The Washingtonienne by Jessica Cutler

This is a very thinly veiled roman a clef written by Cutler, who, exactly like the charcter in this novel...worked on the Hill in Washington, had a lot of sex with government figures, wrote a blog about it, until her bosses found the blog and fired her, allowing the character to get a book deal.

Very thinly veiled.

It's dishy, it's trashy, it's packed with raunchy sex and Washington insights, and kinda made me feel dirty for reading it after watching three hours of the West Wing right before...

How to break teenage hearts:

*Have the every internet connection attached to a T1 line in Southern Indiana go down mid-morning

*Find out that the earliest any work will be done on it will be 5:30pm

*Inform teenage boys who walked through the sweltering heat to play Runescape that there was no internet

*Laugh (secretly, of course) at the pouts, scowls, exclamations of despair, etc

I've never seen so many board games played in the library in one day since we bought them. ;-)

Sun Signs by Shelley Hrdlitschka

This YA novel deals with astrology, online relationships, cancer, and if you ever really know somone - it's like someone took a peek inside my head and then wrote a book about it. ;-)

This epistolary novel (emails, rather than letters, though) is a quick read with surprising depth and development. Motives are questioned, life is questioned, friends come and go, and yet, the world (and the planets!) somehow keep spinning.

I really enjoyed this book. :-)

The Corset Diaries by Katie MacAlister

As you know, I'm a big fan of MacAlister's "vampire" books, so I was curious to read one of her books outside that genre.

She still has the slapsticky humor and lots of energetic sex, but I didn't feel like her characters or plot were as well developed as her other books. I liked the premise - throw a bunch of people into a Victorian home and film the "upstairs, downstairs" way of life - but felt the plot jumped a lot, and the characters jumped a lot.

Not her best work, but I still dig her vampire books. Rawr. ;-)

I was all set to geek out about the fact that Yahoo has bought Konfabulator, and that the software is now totally free to download, maintain and update, when something even more geeky happened!

I received an email from a writer at ESPN, the Magazine, who had questions for me regarding Cheesin' Chadwick. Apparently, he is doing a feature on the Man of Tan, found my site, talked to Chad about it (who told the writer he thought it was great), and then emailed me to find out more.

Oh sure, I get interviewed by national magazines all the time, but I thought I'd share. ;-)

The article should be in the forthcoming issue, due out in a couple of weeks. If anyone sees it before I do, let me know what it says. Rock on!

I'm continually amazed, or should I say amused, by some of our patrons. Today's case study...

Ever since late last week, a woman has been calling once or twice a day to inquire whether the movie "The Pacifier" is in.

It hasn't been.

In fact, it was checked out by a staff member and wasn't due back until 8pm on Monday night, which I told the woman when she called on Friday.

So this morning, I worked the reference desk for some of the time. The staff member told me she wouldn't be able to return the movie until Tuesday, but of course, we never reveal who has something checked out, or what their return plans were. The woman called 4 times, and the script was always the same:

"Is the Pacifier in?"

*LFM pretends to type into the computer*

"No, I'm sorry. It's checked out, and is due back today."

"Thank you."

And so it went.

She continued to call this afternoon, and when I took over the desk again at 5pm, I knew I was in for it.

I was.

She called 5 times in three hours.

At 7:38pm when she called (we close at 8pm), I gently informed her that, no, the movie still wasn't in. She finally admitted that maybe she wouldn't try calling anymore tonight.

Here's the part of this story I find most amazing:


I could see if it was the street date for LOTR or Star Wars or anything starring Colin Firth, but THE PACIFIER?

I can only surmise a few things about this woman:

*She has kids and desperately needs entertainment for them
*She liked that part of the trailer when the duck bites Vin Diesel
*This is part of an elaborate prank to mess with me
*She's friends with Erica, who, as we know, holds a small candle for Vin. ;-)
*She thought it was an educational video about baby care

I guess I'll never know, so I just hope the movie is returned today - because I'm on the reference desk again.

Well, we did it.

We threw a garage sale on what was undoubtedly the hottest day since the beginning of time, and we survived.

We even made a little money, and donated a lot of stuff to Goodwill.

Becca graciously allowed me to jump on board with her (already planned) garage sale, and I hauled over a ton of old furniture and junk that was taking up half of my OWN garage. I sold things I didn't expect to sell, and things that I thought would go for sure were left over! Of course, the accompanying pictures of the hotter-than-Hades sale...

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The stats from the sale:

*First visitor: 5:46am
*First Diet Coke: 5:48am
*First cigarette: 5:49am
*First sale: 6:25am
*Biggest sale for me: $15 (old papasan)
*Smallest sale for me: 7 cents from a little girl who got a pair of bunnyears I wore on my 25th b-day (don't ask...)
*Heat index: 807234087234 degrees
*End of garage sale: 1:02pm
*Goodwill run: 2:16pm
*Shower: 3:02pm
*Total income: $75

Becca made twice what I did, but is going to throw another small sale on a less-hot-and-humid weekend. As for me...I'm just selling a few things on eBay and giving away the rest...

If you are looking for some fly new clothes, be sure to check out my first (of hopefully several) eBay garage sales...

After a restorative shower and the mandatory "lay on the floor face down, not moving and moaning a little" period, I headed back to the big city for dinner with Becca and Kevin, Mick, his son Ethan and his buddy Damon. Afterwards, we all (but Kevin) headed over to the IMAX theatre to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Okay, I admit that I was skeptical, but I gotta tell you...the movie was hysterical, and seeing it on the big screen was awesome! Johnny Depp was fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. :-)

Naturally, we had to go grab some ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery afterward and just sat around and gabbed until we pretty much couldn't keep our eyes open anymore. A long day, but a great one all round...

Is Ethan (foreground) not the cutest little guy on the planet?


Me and McGoob...


All together now...


The gang was going to head to Holiday World today, but I know my limits. Me + heat = misery. I wisely stayed home, got a few things done, watched the race, and wasted the entire day - inside. ;-)

Rocketman: Astronaut Pete Conrad's Incredible Ride to the Moon and Beyond by Nancy Conrad and Howard A. Klausner

How appropriate that I finish the book on the exact anniversary of the first moon landing...July 20, 1969. :-)

If you know me at all, you know I'm a nerd when it comes to the space program of the 1960s. Conrad is one of my absolute favorite astronauts (and Bean, Slayton, Shepard, Grissom...), so this biography was a real treat.

Conrad was the third man to set foot on the moon, and was perhaps the biggest prankster and fun-loving guy in the astronaut corps. One of my favorite Conrad quotes was his memorable moment when he stepped on the moon:

"Whoopee! It might have been a small one for Neil, but it was a big one for me!"

(Conrad was the shortest of all astronauts, at barely 5'6")

This book is fully of funny antecdotes, inside looks at astronaut lives, Conrad's biography from earliest days, pictures, and more.

I absolutely lovedlovedloved this biography. :-)

Whew! The weekend was over before I knew it, and I've scarcely had a minute to blog it, between work, Chad updates, and reading Harry Potter. ;-)

(My Two Chads - yeah, I'm still laughing about that *grin*)

Let's get linkified:

Alright, let's see what happened in Fashionista's world this weekend...

CIMG0419Like the rest of the planet, we unpacked our Harry Potter books at the library, and there was much rejoicing (yay). I got my copy, via Amazon, on Saturday afternoon, and proceeded to spend the next two days tearing through it. Wow. Hrm. Yeah....

There should be a (short) review further down ye olde blog...

On Saturday evening, I ushed at the New HarmonyCIMG0434 Theatre (along with my girl Becca) for the show "A Moon to Dance By". I love the theatre, and I'm so glad Becca's gotten me involved in ushering! While well acted, the play itself was...odd. A very odd, odd play. Yes. This is me waiting to head for dinner and the show - gotta show off my kicky skirt and shoes!

I also set a goal for myself this weekend...I was going to bake bread. From scratch. No cheating. I watched my mother bake bread twice a week for years and years before the advent of the bread machine. I figured, it would be character-building.

And it turned out pretty good! Look, Ma! Bread! :-)

(Never mind that the loaf is roughly the size of my Honda)

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Last night, the library closed at 5pm (per our Board of Trustees) so that the library staff could attend an Evansville Otters baseball game - a sort of bonding, team building event. Everyone had a great time! Great seats, good weather, tasty food and lots of good conversation. All the photos are right here...and a few of the digs...

Bosse Field was the filming site from "A League of Their Own", complete with original set signs from the movie! Apparently, Madonna thought Evansville was heinously boring...she must not have gone to the 4-H Fair or Casino Aztar. ;-)

(That's Becca and I in the last photo)


And that's it from La Fashionista this evening! G'night!

Well, it's nice to see the White House nicely deflecting the Karl Rove probe with a speedy nomination for the Supreme Court, in the form of Judge John Roberts Jr.

More on Roberts:

NARAL alleged that Roberts had actively worked to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that struck down state laws outlawing abortion.

Arguing a case for the first Bush administration in 1990, Roberts said Roe v. Wade "was wrongly decided and should be overruled."

Goody. I can't wait to see what other rights get revoked the minute our deeply spiritual, deeply family-valued, deeply, scarily Republican president starts stacking a soon to be deeply, scarily conservative and Republican Supreme Court.

Maybe I should run rampant now, to make up for later when most of my women's rights are revoked and we become more of a police state than we are now. Hide your library checkouts, prepare your back alley abortions, and getting ready for atheists to start hiding from a new McCarthyist society.

Or perhaps I'm just being a tad cynical.

In other news, I think Karl Rove is one of the scariest people in government, and have thought so for a while now - right up there with Dick Cheney. Don't miss reading the letter sent to Bush from Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in which they demand the removal of Rove from office.

I thought this was interesting, via ABCNews...

Just a quarter of Americans think the White House is fully cooperating in the federal investigation of the leak of a CIA operative's identity, a number that's declined sharply since the investigation began. And three-quarters say that if presidential adviser Karl Rove was responsible for leaking classified information, it should cost him his job.
I just keep picturing Josh Lyman from The West Wing doing something this egregious and trying to get away with it. Would President Bartlett stand for that? I don't f'n think so.

Have a few minutes? Read Dude, Where's My Country (Michael Moore) , Worse than Watergate (John W. Dean), or Had Enough? (James Carville). Eye opening stuff, y'all.

Okay, I'm done ranting...for now...

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

I don't want to spoil anything for folks still reading, or getting ready to read, the sixth installment in the series, so I'll keep this brief.

It's darker. It's more hormonal. It's ending is hard to read. It's left everything up to the seventh book, and the wait is

Another great, great read....

Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich

This is definitely one of my favorites in the Stephanie Plum series so far! More Morelli, more Ranger, more murder and mayhem. If you haven't read this series, DO IT!

I once again listened to the audio version, narrated by C.J. Critt. I've found I can't even *read* this series anymore, because Critt's narration is so fantastic...

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve

This is our library discussion book this month, and I've not read it before, though I've read other Shreve books (Sea Glass and Light on Snow).

I flew through this book in a day...not only is is well written and engaging, but it's sort of a cross of literary fiction and fast paced suspense. Kathryn knows that a pilot's wife should always expect the "knock on the door in the middle of the night", but when she receives it, she has no idea what lays in store for her family, her memory of her husband, or herself.

This is a great read, and Shreve is a great writer.

Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block

Jessy talked and talked about this book and this author during ALA, especially after she got her photo taken with her. :-) I thought it appropriate that I read her book for myself.

Um, it was...odd.

Not my kind of book. At all. Sorry, Jessy. :-(

What a fantastic response of defiance to the London bombings:

The galleries are just amazing.

Via CNN:

London will stop for two minutes' silence at noon Thursday to remember the more than 52 victims of the atrocity. Later there will be a vigil in the capital's Trafalgar Square.

And to think, we were just there, snapping photos and discussing London's chances at hosting the Olympics, slathering on sunscreen and splashing in the fountain...

Ninth Key by Jenny Carroll

This is the second book in "The Mediator" series from Carroll - also known as Meg Cabot. I read the first in the series and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I wanted to keep on reading.

What a fun, funny, fast YA book! Susannah is a typical 16 year old girl with typical 16 year old problems (boys, clothes, school), but her day to day life is aggravated by the fact she can talk to ghosts.

Including her "roommate" Jesse, a ghost who is 150 years old and quite the babe.

This series has a very Buffy feel to me...normal girl, extraordinary talents, wisecracking writing, and a fast paced plot. Rock on!

I'll definitely be reading more in this series!

I decided on a lark late Thursday night to go home and see the fam this weekend, and I'm so glad I did.

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I got to see my godparents for the first time in ages, I got to enjoy Mum's garden, and I got to see my sister, which I also haven't been able to do in ages. (Click any of the flower photos to see all the pics I took from the Bit-O-Britain right here in Indiana)

My godmother is quite a petite lady. Michelle and I couldn't stop laughing as we took this photo of us "two giant redwoods" next to her...


Sunday Michelle and Don invited me to go boating on Lake Monroe, and it was spectacular. I'd forgotten how much I loved going out there with them...

It was great. Except for when the minnow swam down my cleavage. But that's a different story.

(Here are the boating pics, biatch. Stop emailing me. *grin*)

Dig me on the boat - obviously, pre-hair-dyeing...

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I tried to get a diving action shot. It didn't work. ;-)


I can't believe I'm related to these people...


Right before the attack of the minnows...


Oh bartender...


(A few more photos are here...)

And so it was that I had to leave the lake and come back home. Yesterday seemed interminable, probably due to the migraine that blew up last night. Today we had our "staff development day" at the library, and it really was fruitful and interesting.

And since we got out a bit early, I decided to clean out my garage to get ready for Becca's garage sale in a few weeks. Unggghh...

G'night, all!

Kick ass!

We got NIN tickets, and my hair looks f'n rad. Rawk. :-)

(I think it's actually darker than it appears in this photo. Mum's gonna be pissed...)

The Bright Forever by Lee Martin

This is a suspense novel set in a small town in *gasp* southern Indiana. The writing takes getting used to, but the story really flies along and you get caught up in the characters and the plot.

Katie Mackey is a beloved 9 year old girl in town, but once day as she rides her bike to return some library books, she disappears. The story then follows the anguish of the family, the guilt and fear of the perpetrators, and the question mark about who is responsible for Katie's disappearance.

A well written, gripping read that left me unsettled and unsure - the sign of a good read.

I'm Not the New Me by Wendy McClure

Wendy is the author of the blog "Poundy", and this book is a compilation of her blog entries, and the chronicles of her life at the time. Wendy is funny, humble and very *real* about her weight loss journey, her life, her boyfriends, and her struggles to find herself.

A funny and heartening book, with a little inspiration thrown in!

I'm thinking of dying my hair black (or really really dark brown) again. Thoughts?

I don't know if this stems from a need to shake things up, because I feel ugly, or because I want to stand out when I feel like I'm blending into the background...

Or maybe it's just the NIN love talking...

It's time for a little link roundup:

  • The iPod Flea - the next innovation! Thanks to the bro-in-law for the link...
In other happenings, I received news that literally made me jump up and down in my office today (much to my boss's entertainment). NIN tickets for the Chicago show go on sale on Saturday! We must attend! We must worship at the altar of Trent! We must attempt to get backstage and...

Well, nevermind. ;-)

Wish us luck in scoring tickets...I can't wait to see my fave alt rocker with my fave alt friends. :-)

Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia by Carmen bin Ladin

I found this a truly fascinating read.

This book deals extraordinarily little with Osama or network of terrorism, and instead is more a "peek behind the veil" of life in Saudi Arabia from a woman who was not a native and instead married into one of the most powerful families there. Carmen is straightfoward and honest, and her story shed a lot of light on women and culture in the Middle East.

I highly recommend this read to anyone who like the "married to the mob" genre, wants to know more about the Saudi culture, or just likes a great biography.

Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by Shohreh Aghdashloo (the mother from this past season of 24). I fell in love with her voice, and thought her narration really added to my enjoyment of the story.

My heart hurts today for all of London.

I feel as though we were just there, smiling and laughing our way through the streets, taking in the sights and enjoying our views of the city from the top of a double decker bus.

Today, there are no fond memories, only a sinking feeling for all the families affected.

Thankfully, my family in London are all well and safe, and for that, I am so grateful.

When I first met her over two years ago, I was intimidated.

She was one of those patrons that everyone catered to, and looked as through they were afraid to disappoint her, or not be able to help her, or to anger her.

Everyone referred to her as Mrs. Noelle, rather than by her first name as we do with everyone else.

Naturally, I followed suit.

She's a member of my discussion group, and though she rarely speaks, I could see she always had something to say.

After once such discussion, she politely but firmly told me never to call her Mrs. Noelle. It made her sound old.

In the course of a "small talk" conversation once I mentioned that I was weird. Her eyes lit up and she told me conspiratorially that she was too.

And thus, a friendship was born.

She is over 50 years my senior, but has a sharper understanding of politics, religion, philosophy, the supernatural, human nature and human emotions than most people I know. Her words are carefully chosen, and her thoughts are far reaching and intelligent.

She is such a joy to talk to, and she makes me yearn to be more: more well read, more intelligent, more philosophical, just...more.

Last night, I was invited to her home for wine and cheese after work, and for the next two hours and more, I don't think there was more than a few seconds of silence. We rambled from one topic to another, trading stories and thoughts, sipping our wine and watching the sun slowly set on her back garden.

I left with a smile on my face and a new appreciation for new friendships, the kindness of strangers, and a good bottle of wine.

She is such a joy, and I'm so fortunate to be friends with her.

The Next Big Thing by Johanna Edwards

It's always a good sign when Jennifer Weiner is blurbed on the front of a novel with a cute cover and lots of pink. ;-)

This is a fun, feisty read for anyone with a few extra pounds, a love of reality TV, or looking for a cute chick lit book. Kat is overweight, and plans to shed the pounds before meeting her internet "boyfriend" in London. What's a girl to go? Go on a reality show called "Fat to Fabulous", of course...

I spend through this title, and really enjoyed (and empathized!) with Kat's character. Cute!


You can get your own Polaroid photos online!

Here's mine:

That's my little cousin Rebecca, whom I read to, had "tea" with, and generally cuddled whilst in England. She's the cutest little thing I've ever seen! :-)

Get your own Polaroid right here.

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

I just finished this book, the second in the Outlander series, even though I took it with me to read in England. Somehow, it doesn't have the same punch in America as it did gazing out at the hills of the UK. ;-)

This series is utterly fantastic, and if you haven't read it, you should. This title begins with a bang and a huge twist, but eventually picks up speed and crashes through history, time, and romance.

I lovelovelove Jamie Fraser, and want one of my own.


A great, great series!

I did it! I successfully unplugged! Go me!

(I really shouldn't be this happy that I went 24 hours without checking email or Bloglines, should I?)

CIMG0330I did, however, have a bonanza at Wal-Mart and finally seriously stocked up on groceries for the first time since, oh, I went to England...

Then I came home and got to cooking - trying new recipes, revisiting a couple of old favorites, and generally whistling while I worked. A good day. :-)CIMG0331

Made even better when Becca called and invited me over to dinner and a movie with her, Kevin and Mick. Great food, great company, a great evening...

We went and saw War of the Worlds which I admit I was skeptical of, but it turned out to be pretty good - and pretty horrifying. I've decided it's equal parts Independence Day, Titanic, Schindler's List and Alien. Admittedly, I looked at Tom a few times and thought "man, you are such a freak in real life!" but the one who really impressed me was Dakota Fanning. I thought she would be annoying and whiny, but she was really, really good in this film.

I still want to see Batman Begins and Star Wars, though. One of these days...

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

This has been the buzz book of the summer. By now, most folks have heard of this weighty novel (and the $2 million dollar advance Kostova got for it, and the additional $2 in movie rights), and the fact that it centers around the search for Dracula - who may still be alive today.

Kostova's writing is great, and she is skilled at leaving a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter. We read through the eyes of the unnamed narrator, the daughter of a historian who is pulled into a search for Dracula, and all the dangers and drama that go along with it. Kostova weaves history, research, exotic European locales, great characters and a lot of drama into this elaborate and detailed novel.

The publisher (Little, Brown) has been pushing the novel like crazy, and are trying to tout it as the next Da Vinci Code but aside from the chapter cliffhangers and crazy search for the unknown, this is totally different. It feels much more "literary" and researched - aided by the fact Kostova took 10 years to write it.

I really enjoyed the novel, and really got into the search and the twists and turns. The worst part was lugging around a 650 page novel in my bag for days and days. My back still hurts. ;-)

A great, interesting, fascinating read!

Guantanamo: The War on Human Rights by David Rose

Though only 160 pages, this is a horrifying long read, because of the evil it contains.

Rose details the journey of some Gitmo prisoners, the horrors they endured, the way our government is exploiting Gitmo, and the absolute wrong of Gitmo when it comes to human rights and fair trial.

I had to keep reminding myself that this is taking place even today, and not 60 years ago during the Holocaust.

A sobering, horrifying read about a place everyone should know about, understand, and work to eliminate.

Instant Knowledge presented by Mental_Floss

This was a galley I picked up at ALA (it will be released in October), and I was drawn to the tiny size and quirky information inside, with entries ranging from Attila the Hun's burial place to the reason PEZ dispensers are shaped the way they are. A fun, fast, cutesy read!

I participated! You should too!

I know it's been ages since I reviewed a book, but I promise I'm reading every chance I get! As such, I've decided that I'm going to unplug tomorrow.

I'm kinda scared about it.

See, I have certain rituals I perform every day without fail. Wake up, check email. Eat lunch, watch DVDs. Wash dishes, listen to audiobooks. Walk near spare bedroom, check RSS feeds. And so forth.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try, try and try again, not to use technology. No computer, no television, no stereo. I'm going to sit and read and nap and catch up with old friends. I'm going to resist the urge to check my email every 10 minutes. I'm just going to unplug.

Or I'm really, really going to try to, anyway.

In other news, I ran across an interesting question over at 52 Books and thought I would pose the same question to my faithful readers (all four of you).

Would you look down on someone (a bit) if you noticed that they had no books in their home?

I thought this was appropriate, especially after hearing David Sedaris at ALA last week say... "Even thought my publisher would kill me, I don't know why people buy books. That's what libraries are for!"

Discuss, post a comment, or post in your own blog and link me. I'm curious what you all think.

T minus 13 hours to unplugging...

I have fixed the iPod. Repeat: I have fixed the iPod.

It took some time, and was a pretty delicate procedure, but my trusty buddy seems to be working fine now.

The steps I took to fix said iPod:

1. Cursed several times and resisted the urge to stick out my tongue at the iPod

2. Realized I was probably putting too much pressure on it to perform

3. Gently disconnected all cords and laid it face down on my spare bedroom bed, nestled among pillows and blankets and flipped off the light

4. Ignored any and all thoughts or sightings of the iPod for a full day and a half

5. Turned it on while whispering "pleaseworkpleaseworkpleaseworkpleasework..."

6. Kicked up my heels when Trent's voice flowed from the earphones.

See. Easy. ;-)

I just put up a new splash page for my site, and I'm probably a little too proud of it.

Check it out and let me know if a) the images show b) the links work c) it looks totally dorktastic. :-)