Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Secret Manuscript Club

I was looking back over the blogging I've done over the past year and realized that most the people who keep up with this blog are those who have actually read some version of one of my unpublished manuscripts already. (Or if you are Joella or Jenny, have been told in great detail a story from begining to end while working at the desk with me. You did ask for it, however.) So I'm starting a club called The Secret Manuscript Club. SMC for short. Only those who have read or heard one of my completely unknown early works can be members. (Yes Daphne and Chani, you are now official members. Karlene, Ashley, Adrienne and Pinky are senior members, since they have all been willing to subject themselves to my stories in progress for many years now.) Those of you who haven't had a chance yet--count your blessings. In this one time offer, I'm extending a free membership to anyone who wants it just for subjecting yourself to reading this article! : )

Okay, okay, nobody is really going to force you to join some ridiculous club, I promise. What I'm trying to say in my silly way is that I'm grateful for all the love and support each of you have given me this year and in years past. May you all have the best New Year ever!

P.S. If you see me handing out invisible SMC membership buttons to people in the weeks to come--run! See you next year!

P.P.S. Chelsey and Jamie--welcome to the club!

Friday, December 26, 2008

I've Been Dreaming of a White Christmas--NOT






















We had a very white Christmas this year. There was a lot of more snow than I would have liked. The snow was so bad where we live that most of my family couldn’t come see us on Christmas day. Still, I can’t complain since Santa brought me a brand new laptop this year! I don’t know how I got along without it before now. It makes writing my stories and working on this blog a whole lot easier than it used to be. There was one creature that was glad none of the family came to visit. All the more leftover Christmas ham for her. I’ve included a few photos of my poodle doing what she does best—beg for leftovers in the kitchen. Who could resist that face? Not my mother, that's for sure. I swear the dog has doubled in size since yesterday. Of course, she's so small to begin with that’s not saying much. Notice the red bows on her ears in the one picture. She had them off within an hour.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Laughing at Sliding Cars

Having grown up in California, learning to drive on snow has never been easy for me. With all the snow storms that have come through our area this last week, driving to and from work has been an interesting experience to say the least. But after watching this hilarious video of lots of other people struggling to drive in icy conditions I feel a whole lot better.

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-164378

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Have You Bought a Book for Someone You Love Today?

I've been reading some articles lately about how the scary economy has hurt the publishing industry. People can't afford to buy books anymore so publishing houses are having to put a freeze on aquiring new manuscripts. Just imagine all those fantastic unpublished stories out there that will never be discovered because no publisher can afford to aquire them. What if no one had ever given Harry Potter a chance because the economy was bad? So what can we book lovers do to stop this tradgedy? Buy books for Christmas. Give everyone on your list the gift that keeps giving. What better present could there be? There are whole webpages out there devoted to the Buy-a-Book movement. Join the club, save the world--buy a book! I'm getting down off the soap box now--I promise.

P.S. Somebody on my Christmas list is getting a book they are going to LOVE for Christmas! Don't you wish you knew who it was?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Holiday Treat

All I have to say is, why didn't I think of this years ago and make lots of money selling a book about it? If you'll click the link below you can view a video of kids terrified while getting their photo taken on Santa's lap. Ah the memories. Not to mention the many faces of Santa. These are men truly dedicated to their work. I died laughing while looking at the slideshow of photographs at the right hand side of the webpage. Hope you do too.

http://www.harpercollins.com/book/index.aspx?isbn=9780061490996

And here is another one. You have to scroll down to the bottom of the page and look at them one by one.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/chi-scared-santa-sm-081202-pg,0,52957.photogallery?index=chi-051219papadopoulos

Makes you view Santa in a whole new light, doesn't it?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Follies of Youth

What is it that stirs the hearts of young maidens? You’d be surprised. While at work the other day, I happened to mention that back in elementary school I had a desperate crush on Michael Knight, of Knight Rider fame. I assumed this early obsession with a fictional character was something unique to myself but quickly learned I was not alone in my youthful folly. Without hesitation very woman in the room named off a TV or movie character she had loved from afar as a child. I began asking around and discovered that every person I asked had a ready answer. From the enthusiasm and girlish giggling that followed the confessions I was pretty sure a few of them still had some lingering passion for these lost loves who never existed. Here, in no particular order, are a few of the MEN who stole our hearts in the first innocence of youth.

Remington Steele (Pierce Brosnan)
Michael Knight (Knight Rider)
Wesley Crusher (Star Trek)
Joe Hardy (Shaun Cassidy, Hardy Boys)
The Lone Ranger
Appollo and Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica, 80’s version)
Kale (Titan A.E.)
Jack (Titanic)
Quicy McCall (Love & Basketball)
Prince Charming (Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella)
Tony (Westside Story)
Harry Winslow (A Far Off Place)
Luke Skywalker and Han Solo (Star Wars)
Harry Potter
Human Casper the Ghost (Live Action movie, Devon Sawa)
Matt (Digimon Cartoon)
Aladdin (Disney version)
Cody Lambert (Step by Step)
Alvin (Alvin and the Chipmunks) I kid you not.

Characters that got more than one vote:
Jack and Spot (Newsies)
Mike Flannagan (Mrs. Mike)
Bo and Luke Duke (Dukes of Hazzard)
Demetri (Anastisia)

And the winner who inspired the most crushes:
Zach Morris (Saved by the Bell) a surprising amount of women concidered him to be quite the hottie in his day.

Have a youthful folly of your own? Feel free to add him to comments.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Curiouser and Curiouser

Check this out.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/11/23/massachusetts.piano/index.html

Okay, which one of you guys left your piano in out in the middle of nowhere? I swear it wasn't me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Only in the Library . . .

There was a boy in the library today who came up to ask me for some DVD's. The whole time I'm staring at his right nostril which is lined inside and out with lots of colorful lines. Just his right nostril. I try hard to pretend I don't see that there is something wrong here, but it's hard not to say something. Pretty soon his mother comes up and sees the same thing I do.

"Honey, have you been sticking felt pens up your nose, again?" she asks.

Again? I think.

I've long since learned not to ask questions.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Christian the Lion

This story just warmed my heart when I heard about it so I just had to share. Two men raised a lion cub. When he got too big they had to release him back into the wild. A year later they went back to check on him. The experts warned the men the lion would not remember them anymore. The video clip below is an actual video of what happened the day they went back to see him one last time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adYbFQFXG0U

Now there is a lion who is happy to see his people friends. : )

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Whole New Fan-fictional World

Fan Fiction. Ever heard of it? I had heard of it before, but had no idea how big the phenomenon really was until I looked it up out of curiosity.

Fan Fiction is when a fan of a movie, story, or some other medium of entertainment, decides to write a story using someone else’s characters. Usually they write about what they would like to see happen, even if it doesn’t match up with what really happens in the “official storyline”. For example: a fan might write about Harry Potter falling in love with Hermoine, rather than Ginny in J. K. Rowling’s series. This story can then be posted for free on the internet where anyone might enjoy reading it. Because no money is involved, this practice is perfectly legal. There are some fan fiction writers who become so well known, they are almost as popular as the real author.

As an author myself, I found this rewriting of fiction an interesting idea. A fan fiction writer reveals what they really wanted to happen in a book rather than what the author wanted. They can be two very different things. You would not believe what I found while doing research on this subject. Almost any book will have fan fiction written about it somewhere. Just try putting your favorite title and the words “fan fiction” and see what comes up. (Warning: not all fan fiction is created equal. Some are well written—others not so much. And there are always weirdoes out there so be careful of content when you do try reading anything.) I loved Trixie Belden series when I was young, so I once tried reading some fan fiction about her. Some of it was just bizarre, but others were so charmingly written they were better than the real thing.

On one website alone I found the following numbers of fan fiction for each of the books listed below:

Sammy Keyes – 70 fan fictions
Inkheart – 334 fan fictions
Ella Enchanted – 448 fan fictions
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - 782 fan fictions
Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew - 807
Percy Jackson Series – 1,143 fan fictions
Sherlock Holmes – 1,242 fan fictions
Series of Unfortunate Events – 1,315 fan fictions
Redwall – 1,591 fan fictions
Warriors Series – 4,536 fan fictions
Phantom of the Opera – 8,764 fan fictions
Lord of the Rings – 41,419 fan fictions

And the Winner is . . .
A certain boy wizard we all know and love with 376,144 fan fictions and growing.

I guess a lot of people feel they can do a better job than most authors can. So, if YOU were going to rewrite a story what would it be?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Haunted House








Here are some pictures of my home decorated for Halloween. I've also included some pictures of my haunted dollhouse.














Here is a video of how the haunted dollhouse is supposed to look in the dark--the only problem is the video is too . . . uh, dark . . . to see anything. Enjoy what you can anyway.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

That CAN'T Be the End!

Last weekend I watched a movie that had one of those endings where you stare at the credits after it’s over and say to yourself—THAT’S IT? That’s really how it ends? In this particular star-studded, romantic period film, the main character doesn’t get the girl, he doesn’t change his ways, doesn’t mend his relationships with those he loves before it’s too late, and ends up worse than he started off. A real fun time to be had for all. The film did have beautiful cinematography though. Too bad all the characters were too miserable to enjoy it.

I remember when I was younger, coming into the living room and getting caught up in this spooky paranormal thriller movie my father was watching on TV. The writer in my head kept thinking, "I wonder how they are going to get these poor people out of this horrible situation?" I was dying to know what the answer to the impossible situation would be. Realizing there was only five minutes of the movie left--and things were only getting worse by the minute--I asked my Dad what was the name of the movie was. He pushed the button that brought up the cable info on the movie and I began reading, "Stephen King's . . ." I didn't even have to finish. Two words and I knew the poor people in the film were probably not even going to make it out alive much less have a happy ending. My hunch was correct. Stephen King is funny that way.

So I want to know, who else out there in cyberspace has wasted two hours of their life watching a movie that they ended up hating? What was it that you disliked about the movie? How would you have liked it to end? This is a chance for all of you to vent your fury and help others to not make the same mistake you did. I expect everyone who reads this blog to contribute at least one movie title. If any of the pages working in the back room of the library are reading this right now, I expect a comment from each of you. (Chelsea and Daphne, that includes you!) : )

P.S. If you’ve never hated a movie, list one of your favorites and why you liked it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Stories About Fear: A Halloween Treat

WARNING: Have you ever sat around a campfire listening to someone tell really spooky true ghost stories that make walking through the dark back to your tent afterward a hair-raising experience? The stories you are about to read below are NOTHING like those stories. They are true stories, they are about fear--but they are not scary. Not even a little. Sorry. Just wanted to warn you ahead of time. If you want a sleepless night you might want to try Goosebumps.
Or not.
Hopefully not. 

The Scariest Thing I Ever Saw in a Haunted Mansion
If you’ve ever been on the haunted mansion ride at Disneyland you know how it usually goes. Your spooky cast member shoves as many people as possible into a tiny room (which is really a humongous an elevator in disguise). You and a hundred people are trapped shoulder to shoulder in this dark cramped space while the spooky narrator explains that there is no way out. The lights go off, everyone gives half-hearted screams while waiting for the lights to come back up. Well a few years ago, on a very busy night at Disneyland, my sister and I went on this ride and got a completely different experience.
It was a busy night and my sister and I ended up crammed in the center of the room as the ride began. There was a small boy, maybe seven or eight-years-old, standing right in front of us. He was playing with this little light up toy his mother had bought him at one of the booths you see all over the park. When the Haunted Mansion ride got to the part where the lights go off—this boy got the brilliant idea to use his toy to light up the darkness. Spinning and flashing, the boy held up his toy for everyone to see. The only problem was, because he was so short, and the room so packed, the only thing people in the back saw was this bizarre spinning THING rising slowly up out of the center of the crowd. As anyone who has been on the Haunted Mansion ride knows, no spinning lights are supposed to come up out of the middle of the floor. None at all.
I had never seen a crowd in true panic before that moment. Half hearted screams, became shrieks of real terror as the crowd scattered to the walls like frightened sheep. There wasn’t really anyplace to go in such a small space. People were pushing, shoving and running each other over in an attempt to get as far away from the middle of the room as possible. I remember one woman grabbing her boyfriend around the neck and climbing up onto his back in an attempt to get away. Only a few of us, who were close enough to the boy to see what was really going on from the beginning, were left standing stunned in the middle of the room. Pushed tight against the walls, the rest of crowd could now that see the cause of their panic was nothing but a little boy and his light up toy. The screams turned to roaring laughter as the little boy’s mother, completely humiliated, grabbed the toy out of her son’s hand. The doors opened and the crowd exited, laughing heartily at themselves all the way down the hall of haunted pictures. It was one spooky ride I will never forget.

Two Completely True Stories of the Haunted Libraries—Sort Of
Many years ago I was stationed alone on the second floor of a children’s library when I had a strange experience. It was ten minutes after closing and a little boy, without parents, wandered slowly up the stairs and started walking toward the back of the building. I told him we were closed and that he’d better go find his parents. The boy completely ignored me and kept walking toward the back of the stacks. I called out to him again, with no response. He stared straight ahead, walking past me as if I didn’t exist and disappeared behind some shelving. There were only two exits from the second floor I stationed myself in a place where he would have to pass me, to get to either of them. I thought I’d give him a minute then go after him. I waited and waited, but he never returned. Thinking he might be up to no good, I went after him; carefully check down each row systematically to make sure I didn’t overlook him as I went past. The boy was no where to be found. And I do mean nowhere. I sat there a moment feeling an eerie chill go down my spine. I remembered the way he had looked right through me, almost as if he couldn’t see me. Then, with determination in my stride, I hurried down the stairs to the circulation desk and found—the same little boy, standing in line waiting to check out books with his parents. They left soon afterward. The end.
You were expecting a ghost perhaps? How about this one.
Many years ago a woman came rushing up to the reference desk in real distress. She was practically in tears as she told me she and her son had just been locked in the art gallery upstairs by a ghost. According to her, the ghost held the door shut while she struggled to open it. With her son’s help they had been able to break free. She was adamant I go up and do something immediately.
This incident would have been extremely disturbing to me if not for one little thing this poor women (bless her heavily beating heart) did not know. Only a week before her experience all the library staff had been warned to always prop the art gallery door open since the locking mechanism was broken and it might cause someone to be locked in accidentally. I myself had been caught in the room temporarily just a couple days before. I’d rattled the knob a few times and luckily it had popped open.
Seeing how truly upset she was, I tried as gently as I could to reassured her that in this particular incidence it had not been a ghost but a broken lock that caused her problem and that I was very sorry she’d been frightened. I’ve never seen anyone look so relieved. Not that I blame her. I’d much rather be locked in a room by a broken lock than a ghost, any day. But the scariest part of this story isn’t that someone believed there was a ghost in the library—but the revelation that I, as a librarian, am responsible for dealing with any evil specters that might be bothering our patrons on library premises. Where was THAT written in the original job description?
Now if you’ll just excuse me a moment, I’ve got to go strap my ghost busting pack on and deal with that pesky poltergeist currently haunting the biography section . . .

The Scariest Thing that Ever Happened to Me
I once bit into a grape and found a still wiggling bug inside—minus its head. I haven't eaten a grape since.
Have any great scary (or not so scary) stories of your own? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Time to Get a Haircut


As most of you know already, I recently made the decision to cut my hair short after wearing it extremely long since, like, seventh grade. I had no idea what I’d let myself in for. I spent six months trying to get used to the idea—telling myself over and over—it would look great!

Really.

I promise.

Once I’d made up my mind, I spent a couple months looking at possible hair styles and preparing people who had known me all my life for the shock. I told my friends one of these days I’d show up with short hair and could they please try not to show the horror on their face when they saw it. My grandmother never did become comfortable with the idea of my cutting my hair. Even now she kindly informs me that she likes how my hair looks, but she liked it better before.

The final days before my hair appointment were full of nail-biting moments of last minute doubts. When I went in to get it cut, I decided not to make any judgments until it was all done. The moment my hairstylist turned the chair around to let me get my first real look at my new hair—I sat there, stunned.

“Did you know you had naturally curly hair?” My hairstylist asked.

With all the weight off of my hair, it had bounced up into the most adorably sassy curls. You must understand. I’ve spent a lot of money over the years paying for perms, one after another to keep my hair curly all the time. Most people believe I was born with curly hair because that is all they have ever seen me have. I let my last perm grow out as I made up my mind to cut my hair and had been straightening it ever since. It was a real shock to find out I had curly hair hiding underneath all along.

Let’s just say I was REALLY please with the results of my haircut. The truth is I don’t ever think I will go back to having long hair again. Short is so much faster and lighter—you would not believe how heavy long hair is. And the static in Utah used to be murder on my hair. Not anymore. Hooray for short hair! To anyone considering chopping off their hair, do it now and don’t look back. You’ll never regret it. (Your grandmother might, but if she’s as sweet as mine is, she’ll deal with her disappointment and love you anyway.)

I know most guys like their lady love to have long hair—but here is one more thing for you gals to think about. Do you think guys ever stress for months over a simple decision to cut their hair? Is that fair?

Now go get your hair cut in protest.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dancing Fiend

Here he is! My baby, the dancing fiend. He'd rather dance than eat. It's my mother's fault, she's the one that taught him to do it. I've had my baby for eight years now. I can't imagine my life without him. His favorite food is bannanas and peas. His favorite song is Battle Hymn of the Republic. (Also my mother's fault). His favorite pastimes include playing peekaboo and dancing. Keep watching the video, he will start dancing--I promise!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What a Way to Start the Day

Many of you already know that I’ve been in the throws of moving and selling my house. Everything I own had to be boxed, labeled and moved in mass, via Uhaul. The last couple months I’ve used the trunk of my car as a temporary storage for just about everything. Really early this morning, I went out to see if I could empty some of the junk out of my trunk and tried to pull out an old Halloween costume. It had a staff with skulls and batwings decorating it. It looked like something a death lord might weld. As I was pulling it out of the pile at the bottom of my trunk, the button on the front of it was accidentally pushed and the whole thing came to life, with whirring motors and flashing, spinning lights. It was still pretty dark out at the time so the whole show was kind of impressive. I tried to find the button to turn it off, but it was hidden in the decorative skulls and hard to find. I couldn't get the stupid thing to turn off!

I’m glad no one is around to see this, I thought, glancing over my shoulder.

That’s when I saw the jogger behind me. Slack-jawed, he stared at me and this flashing skull staff like he thought I might have just escaped from the underworld myself. Oops. What are the odds someone would happen by just at that particular moment? I swear I’m cursed.

I turned and forced myself to casually walk back into my house, still carrying the staff. The man continued his jogged up the block, both of us trying to pretend nothing had happened.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Favorite Toy

A friend of mine recently celebrated her son’s sixth birthday. Her little boy wanted a certain present and nothing else in this world would do. Her story reminded me of a birthday I celebrated when I was back in elementary school. I knew what I wanted for my birthday. I’d seen it on TV and I was determined to have it, do or die. My parents took me to Toy R Us on my birthday and I ran over to the isle displaying the toy of my dreams. My parents were stunned when they saw what it was—especially my father. He tried to talk me out of getting it, in fact, but I would not budge. No one could have been happier than I was as we walked away with my newly purchased toy. I slept with it, took baths with it and took it with me everywhere I went. Over time, I literally loved it to pieces. Its head eventually fell off and that was the end of it. I was infinitely sad over its loss (even if my father wasn’t). So what was this favorite childhood gift? Click the link below to see the original commercial that lead me to covet this oh so wonderfully desirable toy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdS9ZJ_Wf4k

I look back in hindsight and can only ask one question: WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Internet Videos

What did we do for mindless amusement before YouTube came along? If I’m not careful this addictive web site will suck me in. Hours later, when my spleen hurts too much from laughing to go on any longer, I’ll reluctantly pull myself away. If you have a few hours to spare sometime—try out some of my YouTube favorites. But only if your spleen is up for it.

Guitar and Marionette - www.metacafe.com/watch/189341/guitar_and_marionette/

Worlds Biggest Marionette Doll - http://www.metacafe.com/watch/yt-d604qgmBPlo/worlds_biggest_marionette_doll/ (A little creepy, but facinating all the same.)

Numa Numa - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60og9gwKh1o (This one never gets old no matter how many times I watch it.)

Mentos and Diet Coke - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKoB0MHVBvM&feature=related (These people have way too much time on their hands.)

Free Hugs - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4 (Suddenly I need a hug.)

Extremely Funny - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuMMfgWhm3g (Watch your spleen with this one.)

Treadmill Dance - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeeR4Vnvs8U (Way too much free time here as well.)

Is this a Real Fairy? You decide. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGZJFK7-R0A&feature=related

Damon Scott with Monkey (Bubbles) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8wWncO0m00 (I will never see Michael Jackson in the same light again.)

Paul Potts Performace - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k08yxu57NA (They were ready to mock this brave man’s dream—but he brought down the house.)

Battle at Krugar National Park - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU8DDYz68kM (Lions vs. Crocodile vs. Baby Buffalo's family. You have to watch the whole thing--you will not believe this!)

Baby Panda Sneezes - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzRH3iTQPrk

If you know any extra good ones post them in comments. : )

Great Young Adult Books

For those more mature readers out there, here are a few of my favorite young adult books. (Caution to parents: Due to thematic elements some of these books might not be as appropriate for younger readers.)

Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle
Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle
Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede
Life as We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer
Children of the River by Linda Crews
I, Coriander by Sally Gardiner
Mairlon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede
The Third Eye by Lois Duncan
Other Side of Dark by Lois Duncan
The Thief (series) by Megan Whalen Turner
Amulet of Samarkand (trilogy) by Jonathan Stroud
Jackaroo by Cynthia Voigt
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Girl Who Invented Romance by Caroline B. Cooney
Beauty Sleep by Cameron Dokey
Storyteller’s Daughter by Cameron Dokey
Golden by Cameron Dokey
Sunlight and Shadow by Cameron Dokey
I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade by Diane Wilson
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher
Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery
Beauty by Robin McKinley
The Cay by Theodore Taylor
The Mennyms by Slyvia Waugh
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
Runaway by Wendelin Van Draanen
East by Edith Pattou
Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
Unrivaled Spangles by Karen Wallace
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Rivka’s Way by Teri Kanefield
Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley
Lord of the Nutcracker Men by Iain Lawrence
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley
Little Sister by Kara Dalkey
Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Giver by Lois Lowry

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

WARNING: Reading this Article Could Cause a Song to Get Stuck in Your Head!

I had never heard the term earworm until just recently. It’s the term used to describe those pesky songs that get stuck in our heads and play over and over. While listening to the radio recently I got an earworm stuck in my head all day and into the night. I woke up singing it the next morning and knew I was going to go crazy if it didn’t stop soon. I decided to educate myself on why this phenomenon happens, hoping to perhaps find a way to stop this particular song from driving me up the wall. This is what I learned.

- The earworm phenomenon is more likely to happen to women than men.
- It is more likely to happen to people who work with music as part of their career. (Those poor, poor music store people.)
- It is more likely to happen when you are stressed. (Oh GREAT!)
- You don’t have to necessarily like the song to get it stuck in your head.
- It usually happens because the song is catchy and repetitive. Your brain naturally wants to finish the song, but the repetitive tune just starts over again causing it to be the song that never ends or ends or ends or . . .
- The longer the song is stuck in your head the harder it will be to get it out.
- Some earworms can become so ingrained they will continue to repeat even while you are asleep or dreaming and still be there in the morning.
- Sometimes you can get rid of an earworm by listening to the offending song all the way through in its entirety before it becomes ingrained.
- Another cure is to think of song more addictive than the one you currently have stuck. This comes with the risk of getting the new song stuck in your head so choose your replacement song wisely.

Earworm Songs that No One Can Resist:
Video Killed the Radio Star
Dancing Queen (Abba)
Gimmie a Break (Kit Kat Jingle)
Who Let the Dogs Out
YMCA
Whoop, There It Is
We Will Rock You
Lion Sleeps Tonight
It’s a Small World After All
Mission Impossible Theme
Pop Pop Fizz Fizz (Alka-seltzer Jingle)
My Mamma Loves Me (Jiffy Song)
I Wish I Were an Oscar Myer Wiener
Chili's "Baby Back Ribs" jingle (Never heard it, thank goodness)
Macarena (Voted one of the catchiest songs of all time.)
Holiday (Madonna)
La Bamba
Bunny Hop Song
Chicken Dance Song (I HATE this song)
I Dream of Jeannie Theme Song

Have you got a song stuck in your head yet? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you have an especially bad earworm song, add the title to my list in the comments.

FIGHT THE EARWORM!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Acursed Ones (That Means You!)

“I swear I’m cursed,” a friend said to me not long ago.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself uttering those exact words over the years. You know what I’m talking about, those strange but regularly reoccurring incidents of bad luck that happen to all of us at the worst moments. Things that happen so frequently and with such perfect regularity that you find yourself looking over your shoulder to see which disgruntled imp has cast a curse on you when you weren’t looking.

Here are some examples of curses that have been laid on me and my friends without our knowledge. (If it was YOU please remove your curse as soon as possible):

The Many Mishaps while Traveling Curse: I recently went on a business trip with several of my coworkers. The woman I was assigned to share a hotel room with explained to me that she is cursed when it comes to traveling. Before the trip was through, I believed her. Her airplane ticket was filed under the wrong name (which made things ticklish because they have to have an ID with the name listed) and our room reservation was lost so we ended up with this awful room we were sure was the maid’s room. She ended up sleeping (if you could call it that) on a hideaway fold out couch the whole week. She says stuff like this happens to her all the time when she travels, poor thing.

The Disappearing Pen in the Purse Curse: I don’t know who I ticked off to get this curse put on me, but no matter how many pens I put in my purse they will be gone by the end of the week. Because I know this is a problem I’m very careful to always put my pens back after each use double checking myself several times just to be sure. They still disappear with alarming regularity. I never have any memory of when the disappearance might have occurred either. Is this a case of a time distortion phenomenon? Has the Bermuda Triangle inexplicably expanded its borders to include my purse? Maybe I’m just cursed.

The Next Person You Date Curse: Lots of people I know have claimed to be under this curse. I am one of them. If I meet or go out with a guy I really and truly like, he will meet the girl of his dreams before he’s had enough time to get to know me well enough for any sort of relationship to blossom between us. It has happened so often I now just expect it. It never works on guys I don’t like. But that’s an entirely different kind of curse altogether.

Not long ago my mother and a friend wanted to set me up with a guy. Usually I dread blind dates, but after listening to them talk about this guy I was actually kind of excited about meeting him. But when my mother’s friend went to set up the date she discovered that he had—you guessed it—met the perfect girl and they were now dating. They’ll be happily married within a year’s time guaranteed. The “cursed one” has so spoken. I try to use my power only for good—but it can be a little disheartening at times.

The I Just had the Blasted Thing in my Hand Twenty Seconds Ago Curse: Do I even need to explain this one to anyone out there. This must be the most commonly laid curse on the face of the planet. Some important object is in your hand one minute, the next it has disappeared into thin air. Glasses, a pair of shoes, your purse, it can be anything at all. The vanished item will usually reappear in some strange place you would never think to look—like in the refrigerator.

The All My Library Holds Come in the Same Week Curse: When I see a book that looks interesting, I immediately put it on hold at the library. This is usually done slowly over months of time, one or two titles at a time. When books have lots of holds ahead of mine, it can take a long time before they become available. My hold list can become quite sizable in that period of time. So why is it that every book on my list has to come in the same week? Have you ever tried to read thirty chapter books in three weeks? Not an easy task I can tell you. What are the odds that thirty people will all return their books the same week that I just happen to be next in line for all of them? It can’t be an accident.

The Things Go Wrong Only When I Have an Audience Curse: Have you ever noticed how you can do something right a million times but the minute someone is watching you—like a boss, supervisor, or spouse—everything goes wrong and you look like a complete fool. Uh huh, I thought so.

The Deer Are Trying to Kill Me Curse: If there is a deer crossing sign on a road (and sometime even when there isn't) a deer WILL run in front of my car. No exceptions. I've had whole herds decide to dash across the road just as I get there. If you don't believe me, ask my sister who never had a deer run in front of her car until I was in the passanger seat. It happened so often she now slows down if I'm in the car with her.

If anyone knows the proper way to rid oneself of any of the curses listed above (preferably something that includes eating chocolate and dancing under a full moon while wearing glow in the dark nail polish) please let me know right away. If you have a curse not mentioned above feel free to add it to the comments.

Cursed ones unite!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Absolutely Fascinating!

As a children’s librarian I find myself hunting down the answers to a lot of bizarre questions put to me by kids. Because of this I have picked up some absolutely fascinating but completely useless knowledge over the years. I don’t know how the kids hear about this stuff but I’ve learned to look information up and ask questions later. If you want to entertain yourself for hours try looking up information on the internet about these bizarre but oddly enthralling subjects.

The Mysterious Moving Stones of Death Valley – These rocks move by themselves. Seriously. There are lots of different theories, but no one knows for sure how they do what they do. Two stones right next to each other will sometimes move in completely opposite directions. Don’t believe me? Look up some pictures on the internet. You won’t be able to sleep at night for wondering how those darn rocks do that!

Faces of Belmez – Images of strange faces began spontaneously appearing on the kitchen floor of one home in Belmez, Spain. They dug up the floor and laid a new one. New and different faces quickly appeared in the cement. Faces also appeared around the rest of the home with alarming frequency. This is probably a hoax, but I find it intriguing that no one has been able to figure out how they did it. The pictures are not just on the surface but inside the cement. Hmmmm.

Tunguska Event – A big explosion more powerful than an atom bomb happened out in the middle of nowhere. It leveled trees for miles but left no impact crater. People saw a ball of light in the sky and were knocked over by the explosion. Science has explained this one but it is facinating all the same.

The Cottingley Fairies – Two young girls in 1917 take photographs of real fairies. Or so they claimed. Many people believed them, including Sir Arthur Connan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame. Eventually they addmitted the whole thing was a hoax. I can’t help wondering what the girls thought when their little prank got so out of control. Till the day they died both women swore they had seen real fairies and that the last photo they took was genuine. Curiousier and Curiousier.

Ball Lightning – According to eyewitness accounts this stuff is really creepy. Floating balls of light have been known to appear inside airplanes while in flight, come up out of the ground after a lightning strike, and it has even been known to burn or kill people. I hope I never have to see any in my lifetime.

Tasmanian Tiger (Thycline) - Last captive Tasmanian Tiger died in 1936 at Hobart Zoo. These animals are officially extinct. So how come people still report seeing them in England every year? Logging companies actually put out poison whenever there is a sighting near their camps because they know they would be shut down if there was proof these rare animals had managed to survive after all this time. No one can stop the logging companies putting out poison because officially Thyclines don’t exist.

Mentos and Diet Coke – Try putting a Mento into a bottle of Diet Coke and watch what happens. Just make sure you do it OUTSIDE and stand back. YouTube has some really hilarious videos on this subject.

There are some really strange things in this world. Try not to lose sleep over any of them tonight. : )

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Great Summer Books for Chapter Book Readers!

Sylwia, as per your request--here are some of my favorite summer books for kids:

Seven Wonders of Sassafras Spring by Betty Birney
The Boys Start the War by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
This Island Isn’t Big Enough for the Four of Us! by Gery Greer
Defenders of the Universe by D.V. Kelleher
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
No Flying in the House by Betty Brock
Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
Trolls by Polly Horvath
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Fire Within by Chris D’lacey
City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Luis Sachar
Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Frindle by Andrew Clements
No Talking by Andrew Clements
Bunniculia by James Howe
Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda

Monday, May 12, 2008

Humor on the Job

Working in a library can be a lot of laughs at times. Kids say the darnedest thing when you least expect it. Here are a few true life examples of funny things that have happened to me and my fellow children’s librarians while on the job.

One of my favorite “Working in the Library” memories was the time someone made the mistake of buying, like, ten of those potty training board books with the realistic flushing sound. It was a flushing frenzy. Kids would get a hold of one and flush it over and over and over and over. For weeks you couldn’t stroll through the stacks without hearing the sound of a toilet flushing somewhere a couple rows down. No one was more relieved than the children’s staff when all the batteries finally wore down. NO attempts were made to replace them.

I was once trying to help a patron find a book for her preteen son. “City of Ember is a book he might like,” I said to her. A pair of lips belonging to some random child suddenly appeared in a small gap in between the book shelves. “Beware the City of Ember,” the kid whispered in a low spooky voice. The lips disappeared as quickly as they had come. The woman turned to me with a smile. “I’ll take the book!” She said.

One day I spotted a boy sticking his finger into one of the cracks in one of our glass display cases to get at the things inside. “Please, don’t stick your fingers in there,” I said. The boy gave me these big innocent eyes and said, “Okay.” I started to walk away but noticed he continued to sit there with his finger in the case. I walked slowly back. “Are you stuck?” I asked. The boy’s facade crumbled and he started to cry. “Yes!” he said. I got the key and released him from the display. He never did try that again.

My all time favorite is the time one of our librarians noticed a ten or eleven year old boy, with tears running down his cheeks, sitting at a table one day. In real concern she approached the boy and asked if he was all right. “Why do characters that you’ve learned to love have to die?” he sobbed. “He’s been in so many books why did they have to kill him?” Feeling touched over the boy’s attachment to his fictional friend, she gently asked him what he was reading. He lifted the book so she could see the title. Bionicles # 5: Voyage of Fear. Ah, the power of great literature.

And here are a few more examples of conversations I’ve had on the job:

Preteen Girl: I need your help.
Me: What can I do for you?
Preteen Girl: What should I be when I grow up?
Me: Anything you want.
Preteen Girl: (After thinking awhile) I think I’ll be a Supermodel.
Me: Do you want some books about modeling?
Preteen Girl: No thanks. I think I’ve got it now.

If only it were that easy. Then there was that another time--

Little Boy (Standing at the front desk unashamedly picking his nose the entire time.) Do you have books on dust mites?

He probably really needed it too. Just one more story.

Woman Patron: Do you have photographs of dinosaurs?
(I show her the books about dinosaurs.)
Woman Patron: These are paintings of dinosaurs not photographs.
(I patiently explain to her there are no photographs of real dinosaurs just paintings and digital pictures.)
Woman Patron: Yes there are, I’ve seen them!

Photographs of real dinosaurs--let me just get out my trusty time machine.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Banned Children's Books

I recently saw a list of the top 100 most banned children’s books. Not only had I read quite a few of them, but some of my favorite books were on the list. Just call me THE REBEL. Here are just a few of the titles I could not believe were on the list. Go out and read one of these in protest as soon as possible.

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Giver by Lois Lowry

Other banned books not mentioned in the top 100.

The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
Witch’s Sister by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss
Commander Toad in Space by Jane Yolen
Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Miniature Sculpture Jewelry


I’ve always loved sculpture. The tinier the better. 3-D illustrations fascinate me. If you want to see what I mean, try checking out a book illustrated by Salley Mavor, Kim Fernandes, or Jo Litchfield sometime. It is an art you don’t see very often. My skills in miniature sculpture certainly came in useful when I started making dollhouses. I saved myself a lot of money making my miniatures rather than buying them all the time. With polymer clay, I was limited only by my imagination when it came to what I could and couldn’t have in a dollhouse. Eventually I moved into making miniature sculptures for jewelry. Tiny sculptures take a lot more time and energy than you can possibly imagine. If you’re not careful you can destroy hours of work by just sneezing at the wrong moment or squeezing too hard without realizing it. I’ve posted a few examples of my work above. Most of the sculptures pictured are smaller than a quarter in real life.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Guilty Pleasures Abound

Guilty pleasures. We all have them. Those little things we know we shouldn’t be wasting our good time on but we do anyway because we just can’t HELP ourselves. Some of my guilty pleasures include:

Harvest Moon Games – I like making every character in the village madly in love with me before breaking their little hearts one by one. I recently banned myself from playing this game for a while so I can get actually some writing done.

Cheesecake Factory’s White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake – Probably has enough calories to last a week but oh so good!

Pixel Chix – I’m still waiting for them to create a mermaid aquarium and a virtual haunted house for boys. Any day now, Mattel.

Sammy Keyes Novels – Will Sammy and Casey ever get together? Will horrible Heather get her comeuppance? I can’t wait to see.

Nancy Drew Video Games – It’s a good thing they only release two of these games a year, because I hardly eat or sleep until I’ve figured out who done it.

Period Films by BBC, A&E, and Mobil Masterpiece Theater – What’s not to love?

Got your own guilty pleasures? Feel free to share.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sammy Keyes Fans Unite!

I just discovered that the new Sammy Keyes book is coming out December 9th! It will be called Sammy Keyes and the Cold Hard Cash. If you can’t tell, I’m a real fan of the series. For anyone out there who hasn’t read the Sammy Keyes mysteries, you need to run down to the nearest library and put one on hold immediately. The high-top wearing seventh grader, Samantha Keyes doesn’t go looking for mysteries to solve they just seem to find her. The series is filled with exciting mysteries, best friends who keep secrets, worst enemies who make life miserable, and the greatest mystery of all—boys. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time as I did while reading the most recent book, Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things. I will never see camping in the same light again. I also think I know who Sammy's father is (and no, it's not Hudson). I'm not going to write who I think it is yet because I don't want to ruin things for others. : )

I can’t wait to find out what Sammy will get up to in this next book.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sneak Peak

Here is a drawing of a main character of a story I'm currently working on. Will she ever see the light of publication? Who knows. What kind of adventures await her? You'll have to wait and see.
: )

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

You Can Never Have Too Many Dollhouses





One of my first loves has always been miniatures. Although I had dollhouses as a child, none of them were like the dollhouse I dreamed of owning one day—one with working lights and lots of rooms to decorate any way I wanted. I never did outgrow my miniature mania. If anything my love of all things small has increased over time. As an adult I began what would become a lifetime hobby of collecting and make miniature dollhouses. I currently own four dollhouses—a Halloween dollhouse, a mermaid dollhouse, a valentine dollhouse and my dream dollhouse, with working lights and ten bedrooms. My next project? A centaur dollhouse, of course.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Books that SHOULD be Made into Movies

With all the children’s books being made into movies these days, why is it that the movie studios haven’t made movies out of any of MY favorite books yet? For example, Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery, author of the beloved Anne of Green Gables series. The Wonderworks version of Anne of Green Gables is insanely popular since the day it first was aired. As wonderful as Anne is, the Emily of New Moon Series is ten times better. If they remained faithful to the books, Emily of New Moon could make the at least as much money as Anne—possibly more. So why haven’t they made an Emily of New Moon Movie? Maybe they’re afraid of making huge amounts of money.

Below is a list of books I can’t believe they haven’t made movies out of yet. Feel free to add any of your own suggestions in comments.

Emily of New Moon Series by L. M. Montgomery
(See tirade above) As long as they make Teddy a complete hunk, they should be rolling in the dough.

Dragon and Thief by Timmothy ZahnA living dragon tattoo would be fabulously awesome to see as a special effect.

Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander(And I’m not talking about that silly cartoon Disney made years ago) A live-action version of this series of books is long overdue. Can’t you just imagine those legions of cauldron born surging toward us on the big screen? Get with it, movie people!

The Mennyms by Sylvia WaughLife-sized dolls living among us unseen. What’s not to love? CGI characters would look great! Especially the blue one.

Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Carol StevermerJane Austen meets Harry Potter! Comedy, romance and an enchanted chocolate pot—sounds like a recipe for success to me.

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing HahnWhat ever happened to the days when they made spooky movies aimed at kids? Remember Watcher in the Woods and Something Wicked this Way Comes? They showed those movies at practically every slumber party I ever attended as a kid. This book would be perfect.

House on Hackman’s Hill by Joan Lowry Nixon
Goosebumps have nothing on this story of two children caught inside a cursed mansion. Anubis, Egyptian god of the dead was my favorite mythological character for years after reading this book.

Hollow Kingdom by Clare DunkleGoblins and elves and humans, oh my! A magical story about a beautiful young woman and the ugly, but charming goblin king who is determined to marry her.

Homeless Bird by Gloria WhelanThe heartbreaking story of the life of a child bride in India after her young husband dies.

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman Series by Brian Jacques
No talking mice involved. The high sea adventures of a boy and a dog that live forever. Pirates of the Caribbean eat your heart out.

Leviathan Series by Scott Westerfeld
This story just screams for a big screen rendition to be made. Who wouldn't shell out big buck just to see a whale made into a flying ship?

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