Sunday, March 30, 2008

Reservoir Dogs

Matthew and I are at a Mexican stand off about a dog. He blogged about it here. Our disagreement over the possibility of adding a new dog to our family has become so overwrought and tense that we've pretty much determined not to talk about it. Except we keep talking about it. We can't see eye-to-eye at all. I want a small toy dog breed of my choice from a reputable breeder. He wants a shelter dog. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with shelter dogs--our own Blanche was a rescue and she's a baby angel--but there are a few very specific breeds I am interested in that are rare enough that they can't be found at shelters. He actually said, "See this? Foot, down. And you know I'm not changing my mind once my foot is down." I don't want to change my mind either. So, both barrels smoking, we stand staring each other in the eyes, waiting for the other to cave. I predict we end up with no dog.

I'm also distraught over my job situation. This whole "taking control of the destiny I can cantrol" thing isn't moving as fast as I'd like. It turns out that taking control of your life is a slow and arduous process on a winding road with no sign posts or blue emergency call boxes. I wait. I send out resumes. I wait. I get phone interviews. I wait. I send out more resumes. I didn't realize I was so unemployable. I'm taking classes on the type of librarianship I'd like to transition into, so I feel like that's something I'm controlling. I'm also going to launch Plan C on Monday. See how bad it is? Plans A and B are stalled out. Not terminated, just not rolling either.

I've secretly been using "The Secret" to project my positive energy into the universe and draw in the good things I need. Learning the fight songs and the mission statements of the libraries I want to work at don't seem to be doing it though. But you should see my fight song performance ;)

Should I apply "The Secret" to the dog situation? Will learning the breed history and AKC recognized color variations bring my dog closer? (One breed is black only, so I have to learn something else.) I've been imagining the dog purse I'm going to sew so I can secretly tote it into work and sneak it out for pee breaks while it's house training. Is that good enough? Should I imagine pee breaks at the library I want to work at?

I'm not actually sure how this "Secret" stuff is supposed to work. Personally, I think the author is one of those weird savants made genius and manic by a brain tumor in a fortunate location. Or she's a genius of taking in suckers and making a fortune off a bogus guru book. I don't know. I like the tumor story because in a review I read of her book, they said she basically claimed that you drew cancer to you. But wait! Let's interpret that differently. I'm astrologically a Cancer. So shouldn't everyone be drawing me to them? OK, that's my new theory. People are calling me. And dogs. Dogs are calling me.

** Phone call. Matthew has declared "No dog." I guess nobody wins in a Mexican stand off.

Monday, March 24, 2008


An anonymous commenter on my blog (a chicken for not leaving his or her name!) told me I am ugly. Just for that person's benefit, here is a gratuitous picture of my glorious visage.

Love you! Please, do come back and read often!

Christine, please don't tempt fate

I called in sick today because I kinda felt yucky and I kinda just felt like not going in. I had been dreaming about aurora borealis, and I didn't want to break the magical spell by going to work. Punished by the universe's magic, I am actually sick now. Honestly, that dream of aurora borealis may have been worth it.

** I've changed my mind. I feel awful. That stupid dream magic really wasn't worth it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I get this feeling inside

Someone has made a stack of "Out of Order" signs, on the ready to be placed on malfunctioning library computers and printers. I look and give them a twinkling lop-sided grin. I yearn to place them on computers and printers at random, like a little naughty gnome set loose in the library. Amazingly, I practice restraint.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Night Sweats

Starting in college, I began losing my night vision. I’ve only had one optometrist talk to me about it, and since then I’ve forgotten to mention it to the others. Until lately, there’s been no real harm from it, and the original medical reason for my optometrist to point out my night vision problem seemed like no big deal. But it’s gotten worse. Much worse.

I now hate to drive at night. The lights of the oncoming traffic and the white dashes and the yellow lines and the colored traffic signals—all screaming at my eyes from the darkness—terrify me.

I don’t want to call it a panic attack, because it’s generally not that bad, but it scares me to bits when I have to drive at night. Yet more of Matthew’s long-suffering plight, we usually go out together at night. Who ends up driving every single time? Matthew. He sometimes complains that I never drive, but, really, the inky blackness of the impenetrable night punctured by the blasting headlights of oncoming traffic is just more than I can bear. Dusk is fine. I should probably offer to drive to things more often, then let him drive home, but I never think of that. I open the passenger side door and think of those glaring streetlights, yelling at me, “THIS IS NOT OK, CHRISTINE!”

And it’s gotten worse. The minor inconvenience has become a serious problem. (Obviously, since I’m bitching about it so much.) Moving to St. Augustine was traumatic on so many levels that I’ll never be able to recount the story without extreme hand gestures, eye rolling, head twitches, and vocal mimicry. The worst part? We always drove at night. First we left Chicago significantly later than we meant to. Then, after our stop-over in Louisville, every family member in a 17-mile radius insisted on seeing us, so we left way even later than we intended. Next we were so exhausted from driving all night that we left Atlanta later than we should have. Add to this my driving the compact SUV alone with a trailer too big for our car to be rated to tow it, and my night vision terror increased exponentially. I think I spent the entire drive gripping the steering wheel like only it could save me from death, and I craned my neck and squeezed my shoulders in such a vice-like fashion that I fell to sleep every night exhausted physically and mentally.

The literal pinnacle of the night-terror was Eagle Mountain, I think it’s called. Whatever the name of the mountain pass that goes through Chattanooga, it was nearly my undoing. I think I became slightly unhinged during the episode. Actually, that’s an understatement. I became … I can’t think of the right, terrible word. Something bad. I became something very, very bad.

Going up the mountain, the little car that almost couldn’t strained to pull that over-sized trailer full of scooters, motorcycles, and mattresses up the dramatic incline. But, which lane? The right lane was supposed to be for trucks. Am I a truck if I have a trailer? The left lane was for the hot-shots, and I clearly couldn’t hang with them. The middle lane? Was I a middle lane car with trailer? I just didn’t know. To play it safe, I chose the middle lane. And boy did I ever piss some people off. My snail’s progress got honked at by aggro cars, and I felt always in trouble as I saw someone riding my trailer tail in my side view mirror.

Now for the egress. Coming down the mountain, I felt even less in control. The lights were searing my eyes, there were hardly any lights over the highway, and the blackness of the night swallowed every visual cue I needed to stay on course. And the trailer? Every time I tried to brake, I felt the trailer begin to jack-knife. I crawled as slowly as I could down that mountain pass in the middle lane, praying no harm would befall my little car and the big trailer and my broken eyes. Cars still honked aggressively at me for taking up too much space in the lane they wanted to fly through. To add to the cacophony (and terror) semis started honking at me too! As the giant tractor-trailers sailed by me in the right lane, they honked their displeasure at my minute mountain progress.

There I was, an over-burdened jack-knifing compact SUV huddled in the middle lane like an adolescent boy with terrible acne and head gear, and I was being zipped past by cars on my left and semis on my right. I felt like a lost goldfish in the wrong pond. I felt upside down. I felt blind and groping, thinking now of the Helen Keller joke, “How does she drive? With one hand on the road.”

Clearly, I survived. But Matthew in his over-sized U-Haul he could barely handle it was so huge felt equally traumatized by Eagle Mountain. Maybe more traumatized. I cowered in fear at our next rest break, trying to erase the horror of Chattanooga from my memory, and he railed at how hard he worked to not get killed. Maybe he was a sick carp in the wrong pond if I were a goldfish.

We made it to Atlanta, weary, rattled, shaken, exhausted from sheer force of driving horror, and we collapsed into bed as soon as we could, resting in a dear friend’s spare bedroom. Bless her for her hospitality and amazing pillows after that trauma. I will always remember her green comforter and soft, fuzzy, white towels that soothed with balm our jagged brains. She gave us an island oasis in the river of our travel travail.

We didn’t have any flat tires during the move from Chicago. That’s pretty much the best thing we can say about the move. The memory of the night vision horror lingers with me, though, and I can barely get behind the wheel after 6 pm. If I must, I do, but not without trepidation.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Dirty indulgence

If you don’t know I love REALLY bad reality television, you haven’t been paying attention. Man do I love to tune in and check out. Last night, Matthew watched the entire commercial for the newest cheerleading movie, “Bring It on: Yet Again.” I watched in amazement at the joy of crap-ola, even though I’ve already seen the same commercial a million times. When the commercial finished, I turned to look at Matthew. His mouth hung open and he looked stunned. I said, “Thank you for watching that commercial with me. You’re the only person in the world who would make that sacrifice for me.” He was no longer capable of speech he’d lost so many brain cells, so I asked, “Are you stupider now that you’ve seen it?” He could only nod.

And what am I watching obsessively now that “Gossip Girl” is in re-runs? “Girlicious.” Really it’s “The Pussycat Dolls Present Girlicious.” Could that be any better? It could. NFL player Ron Sayers’ daughter Chrystina is a mediocre talent whiny brat. She may also be Gale Sayers’ niece, though I’m not sure. I think this is funny because she is not worthy of Gale Sayers’ Chicago Bears mega-talent-superstardom. She’s like a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy—from a machine with a bad toner cartridge.

Then there’s Natalie. Precious, precious Natalie. I long to have her voted off because she is such a back-stabbing, hateful, two-faced bitch, but man she makes good TV. She called her Mom in an episode a few weeks ago because life as a Girlicious contestant was hard. She was sobbing into the phone—with no tears. I used to know a young mother who would say to her baby daughter, “Hah-hah, no tears, you’re faking!” OK, so that was cruel, but it was all I could think as she sobbed her perfectly choreographed crocodile un-tears to her mom. Her mom was actually decent and compassionate, and I thought Natalie was undeserving of such love. OK so that’s cruel too. Anyway, her mom says, “What is the most important thing?” Natalie says, “Winning.” Totally serious. In her one moment of vulnerability, all she cares about is winning. Her more equanimous mother says, “Being true to yourself.” I think Natalie’s answer “Winning” was her being true to herself. She’s always the first to make fun of the other contestants, and the first to fake-cry hug the voted-off contestant goodbye.

Brief note on “America’s Next Top Model.” I don’t think we’ve seen the real bitch of the group yet, but this is the sceechiest, screamiest, most excitable group of contestants ever. Matthew asked, “How many times do they scream? Do they always scream like this?” I gave him the long answer: “No, this is the worst season ever for screaming.” Is the screaming not on the cutting room floor because we haven’t seen the real bitch yet but we need some level of drama? I wonder. I can’t wait until the stress level breaks someone down and she goes berserk. OK, so that was cruel too. So what? It’s bad TV! I love it!

Foot meets door?

I have been O-U-T for a week now, and it wasn’t because I was just lazy or uninspired for once. I was at three days of seminar on library stuff. Here’s the deets for you library luvrs: first, a refresher on MARC coding, second, LCSH free-floating subdivisions, third, LCSH pattern entries, fourth, LC authority records and their MARC coding. I loved every part but the MARC header information on authority records in the LC view. There was this field that looked like “annabanana” to me that was supposed to report information about—see? I can’t remember, that part confused me. Otherwise, it was library geek-out fun. Although I must confess that I can’t retain MARC coding the way I should. Ugh.

For the people who don’t understand what I just said (sorry for the nerd-speak), I commuted to Jacksonville three days last week and sat through eight hours of intensive library training daily. It was exhausting. I’m still wrecked from it, which sucks because I work all weekend too.

One more library speak item: I also don’t remember my AACR2 as well as I’d like to.

Now back to random Christine-broken-brain musings. Regret. I know people are supposed to live without regret, but that’s one of those healthy brain things I just can’t seem to manage. Right now I’m regretting that I took an archives track in library school instead of technical services. OK, so honestly, I had no idea that the mega-nerd stuff would become important to me. At the time, I thought the relevance of the historicity of archives was paramount to my love of research. Turns out history isn’t as fun as the present. So regret, I didn’t work as hard at the word jumbles of cataloging, not knowing how much I would one day love metadata.

Un-regret. I did work really hard in library school to get what I thought I wanted out of the program. I didn’t go to an archive-emphasis university; I had to create my own program through internships and independent studies. Regret. Why didn’t I work as hard at what would really become useful to me?

I wonder where the Future Catalogers of America I was in school with work now and what they’re doing. Did they make it? Are they living their dream of Lois Chan’s metadata vision? My heart aches with the desire to join them. I totally want to get into technical services, but I don’t know how to break through. Florida just hasn’t given me the chance yet. In the meantime, I cross my fingers and dream of macro batch edits of updated subject headings.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Living in the limins

Benjamin Kunkel wrote in “Last Things: The Sinister Charm of Frederick Seidel” that “[Poet Frederick] Seidel writes as if id had become ego, but in the worst way: all insight, no cure.”

The quote resonates with me because I feel in some sense as if this could be an oversimplified analysis of my own life. I live in a space where impulsiveness is recognized but not controlled. I admit to eating a bowl of cookie dough like one would eat ice cream—and I admit that it’s a travesty against my bodily health—but I don’t stop, no matter my awareness of how willingly self-destructive I am.

I am id become ego, insight sans cure. Do I care? Id says no.

Sweet dreams of you

I took a nap on the couch for the last five minutes before I had to leave for my Sunday shift at the library. I dreamed I was ice skating in Chicago, in Millennium Park. The dream re-played all the real events I saw and experienced when I used to skate on my lunch break. There was the silver fox in his cashmere coat, casually drifting in languid ovals. I saw the two guys who always skated together, competetively, to see who had the best aggro hockey moves. And last was the guy who would come on to me by executing a quick turn at my side and skate backward while smiling at me.

Then Matthew said, "You have five minutes to get to work," and all the ice and skates melted away, back to dream land.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Signs, signs, everywhere signs

I talked about managing the things I could control in my life, like looking for a new job, right? I got a phone interview with a potential employer! Yay me, step one accomplished. Now I’m totally nervous because I’m dying for the call-back for a face-to-face interview. Please universe—I want this so bad!

In the meantime, I feel like everywhere I look, I see omens and portents that the job is so nearly mine. First, after seven months of employment, my boss finally got me business cards. That’s surely a sign that he wasted his time, right? Second, I saw a stack of books in my current library that were received via inter-library loan from the library where I phone interviewed. Third, I *just* saw a student here walk into the library wearing a shirt for the football team affiliated with the other library.

Either I’m getting mega thumbs up for all my positive vibes I’m sending out to the other library, or the world is unspeakably cruel. I like to believe in the former, but can I tell you how much I fear the latter? I don’t regularly buy into positive energy field projections and stuff, but I feel like that’s the key to pulling this job to me. Am I going nuts (nuttier)? I don’t think so, actually. It’s felt good to dwell on the positive feelings instead of always dreading the self-doubt that usually comes with these things.

Matthew said, “No matter what, you did the absolute best you could do.” He’s right. I’ve given this my best, now I just have to see how the universe chooses to reward me.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Hairstyles of the damned



For more of the un-dread-ing saga (before, after, and in-process shots), tune in to my Flickr page.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A slight penchant...

I haven't written about my various bad media obsessions in quite some time now, and I keep meaning to, but I'm totally busy with bad media.

But this--THIS--re-cap of an All-Star America's Next Top Model just slayed me so bad I had to write.

(Do you have to be an insider to get this? Probably. Call me if you totally want the insider dirt. I'll dish. For hours and hours on end. Doesn't that sound like fun? Totally. Call me. For real.)