Saturday, January 31, 2004

When I had my hair Yuko'd on Monday (yes, it does look fabulous, thank you) Yuu, my Yuko stylist, gave to me in his very respectable Japanese manner a terrible choice: I could continue the Yuko system, I could continue chemically lightening my hair, but I could no longer do both. My weak caucasoid hair would no longer tolerate the combined damage of both processes, and this was the last time he could Yuko my hair in professional good conscience. I am understandably devastated, and will have to ponder long and hard what my decision will be.

The branch is not open yet and already the Neopet Hooligans are lined up outside like this place is Studio 54 or something. They're pressing their little grimy, addicted faces to the glass and I'm taking a bit of a mean pleasure in the fact that they have to wait another 20 minutes before they can come in and play computer games. Am I becoming depraved?

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Punky's back and he's dressed to kill
This was the subject line of an e-mail I received today from my manager giving me a heads up that there have been reported Punky sightings in my regular branch's neighborhood. The Punky I'm referring to is not 80s TV moppet Punky Brewster, but a young prison recidivist with a flair for fashion who likes to frequent the park near the branch I work. When not doing time he can usually be found holding court in the park, resplendent in his skin tight acid wash jeans, bandana ascot, and “business in the front, party in the back” mullet. (With Punky, though, it’s more like: felon in the front, prison bitch in the back) In the park he likes to get loaded, harass tourists, commit petty larceny, and do other things that make him a real pain in the ass to society. Despite his slight physique he is quite confrontational and very, very obnoxious, and as a result has had about half of his teeth punched out of his mouth.

My last brush with Punky was about six months ago when a man wheeled his bicycle into the branch and began to use the internet. I had to tell him that bicycles are not allowed in the branch, especially when they are obstructing the exit, and that he would have to take the bicycle outside. He was perfectly agreeable and wheeled his bike outside, where he made the poor decision to return to the internet and leave his bike unlocked on the bike rack. His bike remained there for approximately two minutes before it was stolen. The man was understandably upset, and I felt bad (but just a little) because I had told him to move his bike. Right after I called the police another regular park dweller strolled in and said, “Wow. I just saw Punky and he was riding around in the park with a new bike.” When our friendly beat cop arrived by we gave him the tip and he went to the park and had a little talk with Punky and the man got his bike back.
My manager told me that Punky (I suspect his nickname comes from the word punk, which in prison is slang for a young, pretty, passive boy who is on the receiving end of homosexual prison sex) has a chic new look, so I wonder if he and his prison roommate passed the time in prison giving each other makeovers. I hope to be able to see it myself before Punky gets picked up again to repay his ever increasing debt to society.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

It pays to read your professional literature. About six months after I started working at this systemI was reading an article in Library Journal about different dress codes in libraries throughout the country. There in the article I made a wondrous discovery: this system doesn't have a dress code. As long as you're wearing shoes and a shirt, the same standards that apply to patrons, you're OK. That was joyful news to me, since I had been spending a lot money to look really bad in unattractive 'business casual' outfits. (This is definitely not the job where you want to broadcast your allure - urban camouflage is the only sensible way to go, but business casual is just ugly). Now I wear jeans to work each day, and sometimes if I'm rotating branches I'll wear the same outfit for several days in a row. I feel so happy and carefree, like when I was a schoolgirl and got to wear a uniform every day. It's heaven, although I'll have to say that I wish that a certain fellow employee would extend her colleagues the courtesy of wearing a bra.
Dress code policies vary greatly from system to system. The librarians in Queens, NY went on strike because of its formal and outdated one. The men had to wear ties, no denim, and no visible tattoos or piercings allowed. At the library system in Des Moines all women must wear pantyhose and closed toe shoes for 'safety purposes,' even on casual Fridays. That is really a lot to ask, from a financial and comfort standpoint. I'm sure they're paid a pittance, like most librarians, and a daily hose requirement can be as expensive as a heavy cigarette habit.

I have some good news to report. My manager told me that Mr. Plastic (see Sunday, Jan 11's entry) has been banned from all branch libraries for exposing himself to some poor woman near the magazines. Smelling abominable and covering the newspaper with his pestilent saliva are not his only unpleasant personal habits it seems. This is not the first time he's been banned for exposing himself. I guess that's why we didn't see or smell him on Sunday, and I won't anytime soon in the library since he's been banned for one full year. Yay!

Sunday, January 25, 2004

I can't seem to forget you, your Windsong stays on my mind

I thought I would be safe from olfactory trauma today since I'm working in the children's area. Only adults accompanied by children are allowed in this section, which eliminates most of our... riper patrons, who tend to be understandably solo.
Well, I now know that there are worse smells than diseased, unwashed bodies on the verge of hepatic failure: namely perfume, perfume indiscriminately applied with criminal abandon by a French woman. (I don't like to knock nationalities or perpetuate stereotypes needlessly, but I'm going to have to say this woman was from France because I heard her scold her daughter in rapid fire French and she spoke with a thick French accent. Plus her condescension was palpable).
She was sitting with her daughter at the table next to the reference desk when I first was bludgeoned by her thick floral scent. As the smell began to permeate the air around me, it went from cloying, to nasal assault, to nasal rape levels. I kept waiting for that sweet, merciful scientific phenomenon known as adaptation, when the odor molecules fully saturate your receptors and your brain stops registering a particularly strong smell, but that just never happened. I'm home now and my nose still burns.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Is your Fragrance too Fragrant?
Please be considerate of environmentally sensitive colleagues in your decision to apply perfume or cologne.*

* A sign posted in all breakrooms throughout the library system

I’m glad that the weather has cleared because on rainy days my branch becomes a popular destination for homeless looking for a cozy place to spend the afternoon. Not that I want to bar the homeless from the library: I strongly believe in their rights to use the library for its intended purpose,  not to mention that I’ve become quite fond of a few of my regulars. The damp, however, tends to release embedded odors of such decay and putrescence in the clothing of some of the homeless that I desperately wish that I had some white camphor cream to dab beneath my nostrils like a coroner. I do have the authority to ask people to leave if their personal ‘fragrance is too fragrant,’ but I’m a squeamish coward when it comes to confrontation of that type. It’s a very awkward and uncomfortable conversation for both parties, as you can imagine.

An acute sense of smell is definitely not a gift in this profession. I have found that I have the ability to identify certain patrons by smell alone. I’ll be sitting at the reference desk and a particular regular homeless patron will come to mind and sure enough, I’ll look up and there he will be, sitting about 20 feet away, pretending to read a newspaper or a volume of the encyclopedia.
A strong sense of smell runs in my family. My Great Aunt Nancy was a brilliant medical student who graduated second in her medical school class at Tulane (my grandmother and great grandmother were convinced that she should have graduated first if not for some sexist rigging by the medical school administration). Supposedly she would astound her professors by diagnosing patients on practice rounds by odor alone. She would correctly pronounce a diagnosis of tuberculosis or yellow fever and the incredulous doctor would ask huffily, “Well, how do you think you knew that?” and she would reply, “I can smell  it on him.”

I would rather have inherited her aptitude for math rather than her keen sense of smell, but math ability seems to a very recessive and elusive trait in our family judging from our mathematical performance overall.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Don't blame me, I voted for Jeff Davis
an actual bumper sticker

Well, I hope that everyone had a better Martin Luther King day than we did. When I lived in Virginia right after college MLK day was officially celebrated and recognized on the state calendar as Lee/Jackson/King day. No, really. You might think it odd to honor Confederate generals and a civil rights leader on the same day, like some sort of ill conceived conciliatory agreement similar to the Missouri Compromise, but Lee/Jackson Day had been an official state holiday celebrated in Virginia for many years in January (both men were born in January) before most states began celebrating MLK day. When Virginia decided to honor MLK day it just tacked it onto Lee/Jackson Day, making the new holiday Lee/Jackson/King Day.
Since you can see how people wanting to honor and reflect on MLK and for all he stood might get upset about parades of people dressed in Confederate uniforms marching about firing off cannons and waving Confederate flags, Virginia finally separated the holidays in 2000 and now Lee/Jackson day is celebrated on January 17th.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Thank you to Fisher for the picture of the little rodeo monkey.

The branch I'm working at today is eerily quiet because the 3 schools that surround it are out for Chinese New Year, and everyone assumes that the library is closed as well! Gung Hay Fat Choy!!!
Last night Billy's theme song was Shake, Shake, Shake by K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Billy Jack spent most of last evening trembling in his spiderhole (the office closet) because of all the celebratory fireworks until Elizabeth gave him a tranquilizer and he calmed down.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Elizabeth and I are both monkeys – naughty monkeys – and this is our year, the year of the monkey! These photographs were taken at the monkey temples in Bali, which I insisted we return to day after day even though the monkeys filled Elizabeth with terror. The monkeys would climb all over us, demanding bananas, and although occasionally mischievous, were kept in check by a local guide armed with a slingshot, which they definitely respected. I couldn’t get enough. And doesn't Elizabeth look like she's just having the time of her life? (photo left) Doesn't she?

On our trip to the Philippines a few years later, however, we had a very different monkey experience, a quite ugly encounter. To get to a famed underground river we hiked through the charmingly named Monkey Trail on the island of Palawan. We didn’t see any monkeys until we were about a mile into the hike and we had to cross a bridge, where there was a troop of them lying in wait like little toll taking trolls. When we tried to cross one of them, a young male, approached in an extremely aggressive manner, hissing and baring his fangs like that infected monkey in Outbreak. He jumped right on my back and began trying to unzip my backpack, tugging and yanking on the zipper with all of his wicked simian might, neither intimidated nor deterred by our frantic cries of, “No, monkey, no!” I just knew I was going to end up with a horrible monkey bite, but Elizabeth managed to divert him long enough to reach into my backpack and grap the cookies he was after and throw them over the bridge. As he darted after them we flew down a huge flight of slippery, rickety wooden stairs until we reached the safety of the ranger station, where the rangers were all lying around enjoying cigarettes. After we breathlessly reported the incident one of them asked, “Deed he bite-uh you?” And then they all laughed, which was not the call to action or, at the very least , sympathetic response we were looking for. Shaken, we had our boat ride through the underground river and then braced ourselves for another cookie shakedown at the bridge. Who knows what would have happened if a noble dog named Pogie had not come to our rescue. He is owned by one of the villagers and has invented a job for himself as protector of tourists on the Monkey trail. He accompanied us the entire way back, occasionally treeing a monkey. The monkeys are terrified of him and left us alone, but we could see now how the trees were full of them because they would angrily chatter warnings to each other when they spotted Pogie. We rewarded Pogie with a can of tuna once we were safely off the trail and back in town.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Well, Nature can be a real bitch but she is almost always right in these matters. The little boy died around three AM and his sister followed him about 2 hours later despite great measures to save them. Their little lungs were just not developed enough. The most important thing is that Spoon is doing very well. She seemed to know from the beginning that these little ones were not meant to be. Elizabeth is at the vet's getting Spoon some morphine syrup for her c-section pain. I'm sorry that the news is not more cheerful but we are all at peace with what happened, no matter how sad or disappointed we may be.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Double Happiness
Spoon delivered 2 puppies by emergency c-section today at noon, a boy and a girl. They are about 5 days premature and haven't grown hair on their legs or feet yet. They're solid black and look like orcs - tiny, adorable orcs. Spoon is still dazed and nipped the little boy when he started mewling - he sounded too much like a rat for his own good and prey drive overtook maternal instinct for a second. Both puppies are nursing but nobody is out of the woods yet so please send positive thoughts and energy this way for Spoon and the little twinstars. It really might help. The puppy-cam will be up and running soon.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Double Down Sunday
I'm babysitting in the children's room of a branch today. I just had to bust up a little group of boys in the foyer engaged in some activity that looked suspiciously like a game of chance. Card playing was banned a few years ago at this branch because children were gambling   and an unsavoury adult element began to lurk around, selling cards and mentoring.

I also had to confiscate a party balloon that a child was whacking another child on the head with. It was shaped disturbingly like a giant black phallus (the balloon, not the child's head). I am hoarse from savagely shushing the kids playing Pokemon on the computers. Only 1 more hour to go.

A little later now, and I'm now working the adult reference desk, hoorah! An elegant older Chinese patron wanted some movies by Goldie Hawn and I suggested Death Becomes Her and she replied, "What, are you crazy? I don't want to watch anything about death. The New Year is beginning! Very unlucky!"

For those of you riveted by Spoon's dietary intake, I'm relieved to report that she is finally eating, even if her taste has become quite expensive. I bought a NY Strip yesterday and she came running when she heard the butcher paper rustling and ate about 1/2 of it. Billy helped. She will also eat prosciutto.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Kids Say the Darndest Things

I was visiting with the salty old broad while on duty at the reference desk (librarians call it refgrunting) when I heard the sweetest little voice exclaim, “FUCK!” This adorable little Asian girl, maybe 11 years old, was apparently frustrated with the response time of our computer booking software. Now maybe she thought that it was a language free for all since there was a reading of Harold Pinter’s Homecoming going on the upper level of the library, but that language is in the context of literature. There is a difference, you know. She even managed to shock the salty old broad who said, “Now that was uncalled for!” Even though while I reprimanded her she gave me that look I hate, that look that British officers call ‘dumb insolence,’ I let her off with a warning rather than revoke her computer privileges like I should have.

Internet Flim Flam!
A cautionary tale

I am the victim of internet fraud and I’m spitting mad. About six months ago, I bought some items from Drugstore.com. I vaguely remember a window popping up with an offer for a free trial of Reservation Rewards, a ‘trusted business partner’ of Drugstore.com, that offered discounts on products I never use and places I never go, like Six Flags. I’m sure I would have declined, since I never sign up for services like that, not to mention that the discounts were paltry.

Nevertheless, in an outrageous act of privacy violation, Drugstore.com handed over all of my information, including my credit card number, to Reservation Rewards and the sneaky bastards have been charging $7 each month on my Visa, which I finally caught. And it looks like I wasn’t the only one suckered by this fraud, a sort of internet version of slamming.

I called them and they were slippery and soothing, promising to reverse all of the charges in 3-5 days. From my experience and the stories of other victims it appears that they're very accommodating once they're busted because they don't want you to make a fuss with the Better Business Bureau and end their scam for good. There are plenty of more people who aren't looking over their credit card statements too carefully for them to bilk. Even if they do refund all of the money, that is some considerable float.
I also wrote a nasty letter to Drugstore.com telling them that I am never doing business with them as long as they partner with such unscrupulous companies, and that they dealt a real blow to internet commerce by handing over my credit card information to these thieves.
Lesson for the Day: Scrutinize, scrutinize, scrutinize your credit card statements.

Friday, January 16, 2004

But Spoonie, we already spent dat money!

When this girl at the art museum asked me whom I liked better, Monet or Manet, I said, 'I like mayonnaise.' She just stared at me, so I said it again, louder. Then she left. I guess she went to try to find some mayonnaise for me.
Jack Handey

Spoon is a on morning sickness induced hunger strike today, and the only thing I could force down her this morning was mayonnaise. I will pick up some Nutrical on my way home from work. Some sad and perplexing news to report: an X-ray confirmed there only are only 2 puppies in there now, down from three from the last sonogram. The cause of the dwindling numbers is unknown - maybe the fetuses are like sharks and have turned cannibal in the womb, a phenonomen known as embryophagy. She was really overwhelmed by her 6 puppies last time, so I'm glad that this is a small litter, but at this rate we're going to be in the hole, even with the exorbitant price people pay for these guys. Our puppy mill hopes are dashed.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

The Happiest Place on Earth
If you're clinically obsessive compulsive.

For Christmas, Dan & Eleanor gave us the services of an elite squad of professional cleaners that will wipe down and deep clean our entire apartment, which will be a monumental task because we’re not very clean people. Tidiness is just so Yankee.  Anyway, they’re coming on Monday, so we’ve been forced to declutter and get things in order. After a stop at Goodwill to drop off a bunch of boxes we headed straight for The Container Store. The moment Elizabeth and I walked in I was overcome with a wave of fatigue and hopelessness. I was seriously overwhelmed by the storage options, their quantity unmeasurable to man. My distress was compounded by a predatorily/ preternaturally perky sales floor clerk who stalked us through the aisles, trying to upsell us. I know it was voted as one of the best companies to work for but you just really could not be that cheerful working fucking retail, especially when you have to listen to music like Billy Joel's Rhythm of the Night piped over the loudspeakers at an unacceptably loud level all day. Finally we were able to shake Little Miss Employee of the Month and get out of there with just a revolving spice rack and a few other storage items.

Getting all of those boxes of donations out of the house felt great, like a very satisfying feng shui shit, but sometimes all of that retention can be a good thing. My grandmother’s beautiful house on Curzon Street in Ft Worth was like the Smithsonian. It was very large and could accommodate all of the clothes, material, and other objects that tend to collect when you raise a family and live in the same house for 50 years.
A thrifty child of the Depression, she rarely throws anything away. Every drawer was like an archeological tell, a timeline of objects from the Truman to Reagan administration. I always used to find the coolest things in her house – great old board games, first edition Nancy Drews, an ocelot skin, my aunt’s tonsils in a jar of formaldahyde. All of that retention really paid off, however, during the DES scare in the 70s. My aunt and mother knew that my grandmother had taken some medication during her pregnancies with them and were terrified that it was DES. They asked her if she could remember what medication she had taken and Grandmother said, “One minute. Let me go see.” She trotted right up to her medicine cabinet and pulled out that bottle of drugs that she had taken, which thankfully wasn’t DES. Mind you, this was thirty years since she had taken the medicine.

He found this to be significant

From the Orlando Sentinel:
Dave Albury was recuperating from surgery several months ago in DeLand, Fla., when he noticed the black fur on his cat Romeo's back was shaped in a "3" -- the same number of the late great NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt. He found this to be significant.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

All Is Well at Benac.com!

I’m relieved to report that all seems to be back to normal at Benac.com, the webpage of the wholesome Mormon family I cyberstalk. Last I reported (see Jan 3 entry), the 7th daughter’s husband, Brian Malouf, had been expunged from the family website and Bethany's profile. Now he’s back in the picture so we can all breathe a sigh of relief, for now.
Please don’t scare me like that again, Benacs. I’m warning you.

I want candy
The branch where I'm working today used to be a Bank of America, which must explain why this disoriented homeless man wandered in and demanded candy. "I want some candy! I know you gots some candy!" I guess that he hadn't heard the news of the changeover 4 YEARS AGO and also failed to notice that this was now a library. Disappointed to learn that the building's new tenants did not hand out lollipops, he left in a huff.

Quote of the Day
He was a cowboy, mister, and he loved the land. He loved it so much he made a woman out of dirt and married her. But when he kissed her, she disintegrated. Later, at the funeral, when the preacher said, 'Dust to dust,' some people laughed, and the cowboy shot them. At his hanging, he told the others, 'I'll be waiting for you in heaven---with a gun.'
Jack Handey

I'm an HTML tyro so please let me know if you see any errors. That goes for typos, grammar, etc. I also realize that I have a tendency toward verbiage so I'm working on a more streamlined style.
foxy (at) foxylibrarian.com

A Moment of Silence, Please 

After careful observation I’ve accepted that the last member of my sea monkey colony has died and their aquarium home is bereft of life. Although tragic, there’s also a fitting symmetry since the inventor, evil marketing genius (and right wing nutcase) Harold von Braunhut, also died recently.

Elizabeth gave me the tiny crustacean kit a few months ago because she knew that I had deep nostalgia for having all of my allowance money bilked out of me as a child. Judging from von Braunhut's success, I wasn’t the only child suckered by his seductive but very false advertising in comic books, or who had suffered greatly waiting the interminable 4-6 weeks for delivery. My current colony of sea monkeys (brine shrimp in reality) hatched from the freeze dried eggs and thrived for a while, and although the “monkeys” didn’t play ball or adorn their head prongs with bows as implied by the ads (or build a monument in gratitude to me, their feeder and caretaker), they did swim around vigorously, if rather pointlessly. So, I’m not sure what the cause of their demise was. I just had a terrible thought – I hope I didn’t empty out the aquarium prematurely, that there weren’t a bunch of viable eggs in there and a large die-off isn’t part of their natural cycle. Oh, God, I’m a monster.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

'Cause I get a kick out of you
Often while working the night shift at the library I do feel like I'm in an elegant Cole Porter musical. No wait - I meant Night of the Living Dead.
One night shift not too long ago a homeless man bearing a striking resemblance to Nick Nolte in this mugshot (but not so festively dressed) shuffled in and stood menacingly in the new books section. One of our friendly semi-homeless regulars, who dropped about a thousand hits of acid in the sixties that fried his brain but apparently bestowed on him the gift of precognition, approached me and said, "Watch that man. He's crazy, and he's going to do something crazy." Of course there was nothing I could do but watch since he as a patron has his rights and all, including the right to stand menacingly in the new books section. Then a municipal bus driver fresh off his night shift went to the new books section and bent over to get a book on the bottom shelf and the homeless man ran up and kicked him hard right in the ass. The bus driver whipped around and shouted, "What the fuck?" The homeless man responded, "Sorry, I thought you were someone else." That wasn't an adequate enough apology for the bus driver, and they began to pummel each other with their fists and scream the word fuck until the busdriver chased the kicker out into the night. I had to call 911 and everything, shrieking in the phone like an hysterical ninny.

Fortunately the victim was a city bus driver, who have to deal with all types and many of whom are hardened felons themselves, so he handled the situation with remarkable equanimity. After he made sure the homeless man wasn't returning, he returned to browsing the new books section, picked a few, checked them out and left.

The whelping box is out and Spoon is acting broody. This picture is in honor of Spoonie's kennel, named Ottermask for the dogs' resemblance to English otters.
Here are more pictures of little Snowdrop and Attitude.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Dead Beat Poets
OK, I’ll admit it, I play favorites with my patrons. I do things I’m not supposed to for my pets, mostly seniors. Nothing big – I’ll renew their books for them over the telephone (the voice on the automated system is robotically terrifying), book computer time for them and let an inappropriate racial comment or off color word slide every once in a while without asking them to leave like I’m supposed to. It’s just too late to train the Greatest Generation.

My favorite patron is a crusty old Irish Catholic broad originally from Jersey with a voracious appetite for bloody mysteries - she burns through 2 or 3 a night. She was a sailor’s wife, then a sailor’s moll, then a bartender at sailor bars here in the city for years. She is rarely on speaking terms with her Philippina daughter-in-law, whom she considers an opportunistic money hungry slut who is blowing her son’s insurance money on cheap jewelry. She makes her granddaughter take Irish Dance and is always going to her shows and having exorbitantly expensive and elaborate dresses made for the competitions. Her granddaughter, typical teenager, was threatening to quit and she said to her, “You quit your goddamned Irish dancing and you can just dance right on over a broom like the rest of your mother’s people!” She likes to give me loud updates when I’m working the reference desk.

During her bartending days she encountered a lot of the Beats, and says of them “Bunch of worthless drunks! And lousy fathers. God, how I hate lousy fathers.”
Many patrons who come to my branch suffer from all these annoying romantic illusions about what great artists the Beat Generation were, or even worse, are the surviving dregs, so I love to hear her voice her low opinion of them so loudly, since I'm supposed to maintain a semblance of neutrality. I won’t say too much about that particular genre except - never liked it, not a fan of Hangover Literature.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

I'm practicing posting images so here's one for you that Elizabeth took of a very pregnant Spoonie a couple of nights ago wearing the scarf that Evie gave Elizabeth for Christmas. A dog's gestation is only 63 days so it's just 2 weeks until puppies! The ultrasound captured 3 of them, but there may be one more hiding in there. Any ideas for litter theme names?

Mr. Plastic, Patron of the Day
I just had to awaken my least favorite patron, Mr. Plastic. He got that nickname because he plugs up the holes in his never varying suit with plastic bags - resourceful, but not very hygenic or quiet. At my branch he would take the Vogue and retire to a nook (my branch was apparently designed by homeless book thieves judging by all of its cozy little crannies and hideaways) and masturbate. Now we have to keep Vogue behind the counter. He also throws off this sweet stench that makes me retch from 20 feet away.

Now he's taken to hoarding all the day's newspapers (Chinese included) at a desk, passing out, and then drooling all over them. And I know that he can't read Chinese, so he's just being selfish, in addition to all of his other faults.

I like to ride my bicycle.

I rode my bike to work today for the first time in a couple of years. Elizabeth had it tuned up for me for a Christmas present and now it's back in well oiled, properly inflated primo
condition. It's a beautiful day to ride but I'm dwelling a little unhealthily over the Orange County biker who was dragged off of his mountain bike, partially eaten, and then tucked away for later in a sandbank by a mountain lion this weekend.

On a brighter note, today is Fisher's birthday. Happy Birthday!

I'm at work right now. My regular branch is closed on Sundays so all of its resident Neopet Hooligans are here. When our flimsy little software booking device was installed it took them about 5 minutes to crack it, so now they dominate the children's internet computers and guard their spots like desperate senior citizen slot machine addicts. God help any other children who need to use it for, say, their homework.
The children are still better behaved overall than the adults. It astounds me to see adults get in fist fights over the internet, which seems to happen frequently when I'm on duty.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Does anyone work in this confounded city?
Since I serve the public, I don't have a regular 9-5 job, which allows me to do a lot of things off hours. I was in a Bikram class yesterday afternoon on **** Street (a little prematurely; I'm not quite recovered from Lagrippe)  and looked around and there were at least 40 people in the class. At 3:30 on a weekday! Why don't those people have jobs? I know the economy is in the doldrums, and maybe they have off hour jobs too, but can that really account for that many people? And it's not just Bikram classes. Coffee shops, movies, parks, etc. are filled with loitering people at all hours.

Speaking of **** Street, the hustler boys are still making the rounds late and night and early in the morning, but lower **** has undergone an impressive revitalization since it figured prominently in the brutal documentary on youthful heroin addiction. When this studio first opened I used to look out the window while I was in class and see groups of people huddled together shooting up in the alleyway, which tended to detract from my yoga experience. Now the junkies have moved on and there's a little smoothie internet cafe run by some enterprising young immigrants and a feminist co-op sex toy shop. Yoga, dildos, and smoothies, all necessary elements to urban renewal.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Oh, Andy Rooney, you irrelevant old fart.

As if I’m not already riled up enough at the end of 60 Minutes (they’re using eminent domain to take people’s houses away to build luxury condominiums? IN AMERICA? ), I have to listen to Andy Rooney’s grumpy old wheezing rant about whatever subject has irritated his calcified mind that week. Not that the rest of the 60 Minutes team are exactly spring chickens, but CBS really ought to consider a mandatory retirement age. Check out this offensive little piece he did on libraries entitled Library Rules to Shelve.
Did you ever notice that you're a complete ass,  Andy?

Who gains weight from the stomach flu?
I do, apparently – 3 pounds! Not only is that grossly unfair, it’s also physiologically impossible. And no, it’s not muscle either, Elizabeth, but thanks. The one ray of hope that became my reason for living when I was racked with heaving stomach convulsions was that I would at least undo some of my lack of restraint during the holidays but I guess not.
Well, I’m sure I’ll burn that weight gain off when I’m well enough to start my Krav Maga classes, a Christmas gift from Elizabeth. Lippy patrons beware or I’ll go J-Ho in Enough on you!

Speaking of weight gain, we took Billy and a very gravid Spoonie down for a walk on the beach. She was deeply disappointed to see that Seally McRot-Rot had been finally hauled away. Elizabeth was beginning to think that the seal, along with evil attempts to ban off leash dogs and reintroduce poison oak, was part of the National Park Service’s plan to restore the beach to its natural ecology.

An adorable little anecdote from my comrade, The Well Dressed Librarian.

I was shelving over in the YA section the other night, and a group of students ages 9-12 were sitting at the table. About 6 of them. They had coats thrown all over the floor, and were making a lot of noise. A LOT of noise.

I told them to quiet it down, they were in a library. Then the not so nice, ethnic slurs between one another.

Our policy states that when kids use strong language, we tell them the following "You have two choices. Go home and use that language, or stay here and be respectful and quiet." Usually solves the problem.

So they sit there, chatting (not doing homework, as they tried to have me believe) and dropping the occasional "f" bomb, along side the ethnically un-PC "N" bomb.

Then the conversation goes into overload. Here, I will recount it for you.

Kid #1: I think my teachers pregnant.
Kid #2: OOH, she prolly is, fat ol' ho.
Peanut gallery: OOOH! You called Mrs. so and so a HO!!
Kid #1: Yeah, she so fat, theys gonna have to cut that baby out of her
Girl: Ooo, you nasty. They don't cut babies out. They come out of your butt.
Kid #1: NONO! Its true (drawing an imaginary line on his stomach,properly I might add) Right here, they cut you. My momma said when I was borned they cut her, and just waved a piece a turkey, and I jumped out to eat it.
Peanut Gallery: Assorted hoots and hollers
ME: OK guys, settle down, homework time.
Kid #1: SIR!! HEY! MR! Tell em. They can cut the Mom's stomach open to get the baby.
ME: Yes, that is one of the ways a baby can be born.
*the kicker*
Kid #1 (looking around for full effect) They an also come out of the VAGINA (extra loud voice), right? The VAGINA?
Girl: OOOH! You so nasty!
ME: Alright. Get to your work. No more of this loud talking. There is nothing about a C section in your Spanish homework.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

I know that you are all starved for a little library humor, so here you go!

Doug Johnson's Top Ten @ your library slogans not recommended by AASL (Association of Architecture School Librarians)

10. fool the security system @ your library
9. find books that don't suck @ your library
8. pull the fire alarm @ your library
7. surf for porn @ your library
6. take a nap @ your library
5. download a term paper @ your library
4. wedgies @ your library
3. scan your butt @ your library
2. hack and chat @ your library

and the number one @ your library slogan not recommended by AASL:

1. get lucky in the stacks @ your library

You now have the ability to comment. This feature will have to do in lieu of guestbook, which we would have to upgrade and pay for, and would probably be beyond my technological capabilities anyway. Let us hear from you!

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

OK, You Win
My colleagues and I have encountered a lot of distressing and odd things left in books at this system:

but smallpox scabs? My hat's off to you, Librarian Susanne!
Do read the article, for it contains information on how to give yourself an emergency immunization, which might prove handy in the near future, especially for me. I have a bad feeling that my inability to handle my liquor is not the only susceptibility that I inherited from my Native American ancestors.

A happier tale of marine mammals: a few years ago Sid and Elizabeth witnessed a gray whale on one of their walks.

I finally got out of the house today to take Billy and Spoon to the beach before they turned on us from being cooped up for so long.
I'm sorry to report that the large rotting seal carcass Spoon (and probably a thousand other dogs) discovered last week was still there, decomposing away. When she spotted it last week she approached it cautiously at first, but when she realized what it was it was like the gates of heaven had opened up for her and she did a diving shoulder roll into it, snapped back by her leash inches before she could coat herself in the rancid blubber. Billy was thankfully too absorbed in his tennis ball to notice.
Elizabeth had alerted the park service last week but the attractive nuisance remains, although some Samaritans had piled a couple of discarded Christmas trees over it for piney freshness.

It reminds me of a story my friend Mike Tomlison told me about his grandmother, who was a bit of a hellion. When she was a little girl a whale carcass washed up on the beach of her town. She climbed up on top of the whale and jumped up and down on top of it shouting, "Look at me! Look at me!" until she suddenly burst through the skin and found herself chin deep in putrid fat.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

For those of you following the little epidemiological study going on here at Green Street, what Elizabeth initially thought was a hangover this morning has been confirmed as the stomach flu.
I am fortunately feeling OK enough to tend to the patient, who is as white as a mime right now, but not nearly as quiet.

And don't worry, little patient, I know that all of that petty, querulous lashing out is just the flubug talking.

Good Lord - look at the time! Boy is my sleep cycle screwed up. Sorry if this posting is disjointed - I'm still running a fever and the only food I've been able to keep down in the past 48 hours is a small baked potato.

For Christmas my aunt gave me this pocket sized gem of a book, a collection of the titian haired, convertible driving girl sleuth's quotations and observations. Some are instructive, others unintentionally hilarious, a few downright bizarre.

Several years ago the aggressively PC children's material selection committee of this system refused to buy the Nancy Drew series despite heavy demand from its readership until an angry parent wrote the newspaper and it became a public relations scandal. Initially the library party line was that the books were not selected because they were poorly written and formulaic, but when that excuse didn't hold water (the library buys plenty of other formulaic trash; ie., the insipid Sweet Valley High series), the library admitted that the real reason was that the books were racist. While the first books of the series are rather...problematic, those gatekeepers can bite me, because the Nancy Drew books were the first real chapter books I read, and Nancy was a terrific, resourceful role model, who using common sense and the power of deduction, could crack any mystery while always remaining a perfect young lady.

Here are some of the choice ones:
No complimentary makeup application ever looks good, especially when applied by a gypsy woman with an outdoor cart. Derivative lesson: The perfume she sells is probably watered down.
The Mystery of the Tolling Bell

If you see something resembling a shark in a river, don't fret. It's more likely to be a small submarine operated by thieves.
The Mystery of the Lilac Inn

Owning your own key-making machine can be quite handy, and a compact one can be stored out of sight under the sink so as not to clash with your decor.
The Phantom of Pine Hill

If you hear the telltale signs of a helicopter, step away from a blaze in the fireplace. The copter might send a downdraft into the chimney and shower sparks all over your sleek coif.
The Mystery of the 99 Steps

Monday, January 05, 2004

Quote of the Day
After escaping the clutches of that crazy cult, it was going to take more money than that to start a new life, but still, for one day's work, 30 pieces of silver wasn't bad.
Lawrence Person
Austin, Texas
From the 2003 Bulwer Lytton contest

I'm feeling a bit better today. Here's a perverse fact: Bubblegum flavored Pedialite tastes much better vomited  than swallowed . But that's enough about that. I'm trying to be stoic and draw inspiration from Laura Hillenbrand, who many days was only capable of completing one sentence of Seabiscuit before collapsing in exhaustion because of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Instead of writing, I've been watching a lot of television while drifting in and out of consciousness. As I've said before, there's nothing more soothing than the Oprah Winfrey show, with its schmaltzy, inspirational stories or gentle, self-improvement directives. Watching it while I'm sick is like crawling up into her big soft black bosom and having her stroke my hair and say, "Hush, child."

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Heavily medicated, I have emerged from the bedroom to watch the the new show with everyone in the living room. I remain patient zero but enjoy letting all the other virus incubators (Fisher, Pam, and Elizabeth) see what's in store for them.

Quarantine strictly enforced. Who will be struck down next?
I say Elizabeth, because she arrogantly believes she won't.
The Foxylibrarian will be publishing on a lighter schedule because, frankly, I'm writhing in agony. If I live through this, I will write more soon.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

"Don't ever let boy kiss you. You do, you can't stop. Then you have baby. You put baby in garbage can. Police find you, put you in jail, then you life over, better just kill youself." Dating advice Amy Tan's mother gave her.

Quote of the Day
"I see that you attended college. I myself did not have that luxury."
The manager of Home Depot in Marshall, Texas while interviewing my friend Douglas for a floor sales position. Douglas was not hired.

Wasn't Bethany's hubby there for Christmas? I swear he was in some of the 2003 Christmas photos.


Elizabeth found the cached version of Bethany's page. Hurry and see it while you can!

Friday, January 02, 2004

Patron quote of the day:
"Don't worry, hon, it's just emphysema."
The hacking woman I helped reserve some books who didn't want me to worry about catching the flu (or antibiotic resistant TB?) from her.

And it seemed like well... our home...If not Arizona, then a land, not too far away, where all parents are strong and wise and capable, and all children are happy and beloved... I dunno, maybe it was Utah.
H.I.McDonnough, Raising Arizona

The Mormons have received a lot of negative publicity lately: Krakauer’s bestselling account of the appalling murders of a mother and child committed by Mormon extremists; a slew of memoirs of the ‘adult children survivor’ type of polygamy, (Predators, Prey and Other Kinfolk: My Life in Polygamy being my favorite); the kidnapping and forced marriage of mediagenic Elizabeth Smart by a Mormon fundamental polygamist/ insane street person/ self proclaimed latter day prophet; Sally Denton's meticulously researched account of the Mountain Meadow Massacres, when Mormons slaughtered a gold laden wagon train from Arkansas, an event the Church denied, scape goated on the Indians, and hushed up for years.

When you’re discussing any religion it is only fair to distinguish the extremists from the mainstream. Most of these are sensationalist accounts of actions committed by men who were excommunicated by the Mormon church for their extremism and fundamentalism. These are orthodox nuts who believe that the Mormon church went irrevocably, unforgivably astray when it caved in and banned polygamy as a condition for statehood. They consider themselves true believers and are convinced they are the only real practitioners. They are an embarrassing and extremely unpleasant reminder to mainstream Mormons of some of their religion’s shady past and tenets.

To counter the bad rap that Mormons have been getting, and to come clean about my dirty little obsession (it being the new year and all), I present to you the Benac family.

Although it still has not been determined whether they were fabricated as a recruitment tool for the Mormon church I choose to believe that they really do exist.

Go ahead and meet the family, and don’t be put off by their alarming fecundity. Visit them and see if you’re strong enough to resist them. Pretty soon you’ll be visiting the site daily, spreading the word to others, saying “Join us…it’s bliss.”


See them skipping through an apple orchard gathering some for a wholesome day of applesauce making, retracing their ancestors’ immigration route from England to America, attending massive family reunions, doing genealogy projects, getting their PhD in developmental biology, becoming fluent in obscure Eastern European languages on their missions, graduating from BYU, respecting their elders and adoring their children!

Be sure to notice them at all of their joyful family gatherings, smiling and laughing, full of harmony, enjoying large homemade meals served with wine glasses full of water, like the exemplary, teetotaling Mormons they are. Which means they’re enjoying themselves and each other without the assistance of alcohol, ever. No estrangements, divorce, children on Ritalin here!

John Murray told me that I’m one step away from calling them late after a couple of nightcaps, maybe weeping a little, asking “Are you really as perfect as you seem?”

Coming soon...
An essay on Pamela Churchill Harriman and other women who used their hoo-has to achieve fame and fortune, shaping the destiny of the 20th century in the process!

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