Books, Life

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The worst part about this post is that I pretty much just lifted it from an email to a friend. Don’t tell, ok? Bad blogger.

I’m running around with alligators hanging from my ankles this week. The work-related travel starts Saturday, so Things Must Be Prepared. Stuff Must Get Done. The NSDL waits for no man.

I have this fantasy where I sit in a hip London sushi joint upgrading this site whilst eavesdropping on conversations in a variety of awesome UK dialects. That’s my idea of a good time. It could happen.

We cleaned our gutters this weekend. I made bread and soup. I created a JSP interface for tying item-level records to their associated subassets. I brushed the cat. I tried to teach my friends’ daughter to say "mop" like the trashcan droid in star wars.

Life in Ithaca is domestic and lovely.

I’m also reading a Great Long Book  Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.
My favorite quote, which reminds me of the much-mentioned view outside my window:
"In winter the barren trees shall be a black writing but they shall not understand it"

Speaking of sloth…

Here’s some baby sloths. (thanks Kafkaesque)

These sloths remind me of the time I went to a residence hall library program with my friend RyanGalaxor Nebulon” Hughes. (Hi Ryan! Where the hell are ya?)

They had brought in a bunch of rainforest animals to the residence hall to, I dunno, promote reading or something. There were a bunch of snakes and fuzzy things, a scorpion, and a two-toed sloth. At the end of the program, the audience was invited to come up and pet the animals. Ryan decided that he should pet the sloth. Ryan HAD to pet the sloth.

I kind of lost track of Ryan after he went up to the sloth, and when I found him again he was bleeding. Ryan had been bitten by the sloth.

As you know, the sloth is the Slowest Mammal in the World. It is known for moving only 5 or 6 feet a minute. Yet here was Ryan, bleeding. “It looked so cute”, Ryan said. “When I saw it open it’s mouth, I thought, oh! it’s going to do something even cuter! I didn’t know it was going to BITE me!”

I believe to this day Ryan has a scar. From sloth.

Let this be a lesson to you.

Pennsic, accents, and the SCA

Ok, hello. I’m back. Vacation involved lifting entirely too many heavy boxes, but I managed to enjoy myself. I spent a few days at the geektastic Medieval reenactment festival Pennsic, and the long drive back from Pennsylvania across Central New York was an unexpected treat.

For some reason I never knew this, maybe because when you live in Michigan you are only allowed to say nice things about Michigan, but New York is darn pretty. There are all of these green mountainy things, long swooping valleys, and huge tire-sized turtles that stomp across the road and scare the heck out of you. Plus, after five days of camping I was singing the praises of every flush toilet along the way. Yay technology.

It was kind of strange to turn on the cell phones and get messages from concerned friends and family members worried about the blackout. Let me just say, if there is any place to be during a major loss of electricity, it is Pennsic. These people have tents that are better decorated than my house. It is not unusual to see a huge pavilion lined with ten oriental rugs, and filled with a long dining room table, an armoire, an antique full-length mirror, a dressing table, and about a thousand candles. People bring full kitchens, propane-fuels refrigerators, hot-water showers, beds, enormous gates, and enough clothes to clothe an army, which, incidentally, there also happens to be. We, on the other hand, brought our backpacking tent and some sleeping bags. All week, people walked by and asked if my tent was the “armor tent.” Yes, people set up special little tents for thier armor. As a seven-year employee of the Michigan Renaissance Festival, the weirdness of all this did not come as a complete surprise, but I have to admit being somewhat taken aback by the full-scale reproduction of a Viking encampment that sprung up across the road. They even had their own bus, with, I assume, oars that stick out the windows. Oh, and I’m told that every year there is a party for all of the librarians who attend.

Back when I was a spoiled undergraduate and could study whatever I wanted, I took this class in American Dialects. One of the interesting trivia factoids I learned was that people tend to take on the dialect of wherever they feel most comfortable, or they identify with the most. This might explain why a grandmother will still have her Irish brogue after 30 years in the States, while a theater student will return from a summer in Stratford calling trucks “lorries” and referring to her mother as “Mum.” This is all to say that I must like it here in New York.

I don’t know if it’s the smoke-free bars, or the truly excellent pizza, but I’ve been finding myself calling carbonated beverages “soda.” Now, as anyone with a self-promotional website can easily claim, I am entirely without pretense, so the substitution of my native “pop” for the exotic, foreign “soda” comes as a surprise. But I can assure my fellow Michiganders that I will continue to drink Vernor’s Ginger Ale and put gravy on my french fries.

True Romance!

I popped in to the Tompkins County Public Library yesterday to take advantage of the few hours that they are open after recent budget cuts. I believe I represent many library workers in my inability to return library materials on time. My friend Mark worked at circulation when I was in college, and I got kind of spoiled as a result.

Anyway, I paid my $13 fine, and received a wonderful reference interview from one of the librarians. And I found this: Truer Than True Romance: Classic Love Comics Retold! a parody of all of those hideous True Romance comics of the 40’s and 50’s. The comic art archive where I used to work collected many of the originals, and shelving them was always a swoopy-swoony blast. Afterward, I took to biting my knuckle in times of stress.

Library Tourism, Ithaca

The weekend was so good that it took me until Tuesday to write about it. With a full serving of book-shopping, horse-petting and firework-ogling,  I luxuriated my way around Ithaca, reveling in the not-work.

I discovered that libraries can be found in the most surprising places. The bird sanctuary where the beavers live also houses a new audio and video library, complete with some very hip compact shelving and an enormous AV-lab. I saw a huge turtle from the window outside their reading room, so I am now a big fan.