Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Taking a Shot

Yesterday, I went to pick up BioGirl from her new work place, and I went in to take a gander at her new office. On her desk, she has photos of her loved ones. "I wanted to bring in a photo of us, but the one photo of us in existence that I had got damaged in the move back to Seattle." I have been friends with her for a decade, people. And yet she used the phrase "the one photo of us in existence." But it's true. Photo taking is not really a part of my life. I always forget to take pictures, and so the only photos I have of myself or any of my loved ones are photos that others have taken and then given to me. Photography is a beautiful thing, but I just haven't done it even with the best of intentions. I often go on picture-taking-appropriate adventures (like vacations, or family events) with no camera at all. And if I do remember to bring my camera, it stays totally forgotten in my purse until I get home. I am just too busy LIVING. I can't be expected to LIVE and TAKE PHOTOS OF IT TOO. That's two things at once and my teeny weeny pea brain can't handle that. I am trying to get better about this. So here I am, pledging it solemnly on my blog. I will take photos of stuff. Then I will post the photos on this here blog. There. Now if I don't do it you can...well, I don't really know what you can do about it, except call me a poopy photo pledger and that will certainly get my goat so that is something. Now I have a camera phone that takes super low-quality crap photos, but they are photos nonetheless so it counts. Do not berate me on quality. I will work up to actually taking my camera out in public and using it, but I shall start with baby steps. This weekend, for instance, was BioGirl's birthday weekend. One of the things that went on for said birthday weekend was that Neighbor J and I took her out for high tea at a local grandmaw establishment. Because, you know, she is one step closer to granny status and so let us all celebrate that. The place we took her was straight up dowdy, people. It was like Laura Ashley and Queen Victoria simultaneously puked out the decor in that place. It was doilies and ruffles and patterns, oh my. And all the servers in there? They all call everyone "dear." As in, "are you all done with that plate, dear?" They are just dearing everyone like crazy with every word they say. It must be company policy or something, because what are the odds that every single person that works there has the same exact verbal tic?

If you must know those are teacups intertwined into the decorative ivy around the windows which is obviously a really wrong thing to do but they went ahead and did it anyway, dear.

That's all of the photos I have from that whole day. Remember, I said baby steps.

How about I just download the last five photos that I have? No matter how unrelated they are? Ready?

This first one? Is of BioGirl's front gate. When we were moving her in, I decided to take photos during her moving day. I started out at her front gate. Why would someone take such a photo? Of all things. The reason I took it is because she lives in the highest security building I think I have ever seen. There are a ridiculous amount of such gates and doors that you have to go through (all locked) in order to get to her apartment. And they all have different keys. Her key chain is like a janitor's at this point.

You shall not pass!

Ha. How geeky is it that I just quoted Gandalf? It's times like these that I adore myself in a most condescending manner.

Next photo.

When helping someone move, there will be tasks that are a Royal Pain in the Ass. Like putting a futon together. When such tasks arise, saying "I just want to get a photo of this momentous futon building moment to remember for all time!" gets you out of participating in the manual labor. A photography tip from me to you.

Next photo! The next two, actually, are related. Last week, I went to lunch at a restaurant where lots of things either had to be gigantic or tiny.

Teeny tiny salt and pepper and...

a gigantic tower of wine.

Listen. I never said that I took interesting photos. The day of that lunch? I walked all around downtown Seattle and saw many a thing. I was at the fancy library, I was in the shopping district, I was at Pike Place Market. And this is what I chose to document. What a weirdo.

Lastly, on that same day, there was a strange thing in front of the library here. I never really got the story as to why it was there. But I did get a photo of it.

I think he's pissed about his hairdo.

These five photos don't bode well for future photo posts, huh? I may have to rethink my photo pledge up there. Hmm.

I'm out, dear,
Librarian Girl

Friday, April 25, 2008

Say My Name Say My Name

Did anyone watch "Girlicious" out there? Anyone at all? Because I watched every single episode, without fail. I liked it, I am not gonna lie. I just feel like I have to confess that. I don't know much about what defines a sin, but liking Girlicious has to rate on that scale somewhere. Ok, now I can move on.

Here's what I'm thinking. Should I change the name of my blog? I am feeling an itch to do it and on many levels, I don't like to itch. I also want to change how it looks. It's time for a new outfit, is what I keep thinking. Maybe. I can't decide.

Here's the thing. I've been writing under this blog shingle for a while now (jeez louise, it's been over two years!), and when I started it, I just did what I typically do with this blog. I blurted it all out. Including the name. I didn't think, I just did. Live in the now, man. That's what I did. Only, you know why I named it what I named it? It was just because I couldn't think of anything else. And you know, is this blog really librarian-ish enough? Or pop culture-ish enough? Or am I just engaging in false advertising? I don't know. It was either that or call it...what? I didn't have any ideas. I still don't, really.

The other thing is, I'm not the only blogger out there who's calling herself the pop culture librarian. There are others. I am not going to say that they are all people who want to emulate yours truly because the name is really too generic to claim ownership, you know? And besides, who knows? There was probably a pop culture librarian before me too so I can't bitch about the people who come after me. It's like, if you're naming your kid John, you can't get mad at other people for naming their kids John too. If you wanted something original, then name your kid Moon Unit or Dweezil or something.

And besides, I have all this fear that if I change my blog name, then all of a sudden people will be incapacitated and not update their readers and links and all such like and I will suddenly lose touch with all my bloggie friends out there. I'm not calling you all a bunch of lazy slobs or anything, but my abandonment issues can get the best of me in almost any situation.

I don't know. I guess since I have no ideas about what to rename myself, then I should just shut up about it. The blog re-design though. I could get behind that I suppose. But again. Do I have any ideas of what I want this thing to look like? Nope. I just want it to be different, and something I like, and enough with this crap blogger template. (Hi Blogger company! Heart you!) Any of you want to give me some suggestions? What do you think a blog like mine should look like? I seriously do have the itch for changing this up, and I need some blog itch ointment, you know what I'm saying?

That was a totally disgusting metaphor.

Shutting up now,
Librarian Girl

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Prairie On My Mind

I have a secret arsenal of knowledge, and it is this. Little House on the Prairie. The tv show, not the books. Have I ever outed this about myself on this here blog before? But there. I said it. I am not ashamed!

Chances are, if you are around my age, you may have a part of your brain that is tapped into Little House too. It was a pretty popular show for kiddies back in the day. Not only that, there was a wealth of syndication where the show was played during afterschool hours so in the 80s, if you were watching after school tv, you kind of had to intentionally steer yourself away from that show in order to miss it.

I don't know what it is about certain things that are pop culture-ish, but they stick in my head in a most alarming way. I can quote Little House on the Prairie, chapter and verse. Why can't I have this ability when it comes to scientific and historic events, or even when it comes to remembering my grocery list? For everything else in life, I have to write things down, make lists, look things up. But for certain movies, tv shows, music...it's all right there. RIGHT THERE.

Yesterday, my friend Map sent me an email wherein she explained that she stumbled across a rerun of the Little House movie "The Last Farewell." She didn't even have to go on to explain what that was. She knows that I would know that that was the final episode, where the residents of Walnut Grove blow up their town. (I am not kidding. They end the series by blowing up their own town! TELL ME that isn't awesome). Not only that, she called it "The Last Goodbye" and I knew right away that she meant "The Last Farewell." Sick, right?

Not only that, she emailed me a ton of questions about the show, because, you know, Little House can be kind of fucked up and confusing for the uninitiated. Things like logic and making sense don't sometimes happen on that show. She must have emailed me like fifteen or twenty questions. And I just ripped off all the answers. Like THAT. I kind of spook myself out when I do shit like that, you know?

My relationship with Little House on the Prairie may seem odd to those who knew me growing up and who know me now. I wasn't raised in a farming community, nor do I know anything about rural life in general. I grew up in a factory town, with all the gritty urban ambience of smokestacks and steel. My favorite shows as a child were Fat Albert and Good Times, and I just couldn't relate to Walton's Mountain or the Dukes of Hazzard. None of my friends watched those kinds of shows, and neither did I.

But then, when I was a kid, LHOTP (oh yes! I acronymmed it!) reruns started playing every day after school. I remember my mom started watching them because there were things on that show that, oddly enough, reminded her of her childhood. She grew up on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and her family used things like hurricane oil lamps and outhouses when she was a child. "Look," she would tell me excitedly during the episode "Sylvia," where Albert apprentices as a blacksmith. "That's the kind of metal work your grandad used to do." "Uh-huh," I would reply absently, too freaked out by the masked mystery man to pay attention to what she was saying. (If you have any idea what I am talking about with that episode, we could SO be bffs).

My mom's love affair with Little House was short-lived. After a few weeks of watching it day after day, my progressive, lefty mom started to grumble. "That Mrs. Oleson is just a reflection of why patriarchy is afraid of strong women who have their own money," she would rail. No response from me, as I was glued to the screen. "That Hester Sue couldn't be any more Aunt Jemima-ish if they tried. Just sickening!" she would say.

It was too late, Mom. I was hooked. I can't even tell you exactly what it was that got me. I just couldn't stop watching, even as I saw every episode and saw them all over again. I watched until my burgeoning adolescent schedule pulled me away from my after-school Walnut Grove visits.

Flash forward twenty years. I had recently moved into a new duplex apartment, which was shared on the other side by Neighbor J. She and I were instantaneously friends as we had so many things in common. We talked incessantly about any topic of interest, and it was only a short time before she mentioned Little House.

"That so-and-so works so hard, it's like he's Pa Ingalls!" was the way it started.
Me: "What did you say?"
Her: "Oh, nothing. It's just that on that show Little House on the Prairie, there were always these episodes where Pa works so hard that he hurts himself. If you watched that show..."
Me: Say no more. I haven't seen that show in years, but I have this uncanny ability of remembering them all.
Her: You're kidding.
Me: Nope. I'll prove it. Ol' Dan Tucker was a fine old man...
Her: ...washed his face in a frying pan...

From that day forward, Neighbor J and I fed off of each other in our love for Little House. It was scary, the things we remembered. We had, it seemed, whole sections of our brains that were solely meant to store LHOTP facts and memories.

Now you guys know me and my friends by now. We are not calico-wearing girlies. We do not harken back to prairie times, we do not eat stew. We are bonafide cutting edge ladies. We eat sushi, we like Jon Stewart, we read Erdrich more than we ever read Wilder. We would rather wear Chanel No. 5 than Lemon Verbena. And yet.

Yet, we have this long-standing, inexplicable, undeniable adoration for Laura, Mary, Nellie, and all the rest (ok, except for Nancy). It's a closeted love that yearns to be free. We have often talked about the fact that there HAS to, there just HAS to be other people our age, in our demographic, who grew up with Walnut Grove and who see it as we do. We know it's cheesy. We know that Pa will well up with emotion in almost every episode. We know that Carrie seems stuck at age three for ten years straight. We know all of this. But we love them anyway. And we have an inkling that there are more like us out there.



I'm out,
Librarian Girl

Monday, April 21, 2008

Papal Pep Rally

It keeps effin' snowing here, people! It is SO NOT CUTE.

It is not significant. I hail from Michigan so I understand what real snow is. (I just said "hail from Michigan!" Get it? I am so punny). This is flaccid little west coast snow. It is an event just because it sticks and forms a thin layer on the ground. I know this. But here's the thing, friends. If it snows in Michigan, it's because it is SUPPOSED TO. Everyone agrees on it. People have clothing that is appropriate for it, and infrastructure, and most of all they have the outlook for snow. Here? We EXPECT late April to be snow free. We expect it to snow once a year, probably in December or January, stick for one day or maybe two at most, and then be done. It's not supposed to keep coming. All of the people who move to the west coast partially move here for the gol darn weather. We were promised NO SNOW and now we are living here and it is a mild blizzard outside! I want my money back!

Ok, so I didn't really pay money for the weather, but who cares. I demand restitution for my suffering.

In brighter news, I heard something hilarious on NPR the other day. It was about the Pope. (And wow, is that Pope getting media coverage OR WHAT? It's like a 24 hour Pope Watch going on. I bet you Paris Hilton is SO jealous). Anyhow, the other day, there was this story on about the Pope visiting some college, or university, or other such book-learning institute. At the end of the news story, they played a recording of how the Pope was greeted by the student body. The students? Clapped and chanted this: "WE LOVE YOU! WE LOVE YOU! WE LOVE YOU!"

Why was this funny, you ask? Telling the Pope they love him was all fine and dandy, no comedy to the sentiment. But the WAY they did it? It was like a pep rally! In fact, if you weren't quite paying attention, it sounded a lot like a Homer Simpson style "YOU ESS AY! YOU ESS AY!"

Is it just me or is it funny to think that the sentiment towards the Pope was expressed in much the same way as oh, I don't know, the Bulls versus the Knicks game?

I don't know. It just cracked me up.

I think the snow is making me lose my mind a little.

I'm out,
Librarian Girl

Friday, April 18, 2008

Honey Baby Sweetheart

Yesterday, I was driving BioGirl home, and I needed to check a voicemail message on my phone, so I played it on speaker so as not to put it up to my ear with one hand and cause a crash by using my cell phone normally. On it, there was a message from Nordic Boy. After I listened to it...

Her: You know, it's kind of weird. He said your name on that message, and I realized that I don't really hear him use your name very often.
Me: What do you mean?
Her: I don't know. I guess because we usually all hang out together, so he doesn't have to say it very much or something.
Me: He uses my name pretty often, I think.
Her: I guess I just never noticed it before.
Me: I think you are just relieved that you heard a private voicemail from him to me and that you didn't have to hear any sickening pet names or anything.
Her: Totally. I am very relieved to know you just call each other by your names. I mean, if you call each other snookums, then I don't need to hear it, you know?
Me: Can you imagine? Like if I played that message, and all of a sudden, he was all "hello, poopsie!" All baby talk or something?
Her: Ugh!
Me: What is with that word, anyway? "Poopsie." That just don't sound right.
Her: No argument there.
Me: No, I mean, beyond the cutesyness of it. POOPSIE. How did that become a term of endearment? It derives from the word POOP.
Her: I never thought of that before.
Me: You shouldn't be calling your loved ones a word that derives from poop. It's not nice.
Her: I don't know if that's really the etymology of that word.
Me: I don't care. It's still wrong. Poopsie! How you gonna call someone that? What's next? I love you, snotsie? I mean, that's basically what it is. A bodily function name. A name that comes from poop.
Her: Stop saying poop!
Me: It's pretty passive aggressive. Like, you're acting like you love someone, but really, you're just calling them poop.
Her: Stop saying poop!
Me: Sorry.
Me: Poopsie.

I'm out,
Librarian Girl

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ebony and Ivory

When I was a child, I took piano lessons. They took place at my piano teacher Mrs. Mackelbee's house, and I frickin' hated it with a passion that was unparalleled. Once a week, I would trudge over there, and she would open her front door, wearing her navy blue Keds with white laces and her Mike Brady perm, and she would let me into her house to learn a tune or two. She had this whacked out, slobbery dog that would bare its teeth at me menacingly and race toward me like I was a gigantic sirloin steak, and she would say "oops!" and catch the dog just in time and drag him into another room while it gnashed its jaws at me. She never put the dog into another room before I got there. They did this every week, the dog and her, like some fucked up mind game that would somehow prep my mind and hands to play the goddamn scales out of the Finger Power songbook.

When I started piano lessons, I liked it. I must have been like 5 or 6 when I started. But, somehow, over the years, the seeds of hate were sown. I say "somehow," but actually, I know exactly what my problem was, besides facing Cujo each week. First of all, my sister was taking piano lessons, and she rocked it. And a key part of my life has been dedicated to differentiating myself from my overacheiving siblings. So if one of them rocked something, I was so not even going to go there. I spent enough time being compared to my sister that I never put myself in a position where I would have to directly compete with her, because I knew that in any such competition, I would lose.

But the bigger problem? Was that the more I played the piano, the more that I came to understand that I was so-so at it. Not bad, certainly, but just medium ok. I got myself to a place where I could read music, and move on from "Mary Had a Little Lamb" to "Nadia's Theme" to Moonlight Sonata." I even got myself to the really good stuff like "Careless Whisper" and "Head Over Heels" by Wham and Tears for Fears, respectively. My parents' whole rationale for putting me in piano lessons was that they wanted me to learn how to read music which, they insisted, I would be grateful for later on when I was older. And that is certainly true. I am glad I know how to do that. So Wham songs and music literacy. What more could I have wanted than that?

What I wanted, people, was to be good. Not only good, actually, but GREAT. I wanted accolades, I wanted applause. I wanted my teacher to say that I was such a great student and that she was wowed by my untapped potential.

Mrs. Macklebee never said that. She was a kind lady, and she taught me as best she could, but she wasn't going to lie to me. She gave me a lesson each week and sent me home. Thus, the hatred grew.

I begged my parents to let me quit. And my parents, who were very easy going and usually let things like that be what they are, were kind of ok with me quitting. Until I said these words:
"What's the point? I just SUCK AT THIS."

For some reason, these magic words got me sentenced to many more piano lessons. They kept sending me to Mrs. Macklebee. I begged them, each week, to let me skip. They never let me. I remember the hatred grew so strong, that there was this one time where I was at my piano lesson, playing some stoopid song, and the tears just started rolling down my face in frustration at even BEING there. Mrs. Macklebee didn't say anything. She just let me keep playing. I didn't make a sound, but I was crying my eyes out. When I was done, she silently handed me a tissue and went on with the lesson.

You know what my problem was, people? It seems so obvious to me now. I had learned, from school, that you only do what you are good at. If you suck at something, the best thing to do is to just quit doing that thing. You have to specialize, even as a kid. Not a gifted artist? Put down the drawing pencils and go find something that you excel at. Have an aptitude for soccer? Make sure you quit the swim team then because clearly that is a waste of time.

But you know what happens if you do that? You miss out on lots of things that, although you may not be great at them, you might find fun, you know, just because. You also over-develop the part of you that is goal-oriented, and the part of you that just likes to try stuff for the experience shrivels up and goes away. Third, you may become a person that quits things too early if you don't kick ass right off the bat, and you miss out on finding a talent that needs more time to develop. Didn't Ralph Macchio have to wax on wax off for a good long time before he could do the Crane Kick? What if he had quit at the waxing stage? Crane Kicking would have never happened, that's what.

Eventually, I made my peace with piano lessons. And then my parents let me move on from that to try something new. When we're really little, we don't put ourselves into categories like we do as we grow up. Everyone is an artist, a scientist, an athlete, a brain. But as we grow up, we get these messages that tell us that we need to start letting most of those things go, especially if we're not great at them. We judge ourselves, and then we lose out.

With that thought in mind, I thought I would make a list of things that I do that I 100% suck at, but that I like anyway and will continue to do. With love to my parents who heard me say "I SUCK AT THIS" and knew that I needed a lesson in not judging myself and doing something in order to stretch, even if there was no gold at the end of the journey. And with thanks to Mrs. Macklebee. I really do appreciate that I can still read music and that I can bust out "Careless Whisper" at parties.

I SUCK AT THESE, but who cares? A list.

1. Kickball. I was in a kickball league a couple of summers ago, and it was rad. We lost every single game. By a lot. We could not win. It was fun as hell though.
2. Scrabble. I seriously suck at Scrabble. I have never won a game in my entire life. Ever. I come up with great words like "cat" and "ice." I admit that this embarrasses me somewhat. But I still love to play.
3. Bowling. Me and Barack could totally be on the same team.
4. Painting. My paintings? Would not win any awards. I have no technique whatsoever. Unless "slap some paint on a canvas and call it a day" is a technique.
5. Understanding anything to do with concepts of quantum physics or even time traveling in movies. I can't get enough of those kinds of movies and concepts. I will continue to watch them and want to hear about them, knowing I only understand about 30% of what is going on.

What five things do you suck at that you love to do?

I'm out,
Librarian Girl

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Squealing on the inside

You know what else happened on our tripsie down the coast? Lots of stuff.

First of all, BioGirl and I played it cool for the entire time, even though it was our big reuniting moment. She's coming home! We'll be in the same town! No more studenting for her! So many reasons to get excited. Like, you know how, when some women get engaged, they announce it to their friends by not saying a word, but just waving their engagement ring around, and then the bride to be and the girlfriends squeal and grab each other and jump up and down? That's the level of excitement that we should have been feeling. And trust me, we were feeling it. (And before I go on with this train of thought can I just ask you if women really behave this way other than on tv? Do they really wave engagement rings in their friends' faces and then have a squealfest with all the jumpy jumpy? Because I have never seen it for real. People I know do not do that. At least not in my presence. So I am having doubts about whether it actually happens that way. Can anyone enlighten me? Have you seen it happen? Have you done the jumpy-squeal yourself? I want to know).

BioGirl and I didn't jump up and down. We didn't squeal. We maybe hugged, I think, but I can't really remember. I don't know what this is about us. We are famous for playing it cool in these types of situations with each other for some reason. We are both, by nature, not really high-drama type people, so maybe that is part of it. I don't know. The other part of the equation was that we were both so damn tired by the time we saw each other that we could barely see straight. And this moment, her moving back to Seattle, has been so anticipated, so talked about, so focused on for both of us for so long, that I think we just COULD NOT COPE. Throughout the weekend and the drive back, this was all we could muster, here and there.

Her: Dude, I am totally moving back home.
Me: I know.
Her: It's so WEIRD.

We must have had that conversation about twenty times over the past few days. Sometimes there would be a little variation.

Me: I was thinking about how, if I want to go to a movie, or a party, or whatever, I could just call you. And you could go with me. Like any time.
Her: I know. Or like, if I am hanging out at home, and I wanted to veg out and watch tv, I could call you and you could come over and we could just...do that.

This is what we did all the way home. Oh, that and also we went over lots of checklists. Moving cities? It involves lots of tasks. Checklisty type tasks. So there was a lot of that too.

BioGirl has been in a bit of a bubble for the past little while, what with writing a thesis and all. So after the first day of driving, we stopped in Ashland, Oregon again (without the forsooths and forthwiths this time) for her first non-student, non-California night out.

We walked around town, which was really, really dead as it is off-season there and also it was a Monday night. We found our way to a Thai restaurant which looked great and ended up tasting great too. The only thing wrong with it? Was the fact that there was all this really weird art on the walls. It was like an amateur who was trying to imitate Patrick Nagel picked up some paints and did some crazy stuff. There was an oil portrait of a boy and two girls, all of whom were dressed like they were heading to prom in 1986. One of the girls had one hairy arm. She also had no legs and a reddish drip where her nether regions should have been. It was not appetizing, people.

We were so tired by this point that all three of us almost peed ourselves laughing over the artwork. It was very classy and mature of us. Ashland, you know you love us!

Then we went back to the hotel room. We tried to find a movie to watch on tv, and there was really nothing catching our attention. So I turned on "Girls Next Door" on E. That show is messed up, right? We all know this. But you know what makes it even worse? Explaining the Girls Next Door to someone who has never seen it.

BioGirl: So who are these women?
Me: They are Hugh Hefner's girlfriends. He has three. That's Holly. She's the top of the hierarchy. The other two are newer.
BioGirl: They're his girlfriends. All of them.
Me: Yeah. And it's their job to live there and throw parties.
BioGirl: So, it's their job to be his girlfriends?
Me: Well, I think. I mean, I don't know. It seems like it's their job. But they say that they love him. But that might be part of their job too. To say that.
BioGirl: So does Holly get paid more?
Me: I don't know that they are paid. I'm just saying, they have a role to play at the mansion.
BioGirl: You actually don't have any idea what this show is about do you? You're faking knowledge about the Girls Next Door!
Me: A little.

The following day, we drove into town, unloaded our stuff, and by the next day, BioGirl was ensconsed in her new apartment. That's right, I said ensconsed.

It's been over a week, but I still keep having these moments where I think about her being back here and I just can't think anything but this:


I'm out,
Librarian Girl

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


I wanted to write a big long epic gorgeous post about my trip, but this whole going back to work thing has totally kicked me in the hiney so I am not sure how epic or gorgeous it shall be. Don't you love it when I preface my posts by lowering expectations like that? And don't you love it that I think that you might actually be expecting quality from me? I'm so cute that way.

When we left for California, it was snowing here in Seattle. It hardly ever snows in Seattle, and I love that. I have seen enough snow in my life to last me for the rest of my days. So when it starts to snow here, and it's late March, I get a little bit rageful. So that was actually a good thing in this case, as it booted me out my door that much quicker. I was more than ready to say goodbye to my usually beloved city. Goodbye unseasonal snow! Goodbye pine trees! Goodbye shiny new libraries! Goodbye people who like to cover themselves in fleecewear and wear Crocs in public!

Please, any fleecewearing croc-lovers. Do not hate me. These items, they are just not for me. You have every right to be wearing them, I completely respect that. I am just saying that I was glad to not see it for a while. As Peter Cetera says: "Everybody needs a little time away...from the Crocs...as foot covers." Isn't that how that song goes?

Anyhoo. We took off, trying to outrun the snow, and by the time we got to Portland for lunch, it was still snowing. Not cool, Portland. Not cool. After lunch at our favorite Portland lebanese restaurant, we stopped at one of my favorite shoe stores there. I have been having a shoe dilemma lately, and I was hoping this place would be the solution, as it has been in the past for any shoe dilemma that I have come across.

I really didn't intend for this to be a post that had shoes as its thematic center.

My shoe problem is this. Cute flats. I can't find any. Not any that are really my style, that is. I have cute flat boots, and Converse sneakers, and Puma exercise-y shoes. But all my other shoes, the kind that are cute? All have heels. I am not saying that there aren't cute flats in existence. I am just saying that there aren't any that are suitable to me. Not that I've found. Granted, I am picky. But. Imelda's didn't help me.

There really is no reason why this part of the trip has gotten a whole paragraph dedicated to it. It's not entertaining, clearly.

Moving on. We drove some more and gradually left the conifer encrusted landscapery and entered into the mossy mists of southern oregon. They got a lot of moss there, people. If you have a moss-phobia, this place would freak your freak.

You are thinking that there is no such thing as moss-phobia, aren't you? I can almost guarantee you that there are moss phobics in the world, because there are phobics that exist for everything you can possibly imagine. I saw this episode of Maury one time where this girl was afraid of dill pickles. And so Maury made her go to a pickle factory, and the girl was so skerred it was like she was in a horror film but instead of a dude in a hockey mask, the serial killer was a giant gherkin.

After we saw the mosslands, we then went into the land of "scabby trees." This was a term coined on the spot by Nordic Boy, who despite my last post didn't have the proper terminology to describe the trees we were seeing. These trees were skinny and looked like they had been burned up, but they weren't charred, they were just black and leafless and sort of flaky looking.

It just now occurs to me that I should have been taking photos while on this trip. Because, really, what can one picture in one's mind when faced with a term like "scabby tree?" It's just such a sad term. Like smelly cat, as sung by Pheobe Buffay. "Scabby tree, scabby tree, what are we calling you? Scabby tree, scabby tree, it's not your fault!"

That night, we drove into Ashland, Oregon, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. This caused Nordic Boy and I to drop the words "forsooth" and "forthwith" into as much of our conversation as possible.

Nordic Boy: We will be arriving at our hotel forthwith!
Me: Forsooth, it shall be a grand time!
Nordic Boy: Grand it shall be, forthwithly!
Me: Forsootheth, so it shall!
Nordic Boy: Forsootheth? Say that five times fast.
Both of us: Forsootheth forsootheth forsootheth forsootheth forsootheth.

You are so wishing you were in the car with us for nine hours, aren't you?

We arrived at the hotel, tired to the bone, and checked into our hotel and got into bed. Immediately. No dinner, no smooching, no enjoying the fancy room, no nothing.

The next day, guess what? More driving! And more talking nonsense for hours on end! I shall spare you the details.

We arrived in San Fran in time for a late lunch with friends. We followed our mapquested directions (or was it google map? I can't remember), which led us right into the middle of town which was nowhere near the restaurant. First Imelda's lets me down and now internet directions. What the hell, people?

We made it to lunch, where we tried to be social but were so friggin' starving by that point that we basically shoved food into our mouths with both hands while our nice friends stared at us in pity. Then we drove off to the land of Stanford, to meet up with BioGirl.

We got there, started to help her pack, and didn't stop until the weekend was over. We were packing fools! We packed up her stuff into a U-Haul, then drove the U-Haul to a door-to-door storage type place an hour or so away (more driving! yeah boyee!), unpacked the U-Haul, repacked her stuff into the storage unit, came back to her place and packed up the remaining stuff into her car and our car to be driven back to Seattle.

Next post: the trip back to Seattle. Do Nordic Boy and I torment BioGirl with bad Shakespearean dialogue? Do we ever figure out just what a scabby tree is? Do all of BioGirl's belongings get back home in one piece?

I shall be blogging about all of that and more next time. Forsootheth.

I'm out,
Librarian Girl

Monday, April 07, 2008

What about the chaparral?

I made it back from California safe and sound, no worse for wear except that my body may be permanently molded into a driving position. Even though I was gone for only a few days, the things I missed were strong. They included:

1. The overabundance of green in my state.
2. My own bed.
3. You, my blog friends.

See how I come back and feel all guilty for not blogging and so I start right in with the sucking up?

Nordic Boy and I woke up bright and early last Thursday and hightailed it out of town on our way to get BioGirl and move her ass back up to Seattle. This trip was highly anticipated not only because we were both ridickerous excited to have our friend back in town all permanent like, but also because I haven't had a vacation in almost two years. TWO YEARS, people. One fifth of a decade. Sick and wrong and I urge all of you to not let this happen to you. Take vacations! It's good for you! You relax and see new things and learn things you didn't know before.

Like? The fact that Nordic Boy and specific terminology, they are friendly with one another.


Nordic Boy: Hopefully the sun will come out this afternoon. I think I see some patches of blue sky up ahead.
Me: Where?
Nordic Boy: Just up over that set of bluffs there.
Me: Bluffs? That's funny.
Nordic Boy: What? They are bluffs, right?
Me: Yeah. But that's just a word that you would read in a book or something. Who really says the word "bluffs" in conversation?
Nordic Boy: Just me, I guess.

(Later, still driving)
Nordic Boy: That's pretty over there. The big expanse of grass meadow and then the group of trees bunched up in the middle. It looks so cool with the wide open space and then the thicket in the middle.
Me: Did you just say thicket?
Nordic Boy: Yeah.
Me: That is so... Bambi.
Nordic Boy: What?
Me: Bambi was born in a thicket. That is the full extent of my knowledge on thickets. But here you are, pointing one out. Huh.

(Later, still more driving)
Me: Wow, look at those wildflowers over there.
Nordic Boy: You'd think they'd have a hard time growing there, it being all shadowy in the hollow and all.
Me: Stop it. You did not just say "in the hollow."
Nordic Boy: What is with you? It IS a hollow.
Me: What are you, Winnie the Pooh?
Nordic Boy: Sigh.

(Driving into California)
Me: There doesn't seem to be much of a shoulder on this part of the freeway. I wonder what people do if they have to pull over?
Him: They probably just have to haul their car into the culvert there.
Me: Ok. This really has to stop. The CULVERT?
Him: Yes. The culvert. Right there.
Me: What the heck is a culvert?
Him: A drain. That's at a right angle to the road.
Me: You are so making that up. About the right angle.

(By the way, I looked it up. He's not making it up).

Take vacations people. You will learn so much.

I'm out,
Librarian Girl

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

On Becoming Fontastic

Hi Pop Culture Librarian readers. Neighbor J here, reporting for Bloggysitting duty. I feel honored to be a guest blogger for Librarian Girl. She plays it cool, but you guys agree with me that her writing rocks hard core, so I've got some big bad blog shoes to fill. Outside the blogoshpere, Librarian Girl's feet are much smaller than mine, but I've had fantasies about literally being able to fill her shoes. She's got some awesome taste in footwear, that girl. We share a love of shoes, and shopping for the clothes to go with them. There are a few marathon shopping sprees in our past that should go down in some kind of Shoppers-Book-of-World-Records. We don't get to do it too often, but shopping with LG is one of my favorite things. Not surprisingly, we also share a love of pop culture. We can wax poetic about about how The Waltons compares to Little House, and the historical discrepancies between these two shows and our other favorite, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. And lately, as Librarian Girl and Nordic boy have been searching for the perfect set of house numbers for the new mailbox Nordic Boy hand crafted, we've discovered another shared passion: fonts. Typefaces if you're nasty.

Just a few years ago, if you said "typography" to me I'd crinkle up my nose at you, roll my eyes, and dry-heave like I was choking on a giant furball made of yak hair. I was in design school and typography was being crammed down my throat, and I was gagging on it big time.

In school the scriptures of Typography came in the form of a book called "The Elements of Typographic Style" by Robert Bringhurst. Our instructor would quote from Bringhurst at every chance she got. And Bringhurst himself writes like some kind of zealous poet-preacher. In a fashion that took me straight back to catechism we had to memorize Bringhurst stanzas like this: "Allow the [type]face to speak in its natural idiom." Cringe. Gag.

My classmates swooned over his writing, and hailed him the god of type. It scared me. If Bringhurst had ever visited our class I think it might have looked like an episode of Oprah's Favorite Things: people passing out over their drafting tables, screaming themselves hoarse, with eyes rolling back into their heads and their tongues hanging out. Freaky. Anyhow, all this fervor for Bringhurst made me only loathe him more, and I promised to burn his annoying book upon my graduation.

Then, I got a job. Part of my job was to lay out an entire magazine three times a year all by my lonesome. I freaked out. What kind of a hot mess had I gotten myself into? If you visit my blog you'll see I'm really an illustrator at heart. And when I got my first "big-girl" design job I started wishing I'd paid more attention in typography classes. I turned to the only expert I had at my fingertips: Bringhurst. Now, I'm not going to say that I'm a Bringhurst convert, but when I read the book a second time I realized that it wasn't his message that bummed me out, it was his delivery. His writing was so exclusive, I felt like I needed a membership to read it. The Country Club of Type is what that guy is all about, and it is too bad because he knows his shite.

One of the things Iove about Librarian Girl, that I think comes through a lot in her writing here is that she's all about being all-inclusive. In her world you don't have to publish something to call yourself a "writer", have an art show at a swanky gallery to call yourself an "artist", or be able to play Flight of The Bumblebee on your granny's upright to call yourself a "musician". It's an awesome attitude that has rubbed off on me in our years of friendship, and I am grateful for it. So I want to add that you don't have to memorize or even read Bringhurst to become your own fontastic typophile. Thanks to personal computers and desktop publishing software everyone can dabble in design. And it doesn't need to be scary, or snooty, or exclusive.

At one time or another you'll probably be called upon to make something like a newsletter, or a flyer describing a free lecture, or a sign for the office kitchen that says "Wash Your Own Damn Dishes". Picking the "best" typeface for your printed piece should be looked at like picking a beverage to compliment your favorite meal (a burger and a float, perhaps?), or a pair of shoes to top off that swanky outfit. It should be fun, and can even be a refection of your personal style. What seems to be the main problem out there is that people don't know that they have choices, and LOTS of them. You don't always have to put vanilla ice cream in your root beer float, people.

One of the best examples out there is the overuse of the font Comic Sans. Yes, I'm picking on a font here. Sorry Mister Sans, it's not your fault. Most people use Comic Sans because they see it as a fun, lighthearted font. To all of you folks who have used and overused the font, take heart. You've got the right idea! Fonts can help set the tone for what you are trying to say. There are just so many other great alternatives out there. Here are two of my fave resources for bulking up my own font library:

This site rocks. It is really accessible, and completely removes all the snootiness from discovering new typefaces. They have an wonderful feature on their site that lets you search for typefaces by describing what you are looking for. For example, here are the selections I got when I typed in "Funny". They also have a great button that allows you to find fonts similar to the one you might like, but want something a little different. It's like saying "I like that boot, but does it come in hot pink"? Here is what I got when I went looking for fonts similar to Comic Sans. Awesome, no?

Here's great website of free unique fonts. Most of them are free for personal use, so a sign or newsletter would be perfect. Check out their section of "Comic" fonts. There is even one called "I Hate Comic Sans", which is much more interesting that plain ole Comic Sans, and best of all, its free!

Typefaces have power. The power to get your message across quickly and clearly, make it memorable, and in true Librarian Girl fashion do it with "flair". Next time you need to make something printed, take a few minutes before you start and do a little typeface research. You're on your way to discovering your own fontastical abilities!

I'm Out, No Diggity No Doubt.
Neighbor J