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I am finally back at work in a normal capacity.  Nothing blew up while I was gone–a sign of good planning?  I’ll take it as such.  I had two volunteers come in yesterday and two will come in today.  They are getting things done in a serious way–I haven’t had a regular volunteer since last summer and now I have 4!  Soon I will be hard pressed to find things for them to do.

I just found out that I got the day off I needed for a long ride with friends.  I was pretty hyper about it yesterday.  Now I just have to book the hotel and train ride home.  On the 4th, a few of us rode the Mercer Island loop, which from my house is about 45 miles.  It was easy peasy, so I hope that this 100 miles a day ride won’t kill me.

What am I reading?  I finished Ready Player One and I am having the hardest time giving it away.  There are several people that I think will like it. It’s the future, 2044, and the world is really falling apart.  Classes are very separated, with those scraping by living in squalid stacked trailers and many squatting in cardboard shacks outside of the cities.  Wade Watts is a smart kid.  He takes advantage of all that OASIS has to offer, goes to virtual school and hides all his scavenged equipment from his aunt, who would steal it to pay the rent and for drugs.  He’s also a gunter, someone playing the scavenger hunt-like game that could win him out of his poor surroundings.  No one has found a clue in the last 5 years and many players are ready to give up.

I found it refreshing that Cline doesn’t pound the reader with the “future will suck if you don’t fix…” mallet.  The future is what it is, and while one of the contestants does want to use the prize money to feed everyone, it is easy to see that more than money is needed to fix the world.  Some dystopian fiction seems to bang away with an agenda, and while I feel that saving our planet is important, I don’t need an otherwise exciting book to preach at me while I am trying to enjoy it.

I am now reading Hellbent by Cherie Priest and I am loving it.  Great distraction.  I feel lucky that I get to read so many fun/amazing/interesting/provocative books right now.  And most of them aren’t out yet.

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I guess all I had to do was lament how hard things were getting for them to get easier.  I adjusted a few things on my bike and kept riding and it got easier again.  I am powering up hills now in much higher gears than I used to, and I ran over 3 miles without stopping after a 3 mile bike ride.  The sun definitely helped.

In Libraryland, TAG has been asked to make a video promoting our Summer Reading program for teens.  It might be difficult to pull it together in time, but they seem willing.  Steampunk Summer!  I think the adults will be jealous.

Yesterday was a difficult patron day.  Some days I just want to put up an invisible barrier that will bounce out anyone who doesn’t really want me to answer a question, they just want to hear themselves speak.  I’ll add it to the list of superhero powers I need to develop.

I got off an hour early to go to the Bike to Work celebration in Ballard, which was so nicely distracting.  The ride to Ballard was very satisfying; I felt strong and I passed a ton of people.  The weather was still ok and I met up with some good work friends and we finagled some nice swag.  I also had Second Ascent take a look at my bike and the guy said that I need to replace all my gears, front and back, and my cables.  Only a few hundred dollars.  Sigh.  Maybe in the fall.  I can’t really mess anything up worse by continuing to ride on it and none of it is going to fall apart in the next couple of months.  He did fix a snaggle tooth for me, though, so that should help with my chain problem.

I got the Boy last night and he has just been a bundle of depressed hormonal joy.  He is grumpy about a girl and doesn’t want to talk about it.  Much better to mope and snap and sleep.  Ah well, perhaps cleaning the bathroom will distract him!

What am I reading?  Well, yes I am still reading The Scar.  I am happy to say that I made it to the half way point.  I think this is my last day of check out on the ebook, so I’ll have to decide if I am ready for the second half right now.  Might be a good book for the plane next week.

I am also reading Paul Pope’s 100%, which is an edgy sci-fi comic.  I haven’t quite figured out the story line, but I like that sometimes.  I don’t want to be able to guess what is going to happen next all the time.

A friend lent this to me months ago, but somehow it got lost in the bedside table stack and I found it again just 2 nights ago.  Fascinating stuff.  Strong female characters who don’t have everything figured out (I get a little tired of feminist agendas where you are always supposed to have the right answer).

Biking and running have worn me out this month.  I was just about half way through and felt like I hit a wall with both.  Like I couldn’t improve no matter how much I tried.  It’s been a little better since I lubed my chain and made a few other adjustments to my bike and took a couple of days off from running.

I was also convinced that a week in May wasn’t there.  I had superimposed this week with last week.  I told people I had meetings I didn’t have, gave the wrong days off to one of my TAG kids when he wanted to come in and meet with me.  Luckily I realized in time and was able to rectify my mistakes, but I felt silly.  Otherwise I felt pretty sharp, conversing with colleges and getting things done.

I didn’t feel much up to blogging, which is why I only posted the lame one before this.  I am in a reading funk–trying to finish The Scar before it’s due in a couple of days and failing miserably.  Usually I can read a book in a day or two, a week sometimes for adult fiction, but here I am at the end of a 21 day check out less than half way through.  This would make sense if I didn’t like the book, but I do.

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In Libraryland I posted a link to a blog post by Seth Gobin at work, hoping to start a discussion, pulling this quote for the headline:

mere clerks who guard dead paper

We did have a good discussion about the post, and a good response by another blogger was posted.  It wasn’t until later that night when I went to Facebook that I found out that some had taken the quote too literally and hadn’t clicked through to read the article.  Sometimes circulation staff are referred to as clerks and so some of them took this as a personal affront.  I am not sure if I should feel bad about the misunderstanding.  I do regret that feelings were hurt, but I also wonder why they didn’t click through and see what the post was all about.  He isn’t insulting clerks, he’s telling librarians to get off their asses and get with the times.  And even though the post contains quite a few misconceptions about what libraries and librarians are doing and how easy it is to find information on the internet, he is entirely correct on that point.

In other library news, as you may have seen in the paper we have a new City Librarian.  He was the best of the three candidates, in my opinion and I’ve decided to be optimistic until he proves me wrong.  Ha, that doesn’t sound very, does it?  He has a good attitude, is a great public speaker and doesn’t seem to be bringing any baggage with him.  Long live MT.

Ooh, and we teen librarians have a pretty awesome summer reading program planned.  I can’t wait to start!

I am officially going to ALA.  I was pretty sure a month ago when I bought my registration and said I would facilitate a panel.  I bought my plane tickets this week though, after realizing I missed the inexpensive window.  I should say less expensive, because when does flying ever feel inexpensive?

But I am excited to see New Orleans, and the Mister will be joining me, at least for a bit.  I am doing a day of volunteering, although I don’t know what my work will be, yet.  It could be anything from construction to cataloging.  The conference sessions sound good–hopefully that pans out.  Sometimes they sound useful and then you get in there and realize that it just isn’t, or that you’ve taken something really similar in the past.

Even more exciting than a bunch of librarians in a convention center? I have a camping trip with the Boy and dad-family the week before.  We have a couple spots out at Kalaloch, a place I love.  I hope the weather cooperates, but honestly, this spot I will go to in the pouring rain.

Which is what I got to ride home in tonight.  I went to the middle school and saw their a production of The Wizard of Oz.  It was amazing!  Not every note was on key but it was well executed, the acting was top notch and so was the orchestra and singing.  It was easy to see that the kids had put their all into the show.

And then I rode my bike home and got soaked.  It was so nice earlier today.  So far I am meeting my goal of riding every day.

It’s too late (I am too cold and tired) to add what I am reading.  Actually, I can just say that I am still reading The Scar by China Mieville.  It is a frickin’ long book, but worth every minute.  I don’t think I am going to finish during the check out time.

We have a new city librarian.  He doesn’t start until mid-August, but he comes with good references.

Bike to work month is wonderfully under way.  We had a great start on Sunday with temperatures in the 60’s, followed promptly by 2 days of frigid rain.  I have ridden every day and even included downtown in my commute when I had meetings down there 2 out of the 3 days.  The rainy ones of course.  And I’ve been running.  I can make it around Green Lake, even with all the biking, without walking or stopping and in under 3o minutes.  I keep forgetting to check the time when I start, but I know approximately.  I’ve been going to bed at a fairly normal hour and getting up EARLY!  So early for me–6:30am.  And not feeling dead.  So yes, exorcising…exercising, I mean…is good for me.

Some of those early meetings downtown were the staff interviews for the City Librarian candidates.  I missed one, but hit the other two.  I won’t state my preference, or even my opinion on the individuals, as I think it is too touchy a subject to air here.  The one I missed, though, is one I hope to miss entirely.  Forever.  I don’t think I have to worry about that.

What am I reading?  Well, almost done with Brain Jack, and it is shaping up and becoming a little less like Little Brother, but only a little.  I like the characters and the premise, minus the feeling that Brian Falkner and Corey Doctorow were sharing half a brain when they wrote these books.

I was away from my print books and needed something to read, so downloaded The Scar by China Mieville from the library.  It’s good so far, but I’m only a few pages in.

I am also doing some nerdy reading: Exemplary Public Libraries by Joy Marilyn Greiner.  I am mostly finding it interesting because the first couple of chapters are about libraries in the UK around the year 20o0, and now those libraries are in desperate jeopardy.  So much that the Guardian UK felt the need to post this op ed piece, somewhat late, about how great libraries really are and now necessary.  I agree with one of the goodreads reviewers that the book could have used a bit more editing and a better structure.  Plus now it is 10 years out of date and could use a brush up.  I was reading it to refresh my library theory and I am getting some of that, but finding it a bit repetitive.

New Year resolutions should really start in Spring.  Spring is when you have the time and energy to take on change and challenge.  If you start in January, you are just setting yourself up for failure with those long dark, cold nights.

I have run around Green Lake with not one, but two running partners.  I can actually make it all the way around now without stopping or walking.  A few years ago I could have rolled out of bed, not having run for months, and done that.  But the years are catching up to me and now I have to work up to 3 miles.  But I am there and ready to go further.

Also, May is bike to work month and I am team captain of the Paperback Riders!  I am riding out early today to go get our identifiers from Cascade.  Last year it was a spoke card, the year before a luggage tag.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with this year.  In preparation for May, I am riding every day that I can now, even when I am not working.  By the end of May I should be in great physical shape.

In libraryland, we are interviewing new City Librarian candidates.  This week it will be narrowed down to three, then next week all staff are invited to go interview those 3.  The session will be facilitated by our interim CL, who is also head of HR.  I think she will do a great job.  She has proven to be a good listener and I think she will convey what she has heard from staff into her questions.  The union also gets to have a couple of facilitated questions thrown in before the general Q and A starts.

I’ll be taking notes, because I am going to facilitate a zine panel at the ALA conference in New Orleans this year.  And I think that the Mister is going to be able to come to the conference as well.  I am looking forward to seeing the city with him. And just seeing him in general.

What am I reading?  Books are letting me down, one way or another, lately.  I did like Red Glove by Holly Black, but I was a little appalled at Cassel’s friends.  I didn’t really know why they were his friends if they didn’t trust him, and there were scenes where it showed that they didn’t.  They were scared of him, but were not the type of characters to stay friends because of fear.  It bugged me all the way through the book.

I abandoned Glass Houses because the reader drove me a little crazy.  She read like everything was sexy–washing dishes, taking juice out of the fridge, sitting on the couch.

Anna and the French Kiss was ok.  I liked most of it, but I hate the clichéd cheating but everything turns out ok in the end.  In real life people don’t just forgive that and let you live happily ever after.  It is complicated and messy and a lot of the time the new relationship doesn’t work out.

Currently reading Brain Jack by Brian Faulkner.  I’d like it better if it didn’t read just like Little Brother… Yes, I know I am hard to please right now.  All of these books will be great for someone.

There was actual sun today!  It was bright and shiny and it was still out when I got off work late.  There’s a kitty keeping me warm.

I’m back to riding to work and have added in most of my errand running (40 miles this week!)  I’m looking for a running partner to keep me on track with that.  Can I just say that trying to find a person to run with on CL is a pain in the ass?  I’ve gotten several responses to my ad.  Two of them send fragments that I can’t quite decipher.  We’ve sent several emails so I can try to figure out what they mean.  Another person sent a short but promising note, then never responded again.  The last one, that I got today, actually wrote an understandable email.  And is actually what I asked for in my ad.  I hope that one works out.

Work is going great.  My area looks awesome–weeded and tidy with display books everywhere.  My instruction team is creating new curriculum–Facebook and Word classes.  We are leading the system in classes.  My teen advisory group made a wonderful video about why they need their library.  They did the whole thing themselves, and I am so proud of them.

What am I reading?  I just got Red Glove by Holly Black in and I am so excited, I started reading it at work.  I am still reading Anna and the French Kiss at home.  Red Glove is everything I hoped it would be so far.  I like that the stories aren’t all tied up in a nice little contained package.  The writing is neat and tidy, but the story is gritty and messy, just as a gangster story should be.

I don’t know why this thought just ran through my head, but I am so thankful to the library.  If not for them, I could never afford the number of books and movies that I consume on a daily, weekly, monthly…you get the idea.  Not to mention all the articles I access through the databases.  Even if I didn’t work here.  Ok, I might not read as much…  Maybe only one book a week instead of 3.

Literally.  It is raining right now and I was planning on spending my day off riding to Woodinville on the Burke-Gilman Trail.  Somehow I can’t make myself take a recreational ride on such a crumby day.  And I found out that all the hoses on my car need to be replaced.  Sad face.

But also figuratively.  The day after my happy post, we got more budget news, and it isn’t good.  We are going $1.4 million, although not all of those cuts will be necessary.  The Mayor said to find 3% to cut so that we would have some choices.  I don’t see that we have a lot of choices left.  The libraries can run on fewer bodies than we currently have.  We will have to cut hours (possibly Sundays) and/or have another furlough, which would likely be the week after xmas (another low usage time).  Possibly also a materials budget cut.  This is just me guessing, though, so don’t run out and tell the papers.  I’ll be interested to see if there is anything more creative that comes out of this round of cuts.

On the upside, I signed up for zipcar, which has a discount for City of Seattle employees.  That will be a great back up for the car if anything else goes wrong.  And everything is paid for in the fee–gas, insurance, maintenance.  I just wish there was one closer to my house.  There used to be, but they’re gone now.  Now I will have to take a bus to get to it, but luckily that goes from right outside my house to the car.  Ah well, hopefully I won’t need it (oh, but they have trucks too, so that will come in handy some day).  Some days I think I should just sell my car and commit to a car-less lifestyle.  That would only work here, though.

What am I reading?

A coworker recommended Soulless by Gail Carriger and I am liking it more than I expected.  I got it on EPUB from the library and am reading it on my Ipod touch.  It is historical fiction, set in Victorian London with the premise that there are supernatural creatures that have “come out” (similarly to True Blood, but further back in time) to natural society and live among them.  There is a fiery character, Alexia, who is a preternatural and can nullify supernatural powers.  Super fun so far.

I finished listening to The Wake of the Lorelei Lee by LA Meyer after getting the download from the library.  This one is almost as good as the others, and as always Kathleen doesn’t disappoint as the reader.

However! The themes in this book are definitely older teen and adult.  I am looking back at all the tweens and parents that I recommended the series to and I am worried they will get to this one and say “how could that librarian think this book was appropriate for my 11 year old?!?”  Oops.

A couple of examples: a ship full of prostitutes, Jackie becoming a “pet” for a female pirate with lots of innuendos about what goes on behind closed doors, and a boy who is almost harmed in an ungodly way.  All of these are fine with me, but I can imagine a parent and child listening to or reading this without being ready and I just cringe. Now I know and I can warn the parent that the theme gets older as the series progresses, until it falls into utter wantonness.

PS. There are no April Fool’s jokes included in this post, not even the budget info.

It’s not very often that I get to combine two of my loves, books and cycling.  Except  when I ride to work, I suppose, but one might argue that work, while book related, is not always a “love”.  But now I have a real reason to get excited.  Bike Snob is coming to Seattle during the Seattle Bike Expo for what he calls a BRA–book related appearance.

Bike Snob is the kind of blogger who cannot offend me, despite all his attempts.  He has a masterful grasp of sarcasm and satire and constantly makes me laugh.  I have read his blog faithfully since I stumbled upon it last year.  Unfortunately, I have not yet read his book.  Guess I’d better get crackin’.  Or even better, I can buy a copy there and get it signed.  Maybe I was just looking for the right moment.

In libraryland we are planning Summer Reading programs–or I should say we just got done.  There always seems to be some controversy over interpretation of policy in these situations.  We were told we could have 3 system generated programs–things planned by our programming coordinator and paid for through central programming funds–which we would schedule with the performers.  The directions also said that any branch generated programs would have to be paid for and supported by the branch.  This would lead one to believe that those programs are possible, yes?  Some took that as a no.  So now we are fighting to have our couple of branch programs as well, where we librarians have ownership and get to interact with our patrons.  I will say that my manager was one who interpreted the policy the way I did and I am sure this is all a minor misunderstanding.  All I want is a duct tape program!  It won’t even cost anything because we already have kits ready.

What am I reading? I think I have too many things on my plate right now.

I have set aside No God but God and picked up The Luxe by Anna Godbersen, which is interesting historical fiction from around1900.  Right now it is seriously too predictable, but I am enjoying that the author has included both the rich elite of New York and the lives of their servants.   Usually a book will settle on one or the other, with the other half in the peripheral.  It is a bit like Gossip Girl during the horse and buggy days, with all the intrigue and backstabbing that you expect.

I have picked up two galleys I am excited about; Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin and The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson (I loved the first book in this series).

And I finished reading The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter. Three siblings have lost their mother under mysterious circumstances, and it has affected them in many ways. Their father goes away a few times a year and leaves them with an abhorrent neighbor, until one time late in the school year when he decides they can go visit their aunt Angela in London instead. It turns out there is a misunderstanding and Aunt Angela is away on a trip, leaving the kids stranded and alone. This is the leaping off point for all kinds of adventure.

And isn’t the cover great?

I keep trying to figure out why I like Glee, when I hated High School Musical.  It frustrates me, with the shallow story lines and the patterns of idiotic behavior.  But then they go and point out the idiocy and own it.  And they sing songs I know instead of some craptastic ballad that just makes me want to rip my hair out.  So yeah, I like Glee.  High School Musical…not at all.  I am just starting Season 1 Part 2 and I spent the first half of the first episode feeling tired of the corny plot and the second half invigorated with they ways they used the Madonna theme move the story in new directions.  Oh, and I got it at the library.

Twitter seems ok.  It’s like Facebook, but with less stuff.  No imbedded pics, links, but no preview.  I’ve found a lot of cool things there; a video about why Twilight is popular (ha!), that my favorite authors have funny and witty things to say in less than 140 characters and that The Onion posts A LOT.

I biked to work today and ran around Green Lake with my brothers.  It kind of wore me out, but in a good way.  Hopefully I will add more running to my routine and keep it up.  I bottled some more ginger ale when I got home.  The last batch was super yummy, but tasted more like sparkling ginger lemonade than ginger ale.  I tweaked the recipe and split it in two, one with some ground ginger and the other only with fresh, but with a bit less lemon juice and sugar.

What am I reading? Like the Percy Jackson series, Iris, Messenger by Sarah Deming integrates greek mythology, but that is where the comparison ends.  Iris has a terrible time at school, and her parents just don’t understand her.  Then one birthday she gets a mysterious gift that leads her to find out that the Greek gods have moved to the burbs and have all kinds of problems of their own. The gods tell their stories (popular Greek myths) to Iris, building up to a final message that enlightens her in ways she never would have guessed.  This is a good story for younger readers (except for the ending…), and while it is a quick read, it lacks the frenzied pace of Percy.

The file for My Favorite Band Does Not Exist had a fatal flaw and would not go past page 18.  I am hoping to get a chance to read it later, as the beginning was pretty good.  I am currently reading Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, which was recommended by my sister.  It is also based on a Greek myth–Penelope of the Odyssey.  I am constantly amazed by the breadth and depth of Ms. Atwood’s writing.  To think this is the same author that wrote Oryx and Crake.