Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One World-One Heart Giveaway

I'm surfing too much this morning - I need to get ready for work! But I found something interesting and decided to participate. Photo

One World-One Heart is an annual event connecting bloggers throughout the world. The event includes a giveaway - each participating blogger can offer a prize to those who visit the blog and leave a comment. For more information, click on the image.

As a child, I depended on books to take me out into the world. Book discussion groups have always been delightful experiences. I work at a library and participate in BookCrossing. Since books loom large in my life, my prize is a book - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a new hardback copy. The book will be awarded by a random-number drawing.

I'm looking forward to meeting new friends. To enter my giveaway, leave a comment on this post.

Who will win? Stay tuned!

Added 2/11/09 - Comments will be closed at 10:00 p.m. PST and the drawing will take place immediately thereafter!

And the winner is...Jill of Jewelry Elegance! She's #400 in the Caravan, at http://http://jewelryelegancebyjill.blogspot.com/. Congratulations, Jill!

Many thanks to Lisa for giving me the opportunity to travel in the Caravan.

I was once a Hendrew Sister

Who are the Hendrew Sisters?  Three women who happened to meet as part of a six-person music team.  The team was together for four days, long enough for the three of us to discover our common interest in Big Band music.  We were singing In The Mood when (nobody knows exactly why) I began to cluck the words.  They began to cluck too, and we finished the song in Andrews Sisters style - three-part harmony.  The Hendrew Sisters were born.  We clucked Elmer's Tune for the talent show.  It was a really, really fun weekend.

Chickens have been a significant source of humor in our family since 1994.  I had always thought they were funny but it took a Fred Penner concert video to take chickens to a higher level.  In the middle of the concert, Fred and his band took out bath towels and began to roll them up.  After a couple of other adjustments, behold, they had created what looked like a plucked chicken!  I had to learn how to do that.  I grabbed a towel and stopped/replayed that portion of the video until I had it down, then taught my kids how to do it.  Alden has performed the Chicken Towel Act for many talent shows.  (We have a beige-yellow towel that's perfect for it.)  One time, a musician friend played Turkey In The Straw while I 'folded' the chicken.  It always gets a surprised laugh from those who are watching.

Chickens had some attention at the library last week.  A patron's cell phone went off just as she was walking into the branch (as so often happens).  The unusual thing about it?  Her ringtone was a chicken clucking.  One of our staff keeps chickens and would have enjoyed it but she was on break.  We told her about the ringtone and, during a slow moment, I went online to hunt it down.  You would not believe how many chicken ringtones are out there.  I clicked on the sound samples, hunting for the one we had heard.  The library was unusually quiet at the time, but the samples were quiet also and didn't disturb the patrons. . .until I clicked on the 'prelisten' button for Chicken Diva.  The pure dulcet notes of an operatic chicken rang out.  I couldn't get her to stop.  Everyone in the branch looked up, smiling, as I quickly closed the browser.

I've collected a lot of chicken-related music over the last 15 years.  It's fun to include a completely out-of-place song in a performance.  Ghost Chickens in the Sky is a favorite.  That link takes you to a very informal performance; we're a little more polished!  We've performed it as it was originally intended, of course, but we've also put it in the middle of a Celtic set. Country/western goes Irish.

Chicken jokes?  I've got chicken jokes!  And most of them are terribly corny, which is as it should be.  How about the rubber chicken?  Who invented it?  I Googled this and didn't get a definitive answer, but this query came up in the search results. I snickered.  Clearly this is a person after my own heart.

I've helped make over four hundred Clucking Chickens.  I can make one in my sleep, nearly. We didn't add feathers, partly due to budgetary concerns but mostly because we didn't relish the idea of glue + feathers.  This is a craft that everyone should try if children are around. I must mention, however, that the aforementioned several hundred went to adults, who enjoyed them mightily. These Clucking Chickens sound like the real thing.

Poultry.  Humor.  Stay tuned.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

National Hat Day...

...is tomorrow, January 15.  I've encouraged our staff to wear one to our staff meeting.  It's fielder's choice as far as how fashionable the hat may be.  I tend to opt for the more exuberant, like a giant sombrero or a Cat-In-The-Hat hat.  (I wish I had a Viking helmet with horns.) Wearing a hat at unexpected times is a playful and non-threatening thing we can do at the library.  Our patrons are getting used to us, though.  They hardly blink when something odd is going on.

I'm home for a couple of days with a grievous medical thing.  I can hardly move and have a lot of time on my hands, which leaves a wide open space for mind-wandering.  Pondering hats brought up a memory of a household from many years ago.  There were five of us.  Four of us were of the spontaneous sort, ready for anything.  The fifth, whom I shall call Madge, thought we were...well...silly.  I suppose we were, some of the time.  She once suggested that we were people who needed attention.  I took a serious look at her suggestion but decided that it wasn't really the case, at least for me.  I could live for days (quite happily) with no human contact at all.  Still can.

Thinking about Madge brought up other roommates of my past.  One of the most memorable came about as a result of an ad in the newspaper.  She was seeking a roomie for her established apartment, I was in search of a place.  We met, spoke, and seemed compatible, so I moved in.  Once my stuff was settled, she came to my room, gave me a list of 'shared expenses' that had not been part of our rental conversation, and headed out to an appointment.  It was a lengthy list.  Some of it was reasonable.  But the further down the list I went, the more questionable some of the items became.  The one that sent me over the edge was lightbulbs.  She planned to charge me a percentage of the use of all the lightbulbs in the apartment, since I hadn't been there to share the original cost.  Hm.  This list indicated some potential, and significant, problems.  I called my friends, the ones who had just finished moving me in, and asked them to help me move out.  That afternoon.

It speaks to the depth of friendship when people say ok to a request like that.

Besides hats and roommate memories, my thoughts have been engaged with websurfing.  I received an email from a 2.0 application, Stikkit, in which it was announced regretfully that Stikkit was shutting down in 30 days.  That's one of the vagaries of Web 2.0.  You just never know if an app will be supported enough to stay put.  Doggone.  I used Stikkit a lot - it allowed me to put a virtual sticky note on a website, a handy tool for reminding me why I went to the website in the first place and what I found useful there.  It was kind of them to let everyone know, giving Stikkit users time to gather their stickies and mark the sites in other ways.  It's more the norm that apps simply (poof) go away.

But as one app goes out the window, another takes its place:  Etherpad.  I tried this with a friend.  I'm not sure when I would use it, except perhaps to plan a travel list with someone, or write a group notice, or something.  Maybe it could be used at work in lieu of a meeting, when collaborating on writing documentation or training materials.  Hmm.  The primary hurdle would be getting permission to download Skype.

To finish up, I revisited some of my favorite videos.  Font Conference is wonderful.  It took a couple of viewings before I got the joke with Wingdings.  If you go there, be warned - you should pause it after it starts, to give it a chance to load.  To find the pause, put your cursor over the lower left corner of the video screen and it will pop up.

Next time:  something odd, no doubt.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Words, wonderful words

Happy New Year! Ken and I were on our own this year, no parties, no gathering of friends. Many within our circle were catching up with family celebrations postponed by the weather, others simply out of town. So we watched movies until 11:30, poured a couple of glasses of Asti Martini, and tuned into a local channel for the Space Needle fireworks.

The movies.  We started out with Mama Mia.  So...exuberant.  Pierce Brosnan, singing.  Um.  We moved on to The Cocoanuts, an early Marx Brothers film.  We watched the news.  It doesn't get any jazzier than this on New Year's Eve.

We played a lot of games over Christmas, spending the most time with Bananagrams and Scrabble.  Our final game was dismal all around - nobody had much to work with - which led to a conversation about 2-letter words.  Alden went hunting online for a list of such words, finding one through a link on the official Scrabble site.

And what a happy discovery that link it turned out to be!  The Phrontistery is a site I'm going to have to spend some time on.  A personal vocabulary is a living entity and must continue to grow, even if the additions aren't words one can use any old time.  There are some grand words on The Phrontistery.  The best browsing so far has been within the Compendium of Lost Words.  You really should take a look around if you enjoy the intricacies and wonders of language.

I'll end with the most recent egregious bookmark.  It was discovered by Dan, nestled within a book that had been shelved.  It was a 2" cigarette butt.  This is the kind of thing that causes me to mutter.  What are people thinking??  And how did we miss it when the book was returned?

Library mysteries.  Stay tuned.