Thursday, September 17, 2009

Icelandic libraries

Since I'm now a student of Library & Information Sciences (for all of you who didn't know), I thought this was a particularly interesting & amusing bit of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth:

In the first place M. Fridrikssen wanted to know what success my uncle had had at the library.

"Your library! why there is nothing but a few tattered books upon almost deserted shelves."

"Indeed!" replied M. Fridrikssen, "why we possess eight thousand volumes, many of them valuable and scarce, works in the old Scandinavian language, and we have all the novelties that Copenhagen sends us every year."

"Where do you keep your eight thousand volumes? For my part -"

"Oh, M. Liedenbrock, they are all over the country. In this icy region we are fond of study. There is not a farmer nor a fisherman that cannot read and does not read. Our principle is, that books, instead of growing mouldy behind an iron grating, should be worn out under the eyes of many readers. Therefore, these volumes are passed from one to another, read over and over, referred to again and again; and it often happens that they find their way back to their shelves only after an absence of a year or two."

"And in the meantime," said my uncle rather spitefully, "strangers --"

"Well, what would you have? Foreigners have their libraries at home, and the first essential for labouring people is that they should be educated. I repeat to you the love of reading runs in Icelandic blood. In 1816 we founded a prosperous literary society; learned strangers think themselves honoured in becoming members of it. It
publishes books which educate our fellow-countrymen, and do the country great service. If you will consent to be a corresponding member, Herr Liedenbrock, you will be giving us great pleasure."

It's an interesting look at how libraries perhaps should be used! :)

(Thanks to Project Gutenberg for the text above.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

this looks amazing...

...on so many levels.

As Liz Lemon would say, "I want to go to there."

I am seriously considering doing a masters of library & information sciences in good old Austin...I love that city.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Any mention of QWERTY always brings to mind 1) learning about that in the 5th grade (even though I'd been typing Mavis Beacon-style since I was 7 or 8), and 2) these stickers my sisters & I used to have with a little creature on it named, of course, Qwerty (what he had to do with keyboards, I have no clue).

In any case, I wanted to share this fascinating tidbit of the QWERTY article that I stumbled across this morning (while doing some brief Wikipedia-surfing, thanks to today's xkcd comic):

Sholes struggled for the next six years to perfect his invention, making many trial-and-error rearrangements of the original machine's alphabetical key arrangement in an effort to reduce the frequency of typebar clashes. Eventually he arrived at a four-row, upper case keyboard approaching the modern QWERTY standard. In 1873 Sholes' backer, James Densmore, succeeded in selling manufacturing rights for the Sholes-Glidden "Type Writer" with E. Remington and Sons and within the following few months the keyboard layout was finalised by Remington's mechanics. Their adjustments included placing the "R" key in the place previously allotted to the period mark, thus enabling salesmen to impress customers by pecking out the brand name "TYPE WRITER" from one keyboard row. Vestiges of the original alphabetical layout remained in the "home row" sequence FGHJKL.

I love learning about how things came to be the way they are. --All so they could simply impress clients with typing a word on a single row!

It is kind of cool that you can still do that to this day, though. Ah, how incredibly marketing affects's unbelievable sometimes!

I hope all of you out there in blog-land are doing well these days! Sorry I don't post much here anymore, but I do hope to at least be on here occasionally with some neat tidbits like the above. xo

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

i am Google's whore

But it's okay, because I totally love them and would probably do anything for them. So it's kind of like I want to marry my pimp and have his babies. Or something.

Anyway, so yesterday afternoon, I finally finally finally (yes, I've been a bit anxious for it) picked up the G1 phone:

This is not my picture, therefore that's not my hand.

It's beautiful. And adorable. All at once.

And, for the hilarious cherry on top? I received the Gmail stickers I sent away for in the mail yesterday evening!

I was disappointed not to receive the unicorn sticker - they only give you one of the 3 nameplate ones, at random - which was mainly why I even wanted it in the first place (teehee I'm such a child of the 80s), but I did get a sparkly Gmail sticker which partly made up for that.

I basically haven't been off of my phone for more than 10 minutes since getting it. It's gorgeous and exactly what I needed. It's interesting getting used to using a phone OS instead of a Windows-based one (my poor, beloved Treo died for good on me yesterday; I'm still semi-mourning it...during the occasional 2 seconds I'm not googly-eyed over my G1), but I'm getting the hang of it, and quickly. I have found everything I need for it, including a great financial software program much like the one I loved for my WM6 phone.

I'm sure I'll encounter glitches, but for now, I'm totally happy. Elated, even. I hope this high lasts for a while...xo

I am totally in love with this little guy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

rest in peace

I'm not posting this to elicit sympathy or even any response; I simply wanted to share my grandfather's amazing life with everyone. He was such a good man. May he rest in peace, knowing he was certainly well loved.

John Miceli, 92, husband for 61 years of Yvonne (Remy) Miceli, died suddenly at home on Saturday (February 7, 2009). Born in Winsted on January 3, 1917, he was the son of the late Mario and Anna (DiSilvestro) Miceli. He attended local schools and served four years in the U.S. Army during World War II in the European Theater and North Africa. During this time, he became fluent in French, German, and Arabic in addition to his native Italian, and served his country further by providing translations in military court. It was also in France that he met his wife. John was a lifelong resident of Winsted before moving to Canton three years ago. For many years, he owned and operated Miceli's Market and later worked as a Department Manager for Caldor. After his retirement, John shared his time and good nature by transporting students with special needs and later by making home deliveries for Ivery and Dudley Pharmacy. In addition to his wife, he leaves to cherish his memory four children, Lori (Paul) Egan-Scollen of Meriden, Joan (Larry) Schlegel of Unionville, Michael (Kath) Miceli of South Hero, VT, Yvonne Miceli and partner Allan Schiffer of West Hartford; eight grandchildren, Joshua, Nicholas and Brandon Egan, Dr. Sarah Schlegel Doran, Bethany Schlegel Shaw, Arianna Schlegel, Erin Miceli, and Daniel Ridgeway. John donated his body for medical research.

I love you, Grandpa.

she's a maniac, maniac on the floor

I am currently obsessed with (or should I say maniacal about?) this list of manias. It's fascinating. You can also check out phobias, in the link at the top of the page. I just thought I'd share with all those other verbomaniacs (yes, it's defined in the catalog) out there. :)


Thursday, January 22, 2009

quiet night

I stayed in yesterday evening and ended up watching two movies, because I was getting some serious knitting done and didn't want to put it down. Weirdly, both of the movies were about people without their licenses, which I definitely didn't plan. I just chose License to Drive (I'd never seen that before now! such a classic Corey/Corey movie) and Smart People somewhat randomly off my Netflix Watch Instantly Queue, and they just happened to have an odd connection that I otherwise would never have put together, had I not watched them back-to-back.

Okay, that's actually not true - I didn't choose License to Drive randomly; it actually expires off my Instant queue on 1/24, so I had to watch it before then. I kind of forced myself to watch it, even though I wasn't especially in the mood for a silly teen movie. But, I got more into it - it was nice to watch a bit of fluff. And, very odd to see Heather Graham in a movie from that time! I hadn't realized she was in the acting business as long as she was - I thought she just appeared when in her mid-20s, somewhere around Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. I hadn't realized she was in Twins, Drugstore Cowboy, Twin Peaks, and Growing Pains! ( that I think about it...maybe I do remember Growing Pains...hmm. Very vague memories.)

Anyway, I wasn't a huge fan of LtD, but it was fun...ish. It still bothers me that the sister just disappeared out of the movie at the end - I don't understand what happened to her. No one seems to care that she's not around. And I thought her spotting her brother driving his grandfather's car without his license would play a LOT more importantly into the story than it did. Oh, well. I just don't like loose ends like that. They make me feel unsettled. And like the makers of the movie didn't spend too much time finishing it. Which, I guess they didn't have to - they knew that millions of teenage girls were going to rush to the theaters to see the teen heartthrobs, haha.

And Smart People was...all right. I was somewhat disappointed, given the awesome cast: Dennis Quaid, Ellen Page, Thomas Hayden Church, Sarah Jessica Parker - and even Pam's ex-fiancee! But it was...underwhelming. I enjoyed it - more than License to Drive, for sure - and it felt very real, didn't leave me with much of an impression either way. It mostly just felt like an interesting look at the lives of an academic and the people who orbit around him. Nothing new was introduced.

Well. That's all I really have to say on that - I think that's more than enough, really! Have a good Thursday, everyone. xo

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I don't usually post these quiz thingies, but this one (the Myers-Briggs in shortened form, essentially) is very, very correct about me:

You Are An ISFJ

The Nurturer

You have a strong need to belong, and you very loyal.
A good listener, you excel at helping others in practical ways.
In your spare time, you enjoy engaging your senses through art, cooking, and music.
You find it easy to be devoted to one person... a partner who you do special things for.

In love, you express your emotions through actions.
Taking care of someone is how you love them. And you do it well!

At work, you do well in a structured environment. You complete tasks well and on time.
You would make a good interior designer, chef, or child psychologist.

How you see yourself: Competent, dependable, and detail oriented

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Boring, dominant, and stuck in a rut

What's Your Personality Type?

I would have predicted this about myself anyway; I know my proclivities well. But, still. It's nice to know that there are others like me out there, and that I can do something productive with my stubbornness, desire for structure, and loyalty. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

some more commentary

* "I'm a lefty, get used to it." - Obama, upon signing his first official act as President. I love that they bantered about being left-handed for quite some time! That was great.

* And yes, I did see Chelsea Clinton, talking with John & Cindy McCain. I just was surprised she didn't walk out with her parents, but then again the only reason the children of the presidents were there was that one set was leaving the White House, and the other was moving in.

* 4 of the last 10 presidents have been left-handed. Nice!

* I can't believe Cheney pulled a muscle in his back from moving boxes!! I figured they'd have people doing all of the packing & moving for them....

* Jill Biden certainly loves her some tall black boots and short skirts. Good thing she can pretty much rock them.

january 20 commentary

Just some of the thoughts currently running through my head as I watch the inauguration:

* Okay, what is with Bill Clinton?? He looks like he is having the absolute worst time ever. He used to be so good at appearing jolly and smiling all the time. It makes me so sad. I wonder what is wrong.

* That's cool about Biden's old family Bible.

* The Obama family is just beautiful.

* Why wasn't Chelsea Clinton at the event? I wonder where she is....

Perhaps more later, we'll see. xo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: The Cobweb
AUTHOR: Neal Stephenson & J. Frederick George

TITLE: The Count of Monte Cristo
AUTHOR: Alexandre Dumas

TITLE: Middlemarch
AUTHOR: George Eliot

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

reading rainbow

Because it feels like I move every few days at this point in my life (ugh), I've been hugely into decluttering and trying to pare my belongings down to the necessities, plus a few frills (you have to surround yourself with some beautiful things, after all). My biggest difficulty (besides yarn, but that's not so much of a problem because it really doesn't weigh much) has been books. I grew up in a family that surrounded itself with books, and I have the same addiction. Not just to reading, but to having books. I love seeing them, looking at all the possibility of what I will read next. I like displaying my tastes & personality to others via my bookshelf, stocked with books: novels about pop culture, nonfiction about the evils of advertising, history books, feminist books, knitting books. Science fiction, with emphasis on the "science". Classics. And yes, a few light reads mixed in for good measure.

So it certainly pains me to think about paring down my collection, especially when I'm a member of, and continue to obtain more books pretty regularly. But what I want to really try to do this year - I swear, though, I have been trying to do this for the past couple of years! - is read those unread books that I have been carting around with me, decide if they are worth keeping, and then pass them on if not. It's something I've been doing this past year, but I really want to try to get through a lot more in 2009. Part of that effort included removing a lot of books from my PBS wishlist - I've kept only the ones that seem hard to get elsewhere, or that I am high up on the queue for - I don't want to lose the opportunity to get those when I am number 3 in a line of several hundred. However, most books - especially those I am certain I can get at the library - have been removed.

And the library is my ultimate goal. I will always, always hold onto those precious books which are my absolute favorites, no question - I couldn't do without any. However, I do certainly have plenty of expendable books on my shelves, and I need to remember that the public library is a wealth of opportunity for me. (Not to mention, that it forces me to get through books much more quickly!) If I can transition myself back to being a library reader (which I was for much of my life! - PBS has been somewhat "detrimental" in that regard, as much as I adore the site), then I can borrow a book, and if I find it indispensable after finishing it, I can then purchase a copy for myself. Right? No need to cart 100+ books from apartment to apartment. I have to say, I do hate that I feel like part of my "personality" will disappear along with some of the books, but at least with the advent of social websites that allow one to list their favorite books, as well as excellent sites like GoodReads, I can keep a lot of my tastes plainly displayed - even if they're not readily visible 24/7. I think I can deal with that. (Deep breath.)

I want this year to be more about dealing with tempering some of my, er, obsessions...neuroses...I need to be able to let go of certain things better than I currently do, I think. I know I said I wouldn't make resolutions, largely because I think that people should be striving to improve themselves all year 'round, but with everyone else talking resolutions right now, it's been on my mind a lot lately. So, I guess I'll make this official: my goal this year is to remove a total of at least...10 books (I'll try to start easy!) from my shelves. That means no matter how many come & go, I should have a -10 balance at the end of the year.

Hmm, that requires me counting my books. I'll have to get back to you on that. Perhaps once I move (I got approved for the new apartment, yay) and set up my bookshelves again, I'll start from there. It does help that not all of my books fit on my bookshelf - it's nice to have a visual to see that if I have fewer books not in the bookshelf by the end of the year, I'll have succeeded. I hope I can! I certainly don't need all these books. I have to start considering the public library as an extension of my own collection, haha. Bristol has a very nice one. And I've yet to - gasp! - even get a card from there. I haven't read a single library book since leaving Boston, because I've got so many to read here. That's a sign enough that I need to make a change around here!

p.s. Sites like this and this also help, for those of you who might also be considering paring down your book collections....

p.p.s. And no, I don't want a Kindle! I love holding physical books much too much. Although...I have considered the idea at least for travel purposes. But, I'll still probably refrain from the purchase for now.

Friday, January 09, 2009


Ugh, I just gorged on several of the gingersnaps that my sister & I baked last night; they are so addictive. But probably not the best idea for breakfast, heh. I couldn't help myself, though! I am definitely one of those people who is visually suggestible when it comes to food - if I see it, I want it. If I don't, I largely tend to forget about it. So, I try to keep that in mind, and keep most food out of my line of vision. :)

In any case, I thought I'd share this recipe, because it is one of my favorites, and one of the quickest & easiest cookie recipes I know. A friend named Rachel shared it with me my junior year of college; I think we baked together for the Computer Science Department get-together, and since then I've been a diehard fan of these cookies. It certainly helps that I'm a ginger-flavored-anything addict, especially gingersnaps. I am absolutely in love with Carr's Ginger Lemon Cremes and Newman's Own Ginger-0's.

Well, without further ado:


3/4 cup margarine/butter/shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ginger

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Mix all ingredients.
3. Form into balls and roll in sugar (not necessary; cuts the spiciness).
4. Place wide apart on slightly greased cookie sheet(s).
5. Bake 7 minutes for chewy or 10 minutes for crisp.

Enjoy! :)

Currently Reading:

TITLE: The Cobweb
AUTHOR: Neal Stephenson & J. Frederick George

TITLE: I Want That!: How We All Became Shoppers
AUTHOR: Thomas Hine

TITLE: Bleak House
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens

TITLE: Middlemarch
AUTHOR: George Eliot

Monday, January 05, 2009


Insomnia again last night, so I read several essays from Augusten Burroughs' Possible Side Effects. I was literally up until 4am. It was no fun. I didn't really think that the jasmine tea that we all shared at the Vietnamese restaurant last night was the cause of the problem, but Karen reported having had the same difficulty sleeping, so that must've been it. That, and I've got a lot of stuff on my mind. I kept jumping out of bed to make lists and write stuff down. I don't know if it was the lists that were keeping me up, or that I was making lists because I was up. Eh. Either was a long night. I hope the lack of sleep doesn't kill me later on this week.

I am finding the book to be fun to read, if not as amusing as I think the author would like it to be. But he's fun. Reminds me a lot of David Sedaris, but that could be a bad connection, because the last Sedaris book I read was years ago. Maybe it's just because it's a collection of humorous essays about a man's life. And they're both gay. Hmm. Anyway, I wasn't expecting the book to be what it is, but I am flying through it. Oh, and I never noticed that the cover has a six-fingered hand (see below). Seriously. I've owned this book for a couple of years now, and I never noticed it. And I only really did notice it when I was practically delirious from lack of sleep yesterday. Hah.

On a kind of amusing and entirely unrelated note, I found a note I wrote several years ago that queried: "What the hell happened to Collective Soul?" Oddly, I actually saw them play live a couple summers ago (clearly after I had written the above) - they opened for Live. I just thought that was funny, that I wondered at their continued existence and then they resurfaced. Hah, I amuse myself very weirdly. But, it's been interesting going through a bunch of old notes that I saved forever & am beginning to finally realize I no longer need....

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Possible Side Effects
AUTHOR: Augusten Burroughs

TITLE: I Want That!: How We All Became Shoppers
AUTHOR: Thomas Hine

TITLE: Bleak House
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens

Thursday, January 01, 2009

it's ba-ack!

So: ska (and other related late-nineties music) is apparently back, full-force. In the past year, I've seen so many shows of bands who have either reunited recently, have started touring again, or who I haven't seen since I was a wee one in high school! Less Than Jake, The Toasters, The Pietasters, Rancid, The Pilfers, and the other night: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Also, No Doubt and The Offspring have recently reunited. Among many others. It's insanity! But very excellent insanity.

It's been fun to return to some of the venues I haven't haunted since I was a little, awkward, teenaged rude girl.

Before we left for the show, we cooked this for dinner:

Actually, it was super-delicious fajitas. But those colorful veggies were the mouth-watering first step. I just wanted to share.

Oh, and to top off all the nostalgia, Radio 104 returned last year. Hurray!

(Happy New Year, everyone! I wrote most of this post yesterday, but didn't get around to putting it up, which is why it's not really all 2009-y, haha. I'm not a big New Year's person anyway, though - it's just another day, to me. The only thing I like about it is writing the new year on checks, hah.)