Friday, December 28, 2012

Polyvore Pins

If you've ever looked at the "women's fashion" Pins on Pinterest, you've seen images from Polyvore, even though you might not have realized it.

I was wondering where everyone was getting those awesome images of complete outfits on white backgrounds, so I started checking the links they were coming from: Polyvore. So I went a-Googling and now I'm hooked.

There's a lot more to Polyvore than this, but I'm using it to have fun building outfits. (It's like dressing up a Barbie, without the Barbie. It's awesome.)

Here's the link to my collection of sets:

I can't copy/paste the images of my sets, but they can be Pinned, which is pretty great. Looks like I have an additional way to waste my precious free time...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Here I Come A-Wassailing

For your holiday entertainment, I've collected my favorite Christmas/winter/Hanukkah songs. They range from "carols pre-dating America" to "horribly inappropriate," so I'm providing commentary below each video for your benefit.

"12 Days of Christmas" Straight No Chaser
I have hated "12 Days of Christmas" my entire life. I think I hated it before I mastered speech. I hate the original, I hate the parodies, I hate trying to remember which lines go with which numbers when you get up past six or so. I really hated having to sit through elementary school concerts where the chorus teacher thought that song was a great way to eat up time without having to teach any extra songs. But this... this song is glorious. It's funny, it incorporates a surprise (hint: the easiest way to find it on YouTube is searching "straight no chaser Christmas in Africa") and these gentlemen are fantastic singers. I love it.

"Christmas Time in Hell" from South Park
I shouldn't have to tell you that this isn't really work/family appropriate, but now I've warned you. It's upbeat and catchy and funny (even if some of the pop culture references are dated now) and it makes me feel good. I can't find a video with all the animation included, which would make it better, but it's still pretty great.

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / We Three Kings" Barenaked Ladies ft. Sarah McLachlan
This is from "Barenaked for the Holidays," simultaneously my favorite BNL album and favorite holiday album all in one. I was never a huge fan of either song, but this medley is awesome, and I love to sing along to it. (In the car. By myself. Because I don't sing that well.)

"Do They Know It's Christmas" Barenaked Ladies
I know, a duplicate on the artist, but... this song. Oh my peppermint-flavored gosh, this song. You know this one. It's the one Band Aid did to help Ethiopia in the '80s. It's so... well, let the lyrics speak for themselves. "The Christmas bells that ring there / are the clanging chimes of doom"? Doom, guys? My favorite part is how intensely BNL sings this song. I've never been 100% sure whether they're being serious or mocking the song's existence. I like to imagine it's half and half: they care about the plight of the hungry, but they think the song is a bit ridiculous. It's amazingly fun to sing along to, though. One thing that bugs me every time I hear it: I don't think "there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time" is a great way to make the point we're going for here. First of all, it will snow on Mount Kilimanjaro; Kibo - the summit that counts - is over 19,000 feet high. Secondly, do they want snow? If it did snow in Africa (in the parts you're thinking of, like the deserts and such) it would probably be pretty devastating. They aren't really prepared for snow. Sure, they could probably drink it, but it would be unbelievably cold... You know, I feel like I'm starting to be as insulting as the song feels, so I'll just go make a donation to a charity and move on to the next song.

"Baby It's Cold Outside" She & Him
Yes, this song is notoriously, historically creepy. (If you aren't familiar with it, it's essentially about a woman who is seemingly trapped at a pushy man's house because it's cold out and he's unwilling to help her get home because he would rather she stay with him.) But this is Zooey Deschanel's band, She & Him. So instead, it's quirky and cute and funny. She's like the King Midas of quirk, instead of gold. The male and female parts are switched (and I recognize the double standard while still finding it amusing) which gives it a cutesy Misery-ish vibe, and the animation makes the whole thing extra adorable.

"Hanukkah Blessings" Barenaked Ladies
Last one from BNL, I promise. But I had to put my favorite Hanukkah song on the list. I learned the Hanukkah blessing from this song! Not that we actually say it when we have Hanukkah dinner, but it makes me feel good to know it. (I can't remember it if I don't sing it to the tune of this song, but it should count for something anyway.)

"My Christmas List" Simple Plan
(Forgive the video; its quality is not its fault... it was made in 2006.)
This was a bonus track hidden on "Grow Up" on the 2002 album "No Pads, No Helmets, Just Balls." That song had a chorus containing the lines "I don't wanna be told to grow up / and I don't wanna change, I just wanna have fun." Another song on that album was "I'm Just A Kid" which held the timeless wisdom, "I'm just a kid, and life is a nightmare / I'm just a kid, I know that it's not fair / Nobody cares that I'm alone and the world is / having more fun than meeee / tonight." (No, I didn't have to look those lyrics up. Don't judge me; you had a terrible-music-loving phase in high school, too. Yes you did.) I like imagining all the things they would list if this song were written today. (For context, this album came out four months after the first iPods were sold.)

"Feliz Navidad" (Jose Feliciano)
If this song doesn't just make you smile like a damned fool and sing along, then you and the Grinch have too much in common. This is such a happy song!

"All I Really Want For Christmas" (from Family Guy)
Also, a very happy song. And funny, and incredibly catchy. This is one of those mildly inappropriate ones, depending on who you're with. I mean, it was aired on Fox, but you know what I mean. The unfortunate thing is that it's fairly hard to sing correctly (for me, anyway) so when it's stuck in my head, I can't hum/sing it aloud unless I'm by myself, or I'll get severely judged on my inability to hit higher notes.

"Auld Lang Syne" Barenaked Ladies
Okay, I said "Hanukkah Blessings" was the last BNL one, but then I remembered that this is my favorite song of all time, and couldn't leave it off the list. I like the song "Auld Lang Syne" to begin with. It has a good message (friends=good) and it's a heck of a lot easier for the non-musically-inclined to sing than "Happy Birthday." It's a tradition that a huge percentage of our country's population participates in (it's the first song Rockin' New Year's Eve plays after midnight every year) and it just sounds nice. That said, this is my favorite version, because... well, it just is. It's my own tradition and it's comfortable because I've been listening to it since high school. I'll bust it out in the middle of the summer if I need a musical pick-me-up. If you don't think it's moving enough, consider this: in World War II, a Japanese ship (the Montevideo Maru) was sinking with over 1000 Australians on board (mostly POWs) and the  Australian men in the water sang this song for the trapped ones.

With that depressing fact, I will wrap up my Christmas Songlist and wish you all a Merry Christmas (or a really belated Hanukkah) and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Last You'll Hear of NaNoWriMo (This Year)

I have my NaNoWriMo winner's t-shirt... and my five free print copies of my novel, courtesy of CreateSpace!

Actually, I have four copies of my novel and one copy of someone else's. I'll work on letting them know that tomorrow. In the meantime, I just wanted everyone to know that I wrote something that has an ISBN!!! That's a pretty thrilling feeling.

I'm going to - experimentally - try writing something else between now and the next NaNoWriMo (that's November 1, 2013, for those of you who don't pay very close attention) and see if it turns out any better than Epilogue (which is the title of my NaNoWriMo 2012 novel). This one should be called Epiphenomena and will be more of a collection of interconnected short stories than a regular novel.

The idea is that I'll have longer to spend on it so I won't have to rely on shoddy, hastily-done research for my facts, and I'll take the time to plan out the pieces and develop the characters and discover - and more importantly, remedy - the gaping plot holes and raging inconsistencies.

Wish me luck...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook Elementary

I checked around and it looks like this is legit, so I thought I'd share it, so you can participate if you want.

You can make snowflakes (in any color, style, size, etc.) and send them to the Connecticut PTSA for Sandy Hook Elementary, so they can create a winter wonderland for the kids. They ask that you send your snowflakes by January 12, 2013 to the following address:

Connecticut PTSA
60 Connolly Pkwy
Bldg 12, Suite 104
Hamden CT 06514

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

It was awesome.

I could really just leave it at that, but to expound a little...

I don't like 3D, as a general rule. I don't think I've actually watched a 3D movie since I went to that Muppets thing as a kid (which, for the record, terrified me, but I was eight, so give me a break). But this was exactly what I expected from Peter Jackson and his crew. For as many swords as there are in this movie, not once do I recall any of them being waved at my face in a hokey, cheesy way. Mostly, the 3D was used to visually say, "Hey, look at this beautiful setting; doesn't it feel like you're really sitting here with us?" And also a fair bit of "run away, scary things are after us!"

It's more light-hearted than the other three movies (which it's supposed to be) but I like the serious, intense investment I feel with the others. So, no, I don't like it more than the original trilogy.

The music was not as moving as I expected it to be (if it can't make me cry on command the way the J. J. Abrams Star Trek opening sequence music can, it isn't moving enough) but it was very nice. And "Misty Mountains" will be stuck in my head for approximately the next year.

Weird fact that I just stumbled upon while looking for a photo: The guy who plays Kili is three years younger than me.

Side note, because I was thinking about the Bechdel test yesterday anyway: It's laughable to even put The Hobbit and the Bechdel test in the same sentence, considering there's one female character with a name or lines in the entire film (and none in the book). But that has no bearing whatsoever on its quality. (Seriously, that's not what the Bechdel test is about. It's just to get people thinking about gender portrayal in media.)

As close as you get to passing the Bechdel test in The Hobbit:
Galadriel talking to the man with long hair in the long robe.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sore Muscles, A Birthday, and an Arrival

Moving furniture to a third-floor apartment is a lot of work. And I haven't even done most of the work. Birk has. And my dad helped a lot last night. And Birk's dad is going to be helping. But I've still done a fair chunk of it, and I am sore.

Pictured: The main content of all my
upcoming nightmares
But most of the big stuff is moved in (hooray!) minus the bed and my desk, so the bulk of the remaining work will be carrying up boxes* and unpacking, which I rather enjoy. (Finding new places for all your things can be fun if you let it be.)

On an entirely different note, it's my grandfather's birthday! Yay! We're going to Bonefish Grill for dinner tonight, which is awesome, because they make an incredible chicken marsala. Doesn't just saying the phrase "chicken marsala" make your mouth water? Mmm.

Chicken marsala: demonstrating that, with enough wine,
anything can be delicious (even mushrooms)
Also, my aunt is flying in at 4:30! She lives in Texas, so we pretty much only see her for the holidays. (My uncle is too busy to come this early, but he'll be coming later, in time for Christmas.)

*Including tons of those big plastic bins, which have little to nothing in the way of handles you can use without your fingers going entirely numb. Seriously, they're easier to carry by putting your hands UNDER them, which defeats the purpose of having "handles" in the first place. Also, don't ever fill one of those things with books and expect to be able to do anything other than slide it across the room. Books are heavy, y'all.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Spam, Spam, Spam

Some manner of spammer has decided that I must be dumb enough to click on any email that says it's from one of my friends. I get these emails, about once a week, where, in the "from" column, where Gmail lists a name instead of an email address, it says it's from my friend Amy.

But here's the best part. See, for this particular email address, I listed my name as Alex. (As opposed to Alexandra or something made up.) So it populates the subject line with "alex." Amy is one of the very few people I know who calls me something OTHER than Alex. She always has and always will. So if they had chosen to imitate anyone else, they'd have a better chance of me accidentally opening the email without thinking too hard about it.

This amused me, and I thought I would share.

(In other news, this weekend and next week are about to get epic and hectic and crazy so expect some less-than-sensical posts about all sorts of things like going to Fairfax and moving and how Gimli adapts to apartment living.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Powerpoints? In MY blog?

So I saw somewhere else that you can embed your Powerpoint presentations into Blogger posts. So of course I had to try it. I picked one of my shorter MLA demonstrations (I don't think I've ever really used this one in a class, I just made it for fun/practice).


I've been a legal adult for a while now, and one thing I don't think I'll ever be able to confidently do as an adult is taxes.

I use TurboTax every year, and it has served me well. I don't have anything particularly unique or remarkable about my income, so it isn't terribly confusing. Or, it shouldn't be.

When I fill out my TurboTax forms online, I feel like I'm taking a final exam in a class I didn't know I was enrolled in, and I'm not going to get the test back with helpful, constructive remarks in the margins. If I do get the test back graded, it means I'm in enormous trouble because I got so much of it wrong, or I filled out the wrong pages, or I skipped a page I was supposed to do.

So I think what I'm saying is, no matter how many years I'm around to fill out my taxes, I will always feel nineteen again when I'm doing them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Genius Cat

Birk called me yesterday, out of the blue, while I was at work. He was nearly speechless. See, his sister had called him and asked him to go look for something in her room. He did, and didn't know that Gimli (our cat) had followed him. Before he left the room, he heard something in the bathroom that sounded like a leak, so he investigated. It was Gimli, using the toilet for its intended purpose.

I would like to emphasize that we have never made any attempt whatsoever to teach Gimli or any of the other animals in the house to use the toilet. (I have seen the other two cats and the dog drink out of them, though.)

I knew Gimli was smarter than he let on. All that batting around leaves and balls of foil is just an act.

Monday, December 3, 2012


I was just going through my Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) contents and cleaning some things up. I haven't used Drive in a while and wanted to make it neat and tidy so I could go back to using it.

I found a document titled "50 in 2012" which was supposed to be fifty things I wanted to do this year. I only got around to writing 26 of them, apparently, and I haven't viewed it in many months. As it turns out, I managed to do eight of them. (Some weren't really fair, like "vote" because I was going to do that anyway.)

I won't tell you what all of them are, but some of my favorites were "go to a midnight movie release" and "get new glasses" and "complete a Craftster swap." That last one seems surreal because I've been doing tons of them this year. I was disappointed to find that I left off "complete NaNoWriMo" because I could have marked that one off!

So I'm going to write another list and look at it for a little while, but eventually forget about it, and in December 2013, I'll find it again and see how I did!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pizza Pro

I learned last night that I am apparently a pizza tossing champ. Elaine made homemade pizza dough (YUM!) and we each made our own pizzas. I have mad pizza tossing skills, check it:

And on top of that, it was delicious. Hooray for homemade pizza!

Friday, November 30, 2012

I Win!

51,664 words.
101 pages in Microsoft Word.
70 chapters.
30 days.
1 horrible, cheesy ending.

Winner badge 100x100

I won NaNoWriMo!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


People are always asking me "how do you do it?" I work over 60 hours a week at three different jobs, I'm always crafting and joining craft swaps, plus all my side projects like blogs and whatever else I happen to want to dabble in at the moment. The usual answer is just, I do it. I have momentum. I'm constantly busy, so being busy is normal for me.

But sometimes, I don't just do it. I lose momentum or I take on too much and I get overwhelmed. I still usually manage to get almost everything done (although usually there is a delay, or the quality suffers) but I go crazy doing it.

Now is one of those times.

I guess I probably lost some momentum with the four days off from all work for Thanksgiving, but if I hadn't had those four days, I would be completely burned out and probably wouldn't even be able to drag myself out of bed in the morning. Mostly, this time, I just took on too many projects.

Birk knows this; he hates when I join a new craft swap because he knows it's one more thing I don't need to work on that just adds onto the pile of stuff I have to get done. Lucky for him (and me) I'm shipping for three swaps tomorrow and I'll only be in one, which is a very low-stress, long-term swap that I'm really enjoying being in.

So, long story short, I need to learn how to say no to myself. Sure, that swap would be really fun to join... if I had time to enjoy it. I'd love to start another blog... if I had time to enjoy it. Of course I'd like to learn that skill... if I had time to enjoy it.

Looks like I have a new mantra... "Will I have time to enjoy it?"

Also, since I haven't been posting my NaNoWriMo daily counter, here is an update:

NaNoWriMo counter: 46,207 words (92.414%)

(I know it seems oxymoronic to talk about how I shouldn't be taking on new projects, then brag about my NaNoWriMo word count, but NaNo is something I really enjoy, doesn't actually take that much time, and it has not added to my stress. In fact, it's something I have worked on when I'm trying to avoid thinking about the things that stress me out currently. So maybe I'm using it as a procrastination tool, but if that's really the case, then I don't need to worry about that after Friday, because it will be over after then.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Made It to Thanksgiving!

You guys! I have four days off from work!!! I don't have a clue what to do with myself (except the things I already have planned out). In the meantime...

NaNoWriMo counter: 39,531 words (79.062%)

And now I'm going to watch Little Miss Sunshine (because I checked it out from the library) and try really hard not to multitask.

Monday, November 19, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update

Yup, I skipped yesterday. Didn't write a single word for NaNoWriMo. But I'm well ahead, so I didn't stress over it. I just had to get back to it today, for the sake of recovering my writing momentum. And I did; hooray!

(Also, Cassy has won! Congratulations to Cassy!)

NaNoWriMo counter: 37,044 words (74.088%)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Christmastime is Halfway Here

There are two signs that Christmas is coming, as far as I'm concerned, and one of them has arrived! One is the arrival of Clementines in grocery stores, which I'm still waiting for. The other is when Target starts carrying these:

Oh hell yes. I will eat about 23 boxes of these before January. (Note: That is probably an exaggeration.)

In other news...

NaNoWriMo counter: 34,927 words (69.854%)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Two-Thirds Done!

NaNoWriMo counter: 33,084 words (66.168%)

In other news, I betrayed Gimli's trust. With Birk out of town, and us late on giving Gimli his flea goop* already, I had to do it myself. Lucky for me, he got in my lap and eventually sat still to bathe himself, and even luckier for me, the flea goop was already unwrapped and sitting on my desk. So I just put it on his neck. He stopped moving, looked at me, then scrambled to get down on the floor, knowing that I had done something unforgivable (in the form of cool liquid on his neck).

He came back to consider getting back in my lap after a few minutes, then changed his mind and decided that the carpetless floor of the closet (currently undergoing necessary renovation) was a better sleeping place than my lap of lies and trickery.

But here's a cute picture of where he was sleeping (also in the closet) when I got home:

*"flea goop" is, of course, the technical term for topical flea medication. But you had probably guessed that already.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


So... We filled out all the online paperwork to get an apartment. We'll go in to sign the lease and get the keys and whatnot on December 8. (This is also the day I was already working a half day so I could drive up to Fairfax in the afternoon. Because I love a good busy day.)

(Wouldn't it be cool if we still used keys like that? Neat.)

Not that it's half as exciting as apartment-procuring, but I will have a NaNo update later.

NaNoWriMo counter: 31,177 words (62.354%)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Is the slump over?

As you may have noticed from my last several posts, I hit a bit of a slump with NaNoWriMo. It happens to the best writers, so if you're having the same problem, worry not! You can power through it.

I think I might finally be past the part of my story that was giving me trouble (why on earth did I allow two post-apocalyptic survivors to decide that they needed a garden? That is not fascinating reading!) and I might be able to pick back up to my earlier pace. At any rate, though, I'm still ahead of the average needed to win, so I'm not too worried about it.

NaNoWriMo counter: 29,314 words (58.628%)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

So much typing

I have been a typing fiend today. Work projects, blogging, NaNoWriMo, emails... Lots of typing.

NaNoWriMo counter: 28,720 words (57.44%)

Also, ALA JobList retweeted about my Hack Library School guest blog post today. I thought that was pretty cool.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Solar Eclipse

If you happen to find yourself between Australia / New Zealand and Chile tomorrow, check out the total solar eclipse. If you want better details than that, check out this map that NASA and Google made.

I had a lot of work to get done today, so I had an extremely slow writing day...

NaNoWriMo counter: 27,472 words (54.944%)

Also, side note: We are looking at an apartment on Thursday! I hope we like it and can take it and move in over Thanksgiving weekend.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

More than halfway!

Hooray, I have surpassed the halfway mark on my word count!

NaNoWriMo counter: 25,830 words (51.66%)

Also, Birk made delicious lasagna for dinner.

Tomorrow I should be learning a new skill (unrelated to writing) that I will likely be bragging about.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Guest Post Day!

It's here! The day has arrived, and my guest post is up on... Hack Library School!

Here is a direct link to the post.

Fair warning: It's loading really slowly for me right now, so maybe if you try later in the day, it could get better. Not really sure about that.

(NaNo counter update will be up later in the day.)

NaNoWriMo counter: 19,600 words (39.2%)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Writing Writing Writing

Still moving right along with Epilogue (the title of the NaNoWriMo novel).

NaNoWriMo counter: 16,573 words (33.146%)

But in even more exciting news, my totally mysterious guest blog post goes up tomorrow morning! Check here first thing tomorrow for a link to it! (Or check my Facebook, or my Twitter @alexampersandra, or talk to me in person, because I'm going to put it everywhere tomorrow.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Results

I did my democratic duty and voted yesterday, and I'm very pleased with the results of this election. I won't analyze anything; I just wanted to share that I'm happy about how things turned out this year.

I forgot to include a NaNoWriMo count for yesterday because everything was so crazy. (Voting in the morning, then I had to get some lunch and go to work a little earlier than normal, then I had a class to teach and projects to get done, and when I got home, I stayed upstairs to eat dinner with Birk's parents and watch election results come in.) So yesterday's count is:

NaNoWriMo counter: 13,416 (26.832%)

That wasn't so good for my daily average, but at least I made some progress, despite the crazy-busy day. I will update with today's counter later.

Update for today, as promised. (I wrote less than 1000 words today! Eek!)

NaNoWriMo counter: 14,394 (28.788%)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Remember, Remember

...the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I see no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.

Looks just like the mask, no?

NaNoWriMo counter: 12,192 words (24.384%)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Call Me Butter

...because I'm on a NaNoWriMo roll!

NaNoWriMo counter: 10,124 words (20.248%)

Also, a revised version of my guest post was sent in today. And I sent my Christmas list to my aunt. (What? You other 26-year-olds don't make Christmas lists? Laaame.) And I checked out a book on how to use Microsoft Access so I can teach myself.

But perhaps the most exciting part of the day was having breakfast with Soaper at Pop's Diner Co! Delicious and fun.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


I have nothing to report other than a throbbing headache and my NaNoWriMo progress.

NaNoWriMo counter: 7753 words (15.506%)

Here's a pretty picture of a typewriter to make up for the lack of interesting news in this post:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Guest Post Countdown

I got word today that if all goes well, my guest post on Blog-More-Famous-Than-Mine will go up a week from today!

In other news, I'm up to 5502 words for NaNoWriMo (even after starting over this morning!) I'm writing it in five parts, and the first two are the shortest, and they're done. So I'm working on Part III now. It might be the longest, although four and five have potential too.

NaNoWriMo counter: 5502 words (11.004%)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo and Hilary's Birthday

Happy birthday to my evil stepsister, Hilary! (She claimed the title early on; don't blame me!)

Also, Happy NaNoWriMo to everyone else! If you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, check out their website and Cassy's post on Review Me Twice to get some background info.

I'm at 2344 words (in three chapters) so far, and I don't yet hate my characters, plot, or setting. Hooray for me!

If you're a NaNoWriMo-er, add me as a writing buddy! Alh_1042

NaNoWriMo counter: 2344 words (4.688%)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I don't usually do much for Halloween, much as I'd like to. I don't have a costume (well, I have a "spider witch" robe that has been my fallback option since 2007) and we live too far off the road to hand out candy, though I'd be home too late for that anyway, since I work until 7 pm. I do have some nice decorations from being in the 13 Mini Days of Halloween swap, but that's about it. We never even got around to going back to Stoney's for a pumpkin to carve. (We didn't carve one last year, either... or the year before that. I actually don't remember carving a pumpkin since I lived at my dad's house.)

At any rate, though:

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is here! There's nothing too bad here... it's raining but it really isn't very windy.

Of course, we had to go walk around the yard and check out what everything looks like.

I'll try to remember to post some "after" photos so you know what you're looking at (or rather, what is under the water you're looking at).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

VLA Conference & CNU Updates

I went to my first professional conference yesterday! It was the VLA (Virginia Library Association) conference, held in Williamsburg.

I went to four information sessions (one on Find It Virginia, one on Pinterest, one on Encyclopedia Virginia, and one on copyright law and fair use) plus the closing meeting which included the keynote speaker's address (Hillary Jordan was funny and well-spoken and I love her), and I visited vendors' exhibits, which is fun because I collected some swag. (Two books, a pen, a lanyard, a bag - other than the one you get for registering - some bookmarks and informational packets and handouts, and I got a USB drive from the Encyclopedia Virginia presentation.)

I brought Birk along with me, thinking we could go to Colonial Williamsburg or something like that afterward. Instead, we went to CNU and had dinner at Schooners, and walked around campus to see all the new construction.

The new Wingfield

More of the new Wingfield. That's the Admin building on the right.
What a beautiful campus. If only we were all a few years younger,
we could be going to school here instead of the old version.

Obligatory photo of the TribLib

Overall, I really enjoyed it. It was fun, it was informative, and it's something you're supposed to do as a professional librarian. They're having it in Williamsburg again next year, so I am probably going again then!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Hey look, I joined the Twitterverse! I'm @alexampersandra. See? That's me, right there. Now I can tweet.

Mostly I will be tweeting about my various blogs and important things that I do. Things like my upcoming guest post on a certain famouser-than-mine blog, or going to the VLA conference on Friday. Tweetable things. Things I shall tweet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Happy Mole Day!

Today is my dad's birthday! But that has nothing to do with Mole Day. (Happy birthday anyway, Dad.)

Mole Day celebrates something the scientific community calls Avogadro's number, which is 6.02 x 10^23. That's the number of particles (atoms or molecules) in a mole of something. (A mole is a basic unit of measurement.)

In eleventh grade, we could get extra credit for making something creative for Mole Day. I made a sock puppet of a mole (the mammal) who helped me give a brief talk about moles (the measurement) and Avogadro's number. He was pretty cute!

So, happy Mole Day, everybody! Science!

Monday, October 22, 2012


Well, now I know why everyone says Bonefish Grill is so good... it is! We (my family and Birk and I) went there for dinner last night, and it was delicious.

As usual, when I find myself at a seafood restaurant, I got chicken. But it wasn't just chicken. It was delicious chicken marsala with garlic mashed potatoes and sweet glazed carrots. YUM. They also have really good bread, and the Bang Bang Shrimp that everyone is always talking about are not firecracker-hot like I thought. They're just fried shrimp with a remoulade on them, which is delicious.

This feels sort of like the verbal version of an Instagram photo of my meal, but mostly I'm posting this so that I remember that this was really good. (I have a terrible memory and I know it.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Library Holds

Until recently, I had never put a book (or anything) on hold at the public library, despite having used that same library for the past twenty years.

When I went to pick up the book I put on hold before, it blew my mind that the hold shelf was self-service. (That's not how we do things at academic libraries, usually.)

And now I just want to marvel for a moment at how unbelievably easy it is to put a book on hold. I went from finding out the title of the book I needed to put on hold to having it in the system in about 45 seconds. Granted, I use a library catalog literally every day, and I have my library card on a keychain attached to my ID holder, which is currently on my belt loop, so it was easy to log in, but still... pretty impressive.

I know I never had to use a card catalog or microfilm or subject indexes or any of the old-school library resources, but I still appreciate how easy we have it now. (Fun fact: the public library's catalog will even send you a text message with the call number of the book you're looking at if you ask it to. That way, you don't have to find paper and pen and write it down before you go to the shelf!)

PS - The book I'm putting on hold? Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres, for our review on 11/2!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I'm writing a guest post

Not here, that would be weird... Writing a guest post for my own blog. No, I've been accepted to write a guest post for a real, actual famous (semi-famous) blog with followers and everything!!!

I'm not going to say who it's for (although there's a little bit of a hint in the tags!) until the post is written and edited and approved and posted, which could be a while, since I just got the acceptance email last night, but I promise I will link to it on this blog when it goes up.


This is what blogging looks like, I guess.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What else am I doing?

I was writing a post about how I haven't posted in two days because I've had a little migraine and blah blah blah and then I realized that nobody wants that. You don't want to read about it, I don't want comments telling me how other people handle their headaches (although, who am I kidding? I don't get comments in the first place), and it's just a very boring post overall.

So instead I'll take a moment to say CHECK OUT MY OTHER BLOGS!

I've just revamped the wedding blog, because of an announcement coming up on Saturday (spoiler alert: we're switching the venue).

Cassy and I will be wrapping up our mythology week on Review Me Twice tomorrow with a review of The Penelopiad, and next week covers non-fiction and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

I finished posting all the items from the Halloween swap at my crafting blog, but not much will be happening in the near future, because I can't be giving away my Christmas surprises!

And Peanut Butter, the Little Visitor, is having a good time, even though mostly we've just gone to work and eaten food.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Yum, Indian Food

There's a new-ish restaurant on Lynnhaven Parkway called the Bay Leaf Bistro. Birk and I got around to trying it out last night, and it was DELICIOUS. It's Indian and Asian food, but mostly Indian. I don't eat Indian much because it has a reputation for being spicy, and I don't really do spicy, but this was sooo good.

Their naan is delicious (which isn't saying too much because I always think naan is delicious) and I had a vegetarian thing that had potatoes and vegetables in a red sauce that was pretty good. Birk had some kind of lamb thing that I thought was too spicy but was otherwise good. Plus we got some vegetable egg rolls (yum) and some fried shrimp appetizer. We both ate too much but it was great.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I bought new shoes! (I know, it's a slow news day.)

Croft and Barrow Boat Shoes

I've been thinking about buying those shoes for almost a year now, and they went on sale, so I bought them. (On a day when Alabama beat Mizzou 42-10, I might add.)

That's all I've got today. Told you it was a slow news day.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

I finally (finally) returned Hanna to Netflix without watching it. (I guess we just weren't in the mood for it. For a month.) And I got Who Framed Roger Rabbit? in return, because I didn't check my queue and change it. So I figured we ought to at least watch this one before I send it back.

That movie... is incredible. I mean, the plot is really basic and the characters are predictable and bland, but... Well. It was made in 1988 (that's the year Birk was born). The animation is incredible. Incredible!!! The only time it bothered me was when Eddie goes into ToonTown and his lighting is way off. Actually, when Judge Doom sprouts springs out of his feet to jump across the Acme warehouse, that looked pretty bad, too. But those were literally the only two instances of bad animation-meets-live-action in the entire film. Also, the animation in the very beginning? Amazing!

I told Birk it was like Finding Nemo. See, the animators got a huge lesson in actual aquatic biology before they started on Finding Nemo, and they showed off absolutely everything they learned. Whoever worked on Who Framed Roger Rabbit? got a lesson in drawing perspective, and they had to show off all their skills.

So I don't think I could watch it over and over, like some great movies, but it was worth watching once to see all the fantastic feats of animation.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Leisure Reading (Not Mine)

I've had a couple of students come into the library looking for "something good to read" lately. We librarians call these requests "reader's advisory" because we find out what they have enjoyed reading and what they like, and make suggestions based on that information.

The first one told me she liked The Hunger Games books, so of course I got really excited. I asked if she had read Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, and I am very pleased to report that she has, and she liked those books too. I told her a few other books that I like, because they're along the same vein, and told her what section she would find most of the books like that, and she came back with The Book Thief (which I haven't read, but want to, and many of my friends recommend it).

The second one came in asking for The Hobbit, which I only recently read (in preparation for the movie release in December, of course). I told him that the only copy we have here is annotated. When I told him what that meant (it has extra information, like cultural notes or added context or cross-references with other works) he said that sounded even better. Better! He preferred the annotated version of something, which implies having to read more! I'm so proud. (This student is always coming in looking for books that I like or think are interesting once he tells me about them.)

I like this trend, and I hope it continues. Maybe I can get the number of holds we currently have on Fifty Shades of Grey to become the number of holds we have on American Gods or Fahrenheit 451 or maybe 1984.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I went to Pizza Hut on the way home last night to pick up dinner. (Don't give me a hard time; I worked 13 hours and it sounded delicious, and it was easy. Plus Birk and I got two meals each out of a $12 purchase. I don't care if it's greasy.)

There was one other customer there when I arrived, and she turned and informed me that she had been waiting for 15 minutes already. Okay... whatever. I ordered my pizza online half an hour ago, and I'm ten minutes early for the pick-up time I specified. I don't really care. Sitting on a bench and playing a few rounds of Scramble With Friends sounds fine to me.

So anyway, the PH girl comes out with a pizza for the woman, and opened the box to show it to her. The lady asked about bacon, and the girl pointed out that there was, in fact, bacon on this pizza. The lady, unsatisfied, does a lot of grumbling and heavy sighing and tsk-ing, but she pays. The lady is talking to the girl while the receipt is printed, and while she signs it and hands it back, but I can't hear what she's saying, because her back is to me. When she moves aside to gather her things, I hear some pretty rude things (but only vaguely, because I'm half paying attention, half wondering if I was in the middle of an episode of Law & Order: SVU the last time I closed Netflix). The PH girl says to the woman, "Please don't be disrespectful to me; I haven't done anything." The lady does some more grumbling and when she gets to the door, yells, "Shut up, bitch!" at the girl. While the girl, her coworker, and I watch, flabbergasted, the woman goes out to her car. The manager (I assume) went to the door and called out to the woman that there's no call for such language, especially to a polite high school girl who is working hard, etc.

The PH employees and I discussed the woman for a few minutes while we waited for my food to finish up (like I said, I was early) and I left them a big tip (I assumed that the previous customer had left no tip at all). I joked with the girl and tried to cheer her up because she really hadn't done anything at all. The lady must either act that way all the time (which must be just exhausting, really) or was having a bad day, but in either case, you don't act that way toward someone who has done you no wrong.

The whole point of sharing this (very weird, I think) story is to say this: be nice to people. Seriously, if your life is so messed up that you need to yell and swear at the high schooler selling pizza at 10pm on a Monday night, you really need to fix some things.