“I’m….an Artist.” Adventures in Librarianship

I had an interesting interaction in my part-time role as a Reference Librarian in a public library from a bit back that I thought might be fun to share on this near-end-of-summer Thursday.

(Scene opens)

Nearly 8:10pm. We close at 8:30. Tall, thinnish, mid-30’s-40’s white guy in a clean orange polo asks for scrap paper and pencil. He sits at the patron desk right next to my work desk. A few minutes pass as I finish up deleting some old books.

Guy: Excuse me. Do you do art?

Me: ….ANYTHING artistic or did I study it? Are you looking for BOOKS on art? Inspiration of some kind?….

Guy: No. I meant study art. See…. *dramatic pause, looks up at me from under his eyelashes with a smug look of self importance* I’m an Artist.

Me: Okay.

Guy: …So. I made this….carving.

Me: (Dude I am SOOO not interesting in your carvings…but please DO go on). Okay.

Guy: A BEAR carving.


Me: Out of wood or…

Guy: Yes.

Me: Okaaaay. (Where in the heck is the question here???)

Guy: Yeah. I carved this bear. And, see, I’m a bit disappointed in myself for doing it.

Me: …..

Guy: I mean it’s a NICE bear. Looks like any OTHER carved wooden bear you might see by someone who *gets an additional gleam of self-love in his eye* carved a bear with a SAW.

Me: Mh hmmmm, sure, of course…. (Holy FUCK where is this guy GOING with this?!?!)

Guy: So. It’s a good bear. Even burned it so it’s black. You know, a Black Bear?

Me: ……mmm hmmm

Guy: But I feel like it’s missing something…

Me: (OOH! He needs ideas! I can HELP get him books on that.  Reference Librarian Powers: ACTIVATE!) Oh, so you need to figure out how to fin…

Guy: (all interupt-y) No. I don’t need to figure it out. That’s what I was drawing. See. When I was sawing…. carving. I cut a little too deep into the bear’s belly. So, just under his arms there’s this deeper slice. And I was thinking. See…

*gets up to walk the few inches to my desk to show me his “artistic doodle” of a “bear” with a fucking KNIFE in it’s gut.

Me: ….

Guy: I was thinking I could put a KNIFE in that slice, ya know? Something like that. Is that creepy?

Me: You mean this conversation?

Guy: The knife thing.

Me: Oh! (Crap, that was out loud?) Well, no. Have you ever been to the George Pompideou?

Guy: ….?

Me: Modern art museums? Avant-guarde stuff? Yeah, no. It’s certainly a bit macabre but it isn’t creepy or really that unusual. A conversation starter for sure. (Dear god I’m NEVER gonna get outta here on time. )

Guy: But do you think it would be GOOD?

Me: Do you mean….would it be more MARKETABLE? Or more Artistic? I can’t really speak to either personally….

Guy: Cause it’s a good bear.

Me: *shuffling papers desperately as the clock clicks ever closer to closing time* Right….

Guy: So what kind of knife do you think? A kitchen knife?

Me: (!!!?? What. The. Fucking. FUCK?) Uh….a ginsu? Then you could put a sharpener in the slot and call it a knife sharpener.

Guy: Oh I could put like a credit-card sharpener in it. You know, like from those late-night shows? Where they chop a tomato and a credit card?

Me: (oh. my. god. Just fucking agree with everything. Maybe he’ll go away.) Mmm hmm. Yeah. Sounds good. It would sure be artistic.

Guy: Yeah. Hey thanks for the paper and pencil. I just…wanted to draw that idea out. Here’s the extra. And your pencils back. See: this is the bear. Yeah.

Me: (another night at the public library. Exit, stage left. And SCENE)

What I learned from this adventure?

When a guy starts his question with “So, do you do art”? Your answer should be “No. No, I do not” lest you be dragged into a baffling 10 minutes of hearing an “Artist” describe how he carved a bear. With a saw. And wants to put a KNIFE into the mistake he made in it….so it will be creepy. Or something. Yeah.

It was quite an interesting moment in life and really a great reminder of the vast variety of personalities one can encounter in the public library (and the world in general).  Any fun encounters you’ve had lately?


Finally Finished: Ode to the Picard Maneuver

This video is something I’ve been working toward for over a year I think.  It has taken a long time, in very small doses of work, to get this done.  So, to promote working hard and long towards fun goals I now present for your viewing pleasure an “Ode to the Picard Maneuver”: a compilation video of every time Captain Picard of the Starship Enterprise (the Next Generation) tugs his uniform shirt.  Prepare to giggle and enjoy! Anyone else have fun projects to share?

Awesome Olympians

I’m probably behind the ball by a lot on this but in case you haven’t seen it and still happen to be checking this lagging blog beastie for good news tidbits: check out Holley Mangold and her response to Conan’s rather crude and rude comments about this amazing weightlifter.

This woman is confident, amazing, strong, fat and completely fabulous.  One of her quotes that I loved:

“My parents just always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be,” she says, “and, silly me, I believed them.”

Swoon!  So read up if you need an uplifting moment for body positivity this week as the Olympics get under way!

YA Book gets something right (The Predicteds by Christine Seifert)

Thief... addict... delinquent... murderer... Your future is not your own

I haven’t finished the book but I’m about a third of the way into The Predicteds by Christine Seifert (a YA books with sci-fi undertones about using science to predict a person’s future potential for criminal acts or other behaviors).

I’ve come to a scene which I feared was going to derail this book into the hated Fat Trope territory and was so happily surprised to meet a main character I found sympathetic and reasonable.  In YA lit!  When surrounded by Fat Talk!

I seriously smiled and clapped for the author.

While the character is not the large and confident fatty I’d love to read about she’s at least got some lovely perspective on the Fat Talk Phenomenon that was rather awesome and worth applauding.

Let’s hear it for someone getting it right for a change!


Here’s the quote:

“God, I’m fat,” January says, looking down at her scrawny legs, her skinny arms dangling at her side.

“You are not,” Dizzy says. Then she sighs heavily and pushes her plate away from her. “I shouldn’t be eating this. I’m going to look like a cow in that [bathing] suit.” She glumly tosses the top back in the bag. Dizzy is hardly fat. Nevertheless , she and January continue to go back and forth about who is fatter, each claiming to be a bigger blimp than the other.

I heard these kinds of conversations before at Academy. I understand that it’s a ritual, something that is supposed to make girls feel better, but it never does, because the conversation always repeats, stuck in a loop forever. I feel lucky that I have never been part of this. I’ve just never felt bad about my body. I’ve never felt too fat or particularly skinny. Melissa [my mom] did something – at some point in my life – that made me feel okay about who I am. Too bad she couldn’t bottle that and sell it. We’d be rich.

(Page 102, The Predicteds)

Notes in brackets are my additions to make the out of context quote a bit easier to place IN context. While I’m not sure I fully believe there are many teens out there who don’t have body issues I would LOVE to live in a world where that was more the norm.  The fact that such a scene with Fat Talk/Fat Bashing could even take place in a YA novel and have the main character remark that it seemed to be an entirely silly and self-defeating ritual was encouraging to me.  Perhaps one of the first and largest steps towards self acceptance (and acceptance of the rights of others to the same) is to step out of these negative rituals, to see them for the damaging hate-fests they are and begin to see them as NOT a part of necessary social discourse.

I remain ever hopeful that such could at one point be the case!

Dancing again! Candle Duet

The summer is winding up and dancing is going strong. SCA (Society for Creative Anacronism) Haflas are all over the place and Renn Faires are getting into full swing!

I went to a faire last weekend and got to wear this amazing dress from Holy Clothing.  Also bought a new and rather dashing hat to save my head from the sun. Worked like a charm.

I danced at a Hafla in CT this weekend. Managed to finally find and buy a beautiful and colorful dance cover-up with snaps up the front for easy exit before a performance and that was awesome!

The video below is of my “candle” dance duet.  The fun glowing effect of the broken glow sticks inside each “jar” (which is what I am doing in the image above) is lost with the rather sunny room but it was still a fun performance!

How are your summers (winters?) shaping up?

When is a calorie: not?

Apparently when Harvard puts the time and energy into “discovering” that a “study” (which used ‘state of the art measures’) of a whopping 21 people for a few WEEKS shows that diets concentrated on fats versus carbs versus glycemic index are not all created equal! The human body apparently processes fats, carbs, proteins, etc DIFFERENTLY. At least, this obviously meaningful and rigorous study seems to think so.

In other “news”, the human body is not a bunsen burner. But, perhaps, I digress.

I think one of the most “amusing” parts of this is how they take this quote in the beginning (emphasis is mine):

Weight re-gain is often attributed to a decline in motivation or adherence to diet and exercise, but biology also plays an important role.

and yet go on to detail the virtues of non-biological means of making fatty people better able to STICK with those pesky diets. *eyeroll* It’s like they’re ALMOST there, ALMOST at the logical mind-step of realizing all this dieting crap is NOT a matter of simply willfully unmotivated people giving up…and then shake their heads against the logic anyway and go “Well, we’ll just have to try more ways to get those lazy bastards to keep on dieting”.

*le sigh*

OH: by the way: I’m back! 🙂 Happy Summer/Winter y’all!

Rolling in the Deep

Wow, two months sans-post?  Well I’m certainly busy to show for it!  But rather than a meaty post on issues to discuss I offer you a video this Friday of my latest dance performance done to Rolling in the Deep by Adele.  I LOVE dancing with my partner from this video.  She’s like my Dance Twin in spirit or something ^.^  Happy Friday and Happy Summer (or Winter?) y’all!