October 02, 2004
The Crumpet Who Went Up A Mountain and Came Down a Mountain
It's actually beginning to seem like fall around here, at least in the evenings. During the day, we've had temperatures in the 80s - still hot to me. But I've turned off the air conditioning, hopefully for good this year.
We went to Stone Mountain, where there was a chili cook-off. There was good chili and not-so-good chili, which we sampled like shots from tiny plastic cups. There were at least 300 different booths; there was no way we could try them all. After we had our fill of chili and the beer-soaked crowds, we headed over to walk up the mountain, which I'd never done before. It was a bit of an effort for me, as the afternoon was hot and I should've worn something more breathable and looser-fitting than jeans. Once we reached the top, the view was a bit obscured by smog. We sat down for a bit, taking in the view with all the other people who arrived either by walking or by taking the skylift. It was nice to lay back on the rock and just see the sky overhead.
The walk back down was much easier. Still, need to resume regular visits to the gym. We went ahead and got a year-long parking pass - that way we can come back and walk on the trails. And maybe the next time I walk up the mountain, I won't be quite so winded.
Sidenote: The laser show has to be seen to be believed. It's cheesy, but it's one of those Atlanta things that ought to be experienced. The show runs on Saturday evenings for the rest of October, and then that's it for the year. So if anyone wants to go....
October 03, 2004
Librarians in Love
A wedding announcement for a couple of librarians appeared in the Sunday NYT. There's no picture in the web copy, but their picture in the paper is adorable - they're obviously besotted and look really happy together. Given that many couples who get their announcements in the "women's sports pages" are lawyers or i-bankers or some other moneyed or connected set of people, it's nice to see my profession represented. ;)
October 04, 2004
The deadline to register to vote in the state of Georgia is TODAY. A few helpful links below. Applications can be made in person at the appropriate county office or by mail to either your county office or the Secretary of State's office (no faxing, apparently). Appropriate identification (ie, copy of driver's license) will be necessary. Of course you're already registered to vote, right? ;)
Voter registration application (GA Secretary of State) - It's a PDF that can be filled out online. Has to be postmarked by today's date - 10/4/2004.
October 05, 2004
Yes, it really is Amazing.
Sometimes I'm just an asinine contrarian, the latest example of which is illustrated by The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. Friends of mine recommended it. It made the rounds in all the right literary circles. It won a Pulitzer. Was this enough for me to finish it in time for my book group? (No.)
Apparently, the churlish pouty cow side of me wanted to resist this book just because of the seeming heaps of hype. Fortunately my better sense prevailed. In the last couple of weeks I decided to commit. I set aside all other bits of reading. I stayed up to read instead of channel surfing and falling asleep to infomercials for videos of wayward college girls. And in a final burst whereupon I simply had to finish the book or die trying, my glorious read came to an end over the weekend at 2:37 Sunday morning.
This isn't a book to read five minutes at a time. It sucks you in, it grabs you by the collar and shakes you, demanding that you pay attention and consult the dictionary if need be, damn it! (When you're thrown a delicious word you've never heard before - say, nystagmus - it's hard not to get all goosey with excitement. That is, if you're the kind of person who longs for their own personal copy of the OED. But even if you're not, the language of this book is full of shivery thrills.)
The book is brimming with the sizzling heady energy of New York. It's like an epic roller coaster as it follows the title characters on their quest for art, love, and life by way of the comic book. One of my favorite chapters was the origin story for Luna Moth, but given that it features a librarian who becomes the embodiment of an ancient goddess and has to save mankind from itself, I guess I'm kind of partial. ;) Breathtaking.
Not Drunk. But Not Sober Either
I'm having a glass of wine. It's the only way I can watch the debates without my head completely exploding. I can't sit still. I keep leaving the room, although I'm still in earshot. It's not that I need to watch these to be informed, to decide how I'm going to vote. I guess there's the possibility of true confrontation, instead of just the endless spin and recitation of messages.
October 06, 2004
Celebrity Death Match: Legal Edition
Here at the Armoire, we always get a particular voyeuristic thrill out of legal gossip. Cross-reference that with the tawdry frisson of Hollywood, and well, we're just beside ourselves with unsavory glee. [Note: We bat around the royal "we" as the notion takes us. Just be glad we don't talks and lisps likes certain hobbitses corrupted by their preciousssss.]
Barry Hirsch, former chairman of big-deal entertainment law firm formerly known as Armstrong Hirsch Jackoway Tyerman & Wertheimer (now known as Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum & Morris) has left, taking several partners with him, to form his own outfit, Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman. (Whew!) This sort of thing happens all the time in the legal world - partners leave, taking associates, secretaries, paralegals and their files, all the time. But given that clients like Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Michelle Pfeiffer, both Francis and Sofia Coppola, Bernie Mac, Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson have followed their lawyer(s) to the new firm, this news makes a slightly bigger splash beyond the pages of legal periodicals.
ADDENDUM: I boldfaced the names, since this is a pretty gossipy post.
October 07, 2004
Like, Totally Awesome
There are several awesome things going on in the world today. We'll ignore all the other good things and the other terrible things taking place, because otherwise your hostess would be here until the end of time, and possibly all kinds of batshit crazy by then. [Note: "Batshit insane/crazy" is this week's personal phrase of choice; just the sort of silliness I'm needing right now. Besides, "guano crazy" just doesn't cut it.]
1. Need an ego boost? Need to feel appreciated and respected for Who You Really Are? Do you need your own cinematic moment, complete with heart-swelling music?
Until the day we have a device that allows us to pat ourselves on the back, I can now get my fix from http://lady.crumpet.youaremyfriend.com. Just substitute your name in the obvious position in the URL, and you can have your own personal tribute scrolling across your screen.
2. Check out Clunky Robot's hand-made messenger bag constructed entirely out of duct tape. I curtsey before such ingenuity.
3. And saving the best for last, the thunderclaps that ripple all the way down the Eastern Seaboard will be a sign that the impossibly-effervescent Krissa and Blah Blah Stuart Blah have reunited for good. We really really love happy endings. *sniff*
October 08, 2004
The Earth is Round and the Sun Also Rises in the East
I guess I can deal, so long as the sun still revolves around the Earth. I'll be at the bar, if anyone needs me during tonight's
Kerry's running mate, Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), ridiculed the administration's arguments during a campaign rally in Bayonne, N.J., accusing Cheney of convoluted logic and asserting: "Here's the truth: The vice president, Dick Cheney, and the president, George W. Bush, need to recognize that the Earth is actually round. That the sun rises in the east. . . . They need to level with the American people."
The Week That Things Were Settled
Well, I still have lots of backlog at work, which is pretty much my own fault. However, this is the week when several bizarre situations apparently have been resolved:
1. We've had trouble getting our issues for a particular publication on time, since at least 2002, going by the history of our unusually thick vendor file. In fact, it got so bad that we never received a single issue for one of our multiple copies during the entire year of the last subscription period. I made calls; they were never returned. (My predecessor faced similar non-responses, according to her copious notes.) About two weeks ago I sent an email spelling out the ugly details. I made a phone call to the appropriate person on Wednesday, asking that she call me back that day. I didn't have the will to call her back, even though I'd promised my boss I'd crack some heads. Miraculously, she called me back today. We had a businesslike, professional conversation, during which I got our copies consolidated under one account number AND a year-long extension on our subscription, which I'd just renewed. I would hop up and down, but I'll have to wait and see if we get all of our copies of next month's issue first. At least I got the publisher's concessions in writing, so that will be the piece of paper I wield when I next go on the rampage.
2. Yesterday, I discovered that a book order that I thought was pending had actually been delivered at the end of August. To our office, signed for by someone in the mailroom, but not delivered to the library. WTF? was of course my first thought, as I very sweetly and slightly desperately asked the mailroom to find it, like, NOW. Today, I thought to check with the partner we'd ordered it for. Apparently the mailroom delivered it directly to him, even though the publisher confirmed for me that the addressee was the library.
3. In the personal arena, I'd bought a Neil Finn bootleg on eBay. In late August. The guy shipped it on 8/31, well within the acceptable timeframe. After not seeing a package for all of September, I notified the seller, who said he would refund my money or send another copy. I told him I'd wait a bit longer, although I wasn't hopeful. It arrived this week. Yippee!
October 14, 2004
I have a pass to see a movie tonight, but I think I'd be better off tackling the apartment. Gotta work with those rare moments of self-motivation, although I can't always count on inspiration. So a digest edition of things I've been reading.
Jacques Derrida, Abstruse Theorist, Dies at 74 [NYT] [Bugmenot] There's a significant typo, according to our resident philosophy scholar. The obit refers to a work it named as "The Postcard: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond." It's actually "The Post Card : From Socrates to Freud and Beyond" [added emphasis]. Yes, this sort of thing matters when you're writing about the father of deconstruction. Speaking of which...
Clutter Busters: Deconstructing our acquisitive human nature Not a practical how-to article, but some insight into hoarding behavior.
O'Reilly Hit With Sex Harass Suit [Smoking Gun] Is it too much to hope that this case could be the ultimate smackdown this assbag deserves? Are there recordings? Oh please let there be recordings. We want maximum humiliation so we can have maximum schadenfreude.
October 15, 2004
Trashing the Vote: Can We Stop Them?
Yesterday I read that Nader's been thrown off the ballot in Pennsylvania, because the petition seeking to add him contained bogus names and addresses, leaving the number of valid signatures well below the required amount. It's possible Nader has better ideas. But I don't like him and I think he's a shit. No matter what he says, he's a spoiler. Of course if Kerry were a better candidate, someone who could appeal to progressives and moderates, the election wouldn't be so close. Of course, who knows how accurate the numbers are going to be anyway, given that there are organized efforts all over the country to fix the vote. It's not just the issues with electronic voting machines. It's tampering with voter registration through whatever means possible.
My first awareness today was in Paul Krugman's column, which outlines voter registration issues going on all over the country, but especially in swing states:
Earlier this week former employees of Sproul & Associates (operating under the name Voters Outreach of America), a firm hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters, told a Nevada TV station that their supervisors systematically tore up Democratic registrations.
The accusations are backed by physical evidence and appear credible. Officials have begun a criminal investigation into reports of similar actions by Sproul in Oregon.
Republicans claim, of course, that they did nothing wrong - and that besides, Democrats do it, too. But there haven't been any comparably credible accusations against Democratic voter-registration organizations. And there is a pattern of Republican efforts to disenfranchise Democrats, by any means possible.
Here's the story from KLAS-TV, the Nevada local news outlet that's investigating the story. You can read the story and also see it presented as a news segment. There is footage of ripped-up voter registration applications and the reporter even goes so far as to contact one of the people who thought he had registered and was shocked to find out his application had been trashed. And guess what? KLAS has another story that connects Voters Outreach of America to Ralph Nader; apparently the group obtained petition signatures to get Nader on the ballot in Arizona, and perhaps elsewhere.
At Daily Kos [via Zeebah], I read more about Nathan Sproul of Sproul & Associates. He was a former head of the Arizona Republican Party. Of particular note is how Sproul & Associates, operates as Voters Outreach of America but posed as America Votes - a real, Democratic voter registration outreach organization - during voter registration drives. And they're doing this in public libraries! Leave it to librarians to compare notes and figure out some of what's going on.
The more I find out about stuff like this, the more I fear that there will be riots.
October 16, 2004
We Don't ♥
I remember the old New York tourism tv and radio ads that featured the still-great "I ♥ NY" logo. There was even a cheesy jingle [RealAudio req.]: "I love New York (What a great vacation!)/ I love New York (What a great vacation!)." The ♥ symbol was translated as "love" - makes sense.
Apparently it's the thing nowadays to say "I heart" this or "I *heart*" that instead of "I love." We even have a movie, I ♥ Huckabees, whose trailer will tell you it should be spoken as "I Heart Huckabees."
What are we, thirteen-year-old girls? Shall we draw circles over our i's instead of dotting them?
I loved the word "snark." Now every Joe and Josie has used it to death (including me). Now it's "I heart." Don't even get me started on the abuse of "vanquish" which apparently is the only thing the stupid half-naked girls on Charmed ever do to their enemies. (I don't watch the show. It just seems that whenever I'm channel-surfing and land on that show, it's "if you mess with me and my sisters I will vanquish you.")
I know language evolves, especially slang. Words like this are identifiers to indicate that you belong or that others don't belong to a particular group. So in this particular example, to say "I heart" is most likely nowadays to show identity with the "hipster" set. The usage says "I am young, I am cool, I am sophisticated yet in touch with the whimsical, I am ironic, I know what's going on" and so on and so forth. That's the point of slang. I should probably embrace it, given that I have a pretty inflated opinion of myself and like to think that I too am "with it" or "in the know." But sometimes I'm just square like that, a cantankerous cow, a knee-jerk contrarian penning yet another useless rant. Or does that make me just another blogger? ;)
The usage is no great crime against humanity. I simply find it irksome, and so I choose not to use the expression. We'll agree to disagree; it's simply a matter of taste, yadda yadda. (Incidentally, a phrase I also cannot stand. But then again, I cared not for Seinfeld.) I suppose it's a reaction to overuse of the word "love" wherein "I love that dress!" expresses something quite different from "I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach...."
And yet, how often do we use the word, in its truest, deepest sense, to tell those whom we love how much they truly mean to us?
October 18, 2004
It was busier than usual, although I suppose one could always attribute it to being Monday. (You just hope not every day at the office is a Monday.) I'm finding it hard to write. It's been either insignificant nit-picking or impotent political teeth-gnashing. My life seems so small right now. I'm feeling insubstantial. I don't feel like I'm doing anything particularly well.
One of my co-workers is leaving for a job out of state. He's probably going batty whenever I bring him yet another item to catalog, since he's only here for a few more days. He's a really nice guy. I'm sorry we didn't get to know each other better beyond the chats in the coffee area. I don't have a shot at moving into his job, nor do I particularly want to, not without more real reference and research experience under my belt. But I did get a taste of it today:
- In several instances, I had to answer my boss's second line. In this case the partner needed to find out something ASAP. When he described what he needed and why, I was genuinely excited. I felt personally invested. I felt we the firm were taking up a real, worthy cause. And so I started some preliminary web searches before taking it to my boss after she finished her other call. I even found a document that was included in the materials provided to the partner.
- I had to work on an obscure interlibrary loan. My best bet were the local universities, who charge fees, but I found a corporate library who had both editions of the book I needed. Not only that, the librarian was in the area and actually brought the books to my office. I love how helpful librarians can be to each other!
- Another attorney called from out of the office. She needed exhibits to a recently filed complaint in a major industry lawsuit. The court clerk was unhelpful, so a call was made to a document service. These services cost a pretty penny, but they deliver what you need.
- Another needed copies of foreign treaties. In English. Even though the parties were non-English-speaking countries. I thought I was just going to turn this request over to my boss, but I was given the project to do myself (until I presumably got stuck). I did manage to find official copies, albeit in a non-English language. Thank goodness for friends in other law libraries! (Thank you thank you thank you. I SO owe you, Z!)
None of these were things I planned to do today. I managed to update a budget spreadsheet, but that was it. Otherwise, it was one of those days where you catch your breath as you furiously shut down your computer and pack your bag and leave before the next call comes and you've already stayed half an hour later than usual.
October 20, 2004
Standing at the Corner of Blog and Main
Usual morning. The alarm on my phone rings at 6:45. The alarm clock rings a few minutes later. Ginger, the unofficial alarm, pounces up on the bed, onto my person, and begins yowling plaintively, indignant that she has not been fed already.
I don't like getting out of bed, even though I always regret being the last to get up when I'm scrambling to get ready. Inevitably I forget something. Lunch went unmade, makeup went unapplied (but I remembered my sunscreen!), my book was left on the nightstand. I've got to speed up my routine if I plan to stay in bed until the last possible minute. Or I could start getting up sooner. (Ha.)
Hop onto the westbound train, scoring a spot by the doors that will only open once, meaning I can stand there for the rest of the ride. (All the seats are usually taken by the time the train gets to my station). Get out on the right-hand side and head downstairs to the northbound line. Walk towards the northern end of the platform; if I am lucky it will be a long train and I can get into the first car, which is never as as crowded as the middle cars. Unless it's a short train, and then you're stuck cheek by jowl. But I'm lucky, as I just have to suffer one stop and then I can escape the sardine can.
Usually I have my nose in my book. Today I'm stuck without, so I'm just waiting. People-watching, given that's all I can do. On the opposite platform, there's a guy who looks awfully familiar. Is that?...Nah. I look away. Then, Wait, what's that bag he's carrying? Is it...why yes, it's a messenger bag made of duct tape! I'm not one for shouting and waving and bringing attention to myself, so I just opt for saying hello in the train car. Hello, how are you? I hear it's going to be 79 today.... Transitory chitchat, because a) we're on a crowded train, b) I've only got one stop, c) we're probably both in need of caffeine and d) we're still new acquaintances both in blog life and real life. A pleasantly weird intersection, which I'm obligated to post here! ;)
P.S. Being mildly obsessed with bags as I am, I totally forgot to check out the product in person. Some other time, perhaps.
P.P.S. Clunky Robot was equally inspired to post.
The Paperback Revolution
From the site description:
Welcome to The Paperback Revolution, an online exploration of the history of paperback books.
From the 1935 launch of Britain's Penguin until 1960 – the year in which dollar sales from paperback books first surpassed those of hardcovers – the paperback revolutionized the readership, marketing, distribution, circulation, and reception of books and reading in the United States, Canada, and many other nations. This website begins an investigation into this history with the dual aim of inspiring further interest and research into both paperback history in general and in our local repository, The Edmonton Collection.
Fascinating. Definitely something to explore further.
October 22, 2004
What to Make of This?
This morning, right before I woke up, I dreamed that I played hooky for 15 minutes at the Five Points MARTA station and that a friend of a friend offered me hippopotamus sausage. And it was good.
October 23, 2004
Tomorrow is Another Day
As a good friend of mine once observed, it would be nice if we had an Undo key in real life. To take it a step further, I think it would be great if we had Ctrl-Alt-Delete for the really big foul-ups.
Feeling like a screwup in a lot of ways recently. Nothing earthshattering (I hope). I find that making sure that my thoughts and what I actually say are the same thing is surprisingly difficult for me. Usually I express myself better in writing than in speaking, but not lately. It's not always good enough just to say something; one has to say the right thing. Of course, not all thoughts are meant to be disclosed, either; here's hoping I can recognize the difference before and not after the fact.
Sometimes, though, it's like trying to find the best patch of glass that will least bloody your feet. Some days simply existing feels like cause for offense. That's when you keep your head down, think through your each and every move, and fervently look forward to starting over the next day.
October 28, 2004
Is This Really Necessary?
I've been on the phone for over twenty minutes, trying to order a single book from an industry organization....Twenty-five minutes now. Usually I order over the phone so I can speak to a live person and ask any questions if necessary. We've never ordered from this vendor before, and apparently their system requires that our account be set up before purchasing anything. Lucky me - the system is aggravatingly slow, and I don't feel any better that the customer rep makes me repeat everything I've told him and keeps saying "one second, one second."
Total call time: 28:18 Arrrrgh!
October 29, 2004
"Oh, You Haven't Done It Yet?"
Some of the pushiest people in the firm are from Marketing and Recruiting. They're the ones that think nothing of making extremely broad requests at the last minute and expect immediate turnaround. It's not like we don't have requests from the attorneys or anything.
Got a note in my chair last night from one of my coworkers to obtain copies of an associate survey from one of the trade magazines. Another coworker and I had just spent several hours, staying late to distribute candy and trinkets and flyers promoting the library - hand delivery to every person's desk or office. So this request was something I'd planned to do today, but I had to get to other ASAP items first.
Before I could get to it, the girl from Recruiting called. She's one of those sleek, polished, model-skinny, effortlessly pretty Asian girls who through no fault of her own makes me feel like a frumpy dumpling. We each fit our department stereotypes, I guess. I said that I'd gotten the request but I hadn't had a chance to work on it yet, thus raising the title question, in those very words.
It was expressed very nicely, but there was definitely a sense of disappointment, and the barb of accusation. I mean, when you put it that way, how am I supposed to take it? But whatever. I let her run through her explanation of why it's necessary - hey, it's the same technique that I use to get others to help me out. So I said I'd do it and went ahead and looked for it, to avoid another call.
The issue isn't even out yet. It's in next month's issue, which is probably arriving today or early next week. I'm not the only one in the library looking out for it, as it's one of the big issues that's requested.
I'd console myself with some chocolate left over from last night's treat delivery, but feeling too ugly at the moment. Fucking hormones. Sudden mood swings and "troubled" skin is just as much a curse for me at 30 as it was at 13. It doesn't help that the gal at my salon told me not to tweeze before I see her in a month because we need to "train" my brows to grow on the same cycle.
I don't need a costume for Halloween. I'm already hideous au naturale.
Apparently posting cat pictures on Fridays has been all the rage, but I didn't know it. Now that NYT has covered it, bloggers have probably moved on. But since I have nothing useful to say about current events right now, here is a picture of my cat Tabitha.
October 30, 2004
East Atlanta, 6:27 pm
October 31, 2004
A cover image is finally available on Amazon for this title. I hope this is the actual cover. Last I heard, this particular illustration was set for the UK edition, while the US edition was going to have something blander, similar to the American covers for Dragon's Kin and The Skies of Pern.