Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Holiday Season = Not Slow @ My Library

I feel uncharitable toward those members of my staff who have called in sick for the past 2-3 days. Granted, they probably have the bird flu or scrofula or something really bad, but still. It's way too close to Christmas to be unexpectedly short-staffed.

Also this morning, on our way back from changing the sign message the custodian and I discovered that the blue tarp in the woods next to the library has been joined by another blue tarp and an honest-to-God tent. Super. So I called the community policing deputy assigned to the homeless-people-in-the-woods population and he said he would be out tomorrow to roust them out. They're unruly drunk homeless people, too, since they were yelling at our custodian for looking at them while he was picking up garbage in the parking lot. His opinion was that if they persist in throwing their beer cans over the fence into our parking lot, then he would be looking at them all he wanted to.

I'm currently reading Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. It's pretty good, but no The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

American Cheese: Not Really Cheese

This morning, on my lengthy (5 minute) commute to work, I got to thinking about American cheese. Thinking about how it's not really cheese at all. How very American, cheese in name only. America= processed cheese food. And what is "processed cheese food," anyway? Well, you can check out this article on the manufacture of processed cheese food.

And that brings me to the pressing question: What type of cheese am I? The answer, thankfully, is not American.

I am mozzarella!
Cheese Test: What type of cheese are you?

Saturday, November 26, 2005


So here I am in my hometown (Nashville, TN) for the last day of my Thanksgiving holiday and I just have to say, I love this town. I think my taller half likes it here, too. I know he likes the free! public! nice! concrete! skatepark.

It's always hard to leave home. :-( But I miss my kitties and my house and my stuff.

My cousin lives just outside of Hixson, TN (which is close to Chattanooga, for those of you who really need to know such things and were about to open another window to Mapquest "Hixson, TN." Yeah, I know who you are.), and she was telling me about the library ladies at the Hixson Public Library. Apparently they have some throwbacks working there and everytime my cousin goes in there with her little girl (who's 5), they all give her the Icy Glare and it's very very quiet in there all the time. I kind of wish we had the quiet at our libraries, although I would not want to be Dragon Lady Enforcer to do it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Goggle-Eyed Disbelief

"You mean the libraries are closed Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday???"

Well, since you put it that way, there's absolutely NO reason why we library staffers should enjoy a few days off to enjoy friends and family if you, dear patrons, desperately need a respite from your own 4-day weekend with family to play on the computers in the library. How stupid of us!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Restless Natives

The natives appear to be getting restless.

I live in a not-exactly-well-off part of town. We have woods near my house (and adjacent to the library where I work) where homeless men keep camp. A couple of weeks ago, drunk useless homeless man A stabbed drunk useless homeless man B up the road from the library at the gas station and we had cops all over the library property and a helicopter flying overhead, very dramatic.

And 2 days ago I was on my way back from lunch and I passed a little side road with a corner house surrounded by police cars, crime scene tape, etc. A patron came in a couple of hours later and told me she lived on that street and that the guy who lived in that house had shot himself. Nice.

THEN, I read in the paper that over the weekend some teenage idiot at a local park beat a woman to the point of requiring hospitalization. Of course, what was a 29 year old woman doing at a park at 3 something in the morning when she has at least 2 kids... never mind, I'll never understand.

It's probably not a good thing when you hear sirens or a helicopter circling and you don't think much of it. It's not like I live in Compton, or Watts, or Bed-Stuy or similar. I blame Jeb Bush.

Back by Popular Demand

Due to the overwhelming demand from my dedicated reader, I am updating this sumbitch.

My 2+ month absence may have something to do with the fact that I am now 22 weeks preggo. Kid's kicking and distracting me from, well, just about everything else.

So I promise I will *try* to update this more often.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Psalm 46: 1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be
carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake
with its swelling.

There are a million people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who are homeless now. There are roughly 300,000 people still stuck in New Orleans, without food, water, or shelter. Without restrooms, air conditioning, medical attention. With raw sewage, mosquitoes, alligators, floating dead bodies. Fires raging underwater. It's awful to look at on the t.v. and on the computer, but can you imagine the smell?

Those people are desperate. Frantic for food, water, dry clothing, diapers and formula for the children, medical care for the elderly. Those who are left are, by and large, the poorest inhabitants of a poor city. Panic, fear and opportunity have made them bold and reckless, looting stores and businesses - for necessities, sure, but also for jewelry, electronics, beer. This evening I saw on the news a group of people being arrested for stealing a beer truck to haul all of their loot out of town.

I try to imagine it . . . living on an interstate overpass with nothing but the clothes on my back, no bedding, no food, no water, no toilet, no shelter from the sun. Dead people covered with sheets and blankets, starting to decompose in the heat and humidity. People screaming and crying and fighting and dying.

There are so many people and so many agencies who are willing and able, ready to help the refugees. But first we have to get the refugees out of New Orleans. And I know they are trying to convince people to leave the city and that is one reason they are not making more of an effort to get food (other than MRE's) and water into the city. But it seems that they could drop off water at the overpasses when they drop off more people. If you can get thousands of busses into downtown New Orleans, surely you could get a Salvation Army trailer in there.

Of course, if they tried that now, an armed gang would likely hijack the trailer and make off with all the food and water. There are no easy answers at this point.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Seagull Stalker

I was reminded today of one of our most bizarre patrons, mainly because her husband came in looking for some more information of how to contact a certain Seagull. Of A Flock of Seagulls.

I am not making this up.

This woman came in a few months back with her husband. She's really tall, heavyset, and has a 5 o'clock shadow. Yep, she shaves. Her face. She comes to me and says her Favorite Band in the World is A Flock of Seagulls and her favorite in the band is Paul Reynolds. She wants more information on him in particular, so I get her on a computer and get her to his website.

She and/or her husband come in a couple more times in the interim, apparently when I'm not there.

Her husband came in alone today. He first wanted to know if we had a telephone book for Liverpool, England. When I told him no, he wanted me to see if I could find a telephone number for Frank Maudley (I think that's another Seagull) in Liverpool, England. I warned him that he more than likely has an unlisted telephone number, but I looked anyway.

Seems like they had managed to track down Ali Score (yet another Seagull) in North Carolina, and he told them to contact this Frank Maudley guy in Liverpool, as he had "more contact" with Reynolds and would be able to help them track down Reynolds.

This woman is scary. Her husband is pretty fed up with it. But really, how fed up can he be if he is coming in for information for her by himself? She is beyond obsessed. And I wonder, at what point do we say we can't help them anymore?

Glad I'm not famous, or that I haven't been famous in the past 20 years.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Salt of the Earth

These are the people in my neighborhood (and my library's neighborhood)...
They're the people that I meet each day.

1. 300-pound lady in zebra print halter top (shudder) and shorts

2. Upper-middle-aged lady with gold lame' spaghetti strap tank top. With no bra.

3. Man wearing shorts with black socks (repeat x200).

4. Basic proto-industrial-goth kid. A surprising amount of them, actually, since that style ship sailed, oh, I dunno, about 5 years ago. Then again, we're not exactly on the cusp of fashion here.

Not that I'm a fashion plate, but I do take pains to look 1) well-groomed and 2) if not fashion-forward, at least not woefully outdated. I think a large majority of the people in this fine county may very well not own mirrors.

*sigh* I guess this means I'm a snob.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Holy mackerel, it's a library marathon!

Tomorrow marks the 5th day in a row I'm working. That may sound pretty normal to y'all "banking hours" folks, but it's a bit of a rarity in my little corner of Drudgeryville.

Five days in a row, with hours upon hours of contact with ... DUM Dum dum... The Public.

For those of you not truly aware of what The Public actually consists of, thinking that bank tellers and retail clerks deal with "the public" all the time, let me tell you... "the public" is a LOT different than The Public.

From itty bitty babies to the very very old. A lot of unkempt. More than a few unwashed. Also insane and generally wacky. Today I had to wake up a man who was sleeping in a chair next to the window. When I say sleeping, I mean snoring so loudly I could hear him at the reference desk, a good 30 or so feet away.

So I go up to the guy. He's a middle-aged black man, dressed casually but appropriately, and he is ASLEEP. I say, "Sir?" in a low tone of voice. Then I say, "Sir?" a little louder. Then, "SIR." in my big voice. Then I had to tap him on the shoulder. I hate this. He woke up and looked at me and I have never seen eyes that bloodshot, not even at a Laser Floyd show. Holy moley, this guy was LIT UP on something. I told him we don't allow sleeping in the library, so Wake Up! And he did and then he left a few minutes later. Tres bizarre.

Also, a very enthusiastic boy threw his arms around me when I managed to get him into Yahoo! Music videos. It was sweet, but he was smelly like a little sweaty boy. Also I am slightly weirded out when patrons touch me.

Bygones. Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Smokey Smokerson

I've noticed an interesting trend in the patrons we get in our library system. A lot, and I mean a LOT, of them apparently spend most of their day chain-smoking in a tiny room (or their car), only emerging to come to the library and either a) get library cards so they can check out 20 videos which they may or may not return or b) get on the computers. Some of them I can smell before they even come around the corner to the reference desk. I can tell when they are in the reference section (behind me) by scent alone.

Does this county just have more Really Dedicated Smokers, or do Really Dedicated Smokers just use our libraries more often? I've not noticed this at other libraries. But then, too, I didn't spend 9+ hours a day at other libraries, either.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

It's question day at the library!

Yesterday, apart from being pretty darned busy in general, I got some doozies at the ref desk. My top question of the day:

"Do you have a book where I could find a diagram of the inside of a British-made shotgun?"

I'm thinking.... ummmm... no.

No books, then I got curious as to what I could find on the Internet. (You can find anything on the Internet!) I didn't come up with any shotgun schematics, but I did discover that NRA members get discounts on laser vision correction. Good to know they won't miss their targets.

My blog is better than your blog

Bloggy bloggy nice and soggy.

It's raining again here in sunny Florida. I had a nap and a mini-row with the other half. It's my only day off this week and forgive me if I don't particularly want to go anywhere.

Gray. Rainy. Day.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Summer Reading: More Difficult than Need Be

Say the phrase "Summer Reading Club" and most people will think back nostalgically to their youth, when they went to the (quiet and mostly empty) library, filled out a simple form, got a log, and submitted their log at the end of the summer reading time. Then they would be invited to the end of the program picnic and those who read the most books would get some sort of prize (for me it was a season pass to the local theme park - sweet!).

Fast-forward to today. Now the kids who come in to the library to use the computers (I suggested to one of them once that they read a book while waiting for a computer to free up - he looked at me like I had vomited on his shoe) are railroaded into signing up for the program by our very persuasive youth services person. So we at the reference desk are responsible for signing up all these kids. No problem, BUT...

Each participant can come in and report on the book(s) they have read each week and get a little prize. All of the other libraries in our system are having little programs each week, but we aren't because we are getting ready for the Big Move. We also have a halfway party and a final party for each of the 3 programs (pre-readers, the elementary school gang and the middle and high schoolers). I'm constantly flustered at trying to explain the logistics of reporting at our library, but doing the programs at another library, etc.

It's gotten a lot more complicated since I was a young 'un!

[An aside to my pet patron: we like it much better when you bring your nieces and nephews in.]

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I'm never going to be done moving

So I need to be packing, well, anything, really. I've done all I can for the moment. Silly husband has not been as helpful as I had hoped, although he has done all the heavy lifting.

In other news, I did in fact get the job with the PCLS. I'm happier than I thought I would be as a public librarian. Goes to show you never can tell.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

In the meantime...

I have decided to commit to the Swank MS Diet in an effort to curb my symptoms and my weight at the same time. Ah, multitasking.

In other news, I have applied for my first non-law librarian job - as reference librarian at a branch of the Pasco County Library System. I had my interview yesterday, and we'll see.

Gosh, my life is boring and small. Oh well, it's the only one I have.