Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Dry-clean my soul and hang it out to dry"

Ray Bradbury is an excellent story-teller in my, ever not-so-humble, opinion, this is a man who knows how to use language (though i do have to wonder why a soul~or anything for that matter would need to be hung out to dry if it had been dry-cleaned~but maybe Bradbury didn't originate that particular gem~and there were oh-so-many quotes i loved from this book). On a fellow librarian’s recommendation (i forget who~isn’t that just like me?) i picked up his juvenile fiction novel The Halloween Tree which i thought might make a nice read for the season, and it did. I started it earlier this evening (or last evening~i never have figured out what to call the night that started on the previous date but feels like the same night) but, anyway... The Halloween Tree is about a group of nine boys (or eight depending upon how you count) who gather on Halloween eve for a night of trick-or-treating (what else) and a few scares end up finding out the real meaning of Samhain (pronounced SOW-in, as i just recently discovered~something an agnostic pagan such as myself really should have known before now~dontcha think?) from one Mr. Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud (sense any meaning THERE?).

Now, Samhain, being the start of the New Year for us pagans is also one of our most important nights so its real meaning is important. It was also important to many cultures throughout history as a harvest festival celebration, appeasing the gods (or god) for good productivity in the new season, as well as a recognition of the importance of death in life (and the continuing cycle of life and death). Dia de los Muertos is still celebrated and recognized as such today, and retains much of its original meaning. Bradbury missed a few points (how could he not, given the format?), and, even though he tried to move chronologically through history, there were a few unexplained missteps.

I am sure there were probably a few frightening moments in The Halloween Tree, though, as it was written for a younger audience, they might have slid by me. It is an excellent seasonal teaching story that is very well told (and features boys as main characters, with male appeal, always a plus) though if you get a chance go for the beautifully illustrated hardcover which has Bradbury's original text restored. Highly recommended...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"each snowflake was a sigh heaved by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world.

That all the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below."
Sometimes a book just sucks you in, so much so that when you pick it up at 9:30 p.m on a Friday night to start reading it because you are so very behind on the huge pile of bigs you have to read and this particular one is due on Tuesday and you doubt that you will be able to renew it because there are so many holds on it and you find that you just keep reading it and reading it without stopping because you can't find a decent place to take a break and suddenly (or perhaps not so suddenly...) it's 5:30 in the morning and you have finished the book. Such was A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini's latest novel, which i think i enjoyed even more than The Kite Runner (and i loved The Kite Runner).
This is more than "a female version of The Kite Runner" (not to in any way belittle whatever that would be). This is a tale of many women's lives (mainly that of Mariam's and Laila's, two women of different generations raised in very diffferent worlds who must learn to make a family of each other) from the soviet invasion through the Taliban and the jihads that followed up until 2003.
This is a beutiful, brutal tale. Tears would flow, then they would dry, then they would flow again. This is the type of novel that makes you feel as if you are being let in on someone else's life. It begins with the enchantment of youth and, just as in youth, too quickly disillusions, in ways both expected and unexpected. It is told with Hosseini extreme pogiency and sensitivity. He has the voice of a poet, and i at no time sensed this was a man telling a woman's story (which was a good thing) nor did he ever sink into sentimentality, which his matter could have easily let him do. Wonderfully descriptive and full of awe.
"One could not count the moons that shimmer on the roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind the walls."

Friday, October 26, 2007

free is just another word for...

oh so many things.
In April Henry's thriller Learning to Fly, Free just happens to be the name of the main character (well at least some of the time). When she is involved in a multi-car pile-up (52 cars to be exact~not exactly 52 card pick-up, but . . . almost) and is listed among the dead, she sees it as a chance at freedom (sorry, just had to do it) from the name saddled on her by her hippy parents, ditch her old life, and pick up the life of her now-dead hitchhiker (seemed like a good idea at the time . . .) Oh, did i neglect to mention that she also "found" (actually retrieved at the frenzied begging of a bleeding, dying man) $750,000 worth of drug money? Well, she did, so that helps out quite a bit when trying to fund a brand new life for you and your unborn child (which you have not yet discovered a way to tell your less-than-grounded parents and no-good-cheating boyfriend about.)
Brand new lives rarely come problem free and this particular one comes with the hitchhiker's murderous, sadistic husband who is none too happy to be left behind and the higher up on the drug-chain looking for his cash (who knew the life of crime was not one of ease?) I am not usually a thriller reader and Henry's use of adjectives and adverbs seemed a tad wild and loose at first though i stopped noticing after a while. Not all of the characters seemed true to form (though if you were looking for what it might have been like to be the child of "flower children" this might give you a better idea than Flower Children oddly enough. All in all, a nice diversion for an evening...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Do English...Why waste your life learning clever ways to redescribe what everybody already knows? Art's much more complicated."

okay, so i finally finished reading this one: The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley, after i-don't-know-how-long, it seems i might have given up reading (for a nonce, anyway)~every time i pick up a book i can only read a page or two, which really sucks, because i have all of this idle time on my hands~not sleeping, and all~and with a semi-constant headache/migraine that cannot bear movement, or much light, or much sound~so household maintenance is definitely out of the question (oh so very sad, isn't it?), so i listen to NPR podcasts or watch movies endlessly~it also really sucks because i have an ever-growing pile of books in my need-to-read pile, but i guess it's all an "oh well" what can be done, really?.

My new empathy for all those kids who say "Reading is boring." is no reflection on this particular book. It is wonderfully written and Hadley definitely does no spoon feeding or hand holding for the reader, which is quite refreshing. The Master Bedroom is not quite as salacious as the title and/or cover may lead you to believe (isn't it how covers seldom match the content?) It's also a bit interesting how sometimes the Welsh-English seems to slide just slightly over my head (and, apparently, that of my Oxford Dictionary of Current American English).

The novel centers around the characters of Kate Flynn, who has returned to her hometown in Wales to take care of her aging mother (whose overall health seems to be fine but her mind seems to be drifting~not that that particular problem is limited to age); and David Roberts, the brother of Kate's best and oldest friend. Kate and David had a mild flirtation (perhaps one-sided) back in school and there's a chance they might want to continue it but things like his wife and nearly-adult son are murking things up a mite. Actually the whole novel is a mite murky. Kate's character is more than a little unapproachable and perhaps a tad unlikeable (although i could find a few similarities with myself so i didn't mind her). I did have more trouble with David though and didn't find him appealing in the least. Motivations for all the characters were hard to come by. However i really enjoyed the writing style and found the book well worth the read and also rather entertaining. Make any kind of sense?

Monday, October 22, 2007

where "the cocktail waitresses dress like librarians"*

Here’s a little place to visit for all those librarians who constantly bemoan our “image problem” (or maybe not, considering the whole kerfuffle that occurred a few months ago when a New York Times article came out about how a brand new breed of librarians are making it "hip" to be a librarian) and i'm sure it's all offensive, sexual objectifying, enforcing a whole other stereo-type, and all sorts of other stuff i find the whole thing to be a bunch of stuff and nonsense; and as one of my library school professors pointed out once "exactly how many librarian jokes do you hear? It's not as if we are a hated, maligned profession like say, lawyers or doctors.") I always wanted a little more infamy than fame myself; you know what they say "as long as they're talking about you {though i always want to know exactly what they're saying.})

Anyway, if you're ever in Las Vegas, and are feeling the urge for a certain kind of entertainment you might want to stop by a little place called "The Library" where "Military, police, and firefighters are always free" (don't know about librarians) and they have nice little touches such as bookcases near the entry, and, of course, gorgeous librarians. Check it out. And power to the information professionals!

*but, of course, we all want to know how *those* librarians dress don't we?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

how long must a blog go unwritten

before it is considered abandoned?

how long must a life go unlived

does it seem odd that when the thoughts race, flow so freely,

they are so very difficult to capture on the page...

(...the screen...

...the whatever*o*sphere ~out there way beyond your own mind or consciousness )?

or does that just naturally


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Almost Complete Randomness; or Navigating the Narrow Straights; or Things that make you Say Fuck, take dos...

(probably not the best of ideas) to blog while in a state of slight inebriation

Thoughts come so quickly its almost impossible to tell if they are actually thoughts

shall i just start rambling on?

Okay, i will:

  1. I’m either losing my hair (thinning AND more importantly STRAIGHTENING out) due to

  2. I don’t remember how it used to be, once again, due to

  3. Advancing age (i hate the idea of straight, thin hair~though everyone else tells me that my hair does not look that way…)

  4. How many cocktails do you think were created because all the liquor stores were closed or you were too drunk or lazy to go out (or who makes all the wacky liquor laws anyway {teetotalers?})

    1. grapefruit and rum (because you have no vodka except for the red pepper kind) is really, really vile and must be dumped down the sink even if that is a form of alcohol abuse

    2. mix the remaining amount of grapefruit juice with the Herding Cats Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay South African vineyard you’ve been saving because the name of the winery is so very cool but now you’re entirely desperate

    3. and then it is on to ginger ale mixed with the white wine because the point is to get drunk and expel the headache; not vomit up the alcohol, thus rendering the whole thing mute (and further alcohol abuse)

    4. admitting to whoever is out there on the anonymous internet what your at-home habits actually are

    5. you put the lime in the coconut…

      1. you don’t want to waste all of the wine so:

      2. Captain Morgan’s Parrot Bay Coconut Rum

      3. a dash of lime

      4. and Baskin Robbins Daiquiri Ice (a flavor you fell in love with way back in the childhood days before you developed the seduction of “real rum” but just because you hated sweets, and still do…

        1. which brings us to:

        2. the fact that you are so wide now you are not fitting into clothes you used to and when you were in the hospital recently you didn’t know how much you weighed because it really isn’t healthy to constantly weigh yourself but shouldn’t you go to the gym once in a while

        3. even though you haven’t paid the gym bill

        4. and they do have a scale there...

        5. and the problem isn’t your diet but your exercise

      5. (and by the by) the Daiquiri Ice/Rum/Lime with tiny ice cubes IS the perfect drink

      6. And isn’t it interesting that alcohol seems to act as a stimulant in your system instead of a depressant like it does in everyone else’s? (So that you can have all that excess energy to make a fool of yourself????)

  5. Shall we give you an update on the library customers/patrons/users because we haven’t discussed them for a while and my/your (what person are we talking here anyway?) attention span is only so long?

    1. That older crazy woman (i know it’s kind of difficult to know exactly who i’m referring to when i say “crazy”, as they all seem to be crazy and Paranoid, but what else can i do?) is back (well she has been in but i haven’t seen her and she’s calling [veterinarians-or-someone] to tell them that now it Has Been Proven That putting “those Microchips into dogs’ ears (they don't put them in the ears anyway) causes cancer (actually the jury still out on that one but somehow her business seems to be calling people and telling them what to do [and she would really like all of her phone calls to be private~even though she IS using our public phone~she always cups the phone and turns her back if i happen to move my chair anywhere near her~even though i can hear her perfectly well from my usual position] i couldn’t figure out if she was hanging up on them or they were hanging up on her)

    2. speaking of paranoid, Mr. OldGuitarist has been in but he's not speaking to me and mainly seems to be venting his hateful fear on my manager

    3. the mother with the autistic/ behavioral disordered kid continues to bring him in and i continue to experience anxiety (i have nothing to comment on here, i just wanted to get it out…)

    4. the other night many, many children were running wild down the aisles and i was picking up books and i wanted to bop them on the heads with the books in my hands, and, if their parents showed any response whatsoever, say

      1. Oh, i didn’t think they belonged to anyone. (since no one seemed to show any responsibility for their behavior)

    5. I don’t think the parents of the demon spawn have jobs, because they are seen at all hours of the day in our library. The speculation is they live on public assistance and/or they travel around on the bus all day visiting different libraries…

    6. MotherWhoHasNoSenseOfDiscipline has not been seen for a while (nor have her children)

    7. Oddly enough i have Seen Mr. NeedsRap but he has not asked me for anything (could his ipod be full~and he doesn't know about smart playlists?)

    8. i'm actually growing rather found of the MotherOfTheTwoUnrulyBoys (though i need to come up with a new name for her because she apparently only has one son~she hasn't brought in the other one since i kicked them all out and she is in a wheel chair and has some kind of disability~she does try and i grew kind of attached to and protective of her when some man thought she had abducted her son and was questioning her about his birth date and everything and she was feeling frightened and accused and i had to step in to defend her) and her son always stays with her now

  6. Prego chunky garden style tomato, garlic and onion kicks ass!
  7. If you have any problems with self-discipline, never live alone!!!

  8. How many contortions do you think a sleeping body can be twisted into to accomadate three cats who do not like to be next to each other but somehow want to be next to the sleeping body?

  9. How is it not as late as it feels?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

worst fear realized

I remember the first time i ever heard the words “spinal tap” (actually I didn’t hear them, not really, it was years and years ago when i read them in William Goldman’s The Color of Light when i was going through my William Goldman phase) but those particular words might just as well have been screaming at me the way they cringed right into the depths of my soul and made me hope to whatever gods there might be that i would never, ever have to have one of those.

But i also knew that, somehow, i would have to have one, at some point, just because i feared it so very, very much (yes i did throw in an extra very there, even though one "very" is overuse enough; i just can not stress to you enough the level of fear this inspires). Let me tell you of a little "party trick" an ex-boyfriend of mine would perform for his friends (he found this one particularly effective just when i was about to make an important pool shot): He would creep up behind me and place his index finger right in the small of my back which would produce a high shriek and one of those straight-up-into-the-air-cat jumps that everyone found so very humorous. I, however, would be in recovery for the next few weeks. For some reason, i can not stand to be touched on my lower back, especially the small of my back~it is like nails on a chalkboard times one thousand inside my body~i have no idea why. (i also have issues with my belly-button~one friend who believes in reincarnation {among other things} thinks i was impaled in a previous life~a theory to which i do Not ascribe)

Apropos of not much at all i also don't like to have my ankles touch each other or rub against things and used to have broken ankles right up there with my worst fears (like that scene from Misery was unbearable) but then i broke both my ankles at the same time and it wasn't as bad as i thought, so...

Actually the spinal tap was about as bad as i thought.

I don't bring up the ankle thing just to further illustrate my insanity (though that does make for more readability, no?) but to try and explain one of the major reasons i remain tattooless~the places i would really want one would be the base of my spine or around my ankles and aside from being passe i could not stand to have the tattoo done...

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. My neurologist, who i love, and trust immensely decides we need to do a spinal tap mainly because i might have to much spinal fluid in my skull causing pressure and pain (= MIGRAINE). Somehow, when i'm sitting in her office, i react to those horrifying words "spinal tap" with perfect calm and say "okay".

For my procedure i had to lie flat on my stomach on an operating table not on my side like you usually see on t.v. or in this pic (though a friend of mine said this is how they did his so maybe they do kids this way? i think it might have been worse to try and hold perfectly still on my side.) You can't take any pain relievers that thin the blood (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc) for five days beforehand (which is ever so helpful for headaches~and trying to relax) but i did take a muscle relaxant baclofen and a xanax i was still gripping the table and clenching my teeth intensely when they were just swabbing me down for sterilization purposes. The rest of it (an x-ray {which i really didn't understand was part of the whole thing~they said something about my spine was normal...} ; the Novocaine-like injection with the Huge needle {and i really don't mind needles~usually}; and then the long tube in which they sucked the fluid out) went on for about forty-five minutes FUN forty-five minutes. Then they tell me i have to remain horizontal for twenty-four hours which was not something they told me

when i had called beforehand to find out what i needed to know about the thing. Somehow i think that's an important bit of information to leave out...

So do i stretch myself out across the reference desk like some kind of 1920s chanteuse?

"How may i help you today?"