Saturday, November 28, 2009


I forgot to say that we keep adding new names to Emma. She is officially Emma Mothbane Autobot Iphone Ackbar. However the vet's file just says "Emma" since I think having that many names for such a small dog might be construed as "ridiculous."


Look what I found?

This is the best compromise price/quality card catalogue I have seen. The cheapest of the nice ones, and the nicest of the cheap ones. I've seen nicely treated/restored ones for around $1000, but this one was much less. And where am I going to go for books about refinishing old wood? The library. Awww yeah, you know.

I do not know what will go in all those little drawers. Ideas: table linens (if I owned any), barbies (ditto), spice packets, fragrant sachets.

Also: James and I now go "antiquing" on weekends (apparently, or at least, we have done so once), own an Audi and a designer dog, and today we bought fresh parsley from the farmer's market. I think you can see where this is headed. YUPPIETOWN.

Friday, November 27, 2009

When James is not home

photo.jpg, originally uploaded by jocelynb.

Emma likes to sit/sleep in his chair. My theory is that she has executive ambitions. That, or some kind of weird masochistic love of leather.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Encounters with culture.

Two books recently begun and abandoned:

Jonathon Safran Foer's Eating Meat. I love Foer's novels and I was really looking forward to this. But two things turned me off it: the flurry of really negative, even sometimes downright mean-spirited, reviews; and the fact that every page of it I read was like a little pin in my stomach. I wanted to read it, but found the details of factory farming (and fishing in pretty much all its forms, sigh) so horrifying that I could barely turn the pages. I already know the things this book is trying to convince me of, so I decided to spare myself the agony. And for several weeks I have only been buying farmer's market meat and farm eggs from a co-worker. (Maybe this time it will stick. I really, really try to be a conscientious meat-consumer and, as this book calls it, "meat-reducer." The problem is that I JUST HATE VEGETABLES.) Oh, and no more shrimp, even though it hurts my heart to give up those gross, delicious little sea-bugs.

Eoin Colfer's new Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book, And Another Thing. I put a hold on this at my library with reservations. (Haha, hold with reservations! Get it! Library humour!) I had a feeling I wouldn't like it but I needed to see for myself. The first 25 pages were not bad, just not good enough for me to keep reading-- a little too Adams-y, too glib, a book that is trying a bit too hard to be liked. That doesn't mean it won't be, or that it shouldn't be. I think people who are fans of the original five books should give it a try, and decide for themselves, because if you like it, then this represents a small victory. Also, I don't really like Artemis Fowl. Maybe I am just not the sort of person who likes Eoin Colfer, and that is ok, because there are other books for me and other readers for him.

Two books finished and enjoyed:

The anthology Geektastic: stories from the Nerd Herd. Edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci. Like most short fiction anthologies, this one was a bit hit and miss, but more hit than miss, and there were a few real standouts by authors I had never heard of. It's so reassuring to learn that almost all writers are nerds, or can at least write persuasively about nerds, because it confirms my suspicion that they are my sort of people. This is the best possible combination of words that can be said about a book. Now I have out Kelly Link's tangential Pretty Monsters. (Her story was probably my favourite from the collection.) Also, I spent a lot of time gazing lovingly at the little pixelated, minifig-type people on the cover. So cute!

Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday. Every year I make a real well-intentioned gamble at reading all the YRCA nominees and I usually get to about, uh, 2 of them. I would say if you are going to go through this same guilt-inducing process, that you make this book one of the 2. It's very very fun and cheeky, and the fact that it is published by Disney seems a bit scary, except the book seems to be kind of making fun of Disney. It's confusing! Like all the product placement that took place in the movie Josie and the Pussycats. Anyway, good stuff. I was laughing out loud at various points, and I am generally someone who does not laugh out loud at books. (Also: if you are someone who doesn't usually read young adult or children's fiction but is interested in it, the YRCA list every year is a great place to start. There is usually an assortment of different sorts of books on the list, and they represent some of the most readable fiction for younger people--books smart enough to be enjoyed by adults and interested enough to be enjoyed by young people.)

A troubled relationship with one television show:

The Office. I'm watching Season 2. James is many seasons ahead of me but is also watching Season 2 with me. Here is the thing about The Office. I think it's one of the cleverest, best-written shows going. The likeable cast members are so likeable, and the others are such scene-stealing unlikeables that it almost makes them likeable. But it is so UNCOMFORTABLE. I can only watch 2 episodes at a time and then I have to take a break from the awkwardness and discomfort I feel watching it. I feel this way about Michael and to a lesser extent Dwight: they are not so much funny as horrible. And just when you think they are such horrible people that they deserve execution, they'll do something that makes you feel so sorry for them that you have to start at the beginning in terms of finding them horrible. I know this is exactly the effect the show is trying to have, but maybe I'm too sensitive to be amused by my own reaction, as some people surely are.

One movie anticipated almost beyond reason:

The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Going to see it tonight with hopes perhaps too high. The trailers have filled me with uncontained childlike glee. I love Wes Anderson's films as much as the next hipster 20-something, or actually more probably; but if there is one thing off-putting about them it is their pretentiousness, the Wes Andersoniness of them. And they have been getting more and more Andersony as time goes by. Based on the very small glimpse of Fantastic Mr. Fox I've gotten from the trailers it seems like this movie might dispense with that a bit, be a bit more accessible, make some jokes just because they are there to be made, substitute some exuberance for some angst. Maybe? If so, this may become my favourite movie. Plus, in an utterly conventional and disappointing admission, George Clooney is my movie star boyfriend. He is dreamy, and his movies are always good. I bet even as a fox this holds true. Perhaps The Fantastic Mr. Fox represents the beginning of a new golden age of Wes Anderson movies in which all his movies have George Clooney in them and also are based on children's books. A girl can dream.

Friday, November 20, 2009

3 recent interviews of interest.

1. George Meyer, Simpsons writer.

GM: Oh, yeah! That one had my personal favorite internal gag that nobody outside of the show will ever see. At one point, the hobo is spinning a yarn, and Lisa interrupts with a story of her own. The hobo snaps, "Hey, who’s the hobo here?" And in the script, his dialogue note is "[ALL BUSINESS]." [Laughs] I love the idea that a hobo would be "all business."
BLVR: "I’m not a stabbin’ hobo…"
GM: "… I’m a singin’ hobo."
BLVR & GM [singing in unison]: "Nothing beats the hobo life, stabbing folks with my hobo knife."
GM: Wow, you weren’t kidding about being obsessive.
BLVR: It’s a little sad, though, don’t you think?

2. Umberto Eco. I am excited to read The Vertigo of Lists. Umberto Eco is like Borges in that, when I understand what he's saying, I think he's wonderful; but I only understand what he's saying about 30% of the time.
I realized immediately that the exhibition would focus on lists. Why am I so interested in the subject? I can't really say. I like lists for the same reason other people like football or pedophilia. People have their preferences.

3. Sylvia Earle, oceanographer and environmentalist.
"We look to those who killed the last dodos, the last great hawks and say, 'Why did you do that? What were you thinking?' That's not too distant in our past. Future generations will look at us and say 'How could possibly eat tuna? Didn't you realize how important they are? How there's so much we can learn from them, how they move through the water, how they communicate ... and you ate them?' They'll think that we are neanderthals."

Random Can't-Believe-My-Library-Owns-This book of the day:

The Collector's Encyclopedia of Buttons. Sally Luscomb, 1967.

I may order a newer edition.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chickens? Chickens!

Today I ordered some eggs from a co-worker who keeps chickens. I'm inordinately excited about fresh eggs from happy chickens. (Which have not been de-beaked, or, I should think, tricked into thinking it is spring all the time.) AND! When I mentioned to some co-workers my enthusiasm at finding a source for local, fresh eggs:

Co-Worker 1: I keep chickens too. And I give the eggs away for free.
Co-Worker 2: So does Co-Worker 3, in our department.
Jocelyn: WHAT?!?

What is up with all these people with chickens? I had no idea it was such a phenomenon. I am beginning to think that I, as a non-chicken-keeper, might be in the minority.

[Note: this is because I work at a county library, and a number of my co-workers live on acreages or even farms. I expect this level of chicken-keeping is not seen in the general urban population. OR IS IT?]

When Animals Attack Magicians, part 34,286

Holy moley, this is amazing: Caught on camera: hippos kill crocodile in rare clash. I don't know what it is about African animals, but they're like Transformers: I love watching them fight.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Talking to Canadians!

Today I was contemplating ordering a new dictionary or two for my much-neglected reference collection, and in my research I stumbled upon the Wikipedia article on Canadian English. Fascinating! It was clearly written by one or more people with a serious interest in linguistics, as it does consider the "eh" phenomenon but goes into considerably more depth. My favourite part:

The ending "er" is often added to the end of words:

"Gooder" means a good thing, as in "that's a gooder". "Header" means to leave, as in "we gotta header". "Giver" means to exert allot of effort, as in "to push the truck out of the ditch you'll have to really giver".

Heh. Awesome. I can't say I really use many of these colloquialisms, although I guess I have probably said the phrase "We gotta header" on occasion-- although my inclination would be to write it as "We gotta head 'er." Also I thought about editing this article to note that the present participle form of "giver" is obviously "givering." Anyway.

I don't think I say "eh," but whenever I talk to Americans I suddenly become hyper-aware of the fact that I MAY HAVE said it.

Also: when I visit my parents in Washington state, everyone I talk to sounds like me, to me. I don't notice an accent. And yet people there know I am not from 'round those parts. Also, while I was at an antique store in Monterey a couple weeks ago a guy asked me if I was from England. So clearly accent-awareness varies from one person to the next.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Entrist? Entry-er?

I had to take a typing test online related to applying for some extra hours at my work. Results:

DON'T MESS WITH ME. Those are some serious typing skills! I should become a data entrist.
It only took me 4 seconds to type this blog entry :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day off project


What is this? (Besides a blurry, crappy photo)




Yeah. It's a little sleeping bag/pocket for my dog. Jorge Garcia's dog has one so it's only fair, since Emma loves burrowing under soft layers more than any other animal I have ever met. I made it today with fleece and quilt batting and some leftover fabric and VELCRO!

Next step: I am going to put those adhesive grippy things for the bottom of the shower on the bottom. Then she can ride in it in the car and she won't slide around on the leather seats.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Hey, blog-boyfriend.

I should probably be doing one of a thousand work things but instead I just drew a little picture of how to build a sort of FrankenIKEA shelf that I think will meet James' and my clothing storage needs. It involves more EXPEDIT. Our house is basically just an EXPEDIT warehouse that also happens to accommodate a couple of people and fifty computers and a dog.

I returned last Thursday from Monterey, California, where I was at a conference. It looked like this:


And more importantly I saw this:


Those are harbour seals, I think. They are basically living my dream by sleeping on a platform in the ocean in an "actual pile." HOW DID THE HIGH ONES GET UP THERE? I waited around for awhile hoping they would show me, but no dice.

At this moment I have a firefox window open with the Wikipedia article on codeine, which I needed for a reference question earlier today. I'm leaving it there in case someone is looking over my shoulder. I want to create an aura of mystery around myself. Although the sad thing about working in a library is that my co-workers will probably just assume that I needed it to answer a reference question.

Geez, I'm boring. Sorry. When I opened this Notepad window I really thought I had something to say.