Do I dare?

I spent the day copying and pasting catalogue records to make a pretty audiovisual holdings list. I really, really hope that our ILS doesn't have a way that would have meant spending a whole helluva lot of time less than 8 hours on it. I also spent the day stewing about a bit of an ethical dilemma facing me. Essentially it boils down to this: should a librarian be allowed to ask his/her patrons out on a date?

Of course there's a backstory here. There's this one patron of my library who is gorgeous. She's South Asian and therefore transcends standard ideas of beauty and lapses into divine attractiveness (I once had a friend tell me that, if I wanted anyone to every not question my sexuality, I should just start going on about South Asian women. He's probably right: I'm a big fan.) Plus, she's a convert. Oh, and today, when I sneezed she said, "I'd say 'bless you' if I held the priesthood power." Either she's making a nice little joke or she drastically misunderstands the role of priesthood in Mormonism. Frankly, both are nice possibilities, don't you think? The problem is, I don't really know her at all and I only interact with her in library situations. It'd be one thing if we were both, say, students at the College, but I'm not. Part of me thinks this would be unbearably creepy; part of me wants to plot some sort of "accidental" bumping into her; part of me just wants to rage against fate for taunting me.

I'm leaning more towards the idea being 100% creepy. Though, do I come across as lecherous? I hope not. I mean, I'm not going to, like, search through her library account for her phone number or anything that's clearly a no-no (though it wouldn't be the first time I went "data diving" in slightly inappropriate ways). It's kind of like kefir and the word of wisdom in my book. I wonder if I should feel guilty about it, despite the fact that it produces hedons. Therefore, I rely on others to tell me their thoughts and then act accordingly.

So, thoughts?


Apparently, my parents are willing to lie (or at least purposefully mislead) in order to keep me in health insurance. It's sort of touching. I mean, what says love more than compromising your principles because your children have made terrible career/education choices?

This means my dental appointment today was routed through the terrible American health system rather than through my checking account. But, as long as I'm covered I'll soak up the benefits. When coverage really does lapse, I may have to move to Canada, get married and become a drain on their socialist programs.

As an added bonus, the next time my mastoiditis acts up (a disease which usually only strikes children in the third world) I won't have to "borrow" unused antibiotics from friends with heart conditions. And therefore, my chances have getting colitis from said friend's mega-doses of medicinal bacteria will be decreased dramatically.

(Note: my friend's condition requires her to only take medication prior to going to the dentist. It's not like I was putting her in real danger...unless she needed emergency dentistry.)

oh, hell!

When I die, I will most likely end up in Hell. This should probably concern me more than it does, given the fact that I am a practicing Christian (perhaps professing is more accurate…the very inability to practice is why I’m so Hades-bound). However, I tend to just pretend like the grave’s a fine and friendly place and not, as it much more possible, a page from Bosch’s sketchbook. However, this past weekend, I think I got a little taste of the far side of the river Styx. Let’s just say Bosch was way off the mark. Even Dante really screwed this one up. Sartre got quite a bit closer; Hell is other people. Specifically, it is other people in Las Vegas.

Yep, that’s right, the underworld, or at least my own private hell, is on this earth in Clark County, Nevada. Why do I feel this way? Let’s make a list, shall we?

  • The heat.We all know hell is hot (unless you're Mormon, then you know that it's cold, but bear with my traditional imagery). Las Vegas, like everywhere in the Southwest exists because some crazy people in the early 20th Century decided to stay put even after years of crop failures. It's inhumane. People shouldn't live places that hot for any reason.
  • The purpose of the city. Las Vegas seems to exist as part of some cruel bet with nature and common sense. The city is there to show the desert that it can be done. It's perverse. It's mankind at its worse: improving the environment for no reason better than the fact that it wants to PAR-tay! (Salt Lake, another desert gambit, exists to show the world just what those plucky Mormons can do given total control and a few years by themselves. Note to future settlers: if Mormons give up on your site as too desolate, as they did with Vegas, give up and go home. I mean these are the people who are known for bad choices in settlement locales.)
  • Crowds! Connectedly, why are there so many people there? What do they all see? And why must they all congregate along one narrow road? I'm ok with crowds if there are cheap books up for grabs or if you get the rush of amusement park rides. But crowds to see hotels? Isn't this a sign that the terrorist have won?
  • Gamblers. People in casinos depress me. Despite the movie version, they
    are never suave, attractive 30-somethings out for a good time. Rather, they are either fat and obviously poor (which depresses me because they could do better things with their meager savings) or slipping beyond the middle age category and hanging out in casinos in some failed attempt to regain/prolong youth. These people are invariably loud. And drunk.
  • The cost of everything. Vegas, as an industry, seems to ask only that her visitors be bad at math. As we know, most gamblers are. However, nearly 50 bucks for two "rides" at Star Trek: The Experience (which I took part in) or $18 for a single roller coaster ride is nearly criminal. Don't even get me started about the price of shows. Why is there such demand for things? (Also, at Star Trek: The Experience, we were warned that taking pictures during the "rides" was in violation of copyright law. I don't really see how that could possibly be true, but maybe there's something I'm missing.)
  • The hideous success of the "what happens in Vegas" slogan. On the surface, this is a truism. Most things that happen in Vegas are too embarassing to share with others. However, people take this as license to be total jackasses. What else would explain the unslightly young men who think walking down a main street 300 miles from an ocean in nothing but their boardshorts? Or the surprising number of people who casually sip their beers while walking down Las Vegas Blvd? Can you honestly imagine the same sort of behavior along, say, Canal Street in New York? Or the 20-somethings hoisting twelve packs along at 10 in the morning. Who needs beer that early? A general reminder: What happens in Vegas only stays in Vegas if it's not done out in the open. We can see you being a putz on the Strip. And we talk. Or, barring that, we blog.
  • The blatant hawking of women. Billboards with scantily clad Latinas with the wording "Hot Babes Direct to You" indicate two things: feminism and the civil rights movement have failed horribly. None of the softcore ads I saw were for white girls. Isn't that odd? Also, why do the guys who try to get you to take the little "french postcards" think that my mother, a woman of over 50, would be interested in what they are giving out? That's just creepy.
As you can see, I'm no fan of Sin City. But there's a Silver State lining to this cloud. I'm sure Hell's not nearly as
bad as Vegas.

aw, fer cute!

Things that pirates habitually do, according to my nephews' (age 3 and 4.5) version of a certain popular theme park's ride's song:

  • they tentatively schedule things
  • they fill in when Zues and/or Thor just can't be bothered
  • they take things lightly
  • they kick people
  • they capticulate
  • they refer to their comrades as "hearties"
To wit:

Yoho, Yoho, a pirate's life for me.
We pencil, we thunder
We trifle, we boot
we give up me hearties, yoho!

I just don't get them

For my job today, I got to do something that I think I could actually handle: make a book list. True, the list was for quasi-inspirational business titles, but it's still much more manageable than things like "plan an instructional session" or "help to design a display of Book of Mormon translations".

I came up with a series of titles that looked like what the instructor was after, thanks to the combination of my mad skillz using: OPACs,, google, and the reviewing canon (which is more useful, but less destructive and therefore less fun, than the reviewing cannon, where you get to shoot bad books into the air and watch them be destroyed).

In my searches, I came across a philosophy book entitled On Bullshit. The title caught my attention, but I stuck around after reading the reviews. If the public library here didn't have a draconian 10-item limit on holds, it'd be in my queue. One reviewer on amazon, however, took issue with the title, apparently:

Although Mr Frankfart writes with clarity on a most unsavory topic, as a teetotalling, non-smoking Southern Evangelical born-again Christian, I strongly object to this book's vulgar, unbiblical title. I know of no televangelist who would utter such an expression, except perhaps Benny Hinn in a moment of justified righteous indignation when preaching about Catholics or caterers who forget to load smoked salmon aboard his private jet. On a positive note, however, it is reassuring to see that Amazon, in its role as a vocabulary vigilante, does not permit reviewers to write bu lls hit in their comments. Such a breach of propriety would be impossible. WWTeD (What Would Televangelists Do) the new WWJD? And what makes them some barometer of goodness? I mean, I guess I have issues with the whole "send us money for your sins" thing (unless it's theologically grounded in the treasure of merit a la pre-Council of Trent Catholicism), but regardless, televangelists, as a group, are probably not the best examples in the world. At least not for fashion, health, political philosophy, child-raising, or Christian living. Other than those areas...they may be onto something...

Speaking of unfortunate book reviews, Entertainment Weekly gave On Chesil Beach, the latest Ian McEwan an A grade. However, from the choice of quotes, it did sound like the reviewer read about 1/3 the book and then read other reviews to fill in the gaps. The book, which I bought in Canada prior to the US release date, was good but not A-worthy. I'm just a prude, I suppose, and was put off by the graphic depictions of the bedroom encounter. Sure, I was left disgusted with the male main character (who I sincerely hope was not meant to be sympathetic) but I could have read all sorts of books to feel that. McEwan, it appears, is one of those novelists who can write good books but only has one great book in him (cf Michael Cunningham). More's the pity.