Saturday, September 22, 2007

Something very strange happened on Friday morning as I was getting ready for work. I heard my upstairs neighbor creeping down her stairs to the front door carrying a recycling bin. She then proceeded to replace the recycling bin on the curb (that had recently been emptied by the trash people) with the one in her hand, and creep back up to the second floor. Seriously. I watched the entire thing from my dining room. This is strange for several reasons, and not just the ones you may be thinking of:
  1. My upstairs neighbors don't recycle. They have never recycled. They've been here almost a year and not once have they put any plastic or glass bottles on the curb, no food containers, no paper goods. Nothing.
  2. The bin marked "apartment 2" is sitting outside with all of the trashcans. They are in apartment 2, therefor I just assumed (wrongly) that if the mood ever struck them, their bin was sitting there waiting for them.
  3. Apparently we have had three recycling bins all this time and I didn't know it: one I've been using that stays in my apartment (unless it's out being emptied like it was on Friday), one that sits outside, and apparently the one they've been storing upstairs for god-knows-what purpose. Three bins for three people! But only one of us actually recycles.
  4. It begs the question, what are they using the bin for? And why did they feel the need to switch? Is there something wrong with the one they left out there for me? Is the plastic laced with mouse poop? Were they using it for some sort of science experiment? Is it safe to bring into my home?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Check under the cushions

You may not have noticed, but I have gone missing. Well, I was missing. I'm back now. Maybe. You see, I've been doing my best couch potato impersonation. Rather, I've been thoroughly documenting the most comfortable spots and positions on my new sofa. OK, I've gotten sucked into TV land. It's just that I needed to get caught up on Heroes before season 2 starts. And while I was waiting for Heroes season 1 to come out on DVD, I thought I would re-watch Alias season 3 for the first time since it was actually on (and boy, I hated that season at the time, but it's really, really good). And then I just had to re-watch season 4 because maybe it wasn't as much of a train wreck as I remembered (and if you skip the vampire episode -- don't ask -- it actually isn't. So far).

Insert assembling various meals, sleeping, shuffling off to the supermarket and seeing various friends, as appropriate. Oh, and work.

It's possible you now understand the nature of my fixations. Nothing -- nothing! -- can stop me. Except possibly the need to not get fired, which is why these "episodes" are spread out over multiple weeks, instead of concentrated into a few short days.

But really, it's quite problematic this time as I am very, very behind on my book reading. There's really quite a backlog. Literally, there's a stack 10 books high (4,421 pages worth) on my desk, three of which need to get back to the library, one of which I've been waiting and waiting for for ages, and one of which I'm supposed to be reading with B. Not to mention the one that I was supposed to have read for my book group in August. And I'm not counting the 30 other books I told myself I had to read before I was allowed to buy any new books. So there is actually pressure. I even have magazines and mail piling up as well. I'm trapped by paper!

That being said, I have three disks down and three more to go before I've made my final decision on A3, and I have two more H disks to get through as well.

Why no, my life hasn't suddenly taken a turn for the uninteresting, thank you.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Bibliophile needs...

Taking a page from my friend J's livejournal, I googled "[The Bibliophile] needs" and came up with these helpful suggestions:
  • [The Bibliophile] needs to have blush that is very bright and colorful
  • [The Bibliophile] needs Some Good Thoughts
  • [The Bibliophile] needs to refer to Web sites, manuals, and a variety of documentation
  • [The Bibliophile] needs more caffeine
  • [The Bibliophile] needs help when she enters Manhattan's meat-packing district to help three transvestite hookers find out who murdered one of their friends-- and whether one of them might be the next victim
  • [The Bibliophile] needs your prayers
  • [The Bibliophile] needs Netflix friends
  • [The Bibliophile] needs to set her sights a little higher
  • [The Bibliophile] needs to choose between two guys
  • [The Bibliophile] needs more time for herself and more attention at home
  • [The Bibliophile] needs your help
Well now. I think that pretty much says it all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Books and ephemera

Everyone should have a favorite used book store. Mine is Nancy L. Dole's Books and Ephemera in Shelburne Falls, MA. I've found the following gems there thus far:
  • The Lady's Book of Flowers and Poetry (1842)
  • The Earth: Its Physical Condition and Most Remarkable Phenomena (1854)
  • A Popular Zoology (1887)
  • Alden's Handy Atlas of the World (1888)
They all contain stunning illustrations, some carefully painted by hand. These four are books that I picked up and fell in love with instantaneously, all for different reasons. Can you imagine how fun it is to look at maps from 1888? A a 150+ year old science book? You can see where I'm going with this.

But back to the store. It's not so much the piles and piles of used books that attract me, but the range of funky, random things you can get there; the store also contains a mind-boggling amount of stuff that has most likely been cleaned out of pack-rat grandparents' attics. Sixty year-old books of postcards, hundred-plus year-old store receipts, salvaged propaganda, pamphlets, out-of-date maps, clothing patterns, old recipe cards, and on, and on. It would be fair to call any of these items junk, worthless. Although now, fifty or one hundred years later, the items have aged enough rendering the junk useful anthropological data, peculiar remembrances, ephemera.

Where are your favorite used bookstores? What makes them so great?

Monday, September 3, 2007

My latest literary kick

I've been on a sort of mythology/folklore kick lately. I'm currently inhaling English Fairy Tales, The Norse Myths and Russian Fairy Tales. I think what got me on this was reading The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan (or this or this), but really, I've always loved reading fairy tales, folklore, mythology and re-tellings of all of these. When I was a much smaller Bibliophile, I would consume large volume after large volume of Jewish stories (these for example) and watch TV series that had their basis in Greek mythology. I guess it's completely normal to rediscover, or reignite old literary loves. (I fell in love with the Russian Literary Giants when I was in high school, and so recently acquired Anna Karenina, but I have yet to get down to the book in my To Read pile)

What were some of your favorite genres, books or series growing up? Have you come back to any of them recently? Or did you never really leave?