Archive for August, 2009

Best Week Ever? I Think So

This was my week last week, which will forever rank as one of my best weeks ever (this excludes special weeks like when I am on vacation, at an HP conference, or that whole summer when I didn’t work at all).

1.  Sunday-hotel_for_dogs-Went to the fair with Jill.  What more can I say, it was amazing and wonderful and I got to see my friend Linda from library school.

2.  Tuesday–Didn’t have to do storytime because we had a musical guest come!  Yea!!!

3.  Wednesday–Bought a WHOLE BUNCH of kids DVDs for the library!  I love buying stuff for the library, it is total retail therapy for me!  (Amber, I totally bought Hotel for Dogs!!!!)

4.  Thursday–Went to a live Rifftrax show with my dad and sister.  Rifftrax involves the same people who did Mystery Science Theater 3000 (which, if you don’t know what that is, I am very sorry).  The guys were in a theater in Nashville riffing on Plan 9 From Outer Space, and the live feed went out to hundreds of theaters nation wide.  It was honestly, the funniest thing I have ever seen.  We laughed so hard we cried.  Also, the opening act was Jonathan Coulton who totally rocked.  He sang songs about zombies and cyborgs which was perfect for a theater full of nerdgirls and nerdboys.  Go to this page and listen to Re: Your Brains, it is awesome!  Everyone in the theater sang along to the part “all we want to do is eat your brains!!!”

5.  Friday–I got to see my friends Jill and Brian from library school.  Jill was visiting all the way from Arizona!!  We playehannah-montana-movie-posterd darts  (I realized how out of practice I am) and chatted just like old times.

6.  Weekend–I went home for my Dad’s birthday and watched old school Mystery Science Theater 3000 with my dad, had angel food cake with strawberries on top and watched the Hannah Montana movie with my sister.  Perfection!

Also, this week was one of my best reading weeks ever (best as in most satisfaction gained from the books read).  I read all 10 Princess Diaries books, which was wonderful!  It was like the equivalent of eating a whole carton of Ben and Jerry’s without feeling all sick afterwards.  Can I just say that thank goodness Meg Cabot invented Michael Moscovitz, because there are no guys like him in realwhen-you-reach-me life.

I also read As You Wish by Jackson Pearce, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, and the last three On the Run books by Gordon Korman.  As You Wish was great and is the perfect read alike for people who love Twilight (or books that are awesome!).  I always love everything by Gordon Korman, so I enjoyed those books, but Oh. My. Gosh.  When You Reach Me is like nothing I have ever read.  I just want to find Rebecca Stead and give her a hug and say “Thank you for writing a book that is so unique and special and phenomenal!!!”  There really are no words to describe how good that book is.

So, all in all, it was a really good week, and this week has a lot to do in order to live up to it.


My New Favorite Thing!

Visual representations of song lyrics!!  Not music videos…flow charts, venn diagrams, line graphs, etc.  If you follow me on twitter, this is not news to you, but I keep finding examples and they are so awesome and hilarious!  Here are some examples.  In case you want to guess the song (which is half the fun!), I’ll hide the answer below the picture.  Just highlight to see what song it is.

Example #1.  Where my love for this began.  An episode of How I Met Your Mother.


Highlight here for the answer –> “Cecilia” by Simon & Garfunkle

Example #2:  Found online

flowchartAnswer here (and at the bottom of the picture, sorry) –> “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler

Example #3:  Made by my cousin.

fig. 1Song title –> “Mambo No. 5″ by Lou Bega

Example #4: Another made by my cousin.

fig. 2Answer –> “All That She Wants” by Ace of Base

Example #5:  Made by me.


Answer –> “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meatloaf

Example #6:  From a book I found online today that I CANNOT wait to look at

bookSong title here –> “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2

Enjoy!  If you find more or make some yourself, leave a comment!

- Jill

OMG, love your house!

So I think that I was feeling guilty about spending so much time this summer watching NYC Prep, a reality show on Bravo that followed Upper East-side teens living the Gossip Girl “reality”

(okay whoa, speaking of Gossip Girl–three girls just walked into the cafe looking straight off that set–meaning that summer is over in Iowa City–oh how catty of me! those of you who know know exactly what I meant. Actually these girls look super sweet and have really cute glasses, too. but their hair is teased just a bit too high. there I go again. AHH I blame this on NYC Prep…)

ANYWAY. so I needed some good education reality show to watch. Where to turn where to turn?

A couple weeks ago I stumbled across 1940’s House in the library. GASP! I didn’t even know they made any spinoffs of 1900 House–a show I was in love with when it first aired on PBS when I was in High School. FANFLIPPINGTASTIC–the lessons I have learned from that show have always stayed with me. For example, if your family wants to volunteer for an opportunity to live in a whole other time with fun costumes and new toys such a printing press–DO IT if you are eleven years old. However, if your family wants to volunteer for an opportunity to live in a whole other time where you can’t shower or wear makeup but still have to go to your regular school–DON’T DO IT if you are a teenage girl.

So 1940’s House was just as wonderful! I learned super interesting things such as: a women was fined 10 pounds for feeding old bread to the birds during the war because it was against the law to feed anything to animals that was still consumable by humans.

I haven’t yet reserved Pioneer House/Frontier House, but I will (Steve is super excited about that one. But I’m not so much because their clothes probably won’t be as fun…)

Manor House

Manor House

BUT MANOR HOUSE! OH MANOR HOUSE! Quite possibly one of my favorite reality shows EVER!

This one takes place in almost the same era as 1900 House, but instead of a Middle-class family in London, the BBC got volunteers to be servants and a family to play the British Upper-Class family lording over the servants in an Edwardian Manor House in the English Countryside. OMIGOSH the DRAMA! and such brilliant, subtle drama that was given time to evolve–none of the MTV “lets give them too much alcohol so they jump naked into the hot tub together on the first night” crap (which would have been very non-Edwardian btw. or would it? the show kept referring to King Edward as “the Playboy King”). It is just absolutely fascinating to see how easily the volunteers succumb to their roles. The servants do occasionally revolt, but for the most part they take pride in their work–and surprisingly is how oblivious the upstairs’ family is of that work! The family gets sucked into their life of leisure so quickly and seamlessly (except for the lady’s sister) that it is almost creepy! And of course there is an illicit love story that is just so adorable. so WATCH IT.


The hair shirt pants spider

Today I was standing in line at Which Wich and all of sudden my friend Cassi reached out and batted something away from my face and a little, black thing fell down, and it looked like it fell down into my black camisole (a black lace-trimmed cotton one from Banana Republic–it’s like wearing licorice gelato. and I don’t even like licorice.) and she said “um that was a spider.” and I was like “what?” but I wasn’t that surprised because earlier, when I was in Prairie Lights Bookstore, I remembered thinking “I wonder if there is a spider in my hair?” so I gasped and started lifting my shirt up and then I realized I was in public so I ran to the bathroom but it was locked so I waited and I lifted my shirt up again while Cassi and I chatted nonchalantly and then I got in the bathroom and threw off my black sweater and my black shirt and we looked all over but didn’t see a spider and then Cassi said “yeah, it’s gone. it couldn’t have gone down your pants” but ???? I didn’t check and now I feel like there is a spider in my pants.

Really you should get yourself one of those Banana Republic camisoles–a little pricey but WORTH IT.


Top 5 Things About the Iowa State Fair 2009

Sunday I went to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.  It was my 2nd time going, and it really solidified the fact that I’ve now established a tradition and that attending the Fair is quite an awesome adventure.  Here are my highlights from this year…



This sounds like a cop out, but you’ve never experienced anything like the Iowa State Fair until you’ve been there.  So many people, rides, animals, etc.  Every year since 2002, more than 1 million people have attended.  (You should be one of them.)


There are countless competitions, shows, concerts, etc. at the Fair.  The big names cost money, but everything else is FREE!  This year I saw part of a great competition, which included two amazing Irish dancers, and heard a band called She Swings, She Sways.  Both were fabulous!  I highly recommend going to the band’s myspace to listen to their music.  The concert was even better because the weather was amazing (complete with a cool breeze) and there was an adorable kid who got very into the music.


I think I’m still understanding how important the butter cow is to the Iowa State Fair.  Apparently it’s a Very Big Deal, even outside of Iowa.  And every year, in addition to the cow, there’s another incredible scupture.  Last year was Shawn Johnson.  This year was not Michael Jackson but Neil Armstrong and his famous moonwalk.  (We concluded that the Fair missed out on a golden opportunity to feature 2 moonwalks by not having MJ there as well.)

EDIT:  Mental Floss has posted a list of 10 past/present butter sculptures at the fair!  See it here.

2.  FOOD


I think last year I did better (or worse?) in the food area.  This year I didn’t eat as much, which leaves me a little disappointed now, but I think my body thanks me for it.  I had fries, a donut, a cinnamon roll, fried green beans, and the most amazing chocolate chip cookies.  All were delicious – esp. the cookies, green beans, and donuts.  However, I did not get any cheese curds, funnel cake, or anything on a stick.  I just realized that the official Iowa State Fair website has a list of all the foods at the fair.   Holy crap, I wish I had seen this sooner.  Next year, it is ON!  I’m going to start saving my money now.  (Jen, did you find that ice cream place?  If not, next year!)


Last year I was introduced to the Fair by my friend Sarah and her family and friends, who have a tradition of attending together every year.  (Sarah has only missed one fair in her entire life so far!)  This year the group included about 15 people, including……JEN!  It’s so much fun to go with friends, friends of friends, parents of friends, kids of friends, and friends who were in the same SLIS class but haven’t seen each other in ages.  :)  So to everyone I went to my 2nd Iowa State Fair with, thanks for making it a blast!  I’m ready for next year!

- Jill

Isn’t It Ironic?

Is it considered irony if you decide to use your “Buy 1, get the second 50% off” coupon for Borders on When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead and Graceling by Kristin Cashore, go to THREE Borders stores because none of them have Graceling, end up buying When You Reach Me and The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan, only to come home and find out you received an ARC for When You Reach Me in the mail?

But on the bright side, I saw the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile while driving home today.   :)


- Jill

Squirrel Proves That Rudeness Is Not Limited To Humans

I just had to post this photo because it is my new favorite picture!

Squirrel Photobomb

I want to go to a beautiful, scenic location just so I can take a picture with this very stealthy squirrel.

Full story about the little guy can be found at Urlesque.


I’d Like To See Edward Try To Move Like This

God bless Entertainment Weekly and their neverending obsession with everything Twilight related.  The upcoming issue of the magazine will feature Kristen and Taylor on the cover, which will be probably the 4th Twilight related cover this year and there hasn’t even been a movie or a book out yet!!!!!!!!!  I can’t tell if their editors are the ultimate fangirls or if they are just trying to reach out to the fangirls.  Either way I don’t care, because it leads to videos like the one above.

Ms. Stewart is her usual quirky self (*cough* probably on something *cough*) but the reason to watch is the wonderfulness of Taylor Lautner.  Not only is he not afraid to frolic in tall grass (BEWARE OF TICKS!!!!) but he can do crooked backflips!!!

I am soooooooo excited for this movie!!!  With all the hype surrounding Taylor before the release, he better be in the movie for more than 15 minutes, because I can totally see them condensing the whole first 250 pages into 20 minutes (10 minutes of course, being reserved for the infamous paper cut scene).

TEAM JACOB Forever!!!!


Twitter Twins

I am convinced that my fellow nerdgirls have YA-author twins on twitter.  Either that or they are spending their freetime passing themselves off as certain authors…but I’m pretty sure that since Jen, Lindsay, and Amber are all working girls (insert 9 to 5 theme song here – wait, is there a theme song?  I still haven’t seen this movie *face turns red*) they don’t have freetime.  So in that case…


Amber’s twitter twin – MEG CABOT (

Why Meg?  Well, besides the fact that they both wear adorable clothes & shoes and have a love for A&E’s version of Pride & Prejudice, consider these past tweets from Meg:

I loved “A Year in the Life With JK Rowling.” Who else watched it???
10:19 PM Jul 17th from

Ew. There’s a 3rd Bridget Jones where she ends up with Daniel Cleaver. You can read it here…but who’d want to?
12:22 AM Jul 17th from

I’m going to go crazy if I don’t find out what Danielle tried to do to Dina (anyone else watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey Reunion?)
6:54 AM Jun 26th from web

I know for a fact that Amber agreed with Meg about the Bridget Jones thing, so there you go.

On to Lindsay…

maureenLindsay’s twitter twin – MAUREEN JOHNSON (

I think I first associated Lindsay w/ MJ because she first recommended her books to me, but after following them both on twitter, I’m pretty sure they’re basically the same person.

Convincing tweets from MJ:

HOME! I’m HOME! I have returned from my TRAVELS. How are you?
4:00 AM Aug 10th from web

GOODNIGHT, TWITTER. *puts cover over screen* YOU SLEEP NOW.8:28 AM Aug 7th from web

Advice for today: stay close to your friends, but out of your pants.#nopants5:00 AM Aug 5th from web

Plus MJ is twitter friends with Melissa Anelli (author of Harry, A History) and tweets frequently.

Last but not least: Jen.

eJen’s twitter twin – E. LOCKHART (

Alright now Jen was a tricky one.  Her twin wasn’t as obvious as the other two.  But here’s my case.
1.  She’s friends with Maureen Johnson aka Lindsay.
2.  She has several cats.  Which Maureen Johnson is currently taking care of.  Which is something I’m sure Lindsay would do if she and Jen lived in the same state and she needed her to.
3.  A past tweet of E. Lockhart’s:

Just received mail with two unicorns and a rainbow on the stationary. Also unicorn on the envelope. A bonanza!7:23 AM Jun 23rd from TweetDeck

I’m pretty sure that’s something Jen would be excited about too.

So guys, am I right or am I right?  :)

- Jill

Take A Visit To The Underland!

Book One

There has been a lot of hoopla at my library surrounding The Hunger Games.  We picked it as the first book for our book club this summer and we ordered way too many copies.  We have been lending out the extras to as many people as we can and have started something of a movement.  After I managed to snatch up a copy of Catching Fire at ALA, everybody at the library was ecstatic.  It is currently on its 8th reader and will move on to one more person in town before making its way off to my mom, dad and sister.

Since the book is so popular, we just recently purchased Suzanne Collins’ first venture into series fiction, the Gregor the Overlander books.  I have had people telling me for a while now that I need to read them, and they were very popular at my old library, but I had a strong aversion to reading them.

I refuse to read most books about animals, because, let’s face it, the animals in children’s books usually end up being abused, abandoned, hurt, and most often killed.  I DO NOT like to read about things like that.  So I have not read Sounder, The Yearling, Where the Red Fern Grows, or any of those other classics.  Well, I knew from hearing Suzanne Collins speak, that the Gregor books were all about war, but she couldn’t kill off people to illustrate her point, so she substituted animals.  Ummmmm, yeah……..everything about that statement made me not want to read those books.

But, I was having Suzanne Collins withdrawal, and I got curious.  I decided to read the books super fast so as not to become attached to any of the characters and just read them to know what happens.  Of course, the books were really good and so it was impossible to read without getting attached to the characters.

Quick synopsis of what the books are about:  Gregor is a regular New York kid whose Dad disappeared a few years ago.  He lives with his Mom, Grandma, and two sisters in a tiny apartment.  One day his little sister Boots is sucked into a vent in the laundry room and he follows her into the Underland.  The Underland is filled with giant Cockroaches, Bats, Spiders, and Rats.  There are also humans, who are constantly fighting against the rats for survival.  Gregor is sucked into this world and finds himself chosen as “The Warrior” who will help the humans.

vampire-batLet me just say that I LOVED THESE BOOKS!!!!!!!!  I never thought I would fall in love with a giant cochroach (or crawler as the Underlanders call them) but if anyone can make that happen, it is Suzanne Collins.  (I love you Temp!!!!)  The characters in the books are so well drawn and she really does great things with the interactions between the different species.  You can also see the promise of things to come in The Hunger Games.  One of my favorite characters was Ripred the rat, and he is like the precurser to Haymitch.  Also, Gregor could be compared to Katniss.  His emotions run high, he makes mistakes, sometimes he makes you mad, but he is willing to do anything for his family.

My Sweet Temp

My Sweet Temp

Now, I will warn you, I did love these books, but there were times when they were hard for me to read.  Hundreds Thousands of animals die in these books.  Now you might think that it wouldn’t matter to you if rats and roaches were dying all over the place, but trust me, you totally will.  I cried my eyes out at least once in every single book.  When I started reading the first one, the prophecy at the beginning said there would be a quest and 4 of the questers would die.  Okay, I thought, I can handle four characters dying over the series.  Oh wait, nope, that’s four characters in the FIRST BOOK!!!!  So just a little heads up about that.

Somewhere I had heard that fans were really mad about the end of the series.  I think I know what they are upset about, but I was completely satisfied with the way it ended.  I don’t want her to write any more about those characters because I like the way it ended and it gave me great hope that she can finish off The Hunger Games trilogy in a great way.

So, if you need something to read, definitely pick up this series.  There are five books, and each one is better than the one before it.  I loved the 5th one the most.  They read really quick so don’t be intimidated by them.  So if you are waiting anxiously for Catching Fire, pick these up to keep you busy until September 1st.



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