Sunday, October 28, 2007

Blog roll added!

Check right below my archive list.

Extra super bonus points to anyone who can figure out why the blogs are listed in the order they are.

Cleaning Out My Draft Folder..

I'm trying to whip this blog into shape, and actually post in it with something approximating regularity, and one of the steps in achieving that, apparently, is deleting my all the started-but-not-finished entries I've accumulated since April. I came across this one and decided that, actually, I liked it enough to finish an publish it after all. I wrote 98% of it in early May while "working" in Gund ballroom on, I think, my vastly overdue final paper for Sergei's Shakespeare class (on feminist readings of King Lear). For now, however, you can consider it as a precursor to my iteration of Jeff's popular "Name Your Ten Albums" meme. Without further ado, my lone draft purge survivor:

(actually, one small piece of further ado- if you click on the hyperlinked song names, you can go listen to them and if you right click them you ought to be able to download them too)

I'm sitting, still in the same computer lab as yesterday and the day before that, listening to Aimee Mann, and thinking long and hard about how fully I used to identify with this music. Like, for example, "Guys Like Me," off of my favorite of her albums, Lost In Space.

I used to hear lyrics like:

Guys like me
We look good at the gate
But you'll agree with the odds on the slate
and put your money on a bonafide heavyweight
and take it off guys like me
take it off guys like me.

And think- Yeah! Exactly! Sing it Aimee!

Now, I knew even then that this was Aimee singing about the trials and tribulations she went through with her old record company, but to me it seemed like a perfect metaphor for the trials and tribulations I was going through trying to get guys to like me. There I was (or am, really), standing around, and I look like a good pick. Nice, not unfunny, pretty smart, kinda pretty-- but no one seemed to want good, solid, decent. They wanted bonafide heavyweights-- those willowy, heart-breakingly lovely girls who needed them desperately and looked gorgeous while doing it. The whole album is more of the same gorgeous melancholy, and second semester Sohpmore year, it seemed like Aimee was singing my life back to me. If you've ever heard Lost in Space, you'll have some idea of how dire my perception of my romantic prospects appeared.

Here I am now, two years later on the brink of graduation, and I don't know if my perception of my romantic prospects has changed drastically, but the soundtrack to them has. I still love Aimee, but she's not my go-to girl for romantic trouble lately. That's another Amy- Amy Winehouse, whose album Back to Black has been on a constant loop in my room for about three weeks now. My favorite song on this constantly-on repeat album is "Tears Dry on Their Own". The whole song seems to be about being the other woman, and getting left-- not exactly a cheery subject-- and the lyrics don't dress it up, either. But Amy, even if she's stealing someone's husband, and letting men fuck with her heart, and crying-- she never sounds defeated.

I guess I like to hope the same is true for me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Do YOU know the Library of Congress Call Number of Evil?

Because I do:


Why is that the Library of Congress Call Number of Evil, you ask?

Because it's Hitler's call number. As in the L of C call number for every book about Hitler starts with DD247.H5. There's more to the call number than that- those are only the beginning three lines. What comes after varies, depending on things like who wrote it, and the year it was published, and what exact facet of Hitler the book happens to be discussing, but I don't know the exact science of that part. Presumably that's what you learn in Library School. On my practical work experience end of things, however, you can learn that DD247.H5 is Hitler's call number.

What else have I learned cataloging the Stephen Feinberg Collection of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Boston Latin School? Which, for those of you not in the loop, is what I have been doing the last 6 weeks. Here goes:

1. The most common call numbers prefixes associated with Holocaust and Genocide Studies are, in addition to the aforementioned Call Number of Evil:

- D810.J4, which tend to be about the concentration camps
- DD256.5, which seem to be about life/politics in Nazi Germany and
- DS135, which contains a pretty wide scope of Holoccaust issues, but primarily a lot of survivor accounts.

2. There are like EIGHT different "Atlases" of the Holocaust. Which, huh? Do we really even need one?

3. Even if you know it's about people who suffered terribly during the Holocaust, it's hard not to laugh when you come across books like In Our Hearts We Were Giants: The Remarkable Story of the Lilliput Troupe-- A Dwarf Family's Survival of the Holocaust (described as "the inspirational story of the Ovitz family, whose seven dwarf members endured a dark fairy tale"-- and yes, you did read that correctly). I mean, I'm sure reading it wouldn't be funny but COME ON- seven dwarves? Dark fairy tale? Don't you just see, like, Hitler recruiting him to help him sort out his gender confusion through a Snow White pantomime wherein he played Snow White?

4. If your book about the Holocaust is worth the paper it's printed on, then Elie Wiesel's name is on it somewhere. Maybe he wrote the foreword, maybe he wrote the afterword, maybe he did a blurb for the back of the book, or maybe your agent paid someone else to mention his name in their blurb. Either way, if Elie isn't involved, it might as well not be about the Holocaust at all.

5. That although other, less desensitized people, like Sarah, the Library's student teacher from Simmons, might be bothered to the point of nightmares by dealing day in and day out with hundreds and hundreds of books about the Holocaust, cataloging books called "Scroll of Agony" and "Pathway to Hell" seems to have little or no effect on me. Mostly, I just end up saying things, in casual conversation, like "..oh right, just like Terezin, the show ghetto.." and wondering about weird things, like how editors turn down memoirs of Holocaust survivors. I mean, just think about that for a second-- what do you say?

"Gee, I'm sorry Mr. Stein, but... it's just we've seen this all before. Nazis, anti-semitism, horrors of the death camp, losing everyone, the indomitable human spirit, yadda yadda yadda. I mean, why should we publish your memoir when we could just publish a new edition of The Diary of Anne Frank and sell a million more copies? Your tale of unbearable personal suffering just isn't singular enough for Harper Collins right now."

Clearly not. But can every written and submitted memoir have been published? I find that equally unlikely. So, presumably, someone, somewhere MUST have rejected at least ONE Holocaust survivor's memoir. And wow, that must have REALLY, really sucked for both parties involved. All of this amounts to me being a HORRIBLE PERSON, clearly, because obviously good people don't spend their time pondering how one would reject a Holocaust survivor's memoir, or joking about dwarf families persecuted by Hitler. They get horrible nightmares and are done with it all.

Anyways, that's my list for now. I'm writing this all up today as this is my last full week working at Latin, though I have yet to give official notice. Everyone there knows that I was only doing the work until I got a real job and, as of yesterday, I've managed to get not one but TWO (part-time) jobs: one as the evening and weekend desk attendant at MIT's Dewey Library of Management and Social Sciences (which comes with Grrrrreat Benefits and will pay for 1/6 of my library degree!) and the other as a bookseller extraordinaire at Curious George Goes to Wordsworth in Harvard Square.

I am very excited about both, and excited about (theoretically) earning enough money to support myself and have an apartment while also having jobs that seem fun and will look excellent on my resume. I am going to miss Latin though. Working in my high school has been weird, definitely, but it's also been fun. I really like the librarians, and the student praetors are all great, and I'm getting to see all my old campers and it's just been nice. Best of all though, I've been having lunch every other Wednesday with Anna the Fantastic, who enriches my life enormously. There are so many people I deal with on a day to day basis who just leave me feeling meh, so to hang out with someone who I like so purely is really great. Plus she lends me books. Thankfully though that should be able to continue even after I've started working at Curious George and MIT- right Anna Banana?

I think that's all I have in me tonight, dear readers. But I'm going to try (as usual) to be more regular with my posts from now on. And also more responsible about updating my recent read/viewed columns. But we'll see how that goes.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Project Remoxification (a photo essay response to Hank's 10/1/07 video)

I was watching today's Brotherhood 2.0 video, and wanted to make a response video of me putting stuff on my head. However, I have no digital camcorder. Ergo. iSight photo essay:

This is me saying "Hi John and Hank! It's Tuesday, October 2nd, I should be asleep right now. But I'm not. I'm making a photo essay about putting stuff on my head. Well, really, just one thing. Because I watched Hank's video- the original one, from March- and he's right. I, like the non-Kurt residents of Missoula, Montana, am getting marginally stupider as I get older. Now, let me be frank here as I make my let-me-be-frank-with-you face:

When it comes to being smart about the awesomeness of doing stupid things, I think I've always been ahead of the decepticon pack. I mean, even now as a marginally-more-stupid-22-year-old-me, I would TOTALLY take a peep from Hank if he were giving them away on the street. Well, if I liked peeps. And if I wasn't worried they were poisoned. So, actually, I might not take a peep. BUT! I wouldn't have breezed on by, yanking my child's hand while looking straight ahead and whispering 'See, sweetie, that's what happens when you do drugs and your parents don't love you. You become a crazy peep-touting street person.' I would have stopped and talked and laughed and Hank probably would have made my day. I mean, heck, just because I'm a future librarian:

doesn't mean I'm suddenly a square. I still make friends with oddly dressed people on the bus, take theme dressing (for parties, etc.) Very Seriously, and perform karaoke every Tuesday-- singing songs like "I Touch Myself" by The Divinyls, no less-- so it isn't like I'm entirely bereft of moxie. But there was a time when I wouldn't blink before singing showtunes on top of the patio tables outside my local ice cream parlor in the middle of December, a time when I would come into school dressed as Audrey Hepburn on May 4th to celebrate her birthday no matter how many weird looks it earned me, a time when sometimes I wore a a crown to school just because I felt like it. In other words, a time when I was a moxie millionaire. These halcyon days seem to have slipped away without me realizing it. I have suddenly grown more staid and cautious, more safe and comfortable, more of a goldifish and less of a salmon. WELL, not any more! I am going to reclaim that time, starting TODAY (!!!) by putting Stuff On My Head. Or rather, by putting this on my head:

Now, what's the significance of this stuffed gorilla, you ask? Why is THIS where you're starting with Project Remoxification (tm)? I'll tell you, Dear Readers: this is the stuffed gorilla my moxie-rific mother sent me in a care package in December after I finished the excruciating first draft of my history thesis. You can't tell from these photos, but NOT ONLY does this stuffed gorilla wear a red baseball cap, he also DANCES and plays The Macarena. My mo(xie)ther sent this gorilla to me with a mandate: I was supposed to take him around with me to all my professors, turn on the music, and make them do the Macerena with me. This mandate... didn't so much get carried out. I kind of made this face:

put the gorilla away in a drawer, and went home and took a nap instead. Now, considering the fact that I had been quite literally living in a computer lab for close to three weeks at this point, I think my reaction re: nap-taking was quite reasonable. But my reaction re: drawer-putting? Unacceptable. The rememedy? Embrace my gorilla and all his moxie-generating potential:

And put that gorilla ON MY HEAD:

And all I can say is this. On the Second Day (of October) Margaret remade her moxie, and she took her moxie, turned it into a photo essay, and saw that that moxie was good. In other words: thanks Hank and John- I'll see you tomorrow!"

(the end)