31.12.05

Words that are, like, so 2002

Last week, during my Great Trek Northward, I stopped off in Smalltown USA to visit my parents. We had dinner plans in Small City USA, right next door. There were eight of us at dinner, and I was the youngest by a good quarter century - these were my parent's friends, all in their 60s, all retired.

Apparently, the women in the group have just learned a new word. Bling. I kid you not.

As we walked in, they all showed their "bling" off to each other. Now, granted, there is something to be said about the whole "look in the mirror and take one piece of jewelry off" rule, but these women were no where near the state of "bling" that, say, my grandmother's gauche I've-made-it-out-of-the-Lower-East-Side stuff reached. But there they were, pointing out a necklace here, an earring there, all gleefully exclaiming "bling!"

These women don't know what hip hop (much less rap) music is, and if they've heard of it, they couldn't tell the difference between Eminem, LL Cool J and Afrika Bambaataa. But they know what bling is.

Time to retire the word.

New words

According to the OUP, "podcast" is the New Word of the Year. According to Merriam-Webster, the most Looked Up Word of 2005 is "integrity".

Unlike last year
, there are no surprises in the Top Ten.

30.12.05

Links Galore

  • Did you get a gift certificate from a bookstore and aren't sure what to buy? Try Metacritic for a roundup of reviews. (þ: Fiction_L)
  • Wonder how your MPG compares to others? Use the EPA's Fuel Economy site. (þ: ICARUS)
  • Tired of Ebert and What's-his-name? Leonard Maltin doesn't do it for you? Waldorf and Statler may be exactly the movie critics you need! (þ: Sites and Soundbites)

29.12.05

I'm IT

Sherri tagged me, so here goes:

Seven things I plan to do before I kick the can:
1. Get out of debt
2. Have a house with a custom built library in it
3. Plant a lilac tree
4. Scale Mt. Bookpile and survive
5. Lose weight and keep it off
6. Go to a Formula 1 Grand Prix
7. Stop multitasking

Seven things I can do:
1. Type 100wpm
2. Read pretty fast
3. Snuggle with my cats
4. Organize almost anything
5. Edit
6. Care about others
7. Sleep

Seven things I can't do:
1. Run
2. Drive backwards for longer than 20 feet
3. Stay warm
4. Give myself a decent manicure
5. Sing on key
6. Get darker than "parchment"
7. Curl my hair so that it stays

Seven things that attract me to another person:
1. Intelligence
2. Multiple interests
3. Sense of humor
4. Ability to teach without being condescending
5. Love of books/reading
6. Love of cats (particularly mine)
7. Light eyes (grey, green, blue)

Seven things I say most often:
1. Wuvs oooo
2. How's my pumpkin head?
3. Thingy
4. Yeah, right
5. F*ck (and variations on that theme)
6. I just read....
7. Um

Time for Bri, Coco, Aravis and Karmon to chime in...

Mark your calendar

Every month, there is a post on LM_NET that lets us know what events/holidays are coming in the month just ahead. Today I learned that January 2006 is (among other things)...

  • Book Blitz Month (as if we didn't get enough during the Gift Giving Season just past)
  • International Quality of Life Month (good idea!)
  • National Clean Up Your Computer Month (something you already do)
  • National Get Organized Month (taxes are coming due... and it's never too early to start on Spring Cleaning)
  • Diet Resolution Week and New Year's Resolutions Week (1/1-1/7) (talk about reduced expectations!)
  • National Write to Congress Day (1/3) (find the addresses here)
  • Universal Letter-Writing Week (1/8-1/14) (you know I'm participating!)
  • Hunt For Happiness Week (1/15-1/21) (if ya gotta hunt for it...)
  • National Handwriting Day (1/23) (shouldn't this be during "Universal Letter-Writing Week"?)
  • Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day (1/30) (aka "drive your favorite cat buggy" day)
Enjoy!

26.12.05

Imponderables

Titles that make you go "whaaaa????": Bibliography of Native American Bibliographies

24.12.05

It pays to be cynical

Turns out, the DHS did not visit that UMass/Dartmouth student. Federal agents' visit was a hoax: Student admits he lied about Mao book.

Whatever this student's motivation (embarassing the Bush administration, garnering attention, pathological lying, whatever), it's certainly become a topic in the library and the anti-Bush communities. I'm not saying it would have been nice for this to be true, but it does have that "boy crying wolf" quality to it. Should such a thing really happen, it'll be just a little bit more difficult for anyone to believe. Anyone, that is, who isn't part of the "Automatically Bash Bush" brigade.

In a rut?

So Many Books posted about how many books by the same author she has on her shelves. Since I have The Collection in a nice computer catalog that provides statistics, I thought I'd do the same (cut off, as with SMB, is 10 by an author):
  • Catherine Aird
  • Margery Allingham
  • Robert Barnard
  • Julian Barnes
  • L. Frank Baum
  • Enid Blyton
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Lillian Jackson Braun
  • Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
  • A.S. Byatt
  • Alicia Craig/Charlotte MacLeod
  • Amanda Cross
  • Robertson Davies
  • Colin Dexter
  • Stephen R. Donaldson
  • Antiona Fraser
  • Jonathan Gash
  • Elizabeth George
  • Martha Grimes
  • Carolyn G. Hart
  • Reginald Hill
  • P.D. James
  • Diana Wynne Jones
  • Faye Kellerman
  • Katherine Kurtz
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Maud Hart Lovelace
  • Ngiao Marsh
  • Patricia Moyes
  • Carol O’Connell
  • Ellis Peters
  • Elizabeth Peters
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Dorothy Sayers
  • William Shakespeare
  • Darren Shan
  • Dorothy Simpson
  • Lemony Snicket
  • Rex Stout
  • David Williams
  • Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
I wonder who in the 8/9 books range will add to their oeuvre in 2006...

23.12.05

Got it now?

Happy (Insert Word)

Links Galore

It was bound to happen sometime

UMD statement regarding Homeland Security library issue

The problem is, there are so many versions of this story (Dartmouth, UC/Santa Cruz, regular loan, ILL, etc.) that it's hard to know what exactly happened. I'd like to believe that it is a very sad cry for help from this unnamed student. Unfortunately, given recent revelations, I rather doubt it is.

21.12.05

Nerves

Today I'm driving five hours upstate to see my best friend from grammar school. I haven't seen her in 30 years, and we only reconnected in April (luckily, I opened that e-mail instead of deciding it was spam!). To be honest, I never thought I'd ever pick up the phone and say, "Hello, Mr. A? It's L. Is K. there?" again. I mean, when your last contact was in 1975...

Anyway, we're getting together. I'll meet her husband and three kids (definitely not part of her life all those years ago!) And we'll have the opportunity to trip down memory lane some. We've already done that a little via e-mail; she remembers huddling like molecules during recess in 4th grade!

Still, there's a part of me that's very apprehensive. The past few times I've done the face-to-face with an on-line friend haven't always worked out well. One person decided that I was "severe and terrifying", two others have been very disappointing (nothing like their on-line personae). Rarely has it worked out where what I fell in love with - the words, the "sound" of their voice - meshed with the physical reality. And, in this case, we've got the whole used-to-be-best-friends thing to trip us up - what if there's nothing there that says, "yes, this is the person I knew back then", nothing that validates my choice of friends (even at the tender age of 9)?

Several months ago I met one of my father's best friends from "back in the day" (apparently there were seltzer and toilet paper-soaked-in-bleach fights in their apartments on the Grand Concourse - I can understand why H. was banned from my grandmother's!). My father is one of those true-blue people, always trying to see the best in others and sticking with friends he knew "back then" because, well, they're a tie to his past and who he was. I honestly don't think it occurs to him that some of these people aren't the types of people he'd care to know now - he knew them then, and that's good enough.

Me, I'm not so forgiving of flaws. I don't want K. to have flaws. I'm not saying I want to play Barbie with her, either. But I do want that sense of connecting now with someone important to me then. The same sense of connection I have with many of my friends from prep school (except I see them at least every 5 years).

I wonder how many of you have been in similar situations. How have you felt after?

19.12.05

History repeating itself

So people are now up in arms over Pres. Bush admitting he authorized spying on American citizens without approval under FISA.

I'm as upset as the next person, but I'm not all "oh.my.god it's the end of the world" about it, either. War (or the threat of war) causes governments to do ugly things. Bush is not the worst case of presidential overreaching.

We survived all that. We will survive this. And be a stronger country for having done so.

I know it's weird to be this excited

but Squawk on the Street premiers today. Yay!

Notable Quotes

(Inspired by Doug)

Growing old is mandatory -
Growing up is optional

Who are you and why are you reading my shirt?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult

Don't take life so seriously.
It isn't permanent.

17.12.05

Always saw myself as Puddleglum...

But Which Narnia character are you? claims I'm Lucy: "You have a strong sense of responsibility toward others and a deep respect for other people, even strangers, though you are not always sure what the best course of action is. You are Lucy, the brave child who who is wise beyond her years and kind to all she meets."

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Here it is, the first morning of my Winter Break and I'm at work. Not just blogging, but starting in on a ton of chores. And there's more to be done during the week I have off (let's not even start on the fact that I don't get the two weeks that the faculty get, but as an administrator I have to work five of eleven days!).

I'd share the list, but that'd just be depressing. My bigger query is: why is it so difficult to really relax and enjoy a break? I think many of us do the same, stockpiling chores until the weekend or some time off, rather than rationing them throughout our lives so that we can, in fact, have a break.

My goal for the next week is to try to do both. I'll work on chores from 9-1, and then the rest of the time will be for MMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. And, of course, we're nearing the quarterly Notes from Mt. Bookpile posting, which will be larger than usual (41 books this quarter and counting!).

See you during my next 'break' from Break!

16.12.05

Links Galore

14.12.05

We're doomed

A little travel music.

Enough, already!

Springtime for 'Producers': "Though their partnership on The Producers appears to be coming to a close, Stroman and Brooks are laying the groundwork for a cast reunion of sorts in a new musical version of Brooks' 1974 comedy classic, Young Frankenstein. 'Mel has written 10 new songs, and they're very funny,' Stroman said. 'It's a year and a half away from opening on Broadway.'"

I can hear the songs now: "You say Igor.. I say Eegor... Let's call the whole thing off"

(þ: ALOTT5MA)

12.12.05

Do you feel this way, too?

Oached Pish writes about Revisiting Childhood Faves and I know exactly what he's saying. I, too, reread (or try to - Mt. Bookpile keeps getting in the way) and find that "rereading childhood favorites is a peculiarly polysemous experience, perhaps more even than my compulsive reread of favorite classics chosen during adulthood."

One of my dreams is to reduce Mt. Bookpile to a mere hill, and to have the time to reread a number of the books that helped shape my worldview and sense of who I am and who others are. Not just books like "Good Night, Moon" or "Anne of Green Gables", but "Victoria" and the Enid Blyton school books and "Hugo and Josephine" and countless others. When I do have time to reread, I recognize the child I once was through the prism of the adult I've become, and the view can be both glorious and bittersweet. To finish with another quote from the post: But when it works--rediscovering the sheer passion of childhood experience--it's another form of mainlining lightning.

I have to admit, I'm hooked.

Maybe I'm just too old

I'm reading a YA book and I'm really enjoying the plot. But (and this is the troubling thing), I'm wondering how I can put this on my shelves when within the first five pages there's cursing ("shit" and "fuckin'") and a scene where the hero (in 10th grade) feels up his girlfriend. I know kids that would like this book are also kids that have probably seen "Sex and the City" and "The Sopranos" and viewed far worse in the movies.

Still...

So I wonder, am I too far behind the times? Perhaps I'm needlessly worrying about the impact of this type of book (after all, we do have Boy Meets Boy on the shelves). It's just that there's this voice in me saying, "I don't think so."

Should I listen? Or should I get a second opinion?

11.12.05

Updates

  • In reading the recent Cites & Insights, I learned that making a tape/CD for a friend from a CD that I have is not a copyright violation:
    Section 1008 is part of the Audio Home Recording Act—the agreement that adds royalties to the cost of audio-rated digital recording blanks and all digital audio recording devices, in return for explicitly legalizing home recording. Here’s the text:

    No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.
    What a relief!

  • Those mysterious ladders on the TZB do have a purpose: they're for the workers repairing the undergirding of the bridge. You can't see the platforms from the roadway, but if you're taking Metro-North and go under the bridge, you'll see what I mean.

Betwixt and Between

I posted that I was feeling all "yippee" inside because I had a snow day Friday. It's the little girl in me coming out, I know, and sometimes that's a really good thing.

Yesterday, however, I had to switch from Little Girl to Responsible Adult: my car (the very first I've owned and cared for) needed its first oil change. I wanted someone to come with me for this, because it seems like a big step and cars and all are rather intimidating. Intellectually, I know they're not, but when you start out thinking that you'd have one by 18, and then spend 21 years in NYC and not needed one, and only get one in your 40s, it is a bit intimidating. I feel sort-of behind the curve on this, you know?

Anyway, the oil's been changed, the tires have been rotated, and all's right with my car. Now I can go back to being a little girl. At least until Monday morning.

9.12.05

Yippee!

Today at 5:54am I got the news anyone (and everyone) connected with a school wants to hear: Snow Day!!!!!!!

7.12.05

It's totally me!


(þ: Joyce)

When Google speaks...

Let's hope people listen. This time, at least, they're on the side of good.

6.12.05

What do I want to say about me?

I've been pondering this post for a while. Sarah Houghton (aka "Librarian in Black") helped push me along with her post "Putting Yourself Out There", but it's been stewing around in my brain for a few weeks now.

What started this? I belong to a CS Lewis e-list. A few months ago, a new member of the list posted about a prophecy she had received, and (I suppose) was hoping for validation/discussion of this. What she got was something else: scorn and derision, mixed with pointed questions. She, naturally, got defensive and started posting rather mean-spirited messages. I have to admit, sometimes curiosity gets the better of me, so I looked for her on one or two Quaker e-lists (I knew she was a Quake, albeit a very conservative one).

What I found was more of the same tone from her. One post, relatively recent, basically said that she wasn't going to post, but that Christ told her to do so. I wonder if He mentioned killing with kindness, but I digress. Mixed in with her condemnation of others who don't believe/act as she does are posts that are, well, harassing of others. You see, Quakers tend to address eachother using first name and last name, for example, "Hello, John Doe". It can take some getting used to, I admit. And in an open forum, on the Internet, I'm not surprised that some people - even longstanding Quakers - have a problem with that. She's questioned those that have claimed that people have harassed and made life difficult for them via the Internet. And, in one message, she basically gave out everything anyone would need to steal her identity (including, I believe, her SSN!).

That sort of openness is problematic for me. Yes, Lazygal is a nom d'Internet, but there are a number of my faithful readers who know what my real life name is and where MPOW is, among other things. It's just not "out there" for everyone. And I don't participate in MySpace or Xanga or Flickr or Friendster or the other social websites out there. If you know who I am, you can google me (use Mamma, please!) and see many of my posts to other e-lists and articles I've written. I'm not as hidden as I might be.

The upside to that is when my best friend in middle school, who moved away in 1975, contacted me and we're now planning to see each other later this month.

The downside is, well, I get nervous. I'm not the type to post the down'n'dirty intimate details of my incredibly complex and fascinating personal life (sorry, Doug), the way some of my friends do. I'm not worried about my mother reading something here and thinking less of me, or my employer being upset that I've said something indiscrete about them. It's more a sense that anyone, and I mean anyone, could potentially use this information against me. How? Phishing. Identity theft. Stalking. You name it.

Getting back to the woman mentioned earlier: she's still at it. And while she may not have problems having her information spread around cyberspace, my ethical compass says it would be wrong for me to "out" her on my blog. But if you ask, I'll tell you where to look.

Very cool

I know I usually rail against technology and how it isn't always the best thing - sometimes old, tried'n'true works better. However, sometimes that's just not the case. Thanks to Briar, I discovered The Things I Want, a website that lets you consolidate wishlists.

Why is this better? In the good old days, I'd have to create a wish list (using pen/paper, and later my Palm) and find a way to get that information to people (Xerox/snail mail, beaming, e-mail, etc.). Then, using Powells and Amazon, I was able to create lists and give people links. But multiple links - because I prefer Powells to Amazon for books (and now DVDs), but Amazon had music and other items. Now, with TTIW, I can just send out one link, and - voila - everything's there!

How cool is that?

Here's my list, which I share not for "buy me" purposes but for inspiration for others on your lists. Me? I'm happy with Mt. Bookpile, Nexflix and my new tv.

5.12.05

4.12.05

Notable Quotes

Technology ...

the knack of so arranging the world that we need not experience it.

- Homo Faber, Max Frisch

3.12.05

In case you were wondering

This is now in my living room.

I know, I know, when you last read about my tv problems, I was going to stay with my good ol' 13'. So (I hear you asking), what happened?

What happened is that I am, apparently, a very selfish person. I don't think of the needs of others. While I may be content to use my 13"-with-iffy-sound, others might not be so happy. How can one fully appreciate Formula One Racing or Premier League Soccer, or even the inside-the-body-cam on House if one has a mere 13" tv? I've been told, in no uncertain terms, that one cannot.

To rectify all this, and to stop my internal dithering, the men in my life bought me an early Christmas pressent.

I have to admit, it really is kinda nice...