Monday, December 22, 2008

99 Things

I saw this on Stephen's Lighthouse library blog (Stephen Abram is a bigwig in the library community and keeps up a rather entertaining blog). Anyway, I thought I'd play along. 


Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band. *This is just a fantasy... no musical talent here, sadly.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland/world.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo. *As long as karaoke counts...

11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.

15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.

24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a marathon. 
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.

31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.*I honestly have no clue where this would even be... but let me know, and I'm there!

35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37.Had enough money to be truly satisfied.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke. *Ha.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.

46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.

61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.

64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.

71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.

74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.

77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.*Not to my recollection, and I feel weird saying I WANT to do that. I guess it's more like that if I were in the situation, I would want to. But I don't really wish for such a situation to arise. 
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.

96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.

I'm a bit saddened by how little I've done! This actually caused a bit more self-reflection than I had assumed. I realized I want to both have a baby AND adopt. (I seriously couldn't choose between the two, so just went with both.) I also thought it was interesting to note the things I had no interest in doing.... Ususally my stance is that I want to experience anything and everything, but I found myself having no interest in holding a baby lamb (and who doesn't love baby animals?), hitch-hiking, riding on a motorcycle, or visiting a concentration camp (I'm pretty sure I would lose it and be haunted forever)... among other things. Anyway, why don't some of you try it out? 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Stay Away from Mistletoe

So we have a reference line here at the library. And while most of the calls we get are simple enough ("what is the definition of blah blah blah?"), we have one patron who calls fairly often with hilariously absurd questions and requests. Well, to be fair, it's not that the questions are so ridiculous, but her incessant need that you answer her questions in exactly the fashion she wants them. Hard to explain, but I think you'll see my point after reading below.

For example, last week it was "Hey Lauren, I need a refresher on Joan of Arc. Was she a Christian?" To answer something like this, I ignore all of my reference training and head straight to Wikipedia, from which I read her the first paragraph. ("Oh ok great, Lauren. That's exactly what I wanted to know.")

So this morning, she calls and wants me basically to help diagnose her insomnia symptoms. She wanted to know about the second kind of insomnia, where you wake up and can't get back to sleep, and what the specific causes are. Wikipedia wasn't going to cut it this time, so I found a reference book in our medical reference section about Sleep Disorders, and read parts of it to her. Needless to say, it did not suffice that "worry, anxiety, and pain" were the top causes of this phenomenon. She kept saying "you aren't exactly hitting it on the head. I need to know Top Causes, not just suggested causes." So basically, I reworded the "suggested causes" several different ways until she was more than happy. 

So tonight, she calls back and remembers me. And here's how the conversation went. And let me preface this by saying that K just informed me that she calls her often, giving a fictional name, and was most recently asking for help diagnosing a family member with "egomania." 

Lady: Well Lauren! What are you still doing there? I'll just call back later and let someone else help me.
Me: No no no, ma'am, I'm happy to hel....
L: Ok then, I need to know synonyms for "objects of love."
M: So... like names for objects of affection, like sweetheart?
L: Yes.
M: (Looking at well we've got honey, love, valentine....
L: No not the actual words. I need to knwo what it means to have an object of love.
M: So what exact information are you looking for, ma'am?
L: I want to know what happens when you have an object of love. Or when you don't. What does it do?
M: Well I can give you information about how it affects your brain?
L: No no no I need specific facts about what needs it provides for. What does it do to you? What does it mean?
M: (Completely lost and scanning Wikipedia, looking at H and pretending to blow my brains out.) So I read her this: 
Biological models of sex tend to view love as a mammalian drive, much like hunger or thirst.[7] Helen Fisher, a leading expert in the topic of love, divides the experience of love into three partly overlapping stages: lust, attraction, and attachment.
L: Mammalian? What is mammalian?
M: As in, pertaining to mammals. 
L: Oh ok, so upright walking with spinal chords?
M: Yes, exactly. 
L: Ok, so what else?
M: Ok, well this is interesting:

Studies have shown that brain scans of those infatuated by love display a resemblance to those with a mental illness. Love creates activity in the same area of the brain that hunger, thirst, and drug cravings create activity in. New love, therefore, could possibly be more physical than emotional. Over time, this reaction to love mellows, and different areas of the brain are activated, primarily ones involving long-term commitments.
L: Ohhhh now that makes sense! Like egomaniacal? 
M: Well I'm not sure (Sadly, I thought up until a few minutes ago she was making that word up... therefore proving that librarians are not walking dictionaries afterall)...
L: Well Lauren, I just think people who want to be in love are crazy. Just crazy. Why would you want such a thing? It makes you mentally ill in the first stages, then you're miserable. What's the point?
M: ...... (at a loss for words)
L: What do you think Lauren? I would like to know the  opinion of an education person like yourself.
M: Well I'm no scientist, ma'am. And I can't say I know all that much about love these days, but I can assure you there's a point to it.
L: Well I just don't think so. I think we ought to warn everyone. They need to just stay away from the mistletoe this Christmas! Nothing good can come of it!
M: (Laughing nervously...) 
L: We'll write pamphlets and distribute them! Stay away from mistletoe!
M: Ma'am can I help you with anything else?
L: No, you've been wonderful. Thank you so much. I'll talk to you soon. 

K, H, and I have concluded she must have a family member who she fears is egomaniacal, maybe because he/she has fallen in love? Perhaps her worry over this is what is keeping her up at night.

Lesson learned: do not answer the phone with PRI 12 pops up. And stay away from mistletoe. 

So stay away from mistletoe folks, it could ruin your life. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Why I woke up happy this morning.

I'll go ahead and apologize for my over-wordiness. I'm just feeling... inspired. And yes, a little cheesy. But what's new?

I am absolutely overwhelmed following last night's events. Brought to tears continually. This is such a beautiful moment in American history, and I am proud to have witnessed it, and to have actively participated in it by voting for Barack Obama yesterday.

Now, I've never claimed to be a political expert. I find myself constantly bogged down by the issues and the "he saids," and the constant bickering disheartens me to no end. But I knew enough yesterday to confidently make an informed decision, and I decided that Barack Obama stands for what will be best for me, and what will be best for this country.

The sky was bright this morning when I woke, and my first thought was one of hope for the day. Which makes sense since "hope" was something on my mind all of last night. I hear they were dancing in the streets and shooting fireworks in NYC, they rolled Toomer's in Auburn. But I must admit, however, that mixed with all of the bright and shiny hope and inspiration and excitement, I was disheartened by the words of others who did not feel the same way as me. I expected a backlash, and this campaign has raised so many issues that I don't know why I didn't expect one as ugly as it's been, but I'm still surprised by what I've seen and read and heard. We are all Americans. We believe in America. Or at least we should. But this is why I hate politics... it brings out the absolute worst in people.

But I digress. I got on here to rant about hope and inspiration. Many people have called me an idealist, as if that's a bad thing. And I've been told that "it's not feasible to think that that much change can be good." Well to that, I say this. Our founding fathers were nothing, if not idealists. This country was founded on hope, optimism, and idealism. And change... is nothing but good. Without the vast changes our country has experienced, this election would not have been possible. As a straight, white, Christian woman... I realize I don't fit into many minority groups. I've not experienced persecution directly. To me, this election was not about race or religion (though I'll admit that most of the tears I shed last night were out of pride for how far this country has come, and for those who are finally seeing a light in the end of a very long and dark tunnel), but about attitude. It's about the attitude that we are all Americans. At the end of the day, regardless of our skin color, our religion, or where we live... we come from a background that has prospered on hope, on love, and on an optimism that dammit, we are America, and we do things differently here. So let's do things differently for once.

More than anything, I urge America to move forward, to put aside our differences and rally together for our country. To keep our eyes and minds and hearts open and give this man a chance. Because right now he IS America. He represents the American Dream, the pick-yourself-up-and-fight-like-hell-for-what-you-believe-in. And so many people saw that and voted for the very first time in their lives, because they believed. I don't understand how anyone can ignore the awesomeness of what we've witnessed. This is a beautiful thing, people. Please don't miss it.

Yes we can. Yes we did. And YES WE WILL!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Worst and Most Irrational Fear COMES TRUE

My biggest fears in life are completely irrational. My parents constantly tell me I'm naive to wander city streets and not fear moving by myself to somewhere like New York or New Orleans (well, I'm not fearful for my personal safety). I'm not a complete idiot - I lock my doors and do'nt talk to strangers - but it's not something I focus on. But at 26 years old, I am terrified of ghosts and have just in the past few years been able to sleep without a nightlight. I kid you not. My biggest fear, however, are oversized catfish. Yes, I said catfish. Would you look at these things? Seriously Yuck.

I grew up swimming in lakes and rivers, especially at Lake Eufaula in SE Alabama, and they found these things in the mud just a few hundred feet from the area where we had a place. These things can EAT ME. And ever since I saw the pictures (the most menacing of these creatures are found in a river in Thailand, but I digress...), I haven't set foot in murky water. People laugh and laugh and tell me a catfish would never eat me, and I was content with that, until Liz sent me THIS. FLESH-EATING MUTANT CATFISH.
Yes, in India. But still... how many people see their most irrational and worst nightmares realized? I'm getting nauseated just thinking about swimming in that water.

Oh my toesies!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Career change in store? (again?)

Apparently you can make boo-coodles of money blogging. For example, as I learned from this article in Slate Magazine, the LOLCats folks make over $5k a month, and Perez Hilton, for God's sake, brings in $111,000 A MONTH. Yeah. So I think I need to vamp up these little musings and draw some attention for the big bucks. Who's with me?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Johnny Cash shares his America... with Snoop?

Some of you may know that I looooove Johnny and June Carter Cash. I grew up listening to the vinyls, and there's just something about that deep voice that makes me wish I knew him in all of his reckless crazy abandon days. (And if he actually looked more like Joaguin Phoenix in the movie, I probably would have located a time machine by now.) Anyway, I digress. So there is a new Cash recording coming out soon, called I Am the Nation, in which "deep-voiced singer personifies the country with references to important events and people in American history."I know, right? But here, dear folks, is my favorite part from the article. Let's play a little game of "Do What?"

The documentary features interviews with Bob Dylan; Al Gore; Snoop Dogg; Sheryl Crow; Steve Earle; Kris Kristofferson; Loretta Lynn; Merle Haggard; U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander; Tim Robbins; Vince Gill; Cash; his sister, Joanne; and his children, John Carter Cash and Cindy Cash.
I must say I'm DYING to hear what ole Snoop has to say!

Also, apparently this is all part of a CD/DVD package deal coming out later in October. This will be added to the Christmas List ASAP!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Confession...

So Random House Library Services have started a blog, and it's actually quite interesting. The staff there takes turns blogging, and so far so good... Anyway, I quite enjoyed blogger David's "What I haven't read: A Confessional." Here's a bit of it:

One of my favorite Mark Twain aphorisms is, “A classic is something that everyone wants to have read but no one wants to read.” I agreed wholeheartedly. I ran into a friend on the train this morning, and told her that I’ve decided to take on Crime and Punishment. She gasped and said “WHY?” and I said, “Because I haven’t read it, and I feel like I should.” C & P, though, is just one of many I could say that about. Here’s my list of my most embarrassing haven’t-reads:

Catcher in the Rye, Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter, The Grapes of Wrath, Invisible Man, Animal Farm, Beloved, Heart of Darkness, A Farewell to Arms, Tropic of Cancer, Huckleberry Finn, A Tale of Two Cities, The Iliad, Pride and Prejudice (or any other Austen), Mrs. Dalloway, Brave New World, Anna Karenina, War & Peace, The Lord of the Rings, Lady Chatterly’s Lover…and possibly the most dangerous, job-security-wise, The DaVinci Code.

This makes me happy for two reasons:
  1. I constantly feel inadequate when I realize how many "classics," whether modern or actual classic, I haven't read. So it's nice to see another professional in my boat. My years in high school were spent reading "chick lit" (hey - I'm not knocking it.. no sirreee) and I've been brushing up on the latest random fiction and YA for the past couple of years, picking up a few "should-have-reads" along the way.

  2. I've actually read several on his list! Go me! Ok fine, only like a few (Da Vinci Code, Catcher in the Rye, Huck Finn, Scarlett Letter, P&P) of them. But still!
So anyway, obviously this guy's list, save for the five aforementioned books, is a tell-tale on my own embarrassing list. Seriously. But here the Top 10 "must-reads" that I actually PLAN to get to, but have not:
  1. Absalom, Absalom! by Faulkner (he makes the "must-read" list here in the South
  2. The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  3. 1984 by Orwell
  4. The Electric Kool-Aide Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
  5. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  6. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  9. The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas

    and the kicker.... you are gonna die when you realize I haven't actually READ this:
    . are gonna die when you realize I haven't actually READ this:

  10. GONE WITH THE WIND (ohhhhh the shame!)

So I must ask - what are your most shameful "haven't-reads"? Obvi this only applies to my fellow bookies. :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

I got tagged!

My hilarious coworker buddy Holley tagged me, which is why I have the fun little addition to my blog at your right. By being tagged, I am now supposed to tag a few of my favorite blogs. To be honest, I don't read many personal blogs, and some of the peoples' blogs I read are complete strangers, but they crack me up, so there you have it. And I'm probably breaking the rules by double-tagging folks, but I don't give a care. Get over yourself, blog world ruler man.

Anyway - here are a few I recommend:

  • Holley's House - As I said before, Holley is quite funny. Sometimes she vents about the library (I especially love her retelling of the now infamous domestic dispute we had in our stacks - I froze when she was yelling at me to dial 911 - and her adventures in shushing our unruly teenagers). And she also has lots of other witty things to say about the world around us. Plus she shares my love for funny cats.

  • The Burrow - Katie, my ultra-cool and crafty boss, has a blog where she rambles about everything from crafting to books, and occasionally calls out her husband for not leaving enough comments. She has three mini-me daughters under the age of 6 who are always into some kind of trouble or saying hilarious things, and she loves to document.

  • The Maddox Family - I grew up with the writer of this blog (she's a year older than me), and we were both in the same sorority at Auburn. Now she is married to a fellow Dothanite with two beautiful daughters, and she (very eloquently, I might add) writes about their trials and tribulations, loves and losses. Some days I'm laughing at their adventures, and she's been known to bring me to tears at times as well. I highly recommend her blog if you're looking for inspiration!

  • The Company of Broken Books - So here's a dude I have yet to meet: my "replacement" at the bookstore where I worked before coming to the library. I kid about him replacing me because the guy actually has a graphic design degree and loads of experience, whereas I was just getting by with my designs. Regardless, he caught on much more quickly than most to some of the ridiculousness required as part of the job description at the store, and he keeps a blog about it.

  • Babbling About Life - I lurve Brookie's blog. She's an AU football nut, and if she didn't give it away by including details about tailgating decorations, you'd probably mistake her for one of her brothers. Well, by her writing at least. :)

  • Cake Wrecks - I came upon this blog randomly, and it is my new fave. Blogger Jen collects cake wrecks, cakes that have been ruined, or are just plain-out bad to begin with (most are submitted to her, but she apparently is part of the cake baking world and frequently finds them herself). I never knew that the art of cake decorating/baking could be so complicated or so funny when screwed up. I think I'm going to submit Nat's birthday cake to it. Which I'll post later.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Singles, Psychos, and Crazies... oh my!

Some News of the Weird I have come across recently:

This week (Sept. 21-27) is National Singles Week! Who knew?
So to celebrate National Singles Week, as a single person, I will be walking down the aisle as a bridesmaid in my friend Mariel's wedding this Saturday in San Antonio. As the only single person in the wedding party, actually. And you know what? I'm quite looking forward to my first time traveling alone and exploring a city all by myself.

American Psycho is being made into a ... wait for it.... BROADWAY MUSICAL!
Surely Phil Collins will make a cameo and sing "Sussidio" for all the freaks (ahem, nice people of New York) who would go see such a thing. Ok, I'll admit it. I would totally be there.

Amy Winehouse is actually my age and makes me feel better about myself.
Check out this collage of celebrities who are the big 2-5 like Amy and me. Scary, huh?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If I were Sarah Palin's child...

my name would be
Engine Nighthawk Palin!

Which I think is just a tad bit cooler than Holley's Wood Corps Palin. Just a tiny smidge. :)

What's yours? Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator

When your little sister hits her almost-mid-twenties, you know you're getting old...

In honor of Nat's 24th birthday tomorrow (which is also Talk Like a Pirate Day, FYI), here are some pics from CuteOverload of her fave animal: the camel! Apparently he is hitched up outside of a trailer park, where he is fighting an epic battle with a bucket. I'm not so sure this isn't somewhere in Alabama.

Original Source


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Time to play the I TOLD YOU SO game!

... with my parents. Well, kinda. So, as an overspending 20-something with overbearing parents who think they know everything (anyone with me?), many a discussion has been had in my household about my trips here and there, my penchant for sushi over canned tuna and a fancy burger over peanut butter and jelly. I tell them over and over again that I am enjoying life to the fullest (and having a damned good go of it), and that they are jealous and blah blah blah.

So today, in Slate Magazine, I came across this GREAT article in the "Geezers" section that basically backs me up. The point of the story is: Money CAN buy happiness, and while it's good to save, it's also good to buy this happiness while you're young and healthy and can really enjoy it. So to my dear parents and grandparents, I say a big fat "BOOOYAH!"

Spend It While You Can

Turns out money can buy you happiness. But it buys more happiness when you're young.

By Ray Fisman

We're frequently told, by news-you-can-use segments and bank ads hawking savings accounts, that Americans are not saving enough for their retirements. Yet just as often we're reminded that, given the fleeting nature of human existence, we should eat, drink, and be merry while we still can. Thriftiness is making a comeback in the wake of our latest speculative bubble, but some new evidence may help to tip the scales back in favor of the carpe diem approach to life. It turns out that money can buy you happiness—but young people get a lot more happiness out of their dollars than old people do.

Recent research by economists Amy Finkelstein, Erzo Luttmer, and Matthew Notowidigdo suggests that you'll get a bigger bang for your consumer buck by spending while you're healthy, before old age starts to take the fun out of life's indulgences. Their research is part of a larger academic enterprise attempting to understand what makes us happy. Economics is a field more associated with rational calculation than emotion, but there's an ever-growing subculture of "happiness economists." Just as mainstream economists spend their time figuring out things like gross national product—how much a country produces in dollar terms—these happiness scholars churn out numbers like gross national happiness (how much happiness a country produces).

It's relatively easy to measure things like corporate profits and trade flows. Measuring a person's psychic well-being is trickier, though happiness economists take a relatively straightforward approach: For the most part, they just ask people if they're happy. They then try to figure out what makes people say yes or no. Perhaps not surprisingly, money-obsessed economists have been fixated on whether higher incomes make us happier. And after much debate, their conclusion is that money does indeed buy happiness. Or, as an economist would put it, there's a positive marginal utility of consumption. People in rich countries say they're happier than people in poor countries, and in just about every nation, the well-to-do report being happier than their impoverished counterparts.

Of course, an extra dollar may not bring the same joy to all people. For some, happiness is only as far away as the next swipe of their Amex; for others, there's pleasure to be had in having nothing at all. It's also true that what makes us happy today might not do the trick tomorrow—the money-happiness connection may change throughout a person's lifetime.

How does ill health affect this relationship? Healthy people are happier than sick ones. That's obvious. But once you're sick, does money buy you more happiness or less? On the one hand, you can't enjoy your new Mustang convertible if you're laid up in the hospital. On the other hand, money can buy a lot of comforts for those suffering from debilitating illness (a full-time housekeeper; a nice, soft La-Z-Boy).

Finkelstein and her co-authors use the "Health and Retirement Survey," which follows a sample of retired persons, asking them questions about, among other things, income, health, and whether they agree with the statement "Much of the time I was happy during the past week." The study allowed the researchers to determine whether rich retirees say they're happier than poor retirees. And since the survey goes back to the same participants year after year, it's also possible to track a single person's happiness over time to see how it's affected by health.

The authors find that healthy retirees are a pretty contented lot—only 13 percent of respondents reported not being happy. The rich are happier—going from an annual income of $25,000 to $50,000 reduces the likelihood of saying you're unhappy by nearly five percentage points. But that's only if the respondents are healthy. The extra money has a much smaller effect on happiness for the sick and infirm—the authors calculate that the happiness effect of higher income is only about one-quarter as much for respondents with multiple chronic diseases. So, having a lot of money to throw around once you're retired is great … but only while you're healthy enough to spend it.

The researchers' findings reinforce claims that economists have made elsewhere that Americans aren't really undersaving all that much for their golden years. As Tim Harford has noted in Slate, since when you're retired it's possible to spend more time lining up for early bird dinners and clipping coupons, you don't need as much money to get by on. And if money isn't going to bring you as much happiness in your old age, that's further reason not to oversave. If you've always wanted to samba till dawn in Rio or see Angkor Wat at sunrise, do it now, when you're healthy and you know you'll still enjoy it.

The authors also have a surprising suggestion regarding health insurance: We'd actually be better off if insurance companies reduced the portion of medical expenditures they pay for. Your monthly insurance payments would end up costing you less, and while you'd shell out more for hospital stays and other medical expenses if illness struck, well, at that point you wouldn't be healthy enough to enjoy spending the extra cash anyway.

The authors' findings should be a wake-up call to those already in the midst of their golden years who still have their health but face increasingly unfavorable odds of staying that way. You really should treat yourself to that dinner at Chez Panisse you've been putting off for a special occasion. And what if you're young and fit? The odds of living to see another healthy day are stacked in your favor, but who knows what could happen tomorrow? It's not every day an economics paper gives you an excuse to spend your money and live life to the fullest. I'd say seize the moment.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Go Figure

I followed the lead from Katie and took a quiz to tell me which year I belong in... go figure - 1984, baby! I was two years old in 1984, and I've always said I should have been older in the 80s. I definitely have the hair for it! I'm not so sure about the "wild" part, but cheesy - if you know me, you know there's no question!

You Belong in 1984

Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

Drama Queen

I laughed so hard at this guy/gal:

HBO deemed disturbing and seedy... surprise, surprise!

First, let me preface this by saying that I'm having the hardest time making myself read anything that I can't finish in one or two sittings. Yes, I'm serious. After taking YA Lit in the spring, for which I read nearly 40 books in four or so months, and then Kiddie Lit this summer (we're talking >50 in two months)... I just can't pick up anything "serious" or long. It's pitiful. Lately, I've been on a vampire kick following Breaking Dawn's release (don't even get me started on my beloved Twilight series). I read the first of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, which HBO has recently adapted into a new, very disturbing and seedy series. Suffice it to say: they took some liberties and sweet ole Charlaine is probably having a hissy fit over in Arkansas. A short synopsis: Sookie is a clairvoyant waitress at a small-town Louisiana watering hole in a modern world where vampires roam freely thanks to the invention of synthetic blood, now sold in gas stations and restaurants. She is modest, but intelligent and witty, and she finds that she can't read the mind of Bill the Vampire, with whom she eventually falls in love (did you see it coming?). There's a murder mystery and there are bad vampires and all that jazz. So HBO's TrueBlood takes this and turns it into this romp-fest with nekkid (and very graphic) scenes every ten minutes, and everyone drops the F-bomb and says GD, including Bill, while sweet ole Sookie says (in a TERRIBLE Southern accent, "Yaaallll... yew know I hate when you yewse the Jay-wohrd." Seriously awful. But of course I'll keep watching. I'm no prude (I love me some Entourage - oh Ari and Vinnie), but this actually shocked me! I didn't know I was shockable anymore! Crazy.

A few things...

First of all, can I just say that I REALLY want this pup:

Look at the happiness on that face! Reminds me of when Nat and I would play "airplane" when we were little... which would usually end in disaster as most highly-dangerous-yet-seemingly-innocent children's games do. At least when Nat and I were involved. But I digress. Will someone PLEASE buy me a puppy? I already have name(s) picked out. Rose or Rosie for a girl (Ryan Adams and the Cardinals reference, obvi) or Potter for a boy (as in Harry). I really just want two of them.

On another note, I have become addicted to watching How I Met Your Mother. Has anyone else besides me missed the genius of this sitcom? (Yes, the one with Doogie Howser as a metrosexual skirtchaser.) A friend and classmate of mine, whose opinion I value greatly when it comes to sources of entertainment, recommended it to me, and now my sleep schedule is suffering and Netflix is working extra hard to send me DVDs three times a week. But seriously - check it out if you haven't. It reminds me of FRIENDS (oh how I miss it), but a bit wittier. And I find myself thinking that Ted (lead character, to the right in the photo - how cute is he?) is the male version of myself. It's quite eerie.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bucket List

Well, here's some sad news that has left me pondering:

Dave Freeman, author of the book 100 Things to Do Before You Die died last week at the age of 47 after hitting his head in a fall at his home. The article I referenced above has lots of neat details about the book, but it also mentions that he accomplished about half of what was on his list before his death.

So it's not surprising that this has me thinking about my own Bucket List. I've already accomplished a few things, which I'll mention, and I guess it comes as no surprise since I've apparently tried to "live like I'm dying" since the age of 16... according to my parents. I always tell them that I'd rather have spent that $100 white water rafting than it be sitting in my bank... if I die tomorrow. I realize that this kind of thinking has you financial-thinking folks in a sweat... but not me!

So without further ado.... 20 things on My Bucket List:
  1. Get a Master's Degree. (CHECK). Now onto PhD or at least second Masters.

  2. Go to Europe (all over it) to see firsthand all the art and architecture I studied in my art history courses.

  3. Read the Bible. As in, the whole thing.

  4. Read several other substantial (ie freaking huge) works: Lord of the Rings, War and Peace, The Count of Monte Cristo... the list goes on.

  5. See the Pyramids in Egypt.

  6. Spend a day in the Smithsonian and the Museum of Natural History... all by myself.

  7. See U2 and Damien Rice in concert (already checked off Ryan Adams, Elton John, The Killers, and soon Coldplay from that list).

  8. Go sky-diving. And bungee jumping.

  9. Get a tattoo. Not sure yet of what or where it will go...

  10. White Water Raft the Gauley River in West Virginia.

  11. See all the domestic sites... we're talking the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Vermont during the fall...

  12. Live in a thriving metropolis like NYC or Chicago, sans vehicle, for at least a year. Preferably before there is any mention of babies or the like.

  13. Do some Mission Work somewhere like Venezuela.

  14. Become more proficient in Spanish (perhaps through some mission work?) and also another language.

  15. Learn to be less awkward with children. Preferably before I have any of my own.

  16. Become informed enough about political issues to hold my own in a debate with Rebecca or Liz.

  17. Write and publish something. Anything. I'm thinking a memoir, but only if things get a little more interesting. But possibly a YA novel. Or maybe I'll be inspired by this research class and write some non-fiction. That could be neat. Or maybe I'll get in cahoots with one of my musician buddies and write a song. Even better.

  18. Make some babies and show them the world and all the awesome people in it. Preferably with someone hopelessly beautiful. And who I am married to and am in love with. Is that too much to ask?

  19. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. Ok, so I want to be RIDING because, well, trust me - no one will want to ride in that car. Ryan isn't allowed to drive either.

  20. Master Rock Band and Guitar Hero so I can impress my sister. Ok, so that's not really one, but I'm tired and I wanted to round out my 20. :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

I know what Natalie is getting for Christmas...

Yep, another book. Hahahahahahaha.

Probably not, but I do think it's pretty interesting that Michael Phelps is writing a memoir about his 8 Golds... just in time for the holidays! Read the news bit about it here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On my day of birth...

Apparently, the #1 song on the Billboard Charts was "Who Can It Be Now?" by Men At Work. And now I have it stuck mercilessly in my head. Oh, how I love being an 80s baby. (Also, how pathetic is it that I never once knew that the guys who brought us "Land Down Under" also penned this one? Pitiful, I tell ya.)

And you wonder how I'm so smart to know this? From a website, of course (seriously - what CAN'T you find these days?)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

No Anal Thermometers for College Freshmen (#55)

The majority of this year's entering college freshman (Class of 2012) were born in 1990. Wow, I feel old. Check this out: (Found on

Beloit College Mindset List:
A snapshot of the world view of the Class of 2012

1. Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
2. Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.
3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.
4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
5. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
6. Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.
7. Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.
8. Their parents may have dropped them in shock when they heard George Bush announce "tax revenue increases."
9. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
10. Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.
11. All have had a relative — or known about a friend's relative - who died comfortably at home with hospice.
12. As a precursor to "whatever," they have recognized that some people "just don't get it."
13. Universal Studios has always offered an alternative to Mickey in Orlando.
14. Grandma has always had wheels on her walker.
15. Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.
16. Haagen-Dazs ice cream has always come in quarts.
17. Club Med resorts have always been places to take the whole family.
18. WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
19. Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.
20. The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.
21. Students have always been "Rocking the Vote."
22. Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
23. Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.
24. We have always known that "All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."
25. There have always been gay rabbis.
26. Wayne Newton has never had a mustache.
27. College grads have always been able to Teach for America.
28. IBM has never made typewriters.
29. Roseanne Barr has never been invited to sing the National Anthem again.
30. McDonald's and Burger King have always used vegetable oil for cooking french fries.
31. They have never been able to color a tree using a raw umber Crayola.
32. There has always been Pearl Jam.
33. The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.
34. Pee-Wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.
35. They never tasted Benefit Cereal with psyllium.
36. They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.
37. Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.
38. Lenin's name has never been on a major city in Russia.
39. Employers have always been able to do credit checks on employees.
40. Balsamic vinegar has always been available in the U.S.
41. Macaulay Culkin has always been "Home Alone."
42. Their parents may have watched "The American Gladiators" on TV the day they were born.
43. Personal privacy has always been threatened.
44. Caller ID has always been available on phones.
45. Living wills have always been asked for at hospital check-ins.
46. The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.
47. They never heard an attendant ask "Want me to check under the hood?"
48. Iced tea has always come in cans and bottles.
49. Soft drink refills have always been free.
50. They have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about "nothing."
51. The Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.
52. Moscow residents have always been able to buy Big Macs.
53. The Royal New Zealand Navy has never been permitted a daily ration of rum.
54. The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.
55. 98.6 F or otherwise has always been confirmed in the ear.
56. Michael Milken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate cancer research.
57. Offshore oil drilling in the United States has always been prohibited.
58. Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.
59. There have always been charter schools.
60. Students always had Goosebumps.

Auburn at the Olympics

There are 27 former, future, or current Auburn athletes competing in this year's Olympics.

Yeah, we're badasses.

Here is the text from a recent Birmingham News article by Charles Goldberg:

Auburn's large Olympic contingent on world map
Aug. 8, 2008

Auburn fans may have to pull themselves away from football practice long enough to note the Olympics are beginning. Fans should watch because the Tigers have a vested interest in the international event.

Did you know that if Auburn was a nation, it would have the 65th largest contingent at the Games? It's true. Auburn has more athletes in Beijing than Georgia, the university, and almost as many as Georgia, the country. Auburn is in the upper percentile as the 65th largest "country" of the 205 nations participating.

Here's a story that I wrote in Friday's Birmingham News about all of that and the Tigers to watch, starring Huntsville's Margaret Hoelzer:

Swimmer Margaret Hoelzer doesn't know if she'll win Olympic gold in Beijing, but she knows what to expect.

An impromptu Auburn University alumni meeting is sure to break out.

Twenty-seven current, former or future Tigers will compete - a contingent so large that Auburn could be a nation unto itself, considering it would have the 65th-largest delegation among 205 countries.
Throw in a current coach, a former coach and two television commentators, and Auburn's influence is even greater.

Auburn athletes have won 14 gold medals since 1984. Hoelzer knows all about the tradition. She swam for the United States - and Auburn - in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and she gives Auburn one of its best chances to bring home gold this time after setting a world record in the 200-meter backstroke in June. She graduated from Auburn in 2005, but she's still a member of the club.

"It's really exciting to see so many friends," said Hoelzer, who comes from Huntsville. "One thing I think that is unique to Auburn is that we're such a family. It doesn't matter where we come from or what country or what state or wherever. That proves true in an international setting. We're all representing different countries and different teams, but, at the same time, we can all sit down and laugh and joke."

The 27 Auburn athletes represent 10 countries. Fifteen are swimmers. Twelve compete in track and field.

Besides Hoelzer, Auburn's best medal chances may come from Mark Gangloff, who won a gold medal in 2004 in the 400 swimming medley. He's in that event and the 100 breaststroke this time.

In track, look for Maurice Smith, who was the silver medalist in the decathlon in the 2007 World Championships for Jamaica; Kerron Stewart, who is ranked second in the world in the 100 and 200 meters while running for Jamaica; and Donald Thomas, who won the high jump at the 2007 World Championships for the Bahamas.

Auburn's Cesar Cielo will compete in four swimming events. He'll swim for Brazil and is a world-class sprinter.

Fred Bousquet will swim in three events for France, and Jeremy Knowles will swim in three events for the Bahamas.

Kirsty Coventry won a swimming silver and bronze for Zimbabwe in 2004. She is a former teammate of Hoelzer's at Auburn. Coventry will swim in four events, including against Hoelzer in a 100 backstroke prelim.

Hoelzer's specialty was supposed to be the 100. But she surprised herself in the 200 in a world-record time of 2:06.09.

"Maybe some people can predict things like that, but for me, I certainly wouldn't say I was anticipating a world record.

"I knew the capability was there, and the possibility, but it's definitely something you can't take for granted."

Hoelzer arrived early in Beijing and will stay throughout the event.

"This is something I've looked forward to," she said. "I'm staying."

Olympic Side-Eyes and New Sleep Schedule

I'm at work, and I've been up since 5:30. Yes, in the AM. Couldn't sleep for thinking about all the things I have to do this week! So forgive me for sounding a bit out of it.

I woke up and played on the Internets this morning instead of laying in bed and making mental to-do lists. I have a blog reader, which I luuurve, and I constantly add random (mostly funny) blogs to it. My ever-expounding list includes everything from Ryan Adams's blog (such wickedly beautiful yet disturbing musings by my favorite senile mind) to book reviews to puppy pics. But my new favorite, has got to be Side-Eye-Fever, whose subheading says "Fresh commentary about Black Hollywood served daily." Yeah. It's actually just a bunch of folks, who seem to be of the ghetto and the un-ghetto persuasion, who send in pics they find or take of people giving other people the oh-so-hilarious "side-eye." For instance... Nasty Nastia and the underage Asian Invasion. HILARIOUS.
And so. School starts tomorrow. I am taking my final two classes, plus an independent study (which basically means I have molded some of my actual work I'm being paid to do at the library into an outside research project to get credit for... go me.) I'm a Teaching Assistant this time around, and I have to work 10 hours at the school's computer lab... at 8am in the morning on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Which means that, yes people, I will be up at 6am or so on those days. Looks like I'm turning over a new leaf. Lights out at 10:00, folks. (We'll see how long that lasts.)

On that note, back to work. Here's to Michael Phelps for helping Ah-murrr-ica look good!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Better late than never, right?

So I realize my first attempts at blogging were rather sad. It reminds me of my childhood diary(ies - yes it happened several times). They would always read:

January 1
HELLO DIARY! I am so excited and will write in you every single day. That is my New Year's Resolution! blah blah balh I love boys blah blah blah.....

January 2 - December 31

It's like something off of a FRIENDS episode (which is fitting, if you know me and my obsession with the long-lost world of Rachel and Monica and Phoebe and the boys...)

But anyway, I thought that with this blog, I'll keep it short and sweet. Since I last updated in January, I've started working part-time as a librarian in the Reference and Adult Services Dept at the Emmet O'Neal Library in Mountain Brook. (Yeah...I'm such a Brookie.... right.) I go to work, loving my job, every single day. Great folks there. And I lurve my co-workers. It's great to feel like I'm finally taking the right path.

Everything has been crazy, per the usual, with traveling and weddings and just general tom-foolery (I've always loved that word) with my BFFs at the hiz. I'm looking forward to the fall, but a part of me is scared because:

1 - The moneys are running low, and the threat of paying off student loans, buying a new car, and being a big girl are looming ever-so near.

2 - I might have to move if I can't get a job in Bham. Which is part exciting (we all know I've had some wanderlust in me and wild oats to sow, and it just ain't happenin' in Bham)... but part heart-breaking because I have so many people here who I love more than anything. You know who you are. So there's that.

Ok back to work. Peace out. My homies.

The Cozy Library

Want to curl up at Grandma's and read something "cozy" later? Boooooorrrrinnng.

I came across this site while perusing other blogs today, and it has made me laugh to no end. The "Cozy Library," which recommends books described as: one chocked-full of kind-hearted characters, with a terrific story masterfully told, and a satisfying – and generally happy -- ending. No explicit sex or violence, no wall-to-wall profanity.

Hmmmm. Not exactly my kind of book. I especially love the lady on the "Departments" page.

So if you fancy something "comfy," don't ask me for recommendations and just go to this site. With the reading moods I've been in lately, I'll be of no help at all! (But if you want something angsty, or vampirey, or chock-full of dirty words... I'm your gal.)

Happy reading til next time.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ok, I'm going to try this out....

Hello to whoever is reading this! I've had tons of people tell me I should start a blog, so I figured I'd suck it up and give it a try. Mainly, I will be sharing my thoughts about whatever music or book(s) I'm obsessed with at the moment, or my plans for my career/life, as I tend to change them frequently. But first, I guess I should catch you up...

I started school over at Alabama (gross, I know) in August, and I'm working on my MLIS, which stands for Masters of Library and Information Studies. I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. I read books, of course, as a kid, but I can remember reading the backs of toothpaste tubes and instruction manuals and definitely magazines. I think I first fell in love with magazines during the days of Sassy and Seventeen. I'm sure any girl who was a teenager during the '90s can relate. At any rate, as my mag reading matured into Cosmo and the like, I decided that I couldn't think of any more fun job than to write for such fun people on interesting topics. And this led me to my undergraduate degree at Auburn in Journalism. My dream/goal was to move to Birmingham, intern at Southern Progress, get a job at Southern Progress, and then transfer to the big world of magazines in NYC after getting some experience close to home (and hopefully saving some money). Well, as most people know, life doesn't work out as planned. (As many of you know, I also planned to marry the high school sweetheart, but that didn't quite work out either.) To make a very long story short, I did get the internship at SPC, got some good experience writing for one of the coolest mags there, but had this evil boss who hated me (something I was not used to at all), and was exposed to the politics and prejudices of that world, and basically ran as fast as I could, completely broken-hearted, from the magazine world and into corporate marketing. Which I was even more miserable in. To make that long story short, I was a miserable wreck, sitting at a computer for 8+ hours a day, overworked, underpaid... that whole lot. So I left and wound up working long hours for crappy money at a local bookstore... and that's when I fell in love and my life changed.

But this was not a love for a boy (oh no... still waiting on that one). I fell in love with books. And reading. And encouraging other people to read. And the publishing world. And the author world. And not just fiction or the romance novels of my past. I found myself wanting to read anything and everything from memoirs to biographies to straight-up nonfiction to even science. (Ok, it was a book about how music affects your brain, so there was some obvious interest there.) They call this "book lust." It's an actual term used in the book world. I have it. Completely. My bookshelf is out of control, busting at the seams. And then someone said, "You know... have you ever thought of the library science field?" And I said, "HUH?" I had no clue that librarians had specialized degrees, let alone that there was a pretty decent program right down the interstate from me. So within about a month, I finally made the decision to apply, was accepted, got my loans, and was getting ready to head to Tuscaloser for classes. It's been a whirlwind.

And here I am, in my second semester, preparing to graduate in a little less than a year, and I'm still thrilled. And I'm still obsessed with books. Only now I'm reading YA lit like crazy, thanks to Rebecca. But the sad thing is that I still continue to collect books that I eventually want to read. I'll borrow a term from John Green's Looking for Alaska and call it my "Life Library." I'll get to them eventually. They're everywhere. It's kinda ridiculous.

Anyways, so that's that. There's a whole lot more that I'm pondering at the second, but I don't want to go on and on and on for my first post. I'll be back, though!