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Archive for July, 2008

(I was thinking about Inspector Clouseau, with the bumpf on his head…)

I came across an interesting book the other day: Central Park in the Dark: More Mysteries of Urban Wildlife by Marie Winn.

More Mysteries of Urban Wildlife

You should check it out as it’s chock full of interesting nature/science stuff. Plus, the author has an awesome blog: http://www.mariewinn.com/marieblog/

I miss going out on night hikes and monitoring frogs…sigh. There’s nothing better than being out in the park at night: no people, much less ambient noise, and it’s peaceful. Of course, some people are freaked out about being out in the woods in the dark. According to the author, there’s even a scientific name for this fear: nyctohylophobia. Usually, the worst thing that can happen to you in the forest at night, however, is that you will trip over something or get whacked in the face by a low branch.

Still, we all can give ourselves the heebie-jeebies at times. Years ago, I was frog monitoring (this involves walking a transect at night and counting the number and type of frogs we hear) with another park naturalist. For some reason, maybe too much caffeine or bigfoot stories, we both got spooked by a rustling off the trail in the bushes. It was like something was following us down the trail but hiding and lurking. Trembling, we both trained our flashlight beams on the sound. All of a sudden, something came out of the undergrowth with a crash. We both screamed and jumped about 4 feet in the air. It was an opossum. Admittedly a large one, but still, just an opossum. We told no one of our foolishness (until I blabbed today).

Oh, and don’t miss this blog:  http://urbanhawks.blogs.com/  with great pics of the birds in Central Park.

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No, I haven’t seen the new Batman movie…but I did find something very cool I want to build:

The Book Cave  :  Read about it in the New York Times here. I wonder if I can convince our library to put one in the children’s room?

Although I imagine it would need to be up a bit higher, as I can’t seem to get down and up as well as I used to when I was younger. Still, this reminds me of the cool bunk bed house my Dad made for me when I was in the first grade. He took a big piece of plywood and bolted it onto a standard bunk bed frame. It had a big circle cutout to provide access into the lower bunk bed and steps cut into one side so you could climb onto the top bunk. I loved that thing!

Here’s a way to combine the two:

pic_12038890727362.jpg

  Click on the photos above and there’s a link to more pictures of the step-by-step building process. It has a bed inside and a little closet, too. Wheeee!

And, for everything bookshelf related…and I do mean everything…check out this blog. I like the twisted grandfather clock bookcase here and the oddly compelling yet insane idea of creating a bookstore shelved just by color here.

Finally, I think we can all see the irony here. The crafter turns books into shelves into art. Very nice! (oh, and another here, too).

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So, in these troubled economic times, we all have to tighten our belts….dig down deep and make do or do without…which is why, and it all makes perfect sense, we bought a boat.

Not just ANY boat, mind you. A classic wooden boat. It was an offer from a friend that we couldn’t refuse!

OK, that’s a lie. We could have refused. We should have refused. We should have run away screaming, had we had any sense whatsoever. But, we were in love lust from the minute we saw it.

We are such consumers. Sigh.

And that is why we find ourselves (well, mostly my husband but I do help a bit) out in the garage every night working on the damn thing. It is beautiful. And it is a huge, sucking chest wound on our pocketbook!

I can’t wait to get out on a river with it,but I do keep thinking of that Talking Heads line: “And you may say to yourself, ‘My God, what have I done?!'”

7/28/08 Edited to Add: You can see the ongoing boat progress here at my husband’s blog.

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Because I wanted to slap some people today.

A nice, solid smack upside the head.

#1: A guy walks up to the Reference Desk (no, this is not the start of a joke…if only it was, people…if only it was…) and asks about a certain movie. He wants to watch Putney Swope. As I am looking it up, he tells me, in his words: “It’s a movie about a black guy who works for this company and he accidentally gets voted in to be the company president. Then, he goes and fires all the white guys and replaces them with all blacks. Yeah, and I guess that will really end up happening in real life soon if Obama is actually elected, huh?”

WTF?! As I am not good at snappy comebacks ( I usually think of something witty to say as they are leaving and getting into their cars), I just stared at him and blinked slowly. I’m thinking he missed the message of this movie.

#2 Our resident old codger stopped in to talk the ear off anyone he can corner. I’d like to feel sorry for the old man but when he starts to loudly recall his old days back when he was a member of the KKK he loses any goodwill from me.

#3 Fruit Bat, as I am now calling crazy computer lady, is off her meds again. Today, she picks me to be her lackey. As I am working at my desk, I hear Fruit Bat shout from across the room: “Hey, hey (snapping fingers)…I need you over here at my computer now!” So, taking my time (I don’t respond well to snapping…), I make my way over there.

She wants me to type in an email address for her. Nope, I won’t do that. Partly because I’ve seen her use the computer every day now for months (sending emails a plenty) and she is perfectly capable of typing this in on her own (and since she claims to be, among other things, a private detective one would think she should be able to master this herself), but mainly because we have a policy that says we don’t do crap like that. I explain this and she then wants me to “confirm” that it is a real email address and guarantee that the email will get there.

I look at what she has written on a scrap of paper and it is complete gibberish. No, I am pretty certain that is not an email address. No, I have never seen an email address that looks like that. But, that’s not acceptable to her because she wrote it down exactly and it can’t be wrong so she says, with an annoyed sigh, “Then go get me the head librarian!” I tell her that he is on the phone but when he is done she is welcome to come to the Reference Desk and talk to him. Then I walk away.

So, for all those mentioned above, this video clip is for you:

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The Silkie is iconic for its unusual fur-like plumage

Yes, I have been spending WAY too much time at I Can Has Cheezburger (which you either love or hate…there is no middle ground).

I just found out about this organization that encourages city dwellers to keep chickens, Urban Chickens. A local food/garden organization that helps establish garden plots for low income inner city residents is giving this a try, too. I’m curious to see how it turns out, as they are also going to have goats.

And now…I want a chicken! Last summer, my sister and I went to the county fair and saw some very freaky and some very beautiful chickens. Wish I had some pics from that…maybe next time. Not that I really could handle the work required to keep chickens even if I did live in a “pro-chicken city” (as their website says…I can just see that on the signs entering the city now…).

Check out the design for the Chicken Tractor…how cool is that!

Now for something very, very strange: You’ve got to know your chicken

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I had one of those odd days where two completely different patrons asked me the same obscure copyright question about a hour apart. While I was looking up the answer online at www.copyright.gov I found out something even more odd:

Apparently, so many freaks  people have bothered the U. S. Copyright Office about how to copyright their sightings of Elvis that they put this question on their FAQ page!

Sadly for all you Waffle House patrons, you can ONLY copyright your actual pictures of Elvis. Read the full text from the Copyright Offive here for details.

This is important info, as there was a scuffle over copyright of a picture of a dead Elvis  (don’t worry fans, I’m sure it was faked just like those landing on the Moon shots…) from that bastion of authenticity, the National Enquirer.

Incidentally, there is a really cool site called Ask a Librarian that the Library of Congress has here. What I really like is the policy note at the bottom that says:

“Please note that the scope of the services does not include: compilation of extensive bibliographies, requests for information connected with contests, completion of school or work assignments, translations or research in heraldry or family history.”

Can I use that at my job, please?! People, do your own homework!

 

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