Friday, June 27, 2008

Random things seen

Every time J. and I come home to the in-laws, we see Golf Cart Guy with Two German Shepherds.

He rides around the subdivision in a golf cart with two huge German Shepherds for company. One sits up front, the other sits in the back, tongue lolling as he calmly regards you. Such well-behaved dogs are rare, and in a golf cart no less. (We suspect they are sampling his beer).

I am starting to expect this comical sight when we come down, just as I expect to see Fannie come into the library, wearing those men's clothes from Goodwill, telling us that milk and orange juice are on sale at Kroger.

Insufficient quantities of time

The number of books on my "to-read" list over at goodreads is 136 so far. This number could easily change next week, after I've been in the library. That's what happens when you're surrounded by books everyday.

In one of the classes for Public Libraries, Professor Carrigan remarked on the piles of books waiting for him to read. He figured that, at the rate that he read books, he would have to live at least another 100 years in order to complete his reading list.

Considering how much younger I am (therefore more years of spying many more books here and there), how much longer would I have to live in order to read my accumulated piles of books?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What's a wordle?

I found out about a cool website through Cindi Trainor's blog.

Wordle lets you create tag clouds out of whatever words you want. The results are rather neat and professional looking. You can play around with the layout, font, and colors. While the options are limited (I'm not too happy with the color schemes available), this application lets you feel like a computer pro.

I created a wordle out of Wendell Berry's Country of Marriage. Have a look at it here.

I'd like to create one out of a poem or passage about libraries.

Beauty will save the world

This past Sunday at work, the library director showed me the elecam. It shows what's going on in various parts of an elephant sanctuary down in Tennessee. For a few minutes, we watched an elephant rubbing its rear against a tree, its trunk lazily reaching up to grasp at branches (I was put in mind of Autumn taking her bottle, how she would reach up and touch your hair or pull at her toes, stretching her legs like a yogi). It was strangely relaxing--quite a nice little respite from a busy afternoon.

I've always wanted a house that backs up against a cow pasture (I wouldn't mind a zoo, either, but that would be a little hard to find). Every night I would sit on the back porch with a cup of coffee and watch the cows...doing what cows do. This herd of cows would easily replace the parade of actors and actresses on TV, for their dumb, bovine grace shows me that beauty can be found in the oddest places.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Oh, the horror!

I helped a boy with his homework. He came in asking for stuff on 19th century U.S. history. I asked what it was for, and he showed me the questions he had to answer at the back of a chapter in his textbook.

Everything he needed to answer the questions was there in the chapter--he could have copied his answers verbatim. His problem? He didn't want to read.

I forced him to scan the chapter with me. I even pointed out the sections that contained the answers to some of the questions, and asked him what he thought the answer was, but he still resisted the notion of reading.

It's a good thing I don't work all day with children, because such resistance to reading is foreign to me, and I would become highly impatient.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Twilight fanaticism

A lady called the library one day, her voice a flutter with nervous anticipation: she had to be certain that the sequel to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight was on hold for her.

For those of you unaware of what exactly Twilight is, you've been living under a rock for the past year. I have emerged into the sunlight, and now you will too. Even though I have read the books, I was taken aback by the fervor of the twilighters, as the fans of this series about the love story of a vampire and a human are known. I became acquainted with this fanaticism firsthand when this breathless lady (who was older than me) called the library.

How did a young adult book about vampires and love become so big that grown women sigh over Edward, the vampire equivalent of Romeo? I haven't a clue, seeing as the type of books that deeply affect me are ones like C.S. Lewis' Till we Have Faces.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A room of one's own

I don't know what is more taxing: packing or unpacking.

We're out of the old place and into the new. The bedroom and kitchen are mostly sorted out--those are the important parts to take care of immediately, even if all you do is make the bed and make sure there is milk and cereal available in the midst of piles of boxes.

But there are still boxes. I opened a closet door, thinking it was all set, and found six boxes sitting coyly on the shelves: Remember us?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Cats on the belfrey

There is a cat herd here at the in-law's. J.'s sister's 3 cats, our very own Pope, and the in-law's two cats.

Watching them sort out their place on the hierarchy of cats is very interesting. The only real aggression I've seen is between Pope and Toby, one of the mostly-outdoors cats belonging to the in-laws, everything else is just playful altercations.

I think Pope and Bea like each other secretly. It's like middle school, where they tease each other because they're too embarrassed to admit they like each other.

Bea is the strangest cat of the herd. She has to investigate everything--the surface of everything, including the digital TV (she has good balance), the inside of everything, etc. She is quite vocal in her opinions. In front of a door leading outside, "MRow!" If Pope is about to pounce, she flicks her tail and disdainfully says "MRow!" which puts him in his place. If she glimpses a parallel world in the mirror, "MRow!"

Things in the dark

I had a rather interesting experience the night before last. I woke up while I was sleepwalking, in the still unfamiliar territory of the in-laws' basement.

I was not wearing my glasses, and I did not have my hearing aid on. It was very dark, almost pitch black. When I moved my arms around, I couldn't feel anything. As I am almost legally blind without my glasses, deaf without my hearing aid, having all my senses deprived of stimulation was rather terrifying. It felt like I was suspended in a void.

Thankfully, I made it back to bed after shuffling around a little and stumbling across the pet crates, which I knew were at the foot of the bed.

The big guy at work says that I should read Becket's How it is