Monday, December 21, 2009

I joined this year and am enjoying it immensely. Many years ago I tried listening to audiobooks on cassette (yes, that long ago) but either performances have greatly improved or my earlier choices were poorly done (or both) because I could never get past the terrible attempts by the narrators to differentiate the voices of characters. Fortunately a few years ago someone forced me to listen to Jim Dale’s narration of the Harry Potter books and I realized that audiobooks could be done well, although I doubted anyone would ever come close to comparing with his superb performance.

What sucked me in was that Audible was having two specials and I took advantage of both and now I’m well and truly hooked. There are several levels of membership – the special I got was the most basic level for ½ price for 3 months. Each month I receive one credit and while some companies might swindle you by “pricing” items at more than one credit, I have yet to find a book that is more than one credit, so each month I get a book – not bad for $7.95. Naturally my first credit was for Liam’s narration of How the Irish Saved Civilization. Although I have greatly enjoyed the cassette version of this, it’s so nice to hear that amazing voice on the unbelievable clarity of my iPod.

The second special deal was a selection of titles for only $4.95 – incredible when you consider that sometimes audio versions are more expensive than the print. I was able to get one of my favorite books, O Jerusalem, in one of my favorite series, Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes stories. I wasn’t sure at first that I would like Jenny Sterlin’s narration, but for less than a Lincoln, I was willing to give it a try – and am I ever glad that I did! I quickly grew to appreciate her reading and she has an ability only slightly below Dale’s to distinguish one character from another. I now also have the first in the series (Beekeeper’s Apprentice) and with my next credit I will get my other favorite to complete my own personal trilogy, Justice Hall, which features characters from O Jerusalem. I probably won’t get any others in the series unless they go on sale, although I think I’ll try Laurie’s Touchstone eventually.

I’m grateful to Audible for providing decently long samples of the recordings so I can really judge the possibilities of the narration as either “I think this might turn out to be okay” or “Ewww! No way!!” Unfortunately one of my other favorite series, the Honor Harrington books by David Weber, falls into the second category. To me, Allyson Johnson’s narration brings to mind those terrible narrations that were so off-putting when I was younger. Even worse, while I’ve always thought it was the Royal Manti-coran Navy, her pronunciation is Man-tic-oran which makes me wince and is very distracting. Oh, well, there are plenty of other choices for my credits – after all, I haven’t even started on Neil Gaiman’s works yet and by every account I’ve ever seen anywhere, his narrations of his works are fantastic.

Even when my 3-month membership deal is up and the price doubles to $14.95/month, my credit will allow me to get audiobooks that are cheaper than the regular Audible or iTunes prices. My drive home seems shorter now, so it’s worth it for that, if nothing else. If you are at all inclined toward audiobooks I strongly urge you to try

Closing Tabs

Some of these stories are from a few weeks ago, but I still wanted to post about them:

From the incomparable Scalzi:
"Some jackass HOA tells a 90-year-old Medal of Honor winner he can’t have a flagpole in his front yard...Dear homeowners association: When a Medal of Honor recipient wants to have a flagpole in his front yard, you say “Yes, sir. By all means. Thank you, sir.”" At least they finally came to their senses.

I was fortunate enough many years ago to experience a shuttle launch and this piece captures the excitement and awe of getting ready to watch this memorable event: "When you actually see a rocket about to head into space, it’s a completely overwhelming experience."

I love attempts to show the scale of the Solar System and this is one of the more successful ones - on my big work monitor it took me something like 27 clicks just to get to Mercury. Of course you'll want to click and hold, but don't blink or you'll even miss the big guys.

Murphy's Second Law for Christmas Shopping

As a follow up:
As soon as you and a friend agree not to buy anything for each other, you will stumble upon the perfect gift.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cat Lover's Daily Companion

It's here! And it's incredibly awesome! I'm so happy for Miss Lori* and her co-authors - great job!

I have to try page 67 - I think my babies will like that.

The answer to the question on page 21 - definitely good!

Love the lists on pages 40 and 220 - on that second one you can find out where my youngest got his name.

No, I'm not going to tell you what's on those pages - you really should buy the book for yourself. And for Christmas gifts. And birthday gifts. While you go do that, I'm going to open my book and learn some more and have some fun and admire some great photos and....

*Yes, she's a friend, but just like when I promoted her jewelry last year, I wouldn't urge you to spend your hard-earned moula if her products weren't worth it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Truth and Fiction

I love it when truth is stranger than fiction: National Geographic reports that Octopuses Carry Coconuts as Shelters.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Murphy's Law for Christmas Shopping

The less inclined you are to shop for Christmas presents, the more likely you are to:
a. find absolutely nothing at all for the people you most want / need to get something for
b. find the perfect gift for someone you have no intention of buying anything for.

Anyone care to disagree?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Quiet Thanksgiving

Even though work has been quite draining lately, I am thankful that I not only have a job, but one that I do enjoy most of the time, with a schedule that fits my body clock, and interesting colleagues to share in the journey.

I'm thankful for my wonderful new house, despite the occasional twinge of panic when I realize that I'm actually a homeowner.

I'm thankful for my fantastic car which acts up in mild ways every now and then just to remind me of all the grief I don't have to deal with because she is so fantastic.

I'm thankful for friends who put up with me and put me up.

I'm thankful for the way that things which could go terribly wrong and be incredibly inconvenient somehow always work out rather well.

I truly am blessed and although I certainly don't know why and don't think I deserve it, I am thankful to be so - today and always. I hope you and yours have much to be thankful for as well.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Semester from Hell

Although it seems like I say this  every  semester, this one is particularly gruesome. We still have three librarian vacancies (share the workloads!) and our director has been on sick leave and limited duty since July (more workload!) and we had to let a staff member go, so the librarians are now doing interlibrary loans for our subject liaison areas - and because of the librarian vacancies I now cover 10 subjects* and since most are big subjects (astronomy, biology, history, marine science, physics) with lots of loan requests, I say yet again - added workload!

This leaves me with near-nil energy for anything else - I haven't even figured out the subject of my 10-page paper due Dec. 8 - so I finally gave up on painting and started positioning bookcases and emptying boxes of books onto shelves, but even this pleasant task doesn't claim my attention that often. I did completely re-think the bedroom and if I can ever figure out what's wrong with my camera, I'll post pictures - I really like the new arrangement.

So if you've sent me an email and I haven't answered, I'm sorry. I'm just very blah right now - nothing major and this too shall pass, but for now: blah...

* I don't imagine anybody actually counted, but if you did and came up one short, it's because I'm co-liaison for English.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Contract Renewal
Due tomorrow, oh goodness!
A timely finish?

Pulling out hair
So tired of praising self
I am my own slave

cross-posted from Haikubes

Saturday, September 05, 2009

New Mailing Address

I was finally able to get a PO box. I sent an email, but if I inadvertently missed you in the mass of addresses, drop me a comment or an email and I'll get it out to you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Congratulations, Lori!

My friend Miss Lori is smart, talented, fun... Ya know, all-around fantastic. She makes ceramics and jewelry and takes excellent photographs (whew!) and now she has co-authored a book! And her book is about cats! Does it get any better? I don't think so, friends.

I've already put it on my wishlist and I think you should, too. I wonder what my chances are of getting my copy autographed?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shifting Boxes

Quiz Time:

When searching for one specific box in ~8 rows of ~70+ boxes, the desired box will be found:
a. in the first or second row.
b. smack-dab in the middle.
c. in the very last row, which ironically would have been the first row had the search begun at the other end of the room.

If you chose a: I want to live in your world.
If you chose b: nice sense of humor.
If you chose c: welcome to my heavy, sweaty world.

Toward the end I began to fear that I had shifted a box I had forgotten to open and would have to shift them all back again. But the time was well spent - I was able to organize the boxes more and I did actually find the box I wanted.

Believe it or not, they don't all contain books. Just most of them.

Now if I could get some painting done, I could start unpacking the books. But I can't bring myself to load up the bookshelves just to turn around and take the books off to get at the walls to paint.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Internet at Home

I won't promise additional communication, but now it's possible...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Home Photos

As requested, pictures of the New Home are now available. Thanks to everyone for being so excited for me!

Obviously, I'm still unpacking - I'll post updates as I get things in place. Believe it or not, I haven't figured out where all the bookcases are going...

Friday, July 17, 2009


Well, mostly...

I'm excited, frazzled, nervous, and tired.

I've taken vacation to finish moving the odds 'n' ends and start settling in at the new place. I will take pictures (promise!) and post them when I return to Internet access on July 27.

Monday, July 06, 2009

It's Official!

As of today I am officially a homeowner!


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Time Flies

I know that time seems to pass more quickly the older you get, but I still find an interval of only 11 weeks between my 40th birthday and today's "Senior Citizen Offer" from Sunset Publishing a bit rushed...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Letter of the Day: C

When I was an undergraduate, I worked for a private investigation firm doing filing, data entry, document delivery, etc. One of my tasks - fortunately not too often - was to take a box of manila file folders and write


on the tab so all the investigators had to do was write the date. After 30 or 40 folders, the words started to look wrong; they stopped looking like words and I would have to take a break. I knew I was still spelling them correctly, but only because I could compare them to the first one I had written.

Okay, maybe it's just me...

Anyway, I don't have that problem today. Today the word CLOSED looks just fine. Because I just CLOSED the deal on my house. Coincidentally, by signing my name so many times that it failed to look like my name.

But the bank guy seemed fine with my scribbles, so maybe it's just me...

It's not officially official and finalized until it gets filed or some such, but it's really happening.

I'm a homeowner! Go me!

Added later: I do promise pictures as soon as I can officially get in to the house - the only pix I have now show the previous owner's furniture. I'll post when it's empty and then when I get all my stuff settled in.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Music Notes, Part Two

Toby Keith just keeps getting better and better. Every album since Shock'n Y'All (2003) I've said "This is my favorite. This is his best album." Until the next one is released. Each album has a greater number of songs that go on my I-could-listen-to-this-song-every-single-day list. Now I know that artists are supposed to improve their craft but for every album to surpass the last is extraordinary. It seems more likely that there would be at least one album that I would say "whatever" about - which has happened with both Kenny Chesney and Dierks Bentley.

Contrasting all that TK fantastic-ness are two of the worst albums I've ever heard, Zac Brown Band's Foundation and Darius Rucker's Learn to Live. I liked both first singles, Chicken Fried and Don't Think I Don't Think About It (respectively); however, neither album is worth listening to even once. A friend loaned these to me, and she's even more disappointed in them than I am, 'cause she paid money for them!

Monday, June 22, 2009

"News" Dumbness

Remember, I don't have access to network or cable, so everything I know about Jon and Kate comes from the teeny snippets I see on news websites and blogs:
  • they have eight children
  • they have a reality TV show
  • they are talking about getting a divorce
Here's a thought: Try living without the cameras before contemplating life-altering decisions. Or maybe that's just me.

Updated June 23: Why, yes, I do fairly well predicting fiction. I often know what the next line is going to be - it comes from watching, reading, and writing too much...

In other "news": Scalzi reports that people are dissing President Obama because he isn't having to deal with the same staggering issues as Presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Truman. Seriously, people? You may want to live in interesting times, but I'll settle for peace and tranquility, thanks.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Profession

Do you support your local library? It's there for you...

Today Show: Libraries Lend a Hand in Tough Times (4-minute video clip)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Summer Session

I am showing an English class how to blog.

Monday, June 01, 2009


Out of the mouths of babes...

The next Mars rover has been named Curiosity.

In hindsight, it's blindingly obvious. Way to go, Clara!


The Babylon 5 episode, "Parliament of Dreams" is about showcasing different alien culture's belief systems and ends with a display of "Earth's dominant belief system." Unlike all the other ceremonies which feature stories, chants, drums, and bells, the Earth celebration introduces, one by one, a loooooong line of at least 40 people, each representing a different belief system:

Atheist (I love that this is first!)
Roman Catholic
Zen Buddhist
Moslem / Muslim
Orthodox Jew
Sioux Indian
Greek Orthodox
Yupik Eskimo

Not all are named, and of the ones that were only shown I, sadly, recognized only a few.

I leave it to the reader to take away the appropriate lesson.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Grow, Grow, Grow!

The "Less Hair" experiment is over. My shorter 'do was wonderful for ease of care, but every now and then I would catch sight of myself in the mirror and wonder, "How long has that piece been sticking up like that?" I tried a couple different lengths of short, but none of them really worked. I don't know if it's vanity or a need to be in control - or both - but I've changed my mind (love that prerogative!) and decided to grow it out just long enough to pull back into a ponytail. For now I'm keeping the bangs, although they've been their own problem in the past - we'll see...

Unfortunately, growing out short hair is a long process. Right now it's long enough to be in the way, but too short to keep out of the way. Argh!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Welcome Alexa!

Alexa (short for Alexandria) arrived on Tuesday. This delayed announcement is courtesy of Will and Henry and the paper due today that, despite weeks of work, refused to properly coalesce until around 3 a.m. {sigh}

Anyway, I have stolen a few moments to become acquainted with my new companion and she's just as wonderful as I anticipated. I already have 17 titles downloaded - 9 of which cost me absolutely nothing - and have begun reading this month's first new release. This weekend I plan on finishing it and moving on to the second. And then maybe to a third title.... Basically, I'm going to read a lot, but not anything from or about the 14th, 15th, or 16th centuries.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Letter of the Day: E

Today is Earth Day. And I'm doing better with recycling, reusing, reducing.

But for me, today is more about another "E": Escrow. As in I made an offer to buy a house and they made a counter-offer which I accepted and now I'm in escrow.

Here's another "E" word: Excited. And a non-E word that's just as applicable: Nervous.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cleaning Up Bloglines Feeds

I love Bloglines, but sometimes the Keep New box is just too easy to check. So here are a bunch of things I want to keep track of:

Once again, Scalzi speaks, er writes, for me - this time about space exploration.

This post from Neil contains other info, but the part that spoke to me is his take on the New Scientist article that's right at the top. Human arrogance isn't surprising, but is still depressing.

I've been trying to convince people for years that it could, and will eventually, happen - will you be prepared when the digital world dies?

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I ordered my Kindle2 - it's a present from myself, my Dad & M, and J & P who gave me Amazon gift cards. It hasn't even shipped yet, let alone arrived, but I have already picked out her name and a "stack" of books...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Birthday Dinner

Normally I take my birthday off from work, but yesterday was a busy day: my Shakespeare and history class which overlapped with the first of two meetings which overlapped, a class I was teaching which overlapped with my dinner time, and Reference Desk - 7 hours of events scheduled to take place in 6 hours.

Anyway, I decided that after all this jumble, I was going to have pancakes and I happened to mention it to J and P, who said they would like to join me. K and K overheard and showed up to "crash" our dinner. What this meant for me is that instead of having a lonely dinner with only a book, I had a mini-party with four good friends. Lucky me!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

A pretty from a good friend:

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


A colleague told me today that some credit card companies are lowering the limit on credit cards without notification, then slamming the customer when the new, lower limit is exceeded. I've had my limit raised and only known by looking at my statement, but I think this new trick is the icing on top all their unreasonable business practices.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Neighbor

I haven't seen Kilauea: Mountain of Fire yet, but several people have said it's very good. Kudos to PBS for putting it online.

Monday, March 30, 2009

No Regrets?

Yet another depressing example of the depths to which some of the human race can sink (see also last year's rainbow condundrum). I didn't spend the $$ for this new book, although the public library did...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Break 2009

Just in case I forget tomorrow, I'd better post this now...

I will be out of the office, and therefore without Internet access, beginning Friday, March 20 and won't be back until Sunday March 29 (at which point it will take me at least three days to get caught up). But I'm getting a 9-day break and only using 4 days of vacation time, so it's worth it!

I have a to-do list that's a mile long, so send energy vibes my way, else I'll probably blow all this valuable time just reading and sleeping...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Good Month

This year April - always a good month for me - brings the latest releases in two(!) of my favorite book series. I always buy the hardcover of Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series, and although in the past I've waited for the paperback of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series, I think with this, book #11, I'll switch to the hardcovers.

Or maybe I'll use part of my tax refund and buy myself a Kindle 2. After all, I'll be turning 40 (gasp!) this year and won't be doing anything else to celebrate. To think that I could carry in my hand more books than are currently in the 12 bookcases in my house is a mind-boggling thought, along the scale of how many other galaxies, stars, and planets are in the night sky.

Life and Death

My step-mother's mother passed away yesterday. Grandma Ginny was 90+ and lived a rich, full life for almost all of those years. After retirement, she and Grandpa Don were able to travel the world and spend time with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I hope that family who live closer than I do will remember that Grandpa Don is alone now for the first time since before I was born.

Monday, March 09, 2009

What I'm Missing

One week later, I've accepted that I'm not missing anything huge, but I am apparently letting many small things slip through. This must stop.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Shakespeare and History

I'm taking "English History and Shakespeare" this semester. We're reading Shakespeare's royal history plays and comparing them with actual events and people. It's quite confusing at times with all the constantly changing names, titles, and allegiances.

On Tuesdays, rather than a lecture, our instructor lets us raise items we are confused about to discuss - this is very useful! Then we have a multiple-choice quiz (with fill-in-the-blank bonus questions). You can do quite well on the quizzes if you've read the assigned reading at least once and pay attention to the discussion (as evidenced by the fact that I'm averaging 104).

On Thursdays, we watch a production of whichever play we're reading (half one week, half the next). We didn't read King John, but so far we've covered Richard II, Henry IV (Parts 1 and 2), and Henry V; we'll also cover Henry VI (Parts 1, 2, and 3) and Richard III. We have to write a 3,000 word paper on Henry VIII (which we won't be discussing or watching in class).

Our textbooks are the Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd ed. (a shame, as I still have my 1st ed.), Shakespeare's Kings by Norwich, and two books by Antonia Fraser: The Middle Ages and The Wars of the Roses.

As an undergraduate, I studied only some of the comedies and tragedies, so the history plays are completely new to me and my history coverage, especially non-American, has always be sparse. I am enjoying this class and hope to be able to take other history courses in the future.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


One of the student assistants at the Circulation Desk looks a little bit like Miss Lori. Not a lot, but enough so that when I catch sight of her out of the corner of my eye, I feel a little anticipatory jolt of happiness. Followed by "oh, bummer"...

Monday, March 02, 2009

Don't Do This

I had a mole removed from my left leg on Feb. 20 and it required stitches, so I wasn't allowed to walk around a lot. I've been walking at least 20 minutes a day this year (and sometimes as much as 90), so I needed a distraction that would keep me seated as much as possible and since I did a Lord of the Rings movie marathon late last year, I decided to do a Star Wars marathon of all 6 movies.

I do NOT recommend this.

The inconsistencies had me yelling at the TV, wondering if George Lucas bothered to re-watch Episodes IV, V, and VI before he filmed I, II, and III. At some point, I'll probably end up watching them again, but I'll be careful to do it as two separate trilogies, not one continuous storyline.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Catching Up?

I'm going to try to get back into the habit of posting once a day. Wish me luck.

I appear to be almost caught up at work, which means I must be missing a huge 'to do' pile somewhere. If not, I'll get to try all those cool projects I keep reading about that I never have time to do. I sure hope I don't find that pile any time soon...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Kittens on Vacuum

Swallow* any food and / or drink before clicking. My three run if I even touch the evil device - I wonder what they would think of this model...

* I'm going to be finding walnut bits on my desk for weeks. Thank heavens I didn't have a mouth full of soda!

Patience, Please

As usual, Scalzi sums up the situation quite nicely...