Now if only they did this for laundry

Posted by andrea - December 26th, 2006

Booksfree.com is an online lending library. It works something like Netflix. I just may join it. The only drawback is my seriously bad habit of returning books — or rather, not returning them. For some reason ever since I started to drive, at the age of nineteen, I became really lousy at returning books. In fact, for a while there I had the collection department of the Miami-Dade Public Library on my ass. The strange thing is, before I started driving, I used to take the bus to the main library downtown at least once a week, or else I’d go with my dad to the library whenever he would go, which was more than once a week. (I got my avid reading habits from both parents.) But when I started driving, something seemed to happen in my brain. You’d think having a convenient book conveyance (the car) would improve my borrowing habits — no more lugging five or more hardbacks all over Miami, I could just drive up to the drop-off bin and pitch them out the window of the car. But instead they started to disappear under the debris in the back seat, or even under the seats. Or they’d stay in my bedroom forever, until I no longer even saw the seriously overdue tomes — they had become part of the background, like the paint on the wall.

Anyway, this sounds like a pretty good deal — for one thing, it’s not free, so I’d be limited as to what I can do (I need limits, believe me), and for another thing, it has the Netflixish “keep titles as long as you want” going for it. That sounds like giving me too much leeway, but actually I’ve been pretty good at popping the dvds I get from Netflix back in the mailbox.

And thinking further about the library follies of my youth… I wonder if what actually got me down about libraries and damaged my good borrowing record wasn’t anything to do with the car, but instead had to do with the gradual transformation (at least, as noticed by me) of libraries from musty, mysterious, hallowed and dignified halls of rank after rank of bound knowledge into dreary “community centers” full of noisy schoolkids, clattering machines, glaring overhead lights, notice boards full of announcements about meetings and trash recycling schedules, and the same lurid bestsellers you can see in airports and supermarket stands prominently displayed (but that serious, scholarly work you are looking for has to be ordered in from the university library, and the older classic is out of print). I am just old enough to remember the supposedly stultifying and elitist old-style library, where librarians were stern, spinterish women in hornrimmed glasses, and everything was meant to point to an antique time quite different from whatever crass and ordinary modern environment in which the library happened to exist. (For example: Miami’s old main library was in the middle of a park on Biscayne Bay, and was in the shape of a Greek temple. It was torn down and replaced with a building at the back of the city’s cramped fist of a downtown, right near a tangle of highway overpasses that cut off the light. Appropriately the new library was built in “Spanish” style, complete with a dungeon-like street-level story below the main entrance on the second floor (which entrance you reach by a long, dark ramp lined with drunken hobos). It was a hideous place and I eventually quit going there. Orlando’s main downtown branch isn’t much better, though at least it isn’t built to look like the castillo of a particularly sadistic conquistador.)

Anyway, those stern, spinsterish women, and those long, high shelves of musty books half in shadow, gave birth to my childhood ambition to be a librarian. And the postmodern NuLibrary with its multimedia presentations and socially responsible “Fill In the Ethnic Blank History Month” displays that meant there was no room for actual books to be displayed (you had to get permission to go into the “stacks” for those) are what killed it.

(Link to Booksfree.com via an ad on Collected Miscellany.)

Update: I forgot — these are the libraries I wanted to inhabit. (Not just work in. Live in. Put a cot for me in a corner and I’ll be fine.)

Low Ebb

Posted by andrea - December 26th, 2006

Hey, I didn’t exactly miss the point of Kathy’s post title — I just thought that the news about the Republican Party Cheatin’ Three was old hat. Also I was quite irritated at having to read about Newt Gingrich’s alleged preferences in the genitalia-servicing area. Quite frankly, that’s one image I don’t want to have in my brain.

But seriously, I still say it’s rather unfair to label the Republican Party as “the Adultery Party” based on the peccadilloes of three of its members. Yes, it’s probably much more than that. But just look at what society they have to choose from. Every time I hear an American complain about the bedroom activities of one of its leaders I want to say “look in the mirror.” Hypocrisy cuts both ways, after all.

As for the Democrats, becoming the party of “tolerance” still doesn’t make no-fault divorce and the explosion (for want of a better term) of men trading in their old wives for newer, faster models, and women leaving their men and taking the children because “he never talks to me anymore,” a good thing. Railing at your conservative opposites for not upholding the side isn’t doing much good when you’re the ones undermining the supports. And I maintain that liberal shill sites (I almost wrote “liberal shrill,” which would have been just as apropos) like Washington Monthly are like people throwing gunpowder on a burning building and then complaining about the incompetance of the fire department when the fire spreads to their own compound.

And just on a side note, I find it hard to believe that Newt Gingrich is being seriously considered as a possible Republican Party candidate for anything. Now that’s a dark horse. (I almost wrote “whore,” which would have been just as apropos.)

That being said, what else do I have to say? Not much. It’s a grey, gloomy day here at Spleenville Central, which is in the heart of supposedly sunny Florida. I actually like this kind of weather, but only when I am feeling well. Instead, for some reason I’m achy and feeling down. I considered taking a walk, but instead almost fell asleep on the couch. I need to do laundry, and you can imagine just how eager I am to get started. To get myself in the mood for things I am listening to Strauss waltzes and drinking some Republic of Tea “Tea of Good Tidings.” I will have one of my cookies and look up bread recipes. I feel like filling the apartment with the smell of baking things. Yes.

Happy Boxing Day

Posted by andrea - December 26th, 2006

The hols have eaten my clever titles, what can I say. Anyway — Yesterday was spent at the tiny, hobbit-sized apartment of friends stuffing myself on turkey and pie, and engaging in the traditional Exchange of Loot. My spice cookies were well-received, as always. What can I say, I can whip up a batch of mean cookies when I go to the effort. By the way, when I say my friend’s apartment is “hobbit-sized,” I mean it had ceilings so low I could practically reach up and touch them. I kept clonking my head on the hanging light in the dining area, and I had to fight the urge to duck every time I came near the ceiling fan. And I am not a tall woman. The apartments are a bit luxe too — they have coded gates, and a spa, gym, door-to-door trash pickup, “Roman” tubs with those massage jets, and so on. Nice place, but tiny. On the one hand, it was a good thing, because they live in the second floor and I am not good with heights, but the stairs weren’t that bad. On the other hand, the only thing keeping the place from being claustrophobic was the open kitchen/living room plan. That’s another good thing about this older apartment I live in — it’s at least got high ceilings. Something to think about when I go hunting up a new place.

Haven’t got much else to say right now. I’ve got a few mundane house tasks that need to be seen to. Such as mountainous pile of laundry. So there may or may not be more posting later.

One more thing: thanks to everyone who donated to my Paypal and Amazon accounts. You guys are great!

Update: oh yeah — new look for the rest of the year! Someone out there knows me.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Posted by andrea - December 25th, 2006

The Twisted Spinster sends all her readers a musical Christmas card from Twisted Sister. (I don’t have my blog set up to host YouTube videos directly.)

(Via Who Tends The Fires.)

Christmas Eve activities update

Posted by andrea - December 24th, 2006

Well, the cookies are done and the last batch is cooling. They came out good — I hope no one notices they aren’t the same recipe as last year! But they are much the same — molasses spice cookies are molasses spice cookies.

I still have gifts to wrap, and I have to remember to tell my friends to bring their brandy, if they have it, because I plan to make my glogg. (If they don’t have brandy then I guess it will just be spiced wine.) Of course, I have my period. My bodily rhythms always make sure that every holiday is spoiled. I sure hope these cramps are gone by tomorrow. Though the glogg will make them less annoying. I hope.

A Christmas story

Posted by andrea - December 24th, 2006

Oh those awful Mormons! They’re so weird, helping a family whose head male member was in Iraq fix up their broken-down house and all. Surely no American will elect a Mormon as president, being that they are so weird, with their Tabernacle Choir and being so clean-living and all.

Seriously, why is it supposed by some people that Mitch Romney’s Mormonism will be a barricade to the presidency? I rather doubt many non-Mormon Americans associate Mormons with anything other than squeaky-clean items like the Osmonds — if they even know that much about Mormons. Most Americans think of Mormons as being just another Protestant Christian denominations, which basically they are. I’m not sure that Americans really care about the religion of presidential candidates in the exact way they are supposed to — we seem to want our presidents to be Protestant, for one thing. (JFK was the exception, but in a country where so many people are Catholic he continues to be the only exception, and despite the so-called influence of the Jewish lobby — or as some label it, the “Zionist Conspiracy” — no Jew has ever been elected president.) And we do tend to pick from the blandest representations of Protestantism; Bush, for example, is a Methodist. (Nixon was a Quaker, but no one ever remembers that. And here is a breakdown of the religions of all our presidents. And Eisenhower was a Jehovah’s Witness! So I am not sure why Mormonism is supposed to be such a huge bar to the presidency all of a sudden.)

First link via a commenter on Tim Blair’s site. Second via Kathy Shaidle. The rest of them are from me searching Google. By the way, Washington Monthly is a liberal shill site so I’m surprised at Kathy linking to it. True, all of the people in her excerpt of that article behaved scummily to their wives, Giuliani included sad to say, and I’m no fan of Newt Gingrich — instead, I am one of the legion of people who is just put off by the Human Butt Plug. Sorry, can’t stand him. Still, the WaMo — if I may make up a term for them — article just strikes me as distasteful gossip-mongering. Aren’t there edicts in the Bible, or something, about indulging in gossip? As for the Republican Party becoming the Adultery Party, that’s based on three members. Are we to think that the Democratic Party is the party of clean living and being faithful (or at least well-divorcing) party? If you will excuse my expression, my ass they are. And I’ve never heard anything about our current president stepping out on Laura. So, whatever. The current list of Republican Party maybes for the next president of the US may suck, but what’s so great about the crop from the other side? Hillary? Barack Obama? Look — Urkel’s running for president! Yeah, I know I’m going to hell. Don’t care. I’ve never met a person of African-Americanness who didn’t have the self-esteem of Taras Bulba and a cast-iron sense of entitlement as well. This, as much as anything, may keep the presidency white as snow for a few more generations.

Now if you start talking Joe Lieberman, maybe I’ll listen.

The gift that keeps on giving

Posted by andrea - December 24th, 2006

I mean spam, of course — but not the barely digestible meat by-product, but the email phenomenon that apparently is somewhat similar to the pork derivative. I just got this in my email, and I defy anyone to decipher just what, if anything, this misbegotten spawn of the intertubes is trying to sell:

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I share this “WTF?” moment with you all as an early Christmas gift. Have a Merry comprehensible Christmas. Now if you will excuse me, I must go and remove the sodden, soppy “Iraq War awful of sadness sob sob sob” stupidity from my stereo. The female announcer of “All Things Considered” just wished a Muslim from Iraq a “Merry Christmas.” But we rightwing rethuglicans are the uncultured haters. Feh. My cats poop on NPR!

Stellar

Posted by andrea - December 24th, 2006

In a very few short, pithy phrases, Steve H. explains Christianity. Something to keep in mind these next few days. (Being from Miami, Christmas doesn’t actually end for me until Three Kings Day. And being from my family, it doesn’t end until February 28th. Watch me do the redneck thing and leave my lights up all year. That’s what my father finally did when the lights-removing activities interfered with his beer-drinking time. A sensible man.)

On the Eve

Posted by andrea - December 24th, 2006

Gotta remember to tell that kid at the liquor store that the wine he recommended is indeed a good one.

Greetings of the Season

Posted by andrea - December 24th, 2006

That’s the Christmas season! Have a merry, and all that. Do like I’m going to do: drink lots of booze and don’t drive.

PS: This Wordpress theme has the register and login links way at the bottom of the page. If anyone wants to drop a word in here, you can sign up here. It’s free! Though donations are of course accepted. (And will make you LOVED and ADMIRED.) And here is the login link. You can bookmark it, but I might as well tell you now, that on the first of the year I’ll have a new blog. (I do this every year.)

I am feeling a little better than I did yesterday. I have done all I can for the cat, and she seems fairly content, though I caught her drinking out of an old plastic container full of rotten leaves and muddy water that she found under the bushes in front of the apartment next to me. Even though she had a water bowl of her own that was still half full. Dumb cat, no wonder she was feeling sick. Also, she won’t eat the beef-flavor cat food, only the chicken flavor, so I am going to have to call the vet and see if I can exchange them for more chicken flavor.

In other news… I had hung some of my Christmas lights, but I have no outside plug so I was running an extension cord out of my door. This was not a satisfactory situation, so I went to Home Depot to look for a plug adapter for the porch light. By the time I got there, all they had left was a bigger one with two plugs and a socket for a bulb (I had been looking for a simple single-plug called a “pig nose adapter,” but so was everyone else, and they had sold the last one already), but it worked out fine. I bought smaller bulbs so I could still have a porch light (it’s covered by a decorative cage contraption and a frosted glass insert, which I had to leave off due to the Christmas light cord), and now I can turn my Christmas lights on and off with the porch light switch. Little things like this make me happy. I might even hang more lights, if I can get over my fear of heights. (I really need a ladder instead of a step stool.)

Now I have to look for a recipe for molasses spice cookies. I lost the one I used to have. I promised my friends I’d make the damn things. Why do I do dumb things like that?

Update: I forgot — remember the bicycle? (What, you don’t keep track of my life? Why aren’t you taking notes? There will be a quiz later…) Anyway, I had bought the bicycle last year, thinking I’ll have some faster transportation instead of walking and get some more exercise as well… well, let’s just say I gave up riding the thing for a variety of reasons. Such as my fear of being run over by a guy in a Hummer too busy talking on his cell phone to notice the fat woman on the big blue bicycle. And it made my ass hurt and so on. So it sat tied up on the patio for months, getting rusty and having the air go out of its tires. Well, today I found out about a family in my complex with more kids than money who needed a bicycle for one of their daughters. So I gave it to them and now she is happy and I am happy.

One more bonus: Calvin and Hobbes’ snowmen. If I ever move up north and have any kind of front yard where I live guess what I’m going to do…

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