Monday, April 30, 2012

I Finally Understand

For as long as I've seen them around, these

have inexplicably been a source of great annoyance to me. 

Was it the sheer cutsie-ness? The pastel colors and basket that made the girl look like she came straight from a Doris Day movie?

Was it the fact that everyone and their poodle had one?

Or was it simply the fact that I just don't like the way they look?

Maybe all of the above, just a little. But I think I've finally figured it out. You see, the handlebars are very long. So when  girl rides a beach cruiser, she doesn't lean over the handlebars, as on a normal bike.

She sits up very straight.

Not only does this make her look like Doris Day's evil clone. It brings to mind another biker. One who also sits up very straight, rides and old-fashioned bike, and looks extraordinarily pleased with herself.

Doo doodoo doodoo doooooo doo doodoo doodoo doooooooo


Fake nostalgia bikes = Evil witches

Friday, April 20, 2012

Just Keep It In Mind - Lady Gaga

Today while I was putting away some YA stuff at the library, the cover of a magazine caught my eye. The title story was the a quote from Katy Perry that said, "I just stopped focusing on what other people think."

While I do agree that this is a good message for teens (ie. don't live your life based on peer pressure), what I really, really wish is that celebrities would just stop lying to everyone.

People like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga don't act all crazy because they don't care what people think of them. They act all crazy precisely because they DO care. They WANT the attention. They want people to see them as extreme.

I mean, let's think about this for a moment. If someone legitimately did not care what other people thought of them - like honestly, sincerely, it really just did not matter - then that person would just wear whatever was comfortable and easy. Wal-mart or Target for the clothes. Maybe the mall.

If someone seriously didn't care what people thought, then this would not be real:
(What is with that skeletor claw?)

Or this:
(Admittedly, cool looking.)

Or This:
(And it works. Every single person in this picture is staring at her ice queen get-up. You don't dress that way if you don't want attention. And, by George, she definitely got it.)

You don't spend oodles of time and money to create outrageous costumes just to not make a point. When a person doesn't care what people think, then they just Don't Care What People Think.

That's a novel concept for you.

But it's true. These people go extreme to get attention. To send a message. To communicate a certain something to other people. For some it is "Look at me! Aren't I so special and unique!" For others it is "I know what the norm is. And I'm gonna break it, because I can." And for still others it can even be "I don't like who I really am, so I'm going to hide it behind this lavish facade."

But not for a single one of them is it actually a message of "It doesn't matter what other people think of me." Because it does. Oh, it really does.

I would know. Because I've done the exact same thing.

I didn't wear my Dr. Seuss hat to girls camp every single year because I didn't care. (If I didn't care, I wouldn't have gone through the trouble of packing it and putting it on every day. Because it just wouldn't have mattered.)

I wore it every year at camp (and a good many evenings after school as well) because I was shy and awkward, and it was a non-verbal way for me to say "I'm not like you, and that's okay."

It was quite a few years later that I started to actually believe it was okay. But the hat helped.

I wanted needed people to understand that I was not the same old cookie cutter teenager as the rest of the world. I wanted their image of me to be fun and different. I wore the hat so they would notice.

So, I'm not dissing Lady Gaga, or Katy Perry, or any outrageous performer. They can do whatever they want. It's not my place to judge that. And, while some of her costumes are terrifying, there are things that Lady Gaga wears that are actually really cool looking. (In an artistic sense anyway. They still don't make sense as clothes.)

But what I am saying is that people really should stop mixing these things up. There is a striking difference between not caring what people think, and being super different or norm-defying. For a lesson on norm-defying, Lady Gaga is the way to go. But if you want a role model on how to "not care what people think", then this is really not the place to turn. (For one example of a good place to turn, see this post.)

It's good to be individual. To be your own unique person. And it is also good to live your life through your own actions and choices. Don't let it be lived for you because you are so obsessed with what society thinks of you.


Those are not the same thing. You can be an active, comfortable-with-yourself person without being psycho crazy. And you can wear the craziest outfit ever invented, and not even like yourself very much.

I feel like the first step to being good at both is knowing the difference. Moral of the story: Don't listen to hollywood.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Random Question Answers

Q:  Will you rule with an iron fist, or be nice and pleasant?

A: Both. Morons will get my fist. Awesome people will live together in peace and harmony. (See photograph)

Q: What counts as awesome?

A: I decide. (It's one of the perks of being supreme chancellor of the world, grand consumer of bacon, and royal champion of the internets.)

Q: What is your job?

A: Supreme Chancellor of the World, Grand Consumer of bacon, and Royal Champion of the Internets.
(Or did you mean my day job?)

Q: Yes.

A: By day I work undercover as a Master Alphabetizer, Dewey Decimal Specialist, and Re-shelving Professional. (Yes, this is quite different than a minimum wage library worker. Not the same at all.)

Q: Why does packing suck?

A: Ah, that is one of life's great mysteries. I suspect that the answer is either '42', or 'Because America is a 1st world country where we have too dang much. We complain bitterly when we don't have it, but then we have to pack it all up and move, and we suddenly realize how much crap we own.'

 Q:  When are you getting out of Provo so you're not around people who are younger than you with small children so you can hang out with single people your age and not feel bored?

A: When there exists a place that I can actually go to that fulfills those requirements without having to make me A) move blindly to a new city that I've never been to, B) move from a place where I have a job, however minimally waged, to a place where I have nothing whatsoever, C) move blindly to a place where I know absolutely no one. (I can stay calm in all sorts of crises, but being socially and financially brave is not one of my virtues.) 

So far, that doesn't exist.

Q: How old do you feel after that last question?

A: Positively ancient. I didn't realize that being a few years older than my current single friends was such an insurmountable age gap. Now that I know the truth, I think I'll just go out and buy a cane now. Why wait?

Q: If a Texan and an Italian man duked it out in a fight, who would win?

A: If the Texan is telling it, then the Texan every time. If anyone else tells it, then it all hinges on whether or not the italian is Rocky Balboa. 

Q:  If we lived in the Captiol, what would be your extreme behavior of choice?

A: As unfortunate as it is, it would probably be the food thing. You know, the puke medicine that lets you go back and keep eating all night long. 

Q: What if we didn't have to pee all the time? Approximate how much more time we would have to spend on other activities.

A: The answer is always 42.

Q: If we didn't have to sleep, what would you do with your extra time?

A: We're supposed to sleep?

Well, the number of posts on my blog would probably double. And staying up too late to finish an epic book would no longer be a problem. 

Q: If you had to be in a movie with Justin Bieber or Justin Timberlake, who would you choose?

A: Timberlake. A) Because he isn't still a minor. B) Because even though he isn't a spectacular actor, he really isn't the worst. I don't feel like the same would hold true for Bieber. C) Because Timberlake is taller. D) Because Bieber named his first album release "my world" and his second one "my world 2.0". (Yeah, I know. They're supposedly just two parts of the same album, released a year apart. But really? How does that count?)

Q: If you had to write a research paper, what would your topic be?

A: Really, Barbara? That's the best you can do?

Ah, well. In the interest of full disclosure... I suppose that would depend on the class. But assuming it was a class wherein I could pick any topic I like, on any subject, I'd probably go with something sciencey, where I could play with fire or solquid or acid/base explosions or shooting things at other things. 

Q: If you could have one super power which would it be and why?

A: Yes, we did have this discussion. But I like this question because I actually have a thought out answer to it. 

I would have animorph-like powers, because it covers pretty much all eventualities. (And that covers my insecurity about making decisions, and possibly leaving something out that I might need.) If you need to fly, you can be a bird. If you need to swim, fish or dolphin. If you need to hide, bugs. If you need to trample a used car lot, elephants work perfectly. Etc. 

Q:  A train leaves San Francisco traveling at 60 mph heading east. Another train leaves Chicago traveling west at 70 mph. At what point do you stop thinking about trains and play with a herd of llamas?

A: I assume that I was supposed to finish reading the question. But there was this herd of llamas...

Q: If you were to create a new eBook format (we already have Kindle, epub, and pdf) to drive libraries and consumers crazy, what would you call it and what eBook devices would be compatible with it?

A: Since this answer is purely theoretical, we're going to assume that I'm as smart as Steve Jobs. That being the case, I'd do all sorts of market research and invent a kind of file that worked on all sorts of devices without too many complicated patches. Its device would also allow many other file types to play. (Again, without too much complicated patchiness.) 

I think I'd call it a phoenix. Because phoenixes are awesome, and so is the word. And it would give me the chance to decorate things with lots of fire. Which is also cool. Then I would go into an expansion version for other things like pictures and audio files, which would be the Phoenix Ice, and then I could have an ice phoenix with a blue fire theme, and it would look cool too, and also read a lot of different things. 

AND because I'd invented this way to play lots of files together without all that confusing file type incompatibility, everyone would use my files, because they'd be safe to use, no matter what device they had. And everyone would use my devices too, because they played everything without a big digital mess. Then I really would be like Steve Jobs, and rule the world. And librarians everywhere would hail me as the savior of their sanity. 

On a side note, this is also how I would stabilize my position as Supreme Chancellor. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Classy Ladies 1

Sometimes Hollywood destroys our faith in the human race. I know it does for me. We see it take cute little girls like Lindsey Lohan and turn them into drunken rehab inmates. It's sad. And it makes us wonder if there's even hope left for the human race.

But there's a bright side. One that doesn't get much attention. All the tabloids want is a scandal story. No one looks at the good. There are people in hollywood that are spectacular, not because of being famous, but despite it. Who hold themselves well, even when the entire world is watching and judging.

Today's Classy Lady spotlight:

Jamie Lee Curtis

I was talking to a guy friend about this once. We were naming people that we respect in hollywood, and I said Jamie Lee Curtis. His reaction?

"Ew! She's a man!"

Exact words. I didn't tell him this, but I was actually a little offended. What does that say about our society? Even this boy, who is a normal, decent human being, couldn't see past the physical. I talk about respect, and he immediately identifies that with beauty.

Oh, but I forgot. You can't respect any female unless she's drop dead gorgeous.

Sadly, this isn't an uncommon reaction. People don't care who she is, or what she does. All they can see is that she isn't a barbie doll. And somehow, that offends them. It makes them mad that someone can be comfortable, happy, and even famous without conforming to the assembly line image.

Jamie is pretty. But it's the kind of pretty that isn't just about beauty. It takes in physical, personality, and poise. All of those things together transcend mere beauty. Jamie Lee Curtis is classy.

Let's talk about why.

First, physically. She takes care of herself. She looks good for her age. She acts her age. And she's not afraid of the gray.

That wasn't always true. For a while, she went through the same thing that practically everyone in hollywood does. The plastic surgery. The fear of aging. That even led to some drug problems (addictive pain killers.) But, unlike a lot of hollywood, she realized that it was stupid.

Here's what she said about it (taken from an online article):

"I've done it all and it doesn't work." 

The Freaky Friday star won't talk specifics, but says, "I did all of it in attempting to stave off [aging]." 

"It made me look worse and feel worse. What they say works doesn't." 

Self-acceptance. To make that point, Curtis posed in her underwear for More last September (below), without makeup or retouching. "I wanted to say to women, 'Hello? I look like this. Relax, we all look like this.' I'm 44 and I weigh 150." 

Now, (at 53) she spends a good bit of time campaigning about it. Her message is that aging is normal. Having a non-skeletal figure is normal. That it's okay to not be a barbie doll.

There are quite a few famous figures who say that. But not too many who honestly believe it, or who do anything about it.

Two, about those painkillers.

No, she isn't perfect. None of us are. And yes, she had a phase of her life where she was both an alcoholic, and addicted to pain meds.

The great part here is that she overcame it. She quit the booze. Quit the drugs. And she's been totally sober for a while now. She calls it one of the greatest triumphs in her life. And I personally feel like it's all the more reason to respect her. She was someone who fell that low, saw what was going on, and got up the guts and determination to climb back out of it.

Three, her family.  

She got married in 1984, and has actually stayed that way. Quite an achievement for anyone in hollywood. They have 2 adopted kids. In interviews she's mentioned that her family comes first. Always. She's good at what she does, but she calls it "moonlighting as an actress". If a movie interferes with her family life, she doesn't do it.

Four, she is one funny lady.  

That speaks for itself. She really is just a funny, happy, easy-going lady.

Five, picture books. 

Alright, yes. Half the people in hollywood, and 3/4 of the famous singers have written picture books these days. It's almost terrifying. Madonna. Cheech and Chong. Lachanze. Even some of the cool people like Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Seymour, and John Lithgow.

But most of those are just fun stories. Nothing wrong with that, but there's nothing really special about it either. Being famous does not inherently mean that your picture book writing skills are amazing. But Jamie Lee Curtis writes books with a purpose. They're all about growing up.

I know, I know. No one likes to read books with a blatant message. It's true. But I think that hers are in a good place. They can help kids get through the rough parts of growing up, and still be funny and fun. Most of all, though, I really respect the fact that she writes to help people, NOT to get royalties because of her famous name.

Summary: Jamie Lee Curtis is a classy lady. We'd all do a lot better in life if she was our role model, instead of so many of the barbie dolls.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


You are in the dark. The only way out is through a long hallway. All you can see is the faint outline of a wall. The only light comes from an exit sign above the dead end, glowing dim and red.

This plays in the background as you walk slowly through the dark, toward the eerie red letters:

Yeah, it was creepy for me too. But in a cool connecting-to-the-story kind of way.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Some crazy for thought

If you really want to know how cool humans can be when they actually try, take a look at this.

Today's computers have so much power in comparison to the very first computers, that we can't even measure them in bytes anymore. We use GB.

1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes  (I have been corrected. This is approximate. But for this, it's good enough.)

We often measure files in MB.

1 MB = 1,000,000 bytes

When things get any smaller than this, we practically can't function. Any cell phone without internet access and at  least 3 GB of memory is considered ancient hardware.


The computer for Apollo 11 had 2 KB.

We landed on the moon with 2,000 bytes. 
Today's average mp3 file is about 8,000,000 bytes.  

We could land on the moon, literally for a song. 

(Sorry, but I had to. You understand.)

But yes, we could blast a rocket out of Earth's atmosphere, drive it over 300,000 miles, land it on a giant space rock, take off from the space rock, drive over 300,000 miles back, re-enter the atmosphere, and survive the whole process all with 4,000 times LESS memory than it takes me to wake up in the morning.

Crazy. (In a cool way.)