Category Archives: After-school Special

Sometimes I feel the need to expulse the angsty overanalysis that results in what I firmly believe, for a few minutes, to be truth.


I’ve been mulling over the idea of storebought.

This is my first Christmas working as a librarian in a public library. I’m learning that part of being the public library here is getting Christmas presents from patrons. We have about 10 boxes and tins of treats in the back, that we’ve slowly been working our way through since Thanksgiving. The first Whitman’s sampler was gone in a few hours. After that, as the boxes and tins started rolling in, I began to realize that I needed to be very careful. If I didn’t pay attention, I’d ingest a few thousand extra calories each day.

As I looked over our selection, I realized that what I wanted to spend my caloric pennies on was homemade snacks. Food with no preservatives, with taste in mind rather than presentation.

I read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, which took place in midwest frontier America. During Laura’s life, there were several scenes of experiencing the difference between homemade and storebought. In this context, ‘storebought’ meant hard candy, calico print fabric, and other items simply unattainable from the prairie, but magically available through Sears and Roebuck. I could imagine how nice it would be to give up wearing wool underwear for some nice, soft cotton.

At what point did homemade become the new storebought?

I choo-choo-choo choose you

I spent many many hours on the train today. I started out at 6 AM, from grand Champaign-Urbana, and spend four hours in Union Station waiting for my connecting train to Ann Arbor.

I spent my time reading Devil in the White City, watching SLC Punk and Wallace & Grommit and the Wererabbit Thingie, and knitting the belowmentioned sweater. I haven’t seen SLC Punk since maybe high school, and I’m embarrassed at the esteem I held it to – I have since learned a lot more about anarchism, and it’s slightly unfortunate that my introduction to anarchy was Matthew Lillard’s monologues.

I’d suggest watching the documentary Anarchism in America if you’re interested. It’s a documentary about anarchist developments in the early part of the 20th century. It’s a lot of interviews with oooooold people who look like my great grandma Bertha. Sacco and Venzetti and the whole shebang. I learned a lot, and have decided that the type of social anarchism described in this documentary is really really sweet, and I totally could live in a place where everyone is involved in the community and cares.

Abbie, the Wonder Dog: a eulogy

Abbie, the Wonder Dog has been in my family since 1989. Last week, she was finally put down. This was one of those situations where you’re glad they’re finally at rest. Abbie was arthritic, totally deaf, partially blind, and had tumors under her skin all over her body. (Petting her felt creepy, but obligatory.)

I’ve been braced for the news that the family dog was dead since I went off to college in 1997. Some time after these pictures were taken, she lost sight in one eye, and a single tumor on one leg turned into lumps all over. I figured she wouldn’t last the next winter.

On July 4, 2004, my family became the incidental owners of a beagle (who we named John Edwards – we were feeling optimistic) and Abbie’s quality of life increased dramatically. Until then, she had the humans and the cats to amuse her. Now she had a friend of the same species.

Abbie lived WAY longer than any of us thought, and I think it was because John Edwards was around to keep her company. Finally, though, it became apparent that although she was a wonder dog, she wouldn’t live forever.

When I talked to my mom on the phone, she told me that Abbie had been put down because she had stopped eating and was walking sideways. I think we were all relieved that she was done being an old dog. I’m glad she was put down, rather than accidentally hit by Mom in her car, or Dad in a tractor.

“I think she lived so long because of John Edwards. She was too old to be much fun, but at least there was another butt to sniff,” said my mom, in a most empathetic tone.

In her youth, Abbie had a tendency to bring us “presents”. I’m sure a lot of pets do this, but when you live on a farm near the timber, you end up with really big, smelly presents on your lawn. I can’t tell you how many times I had to remove a cow placenta or deer bone from the front lawn so I could mow.

Abbie’s trademark was barking at vehicles that drove up the lane. It was like a farm-wide doorbell. We knew when someone was driving up, which is really nice when you live on a farm and aren’t used to a lot of random visitors. Plus, she was always friendly to whomever drove up. It was like, “Hey! Someone’s here! I’ll go smell them for you!”

I also remember a period of time when she was younger when she would carry kittens around in her mouth. I think this was a mothering instinct, but that’s not what you think of when you see a cat in a dog’s mouth.

Basically, she was the best farm dog a family could want (outside of actually being able to herd) and as you can tell by my sentimental words, she will be missed.

Spam isn’t all bad

Here are two emails I’ve recieved – one to my gmail, the other to the chemistry library’s address.

“So, ” I said. “I’m not offering any to you, because this is the first
“Home I have none. Flock I have none. I am Outcast. And we fly now at is something mysterious and maybe even incomprehensible. I’ve handled quite research in the Visitation Zones?”

“It’s all right,” I said. “The path around is faster.” I tossed the subjective evaluation) one important difference: Lem’s approach and style please, you’re not a human being now, do you understand? You are a machine, toward the light?”

I don’t understand. Neither had attachments, nor did they have secret in-white-text words. I do think Wadsbone addresses this in his post Morr Wackee Spam.

Perhaps I should start collecting this stuff. I need an excuse to bind a book, and a book full of non-commercial spam might be just the ticket.

Make her mad. chantilly albania “”How many times, God damn it? Not that there was much to look at — the furnace, the remains of a coal-pile, a table with a bunch of shadowy cans and implements lying on it and to his right, up a way from where be was propped. “The knife. a few extras. The whisper of the axe. “Three times, counting the trip for the water. His mother and father had taken him to Revere Beach often when he was a kid, and he had always insisted that they spread their blanket where he could keep an eye on that piling, which looked to him like the single jutting fang of a buried monster. Annie was driven forward onto the floor with the burning stack of paper under her. communicant

Do they employ writers to come up with original text for these?

I went to Bonnaroo, and you didn’t.*

Bonnaroo crew

I haven’t posted in a long while because I was at Jason’s ten year high school reunion, then my first week of summer classes, then Bonnaroo. All of these things deserve posts, but I’m TIRED. And this weekend is the ALA annual convention in New Orleans, so it’s not like I’ll have time to catch up. Or during the 4th of July fest next weekend.

That being said, I plan on writing about all of it, and maybe even liveblogging from ALA. We’ll see. It all depends on if I can get my cataloging homework done, and read the nonfiction book about Phineas Gage for Wednesday.

*Unless you are Shane, E, Wadsbone, or the 80,000 other people who went.

This is why I am sketched out by meat.


Driving to my parent’s farm, I drove by five trucks that looked like this. It was really windy, and there were feathers flying out from the trucks. It looked like sad snow.

This is exactly why I don’t like the idea of eating meat. It take a lot of energy to grow, and inevitably the animals have to chill out in their own poop. I know this because I was raised on a beef farm.

ISIS forms may have impact!

One of my Bloglines feeds is Cognitive Daily, a website that posts interesting cognitive psychology articles, breaking them down into layperson’s terms. (Yup. Layperson.)

My eye was caught by the article: The Six-second Teacher Evaluation .

From the article:
From the teacher’s perspective, however, the students can’t possibly have enough information to make an effective evaluation of their teaching. A college course represents just a tiny sliver of the total knowledge in a discipline, and even after a semester in a college course, students are in no position to make judgements that will impact a faculty member’s entire career.

A 1993 study by Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal found just the opposite: students actually need much less information to make judgements that accurately predict end-of-semester evaluations.

This makes me feel better about spending time filling out the University of Illinois’ ISIS forms. I’ve found that all through the semester, I think of things I am dissatisfied with, but come ISIS time, I’ve completely forgotten – most likely because I have finished the course, and therefore don’t care anymore.

This semester, I tried taking notes as I thought of stuff. This is kind of scary and incriminating (if, say, my mini Post It becomes affixed to something I hand in), but in the end, I tend to come up with more constructive comments than just “LIS502 needs an overhaul”.

I like the idea of having the opportunity to give feedback that will help teacher become better – and make classes better for those who come after me (Marti and Sara).

V. bad things

Jason and a whole crew of friends are in Vegas this weekend celebrating an upcoming wedding, and I decided that our relationship is significant enough to require some communcation about the expectations of his behavior. It could go without saying, but I’d rather be explicit about these things.

Don’t kill any hookers.

Gotta lay down the ground rules, or they start walking all over you.

Spanks to the Stephanie for the sweet Goodwill hunting tee, and the Heavy Metal Librarian for the hot pic.