Archive for the ‘library’ Category

Spring break.

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

I don’t get a spring break, because I am a working class schlepp, so that title is a big ol’ joke. I get the week off of classes, which is good and fine, but otherwise–HAH. 9-5. I am taking an untraditional mini-vacay tomorrow and going north, the way the birdies don’t go (so not Cancun). OMC are taking a brother-trip to Toronto for a long weekend (we both have brothers there. We are so friggin’ cute. We planned it that way.)

I had to put off Louise Erdrich readings because I think I burnt myself out. I finished the Beet Queen and ultimately have high praise for it, but when I started to read the next in line, Tracks, I just couldn’t do it. I feel bad about this, but I’ll pick it up again later (I accidentally have two copies of it checked out of two different libraries. This signifies I have two problems. One: forgetfulness, the other: obsessiveness). Over the weekend I instead started the Sportswriter, by Richard Ford, which I kind of think is hilarious but am not sure if I’m supposed to. I will get back to this, too.

Other readings:

  • Jar of Fools: a picture story - Jason Lutes (Sherman Alexie wrote the intro and I was like, “Argh hero.” Pretty dec.)
  • Sweater Weather - Sara Varon (this book is fucking adorable and you will hug it close to your chest and want it to be your friend and drink hot chocolate with you, if you are anything like me. It reminded me infinitely of Salamander Dream, by Hope Larson, which is equally adorable and friendable.)
  • Walking Dead v.2-3 – Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore (I don’t want to think these are good, but there it is, they kinda are. Oops? I read v. 1 over a year ago and then kinda forgot about the series because I was so obsessed with Lucifer.)
  • Preacher v. 1 - Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon (This, so far, is AWESOME. I love the story. I loooove it. It’s seriously so exciting.)

Also, I finally got season 3 of Always Sunny (thanks OMC!!!). This show is probably for people who don’t have morals. What can I say. I think it’s incredible.

In Toronto, I will get to visit my favorite bookstore of all time, which means I will return with piles of loot that I don’t and won’t have time to read for months. This is part of being me, though, and I have accepted it. Stoked!

On the hunt

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

It is so frustrating to, upon tracking down the perfect book via countless reviews and blogs, etc, discover that the book, the PERFECT next brand-spankin’ new book to read, that everyone from the NYer to Salon has loved, has 51 holds on it at the public library. And I am number 52.  Sigh.  Back to the drawing board.

Also, I am on the quest for purple suede boots. I think it’s my destiny to have purple suede boots. Flat ones. I don’t care about the toe. I just want them to be purple, and mid-calf-ish, and comfy. And awesome.

(I keep forgetting to post the beet pictures. I PROMISE that I will, tonight.)

My accidental hangover.

Friday, February 6th, 2009

I had a shitty day at work yesterday. This is nothing new. Libraries are hurtin’ and things are weird at most workplaces, I’d imagine. I tried to go shopping to cheer myself up, but it didn’t work. I got a new yoga mat, but was otherwise TOO DEPRESSED TO SHOP. This is a painful declaration.

Since shopping didn’t work, I thought, “Oh, I’ll get a fancy six-pack from D’s. Fancy beer always cheers me up.” OMC picked 3 beers, and I picked 3 beers, and we were high-tailing out of the cave when I noticed a big ol’ jug of Dogfish Head Fort. I’ve never had the Fort, and I am mysteriously a sucker for fruity beer (I know, I know, pathetic), and the label art was kind of tempting, and the promise of raspberry beer was oh so exciting. I made puppy eyes at OMC (he HATES fruit beers) and we bought it, deciding we’d split it when we got to his house.

Once home, in my sweatpants, making scrambled fucking eggs for dinner (the dinner of the depressed), half a glass of Fort in my belly, talkin’ the “how was your day” talk, OMC looks at me and says “Lainers, are you DRUNK?” This couldn’t be! Half a glass of beer making me drunk? I don’t claim to have the stomach of a frat boy, but I can kind of hold my own in the drink. Convinced that I couldn’t already be drunk, I kept drinking the Fort. The thing is, I wasn’t even really enjoying it, but it was like $12 and in these tough economic times there are children in Asia who would kill for my beer, so I kept drinking it. And drinking it. And on top it, a Bell’s Best Brown Ale (which was, for the record, great, and also, did you know that you have to claim to be 21 to look at their website? Dumb. A toddler could push “yes” and gain access to this website. What a joke). Around 10, standard bedtime, I am thinking “Sheesh, I’m wiped out. Bedtime.” So I collapse into bed, thinking nothing of it.

Here’s where my story takes a nasty turn. At 4, I woke up to pee. I have the bladder of a baby and pee constantly. Deal with it. Maybe I’m diabetic. Who knows. Point is, I staggered to the bathroom with the room spinning. While getting up to pee is not unusual for me, STAGGERING IS. SPINNING SURE IS. Oh my god. I was drunk. I didn’t mean to be drunk. Oh my god. I got back in bed and kind of giggled to myself. Whoopsie.

So, now, I have a killer hangover. I accidentally got trashed and didn’t know it. A little careful googling and I discover that that frickin’ Fort was 18% alcohol, and is best enjoyed in SMALL FUCKING DOSES with dessert or in a hot tub or something. What a let down. My gray sweatsuit is so not romantic.

Also I kind of want this book but Sam Calagione edited it and he also made that beer that got me staggerin’ to the bathroom. So we’re not really on the best of terms, even though I adore every other Dogfish Head except for the Raison d’etre, which is disappointing, although fun to hear “Snaggletooth” pronounce (sorry!).

I am writing a reading list. For a class I’m not allowed to teach.

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

I assigned myself a reference question that I have, ultimately, little to do with. This is because I am a dork, and also because I am a little nosy. OMC is writing a syllabus for a year-long ethnography course and is trying to pick the books he would teach in it. I, naturally, flipped out at the chance to help (although it must be said, he didn’t technically ask for my help). I live for questions like this on the reference desk. A question like this gives me the chance to play with my beloved Library of Congress subject headings (LCSH). Subject headings can be positively joyous to use in a reference interview, although simultaneously problematic in that they are historically kind of racist, sexist and homophobic, but that is not the focus of this blog entry, although ought to be in the future (also, really great catalogers are working to remedy this every single day).

I had a few books off the top of my head that I would consider ethnographic, and that I would teach if I were OMC:

Marjorie Shostak’s Nisa: the life and words of a !Kung Woman (I want OMC to teach this because that ! is pronounced as a tongue cluck, and sitting in on this lecture would crack my shit up because he has an unbelievable amount of trouble doing the cluck. Also this is, like, standard issue cultural anthropology 101. I don’t know anything at all about anthropology but I know that this book is incredible, and that it taught me a ton about PMS in places other than America/western countries. It also taught me about having a baby in the bush. Which I don’t want to do.)

Telipit Ole Saitoti’s World’s of a Masai Warrior: an autobiography (I hesitate to put this on my booklist because that already means there will be two ethnographic books about African countries, and I don’t want the focus of this course to be too heavily skewed towards any one demographic, but alas, this book is equally great, and also horrified the shit out of 17 year-old me when Telipit gets circumcised and writes about it in terrifying detail.)

Philippe Bourgois’ In Search of Respect: Selling crack in El Barrio. (Sometimes in my brain I make a list of the people that I would write letters to if I had the time. These are people that I would write letters to simply because I admire them, and think that they’re doing wonderful, admirable things, and also that I want to grow up and be a little like them. I would give my foot to study with Bourgois at Penn. I am that impressed by him. This book changed my life. I don’t say this lightly. It has to be on an ethnographic syllabus. Also, Bourgois has a 26-page long CV. My CV is maybe a paragraph long. I need to write him a letter. And learn to be an anthropologist so I can study with him at Penn. Which leads me to wonder if I can convince OMC to shrug off his morals to let me take his classes so I can get credit in Anthropology. He won’t.)

So those are the books that I am POSITIVE have to be on the syllabus. I’m having some trouble weeding out ethnography/enthnology titles via LCSH. There are 1008 titles that are probably really great JUST AT MY LIBRARY. Imagine what we don’t have that’s amazing. Oh my god. My brain is exploding a little bit. I want to write a syllabus so badly.

I am convinced (by table of contents, LCSH, etc) that the following titles must also be on the syllabus:

Dangerous encounters : genealogy and ethnography, edited by Maria Tamboukou & Stephen J. Ball (this book has a chapter on drug treatment clinics! Neat!!!)

Gray areas : ethnographic encounters with nursing home culture, edited by Philip B. Stafford (unusual! Weird! Fun! Depressing.)

Frank Schaap’s The words that took us there : ethnography in a virtual reality (this is about gamers, and Dungeons & Dragons, and if you know OMC, you know that this book will be taught in DISGUSTING DETAIL)

I have about 600 additional titles (literally) to weed through, but if you have any suggestions, lay ‘em on me. I am writing the best syllabus ever that is not my responsibility to write.

The items contained in this entry might forever shatter your perceptions of me. And I’m okay with that.

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

When I think about why I have no free time ever, I consider the fact that I have many unmistakably shallow pursuits. A few weeks ago, I changed my Facebook About Me to say: “I’m kind of really into unicorns, trashy vampire books, obnoxious accessories, Lisa Frank and gossip. AKA: I am 9 years old at heart.” This is my About Me, people. My public face to the WORLD, or the 600-some acquaintances I once deemed important enough to be my “friend.” My sixth grade boyfriend (who I never technically broke up with, and have therefore been committing adultery on since 1996) knows that I like VAMPIRE BOOKS. Trashy ones, at that! My logic professor from sophomore year (self-proclaimed “sexy logician”) might be aware that I like unicorns. I can’t say that I’m embarrassed people know that I like Lisa Frank, because I seriously have no shame whatsoever (and Lisa Frank is, excuse the pun, frankly kind of awesome), but I am a little aghast that this is what I spend my free time on. GOSSIP. Things I should have stopped liking in the 8th grade. Pony websites! Puppy websites!

I have been both a bad blogger and reader in the past week. I took two sick days last week and laid on my couch feeling pathetic, and desperately wishing that the New Yorker that I’d left in OMC’s car wasn’t so far away (aka in the car, two flights of steps away from his third floor apartment). I tried to get back in the reading game over the weekend, but there was a lil football game occupying my time and my mind. BTW, go SIXBURGH. I wanted to get some reading done last night, but when I sat down to read I couldn’t stop touching my hair. I have any number of bad, harmful habits that I won’t disclose for the sake of preserving my integrity to anonymous readers because these habits make me look absolutely batshit crazy. I will disclose, however, that when in class and while reading, I constantly touch my hair. I twirl it into little loops and try to tie it in knots and little twisty things and I try desperately to braid it. I am growing my hair out, and am in the dangerous state of growth that I fondly think of as “mad-scientist hair,” and as a result, I cannot stop touching the new length. Then I sometimes imagine, while reading, that I’ve stumbled onto some new fabulous hairstyle that I need to examine immediately in the mirror, and as a result, well, I can’t get any reading done. I want to tell you about Plague of Doves, because it’s GORGEOUS, but I cannot stop touching my goddamn hair.

For that aforementioned football game, I made banana cupcakes with dark chocolate icing (get it, black and gold?!). I probably ate too many of them. I didn’t take a picture because my camera is dead. I need to get back in the baking game, but school + work + being shallow can be really time-consuming.

Can I add, too, that now that football season is over, it is time for some motherfucking NCAA hoops? Holy shit. I am torn in two with love for both Jermaine Dixon and DeJuan Blair. My passion for Pitt basketball: it’s out of this world.

OH MY GOD. How could I forget. My newest shallow pursuit: Gossip Girl. I have only watched four episodes, and I kind of HATE IT, but I am completely unable to prevent myself from watching it. It’s like a terrible train-wreck dressed in amazing clothes, and I want out. It’s not good! It’s disturbing and horrible! But alas, I am hooked.


Shallow Girl.

They don’t name ‘em like they used to.

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

In my lil’ library department, we have an oft used collection of Underground Press papers from 1963-1985. I was just browsing the index for Pittsburgh (for fun, y’know, ‘cuz library materials are fun) when I discovered, lo and behold, holdings for a paper called the “Mill Hunk Herald.” This is such a good title. I want to revive it and have totally excellent wacky glossy covers with, like, Jennifer Beals draped on the giant Sears at Pittsburgh Mills. I don’t know why my brain is interpreting this title with:

a.) so much amusement


b.) so much incorrectness

but, well, there it is. I’m amused by everything.