21.8.14

Please pray for us...

In about 90 minutes (aka 9:30am ET on Thursday, August 21) Thing One and I are going to try to capture and cage our two six year-olds for their trip to the vet.

One will be easy to deal with (she's a bit of a lump anyway).  The other?  Earlier this year we thought we  had an emergency situation and tried to get him to the vet... he spent 12 hours hiding underneath our dishwasher.  Who knew there was an opening he could slither in to?  Clearly not us!

Today's plan is to herd him into Thing One's bedroom, because mine has an armoire he might be able to get behind/under and the rest of the house is pretty open plan.  We expect scratching and loss of bodily functions (from him), plus lots of swearing (on both sides).

Once they're in the cage, we'll head to the vet even if we're early.  Of course I'll bring something to read... Thing One will probably mutter under his breath and prevent me from reading.  Sigh.

Pray for us.  I'll keep you updated on our progress!

19.8.14

Untagged

Yesterday it finally happened: a friend "tagged" me on Facebook, challenging me to do the #ALSicebucketchallenge. I untagged myself. He retagged me. I responded, "thanks... but I'm not doing it, nor am I paying the 'penalty' and donating $100."

Yeah, I'm a horrible person. I clearly don't care about those suffering from ALS (aka "Lou Gherig's Disease"). I'm selfish. And now, all his friends on Facebook know that.

Except... I don't wear pink. I do donate, just to other causes. A one-shot, one-year donation might help, but it does penalize those other causes. The Globe & Mail has an op-ed on why you shouldn't do the challenge, and it's definitely worth a read. That's part of my reason.

And, as stated earlier, there are other places I donate to, and while this is a worthy cause, what makes it worthier than those? And how dare anyone weigh one charity's worth against another?

Here's the other thing: it's so very, very public. Which means that if I wanted to tag any number of my friends or relatives, I couldn't because - gasp! *faint* - they're not on social media. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Vine, no Pinterest. Nothing. Virtually no digital footprint because, unlike librarians, their jobs don't "require" them to be Visible and Out There. How could they possibly participate if it's not public, if they can't be seen to participate? (think tree falling in forest...)

I come from a family that feels giving back is important (my great-grandfather started the tradition, and I think all of us have kept it up to one degree or another). Even when I was young, it was expected that we give every week (from our allowance - which really did mean we weighed the value of the donation vs. what else we wanted to do with the money). As I've grown older, I've found several causes that are near and dear to me and I've continued the tradition. Beyond a mention (sometimes) in the annual report, I don't expect any fuss - I've even stopped one large, family-driven donation from being a "named" gift - because that's not why I give.

So on two levels, I just can't. And please, think twice (or more!) about tagging your friends. Don't shame them into doing this.

12.8.14

Broken News

The following might be insensitive, and I don't mean for it to be: I really do feel for Robin Williams' family and friends, and that he had depression? The whole thing is tragic.

But... Last night, during Jeopardy, ABC News inserted a Breaking News Bulletin.  Robin Williams had died, possibly a suicide, at age 63.  More details to follow.

Was I shocked? Yes, but not because of the death.  I'm sorry, this wasn't "Breaking News".  It's news, but worthy of interrupting another program?  No.

Because ISIS.

Because Ukraine.

Because Gaza.

Because Ferguson.

Because Robin Williams, while a wonderful actor (his work on Homicide was amazingly understated and real throughout, unlike virtually any other role you saw him in) and genius-level comedian, was not any of those.  Or a presidential assassination, or another September 11, or a plane being shot down, or any number of other events I could name.

The news is broken.

11.8.14

Happy Belated!

Whoops!  I've been a little distracted and my ten year blog anniversary passed me by.  Ten years.  Ten.

This blog has changed and morphed, and I'm still unsure about the direction it will (or should) take.  Long-time readers have read about my political rants, culture vulturing, books, cats (and loss of two, Lulu and Bogie), the Things in my life, job stuff and, well, just about everything including my blood pressure.

Just compare July 2004 to July 2014.

So here's your opportunity to weigh in: what do you want to read about?  DO you want to continue reading?

8.8.14

My home library - the meme (part three)

Per Philosophy MomFound this on thremma 's journal; she evidently swiped it from wendelah1 , who found it on this Tumbler (where it seems to have originated). It has 30 questions and appears, from the original instructions, to be intended for use over the course of a month. [Said instructions:"You can do all of them, but feel free to skip a number if you don’t own any books relevant to the day’s prompt (just replace it with an idea of your own). Take a picture, write down the stories attached to the book(s) in question, go nuts!"]

Part one... part two...

13. Best bargain: As a librarian who gets many, many ARCs, I'll have to go with "getting my MLS/becoming a school librarian"

14. Most recent purchase: That's easy, especially since I don't purchase too many books (thank you publishers for the ARCs!): Vader's Little Princess.  Cute and very worth it.

15. Favorite lay-out design: What a difficult question to answer!  I can tell you that certain designs drive me BSC: take those old paperback "classics" of the 70s/80s, with the thin paper and too-small type, or books with endnotes that are difficult to find.  And trim size on YA non-fiction books!  But "favorite" eludes me, perhaps because I'm an omnivore reader, so what works well in fiction may not work as well in non-fiction, or what works in a good "how-to" book doesn't work in a cookbook, etc.

16. Book you bought because of the title: See the answer to #14 above - there are probably a few others, but again, because I get so many books from publishers (some with cool names, some without) actually buying books is not something I tend to do.

17. Book you bought because of the cover design: Can't say I've ever done that, but I do know that I recoil from designs that are too derivative (like those Jane Austen books that got "Twilight Saga" covers).  And blurbs.  If there are too many, or the buzzword du jour is there ("luminous" is one of those) I'm likely to actively avoid the book.

18. Multiple translations of the same work: None. The stuff I read in French I don't own in English, and I don't really know any other languages.  As for "works translated into English", I'm not enough of a scholar to own different versions of, say, The Iliad, for comparison purposes.

19. Multiple copies of the same work: The only one that springs to mind is the Lord of the Rings series (and The Hobbit).  There's the 1970 paperbacks, now falling apart, and a newer edition bought by Thing One because he was too nervous to read the older ones.  In the Great Book Purge of 2012-3 all other duplicates were donated.

20. The funniest book you own: Seriously?  I've got comic strip collections like Doonesbury and Bloom County, essays by Dave Barry and Art Buchwald, authors like Terry Pratchett and Wodehouse in my collection.  You choose.  I dare ya.

21. The most expensive book you own: I have no idea.  Possibly one of the Chalet School books I bought used?  Or the American Heritage Dictionary? But with inflation, and scarcity, to also factor in, I have no idea.

23. A book you read so many times that it fell apart: The only one I can think of is Martha Gripe's Hugo and Josephine.  Here's the problem: some are falling apart not because I read them so frequently but because they're 40+ year old paperbacks.

24. A book you think everyone should read:  I just can't do that without doing more of a Reader's Advisory interview.  Professional ethics, dontchaknow.

25. A book that made you cry: Any book were animals are mistreated or the like.  Most recently? Mort(e).

26. A book you would prescribe for an aspiring author: To me it would very much depend on what genre they want to write.

27. A cover design you hate: See answer to #17 above.

29. Favorite book from your childhood: Depends on how young you want me to be: Richard Scarry's books were faves when I was really young, ditto Good Night, Moon.  A little older? Up A Road Slowly and Hugo and Josephine and Journey from Peppermint Street and... and...

30. The book with the most pages in your collection: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.  Probably.

4.8.14

Notable Quotes

The books themselves, whether at home or at large, are only part of the tale.  Libraries, ancient and modern, have something organic about them.  They are as difficult to define as the people who use them, and more so, because a book can both be in and out of the library at the same time.  A library is at once an accumulation of books, maintained and managed to some end, and the place or places where they are or ought to be found.

1.8.14

Links Galore

It feels good to declutter my saved links - enjoy!
And speaking of decluttering, one word to live by: less.

Finally, some fun.  Listen to Shriekback as you read this article about the Abbey Road crossing.

25.7.14

My home library - the meme (part two)

Per Philosophy MomFound this on thremma 's journal; she evidently swiped it from wendelah1 , who found it on this Tumbler (where it seems to have originated). It has 30 questions and appears, from the original instructions, to be intended for use over the course of a month. [Said instructions:"You can do all of them, but feel free to skip a number if you don’t own any books relevant to the day’s prompt (just replace it with an idea of your own). Take a picture, write down the stories attached to the book(s) in question, go nuts!"]

Part one here.

7. Favorite poetry collection: Confession: I don't really have any poetry collection.  Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti is the closest I come.

8. Favorite biography: Judith Skelton Grant's biography of Robertson Davies.  It's a good biography, but also it's a book that Thing One bought me twice.  Don't ask.

9. Favorite cookbook: Currently?  I love Home Made Summer. But all time, Susan Branch's cookbooks are so much fun.

10. Favorite graphic novel: Ooooh.  Sorry.  I just don't have the kind of brain that fully appreciates graphic novels.  I had problems with comic books, too.  Again, sorry. ETA: I did like the Tintin books (en francais, bien sur)

11. A book you didn’t understand at all: Most of my calculus text.  Beyond that, I don't tend to keep books I don't understand.  To be honest, I tend not to finish them, either.

12. “One of these things is not like the others” (inconsistent editions within a series):  My Chronicles of Narnia set (bought The Silver Chair at a different store than the others). One of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, I believe The Nine Tailors (but with the books in the basement, can't check) is different because for some reason, it was published by a different publisher than the other books.

18.7.14

My home library - the meme (part one)

Per Philosophy Mom: Found this on thremma 's journal; she evidently swiped it from wendelah1 , who found it on this Tumbler (where it seems to have originated). It has 30 questions and appears, from the original instructions, to be intended for use over the course of a month. [Said instructions: "You can do all of them, but feel free to skip a number if you don’t own any books relevant to the day’s prompt (just replace it with an idea of your own). Take a picture, write down the stories attached to the book(s) in question, go nuts!"]

I'm going to do this in a few installments, just to create some content (lucky you).

1. “The System: Currently, there are a ton of boxes in the basement; those are marked MYS (mystery books), CYA (children's/young adult), BIO (biography), NF (non-fiction), FIC (fiction), LIT (literature - don't ask me what the difference between this and FIC is, I know it when I read it), REF (reference), SFF (science-fiction/fantasy).  My professional books, Mt. Bookpile, religion/philosophy books and "gentle reads" are upstairs.  One day I'll have a library again...

2. Favorite female writer:  A.S. Byatt?  Joanna Trollope? Louise Penny? Elinore M. Brent-Dyer? See, it really depends on the mood and genre.

3. Favorite male writer:  As with the female authors, depends: Robertson Davies and Julian Barnes, though, are two faves.

4. Bought on location (where the writer lived, the book takes place, the movie adaptation was shot):  A biography of John Ruskin purchased at his home (back in 1982) is the one the leaps to mind; I've read and bought many "local" mysteries and novels while living abroad - which probably doesn't count.

5. The largest and the smallest book you own: Largest? Probably the Complete Shakespeare.  Smallest?  I'm not sure if that's the equivalent of "thinnest" (no idea) or "least height", which is probably Julian Barnes' Flaubert's Parrot (Bloomsbury Classic edition)

6. Complete works of one author: I'm only going to talk about fiction authors here; I have complete sets of many mystery and children's/young adult writers (for example, Carol O'Connell, Louise Penny, Elizabeth George, David Williams, Marie Lu, J.K. Rowling, etc.). So, as far as I know:

  • C.S. Lewis (including a copy of his contribution to OHEL)
  • Robertson Davies
  • A.S. Byatt (excluding her introductions/prefaces)
  • Julian Barnes
  • Terry Pratchett

14.7.14

Let's change the terminology

The other day, my friend Chuck posted on his blog and I asked if a word was a typo or new slang (hey: I'm old, I'm not up on what the hip kids are saying these days).  He responded something about my being a grammar nazi, and I suggested he was looking for the word "pedant."  There's a whole dictionary out there, with words like pedant and stickler and dogmatic and persnickety.  Why not use them?

Here's my rant (you knew one was coming, right?): using the word nazi to describe someone who is a stickler for rules or protocol or well, whatever, is beyond wrong.  If you end a sentence with a preposition, I'm not going to cart you off to some concentration camp where Work Will Make You Free.  I'm not going to send you to a gas shower because you don't know how to use a semicolon.

Real Nazis?  They didn't care about grammar (or soup, or dress codes, two name two other "nazi" types). They cared about racial purity and the Fatherland.  They cared about killing and doing it as efficiently as possible.  They cared about establishing the 1,000 Year Reich.

So the next time you're tempted to call someone a nazi, think about it.  Even in jest, it's a horrible thing to call another person.  To diminish the real horror of what Hitler and his Nazis did by adding "grammar" or "soup" or "weeding" before "nazi"  is to dishonor those who died fighting them, those who died because of them.

Aren't you better than that?