Category Archives: It’s new to me!

Weekend wrap-up

This weekend, my friend Amber came to visit from Davenport. Among other things, she’s incredibly intelligent, perky as hell, easy to please, and cute to boot. We’re very similar.

Amber is a sign language interpreter. For the past year or so, I’ve been teaching myself signs, and using her as my mentor. We’ve gone so far as to post videos on Youtube so she can critique me.

This weekend was fantastic for a buncha buncha reasons, including tromping around Boston and a quick trip into NYC. I don’t think we stopped talking the entire time (and I think Jason will attest to that). When we weren’t talking, we were signing. By the end of the weekend, we were having conversations using sign, which is incredibly satisfying to me.

One of the things Amber showed me was a Youtube video of someone interpreting a song. As you can imagine, someone deaf wouldn’t be able to hear the words, the tune, the beat, the pattern of chorus, verse, chorus, verse, etc.

I’ve watched this particular video a dozen times now. I’m impressed with the genre expression, the use of multiple backgrounds/costumes to indicate different parts of the song, and the type of signing I think Marilyn Manson would appreciate. (Note the word ‘No’ gets nibbled at a bit.) One cool thing about ASL is when you’re talking about someone saying something to you, you present the sign to yourself. So, in the song, when the crowd shouts ‘No!’ or ‘Yes!’, the guy signs it to himself, if that makes sense. Its these little details that helps really interpret the song. It’s this fantastic combination of performance, and the better you do it, the more homage you give to the original.

Without further ado, may I graciously present Marilyn Manson’s This Is the New Shit.

To be honest, I like this better than the original. I don’t know if that’s because I’m so interested in ASL, or if it’s just that good. Somewhere in the middle, prolly.

Product review: Furminator

My new friend Trinity mentioned that he keeps cat-hair-levels down by using the Furminator.


I agree. Stella liked being groomed (she fell asleep), and all this undercoat fur came off. It’s kind of gross and kind of awesome.

Whaley the Whale Pal

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?

Here is Adam,
obviously enamored with the most awesome baglet ever. This came,
along with various tiny delicious cookies, from my good friend E.

Wooo wooo wooo (says the whale).

New to me: letterboxes

I’ve discovered a new neat thing. Letterboxes. You may have heard of them, but I never have. They’ve been around since 1854 (according to letterbox lore).

It’s kind of like old-timey geocaching. Legend has it that a bloke in Dartmoor, England left his calling card in a jar in a remote spot, with a note directing anyone who found it to leave their card as well.

Considering the lack of Nintendo Wii and Internet, this was a pretty fantastic way for people to enjoy themselves, so the idea caught on, and more people began leaving other letterboxes throughout the moor. There was a catalog of clues, but you had to find enough letterboxes on your own to get ahold of it, which is why it took so long for the fad to spread beyond Dartmoor.

Smithsonain magazine ran an article [full text] about the British fad in April of 1998, and by the end of April, letterboxes began springing up in the U.S.

At this point, how it works is you have a blank book, a stamp of your own, the clue and maybe a compass. You get clues from, and go have an adventure. Many of the letterboxes are in a natureful area, although I can think of one letterbox that isn’t.


When you find a letterbox, there will be a book inside for you to stamp your personal stamp on (the modern-day equivalent of leaving a calling card. Or you could make up calling cards, which would be very Heathcliff of you) and you take the site stamp to your personal book. WoOt.


Unlike geocaching, you don’t NEED to have a GPS unit. And you get to take constitutional strolls. I used to be into orienteering as a Girl Scout (I secretly want to set up an orienteering course some day when I own land) and I like that the clues are either riddles “the book who’s name the owl can pronounce”, or by orienteering.

And since I’m living in a new area, this is a spectacular way to explore. And I get to make a stamp! And collect things, like country stamps in a passport!

This is a nonfiction post, and here is my source:
Randy Hall (2004). The Letterboxer’s Companion. ISBN 0-7627-2794-2