Random Thursday: Everything is Awesome!

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

No charge for the earworm!


Best Wedding Cake Ever—Lego Division

LEGO Cake by Cupcakes by SJ

According to the Facebook page of Cupcakes by S-J,
which is (who is?) based in Basingstoke,
credit for this cake goes to the owner of the page and her father.

Looks like everything IS cool, when you’re part of a team.

Especially cake!


PInata skin rug

And all this time, I was just saving the ears and the tail . . .


One Duck, Snoring

That’s it.  That’s the video.

You watched it twice, didn’t you?  Just to show someone else?  Thought so.

(Thanks, Teresa!)




“Mom!  I have to show you this!”
“This!  Watch this!”
“Huh.  Yeah,  that’s a neat ide—oh, wow!”

Picture a hot glue gun—the kind where the dried glue sticks go in one end and hot glue comes out the other in a guided flow.

Make the glue gun pen shaped.  And swap the glue sticks for colored plastic.

Like this:


And then draw with it.

Like this:


Jane and I are already pricing them.

Considering the cost of 3D printers, this freestyle pen is completely reasonable, and the refill costs aren’t too bad, either . . . unless you’re a Wesson and spent half an hour pouring over the possibilities.

” . . . yeah, I know . . .”



Johanna Colón, center stage, proves that on that dark day when Aretha is no longer with us,
she will still be with us.


The Rant of the Wild Librarian, part II

An hour before we closed today, I leaned over to a co-worker and said, “You know how I value your honesty.  So I know I can count on you to tell me the truth—am I on Candid Camera?”

She didn’t look up.  “No.  But there’s a full moon Thursday.  I checked.”

It was a relief to know what was shaking the dingbats out of the banana tree, as the saying probably shouldn’t go.  But I should have figured it out on my own:  most of our usual suspects showed up today, asking for strange things in strange ways—including the one who refuses to talk to anyone but me for a reason I prefer not to know and who was quite upset that I was forced by the government to take a lunch hour in the middle of the day.

In addition, however, we were graced with a few Special Snowflakes who appear to be laboring under some mistaken ideas about libraries and librarians.  While I’m fairly certain that most of these Snowflakes won’t be able to find this post without some kind of intervention, I thought I’d still offer a few helpful insights into getting more out of one’s academic or public library experience:

If we say we don’t have a particular record or resource—especially if we tell you that the record or resource no longer exists or never existed at all—asking over and over again if we’re absolutely sure isn’t going to convince our resident library elves to spin that item out of dust, cobwebs and forgotten back issues of Consumer Reports.*

No, not even if you start every repetition with, “Okay, but let me ask you this . . .”

You aren’t fooling anybody.

Likewise, if we say we can’t answer your question with our available resources, but we do offer the contact information of a facility or organization that can, ignoring that contact  info in favor of explaining for the fourth time why you need an answer right this very minute now because your time is too precious to waste  is not going to make that answer magically appear in our resources, our brains, or in glowing letter six inches high overhead.

No, not even in Google.**

However, the librarian whom you’ve just robbed of forty minutes will be blogging about you later.

It is a fact universally acknowledged among library staff that the more talkative the patron, the more likely that patron will  just have eaten a pound and a half of raw onions for lunch.***

This is minor, perhaps, but still one of those matters of manners and etiquette that people tend to forget in public buildings, like barging into an elevator before the previous passengers can leave.  Just because we’re dedicated to public service doesn’t mean we don’t deserve a non-hostile work environment.

Some personal smells can’t be easily avoided.  We undertstand that.

But onions are a choice. Please choose wisely.

Mints or gum—or laying off the alliums before you visit—are always appreciated by the staff and ensures better service, as even the most dedicated librarians are somewhat distracted by imminent asphyxiation.

We’ll even do the same for you—because the garlic dressing at the Italian place down the block can kill a buzzard at twenty paces.  And we adore the stuff.

And now a few words about Internet porn.

However individual librarians feel about porn, most do not deny that for many people, porn softens—or not, as the case may be—the rough edges of life.^^ And most would agree, if begrudgingly, that there are times and places for enjoying “the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures) intended to cause sexual excitement.”^

None of these involve your allotted computer time on a public or academic library workstation.


It’s illegal in our state to display obscene or graphically erotic materials where minors might see it.  It is also against our computer use policy—and every other computer use policy I’ve seen—to view obscene or erotic images or videos, period.  Our policy explains this in bright red, bold text which you must agree to follow each and every time you access our Network.

So please don’t try.  We know what you’re doing.  We see you watching us and we’re pretty sure no one can be as interested in our desktop as you are every time we look at you, unless they’re about to break our rules.   This is another universal fact, and about as obvious as raw onion consumption.

If you do attempt to get your fix on our Network, we will wait until you’re paying so much attention to whatever delightful images are bouncing across your screen that you forget your compulsive monitoring of our whereabouts.   We will walk up behind you on little librarian feet, look over your shoulder to make sure that video, photo still, or manga drawing is exactly what we thought is was,^^^ and say in your ear, “I’m sorry, but that’s not an acceptable website.”

And we will watch you leap a foot in the air while frantically try to close forty-three windows, at least four of which keep popping up to show friendly young ladies in various . . . situations, while babbling all kinds of excuses, none of which make any logical sense.°

We’ll listen, perhaps offer a counter argument or two, and then kick you off for the day.  Or longer, if this isn’t your first attempt.

We don’t care much what you do in private.  But this is our very public  turf, and if we’re forced to be the Porn Police, we’re going to do it to the best of our ability.

Which is pretty good, if you haven’t noticed.

*That’s not what library elves are for. We’re not actually sure what they’re for, but we try not to tick them off, just in case.

**Although we’re sure they’re working on it.

***Seriously—I had a prolonged conversation with the sweetest elderly gentleman this afternoon from a respectable four or five feet away, and by the end, I had onion breath.

^ Webster.  The original definition includes writing, but as long as the words can’t be seen by someone passing by, most libraries are more concerned with naked people.  Go, literacy!

^^ Or roughs up the smooth edges.  Or coats them in rubber.  Or animates them.  Or uses the whole chicken. Or so I’ve heard.

^^^And we truly hope it is, because some surprises are difficult to forget, even with hypnotherapy.

° The reigning favorite is, “I didn’t go to that site!  It just popped up!  Besides, I have a subscription!”  Keep your blood in your brains, people.

(First Rant)

The Rant of the Wild Librarian

I spent half the day thinking it was Monday—not just because of the long weekend,  but because the library was hopping.

Anyone who thinks that libraries are no longer relevant or necessary to the majority of the population should have tried to jump the line that formed at our doors an hour before we opened.

Between 9:30 and noon, my department, which was three staff down,  located and pulled city directories, mortality indexes, assorted Federal Census volumes, alumni directories, government documents, and a map showing our area’s railroad system in 1860; worked out a bus schedule involving three towns and two bus companies for a patron whose car broke down just in time for her first day of work tomorrow;  taught three people several times each how to load microfilm into the appropriate machines and make copies; and helped another patron update both his resume and his profile on match-dot-com, as man does not live by bread alone (R220.5203 Hol).

After lunch, we encountered the new contender for Special Patron of the Year,  who in our* considered opinion, doesn’t appear to know what a research paper is for,** and is laboring—or not—under the mistaken assumption that librarians are there to write them for students who don’t like to touch books.

For any of you who are planning on doing research any time soon in an academic or public library environment, please allow me to offer a few helpful insights:

Library staff have all done their homework.***

We will gladly, happily, and inventively show you how to do your homework, even if we are simultaneously helping several other people while answering our Pavlovian phone that is conditioned to ring whenever we move more than ten feet away from the public desk.

We will not do it for you while you read Cosmo^ and talk on your cell in a quiet area, telling your friends that you’re stuck in the library doing that boring assignment that’s due tomorrow, but you should be out of there as soon as the librarian hurries up, because you’ve been waiting fifteen minutes for information that is supposed to fill up ten double-spaced pages.

Instead, we will kill you with kindness bury you in books, files, indexes, bibliographies, and rolls of newspaper microfilm and wish you luck.

Fear not.  We won’t abandon you entirely: we’ll help you load the microfilm machines, use the photocopiers, loan you a pencil and scrap paper, and even direct you to the restroom.  We may even suggest that you go back to the university librarians who wouldn’t do your paper for you either, but who have the actual resources on your topic and will be open until midnight.

And we will enjoy it, because we’ve done our jobs to the letter and we (this one is the royal ‘we’) get a blog entry out of it.

Listen:  librarians will cross the metaphorical desert to locate data on the migratory patterns of wild camels if you think you need it.   All it takes to get us to ramp up from excellent service to superlative effort is three magic words.

No, not “I brought chocolate,” though that’s not a bad guess.

If you really don’t know, you might try asking a librarian.  Very nicely.


*Not the royal ‘our’—she blessed the first floor with her presence before she graced us.

**To learn how to personally find data in a multitude of legitimate resources, none of which yet includes Wikipedia or YouTube.

***With the possible exception of the pages, who are all holding down jobs.

^I’m exaggerating.  I don’t know the name of the magazine, but I’m assuming Khloe Kardashian’s possible pregnancy is not on the list of approved research topics.