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The Further Adventures of Will Wales and Little Bill Munocilli

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November 29th, 2012


11:30 pm - The Ladies Room gets caca, too
I promise a positive story now and then, but I feel it's only fair to give women their caca story.

So, a patron in the Women's Room leaves caca on the seat, floor and ends up with some on the wall. The guard happened to be there and saw who it was- elderly lady, a regular, hard of hearing, possibly some dementia, but has never done anything like this before. Always pleasant, doesn't cause trouble. Lady goes to computer and makes reservation to use computer in library, sits down and settles in for her hour. I have meanwhile called the supervisor-in-charge (SIC), bc that's what you're supposed to do when someone does this. Poor SIC, a lovely, polite and compassionate woman, knows that the rules say she has to ask lady to leave, bc she has "vandalized" the women's room. Lady is deaf, remember? So, poor SIC must shout, surrounded by other patrons, at deaf lady, "I have to ask you to leave because you smeared feces all over the Women's Room". Lady is no doubt embarrassed- maybe even humiliated- and denies she did it. SIC points out caca on her shoe. "It was there already, I didn't do it."

You may be thinking, why is Debbie defending this caca lady? She didn't defend the caca man! Sexist!

Well, Debbie never saw the caca man, so it's true she leapt to conclusions- but also, caca man or men have been cacaing on a regular (like daily) basis, so it's less likely it was an "accident" and more likely to be actual vandalism.

But I must confess that my mom and I recently went to Chicago where we had an absolutely splendid Road Scholar trip studying the Treasures of the Art Institute- at least, once we got done puking all over Chicago it was pleasant. We both picked up salmonella, probably at the airport or on the plane, and puked on sidewalks, in garbage cans (when we made it garbage cans), in the shuttle- yeah, all over Chicago. Hotel room not so good either. I mean, NASTY. But it did give me total compassion for those who are- ahem, "caught short". Sometimes caca and puke just happen. Had Mom and I not been nice little old Asian ladies, well-dressed and non-threatening, I wonder what sort of treatment we'd have gotten? As it was, people were exceptionally nice to us- much nicer than I would have been, frankly. I would not have offered a puker a handiwipe. Well, maybe I would have. I would now, that's for sure!

What if we were black? Fat? Poor? Wearing sweatpants?

BTW, we missed one morning of the lectures, and a couple of meals- but the rest of the trip was AMAZING. I lurve Chicago. I want one of our kids to go to school there so we have an excuse to visit. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is better than the London So, and soooo much better than LA Phil and SFSO. And their public libraries have FREE PRACTICE ROOMS with (crappy) pianos that anyone can use! (Crappy, but in tune and all keys work- good enough for musician on vacation trying to keep her fugue in shape.)

Ok, enough of that. Tomorrow, the nice BHS sophomore and her OPLV paper on internment camps, and her lovely manners.

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November 5th, 2012


10:36 pm - Poo in the men's room
At the reference desk:

Patron: I'm sorry to have to tell you this but there's feces in the men's room. It's on the floor in several places. You might want to close it until someone can clean it up. I stepped in it.

Me: I'm so sorry that happened. Thanks for telling me- we'll close it up right away.

And we did, but not before I went in and saw that indeed there was caca all over the floor- nuggets, smears and more.

Ewwwwwwwwww.

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September 8th, 2012


01:55 pm - It's only been... how many years?
And I was trolling for a post on death when I saw the post entitles Geoffrey EATS! about how the smaller of our two turtles had, after a hunger strike of 6 weeks, decided food was good.

So I thought an update on those turtles might be in order.

Geoffrey hit puberty. Became obsessed with sex. Sex in turtle land = male decides he wants sex, tries to climb on female, falls off (much of the time). Especially when male is much smaller than female, as is true in the case of Geoffrey and Sarah. OK, time to get specific.

Geoffrey wants it All The Time.
Sarah never wants it. At least, not from him.

When Geoffrey doesn't get it, he starts biting at her. Any part of her he can reach. He's actually bitten off one of her claws. But head, tail, legs, anything is fair game in his (little red beady) eyes.

Sometimes she clamps down the shell to protect her appendages. Sometimes she manages to catch part of Geoffrey (his leg, generally- I've never seen his "equipment") in the shell as she clamps down. Then he's stuck and silly looking until she decides to let him go.

Suffice to say, no little turtles at RonTon residence.

Sarah does lay lots of eggs- which she generally turns right around and eats.

According to my scientist cousins, Geoffrey is not actually a sick psycho rapist turtle. He's just a turtle. This is normal courtship(?) behavior.

Wow. Turtles are- interesting. I really don't want to come back as one.

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January 28th, 2008


06:03 pm - Recorded books: what a difference a reader makes
Debbie and driving: we don't like each other much. So when driving alone, I frequently have a book on cd playing to try to give myself a reason to want to be in the car.

But what a difference a reader makes. Recently I listened to Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex, an excellent book read aloud by a real ham of an actor/director dude (who actually won an award for this recording, so obviously many felt otherwise about the performance). The book was so good that I put up with the irritating breathy way he did all women, from very old to very young, the heavy accents, and the sense of "man am I GOOD" that permeates his every word. This guy is so in love with the sound of his own voice that the book doesn't shine through the way it should. Argh.

Then I listened to a okay/pretty good book that was so skillfully read that I actually looked for reasons to drive by myself. John Connolly's The book of lost things, read by Stephen Crossley. I was spellbound- a really good reader can carry you into that world (like Inkheart, but the other way around), and make you seriously think about what it is to be there- and here- and how the two relate. The book's themes are love/redemption/loss/grief/acceptance- nice, if somewhat overdone subjects- but Crossley didn't overact anything and didn't milk moments for pathos. Lots of different accents and moods, all distinct, all little gems. He's evidently a stage actor, too. I wonder if he's as good on stage as he is on recording. Maybe he can't move.

Anyway, to be read aloud to is a glorious thing, especially sometimes. How many of you still read aloud to others and are read aloud to?

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January 10th, 2008


02:34 pm - movies
We saw so many over winter break!

Into the wild.
The great debaters.
The water horse.
Sweeney Todd.

I really do love going to the movies. Don't get to often enough. It's just such a (potentially) wonderful experience. Like theater, but cheaper.

Is celluloid the great equalizer? The way to get artsy/thinking/life-altering material to the masses who can't afford the $50. a a decent theater seat costs? And don't even get me started about Cirque du Soleil, it's extraordinary, it is the glorification and celebration of performance and dream-expanding and all that, and who gets to go? People with a lot of $.

Don't the people who don't have $ tend to need the life-expanding/dream-altering experience MORE than those who do? I mean, in the gross generalization sense, because of course misery and hard knocks cross all kinds of lines- color lines, socio-economic lines, etc.

Anyway, despite the (mild) Hollywoodization of the first two movies listed above, I really enjoyed them. I could get all nitpicky about it, but _The great debaters_ especially had me leaving the theater feeling optimistic and that we are not all doomed to watch our civilization collapse. _The water horse_ is sweetly sentimental and has incredible scenery, and _Sweeney Todd_ is- pretty much the same. I know many of you hate it, but I tend to enjoy Tim Burton's indulgences, and didn't object to Johnny's raspy voice at all. And Helena can't sing- but it's okay, she looks perfect and I actually don't think a real voice is essential to Mrs. Lovett's character. The kid who played Tobey, on the other hand, really can sing- fabulous boy soprano. Sondheim seems to have one easily melodic/memorable song per musical: here my vote goes to "not while I'm around" though i can no longer recall the melody- heh heh.

You disagree? You say Sondheim is not like Puccini, all recitative and a few snatches of melody?

Okay, I challenge you to name me a singable/memorable song from "A little night music" besides "Send in the clowns".

Ditto for "Into the woods".

I didn't say I didn't like him- I'm just saying that catchy, singable tunes are not his long suit.

Just one more thing:

I'm almost always the last person out of the theater- like to read the credits. So leaving _The great debaters_, I'm picking up our soda/popcorn debris, and the clean-up crew lady THANKS me. Criminy. We should ALL be picking up our own trash!!! And then I started thinking about the many accidents of fate that have kept me from being (at the moment, at any rate) the clean-up crew at the movies- parents that encouraged my dreams and supported my education, that taught me to respect and value knowledge and culture and intellect, a solidly middle-class background and income that made much of what I wanted to do possible- there's no real equality, is there?

Sigh. Just call me liberal guilt, I'll answer!

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December 7th, 2007


10:35 am - xmas and caroling and all that
hah hah, my pretties.

The finest time of year approacheth.

It's time for CAROLING.

Saturday, 12/22/07, 7 - 9 p.m.
The RonTon residence- y'all know where it is.
Start and end at the homestead- end with cookies and hot spiced cider (or, as Cody says, hot apple juice.)

Bring the Santa hats and flashlights- cookie donations welcome, too.
And we're growing so large a group these days, if you have a book of lyrics, you might wanna bring it too. Bc even with sharing lyric books, we might run out.
Those of you who have portable instruments (Cody? Bonnie? Victor, how about Isabelle's violin?) other than your voice are welcome to bring them.

But beyond that, Golden Compass starts today, and a movie outing is in order- I'm thinking maybe next Saturday, 12/15? Show that is closest to 6 p.m. in downtown Berkeley? (I work that day.)

So much to catch up on! but for the moment, let me just say that it is thrilling to be an unfettered teen librarian again, with Playreaders and book club in swing, and knitting starting up in January, and film retrospectives for teens at Central and yes, even the Quilt Show rears its lovely head for 2008!

heh heh

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September 5th, 2007


05:38 pm - this is sewious
"Wonder Pets, Wonder Pets, we're on our way,
To help a baby animal and save the day.
We're not too big and we're not too tough
But when we work together we've got the right stuff!"

No, I haven't gone utterly loopy. I've just discovered a marvelous TV show on Nick Jr, which is essentially opera for preschoolers. Don't believe me? Check it out! Three pets live in a preschool. After hours, the tin can phone rings- it's always a baby animal in need of help from our Wonder Pet Trio. Linny is a guinea pig and the brains of the outfit. Tuck is the tenderhearted turtle. Ming Ming is the duckling with a lithp, who always sings "this is sewious!" They do most of their lines in recitative, but there are recognizable choruses (like the one above) where viewers will feel compelled to join in. The instrumentation is very classical and nicely done, and it's so damn cute. There's even a NYTimes article in appreciation of the Wonder Pets. But don't take my word for it- watch it yourself, and you'll see why Jim was calling in from work during summertime mornings to ask which baby animal the Wonder Pets saved today!

Damn, I feel like a commercial. Even for something as great as the Wonder Pets, this is not a good thing.

Okay. SHOUT OUT to all you newbie freshmen, Debebbie is thinking of you and starting to assemble the sock creature packages. Tombo is missing you all like you wouldn't believe, he loves "his teenagers" and gets so depressed when you all go away. So you may get Tom-produced trading cards and what not in your packages too.

If you haven't given me address at college, do it. NOW. or never get your creature.

love you all!

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June 30th, 2007


02:34 pm - and this weak and idle theme, no more yielding but a dream
gentles, do not reprehend. If you pardon, we will mend.

Tombo WAS Puck at yesterday's Shakespeare Camp performance. He was wonderful. As his doting mother, I am nonetheless somewhat capable of describing his performance w/o too much revolting mother bragging.

First of all, he was typecast. Completely. That kid is so Puckish to begin with. But he can also project, enunciate, and stays in character all the time he's on stage. He cheats out, too. He reacts to his fellow actors, and sparkles with energy and joy. Which is all part of who he is, and works very well on stage.

Music is Audrey's gift- I think the stage may be Tombo's.

other news flashes:

Sarah, the larger of the two turtles, was attempting to emulate Geoffrey's hunger strike. She lasted nearly two weeks, but last night polished off her grapes and worms. Good girl, Sarah!

Audrey came back from a week in Hawaii with a great tan (sauf for the peeling shoulders), shorts that say MAUI on her butt, dolphin earrings and chocolate macadamia nuts for the family. Good Girl, Audrey!

I am taking tap dance lessons. I am not as horribly bad as I thought I might be, but even dead, Fred Astaire will never have anything to worry about. If I could have quicker response time knowing right from left, it might help. However, it is waaaaay fun.

I'm having a hard time figuring out how to get us all together for something. Some of you work- some have school- weekends are tough bc I work a lot on weekends to make up for my halftimedness (which is LOVELY, btw). I'm free Mondays and Thursdays-

Thoughts, people?

OH! I nearly forgot! Ashlyn says we can use the church (across the street from Thousand Oaks Elementary, near Solano in North Berkeley) to do Bizarre Shorts! So we need to schedule a time to talk about how to make this happen.

I'll send a Playreaders bulletin about this special limited time offer- which, bc it has NOTHING to do with the library, does not need to be limited to teens only. Older former teenlike people most cordially invited to participate, as actors, directors, etc.

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February 6th, 2007


10:02 am - Geoffrey EATS!
Geoffrey is the smaller of our two turtles.

He tried to hibernate, and went on a 6 week hunger strike. I thought we were living with America's Next Top Turtle- you'd put his dinner in front of him and he'd quite literally turn and run away from it to the opposite corner of the tank. Turtle with Eating Disorder! Every day we'd try again- every day he'd tell us in no uncertain terms that although he was happy to swim in the bathtub and walk around on the rug and snuggle in pants legs, he was just not gonna eat, thank you very much.

So why, you may well ask, didn't we just let him hibernate? Ain't that the natural thing to do?

Yes. But in our unnatural world, hibernating turtles means getting their environment down to to 40 degrees and keeping it there. Hard to do. Which is why Mark, who got us the turtles, had advised against our letting them hibernate, bc too often they don't get hibernated properly and so don't come out of hibernation.

As readers of this LJ know, Mark was our dear good friend who died on 11/1/06. So losing Geoffrey would have been just too much.

Bless the little bugger, on Friday, 1/19, he looked at his dish of mealworms and fruit and said, "WOWZA, that looks good" and dove in and crunched his wormies and looked around for more. Been eating and pooping and doing everything he's supposed to since.

I hadn't realized just how worried I was about him until the worry was gone.

Pets are a wonderful thing.

Even thought Best-Cat-in-the-World Rabbit did throw up on the bed this morning around 4 a.m.

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December 1st, 2006


01:50 pm - rituals- need your input
A dear good friend feels like she is not getting the guidance/input/opportunity from her current religious group in terms of the need to create and perform rituals: initiation, coming of age
rituals, vision quest, etc.

Some of you have done these things. Sometimes in an organized fashion, with the support of a community and/or religious group, sometimes in a marvelously spontaneous blowout (I'm thinking Codornices Park). I'm also thinking about a certain graveyard experience I had with e.e.cummings. Also about a night in August 2005, that involved singing in the streets and (almost) breaking into the cemetery, fueled by sugar, success and sadness. Anyway- talk to me about it. Please.

Also open for discussion: the value of ritual. I personally think it can be beyond awesome. Or wholly disgustingly meaningless and worthy of sneers. Whadda YOU think?

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