Saturday, February 25, 2006

Well I never

Someone told me yesterday that I only use this blog to moan. Well I'm sure that's not true at all. Actually, on Tuesday 21st February 2006 I published two postings of entirely happy, up-beat content. So there. Anyway, here's all the great stuff that's going on in my life at the moment. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you're happy now.
  1. I'm getting my hair cut next week. For 6 months I've been cutting it myself; it works out OK-looking but takes bloody ages. So I'm very HAPPY to announce I'm off to a salon for a sharp new cut.
  2. I really LIKE being inside my work on a cold, crisp sunny morning. The beams of white sunshine through the coloured glass panels are almost church-like.
  3. Last night Lovebird and myself stayed in and ate pizza and drank beer. It was wonderful. Lovebird was in ectasy because Channel 5 was showing 40 Most Embarassing Moments of the 80s. Lovebird's favourite things are TV countdowns and 80s pop music. I was in heaven because of those little Terry's Chocolate orange eggs. It's the best packaging ever. You get four eggs in an orange egg box and you scoop the gooey stuff out of the chocolate egg with a tiny plastic spoon. It really doesn't get any better than that.
  4. I've been reading Villette by Charlotte Bronte and was pleasantly surprised to find I liked it better than Jane Eyre. The heroine is way cool and the hero a hundred times more real, likeable than that fool Rochester; you kind of breathe a sigh of relief for Bronte's new attitude to men.
  5. There is the HOTTEST man sitting opposite the reception desk at my work today. Chizzy and I haven't been able to get hardly any work done today because we've had to sit here and monitor him. He's tanned; kind of Mediteranean with longish brown hair. About every two minutes he runs his hands appreciatively through it; we're trying to see if we can make him do this using only the power of our minds.
  6. Yesterday some of our unruliest little children (and amazingly, one boy of twelve who can't read or write but normally won't admit it) were temporarily calmed while I read them the new Lauren Child book: for oh, at least twelve glorious minutes all was quiet in the children's library. Bliss.
  7. I'm going to Ikea tomorrow. OK, this not that exciting, but I've never been before: anything could happen! It's curtains for me!
  8. Puns make me happy, and I have made several today. Oh shit, I'm running out of stuff to be happy about now, aren't I?
  9. Hot Guy is stroking his hair again.
  10. In 38 minutes I can go home and enjoy my weekend...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

hazards of the job

In-post training Came to work this morning to find my boss had enrolled me on a 6-week course at another library on Deaf Community and Culture. I spend every Tuesday morning off-site and wind up taking an exam; thanks a lot, big Zee. And stupidly I forgot to milk it, and came back to work as soon as the class finished. Whereas with a little bit of thought I could have spend a happy hour every week being paid to check out Whitechapel market. It's only for some kind of deaf-awareness-quota-box-ticking-equal-opps-stats-bullshit my boss has to complete. In future I'll remember to keep the receipts for my cappucino and claim it as expenses. Working with the public Just got into the lift as a member of the public got out. (Normally I remember not to do this, but I was holding a heavy crate of books) The smell of body odour hit me as the doors closed. Had to hold my breath (and my crate of books) all the way down. Thank God it's only one storey. How do people get like that? A professional atmosphere Just spining a few books. One large-print book looked like this: Antonia FRASER Marie Antoinette On the front-cover was a picture of an 18th century lady in a tall white wig. Someone (i.e. A LIBRARIAN) had stuck a post-it to it marked 'please spine: ANT'. WHO THE HELL IS WORKING WITH ME THAT BELIEVES MARIE ANTOINETTE IS STILL AROUND AND WRITING BOOKS ABOUT ANTONIA FRASER? I need to know who did this so I can educate them. Or at least, stop being left alone with them. Missing Persons My colleague Bavissimo has vanished. This is not the first time he's taken time off to pursue his own mysterious agenda. But the supervisors' behaviour hints at some kind of foul play. No one will answer a straight question about his whereabouts. When pressed, they have conflicting stories. 'He might be working at the BBC.' 'I think he's gone to a wedding.' 'Wasn't he sick?' 'I can't talk about it,' So obviously the grapevine says he's been sacked. The thing is, if they don't tell us, our instincts are to sympathise with him (fuck knows it could happen to any of us) whereas if they told us the truth, we could form objective opinions. Unless the gossip was really really juicy... in which case they're just being selfish. Iniatiative wins over common sense every time I have a colleague; call her 'Happy'. Happy only works part-time, twenty hours a week. Consequently (although she's a supervisor) no one ever knows what she should be doing and she's not telling. Occasionally Happy gets a bit bored chatting to her friends on the phone or listening to Hindi film soundtracks and Celine Dion in the workroom. And what does she do then? She tidies up. Prances through storerooms and offices poking into boxes and folders that people have left there because they're TOO BUSY WORKING to organise all their stuff perfectly. And because she's part-time she hasn't a clue what any of it is there for. And doesn't seem to realise storerooms are there to store stuff in, not to look good. So we're constantly catching her chucking stuff out; books, leaflets, personal things, card-board boxes, papers; anything she gets her hands on. And her cry is 'I took the initiative! We can always buy some more.' Firstly. Initiative is an asset but not a reason to do stuff. I could take the initiative to walk out of work and go shoe-shopping but it wouldn't look good on my CV. 2nd: Buy some more? That's your children's fucking world you're destroying by buying more stuff than necessary. And poor people's council tax you're spending on it. 3rd: Happy is the only woman on an all-male supervisory team. And to be honest, she's not making women look good. All the supervisors are lazy but a girl who spends all day conforming to stereotypes and then opts to spend her time TIDYING UP instead of doing something constructive... she might as well have just married one of them to have the same influence on what goes on at the library.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Bits and pieces

  • How embarassing that I just looked for a book for over half an hour, was unable to find any of the thirty-odd copies on the sytem, called two other libraries and they couldn't find it either. And what was the book? Cinderella. (I tried explaining Cinderella wasn't looked on as a particularly good influence on your little daughter anymore, but the woman was having none of it. Neither would she accept Prince Cinders by Babette Cole, one of my favourite children's books ever.)
  • I love it when the weather starts off miserable; cold and drizzly and grey; and all morning you feel it pushing against the windows to upset and oppress you. Then you step out for your lunch break and the sun bursts out like something from a bible illustration. All the horrible English puddles and damp are made beautiful. There's a rainbow so long and clear there might really be a huge pot of gold somewhere in Bromley-by-Bow. It puts a smile on my face... and believe me, it's not often I aprove of English weather.
  • I just found out yesterday that ipods only work with ipod headphones. Had I wanted an ipod in the first place (I'm old-fashioned and still rely on a good book on my way to work) this would probably put me right off.) You're not allowed to use ipod technology unless you show it off with the trademark white earphones, the dumbest status symbol since Louis Vuitton luggage.
  • Reading an interesting collection of essays called On the Move about feminism for young women today. Some of them are ghastly (Oona King bigging herself up) and some of the schoolgirls writing are pretty depressing but overall they're pretty good. At seven years old and talking a lot about the end of Thatcherism and 'Girl Power', it's already a bit dated...
  • Good luck today brother... let me know how it went. And if you want to come on the trip to the Tower of London tomorrow, meet me at my work 9.30 with your library card.

In today's Metro

Australia brings back death sentence
"Earlier this week, the two ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine were sentenced to death by firing squad. Australian prime minister John Howard said: 'Let this be a lesson to every young Australian.' "
Shy superstar finally speaks out
"Singer Chris Martin dropped to his knees on stage and said: 'It's hard for us sometimes because we're English and don't get to admit we are great, so tonight we'd like to agree with you for giving us these awards.' "
And my favourite... Metro publishes Real News
"New Zealand: A love rat tried to make up for his infidelities by sending his girlfriend a plastic rodent with roses in its mouth for Valentine's Day."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Are you the Housing Association?

Someone told me I could pay my council tax here. You haven't got any computers left? Are you sure? What about upstairs? They're fully booked? What about upstairs? Can you show me how to print? My daughter needs help finding the CBeebies website. Do you have any books on the Housing Association? Where can I get a cup of tea? I've just been evicted. Can you help? I've just been knifed. Can you help? Can I leave my football here? When are you going to do face-painting again? Have you got a boy-friend? Is this the Citizens Advice Bureau? Can I get a Leisure Options card here? How do I apply to use the computers? Can I log on to the web here? How much are the DVDs? That's too expensive. When are you going to switch my electric back on? Are there any jobs going here? Can I see the manager? Are any of these CDs for sale? Where's the toilet? Where's the baby-changing room? Can I have change for the snack machine? Why was my son kicked out of here yesterday? Can I use the phone? Can I send a fax? Why won't MS Messenger work on these computers? They let me do it at Stratford library... Can you help me with my CV? Have you got any books on learning English? Can I have the free DVD out of the Daily Mail?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I said that I would do it and indeed I did.

I passed my final teaching practice today. Nothing can stop me now. Ahahahaha. Ze vorld ees mine. Ha.

Monday, February 06, 2006

And that was January 2006

  • I kept my New Year's resolution not to smoke, but not the one about swimming and exercise or the one about not being bitchy about Asab at work.
  • My blog of the month was a librarian and my site of the month the inspiring illustration friday.
  • My house was very very cold.
  • I neared the end of my bloody course, only to get ill just before the last hurdle. Oh well, the end's in sight now.
  • I thought very hard about my financial situation. And could not find a solution. Suggestions/cheques/postal orders welcome.
  • I selected Paula Danziger and (hooray!) Josephine Cox as authors of the month at my work. Mostly because we had a lot of copies lying around going nowhere fast. This month; Jean Ure and Ian Rankin. Any suggestions for my new Book Club's reading matter would be gratefully received. Actually it's getting urgent since I have to order the books yesterday. They need one serious book and one trendy.
  • I decided to keep this monthly list. This blog is kind of a diary, but definitely a very jumbled one, with a random mix of stuff written for me and stuff written at other people. So it's not a bad idea to think about what's been going on at the end of every month- straighten my head out a little.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Don't call someone for six weeks until you want something and there's no reason why they shouldn't have changed their number and not told you.

What I do all day

Under 5s Group & Toy Library Join parents and carers for a chat over a cup of coffee and help your child choose the latest books, CDs and DVDs with our friendly and caring staff.Every Thursday 10:30 – 11:30am

Golden Time Goes Platinum… New and Improved! Our weekly coffee morning for senior users. Come along to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Chat with staff and other Idea Store users. Golden Time has never been so exciting. Come along and enjoy new books, local history, monthly movie matinee, discover computers, games music and lots more. Every Friday 10:00 – 12:00 noon Book Group Discuss your favourite books with fellow readers at our free monthly meetings. Last Friday of the month 10:00 - 12:00 noon Chatterboox club Discuss your favourite cool reads and find out what fun reading can be. Join the Chatterboox club today – for teenagers and children aged 8-15. Play reading games, write reviews, take part in competitions and win prizes! Every Saturday 2 - 4 pm

Funny tricks the mind plays

You have a job that only requires you to be actually working for about 30% of the time you are in the building (not counting tea-breaks). You have spent a long long time dividing up the hours you spend at your desk into the most energy-efficient use of your time. 30 minutes work. 20 minutes bookworm. 30 minutes research new book-club. 40 minutes write blog. 5 minutes google random things you wondered about in the night. 30 minutes work on course. 10 minutes stare at passers-by. 10 minutes read and answer work-related emails. 20 minutes read and answer personal emails. And so on, and so on. The really strange thing is that once you construct a system like this, your mind gets desperate to cheat on it. Hey look, you can't stop me, I'm gonna stare into space during allotted book-worm playing time! Hah, that's really fucked up your day! Well, no it hasn't, mind, because I'm going to be sitting here until four o'clock and if I have to spend less time messing around I can always mess around extra tomorrow! Or the day after! And even the work-related-work I complete, usually people are surprised when work is completed on time in this place, even if the public or some other bunch of freaks are relying on it or it's really important. I wonder if I won the lottery or something and had nothing to complete ever, that voice in my head would still be there going Hey, don't put the kettle on! You know it's too much effort! Don't put the kettle on! Ha, you didn't put the kettle on and now you're gonna miss valuable sunbed time! Which will make you late for those Buffy repeats you planned to watch! It's like a kind of mild self-hatred, I guess. But the part of me that hates me and wants to ruin my life is just not as clever as the part of me that doesn't. Another triumph of good against evil...

Friday, February 03, 2006

In which I am even more self-righteous than usual.

My friends Are angry and hurt by me and my life at the moment for two reasons. 1.) I’m at last doing something for myself. They’ve been doing things for themselves for years. Sixth Form, University, backpacking, working in China, the list goes on, all part of their final goals to have wonderful lives and be rich and successful. I somehow drifted into Sixth Form and drifted out again. Never said no to a drink. Never let anyone down. Would always go out and party or stay home and mop up tears for the price of a pint. And then as they marched into their Gap years and university applications and I found a job and a place to live, the only thing that changed was that I was now buying the pints and my house was the new Party Central. Now I have at last made a choice for myself that will help me move along the path of my own life. I’m being selfish. I want recognition for how hard I’m working. I can’t go out during the week. Or at the weekend unless its free and planned well in advance. Their spreading around the country didn’t hurt our friendships, nor me seeing them only in the holidays. Well, surprise, the social coordinator extraordinaire hasn’t got the time to call people right now, or even remember when your terms begin and end. How odd that now we only meet when you have nothing else to do. Grant me the right to stop drifting and do something for myself sometimes, guys. 2.) I’m at last doing something for other people. Something that actually matters. I’m not Mother fucking Theresa. But I’m important. My job is important, however low my salary is. I have more fucking responsibility than any of my colleagues; I make changes at my work, changes that affect poor people’s (not poor because they’ve spent all their student loans and their next parental handout doesn’t come till the end of the month, poor because their lives are hard and unpleasant and everyone in British so-called Society has let them down) lives for the better. I’m completely drawn into the kick of leaving work every night knowing that I’m actually doing something good. It’s as addictive as hedonism, believe me. So the hedonism is drifting away on its own; rather fortunate since I can’t afford cigarettes any more, let alone long nights at the pub, buying rounds, having ‘famous’ parties. I’m not claiming I’ve grown up or I don’t enjoy parties or anything of the kind. And fuck know I could do something way more self-sacrificing than being a librarian, in name at least. But I have been sucked into doing something every day that is worthwhile. And maybe even if you can’t help holding that against me, you’ll remember what I said when it’s time for you to start looking for your fat graduate salaries. And this course is part of it too. So what you’re living on baked beans and only drinking in Happy Hour. Just being born in this country, just speaking English as your first language, just having shoes and clothes and food and an education and the knowledge that your children won’t starve or go hungry; well, just look around you before you get yourself into a flap about me not answering the phone to you or coming to visit you. You’re in the top ten percent of the richest, luckiest people IN THE WORLD. Put like that, it seems less important whether I return your text messages or not, doesn’t it?