darchildre: text:  library rules 1) silence 2) books must be returned by due date 3) do not interfere with the nature of causality (library rules)
Dear Overdrive,

Would it kill you to have subject headings more specific than "History"?

Also, while I'm complaining, is there no way that you could make it easier to filter out children's books? It's awesome that you have so many children's books, but they are really not what I'm looking for right now.

/library problems
darchildre: seventh doctor tweaking ace's nose (aces are rare)
I have this one patron who comes in and mostly gets movies and rock cds and reminds me a lot of my dad, in that he's about the right age, balding, soft-spoken, and quietly warmly funny. I like him a lot. (He also never needs any help with the self-check machine and is the only IRL person I've had a conversation about the Chernow Hamilton biography with, so even without the resemblance he'd be on my list of favorites.)

Recently, he's been watching his way through the Harry Potter movies. He hasn't read the books, but he picked up the first movie for some reason and really enjoyed it. (It seems to surprise him, how much he enjoyed it.) Now every time he comes in, he asks me for the next one - he just turned in Order of the Phoenix - and spends a few minutes quietly gushing about how great the Harry Potter series is.

It is the cutest damned thing imaginable.
darchildre: a large blue marble.  text:  "today I am a small blue thing" (cool and smooth and curious)
Today, work is stressful. We are short staffed - one of my coworker's mother died late last week, so she's out all this week for obvious reasons and we're scrambling to cover her shifts. There were extra people here this morning, doing inventory before our move to our new building and trying to fix the furnace in this building because the room next door (which serves as an emergency shelter for the community during inclement weather) isn't getting any heat. We have mice in the office. And the internet went out system-wide for several hours this afternoon, which also knocked out the phones and with them all our usual avenues of communication. And later this week, on Thursday, I have a meeting in a library I've never been to before that only has street parking (I hate street parking) and then I get to come back to my library and run a program.

So that's cool.

I really want to take a mental health day, but we're short staffed as it is, so I would feel terribly guilty doing so. (And if I did, my mom would decide that we should "do something fun together!", which would rather defeat the purpose. Not that Mom isn't fun, but it is not a proper mental health day if it includes time where I have to worry if other people are enjoying themselves. Which I would do.) It is a problem.

I have a jury summons for next week and let me tell you, it is probably some kind of warning sign when you start fantasizing about being called for jury duty because it would be a day off. But I am absolutely doing that - ideally, I would get called in on Tuesday and then not actually get put on a jury but not have that decided till the end of the day. Because then I could spend the majority of the day sitting quietly and reading while I wait for things to be decided around me. Doesn't that sound lovely?

With my luck, I will get called for Monday and put on a jury for a trial that lasts for days so that I'll have to call into work every day (which I hate doing) and then feel guilty for adding extra stress to my coworkers' lives.

Maybe I will go live on the moon instead.
darchildre: The lady Melisandre with a candle, looking particularly intense. (melisandre will set you on fire)
Friends, I am an idiot. I managed to get my beloved ipod classic wet this evening and it is most definitely dead. It is a tragedy, I am unbelievably mad at myself, and now I need to find a replacement. Would you like to help me find a replacement?

These are the features I want in an mp3 player:

- A goodly bit of storage space. I didn't use all 160gb on my ipod, but I used more than 80.

- Should work well with audiobooks. I listen to a lot of them, and I need my device to remember my place.

- I really like the ipod's ability to shuffle everything on the device except those songs/files I have specifically marked not to shuffle.

- I use my mp3 player a lot in the car and thus need to be able to control it without looking, so I would prefer physical buttons if possible.

- I don't need the device to do anything but play music/audiobooks, and indeed would prefer it not to.

- Ideally, less that $200.


Anybody have any recommendations?
darchildre: the master reading war of the worlds (reading)
Unexpected bonuses of reading a lot of Revolutionary-era American history:

- This is not era-specific, but...so, I am the kind of person who likes to read or listen to or watch the same story over and over. I love new adaptations of my favorite books, I love to read something and then listen to an audiobook of the same thing, I love retellings of my favorite stories. (This is probably a large part of the reason that I read so much fanfiction. And also why I like comics so much.) History is great for that. If I read about an event in one book, there are probably ten other books that want to tell me about the same event, but differently: from another perspective, with a different focus, with new details. So you get the same story but not in the same words and I can experience it again without the fatigue that can sometimes result from experiencing it again in exactly the same way. (I have now read, like, three different books that covered the siege of Boston, I am not tired of it yet, this is awesome.)

- Every once in a while, someone mentions a landmark from the area where I grew up and I get really excited. It's mostly river names. The Brandywine! The Susquehanna! The Rappahannock! I haven't heard those names in years - I had forgotten how beautiful the word "Susquehanna" is.




Somehow unexpected disadvantages of reading a lot of history:

- Everyone dies. This is obvious and I should have fully realized it going in but everyone dies, and it's terrible, and I am not okay. In fiction you can pretend they didn't die.

- Also, it is even harder to explain to people that you are upset about people in history dying. If people ask you why you seem down and you tell them that a fictional character died in your book and you're sad about it, they might be taken aback for a moment but they usually sort of get it. If you tell them that, say, George Washington died in your book and you're sad about it, people kinda blink at you like "He's been dead for a while now, shouldn't you be over it?"



This has been Sara's Adventures in Reading History.
darchildre: children reading books in a field. (books are for adventure!)
I have this one coworker who is about 10 years younger than me. He's pretty geeky and sometimes we talk about geeky things. And I constantly forget that, unlike other geeky people that I have geeky conversations with, he is about 10 years younger than me. We may both be geeks but we don't share the same formative cultural touchstones. He'll come in and be all, "My friend lent me these dvds and they're great - have you ever heard of a cartoon called Gargoyles?" And I have to blink for a moment and remember, oh yeah, he's too young to have watched Gargoyles when it was on tv.

This sounds like the kind of post where I'm going to complain about feeling old, but it is, in fact, something different. See, we had a patron donate a bunch of old sci-fi/fantasy paperbacks today and he was looking through them. One of them was an Anne McCaffrey book and he showed it to me, saying "What is this?" And I said, "Oh, it's Anne McCaffrey - she wrote the Pern books." He had no idea what that meant*.

I just - Anne McCaffrey. Every nerd I knew in middle school and high school had read Pern, or at least the Harper Hall trilogy. She was like Mercedes Lackey or Piers Anthony - maybe not always great, but omnipresent. It seems super weird to me that this is no longer true.

Let me tell you, friends, trying to explain Pern to people who haven't read it, especially if you haven't yourself for quite some time. Crazy names and color-coded telepathic dragons and Thread, oh my.





*I count myself fortunate that I didn't go with my first thought that always comes up about Anne McCaffrey and mention something about tentpegs. But a) I realize that that is perhaps a more specialized reference and b) this is a public library and that is inappropriate.
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
Friends, I want to make a cake this weekend. I do not want it to be terribly fancy, and I do not want it to be chocolate or contain nuts. Beyond that, there are so many options that I am having trouble deciding.

What is your favorite cake recipe that I should make this weekend?
darchildre: (natasha does not have time for this shit)
I realize that, as a library employee, I'm really not supposed to have opinions about the materials my patrons check out but really, if you are returning an actual copy of Slave Girl of Gor, I am going to judge you for it.

I'm not going to say anything or in any way stop people checking it out, of course. But, y'know. Judging.
darchildre: seventh doctor and ace, moody and muted (ghostlight)
Today (and yesterday too - multiple days of this nonsense, oh joy) I have that anxiety thing where I have anxiety symptoms but nothing that I'm actually anxious about. I really hate that thing.

If I'm anxious about a thing, I can fix it or prepare better for it or self-destructively avoid it and distract myself which is not ideal but is, I'll admit, a thing that I do. But this random free-floating reasonless nonsense? I just have to sit here with it and deal. And it's hard to explain to people, because they inevitably ask what's I'm worried about. I'm not, that's the thing - I'm not worried about anything, it's just that my stomach is a hard ball of nervousness and my hands are shaky for no frelling reason.

Grar.
darchildre: warren mears in a ball pit.  text:  "guh..." (guh?)
Okay, weird experiment explanation time. I drink a lot of tea, as you may have gathered, and I drink my tea with a lot of sugar. This is not ideal, as I sometimes feel that I consume more sugar in the course of the day than I would wish. But I can't drink tea without sugar - it's gross.

Then I thought "What if I made herbal tea from savory herbs? My brain won't expect that to be sweet, so drinking it unsweetened will be okay." So I've been trying that, and I also bought some things from the weird bulk tea section of my grocery store to experiment with: clover, and dandelion leaf, and dandelion root. Parsey tea is good, and so is sage.

All of this to say that today I made dandelion tea with a pinch of salt. And it tastes distressingly like drinking milk.

I have nothing against drinking milk when it's actually milk. But weird herbal tea that mysteriously tastes like milk instead of plants is kinda freaking me out.
darchildre: Tiny Flash with his arms up going "yay!" (flash says yay!)
So, umm...I maybe own a guitar now. That is where the Christmas money from my grandmother went.

It is a beautiful little 3/4 guitar and it sounds lovely and is all mine. I can, thus far, play very bad versions The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton and Clementine by the Decemberists.

It is pretty damned exciting.
darchildre: text: "i am a terrifying and imposing figure" (they said i'd be ambassador to france)
This week, I have done that thing where I don't realize I'm in a bad mood until I look up and realize that in the last three days, all the music I've listened to has been both recordings of Assassins, selections from Sweeney Todd, and my Apokolips fanmix.

At least now I know?
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
My sisters have both been around a lot for the holidays, which has been great and has meant a lot of singing and board games and other fun things. But it has also meant a lot of activity and a lot of noise, so it was something of a relief when they went home yesterday.

Here is what I did yesterday:

- played dad's guitar a little
- drank a lot of tea
- read
- took a nap
- did dot-to-dot puzzles while listening to an audiobook

That is basically the perfect day. I'm hoping to do it again today.
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)
One of the things I quietly love is fountain pen ink. I have a couple of reasonably cheap fountain pens and a slowly growing collection of inks, and they make me so happy. (My favorite I've tried so far is Diamine's Ancient Copper, which is seriously so gorgeous, you guys - if you like ink, you should definitely get yourself a bottle of that.)

Anyway! For Christmas, my mom got me a bottle of rose-scented ink, and I have just tried it out. Oh my god, it is so great - it's a gorgeous dark-rose-pink, it smells delicious in the bottle and the scent lingers on the paper after you write. It's not overwhelming and I'm sure it will fade eventually but right now it is filling me with joy. I think it might have to be my new paper-journal-ink for a while.
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)
So, my sister got a ukulele for Christmas and has been constantly playing it ever since. My dad plays guitar, as does my other sister (a little), so they had a little jam session the other morning. And now, I'm kinda sorta thinking that I would also like to take up the guitar. I'm letting the idea percolate for a while before I actually spend money, but I maybe have a starter guitar picked out.

In the mean time, I've been borrowing my dad's electric (I want to play acoustic, but his is too big for me to play comfortably - if I do end up getting one, it'll be a 3/4 - so I'm using the electric for now) and trying it out. So far, I can play exactly three chords. Which is okay, because I can also play the world's slowest, clumsiest rendition of The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton.

My fingers really hurt right now, you guys. It is weirdly satisfying.
darchildre: a candle surrounded by pine branches (yule)
The Shortest Day

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land,
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

Glad Yule, everybody. I hope your new year is bright and kind.
darchildre: text only:  "unlimited rice pudding!" (daleks are silly)
So, I have been reading a lot of nonfiction about the Revolutionary War of late, because of reasons. It has been a long time since I read this much nonfiction about history. Or, indeed, anything that wasn't some kind of literary analysis, usually of horror film. Mostly, I read fiction about people with magic or spaceships or superpowers. Or all three.

Which makes you read differently. I read history like I read fiction: for the story. And since I'm reading my current nonfiction mostly for entertainment purposes, I find my brain engaging with it the same way it engages with other stories that are entirely fictional and that I'm fannish about. Which is: a) I want to know every detail of canon, b) I will then decide which details are important to me (and keep them) and which details are terrible (and discard them), c) I will then make up my own crazy-ass stories.

All of which is to say that today it occurred to me that several events during the Revolutionary War make a lot more sense if you accept the premise that George Washington had minor (possibly unconscious) weather controlling powers, and that that's basically a headcanon I have now for all future reading of 18th century American history.

(I would read that hell out of a novel where the Founding Fathers had magic powers. Someone should get on that, just saying.)
darchildre: graffiti of a crow saying, "listen" (listen)
Heading to Seattle to hang out with my sisters and listening to my Stan Rogers collection on the ferry.

How do I have three different versions of The Mary Ellen Carter and not one of Barrett's Privateers on my iPod? Not that I dont love The Mary Ellen Carter, but still. Badly done, past me. Very badly done.

Maybe I'll just listen to The Nancy on repeat instead.
darchildre: Tiny Flash with his arms up going "yay!" (flash says yay!)
Guess who's going to see Hamilton?

IT'S ME!!!

My sisters were evidently talking about the show this evening and then realized that, y'know, we are all actual adults and the great thing about being actual adults is being able to decide that you get to take trips to New York for theater reasons. So they emailed me and asked what I thought and I, of course, said yes. And now we have bought tickets! Okay, they are for July, but I am still really really excited.

I get to go see Assassins twice in Seattle, I get to go to New York to see Hamilton - 2016 is looking like a frelling great year for theater.

Eeeeee!!!!!
darchildre: birch trees in autumn (yi elischi sa ai chi bedhul)
Today in Things I Have Done and Put on the Internet That No One Ever Asked For! In my last post, I mentioned that I was translating Hamilton lyrics into senesh. I did Wait For It, it took a really long time, and I'm pretty proud of it, so I'm posting it here. Get excited!

showtunes about the Founding Fathers in a language no one else can read! )

I now have a lot of Thoughts about Aaron Burr's use of evidentials, but that is even more ridiculous than the rest of the post, so I think it will stay inside my head for now.
darchildre: birch trees in autumn (yi elischi sa ai chi bedhul)
So yesterday, what with it not being my birthday or Thanksgiving, was a day of sitting around and having nothing to do. Which was great. I spent several hours noodling with seneshi translation stuff*.

Y'know what my favorite thing about conlanging is, other than inventing new writing systems? It's that moment when you're translating and you realize that the language has developed grammatical rules that you didn't consciously plan. I suppose it is the conlang equivalent of that thing where you write a story and the characters decide to do something that was not in your original outline. Sometimes the object goes before the verb and sometimes it goes after the verb and I've figured out why that happens but I did not mean for it to happen. It is a rule that senesh developed on its own.

I also keep finding out new things about my evidential markers. You guys, I am so pleased by my evidential markers, you have no idea. When I started building the language, I thought they were just going to do what it says on the tin: indicate how the speaker knows what they're saying is true. But now I'm learning that they can be used to add emphasis or indicate tone or change the politeness level of a sentence - it's so exciting. There are things we use whole long phrases for in English that I can indicate with a one-syllable particle in senesh. I am excited about this, so I'm going to babble about examples under the cut. If you don't want to read about my exciting made-up grammar, that's cool. )

This would be a lot easier to write about if I were writing by hand where most of the evidentials are only two characters.







*Translating Hamilton lyrics, because why not double up on the nerdery, right?
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
Today is my birthday! I am 33 years old today, which is not a great number (only two divisors and although 3 is a good divisor, 11 is awkward) but at least it isn't prime. Also, I am off work today and will remain so until next Monday, which is exciting.

Yesterday, we had a wind storm and several library branches (and my house) lost power. Kingston did too, but only for about 40 minutes, which was just long enough for our manager to almost get to the point of telling us to close when the power came back on. I felt a bit cheated by that, especially as apparently all of the Kingston area assumed we were closed so no one came in during the last hour we were open. But I suppose the alternative would have been going home to sit in the dark and try to read by candlelight, so maybe I didn't miss much.

Today we have electricity again and I am going to a movie and later there will be lemon cheesecake.
darchildre: the fourth doctor's scarft (crafty geek)
I finished a sweater! That I started knitting almost exactly a year ago!

I say "finished" but I still have to weave in all the ends and sew on the buttons. (And buy the buttons.) But the knitting part is done and after tomorrow, it will be a wearable garment that actually fits and is comfortable and, while not being perfect, is pretty good looking.

Hooray!
darchildre: cooper and truman looking interested and somewhat skeptical (cooper and truman)
What I have done so far today:

- Got up early because I was scheduled to go to a meeting at a branch that is about a forty-five minute drive from my house

- Left the house at 8 o'clock for a meeting scheduled from 9 to 11

- Got stuck in traffic at about 8:30 because of an accident somewhere up the road

- Sat in completely still traffic for a long time

- Texted my manager about 8:50 to tell her that I was going to be late to the meeting because of traffic and ask her if she could let people know

- Also texted my mom to complain and emailed my sister because hell, I wasn't moving, I may as well entertain myself

- Listened to a major portion of the Hamilton soundtrack

- Eventually got annoyed enough to switch to Assassins

- Decided, about 9:30, that if I hadn't gotten to my destination by 10, I got to turn around and go home

- About 9:35, realized that I was in the left hand lane and literally trapped by unmoving cars

- At 9:50, the car in the right hand lane next to me made a break for the nearest exit and I was able to slip through, do the same, and escape, while saying grateful prayers to a variety of deities

- Sat in a parking lot to text my manager that, sorry, I was not able to attend the meeting after all

- Drove home


I am done with today and I haven't even managed to get to work yet.



ETA - And now I've learned that I work with a group of people to whom I can say, "I never could get the hang of Thursdays" without them having any idea that I'm quoting something. I am despondent.
darchildre: (natasha does not have time for this shit)
One of our weirder curmudgeons (this guy) asked me if I could place a purchase suggestion on this book for him. I, of course, said I'd be happy to do that.

Him: "That book might put you on the library bad list."

Me: "There's nothing you could request that would make the library put you on any kind of list, sir."

Him: "No, I mean you."



A) Sir, you are the person requesting the book. There are no consequence to requesting a book, other than getting to read the book you requested, but if there were, the consequence would devolve to you.

B) That book is being published by a mainstream publisher (a division of Macmillan) and you found out about it because of an article in the Wall Street Journal. It appears to be a book about economic history, which I'm sure you will find interesting but I have a hard time believing it's going to be all that inflammatory. I think maybe it is not the dangerous subversive work you think it is.

C) One time, you implied that I must be a fan of Donald Trump because "don't all librarians like tv?" I think maybe you have a very skewed idea of both my and the library's politics, which perhaps you might like to rethink. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy your book when it gets here.

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darchildre: a candle in the dark.  text:  "a light in dark places". (Default)
Renfield

June 2016

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