Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stuff I Learned and Revisited This Year

I don't make resolutions. Hate 'em. Sets you up for failure for the next year. What I do like to do is look back at the year and see just what I've learned and where life's journey has taken me so far. So here's my stuff, in no particular order.

When you lose a member of your work family, to death or to retirement, it is almost as large a loss as the loss of a family member. Except for those retiring in a huff. Those you tend not to miss so much.

If you suspect you need septalplasty to breathe, turn heaven and earth to get it

Prednisone really does give you weight gain. And it really does suck.

Old losses and grief come back and bite you in the butt if you don't get all the way through them in a timely manner.

Physical therapists are a gift from ceiling-cat. Just learning to move again, feeling your muscles work the right way, learning to retrain your body, is worth any effort you make to get the referral. If you have aches, push for it.

An attitude of gratitude brings more joy to your life than you can imagine.

When you walk with your head up you see more of the world. And the world can see more of the glory that is you.

The stars are there for those who only remember to look up.

The awe I feel at having the first multiracial president is a blessing indeed. The interest and even excitement lifts my spirit.

My mom is a tough cookie.

lolcats still rule.

A snark shared is a snark truly enjoyed.

I can sing with 3.5 octaves almost as well as I could when I had 5.

I sing because I'm happy
I sing because I'm free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Big Snark-Off: Hand on the Plow Edition


In trying times it truly is good to keep one's hand on the plow and eyes on the prize. Otherwise one could become hopelessly distracted by the sheer lunacy surrounding a person.




Idjit #1

The $54 million pants suit unravels again


"A court Thursday rejected an appeal filed by a former administrative law judge who sued a dry cleaners for $54 million over a missing pair of pants...Pearson, who represented himself, said that when he took the pants to the cleaners, his financial situation was precarious: He had just been ordered to pay $12,000 in attorney's fees to his ex-wife, and his credit cards were at their limit...Pearson may request that the appeal be heard again by the entire panel of D.C. Court of Appeals judges"

OK, I think I see what has gone on here. Mr. Pearson appeared to be found an asshole in divorce court so, rather than be taken to the cleaners, he tried to pick the cleaner's pockets. Some might call it poetic justice. I just call it being an idjit.


Idjit #2

Report Criticizes Record Of Sheriff-Turned-TV Star via NPR Topics: Arts & Entertainment on 12/25/08
"In Fox's new reality show, Smile, You're Under Arrest, "America's toughest sheriff" dishes out the heat. But in reality, Sheriff Joe Arpaio's department in Maricopa County, Ariz., is coming under fire."
(And not a moment too soon)


D'OH! Department
Premarital Abstinence Pledges Ineffective, Study Finds via PewForum.org All News Feeds on 12/28/08



And Just What the Heck Profession Did You Think You Were Joining?

New health regulation permits `conscience' exceptions via PewForum.org All News Feeds on 12/17/08
...hmmm...like, if I don't think a person should vote, say, Republican, I should withhold all information about republicanism from the service I give at the library? Or, gosh, say I'm a doctor and a bigot, does this mean I can now get away with not treating those I hold prejudice against? Honest-to-ceiling-cat, doesn't anybody want to do what they said they would do anymore?


...dizzy...must...lie down...now...

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Favorite Reads 2008


As my reader knows, I read one heck of a lot of Romance novels. Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels, to be exact. I never apologize for my reading tastes and I don't want anyone else to ever apologize for theirs, either.

The appeal to me of these novels is the adrenaline rush of both the action and the emotions of the characters. Me, an adrenaline junkie. Who knew?

But wait! I've also included a few non-fiction and not-romance fiction titles to whet your appetite. A couple, Charlatan and Little Heathens, were actually given the "good literature" sign of approval by the all-important Listmakers Who Know What's Good For You.

So here they are, in no particular order. Click on the book to find out more about it.





















Pagan Stone

The Pagan Stone (Sign of Seven trilogy #3) The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
A satisfying end to the series. The couples are united. The curse is lifted. Everyone is happy. The emotional connection between the hero and heroine and, indeed, all of "Team Human," is satisfying in a very cozy way.



Roberts' trilogies are starting to lack spark. I enjoyed this series, make no mistake. There's just something...off. Perhaps nothing will compare to the Ardmore series. Perhaps the bar was set so high in that series that others pale in comparison.



Not that I can ever imagine missing anything from "The Nora." Oh no. Her characters are engaging. Their banter is believable and delightful. Her plots contain some interesting twists and turns. The connections seem real.



Overall, satisfying. I just want more!


View all my reviews.

Cold As Ice

Cold As Ice (Ice Series, Book #2) Cold As Ice by Anne Stuart


My review


rating: 1 of 5 stars
I'm finding Anne Stuart problematic. One of the characteristics of romance is an emotional connection between the main characters. The storyline follows the development of that emotional connection along with, hopefully, a ripping good plot.



Stuart has the plot. Some good twists and turns. What I can't buy into is a true emotional connection between the ice-blooded hero and the loyal-to-a-fault heroine.



I read this book because the next book, Ice Blue, won the 2008 Romantic Suspense award from Romantic Times (?). I will go on to Ice Blue but if it doesn't grab me any better I'll be putting Stuart on the back-burner.


View all my reviews.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Good Friday

I friend of mine does a good news friday each week. I think it's a good idea. I'll try each week. I really will. My snarky sense of humor could derail me, but let's give it a whirl.


For inauguration prayer, Obama splits ticket via PewForum.org All News Feeds on 12/17/08
Good. More of the message of unity and understanding. While I'm gonna squirm at the invocation, I'll feel much, much better about the benediction. We are a diverse country. I think it's good to celebrate that.

A bit of fun from the National Library of Australia. Whatta Thriller!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Crazy Sweet

Crazy Sweet (Steele Street #6) Crazy Sweet by Tara Janzen


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
Still love that rough and tough Steele Street team. Nothing will stop me from enjoying this gloriously unrealistic series.



This book was a little less fun than the previous in the series for a number of reasons. First, the sex scene between two characters was kinky to the point of gratuitousness. This is because of the lack of emotional availability of one of the participants. The participant is willing but emotionally...nothing. Sensation only. When a character has that flaw an emotionally satisfying relationship is impossible.



Second, this is most likely a transitional book as Janzen moves from Steele Street to the Loose series. Transitional books can be difficult.



Third, unlike previous books in the series, this book goes back and forth between two romances. Red Dog and Travis began their romance in a previous book and it remains both strong and oddly ambiguous. Honey and Smith's romance looks to be only beginning. I'll be interested in seeing if it is explored in later books.



Finally, it is sadly time to say goodbye to 738 Steele Street. While I have enjoyed seeing how many lofts and cars and tech and arms can be located here, this location has, sadly reached the point of no return with probability. Further, the detailed descriptions of the cars and fantasy lofts was lacking in this book, causing a real hole in the series.



Do I still adore the series? Absolutely! This book was just a little weak.


View all my reviews.

Things That Make the Day Go Faster


3 squad cars in the parking lot after lunch. This is the traditional preparation for the teen riot caused by all schools dismissing after a half day. Which begs the question, is it really the free internet access that brings them or are the kids undercover library nerds?

Traditional wrapping of supervisor in Christmas lights
(Note: Photo is not of actual supervisor in question. Said supervisor shall remain nameless)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Library Classics


A slow day today. Took the opportunity to weed linguistics: 400-429. Not surprisingly for a public library, this section is small and mostly contains dictionaries, thesauri, and study guides.

Sprinkled among these library mainstays are various tomes on etymology, homophones, and slang. Reviewing the slang dictionaries reminded me of a couple of things from library school in 1987. One, the English language is considered by many to be the most rapidly-changing language in the world. This is evidenced by the number of slang dictionaries in the collection. Two, slang is the fastest-changing thing in a rapidly changing language.

So, when one purchases a slang dictionary for one's library collection, one should be prepared to toss it within a very short time period. It used to be every 10 years or so. Now I'm thinking every 2 years. "dot.com" was in a 1997 dictionary but "texting?" not a chance.

Now to find something that gives a historical overview of slang from 1980-1999 to replace what I had to remove today.

********************************
Continuing in the classic vein of the day, my evening has been bracketed by two classic events in a library's day. Around 7 pm a customer guaranteed me that my inability to meet his somewhat unrealistic expectations would result in the loss of my job. I'll look forward to hearing about the prospects for my future tomorrow. At 8:15 a madcap student of something unleashed a stinkbomb in the Great Reading Room.


Library customers, wherever you are, know that I appreciate your love of the classics. I can handle the classics. I relish the measured twirl and slide as we go through the prescribed steps in this dance. Going through these familiar moves is a pleasurable and conscious meditation. It brings new life to a tired mind and a twinkle to my eye.

Keep 'em coming. Contrary to popular belief, I'll be at the dance for a long time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Big Snark-Off: Crabby Edition



The Arts

Honest to ceiling-cat, can't somebody come up with a lively original broadway musical anymore? Was that a snark or a whine?: 'Shrek' Leads DreamWorks Into Broadway Battle via NPR Topics: Arts & Entertainment on 12/13/08

Oh no you don't, people. I am NOT missing Lost and 24. I mean it. Don't even think about it. Actors Union Sets January Strike Vote via NPR Topics: Arts & Entertainment on 12/11/08

Religion





Saturday, December 13, 2008

Circle K, Pets, and Service.

Circle K, funerals, and church appear to be some of the last bastions of politeness. Yes, that's the big convenience store of the west, the place where you can dash in, get your case of beer and dash out. The home of cigarettes in a hurry. Gallons of soft drinks in a single handy cup. Twinkies.


An odd thing happens when people go in and out those doors. They hold them open for one another. Why is that? Why do people in today's me me me, rush rush rush society pause for that moment of civility?


It's a refreshing moment of manners when you experience it. You all take a moment and feel gratitude for it once in a while and you'll find yourself just a little bit lighter for the day.


********************

Nothing like a little kid to give you a chance for a spot of unique service in the adult section. As any parent or librarian knows, 10 minutes is an eternity to a child. 20 minutes is death by boredom.


When the stream of customers at the reference desk slows for a microsecond, nothing is better to avoid this death like books with puppies and kitties in them. Thank goodness they have great pictures.


********************

In my library career, I've always maintained that my work may not necessarily make my customer a bit person. I do know it has made me a better person.


Here's a link that, while aimed at retail, is also heartening for those of us in public service:
Holiday Retail Workers Need Love, Too via Etiquette Hell Blog by admin on 12/11/08


"In a seven or eight hour shift, I deal with countless people. I have to be nice to them, whether they are nice or not. I have to make them feel welcome and loved without being creepy or obtrusive about it. I have to find every single piece of nonsense they ask for, even if I assure them we don’t have it.

(snip)
Here’s the thing. Being a retail employee has made me an exemplary customer. I smile back. I don’t get in the way of their script. I try to give exact change and I always clean up after myself. And if I notice a cashier looking a little haggard, I pray for ’em really quickly."


**************************************

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Big Theme, Big Building, Big Fun

For asthma sufferers, this time of year is just a joy. Hot cold hot cold, wheeze wheeze wheeze. And so my day began. With the able assistance of my two cats, I somehow made it out the door to arrive at work in time for my 12-9 shift at the 'ol biblioteca.

On the way in, I listened to an interview: Before Sarah Palin, There Was Michael Palin, where they discussed the song "Always Look at the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's "Life of Brian." This turned out to be a good thing. In fact, I decided that this would be the Big Theme here in the Big Building today.

Like me, the economy is gasping. When you work for the city you live and die by the revenue that supports you. You know that when you sign on for the gig. 18 months ago, things were rosy, rosy, rosy. Hire staff! Plan programs! Be Vital! Spend that book budget and spend it hard.

A year ago a veil of unease drifted down. Hiring was suddenly frozen. What book budget we had left at the time was soon cut off. Subscriptions were cancelled. Programs curtailed. The veil was starting to look a bit like smog.

Today. No hiring. All programs cancelled. A minuscule book budget which is being cut yet again. It looks very likely that daily open hours will be reduced to 8. There are rumors of one-day-a-week closure. 20% of the library workforce is on the chopping block.

During economic downturns, the public turns to the library for a little distraction ( NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams - Libraries Offer Free Relief in Tough Times). In times when staffing, budget, and facility maintenance are cut, circulation and the need for more staff and well-maintained facilities increases.

And yet we carry on. That's the remarkable thing about public library staff. We know the score but, more importantly, we have grit. For many of us, this type of public service is more than a job, better than a career. It is a calling. A call to serve. A call to strengthen our democracy by keeping information free. A call to inquiry on any subject. A call to honorable and ethical action in the best interest of the community.

With such understanding, our staff remains tough as we soldier on. It's not that we don't feel discouragement. It's not that there isn't real fear for our coworkers. It's not that our coworkers are not scared. It's not that we have somehow found a remarkable miracle cure for the tension we feel in our work, our homes, and our nation.

It's purpose. Having a purpose makes you resilient. And with resiliency comes the ability to take a moment to have a laugh. To celebrate the silly. To enjoy a little dark humor. And enjoy a Big Theme Night in the face of Big Layoffs in the future. And to sing:





Bits of Fun

Sometimes I hit some fun in the 'ol newsfeed. Oh please, let me share.

The romantic suspense novel plot generator: Need a plot real quick? via Smart Bitches, Trashy Books on 12/11/08

Herding Cats! Herding Cats and Libraries via Stephen's Lighthouse by stephen on 12/11/08

Mantitty, etc.: The Perfect Man via Beyond Her Book on 12/9/08

Apparently effective pickup line: The Insulting Librarian - Mitchell & Webb
via Library Stuff by Steven on 12/7/08

Monday, December 08, 2008

Boredom, Interrupted


We all experience boredom. The most deadly boredom is "Mom, I'm Bored" boredom. This causes parental insanity and may result in injury or death to the bored child.

We tend to think of boredom as a never-ending pall of grey stretching on for eternity. Apparently, this is not so. A quick scan of my library's catalog has revealed that there are all different kinds of boredom. Some types of boredom are: Work Boredom, Cubicle Boredom, Career Boredom (see also: burn-out), Spiritual Boredom (see also: Hell), Boring Tasks, Boring Meetings, Bored Pets, and, apparently African Wood Bores.

A nice thing about being a librarian is that most types of boredom can be cured by making a bibliography of items that discuss, probe, entertain, explain, or cure anything. So, I give you my latest booklist:

Boredom Interpreted

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Big Snark-Off

Titles
OK, let's just get this part over with. Strange title du jour: Salmonella Men on Planet Porno: Stories by Yasutaka Tsutsui. I have not read the book. Booklist (11/15/2008, p. 23) calls it funny-scary. I dunno. The title, though, you have to dig the title.

My Brain
Writing On The Walls Of The Nation's Library
And what does it say about me that my first thought was about the walls of toilet stalls?

Or that I first read this title as Secret Society of Superorgasms? The Secret Society Of Superorganisms via NPR Topics: Authors on 11/28/08

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Big Snark-Off: Photo Edition!

Great shots to take shots at this week. What delicious fun!




A real turkey who really does not need a hat: For Your Consideration from What Not to Crochet by SB&C:


And, from the over-enthusiastic Aussie Department: Obama Sauce in Fast Food Stand, Melbourne, Australia from Free Range Librarian by K.G. Schneider (Gluten Free no less!) Crikey!











Monday, November 24, 2008

It's Booktender Booklist Time!


In most parts of the country this is the reading season. Well, between eating and celebrating and football watching and other holiday-related activities.

Anyhoo, your loyal Booktender and her pals have been hard at work making lists and lists of lists of good reading for your winter pleasure. Here are some links to lists that, for better or worse, could change your winter!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Good News, Bad News, Weird News

Many people in the Great Northlands have already figured out that Frozen Water does, in fact, work like Ice.

In fact, here is a list of people and things who have experienced this phenomenon:
Sarah Palin
All Ice-Fisherman in Minnesota
Moose
Fish
Vehicles of all descriptions

Thanks to Fail Blog for, well, never failing


Really Bad News:
Court orders Arizona to allow 'Choose Life' license plates from PewForum.org All News Feeds: Honest to Pete. First crosses in one of the Carolinas, now this. If you want to announce your political views on your car or truck, just get a freakin' bumper sticker and stop wasting taxpayer money.

Police: Man Attacks Library Patrons, Employee With Rock from
http://librarystuff.onlineinc.com/wp-rdf.php by Steven
Good Lord! One of the victims was a 67 year-old librarian. That just is not right. On the other hand, a colleague in another local library system was fatally stabbed a number of years ago. Better a rock than a knife.

Good News!
‘Wi-Fi library’ finally gets a toilet from http://librarystuff.onlineinc.com/wp-rdf.php by Steven
telegram.com - “I used to say ‘We’re the Wi-Fi library without a pot to piss in,’ ” said library Director Susan D’Amico.”
I don't know which is worse, not having a toilet or having cleaning the staff toilet (in an unheated room in Iowa) listed as part of your professional job duties. Yes, the latter happened to your loyal Booktender in the 1980s. Still, hats off to this spunky, funky, little library!

Weird News
Brothers Honored For 'Chitty Chitty,' Other Ditties
from NPR Topics: Arts & Culture
"Songwriting brothers Richard and Robert Sherman were honored at the White House Monday for all the songs they've written for family movies, including the theme for the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The brothers, who also wrote "It's a Small World (After All)," received the National Medal of Arts from President Bush."
I
Am
Speechless

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Big Snark-Off: Tuesday Night Edition

To keep both of my readers on their toes, I'm sneaking in a Tuesday Night Snark-Off! Can you feel the love????


GOOD NEWS
Focus On The Family In Free Fall from The United Church of Christ by Rev. Chuck Currie
Wheeeeeee! Yipppeeeee! Don't let the ground hit you one the way to visit basement-cat!


WTFBBQ?
Priest: No communion for Obama supporters from PewForum.org All News Feeds
"A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil.""
Guess we'll file this one under: Dude, Crazy. Fortunately cooler heads have prevailed and said priest has recanted.


And in related news:
Is Obama the Antichrist? from PewForum.org All News Feeds
Uh...No


Silly Business

From Reading the Past: Tacky Tuesday:
""To restore the honor of Rome and of his own family, Severus Varus left the decadent life of Rome... his only hope was to join the barbarians.""


Good move Severus. Judging from the craggy face and unkempt hair I'd say a little more decadence is in order. Good Golly, Man! Let's have some pride of appearance! Srsly, you're starting to look like some of the homeless dudes at the library!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What's a Good Book to Read?

Apparently I have a second reader! I am soooo psyched! VicGent asks a very good question. And, Bravo, VicGent! You have happened on the scariest question a librarian gets.

Nope, it's not "can you get me a book to identify this poisonous snake I have in my bag" or even "you wanna go out later?"
The scariest question a librarian ever gets is "can you recommend a book to read?" I mean, there you are. Your butt's out flyin' in the wind. No one can save you.
You may have to disclose something about yourself. You may have to figure out something the reader might want but is outside your comfort zone. And, worst of all, the customer might decide you are now his or her best buddy. ACK!

Fortunately, VicGent is interested in Fiction. So at least we're in the same huge genre. As my readers may have noticed, Fiction R Me. What VicGent may not be aware of is that I'm currently stuck in Contemporary Romantic Suspense mode. Not the most appealing to most men, but if I can swing a few people into the fold, my blog frequently covers the subject.

Fortunately, your gentle Booktender does have a tool for the average reader who likes to know what's up where and how to find other stuff that appeals. In fact, I have a boat-load of tools you can use to look for good stuff.

Booktender's Rules of Keeping Up With Good Reading:
1. Setup a newsreader and subscribe to newsfeeds. GoogleReader could not be easier. And it looks prettier than Bloglines. Both are great. Just go to the blog that has a newsfeed, get the rss code, put it in your reader and read your reader on a regular basis. Tons of good stuff

2. Set yourself up on GoodReads.com to track what you've read and what you want to read. When I'm reading in series I can easily track which one I read last and search for the next one. And you can see what other people who have read the book have read and on and on. Great tool.

On to the feeds:
First off, the Readers Advisor Online's blog is the BOMB. You have all the living greats of the reader's advisory world talking reading. Top notch. Add it to your reader. Or go to the website weekly. Just read it.

Lots of people hear about books while commuting. NPR has lots of feeds mentioning what books were talked about when. And I do believe both of my readers are NPR fans!
NPR Topics: Authors

Media Mentions and Library Professional blogs keep me up to date on both fiction and non-fiction. I follow these:

Specific genres, like SF, romance, mystery, etc. have a plethora of feeds. As you might guess, I've narrowed mine just down to "my" genre: Romance
and even academic sites that discuss the genre: Teach Me Tonight

And if all else fails, my GoogleReader's shared items go to the "Anon's Shared Items" stream found at Libraryland Roundup. I don't put every review I stumble across onto the feed and there are lots of other libraryland related things sprinkled in there but, between me and my fictious cohorts, a lot of good stuff gets up there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Whatta Man!

To the Edge (Bodyguard Series, Book #1) To the Edge by Cindy Gerard


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
Uffdah! I want to keep Nolan. Dang what a man! Nevermind that he's years too young for me. Dang! And salsa-dancing too. AND he can wear a tux and behave in high society? SWOON! Where are these guys in real life?

OK, mixing reality with fantasy again. Not good not good not good. Behave and on with the review.

This is a fast-paced book with emotionally and intellectually matched characters. I particularly appreciate Jillian's skill at reading Nolan and bringing him out of his tormented past.

The only problem I had was the setup. Proving to a client that they need to be guarded by doing a little B&E seems a bit overdone. Then again, it must be a popular device as it is also done in Cindy Gerard's Kill Me Twice (Bullet Catcher Series, Book #1). I guess the hero and heroine have to meet somehow.

View all my reviews.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Big Snark-Off : Random Edition

My how the days fly...only last week we had campaign stuff galore to snark about. Fortunately, there's a whole lotta other crap to fill the void.

Director Back For Act 3 Of 'High School Musical' from NPR Topics: Arts & Culture
3? My gosh! I have to rush out and rent 1 & 2 again so I'm ready. Oh pray, tell me I'm not too late!!!

Little House On The Prairie Museum Sued from NPR Topics: Arts & Culture
The Little House on the Prairie Museum, located near Independence, Kan., on the site where the Ingalls family once settled, has been sued by the production company behind the Little House on the Prairie TV series. At issue is who really owns the rights to the name "Little House on the Prairie."
I'm just guessing here, but wouldn't the descendents of the Wilder family want a say in this? Can't we all just get along? That's what Pa would want.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Anacondas - Now Chlorinated For Your Protection!

Hide and Seek (T-FLAC Series, Book #3) Hide and Seek by Cherry Adair


My review


rating: 2 of 5 stars
This one had some major problems for me. Things that I would hope an editor would have caught. Let's kick it off with the heroine's name, shall we? Delanie. Does that rhyme with Melanie or is it pronounced Delaney? My brain ticked back and forth on that one like a metronome on speed. Each time I read it my brain wiring had to stop, start, and then restart again.

Then let's talk undergarments, shall we? At various times throughout the book we are told that at the main characters first meeting Delanie was wearing red and black underwear and a filmy yellow halter dress. Filmy yellow. Red and black. Unless you're parading it down your local hooker-alley, no woman wears that combination. That red and black will be accentuated by the filmy yellow, not hide it.

The coup de gras was the anaconda in the swimming pool. To the best of my knowledge, anacondas and chlorine don't mix. Ever. And we know the pool was chlorinated because the hero smells it in her lovely hair shortly afterward.

And what's up with the drugging and the sadism? Puhleeze. Lets leave that kind of fantasy to the 80s bodice-ripper, k?

Fortunately, I have read the next book in the series and found it a little delight. The next book, not this book, saved this from a lowly one-star read. Knowing the next book is better has encouraged me to read a few of the following books. Cherry Adair is not out of the running with me - yet.


View all my reviews.

Craaaaaazy Love

Crazy Love (Steele Street #5) Crazy Love by Tara Janzen


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
These books are preposterous. Really preposterous. And yet the rough and tumble characters are loveable and emotionally accessible. The action fast-paced. Shucks, you can't help but like the series. Nice wrap up to a long-longed-for romance between two characters and hints about the next book. Steele Street is always a bit of fun.


View all my reviews.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Big Snark-Off: Numb-Brain Monday Edition




Elections. Economy. Eeeek. It's enough to turn your brains numb. Which is exactly what has happened to your faithful Booktender. Nothing more is coming in.
Not One Thing More

So I give you the photograph of this week's snark-off winner: Loincloth? (Warning: not quite Child Friendly) from What Not to Crochet by SB&C

And, in a seasonal, zombie-like way, she appears to have a numb brain, too. Or pleading for some. Or high on something because, face it, that's the only way anyone would wear that hideous thing.

MORE SNARKS!
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has been in rare form lately with Vintage Category Art, and Politics and Photoshop. If you think the pictures are a riot, read the comments!



AND NOW...NUMB-BRAIN SNARKS...
C'mon Ohio Evangelical, if that is your real name, get original. People have been calling the UCC Non-Biblical for decades. Is it too hard to read about what the UCC is all about? Do you get how this belief system stems from the Bible? Oh yeah, you don't read, do you?
Sorry Honey, the election is in the voter's hands. God is way to busy for mere election manipulation. God leaves that to satan.
A Sunni-Shiite battle of the website hackers. I think we have found the solution to loss of life in war. Sure, a few pixels might be damaged. I still think it's better.







Thursday, October 23, 2008

No Response


How are you today?

Everyday. Multiple times during the day. By people who know me and complete strangers I hear "How are you today?" Like you really care.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it's a rhetorical question. But why do we greet one another with a question? Why not a statement? Why not "Good to see you today?" Why not a simple "Hello?"

The question throws me. It never sounds rhetorical to me. It always sounds like a true inquiry. How do I respond? Does the person really want to know that, as usual, I awoke in a groggy state, dazed from pain and feeling inadequate to the day? Really? I think not.

What they want to hear is a lie. They want to hear "Fine, thanks, you?" I've tried substituting "zippy" for that "fine, thanks, you" but it seems to throw my greeting opponent. And, while gratifying, I don't think that's a good thing.

Perhaps the greeting should be a simple flashing of palms to indicate you are not armed. I mean, let's get back to the roots of the thing. Isn't that what greeting was originally about? To show the opponent you were friendly or, at least not armed to the teeth?

I propose the phrase "how are you today" be shelved and only pulled out for occasions where a genuine inquiry as to the state of another is indicated. The doctor's office, checking in on a sick relative, stuff like that. Let's replace it with the hearty wave or a simple flash of each palm.

There it is, my theory, my desire, and my post

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Into the Dark

OK, so maybe I'm just hooked on contemporary romantic suspense. Who cares what my deep dark psychological need is?

In the Dark (Seal Team 12, Book #2) In the Dark by Marliss Melton


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
My first Marliss Melton. Now I see why she gets such good reviews in the press. Nice character development. Hints about future storylines. Interaction between the men has a true "man" feel to it. Good pace. Nice romance without endless pages of sex, sex, and more sex. By golly, I recommend it!


View all my reviews.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Return of the Guttercats

The guttercat is a tough little animal. The guttercat is the gutsy urban version of the traditional cozy, cuddly library-related cat. They get their name from their traditional habitat: the street gutters and storm drains near the library.

Once, herds of guttercats roamed the streets and nearby parks of this library. A cat lady came every day to feed them on the steps of the empty temple next door. The cats spent most of the day either hiding from the desert sun or lounging on the temple steps. Each afternoon the cat lady fed them. She also trapped them for spaying and released them back into their native habitat. She's a good lady.

About half an hour before her usual arrival time, the number of cats lounging on the temple steps would increase. At one point there were 10 regulars seen every day. The cat lady would arrive and they would wait for her to get out the food and then politely swarm the food when it was ready. For all their feral badness, they were rather orderly about it.

Two nearly simultaneous situations nearly made the guttercat an extinct species. First was the arrival of the guttercat's nemesis: the bobcat. We've been in a ten-year drought and all kinds of critters have been arriving from the hills. They are looking for water and, in true survival fashion, go to the lowest points of the valley in search of water and available food.

A year or two ago, the bobcats reached the interstate tunnel under the library. And its service areas. Pretty good cave-dwellings if you're a bobcat. Dark. Lots of hidey holes. No people. No predators. Water. And available food. Rats first, then guttercats.

Our guards go down there with the transportation department dudes to help them check the structure, etc. They saw the skeletons. They saw the bobcats streak away into the darkness. They heard the tiny mews of the baby bobs.

And one night the bobcats streaked away completely. They were spotted heading north on 3rd street at 9:15 pm. With the constant patrols and looky-lous in the tunnels, their lair was no longer safe from people. It was time to move on. So they did.

The greatest blow to the guttercat in recent history was the rededication and remodeling of the empty temple. The guttercats were caught like illegal immigrants and carted off, possibly to Mexico but probably to the Humane Society. Heaven only knows where they are now.

For months the temple remodel went on and on. Adobe was slapped up. Windows replaced. Roofing done. It is nearly complete.

Tonight I noticed something poking stealthily in the sagebrush nearby. A cat. A black cat. A cat who squeezed under the construction fencing surrounding the temple and made itself at home. Near the steps.

I will be watching. This could be the return of that urban native, the guttercat. Herds of guttercats may once again roam the park and lounge on the temple steps. The cat lady will return. Nature will prevail and the guttercat will once again be fruitful and multiply.

Nature works.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Confusing and Ponderable

Random thoughts
rotate
confusion distraction interaction
A dot a dash a grain of rice
Cartoon-mind
makes order
dizzy to the end


*
If viewers like to see celebrities play poker do they also want to see celebrities play Yahtzee?
*
Was Gustav Mahler a bridge between 19th and 20th century in music or merely a continuation of the 19th century?
*
Does my cat really see something over there or is he just messing with me?
*
Was Singing in the Rain really one of the best movie musicals of all time or just an affable piece of schmaltz?
*
Is my monitor dying?
*
Am I manic or simply focused?
*
Does HGTV give viewers unreal expectations about what their homes should look like, what their lives should be?
*
Do I know what heather must look like and what a moor must be?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Must...stop...reading...

I wonder if this romantic suspense bacchanalia is really my subconscious telling me something?

Crazy Kisses (Steele Street #4) Crazy Kisses by Tara Janzen


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
More reality-straining fun from Steele Street. Introducing some new characters and adding a touch of the Dickensian, this was a fun, fast-paced read. The characters are well-defined and the description of the cold of Denver in the winter made my toes cold!


View all my reviews.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Big Snark-Off!

Yes, it's that time again. Judgement Day...no...Snark-Off! I thought it was the day after Judgement Day there for a minute. There was a guy outside the library door yesterday holding a piece of notebook paper filled with writing. At random intervals he would cheerfuly shout "Judgement Day!"

So you can so how that could be confusing.

On to the Snarks!

There's a lot of funny stuff out there on teh interwebs. One of my favorites is Failblog. Definitely worth subscribing to in your reader. And don't forget yer Cheezburgers!




This is a handy warning to librarians everywhere, and you know who you are: Meetings, Filibustering in
from A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette by J
"By learning Robert's Rules of Order and enforcing them in library-related meetings, a good librarian can act as parliamentarian and either a) learn to filibuster bad ideas and delay implementation with procedural motions, second readings, and votes or b) be totally obnoxious and get un-invited from future meetings."

BLEEEECH!

New Bible has a 'green' theme
from USATODAY.com Books - Top Stories

Green Wiki
from LibrarianInBlack by Sarah Houghton-Jan

What part of I'm Sick Of Green did you people not get?

Religion

The camp that 'cures' homosexuality
from PewForum.org All News Feeds Good luck with that, ya morons!

Yoga at NY high school causes stress among critics
from PewForum.org All News Feeds And here I thought yoga was supposed to release stress. I suppose using magick will be stressful next.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

More of what I'm Reading

Show No Mercy (Black Ops Series, Book #1) Show No Mercy by Cindy Gerard


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
I decided to start in the middle of the series with this one just to see if it was truly something that order didn't matter. Yes and No. The filling-in of the storyline was a bit annoying. It would have been more fun to start at the beginning of the series. Still, it was ok to start in the middle.



This book is Violent. I would not recommend it for the squeamish. It does serve as a decent platter from which to serve the story and character development. The character development is excellent as is the growing relationship between the characters. I even caught a whiff of the men's comraderie that was reminiscent of Brockmann's Troubleshooter series.



Fast-paced and with moments of true romance. I think I will try a few more of the series.




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What I'm Reading

The Contemporary Romantic Suspense Bacchanalia Continues!

Breakwater (Mira Romantic Suspense) Breakwater by Carla Neggers


My review


rating: 3 of 5 stars
Apparently this is a book in a series. I wish Negger's website listed them chronologically in order instead of the reverse. Fortunately the filling-in from previous stories was not too bad and the book could be read on its own.



Wasn't a great book but it wasn't very bad either. The setup for the badguys was a bit cliche. It almost had a traditional gothic feel as the cottage and the Breakwater compound were a bit isolated. It's also unclear, to the heroine, who the good guys and the bad guys really are.



The most confounding part of the book was the time factor. It seems people can arrive at the small town in minutes. And yet the drive from Washington, DC to this small town is a lot longer. Odd author choice.



Enjoyable enough for a pleasant afternoon or two. I'll try a couple more in the series to see if they are better.


View all my reviews.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Testing

This is only a test. Trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong on the new facebook

Monday, October 06, 2008

Bicycle Shorts Warning


Seriously, you'd think this would be a no-brainer.

I was at the grocery store yesterday and stuck behind this guy in bicycle shorts. I might have been able to live with it if he had a longer shirt on. But no. His t-shirt ended just below the waistband of his bicycle shorts, leaving his fine ass outlined in skin-tight bicycle shorts.

Yes, it was fine. Especially for a man who, unbelievably, was even older than I.

But still, do I want to look at that in a grocery store? Do I want to spend my time in line thinking of ways NOT to look there? Do I want to spend my time praying that he doesn't turn around to display whatever codpiece a man wears when wearing bicycle shorts? Do I need to worry if I'm standing far enough back to avoid any unfortunate smells that might be lingering after a bike ride?

And the fear, dear Ceiling-Cat, the fear. Do I need to be worrying about what will happen to those shorts should an unfortunate gaseous emission appear? What if they're OLD bicycle shorts? What if the stitching starts to disintegrate in front of my eyes? What if I see more of his butt and butt-muscle than either of us ever anticipated?

So listen up you bicyclers. Rock on with your hobby and the wearing of bicycle shorts when you indulge in said hobby. Just take a minute to change before you go waltzing into your neighborhood grocery store, ok?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What I'm Reading

The Sunrise Lands The Sunrise Lands by S.M. Stirling


My review


rating: 3 of 5 stars
I like SF/Disaster-type novels. Rebuilding civilization even. Heck, I liked the tv series Jericho.



I don't care for fantasy. This series is rapidly becoming fantasy. I feel kind of cheated. I thought in this part of the series we were going to find out why the Change happened. While it's interesting to see what went on east of Oregon, it's getting more and more like fantasy. While no one seems to have developed magical powers yet and little fairies and elves have not cropped up, I had to just skim the last part.



Oh wait. There *are* magical visions and powers cropping up! D'oh! It's getting fantastical. Drat.



I expect I'll keep hanging on just to see what the Change is all about, but I'll be doing it skimming style.


View all my reviews.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Things That Make The Day Go Faster

Open the building at 9:00 am
Kick out drunk guy fast asleep with his beer can cuddled close to his heart at 9:50 am

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Big Snark-Off - Smart Comments Edition

Because smart comments really are what snarking is all about.

GOP group compares Obama to Buchanan
from PewForum.org All News Feeds
Yeah. OK. And I'm gonna compare McCain to a random moose.

Analysis: Is Palin new face of Religious Right, or old?
from PewForum.org All News Feeds
I dunno, you can put lipstick on a theocratic ideal and it's still a theocratic ideal

Woodward Charges Bush With 'Odd Detachment'
from NPR Topics: Authors
What a nice way of putting it. I'd charge him with idiocy and self-interest myself. And economic destruction of a number of countries.

McCain ahead in national polls; Obama up in electoral votes
from PewForum.org All News Feeds
What is it with these polls? In the end, it's the electoral votes, stupid!

McCain must embrace Palin's beliefs, evangelical leader says
from PewForum.org All News Feeds
Let's hope that's all of her he embraces.

Palin's Church Promotes Conversion Of Gays
from PewForum.org All News Feeds
Such a lovely and well-educated group. Dorks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Attack of the Sugar Skulls

Dia de los Muertos is almost upon us. That means it's time to make those sugar skulls everyone likes to oooh and aaaah over. Here at the 'ol biblioteca, my department is making 100 for a skull decorating program coming up. Here are some parts drying. Creepy, huh? We've lined them up for that special march-of-the-dead effect:
A couple of my readers don't live near a place where they can easily get sugar molds or other Dia De Los Muertos paraphenalia. In that case, I strongly urge you use the internet to virtually contact my favorite supplier:





Tell them that nice little anglo gal who makes the healing shawls sent you.

Reading

Black ice By Stuart, Anne

Kind of a return to old-school suspense romance. The heroine is a bit helpless and fashion plays a bit part. It's set in a romantic locale. An isolated house plays a big role. Kind of reminiscent of the old Mary Stewart/Victoria Holt bit. Except for the sex and violence - which is more 80s bodice-ripper.

And yet Anne Stuart's Ice series has been given the AAR Reader's award for best romantic suspense. This title in 2005 and the sequel in 2006.

The action moves quickly. But the slow reveal of the hero's character's feelings, his lack of feeling at all in spots drag it a bit. The heroine's incredible innocence is a bit cloying.
And what's with the knocking out of the heroine "for her own safety?" And the gratuitous sex? And the sheer depravity of the villains? And good lord, torturing the heroine violently?
Oh dear, not my thing.

I will read the sequel, just to see if I like subsequent books better. If I don't, Anne Stuart, like so many people in this book, gets dumped.

Reading

Tribute By Roberts, Nora

A hero with wit and his own style of strength. A heroine with strength and creativity. A villain. Love and decorating. What's not to love? Roberts wins again!

Reading

Death Angel By Howard, Linda

Now this is a book I thought I'd have to give up on. Hooray! I was wrong!

Howard takes a dip into the Anglo version of urban lit at the very beginning. At least from the drug-dealing, sex-for-favors, assassin's point of view. Fortunately, like urban lit, there is redemption at the end.

The heroine's gutsy and calculating character at the beginning kept me reading despite my reservations. The hero's inner conflict and incredible cleverness also kept me going.
This gal had things well thought-out. Smarter than I ever would have been with her motives. But the hero is even smarter. They are equally determined to meet their goals both before and after the redeeming tragedy.

At the beginning I was iffy. Now I think this is one of her best.

Reading

Kill Me Twice (The Bullet Catchers, Book 1) by Roxanne St. Claire

This is my first St. Claire. I'd heard great things about the Bulletcatchers series so I thought "hey, check it out."

The characters are not as deeply explored as I like in a romance. The action is fast and then a bit slow and then fast. It wasn't too hard to figure out the villain, but it was just hazy enough that it kept my interest.

The treatment of the heroine by the bad guys is rough, but the treatment of her kidnapped twin sister is nasty and gritty in detail. Then again, we are talking about a villain who is depraved and deranged so maybe it's appropriate. Torture with sexual overtones is maybe not my thing.

As I said, the characters could have been more thoroughly explored. However, I have put the next Bulletcatchers book on my tbr list. With its popularity I suspect things get more interesting.

Reading

Into the fire : a novel By Brockmann, Suzanne
13th in the Troubleshooters series, this is yet another winner by Brockmann. The series is getting long enough now that I would recommend starting at or near the beginning (The unsung hero ) and working your way through.

For our team of heroes things got very sad and rough a few books ago and now it's time to pull the team together for a review/exploration of the nightmare. Yes, the team leader pulls in a counselor. We take a trip into the psyche of many of the long-time characters. Those who have had their happy ending, and those who have not yet.

With its usual fast-passed thriller-ride, the sensitive and serious nature of the heroes and heroines continues to develop. Throughout the book, layers are peeled back, heroes are healed, love is found and love is lost. And some a-double-nasty white supremacists are punished. Thoroughly. Utterly. BWAHAHAHAHA!

Be warned: Brockmann always promises us a happy ending. She doesn't promise it will stay that way.

Reading

The Contemporary Romantic Suspense bacchanalia has been a great success and continues!

Crazy wild By Janzen, Tara
The Steele Street series continues. This is an unbelievably macho world of fast cars, healthy and deadly men, fantasy urban lofts, determined heroines, and good sex scenes. The series features a ripping fun fast pace and intriguing if sterotypical heroes and heroines.

The demons of these heroes and heroines are unique, especially the heroines. They are headstrong in their determination to ignore the hero's protection and proceed headlong into danger to achieve their goals. The heroine's predicament and methods of getting herself into trouble are unique.

The best romantic suspense has to offer? no. Great escapism? Absolutely! That's why Crazy kisses, the next intallment of the series has been checked out from the library and awaits my reading pleasure.

Bonus points for library related action

Never look back By Miller, Linda Lael
Didn't do it for me. Maybe I'm sick of Phoenix's gritty streets, maybe it was the previous history between the principals. Maybe the hero and the heroine are just dorks. I read the required by Nancy Pearl 50 pages, thanked it for its time, and sent it back to the library for the good use of others.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Green Must Go!

Seriously, people I am TIRED of it. By all means save the earth. It's my planet and I must say I'm rather attached to it, too.

Just shut the hell up about it, ok?

I'll do my reducing, reusing, and recycling on my own without your constant harping and nagging and advertising, advertising advertising.

Green is "IN" I get it. Now lets all quietly do our parts and move on, shall we?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Big Snark-Off: Idjit Edition

There just isn't enough room in a snark-off for all the idjits popping up lately. So, I give you The Big Snark-Off: Idjit Edition

And, yeah, just about now it's mostly about politics

Let's begin with Sarah Palin, shall we?

Palin reignites culture wars
from PewForum.org All News Feeds
Hooray! We're back to good 'ol Gays, Guns, and God as a valid political platform! Hooray! No more thinking for ourselves! Hooray!

Palin has not pushed creation science as governor
from PewForum.org All News Feeds
Well of course not. She got elected by saying she wanted creationism taught in schools. That's all a good 'ol white girl needs, ain't it?

Palin's record with libraries called into question
from LibrarianInBlack by Sarah Houghton-Jan
Now I take this one personally. "Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books" Honestly, is she too stupid to look up a book in the catalog and figure it out for herself?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day Rodeo - Dayton Iowa

The Labor Day Rodeo was where I spent a ton of Labor Days growing up in Iowa. This is a small but mighty rodeo. This year was the 71st year. My mother and her sisters rode in the rodeo when they were teens and young women.

Around 1955, my Mom had been dating my Dad for a spell. They were in Ames, Iowa at the time. They were separated during the summer what with Dad moving back to Humboldt, IA for the time period. They wrote each other every day. Dad loved Mom's letters. Mom didn't receive Dad's letters. Long story inolving a landlady, another woman with the same name, mail being held, etc.

Mom was a bit upset about not hearing from Dad but soldiered on. Dad was a bit frantic because he just hadn't heard from her. But there was one thing Dad knew: His gal would be at the Labor Day Rodeo! So he grabbed his brother and drove to Dayton.

My mother and her sisters were riding in the parade when suddenly Dad darted out into the parade. It was quite a reunion I can tell you. And a few months later resulted in their marriage and it lasted 51 years until Dad's death in 2007. Actually I guess it still continues.

When I was little that rodeo was one of the highlights of our summer. You see, the parade started around 10:00 and we'd ride in from my grandparent's farm and get good seats on the side of the road. The parade always included marching bands from 2 or 3 schools. And a parade of new tractors and new cars from the local dealerships.

And floats! One year my grandmother was on the Ladies Aid Society float. They wrapped bandages for missions. I think that was the name of the society. Anyway, that was cool. A lot of the floats had people throwing candy from them so that was great, too.

And of course there were horses. Trailriding groups. And show groups. And all those Queens! Queen of the Rodeo, of course and all her princesses, but you'd see a lot of Dairy Queens and Beef Queens and all sorts of commodity queens there too. I always thought they were total glamour.

Afternoons, of course, were for the rodeo and fair. We'd usually picnic first to save money. Later, Grandma moved into town so we'd lunch at her place. There were rides at the fair and those were great, but the rodeo was coolest.

You'd sit down on wood bleachers and every year the same joke started off the festivities. "Did everybody get the free gum? If you didn't get yours yet, just check under the seat where some was left for you." I recall one among us who had to be convinced that the gum should not actually be chewed.

The rodeo had a parade into it with more glamorous queens. And roping horses and calves and bull-riding. And those clowns just about scared me to death. Uffdah!

I went to that rodeo off and on from the time I was very little into my young adulthood. I haven't been back since my 20s but, man, those memories are precious to me.

If you happen to be near Dayton, IA around Labor Day I strongly urge you to check out this small slice of America.