Sunday, July 27, 2008

Beach pics

Last week I posted some pics of funny signs I saw on the way to Seaside and Cannon Beach, and I promised I'd post some pretty stuff later. Well, now it's later, so here we go:

Series of wave pics, all taken on Indian Beach in Ecola State Park:
Waves on Indian Beach #1

Waves on Indian Beach #3

Waves on Indian Beach #4

Waves on Indian Beach #2

Waves on Indian Beach #5

Heart in the sand:
Heart in the sand

Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock from a viewpoint in Ecola State Park:
Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock from Ecola State Park viewpoint

View from overlook above Sea Lion Rocks:
View from  Sea Lion Rocks overlook
Interestingly, there wasn't a sea lion in sight.

Plaque at the overlook with a beautiful quote:
Memorial plaque by Sea Lion Rocks overlook
In case you can't read it in the pic, the quote says: "I dropped a tear in the ocean. When it's found, is when I'll stop loving you." It might be sappy if it weren't on a memorial plaque.

That's about it for that trip. I'm heading back to the beach tonight, this time to Depoe Bay, so I should have some new pics to post soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

8:00 in Boise, Idaho

OK, it isn't 8:00, but I've been dying to work that Lynyrd Skynyrd lyric into a blog post ever since I touched down in Boise. Let's just call it journalistic license. Oh, and I had to look up the spelling of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Let's just call that pathetic.

I'm here for a library meeting on the next generation of integrated library systems (that's library catalogs to those of you who didn't get your library school indoctrination). It's been a good meeting, a nice mix of presentations and group discussions. I've been impressed with the energy and ideas of the attendees, all of whom seem ready to make some big changes to deliver better services. I'll be interested to see if the momentum generated at this meeting translates into anything real. I think it just might.

Interesting though the meeting has been, two days of butt planted in chair makes me restless, so I'll be glad to get off the airplane in Portland and get moving. At least I got out of the hotel last night. It turns out that there are a few graduates of my high school here in Boise (interesting since I went to high school in Northern California). Last night I had dinner with one of them and his family. I hadn't seen this guy since about 1983, so it was a lot of fun to chat and share old stories. I love reconnecting with old friends, and I always come away with new insights on life, growing up, aging, adolescence, and how we all got to where we are now. It's funny how a bunch of small-town kids have traveled some twisted roads in life. There's fodder for at least two books in the lives of my friends and me, though I have no talent for writing fiction, so someone else will have to do the honors or let these stories go untold.

I've spent two days in a meeting devoted to the effects of technological change in libraries. That, along with getting reacquainted with a bunch of old friends over the last couple years, has me reflecting on the connections that are possible through today's technology that were virtually unthinkable 20 years ago. Twenty years ago, I would have kept in touch with two or three old friends, and my only option for reconnecting with the others would have been a high school reunion. We would have sat around the table, drinking and reminiscing and promising to keep in touch. Then we would go back to our lives and forget to call, write, or visit. Then 10 years later we'd repeat the process at the next reunion. Now, each time I find someone online (or he/she finds me), we can keep in touch easily and connect each other with other people we know from back in the day. There are very few people I hung out with in high school that I haven't had some contact with over the last few years -- and I live 700 miles away from my hometown. Sure, Classmates has tacky web ads and makes you pay to contact someone -- but they also provide a valuable service for millions of users. Yes, MySpace and Facebook are in the news regularly, portrayed by blow-dried local newscasters as havens for pedophiles and cyberbullies. But they also provide a way for us to be part of our friends' lives, even when those friends are far away. Now we can share the kind information we used to share while dashing to our lockers or hanging out at lunch: the movie we just saw, the latest news about our families, what we're reading or listening to. Trivial? Sure. But that kind of smalltalk builds connections between people, whether face-to-face or online, separated by a few city blocks or a few states.

As I write this, people are talking about how libraries can build communities--and use technology to do it. I suppose that's the theme of my trip: building community through technology. Lately I've been griping about how my generation was sold a bill of goods, with movies, TV shows, and magazine articles promising us the ultimate in futuristic technology: hover cars, teleportation, and time machines. I'm still waiting for those--especially the time machine and teleportation. Boy, I could get in trouble with those! But I have to admit, no one predicted a global computing network that would link us together across space and time, enabling me to hang out in person with an old friend I could never have found otherwise. I still want my time machine and transporter, but I don't think I'd trade away the internet to get 'em.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

There's funny stuff everywhere

Now that I have either a camera or a camera phone on me most of the time, I notice my surroundings more--especially when they're funny. Check out the latest oddities to cross my path:

You'll remember a couple posts ago I was laughing at the AC/DC and Metallica lullaby CDs? I suspect this baby bib, seen in Spencer's (where else?) is aimed at the same audience:
Seen in Spencer's
They had a couple others that were even more obnoxious, but the sales clerk told me I couldn't take any more pictures. Oh, well, then they won't get any more free advertising in my blog. Nyah nyah nyah!

Friday afternoon Tony and I decided to go to the beach for a few hours. Beach trips always seem to include some absurdities, and this one was no different. Here's one along hwy 26 outside of North Plains:
Take that, Gilroy!
I never knew North Plains had an elephant garlic festival. North Plains to Gilroy: Our garlic is bigger and smells better! Nyah nyah nyah!

Further down hwy 26, we encountered this fine dining establishment:
A fine dining establishment on Hwy 26 heading to Seaside
It was actually a roadside stand with jerky, fruit, and pop. We got some excellent buffalo jerky there, along with some raspberries that were infested with some sort of bugs. Since said bugs were hiding inside the berries where the stem goes, I'm pretty sure I became an inadvertent insectivore Friday afternoon till I finally noticed the little, um, buggers. I wonder... Would the Inadvertent Insectivores be a good name for a punk band?

When we finally got to Seaside, we encountered a car dealer with a sense of humor:
Used car dealer with a sense of humor

There's a longer, funnier version of this joke, which I heard for the first time last winter, courtesy of my husband's somewhat-manic anesthesiologist:

Q. What did the bra say to the hat?
A. I've got these two covered. You go on ahead.

Hey, don't blame me. Blame the guy with access to the good drugs!

That's about it for now. I'm typing this from gate B2 of the Portland airport, and my flight is due to start boarding in a few minutes. When I have some time I'll post more pictures from the beach trip. The next batch will actually be pretty instead of ridiculous.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Librarian innuendos

A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette posted something about library-related innuendos, which led to a long list of comments suggesting more innuendos and dreadful library-related pickup lines. We librarians may be nerdy, but we aren't dead!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summeritis and Life in 2008

I've been suffering from a severe case of writer's block lately, which I'm pretty sure is secondary to my severe case of summeritis. Summeritis is a bit like senioritis was back in high school, except it isn't quite as much fun (less partying, more sleeping). Symptoms of summeritis include:

  • A complete lack of motivation to do anything productive. Even favorite hobbies seem like too much work.
  • Staying up way too late
  • Sleeping way too late
  • An overwhelming desire to lie in a lounge chair with a cold drink and a good book for hours at a time
  • Unwillingness to wear anything more substantial or dressy than shorts, a tank top, and flip flops
  • Basking in memories of summers past, when each summer day seemed filled with endless possibilities involving the pool, the park, or a cute member of the gender of your choice (often found at the pool or the park). Dang. Where's my time machine?
  • Moving to a tropical island and making a living selling tchotchkes to tourists starts sounding like a good career plan
  • It almost seems worth it to go back to teaching so you can have summers off. Note: The operative word in this sentence is, "almost."

In my sun-induced lethargy, I'm finding it difficult to think of anything to say, creative or not, so I've turned to my inbox for inspiration. I haven't gotten any amusing spam lately, so I'm having to dig a little deeper. Fortunately, my pal Gunnar came to the rescue today, forwarding along a funny bit that's been making the e-mail rounds since at least the late 90s. Here it is, with my not-so-witty responses interspersed. I know it isn't up to my usual (low) standards, but it's the best I can do. Once I sell my house and move to Belize, I should have something more interesting to write about. Anyone wanna buy a lovely tiki god? I'll throw in the grass skirt free.


1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.

Haven't done that yet, but give me time.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.
Sad but true. I would also add that I have trouble playing backgammon with a real backgammon set. I can't quite remember how to set it up, because my PDA's backgammon game sets up for me. Pathetic.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.
Not quite, but if you throw in email addresses, I think we're there.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
All the time! And I've also IMed with someone a few offices away.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.
Yes yes yes! Don't make me find an envelope and a stamp to communicate with you, and phones are so 1988. Actually, email is so 2005. Doesn't everyone text now?

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.
I refuse to do this, but my husband calls me from the driveway, usually to tell me he's home. Well, duh... I may not be Sherlock Holmes, but I'm pretty sure I would have noticed when you walked in the door--in about the time it took you to dial the damn phone.

7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen
Yes, in tiny print way too small for normal humans to read. I first noticed this phenomenon in about 1995, when I was watching a baseball game at a friend's house. ESPN had their web address in the corner of the screen. Both it and the score were way too small to see, and I still had OK eyesight back then. Shortly thereafter, it became impossible for me to watch cable news. The talking head reading the news was in a little box, surrounded by at least three other boxes that flashed and scrolled stuff. It was worse than frames on web sites! I have the attention span of a gnat--I can't deal with that much distraction.

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
LOL. I'm not usually guilty of this one, but the hubster goes into hysterics if he can't find his phone. Heaven forbid he might miss a call from some member of his family, wanting to borrow money. And heaven forbid I don't have my phone at hand in case he wants to call me to tell me that someone in his family wants to borrow money.

10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.
Nah, I drink my caffeine of choice while online. Multitasking, baby!

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )
Not yet, and if I start doing that, please shoot me.

12. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.
Guilty. Throw in a sheepish look or two also.

13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
I'm still contemplating that, as well as whether or not to include my inane comments. Worse still, I think I'll post it on my blog. Email forwarding is so 2002.

14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
More like too oblivious.

15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.
*Sigh* Guilty.

~~~~~~~~~~~AND FINALLY~~~~~~~~~~~~

NOW U R LAUGHING at yourself.

I laugh at myself every day! It seems to the be the trendy thing to do, judging by how many other people laugh at me.

Go on, forward this to your friends. You know you want to!
Maybe, but the blog post would be more efficient.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I am at here

Awhile back I posted a fine lecture on punctuation and usage, populated by our friendly neighborhood zombies. Today we continue that tradition by taking on one of my all-time pet peeves:

[Two hapless victims are running down a dark alley, pursued by a hungry zombie]
Hapless Victim: Hey Bubba! Where are you at?
Hapless Victim #2: I'm over here! But don't end a sentence with a preposition.
Zombie: [chomps into Victim #2, who clearly has the juicier brain]

OK, so George Romero has nothing to fear from me.

Getting back to the point: Knowing how to use prepositions correctly will make you more appealing to zombies. No, wait. I mean, Using prepositions correctly will make you sound more educated and make me less likely to roll my eyes and grit my teeth when you talk. For example:

Well-Spoken Hapless Victim #1: Where are the zombies?
Well-Spoken Hapless Victim #2: They're right behind you!
Zombie #1: [Chomp]

Victim #1 doesn't need to add "at" to the end of the sentence! You wouldn't respond, "I am at here," would you? Repeat after me:

"Where are you?" is a complete sentence!

p.s. Did you notice that there's a second error in the first example above? "Hungry zombie" is redundant. They're always hungry.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Funny sight on the playground

We decided to enjoy the gorgeous summer evening tonight, so we picked up some sandwiches and headed for Commonwealth Lake, a local park with a couple playgrounds and, of course, a lake. While walking along the path to the playground, I got another jarring reminder that things have changed since I was a kid. Lying on the grass in a pile were three kids, probably between about 7 and 10 years old. They were all jostling for position so they could see the screen of some laptop-like contraption, possibly a portable DVD player. A few feet away, there was a swing set and various other playground attractions, but they were happy with their little screen. *Sigh* I think I'll just curl up in my rocking chair with my Geritol now...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Let's visit the CD store to see what we can see

For the latest chapter in my life of non-stop excitement, I'll take you along as I visit Everyday Music, one of our local new-and-used CD stores. Oh, stop yawning... you might be entertained... a little.

First, in the Best News I've Heard All Week category, we have this beautiful sight a couple doors up from the CD store:
El Pollo Loco is coming!

What? It's just a sign, you say? No, no, no! It is the coming of my favorite fast food place from back home in California, El Pollo Loco! I've been whining since I left in 1989 about missing that place, and I drag my poor family all over the place to go to one every time we go back to CA. Soon I'll be able to get my fix anytime. Now if I could just get all my friends to move up here, I'd never have to go home again.

Back to the CD store. While waiting for Husband to search every nook and cranny for Night of the Living Dead 3 (yes, they have DVDs at Everyday Music too), I amused myself by browsing the soundtracks. Check out this gem:
Seen in the soundtrack bin at Everyday Music
Yes, folks, zombie chickens. It's Colonel Sanders' worst nightmare. And I thought Black Sheep was bad.

Now here are a couple for those of you who buy your infant rompers at Hot Topic:
AC/DC lullabies??

All together now:

And you
Will sleep all night long


And of course:
How you can tell Gen X-ers have reached parenthood
I always did think "Enter Sandman" would make a great lullaby. (That's Lullaby Metallica in case the lettering is too small to read)

So there ya go. Other people just go shopping in suburbia. I shop in Absurdia (where I also live and work, but we'll cover those in other posts).

p.s. Didn't I tell you I was going to cheer up?

Time to cheer up

For those who don't know, it's been a difficult few months here at Camp Crum. We've dealt with illnesses and injuries, as well as family and friends with various problems. Through it all, I've managed to keep my sense of humor and, for the most part, enjoy myself. The last week or so, though, has been tough. I've felt a little like a one-woman Whack-A-Mole game. Something happens to knock me down, I pop back up as usual, and something else hits me. Rinse. Repeat. Or, as one of my friends who's also having a difficult time put it, "Why does life always have to give us lemons? Enough with the damn lemons already!" It's not that any one thing has been devastating--it's just that there have been quite a few things. But after spending a week being moody, brooding, and depressed, I'm tired of it. I believe Abraham Lincoln was right when he said that most folks are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Or that famous philosopher, Mike Brady, who once declared, "We've had enough worse. It's time for some better." Yes, it is.

The problems will still be there. Hubby is still injured, Mom is still hurting, several of my friends are still going through some difficult times, and I still have some personal drama to sort through. But in the midst of all that, I'm going to look for joy and laughter wherever I can find it. Just writing this has lifted my mood, probably because this blog is one of the ways I reach out to others. If there's an upside to being depressed, it's realizing how many friends I have and how much they mean to me. If you're reading this--especially if you made it this far--you're probably one of those friends, so thank you. And be warned: I intend to return to my usual silliness very soon. You might want to check your chair before you sit down. I think I found a Whoopee cushion while cleaning house yesterday.