A good day is...

...feeling no guilt for sleeping in.

...sipping coffee in bed and reading a good book.

...being so lazy you don't go get the mail.

...trying a new recipe and filling the house with yummy smells.

...giving myself permission to just be, without the need for a to-do list or to go tearing around town on errands.

...plumping pillows and flopping back on them.

...listening to new NIN songs as many times as I'd like.

...watching extraordinarily little television.

...a midnight snack of banana and peanut butter sandwiches.

...books, books, books.

...a goosefilled duvet, a goosedown pillow, and a cool breeze through the windows.

A good day indeed.

For a while now, I've been lamenting the fact that I'm going to be out of the country on May 19th.

Besides having the distinction of being my birthday, it is also the tradition release date of the Star Wars movies.

I have seen them all in the theatre on May 19th (or almost).

This year, I won't.

Everyone else will. Not me.

The only consolation was finding this today:

Darth Vader, Lord of the Sith and Servant to His Supreme Excellency the Emperor Palpatine, has a blog.

Oh yes.

Apparently, in a bid to continue winning over female NASCAR fans (as if racing needs help in that department), Fox has been running a "Who's the Sexiest Driver" poll, with an NCAA-like grid and eliminations week by week.

This is nothing but a pissing contest between fan bases. I know this for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Michael Waltrip is neck and neck with Jimmie Johnson in this week's poll.

Jimmie Johnson? Hot. Michael Waltrip? Not hot.

Nonetheless, I find this whole contest insulting.

Almost 50% of all NASCAR fans are women. The vast majority of us do have a favorite driver, but the vast majority of us also don't select them based on the cuteness factor. Likewise, we don't watch cars go around the track for four hours because the drivers are sexy - we watch for the speed, excitement, competition, drama and victory. We cheer for our favorites and curse the rest, but we watch the sport because it's a SPORT, and not a Miss America pageant.

The fact that Fox feels the need to run this ridiculous contest, I think, is insulting to true (and often female) fans of the sport, and cheapens the whole shebang.

It's weird, but I've spoken to numerous friends and family this season, and, myself included, we find ourselves less "live and die with every turn" this season. Sure, we watch the races, but not with the intensity and attention we did in the past. We still buy tickets and attend, but more for the atmosphere than for the racing. We wear our favorite number on our shirts or our cars, but we don't spend countless hours monitoring their every move on (or off) the track.


I'm not entirely sure. My suspicion is that NASCAR, in their bid to control all aspects of racing, have taken away much of the drama from the sport. Drivers being penalized for expressing their emotions on, or off, the track. Threats of fines and suspensions for what are often minor transgressions. A lack of true drama and an overload of whitewash and sunshine on race morning. Is NASCAR entirely to blame? Of course not. In an effort to produce the "Jeff Gordon" model of a driver, other drivers are being overlooked, and the rest seem to all blend together.

I realize it's hypocritical of me to say that. Jimmie Johnson is a perfect example of a "Jeff Gordon" model. He's articulate, intelligent, thoughtful, talented, a sponsor's dream, young and cute to boot.

And I want nothing but for Jimmie and the 48 crew to succeed on the track week in and week out.

However, if every driver were a Jimmie Johnson, there would be no fire in the sport anymore.

Love or hate them, drivers like Tony Stewart grab headlines, raise pulses, and entertain fans both on and off the track.

But even Tony's been muzzled this year, it seems.

I hope this trend of disinterest will abate as the season goes on for me, and to be fair, once Fox no longer has control of the broadcast, I'll be much happier. DW, Hammond and Chris Myers anchoring the show are like nails on a chalkboard for me - times a zillion. If it weren't for Larry Mac, Dr. Dick, and Matty Yocum, I would probably mute the entire broadcast.

I don't know what the answer is. I really don't.

But I miss the excitement I would feel on race morning as I settled in to cheer for all the drivers. I miss trolling the headlines with glee for the latest in my favorite sport. I miss living and dying with every Victory Lane.

But that fire just isn't there this year - for lots of us.


Now, then. Go vote for Jimmie Johnson. ;-)

In the continued countdown to the release of the NIN album, With Teeth, on Tuesday, a few more NIN related news bits...

  • You can preview the album in its entirety right here. How cool is THAT?
  • Trent has released a mixable copy of "The Hand That Feeds" and is encouraging people to mix it up, mash it up, and go to town on it. How cool is THAT??
  • To that end, the best I've heard so far mixes THTF and, wait for it...Ghostbusters. Seriously. It's amazing. Give it a listen (via Nathan Chase)
  • Pink is the New Blog (one of my favorite sites, y'all!) has a pic of Trent's latest 'do. I still think he's hot.
  • And finally, an article about Trent being depressed. I'm sure that's comes as a screaming shock to many. Sad story, though. Perhaps a trip to N'awlins is in order to cheer him up, Jen? ;-)

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman

Well, I had to check this out since I'm young and fabulous, and feel broke. ;-)

Orman's book is very straightforward and easy to read. She's has broken down chapters into different topics, and puts all the information into bite-size chunks or has lots of examples.

Though I was familiar with a lot of the topics, and some of it didn't pertain to me (house mortgage, filing bankruptcy, bad FICO scores, etc), I feel like I learned a lot from the book and got a few good "tips" to try and say financially healthy.

I recommend at least a browse at this by any YF&Ber...

Nerd Gone Wild by Vicki Lewis Thompson

I love the Nerd series.

These fluffy and fun novels have great characters, quirky situations, lots of steamy sex, an unlikely hero (a nerd!), and make me laugh out loud.

This time, we're off to the wilds of Alaska...and Mitchell J. Carruthers, Jr is not who he seems...

A great lazy-Saturday-afternoon book...

Flavor of the Week by Tucker Shaw

This young adult novel is a bit unlike most of the others I read - the lead character is a charming, shy, self-esteem-challenged high school boy who loves a girl.

And loves to cook. And is FABULOUS at it. But no one knows that.

When his best friend returns to town, he is pulled into a plot to get the girl - through the power of his cooking. But get the girl for the best friend, not for himself. Pain and deception ensue.

A sweet novel (complete with recipes!), you know how it will end before it starts, but you enjoy it anyway. A charming and quick read.

Who Let the Blogs Out? A Hyperconnected Peek at the World of Weblogs by Biz Stone

This was one of those books that I read equally for myself as well as for my job (I not only have my own blog, but author one for my library). Stone's conversational book defining blogs, explaining history of blogs, pointing out big bloggers, ways to use blogs and so forth is straightforward, interesting, and just the right pace and tone.

A chunk of the book was review for me, but I enjoyed learning the history and hearing some of the "behind the blog" scenes Stone writes about. And hey, Wil Wheaton wrote the introduction. Nice. :-)

This is a short, informative, perfect pitch book about blogs. Rock on, Biz!

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

How fitting that I read Picoult's new novel, just as I prepare to discuss My Sister's Keeper in our book discussion group next week.

I once again stand in awe of Picoult's evocative topics, amazing writing, character development and the ability to pull me immediately into a story and never let go. She is the writer I wish I could be.

Delia Hopkins leads a charmed life - fiance, beautiful daughter, doting father and a rewarding job. When a police officer knocks on her door and announces that her father is being arrested for kidnapping, she is shocked. He kidnapped HER.

I again enjoyed this Picoult novel, and highly recommend any of her titles - they are all beautifully written and all have a twist at the end that will wrench emotion for you. Excellent.


This link is for my girl Jen...

Someone has taken a sample of a song from NIN's new album and put it to some, ahem, interesting dance moves.


*falls over laughing*

I like the sample, but the dancing really makes it for me.

Good to know my humble tuition dollars were not spent in vain when I received my BA in English (and Political Science, but I didn't see a quiz for that):

English Genius
You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 86% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I
can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon
intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You
have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly!
Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog: http://shortredhead78.blogspot.com/.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 67% on Beginner
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 68% on Intermediate
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 81% on Advanced
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 91% on Expert
Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on Ok Cupid

English and Genius. Yup. That's me. ;-)

Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz

I've never actually read any Koontz books before (they looked scary, and I don't like to be skeered), but this was recommended to me by a patron and sounded sufficiently intriquing.

Jimmy Tock's grandfather predicts, moments before Jimmy's birth, 5 terrible days in his life. Jimmy's life, therefore, revolves around those 5 terrible days, and all the happenings that surround them. Oh, and there's a deranged clown involved - thus shoring up my opinion that clowns are, in fact, incredibly creepy.

An interesting, well written, different read for me. I enjoyed it!

I listened to the audio version, narrated by John Bedford Lloyd. Lloyd has a powerful voice, and though at times it sounded like he was "overacting", I thought he did well.

Clinton and Me: A Real Life Political Comedy by Mark Katz

How can you NOT want to read a book about the guy who got to write jokes for Bill Clinton for 8 years?!

Mark Katz began his political comedy career with the Dukakis campaign, and this book is packed with familiar names in the Democratic party or the Clinton administration, funny jokes, observations about Clinton and Gore, and lots of just funny, funny chapters.

Best yet, I found out that Mark was the mastermind behind the "Final Days" video that was produced after Clinton gained "lame duck" status following his final term. Haven't seen the video? Check it out right here - makes me laugh every time. I'd forgotten all about "Stewart" from ETrade.

Fun book!

Sweet Jesus.

Please let it be true.

Twenty years. TWENTY YEARS.

When I did I go and get OLD?

And yet, I can still recite every line. I think that's something to be proud of.


That's a negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full.

Question: What did you do this weekend?

Answer: I took the Budweiser brewery tour with my girl Denise. And drank free beer. At 10:30am.

Nice. :-)

(No. We didn't match on purpose. I make the mistake of deviating from my usual black and look what happens!)

Nothing like a weekend with a best bud of room service, giggling, gambling, touring, bug killing, travel travails and free breakfast to make a girl smile. :-)

More photos here...

Hard Truth by Nevada Barr

Hard Truth is the latest entry in Barr's Anna Pigeon mystery series. Pigeon, a park ranger, seems to find murder and mayhem in every national park to which she is assigned. This time it's Rocky Mountain National Park, and the crime is three little girls who are missing and presumed dead.

I've long been a fan of the character of Anna Pigeon, and found myself vaguely disappointed that Barr used another protagonist throughout much of the novel. The story was well written and intense, but not as fast paced or "Pigeon-esque" as her past novels.

Anna still rocks, though. :-)

If you haven't read this series before, I highly recommend it. My favorites are A Superior Death, Hunting Season, and Firestorm.

This is a sentence I never thought I would type all those years ago when Wings and Loverboy were on my radar screen:

Tim Daly and Patrick Dempsey are the slickest, sexiest, cutest boys to hit our televisions all season.

If you haven't caught episodes of Eyes or Grey's Anatomy yet, do so. They are smart, funny, sexy, and fun - quality television in a reality-TV driven world.

Did I mention they both look hot?

I probably mentioned that.

Joe Hackett and the guy from Can't Buy Me Love. Weird.

(Another nice sighting - Isabel from Roswell is on GA! Rock!)

Sometimes, a girl just needs to get back to ye olde English roots.

Tonight as the rain poured down (very UK style), I curled up under my duvet and snacked on smoked oysters and Havarti with Carr's Water Biscuits, followed by a delectable Cadbury Flake.

All while watching Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer in an episode of As Time Goes By, of course.

Perhaps I'll keep up the English accent when I go to work tomorrow...

I missed last night's episode of 24.

Luckily, I can count on a hard-hitting recap via Dave Barry's blog. Be sure to check out the comments - I think they really help "flesh out" the episode. ;-)

Serving Crazy With Curry by Amulya Malladi

The title of this novel caught my eye, and the blurb sounded intriguing: Devi can no longer cope with life, so she tries to end it all. When she is saved by the last person she expected, she becomes mute and finds therapy in cooking.

The family dynamics, descriptions of food and Indian culture, and interesting characters made this a worthwhile read. Though I felt that at times it was going in circles, it had enough twists and confrontations to make it interesting.

Well written and absorbing...

Seven Up by Janet Evanovich

My enjoyment of this novel was lowered because it is the only book of the Stephanie Plum series that hasn't been recorded by CJ Critt - a true shame. Instead, I had to actually *cough* read it!

Stephanie once again struggles with quirky characters, the on-again, off-again romance of Morelli (with a little Ranger thrown in on the side) and all the trials and tribulations of life as a bounty hunter!

Another great one!

You know it's going to be a good day when this is the first thing in your inbox on a Monday morning.

Better still, when it's sent by your boss. :-)

I laughed until I cried. Scottie McMullet sent me over the edge, from which I still haven't quite recovered...

Even better...video evidence of the Reznor Hotness.

Still lovin' on the song, but found myself staring at Trent's guns throughout the video. Someone's been hitting the gym, big time.

Watch it.

Oooooh yes.

Finally, finally, FINALLY the new Nine Inch Nails album is due to be released (I mean, it's only been 5 years since Mr. Reznor released an album. Perfectionist? Nah...) on May 5th!

I just downloaded the first single, called "The Hand That Feeds".

Hot, hot, HOT! I can't *wait* to see what this album has in store.

And, of course, the obligatory drool-worthy photo of His Trentliness:

Have a chance? Give it a listen! You won't be disappointed...

Thanks for the plug, Google! :-)

...I were to marry a member of the royal family, I would hope that someone would advise me against this particular chapeau.

Can I rely on you all for that? Please?

I sent this email out this week to as many friends and family as I could. Because it's so important to me, I thought I would repost it here. If you have a few dollars to spare, please consider sponsoring me. Thank you. :-)


As you know, I've been a huge supporter of the American Cancer Society since my mother's fight with Inflammatory Breast Cancer six years ago. She underwent a radical mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and even a stem cell transplant in her battle with cancer.

This year, she is once again battling a form of breast cancer, and even as I type this, is recovering from the effects of chemotherapy. In June she will once again begin a regimen of radiation, and then we hope to be celebrating years and years of being cancer free.

I'm proud not only of her amazing ability to fight, to heal, and to beat this cancer, but to once again be the Team Captain for the Alexandrian Public Library's Relay for Life Team!

Can you imagine a more stirring captain than La Femme Marissa?

I thought not. ;-)

I've been pumping up my team to get ready to walk, to raise money for the ACS, and to have a rip roarin' good time! We've assembled baskets to raffle off, sewn a quilt to sell "chances" for, and are generally ready to rock the track this year! As for myself, I've been staying up late in preparation for pulling an all-nighter for this all day (and all night) event on June 4th. But there's only one way that's going to happen.

With your help.

There's no way I'll be motivated to walk around the track at 3:12 in the morning unless I have some pledges backing me up!

This is where you come in. :-)

With your contributions, we can raise money for a great cause, help me and my team meet our goal, and give Marissa motivation to stay awake, walk in circles for long amounts of time, and generally annoy her co-workers. I do that now, but this won't be on company time. ;-)

Here's the best part - you can donate online!

*listens to the gasps from the onlooking crowd*

You can make a secure online contribution right from my Personal Donation Page by clicking on the link below. If you prefer to mail your contribution to me, that's fine too. :-) I just want to raise oodles of money and impress everyone in TinyTown with my bankable friends. ;-)

Thank you for your support (and your dollars) in an event that is so close to my heart.

You are my stars.



Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support Relay For Life of Mt. Vernon...

How To Be Lost by Amanda Eyre Ward

This was another one of those "cover caught me" books. :-)

This quickly read novel is beautifully written, though I found myself disliking the main character as it wore on. The quick cutting between present and past, and different characters points of view was at first jarring but then became tolerable.

Caroline is convinced that her little sister, missing and presumed dead, is alive and well and waiting to be found. When her mother finds a picture that could be her sister, Caroline goes on a wild goose chase to Montana to try and find her and bring her home - 15 years after her disappearance.

I didn't really *enjoy* the story, but it was well written. I don't know what else to say about it...

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

Hoffman's writing continues to excite and amaze me, even if the plot of this slim novel (barely 200 pages) failed to grab me and hold on to me.

This time Hoffman portrays a woman "turned to ice inside" after a lightning strike, and the passionate affair she embarks on with another lightning victim - this one who burns with fire. Family drama, workplace woes, and a group of survivors round out this suspense-your-disbelief tale.

I still love Hoffman's writing, but this was not my favorite of her books...

Princess in Training by Meg Cabot

The sixth installment of the Princess Diaries is just what you expect: drama and mayhem for the 15 year old Princess of Genovia. :-)

This time, Mia is dealing with Lana, student council, a new baby brother, a crazy best friend, geometry, and oh yeah...the talk with her boyfriend about "doing it".

Mia's honest and funny voice is a joy, and this series continues to make me smile. :-)


Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence (Reintroduced)" remix by Mike Shinoda (of Linkin Park fame) is f'n incredible. Mike rules.

(To here a clip, visit Amazon. It's the last song on Disc 3.)

I have loved Dave Gahan since I was like, 15. His voice is one of my favorite sounds on earth.

This remix just reminded me why.

Inspirational picture for said remix:


I know, I know...I'm turning my blog into a teenie zone, but what else can a girl do on a lazy Sunday morning with her iPod cranked to the max, hrm?

The delightful Lisa tagged me to reply, and so I'll do my best. :-)

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
I can tell this is going to be hard. My first thought was a current favorite, like The Probable Future or The Time Traveler's Wife, but if we're protecting books for all mankind here, I should be a bit more highbrow. I think I'll go with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I must protect Mr. Darcy. ;-)

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Of course - that's the sign of a well written character! The previously named Mr. Darcy, naturally. I also heart Mat Cauthon from the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Jamie Frasier from the Outlander series. There's always
Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series, and let's not forget Henry from The Time Traveler's Wife, and then there's...you know what? Too many to name!

The last book you bought is:
The last time *I* bought a book? I know my sister bought me a copy of The Probable Future for me, but the last book I bought...hrm. Having an entire public library at my disposal makes it easy to not buy books, but I think the last was A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin - it was a discard from the library. Does that count? ;-)

The last book you read:
The Effects of Light by
Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. A great, great read...

What are you currently reading?
The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman, Princess in Training by Meg Cabot, Clinton & Me by Mark Katz, and Who Let the Blogs Out by Biz Stone. Nice mix of fiction, YA fiction, nonfiction and workstuff. I tend to, uh, multibook. ;-)

Five books you would take to a deserted island…and why?
Oh jeez. I don't know where to start....

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Because you never really know if Elizabeth and Darcy will get together in the end...
Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. Totally stole this from Lisa, but it makes perfect sense. Think how long it would take to read that bad boy...and the vocab you'd be able to unleash on your rescuer. ;-)
3. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. So that I can finally make a sketch of time for all of Henry's pasts and presents....
4. Norton Anthology of Literature. So I can read all that stuff in college I was supposed to. ;-)
5. The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot. Because Meg makes me laugh, and it will take my mind off the whole "stuck on a desert island" thing. ;-)

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

To Carrie, Denise, and Maire. Because I love to hear what they have to say. Enjoy, girls!

Lookie what I did! Finally up and running, it's our newly redesigned library website, courtesy of moi:



You know I'm a sucker for surveys about inane details of our life, so here goes...

I love the feel of:
1. snuggling underneath my feather duvet with my head on a goosedown pillow
2. backscratches and shoulder massages
3. cashmere


I love the smell of:
1. garlic and onions cooking in butter
2. Drakkar Noir
3. really old books

I love the sound of:
1. Dave Gahan's (Depeche Mode) voice
2. metal golf cleats on asphalt
3. All 43 Nextel Cup Series cars taking the green flag for the first time

I love the taste of:
1. pizza!
2. Koodie Hoo's cheeseburgers on Texas Toast
3. (almost) anything my mother cooks

A day to myself and I would:
1. read the mountain of books next to my bed
2. surf the 'net and chat with friends
3. allow myself the pleasure of not feeling guilty for not doing something productive

I'd love a shopping spree at:
1. Target
2. Pottery Barn
3. J. Jill

Something I do (nearly) every day:
1. read before I go to sleep
2. check my email
3. put my contacts in

Something I wish I could do:
1. have enough money to never worry about money again
2. travel without worry of money, jobs, home - see Italy, Greece, Japan, New Zealand, France, the Carribbean...
3. never have another migraine

Gifts I'd love to get:
1. a cashmere sweater
2. a personal trainer to kick my ass every.single.day.
3. a gift card to any of the above stores

Now I'm going to...
1. go to the big city to visit Wal-Mart
2. think about taking a shower first
3. decide which new recipe to try this weekend

I attended the Indiana Library Federation conference last week, and came away with mixed feelings. While the exhibit hall was fruitful (despite the 4873450873450 architectural firms there), my sessions were half and half. Half were relatively staid and failed to pump me up, but a couple were absolutely fab!

For example, I had the pleasure of seeing the fantabulous Maire give a presentation on one of my pet topics, IM Reference, and I got to see Rock Star Michael Stephens speak not once, but twice!

Alas, I was the geek in the back of the room raising my hand constantly during his Technolust presentation, but in a good geek way - I think. RSS? Blog for the library? Read Pew? Know about iPods in libraries? Have WiFi? Read other librarian blogs? Know about library toolbars? Check. That was very reaffirming, to say the least. We're a small library, but we're mighty!

Of all the presentations I attended, these two were the only to really pump me up and make me excited to come home and get things cooking in the library. Woohoo!

Had a good discussion with my director regarding IM Reference this week, which was encouraging as a starting point. Let's see where we go from here...

I admit it, I dragged my feet on the whole "Download Firefox. It rawks!" bandwagon. But I have dutifully downloaded Firefox and used it for a few weeks, and now (because I know you are on the edge of your seats!), my review...

  • I really like the multiple tab function. I was the queen of having 57 windows open, so I dig on this function, though I had to keep reminding myself to actually USE it.

  • Ditto on the navigation toolbar that you can customize in the top right corner. I love having iMDB, Amazon, Google and more in my eyesight, but I keep forgetting it. Years of going to the URL box, I suppose!

  • I really haven't had a chance to use the "syndicate" button that Firefox displays on some sites, but I'm gonna one of these days...

  • I like the display for the "find on this page" function

  • My biggest beef right now is my Yahoo Mail, actually. I downloaded the "fix it" for Yahoo Mail, but it still won't let me customize my emails with fonts, colors, etc. Maybe there is a new fix? I still use IE for Yahoo, but tend to use Firefox for all else.

  • I've noticed some sites that load slowly, or load the wrong fonts on Firefox, but I'm pretty much used to it by now.
Overall, I give it thumbs up! Rock on!

The Terri Schiavo case divided so many people, and yet, it was refreshing to hear intelligent people engage in highminded, healthy debate about their beliefs on the living will issue.

I have my own opinions on the issue, and while I mourn her passing, I hope her memory will be remembered with dignity, and not disgust.

However, prior to her passing, Comedy Central gave me the only laugh about the whole issue.

Jon Stewart is genius, people. Pure genius....

*giggles* Pat Buchanan. *giggles again*

Time for a few updates after a whirlwind fortnight of conferencing, working, giant puppets and spring cleaning to end all spring cleaning.

Best quote I saw this week: "A visit to a public library should be like a trip to Las Vegas — what happens there should stay there."

A subtle nod to the patron privacy librarians try to uphold each day in the face of the Patriot Act. Perfectly put. :-)