Thursday, December 29, 2016

Things J and I have talked about...


First let me apologize preemptively, J is a really nice guy, he means well, and past injuries combined with medical issues may have led to the current situation. Be that as it may, talking to him can be a bit of a challenge. 

In a single conversation, he was somehow able to include:
  • Flying cars and why can we have them
  • Chinese cup therapy
  • Ooo look at that explosion (news)
  • Walking from elementary school to middle school
  • Why can't they convert cars to use veg oil or natural gas, he knew a guy who had a car like that, it didn't make any pollution

I've collected a few tidbits over the past couple of months.  Most of these are taken out of context, but to be fair most were never in context to begin with.

  • Pointing at the tv: "what did they do? Put it on pets?"
  • "I had chicken pox a bunch of times… then my family got a nice Mexican family and they had small pox…."
  • "I had the same suit as Elvis the pelvis. My collar was to here, my was was here… it was black" (yes he did say 'was' twice)
    • He knew the step to rock a robin…
  • "My dad stoled my thing… my important thing"
  • "The guys went bwhuhuh beepbeepbeep then didn't call back"
  • "I ran track, I played tennis, I won trophies, I played little league baseball and pop Warner. I played basketball, I was too short I came on and there were tall guys, I didn't like it but I made the shots."
  • "He made one on a muffin buy I don't remember"
  • "I boxed when I was young so I'm wheeeewheeee… sounds you like some flowers?"
  • "I sniffed the air because I couldn't hear.  I better be careful of you'll singe my hairs"
  • "I used to like hockey, before the built up the things"
  • "I thought he was nurtured the way he talked…"
  • Long conversation about how he meet a wrestler, got knocked 5 rows back, then he offered him beer but liked it in his shoes.  Then Hulk Hogan put him back in his seat.
  • "You know movies today, they can play two parts flipping and a fighting… you know the would fight with clothes on..Elvis had clothes and he wore them but it was two people"
  • "Mi casa su casa….that's about as far as I can go in Spanish"
  • His professional knife throwing days
  • "From the time he got struck by lightning, then the doctors wanted to put him on meds, but the got died, then the guy with the 5' 4" but a marine and I saw a 57 or a 59 so that's all I worried about." (We think the lightning bit may be true)
  • About the time he got into a fight with a guy and accidentally drive a pitch fork through the guy but "they swept it under the rug"
  • How he made his own thousand island dressing that everyone in the restaurant wanted over their own orders. I think he was claiming to invent thousand island dressing.
  • His grandma had 150 Indian kids and didn't accept welfare
  • Played little league for the World Series in Mexico
    • "I won a world series ring but I lost it"
  • His brother had a dog that bit his alarm clock, broke his teeth
  • "I don't want to eat bugs on my corn, it's like a happy motorcycle driver…."
  • Described a story that was suspiciously like the knoif scene in Crocodile Dundee
  • Got paid $1,000 for being an extra on a kids TV show for one day of work
  • His grandpa shot Hitler in the arm during WW1
  • His dad was an extra in gone with the wind and movies with Abbot and Costello
  • Clark gable broke his dad's foot
  • "You know those really big guys...the Dutch "
    • Witnessed a fight between two Dutch guys,  one threw a pool table at the other
  • "If you aim a radar gun at a tree, it reads 6mph because the earth is spinning"
  • His dad knew Marilyn Monroe and knew that one of the Kennedy's got her pregnant.
  • He's claimed that his great grandfather was Sitting Bull and that he was 1/16th Cherokee.

Each time we meet, I make it a point to try and encourage his stories just to see what he will say next.  Again, he is a great guy and is always smiling and laughing but it's getting more and more difficult to tell which "fact" actually happened and which ones he saw on late night TV. 

~Bibliotender

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Music Evolution


My first CD was a an album by Salt-N-Pepa , which I've never learned how to spell properly until now.  My second CD was some single by an R&B artists that the girl I fancied at the time was into.  Eventually my cousin turned me onto the scam that was Columbia House mail order CDs.  I immediately signed up for the free CDs that my cousin recommended to me and signed my soul over to Columbia House.

My collection quickly grew to include Pink Floyd, Metallica, Primus, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, and many others.  I have a very distinct memory of my cousin telling me that I needed to listed to this new album that was destined to be huge and he "knew about it" before anybody else.  That album was Temple of the Dog. Keep in mind that this was pre internet days ; the only way to hear about music was to listen to the radio or take advice from friends and buy the albums.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes you were left with a CD that was destined to become a coaster.  

In high school I was an avid consumer of anything that Alice in Chains produced but once I started driving I needed something faster. That's when I learned about Rage Against the Machine and Metallica's earlier albums.  Sure I stayed in the mainstream for the most part but I was enjoying what I could find.  I wasn't one to listen to the radio too much, too many commercials and repeat songs, so I borrowed and copied as many CDs as possible . 

Looking back, I notice that I tended to listed to music that got my blood boiling and amped me up.  Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, STP, and Primus really helped fuel my energy levels but I still had a soft spot for some acoustic tracks.  I'm sure my brothers both have vivid memories of waking up to Rage blasting through the vents connecting our bedrooms. As I get older, I tend to lean more towards the acoustic versions of the songs that I enjoy or, even better, my favorite band doing acoustic renditions of their songs (or covers).  MTV's unplugged series has a lot of flaws and criticism about commercialism and selling out but damn if it doesn't deliver some amazing versions of songs that I constantly listen to.  

As I type this, I'm listening to Nirvana's cover of "Where did you sleep last night" and I get shivers every time I hear Curt's voice crack.  Clapton's classic album is the golden standard for acoustic renditions. STP and Alice in Chains unplugged concerts have had a constant presence on my playlist ever since their release.  I'm not sure if my tastes have changed to favor acoustic performances or if I've just gotten old.  It's not just songs from my past toned down, I've come to love any acoustic version of a song that is done well.

Whisky ran out….post over….
~bibliotender

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tiny, but Fierce

Once upon a time, not long ago, someone suggested a new audiobook.  I had just finished a series and was looking for something to fill the void.  I …ahem….acquired…..Storm Front and thus began my journey with Harry Dresden. 

I was immediately hooked.  The combination of pop culture references, film noir, detective work, and witty inner monolog kept me laughing and turning pages.  I couldn't just listen to the audiobook, I was too impatient.  I would spend my hour long commute listening to James Marsters become Harry and then I would pick up the physical book when I got home to continue the story.  The second book followed in similar fashion as did the third.  At the time there were 13 books available so I had plenty of material to get through. 

Around book 5 I mentioned the series to Capt. Punc and FunnelBoy but they were either not ready to start a new series or my description didn't do the story justice.  People have asked me to describe the story to them and I always fall short.  "It's about Chicago's only practicing wizard.  No, it's not like Harry Potter.  Yes, he does us magic but it's …more natural?  I don't really know…He's actually a private eye…..Just read the damn thing."  And they would never pick up the book.  I would find myself bursting at the seams trying to discuss the story and the potential plot twists but I couldn't find anybody who could share my excitement. 

By the time I had exhausted all the available books and was waiting "patiently" for the next one, Capt. Punc finally picked up book one.  And book 2 and 3.  He was hooked just as bad as I was and now we could talk about it.  We would sit at the bar and laugh at the references made, discuss the potential outcome of Harry's actions, and I would carefully not give away any spoilers (ok, I gave one fairly big one away but he already guessed who done it).  I had to constantly remind myself that he hadn't read book 6 yet so he didn't know that X was going to become Y and that Z wasn't really human.  Then FunnelBoy started the series and I had to keep track of two spoiler points.   We had some really bizarre conversations around the whiskey glasses.

Eventually they both caught up to me and we were all waiting "patiently" for the next book to be released and we would frequently lace our conversations with quotes.  "Tiny, but fierce."  became a popular reference for any short fiery lady that we conversed with.  We would frequently mention that polka would never die and wish that we would have the privilege of partnering with a wooly chammoth.  Many strange looks were tossed our way and we found ourselves trying to explain our comments to other bar patrons with little success.  Capt. and Funnel Boy were having the same problems describing the books that I had. 

Then the inevitable happened, we expanded our conspirator base.  I talked a coworker into listening to the first audio book, took him less than 5 months to get through 14 books.  I gave the audiobooks to a friend that has a considerable commute and he has been loving this series just as much as we three.  I would get frequent text messages with comments like "WTF! X is crazy!  That attack on Y was amazing. I almost lost it when Z." Again I would find myself going to the spoiler list and referencing where they were in each book so that I didn't ruin the experience for them.  BiblioKid2 just started the series and got mad at me because book 3 is stuck in the mail.  He finished 2 books in a couple weeks.

We had an interesting conversation tonight. FoeHammer stated that he just finished a book that had some pivotal plot developments and he was understandably excited with the new introductions and directions that the characters had open to them. Capt. and I shared our thoughts with him and tried to be conscious of spoilers at the same time.  We were just as excited as he was but something was missing. He didn't make any references to the most important plot twist, his assumptions of the next book didn't jive with the end of the previous.  Capt. and I traded a glance and asked:
 
B: Did you finish the book?
F: Yea, Harry was on the boat and now he has to wait for …
B: What was the last thing that happened?
F: …I don't remember.  Harry was just waiting.
C: ##choking noises with excited squee##
B: I think you missed the last 5 minutes.
F: What do you mean?
B: The last 5 minutes of the audiobook change everything.  You need go back and listen. Trust me.

We couldn't really speculate anymore after that.  We clammed up. 

Damn I love this series.  Butcher needs to hurry up and provide the next book. 

~bibliotender

Friday, February 13, 2015

BINGO!

People watching is a great way to pass the time by yourself or with a group where everyone gets  to silently or judge people based on their appearance.  Occasionally alcohol is involved and the judging can get loud…..and funny.  I noticed that we would frequently see the same thing over and over again.  We were more likely to see different patterns depending on the venue.  Disneyland, for example, always had a couple of Goths running around; there was always some kid being forced onto a ride when they were clearly terrified; and my favorite, there was always a group flag (generally held by an Asian guy).  Sure, stereotypes were reinforced and we are definitely horrible people for pointing and laughing but hey, it's entertaining.


Naturally we needed to make a game out of it.  Being the nerdy geek that I am, I felt compelled to create tool that would allow me to easily randomize the bingo squares and quickly switch between topics.  One night at the computer and a bottle of wine produced this.

Happy hunting!

~Bibliotender


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Comic Strips

Many years ago in a cubicle far, far away, sits a bored analyst.  He has finished his work early but chose not to tell anyone lest more work is assigned, plus he told them it would take a week longer than actually necessary.  The only thing keeping our hero's eyes open is the irresistible need to click the "next" button.  
  
Let me explain. 

I would often find myself in a position where I would have to look busy instead of actually being busy.  Part of this was laziness and another part was playing the long game with management.  If I were to let them know that their request only took 10 minutes, instead of the 2 days that I told them it would take, I would just end up with more work and shorter deadlines.  So I had two options: ask for more work or keep myself busy until I felt that enough time had passed.  Eventually I found webcomics. 

The first one I found that really caught my interest was UserFriendly where I got to read about a friendly little dust puppy, aptly named Dust Puppy, play Quake and help the IT staff install windows 98. Then I found Sluggy comics, PVP, Sinfest, and many, many more.  Even a few that …..I shouldn't have accessed from my work computer. 

Inevitably I migrated back to the comics I truly hold dear.  The Sunday morning comics that arrive on my doorstep each week.   Comics that have been around for many years along side some new ones that are still struggling to find a voice.  Garfield, B.C.,Zits, Peanuts, The Far Side, and my personal favorite : Calvin and Hobbes.

There are many sites and articles that go into great detail about Bill Watterson and his copyright struggles, the Sunday morning format battles, and his utter refusal to commercialize any of his characters.  I have a few of his book around the house and even got the Biblio kids hooked onto Calvin's shenanigans.  There are a few tribute strips out there in the same style that I 've come to enjoy quite a bit as well.  

~Bibliotender

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I smell....I smell...Peetree

Sometimes I forget that small generational gaps between two individuals can lead to totally different childhood experiences. Sure there are cultural and economic differences but some experiences are fairly universal during childhood.  Kids movies fore example; most people my age got to experience the same 80's animation that I was exposed to and we can bond over favorite scenes or quotes.

My coworker (Princess McFuzzy Britches*) showed me a pictures of a rock formation, presumably something that she wants to climb.  My first response was: "That looks like Little Foot's mom".  To which see replied "…."  The following exchange then took place:


Me: Littlefoot?
R: …
Me: Tree stars?
R: Um….
Me: You're telling me that you have never heard of The Land Before Time?
R: What year did it come out?
Me: '88ish
R: Ah, I was going to concerts during that time.
Me: But that means that you never got to experience the sadness that this movie generated.
R: Isn't it a kids movie?
Me: Yes…it had happy moments as well.  What about An American Tail?
R: …
Me: Fievel?
R: Now you are making this up.
Me: You've never heard the tear jerker of a song "Somewhere Out There" and the rousing attack of the Giant Mouse of Minsk that chased all the cats off he pier?
R: The giant what?
Me: Did you see any movies in the late 80's - early 90's?
R: Not very many. I was out partying while you babies sat in front of the television.
Me: What about The Chipmunk Adventure?  Songs like "I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi like you very much" should have landed on your radar. It was easily one of the best songs to come out of the 80's.
R:…

To make matters worse, she somehow missed most of the family movies that were prominent during my childhood; with the exception of Molly Ringwald movies. Go figure. It saddens me that this mother of two will never experience the adventure of a hot air balloon race around the world; never understand humiliation of the truffle shuffle; the joy at learning that someone is only mostly dead; never share in the exhilaration of riding a luck dragon; the sadness of losing your mother to a Sharptooth attack; the fear of an appliance left behind, destined for the car crusher; the utter betrayal of Hoggle or the package of Bowie.

*It's worth noting that the Princess has been trying to give herself the nickname O'ren Ichi thus violating rule # 5 of of the friendship code: thou shalt not give thy self a moniker; one shall be bestowed upon thee. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Common Core Math



So, I have been doing a bit of research on Common Core Math and how upset people are getting at the idea of changing the way that these kids are being taught basic mathematics. I will admit, I watched a couple of videos of people opposed to 'common core' ideas and was leaning to their viewpoint, until I realized that they were teaching kids to do math the way I have always done it: simplify the problem.


The example that is given, in the video I watched, is a slightly confusing way to obtain an answer for a basic math problem. They take a problem like 32-20=x and, without explaining the steps involved and what the steps involved are asking you to do, they come up with an answer like this:

12+3=15
15+5=20
20+10=30
30+2=32

And then, instead of telling you why, or making clear the principle behind the numbers, they simply tell you to take the middle row and add them up. 

So:
3 + 5=8 +10=18 +2=20

And, low and behold, there is your answer: 20.

This seems so complicated when explained, or not explained, the way they did. There is no wonder that parents, with nothing but viral videos to learn from, are so opposed to it. What they are really teaching these kids is that they need to identify that there is a difference between these numbers and they are finding simpler solutions to help them find why they are doing the steps they are doing.
We are subtracting 12 from 32, so we know that we need to find the difference between the two numbers.

Take the first step: 12+3=15  . ... .. why did we start here? Honestly this is meant to bring people to numbers that are easier to deal with, simplifying their thought process. Personally, I would have started with 12+8.

So 12+3=15, add 5 more to get to 20 (another easy number to work with, add 10 more to get to 30, and then add the remaining two. In my mind, I would have thought it out as 8+10+2, doing these steps in my head.

The reason for the grid is to give kids a way of organizing their thoughts and making it easier to write on paper.

If you don't think you do this, take the question 15*5=x. You could put it on a multiplication table,  bring your numbers down, and get the right answer, but it didn't teach you why you were doing it. In my mind I would simplify this and say 5*5=25    ,   10*5=50   ,   25+50=75. A quick process in my head, but I surely don't build a multiplication table unless absolutely necessary.

Keep in mind this is the basic math stuffs, I have not looked into the more complex, nor have I looked into any other subjects.

Thoughts?

-FCJ

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