Thursday, August 13, 2009

awesome and exhausted

so i've been fighting off this cold for the past few weeks and because the library is short-staffed and we have anywhere between 3 to 5 programs a day, i have been working non-stop. in my free time i lie down a lot and try to rest and obsess about not getting more ill. it's all very tiring.

but this week we did two very cool things.

cool thing #1 - we had a teen Name that MP3 competition. now, i have about 7,000 songs on my iTunes, so i figured it wouldn't be too hard to come up with a sizeable list of songs that the young whipper snappers might know. and the bolshevik is always sneaking hip hop onto my iPod, so i figured i was all set. but alas, that was not the case. i looked over my extensive music library and realized that i have quite an oscure collection of music. why, certainly inner city teens would know such bands as Dirty Projectors, and Belle and Sebastian, and Fleet Foxes and Sleater-Kinney. who doesn't know them? so then i had a little panic about this program totally bombing if the teens didn't bring their own iPods filled with music that is actually popular.

but lo and behold the teens actually brought in their iPods and they all got very excited to pick out songs and try to stump the other participants. any time someone got one right we would throw them a hershey's kiss or one of those little "fun size" candy bars you give out at halloween.

then, every so often i would pick a song from my own iPod and try to challenge them and expand their minds with my musical trivia. for instance, i gave them the following hint: this song was the first ever video played on MTV. well that got them excited. of course they had no idea who the buggles were but they found it interesting all the same.

cool thing #2: today we had our teen iron chef competition in which 4 teams competed to make the best smoothie. we provided them with all sorts of ingredients, and told them they would be judged on the following criteria:
1. taste
2. attractiveness
3. creativity
4. viscocity (we did this just to teach them a new word. it's a library!)
pretty much, instead of looking at the options and picking several ingredients that actually go together, most teams just took a bit of everything. which was ok, but after a while i had a kind of icky feeling like i was filled with smoothie. not pleasant. but a good time was had by all, and the winning team actually did make a good smoothie.

now i am exhausted again, but i must press on and bake cookies for tomorrow's rock star party. and then saturday i am off to honduras to visit my bolshevik. ahhhhh mi amor.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

the ultimate visual dictionary

i was going through our big ol' stack of donated books, and i came across this visual dictionary. now, i love it that people want to donate books to us. it's the thought that counts, and that is very thoughtful. oh shucks. but it is important to remember dear blog readers that "donating to the library" should not be synonymous with "throwing out the trash." i don't need your outdated encyclopedias, archaic textbooks, or old national geographic magazines (unless they have cool pictures for collages) .

now, there are several key ways (beyond looking at the publication date) to see if a reference book is outdated. does it make mention to such modern labor-saving devices as computers, cell phones, or the internets? (have i ever told you the story of my grandfather's old dictionary from the 40s that listed the definition for computer as "one who computes." see? useless.)

anyhoo, upon looking up the word "computer" in the index of this book i happened across an entry for "clitoris." say what?! i thought this was a kids book. well ... i had to check it out. get your mind out of the gutter, dear blog readers, it was totally clinical. although, surprisingly unclear if i wasn't already quite familiar with that portion of human anatomy.

alas, we shan't be adding this book to the collection. why? not because of a clitoral pictoral. but because in the "visual definition" of a computer, there is detailed depiction of an external CD-ROM player. seriously people, what am i supposed to do with that?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Gidget Bubble Butt hearts Buttercup Lizard Buns

yesterday we had our captain underpants party. we've been having crazy theme parties every week for the kids. we typically get about 100 participants each time. it is absolute chaos. but the kids like it.

anyway, at this party we made capes and silly flip books. then we played games involving tossing a pair of tidy whities into a toilet bowl or hot potato using rolls of toilet paper. but my favorite thins we did, was the captain underpants name change game. i must give credit where credit is due, this was totally the idea of my fab librarian partner in crime. she printed out the algorithm (found below) and as each child entered the party we figured out their new name and gave them a name tag with said silly name on it. if you cannot guess from the title of this post, i am none other than Gidget Bubble Butt.

anyway, it was quite amusing to announce these silly new names to the kids as they entered. one little girl came up to me and told me her name. i declared "your new name is Buttercup Banana Breath"
"no," she said quietly, "my name is christina" (names have been changed to protect the innocent).
"i know," i said, "but your new name for the party is Buttercup Banana Breath."
"my name is christina."
we went through this a couple times and finally a little girl behind her explained in spanish that we were giving out fun new make believe names ... and thus Buttercaup Banana Breath took her name tag and wore it with pride. the end.

To Make Your Own Captain Underpants Name:

Use the first letter of your first name to determine your new first name:
A = stinky B = lumpy C = buttercup D = gidget E = crusty F = greasy G = fluffy H = cheeseball
I = chim-chim J = poopsie K = flunky L = booger M = pinky N = zippy O = goober P = doofus
Q = slimy R = loopy S = snotty T = icky U = dorkey V = squeezit W = oprah X = skipper
Y = dinky Z = zsa-zsa

Use the first letter of your surname to determine your new middle name:
A = diaper B = toilet C = giggle D = bubble E = girdle F = barf G = lizard H = waffle I = cootie
J = monkey K = potty L = liver M = banana N = rhino O = burger P = hamster Q = toad
R = gizzard S = pizza T = gerbil U = chicken V = pickle W = chuckle X = tofu Y = gorilla
Z = stinker

Use the last letter of your surname to determine your new surname:
A = head B = mouth C = face D = nose E = tush F = breath G = pants H = shorts I = lips
J = honker K = butt L = brain M = tushie N = chunks O = hiney P = biscuits Q = toes R = buns
S = fanny T = sniffer U = sprinkles V = kisser W =squirt X = humperdinck Y = brains Z = juice

Friday, August 7, 2009

a budding romance OR i like to party

a man, tall dark and handsome, walks into the library (have you heard this one?) he's asking for Oz on dvd. i tell him we don't have it, as i am aware that we don't own any tv shows on dvd at this particular branch. then he repeats it like i am hard of hearing or maybe retarded.

guy: oz ... it was on hbo.
me: yes. i know what oz is. we don't have it here.

then he asks me if i can look at other branches for him. so i look around and it seems like the seasons he's looking for are all lost and stolen. this is what happens with popular dvds. i suggest that he go to one of our larger libraries that appears to have the dvds on the shelf.

guy: [staring at me all creepy without saying anything]
me: yeah, so ... sorry about that. you should really just try that other library.
guy: [strange blank stares]
guy: do you ever go into manhattan?
me: um ... sometimes. [fiddling with papers on my desk, knowing where this is going]
guy: yeah. they have good clubs there.
me: i guess.
guy: you go out there to party, right? [nods head in creepy fashion like he's picturing something very enjoyable in his mind]
me: eh.
guy: yeah you look like the type. you like to party.
me: hmmm.
guy: you married?
me: no, but i am in a relationship. (if only the bolshevik would make an honest woman of me)
guy: with someone?
me: yeah (no, i am in a relationship by myself. duh.)
guy: you have beautiful eyes.
me: yeah so you can just try that other library then.
guy: [more extra creepy stares]
me: [stares at computer and prays guy leaves]
guy: i guess i'll be going then
me: good luck

why? i ask you. why?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

que pasa

oh dear blog readers, i am lucky if there are any of you left out there. it is quite the shame how i have forsaken you. so what's been going on?

we've had a crazy busy summer here at happy shiny new library. there are no less than a gajillion children here and it is quite overwhelming. we have weekly theme parties where we typically have attendance of about 100. i am quite looking forward to our "rock star" party next week where we will play playstation karaoke. yay! we've made some awesome crafts, had a videogame day, had an author visit. good stuff.

you may or may not know that the bolshevik has absconded to honduras as bolsheviks often do. he is studying the spanish and i am quite jealous because
1. i would like to live in honduras for a month and have hondurans do my laundry.
2. i really need to improve my spanish speaking abilities so that i can better communicate with the patrons of happy new shiny library.

so today i am cataloging some of the spanish easy reader books. for those of you who are unfamiliar, easy readers are books meant for K-2nd grade kids and typically only have a few easy words per page, often accompanied by big pictures. so now i am reading the spanish easy readers in hopes to improve my spanish. i have learned about the life cycle of a bear, or an oso as it is called en espanol. i have learned how to get ready for school. soy listo para ir a la escuela! but my favorite is this book about telling the truth (shown above). now i wish i could get a picture of this first page ... there are about 5 kids, all on scooters, and they have their arms crossed and are making very angry faces. they're like a little gang out 7 year olds. very intimidating. and in big block letters next to them it says DECIMOS LA VERDAD! that's right. this gang only tells the truth and all you liars out there better watch our of you will feel their scooter wrath.

and that's my day here at la biblioteca.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

belize adventures days 4 and 5 summary

how late is this post? SO late.

here's the gist ... day 4 was my birthday and we spent the morning at mayan ruins. nothing says "turning 31" like mayan ruins. we wound up buying a full day tour so after the ruins we return to the hotel for lunch and then our driver returns to take us cave tubing. i use the term driver loosely. don't be too impressed. it was just some dude in a beat-up van.

we are taken to these caves that have rivers running through them and we sit in tubes while we leisurely bob along inside a huge cave. it was pretty cool. and we had little headlights like miners.

then on the way back we have our THIRD transportational break down. our little van just up and died on the highway. so then it's me and the bolshevik and our driver standing around on the side of the road. we're at least 45 minutes from the hotel so there's no hope of being rescued quickly. so we're making small talk with our driver and then i see a little shack down the road that seems to be selling refreshments. so i get some chips and sodas (and a water for our driver) and the bolshevik takes some pictures and in the end we're having a fine time on the side of the road.

then our driver flags down a pick-up truck coming from the opposite direction of our hotel and tells us to get in. he says he'll wait for a tow. so we get in this pickup truck and there's an older man driving, then his wife in the passenger seat holding a baby, then an even older woman who didn't talk much, and two more kids (about 7 years old or so) in the back. so we squeeze in and all the kids are piled up on top of various adults, and they're showing us their various toys and balloons. turns out they're coming from a carnival. needless to say, this was a bit awkward. the bolshevik and i exchange glances trying to say "who the hell are these people?"

we make small talk telling the gentleman about what sights we've seen and how much we like belize, etc etc. about 20 minutes into the conversation i ask them if they live in san ignacio, which is the town we were staying in. "we live in the hotel!" the man says, "it's my hotel!" if you didn't pick up on this plot twist, we had been picked up by the owners of the hotel while they were having a day with their grandkids. so then we tell them how nice the hotel is and what a lovely time we're having despite our ride breaking down. we ask them for a restaurant recommendation, and the bolshevik adds "it's miss dewey decimal's birthday. we wanted to go somewhere nice." and then there were many ooohs and ahhs about it being my birthday and they asked if we wanted to stop for ice cream. as much as the bolshevik and i love ice cream we kind of wanted to get back at this point. so they gave us several names of places, even offering to call several establishments for us to make sure they were open that evening. they were super nice.

so we get back and have a little lie down in the hammock and take showers and all that. then we go to the lobby and our driver is back and he offers to drive us to dinner. isn't that sweet? so we have a lovely dinner in this little local place. then we go to a nearby bar and chat with some locals. when they find out it's my birthday they make me a long island iced tea, since i had told them i'm from long island. the bolshevik has something called a "panty ripper" which is supposed to alleviate women from the burden of panties. we make a quick stop at the casino where my man wins about $15 and then we head back to the hotel for late night drunken pool antics. all in all, it was an excellent birthday.

the next day, the final day of our trip, we go to caves branch river for the "black hole drop tour." we drive into the jungle and pull up to this beautiful lodge in the middle of all sorts of lush wildllife. we are rushed onto a tour bus (we were a bit late) and are taken on a hiking trek into the jungle. we do a pretty intense hike for an hour and then we get to the top of a mountain that has a huge sinkhole in the center.

now, i knew we'd be "dropping" into a "black hole" but i really had no idea what that entailed. tuns out we are harnessed up, and we are supposed to lower ourselves off the mountain and down the 350 foot drop to the bottom of the gorge. i am a gal who likes adventure but i will not lie to you dear blog readers. i was terrified. it had been raining so the rocks were all muddy and slick. the bolshevik goes first, slipping a bit on the rocks and scaring me even more. he makes it to the bottom (or so i am told because there's no way to actually see what's going on off the side of the cliff) ... and then it is my turn.

i am strapped in and i start slowly backing up off the side of the cliff. i get to the very very edge of the ledge and then i am paralyzed with fear. my feet are slipping off the rocks and i have no where to go now. it's just open air. i look up the young belizean man who is lowering me down and i say, "no! i've changed my mind! i don't want to do this!"
"it's okay," he says. "just calm down. take a minute to relax. you can do it."
"just stay there for a moment. you're almost there. this is the worst part. take your time."
and then he began to pull me up and i clung for dear life onto the mountain, scrambling back up to safety.
i might want to mention that there was another couple with us and they had to witness this fiasco. i looked at them and said, "good luck!"
the two of them went, and when the girl was halfway down she shouted up to me "it's not that bad once you get off the mountain!"
so i decide to try again, realizing that i would not be able to live with myself if i don't do this, and that i cannot make these nice men hike back down for hours when i can get to the bottom in a matter of minutes.

so i go it again ... and again i make it to the very very end of the ledge and i am paralyzed and i look up to the nice belizean man and i tell him i don't know what to do and he explains to me i just have to step off the mountain now. oh, that's it? just step off the side of a mountain. no biggie.

so i step back off of the mountain ... of course the harness grabs me and then i am sitting in the harness like it's a little hanging seat and then it really was kind of nice. so i slowly lowered myself down the mountain passing by tree tops and flowering vines and it was all quite lovely. i make it to the bottom and i am beaming with pride that i was able to face my fear and do this. i run over to the bolshevik shouting "i did it! i did it!" and he looks at me and says, "yeah ... good thing you did or you wouldn't have been representin' brooklyn." ahhh the bolshevik, always looking at the bigger picture.

we hiked for several more hours. by the end we were exhausted and covered with dirt and bug bites. it looked like we had been through a war. we got back to the hotel and rinsed off and then lounged by the pool drinking tequila sunrises.

dinner was served buffet style and everyone at the hotel ate together. we wound up sitting with a few older couples. one guy introduces himself as ian and i remember that i saw a sign that the hotel was owned by a man named ian. someone at the table asks "are you the ian anderson?" and i realize that we are dining with the hotel owner and his wife. now, suddenly the conversation goes towards jethro tull and i put two and two together that ian anderson is a member of jethro tull. how cool to be in a rock band and then build a hotel in the jungle. we chat about nyc and ian tells us how much he loves katz deli and a lovely time is had by all.

when we arrive back in nyc i tell everyone how we met ian from jethro tull. "was he the flutist?" people ask. and i tell them i have no idea. eventually, i retell this story in the presence of the bolshevik and he interrupts me. "he wasn't in jethro tull," he says, "he just had the same name as the flutist from jethro tull." so it turns out i had been spreading all sorts of lies about staying in a hotel owned by a member of jethro tull.

and that was our vacation to belize. repeat ... we did not meet any of the members of jethro tull.

the end.