Important Messageas I've been checking out. I live in NYS so this will affect me. It will also affect Amazon sellers, like Thing Two, who doesn't collect tax on the items he sells (and I'm not sure he declares all his income from Amazon, either - but that's between him and the IRS).
Due to a new law recently passed by the State of New York we are required to collect NY sales taxes on taxable items sold by Amazon.com on or after June 1st, 2008. If your order is placed prior to June 1st, your Order Total may not include an estimate of NY sales taxes, but those taxes may still be charged if your order is readied for shipment on or after that date.
I wonder how much this will change buying habits. Or selling habbits, for that matter. I mean, $.01 for a book equals what in NYS taxes?
1. Declutter 30 min and feel the extra space.
3. Let go of an old resolved problem.
5. Where are you overworked? What can you do about it?
6. Disconnect from the internet for a couple work hours and see what you can accomplish.
7. What visual clutter distracts you? What visual pieces inspire you?As you can see, five of seven are on my To Be Worked On List for this week. Wish me luck!
Unless you've been living in a cave, you know that there have been two recent natural disasters in the East: the Burman Cyclone and the Chinese Earthquake. Gordon Brown updated the House on the rescue/aid efforts in Burma, which met with approval from the Shadow PM, David Cameron. However, this exchange struck me:
Richard Bacon (South Norfolk, Conservative) Which country or countries blocked a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Burma, and what diplomatic pressure are we applying on them?No. Let's name name. Who doesn't want to help the Burmese (besides the ruling junta, that is)? Who is trying to block humanitarian efforts? Who is playing politics with people's lives in this despicable manner?
Gordon Brown (Prime Minister; Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, Labour) We are applying a great deal of pressure, and I think it would be in our interest to apply that pressure rather than to name names at present.
As Cameron said earlier: Everyone will have seen the very swift response of the Chinese Government, which is in stark contrast to the reaction of the regime in Burma, where the neglect of the military junta is turning a natural disaster into a man-made catastrophe.
Given China's involvement in Darfur, one can only imagine who those "nameless" countries are.
Now, I don't believe you need to spend that money to learn how to see clearly that you are not the kid that got held back a year, or who couldn't get a prom date (or perhaps peaked as Prom Queen). Having said that, I do think that it can be difficult - but very useful - to let go of the past "junk" we're hanging on to, to live lightly emotionally. Holding past grievances against someone isn't healthy, just as trying to live up (or down) to who people thought you were isn't healthy.
It's also pretty damn difficult to change. You can change your job, and all the mistakes and attitudes you had from your previous one won't necessarily follow... unless you let them. It takes work, and commitment, and a self-promise not to beat yourself up if you slip a little (and believe me, as someone with a persistent "few pounds" to lose, I know all about that one!).
Today I read I am Not Joey Pigza, and what my friend has gone through resonated throughout the book. Joey's just figuring out and coming to terms with who he is, when all of a sudden he's being told he's now Freddy Heinz. Joey keeps popping up, as can be expected. His mother isn't happy about that, nor is his newly-returned father. But his father's change from Carter Pigza to Charles Heinz doesn't "take" either, because the underlying person isn't really changing. There's no self-check to say, "ok, you messed up but you can correct this" or "yes, this works and feels good so let's keep on doing it." It's just a sad slide downward.
That's what too many of us do when we try to change. Best of all possible intentions, followed by a few "oopses" and then backsliding into what we were. I hope for my friend's sake that her time at the Forum does affect a real change; as they told her, you have to keep at it, keep practicing, or it'll go away.
Changing your story, or the (as I prefer to think of it) the backstory to the character you know as yourself, is never easy. I think Joey does get some good change out of his time as Freddy, but it would probably have come without being ripped from his known life. Changing even one story, one learned behavior, one small thing can lead to a landslide of change.
And it's time to start thinking about summer vacation, and the things I'll accomplish at home, like finally getting the last bits painted, and working on decreasing Mt. Bookpile (five books this weekend!), and organizing the basement, etc..
I also need to take care of my health (which, according to the doctor, is not "low enough" to be treated).
So what am I focusing on? The Celtics. One of my favorite colleagues (he introduced me to the phrase "Massholes" when describing those of us from MA or who root for Boston-based teams behind "enemy" lines) told me not to fall in love too quickly again. We had the Sox win this year. The Celtics have done far better than ever expected. Prepare to have my heart broken again.
Yeah. Right. Like you can ever prepare for that.
ETA: Four points is not a comfortable lead. So there, Thing One!
- For my LazyReaders: books about procrastination
- If publishers can consider dropping paper catalogs, why can't retailers Let Us Go? (þ: Library Link of the Day)
- Mentioned before, but worth mentioning again: Free Rice, a charity that also builds your vocabulary.
- Looking for something to read? I mean, really looking? These favorite obscure books may just be for you (þ: Literary Saloon)
For a catalog to change from "Unconfirmed" to 'Confirmed", one of out merchant account managers needs to establish a relationship with the catalog company. This can be a relatively quick process; or it can take weeks or even months - it depends on the merchant. With six merchant account managers, we are quickly tackling all of the catalogs in our system - but it will take some time before they are all "confirmed".What irritates me most is the way this service is being billed: that there already are relationships with various merchants and that there will be a relatively quick resolution (if by "relatively quick" you mean 6-10 weeks).
So I'm still recycling too many catalogs and hoping for the best. You?
What were you doing five years ago?
Working as the Librarian for an independent school in NYC.
What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?
- Finish balancing the budget (YTD)
- Filing (my desk is a nightmare)
- Preparing new books for shelving
- At least one load of laundry
- My homemade trail mix
- Frozen eclairs (no one said anything about healthy, right?)
- Frozen grapes (in summer)
- Goldfish (the cracker, not the animal)
- Melted cheese on bread
- Set up an education fund for my 18 nieces/nephews and growing great-niece/nephew collection
- Buy pieds-a-terre in London, Montreal and one city to be named later
- Get all the books on my Want to Read list
- Take off one year just to read, then find some school library to volunteer in
- Spend more time with friends and family doing fun things
- I'm lazy. 'nuff said.
- Newton MA
- Shaker Heights OH
- Upstate NY (where my parents live, and counting college and prep school)
- New London NH
- Art counselor at the YMCA day camp in Smalltown NY
- Box Office Manager for a summer stock theatre in NH
- Box Office Assistant for a theatre in NYC
- Executive Recruiter
- School librarian
In part it's because of the nature of series books - they become formulaic. This is very true in the case of the Lower School series we buy (like The Secrets of Droon or Magic Tree House), with a relatively controlled vocabulary and action. That's great for very young readers, because you want them to become comfortable reading and this is a great way for them to do that. As an older reader, however, you don't need that sort of scaffolding and you enjoy a challenge.
Now, I have to admit, there is a sense of comfort in the cozy mystery genre. Reading a Miss Marple means that you have general sense of the structure of the upcoming mystery; ditto a "Death on Demand" or "Puzzle Lady". Even a series like Ian Rankin's Rebus books have an expected arc (and you can say the same about books like Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series, or Kathryn Kurtz' Deryni novels). Reading a book like this is like eating comfort food, isn't it? Many of my students will come in asking for "a book just like ___", by which they mean a book that has the same arc, the same essence as the book they finished.
There's nothing wrong with that kind of writing, or enjoying that style of reading. I do it often. The problem is when the series (for me) becomes stale, when the formula is so obvious that there's nothing surprising or new in the Recent Release.
Battle of the Labyrinth is edging close to that staleness (as you faithful readers know, I felt that way about Harry Potter, too). Even worse for Riordan, I'm not the only one that's noticed! One of my students said, "It was good, but 'meh'". Fairrosa said the same, only far more eloquently.
Yes, I'll read Book Five. But it's a good thing that Riordan's moving on to other books, other ideas. This one seems to me running out of steam.
The Dybbuk was vastly different from the other two: the plot's more difficult to follow, the dancing a little less exuberant. I'd not noticed before, but Bernstein had some definite themes that appear often in his music, lending a sense of connection from one piece to the next. Robbins' choreography was, well... The usual precision of the dancers at NYCB was on display here, but there was a little laid-back quality because that's how Robbins did it. The "average Joe" dancing in West Side Story or the sailors in Fancy Free are looser than, say, a Giselle or Firebird. Because it was Mother's Day, there were a number of kids in the audience and I thought how perfect this program was to get young'uns excited about ballet. Not just girls, but boys, and not just as dancers but as patrons.
My impetus for getting tickets was seeing a photo of Faye Arthurs in the NYTimes - Faye was in my homeroom one year, and I remember her as a students new to New York, new to SAB, and so eager to learn/experience everything. Within two years, she'd been given a "little pas" (her phrase) in Scenes de Ballet! (It was there that my parent's realized that the ballet recitals I'd clunked my way through for years were nothing compared to what my students could do. And that's putting it politely!) Faye was in two pieces yesterday, most notably as Maria in WSS.
She wasn't the only familiar face yesterday - there were many I'd remembered running up and down the stairs, sitting in class or hanging out on the 6th floor. One has become an example of "why it's not just you I worry about with drinks in the library near the books": just before her AP Calc. exam, she's bought an iced something from Starbucks. She set the plastic cup down and - whoosh! - the bottom seam split and we had iced something all over the place. Completely not her fault, but a good example for future years on how it's not necessarily the klutz that's the problem.
When you work with students, you often wonder what they'll do after school - how well, what they'll become, etc.. In the case of MFPOW, in many cases I know. That's not to say that the students at MPOW aren't talented, but the school's emphasis is different and the talent is not always obvious during their time here.
Yesterday also made me realize how much I miss the energy of the arts, and how lucky I am to be able to see ballet, opera and theatre with relative ease.
Another favorite author in the Middle School is Cecily von Ziegesar. Who? She's Gossip Girl. Now, I've seen Ms. von Ziegesar talk about her books, and she says she's writing about her days in Upper School and the things her friends (not she!) got up to; these books are written for the Grade 9+ crowd. Except... I've never seen or heard someone in 9th grade read or ask for GG or the Clique books or A-List or any of the other derivatives. I am constantly pestered by my Grade 5-7 girls to get them for the collection. It's a little like when I was 11ish and reading Teen magazine, and then I was 13/14 and reading Seventeen, and 15+ reading Cosmo: people want to read about "what life will be like when I'm --- age" rather than "what life is like now".
Finally, Dorothea Salo wrote a book about Fantasy Authors. She says
This book is what you buy if you have K-12 (or maybe even undergraduate) students who would like to write book reports on an author they might, you know, actually like. There are also some readers-advisory bits that I think came out pretty well (and I say this having opposed some of them pretty strenuously at the time): if-you-liked pullouts on some authors and subgenre listings in back. It’s a pretty good mix of authors if I do say so myself; we pulled off a couple of fairly daring tricks, such as including three or four graphic-novel authors as well as several YA authors, and openly acknowledging the female half of male-female writing partnerships. (Yes, I know, the latter shouldn’t be daring, but find me another reference book that does it properly, I dare you.)Wonderful, great! But... the cover. It's got a flying white horse. None of my boys would want to have that book in their hot, sweaty hands. It's too "girly" - give 'em trolls or an orc or even a wizardy looking guy, please.
My problem with all three is that they're great ideas/books/concepts, but the marketing is just, well, a little off the mark.
What I'm having a problem with is Michael. It's #2 (where it's been for a decade), and that's pretty expected. What gets me is that Micheal is #435. That's right folks, the 435th most popular name in the US in 2007 is a misspelling. (þ: ALOTTFMA)
So, perhaps not so much with the "normal". More like Abby Normal.
I suggested that my doctor actually look at the results in light of my chronic fatigue and perhaps think about what we could do. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm taking another nap.
Today I got my new living room furniture. Two cuddlers and an ottoman. They're cuddly. I started the Sunday paper, and fell asleep. Thing One woke me up for the game, otherwise I would have stayed there snoozing and reading all day.
As I told Doug, I'm planning on spending a lot of time there reading and snoozing and less time up here watching tv and online. You can keep track of my reading over at the GoodReads widget, and you know I'm not completely abandoning you. Just focusing on me and what's important for right now. Me, the books, The Boys... You get the picture.
- A new way to choose where to go out to eat in NYC: Beermenus.com (þ: Lifehacker)
- Kindle, look out -- Lookybook is a great site for children's (read: picture) books. And it's free! (þ: AASLBlog)
- Are you a social-network addict or a blogger? Perhaps you suffer from one of these psychological complaints (þ: Nancy)
- News junkies rejoice: EUfeeds is here (þ: Sites and Soundbites)
- Living in Brownstone Brooklyn I got used to camera crews on almost every corner. If you want to see who's filming where in your neck of the woods, check out EveryBlock (þ: Internet Scout)
- I love lists! Songs of the states - part one and part two. Agree? Disagree? (þ: Ken Jennings)