Saturday, February 26, 2011

Consumables #38

There are library systems that do competitions for kids around books. Some places call it Battle of the Books, some places call it Global Reading Challenge, some places call it Book Knowledge Cage Match. Ok so I made that last one up, but the idea is that elementary age kids all read a set of books, and then there is a sort of quiz bowl style competition about them. In some places, this takes place as a library program. In other places, it's a school thing. In my town, it's a library system and school district thing, and it is HUGE. The vast majority of kids in public schools participate, and it is all kinds of awesome. The enthusiasm that gets stirred up in these little kids about books warms the cockles of my heart like I don't know what. I wish you could see it. Kids make signs to support their school team, they do cheers, they jump up and down with excitement. It's like a football game, but about reading. Librarian heaven, I tell you what.
Seattle's version of this is happening as we speak, and next week I get to go observe a few matches at some schools. This is a build-up to the semi-final and final rounds which match up the top teams from throughout the city, which I will also get to see this year. This is the first year in a while that I get to go see this stuff and I am totally and completely PSYCHED.
In preparation for this, I've spent my reading time (most of which is on the bus, so while my ass is sliding all around that bus seat, I am at least getting some reading done) reading all of the books for Little Kid Book Quiz Bowl 2011. Because, hey, what if a teammate has some sort of reading injury (strained eyeball? crinked neckbone?) and they can't play? I am sure they would love to call in a librarian in her 30s to save the day, so I have to be prepared, right? RIGHT?
This week, I have read 5 out of the 10 kids novels. I am going to a match on Monday. Will I get through the last 5 in time? Hello, weekend!
Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry
Set in 1943 Copenhagen, Ellen Rosen and her family are being chased by the Nazis. Her best friend Annemarie and her family do everything that they can to save them. I am a sucker for people outsmarting Nazis, defeating Nazis, thwarting Nazis, or just kicking Nazi ass in any way possible, so I don't have to tell you how I felt about this one. A great way to learn the very basics of the way 7,000 Denmark Jews were saved.
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters, by Lenore Look, illustrations by LeUyen Pham
Funny book. There aren't enough stories about people who embrace their cowardliness, is what I think. We can all relate to being scared shitless, but yet, people don't really explore this topic very much, unless it's in an "I was scared for a minute but then I overcame it" sort of way. I think this is why Scooby Doo is so popular. He and Shaggy are a couple of fraidy cats and they embrace it to high heaven. They shake, they run away, they jump into each others' arms. Express yourself, Scoob! Ghosts are scary! Alvin Ho is also someone who ain't afraid to be afraid. I kind of dug it. And I liked the drawings too.
How to Steal a Dog, by Barbara O'Conner
Writing for kids about being homeless without it coming off as trite is tough, and this one struck just the right chord. The main character, Georgina, lives with her mom and brother in their car, as her mom works two jobs to try to save enough money for an apartment. Georgina plans to dognap a rich person's pooch in the hopes of eventually collecting reward money, and the plan goes awry from the very beginning.
Morning Girl, by Michael Dorris
The story of Morning Girl and Star Boy, who live with their family in the Bahamas in 1492 (before you know who shows up). It recreates what life was like at that point in time, and ends with first contact, so no bloody stuff. Sweet and calm.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis
I had read this one before, a long time ago, and liked it a lot, and I still do. First of all, the family in the book live in Flint, my hometown, so holla! Give me a Flint connection and that will get me 50% on board right there. The family heads down to grandma's house in Birmingham and are there the summer that the 16th Avenue Baptist Church was bombed.

On to the rest of the books I go!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kathie Me Gifford

I admit it everyone. Me, the person who has always been so smug about being balanced and leaving work at work and all like that? 2011 has made that shite go ALL TO POT. I am not necessarily working more hours, but I have become one of those people who think about work when not at work pretty much all the time, including while sleeping. That'll teach me to be smug. It's like, remember when Kathie Lee Gifford was all "my family is so perfect, my husband is a bastion of husbandly Christianity" and then his nasty business with his mistress popped up out of nowhere? Well, I am Kathie Lee Gifford, and living a balanced life is Frank, and work is Frank's mistress rearing her peroxided head.

How's that for a metaphor? (Applause).

This means that I don't have anything to blog about. And whenever I don't have anything to blog about (and can I just say that I am not entirely comfortable with using the word blog in this manner. "Anything to blog about"? Blog about? Ugh, it sounds ree-dick), it is a sure sign that some shit has to change around here, because this blog is where I write down my happy stuff for the most part. And if I don't have anything happy, funny, stupid, silly to say, WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY LIFE.

So, note to self. Stop doing that.


One thing that I did do lately is attend a large scale sporting event. I have not done that since...sheesh, I don't even know when. I used to go to Detroit Pistons games when I was in high school. But since then, I have been on a long hiatus from arenas with cheering fans and points being scored. But this weekend, we went to see some roller derby. I know that that doesn't seem like a major sporting event to most anyone who attends major sporting events, but it was in Key Arena, and that place was sold out. And people screamed and drank beer and there was a jumbotron and the whole thing, and so roller derby does too count. And as much as I want to roll my eyes at roller derby purely based on the fact that Drew Barrymore wants us to care about it, you know what? It kicked major hineycakes. I loved it. As did Nordic Boy, who has more of an aversion to sporting events than I do. I highly recommend going.


I have been riding the bus a lot lately, and does anyone in Seattle agree that the bus seats are made out of some sort of ultra slippery material? Is it just me? When I sit on the bus, and the bus accelerates and deaccelerates, my ass is sliding around almost to the point of falling on the floor. Not to mention that this causes me, when a turn is being made, to slide my caboose right into the person sitting next to me. It's mortifying. Everyone else seems to be able to keep their ass in line. Can someone enlighten me on this? What is my gol dang problem? Do I need to buy those stickers that old people put on the floor of their shower and sew them to my butt?


I can't stop watching the Bachelor, you guys. I feel disgusting.


I spent the better part of President's Day at Macy's, as our forefathers intended. In honor of our Presidents, I celebrated by accidentally walking in on an older Russian lady who was in a fitting room that a salesperson had put my stuff in for me. I walked in and there she was, almost starkers. I am sure that is exactly what Millard Fillmore would have wanted in honor of his day.


I can't think about Millard Fillmore without thinking about Millard Fillmore High School, the setting for that grand tv show of the 80s, Head of the Class. Not that I think about Millard Fillmore a lot. But when I do, it's always in conjunction with Arvid and Simone and the rest. Listen, you have your history and I have mine.

Happy Tuesday-that-feels-like-a-Monday!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Consumables #37

This weekend, I did something I haven't done for so long. I stayed my ass home. And didn't have anyone over either. Nothing social, no grocery shopping, no running out for this or that. Just full, unadulterated sequestering of myself. I gotta tell you, it didn't suck.

Oh wait. I went out to see a dance show on Sunday night. Ok, almost sequestered.

I have a lot to catch you up on in terms of Consumables since I haven't done one since The Week My Guts Exploded. Shall we? Let's shall.

Despicable Me
I know someone who looks just like Vector, you guys. Every time he was on the screen I laughed until I cried. Even at many unfunny moments, so much so that Nordic Boy was like WHAT. So, I enjoyed the movie, but really for my own personal reasons. Those being: I KNOW THAT GUY.

The Kids are Alright
I get why, as a mainstream movie, that this was important. Still, there were things about it that grated on my nerves. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Yep. There were babies. Four of them. Being babies. And also...actually there was no also. Just babies. It was like Puppy Bowl, only with babies, in that it was just about the "awwwww cute!" reflex. Awwww. And then...awwwww. And then...awwwww. And so on. But that's about it.

Every Little Step
Documentary about the audition process for the revival of "A Chorus Line" on Broadway. Bonus: a younger Tyce Diorio auditioning and being that Annoying Broadway Guy. You know the one: "I'm going to be a STAR, I tell you, a STAR!"

The Tudors, Final Season
Heads rolled, bodices ripped, embroidery worn. Done.

The Social Network
I hated every last character in this movie and wanted all of them to fail. Just in case you didn't know this, they didn't. Fail, that is.

When I was sick, I watched a lot of day time tv. At one point, Bo Derek (yes, BO DEREK) was on, and she talked about how she was not in the least a spiritual person. To which Oprah scolded Bo and told her YES SHE IS TOO. Bo looked surprised by this bossiness (apparently she is not acquainted with Oprah who is Right About Everything). Oprah then declared that being spiritual just means that a person "has an open heart." To which Bo genuflected in Oprah's general direction and accepted this. About this, I say two things: I know Oprah is rich and all, but now she just gets to define words? She doesn't have to use the dictionary like the rest of us? And also: really, Oprah? Bo Derek? Timely.

Ninth Ward
A book for middle school readers. I loved the protagonist: a 12-year-old who is an outcast at school but who is super smart and really likes herself as she is. She feels hurt that she's left out of things most of the time, but she doesn't let that get in the way of her own awesomeness. I loved that. The book is set in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and manages to not be 100% depressing, while not sugarcoating either. Pretty good stuff.

Olivia Kidney
What a weird little book. I don't even know how I would hand sell this to a library patron, but I think lots of kids would like it. It's just odd and trippy.

Ship Breaker
Good for Hunger Games fans. A post-apocolyptic world, set in the Gulf Coast area of the US. The main character is a boy who works on abandoned oil rigs, stripping them of their equipment. There was a fair amount of brutality in the book and although I wouldn't say it was graphic, there were a lot of descriptions of physical pain, so it's not for everyone. It's the first in a series, because everything is the first in a series now. Hell, the scone I ate for breakfast this morning was the first in a series.

Fairy Tale Detectives #1, The Sisters Grimm
Speaking of series, this one is about a set of orphans (seriously, where would children's lit be without orphans?) who are adopted into a family who lives in a town inhabited by Everafters, who are live characters from fairy tales and stories. They become detectives and solve fairy tale crimes. I thought this would be annoying, but I totally got behind it.

Cathy Dennis
We have digital radio through our Comcast. I decided to turn it on to the 90s station. This led to a Taylor Dane song being played. Which then led to Nordic Boy singing along in a way that was quite unnatural. Which then made Biogirl comment that Rick Astley really should have done a duet of some sort with Taylor Dane, wouldn't that have been good? Which then made me say that although that didn't happen, Rick Astley did help out on "Just Another Dream" by Cathy Dennis, which is sort of the same thing. Which then led to me having that song stuck in my head for three days. GOD DAMN YOU COMCAST.

I went to a dance show this weekend, and it was a showcase of about 10 different dances by different local companies. 90% of it was great. 10% of it was some of the worst stuff I have ever seen. Like, really I couldn't figure out what was happening. Was it a joke? It was like watching Napoleon Dynamite's dance, in the middle of an otherwise professional dance show. Nordic Boy and I sunk down in our seats and squeezed each other's hands in mortification at what we were seeing. There was PANTOMIMING. PANTOMIMING OF DEALING CARDS AND SMOKING A CIGARETTE. Also lots of slow motion running in place, like Baywatch. Lots of it. Oy yoy yoy.

On the upside, we have had reams of fun ever since, re-enacting the bad moves in our living room. So there's that.

Later, poh-taters.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Conversations I have had lately

My mom calls me and leaves me a message that says: "Call me back when you have a chance. We have had so much snow here and I want to tell you ALL ABOUT IT!" I call back. She says:

"We've had a lot of snow here. Just...that's it really."

Nordic Boy and I park at the store in a tight spot. I have to get out between our car and another car, and it is TIGHT. I sort of shimmy sideways, and put both my arms in a sort of Mr.-Burns-from-The-Simpsons position in order to not touch either soggy car.

Nordic Boy: Look at you! Ain't no thing but a chicken wing!

Me: (looking at my arms) Two of 'em!

Him: You're so proud of yourself no matter what. I love that.

Me and Biogirl shopping.

Me: Maybe for Halloween next year, you could go as Chico and I could go as Talbot.

Her: Oh sure, make ME be Chico.

Me, to Delium: I read a book that I think you would like. Ship Breaker.

Delium: Noted. Although I'm sort of scared.

Me: Why?

Him: Shit Breaker? What the hell is that?

Me: SHIP. Not shit.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Still Here

Hey! Hi y'all! I'm alive!

Where have I been? Oh, you know. Lying on the bathroom floor. As you do.

I have been sick as a dooooog, people. Sicker than I have ever been in my entire adult life. And granted, that still isn't very sick compared to what many people have to deal with, but because I have always been pretty dang healthy, getting relatively sick entitles me to be an extra big baby about the whole thing. It's in the healthy people handbook, is it not? Get normal-size sick, and let the whining rip. That's how I do it, anyhow.

It was a particularly nasty stomach flu that got me. Yep, that's all. But still, come on, feel bad for me. I didn't get to eat anything for a week! Waaahhhh.

And PS, I think it's weird that after one is sick, that anyone would compliment them on how thin they look afterward. Because wow, yay! You puked for a week and now you look FABYOOLUSS. Way to be, lady! Puking totes agrees with you. You should puke all the time, is basically what I'm saying! Health schmealth! Being skinny is way more important!

So gross.

Here are the things that happened during the week that my gut-plumbing shut down.

1. I watched a lot of dumb tv, and you know what I discovered? Any reality show starring a former Playboy Bunny (really, I need to capitalize that?), or a Kardashian, or a Real Housewife? IS THE EXACT SAME SHOW. This may not be news to anyone but me, but truly. It's a lot of really wealthy people doing absolutely nothing, fighting with each other about the same stuff, with lots of hair growing out of huge heads, 6-inches of makeup covering their entire hairless bodies. And they all fight about who said what shit about who. I don't know why I thought there were like, subtle differences between them. There really aren't.

2. Sports drinks, which I find disgusting any other time, were the only thing that I wanted to ingest all week. Bring on the day-glo liquid! It all of a sudden seems like a great idea to consume gallons of it. This just might mean I have radioactive superpowers now.

3. Nordic Boy still tries to make me laugh even when I feel like a coughed up cat hairball. He called me at one point to check to see how I was doing, and I was in the middle of gut-drama, so I answered the phone and yelled "I CAN'T TALK TO YOU RIGHT NOW" and hung up on him. He put his phone down and left work immediately to come home. I asked him what was it that worried him so much as to drop everything and his response was "when I called you, the way you presented yourself wasn't optimal."

4. I have had a myriad of experiences in my life, but lying on the bathroom floor as a feel-better strategy is not one of them. I was more often the hair-holder-backer in my youth, when things got dicey for my pals. I always wondered why people wanted to lie on the bathroom floor when they felt that bad. I have always just wanted my bed when I felt sick. A bathroom floor? Weird. Let's just say that I gave it a whirl this week, and wow. There was no place else in the world that would have done me better. Bathroom floor reclining. Off my bucket list! Woo!

5. I have heard that different people have similar anxiety dreams. Like taking a test they haven't studied for, or having their teeth fall out, or being naked in public. My anxiety dreams all have to do with me being in a show of some kind, and hearing the stage manager call "places!" and running to get in place in time for a curtain to go up and I know I am never going to make it. I had a lot of those dreams this week. Also, a dream about adopting a baby sheep as my child.

Feeling better now. Goodbye Real Housewives, Sports drinks, and lying on the bathroom floor. Ok, maybe you can stay, Housewives.

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