Friday, April 04, 2014


The other day, I rewatched the 1999 Alice in Wonderland TV production, and still keep it at the top of my favs list. Watching a bizarre 1966 TV version this winter made me want to check in again on my leading choice. For the record: Disney is a big NO, and Tim Burton disappointed greatly.

My disappointment in Burton was underscored by comparison to the 1999 telling: much of its look I might have called Burton-esque, or Pee Wee-esque. Details that make me think of Burton include the splendid way the Red Queen, in particular, looks like a playing card -- down to the "drawn" black lines of her hair; or the checkerboards of grass that curve dreamily in backgrounds and transition scenes.

This Alice follows the books closely enough to please an avid reader. We get "why is a raven like a writing desk," we get the treacle well, we get the Cheshire cat checking on whether Alice said "pig" or "fig." Tina Majorino makes a spot-on Alice (looked into it real quick: looks like she's gone on to a strong career in things that I don't watch). Gene Wilder captures the Mock Turtle; and -- omg! that's the Queen from "Black Adder"! (Miranda Richardson). Brilliant.

Before urging this version above all other on someone, I might mention that it starts off a little slow -- there's no need for the Caucus Race to be that long a scene -- but it is the one I would suggest, above all.

See also: my Alice pins.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

This morning I was assailed by such sadness at the velocity of life -- the distance I've travelled from my own youth, the persistence of old regrets, the new regrets, the ability of failure to freshen itself in new forms -- that I almost crashed the car.

"The Largesse of the Sea," Denis Johnson (The New Yorker, March 3, 2014)

Not sure if I should call it an episodic story, or if it's really just odd scenes stitched together. This line hit me so hard I reread it three times right then.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What I Learned Today

Some re-arranging of schedules means that I now have more opportunities to be "in charge" which should give me more "formal" management experience @ the library.

Yesterday, it sleeted and snowed all day (but little accumulation as it had been 60s for days), then sleeted some more this morning. Because a workman was here for our heater, I went in the back door, not the public front door. In my rounds, I looked at the front walk, saw a dwindling patch of ice a few steps from the door and decided not to fuss. One of the first four patrons complained about how slippery it was; sure enough the far end of the walk was pretty bad.

Lesson: don't do a half-assed check. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Ref Grunt

Wow, three great things in a row! Let's see if it holds up:

  • Put some Star Wars movies on hold for (immigrant) family; nice conversation about viewing order, forthcoming movie (kid reported it's due out in 2015).
  • Pair of 20-somethings dashed in-and-out in about 2 minutes. They retrieved something in the "Uglies" series; those new covers are distinctive, but difficult to distinguish with a furtive glance.
  • Readers's advisory for a teen who likes thrillers, horror -- she took Code Name Verity and at least one other.
  • meeting room
  • retirement planning books
  • finance books
  • question about our new location

Monday, March 10, 2014


I thought I would do due diligence and add this weekend's pretty-good bird list to eBird. But, oops: I forgot that good citizen scientists keep each outing as a separate list and count individuals. The latter is actually pretty easy to ballpark, but since I tend to keep a running list for a whole trip, adding birds at the end when I remember "oh, we saw that yesterday," the time/walk is hard to reconstruct. I wanted to add to it, though, because we ID'd a rusty blackbird and a very early tree swallow. eBird shows one other list in Halifax County with a rusty blackbird -- at the end of last year -- so I feel OK about that. But no one's reported a tree swallow since last spring! Yet I felt confident of that ID, if surprised by how early they were (2).

The other "meh" thing about eBird is that it creates a life list -- in theory, awesome, but not an asset for someone who's been at this a while. This weekend was not, after all, my first sighting of a killdeer!

Highlights from a list of 39 species across 3 days, mostly at Staunton River State Park, but these first 2 from Staunton River Battlefield SP:

red-headed woodpecker
all the other Virginia woodpeckers! (a full house?!)
bald eagle that swooped over us as we entered park, with nest material in its talons
rusty blackbird
many pine warblers feeding on the ground
red-winged blackbirds eating grass seed
tree swallow
LOTS of titmice

Weather: Southside Virginia got about 3 inches of snow on Friday; when we arrived Saturday afternoon, picturesque dustings -- more like crusts --  remained and some lasted until departure Monday morning. Days got up to low 60s, I think, and it was nice and sunny.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ref Grunt

Printing, printing, logging on, street lit, devotionals. Announcing several times that you "don't use the library much" does not fill me with extra joy as I help.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


I believe I learned this exercise while learning to be a trainer. It goes like this:

  • Think of a book -- or a TV show -- that you like a lot, but that you don't really talk to people about. A secret indulgence. Once you've got it, jot down some of the character's names for me.
  • Now think of a book -- or show -- that you talk about around the water cooler. And jot down some of those characters.
  •  How'd you do?

Most people find they can name more characters from the book or show that they talk about. We reinforce what we have learned (character names) when we discuss things. The lesson to wannabe trainers is This is why we ask people to report back, share, discuss.

This activity came to mind as I thought about fan-hood, lately. I missed the teen crushing phase: I found the idea of gazing at pictures of Andy Gibb or whomever vaguely embarrassing. Then there were the handful of months after I graduated college and before I got a "real" job -- the first time I temped. At lunch one day, I sat in a sunny break room with several middle-aged women who cheerfully chatted about "Alf." Good lord, is this what being an adult is going to be like? Were the smart meal-time conversations of college a brief and shining moment? Between, seemingly, not being predisposed to be obsessed and having had many phases of my life when I was surrounded by Alf-lovers and not fans of what I liked, I seldom reveled in being a fan, in having a common language with people.

The internet, of course, changes this; fans discover each other, more easily now than in the old bulletin board days of yore. Things that I might have been keeping as secret indulgences show as I get the chance to say "what, you too?" Curiously, the sort of sharing we can do online these days not only sets into our minds the characters' names, it also ossifies certain moments.

The activity of being a fan and sharing becomes self-centered and meta.

Recently, I had a truly weird experience: a real-life event -- observing a woman wearing a lovely red-orange wrap at a concert -- made a gif run through my head. Have I processed -- learned -- too much?

I have to admit to myself, at this point, that perhaps I do become obsessed? TV re-runs allowed me to learn more quotes from M*A*S*H than a 13 year-old needed to know . . . hmm, and I did have a M*A*S*H trivia book. But I didn't dress or draw pictures or even talk in a particular way because of the show. Perhaps there were other kids who were? Perhaps without participation in a fan club, much less internet-sharing, I just didn't know about them.

All of this drifts around in my mind not only as I watch TV or the ref desk with one eye, and scan Pinterest and tumblr with the other, but also as reasonably reputable articles on my current crush, BBC's Sherlock, appear. (For instance, Emily Nussbaum in The New Yorker and well, several items in WIRED, but especially this one by Devon Maloney which asserts that the show does not pander to the avid fans.) I feel reluctant to call myself a fan girl -- pictures of handsome actors not in character, pictures meant just for gazing at, still embarrass me -- but my browser's history would argue otherwise. Perhaps it is time to go clear that.

Capital City weather: freezing rain, thunder

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Find Love

This was on the refrigerator at my old house for so long I forgot where I took it. I think a coworker and I were in Southside Virginia (but, why?).

Sunday, October 13, 2013


First, Anna posted a posy from her yard, and that made me go check ours.

Then, Aunt Sally's picture from earlier in the week of her teddy bear and Uncle Walter's toy lion reminded me that I should try adding a bit of stuffing to my panda so it could sit next to Phil's bear and not flop over. Tah-dah! She looks much less tragic, now. I tried adding a bow, but that was too much.

And my final project for this damp day is a bit of a left over from last week's yard sale clear out. I unearthed this collage that I believe hung in my senior year dorm room and first apartment -- and has lived in storage since then. Pictured: Mitch; sailboat Blaze; Jamie and Kristin; 1986 CITs; Laurie-Liz and me; Mary Sam; oh look, that's the Galers so that's 1989 or so; Junior Show; a picture from GS Maine trip; Ween and me at Junior Show; Laurie and me in the snow; Claire and Gretchen.