Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pomp and Circumstance...with illustrations

Well, I moved one step closer to graduation today…at least I tried to. After looking for parking, finding the right office, being told I had been directed to the wrong office, looking for parking again, and one jammed printer later (preventing L from getting me the forms there at the office), I have now printed off and filled out my application for admission to candidacy for a Master’s degree as well as my application for degree. So much paperwork! I had to leave for work so I couldn’t run to the comp lab and print & fill quickly while I was at SLIS, but I did get it done tonight so I can hand the forms in when I go back for class next Monday. It was just an incredibly disappointing way to spend a major portion of my half-day off. I would have done much better to just stay at home; that’s all it amounted to anyway! It won’t be long now til I’m free, free, free….dare I let myself get excited?

I was in a foul mood when I got to work. Frazzled, tired, and not a little irritable at being late for work because of getting so much runaround from my “beloved” U of A (feel free to imagine the sarcastic tone one would expect), I was really struggling to be the cheerful public servant. Intervention wound its way up to the second floor in the form of one of my favorite teens, A, of fake fingernail fame here at Holley’s House. She told me funny stories, we talked about our respective classes, I watched with not a little sympathy as she did what looked like arcane math homework, and she drew me some pictures! Enjoy!


Sunday, February 25, 2007

An Endangered Species......especially after I got home

The Vacuum Cleaner Salesman…rare, elusive, predatory……real damn annoying…..

….that’s right people, I saw one with my own eyes. He was in my house when I got home from a particularly harrowing day and I must admit that I was NOT NICE AT ALL. I was tired, hungry, my feet hurt, and it was 8 o’freakin clock at night! I wanted to make my dinner, watch a movie, and relax but that was not to be. My Bob Saggett wannabe went on and on. He kept asking me to sit down and I told him I had food to cook, he’d have to do the fast and dirty version of his spiel. And, the worst thing, his spiel consisted of him saying that he had to sell 4 more vacuums to win the 5 day trip to Cocoa Beach. Boy, that just warm the ol’ cockles. I finally told him that I was not interested in his $2000 vacuum and I had dinner to cook and M was making “I can’t afford it” noises too. He looked at me for a moment, then said, “Well, do you mind if I talk to her for a minute because she was all gung-ho before you got here?” to which I replied, “You have at it.” M is now the proud new owner of a $72/month 2 year payment for a vacuum cleaner and I had some dinner. He had an out of state cell phone number, no business card, apparently no car as he rode there with his “boss” who was working the neighbors across the street and diverted M’s request about getting a phone number in case she had questions by giving her the owner’s manual and saying that it would show her how to do everything. This all sounded incredibly suspicious to me so I hope they don’t clean out her bank account.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Good Intentions...we all know what they do....

Here I sit, late on a Friday afternoon, having done absolutely none on the research I needed to do for my collection development class. A--I had to get the oil changed in my car before the poor little Kia set up a picket line in front of the house and B--I had to get my taxes done so I could mark that off of my to-do list......mission accomplished on all fronts!

My plan was to then come on down to the ol' GPL (Greenpond Public Library) to get in some more Pompeii research and maybe start thinking about something I'd like to write 10 pages about. I don't know what that would be at this point but I figured there'd be no harm in trying. What I didn't anticipate was spending about 3 1/2 hours at the IRS office getting my taxes done. But heah, they're done, I don't have to worry about it again 'til next year and that's alright with me. The lady who helped me was incredibly nice, I can now get my closet fixed, and I brought another library patron into the audiobook/Mp3 fold. She said she was going to have to go right out and download something today :) I was pretty proud of that handsell!

Today, KT blogged about contentment and its scarcity in today's frenetic world. I certainly seem to have lost my ability to gain contentment easily. I'm hoping it will return once I get out of school, but there are no guarantees. I want to get back my contentment, rediscover the joie de vivre that was once so much a part of my personality, and last but not least, get rid of (or at least get down to a more affordable level) my antidepressants. Don't get me wrong, they've saved my life over the past two years, but I want to be me again. KT mentions a couple of books on the subject that she is reading and that one of them makes the point that there are too many choices to be made on everything from what kind of toothpaste to buy, who to have your checking account with, to what to cook for dinner. Okay, a couple of those I made up myself. But the sentiment is still very much the truth. How do you stay focused and calm in the face of all those choices? Is your choice the right one? Could something else have been more appropriate or work out better? Could, is, how, what, when, if, where, should, why, who, would, might?????? Why (urrrrrr) are there so many words for starting your statements with probabilities and uncertainty?

Anyway, in classic Holley's House fashion, I'm changing the subject completely. E invited me to go the University of Alabama gymnastics meet tonight! There will be 3 or 4 of us from work all going together and it should be a great time! I never seen gymnastics other than on television so I am really looking forward to it. Don't worry, I'll record every little detail for you here. That being said, I'm going home to see if I can't get a nap :)


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Musical Ruminations...oh look, there's a chicken!

I have found that it is much easier to compose my posts in Word, then copy and paste them into Blogger. I don’t have to worry about the formatting as much and my freaking double spaces stay where I put them…call me shallow, but that is the best thing about it!

Composing the posts this way also frees up my time. I will be a whiney-baby (and I’ll take some cheese with my whine, thanks, Petit Basque if you can afford it) and confess that I have not been posting regularly because I have not had time. Now, I can compose at home on my laptop (as you see here) and post this “heartbreaking work of staggering genius” (thanks, Mr. Eggers!) bright and ugly tomorrow morning. Does everyone else do this and I’ve only just now thought of it?

I was perusing some of my RSS feeds and noticed how many had not posted in several days, then the guilt crept in as well as a saying “the pot calling the kettle black.” How can I be irritated that they don’t post enough when I don’t make time for my own blog? So, here we are…

I rushed out and 1-clicked the Pan’s Labyrinth soundtrack off of Amazon and have been doing my best to wear the little sucker out since it arrived on my doorstep. The score for this film is just as wonderful as the movie. I know I have kicked this dead horse into a gory mess, but

I do believe I’ve got K hooked into wanting to go now too. I must admit that there is a certain amount of trepidation in taking someone to see a movie that you love. What if they don’t like it? What if their opinion of you is irrevocably changed for the worse? What if they hate it so much that they want to leave during and you’re not willing to go? These are the questions that keep me up at night and the medicine doesn’t touch….I liken it to my obsession with Deuce Bigelow, Male Gigolo when it first came out. I remember M and I had ended up seeing it just because it started near the time we arrived at the theater. The shock value you get on that first viewing is not repeatable, but I craved it. I ended up taking I-don’t-know-how-many people to see this movie and I would watch them instead of the screen in an attempt to get back that “OMG, that did NOT just happen, did it?” feeling. I will attempt to defend myself and say that the sequel to DB, like most, was horrible and I myself wanted to get up and leave during the middle of the movie. Thank goodness it was a sneak peak, thus free!

On the subject of music, I have discovered over the course of my educational career that I write better with some good instrumental music in the background. Not just anything will do, it has to be really good. It’s like I have two distinct parts of my brain: that which can concentrate and that which is thinking about glitter, chicken livers, and the price of gold in Angkor. When I find a good CD for writing, it allows the glitter, chicken liver, Angkor gold part to listen to the pretty music while the other part can think. I do the same thing in class except the music is replaced with doodling in my notebook. If I can scribble my little drawings, I hear and retain more of what the teacher is saying than if I maintain eye contact and try to listen. I can’t begin to tell you how many teachers have called on me and asked a question thinking to catch me daydreaming and I’ll shoot the answer right back to them. I don’t know what that quality is, but I bet it’s hard to pronounce. Anyway, I now have about 5 good CD’s that will do the trick to get me through the rest of my classes. My favorites:

  1. Tchaikovsky (Berlin Radio Symphony conducted by Peter Wohlert) Sleeping Beauty/Swan Lake/Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture
  2. Pan’s Labyrinth soundtrack
  3. The World’s Most Beloved Melodies including Mozart, Dvorak, Chopin, Brahms, Listz, Mendelssohn, Pachelbel, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Gounod, and Boccherini
  4. Chopin (Istvan Szekely, Piano)—Piano Sonatas Nos. 2 & 3, Barcarolle Op. 60, Fantaisie-Impromptu Op. 66, and Berceuse Op. 57 (I’m pretty sure I started listening to him after Val Kilmer’s memorable line in Tombstone where he played Doc Holiday.
  5. Smetana—I don’t have the CD right here at hand, but I love the piece about the river. We listened to and critiqued it in my music appreciation class at Montevallo when I was an undergrad and I have never forgotten it.

I read in that book, The Rough Guide to Blogging, that you should not mix topics in your blog entry. Instead, you should maintain different blogs for different topics. Tell me, who has time for that?


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What's That In Your Hair ? ! ?

What a whirlwind week! I can hardly believe it’s been so long since I’ve been able to post. People are going to think I’ve lost interest in the whole blogging thing and that is certainly not the case….

……..anyway, I’ve read two really great YA books for class: Who Am I Without Him: Short Stories About Girls and the Boys in Their Lives by Sharon Flake and Zig Zag by Ellen Wittlinger.

Flake’s book of short stories was a 2005 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book and it’s easy to see why. The theme of the collection is evident from the title, but I must say that something I fully expected to be mushy and saccharine turned out to be neither. The relationships presented could be anyone I know from the girl who puts up with an abusive boyfriend because he is popular to a girl and boy who are paired in the class for a relationship assignment and don’t like one another. The sappy romances I expected were nowhere to be found in these heavier cautionary tales.

Robin (recent high school graduate or about to be?) literally zigzags across the country in Ellen Wittlinger’s novel about broken relationships. I haven’t finished the book yet so I’ll just have to let you know whether or not the relationship is actually broken (but I personally think it is since Robin thinks Glenn the dude ranch hand is kinda cute). Her aunt is sad and not a little manic and her cousins are possibly the worst two kids I’ve ever been around (although their father recently died so I can understand their acting out to a certain extent). My favorite part so far is the cousins’ mutilating of each others’ names. Iris calls her brother Marshal “marshmallow” (and he hates it) and Marshal calls her “virus” (which she hates). I honestly don’t know why that amuses me so :)

P.S. My friend A told me the most horrible bandage-in-your-salad type story yesterday. She said a stylist once left a fake fingernail in her hair which she found later!!!!!! I don’t know why that was worse to me than food horror stories, but it was!!!

P.S.S. I finally got the pictures off of my camera and on to a disk so I’ll be spicing things up on here directly!


Friday, February 9, 2007

El Laberinto del Fauno

I can hardly believe it has taken me the better part of a month to get this post together! I went, I saw, I was entranced, I was Pan's Labyrinth. In my mind's eye, I distinctly remember it being a French movie, but it was in Spanish instead. It's been awhile since I watched a subtitled movie so there was a slight adjustment period :)

Directed by Mexican filmmaker Gillermo Del Toro, this film is set during the Spanish Civil War. One lonely little girl (Ofelia) and her heavily pregnant mother travel to an old mill in the forest where Capitan Vidal awaits his new wife and stepdaughter. As you can imagine, Capitan Vidal is an ogre of the 1st order, interested only in the fighting going on around him and the health of his unborn son. Confining his wife to a wheelchair, you rarely see them together as he apparently has already...ahem...accomplished what he set out for: an heir.

Upon first arriving, Ofelia notices a stone ruin not far from the mill and wanders over for a look. It is the arched entrance to a great stone labyrinth, crumbly and moldy with age and green with moss and ivy. An unsettling horned figure is carved in the top of the arch and Ofelia has not ventured very far inside before her absence is noted and she is retrieved by the housekeeper-type lady, Mercedes. Late one night, Ofelia is drawn back to the labyrinth by a fairy (who is at first a really disgusting bug; I would have lost my mind and certainly wouldn't have followed it anywhere!) where she meets el fauno.

Creepy, crawly, ugly, and a little too enthusiastic about the danger he places her in, the faun tells Ofelia that she is a princess, daughter to the king/lord of the underworld, and she must complete a set of tasks to resume her rightful place in the kingdom.

Now me, I would have been very suspicious. However Ofelia is too excited to be wary and is soon off on her first task. What follows are some of the weirdest scenes and horrific monsters, human and otherwise, that I've seen in recent memory; this little bugger being the worst:

Between the torture scenes, one very Ozzy-Osborne moment courtesy of the lovely creature shown above, and the amount of killing Capitan Vidal feels is necessary to suppress the Spanish rebels, this film coasts in nicely at a Rated R. Despite the fairies and the young protagonist, Pan's Labyrinth is not cheerful, it is not funny, and there is no happy ending. That is as much of a spoiler as you'll get from me. You know the background info, now go fill in the blanks!


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Yeah, More About Me!

Once again, I'm pulling something from The Burrow (and I also saw it on Z's Blog!). I love get-to-know-me quizzes, I just can't help it!

Without further ado.....

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Library Page
2. Kennel Tech
3. Circulation/Reference Clerk
4. Reference Librarian

Movies I would (and do) watch over and over:
5. Underworld
6. Queen of the Damned
7. Little Miss Sunshine (the horn is the best part!)
8. Sleepy Hollow

Four places you have lived:
9. Hueytown, AL
10. West Blocton, AL
11. Trussville, AL
12. Cropwell, AL

Four places you have been on vacation:
13. Ireland
14. Cancun
15. Williamsburg, VA
16. Boston, Mass (ok, it wasn't a vacation, but I had a blast while at the PLA convention!)

Four of my favorite foods are:
17. Pizza
18. the Chicken Noodle Bowl at Surin (and the coconut soup!)
19. Chicken Gizzards
20. Cheese

Four places I would rather be right now:
21. Home (preferably already in my first REM cycle)
22. A nice warm beach, destination not important (politically unstable areas need not apply)
23. A cabin in the mountains (a hottub would certainly placate me if warm beaches in politically stable areas were not to be found)
24. the Connemara Coast in Ireland

Four friends I think will respond:
25. I'm pretty sure I just write this stuff for myself, so.....any lurkers?

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The Sunday Morning Smackdown!.....not

I had on thick socks, jeans, and carried a machete.

I tapped cautiously on jars, pans, boxes, bowls, containers of every size and description.

However, the only thing I managed to do away with was one foolish spider. He failed to recognize the danger he was in until a swift shot of OFF: DEEP WOODS coated him and he knew no more! I swept and mopped and poked the broom handle into all the hidey-holes I could find on the back porch but no more snakes were to be found. Mom was very relieved but I felt very much like I did after watching Geraldo Rivera's Al Capone fiasco in 1986....irritated and disappointed. I was glad to get the back porch cleaned off but I had really wanted some excitement this morning and dispatching snakes would have fit the bill. I'm not finished however so maybe I'll have more luck on Tuesday when I go back.


Saturday, February 3, 2007

Cold, Colder, Coldest, Coldester!

I have to share a story with you!

My mom told me she stopped at the store on the way home from work last week and while there, bought a bouquet of flowers for my grandmother. My grandmother is bedridden and loves something new and pretty to look at :) When she got home with the flowers and started to arrange them, the vase she normally used was too small. I gave her a big bouquet for some holiday or other and she figured it would be big enough. When she retrieved the vase from the back porch it was heavier than she expected






Yep...there was a hibernating snake inside! My mother is deathly, phobically(can that be a word for today?), pathologically afraid of snakes and the fact that she was, for all intents and purposes, holding a snake in her hand produced a mild temporary insanity in which she stomped around, breathed hard (and I bet a little whimpering wouldn't be out of the question), and looked for a way to get rid of it. Finally, she just set it back down on the counter and fled for the house.

When she calmed enough to tell my aunt what she'd seen, there was some debate over whether or not what mom might have seen was simply a frog. To solve the matter, Aunt C put on her welding gloves (her little dog P requires daily heart med's but does not like to be handled) and, armed with a paper plate for the top of the vase, set out to do battle with the serpent. After dumping the beast over the back fence, she beat a hasty retreat back to the safety of the house. Mom called and requested that I clean off the back porch to find others if present, and to prevent others from having so many places to hide.

I'll let you know if I have to break out my lance and shield :)


Friday, February 2, 2007

Long Time, No See :(

I'm back! Not in black's my day off so I really don't match at all and that is one of the most important and relaxing things about living in a rural doesn' t matter, no one else matches either. I have on a gray shirt, purple pants, and a green fleece sweater and I feel great!

It feels like I haven't been able to post in forever! Not having an Internet connection at home is really beginning to suck fiercely. Cable television is not available in my area and the phone company doesn't even run DSL out that far! So my only choice for an Internet connection is dial-up or satellite. Now, we're on a T1 line at work. If I had to go from a T1 at work to dial-up at home I would no doubt carve out my own heart with a spoon...a plastic one at that! The satellite option is just too far out of my price range at this point. Maybe after I finish my Master's degree and get my student loans paid off it can be revisited, but as it stands now all my extra funds are funneled to Tuscaloosa :)

My current post comes live and direct from the Greenpond Public Library! The people here are SO nice...this is the type of library I'd like to be in charge of. I'm not saying I would enjoy the budget crunch and lack of staff, among the other 1,000 things that really small libraries have trouble with, but the close knit community feel is great. I was here using the computers one time (working on a project for one my grad school classes) and I was DEEP into it. All of a sudden I realized how quiet it had gotten and it was 10 minutes after 5. Since the library closed at 5 you can imagine my chagrin :) The gentleman who works in the computer lab was typing away and began apologizing profusely on my way out and he said (!!!), "No, no, no, finish what you were doing. I'll be here another hour or so anyway." Now, that doesn't happen anywhere else. The circ department would skin me alive if I did that at my library. We wouldn't have made it to 3 after closing, much less 10. Lovely, just lovely to experience :)

I have all kind of interesting things to share from this semester's classes but, alas, I need a nap if I am going to be awake for the PBR extravaganza tonight. For those not in the know, that's Professional Bull Riders. I'm trying to talk myself into wearing my cowboy (cowgirl?) hat and boots. They look so forlorn just sitting on my desk with dust all over them...I really should get them out for a night on the town! So class talk will come later because there will be endless versions of chaps to observe tonight and so little time!