Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I just got an exciting email, and because I know that all 4.3 of you that read this blog care, I thought I'd share the news. Remember when I told on our Copier/Printer Machines-of-Torture? Well, they've really done it now. They have overstepped their boundaries, and pushed even The Guy too far. As of October, they will be replaced. All 5 of them. We're not going to tell them, because then we'd have nothing to threaten them with. Even The Guy would lose his effectiveness, and they'd probably declare an all-out war with the reference staff. And when humans and machines battle, the machines always win. So for the next few months, we'll just continue to wage the battle, breathlessly waiting for the day when our machines will be replaced. Replaced with new Copier/Printer Machines-of-Torture.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day

Over at ScrappleFace (which is one of the funniest blogs I read on a regular basis), Scott Ott has one of the most hauntingly beautiful tributes I've read.  Take a moment to  go read it, and say thank you in your own way.
And have a great holiday!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Florida Vacations

We're here in Florida! We left Thursday afternoon - I got home from work a little early, and we were able to get on the road a few minutes after 4. I convinced the hubby that we didn't really want to spend the money on a hotel room - and so we drove straight through. StepSon is the only teenager I've ever met who doesn't take advantage of those hours to sleep, but since he has good taste in music we sang through all three of Billy Joel's greatest hits albums and then threw in some Grateful Dead, Tom Petty and Simon & Garfunkel. Told ya he had good taste in music. We got to Florida at about 1 AM, much too early for me and sis to go to sleep. So we cracked open a bottle of wine while Hubby headed to his favorite place in the entire world: My sister's hot tub. He'll spend 75% of the next three days in there, but he'll be happy. And when he's happy, I'm happy. Especially when Sis is making Pink Lemonade Margaritas - which is my new favorite summer drink. There's Pina Colada's waiting for us, but we can't get away from these Margaritas long enough to find them. And of course we had to make a stop at the wine store today. Got Hubby a special birthday surprise there, too. So it's been an all around great day. Tonight, we head to the beach to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark. And then back home, to the pool, the hot tub, cheesecake and wine. Life is good....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


We see product placement in movies and TV shows all the time. But have you ever considered having it in books?

From BoingBoing:
BMW has commissioned four short stories that feature their cars andproduced audiobooks of them, which are available as free, non-DRMedMP3s on their site (you do have to give them an unverified emailaddress to get access, though). Presently, they're featuring stories byDon Winslow, James Flint, Simon Kernick and Karin Slaughter.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Excuse ME!

Schools crack down on inappropriate blogs

So now, school boards are going to start policing what students do in their spare time. Because school boards don't have enough to do already. I mean, you would think that banning Harry Potter and Judy Blume would occupy the vast majority of their time. And you would think that parents would be the people responsible for what their children do in their spare time. And you might possibly think that it would be the police department's job to investigate anything that might be illegal activity. But you'd be wrong. Or at least, that's what a school board in Chicago thinks:
Illegal or inappropriate blogging or social behavior over the Internet is now a violation of District 128's student code of conduct at both Libertyville and Vernon Hills High Schools and can lead to denial of extracurricular student privileges.
Ok,if the kids were doing this in school, then I could see the school getting somewhat involved. But this code of conduct means that what students do from home is now the school's business. What about letters they write to their friends? What about if they sneak into an "R" rated movie? What if they have a sexy phone conversation, the NSA gets a tape of it and turns it over to the school? What if they write a journal on their computer
then let other students read it, but don't publish it online? Why is this any of the school's business?

Library Humor

Cat Blogging

We got our second cat last summer - he was a stray in my sister's neighborhood that we brought home. The vet estimated that he was about 6 months old at the time, and he was - and is - one of the sweetest cats that I've ever seen. He loves people, animals, inanimate objects.... But he's always had some very distinctive physical characteristics. His tail is very bushy and long - and it looked very funny when he was smaller. He's kind of grown into it now, but it's still larger than most cats. And he has the longest tufts of hair growing out of his feet. People have assured me that if he were an outdoor cat then this hair would probably disappear, but this isn't usual cat-feet-hair. It's a couple of inches of hair on each toe. And he has really long ear hair too. Then, a few months ago, my hubby was watching TV and a cat flashed on the screen that looked amazingly like Lucius. It was an ad for an organization that rescues Maine Coon Cats. The TV cat had the same pointed ears, the same hair - and most importantly the same freakishly long and bushy tail. Ever since then, Hubby has called Lucius "Maine Coon" (instead of the usual "Fluffball" - Hubby likes to come up with his own names). So what do you think? I'm pretty convinced that Lucius has some - ok, more than some - Maine Coon Cat blood in him. I found some pictures of Maine Coon cats with the same coloring as mine. So here's a picture of Lucius and two other cats. Tell me if they look similar to you. I wish I had a good picture of Lucius' back, because those markings on that professional picture are exactly like his.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Spending Money as Fast as They Can

There are children who do not have health insurance. There are elderly who can't afford medications to keep them alive. There are people lost in the middle who only need to be taught a few valuable life skills in order to keep them off the streets. There are crack babies born that will never make it to childhood, because there is no money to get them the treatment they need. There are teenagers lost in foster care, convinced that no one gives a damn what happens to them. There are people dying of diseases that we can cure, dying because they can't afford medical treatment and don't have insurance.

And this is how our government is spending our money (from
  • $66,000 for the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation in DC
  • $387,976 for Manure Management research (National Swine Research Center) in Ames, Iowa.
  • $16 million on southern pine beetle forest health initiative
  • $2.5 million for cotton research in Texas.
  • $940,000 for brown tree snake management in Guam.
  • $373,824 for Grapefruit Juice/Drug Interaction research in Temple, Texas.
  • $390,101 for Honey Bee Research (Varroa Mites) in Baton Rouge, LA.
  • $1.5 million for construction of an entrance off Bladensburg Rd for the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.
  • $1 million for Florida Department of Citrus Abscission Chemical Studies.
  • $1 million for Iowa State University project on mitigating emissions from egg farms. (my note: are they talking about bird's passing gas here?)
I'm not pointing fingers at either side on this one, because Democrats are just as good at getting money for their pet projects as anyone else. And some of the projects on the original list are worth funding.
And some of them are just a way to get money.
The 10 items I listed above total $24,157,901. What could you do with that kind of money?

New Shoes and Lots of Caffeine

Last year, I got a great pair of beige sandals from Wal-Mart.Only $6 and they had a heel. I love these shoes, so this year when I saw them in black - for the same low price - I couldn't pass them up. Yes, I already had 3... oops - forgot about the other strappy ones - make that 4 pairs of black sandals. What can I say? A girl can never have too many pairs of shoes. Tuesday mornings are my worst mornings. I don't get home til about 11 PM on Mondays, and I have to leave by 6:15 Tuesday morning. Since I am not in any way happy about being awake before 8 AM, I usually sleep til the last possible minute and wake up in time to throw clothes on and lunch together before pouring caffeine into the largest cup I can find and heading out the door, praying all the way down the interstate that I get to work before my cup is empty. This morning, the caffeine held. And I had the added bonus of not having to decide which shoes to wear - I had new sandals and they were already in my car. It gave me an extra 45 seconds of free morning time. When I got to work I slipped them on (HA! You thought I was going to say I left them at home, didn't you?) and dashed inside, desperately hoping that someone had already turned on the coffee. When I got inside, I realized that although the coffee was brewing, I had left my cup in my car - which meant another 1/4 mile walk to my car to get it, then a 1/4 mile walk back inside(that counts as exercise, right? Because when I go to my car to leave, I'll have walked an entire mile just from the car to the building). By the time I got back to the library, my feet were killing me. My new sandals- which are {theoretically} the same as my old ones except for color - have now rubbed the outside of my foot raw. As in, there is an entire layer of skin peeling from the side of my foot. Since I used the extra 45 seconds this morning to slap some pretty red nail polish on my toe nails, I was not happy that I had wasted time making my feet as pretty as possible only to have it all ruined after 30 minutes of wearing my new shoes. I'd better get another pair of black sandals to keep at work for emergencies like this....

Monday, May 15, 2006

Quiet Night

It's a quiet night around here. Our "big three" schools have collected the final papers from their students - and those students have had enough library time in the past 6 months to tide them over til the next time they get sent here to go through another school. Even the smaller schools don't seem to have much going on right now - no frantic searching for facts on little-known or understood countries, no biographies to research and write. Tonight, all we really have are the die-hard researchers - those trying to get something together to publish - and the ones that are only here temporarily (TDY) that come in the library to kill the boredom by playing on the internet in between emails to their family/friends/wives/boyfriends/children etc.. The Die-Hards generally know what they're doing and don't ask for much. The Bored Ones only want to flash ID's at me so they can get online (they don't really need to flash the ID's, but I've stopped telling them since they've already flashed by the time I do). It's calm and quiet enough to drive a girl insane. So I sit here reading National Guard Magazine. Not, as you may think, because I want to, but because it's one of the titles I index. I'm trying to weed through something on the National Guard Association's legislative objectives for FY2007 and budget preparation...hey - are you still awake, or did you nod off for a second? Told you it was quiet around here tonight. And then, the one thing happens that I personally dread, each and every time that I work the reference desk. It makes me feel helpless - and lets me know that my quiet night of peace is over. Oh sure, it may only happen a couple more times tonight - and it might not happen at all - but now my nerves are on edge, anticipating that every patron that walks anywhere near the vicinity of the ref desk will have the same question/problem for me: "Do you know why Printer 5 isn't working?" The copiers/printers are the least understood part of our entire network. There's 5 copiers, all of which serve double time as printers for our 40+ computers. They seem like marvelous machines - you can do all kinds of fascinating copying on them, turning things backwards, blowing up a picture of the president's nose so that you can see all the tiny blood vessels (umm...not that I would know...), shrink the president's head so that it's a tiny dot on his over-padded shoulders (ditto); double-sided printing, legal-sized printing; double-sided-legal-size printing; collating, stapling, scanning....our copiers do many marvelous things. What they do not do well is act like they are printers. Sure, we may occasionally force things to print from them - but they let us know, every day, that it is not by their choice. It is only because we know The Guy. The Guy has a tool belt, a tool box, and even a small cart on wheels that he can use to move the Copier around when it's not acting correctly. And the Copier knows that if it misbehaves too much, The Guy will be called. We, like the Copier, do not know for sure when The Guy will arrive - but we all know that he carries things on his tool belt that will make the Copier scream silent cries of agony. So the Copier takes us to the edge of insanity...and then backs off, waiting for another unsuspecting moment when it can randomly feed paper through places where no paper should be fed. Did I mention we have 5 of these Copier/Printer Demons? All on the same convoluted network. In theory, when one of them is too busy/lazy/broken to handle the work being sent to it another will pick up the slack and have the queue cleared out in a jiffy. In reality, half of the papers never print. And the ones that do print never get claimed, because the patron gets tired of hearing the librarian mutter under her breath as she takes another misfed piece of paper out of the bowels of the machine. Tonight, it began with Copier/Printer 5. Someone tried to print something, and the Infernal Machine refused to print without jamming. After the same document jammed 4 times (and I cleaned out the Printer 4 times), I turned it off, hung a "sorry we can't control the Printer" sign on the front of it, and made everyone print to one of the other 4 Printers. I told the Printer, quite loudly so that the other machines could hear, that The Guy would be called first thing in the morning. The sign was not a good idea. When Printer 5 doesn't work, it should send stuff to one of it's buddies to print up. That is NOT what happened. Instead, I now had people asking where their stuff was. The sign on The Printer From The Devil's Workshop tells them that they should select another printer if it doesn't print up somewhere. This makes them angry - most of them have closed out of whatever it is that is so important they must have it RIGHT NOW. Then, this really nice girl comes up and says she's having problems with Printer 4. I go in to take a look...and find that paper has jammed in it, too. Only this young lady thought she was smarter than the machine - so she started opening flaps and doors to pull out the misfed papers (If it's a long enough document, there are places where 5 pieces of paper can get simultaneously stuck. I learned to count how many pieces of paper I had pulled out before I assumed I had them all). Anyway, this Young Lady just yanked the papers out, instead of turning the knobs politely as you must do with our Spawn of Satan Printers. So what do you think the Blasted Machine did? It ate a tiny sliver of paper. A piece of paper so miniscule that three flaps and one drawer had to be removed before it could be seen. Needless to say, my fingers are not quite dainty enough to grasp this paper. Just as I started to get up from the ungraceful position in which I had had to contort myself to see this scrap of fiber, I hear the Wonderful Girl say "ohhh..I thought I heard something rip when I tugged on that last piece...." In the interest of keeping my job, I tell myself over and over that I didn't hear her. That she hadn't really meant to imply that she had opened the machine and just yanked on a piece of paper. I start towards the front to get the pair of needle-nose pliers, with her behind me asking if she can help. Taking a deep breath - and reminding myself that I hate the machines, not the people who use them - I ask her to reprint to another machine. 10 minutes later, I feel like the Empress of the Universe as I stand looking at the 1 inch by 1/2 inch piece of paper in the nose of my pliers. I pushed the machine back together and watched it start printing. I walk from the room, feeling that, for once, I have won over The Machines From Hell. And I desperately wish for a quiet night.

Friday, May 12, 2006

America is Waking Up


I wrote a really long tirade last night about the entire NSA phone affair and the "no security clearance for this part of the government" mess...and by the time I was finished I had had one glass of wine too many and my coherence level had dropped significantly. I'll probably pretty it up later, because I'm not any happier about the affair(s) today.

But for moment, I'm going to print up the number 29 in about 144 font and go put it on a co-worker's desk to show him he's really in the minority now.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Losing My Cool

At work, I'm the youngest female librarian. I like to wear skirts that show a little leg, and I have lots of red hair. So I'm usually considered to be the "cool" one by my co-workers, most of whom are within 5-10 years of retirement - if not much closer. I also get teased - a lot - because of the number of dinner date requests that come my way (although these military guys are pretty shy - they usually ask another librarian about me). Considering I was never in the "in" crowd in school, it's kind of neat being considered the "cool kid." (I kinda feel like I'm living a farce, but PLEASE don't tell the people that I work with the truth!).

Today, I lost lots of cool points.

It's summer, and the biggest of our schools are out - which means the library is very quiet and almost empty most of the time. I have a couple of pretty boring, repetitive projects that I'll be working on, so I grabbed a set of headphones a couple of days ago and started listening to music at my desk while I work. I only use one headphone and I keep the volume turned down pretty low so I don't totally forget where I am and start humming along.... but apparently that isn't enough. While listening to one of my absolute favorite songs of all time this morning, I was (supposedly - I don't know if I was all that obvious) moving my head around, rocking my shoulders a bit with the music. They swear my eyes closed a couple of times, and that I smiled a lot. They thought at first I was having a funny conversation with someone on a headset, then realized I was listening to music and started taking bets as to which kind of music I had playing. Country? Classic Rock? Obviously, it was something with a really good beat.

By the time they came over and asked, my playlist had moved on to the next song and I was quietly listening to the second movement of Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata. They didn't believe that I had been listening to classical music all morning, and when they saw that this is the only kind of music on my computer....well....
I don't think I look so young and 'with it' anymore.

Will I never stop losing cool points?

Bonus points for you if you can name my absolute favorite classical piece of all time.


Why do all men think that a discussion on women's issues begins andends with abortion? Do they really think that's all that women areworried about? This guy is seriously ticking me off, and has no cluethat I am typing to get rid of my frustration while he talks.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Weekend

Originally uploaded by lildebbie_77.
I had a wonderful weekend with the family. We got together to celebrate my niece's 1st Communion and had lots of food, laughter and .... well, more food and laughter. I completely forgot to take the camera with me to the baseball game on Friday night - which was probably a good thing, because by the end of the fourteenth inning I was so tired that I probably would have left it somewhere. I did remember to pick it up on my way out of the door for the rest of the weekend, though, so here are some pictures of my oh-so-cute nieces, nephews and other assorted family members.
Now I just have to make it to the end of the month, when I go to visit my sis in Florida.
Oh - did I mention we're going to see Phantom of the Opera?
Did I mention she found us first row seats?
Can ya tell I'm a wee bit excited?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


This article really gave me good ranting material. But then I had to go to a Director's Call thing and kind of lost my motivation. So here are the better highlights:
A standing executive order, strengthened by President Bush in 2003, requires all agencies and "any other entity within the executive branch" to provide an annual accounting of their classification of documents. More than 80 agencies have collectively reported to the National Archives that they made 15.6 million decisions in 2004 to classify information, nearly double the number in 2001, but Cheney insists he is exempt.

Cheney's office maintains that its dual executive and legislative duties make it unique, as the vice president also serves as Senate president.
"This matter has been carefully reviewed," spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride said. "It has been determined that the reporting requirement does not apply to the office of the vice president."

I don't know, but that "any other entity in the executive branch" seems to include dear ol' Dick to me.  But what do I know? I don't have lots of information to hide and lots of expensive lawyers to help me do it. I very well might feel differently if I were in dear ol' Dick's position.

The grammar in that last sentence of mine (along with the fact that I don't feel like making it better) proves that it is, indeed, time for my afternoon caffeine injection.


Life has been amazingly full lately. It seems like one day I was lounging around on my couch, looking for things to get me in trouble keep me occupied, and the next I couldn't take a deep breath. I am not complaining. I like to stay busy - mostly because it makes me appreciate the down time even more when I get the time.  My classic 'me' time is the first week of June when Hubby heads to the hinterlands of Nebraska for 7 nights. I get lots of 'me' time then - keeping my fingers within  12 inches of a keyboard at all times, playing Barry Manilow CDs at top volume while I cook, watching musicals for hours on end and singing along with every part I can (even if I can't reach all the notes anymore). But in the meantime,  it's still May - so I'm keeping busy.

A couple of weeks ago, Hubby and I went to a great presentation up at UAB called Evolution vs. Creationism. The talk was given by Eugenie Scott (does her picture remind anyone else of the character that Brent Spiner played in Independence Day?) who gave tons of information - historical  context, arguments made by both sides of the issue, and legal cases that have been fought over the teaching of evolution in the classroom.  We went with a friend from down the street and had tons of fodder for conversation on the way home. Unfortunately, we didn't get home until almost 11 PM - which made the second night in a row that it was close to midnight when I went to sleep (since I work on Monday nights) and also made me useless for the first two hours of work the next morning.

This past weekend, a friend from grade school came in town from Nashville. We spent hours playing cards, watching movies - and of course, I took her to visit my favorite new local hangout, the Vizzini Winery. By the time we got home we were so full on cheese and wine that I was too tired to cook the amazing pasta dish I had planned, so we did that Sunday. And may I just say.....
I think I have discovered my absolute favorite pasta sauce of all time. It's a tomato sauce with ricotta cheese melted into it.
Ok, I'm back. I lost myself in my memories of the most perfect sauce ever (Sorry, sis. I know your devotion to a good piece of bread soaked in some tomato sauce. But plain ole red sauce will never be the same for me now.)

Where was I?

This week is pretty normal - meaning I'll be home two nights, Tuesday and Thursday, and one of them will be spent doing a Wal-mart run and then having Mexican and Margaritas - if I play my cards right with my husband and bat my eyes a couple of times. Friday the parental units and the baby brother arrive (I can still call him that, cause he's hundreds of miles away) and the family - 17 of us - are going to a Birmingham Barons ball game. Unless it rains - which it probably will, if you read the forecasts - and then we're going to have about 8 very disappointed youngsters on our hands. I hope the various parents are planning ahead for that....oh crap. That probably means me too.
Baby Bro'll be with me all weekend, as will StepSon. Saturday night is dinner at the other sister's, then Sunday will be....lots of church. It's 1st Communion for my niece, and I just found out that it's 1st Communion at my church too. My church splits the kids up between about 5 masses, so that no one mass lasts too long. Since Sunday School is out for the summer, 1st Communion Mass is pretty much the same length as any other one. My niece's church, though - they do a 3 hour extravaganza in the middle of the afternoon. Every time I go, I swear that I won't go again. I'm sure I'll have lots to say about it next week. :)
Monday morning I'll have breakfast with the family...then on to work in the afternoon. Tuesday night, Hubby's friend from grade school is coming to visit for a night on his way from Florida to North Carolina, so I know we'll be up late. I've had the brains and the foresight to take a few hours off work the next morning. :)

And that's as far ahead as I'm looking. I'll be making a couple of desserts this weekend - one is Key Lime Pie, which I've never made before. I'm trying to decide if I want to do a recipe that calls for condensed milk or one that uses cream cheese, but I'm leaning towards the condensed milk since it's the more 'traditional' version. If they turn out well, I'll be sure to brag about it here!