Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Revenge of the Chandler-Style Sweater Vests

Remember how on the TV show Friends Chandler's penchant for wearing sweater vests was a relatively consistent butt of jokes? Well, I suppose I laughed right along with the canned laughter on the show, but that was way before I had seen my friend who teaches modeling his new teacher wardrobe.

Take that, predictable fashion jokes!

And not only does he look great in his sweater vest ensembles, he teaches the youth of America too. Check him out!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A sign that perhaps things have gone too far

I've been moderately interested in graffiti for several years now. My casual interest in what people choose to write on an available surface in moments of boredom or as an attempt at leaving a lasting presence only deepened when, in college, I attended a lecture on ancient Greek marketplaces and learned that the same types of graffiti that are most common now -- think "So-and-so was here" and phallic drawings -- were also common then, when one had to actually carve into a rock surface to leave a message.

Today, however, I encountered something entirely out of the realm of what I'm used to. What I thought was just regular bathroom-stall scrawling quickly proved to be out of the ordinary: practically every message written in this particular stall was an opinion of some guy named Edward.

Some vampire, as it turns out. (Perhaps it is relevant information that this all occurred at a Borders store.)

There were many messages to the effect of "Edward is hot" and "Edward sucks," with corresponding responses and occasional cross-outs. But there was one message that went beyond: "Edward isn't real, but he represents the ideal man."

I kid you not.

On the one hand, maybe it's good that girls are graffiti-ing about a creepo chastity club vampire. It means they're reading, right?

On the other hand, it means they're reading that drivel. And then applying it directly to their lives and ideas about ideal men.

And people say my love of Jane Austen novels is bad.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

So you want to write a story...

...but you don't know where to start? Try this!

It's a rather fabulous sci-fi-ish story generator, something akin to Mad Libs but with choices so that no one picks intentionally sexual words that in the end make no sense. What would your story be about?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Another reason to love Bloomington

On Tuesday mornings I have one of my rare books classes, and then in the afternoon I volunteer in the children's department at the public library. These two commitments leave a gap of just over an hour during which I can walk from campus to the main drag toward downtown and grab my lunch. Already, it's a really pleasant scenario.

Last week, as I was making this said walk at said time, I heard music. Turns out the City of Bloomington sponsors a Tuesday lunch concert in a little park right along the main street. Last week I got my bagel to go and grabbed a seat at one of the picnic tables surrounding the music. It was remarkably pleasant, and I made a mental note to return this week.

And woah, am I glad I did! Today, in celebration of it now being autumn, the lunchtime concert was not the only goings-on. There were also a few informal booths: one where you could pick a pumpkin and win a prize (I did!); one where you could try some pumpkin bagels (I only discovered this after I had eaten lunch, unfortunately); one where you could get some apple cider (currently in my fridge); and one where you could get some homemade pumpkin ice cream (it was marvelous!). Talk about a fun, impromptu, welcome-to-fall festival!

I absolutely love it here, and I haven't even seen the beauty of the leaves turning yet.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Star Wars

I was watching the Star Wars trilogy on tv today (because apparently it takes me an entire weekend to recover from going out on a Friday night... wow, 23), and my total familiarity with the movie got me wondering. Back in the day when I first saw the film -- i.e. when I wasn't able to anticipate every line pretty much exactly -- did I feel more suspense with the storyline? Would I get concerned about the fate of the characters? Basically, did I at one point react to the movies' plot twists with genuine curiosity as to what would follow?

It just got me thinking about what the various appeals of movies are. I know several people who will watch a movie once and then never watch it again. And they don't repeat movies because they didn't like them, just because they've already seen them already. They know what's going to happen, so no use in watching it again. I suppose I'm like that with some movies. And I definitely enjoy sitting in a dark theatre or just at home on the couch watching a plot-twist filled movie for the first time. It's exciting to not know what'll happen, how things will end.

But at the same time, I love having personal "standard" movies, ones that I can watch over and over and over and never really get sick of. Like the Star Wars movies (ahem, the real ones). There's something comforting about knowing what's what on screen and not having to get too invested in the fates of the characters. And besides, if you watch the same things over and over, you're still bound to find new things in them, new ways of looking at old favorites. Really, that's probably what I love most about movies: seeing something new amidst the comforts of familiarity.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Another Jane Austen something

We all know I love Jane Austen. Love. As in, to the point where I will willingly finish some not-so-good, practically-fan-fiction books simply because they give me a little fix.

But I legit like this great little piece of imagination that was in this month's Jane Austen Centre Newsletter. It poses an interesting question indeed: What would Jane Austen do if she had a wifi-enabled laptop?

Notice the great picture that accompanies the short piece as well.

A day in the world of rare books

Today, as I sat in my chair in the Lilly Library during my Rare Books Librarianship class, my professor pulled a book off of the library cart he'd wheeled in for the class. He was making a point, I know; I just can't remember what that point was. Why, you ask?

Because he opened the book to the title page, and it looked like this:

I was a mere six inches away from a First Folio of Shakespeare. So close that I could see the little details, like the fact that the "W" in William was actually printed using two "V"s (as in VVilliam Shakespeare). I could smell the book.*

Holy moly.

I think my complete and utter awe means I'm in the right sorts of classes.

*A certain well-read friend has taught me that the smell of a book can be a very important visceral part of reading. Try it. You'll notice that your books smell differently.

Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP Patrick Swayze

Seeing as this blog is loosely named after a line from Dirty Dancing, I think it is appropriate for me to mention Patrick Swayze's passing. He had pancreatic cancer -- a notoriously hard-to-beat illness which claimed my high school government teacher as well -- and lasted much longer than anyone would have guessed. And, if you ask me, he had the proper attitude throughout: fight it, yes, but don't fight it so hard that your remaining time is unbearable.

An interesting cartoon series from a now-popular author

Audrey Niffenegger -- a.k.a. that woman who wrote The Time Traveler's Wife -- wrote a series of comics for the Guardian newspaper starting a year and a half ago. The series is titled The Night Bookmobile. Obviously, the name alone was enough to get me sufficiently interested. But trust me, if you've got, oh, maybe 20 minutes of free time, you should definitely check it out. (Make sure you start with the first frame, the one publish 31 May 2008.) By the end, it combines two of my very favorite things: libraries and Airstream trailers. Brilliant.

Side note: The main character and time traveler in Niffenegger's novel-cum-feature film was employed by the Newberry Library in Chicago. Then she wrote a comic about a library... Do I sense a theme?

Sighting! (kinda)

Yesterday, coming out of church, there was this guy pulling into the parking lot who looked like a my-age version of McGee. No joke.

I thought about turning my car around to feign having forgotten something in order to get a better look / maybe meet him, but then I thought better of it. With things like that, if it's meant to be it'll happen, right?

Anyway, I was excited.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

An odd sort of homesickness

Today, while I was sitting on the #6 bus heading home after a work meeting, I was suddenly overcome by a wash of homesickness. For Scotland.

All it took, strangely enough, was a look at the sign stating that riders must use correct change to purchase their bus fare, as drivers cannot make change. That got me thinking about the intercity buses in Aberdeen, where drivers do make change when you purchase your fare. And they make change with wonderful, cool, pound coins, which are really so much more practical than paper dollars when you're talking about small monetary denominations.

That got me thinking of taking the bus from Aberdeen to Stonehaven, the city with a variety of Dunnottar-y hiking activities. Like a ruined castle on a gorgeous peninsula. Or the fairy tale-like "bath" swimming area on the old Dunnottar property.

By the time I got off the bus, I was a bit frustrated at the beautiful 70-degree Indiana September evening weather. Why couldn't it be 55 degrees, like it is in Scotland?

Why is the sky never as blue here?

I miss it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ice Cream

I consider it a matter of personal pride that I can eat a well-scooped waffle cone of ice cream, regardless of how hot the temperature outside, without any of my ice cream melting sloppily and giving me the grown-up equivalent of jam hands.

I have now tried three ice cream places here in Bloomington: Jiffy Treat, the Chocolate Moose, and Brusters. All are really good. For year-roundedness compounded with quirkiness, however, I shall have to give Bruster's the highest ice cream honors. Go there!

Air guitar anyone?

Check this out.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Something sad

Honestly, who would ever think of a library without books as being a good idea? It barely even makes sense to call such a book-less place a library! What is this world coming to?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Another reason why Glamour just doesn't live up to JANE

This month's reason why Glamour magazine could never even hope to live up to the memory of JANE magazine, even though JANE readers were told to replace their magazine-allegiance with the fashion-y women's mag after JANE folded one sad day in 2007:

Glamour actually had to ask readers if having a stripper pole in your bedroom is a do or a don't.
And 30% of readers said it was a do.

Come on, people! Seriously???

(Glamour, October 2009, pg. 57)

Of all the mortifying things in the world

Doing some reading for one of my rare books classes, I stumbled upon this phrase:

"...nothing is so mortifying as to discover an imperfection in a book which has been on one's shelves for years."

Now, maybe it's just me, but I can think of a lot of things more mortifying than that. It could be that I'm not interested in rare books from a personal collection standpoint -- collectors must have pride in their collected items, after all -- but instead drawn to rare books librarianship. I want to work with these old texts, not have them for having's sake.

Regardless, though, I can still think of more mortifying scenarios. Like falling of the bus into a crowd of people. Like spilling food on my fancy dress at the beginning of the party. Like spilling food on someone else's fancy dress, regardless of how long the party will continue to last. Like getting divorced on reality tv. Like being on reality tv in general.

Do I make my point? And is it just me?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I love the ALA weekly newsletter!

Today's wonderfulness:
Doesn't it all just make you want to be a librarian, too?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


It seems that when you've been on a semi-hiatus from your blog because of a temporary change of scenery (read: going home), starting up again can prove rather difficult. I just haven't been thinking my usual thoughts in any sort of blog-aware way. I just think them, without considering how they might translate to here. Strange, right? Regular thought. Imagine.

So I suppose the moral of this post is that I can't think of anything interesting to post about. I'll try to be more conscious of self tomorrow.