Thursday, December 4, 2008


The train pulled into the Farragut North station, half of the cars dark, with a placard on front saying "Special." I had just enough time to process the thought that I'd never seen a train labeled that way when the door to one of the dark cars slid open and a woman stepped out. She was dressed head to toe in black, with a stocking cap on her head and a very, very large gun in her hands.

That was when I stopped breathing.

She stayed on the platform for perhaps ten seconds before she stepped back onto the train and the doors slid closed. And then the train began to honk. I didn't even know Metro trains had horns. The sound was deafening, echoing through the station. The other passengers on the platform began to look around uneasily. The train slid forward about fifteen feet and the door opened again. The woman stepped back onto the platform.

There was activity behind me. I hadn't even noticed the man with the gun, standing at the door of the next car down. Two other men quickly began pushing money carts, like those you see in casinos, off the train and around the corner, then pushing other carts onto the train. There was a sense of urgency and tension that was almost palpable. I was afraid to stare, but couldn't look away. I started breathing again, mostly. The woman and the three men stepped back onto the train. The doors slid closed and the train pulled out of the station. They were gone.

I'd never given the least bit of thought to how Metro moved its money around, but now I guess I know.

The sense of general unease and nausea stayed with me for the ride home. I get motion sick on Metro anyway, and the two glasses of wine I had at Science Club weren't doing me any favors either, but this was different from usual. For the first several moments, while my brain put the pieces of what I was seeing together into a coherent picture, I was paralyzed by fear. My brain locked onto the one image--gun. Really, really big gun.

I spent the rest of my trip home in a fairly introspective mood. I thought a lot about what it means to live in or around DC and about the fact that I more or less accept the fact that we might as well have a big old bullseye right over downtown. That was my first thought, you know. The woman was, I'm sure, a Metro police officer, but the first reaction of my panicked brain was terrorist. From my vantage point, I couldn't see a badge or other insignia, and it was a really, really big gun. And it's been said before that transit systems would make great terrorist targets.

I have more thoughts on this, but I'm saving them for tomorrow. It's late and I'm too tired to be introspective anymore.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Back to high school

I've gotta tell you, folks, I do not care for delayed gratification. When I want something, I want it now. This is why I'm likely to be a bit twitchy for the next few days, at least until my copy of Eclipse arrives from It actually arrived yesterday, but I returned it to the store because the dust jacket was ripped (I'm compulsive, so sue me) expecting to just do an even exchange for a new copy. B&N's method for dealing with this is pretty asinine, and the upshot is I left without the book but with a new one on the way. If I'd known this would happen, I'd have read the damn thing before I returned it.

But, whatever.

The whole situation has put me in a YA frame of mind. I stopped by the library this evening to find something to fill the hole until Eclipse arrives, and I made use of its painfully small YA section. This is what I love about YA. When you read it as an adult, it's usually a pretty quick read but it's entertaining because you have the benefit of hindsight. Yeah, you can see the disasters coming from a mile away because you actually lived through high school, but it's so easy to get caught back up in that high-school, oh-my-God-he-talked-to-me mindset. Particularly if, like me, you were a geek in high school who never got to do any of the exciting stuff.

So without further ado, my list of awesome YA that even an adult can love.

I was late on this bandwagon. I finished the first book last Saturday and the second one last night. The wait for Eclipse is going to be brutal. Partly, I've always had a thing for vampire stories, and the whole star-crossed lover deal is always a winner. But really I think it boils down to the fact that I--I who hate chick lit, who won't watch sappy movies, who thinks Nicholas Sparks is Satan incarnate--I am a sucker for an angsty teenage romance. I mean, think about high school. Think about who you were dating in high school. Can you imagine wanting to spend all of eternity with that person? (You don't count, Jenni.) I mean, not everyone hit the unfaithful-drug addict-high school dropout trifecta with their high school boyfriend like I did, but usually those are not romances that are made to last. But damn if Stephenie Meyer doesn't sell it. I was only about 50 pages in before I realized how hooked I was. I'm doing a terrible job of selling it. But it's awesome.

How I Live Now
You have to respect a book--particularly one aimed at young adults--that takes on a topic like incest but handles it sensitively. Set in the near future, it's a story of falling in love with the absolute wrong person. When war breaks out, American fifteen-year-old Daisy is stranded in England with her cousins—and no adult supervision. As the realities of war sink in to the five children, Daisy and her cousin Edmond find comfort—and love— in each other. Their comfort is short-lived, however, as the children are forcibly separated and Daisy and her cousin Piper struggle to stay alive and find the others.

Rats Saw God
Nobody is more surprised than Steve York when he’s selected as a National Merit finalist. Steve cuts class. He spends all of his time stoned. And he planted a marijuana seed in his guidance counselor’s fern. He’s drugged out, depressed and failing English—despite a 760 verbal SAT score. When his guidance counselor investigates, he finds that two years ago, Steve was a straight-A student. He challenges Steve to write a 100-page paper on the topic of his choice in return for a passing English grade. Steve chooses to explore the last two years of his life in the paper—which may be just what the counselor ordered.

Written by Veronica Mars creator (not musician) Rob Thomas, this is an amazing story of a life totally derailed by one series of events. It's kind of like a Catcher in the Rye for a new generation, if Catcher in the Rye didn't suck so much.

I Am Morgan le Fay
Morgan was born into a world where women have little power, where men make all of the decisions, where a son is valued highly above a daughter. But there is a power reserved for the women alone. It is the power of the Fay, the Faerie. When Morgan learns to harness that magical power for herself, she changes history, for she is the half sister of the legendary King Arthur. She is Morgan le Fay, and her power will bring down Camelot.

I also have a weakness for Arthurian legends. Traditional tellings of the story are very focused on the male characters, and the women are often either evil or spineless. Nancy Springer chooses to focus on Morgan le Fay as a child and young adult, ending the story before she encounters King Arthur as an adult. Morgan is classically seen as a villain in the mythology, but Springer’s take on the tale is that of a good if misguided girl who lets the allure of power lead her astray.

Elinor is lucky, so lucky. She is lucky to be part of True Cause, because True Cause is the True Cause. She is lucky to not be an Outsider, because Outsiders don’t know salvation. They don’t know Howard. Elinor is lucky to be one of Howard’s Chosen, because she will become one of his wives when she turns sixteen. Howard is the Savior, and he chooses very few. Elinor is lucky. But sometimes she doesn’t feel so lucky. Sometimes she wonders why telephones and newspapers are Forbidden. Sometimes she wonders why the Outsiders seem so content with their sinful lives. Sometimes she wonders why she keeps meeting the Outsider boy Jamie, even though she knows it’s wrong. Sometimes she wonders if this is all there is to her life.

Creepy and touching. And creepy.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Hilarity

I have never actually rickrolled anyone, because I'm not that slick and most people I know wouldn't get it anyway. But I do have to share this, as it is possibly the funniest thing I've seen in weeks.

Awesome. Who cares if only about 10% of the viewing audience has the faintest idea what just happened?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In which I make my family sound like either idiots or monsters, but we're neither, I swear.

This afternoon, my aunt emailed me a link to my great-aunt's obituary. That led to the following conversation:

Me: Did you know that Aunt Vera died?

Dad: Oh, did I forget to tell you that?

This sounds awful, really it does, but it's not like it's the first time. Several years ago I had this conversation with my mother:

Mom: Well, you know, when your [Great] Aunt Nina was alive...

Me: Aunt Nina's dead?

And to be fair, it's not just my parents. My dad once had this conversation with his father (now deceased.)

Grandpa: Well, we just got back from Iowa.

Dad: Why were you in Iowa?

Grandpa: The funeral was very nice.

Dad: Funeral?

Grandpa: The flowers you sent were lovely.

Dad: ...

My aunt had sent flowers in the name of all the "kids" and had forgotten to tell a few people...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Worst daughter ever.

I called my Mom today to wish her a happy birthday, making this the twelfth straight year that I've forgotten my Dad's birthday then felt so guilty about it that I remember my Mom's six days later.

I suck.

It's not as if I didn't know it was coming. On November 11, I thought to myself, "Hmm--I need to remember to call Dad tomorrow." On November 13, I was on the phone with my Mom when she said "Did you call your father yesterday?"


In other news, today was the first Reading Is Fundamental book distribution of the year. The students had a blast, and I am now so tired I can hardly hold my head up.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Attention Mother Nature

I am not ready for this cold.

And I am cold. All the time. Last night O. pulled out the godawful ugly comforter that I nixed last year. He put it on the bed and I didn't even argue, because it was wonderfully warm. Apparently I'm going to have to "put it away" straight into the trash if I want to get rid of it, but not until I get something that matches it in warmth.

The only place I'm not cold these days is work, because when DCPS turns on the heat, they TURN ON THE HEAT. It's about 95 degrees in the hallways. The only reason it's not 95 degrees in the classrooms is because we all have our window unit air conditioners on to balance it out. No, I'm not kidding. We'll have them on all winter. It makes my little environmentalist heart hurt...but not enough to suffer without it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

In which I spend time in the fresh air, and enjoy myself.

Yesterday O. and I hiked section A of the Billy Goat Trail. For him it was fairly easy--I think he is part billy goat--but it's basically at the limit of my (limited) hiking ability. For example, I climbed this:

I really do enjoy things like this, although I'm not very skilled at it. It's worth the hard work though, for views like this:

Hard to believe we're only 20 minutes from DC, isn't it?

The hike took about four hours, and we left late enough that it was pitch black by the time we got back to the car. Luckily the last mile and a half of the hike was along the C&O canal towpath, which is relatively flat. We were lucky that the weather was so nice so late in the year, so this is probably the last time we'll go out there this year...a four hour hike in the cold is probably pushing my limits a bit.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I had an epiphany this morning, as I struggled with a particularly bothersome pair of pantyhose. Now, I do not often wear pantyhose anymore, because really, who does? But this morning it seemed appropriate, because 1) I was going to church, and 2) the bruise described in my last post was still very much in evidence. Despite my threats to make up some wild story featuring O. and a letter opener, I really didn't feel like answering questions about it.

So, as I struggled with these pantyhose, I realized that whenever I get a run, it is always in the left leg. How do I know this? Well, I put the right leg on first, and it's always fine, which gives me hope for the overall fitness of the garment. And then I put on the left leg and it's shot to hell. Because let's face it--the flimsier the pantyhose, the more money we have to spend on new pairs. Sometimes I think my cats climb into my lingerie drawer and claw the hell out of my pantyhose, just for fun. I mean, how else can you explain why the shredded pairs would be in the drawer instead of in the garbage where they belong? I mean, it couldn't possibly be that I threw them on the floor when I took them off, and then picked them up a week later and washed them and put them away...Oh. Wait...

As an aside, I hate the word pantyhose. It sounds...unrefined. But nylons sounds stupid and stockings sounds like the things that are held up by a garter belt, and I do not have enough time in my life to bother with those things. Hence the title of this post...and I know that doesn't really cover it either, but I just could not make myself title a post Pantyhose.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lethal Fashion

Last weekend, I bought these fabulous boots:

They look even more fabulous in person, because they fit my legs perfectly. And, they're comfortable as long as you're not doing a ridiculous amount of walking in them.

They're also lethal weapons. Exhibit A:

That would be the side of my knee. That would be the side of my knee after I tripped over a box in the library, flailed around trying to stay upright and kicked myself with my right heel.

It bled. It hurt as much as it looks like it did. And it made my fabulous outfit slightly less fabulous.

On the up side, it's two days later and I'm not limping anymore.

NaNoWriMo 08

As you can see from the badge to the right, I'm planning to participate in NaNoWriMo 2008. This year I have a couple of things going for me, namely that my comprehensive exams and thus my Masters degree will be over, so I have less of an excuse not to do it. That doesn't really change the fact that I'm a consummate procrastinator, but it does give me a little bit of an advantage.

50,000 words in 30 days. About 1,666 words per day. It's doable...if I keep up with it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wakeup Call

In the past eight days, I have only dined out twice. That might seem like a small victory, but for me it is huge. I did cheat a bit on my seven-day vow to eat at home, but my intention was not to turn into a hermit, so I'm counting it as a success.

And I have a pretty good weapon in my battle of willpower. I use Quicken to track my finances. Quicken, of course, has some handy-dandy reporting features, including the ability to see how much money you've spent in each of the different categories you've set up. So on a whim, I ran a report to check the total under Dining.

Then I had to sit down until I stopped hyperventilating.

I won't share the entire total (although you could figure it out if you wanted to) but the report showed clearly that I was spending an average of $275 a month on eating out. Two hundred and seventy five dollars a month. That's obscene.

And then I remembered something...

I bought this computer in April. Transferring my data from my old computer was way too much of a hassle (believe me, I tried.) My bank records only go back to April.


My $275 suddenly skyrocketed to $350. That's so far beyond obscene I don't even have a word for it.

And it's not like I've been dining at the Palm. I've been known to go out for a pricier dinner now and then, but that obscene amount is mostly made up of Jerry's subs, Chipotle burritos and McDonalds chicken nuggets. I've been nickel and diming myself to death, and let's face it: I do not make enough money to drop $350 a month on anything, much less something that:

1. Doesn't stick around.
2. Probably wasn't good for me anyway.

My intention is still not to turn into a hermit. I enjoy spending time with my friends, and I do enjoy eating out and trying new restaurants. But even the convenience factor of takeout is overrated, because opening a can of Campbells still takes less time than sitting through a drive-thru.

In the past few days, the thought of that horrible, horrible sum of money has been enough to make me turn up my nose at the idea of going out in a way that nothing ever has before. Thank God something has; the thought of the amount of money I've thrown away this year makes me sick.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My wallet sighs in relief...

This afternoon, I bought gas. For under $3 a gallon.

No, I'm serious.

$2.93 for regular at any of the three gas stations at the intersection of Rt. 198 and Rt. 1 in Laurel. You too could be doing the happy dance of cheap(er) gas.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I always laughed at magazines like Lucky and Domino. Magazines about shopping? What the hell? And then I had a layover in Miami. Pickings were slim at the airport newsstand, and J. was buying anyway, so I picked up a copy of Domino.

Big mistake.

So many pretty, pretty things...and so little money to buy them with. I can ignore magazines like Vogue because I think most of the clothes are ugly anyway. But when I see things like this:

or this:

I mean, do I really need a silk skirt imported from India? Probably not. And I can definitely live without a $90 exfoliant. But that doesn't change the fact that I waaaant.

Also? is the best thing ever.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Willpower, Lack of

I do not cook. I can--I'm no gourmet chef, but I can put together an edible meal--but mostly I don't. This is okay, because I am a very, very lucky woman. O. likes to cook, and he's pretty good at it. And given that most of my attempts to cook anything remotely interesting result in him coming in to rescue me (see also: Christmas dinner '07) we usually just cut out the middleman. He cooks, I do not. It works for us.

The fact that I don't cook goes hand in hand with the fact that I eat out. A lot. The day the lady at Checkers greeted me by my name--before I handed her my debit card--was a bit of a wake-up call. So I started going to McDonalds for lunch instead.

Between the fact that this is becoming quite a drain on the wallet and the fact that I'm on track to clog every artery I have before the age of 35, drastic measures seemed in order. I am twenty-two hours into a vow to avoid eating out for one week. This is proving more difficult than I'd anticipated, mostly because I am blessed with the lethal combination of very intense food cravings and little to no willpower. On my way home tonight I had to talk myself out of stopping by Jerry's for a sub. This would be immediately after O. told me dinner would be ready when I got home. Right now, I'm thinking about the fact that Taco Bell is right down the street. Luckily, the one thing more potent than my food cravings is my intense laziness, and I'm already in my pajamas.

Please don't invite me out for dinner this week. When it comes to food, no isn't usually in my vocabulary.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Random Thoughts

I am never quite as creative as I am when I'm avoiding doing something else. You wouldn't believe the things I've thought of doing instead of finishing up the work for my practicum. Guys--there was cleaning going on. Cleaning. Me. This is bad.

The Metro
I shared a Metro car today with a couple of students who looked to be about middle school age. They were very well behaved, if a bit loud, but one of the girls had a laugh that was literally painful to my ears. She laughed about every two minutes or so, and every time it felt like someone was driving a stake through my head. No idea why. And this was through earbuds.

I also shared a Metro car with a fairly obnoxious adult who was listening to music on his phone. No headphones. I hate jerks like that. Periodically I shot him a nasty look, but I figured anyone who is obnoxious enough to do that in the first place is obnoxious enough to be an ass if I call him on it, so I fumed silently.

And finally, I shared a Metro car with a former student of mine, who scared the crap out of me, because I had my nose in a book and earbuds in my ears, and generally on the Metro I don't expect anyone to talk to me. We had a nice conversation, she's enjoying middle school, and it was a pleasant little blast from the past.

All three of those were in the same car, at different times.

Comprehensive Exams
They're looming.

Saturday Night
Thanks for an awesome evening, those of you who contributed to it. I needed a chance to unwind. As, apparently did some of you...we must do it again, and soon. Maybe to celebrate after I stop procrastinating and actually finish my Masters.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I tried, I swear!

I was really going to cook last night. I had plans and everything.

See, several months ago, O.'s mother gave me a cookbook called Fat Free, Flavor Full, which led to the following exchange:

Me: Is your mother saying I'm fat?
O.: I told her I was going to get in trouble for this.

Anyway, I've made a few soups from it, but there was a recipe for an eggplant, bean and tomato casserole that looked like it could be really good, but also potentially disgusting. I bought a couple of eggplants at the food co-op over a week ago and had been putting off the actual cooking part ever since.

So, O., who had expressed a decided lack of enthusiasm for this particular recipe, had plans last night, so I thought it would be a great time to try it. I called Tracy and Jackie to invite them to dinner, figuring that if I had guests coming I'd have to actually cook something. They both accepted, though upon hearing the menu, Jackie said "...I'll stop at Chipotle on the way over."

So I was ready to go. I put my beans on the stove to cook and started cutting up my onion.

Hmm. Tracy's allergic to onion.

Well, she's ok as long as there's not much and it's cooked, so we should be all right. Next ingredient! Garlic.

Hmm. Tracy's allergic to garlic.

Ok. We'll leave the garlic out. Next ingredient! Green pepper.

Hmm. I know I had a green pepper around here somewhere...

I called O. He told me that he'd tossed the green pepper three days ago because it liquefied in the bag. Hmm. Perhaps I procrastinated too much?

...Sigh. Plan B.

So I intended to really cook, but instead made Chicken Tikka Masala from a jar. Is it any wonder I don't bother most days? Thank God O. does most of the cooking around here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to school...

Frankly, I'm too exhausted to write anything of substance right now. So instead, I'm posting pictures.

In case you ever wondered where I work:

This is the reading circle, the picture book section and our brand new mural.

This is the other side of the library, and the other new mural. In the back we have the fiction section, and to the right part of the nonfiction section.

And to toot my own horn a bit, here are some of the displays I put together this year.

This is the bulletin board right outside the library, where my students can record the books they're reading.

And this one is also in the hall. The words read "Read a interesting people!" Can you name them all?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation.

First, I went here:

Then I went here:

Now I have to go back here:

Don't get me wrong, I love my job. But I would also dearly love to have another week or so of summer.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Paris for President?

It would be an understatement to say that I am no fan of Paris Hilton. So when I heard about her spoof campaign ad, I was prepared to be annoyed and unamused.

Instead, I found it hilarious.

I mean, there were parts I found annoying and unfunny. It is Paris Hilton, after all. But mostly I just laughed.

I am a little concerned about the fact that her energy plan seems to make a lot of sense...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Obsessive Geekdom

It's not that I'm obsessive. It's just--

Oh, who the hell do I think I'm kidding. I'm obsessive. And more than that, I'm a geek. Oh, don't get me wrong--I fly under the radar, for the most part. And given the company I keep, I'd say I fall on the mild end of the geek scale. But I can identify the episode of Star Trek by watching about three minutes, I know why the meaning of life is 42*, and I've long since stopped arguing over whether or not I really need to wear medieval garb to the various events that O. takes me to.

And I would totally walk through an alien device that generates a stable wormhole to a city in another galaxy, and I would live in that city regardless of the fact that said galaxy is overrun with life-sucking space vampires and evil killer robots.

See? Geek.

O. has said on more than one occasion that he feels like he was born in the wrong time, like he really would have fit better in centuries past. I feel the same way, but I feel like I should have been born in the future. The idea of aliens fascinates me. The idea of traveling in space fascinates me. The concept of setting up a colony on another planet fascinates me. I think this is one reason that I'm such a sucker for science fiction--I feel like there's so much potential out there, and it kills me that we don't know more about it.

I've been weeding the astronomy section of the library where I'm doing my practicum, and there are a ton of outdated books. Many of them were written in the 60s and 70s and had these awesome predictions for where we'd be by now--setting up colonies on the moon, space tourism within reach of the average person--but I doubt any of this will happen in my lifetime. I want my flying car, damnit.

All of this is a very convoluted way of saying, if you're trying to get ahold of me this week and cannot, blame the fact that my Stargate: Atlantis Season 4 DVDs arrived recently, and I'm currently engrossed in a marathon. What can I say--I'm obsessive.

*Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Don't forget your towel.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Word to the Wise (Part VII)

Even though you think it's silly to take the elevator down one floor at the Wheaton Metro station parking garage--especially since the stairs are right there--do it anyway. Those puddles on the steps? Not water.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sanctioned Avoidance

I am an avoider. When faced with an unpleasant task, I generally do whatever I can to weasel out of it. My comprehensive exams--the culmination of my Masters degree and the major hurdle toward graduation--were scheduled for next Friday, the 18th, and they definitely fall in the unpleasant task column. I don't feel particularly prepared, which is totally my fault since I've barely cracked a book. But I had a detailed study plan laid out for the next two weeks to get myself ready. This did not stop me from considering rescheduling to take them in the fall. In fact, I quite sternly talked myself out of rescheduling them, because I thought that was taking my weaseling tendencies a bit too far.

Well, today I learned that it's out of my hands, and I must take comps in the fall; it has to do with a technical matter regarding my practicum and the requirement that I take comps my last semester.

This is awesome.

Catholic University is doing my weaseling for me.

And, I have a second chance to get the studying part right. Which means I have to work on my tendency for procrastination...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dream trauma

Twice in the past week, I have dreamed that my father was dead. The first was very upsetting, but explicable--my father has had heart problems; my uncle died just over two months ago of a heart attack. Dreaming that my father died of a heart attack freaked me out to the point that I called him when I woke up, just to be sure--but it's not shocking that I would dream this.

Last night...well, I can think of no earthly reason why I would dream that my father was "disappeared" by a Central American dictator.

But dream it I did. It was one of those weird dreams where the details slipped away within minutes of my waking, leaving me with only the overarching theme of the dream. But my father...he is certainly a principled man, and he is not afraid to speak up when he feels strongly about something, but a revolutionary, he aint.

O. pointed out, quite reasonably, that I was most likely influenced by the rescue of the hostages from FARC, which is no doubt true. But it was still very weird.

I really wish I'd quit dreaming that my father had died. It's unsettling.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Word to the Wise (Part VI)

If you are venturing out to a bar on a weeknight--when you've only visited said bar on the weekends--make damn sure it's not karaoke night. I heard a rendition of Devil Went Down to Georgia last night that I will never be able to banish from my brain.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Ladies Who Lunch

One of the things that O. finds somewhat perplexing about me is the amount of time I spend with my extended family, and the eagerness that I have to just hang out with them. I was lucky enough to grow up with almost all of my aunts, uncles and cousins within an hour's drive, and we see each other often. One of the best examples of this is lunch.

For God only knows how many years, my aunts have gathered every Monday at noon for lunch. The roster changes based on availability, work schedules and who has retired recently, and every once in awhile there's an uncle or a cousin thrown in, but at twelve sharp every Monday, they can be found at one of these two restaurants.

I love lunch. When I was a kid, it made me feel grown up, and as an adult it makes me feel connected. One of the things I was most looking forward to this summer was getting to go to lunch. Sadly, this was my last week for practicum must take priority. But while my body may be in Arlington for the next month, my heart will be at lunch.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


What I should do:
Email my practicum coordinator.
Study for my comprehensive exams.
Finish cleaning up after the party.
Work out on the Wii Fit.
Change the sheets.

What I am going to do:
Read this book.
Eat cheese.

God, I love the summer.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

I feel like the biggest moron in the world. In preparation for having people over on Saturday, I decided that the couches looked kind of dingy, so I took the cushion covers off and took them to the dry cleaner. I was halfway home before I thought to look at the receipt.


Jesus. For that much I could have paid someone to come over and clean both couches.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bite Me, Sony

Don't piss off the librarians. You don't want to see us when we're cranky.

Monday, June 23, 2008


When xkcd gets it right, they really get it right...

Last night, I was up until 2:30 a.m. seeking out any and all information on this story. Why?


It started with this book, which features a character called Keelin. That made me think of this actress, but I couldn't remember her name. So I trotted on over to to find her. Well, it turns out that she guest starred on several episodes of Battlestar Galactica, so I surfed on over to the show's IMDB page, where I discovered a new feature called NewsDesk, which collates news stories about particular shows and people. Because one of the Battlestar Galactica actors has been very, very vocal on this story, there was a link to it.

So that explains how I heard about it in the first place. Why did I care about a sci-fi convention that I did not attend, did not desire to attend and had in fact never heard of before it imploded? Damned if I know.

Well, I sort of know. Situations like this piss me off--when someone has so clearly and blatantly done something wrong, I want justice whether or not I was the wronged party. It's kind of like how it's so satisfying to see the guy who was weaving in and out of traffic pulled over by the police--even if he didn't cut you off, he still deserves it.

Or maybe I just have anger issues. That could be it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Meet me in St. Louis...

...well, maybe not. Not this version, anyway.

When I start reading a series, I usually use the devouring method. I read everything as quickly as possible and then wait impatiently for more. I worked my way through Janet Evanovich's entire Stephanie Plum series in two weeks*--that was eleven books at the time--and began haunting the library's New Arrivals section the day the next book came out.

Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series is different. Three years into reading them, I'm only on book eight. They're my guilty pleasure, my indulgence--but I can only read them when I'm in the right mood, and that mood only comes around three times a year or so. It's not that they're that good, because they're not. I mean, they're decent books, but Hamilton is a little bit of a hack, and Anita is a classic Mary Sue. No, I don't come for the writing, or for the characterization. I come for the sex. And there's plenty of that, even in the first several books where most of the main characters were celibate.

Actually, that's not even accurate. I come for the sexual tension and the supernatural aspects, although whichever critic at the New York Review of Science Fiction supplied the quote on the back of all of the books was clearly on drugs. R-rated Buffy my ass. The only thing the two have in common is the vampires. The writing on Buffy had subtlety. Hamilton prefers to hit you with an anvil.

As does Anita, actually. As a rule, I can't stand books with obnoxious main characters, and Anita is certainly that. But somehow it works, for now. I understand that the later books in the series are worse--like throw the book across the room worse. I've been told that at some point, Hamilton drops all pretense and begins shoehorning sex scenes in wherever she possibly can--there is a succubus subplot that seems to be universally reviled, but I haven't gotten there yet. They're not erotica, but I can't put my finger on why, exactly--perhaps they're not explicit enough?

But for now, for me, these books feel decadent. They're made to be read in the bathtub with a glass of wine and some sort of bath-related smelly thing. So that's where Blue Moon and I are headed right now.

* If you have not read these books, do it now. You'll die laughing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008: The Big List

Here we go again...Happy New Year, everyone.

Personal Care
1. Develop a skincare regimen
2. Wear a bikini
3. Learn how to apply makeup
4. Make a sincere effort to introduce more calm into my life
5. Walk a labyrinth

Environmental Goals
6. January - Use a reusable bag for all purchases
7. February - Stop drinking bottled water
8. March - Eat only organic meat
9. April - Take public transportation to work at least twice per week
10. May - Plant and harvest vegetables
11. June - Plant a tree
12. July - Develop a strategy for recycling more
13. August - Eat locally for one week
14. September - Buy as much as possible from farmers markets
15. October - Eliminate all single-serving food purchases
16. November - Use environmentally friendly cleaning products
17. December - Calculate my carbon footprint and develop a strategy for reducing it further

Career/Professional Development
18. Wake up at five a.m. on work days
19. Read one professional development book per month
20. Plan for the week each weekend
21. Do not leave work for the weekend with unshelved books
22. Complete my Masters degree as close to a 4.0 GPA as humanly possible
23. Attend ALA midwinter meeting
24. Attend ALA annual conference
25. Write three booktalks per week

Culture and Local Attractions
26. Go to the top of the Washington Monument
27. Take a tour of the White House
28. Tour the Holocaust Museum
29. Visit Haines Point before they move the statue
30. Visit Mount Vernon
31. Visit Harpers Ferry
32. Go to a movie at the AFI Silver Theatre
33. Take a duck tour
34. See the cherry blossoms in bloom
35. Attend an event at the Kennedy Center
36. Attend a formal gala
37. Go to a DC United game
38. Go to the National Arboretum
39. Try a new restaurant (January)
40. Try a new restaurant (February)
41. Try a new restaurant (March)
42. Try a new restaurant (April)
43. Try a new restaurant (May)
44. Try a new restaurant (June)
45. Try a new restaurant (July)
46. Try a new restaurant (August)
47. Try a new restaurant (September)
48. Try a new restaurant (October)
49. Try a new restaurant (November)
50. Try a new restaurant (December)

Health and Fitness
51. Do the Billy Goat Trail at least once
52. Go kayaking at least twice during the summer
53. Ride my bike twice a week during the months of May-September
54. Use the pool twice a week during the summer
55. Eat breakfast every morning
56. Drink 48 oz. of water every day
57. Take my lunch at least four days per week
58. Participate in the Patuxent River Rural Legacy Ride on June 7
59. Join Weight Watchers
60. Do yoga often enough for it to have a cumulative effect
61. Floss regularly enough that my dentist stops yelling at me
62. Ski at least once
63. Reduce my Diet Coke intake by half
64. Ride the Sligo Creek Trail
65. Learn to salsa
66. Play tennis three times

67. Refinish coffee table
68. Refinish end tables
69. Cook at least once a week; actually use the cooking blog this time
70. Keep a clean house
71. Plant a flower garden
72. Tame the roses
73. Buy new curtains
74. Make sushi
75. Make salsa
76. Organize closets

77. Read Suze Orman's book and implement her strategies
78. Roll everything into AIG account
79. Do my taxes before March 1
80. Pay off two credit cards
81. Cut up all credit cards except one
82. Have $2000 in my savings account by the end of the year
83. Get a summer job that makes at least $300/week
84. Start a financial log
85. Beginning in April, put $50 away per month for holiday shopping
86. Do not eat out for one month. Each time I have the urge, put $5 into a "reward fund." At the end of the month, spend the money on whatever I want.
87. Write a will
88. Sell CDs
89. Get renters insurance
90. Sleep on any purchase over $20
91. Set up automatic deposits into my savings account
92. Begin making student loan payments no later than March

93. Take a vacation that requires a passport
94. Go camping
95. Go to the beach
96. Visit Rochester
97. Go away for the weekend by myself
98. Visit Chapel House at Colgate University
99. Visit the Thousand Islands

100. Read the entire Bible
101. Read a book on the beach
102. Read a book on the National Mall
103. Read all of my shelf-sitters
104. Keep up with my reading journal

105. Work on a political campaign
106. Plot out a novel
107. Get my oil changed on time
108. Use my Palm Pilot to get organized, or develop another method