Monday, December 29, 2008
The total amount of traveling that I did was almost double the amount it would have taken to just drive the eight hours home: 2 hours driving from Stanford, KY to Union Terminal in Cincinnati, OH; 10 hours on the Amtrak; 2 hours on the Union Pacific Northwest commuter train to Harvard, IL; almost 1 hour driving along Rte 173 to Rockford, IL. This does not include the number of hours spent waiting here and there. Suffice to say I left Stanford around 5 PM Friday night and got to Rockford around 3:30 PM on Saturday.
Would I have rather spent 8 hours driving in a car with nothing but my thoughts and vast cornfields to keep me company, or reading?
What I brought for reading material: Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope, Charles De Lint's The Ivory and the Horn; Laura Miller's The Magician's Nephew: a skeptic's adventurs in Narnia.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
The power struggles between the cats are interesting largely because they are so subtle. A stranger would think all the cats are getting along just fine, but they aren't looking close enough. True, each cat's doing his/her own thing--Pope's on the rug in the living room, Bea's on the table in the dining room, Callie's under the guest bed, Toby's dozing on the in-law's bed, Burt's on the chair in the basement, and Delta is sleeping in the closet downstairs--but they are missing those rare encounters where these seemingly laid-back animals display their ferocious, mostly hidden, natures.
When they move through the house, it's mostly uneventful, or so it seems. Except for the alert ears, the penetrating eyes, the deliberate cold shoulders, the twitching tails, one would think the cats are fine in each other's presence. But then an encounter happens, explosive, shocking, over as quick as it began: a yowl, a BAM-BAM-BAM of a paw against another cat's head, fur on end, fangs bared. Then something is decided (we humans don't know what the outcome was) and the cats return to their docile selves, ignoring each other, going their own way.
Who was the victor? Who gave way? We'll never know.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I came across this intriguing title from the June 1872 issue of Popular Science: "On the artificial production of stupidity in schools." And I thought this was a recent problem.
One of the cool things about google digitizing magazines is that it captures the entire magazine, not just the articles (something many expensive databases do not do). This might not seem so awesome today, but think about how curious it is to see ads from fifty, even one hundred years ago. Such primary source material gives you a unique perspective on history.
Read more about it here.
A student had a problem locating an online article at the library. It was in the 2004 issue of some random journal. A search of our online journal list pulls up this random journal...so it looks like we have it. But, there is a indication of the years we have access to, clearly delineated when the user clicks on random journal title. 2004 is not included in those years. Yet said student does not register this.
This is something that I have noticed while helping people, both at the public library and at the university. People do not seem to read what is on the screen in front of them. At first, I assumed this was just laziness on their part (students today tend to give up at the first obstacle they encounter in their searches). Then I started wondering whether there is something wrong with the design of the websites they are looking at: is the layout confusing, the text too weird, the colors off-putting? Does our online journal list fall into any of those categories?
Something to think about next year. I'm supposed to be on break.
Friday, December 19, 2008
- Looked at Orlando, thinking about its usefulness to the library
- Ruthlessly cleaned out my email and organized to-do's
- Gathered signatures for a Christmas card
- Made faces at a co-worker's baby
- Ate tons of food at the annual Christmas party
- Worked on a library resources webpage
- Surfed flickr for interesting photos to include in above webpage
- Read some blogposts about libraries
- Ate a tangerine
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
It was (and is) a curious experience. You would think that being nearly deaf like me, I would be accustomed to it. And I am, to the extent that I look forward to being swaddled in silence every night. But to be up and about, doing things, with a vociferous cat underfoot, and not hearing any of it, is strange. My brain begins to reach for the sounds that it feels should be there. The rustle of a shirt, the tapping of fingers against the keyboard, the hiss of water shooting out of the faucet, the cat chirping at the birds outside. I find myself rehearsing those sounds in my mind, and, like the person trying too hard to remember the face of a person she treasured, losing my grip on them the harder I try.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
This list was compiled in the U.K. by the BBC. The average adult has read only 6 of the books on the list.
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you love.
4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or were forced to read at school and hated.
5) Reprint this list in your own blog. (This list in no way represents the top 100 books. It’s missing the Iliad and Odyssey by Homer. For shame.)
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
So when we stepped inside the house I told you about below, it was like walking into a candy store. Never mind that my practical self was already decided (is it unfortunate that my practicality and imagination can co-exist so easily?), I was entranced from the moment we stepped into the cavernous, light-flooded foyer. A grand staircase spiraled up on the left, a broad hallway stretched ahead, populated with numerous doors that opened into other rooms that opened into more rooms with more doors.
A huge chimney anchored the house--almost every room touched it, and the fireplaces dominated those rooms, decked out in gleaming wood finery. Quite breathtaking.
It was a home I would have loved growing up in (I can see my parents rolling their eyes).
Then Jon and I walked out the back door, the realtor locked up, and we turned our backs on it.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
One thing we have learned : pictures can be deceiving.
The house itself was quite all right, an older home built around a massive central chimney. Its neighbor, however, made Jon and me look at each other as we shared the same thought: No longer interested. The neighboring house was a dumpy building, overgrown with weeds, festooned with junk, and guarded by a fitful junkyard dog who barked whenever a leaf fell from a tree (which is another way of saying "nonstop"). The crowning glory of said house was a large confederate flag emblazoned with the words: "Heritage not hate."
Friday, December 05, 2008
I hate my car with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. It is becoming unpredictable at the worst possible time.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
I can't get over this one. My heart seizes, I hear the wind blowing, and my legs itch, wanting to explore this beautiful place.
If anyone at work doubts how much I love the Harry Potter books, they doubt no more starting today. The head of our department came by, holding The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and I gasped, clasping my hands in front of my chest.
Completely involuntary, somewhat embarrassing.
Monday, November 24, 2008
One girl, not too keen on the books, asked "Why is the dialogue so corny? Why does Edward talk that way?"
And the other girl, a fanatic, replied,"Well, he just doesn't know any better. He's a vampire--he's not normal, so he doesn't know that's not the way people talk."
The excuse for vampires prone to corny language: they just don't know any better!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Earlier this week, he accidentally locked himself out of the house one morning while going outside to warm his car up. As this was a workday, he needed to get inside pretty quick to get the rest of his stuff.
I was in the bathroom at this time, enjoying the warmth of our space heater while getting ready for work.
He started out by knocking on the door (which I didn't hear). Then ringing the doorbell (which I didn't notice). Then pounding on the door (which I didn't notice). Then furiously assaulting the door and doorbell (which I still didn't register). By this time, he realized that I was not coming to the door and that he would need to figure out another way to get in. So he climbed on top of the first floor back-porch, crawled up and over the roof of the house, and squeezed through a window into our front room.
When I say I didn't "notice" or "register" these frantic noises he was making, I mean that I did hear them, but that my brain (bless its heart, trying to process mumbo-jumbo) translated these various noises as: Pope galloping through the apartment (which he does often enough) and Jon gargling salt water (he had a cold at this time). How the doorbell could sound like gargles is beyond me, but that's just the closest match my brain could come up with.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
A hiker we met at this shelter told a bear story about this very shelter. He and his wife were eating behind the fence when a bear came up. "Oh, how cute!" They said, taking its picture as it paced back and forth in front of the fence. They stopped saying that when it hooked a claw under the gate and opened it as if it were a welcoming door. It came in, grabbed a backpack and dragged it out, where it proceeded to maul it in search of food. When it found nothing, it returned and took the food they were eating.
Maybe you're asking why we stay in shelters, knowing that 400 pound+ creatures are roaming nearby. Our reasons are this: bears are interested in food. They have no interest in altercations with humans. We hang our food a good ways from the shelter, and cook all our food outside the shelter so that there is no inviting scent associated with the shelter, calling out to bears: "Free dinner! Here!"
We are 1 million more times likely to be assaulted by mice than bears.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Obviously, the privy is a little ways from the shelter: through the grass, down a couple rock steps and over a log. And it was dark. So I'm inside the privy, steeling myself up to bare my skin to the bitter cold (we woke up to frost), when I hear a deep "Hwoof!"
As this is not the typical sound of wind or birds (which weren't even out), I paused, a little perplexed. Again, "hwoof!"
And again (imagine the sound a large dog makes).
When that connection was made, the next logical step sent the adrenaline pumping through my limbs: what if this is a bear?...And why am I still out here, vulnerably situated in a giant box?
I hightailed it out of there, every step agonizingly slow, acutely aware of the wind nipping the back of my neck.
Later that day, I mentioned this to Jon. He slowly turned his head to look at me, eyes solemn,"That's the sound a bear makes when he is making his presence known."
Monday, November 10, 2008
Typeanalyzer uses the Myers-Briggs method to determine what part of your brain you use the most while writing.
Genderanalyzer uses artificial intelligence to determine what sex you write like.
Blog Readability Test determines what grade level your blog is written at.
What is Your Blog Worth determines the profitability level of your blog based on Technorati ratings and advertising potential.
According to Typeanalyzer, I am an ISTP (Mechanic). This means that I "enjoy adventure and risk such as driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters." Let us pause a moment and ponder how true this is.
Genderanalyzer tells me that I write like a man.
The Blog Readability Test has decided that I write at the college/postgrad level.
The worth of my blog is around $565.
Thanks to LibraryBytes for this.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
A quote: "Too many conservative Evangelicals have put too much faith in the power of government to transform culture. The futility inherent in such misplaced faith can be demonstrated by asking these activists a simple question: Does the secular left, when it holds power, persuade conservatives to live by their standards? Of course they do not. Why, then, would conservative Evangelicals expect people who do not share their worldview and view of God to accept their beliefs when they control government?"
Friday, November 07, 2008
This was about four days worth of food, pots, sleeping bags, clothes to sleep in, sleeping pads, and other what-nots: a house on your back, so to speak. Jon's pack weighed almost 30 pounds.
We should have put the cat in there for scale.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
This was my first rally, and I think it will be my last. 95% waiting, and 5% trying to see and hear the man over and around the noise and frantically waving signs.
Obama could say "The" and everyone would start screaming. But it was worth it.
There are more pictures over at flickr.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Not your typical Danielle Steele.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Instead of voting based on whether Obama is black, or Palin sounds dumb, or McCain looks old, we need to really think about what we expect from the next administration, and vote accordingly.
To learn more about Barack Obama, go to his website.
To learn more about John McCain, go to his website.
Those wanting to know the truth behind all the ads and claims that the candidates make should go to FactCheck which is a site that works to be a "nonpartisan, nonprofit "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in
Head over to google's 2008 US Voter Info website if you're not sure exactly where you need to go to vote.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
A treatise on the curious nature of learned astronomers and other such esteemed gentlemen and the writings they espouse
To give you an idea of what's in there, you can look at the article published by Edmund Halley in 1705 describing the comet that was named after him: "Astronomiae Cometicae Synopsis." You can't read it unless you know Latin, but, hey!, it's pretty darn cool.
Some other titles in there:
- "The Description of a Monstrous Child, Born Friday the 29th. of February 1684. at a Village Called Heisagger, Distant about 4 English Miles from Hattersleben, a Town in South- Jutland, under the King of Denmark's Dominion, Communicated by Mr. Christopher Krahe, a Member of the Ecclesiastical Consistory and Provost of all the Churches Belonging to the Said Diocess"
- "Two Letters Formerly Written to Mr. H. O, by Dr. M.L. Ist. concerning Some Very Aged Persons in the North of England. 2d. about the Projection of the Threads of Spiders, of Bees Breeding in Cases Made of Leaves, of a Viviparous Fly, and of Great Numbers of Maggots Observed at the Time of the Plague, A. D. 1666"
- "Of a Place in England, Where, without Petrifying Water, Wood is Turned into Stone"
The older movies had a sense of weight, tangible in the sense of the journey that Indy undertook in each of them, and we went along for the ride. The series was full of action/adventure drama and mystical overtones owing to the various searches for long lost artifacts, but I think it endures because it speaks to the curiosity in all of us, the need to know about something Other (whatever your religion, or lack thereof). Another reason for the popularity of the movies is the sense that we could do what Indy does, that the adventures he embarks on could possibly happen in real life.
This movie is just another action/adventure flick full of ridiculous fight scenes that could not logically happen in real life, and the search for the crystal skull is full of mumbo-jumbo that makes no sense to anyone who hasn't looked into the eyes of the crystal skull and communed with the extraterrestrial being within. Sure, we're all curious to know how ancient people could have achieved what they did without modern technology, but the movie's vague answer, that "Knowledge," granted from the aliens, is the reason (with no further elaboration, other than a character saying "They have gone into the space between spaces."), coupled with the focus on flashy special effects rather than a journey that Indy embarks on, makes for an overall silly movie that should never have stooped so low.
An interesting review over at Books & Culture: Indiana Jones and the Deadly Blather
Monday, October 27, 2008
This reminded me of how sometimes I would think about what it would be like to live "back then," such as in Jane Austen's time. Then I would wonder what it would really be like if I was transported warts, hearing impairment and all, into the Regency era. I suppose, considering the fact that I've been hard of hearing (to the point that I am more likely to feel thunder, not hear it) since I was little, I would be considered dumb, especially if I did not have someone like Anne Sullivan to work with me. It's a sobering realization, especially just for daydreaming--I shouldn't be so literal in my imagination.
By the way, the title was changed to American Annals of the Deaf in 1886.
Friday, October 24, 2008
It also means that "cold as death" is around the corner. I use this term for that cold that gets into your bones, that you can't seem to shake unless you are standing in front of a bonfire. It's not necessarily limited to the dark winter months of the far north, where the wind howls for miles over the plains.
I freely admit that it's entirely subjective (to me). Jon finds this hilarious, he who can go outside in 50 degree weather with nothing on but a shirt and pants and be "on the cool side of comfortable".
I write this we're entering an uncertain period at the office--the span of time between when it first gets cold outside and when they turn the heat on inside--and it's "cold as death" in here.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
We got a new camera, and have been playing around with it: me by taking way too many pictures of Pope, and Jon by actually tinkering with the bazillion buttons and controls that come with it.
Monday, October 20, 2008
- I don't like the grime that accumulates on my skin (especially in the recesses of my ears)
- the sleeping pads we use are poor substitutes for a proper bed
- how much I envy men the ability to go to the bathroom without having to remove an article of clothing
- I despair at the sight of yet one more steep climb to make before reaching the day's end
- the first couple of days, my legs are as stiff and creaky as an arthritic, stoop-backed old man
- going downhill is worse than going uphill (seriously)
Last week, I hung out in Jon's truck in the parking lot at Asbury College while he went to class for a couple hours. There was wi-fi in the area, so I was able to knock out an hour of work for my job while keeping the cat company in the truck. (Yes, the cat was in there with me, curled up on the driver's seat). When work was done, I watched youtube videos and trailers for various movies while night descended.
Stay tuned for stories and pictures from the Smokies (I have an adventure to relate)
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
We have copious amounts of trail mix, which I know I will probably get sick of after the first day--which is strange, as I love nuts, chocolate, and dried fruit.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Try the abominable snowman.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
He couldn't resist the lure of kitty treats, however.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
The funny thing was--I didn't get as much out of it as I thought I would. Apparently, I'm not alone in thinking this. My colleagues told me and a fellow newbie to get used to that feeling.
The two sessions I enjoyed (out of a two day event) were "Next generation catalog landscape" and "Copyright in the library: painless solutions for the moderately squeamish." Absolutely fascinating for those of you outside the library world, I know; nonetheless, very enlightening for those of us that need to know.
I felt very much a "Generation-Y" person there, a youngish person in a sea of mostly grey-haired professional folk (I was wearing jeans alongside other folks smartly dressed in blazers and shiny loafers). My library is remarkably forward-thinking, especially as regards technology and the evolving paradigm embodied in "Web 2.0," so it was interesting to encounter folks who were reluctant to acknowledge the place that technology has in libraries, especially as our patron group is shifting as younger generations grow up. I understand this reluctance, even as I am impatient with it.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I looked up and saw a large, brilliant white cat with golden eyes staring at me, almost as if in challenge, "What?! What do you expect?"
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I saw this book at Barnes & Noble the other night. The back flap indicates the reasoning behind the title.
"It's 'black belt' in the sense that it is strong, resolute, and to the point, like a roundhouse kick."
This quote sounds like it came from the website Chuck Norris Facts.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
So what exactly do I do at work?
I tell people who ask that I deal with all the "online stuff," such as
I also deal with access issues (as my job title suggests), which involves anything from checking links to communicating with publishers and/or our middleman at Ebsco (which handles most of our subscriptions) to updating SFX, our linking system and all other sorts of things.
Are you even more confused? See why I just said "online stuff"?
I also spend some time on the reference desk, am working my way into serving on some committees, and am a liaison to some departments on campus.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
This kind of stuff fascinates me. It appeals to the pack-rat within, the curiosity-shoppe minded person living in the back, the little kid still enthralled by oddities of nature.
On a similar note, I want to see the places mentioned in this Smithsonian article: Small Wonders: Europe's idiosyncratic house museums yield pleasures beyond their size
A library position opened up in the Field Museum in Chicago..
I had a bout of food poisoning this weekend. We think it was the spoonbread at the Spoonbread Festival in Berea, Kentucky. One hour after eating, I was vomiting in the parking lot, and vomiting on the hour until late that night, with the Discovery Channel to keep me company, long after there was any food left to come out. I lost four pounds.
It's rather amazing how vigorously the body works to defend itself.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
"It shows a balding but not unhandsome man of about forty who sports a trim beard. In his left ear he wears a gold earring. His expression is confident, serenely rakish. This is not a man, you sense, to whom you would lightly entrust a wife or grown daughter."--p. 2 of "Shakespeare: the world as stage"
His book "A Walk in the Woods" is a classic. Some quotes from there:
"I turned to my own bunk and examined it with a kind of appalled fascination. If the mattress stains were anything to go by, a previous user had not so much suffered from incontinence as rejoiced in it."
About a waitress in whom Katz (Bryson’s hiking partner) feels a romantic interest:
"She went off to deal with a distant customer, and Katz watched her go with something like paternal pride. 'She's pretty ugly, isn’t she?' he said with a big, incongruous beam.
I sought for tact. 'Well, only compared with other women.'"
Monday, September 15, 2008
It's quite easy to want to agree, while one is wrapped tight in humidity, wearing short sleeved shirts and sandals in response to glaring heat--when cold weather is easily relegated to distant memories and vague associations.
Then I remember one of my very first nights out on a cold winter's night--how it seemed the stars must shatter on such brittle air, how a breeze felt like razors scraping my pink, raw cheeks, how strange it was that I felt warmer outside the sleeping bag than in it.
But that was back when I was inexperienced, before I realized that bodily discomfort and the nearness of death don't necessarily come hand in hand. Each time we go out, the more accustomed I get to the things nature throws our way, to the point that I treasure a blurry picture Jon took of the two of us laughing in a spate of icy rain that blew parallel to the ground.
Such moments make the simple pleasures of being dry, cocooned in warmth, with a mug of piping hot chicken noodle soup all the more treasured--you no longer take them for granted.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I looked at my parents' house in Rockford, and, lo and behold, there was my dad's truck parked out front. You can also look "up" at the sky and treetops while in the "Street View" option (you have to play around with the buttons a little to get a handle on it).
The better your _______, the better prepared you are to handle stress factors.
a. psychic abilities
b. SAT scores
c. physical condition
d. golf handicap
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
I went for a long time without seeing No Country for Old Men--it just didn't seem my cup of tea, in spite of the rave reviews it garnered everywhere. Then a good friend of mine from the old library told me to see it, so I did, and was blown away. I have no intention of watching it again--it's not Pride & Prejudice--but it sticks with me still. In the midst of its bleak imagery (the amoral hitman appears to get away, leaving a rampage of blood behind), the good characters shine brightly all the more.
Two things stick with me from that movie: the wife of the dumb and careless ranch-hand. When the hitman shows up in her home near the end of the movie, she refuses to submit to his power, thereby breaking the cycle of violence that he thrives on. The other thing is the sheriff's story of a dream he had, of his father riding ahead of him into the darkness, and how he knew that there would be a fire waiting for him, a lone point of warmth and light in the middle of a dark wilderness.
Eastern Promises is strange. A rather bleak tale of a midwife who comes against the powerful Russian mafia in London, the movie manages to make her small victory quite feasible, in the face of such mindless eye-for-an-eye violence.
Monday, September 08, 2008
In addition to spending time with the folks I love--my parents, Grandma, my dear cousin Rosie with whom I grew up (I treasure a photograph of all us baby cousins piled on the floor, where Rosie is staring, open-mouthed, at something off camera, and I am transfixed by her open mouth, reaching my pudgy fingers out, determined to have a look-see), I ran into some old friends from the high school years: Keelan McMorrow and Salem Barker.
I am blown away by how they turned out, maturing into full-fledged artists with art shows in the Chicago area. When we were all younger, I would never have seen them turning out this way; yet, looking back with hindsight, I can see clues scattered along the years that point to their unfolding as artists.
Keelan McMorrow does paintings:
Salem Barker does wood sculpture:
Thursday, September 04, 2008
One perk of this job is the laptop, which has wireless. Because of this, I found out that there is a wireless signal in the area called "bigdaddy."