Monday, August 25, 2014


Puzzle mania spilled from home to work, and back to home again. Here's a birthday present puzzle I just finished! Mega Puzzle -- Sri Mariamman Temple.

Monday, July 14, 2014


short version

A la Pintester, I present this pink lemonade bar from a recipe I found on Pinterest. The original photo made it seem like it would be way thicker! Also, my powdered sugar keeps sinking in. Now that I look again, I see it's a super close-up shot. There's a spoon in my picture for a bit of scale. The crust is very crumbly, but that may well be because I threw on all the ingredients at once, rather than creaming butter and sugar together first. I'm on the fence: crumbly crust, too sticky to eat with fingers, but maybe those flaws are my fault and I need to try again before declaring it a bust?

Saturday, July 05, 2014


As a life-long Girl Scout -- and professional staff member for seven years -- I frequently have to hear about someone's terrible experience with a bad troop leader, an un-fun camp. Seemed like one of the many ways librarianship would be a refreshing change is that people wouldn't have bad things to share, but they do. Like this tubmlr's tale, I find myself wondering if I should come out and say "geez, sorry your town's library is terrible."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


As you know, I've been thinking about fandom lately. I read this item today; it's about a proposed television version of Lev Grossman's outstanding book The Magicians. In it, Sarah Arboleda proposes that as a book about fandoms -- fandoms of fantasy worlds that it turns out are real -- with in-real-life fans, it could be successful if it really appealed and worked for those people enthusiastic about the book already; in which case it would lose the coveted (still?) Average Viewer. And of course if it worked for the average viewer, it probably wouldn't be anything that outstanding or lasting.

Even as I write, I've brought to mind the latest Criticism of YA Books That Shall Not Be Named. This gist of the Slate editorial was that adults should be ashamed of themselves for indulging in teen books; adults read literary fiction. A glance at a bestseller list, or a day of readers' advisory at a public library tells another tale entirely. Adults read James Patterson and Debbie Macomber and Nikki Turner. Maybe it would be okay if a T.V. version of The Magicians turned out merely pretty good? I keep telling myself that much of the BBC's Merlin is fair-to-kinda bad. Yet I watched all the way to the end; I saw another Arthur off to Avalon. Like versions of Alice, I seem to have a hierarchy of versions of Camelot stories. Nicely acted, with gorgeous sets and generally-good costumes, Merlin's not as low as Disney's Sword in the Stone or Excalibur.

Well, I digress, as fans do, and I drag myself back to the Arboleda article: if there's a "divide between 'normals' and 'fans'," which side do I fall on? I keep thinking I'm not ... something enough to really be a fan. I'm not back-and-forth with others on tumblr or blogs or whatever. I tear through something, think about it a bit -- and these days reinforce it looking at Pinterest. Maybe I am a quiet fan.

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.