Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The emotional roller-coaster ride that is mystery plants from the Zellers garden centre clearance rack

Mystery plant outside, originally uploaded by jocelynb.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

These days...

I am blogging over at
Thank you and sorry.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I am bad at updating blogs.

Today on the Internet: FAKE SCIENCE!

Also: Save the Words. I do, in fact, like suffarcinate; its presence in that screenshot is not a co-incidence. I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to it, though.

I'm having some sad days.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So photogenic, yet so consumed with ennui.

From the Bygone Bureau: Domestic Conflict, Explained by Stock Photos.

Conflicts are even more difficult when more than two people involved. Here, Ellen and Andrew argue about what to do with the small girl that wandered in their home.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

today my husband said something worthy of quotation

I think dog saliva is to mosquito bites what phoenix tears are to basilisk bites.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

one more about the books

So, as promised I bailed on my book-a-day project, although I think the only day I really missed was Saturday, and that was because [excuse alert] I had to work! So! One cannot possibly finish a book AND work in the same day. It just isn’t done.

BUT! Since then [and that was a whole week, or more, ago] I have finished a few more books so I might as well count ‘em, right?

All the other Scott Pilgrim books (ie., Vols 2-6) by Brian Lee O’Malley.
I loved these. 8-bit heart for Scott Pilgrim. I got my hair cut recently, and I almost told my hairstylist to give me Ramona Flowers hair. But two questions arise from that: 1, probably, what are you talking about and 2, which Ramona Flowers hair? (also, maybe, 3, can you HAVE hair like that and still work as a public librarian, although I think the answer to that is yes, at least in my case, since I already wear sparkly flip-flops, weird jewelry made of lego, and occasionally armwarmers to work.)

Anyway. I 8-bit heart these books, and you should read them too.

The Game of Sunken Places by M T Anderson.
MT Anderson is kind of an enigma to me. I know that his books (including the Octavian Nothing books, and Feed) are supposed to be these beloved, kind of cult favourites. This is the first book of his I’ve finished, having started Vol 1 of Octavian Nothing and never really getting into it. So, The Game Of Sunken Places is a creepy, old-fashioned children's story with moments of real levity and cleverness. I was genuinely creeped out by it, and I would read other things by him-- or its sequel, The Suburb Beyond the Stars. [Also, it helps that I read this book on my garden bench, and I took little breaks from reading to watch bees buzz around my tomatoes. I recommend that particular reading experience as much as the material. Please let me know before you come over though.]

Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant.
My friend Becky recommended this book to me and I loved it. It's a very quirky, whimsical, touching novel about a young woman who goes home to Newfoundland to deal with a family emergency. I think the reason it struck my friend as the kind of book I would like is probably the punning, which is impressive. But there is also a real sweetness to this book-- and the immersive feeling of genuinely experiencing the world as another person sees it, which is one of my favourite types of book-reading-experiences.

And the two that are still on the go: Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter by Tom Bissell. [You can read an excerpt here at the NY Times Online.] As I told James, it's nice to read anything about video games where the author (a) loves video games and plays them himself and (b) still possesses the ability to think critically about them. Most people tend to have one or the other of these characteristics but not both, as in, I love video games and they are the best and people who criticize them don't know anything; or I have never played video games but I know they're the worst, here's why. I was sad to see him dismiss my time-sink of choice, WoW, in a single sentence and he hasn't mentioned it again since, but then, I'm not very hardc0re and I know it. Anyway, it's worth a look.


Bringing It To The Table by Wendell Berry. Will I ever finish this book? Or will I carry it around in my bag forever until I eventually succumb to the guilt and DIE? Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

links to writers smarter than I

At The Sexist: a fascinating interview with Courtney Stoker on Feminist Geek. [via TigerBeatdown]

In the narratives about Growing Up Geek, geeks often frame their geekiness as a disability; these narratives make it sound like the vast majority of geeks grow up without any institutional power, even when the geeks in question are white, straight, cis-gendered, abled, middle- to upper-class, and male. The responses to the oft-asked, "Why are geek communities so goddamn sexist all the time?" often begin with the special case of Growing Up (a Male) Geek. The narrative goes something like this: Geeks are smarter than everyone else, and ladies like hot, not smart, so geek men have almost no contact with women until they become adults. They’re socially stunted and bitter about their lifelong rejection by women, so they lash out at women to make themselves feel better. The cause of their sexism is their sexual frustration, not mainstream misogyny, even though many tellers of the Growing Up (a Male) Geek narrative will admit that male geeks often find the hypermasculine standard of our misogynist culture to be an obstacle to their social acceptance.
Brilliant. Absolutely effing brilliant. Sometimes the world makes me so depressed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And at sixpence, it's a good deal too

The Wondermark comic from the 23rd was awesome.

The Wondermark blog also pointed the way to These Are Their Stories [I can't hear those words without hearing the orchestral boh-boh-boh that accompanies them], an art show where artists illustrate the Law & Order synopses provided by the DirecTV program guide. Some of them are wonderful: The detectives look for a racist, Lawyer is secretly a stripper.

[my love affair with the Internet is thus rekindled.]

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

and by "ironic," i actually mean "depressing"

How deliciously ironic that Canadian author Yann Martel has been trying stubbornly and fruitlessly for YEARS to get Prime Minister Stephen Harper to think about literature via his project What Is Stephen Harper Reading? and meanwhile he received a very thoughtful handwritten note about his book Life of Pi from President Obama. One out of two heads of state isn't bad, I guess.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The world is a funny place, maybe the funniest.

So, I posted a link yesterday to that interview with Gary Shteyngart and I didn't consider myself to have ever have heard of him or anything. (That was quite the sentence, but stick with me.) Today I unfolded a note on my desk at work which was books I wanted to track down to take on my holidays (in other words, a note I made more than a week ago) (oh, and it's written in pink pen because I roll like a 14-year-old girl) that said:

Comeau - One Bloody Thing
Shteyngart - Absurdistan
B Lee O'Malley - Scott Pilgrim
Wendell Berry - Bringing It To The Table

That's so weird. That's weird, right? For an organ that supposedly loves patterns, my brain is sometimes super-bad at finding them.

I now remember going to the SHTEs in the stacks, pulling that book off the shelf, and thinking, I'm probably not going to have time to read this.

Friday, July 23, 2010

3 interviews, 1 incredible house, 1 link

I shall follow the structure described above.

i. Bill Murray @ GQ.

Okay. Well, how about Garfield? Can you explain that to me? Did you just do it for the dough?
No! I didn't make that for the dough! Well, not completely. I thought it would be kind of fun, because doing a voice is challenging, and I'd never done that. Plus, I looked at the script, and it said, "So-and-so and Joel Coen." And I thought: Christ, well, I love those Coens! They're funny. So I sorta read a few pages of it and thought, Yeah, I'd like to do that. I had these agents at the time, and I said, "What do they give you to do one of these things?" And they said, "Oh, they give you $50,000." So I said, "Okay, well, I don't even leave the fuckin' driveway for that kind of money."

And it's not like you're helping out an indie director by playing Garfield.
Exactly. He's in 3,000 newspapers every day; he's not hurtin'. Then this studio guy calls me up out of nowhere, and I had a nice conversation with him. No bullshit, no schmooze, none of that stuff. We just talked for a long time about the movie. And my agents called on Monday and said, "Well, they came back with another offer, and it was nowhere near $50,000." And I said, "That's more befitting of the work I expect to do!" So they went off and shot the movie, and I forgot all about it. Finally, I went out to L.A. to record my lines. And usually when you're looping a movie, if it takes two days, that's a lot. I don't know if I should even tell this story, because it's kind of mean. [beat] What the hell? It's interesting. So I worked all day and kept going, "That's the line? Well, I can't say that." And you sit there and go, What can I say that will make this funny? And make it make sense? And I worked. I was exhausted, soaked with sweat, and the lines got worse and worse. And I said, "Okay, you better show me the whole rest of the movie, so we can see what we're dealing with." So I sat down and watched the whole thing, and I kept saying, "Who the hell cut this thing? Who did this? What the fuck was Coen thinking?" And then they explained it to me: It wasn't written by that Joel Coen

ii. This is an oldie: director Nicole Holofcener @ truthdig. I just watched her film Please Give a few weeks ago and really liked it. She also directed Friends With Money which is one of my favourite movies.
Would you see these films as feminist or political?
Gosh, to me it just seems like I'm really self-involved. I write about what I go through, what my friends go through, what I find interesting, what movies I go see—isn't that sort of narcissistic?
Can you really be narcissistic and political at the same time?
iii. Novelist Gary Shteyngart @ the NY Times. Ok, I have never read any of this guy's books, but the trailer for the new one was funny enough to make me put it on hold at my library.
You were educated at Oberlin College.
I majored in myself, in Gary Studies. You’re allowed to do that.

On Freshome I loved this Fab Lab House:

It creates three times the energy it uses. It has incredible, fort-like interior spaces. Plus this particular picture made me grin like a dummy:

It has a plant-stoop!

Finally, 1 link: Know Your Meme. I read about this impromptu science fair to teach science to Insane Clown Posse fans on boingboing. And I didn't understand why that was funny. Know Your Meme to the rescue with F*cking Magnets, How Do They Work? This website can also explain to you about I Dunno LOL ¯\(°_o)/¯, You Have Died of Dysentery, and every other thing a digital immigrant (or n00b) might encounter in a forum.

I really want to develop a series of training sessions on memes for my staff meetings at work. It seems like as a "virtual services librarian" this is within my area of responsibility. It would be like, OK, adult services. Here's the deal with, like, that OK Go video where they're on treadmills. Here's what it means if someone painstakingly writes out "ROFLCOPTER" in ASCII text. And what is rickrolling? Hey, you hired me to explain the Internet! <3.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

bus haiku

all these billboards for
american apparel
fill me with despair

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

3 more books, 1 more haiku

I'm on holidays. My book-reading project continues.

Monday - Overqualified by Joey Comeau. Comeau is the co-author of the webcomic A Softer World. And (as we Canadians love to write) he's Canadian! I was actually looking for his new book, One Bloody Thing After Another, but the Chapters website lied when it said it was in stock. But it's for the best, because I learned that One Bloody Thing is about zombies (or something?!?), which I am tired of; whereas Overqualified is about grief and ridiculous letters, which I NEVER grow tired of. This is a really funny book, and it's a bit sad in places, and it's nice and short. And he's Canadian.

Tuesday - Shoplifting From American Apparel by Tao Lin. This review from Bookslut sums up my feelings about this book pretty succinctly. Especially this part: "Even in this short and spare work, it is fatiguing to read the commoditized so-called underground undeservedly claiming elevation over mainstream consumer and work choices." This puts it more articulately than I ever could. It's short too, but if you're only going to read one of these two short, at-times-uncomfortable books, make it the first one. All the yuppy vegan food and meaninglessness in this one are exhausting.

Wednesday - Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. I don't know why this book has taken me so long to finish (All Consuming says: 14 weeks. Thanks, online chronicle of my failure!). It's not that it's not good, otherwise I would have given up on it long ago; it's something else. It's just not the book for me. I think I've grown weary of beautiful, sparkling, supernatural boys. Their sparkliness gives me migraines.

sure i've read these books
but i've watched some tv too
like jurassic park

Sunday, July 18, 2010

So, I'm on holidays this week, and I'm trying to finish a book a day. I don't expect to achieve this goal, because this is not one of those blogs where I make some kind of outrageous commitment to do something for a set period of time, then actually FOLLOW THROUGH, and blog about it in a consistently amusing yet thought-provoking way. This is the kind of blog where I write dumb haikus. [Not every day, though. I mean, I have other stuff to do.]

So anyway, here is what I've read so far:

Friday: Allegra Goodman's The Other Side of the Island. I liked this book-- it was spooky. It was suspenseful enough that while I was reading it I just wanted to find out what was going to happen, but now that it's done, I kind of wish I had savoured it more. Sometimes if you finish a book too fast you get that feeling -- like when you try to keep walking down a set of stairs that ends one step earlier than you expected, and there's something kind of jarring about it, the too-hard step onto the floor. This is as close as I can come to expressing how I feel about this book ending. This is Goodman's first YA novel, but she has written books for adults, and my library has them (which is good, because I can't afford to go on holidays every week, obviously).

Saturday: Maureen Johnson's The Key To The Golden Firebird. I love Maureen Johnson's books more than a 27-year-old should, really. I was crying at the end, and not just because I was tired from finishing a book in one day. This sad to say, though: I kind of like her twitter more.

Today: Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim Vol 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life. It's awesome! It's as awesome as my comic-loving friends told me it would be! The only problem with this is that now I want to (a) read all the others and (b) go see the movie, but not before reading the other books, not all of which are out yet. Yeah. Problem! Oh yeah, I also kind of want to (c) be a really cool cartoon girl with a messenger bag and awesome hair.

I'm also reading bits and pieces of Wendell Berry's Bringing It To The Table, because it's long and I know I don't have a hope of actually finishing it all in one day. So he'll get a longer letter later, when I finish it. This is not cheating. This is being forward-thinking.

a book every day?
that seems pretty plausible
for a giant nerd

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sooo, what am I doing, both the empty Twitter and Facebook boxes are asking me?

a. Getting ready to go on holidays! This means, not that I am actually GOING anywhere, but that I am not going to work for at least six (6) consecutive days. And I am trying to pick out books to read. And some of these books are not in my library, so I am having to buy them from Chapters. I don't want to buy them. But I have to. Because of  holidays, you see?

b. Going to my garden. Except that it has been raining, like Noah-level raining, for days and days here so actually going outside is not fun, and when I tried it on Tuesday, I fell down my front stairs in my slippery flip-flops and ended up with these bright purple bumpy bruises on various parts of my body. It's like Edmonton was reminding me, Stay inside, or something even worse will happen. (This sounds funny, but actually it was terrible, because of the pain; and also, I'm well aware that limping around after claiming to have fallen down some stairs is basically a covert way to beg your co-workers to call social services. The fact that one of the bruises is the exact size of my porch railing is good evidence for the truth, though.) So instead I have been working my way through The Alberta Native Plants Council's Native Plants Source List and compiling my own garden wishlist and figuring out where I can get the plants on that list and where I should plant them. Surprisingly, my husband does not want to drive to Black Diamond, Alberta this weekend to pick up plants for me. I have no idea why. I thought he loved me.

c. Reading this essay from the New Yorker, Advanced Placement, about the Gossip Girl books, and it is kind of making me want to read them again, which is weird. I read the first six or seven books in the series and then grew kind of disgusted with myself and there were even a couple paperbacks I had bought (because I was not willing to wait for them to be returned to the library, shame on me) and I even donated those TO the library because I kind of didn't want the evidence of my compulsion to exist anymore. But now it seems like perhaps I was missing whole layers.

d. Thinking about fonts, because in addition to the Comic Sans shout-out I posted from McSweeney's a couple weeks ago, I recently encountered The Helvetica Killer, about Aktiv Grotesk, which (its designer hopes) could be the font to bring Helvetica down. (I know that on the Internet, this is equivalent to posting that you hate the iPhone or orphans or cute puppies, but I've never understood what all the fuss was about, Helvetica-wise.) And Papyrus Watch, which reports on Papyrus spottings in the wild. I used Papyrus once for some shirts I screenprinted (they read "I'll be in my bunk") and ever since then I see it EVERYWHERE. The hierarchy of fonts is complex, Internet. You never know who you might offend with your typeface. At this point, 30% of my original readers have jumped ship due to the verdana overload.

Man, seeing this blog entry you would think I was a total nerd, and you wouldn't know I'm actually, as Veronica Mars would say, 30% danger-loving girl-touching rock star.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

However this does NOT count as my cake vs pie vote

Jocelyn: This pie is delicious.
James: I KNOW. It's the first rhubarb thing I've ever liked.
Jocelyn: Maybe we should learn to make pie.
James: I don't know, this pie was only $4. Maybe we should just buy a million of them and eat them for breakfast.

Monday, July 12, 2010

We find the Google search predictions sad and hilarious.

James: Oh, man. He acts like... a jerk. He acts like a child. He acts like a girl.
Jocelyn: Men are the worst.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Internet, futility of the

If we could somehow design the perfect iphone charging station and be done with it, the total volume of new content being developed for the Internet on a daily basis could be reduced by 30%.

Just a suggestion.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

i can be a shark

I am really enjoying the photostream of flickr user Balokov. The shark image at right caught my eye today, but really they're all good. Legos! Living in the world!

I do love the Guardian's Digested Read.

Bret Easton Ellis' Imperial Bedrooms, digested:

"You're looking very thin Clay. I guess it didn't work out with Meghan," Blair says. I've no intention of ever explaining anything so I shrug in a cool sort of way and hope the critics will love the empty unreliability of my narration.