Under Construction

Ugh, erk. And other appropriate noises of the undead.

Alex and I are currently existing in an undead state because we worked on the building--I can't count the days before Christmas, but we did indeed work Christmas Eve, took Christmas off, and then worked for the next three days straight. 7:30 am until dark. Our backs, necks, legs, arms, heads, feet, and other body parts ache beyond description. I was so physically exhausted at one point on the 27th that I cried, and I'm not much of a cryer.

Anyway, the "under construction" title applies not only to work on the building, but to the dearth of posts lately on my blog. The reason? My vacation is more like a work camp thus far--though the end results will be worth it!--and when dark comes, Alex and I shuffle like zombies to the shower and to bed. I've actually composed three or four posts while hauling sheet metal or drilling recalcitrant screws, but haven't had the time to post them. I'll post them later, after our New Year's Eve-Eve party tomorrow, for which I am dashing about the house organizing and cleaning and such. (If you're a party-goer yourself, ignore that last sentence and go on believing that I keep a pristine house year-round. Thanks for your kind cooperation.)

So, in the meantime, be heartened: I have not forgotten you. This is only a temporary neglect. Posting to resume in early 2006, and have a Happy New Year!


A Clean Slate... er, House

Whew... We've got the five trusses up for the building and a whole smattering of C-purlin to weld onto that to finish the frame. On Saturday, I wore five layers on my top half and three on my bottom half--not counting my unmentionables. You know how you can tell how old a tree is from the rings in its stump? Well, the layers in my cross-section let you know how many degrees colder than 60 it is. I think I put one layer of pants on for each 10 degrees below 60.

So, Saturday and Sunday were the building, Sunday evening Joel and Kali treated us to dinner--thank you both!!!--and some King of the Hill, Monday I think I did errands, Tuesday Kali graciously helped me to clean my kitchen and guest bathroom, and today I cleaned the master bathroom, down to the back of the cabinets. One huge sack of trash later, the bathroom's less cluttered and I vow never again to keep one ounce of shampoo in a bottle for two years. Ugh.

The rest of this week will be cleaning the rest of the house and filing papers--ugh, what fun "vacation" is--and then more work on the building. We were to spend all day Tuesday on it, but then the cold, cold rain started, and we weren't too keen to electrocute ourselves welding.

Last night, we wasted 104 minutes of our lives watching the 2000 version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Wow. I'd heard it was good, somewhere, and now I really wonder where I hear these things. It's starting to worry me. I think those voices in my head are growing louder.

Ahem. Ah, right, just forget I mentioned being crazy. Um, please.


Rent or Purchase?

This sounded odd at first--renting a Christmas tree?--but I like it. San Francisco rents living trees to families for Christmas, and then instead of throwing the tree away come January 1st, the city takes it back and plants it somewhere. It appeals to the dryad in me.

Also, Digger is again available in print--go forth and purchase!


In Brief...

Ah... fiction. It's like a relaxing warm bath for my brain.

Accomplishment: having all presents for spouse, family, and friends wrapped and under tree over a week before Christmas.

The Smell of Leather

You know you're a librarian when: you refer to an item on hold at a retail store as "on reserve." (Boy, did I get an odd look from the saleswoman.)

In happy news, though, I used my portion of scrap metal money to purchase (from Wilson's Leather) a 3/4 length black coat, a pair of black gloves with purple fur cuffs, and a small purple purse for a total of $178 instead of the $550 it would have been originally! I did this while proudly wearing my Santa hat, which earned me a few more odd looks, but which I thoroughly enjoy wearing. It advertises my seasonal goofiness.
When leaving the mall, I had this strangely wicked urge as I passed the Santa photo-op to shout out "Santa's not real!" to all the kids in line. You'd think this wouldn't happen to a person wearing a Santa hat herself, and this was really a particularly authentic and jolly-looking Santa. Perhaps I need to dial down my consumption of hot cocoa to curb such caffeine- and sugar-crazed urges.

I did it: I began reading Knife of Dreams. I've waited for, what, three years for this book now, and so far it's not disappointing. But I do think that RJ's penchant for long prologues is getting wildly out of hand--this one numbered 99 pages. 99! Can't he just get over this notion and call it Chapters 1-3? There's nothing to make the narrative in them different from other chapters, unlike his earlier novels where prologues were special because they took place in the past, or from a villain's point of view. Now they typically span 4-5 locations and character's point of view and just flow into the narrative for Chapter 1.

Ah, well. I guess we're all allowed a few bad habits--his is extremely long and non-prologue-ish prologues. Mine... well, they're too numerous to mention, but I'll just mention unwashed dishes and leave it at that.


The Last Unicorn

Now we know more about how narwhals use their tusks (New York Times article). And I learned that there is such a thing as a double-tusked narwhal.

I always liked these creatures, just like the unicorn tales they inspired. A whale with a long spiraling horn seems only slightly less romantic (in the fairy-tale sense, not the love sense) than a horse with one. I'd love to see them in person--if only they didn't insist on living in such darned cold climates. There ought to be a Gulf Coast species of narwhal. The nar-y'all?


All Fun & Games

I just had to go to Slashdot to confirm the story I saw this morning about a Grandma Gamer. Her name's Barbara St. Hilaire, and her grandson is blogging* their joint gaming adventures. Man, I hope I'm that fun when I'm 69!

*caution: contains some language


Profession of the Over-Educated

Go read one of my favorite posts of all time, from the Library Avengers site.
Then take a fun language survey for UNT.

Go. Now. I command you!

...Close to You

Did you know you can make a cheap macro lens out of a Pringles can? Well, neither did this guy, but he did it anyway.

Macro shot of a match-head:


My Week in Review

Wow, can you believe that for six days I've neglected my prolific posting addicti--er, habit? Here's the brief version of what passed during those six days:

Man, don't I sound lazy? Alex and James spent the weekend preparing the next great evolution of the fireworks show--hence the number of Home Depot trips, plus one unsuccessful trip to Radio Shack. To be fair, though, at least three of those trips were building-related, not fireworks-related.

Okay, I love rubber ducky USB drives and all, but the really clever one is the thumb drive. (BTW, for anyone looking for a ridiculously expensive and odd gift for me, I like the iDuck in light-up Lemon.)

You've got to be kidding me:
RSS-printed TP?

My dirty little secret: Thursdays after work, I watch The Apprentice. I know, you've lost all respect for me--shucks, I've lost all respect for myself. The only point in my defense: Randal seems an honorable man, and I want to see him win, darn it!




...Lemme Sum Up

The day of insanely difficult questions:

Q: Population of Azherbaijan (for a movie industry person)
A: 7,911,974
Q: Location of Business Concepts, to access tonight
A: UNT Library doesn't have it and our online database was down, but the UNT Bookstore has it.
Q: Location of article in 1994 Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook
A: After half an hour of searching, I found the correct citation.

Best part of today:

Answering a question for a woman who works at Disney! Dream patron!!!

Par For the Course

Somebody was actually surprised by Xbox 360 glitches? In a Microsoft product? C'mon...

Morning Mantra

To be muttered furiously to the tune of "I Love Paris" while walking uphill in the cold wind.

I hate winter in the springtime,
I hate winter in the fall,
I hate winter in the summer when it sizzles,
I hate winter in the winter when it drizzles.
I hate winter,
Oh why oh why do I hate winter,
Because it's really cold.

Yes, I know it's not officially winter yet. Shuddup.


My Comic Education Continues

And in the category of how-to-make-your-webcomic, there's this "How To" article by the Dub This guys. And here's another good synopsis. I've spent a lot of time reading about and looking at webcomic publishing software, so now I'm down to the nitty-gritty of deciding whether to continue as I've been planning, sketching by hand and scanning in for clean-up, or attempting to scary world of digitally creating my webcomic from scratch. I shudder with terror.

It's not that I'm not handy with Photoshop and a computer in general, it's just that I'm clumsy with a mouse and reluctant to shell out money for a drawing tablet.

In the looking-for-a-Wordpress-theme category: finally, a Wordpress theme made for webcomics! Let the designing commence.

And in the webcomics-to-be-reading category, here's Copper. As for my more traditional print-comic education, see my previous post: I've been reading Maus and How to Read Superhero Comics and Why.

Merry Kitty-mas

Amy, Kali, this one's for you, babes. And your adventurous kitties.


I spent a lot of time today looking at dirt. We have to re-direct our sprinkler system and add a water line, so while Alex used a rented trencher to cut long lines 18" deep in our backyard, I dug out our three sprinkler heads. Luckily, the ground was pretty soft--our black clay can be hard as rock sometimes--so it wasn't hard, sweaty work, therefore I let my mind drift around a bit.

I spent some time thinking about the comic criticism I'm reading (see below). Its text reminds me that I enjoyed Dark Knight Returns, obligates me to read Watchmen, interests me in Marvels, and makes me eager to get my hands on Astro City.

Last night, we watched Sky High and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. I give the Smiths a solid 7 for a good popcorn movie, and Sky High an enjoyable 8, which I did not expect. It was not only genuinely funny, but often clever, and most astonishing of all, it wasn't heavy-handed with the "moral lesson for young people" in relation to the main character, which made it much more enjoyable from the adult perspective. I'm not saying it wasn't predictable, but it was also just fun, and best of all, it had an awesome comic-book-style opening and close. And a great mad scientist teacher--I wish I'd had to construct a ray gun in science class.

Currently Reading

How to Read Superhero Comics and Why

By Geoff Klock

Currently Watching

Friends Season 9


Fan Stats!

Okay, now occasionally I realize that more than two of you (my husband being one of the two) are reading this blog, because I'll have a comment or two. But I recently signed up with Tracksy and was heartened to see that today's traffic alone had fourteen unique visitors!! Hooray! (And since I'm blocking the IPs I use, I'm not even included in that stat--how flattering is that?)

I think some people like me. Gee, shucks.

Visual Treats

These sites, particularly the Aeon Flux comic, made me think of the movie comic reviews that I've mentioned before, The Comic Critic and Joe Loves Crappy Movies. Gosh, I love those.

It makes me want to sit down and draw comics while watching movies. Or watch 8 episodes of Friends in a row--oh wait, that was how Alex and I spent yesterday evening. Heh, heh, the sheer gluttony of it all, made possible by Best Buy's extreme discounts on seasons 8, 9, and 10 last week. "We were on a break!"

I'm at the end of my work shift. And now, a little something I like to call, "Let's Celebrate the Fact that I Have Three Jobs and No Time to Cook by Getting Boston Market!" It's a good thing.

Oh, and in related news, I finished the last of the three murals at my client's house yesterday. Hooray for paychecks for creative work! (And hooray for a few days off from physical strain--seriously, painting's no desk job.)

O Tannenbaum

...So last Christmas saw my classic "slow-motion" moment--I had just finished putting up our 9-foot tree when it toppled completely over, bending the trunk. Tree Classics told us in October that they'd send us a new trunk to replace it, but when nothing showed up in the mail by Thanksgiving, I muttered darkly and put up our old 6-footer instead. However, they've restored themselves in my good graces today by providing us with a completely free, pre-lit tree as a replacement--apparently, they no longer make our previous tree. It's a foot shorter, but pre-lit--that saves me, what, an hour or so of untangling lights and dragging my footstool around the tree--works for me!

By the way, twelfth-century tradition or no, I happen to think that upside-down Christmas trees are a really silly idea. I particularly detest the way they're marketed--"Leaves more room on the floor for gifts!" Ugh, talk about blatant commercialism.

Random News: In the "way to stick it to the man" category: $70,000 worth of free flights in Canada.


Air Guitar Over-Inflated?

Doesn't this invention defeat the actual purpose of air guitar, which is for people who can't actually play the guitar?

And more importantly, why does this still seem like such a cool idea?


Information is Blood

I remember when, for me, a personal crisis was: "What do I do without a book?" Now, it's: "What do I do without the internet?"

Granted, this is somewhat justified. I go to school online, I work online (even my face-to-face job requires the internet), I bank online, I shop online, I get the news online, I listen to the radio online, I keep up with friends and family online, and I even--get this--read for pleasure online.

Case in point: today during GLA training, the library's internet connection went down. So much for training; we were powerless. So we got to leave early: yay! But, wait--what can I do with 30 seconds to 3 hours without the internet? I know, I'll do some schoolwork--oh, wait. Oh, okay, I'll catch up on the blogs I read--oh, right. Well, I could balance my checkbook--darn it--research my term paper--arg--look up some books to buy--dangit!

I was much relieved upon coming upstairs to find that the 30 seconds had passed and my lifeline was running again. I think that the average 2000's 20-something can operate fine without water, food, or blood for upwards of a week, but 30 seconds without the internet is what kills.

Best of 2005

Here are my favorites from PC World's Master List:

1. Firefox
2. G-mail
16. Google
51. Flickr
60. Wikipedia
76. Google Desktop Search

I'd definitely have put Firefox at the top of that list, too.

Stargate DVD Progress Update:
SG-1 Season 8: Episode 13 (It's Good to Be King)
Atlantis Season 1: Episode 18 (The Gift)


Do Not Open Until Christmas

Thanksgiving was pleasant and restful. After our dinner with the Hoffman-Majors clan, my parents, Alex, and I enjoyed some vanilla ice cream with the cranberry relish that we forgot to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. Alex, Dad, and I went out in the insanely wee hours of the post-Thanksgiving morn to shop at Best Buy, Staples, Michael's, and Home Depot--I am happy to report that Best Buy now has the formerly chaotic Black Friday Sale down to a precise art form.

I spent this afternoon wrapping presents beside a fully-lit Christmas tree. It is a symbol of my holiday triumph; I have only two gifts left to purchase, all of Alex's presents are wrapped, and my tree is up and lit before November has ended. This is a good sign for the year ahead.

Now I'm in Denton four hours early for work, so that I can work on site-mapping the website for my second job. I'd be doing this from the comfort of my own laptop and couch, maybe still in my PJ's, except that our flaky broadband is living up to its, er, reliably unreliable reputation. What I wouldn't give for some healthy competition in the area to shake them into providing actual service.

For the geek on your list who has almost everything: a Lego hard drive.


Thanksgiving Shennanigans

I am thankful that my stomach expanded enough to digest all that food.

...So my parents, Alex, and I are 45 minutes into the hour trip south to my sister-in-law's house, when I suddenly recall the two bowls of cranberry relish sitting hopefully in the fridge, that my mother and I cooked last night. Still...sitting...in....the fridge. You'd think that with only one dish to prepare and bring for this meal, that it would be relatively simple to keep track of. Ah, but then you would not realize that I come of forgetful stock, and that our main focus this morning was getting there to take family pictures.

But then again, with all the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, rolls, yams, salad, pies, and the infamous canned cranberry sauce, I doubt anyone would have had room--and there certainly wasn't any room on the table. I am full to bursting. Ah, the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Ode to a Starbucks Iced White Chocolate Latte

all hail sweet caffeine,
true nectar of the gods;
at once enter my bloodstream
before i break down in sobs.

soothe the blood vessels that pulse
so wildly in my head;
ease my sinus pressure, or else
they'll count me soon as dead.

oh wondrous drink, oh precious surge
as new strength floods my brain;
i only wish this wondrous splurge
didn't cause shakes like a freight train.

The poem was brought to you by the letter "P," Starbucks, and RhymeZone.com. They offer their sincerest apologies for the poor quality of this verse, and place all blame on the blogger's BA in English.


By Geeks, For Geeks

I have to say that one of the great things about SG1 is that a story can focus on any one character and still be great. Case in point: "Prometheus Unbound" from Season 8, which I just watched last night, was in my opinion one of the top 10 best episodes of that show. It starred Daniel, co-starred Hammond, and only briefly featured O'Neil. Teal'c and Sam didn't even make an appearance, and let me tell you, most of my favorite moments come from either O'Neil or from his interplay with Sam. But this episode was excellent. Not only was it a great idea to use Claudia Black (foretelling casting another Farscape alum next season?), but it was hilarious. The fact that the show consistently guest-stars actors from other sci-fi series, as well as quoting Star Wars in odd moments just shows that sci-fi shows are best when written/directed by geeks.

And I have to say that a catnap with a husband under a snuggly blanket during the autumn chill is wondrously decadent. And snuggly.


Have Patience, Have Patience

I just gave my first research instruction session for a high-schooler. Man, are they impatient. There must be something in that three-month gap from high school senior to college freshman that lends them about five years' worth of patience. Thank goodness I'm not in the school librarian program--I felt like I was teaching a nervous squirrel, if whom I did not engage in constant conversation and activity, simultaneously, would leap away into the trees to search for nuts on its own.

Wow, that's a bizarre metaphor. Maybe I need some sleep. Away from squirrels.

(Related to the title, here's where you can listen to the lyrics from The Music Machine...)

Vote for Your Space Movie!

Vote here. The tallies are always changing, but Empire's moved up from third place to first in the five minutes I spent here--whoopie! And I am gratified to see that ST: First Contact made it in. Wrath of Kahn was a given, but I was was pleasantly surprised to know there are enough TNG fans out there that love this movie, too.

Assimilate this!


Goofus vs. Gallant

Remember Gallant from the "Goofus and Gallant" comic strip in Highlights magazine? Man, that guy was smug. And I always thought, of course that Goofus kid won't put away the dishes and is never polite--his parents are so mean they named the poor kid Goofus. Wouldn't that turn most people into a hardened criminal? I think it's incredible that the kid just has problems like not making his bed and turning in his library books late, instead of holding up convenience stores. That Gallant kid probably got a full scholarship to Princeton and then turned into a nervous wreck after nine months of trying to keep his 4.0.

What? Why are you calling me cynical?

Random Weekend Notes:

Tinfoil Hats

It's a running theme this week: Richard Stallman at the UN Summit on Information Society, and Unshelved take on tinfoil hats. This reminds me of an episode of This American Life dealing with SETI and a guy who wore tinfoil hats because aliens implanted him with some device (you can listen to this episode online). Entertaining show.

Update: TAL link now working.

Preservation, Superheroes, & the Man Who Has Everything

It felt deeply wrong to have a group of library science students purposefully destructing books. Even books that were going to be discarded, and needed to be destructed enough that we could re-bind them. We all giggled nervously and cringed as we gingerly ripped the endpaper from the cover and then removed the text block from the spine. We joked about donating our bodies to library science--not medical science--to make bone folders for future preservation students. We grunted and moaned (some of us cursed) as we tried to tuck recalcitrant buckram under the bookcloth. Eventually, we all emerged with books that were more functional, if not more attractive, than when we received them. Mine's got a great title--"The Secret City"--but it's really about race relations. Still, it was better than my neighbor's, a math book that we declared possessed because its buckram wouldn't sit straight.

I'm taking my lunch break in the Reference office where I can eat my hot pocket and steal a few moments with my latest library finds: Maus (graphic novel about the holocaust and, yes, mice) and How to Read Superhero Comics and Why, literary criticism that isn't stuffy in the least and promises not to use the terms postmodern or deconstructionist, terms the author calls "tedious," and my BA in English agrees. I'm intrigued by the title of Chapter Two, The Bat and the Watchmen: Introducing the Revisionist Superhero Narrative.

I'm going to save most of this reading for Christmas break, even though I already have five sparkling new hardbacks on my bookshelf at home to read. But my self-taught course in graphic novels is taking hold of me, and I want to absorb as much as possible quickly--and get to sketching out more of the five ideas I have for my webcomic so I can get it online already.

Alex is cutting down scrap metal today while I'm in Denton, and then we've got his dad's birthday dinner. It's always difficult to find a good present for my father-in-law. You know how they say that there's the person who has everything? Usually this is accompanied by a vision of a man in white pants, a sweater casually draped over his button-down shirt, holding a bag of golfclubs and standing next to a Mercedes-Benz. Well let me tell you, that rich guy does not have everything; I know because my father-in-law contains not one, but two of everything in his building.

It's an amazing place. I've found things you'd expect to find there--wrenches, drill presses, tractor parts, buckets of old chains--but there are lots of unexpected things peeking around the corner. Right now, it's home to my drafting table (to reside in my art studio in the future) and a cage full of cats. I'm sure it will be a Mecca to curious grandchildren. I don't think you can call him a pack rat; he's elevated the occupation to an art form. Perhaps in library terms, I could call him a Collection & Acquisitions Manager.


Deluxe Shushing Action

Just to let my fellow library nerds know, the Nancy Pearl librarian action figure now comes in a deluxe version, complete with bookcart! Note to Self: Add to wishlist. When I'm a professional "liberry-an" in May, I want this figure to sit on top of my monitor, next to Batgirl. It'll be my little librarian-action-figure tableau.

And for when I need ample protection for my swashbuckling activities, I'd like one of these. Starr Hoffman, Lady Knight.

Laptops Get a Hand

Wind-up laptops for $100, trying to bridge the digital divide for schoolchildren in Brazil, Thailand, Egypt, and Nigeria. Interesting.


Short and Sweet

Brevity is the soul of wit.


My Mom's Funnier Than Yours

I love my mother, and boy can I tell that I get wackiness from her (as well as Dad; there was no escape, with my genes). She sent me one of those "get to know your friends" forms, and there are too many hilarious answers to repeat here. Just know that my mother is a comic genius. And, um, slightly crazy.

Probably my two favorite of her answers:
Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?
No, he's usually hungry.
What is your favorite number?

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my mother doesn't eat the stems off of broccoli. Now I can stop feeling guilty about it.

Okay, I just helped a student find a book. What was the call number? BT1138. No joke. (Okay, so there's not a THX, but I think it should count for something.)

Nostalgic Interlude

I've found it!

First I found the Commander Keen games available online, now I return to PC gaming nostalgia with "Another Lifeless Planet and me with No Beer." Some of you may be shocked to learn that I played this game in eighth grade, constantly--and even more shocked that my somewhat strict parents approved. But the game isn't really about Beer, it's a humorous text-based game that involves odd situations while attempting to leave the afore-mentioned Lifeless Planet.

It's kinda sad really; I found the game online on a review site that trashed it, saying it was poorly written, had boring puzzles, and wasn't funny. Well, it wasn't the most challenging game--except for the very last step, that I never finished and the reason why I've been searching for the game--but I always found it amusing. And I love those cheesy text-based pictures! Wow, 80s high-tech!

And I mean come on, the game was shareware--can you fault something that's free entertainment? I mean, Warner charged money for people to go see Catwoman--that's an issue that should get you upset.

In other news, I've decided that this is officially the Best Fall Ever. Temperatures usually in the 70s or 80s, and "cool fronts" instead of cold ones--I'm all over that. This South Texas gal likes her sunshine and her warmth. Oh, and miracle of miracles, this is the first fall in my life that I have seen the titular reason for the season--leaves in action, falling. Honest-to-goodness, I'd never seen it before. And I've seen it, not once, but many many days, leaves just floating to the ground like golden snowflakes. It's so graceful and tranquil... even if it leaves the trees stark naked and depressed-looking.

To go back to nostaglia... we watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night. I enjoyed it, but was pretty surprised that there are actually a few things that I preferred from the 70's version (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, to be technical).

Best Looking Wonka: C&CF
Best Acting/Singing/Slightly Creepy Wonka: WW&CF
Best Looking Oompa-Loompas: C&CF
Best Oompa-Loompa Songs: WW&CF (With the exception of the great Augustus Gloop song in C&CF)
Best Charlie/Grandpa Joe: C&CF (by a MILE)
Best Overall Visuals/Overall Movie: C&CF

The Great Glass Elevator rocked, and I really did love Depp's performance, but there's just something about Gene Wilder's creepy "and the rowers keep on ROWING!" that will stick with me from childhood. And before my fellow Readers "get all up ons," YES, the book(s) are infinitely better and always will be. My friend, movies are at a disadvantage because they have to use financial budgets instead of imaginations. Let's be kind to them.


Fandom: Geek vs. Nerd

Neil Gaiman's story "Changes" off-handedly mentions some religions in the context of the story. Casually thrown in with Scientology and Islam are Orthodox Trek Fandom and New Trek Fandom. This hilarious invention reminded me of the similar "historical events" mentioned in the Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before:" the Star Trek Wars and the Star Wars Trek (the first being a religious war, and the second being the vast migration of Star Wars fans).

Ah yes, my eternal inner conflict: geek or nerd? (Score yourself here; see my results.)

Yeah... the whole Star Wars Geek thing tends to win out. You can cite all the good reasons you want for this decision, but when it comes down to it, would you rather attend a sci-fi convention dressed in a nondescript uniform, or wearing a blue bodysuit, lightsaber, and lekku? Yeah, I thought so.


TP Mystery

Either there was some kind of pee emergency this weekend at the library, or one of the sororities decided that stealing all the TP from the ladies' rooms was a great prank. Either way, if you're planning on coming to the library tonight to study and you're bringing a water bottle, then BYOTP.

Homework Weekend Extravaganza

Day Two. Um... boring.

The lunch interlude from homework--clicking on random links that I couldn't backtrace if my Carrie-Fisher-autographed-Leia-Boussh figure depended on it--led me to "Joe Loves Crappy Movies," another webcomic reviewing movies. This is a neat genre, people. My current favorites:

Star Wars Dialogue
Star Wars Revelation
History of Violence

Enjoy the geekish hilarity!

Toads and Tired

Jack Toad and the Beanstalk
Originally uploaded by Starrlett.
Here's the most recent addition to the Fairy Tails project. It's nearly one am, I spent all day working on my research paper, and I edited six photos for this project. I'm tired and loopy, and probably in the morning all the images I edited won't make any sense. Ah, well.

Alex had fun gunning, James is here, and in the morning they go off with Kenneth to the Gun and Knife Show. I remain here for more homework (ugh) and to drive to work at 5pm.

On the bright side, I got my "Reference is Cool" button in the mail today. And it is!



There's some kind of strange quality to short stories--published ones, that is. I can't quite put my finger on it. It's something like longing, or sadness, or mystery. It seems to be something unique to the short story form; I haven't some across it in novels. Something about the short form that leaves you wanting something more, something melancholy or unexpected about the endings.

This struck me because I've been stealing moments to read stories from Neil Gaiman's collection Smoke and Mirrors this week. This quality appears in about two thirds of these stories, and I've also noticed it in Audrey Niffenegger's "The Night Bookmobile," and in Anne McCaffrey's The Girl Who Heard Dragons. It doesn't appear much in short stories written for children or young adults, and I've never noticed that quality in my own short stories (however, these were mostly written when I was a child or young adult, so perhaps it only makes sense).

What IS that?

Alex is out shooting clays with Joel and Kenneth, and is quite pleased to get a chance to shoot an M-1 Grand. I'm at home working on my Preservation research paper--which means that I am reading articles that are interesting individually but don't really seem to be linked in any way. And I've just gotten online to re-read the paper requirements in hope that it will somehow spark academic inspiration within me, by noting that it should be 8-10 pages long, double-spaced.

Perhaps instead I should be writing a short story, 8-10 pages, double-spaced, about a preservationist that is sad, longing, and slightly mysterious.


Gee, Shucks

This guy that I've helped several times just came up and said "Oh good, my favorite desk clerk is here."

Awww... I feel so special!

(warm and squishy feelings of librarian accomplishment)

Tricks or Treats?

So, Amy and I are trying to get together to regularly schedule a workout. And as I emailed her, I realized that the first time we could get together was the week after Thanksgiving. That seems either incredibly ironic, appropriate, or just plain wrong; I don't know which.

We can work off all that stuffing and turkey. And pie. And cranberry relish. And mashed potatoes. And rolls.

Man, I am DOOMED. I can already see that weighed-down plate of holiday treats. And the weighed-down aftermath of holiday derriere.

Oh, did I mention gravy? Sigh...

Warning: Yogurt raisins are addictive. It doesn't matter how healthy they are if you eat 2 1/2 pounds of them in one day.

Web Reading List

An apropos excerpt from this last link, to the Digger-creator's blog:

"There is also another sense in which ceramics was insanely valuable to me, and that was that it taught me my art is not precious merely because I had the audacity to create it." -- Ursula Vernon


Have You Voted?

Go perform your patriotic duty, whatever your opinion on the issues. And get more information on how and where to vote here.


I Love My Job

Today, I helped patrons find information on:
1) careers in emergency management

2) speeches by the Black Panthers
3) the pros of strip clubs

I'm so not kidding about #3. It's a different story every day at the reference desk!

A Different Angle

So... is it just my own twisted mind, or are these study carrels an unfortunate shape?

Makes you think twice about the supposed innocuity of choosing office furniture.


Crazy Creative Updates

Here it is, the first completed Art Stein, titled "A Stitch in Stein!" My parents took one of Alex's clever ideas and executed it beautifully. Gee, now I have to get cracking on my own steins...

..And here's a photo update of the Media Room mural (click the link for more).

'Tis the Season

Shameless Self-Promotion, or Convenience to Family and Friends? You decide, by visiting my addition to the links at left, Starr's Wishlist. (And no, I'm not suggesting you buy everything from Amazon--I prefer books in hardback form, but used/cheap is fine, and Best Buy really has better prices on DVDs.)

Anatomy of a Post

Here's how blogging works: I have something I'd really like to write about, and this witty way of saying it pops into my head. However, I can't write it immediately because I am driving/showering/working. I eagerly wait minutes/hours/days for the opportunity to write, and when it comes--nothing. Not even that I lack the witty words, but the subject has completely left me, leaving me with a weak post:

"So... today I performed Innane Tasks. Um... So I'll related a Weakly Told, Mildly Interesting Anecdote that reveals my complete Lack of Purpose to This Blog. Sigh."

Heck, I can't even credit this topic with originality--I just read Kodiak's post and completely agreed.

So here goes the Weakly Told, Mildly Interesting Anecdote:
Last night, we went out Genghis Grill for dinner with Jared and my in-laws, it being my father-in-law's birthday. I piled random things into my bowl, including steak, pineapple, cilantro, and zucchini, and mixed some orange and BBQ sauce in it. My lack of good choices notwithstanding, it tasted pretty good. Jared then suggested, since we had eaten at a Pick-Your-Own-Weird-Taste place, that we dessert at a similar place--Cold Stone Creamery. Where I chose to mix mint ice cream with kit-kats--not my highest moment, but not bad.

Then we came back home and Jared, Alex, and I watched the end of SG-1 Season 7 and the beginning of Season 8 (FINALLY!). We had watched Tenchi (the movie) earlier, and I tiredly went to bed at 1:30am--Alex told me he rolled in about 4. Now they're playing Gamecube while I post to my blo--er, post comments to my class in WebCT. And when I'm done I'll make pancakes.

End of Weakly Told, Mildly Interesting Anecdote (that went on too long). Sigh...

update: Mario Baseball may not be the greatest game by itself, but the "Toy Field" mode is genius, sheer genius!



jared here. feet tired. house clean. belly full.


Escape Artist

It's not allowed to be November already.

Alex is reading Ringworld while I read Neverending Story (almost done!) and work on those "Fairy Tail" images in the evening. We haven't had a Reading Cycle in awhile now--in fact, the last time I remember that we had a mutual Reading Cycle was when Alex was reading LOTR, which was quite some time back. We're both enjoying how relaxing it is--lately I've been either too sinus-headache-y for a "boom-y" movie, or just felt too stressed to watch a movie with any kind of conflict--which leaves, what, the Muppet Show?

So it's nice to have a bit of pleasure-reading time--ahh, escapism--although I haven't got nearly enough of it to commit to Knife of Dreams. Maybe when I finish the images, and the website report, and my research paper... Like when classes end on December 12th! ;-)

Yesterday, I painted three more pharaoh heads and added the border stripes to the Egyptian mural. I hope to paint again Friday, and perhaps Saturday, since I need to finish by the 11th.

We won't mention the current state of the house or the fact that Jared comes into town Friday night (yay for company, eeek for cleaning!). Maybe if I'm lucky, tiny little elves will clean it for me in the meantime. Or big, cleanly ogres--I'm not picky.


WordPress-ing Comics

Well, after some discussion & research with Alex, I've decided to go ahead and give WordPress a shot. The main reason being that it is continually mentioned as "EASY," which is a magic word for the girl who just wants her darned webcomic up and running already.

I'm checking two threads for ideas for a webcomic-oriented theme (1, 2). Let me know if you find something better. Please.


Fixed and pretty again! And hey, didja notice my spiffy new Flickr badge? Didja didja?

Technical Difficulties

Yes, I know, I know. IE-users, you see my right-hand column displayed at the bottom of my page, and it's ugly and annoying. To which I reply:

1) Go download Firefox, you evil Microsoft-Supporter!

2) It's the "Batgirl Rocks" post's fault, and I'll carefully examine its HTML tags when I get half a chance. (Which means the weekend, probably, at the earliest.)

C'mon, people, I'm holding down three jobs, three classes, and I hear rumors that my husband enjoys eating dinner occassionally. Have patience.

Update: I spent a few minutes trying different things on the Batgirl post (which is when the problem began), and no change. There's a Blogger Help section on this, so I'll try messing with the Batgirl image some more. Ugh.


For photos of the World's Smallest Book and more Rare Books Room fun, see my Flickr page.

Yesterday, I had my first Preservation lab. We learned Mylar techniques--encapsulating, book jacket covers, and pamphlet covers! I learned a most valuable lesson: I am neither coordinated nor patient enough to work easily with Mylar. Ah well, it's good to know your limits, right?

I did enjoy using telephone insulators to weight down the projects--it reminded me of my Grandpa, who used to collect these (he worked for Bell back in the day). His basement was filled with hundreds of them. I need to ask Grandpa if he's got any left that I could put in my garden. (Or rather, my collection of bedraggled plants that once resembled a garden. If any fairies truly live at the bottom of my garden, right now they are very depressed.)

Preserving books, to telephone insultators, to fairies. Never say I don't keep you entertained... or at least confused.


It is My Desssstiny...

Oh my gosh, ComingSoon.net just described my next favorite movie.

Say What?

Since when did pitch-black sky and drenching buckets of rain qualify for a forecast of "mostly sunny skies and no rain until tomorrow?" Power FM's forecasters must be hallucinating. My jeans are soaked halfway down despite my large umbrella, and I'm pretty cold, so I treated myself to a Starbucks mocha with whipped cream. And reading another chapter of Neverending Story before my library training session begins. That's what I call therapy.


Reasons Batgirl Rocks

1) she's a redhead

2) she's a librarian/information maven

3) she's got a killer costume

4) it's black

5) she's spunky

6) she rides a motorcycle

7) she dates a guy in yellow tights---oooo, wait, that's a strike against her.

I've been thoroughly enjoying my historical romp through Bathound's wondrous Batgirl/Oracle site. It answers some nagging questions produced from a knowledge primarily drawn (sorry, bad pun) from the animated series, Batgirl: Year One, and a smattering of other places. It only reinforces my thought that Batgirl is the best comic heroine of all time.

Sorry, Wonder Woman fans, I had the underoos* when I was four, too (I've got a photo to prove it), but star-spangled panties can't top the bat-coolness.

Okay, now I want these**.

Note: copy/paste these URLs for Underoos Fun:





Creative Seething

See, this is what sucks. I have a slow evening at work, so I read Mark "Comic Critic" Monlux's blog-ish comic about his vacation in Hawaii--it's stellar. And now I want to cartoon, right now, dangit--no paper, no decent writing instruments, and no storyline but that it's a slow night at work.

The creative mind seethes with the unjustice of it all.

Weekend's End

This morning, Alex and I got up early--not because we had to, but because we actually went to sleep early last night. We spent a fun morning--Alex playing Half-Life, me reading Neverending Story, and then we watched "The Hobbit" while we ate scrambled eggs and orange-glazed cinnamon rolls. It felt luxuriously weekend-ish.

Then we had to clean house, which felt not so weekend-ish, but we did watch some Dukes of Hazzard to pass the time more pleasantly. I must admit I'd never really seen much of the show before, but we bought the first season on sale at $15 to see if Alex would like it as much as he had as a kid. Now I love it! Lots of "sweet jumps," Alex says, quoting Napolean Dynamite, and it's pretty darn funny. I just can't get over Sheriff Coltrane's crazy laugh. It sounds like a drunk, half-insane Popeye.

Then at 4:30, as usual, I had to leave for work. I'm feeling pretty sleepy and wishing I could have stayed home to watch Alex beat Half-Life instead of sit here at the desk, knowing full well that it's a Sunday night and no time to be working, even at my dream job. *Yawn.*

But tomorrow I get to attend my hands-on preservation lab--Yippee!