29.3.08

Update on The Boys

Little Guy lost two teeth and looked so pathetic when he got out of the carrier: wide eyed, staggering, scared. My heart went out to him and I felt so bad that I'd done this to him and then brought him home when Grandma and Grandpa were here.

You see, neither of my parents are cat people. My father's a petophobe, and my mother's a dog person. So there's no sense of "oooooh, you cute adorable kitty cat you!" from them, and they visibly withdraw when one gets near them. My father will, grudgingly, pet them but that's about it.

Luckily, we spent yesterday shopping, so The Boys had the house to themselves and they seem relatively normal today. Plus, Thing One (aka "Daddy") will be here tonight and tomorrow, so lots of love and cuddles will be available. Should they ever decide to leave the safety of Under Mommy's Bed, that is.

28.3.08

Links Galore

27.3.08

The Worst Human on the Planet

That would be me. Now, you may be asking, "How did Lazygal earn that title?" Well...

Three days ago I decided to be a Responsible Mom and arranged for my Big Boy (all 16lbs of him) to go to the vet (regular check-up/shots, plus he's been pulling hair from his legs). So two days ago I grabbed him, put him in the carrier and brought him to the new vet. He loved the drive and looking out the window, and was relatively calm during the exam.

So far, so good. I thought that we might be able to replicate that success with Little Guy (15lbs, so little only compared to Big Boy). The baleful glare when I got him into the carrier... Then, at the vet, he just lay in the scale and trembled. Trembled! He was so happy to get into the carrier to come home.

Little did he know...

Little Guy has bad teeth. We used to get them cleaned annually, but since leaving Brooklyn they haven't been. I made the appointment for today. That meant that food was not left out all night, and that Mean Horrible Mommy ignored pleas for breakfast. I think he knew something was up because he usually sleeps on my feet but last night he slept on my pillow, and rather than run around once I opened my bedroom door he just curled back up in bed; he also gave me little resistance when I put him back in the carrier.

But those eyes, and that sigh of resignation! Tore at my heart, let me tell you. And then there's the look on Big Boy's face when he saw only one breakfast bowl, or his wandering around the house trying to figure out why he's all alone. Heartrending.

Little Guy'll be home tonight, with no plans for any trips for a while. However, Grandma and Grandpa will be here for a few days...

The Boys hate me. I truly am the Worst Human on the Planet.

24.3.08

Watch out...

Thing One has a, well, thing about Canadians (he's not the only one I know with this problem, either). You see, they tend to look like us, talk like us, dress like us... you can't tell that they're trying to take over. Sort of an Invasion of the Incredible Polite Pod People, eh?

Anyway, Callimachus points out another disturbing feature of Their Nefarious Plan.

Resistance is, as they say, futile.

23.3.08

The 6-word meme

I didn't think of this as a meme when I read Terry's post. Then Cam decided she was up for it... and today I saw Little Professor's post.

So. My life, in six words? Hard to do. There's the trite (something about cats, something about books - six words in themselves!) but I don't want to be trite. I could riff on the Lazy theme. Of course, I could also go with an in joke (something about Thing One eating my cookie - ask him about that one), or a generic quote. After much mulling, pondering, counting (thank you Jack, for teaching me how to be precise!), I've come up with:
Killin' time being lazy no more
Jandy, Doug, Sherri, Nancy and Elizabeth - over to you. Anyone else want to join in? Feel free.

I'm much better now!

After a slight Bad Patch (reading-wise, that is), I rebounded with two books that I can highly recommend... when they actually get released, that is.

One is I am Scout, a biography of Harper Lee. The other is The Host, by Stephanie Meyer. The first doesn't need much selling, does it? I mean, you either like biography and/or want to learn more about Harper Lee (for, say, a paper on To Kill a Mockingbird), or you don't. But the second?

In my GoodReads review, I mention that there's a little too much "chick stuff" in it to appeal to my boy readers -- romance isn't going to cut it for them. I can understand that. Some "boy" books don't appeal to me, so why should the reverse not be the case? It is a huge issue for librarians: how do we hook boys into reading? This book has other things to offer, but for them, the sticking point will be the "ucky romantic stuff". Had Meyer stuck to the issues of what makes us human, and the idea of fighting an invasive, parasitic alien species, they'd be all over it.

I got an ARC of this book at ALA Midwinter, and promptly let a colleague read it. This was at a time when grading/progress reports were due. The next day she told me I was evil. Evil, evil, evil. Why? Because the book was that good. It's been here waiting for me to read for a couple of weeks now and, well, I stayed up waaaaaay past my bedtime to finish it.

Tired? You bet. But happy? Ditto.

21.3.08

Bad Patch

Unlike some, I usually don't pre-plan my reading. It's all in jumbled piles and boxes and on shelves, and I grab one, read it and grab the next. Generally this works out quite well -- different styles, genres, topics and minimal boredom.

The last two books I've read were different in style and genre, but equally bad. The first was a children's/YA book that felt, well, like I'd read it before. There was nothing new here for me, either in terms of plot, motif, character, whatever.
Disclaimer: I am the sort of reader that would flunk English classes at MPOW. I don't care about literary theory. It's too much work to think of heroes and archetypes and allusions and What This All Means. My definition of a good book? Have I escaped into another world for as long as the book's pages allowed? Am I secretly participating as Mallory solves another case? Am I on patrol with Sgt. Vimes? Is Mrs. Danvers creeping me out, too? That sort of thing. Non-fiction should be equally entrancing, not Hitting Me Over the Head with the Point of the Book. Bad books do none of this -- I'm easily distracted, I start to think about where I've heard/read/done this before, and I just don't care.
I mentioned this in my GoodReads review and lo-and-behold, the author comments that clearly I've gotten it wrong, these are timeless themes. Timeless perhaps, but I shouldn't feel that he's borrowed from different books. Boy may very well meet girl, but I shouldn't be thinking "oh, yeah, it's just like in _____ book". Good may very well triumph over evil, but if I can name four other books/movies in which the action took place, the author is merely rehashing old stuff. A colleague had also read the book and her thoughts were that the characters were 2-D and the entire thing read like a role-playing scenario. Mr. Author, pffft.

The next book was supposed to be Literary Fiction/Mystery. I'd gotten it as an ARC from our book vendor, which should have sent up red flags right then. In this book, the author was just too in love with the "sound" of his own words. Adjectives and adverbs abounded, and not in a good way. The whole thing felt forced, and again I felt that there were obvious influences on the style and plot.

I've asked before, and I'll ask again: where are all the good editors? Why is the world of Children's/YA Lit so desperate that they're publishing utter crap simply to put product on the shelf? AARRGHHH.

My next read is a biography. If this one is also badly written, I may have to give up reading for a while to totally cleanse my palate!

It was a dark and stormy night

On the plus side, The Boys cuddled with me all night.

On the negative side, I really hate windchimes. They should be illegal.

20.3.08

Too Much Information

Monday we learned that the new Governor of New York had had affairs. We also learned that his wife had had them, too. I suppose Gov. Patterson felt he had to admit to them because of his predecessor, Gov. Spitzer's ignominious exit.

Thing is, he didn't need to. Not from where I sit, anyway. I have all sorts of moral issues with what they did, but that's not why I wanted Gov. Spitzer out of office. No, for me the salient point was he broke the law. Not just the ones he helped enact against prostitution, but those about funds and inter-state traffic.

It's like when President Clinton met Monica. Morally, he slipped when he decided to accept her invitation (as someone in a position of power over her, he should definitely known better, but then, not knowing better seems to have been a pattern with him). But that's not why he needed to be impeached. When he committed perjury, on the other hand...

A number of years ago, I watched Woodward and Bernstein give an interview on the lasting effects of Watergate. They basically agreed: the good thing was that people did more investigative journalism, the bad thing was that what had been private no longer was (they used the example of a former President who "everyone" knew had a mistress but no one felt the need to expose because that was private business). I have to say "amen".

There's a line between illegal and immoral, between punishable-by-law and sleazy. Since the Watergate era, we've been exposed to an ever-increasing wave of Too Much Information. I really only need to know about the illegal stuff. The "questionable judgment" stuff? Not so much.

Take Barak Obama. According to reports (leaked by the Hilary Clinton camp), he exhibited questionable judgment in his youth (he jokingly admitted to "coloring outside the lines" in kindergarten). According to his autobiography, some of that included drugs. Were he to still be "doing drugs" now, I'd be troubled: it's illegal. But in his youth? Still illegal, but clearly he's grown and learned. Unlike Bill Clinton's laughable claim that "I didn't inhale", Obama's taking responsibility for past stupidity and asking that we allow him to move on.

Haven't we all done things in our past that we regret? I, for example, voted for Nixon in '68 (he had two Ns and that cool X in his name, while the other candidates I couldn't pronounce; I was in kindergarten and my mother still hasn't forgiven me). I've gone over the speed limit. I've had overdue library books (gasp!). Worst of all, I once called in sick when I just wanted to stay in bed and read.

Did you need to know that? No. Just like I don't need to know if Senator Obama, or Gov. Patterson, or any politician, has committed any of the same "crimes". Let's save the investigative furor for potential illegal activities, and let's save the public outrage and indignation for when we catch someone in a criminal - not immoral - act. Let's leave the Britney's and Paris' alone: feeding their exhibitionistic needs isn't healthy for them or us.

Bring back the good old days.

15.3.08

10,000 novels and counting

I read this (þ: Literary Saloon) and wondered the same as Mr. Henderson -- are there really that many novels worth reading?

It depends on your definition of "worth", doesn't it? If you are a true biblioholic, it's a compulsion, so worth becomes meaningless. You just read. Full stop. And there are novels that are more interesting than others, or more meaningful than others, but that doesn't matter: you need to read.

While I may be a biblioholic, I'm not confined to novels (although neither are the gentlemen of whom Henderson writes). Thanks to my job, I read a lot of YA Lit -- do those qualify as novels (TTYL, I'm talking to you!)? Novels are supposed to be more "highbrow" than genre fiction, so Ink Exchange (the last book off Mt. Bookpile) doesn't qualify. Ditto Death of a Dormouse.

Still, this comment from Literary Saloon
Obviously any judgment depends very much on the novels -- five Tolstoys (and equivalents) a week is one thing, five of the novels Hensher was presumably reading when he was five quite another. As to whether life's too short for this sort of commitment ... surely that also depends on what the alternatives are. But if we make our way through less than five novels in a given week we feel we've missed something .....
sums it up. Except I'd edit it to "if we make our way through less than five books in a given week...". Wouldn't you?

14.3.08

Links Galore

12.3.08

How do you thank someone?

Years ago (almost 30!), a friend of mine and I listened obsessively to "To Sir, With Love" and thought about our years in prep school and one man's influence on our lives. Today I learned that man died last week. I'm in shock.

This was the person I'd decided I absolutely had to learn from, that no matter what, I would get into that school and take classes from him. This was the first person outside my immediate family that made me feel smart and accepted, rather than an outsider with bizarre ideas. This was the teacher that taught me to think critically, who introduced me to new ideas and who taught me Philosophy. This was the most important influence of my high school career. At last year's, and this year's, Book Fair at MPOW, I urge students to read Mishima's Sea of Fertility quartet, just as he urged me to do. This was also someone I was unafraid to joke with, or pull a prank on (like putting lemon juice in his coffee), or argue with about the difference between a door and a window.

He's gone now, and it feels like a part of me has also gone. I'll never again hear his voice saying "Good morning, philosophers". I'm proud to have known him, prouder still that he considered me, even at the young age of 15, someone worth knowing.

Never mind

This headline from Lifehacker made me think "DUH": Remove Band-Aids Painlessly with Vodka I can't think of too many things you can't remove painlessly with vodka! Ohh, wait... they mean, use vodka to soak the band-aid before peeling it off.

As Emily Litella used to say, never mind.

11.3.08

Middle-aged and mad

Yes, I'm firmly middle-aged. I'm ok with that. It's the not growing old gracefully part that I'm mad about: I'm just as big a klutz as I was 10, 20, 30 and even 40 years ago. And you know that kicking and screaming thing? Well, I was just walking in my living room when this happened (although there was some screaming later).

So please, don't talk to me about Springing Ahead or Falling Back. That scares me even more than you know!

9.3.08

One thing leads to another

E-tech writes about thinking in Facebook updates. I don't, but then, I'm not on Facebook. I do think in blog posts, though.

What got me thinking about this particular post is that I know the author and she's pretty pale. I'd say we're on par in terms of paleness, but I look darker because I've got dark hair (she's a nice strawberry blonde, I think, but she may call it another shade of red). Reading her post I learned the phrase "your friend in the dark" which just tickles me no end: I have a whole vampire-love thing going on (anyone else out there read Tanith Lee's vampire series? what about I, Vampire? there is more out there than Buffy fanfic, Anne Rice and Dracula, you know...) outside the whole being too-pale thing.

Indie film alert!

Last night Thing Two and I went to see The Band's Visit in Rhinebeck. It's one of those quiet films, with not much happening and no great Purpose. What I mean is, you don't go away thinking "shit blew up good" or "wow, I really need to think about this". You do go away having enjoyed yourself, however. The humanness of the film, those moment that make you want to laugh or nod in recognition, is what did it for me (I even got the initial problem, that of confusing "Beit Hatikvah" with "Petah Tikva" -- if you've ever traveled on NJTransit east, you've heard the "Newark Penn Station"/"New York Penn Station" confusion, usually solved with an irritated ticket collector asking which state do you want???)

I just looked up Beit Hatikvah, and learned the irony of the name in the movie. Hee.

Thing Two didn't enjoy it as much, possibly because there was a scene with watermelon (he's a melonophobe, don't ask me why) and a scene with Greek toes (he's the 'close friend' mentioned here). But I'll let him comment on his blog, or here, if he so desires.

6.3.08

I can't be the only one

All the entertainment blogs I read and not one has taken Toyota to task for their new Corolla commercial - a clear rip off hommage to SNL's classic Royal Deluxe II commercial (which was itself a satire).

Imponderables

This just sounds like something from Law & Order or Bones, doesn't it? Since it's apparently real, anyone want to place bets on how long before this headline is "ripped"?

5.3.08

Imponderables

Did I miss a memo?

When I'm driving to work, I take a "parkway" (eg, no trucks allowed) for most of the trip. When I get to the exit I need, it's a what they call a long right curve, then a gentle left and then right again (it's the closest I get to an F1 chicane!). At two places during this exit I can decide to go left or right.

So, I'm driving along and turn on my right turn signal. I keep it on until I reach a point where there's no possible other turn for me to take. Even though I took Driver's Ed. 30 years ago, it's what I was told to do. The vast majority of the time the car ahead of me does not signal at all, just veers right and then left without warning.

Did someone change the rules and forget to tell me?

3.3.08

Notable Quotes

Kate thought about the words that had brought her to Ethiopia. Take the water. Harper had taken the line from a favorite poem: "Sometimes a human's clay is not strong enough to take the water." The three words had become something of a mission for Kate, a riddle to solve, a path to finding herself.
Footfree and Fancyloose, Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain

2.3.08

Change happens

I've been mulling this for a while, particularly since my life underwent Big Changes recently. I'm not one of those "oooh, let's change things" types, I'm more of a nester. For me, bliss is having my little family around me, snuggled into my bed or a comfy couch in front of the fire. I even have problems going to work!

I recognize that not everyone is like that. It takes a certain type of courage to upstakes and change your life. I know: I did it during the summer of 2005, when I left Thing One and the home we'd shared for 12 years, MFPOW (8 years there) and the city I'd lived in for 21 years. Thing One can tell you that to this day I'll call in tears asking if I can come home now (note: he moved out of our apartment into another one, but he's still in the same neighborhood). It's been a very scary ride.

My friend H. is doing the Big Change thing later this month. She's leaving the only area she's ever lived in to move literally across country to work. She's a nurse and is on a "visiting" contract for 13 weeks. Still, she's leaving her two cats and dog at home, where they and her stuff will be cared for. If it doesn't work out, she can go home again, and if it does, she can opt for another 13 weeks somewhere else.

Thing Two may (will?) be out of a job in June, when the company he works for closes. What his next step will be is anyone's guess - but I'm sure it isn't easy for him to think about the potential new futures he's facing. Like me, he's a nester, addicted to routine.

One person in my department joined us last year from California. The fire destroyed all the personal professional items that had been collected over the years: the book notes, the personal cards, all that went into Who I Am. Poof. It's still shocking and the sense of loss is still overwhelming. It's not hard to understand why; it's far more difficult to figure out how to overcome it.

Change - big, meaningful, powerful change - is never easy. Whether we bring it on ourselves or have it thrust upon us (with, or without notice) it's a difficult thing to get over. Sometimes the little things are the ones that get us the most - different names for stores, or not finding a favorite top.

Change will happen, even to the most careful and cautious of us. Here's to getting through it, with friends. Because without them...

Sounds of silence

This article in the NYTimes got me thinking about a few things: these recent Tech-No posts, Meeting, and the joys of turning off.

I'm more entwined with technology than I think I want to admit, even to myself. Yes, I take great pride in not having my cell phone on all the time (with an answering machine at home and voice mail at work, do I really need to?), but that's only one side of not being "plugged in." I recently counted my e-mail accounts: I have at least 9 of them. Several feed into others, but still. Nine. That's not counting mailboxes on social sites where people can (and sometimes do) leave messages. There are 128 feeds in my Bloglines account. I may not have a DVR, but I use my VCR daily. I do increasingly more of my banking on-line. Yet I still write with fountain pens, collect cards and "snail mail" them to friends. I haven't used my iPod much since I left NYC, preferring to listen to entire CDs as I drive to and from work. Sounds an awful lot like justification, doesn't it?

It's Sunday, and I'm feeling angsty about work, and about life. I have several half-written blog posts in the queue, I have to work on another blog to get it ready for tomorrow, I have bills to pay and taxes to figure out, I have books to read and movies to watch. Yet all I want to do is nap with The Boys, attend on-line Meeting, and veg.

Perhaps it's my body telling me to turn off. Perhaps there's a cultural vibe telling me that. Perhaps I'm just Lazy.

1.3.08

End of an era?

Netscape support has ended. I remember using Netscape in the early days, part of a package I got from my graduate program. Thing One and I talked about getting into the IPO (talk about missed opportunities: could have made some serious $$ that first day).

I don't remember when I stopped using it, but for a while I used IE and then made the move to Firefox. According to my stat counter, only .1% of my viewers (aka "someone in Ontario Canada") is using Netscape anyway. Still, it's one of those "sniff" moments.

R.I.P. Netscape.