Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I got so lost on campus today that I had to call a friend from high school who goes to IU in order to figure out where I was and how to get to where I had meant to go. That never happened at DePauw. Or at Aberdeen. Why now? Craziness.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The small happinesses of a future librarians

Yesterday I got my first ever ILL (inter-library loan) book from the Library of Congress. I had a Library of Congress seal in it and everything. And you know something belongs to the Library of Congress when they stipulate that sure, you can borrow this, but you can't take it out of your own library. It was lovely.

It was a pretty awesome book, too, on the Gardens at Versailles. Which are very lovely themselves.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's not eavesdropping if they're talking loudly

I overheard this remark while leaving the public library this evening:

"I wasn't expecting so many girls to have rocks on their fingers, when I came here!"

Evidently it is not only for female students to remark upon how many of their male classmates are either married or engaged. Good to know.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On the last day of class

Two things:
  1. In my class this evening, the professor asked if we had any questions about our take-home finals, which are due Thursday. I was the only student to ask any questions, and I asked three. Are you not supposed to ask questions about exams in grad school? Or am I the only one who's actually looked at the exam and so could ask questions at all? I really don't know.
  2. SLIS does their course evaluations via Scantron. When we pulled the Scantron sheets out of the evals envelope, a wave of panic spread over me. I hadn't seen a fill-in-the-bubble sheet since high school. The panic resulting from first seeing the Scantron suggests that perhaps I was a bit stressed out about things like tests and grades in high school. On the plus side, I seem to have mellowed out since then.

Austen Hero Order of the Day

In the style of my entry dated 22 June 2009, and in the order of my current preference (with #6 being blah and #1 being ooh la la):

6. Mr. Edmund Bertram (Mansfield Park)
5. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)
4. Mr. Edward Ferrars (Sense and Sensibility)
3. Mr. Henry Tilney (Northanger Abbey)
2. Mr. George Knightly (Emma)
1. Captain Frederick Wentworth (Persuasion)

On the positives of owning up

I just finished reading a book that (surprise surprise!) is focused on a woman who really likes Jane Austen. Like most chick lit based on or around Austen, this woman has the distinct feeling that Austen has ruined her love life with such characters as Edmund Bertram and Mr. Darcy.

Now, first of all: Edmund Bertram? That nitwit? Has this author even read any other of the Austen novels? For that matter, has she read any at all? Or just watched the movies? Because, and maybe it's just me, but I would never ever ever put Edmund Bertram on any sort of pedestal even remotely associated with romantic perfection. Ever.

Second of all (which does indicate that perhaps the author is an Austen-movies-only kind of girl): Mr. Darcy is not her main character's pinnacle of romantic hero. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy holds that honor.

Now, I will agree as much as the next person that Colin First as Mr. Darcy is fantastic. Spot on. Smoldering in an "I-have-an-attitude-despite-this-frilly-neck-cloth" sort of way. And that's not even considering the (superfluous) Darcy-in-water scene (even the BBC isn't perfect?). Add that into the mix and wowza. But the thing is, that's not Darcy. Sure, I'm of the camp that Elizabeth may be a far more faulted character than her true love Darcy. But I also believe that, regardless of his affections for Elizabeth, Darcy would still treat everyone else pretty much like crap. I mean, come on, he's not even particularly polite to Caroline Bingley, and he's around her all the time. What makes any self-respecting female think that he'd treat her any differently? That he'd deign to remove his attention from Elizabeth for even a second in order to address her?

However, and maybe this has more to do with my favorite Austen hero not being Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, I have a bit of a problem with this main character's (let's just say it) obsession. Unfounded and misplaced, it may be. But still, it is hers, how she feels. And she is wholeheartedly ashamed of it.

Like to the point of hiding her Pride and Prejudice dvd set in a houseplant so that no one will find out about it.

So, let's see... is this book telling me that I should be ashamed by my Austen-philia, even though I really and truly love Jane Austen? Because I'm not ashamed, no way Jose. Nor will I be induced to think I should be ashamed. The only thing that I get out of this specific incarnation of Austen chick lit is that people should, above all else, stay true to themselves. And perhaps people wouldn't be so screwed up if they'd read and not just trust things to movies.

Oh, and maybe they shouldn't think that highly of Mr. Bertram, either.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lotus flowers...

...make for a very cheery way to begin one's Saturday!

And it's not as if I don't have anything else to look forward to today, either. I'm going to have a visitor shortly, and we shall be exploring Bloomington and the surrounding area. Maybe even going for a dip in my pool. Good food? Definitely. Good times? Most certainly!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Jane Austen and a variety of dark creatures

I know it must be rather evident, based upon my musings on this site, that I love Jane Austen. All things, Jane Austen, really, excepting those that include shaggy-haired men where there should be clean-cut gentlemen and annoying ninnies with wavering tones where there should be ladies of firm voice and character. All things Jane Austen not excepting this year's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

That's right: there exists such a thing as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. And, while I was skeptical at first, I must say I am quite a fan of the book now. It really is incredibly nuanced and true to Austen's original characters. I must admit that one can learn a lot about one's favorite literary figures when the stakes of a familiar situation are changed ever so slightly.

Now, I am excited to realize, I can anticipate September 15, at which point another retelling of an Austen classic runs ashore in bookstores: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Really, it makes sense; Marianne always seemed to fancy herself something of a vixen mermaid. I cannot wait to see how this one plays out.

For now, the book trailer:

"I can't believe I gave my panties to a geek."

Right up there with "I carried a watermelon" is a particularly favorite quote of mine from Sixteen Candles: "I can't believe I gave my panties to a geek." It perfectly sums up Samantha's frustration with how stagnant and uneventful yet embarrassing her life is, even when she does something out of the ordinary (like lend her underwear to Farmer Ted). It's like she's saying, "Is this really my life?"

It's also a really great stand-alone quote. I would hope most people could identify it as being from Sixteen Candles, and for that very reason -- the quote's memorability -- it would do a great job of expressing frustration in most any life situations. Something akin to the more bland "I can't believe this is actually happening to me."

Go ahead, use the quote in everyday life. Worst case scenario, no one knows what you're talking about. [Of course, then you can just pride yourself on having better taste in and knowledge of movies than them.] Best case scenario? You'll realize that maybe your life isn't that bad; after all, you probably didn't give your panties to a geek. Right?

News of John Hughes's death made me start thinking about Sixteen Candles again. Man, was he great at those movies about how awkward yet fairy-tale-like high school can be. I love them. In fact, I think I'm going to go put Sixteen Candles in my dvd player right now...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Adventures away!

Tomorrow, my best friend and her family, as per years of tradition, shall be loading into their vehicles and heading for Minocqua, Wisconsin. It's a great place, full of Dan's Fudge and Charlie's Cheese (& ice cream!) and Minocqua Bats. And that's not even considering Paul Bunyan's, the possibility of Crazy Days, and all of the backyard fun of swimming, fishing, paddle-boating, pontoon-ing, tubing, and water-skiing on Lower Kaubashine.

I've been lucky enough to get to take part in the family vacation several summers. While I won't be joining them this summer (ah, grad school...), I know they'll have lots of fun. And I can rest easy in knowing I'll get to hear all about everything once we're all back home in the Region again a week from now.

Happy vacationing, Johnsens and Mumaughs! I'll be hoping for great weather for you =)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A self-discovery of sorts

Remember when I said that thing about how I'm not a pretty crier? Well, I may have neglected to mention that, in addition to being a not pretty crier, I can cry for nearly any reason. Case in point: shelf-reading books at the Monroe County Library this evening.

155.937. I will try my best to avoid this call number from here on out. Why? Because it's the "living with grief" section. And I'm sorry to say it, but seeing a book called After Charlotte's Mom Died just makes me sad. Teary-eyed, even. I mean, come on; add the not-cartoonish illustration on the cover (it's a children's book, after all) of a really, really sad girl clutching a teddy bear that looks similar to my Teddy, and I just don't stand a chance.

It was enough to make me want to skip ahead to the 200s and all of their redundant Bible-story glory. Now, don't get me wrong, because I love Jesus and everything. But shelf-reading the 200s would be so much easier if each Bible story didn't have its own, thin volume (multiplied by at least 5 because all the publishers want in on that market). I distinctly remember a colorful children's Bible from my youth. It had all of the important stories in there. All of them. Keeping Bible stories bound in a Bible would really speed along the shelving process.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A perfect combination?

I love Garrison Keillor, and I love fairs. Put the two together, mixed in with the great photos of National Geographic?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer reading

NPR recently took a poll to determine the best beach books ever. Perhaps not surprisingly for an NPR audience, many of the books aren't exactly your traditional beach reads -- Anna Karenina, anyone?

I have to agree with the number one best beach book, anything Harry Potter (including this great fan fiction that, as far as I'm concerned, is the eighth in the series). But I'd have to expand the number 5 Pride and Prejudice to include everything Jane Austen. After all, what's better than sunshine, cool waves, and some serious romance to make it feel like summer?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Matt Connor!

I just got back from Detroit for my cousin Matt's wedding. Let me tell you, this was a five-star affair! The ceremony was beautiful; the bride was unbelievably lovely; the groom and groomsmen wore Chucks; and the reception was a full-blown East-meets-West party extravaganza.

I decided to let the photographers handle all the photos, and so I only have my one shot to share with you: the cake. Atop the four-tiered cake, instead of the traditional bride and groom, there are spun sugar figures of a kangaroo and a male deer. The kangaroo is for Romey, who grew up in Australia; and the buck is for my cousin Matt, who hails from Michigan. The cake was gorgeous and tasty--which is the best kind of wedding cake, really!

I'm so excited for my cousin and his new bride. Congrats, Matt and Romey Connor!