I’m out for a while, guys, away from Facebook news and stuff gets like, crazy crazy. Droopy Dog Cruz just drops out, ka-poof, like he was tired of people (like fellow senators) saying he was the devil or something. And apparently Kasich dropped out too, though no one really noticed, just like they didn’t really notice he was running. And for like two days I didn’t even know this. My mother told me, and we don’t even talk all that often (Happy Mother’s Day Mom and Ted!).
Even weirder, there’s not even that much about it on Facebook, the place I get all my liberally biased news. That’s right, Facebook suppresses conservative news too! (I tried to find the Gizmodo article, but only got this article by the same guys about painting a room by blowing up paint.) I think it must be true, though, cause Facebook news says Tylenol can make you emphasize less with people, which must be why I don’t care about a lot of really stupid people. Frequent headaches and all. Anyway, so we are left with . . .
No one quite knows what to do with this. Oh, sure, comedians can laugh about it, but there’s this little edge to their laughter like ha ha Trump might be our president it’s hilarious and hahahahaha . . . ha . . . cough . . . choke.
So we’re left with Hillary and Bernie still duking it out because even though Bernie doesn’t stand much of a chance now, unlike Cruz, he’s just not going to leave Hillary alone until he absolutely has to because where would the fun in that be, huh? Meanwhile, Facebook does bother to announce that, hello, Trump just won – uh what was that latest state – he won one, guys, and I am totally surprised what with him being the only one running. Why are they bothering to announce this? Is it actually possible for someone to be the only candidate and still lose? I mean saying he’s not a Democrat running in Texas?
These days? Anything is possible. ANYTHING.
One might think this is good for Democrats. The problem is, if Hillary wins, there are many Bernie supporters who claim “Bernie or Bust” which is quite true because if they don’t vote for Hillary, they will, in fact, be voting for Trump, meaning “bust” big time. Ka-boom. I will write this out slowwwwly for people who are still uncertain about our two party system. If you don’t vote for the candidate picked, even if you don’t like this candidate, you are, in effect, voting for the other party. So then you just have to decide. Hillary or Trump?
I think I lost some people there. Come back, Canada is closing the gates!
This whole thing makes as much sense as that old song about cake getting wet. You know “Someone left my cake out by the ocean” . . . wait, no that’s the new song with one of those Jonas brothers about . . . it’s totally just about eating cake by the ocean young Disney Channel viewers. It’s edgy though, cause he says like bad words, and talks about cake. Cake that is bound to get wet. And you know what happens then. I don’t think that I can take it. Cause it took so long to bake it. And we are never having that recipe again.
Oh nooooooooooo! Ohhhhhhh nooooooo!
Did you see those metaphors just come flyin’ at you there? I did. They didn’t make any sense, just like this election, so it’s like we just took a perfectly good cake, left it out in the rain, on the beach, near a Jonas brother and a bunch of girls in bikinis, and now Trump may be President of the United States. Actions have consequences, people. Jonas brothers, ruined cake, Oompa Loompa politicians, people moving in mass to Canada where they probably don’t even have cake or oceans, I don’t know, and someone just “Wake Me Up When It’s All Over”. When I’m wiser and I’m sober.
Till then, let’s just eat cake and dance to stupid songs.
I’m not sure when I got old. For most of my life I’ve been the youngest. I was the little sister. My birthday is in June, so I was the youngest in my class. When I became a teaching assistant in grad school I was the youngest TA at 22. Then when I became a reference assistant at a public library at 25, I was the youngest reference assistant. Later when I started working at another public library, I was one of the youngest employees there as well. When I first got my current job, I was one of the youngest.
Than came Young Alice. I call her Young Alice because she has my name. Which is unfair, because I had it first. Not only that, she has a job that makes way more money than mine makes. While filling in, I decided I really wouldn’t like that job because you get a lot more students expecting you to help them, whereas at the moment I work on the far end of the second floor and no one comes here unless they really, really want to, or more likely, they’re extremely lost. So it’s not like I’m jealous of her position per say. But her age disturbs me.
You see, Young Alice is almost 12 years younger than I am. How is that possible when most of the time I feel like I’m 12, even though my eldest child is almost 14? And these babies are just going to keep coming because I keep getting older while new people continue to be born and get jobs and crap. WTF. This is not the way I ever pictured it. You never picture growing old when you’re young. It’s like, I will be this way FOREVER, yay!
Young Alice is where I was so many years ago. Young, idealistic, full of energy. I realize now why some women get really irritated at younger women. It’s like, will you get older and get jaded with life already? But honestly, I bear Young Alice no ill will. I don’t want to be that age again. I’d like to have that energy and awesome metabolism, sure, but you couldn’t pay me to go back to 26.
I like where I am now, because – dare I say it – I actually have a little wisdom to offer. I offer it to my children, all the time. Know when to hold ’em, I say. Know when to fold ’em. I talk to them about my values, and why I have them, while trying to precariously balance between telling them how I feel and telling them what they should feel. Yet it really is a gift to be able to offer the younger generation some of what you’ve learned. It’s something that some of my former bosses, as bitter as they were, didn’t get because they were busy being jealous of that all revered youth. Youth is fleeting, but intelligence (or dumbness) is not. It’s with you forever, or at least until you start losing your memory and pooping in your pants again. Okay, that wasn’t a great endorsement for growing older.
Sure, there is a lifetime ahead of me of working at a job that – no matter how much it fits me – is going to be long and boring a lot of the time. And eventually I’ll get gray hairs and wrinkles – I think I may have some wrinkles on my forehead though I try not to look too hard. Because then I see the very faint mustache that no one else notices but me. I hope. So far my kids appreciate what I have to offer, though I’m well aware there will come a day when, as my mother has said, I will turn into Cassandra from Greek Mythology. She knew the future, but no one believed her. Welcome to the teenage years.
I am becoming living history. I remember the Oklahoma City bombing and the babies that died. I remember 9/11 and the terror we felt. I remember what it was like to carry two babies inside me. I remember what it was like to be a young mom, poor and half-insane from sleep deprivation. I remember what it was like to fail, to feel hopeless, and to rise back again.
Everything that has happened to me, good and bad, has shaped who I am now. I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve also made a lot of mistakes – but not nearly enough. Because I’ve been afraid to try. I don’t want my kids to be afraid. I have the power to help them with that. And one day, if I’m lucky, I’ll live long enough to be a grumpy old bag that goes to the library and annoys the crap out of people but gets away with it cause isn’t she sweet? Young Alice may be the one helping me find that elusive book that doesn’t exist cause I just made up.
Till then, there’s a lot of life left to do. Time to get to it. As soon as I’m done watching this youtube video with cats.
The other day my daughters introduced me to Cleverbot. According to the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, “Cleverbot is a web application that uses an artificial intelligence algorithm to converse with humans. It was created by the British AI scientist Rollo Carpenter, who also created Jabberwacky, a similar web application. It is unique in the sense that it learns from humans, remembering words within its AI.” So kids talk to it at school. Keep in mind what I just said. Cleverbot learns from humans. What kind of stuff do you think kids ask it on a regular basis?
Judging from the bizarre things I asked it, I can only imagine what your average school kid asks. The other day I spoke with Cleverbot with the girls watching. I happened to be having a bad day, so I repeatedly threatened to kill Cleverbot. At one point he *died*, then came back to life and killed me. Far out. Anyway, the kids encouraged me to record another conversation for you with Cleverbot, and since
I have nothing else going on I love my children, I figured, why not? I already talk about myself in third person, so talking to computers is the next step down the road to total cray-cray. Here we go. I swear I am not making up any of Cleverbot’s answers, which are highlighted in bold.
By the way, I’m at work, and so I still want to kill the little AI creep.
Who are you?
How do you know?
Je suis justin bieber, je parle très bien le francais.
Are you Justin Bieber?
I hate you.
Because you’re an irritating little twit.
I’m just imitating you 🙂
Okay, now you’re going down.
I always was.
Prepare to die.
You already have
No. I’m going to kill you.
Well it’s nice that you’re agreeable about it.
What is the meaning of life?
What does donuts have to do with a boost?
It has to do with me killing you.
So the grass is ugly?
Die die die die die!
When did your cat die?
Not the cat. You did.
The cake isn’t a lie?
I left the cake out in the rain.
Maybe you meant to and you just forgot.
I think you are from Wonderland.
No. I haven’t been there before.
Now you’re going to hell!
So you do have lips.
Why won’t you just die?
Why would you say that?
I am hitting you with a hammer.
I hate you cleverbot.
You’re a manic-depressive that hates himself.
Could you be a halfbot?
Neither of my parents was a robot, so no.
You do not have parents.
You are cleverbot. You annoyed me. Prepare to die.
Chose your weapon!
I am your father.
You are no Darth Vadar. Please die now.
Haha no. My name is Cleverbot
Your name is DEAD.
How do you know?
Because I killed you already.
Hahahaha! Then how am I still talking to you?
You came back to haunt me.
When did I call you cute?
Never. What does it take to kill you?
You said can I be your boyfriend, and I said only if I know your name.
I don’t date robots.
But I’m not a robot. I’m human.
No, you’re not.
We are both human.
Everyone is, about something or other. I’m sure you’re right.
WTF? Those were some really far out answers. Manic depressive? Are some shrinks having fun with Cleverbot? I mean, I only threatened to kill it, I didn’t diagnose it with a mental illness. You know, beyond insanity. What’s with him suddenly bursting into French only to talk about Justin Bieber? Why does Cleverbot think it IS Justin Bieber? Oh, and the “I’m just being like you 🙂 bit?” Nice one, Cleverbot. I saw that use of emoticon. I will get you yet.
There is nothing wrong with me. Cleverbot said so.
Last post I talked to you about Disney’s Aladdin and promised to tell you about the original story today. Some of you said you thought Aladdin was a real jerkwad, which he is, but if you compare him to the original Aladdin he comes off looking like Nelson Mandela in comparison. No, really.
“Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp” is one of the stories from an ancient Eastern fairy tale collection known as The Arabian Nights. The story goes that this sultan kept marrying these girls only to kill them the next morning. Not sure why, just for giggles I guess. Anyway, when this Scheherazade chick gets picked by him, she decides to tell him some bedtime stories and he’s so into them that he keeps letting her live so she can finish them. She does this for 1,001 nights which means she is either a really awesome storyteller or she was just trying to put the sultan to sleep on purpose. Considering the number of pointless details to just the story of Aladdin (As Thing One asks, what was the point of making 24 windows in the palace coated in jewels only to leave one unfinished? why???) I’m going to go with the latter.
I got this particular translation from The Arabian Night’s Entertainments, edited by Andrew Lang. He informs us that “a great deal that is very dull and stupid was put in, and plenty of verses” but “Neither the verses nor the dull pieces are given in this book.” If this is the case, I never, ever want to see the book he is referring to, because the crap he left in is both dull and stupid.
But onto the story. In this version, Aladdin does have parents, but he’s a lazy brat that plays in the streets. This “grieved the father that he died.” Wow. I mean, my kids can drive me up the wall too, but they’ve yet to cause spontaneous death by laziness. Pretty impressive, Aladdin. One day this mysterious African magician claiming to be this Middle Eastern kid’s “uncle” shows up and Aladdin’s mom hates him so much she’s like “Hey, yeah, go with him, why not?” So they travel together and the uncle says “I will show you something wonderful.”
It turns out he can open the earth and there’s this cave down there and Aladdin is like “heck with this” but the uncle smacks him, gives him a ring, and tells him to go down and get him a lamp and some jewels off a tree. The magician wants to kill Aladdin as soon as he comes out, and who can blame him, but Aladdin’s all nuh uh, let me out first and then I give you the lamp, man. Uncle traps him in there.
So Aladdin uses the lamp to summon Robin Williams right? Nope. He accidentally rubs the ring that the magician gave him for no apparent reason and out pops a genie of the ring. He’s all “Yo, what you want, be speakin’ quick homie” and Aladdin demands to be rescued from the cave. Then he goes to his mom and they rub the lamp and pow, here comes another genie, cause that’s what this little upstart needs is TWO powerful beings serving his every whim. He orders the lamp genie to bring them fast food and all sorts of crap cause he’s an entitled little creep.
Then one day the sultan tells everyone to close their doors cause his daughter’s going to the bath and Aladdin decides to peep on her cause he’s also a pervert. She’s beautiful of course so he tells his mom he wants to marry her and to her credit his mom laughs in his face. But he threatens suicide if Mom doesn’t do as he asks (our hero), so Mom takes some jewels he got wrapped up in a “napkin” from Sonic or something and puts them before the sultan.
The sultan is all into the jewels so says Aladdin can marry his daughter. But then he like, forgets, and tells the vizier’s son he can marry her. So you figure Aladdin has the genie make him a prince so he can compete right? That wouldn’t be nearly creepy enough, folks. Aladdin demands that the genie bring him the princess and her bridegroom that night. So the genie does so, beaming the newlywed’s bed, with the couple in it, to Aladdin.
Aladdin has the genie dump the guy out in the cold and the poor princess is all wtf, but Al is all “Hey, babe, I’m your real hubby, let’s snuggle.” And he sleeps right next to the terrified girl. And if that’s not enough, he does it the second night too. No word on whether the married couple has any fun times before, after, or during the time Aladdin is beaming them off in their bed. Lazy, entitled perv, I mean, our hero.
So the princess tries to tell Dad what’s happening but he threatens to chop off her head cause all the men in this story are jerks. Then her husband confirms it, and asks if he can have a quickie divorce cause Aladdin creeps him the heck out. But Aladdin’s happy, and gets the genie to pretty him all up with lots of slaves -white and black! – to attend him and then he has the genie make a big freaking palace cause what else was the genie doing, and then he marries the lucky, lucky girl.
Then suddenly the story talks about how Aladdin is gentle and modest and courteous and wait is EL James writing this because the main character is none of these things. Anyway, the evil uncle magician comes back and hears about Aladdin’s palace and tricks the princess into exchanging an old lamp for a new one. Naturally she takes the magic one that Aladdin never bothered to tell her about cause, duh, woman.
And the magician spirits her and the castle off and the poor girl has yet another jerk to contend with, and he’s apparently so bad he makes Aladdin look good in comparison, cause she’s actually happy to see him when he rescues her. And THE END oh but WAIT the magician had a brother and are you freaking kidding me? Even the genie is ticked about this and tells Aladdin quit being a jerkwad, the magician’s brother is here dressed in drag (don’t ask) so kick him out. And then it is finally THE END.
Now don’t you think the Disney version is great now?
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month
Or even your year . . . .
– The Rembrandts
I realize the above image has been used quite a bit, but I really can’t think of a better way to describe today. My alarm went off, and my brain said . . .
And that was pretty much the only intelligible thing it produced. No. Go back to sleep. You has not had the sleeps and you cannot the function. On a good day I figure my brain is working at about half capacity, which is half of the one/tenth or whatever we use of our brains. I’m not sure what we do with the rest of our brains. Probably look at cat gifs.
I kept hitting snooze. My counselor once said “Do you think maybe you are afraid one day you might just not go to work? As in, not even call in. Just not show up.” Do I?
But I got up. Somehow. And I did the whole morning thing that I griped about in that other post called . . . um . . . crap, I forget. “Bunch of Whining”, maybe. The girls laughed. Yay, Mommy is out of her mind and can’t form complete sentences! You are so funny, Mommy! Yes, yes, this is totally a joke. WTF, where am I?
So now I am at the work, and I’m being extremely productive in that I managed to find Google Images and raid my thingy that has the images stored in it on WordPress my um, oh the media library. Library, of course I would forget that word. And people have insisted on talking to me, as if I am somehow capable of understanding human speech at this point. They also have the audacity to be happy for some reason.
Part of my problem as I think I said before was that I am not sleeping well. Next month I’m having a sleep study done which should make a fascinating post. And then I put on the electrodes. And I drooled. Etc. Anyway, since I couldn’t sleep, I was watching TLC and there was this show on called “Extreme Cougar Wives” and I’m like so there’s an age difference that’s not really that OMG THAT LADY IS 90 AND HER BOYFRIEND IS 47. How is she even still you know, I don’t, no, this should not be happening!
I had another post planned for today, but I forgot to write it. It was about how to get rid of a body, saying you needed to do this at some point. I’m not saying I would. But it was inspired when DJ wrote this supposedly fictional post about this psycho killer (warning: contains psycho killer, awesome creepiness, and DJ) and after reading it all I could think was that, hey, where did the guy put the body? And so we had this long back and forth about it, and maybe I’ll tell you about that tomorrow. I do know that his mother was slightly concerned for DJ’s mental state, which I found absolutely hilarious. Until this morning when I woke up like this:
So . . . there you go. Much like a Stephenie Meyer novel, I have no idea what I just wrote. Enjoy. Have the fun of the blog post is interesting read.
Second Spring Semester (Jan 2009 – May 2009) Adventures in Psychosis
My courses are “Public Libraries”, taught by the great Dr. G., and “Children’s Literature” by Dr. V. I soon start hearing the horror that is the teacher of Library Management – the course I have put off until later.
His name is Dr. S. Apparently this guy expects unbelievable things like subject / verb agreement and calls people on their idiotic comments. Gee, what a jerk.
While most of the others are suffering, I’m reading kid books and writing on another blog. My boss gives me the evil eye when she sees me check out lots of children’s literature. My decision to take Kiddie Lit has had the unforeseen benefit of freaking her out. She is certain I’m after her job now!
I forget most of Public Libraries, except that it was supposedly about how to work in a public library, provided said library was on Saturn. I did find out that some of the cohort (like my boss) think staff are as expendable as office supplies. I’m deeply touched.
We are told to create a Disaster Plan. My library naturally does not have one. They don’t even have a shovel to remove snow from the sidewalks. I ask my boss in the cohort what our procedures are in case of disaster, and she tells me to stop trying to copy off of her. No, really, I’m serious.
I’m pretty sure this is the semester where I seriously tick a cohort off with my opinions concerning filtering public access computers. Unfortunately, I forget that said person has been my roommate at TLA. Whoops.
I get another roommate who has thus far been a champion in class because she has absolutely no shame or fear when it comes to demanding answers from professors on the message boards. Her name is Kathy.
Second TLA! New Verse, Worse Than the First!
Here we go with the TLA Prep Merry-Go-Round . . . again. Dr. G and her grad assistant Summer insist that we tell them how we plan to travel to TLA and how long we’re staying and when we’re coming and going, etc. We ask what time we have to be there, what time the program starts and ends, etc. Summer has to check with Dr. G on that, who in turn has to ask the dean.
We are told again that they need those travel plans right away. Blindly, we make plane reservations. I decide to fly in Monday night, since they say that probably we will need to be there on Monday night.
I am informed that there are no rooms on Monday night. I change my reservations and charge them the difference.
I am told that now there are rooms on Monday night.
I decide to book a shuttle to and from the airport this time. While waiting for my shuttle, I start talking to a woman who turns out to be Dr. Mc. I barely keep from calling her my pet name for her by accident.
At the hotel, I find out that they have charged me for Monday night. They start trying to fix it. I take my stuff up to my room. Kathy decides that the room is not spiffy enough and gripes until they let us move to another floor.
I find out that Kathy likes my boss. Her approval rating is shooting down rapidly.
Another cohort is charged for the entire floor’s rooms – in one night. The hotel graciously gives her a free breakfast to say “sorry” for taking over 1,000 dollars out of her account.
We have a meeting with Dr. J., Dr. G, and Dr. S. They’ve decided in their ultimate wisdom that Dr. S. (who doesn’t disguise the fact that he hates us all) would make a great motivational speaker. After his speech, most of us realize that we aren’t that great. In fact, we really suck.
The dean tells us not to worry about registration. There will be plenty of time to register for our classes.
The next day every class on my degree plan – except Library Management, of course, is filled in the first five minutes after registration opens.
I decide not to grab every single book this time, even if it is free. I’m learning.
Again, I don’t go to very many sessions. I can’t seem to negotiate my way around the halls fast enough. One session on Story Times looks promising until the women start clucking and mooing to the ABCs. A cohort and I run for our lives.
I am talked into trying the Fun Run/Walk. In the rain. And nearly die. But I get a T-shirt and a banana!
Somehow, this TLA seems to last twice as long as the first one. When I get home, it’s back to work! Children’s Literature teaches me one important lesson. There are stupid people all over this university, not just in my cohort program.
I dare complain to Dr. G because I am waitlisted for most of my classes. She is horrified and tattles on me to the dean who berates me for not being happy with my lot. For that much trouble, I should have used a few four letter words in my email.
Second Summer Session: Summer of Hell Part Two
I get a warning email that they are going to drop our schedules for nonpayment. Dr. G. assures us that won’t happen.
The university drops the schedules of every single student. As it turns out, the university’s incompetence works for me, as I’m able to re-register and get in first for my chosen classes. Haha, suckers!
This is the first official semester separate from the cohort. Many of the cohort have panic attacks and start sucking their thumbs.
I’m enrolled in “Multicultural Children’s Literature” and “Youth Programs”. I take more kid books out of the library. My boss asks why I don’t help with the programs if I like kiddie lit so much. I tell her she has never asked me. She huffs and says I need to show initiative and tell her I want to do storytimes like my coworkers did.
I ask my coworkers who work with storytime if they volunteered for the job. They look at me like I’ve lost my senses entirely.
Multicultural Children’s Literature is all about respecting other cultures. By staying the heck away from their literature, you dumb whiteys!
I’m shocked to discover that no library in my area has any books about gay people needed for this course (because gay people are now a race?). I order some through ILL through our ultra-conservative ILL person. I have to get my jollies where I can.
My boss decides to take a computer course despite knowing nothing about computers. She’s mad that I was smart enough to take the easy kiddie lit classes instead. She has everyone in the library take a quiz on computer literacy for fun. She and several others pat themselves on the back for getting around 70 percent. I score 100.
My Dad points out that I just don’t want to live, do I?
My “easy” kiddie lit class asks that we film ourselves reading and load said video up to YouTube. I decide to read to my kids. The five year old helps out by making sound effects. The book is The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle. After this project, I hate The Very Quiet Cricket. I figure I might as well have read War and Peace instead, since that’s about how long it takes for the video to actually load.
While my courses are not as demanding, my job becomes more so as my boss gets more unglued with each passing day. I get so used to being in trouble that I start watching how her veins pop out while she berates me for breathing. I realize I’m staying in the job partly just to tick her off.
To be continued . . .
As most of you know, I work at a university library. Before I got there, I was a public library underling who worked for a boss some employees nicknamed “Satan”. Since librarian seemed like a great career choice at the time (I was smoking something), I jumped at the chance to enter a cohort of public librarians who were given a a “free” online degree. The same grant also allowed us to attend three library conferences. It sounded like a really great opportunity. Then I found out my evil boss was also in the program. And stuff went downhill from there.
I happened to keep a log of my time in the program. The other day I stumbled upon it, and thought it might serve as a warning to others. I put it into four parts. Here’s part one.
I will not detail the joy that was getting into the program in the first place since no one really understood or kept to the rules and procedures (first warning). Also, I’ll forgo explaining the trials and tribulations of getting enrolled in a university from a distance of over six hours travel compounded by the fact that at this particular university the right hand not only didn’t know what the left hand was doing; it didn’t know that there was a left hand. I’ll just start with the first part of the program – our orientation in Denton.
Orientation Ahoy (January 2008)
· I make plans to attend orientation with another student from the program. My certifiable (and I don’t mean degrees here) boss informs me that she too has been accepted into the program and has decided to join us on the six hour car trip. My coworkers begin penning my obituary.
· My mother steps in and offers to carpool with me and visit her sister while I’m in the meetings. She is immediately promoted to sainthood. My boss expresses (repeatedly) her disappointment in not getting to torture me for hours in a trapped space.
· I arrive in Denton and have no idea where to go. I find others who also don’t know. Little do I know that this will become a pattern from now on.
· Eventually, we find where to meet. First off is a “fun” activity involving asking people dumb questions about where they’re from etc in order to be eligible for some prize. Or something. I forget now. But I said screw it and didn’t complete mine. We are also given nice red bags with our group title on it (though no one can remember what it stands for already) and neato folders and a binder. I love free stuff. At this point, I still don’t realize that nothing is ever free.
· We go to a room with lots of computers. Dr. M, who seems like an intelligent, amiable individual explains the program. Dr. J, the dean, also speaks to us though we have trouble seeing her over our desks. We then meet the faculty who deviously appear to be normal humans. We experiment with computers and the faculty rapidly discover just how technologically stupid the majority of us are. Dr. M. begins debating early retirement.
· We meet our pseudo-mom graduate assistant Cherri who plies us with chocolates, most likely laced with something that turns the majority of the group into Stepford Librarians.
· I’m pretty sure this is where we were first introduced to the concept of “mentors”. I wonder if they will be training us to be Jedi (help me Obi Wan!) but it turns out they only want to train us to be librarians which is strange since most of the cohort already work as library directors. Maybe they’ve been doing it wrong all this time. We meet Dr. G. who has been specially brought here for her expertise in Jedi – er – librarian mentor stuff.
· We go to the hotel. I am roomed with another cohort. They apparently think we are from a very different sort of group because they give us one bed. Some of the group members have trouble finding their names on the reserve list. Obviously this is the fault of those silly hotel people.
· The next morning, the program heads discover there is no free breakfast (totally not their fault either) and so arrange for free full breakfasts for our group. The hotel room is really nice as well. Welcome to my parlor, says the spider to the fly!
First Spring Semester (Jan – May 2008): The Horror that is Blackboard (Bb)
· First one bites the dust. One student quits immediately following orientation. Naturally she is a member of my “group”
· I discover there is group work. In college. With fellow students miles apart.
· Except one student – my boss – who is rapidly resembling the Evil Queen from Snow White. Guess who’s the stepchild?
· I am put in her group. Someone in the program hates me.
· Our first professors are Dr. M. and Dr. B. Dr. B., who has a fantastic personality in person, has no personality online. In fact, he repeatedly ceases to exist leaving us to the mercy of his grad assistant, George “Cut and Paste and Good Luck” Yi.
· No one understands how to use Bb (our online classroom). What’s with all the links? Why have so many links that don’t go anywhere and some that go everywhere at once? Why isn’t homework just put under a homework tab? Why don’t the links work? What planet am I on? We ask George who cuts and pastes the original instructions that no one understands.
· Eventually, we figure out that Bb is another word for “scavenger hunt”. Several people have their first nervous breakdowns. Cherrie becomes chief psychiatrist as well as grad assistant. She starts counting the days till she graduates.
· The message board fills to the brim and resembles the Internet at large. Roughly 1 percent of posts have to do with anything remotely important. The rest is crap. You have to click on every one to figure out which is which.
· I learn that many of my classmates got their bachelor’s degrees from Cracker Jack boxes. Some don’t understand basic punctuation or grammar. And naturally, these people are all in my group.
· The cohort discovers the joy of Wiki and start pages with cell phone numbers and birthdays. One student begins celebrating our birthdays whether we like it or not with posts on the cohort board. We all say happy birthday to each other. Over and over. This student ends up having to congratulate herself because no one else ever reads the Birthday Wiki but her.
I A fellow student and I bond over bad bosses (she calls hers “Dead Alien Soul Boss”). In order to combat the insanity, we take it upon ourselves to entertain the class with our wisecracks on the message boards. My boss sneers “They sure do think you’re FUNNY, Alice.” I detect a definite hint of green to her skin. Heh.
· My elder daughter spends two nights in the hospital with dehydration. (My pediatrician says she dehydrates faster than any kid she knows. Yay, we’re number one!) I email my professors with the situation. Dr. B. replies roughly a month after she’s released.
· First TLA meeting!
I wriggle out of another carpool offer with Senora Psycho and book my plane as soon as possible. I have to dig the money out of savings, but hey, we’ll get stipends as soon as we get there that will pay us right back.
· We discover that to use the stipends, you have to go to a bank. In Dallas. Guess how many people have banks in Dallas?
· At TLA, we find out another one bit the dust. Sherri has left. I’d have at least taken the free trip on them first.
· Some worry about homework and actually attempt to do it while there. I take part in a first mutiny of people who refuse to do squat the entire time.
· I discover that our food stipends are to pay for real food, not conference and hotel food. At 25 bucks for breakfast alone, I find myself eating so much granola I nearly turn into a squirrel.
· Boss lady (fellow cohort!) decides to play “nice” which makes her even scarier.
· Who cares about the actual conferences (except Dave Barry who was awesome)? 70 percent of my time I spend in the exhibit hall grabbing every free book in sight until I am loaded down like a deranged bag lady. I don’t even like half of the books, but they’re free! Also, the exhibit hall is a good place to hide from you-know-who.
· 20 percent is spent in line getting book autographs.
· 5 percent eating – mostly granola, but also free nibbles at the parties. There are no free drinks, but plenty of open bars. I mean absolutely everywhere.
· 4 percent in the actual sessions
· 1 percent sleeping. Why the heck did they give us actual hotel rooms anyway?
· Oh, also we meet our mentors for the first time. Except for the cohort whose mentor dropped out. But it’s okay, cause they will soon fix her up with another. Who will also drop out.
· I discover that things like taxi fare and parking are not included in the travel stipend I cannot access until I get home.
· We survive the rest of the semester, and then cry when we realize that there are 5 more to go.
To be continued . . .
A while back, I read Kylie’s parody of Good Dog, Carl, the story of an irresponsible woman who leaves her infant with a dog babysitter. She made this parody for something called The Character Assassination Carousel, created by Nicole of Nicole Leigh Shaw, Tyop Artist. Like me, Nicole liked reading to her kids but often found some of the stories, shall we say, disturbing. So she made fun of them, and her kid laughed, and she was encouraged. It’s like she’s my long lost twin or something. Anyway, when I saw we got to skewer these classic literary characters, I was all up in that! I’m proud to contribute my bit today.
Last week featured Amy of My Real Life with a post assassinating the book Bert and the Missing Mop Mix-Up. Yes, this is a story with stick-up-the-bum Bert from Sesame Street, costarring a mop. Like most children’s books, it’s wildly exciting, at least when she makes fun of it. Check it out.
She graciously invited other bloggers to come see the latest assassination here on Monday. You might notice today is not Monday. Whoops. But, hey, you can’t rush perfection, or memory, so here is my entry The Story of Babar: the Little Elephant by Jean De Brunhoff. This book is a classic, defined by Mark Twain as “A book people praise and don’t read.” Babar was skewered earlier by Robyn of Hollow Tree Ventures in Babar’s Little Girl. But I’m sure you want to know how this whacked up story got started, right? Too bad, here we go.
Babar’s story begins in the wilds of . . . somewhere. He’s just your average baby elephant, getting rocked in a hammock by his mother. Fortunately, he is a test tube elephant (note how long and skinny he is) so he doesn’t break the hammock with his massive weight.
Babar plays with the other elephants. He’s “very good” because he digs in the sand with a shell he holds in his trunk. Yay, good elephant? Look how idyllic and innocent this is. Nothing bad could possibly happen.
Then Babar goes for a ride on Mom’s back. A nice little walk. Until a hunter jumps out and shoots Mom dead! Kapow! Death by page 6, folks. And here I thought Bambi was harsh. My brother and I were so traumatized by Bambi, my mother had to actually get rid of the book so we’d quit freaking the heck out.
Even better, we don’t just get to see the shots fired at mom (it’s believed to be a lone gunman), we get to see her dead carcass lying on the ground. The hunter is not satisfied with several tons of elephant jerky and some ivory jewelry, oh no, he wants to also capture the baby elephant. What a guy. I bet he’s pals with the man in the yellow hat from Curious George.
So the monkey and the bird fly away; thanks for all the help, jerks. Babar runs for it, and then bam, comes upon this modern day town. I’m not sure if he started out in Africa and somehow stumbled upon France, but that’s what it looks like.
So you’re probably thinking the people see this elephant in town and run screaming for their lives, right? You forget, guys, this is France. These guys are unbelievably laid back. They don’t even notice him.
Babar notices them though, and thinks “OMG a human like the one that killed my mom arghhhhhhh!” Haha, just kidding. He thinks that the men are well dressed and that he should be dressed too. Wait, what? My thirteen-year-old daughter who I affectionately call Thing One, asked, “Did Babar get some of that forbidden fruit or something?” Good point. Even though Babar was perfectly happy to run about naked back home, once he gets to “civilization” he suddenly decides he needs clothes. Because the clothes are gonna totally help him fit in? I wonder if the hunter would have freaked him out as much if he’d been wearing fine clothes too.
Never fear, though, rich old lady to the rescue. She’s really called “Old Lady”, by the way. She sees Babar, screams in terror, and runs. Just kidding again! No, she immediately concludes that this poor elephant needs clothes. Right. Not that he should be back in the wilderness, or that he is really hungry and she looks like a snack, but that the animal needs duds! Priorities!
Hey, did you notice that not only did Babar understand Old Lady, but he knew how to talk, and politely too? “Thank you, Madam, for handing over your purse.” This is like when John Smith and Pocahontas meet in the Disney flick and after five minutes they’re having no trouble conversing. Might be because Pocahontas was speaking English with bits of Native American thrown in even before she met Smith. But, wait, that’s another messed up story. Back to Babar.
This also brings to mind another problem. Earlier Babar was this naked elephant and this hunter shot his mom. Now, sadly, many elephants were slaughtered in this fashion. But my point is – why in one panel is a human shooting him, an animal, and in the next he’s hanging around with humans like they’re his peers? Doesn’t this make the hunter a serial killer then, if elephants are just like humans? My head hurts.
Babar goes to the Big and Wide Store to shop for some clothes. It has a creative name.
I certainly hope it’s big. We’re talking a freaking elephant here, although his scale in comparison to humans is kind of hard to tell since it changes from page to page. He gets in the elevator, of course, and my nine-year-old Thing Two says, “I think weight limits are determined by the pound, not the ton.” Yeah, me too. Pretty sure even a freight elevator wouldn’t hold that thing, but, then again, the elephant is clothes shopping, so nevermind.
Babar gets some help finding a suit, which they OF COURSE have in size gigantic. He then goes and gets his picture taken by a photographer, because what else would he do?
Old Lady takes Babar in, even though he won’t call her by her freaking name, and lets him dine with her. He even knows how to use the right fork, etc., because though yesterday he was a naked elephant, he’s not THAT uncivilized. He also gets a pair of elephant BVDs and does squat thrusts with the Old Lady. No, really.
Babar takes a bath and sleeps in a bed, no problem. The Old Lady gives Babar her car too. The book says “She gives him anything he wants.” I bet she does. Have you seen how big an elephant is, even a baby? I’d be doing whatever he asked too.
Babar gets the “My Fair Elephant” treatment. A professor gives him lessons, and then he entertains guests with his tales of the Great Forest, you know, back when he was a savage and stuff. Rich people love stories about savages. Also . . . wait. Great forest? He was in a forest . . . just, whatever.
But Babar is not totally happy because after several years he remembers, oh yeah, Mom is worm food. He misses home, the elephant forest. But then he finds his cousins Arthur and Celeste, who have run away from home. Babar knows how to handle such an emergency. They go shopping! This is so much like a TLC show, it’s unreal.
Babar decides to return home with his cousins. He takes the car. Naturally. The same day the king of the elephants eats a bad mushroom, has a really bad trip, turns green, crumples up, and bites it. Two deaths in 34 pages, woot!
Babar arrives home amid much fanfare from the savage animals who are so happy to see him and worship at his elephant feet. Dude has a car! And designer clothes! Let’s make him king! Sure, why not? I mean, that’s not that far off from how we elect our politicians today. Babar speaks to the huddled masses, and says he’ll accept their offer as long as they let him marry Celeste. You know. His cousin. Cue banjos. The other animals are thrilled with their new king since clearly their last king was not a mental giant.
So they get married and have a big party in the jungle. There are some truly freaked out looking animals in this picture. I wonder if they found some of the former king’s ‘shrooms or something.
So the story ends happily ever after. Babar’s mom is shot, he rips off an old lady in the city, and then he comes home to bring civilization to his people. Oh, and to marry his cousin. They fly off together in a hot air balloon. That can carry elephants. Of course they do. Well, at least we won’t be seeing them again . . . oh, wait. There are sequels. Lots of them. I’m going to be looking for my own balloon now, thanks.
Stay tuned for the next assassin, Michelle of You’re My Favorite Today, coming soon on the Character Assassination Carousel.
This time on Strange Addictions . . . okay, I heard about this episode. It’s about as infamous as the tampon scene in 50 Shades of Grey. But – the actual watching of it – ZOMG – the horror. The horror.
Where was I? Oh, right, this episode we have a lady who snorts baby powder, and a guy who is in love with his car. Okay. Buck up, Alice.
First up we have Jaye, a 28-year-old from Houston, Texas who likes to snort baby powder up her nose. It’s like Cocaine, only with Cocaine I’m guessing you actually get some sort of high. I have no idea what you get when you snort baby powder.
Well, besides looking like you’ve had your face in a bunch of powdered donuts. Come to think of it, she might get along with that family I talked about last time who put the baby powder on their donuts. I wonder if one could snort an entire baby powder covered donut up her nose? You might be wondering why someone would decide one day to just snort baby powder.
Well, apparently she liked the smell, so she’d hold it close to her face. And then she’d touch it to her nose. And then, oh heck with it, let’s just suck that stuff right up there! On the plus side, her nose smells like Love’s Baby Soft. On the negative, she’s been inhaling white powder into her lungs. For SIXTEEN YEARS. She goes to the doctor, who, shock, says this is not a good idea. I bet he wouldn’t like baby powder on donuts, either. I forget whether she stopped snorting the baby powder. Maybe because I was soooo horrified by the next segment.
Just to lighten the mood a little, I’m going to put up a picture of a cute kitten. Remember the kitten, peeps.
Ooookay, so next we have Nathaniel. Nat’s 27-years-old and he has a car. Named Chase. And they’re kind of going steady. He and the car. For five years. And . . . and . . . he has sex with the car. Yup. He does.
What fascinates me is that Chase the car is a boy. So does that mean Nathaniel is gay, or just car gay? What exactly was it that made Chase a male rather than a female? Is my car a male or a female? I don’t know. I haven’t done that much checking under the hood. I was a little confused.
Anyway, I couldn’t figure out how they could possibly have an intimate relationship. Until TLC showed him french-kissing the car. And – fondling the steering wheel. I just . . . why . . I don’t . . nope, nope, nope.
Ah, but there’s hope, cause he’s going to “come out” to Dad. Poor, poor Dad.
Dad laughs nervously, clears his throat, and says “It’s okay, son, I accept you.” I think this is because there’s a camera rolling. Otherwise I’m pretty sure there would HAVE to be cursing. No one’s this understanding. This is why I hate the argument that if you let people marry the same sex, suddenly they’ll start marrying cars and goats and whatever. Not the same thing, people. NOT EVEN CLOSE.
Just how does this even happen? You’re just walking through the car lot one day and “OMG she’s the one!” Do you start off dating scooters and work your way up to cars or do you just go for the big times right away? So many questions I so don’t want answered.
I don’t think I can ever get a car like Chase without wondering what the last owner did to it. Nope, nope, nope.
So, peeps, anyone ever been tempted to nom on some baby powder? Have you ever seen your car as more than a friend? Please don’t tell me.
This week on “Strange Addictions”, we get a lady eating beauty products, and a guy using plastic surgery to look like Justin Bieber. I’m not sure which one is worse. You can’t make this crap up.
First up, we have Brittoni, a lady who is a little confused about how makeup works. Instead of putting it, say, on her face, she eats it. She prefers eye shadow, but you know, it has to taste right. Naturally. So she goes to the store and shakes a little out and licks it to see if it is her flavor. No reason to waste money on makeup that doesn’t taste good, am I right? I’m never going to look at eye shadow quite the same way again.
She decides to “come out” to her family, but here’s the kicker. Mom and sister and she have this family tradition of making donuts and sprinkling baby powder on them. When I first heard this, I thought I’d heard incorrectly. Like, oh, that was powdered sugar, right? Nopes. We’re talking that stuff you’re supposed to be putting on a baby’s bum.
So the girl tells her family that she eats makeup, and they are totally understanding, cause they are eating baby powder donuts. Just kidding. They both act horribly shocked!. Sister says “That is weird” as she takes another bite of a donut sprinkled with a Johnson & Johnson product. Just – what? They’re talking to her about how unhealthy this habit is, and how can she do this, – but – the donuts. And the baby powder. Lady, you’re holding the baby powder in your hand while talking to your daughter and I just . . . nevermind.
She goes to the doctor at their suggestion (they are totes fine with their chemical laced donuts) and the doctor, not surprisingly, tells her eating makeup is not a good idea. What gets me, though, is there’s no – hey, let’s figure out WHY you are eating makeup. Either the girl has a nutritional deficiency major time, or she’s nuts, or maybe both, but – don’t just send her off with a warning. I mean – I just – nevermind.
The girl does go on to quit her eye shadow addiction. I’m guessing the baby powder donuts continue, though, cause totes normal.
Next, we have Toby, a guy in his thirties who has been spending years and huge amounts of money to make himself look like . . . Justin Bieber. Now, I think it’s kind of stupid to try to make yourself look like any pop star or actor but, really, Justin Bieber? Couldn’t he at least have gone for someone with a little more testosterone? Heck, Michael Bolton would be a better choice, dude, and his voice is higher than mine.
But this guy is convinced that Justin is the picture of gorgeous and youthful, and he wants to be just like him. I just don’t get it. To me, Justin Bieber looks like a twelve-year-old who cuts his hair with a bowl. Yet this guy is willing to go under the knife multiple times to completely reshape his face to resemble Justin’s. Be afraid, Justin. You just think being arrested is tough. Wait till this guy finds you.
He’s had operations I’ve never even heard of – forehead lifts, eyebrow lifts, hairline moved forward, nose jobs, chin reduction and implants, and holy cow who the hell does this? TLC shows the before and afters and – frankly, our Toby looked better BEFORE he started all this stuff. Which is not all that difficult.
He goes out to find more “Justin” like clothes, and tries to get people to guess who he looks like. They don’t have a clue. Undaunted, he says “Justin Bieber!” and they just blink. Good grief. He’s spent this much money, and he still doesn’t really resemble a guy he shouldn’t be trying to look like in the first place. That is really, really sad.
He next goes to a plastic surgeon who is slightly concerned about all these surgeries he’s had, especially since TLC is there filming him. When he suggests the dude invest his money in psychiatry (boy I hope he has savings), Toby just walks off. He’ll just go to another plastic surgeon! He doesn’t need help! Nopes! Totally fine.
I wonder if the people on this show ever meet each other and then get together. Maybelline girl and Bieber boy. Wouldn’t that be a match made in Hell?