29 July 2010


You know those guys who forget their wedding anniversary and then scramble to redeem themselves with last-minute hysterics that backfire? And you don't feel any sympathy for them because if the goomba would have written the date down on a calendar, he wouldn't be in this fix? We all know one of these, right? One of my friends accidentally bought his wife a sympathy card for their anniversary because he sent one of his employees, who was barely literate, to pick up the card. (Talk about doing it yourself if you want to get anything done right . . . )

My point is, I am like one of those deadbeat significant others. But my case of mind-numbingly stupid forgetfulness was toward my blog. We had our one year anniversary here on Blogger on July 17th and I totally forgot! Well, I didn't entirely forget. About a week beforehand, I had a nice blog post devised in my head in which I would discuss my year here on blogger and have a an e-party with my dear followers. But I forgot all about it until today! I felt like a failed blogger, but I can't let this occasion pass by! So . . . I decided that I would celebrate my 1 year and 12 day anniversary on Blogger! Yeehaw!

Just 377 days ago, I had one blog, one blog post, and no followers. Now, I have two blogs--and am a contributor to another (Penguins, I will write a chapter! I promise! I have just been busier than I had planned!), 91 posts, and over forty followers. When I first started blogging, I didn't think anyone would ever read what i was writing. I assumed it'd be like talking to myself online, which I do in real life all the time. But you, my wonderful followers, have prevented that from happening. Thanks for putting up with me on a weekly basis, both here and on my book blog.

I had planned on having a vlog up for my blogiversary, but seeing as I missed the original blogiversary , I suppose it is only fitting that I do not have a vlog for you. I shall vlog! I really will. Scott tagged me to do a vlog and with his and Feathery's superb tech support, I will do one as soon as possible. (Time is a factor.) But until then, I figured that you guys are sick of that picture I always use for my profile. That's my high school graduation picture . . . which was taken two years after I graduated high school, though I was home schooled and didn't technically graduate high school and, in fact, hold a GED, instead. Yep, that picture.

Today, my library had a party for all of the kids who attended our summer program and, in addition to getting 6 hours of overtime, I also came away with a delightful frog balloon I named Leonard. So here's a pic of Leonard; my fearsome attack Chihuahua, Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez; and myself.

There on the left is my fearless trusty fido, my cute frog balloon is to the right, and, erm, that's me in the center wearing one of my library shirts. Just ignore my crazy hair--it got trimmed this week--and the acne, okay?

Now that we're past the formalities, let us partake in e-cookies and e-cake. :D

P.S. If you can guess what movie I got my Chihuahua's name from, I will mention you on my next blog . . . and use lots of exclamation points to do so. ^^

22 July 2010

Let's Get Ready For School!

The summer before I went to kindergarten, I watched the Berenstein's Bears Let's Get Ready For School video almost every single day. I also, erm, sang the theme song a lot at that age. (Yes, I was nerdy and obsessive even as a small child.) Now I am getting ready to move away from home for my junior year of college, and you couldn't force me at gunpoint to watch the Berenstein Bears and yet that song is still stuck in my head . . .

This point was driven home to me yesterday when I drove up to my future college with my grandparents to pay my room and board fees for this semester.

I still don't know my way around the campus too well, so I stumbled through two different buildings looking for the cash accounts office. This wasn't a bad thing, because I at least found a vending machine that offers cinnamon rolls and Danishes. Not bad to know when you're running late and need a quick breakfast. After we found the office and paid, I asked where I could find out what dorm I am in. (Room assignments hadn't been posted on the website yet, though they were supposed to be up this week.) I was told to go to the Dean of Students' office, back in the other building I'd wandered around in. Luckily, I noticed this office when I was studying the vending machine that may be providing my breakfast one day, so it wasn't too difficult to find.

Once I got there and asked, the woman at the desk told me that the assignments were posted and that I could log into a computer at the library. Yay! Now I just needed to find the library . . . After getting directions, the woman asked me if I had my ID card yet. Nope. She asked me if I wanted to go ahead and get one. One less hassle during orientation. I decided that she merited some sort of canonization for thinking of that.

In turn, I was rewarded with the best ID photo I have ever had. Usually my driver's license and student ID photos are hideous. My hair is always crazy and I look like a demented geek on speed. This one wasn't necessarily a glamour shot, but at least I won't mind anyone seeing it. (My student ID at the community college I attended was so bad, I wouldn't use it to get discounts at local stores just because I didn't want anyone to see my picture. My forehead had caught some weird reflection in the room, so it looked like I had a huge silver mark on half my forehead. *sigh*)

I was then asked if I wanted to go ahead and register my car. Sure! One less thing to do at orientation. I was asked how many transfer credits I was bringing in to determine if I was officially a sophomore or a junior. I earned 64 credits at my old college, but apparently only 60 were showing up on the computer. That would officially make me a sophomore and that required a different tag. Eeeep!

I walked over to the registrar's office and asked what was up with my credits. The guy at the office told me that they were still processing transfer transcripts and that mine should go through with no problem. I think it must be my geology class that hasn't been officially accepted yet. I sure hope they take it. I made some of my worse grades ever in that class. It was, in many ways, an easy class. But the labs always got me. They were based on visually identifying different rocks and minerals. For those of us with crappy eye sight, that was a major challenge. I, erm, sorta, kinda almost failed my igneous rock quiz. They all looked alike to me. *sob* But I did well on the worksheets and the lecture tests and went on the extra credit field trip, so I still ended up with an A. But, point is, I really don't want another dance with geology or, God forbid, chemistry to fulfil my physical science requirement. But if only one course doesn't transfer, I can't complain too much. I've talked to people who had to repeat several after transferring, so I am in pretty good shape, as far as all that goes. However, not being able to officially say that those 4 credits were accepted means I am in limbo between sophomore and junior and must wait to get the tag.

Oh, well. I was directed to the school post office where I got my first personal address. Yeehaw! I now have a post office box. And with it came a key that almost refused to go on my key chain. Mean post office key. You will learn to love me and my key chain . . . or else. ^^

I finally made my way to the library where I fell in love . . . with the library. It was a gigantic library full of books! *happy nerd dance* One of the places I applied to work for work-study was the library. I am really hoping I get that job because a) I have over two years experience working in libraries with that very same computer database system, b) I like working in libraries, and c) I found my dorm assignment and realized that my dorm was very close to the library and the building that houses the English and history departments. This means that, conceivably, all of my classes and jobs would be next to each other and easily within walking distance. Also, the building that houses the college printing press, which is the home of a publication I would like to edit at some point, is right there, too. Oh, all of the admin buildings are nearby as well. Whoohoo! The only bad thing is the cafeteria is quite a ways away, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to walk there. I am not a gym rat, so I guess the exercise will be good for me, especially considering you can get pancakes for breakfast every day if you so choose . . . ^^

So . . . in all of three weeks I will move in. I am looking forward to going, but I am not really looking forward to the move in part. I hate moving with a passion. There was that nightmarish year when I was ten that I moved eighteen times in eight states. Did I mention I hate moving? But it's just part of getting ready for school, I guess. But so is pancakes every day for breakfast. :P

15 July 2010

Zella Kate, Library Detective

My name is Zella--I carry a badge. Well, not really. But I sorta feel like I do. Or that I should. Same difference.

My beat is the local public library. I wish I had an intimidating, muscular colleague to help me enforce law and order, but until we have the funds to employ this gentleman, my fellow librarians and I are the only things standing between our dear library and utter anarchy.

Fortunately, I have been well trained for my role in literary law enforcement. I have read, erm, trained under the tutelage of classic strategists like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Nero Wolf, and Miss Marple. I have also apprenticed under the hard boiled detectives of yore, such as Sam Spade and Philip Marlow, and the not so easy to categorize procedural cops, like Jules Maigret, and quirky cops, like Thursday Next. And, as a multi-faceted learner, I have also studied under the TV greats, such as Adrien Monk, Dragnet's Joe Friday and Law and Order: CI's Robert Goren, though technically the reason I watched Goren was because Vincent D'onofrio--who is only one of the most underrated actors ever--was playing him. But enough about my extensive apprenticeship with awesome detective, lest I inspire your wrath and everlasting jealousy. Ahem.

Our most vexing criminals in the library world are not the ones who incur outrageous book fines, believe it or not. The most vexing, obnoxious, nay, dangerous miscreants we face are those who abuse their computer privileges. They make our blood boil. We have a lot of these law breakers at our library, and they are of all ages.

This week, I had to interrogate one. He is one of many hard core recidivists at our library. Recidivism. REPEAT O-FFENDER! Not a pretty name, is it, Hi? (If you have no idea what I am talking about here, you should rent, no, buy a copy of Raising Arizona immediately.)

I had the late shift, and it was about twenty minutes before closing. A boy of about ten or eleven who I will call Martin asked me if he could use the computer. Now, I was instantly suspicious because Martin is always trying to whine his way onto a computer. At our library, one must be thirteen to use a computer without his/her guardian present. He likes to show up without an adult or with one who is not his legal guardian and fast-talk his way onto a computer. Some of my fellow librarians are nice to him and give in. I am not one of those librarians.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I let things slide with a lot of people. I learned very quickly that if you try to enforce every single rule, you will feel like a pathetic failed librarian. But I am sick of Martin getting a free pass to do what he wants. Call me mean. Call me by the book. Call me an anal-retentive jerk. Whatever. Martin wasn't using a computer without his guardian present.

So . . . when he came up to my desk and asked for permission, I asked him if his guardian was with him. He hem-hawed around and wouldn't directly answer my question. My detecting skills were immediately suspicious by this display of suspicious behavior, so, as a highly skilled library detective, I repeated my question. His exact response was "My guardian for the day is present." Yeah, well, that could mean his mother or his twelve year old cousin. I told him there was a big difference between one's guardian and a guardian for the day. Me being me, I nearly launched into a long diatribe about the difference between one's legal guardian and any ol' "guardian" you pull out of the woodworks. But then I decided to be a bit more shifty with dear Martin.

Me, trying best to not raise eyebrows and look sly: "Exactly who is your guardian?"

Martin points to some lady who he comes in with but who I know is absolutely not his guardian.

Me: "So, what, is she one of your relatives?"

Martin, after pausing and then breaking into a wide grin while his eyes brighten: "Yes!"

And that's when I knew I had him. This is Lying 101, but if you're lying to someone and they ask you a leading question, never pause, then answer brightly with a sly flicker in your eye. Because that immediately makes the person asking leading questions assume that you briefly considered the best way to answer it and then felt smug when giving what you believe is the answer they want you to say. Any experienced liar knows the best way to go about this is to keep a solemn face and answer in a monotone voice to avoid being perceived as a liar. But young Martin has a way to go before he learns this. I decided to pounce.

Me: "How is she related to you?"

Martin, pauses and furrows his brow: "Um, I don't know."

Me: "You don't know? Well, what's her name?"

Martin: *shrug*

Me: "So, you have no idea who she is or what her name is, but she's your guardian? You know, I don't really believe you."

Martin: *blank stare*

Me: "She's not related to you, is she?"

Martin: *puts head down* "No."

Me: "Then, why did you lie to me?"

Martin: "I didn't lie to you."

If there is one thing in the world that I cannot stand, it is being lied to and then having the liar deny it. I feel like Michael Corleone in The Godfather: "Only don't tell me you're innocent. Because it insults my intelligence and it makes me very angry." And this is when I transformed from a mildly sadistic nerd to a furious nerd who was more than a little bit hysterical in my questioning.

Me: "What do you mean you didn't lie?! You just told me she was your relative and then you said she wasn't. How is that not lying?"

He continued repeating his line that he didn't lie and had this deer-in-the-headlights look, as if he had no idea why I was jumping down his throat. I decided to just stare at him and not blink.

My interrogation had morphed into a Mexican standoff, with Martin looking at me pleadingly and me emotionlessly glaring at him. He made the first tentative step toward detente. "Can I get on the computer now?"

He made a very boneheaded step toward detente. "No." I kept my voice flat, to avoid totally losing my temper.

Now was Martin's turn to be indignant. "WHY?" he squealed.

I leaned forward, narrowed my eyes, and answered in an icy whisper, "Because you lied to me."

Martin may suck at lying, but he's not stupid. Rather than arguing further with me, he decided to stomp off. As an idealist, I would like to think that he comes away from our little battle with the moral that lying does not pay or, at the very least, that if one is going to lie, do it less obviously. As a realist, I know that, in all probability, I will now be Martin's sworn enemy, forever known as that evil librarian who wouldn't let him get on the computer. That's fine. Next time, I'll let Conan deal with him. ^^

So . . . ever get to interrogate anyone at work? Who are your favorite detectives?

07 July 2010

I Am A Ninja

Even though Monday was a national holiday, I had to work. I didn't mind working--I love my job at the local public library--but I was perplexed that we were even open. All other city offices were closed that day, but we noble suppliers of free books and internet service remained open. Being at work didn't bother me--I only worked half a day, anyway--so much as the fact that my coworker and I were the only ones there. Our library was deader than R. Pattz's facial expressions.

I had an inkling the library would be slow Monday when I participated in a little pre-work ritual of mine. Before or after work--depending on when I go to work--I like to indulge myself by walking to a delightful little roadside diner that is about a block from where I work. I love this place so much that I can forgive the fact that their sign features the conspicuous absence of a badly needed possessive apostrophe. Those of you who know me well know that is saying something. I have been accused of grammar nazism in the past, but delicious burgers, sumptuous chocolate milkshakes, and the best homemade fries I have ever eaten assuage my anguish when I look at that sign, so it all evens out. I had to run an errand before work, so I decided that I'd walk around the town square--which is right next to the library--and treat myself to a milkshake before work. (Do not judge me.)

As I walked along the square, I realized that everything was closed. Not just government buildings like the post office--insurance offices, barber shops, my favorite used bookstore. All were closed and nobody was on the square. It was an eerie feeling. I felt like I was walking through a ghost town, and as a paranoid, neurotic, angsty Jewish nebbish, this was a little more than my poor nerves could handle. I kept expecting an ax murderer or a face-eating alien or a mugger wielding a pogo stick to jump out of the alleys. As you can imagine, when I got to my diner of choice, they were closed too. So I hoofed it back to the library parking lot, which was deserted, and started to head across the street to the local courthouse, which is the residence of a vending machine that provides me with Oreo cookies on a regular basis. Alas! The courthouse was closed because, you know, it was a national holiday. Duh, Zella.

So I went to work with a heavy heart . . . and an empty stomach. But I am not so easily dissuaded from a tasty meal! Tuesday I had to work, so I decided that on my lunch break I was going to march over to my favorite diner and order myself the works. I deserved a tasty meal after being deprived the day before. Even better, this time I had time to kill. The reason I like this diner, besides the great food, is that it is a roadside diner with outdoor tables. You can sit outside, munching your victuals, and watch the proceedings of my small town. Masterpiece Theater it is not, but for a nerd who likes to people watch, it is perfect. It is even more perfect if you want to idly read while waiting for your food. I like to carry books with me--you never know when you'll have the chance to read!--and there's something about outdoor tables that is just bliss for reading. On the day in question, I had myself a collection of classic noir novellas. I love me some good noir, and the only thing better than noir is several good noir tales bundled into one package. Yeehaw! Noir is also just so fitting for perusing while at an outdoor diner. I am not sure why; it just is. Maybe it is because so many James M. Cain stories are set in places where you can get a bite to eat. Hmm . . .

Anyway, as I happily walked up to the diner, I planned my meal. I know which seat I wanted to sit at, I knew what I was going to order, and I knew which novella I was going to dig into first. Then, I got there and noticed the huge sign that I only glanced at the day before. The one that said they'd be closed for the whole week because they were on vacation. Um, yeah, I didn't read that when I was there the day before. D'oh!

But all was not lost! The courthouse was open, so I decided that if I couldn't get a yummy burger, I could at least get some tasty Oreos. Lady Luck was smiling on me. Not only did I get my Oreos, but for the first time ever, I was able to walk through the courthouse without slipping and falling. I kid you not. I think the local county is trying to assassinate me. Every time I walk into that place to get cookies, they are mopping. I assume they have an insider source who has revealed my clumsiness and predisposition to wearing tacky rubber shoes. Well, I fooled them this time! With my highly developed ninja skills--cultivated through watching way too many Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan movies as a child--I was able to maneuver my way through the slippery gauntlet without ending up on my back. Victory is mine! As are the Oreos. ^^

How was your holiday weekend? Do you like Oreos? Does your local government want to kill you?