Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Well, THAT was interesting. As part of a staff day activity, we were all asked to play Runescape and create a character. That's mine in title field there. Feel free to find me and get yourself some hit points or skill points or kill points or shrimp cooking points if you so desire.

I myself have not mastered the Art of Cooking Compu-Shrimp Over an Open Fire. I can make a mean Shrimp Creole over a gas stove, but those skills won't serve me well in a forest.

I keep walking through other people's fires. And while I marvel at the fact I'm not getting burned, I do think that's rather rude of me. The scenery is pretty, though. I think I'll just sit here and Examine This Butterfly until someone comes along and chops me down for firewood. Or until Angie finds me and makes me her friend. She's probably busy whipping up five course meals for all her armor-clad friends over three-tiered fires. They are hashing over the latest battle. They took out a gork with a fluglehorn and are contemplating whether to turn the hide into new boots for everyone or book covers.

Runescape. Interesting place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

If you have not read American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, you are missing something. This is the first graphic novel to win the award in its eight year history.

American Born Chinese is a deft combination of Chinese mythology and religious teachings and the struggles of two teenageers, one Chinese-American boy who is trying to navigate adolescence and his heritage in his bigoted high school, and another typical American teenager who is humiliated by a visit from his cousin, a gross stereotype drawn from American media's misconceptions of Chinese people.

The three major characters, The Monkey King, Jin and Danny, all face similar trials resulting in a similar lessong--learning to accept and like themselves.

Yang uses bright primary colors, strong lines and standard comic phrases (zip, pfft, krak) to advance his story's active portions. Most amusing is a scene of fisticuffs between two teens incorporating the names of all the most recognizable dishes on a Chinese take-out menu.

The pacing is speedy. Reading time shouldn't be more than an hour for even the slowest reader. The tone is fanciful and humorous. The outstanding feature of this book is the active artwork and the readers should know this book, which appeal to adults as well as teens, has a surprise ending that will have readers going back to the first page to begin rereading.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

February is coming

You know what that means. Birthday extravaganza galore!

I love February. It houses many of my favorite holidays. Superbowl Sunday, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, The Oscars, Presidents' Day. And my birthday, lest I forget.

Keep watching the calendar for birthday doin's. Cause you can't have too much!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Where I'm Coming From

I'm not telling you where I live. Oh, c'mon. You don't care. No, really, you don't. Besides, it's a new house and I hate the bathrooms but the basement is the most sensational music studio. I will tell you where I came from, Wyandotte County. Which is a lot nicer than most folks want to give it credit for. Before my husband and I left, we took pictures of some of the places and views we liked best. We pass a view of the Rosedale Arch every day on our way to and from work. If I walked to the end of my block, climbed over the guard rail, hooked a branch of this gnarly dead tree that threatened to topple over every winter and shimmied all the way to the top, I could see the Arch. Or I could just wait and go to work.

You need a new activity. Yes, you do.

Making a New Year's commitment to watch less television and read more books? Start here! Common Grounds Book Group will meet Saturday, February 24, 10:30 am at the Nine Muses Cafe at Kansas City Public Library, 14 W. 10th St., Kansas City, MO, 816-701-3683.

Our first book is Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living
by Carrie Tiffany.

It's a first novel set in Depression era Australia. The government's "Better Farming Train" is chugging it's way across the wheat fields and small towns of the Outback, with a staff of eccentric, scientific and romantic characters. Two of them fall in love and try to put the advice they've been doling out to good use with mixed results.

To register (which isn't required) or reserve a book call 816-701-3683.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What Every Woman Should Read

One of the best books I have read this year, even though the year is young, is Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto. In vibrant colors and strong lines that accent the "Sex and the City" tone, Marisa details every step of her discovery and treatment of breast cancer. She is eminently likeable and sympathetic. Readers will immediately be attracted to her humorous warmth and petrifying fear. Marisa starts her tale with the day she discovered a lump--only three weeks from her wedding day. She then flashes back to life BC (Before Cancer) as a single, fashionable cartoonist for the New Yorker who starts dating a bon vivant restaurateur. The artist's life, priorities and values change completely with the discovery of a lump. Marisa goes into detail regarding her many doctor visits, chemo treatments, insurance woes and wedding preparations, all with her trademark rueful humor and fashion sense.

The pacing of this book is very quick. It is a memoir using the graphic medium to marvelous effect. The tone is poignant, hopeful, humorous, and heartrending by turns. The insightful drawings clearly and intelligently depict Marisa's emotions, her friends and family and the clinical yet comical way she views the medical professionals and procedures. A moving and inspiring story told in a wholly unique manner. Not just for cancer survivors and their loved ones, but for any fan of graphic literature.

Danse Kraize Macawb

It occurs to me (after half a cup of coffee and very little sleep) that librarians do not have their own dance. That drill team book cart stuff is okay. I like to watch it. But the difference between that and our line dance is like the difference between the half-time homecoming game band show and the homecoming dance.

So, who'd like to get with me and we'll bang our heads and feet together and come up with a kewl new dance craze that will sweep the nation starting with Washington, DC in June? Email those smoove moves and tap combinations to moi, Twyla Leftfoot.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The New York Times Got it Wrong

Art Buchwald, one of America's greatest living political satirists died January 18. He had a terminal illness and after being told he only had a couple of weeks to live, I imagine he chomped on his cigar, uttered an epithet and then went home to live much longer than those stupid doctors initially thought.
As a kid, I had no idea that Art Buchwald had a column in The New York Times. I knew him as the author of one of my favorite books. It was one of my mother's favorites, too. Irving's Delight. This short novel is a droll look at the television advertising industry. There are loveable stereotypes and laugh-out-loud humor and nobody writes books like this one anymore. It's what we in the trade call a "gentle read." The humor is old-fashioned, the pace is quick and anyone who can forget how jaded they really are will appreciate a simple, silly story about catfood, catnappers, cat detectives, cat allergies, and kittens. Oh, and The New York Times goofed. They said that Buchwald only wrote two novels. Wrong. He wrote three. They forgot this one.
Biblio-vitals: The pacing is lightning fast. The tone is slapstick comedy. What you need to know about this book is there is no rough language, no violence, no cats died or were injured in the writing of this book and it's illustrated. For finicky readers only.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Me and Tom Waits

"We sail tonight for Singapore, We're as mad as hatters here..."

I've been invited to submit a proposal to the National Library Board of Singapore. They want me to come and do a workshop on Readers' Advisory for their librarians.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Happiness is...

NINE boxes of Girl Scout cookies!

Screw my New Year's reminders!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Good Stuff that Happened This Year

In no particular order:

1. New job--MUCH better job!

2. New house--still questioning my sanity on that one, but LOVE my new house.

3. One year anniversary. And I thought I'd NEVER get married. I don't FEEL married.

4. Tom Waits. If you have not seen him in concert, you are not allowed to die until you do.

5. Witty e-repartee with Lesbrarian.

6. San Antonio with Global and Princess.

7. Thanksgiving with Venus and Sheila.

8. Dweezil Zappa with the other rockuhs.

9. Christmas Eve with the V7s, Beth, Amelia, Meshay, and Marcy.

10. When I look back at all the writing I did, I changed my mind. I worked harder than I thought, and I didn't suck.

11. Mosaic. Fun.

12. Oscars with Crafty Lady and Angie. We had a dessert box of martinis.

13. My garden. I had a mimosa tree this year.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Don't mind me

My brother is joining the army. He ships out on January 24. I will be in Seattle.

If I'm not too chipper the next time you see me, now you know why...

Sunday, January 7, 2007

A little piece of reading history

For all you reading women out there, take a moment for Tillie Olsen. She died earlier this week. Because of her, I have a minor in women's literature and some of you have majors. Tillie gave voices to folks who couldn't read and then let us read their stories.

Go stand by your irons (if you own one) and remember Tillie.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

#74 Transit Epiphanies: 55 Rockhill

This is a quiet bus ride. Even when I ride the ungodly early bus with my two coworkers, it's quiet. I either read or listen to a book. They read the paper. This is usually the second crowded bus of the rush hour. I think that's why my coworkers ride it. I ride it 'cause I can't stand someone in my department getting to work before me.

But today, I was tired and caught the last morning bus into downtown. I've ridden this one before and I'm usually alone. I was surprised to see 6 people already aboard when I got on. I swing into my regular seat and get ready to read.

Two older heavyset ladies start talking. Loudly. To each other. They are not sitting together. They are sitting a few seats apart and across the aisle. So they are not really talking to each other, they are lecturing to the rest of the riders. I start reading until I catch the words "chicken and football." I realize they are rehashing last week's local football game, "The Miracle at Arrowhead." You know the one. Where LoJo descended into the endzone with a loaf of bread and some fish, clad in a toga and riding an oyster shell. On the sidelines St. Carl of the Headphones spread his arms and turned a tumbling pile of red and gold ballers into a lake of affordable shiraz. That one. You heard about it.

It won't last. But that's just me. And Joe Posnanski. He's got the right line.

Anyway, these two ladysports fans, start hailing each other and talking about today's wildcard playoff game and last week's game:

"I wuz servin' up de shicken an' I look up and daaaaaayyyyyy--uuuummmm!"

"Way-ull. Yuh know whut dey say. It ain't over til de fat lady sing. Maaaaayyyyy-uuuunnnn. She mustah bin one heavy-ass muthah!"

Cackling ensues. Evil eyes are shot around the bus at the silent riders. We have been hexed into rooting for the pigskin disciples.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Low resolution

I'm not doing too well with the resolutioning.

I had a meeting with my boss. I forgot to wear lipstick.

I missed my bus last night. I said "Fuck!" on the street corner.

I had three cookies tonight.

I had a glass of red wine and thought about hanging out with Venus. Oh wait, I'm doing okay with that one.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Forget the sky...

my ASS is falling!

And, no, I will NOT lipo my ass.

My husband, the pod person, doesn't know what I'm bitching about. But YOU know, dontcha ladies?