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.

24.12.05

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...

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

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."

12.12.05

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?

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.

4.12.05

Notable Quotes

Technology ...

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

- Homo Faber, Max Frisch