while you're in the library"

This elicits no response but a frown and an intense stare.

"While you are in the library, you need to be with your mom. You know this, NotFavoriteChild."

The frown/pout grows larger.

"You can frown at me if you want to, but you need to go over by your mom."

"But, boooooks..." she whines/pouts/frowns.

Our circ supervisor tells her that if she wants books her mom can get her some, so she stomps over by her mom who has been ignoring the entire situation (then i think she wanders outside.)

Once we had closed and i had ushered (most) everybody out, there was still a rather crunchy hippy-type dude hanging out in our holds area seemingly making notes. I stood (sort-of) patiently watching him for a while before asking him if there was anything i could help him find.

"No, thank you."

(So much for that not-so-subtle message) "Because we are closed..."

"I know." (i always find it interesting when someone tells me that they know something when their actions are demonstrating absolutely no knowledge of whatever they are telling me they know; i've recently discovered that children of a certain age say they know as an automatic response when they have no idea what you are talking about as a time-staller, but Mr CrunchyHippyMan appears to be much older than this certain age.)

"How are you?" he asks me, still standing where he is, in no apparent rush to leave.

Oh, how to answer this question? "Annoyed that you are still here because i really want to go home?" "Puzzled as to Why you are still here and exactly what you are doing and why you seem so calm and cheery about it?" I finally decide to go with a rather drawn out "Fine" (which is a rather unusual answer for me) and hope that he can catch all the undertones that go along with it.

He eventually finishes whatever it is he's doing, returns a borrowed pen to our circ clerk, and saunters out the door. I go to look at the hold books and notice he has written "HAPPY SOLSTICE" on a number of the hold slips. Isn't it lovely to share my celebratory days with these anomalous people (like the woman who had come in earlier asking for a love spell, of a very specific type which she needed immediately because it was Litha and she no longer had any of her books. Now couldn't she have thought of this before, it isn't as if Litha suddenly descended without any warning?)? Aren't i glad to be left in charge of the library while my manager is off cavorting at the ALA conference? (perhaps you can figure out my answer to these questions.)

so what is the point of a psuedonymn, anyway?

First there was James Frey now there's this:
The New York Times June 21, 2007
The case of Laura Albert — professionally known as JT Leroy — could be read as a literary cautionary tale, the story of a writer who hid behind her own assumed identity and lost herself while reaching for the truth.
Where there might have been a single life, there were instead a pair:
JT Leroy, addict, androgyne and the acclaimed author of Sarah, a novel of truck-stop prostitution set among the diesel fumes of a West Virginia highway. And then Ms. Albert, a Brooklyn woman living in obscurity who had never been to West Virginia, a writer of such reclusive instincts she required not only a pseudonym, but another personality, to write.
Yesterday, however, the creator and creation, who had lived for years in a sort of double helix, were finally forced together by the self-revealing power of the witness stand. Testifying at her own civil fraud trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, Ms. Albert told the jury the compelling tale of how — and why — it was that she sought the shelter of her all-consuming nom de plume.
“He was my respirator,” she said. “He was my channel for air. To me, if you take my JT, my Jeremy, my other, I die.”

Stripped of its emotion and labyrinthine literary games, the trial is no more than a contractual dispute. A film production company has sued Ms. Albert, saying that a contract signed with JT Leroy for the rights to make a feature film of “Sarah” should be null and void, for the simple reason that JT Leroy does not exist.
In broad terms, though, the trial has been an oddly highbrow exploration of a psycho-literary landscape filled with references to the imagination’s fungible relation to reality and the bond that exists between the writer and the work. Under questions from her lawyer, Eric Weinstein, Ms. Albert tried to draw what lines she could between the horrors of her childhood and their presence as reflected in her art.
She told the jury she had been sexually abused by a family friend, starting at the age of 3. She was also abused, she said, by her mother’s former boyfriend. She said she had felt responsible for both men’s acts: she thought it was her fault.
As a heavy girl, Ms. Albert was teased in childhood as “Fat Albert,” she told the jury, going so far as to sing for them the television show’s key line: “Hey, hey, hey, Fat Albert!” She said, “I didn’t want my name.”
Traveling one summer in Virginia as a child, she said, she met a trucker who, as she put it, “would give you a dollar and a chocolate for a kiss.” She said the trucker spanked her — that she wanted him to spank her. “He said the word: ‘Are you a bad girl?’ ” she said. “He got rid of the bad. That’s how I wouldn’t go to hell.”
Life at home, meanwhile, was bad enough. Ms. Albert ran away. She landed in the punk scene, in the East Village, with the hustlers and the addicts. This was around the time of her initial trip to a psychiatric ward. She was still in her early teens.
Eventually, she said, her parents sent her to a group home, where she lived as a ward of the state. (She considered Mayor Koch to be her father.) The stories of the girls she met were incorporated later into fiction, not unlike the stories of the punks from Tompkins Square.
Then, in 1989, she moved to San Francisco, where she worked as a maid and a baby sitter and sold her blood in order to survive. She also worked as a phone sex operator and perfected a sultry Southern accent she would later put to use in interviews as JT Leroy, including one, played in court, with Terry Gross, the NPR host.
It was in San Francisco, she said, that she started calling suicide hot lines from a pay phone on the street. Incapable of speaking as herself, she adopted the personas of various teenage boys.
One of those was a tattered runaway from West Virginia, a misfit from an educated family, who was living on the street. His name was Jeremy or Jeremiah: an embryonic version of JT Leroy.
At this point, fractured as it was, Ms. Albert’s psyche seemed to fracture yet again. She had, for months, as Jeremiah, been talking on the hot line to Dr. Terrence Owens, a psychiatrist. When Dr. Owens said he wished to meet, Ms. Albert paid a street waif to appear as Jeremiah, and then went along as his friend and roommate Speedy — which is to say, a patient standing with her alter ego in the third-degree remove of the alter ego’s friend.
Speedy was a character that remained with Ms. Albert even after “Sarah” was released in 2000 to almost instant critical acclaim. When
Steven Shainberg, the proposed director of the film, flew to San Francisco to meet JT Leroy, Ms. Albert, in the guise of Speedy, picked him up and whisked him off to an expensive sushi restaurant, where “JT,” played by the sister of Ms. Albert’s former boyfriend, sat there mute throughout the meal, and then stuck Mr. Shainberg with the check.
It is because of such deceptions that the plaintiff in the case, Antidote International Films, has said Ms. Albert committed fraud.
The company’s lead lawyer, Gregory Curtner, confronted her on cross-examination with the fact that she once asked Savannah Knoop, the sister of the former boyfriend, to appear in public as JT.
If the question was devised to fluster the defendant, it failed.
Ms. Albert said: “She became JT. It’s like a trinity. We experienced it. It was as if he would leave me and enter her — I know how it sounds.
“He wanted his own body. He so wanted to be out of me. I wanted this other child I had to be out in the world,” said Ms. Albert, who has a son. “He didn’t like being inside me. He could talk such smack about me.”

But this book seemed to start out as a work of fiction. Authors have often used pseudonyms to author books (and believe it or not i use one for this blog) for whatever reasons and i'm not sure that it constitutes fraud, was Mary Ann Evans committing fraud when she wrote under the pen name George Elliot? Maybe i'm just missing something here...

i never have quite figured these books out...

From the self-same people (Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht) who brought you The WORST-CASE SCENARIO Survival Handbook and all of the many speciality themed "WORST-CASE SCENARIO Survival Handbooks" to follow comes The WORST-CASE SCENARIO Survival Handbook: WORK Now i remember seeing this WORST-CASE SCENARIO thingy in the bookstore where i worked when it first came out, and at that time it was shelved in humour, then at some point it was switched to where-ever we shelved the survival books (camping/hunting or some such); and the books that followed were shelved in college life, dating/sex, golf, holidays, travel, wedding guides, or whatever. Now, while i suppose they do offer some valuable information, i'm not sure how much of it one might retain in a truly emergency/crisis situation; and most of them remain mostly humourous/entertaining reads to me (for instance: how many of us will really find ourselves trapped in a lion cage in our daily workaday lives~unless we perhaps worked with lions in our daily workaday lives in which case i think one might already have procedures in place for such scenarios~i don't know; nor do i really forsee many scenarios where one might be interviewing for a job as a neurosurgeon when one lacks all qualifications for such a position and needs to fake one's way through the interview~again i COULD be wrong~and in this case i really hope i'm not~at least i hope those hospital boards check their references on this one!)
In addition to offering advice on how to get (or at least interview for) a job you are not qualified for; tips are also offered for identifying a nightmare workplace (before you start working there); how to disguise a tattoo or piercing (as well as how to fake it for those ultra-trendy jobs); how to deal with nightmare-bosses, co-workers, and customers (i think perhaps more room could be devoted to this section if this were, in fact, a serious work); how to survive the office picnic (and what to do if you become intoxicated); make an impromptu toast; how to survive an office romance; how to make it in tiny spaces (cubies, truck cabs, and tollbooths); how to sneak out of a meeting (the part about crawling under the table is truly inspired...); how to cover your mistakes; what to do when you're caught slacking; how to pretend you are better than you are, and how to avoid downsizing. Then there are the "emergencies" the aforementioned trapped in a lioncage (as well as the bathroom, supply closet, and walk-in freezer); workplace injuries covered are a stapled finger (first remove the staple...), deep-fryer burn (first remove your hand...Really...), and finger cut on Deli slicer; how to retrieve a candy bar stuck in a machine; how to thwart a lunch thief, how to spot a shoplifter (pretty basic if you've ever worked retail); how to remove a tie trapped in the document feeder; how to fix a dented company vehicle; how to restore a shredded document, how to unclog the office toilet without a plunger; how to escape a stockroom avalanche; and how to clean up an aisle spill. Finally they include jargon and the "I Quit" letter. Somewhat entertaining but that's about it.

"A sky that runs like a clock. A world that runs like the sky."

My library classifies The Ordinary as science fiction. I call it fantasy. The back cover says it is a powerful and entrancing tale of magic, science and the mysterious truth that binds them together (so i guess that's somewhere in between?) The author, Jim Grimsley, also calls it science fiction even though it shares the same world with his early fantasy novel Kirith Kirin (though it is not a sequel to that novel). He says that he is
"exploring the interface between a culture that believes in magic and one that believes in science and I ultimately wish to explore the kinds of doubts that arise in each world as a result of the presence of the other. The book presumes that science will eventually explain magic, and thus my own belief that the science fiction designation is earned, if more softly than hardly."
I'm still not sure i agree, but who am i to argue? The novel itself is very interesting (if you can keep all the names and cultures strait) both in the arrogance with which the technologically advanced culture approaches what it considers to be the less advanced culture of Irion, assuming that it will be able to take advantage of all her resources for it's own purposes. Irion is not as easy as it appears and neither is this novel.

Friday, June 15, 2007

&#191but what am i?

I don't know why i continue to feel compelled to read career books~i am actually quite happy in my chosen career~tho i would love to someday support myself through some kind of art (writing, acting, independent wealth, etc...)~i suppose i could currently call it a collection development interest since this is one of my (oh-so-many) buying areas. I always have retained that lingering interest in psychology (after running in terror from it after that semester i tried it on as a major when one of my advising sessions with my acting advisor had taken a wrong turn and i had essentially told them {the acting department} to fuck off but after a semester of hearing people open up and tell me all the problems at parties once they heard i was a psychology major as opposed to saying "ah...interesting...[pause]..." when they heard i was a acting major {not to mention having a psychologist for a mother} so i went running back to the theatre department {general theatre, the acting department didn't want me, oddly enough} tail held firmly between my legs) and personality types (like those weirdo theatre types, right?~and of course now i sit behind a reference desk listening to people open up and tell me all their problems... hmmm...)

Anyway...Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type Revised and Updated by Paul D. Tieger & Barbara Barron uses the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to try and determine what career people will find the most fulfilling and satisfying. This is not a new concept, i took the Myers-Briggs Test back in college as part of their career counseling program to help me determine my career path; i also took it at a State Employment Center. The authors (and pretty much everyone else who talks about MBTI) state that personality type is inborn and stays with us for life and though i usually come out to be an INTP, which describes my personality somewhat; often when i take the test dimensions of it fluctuate so that i have come out as ENTP, INTJ, ENTJ, INFP, (basically everything fluctuating except the N~iNtuition part). Perhaps this has to do with the length of the test~perhaps it has to do with the strength to which i express each preference~perhaps it is my usual strangeness/uniqueness~i don't know. I have talked to others who also change over time, so just a small disclaimer here. Also, my profession, which i believe fits me quite well does not fit any of the personality types that describe me, so what is that about?
The book describes the four basic dimensions of personality type: Extroversion- -Introversion, Sensing- -INtuition, Thinking- -Feeling, and Judging- -Perceiving. If you do the math on this it gives you sixteen possible personality types (which some people take VERY seriously). The book doesn't offer a test but rather descriptions to let you decide where you fall. It describes strengths and possible blind spots, it also tells you which are your dominant functions and which are your auxiliary functions (if we are assuming i am an INTP my hierarchy of functions is 1) Thinking; 2) Intuition; 3) Feeling {opposite of #2}; and finally 4) Sensing {opposite of #1}).
After this basic introduction to the Myers-Briggs Personality Type the authors go on to the job chapters which include profiles of people in jobs which fit their personality types and why those careers work for them. These chapters also describe what careers satisfaction factors to look for and popular occupations in different areas (creative/arts; education/counseling; religion; health care; organizational development; and technology) as well as how to use your strengths in your job search/career. (Librarian is listed under ISFJ~Sensing being the one thing that doesn't see-saw in me. And people always tend to always think of librarians as introverted~while i admit that many are~Public Librarians have the word PUBLIC in their very title, (come on people (and i'm talking to librarians here too) this is a job where you have to actually INTERACT with people. The authors do concede that there are successful people in every occupation.)

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Now here’s a lovely sentiment: I’d Really Like to Eat a Child by Sylvianne Donnio • Illustrated by Dorothée de Monfreid (don't you ever just get to feeling that way [like when the little darlings are running about the library making lots of loud, annoying kiddie-type noises crashing into other patrons and library displays and such; and their parents are wandering about {or surfing the internet} blithely ignoring their responsibilities~makes a librarian want to rampage...]?). Achilles is a baby crocodile whose mother brings him bananas to eat each and every morning (every time complimenting him on how big and handsome he is becoming~and with such beautiful teeth... "how true" he often thinks to himself, but he is growing Awfully tired of those bananas...)~he would Really like to eat a child.

"Children don't grow on banana trees," his mother chides (silly, silly boy) Papa Crocodile brings him a giant sausage, but, of course, that is no good. Mama and Papa make him a giant chocolate cake, but What Are They Thinking? He Really Wants to eat a Child! The ending is truly wonderful (and no children are eaten~just in case you're wondering {tho a child does make an appearance~and no, the child does not win Achilles over through charm~that would NOT be my kind of story, in case you didn't know!})

Sunday, June 03, 2007

fang marks and all

Yesterday/today (it's always so confusing in the wee hours what to call the day~because i haven't been to bed yet so it doesn't really seem like yesterday~but anyway...) was kind of a bitch~i was feeling like shit (have yet another cold and so does Dixie~if cats do indeed get colds i'm finding/getting conflicting information on that front~but the fact that my twelve year old cat is sneezing and congested/having trouble breathing disturbs me terribly.)

My library system started its summer reading program Friday and i didn't work until Saturday, so when i got to work one of the things i did was wander around looking for some of the display tape and other things my manager had said she was going to put up. So there i was, without my nametag (it's temporarily lost) meandering, looking like i had no idea where i was or what i was doing, when i had the sudden sense i was being followed; i turned around only to be assaulted by a couple of librarian questions... I was tempted to ask "Do i LOOK like i work here???" but of course i didn't, i very cooperatively helped them out like any good librarian should, but how the hell did they know?

Had a migraine ~towards the end i had to keep running to the bathroom to throw up and we still had customers every time i came out wanting things~i was late locking the doors and there were still people there asking to put holds on things and i told them "I'm sorry, i'm closed, you will have to come back another time," something which did not please them, and i usually don't do but i needed to get out of there (maybe if i threw up on them they would have sensed the urgency?)

Anyway, i get home, feeling, as i said, ooaoogy (you know what i mean, don't you?), and grumpy, to discover that Amazon has delivered the new Spike issue: SPIKE: Asylum. This discovery ignited in me a desire to read the other two Spike collections i already had, Spike and Spike vs Dracula (the second of which i discovered, interestingly enough, had two small bite marks in the lower right hand corner, which had me puzzled for a few minutes~was this a design feature {a bit much really for a mass produced graphic novel} or~a much more likely possibility~the result of Dixie's biblio-fascination?). So, i have spent the night, distracting myself from the extreme pain in my head in my neck and head, by reading about one of my favorite characters.

Spike actually started out as a temporary-guest-starring role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and eventually grew into a regular on both Buffy and Angel. Spike is a collection of three separate tales: Old Times; Old Wounds; and Lost & Found. Old Times puts a new spin on Spike's "siring" (and also where he met Halfrek before). Old Wounds tells about Spike's alleged involvement in the Black Dahlia case (as well as the fact that he had heard of "Los Hermanos Numeros" and never informed Angel.) Which leaves us with Lost & Found, bringing back that Other ever-so-lovely blonde Harmony and the pesky "Gem of Amarra".

The (curiously-bite-marked) Spike vs. Dracula includes Spike's (as well as Darla's and Drucilla's) first meeting with the Dark Prince, which adds more back-story to Angel's curse. Then there's meeting at Bella Lugosi's play "Dracula". The next meeting occurs in 1943 Berlin (in case you didn't know there were some truly nasty characters roaming about then). Here we encounter a certain Nathaniel Osborne and have a prefiguration of a Uboat incident. Then, when Dru and Spike are living la Dolce Vita in Rome of 1959 they encounter the Comte de Saint-Germain (tho not a vampire as of yet, leave that up to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro) and Spike unwittingly makes the way for the first Buffy episode of season four. Their final meeting is in Los Angeles, 2003 with Spike in his ghostly form. This graphic novel is worth reading if only for the interlude of "What I Did For My Birthday" by... (well i won't give it away) alone.

And finally we come to Asylum wherein the Spikester is tricked into signing himself into the Mosaic Wellness Center "where Mutant Enemies learn to be Mutant Friends" (one of oh-so-many inside jokes. Mosaic is supposedly a rehabilitation center for vampires, demons, witches, monsters, and all sorts of other beasties of the big bad dark. However once Spike arrives he discovers that not all is as it seems, now who would have thunk it??? Overall, well written, well drawn, well inked, and well coloured...

*this is a scan of Mosaic’s administrator(you really SHOULD check out the book because this one pathetic scan was the best i could do and it just doesn't do her justice)~Brian Lynch tells us in his “Commentary Track” that the script called for a “hot librarian” and this is what Franco Urru drew (which Lynch described as perfect)~why do i love it so? it’s like he was drawing me~it doesn't show so well in the scan but her hair is red and the figure is not so waif-like-modelly (when i had a bit more hair and a FEW less pounds) to a tee (although i was talked to once about my work attire~it was a i-REALLY-need-to-do-my-laundry-day-or-i-would-never-dress-this-way!)

Friday, June 01, 2007

why you should work in a library before library school

or anywhere else associated with the public for that matter.
I remember when i was in library school and (as i think i might have mentioned before) everyone wanted to be a reference librarian (well not everyone, obviously) and i guess that doesn't always mean in a public library but i DEFINITELY DID NOT want to be a Public Reference Librarian, i already knew what that was like:
by Chip Ward
"Welcome to the Salt Lake City Public Library. Like every urban library in the nation, the City Library, as it is called, is a de facto daytime shelter for the city's 'homeless.'"
Although the public may not have caught on, ask any urban library administrator in the nation where the chronically homeless go during the day and he or she will tell you about the struggles of America's public librarians to cope with their unwanted and unappreciated role as the daytime guardians of the down and out. In our public libraries, the outcasts are inside.
Serious respiratory problems among the chronically homeless in a shelter are as common as beer guts at a racetrack. If an epidemic strikes, the susceptibility of the homeless will translate into an increased risk of exposure for the rest of us and, eerily enough, our public libraries could become Ground Zeroes for the spread of killer flu. Librarians are reluctant to make plans for handling such scenarios because we do not want to convey the message that America's libraries are anything but the safe and welcoming environments they remain today.
But here's the thing: It's not just about libraries. The chronically homeless share bus stops, subways, park benches, handrails, restrooms, drinking fountains, and fast-food booths with us or with others we encounter daily, who also share the air we breathe and the surfaces we touch. When sick or drunk, they vomit in public restrooms (if we are lucky). Having a population that is at once vulnerable to disease and able to spread microbes widely to others is simply foolish -- and unnecessary -- public policy, but in the library we focus on more immediate risks. We offer our staff hepatitis vaccinations and free tuberculosis checks. We place sanitizing gels and latex gloves at every public desk. Who would guess that working in a library could be a hazardous occupation?
This was the library i had worked at as both a volunteer and a shelver before i went to library school (although that was years and years ago before the internet and before they built the big new shiny library but it was still where the homeless hung out because it was the only place they could go.) As i said, i think experience with the public is crucial before library school~there is only so much that can be taught~i was amazed at how many of my fellow students lacked "real-world" experience~tho my school was very good at offering practicums, internships, etc. If you have never worked with the public i can imagine how shocking it would be (and then there's me who knew i was not that fond of the public~there's some old commercial with people going on about how they were "people-persons" and i would always think "I am so NOT a people-person"~somewhat ironic then that i have spent most of my adult life with the public and mostly enjoying it, eh?)
Anyway, beyond that, even if you have worked with the public, The Public Library is a whole other world unto itself and experience there before you decide that's what you want is a Good idea.