'This nice and subtle happiness of reading..

by tosca on Tuesday, December 7, 2010

... this joy not chilled by age, this polite and unpunished vice, this selfish, serene life-long intoxication.
~ Logan Pearsall Smith

I'm late for my Monday post because...well, just because. Take your pick: I was lazy, tired, had a toothache, had an earache, had a headache, all of the above because they were all tied up in a wisdom tooth I'm too chicken to get yanked >.< So here's my Monday 'What I'm reading' update. It's kind of a quick one, though, because my book mojo is still broken and, as a result, I'm not getting much done that isn't sent to me to review for SFFANZ (Science Fiction Association New Zealand). So...what am I reading?

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'Sex on television can't hurt you...

by tosca on Friday, November 26, 2010

...unless you fall off.'
~ Author unknown

I found my inner-cougar earlier this evening and I feel quite dirty. And it's all Mr. 13's fault. That isn't nearly as dodgy as it initially sounds, I assure you. Or at least, I don't think it is. It's Thursday/Friday and this is my video clip of the week. For totally pervy reasons. Hey, at least I'm honest about it!

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'The family...

by tosca on Tuesday, November 16, 2010

... is one of nature's masterpieces.'
~ George Santayana, The Life of Reason

Sometimes, though, they might better resemble Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' :) My whanau are the ultimate soap opera. Things get thrown, insults are hurled - and that's just me. When you put all of us together it's anybody's guess as to how things will shake down. It's never boring and the bonus is that they are the milk and cookies of my Tuesday post :P It's Tuesday and this is a 'My family and other animals post' or, you know, 'Stuff about my insane family.' So you get one family-related post and a bonus success story relating to the new Auckland Libraries '1 city. 55 libraries. All yours' idea :)

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'Even bad books are books...

by tosca on Monday, November 15, 2010

...and therefore sacred.'
~ Gunter Grass

This week I'd be happy if I could find a bad book nevermind a lifechanging one! My book mojo is broken. Or maybe I wasn't ready to be back reading, yet. I took a 6 week break because everything I tried was like so much white noise. Is my book mojo permanently broken? I'm not sure. I hope not. Ordinarily Monday is my 'on the shelf' post, which is just a basic rundown of what I'm reading/watching at the moment but I'm a total #fail in that respect this week. A few times I've tried to crack open a book and have gotten as far as the first chapter or the intro and then - nothing. No spark, no hook, no magic. I am a book-deadzone.

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'A sense of humor... is needed armor...

by tosca on Thursday, November 11, 2010

...Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.'
~ Hugh Sidey

I don't know that I do have a pretty good grasp of life. I do know, however, that after a day at home feeling blah and ugh and generally wiped out thanks to a bug, I'm more than ready for a bit of a laugh. And if your humour doesn't mind the odd use of a curse word (or twenty) then you'll probably like the two website links below. It's Thursday and, ordinarily, this would be a video clip of the week post BUT I haven't seen anything that I like recently. Other than a few music videos which will probably appeal to nobody but me, anyway :) Which means you get link love instead. Suck it up and take it like a man!
[Image courtesy of BluntCard.com]

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'Like a kid in a candy store...

by tosca on Wednesday, November 10, 2010

...It's an odd candy store, obviously...'
~ Jake Gyllenhaal

Our new catalogue is an odd candy store indeed and these days I find myself stuck for choice for interesting titles/covers, 'cause wow have I found some great ones since 1st Nov 2010! I'm not going to make any judgement calls about the selection below. In fact, I'll say nothing other than they caught my eye. This is a List of 5 (not a Top 5 because I'm sure I'll find more by this time next week) of books I found while cruising our catalogue. Honestly? There was no system to how I found them. I just did. And all of them I'm going to request purely out of interest/curiosity. All items are requestable via the Auckland Libraries catalogue :)

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'We should read...

by tosca on Tuesday, November 9, 2010

...to give our souls a chance to luxuriate.'

~ Henry Miller

Holy kranglebags, Batman, you're late with your Monday post! Yes, yes I am and I make no apologies for it whatsoever :) It's Tuesday but I'm going to blog a Monday post and you can prepare yourself for a shock. I'm going to keep it short. It's true. I am. One update about what I'm currently reading, one update about what I'm going to read and a reflection about work. Choosing two books from about roughly 20 that I'm trying to read *gulps* what a mission. My book sabbatical is over and I'm back reading with a vengeance.

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'I don't think today's younger audience...

by tosca on Thursday, November 4, 2010

...would even know what 1920s musicals were like.'
~ Julie Andrews

It's Thursday and this is my image/video clip of the week post. I promise that it's going to be a quick, fly-by post. Honest :) And it comes to you via Natalie (or @natz2d2). She is the bomb diggity :0) Natalie flicked out a YouTube link on twitter last Friday that I totally missed but would love to have seen at the time. It would've been a nice way to have ended the working week. I think I missed it because I was, as usual, blathering on in my own tweetstream about nothing in particular o_O Once I watched it, though, I just had to share it/torture you with it.

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'I just remembered that I'm absent-minded...

by tosca on Wednesday, November 3, 2010

...Wait, I mean I've lost my mind, I can't find it."
- Eminem in the song 'Come on everybody'

Yes. It's true. I like Eminem. Deal with it :) It's my first week back blogging and already I forgot (hence the 'absent-minded' quote) to post last night *rolls eyes* So today you get a twofer (two-for-one): Tuesday - My Family & Other Animals (things my family say or do that are funny, silly, downright stupid etc.) and Wednesday - What the...?! - funny, stupid, oddball book titles/blurbs etc. So...theoretically, twice the goodness. Or badness depending on which side of the fence you're on o_O I'm desperately bashing away at the keyboard to get this published so I don't gotta add a Thursday post with this one, too LOL Bad Tosca >.< So for your viewing pleasure, here's a mish mash of Mr. 6, the rozzers (or the police, as we know them), three husbands that grew on a tree LOL Read on! You'll see what I mean :0)

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'Books support us in our solitude...

by tosca on Monday, November 1, 2010

...and keep us from being a burden to ourselves.'
~ Jeremy Collier

Well, actually, books keep me from being a burden to everyone else :) It's true! If I didn't have books I'd be in your space annoying you ten times as much as I usually do. So put *that* in your pipe and choke on it (no, I do mean choke on it, not smoke it). Boy howdy! It's been an age and a half since I last blogged. Not because I haven't wanted to, but more because I haven't had a chance to. In the last few months we have closed up mum & dad's place (they're living in the wilds of Taipa for some reason that totally eludes me), I temporarily moved in with a sibling for 3 months while looking for a place and then moved again. This time permanently. So mother krunkin' glad to have left the hood behind. Remy the Pooh grows exponentially. I kid you not - the kids rolls have rolls for crying out loud. See pic. What'd I tell you?

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'I don't have to look up my family tree...

by tosca on Tuesday, October 5, 2010

...because I know that I'm the sap.'
~ Fred Allen

Kalani in his Tigger dressing gown and yes, he dresses himself like that o_O Seriously, I am a total crybaby. I cry over sad movies, heartbreaking books, cute fluffy animals, etc. When I was on holiday in New Orleans last year I discovered the Hallmark Channel and thought I'd died and gone to heaven. All of those tearjerkers available for viewing. One after another after another. I would wander the French Quarter and take in the sights/sounds and head back to the B&B at some ungodly hour of the morning and lie awake for hours watching sad movies. BLISS. Believe it or not, my ability to cry at the sappiest of things was, recently, quite a funny weird/funny haha moment thanks to one of my nephews. It's Tuesday and this is a 'my family & other animals' post..

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'Humor is merely tragedy...

by tosca on Thursday, August 26, 2010

...standing on its head with its pants torn.'
~ Irvin S. Cobb

I'm as fond of a laugh as the next person and, depending on who's standing beside you, maybe even more fond than is ordinarily acceptable (although I dare you to define 'ordinarily acceptable' pfft). So when colleagues send me hilarious book titles and hoot-out-loud-with-laughter video links well, what else am I meant to do but spread she giggles? This is a combination post of a video link/book title because hey, I can. That and I was far too lazy to do so last night after quiz night (where, I might add, we kicked some geek butt).

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"The worst feature of a new baby...

by tosca on Tuesday, August 24, 2010

...is its mother's singing."
~ Kin Hubbard

Mmmm not in our family. Everyone sings and/or plays guitar and they all sound pretty damn good while doing it, too. Including baby Remy's mother. Family home evenings always involved music (my parents are mormons and yeah, I grew up mormon except if you stand still and listen to dad long enough he'll tell you I'm the spawn of Satan and the doors will fall off their hinges should I ever enter a church). I remember we were always singing somewhere: baptisms, weddings and fireside evenings (weirdly, there were no fires at those fireside evenings, in fact, once I remember wearing a fur coat). Upshot? Music is a mainstay, so I probably shouldn't have been surprised that even the baby enjoys it, too. And yet, I kinda am.

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"The ability to read awoke inside me...

by tosca on Monday, August 23, 2010

...some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.”
~ Autobiography of Malcolm X

I do not remember when my love affair with books began. As a precocious 11 year old reading 'Fear of flying' by Erica Jong? As a curious 9 year old reading Nabokov's 'Lolita'? As a 7 year old with a literary crush reading The Hardy Boys under the blankets after lights out? As a 5 year old reading Milne's 'Now we are six' with my mum? As a 3 year old listening to my mum read me bible stories (that were more like horror stories as a toddler but hey, what did I know?). Earlier, perhaps? I'm not sure. I'll probably never know. But everyday I am grateful that it began some day, some when, and that my parents fostered it. It's Monday and this is an 'on the shelf' post or a 'what I'm reading' post.

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'My ethnicity was my choice...

by tosca on Tuesday, August 10, 2010

...It still is.'
~ Isaac Mizrahi

Well no, it's not. Or at least, not for me. I am Maori every second of every minute of every hour of every day. I don't know how to be anything else. For me that means: I speak the language (although no longer as fluently as I used to and that's my own fault); I know my whakapapa going generations back; I can recite the stories that go with those ancestors; I have a turangawaewae, rangatira, waka, awa, maunga & marae; I know about my culture & my history - and those parts of me are not dying out. I am not dying out. It's Tuesday and this is a 'My family & other animals post' or hmm, things my family say or do that are worth blogging about. The quick roundabout story for how this post came about goes like this: Professor Paul Moon (lecturer from my angry student days) commented on a link on Facebook that was initially shared by Joris de Bres (yeah, as in NZ's Race Relations Commissioner) that was actually an article written by Matt Lawrey in The Nelson Mail called 'Kia ora to an enlightened attitude towards te reo.' It's a great article...until you read the comments. Depressed the hell outta me and reminded me of advice my parents gave me that sucked. Badly.

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'The golden rule...

by tosca on Thursday, August 5, 2010

...is that there are no golden rules.'
- George Bernard Shaw

I'm going to break my posting rules and turn this one into a two-fer mostly because I was too lazy after quiz night last night to get my shit together and post then. As a result, this is a combination of Wednesday's odball/funny book cover/title and Thursday's clip of the week (only with 3 clips instead of 1 - maths was never my forte).

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'My nephews all look at me differently now...

by tosca on Tuesday, August 3, 2010

...Before, they couldn't relate to me, and now I'm like a god.'
~ Ruth Buzzi

Yes, that is a baby bottle that is shaped like a perky boob and yes, it has a place in this story ;) My nephews don't look at me like I'm a god all the time. Only when I fix the pc for them when it's misbehaving or on bad movie night Friday because, apparently, nobody knows a bad movie like I do. I'm still not sure whether or not I should be consider that a compliment.

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'If in the after life there is not music...

by tosca on Thursday, July 1, 2010

...we will have to import it.'
~ Doménico Cieri Estrada

AWESOME! So there will be iPods in heaven & hell! If that's the case, I want these two songs & video clips, to be on my 'playlist of the eternally damned.' Two clips of the week for this, my 'video clip of the week' post.

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'Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family...

by tosca on Wednesday, June 30, 2010

...in another city.'
~ George Burns

And sometimes, as much as I love my family, being in another city would be better for my continued health & safety. Families are strange little things, aren't they? I have been able to watch my youngest sister (the baby, if you will) navigate her way through her very first pregnancy and it has been a very interesting time. To say the least - the things that pop out of her mouth *shakes head* It's Wednesday and I missed my regular 'my family & other animals post' where I share a funny, sad, silly story about my oddball family, so you're getting it tonight, instead. It'll be two conversations that I relate - one about the impending baby's name, and the other right now while Miss Knocked Up is having contractions (at great risk to my own life, I might add).

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'Don't cook. Don't clean...

by tosca on Monday, June 28, 2010

...No man will ever make love to a woman because she waxed the linoleum - "My God, the floor's immaculate. Lie down, you hot bitch."
~ Joan Rivers

I detest house cleaning - it may make others feel virtuous but I find that it gets in the way of whatever it is that I want to do at any time: lying around, reading, watching tv, playing on the interwebs, picking my nose, ANYTHING. Sometimes, though, it's a necessity. Especially when you're preparing to move house. And the highlights of it all are when you come across unexpected little treasures. Like I did tonight. It's Monday so this is my 'on the shelf' or 'what I'm reading' post and, believe it or not, the house cleaning bit ties in to my latest read.

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'The qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked...

by tosca on Friday, June 25, 2010

...are what makes it so powerful'
~ Jonathan Zittrain (Professor of Internet Law at Harvard)

Twitter is not everybody's cup of tea and nor should it be, but neither is it the demon that some people believe it is. Your own personal experience of twitter is all down to you. It is as meaningful as you make it. It is as much a business tool as you want it to be. It is as useful as you allow it to be. It can be as lighthearted or as serious as you are.It's a blank slate just begging to be utilised. And utilised properly. Is your experience a crap one? Then you're following crap tweeters. I'm sorry - that's as nicely blunt as I can ever be. I've said it before and I'll say it again: make sure you have a healthy ego before putting your library staff through web 2.0 because you will need it. Yeah, it's Friday so technically this is my Ms. Cranky McRanty Pants post and I'm going to do what I said I wouldn't - I'm going to use my blog to respond to our staff who found the web 2.0 twitter exercise to be so much bunkum. And I'm taking the kid gloves off.

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'I am thankful for laughter...

by tosca on Thursday, June 24, 2010

...except when milk comes out of my nose.'
~ Woody Allen

It's Thursday, I'm half-frozen and after having spent the early portion of my evening fielding homework chat queries and singing Edith Pfiaf at the top of my voice after staff were gone home, I am in need of a giggle. So I go where I go when I need a laugh. Yes, that's right, the interwebs. This is my 'video clip of the week' post.

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'If minutes were kept of a family gathering...

by tosca on Tuesday, June 22, 2010

...they would show that "Members not Present" and "Subjects Discussed" were one and the same.'
~ Robert Brault

Sometimes here in the blogosphere, like when I write about my family (and today is Tuesday so this is a 'My family & other animals' post), I often wonder if any of them will drop by my blog and, upon seeing themselves in print, throw a wobbly. And then I think, 'Well, who cares if they do?' I do acknowledge that maybe they won't like their foibles, idiocies and vulnerabilities out on display for all to point and laugh at...so don't be stupid, then, is all I can think of to say in reply. Don't give me so much material to use :) Growing up as 1 of 9 children made for interesting times. As a result I'm slightly neurotic, terribly grumpy, sharptongued and I hate to share. Hate it. And by that I mean that I don't like to share anything: space, toothpaste, cups, air - you know, the usual. I'm ok with the embarrassing stories LOL

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'Reading is the basic tool...

by tosca on Monday, June 21, 2010

...in the living of a good life.'
~ Mortimer J. Adler

I think, book wise, I'm living the high life. For a while I've felt like my book mojo and blog mojo was broken. Or lost. Or maybe diverted. Some of that I blame, in a good way, on Carriger's 'Changeless.' The ending threw me for a six and, for a while, things seemed a bit flat, the other part of that I put down to being slightly burnt out (at least book wise). Slowly (very slowly) but surely my romance novel mojo has come back. My nonfiction mojo...hmm, not so much. You know that tingle you get from a book you pick up that just seems full of so many possibilities? I got it on Sunday when I finally started sorting through my latest requests and found the travelogue below. It's Monday and this is my 'on the shelf' or 'what I'm reading' post.

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'I don't think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good...

by tosca on Sunday, June 20, 2010

...I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good. '
- Oprah Winfrey

Househunting, whether it be for myself or myself and a sibling, fills me with trepidation. In fact, I'm convinced I'd have more fun if I slit mine own eyelids and cast mine eyes to the sun. Are you getting the point? And yet I find myself househunting somewhat frantically because the closer my sibling gets (I 'fondly' refer to her as 'Miss Knocked Up') to her baby-due date, the more vocal she gets about wanting out of the hood. As weird as it seems, I will miss this street.

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'You gonna do something...

by tosca on Friday, June 18, 2010

...or just stand there and bleed?'
- line from Tombstone

Top 5 western movies I'm totally gutted we don't have in our library dvd collections

Friday is usually my Ms. Cranky McRanty Pants (PMS and a shotgun style) post but, for ages, my cranky mojo has been missing. First it was my book mojo, then my cranky mojo and, of late, my blog mojo. Tonight's subject is not so much a rant as it is a wistful sigh in the form of a list of things I really wish we had in our library collections. To be more specific, 5 western dvds I desperately wish I could find on our shelves. How did this post come about? Err well shoot I wanted to see if we had any of the Josey Wales movies or any of Clint Eastwood's westerns and nada, zip, zero, zilch :( I haven't listed any of those here because *sigh* it would bump this list up phenomenally.

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'Happiness is the sublime moment...

by tosca on Wednesday, June 9, 2010

...when you get out of your corsets at night.'
~ Joyce Grenfell

But don't women look fabulous in them until that moment? Corsets are...well, they're stunning. Something about them makes me go 'Ooohhh.' It could be partly tied up in why I enjoy historical romances (the good and the bad novels) - that era of contradiction. Every thing about the time was about delicate sensibilities yet the clothing, in my mind, was the dead opposite - the plunging necklines, so much flesh on display, everything pushed up and primped and made vulnerable looking. It's absolutely delicious! Depending on your bent (or kink as it were) the diverse range of corsets makes my head spin. I've seen the odd the beautiful, the tacky, the sensual, the fantastical, the practical, the most ethereal and the most ugly designs thanks to Twitter, Tumblr and good old Google.

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'More than Santa Claus...

by tosca on Tuesday, June 8, 2010

...your sister knows when you've been bad and good.'
~ Linda Sunshine

It's Tuesday - which means this is a 'my family & other animals post.' This is where I usually share some funny/heartwarming/sad/oddball story about my family. With 8 other siblings and 2 madcap parents you can bet I have LOTS to share. The conversation I overheard earlier this evening was between 2 of my sisters (who think that because I'm typing I can't hear them).

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Book review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

by tosca on Monday, June 7, 2010

Title: Changeless (book 2 in the Parasol Protectorate series)
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2010
Genre: Steampunk romance
Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars (I took off one star for grumpiness - that ending ROCKS but SUCKS majorly)
Synopsis: The story opens with Alexia enjoying married life when, thanks to her husband having to rush off, she finds herself playing sleuth again and following him, only this time the circumstances are not what she's prepared for. And that's when things begin to get really interesting.

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'Every man dies...

by tosca on Saturday, June 5, 2010

...Not every man really lives.'

~ William Ross Wallace

Title: Deadline
Author: Chris Crutcher
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Year: 2007
Genre: Teen fiction
Verdict: 5 out of 5
Synopsis: Given the medical diagnosis of one year to live, high school senior Ben Wolf decides to fulfill his greatest fantasies, ponders his life's purpose and legacy, and converses through dreams with a spiritual guide known as "Hey-Soos."

What if you only had one year to live...and you knew it?

"Going out quietly is a lot more complicated than I thought."

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'There is a bit of insanity in dancing...

by tosca on Thursday, June 3, 2010

...that does everybody a great deal of good.'
~ Edwin Denby

It's Thursday (right up until midnight, anyway) and this is my 'video clip of the week' post. And it's a good 'un! Yes, I would say that, because I like it and this is my blog so I can do that ;)

Two words: Ricardo Montalban. If I had to add another word it'd be: Rroowwwwr! What do you mean that's not a word? GTFOH. Watch this clip and THEN tell me that it's not a word LOL

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'Books are...

by tosca on Wednesday, June 2, 2010

...the blessed chloroform of the mind.'
- Robert Chambers

Oohh it's Wednesday! That means this post is an image/book title that caught my eye. I have a good one and I'm half serious/half jest about the question it raises in my mind. I like the title because you don't get this particular ethnicity much. I've also requested this book but it seems I have a bit of a wait. Apparently lots of other women want to read about the ribald Russian ;)

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'The informality of life...

by tosca on Tuesday, June 1, 2010

...is a blessed condition that allows us to become our best while looking our worst.'
~ Marge Kennedy

I would like to point out that this is a picture of lungs and NOT tubes. There is method to my madness. Some days. It's Tuesday - all day today - which means that this is a 'My family and other animals' post. Today's family member worth mentioning is Markhiem, my 13 year old nephew.

Markie turned 13 a few days ago and it's awfully cliché but it seems like just yesterday he was asking for more Winnie the Pooh stories. I remember his first day of school - it was a toss up who was going to cry first, his mum or me. In the end we both did. I taught him to read when he was 4 and back then he loved books so much. Thanks to a crappy school system they undid everything and now he hates reading. Awesome. Doh.

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'A good book should leave you...

by tosca on Monday, May 31, 2010

...slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it.'
~ William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

Sometimes, though, you lose your book mojo and feel like you live several lives just opening the cover let alone trying to read a complete novel. I think that's what happened to me. I lost my romance novel mojo. For most of May I was picking books up, taking them home and reading them without really getting anything out of them. As a result I haven't posted a review to our library website all month. Ack. That's not an indictment on the authors, either, it's more about my headspace. Probably the whole birthday-ambivalence thing. For someone who produces 2 romance newsletters a month, losing your mojo is a big bucket of wtfery, right there. It hasn't quite come back, but I can feel a tingle. A possible resurge. A mojo-less Tosca has to be ignored, though, because books have to be read, reviews have to be written and newsletters have to be sent out. Were those moods just hot flashes? At 35 I'd hope not but who really knows. Let's not call them hot flashes. Let's call them 'intense, short, tropical vacations' instead. Makes me feel better. As Kalani tells me, 'To-may-to, po-tah-to.'

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'The family. We were a strange little band of characters...

by tosca on Wednesday, May 26, 2010

...trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.'

~ Erma Bombeck, 1927-1996, American humourist and columnist

In this post, the common thread is Doctor Who. Sometimes, though, you'd like to take that common thread and wrap it around their ears and string them up from the nearest street light, geez. This is a double up post because I was 1) too lazy and 2) too grumpy at siblings to write one up last night - you know how it is with siblings: can't kill 'em, can't bury the bodies deep enough!

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'The worth of a book is to be measured...

by tosca on Monday, May 24, 2010

...by what you can carry away from it'
~ James Bryce, 1838-1922, British historian and politician

The two books listed below are ones I am finishing (for the 2nd time) and beginning anew. It is the 1st title that I believe fits the quote most accurately. It's Monday which means this is my 'On the shelf' - what I'm reading - post.

Working in the back section of the reference library means that I don't get half the chance I used to for viewing new books. Everything used to come through Acquisitions, Processing and Cataloguing - which meant that I could mosey on down and have a looksee at all the pretty new books. I love the smell of new books. They signify new possibilities, new hope, new adventures and new life. Now that we outsource a lot of our buying and cataloguing I have to be three times as vigilant as branch staff about keeping up to date with new stock. It's not a hardship because I genuinely love reading. It sounds so...twee to admit that. It's almost (but not as dodgy sounding) as a teacher saying, 'I loooove kids.' Thanks to my beady eyes I'm kept very busy requesting anything and (almost) everything. I won't bore you with indepth reviews, I'll briefly list the book details (with a link to our catalogue), the synopsis and a couple of sentences about my thoughts.

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'A book is a gift you can open...

by tosca on Saturday, May 22, 2010

...again and again.'
~ Garrison Keillor

I don't know about anyone else but I always judge a book by its cover - adventure, suspense, kids, teens, romance, graphic novels, audiobooks, large print (although those are sometimes in a class of they're own because there's something truly awful about most of those covers). Whatever part of the collection they come from they have about 3 seconds to grab my attention. Having said that, I don't want them to be too obvious. Like...hmm...some Mills & Boon covers are too obvious. Not to mention that some of the poses look 1) sexually intimidating or 2) uncomfortable or 3) unnatural - what man looms over a pregnant woman against the railing of a yacht looking like he wants to hit her and hit on her at one and the same time, I mean, seriously. Really? No.

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'We're jammin' it...

by tosca on Thursday, May 20, 2010

...and we're skanky...'
~ Absolutely NOT a lyric by Sweet & Irie

Yesterday I misheard a Sweet & Irie lyric. Probably not life threatening as things go but slightly mortifying because what I heard (and was joyfully singing out loud) was 'We're jamming it and we're skanky' when, in fact, it is 'We're jamming it and we're skanking.' Big difference. Huge difference. One is a cheap, nasty woman of 'loose morals' (i.e. slutty) and the other is a rhythmic form of reggae dancing. Yeah. Those are two very different things. Dancing - tarty. Dance - tart. Dancing tart. Ooh.

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'Family is just accident...

by tosca on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

...They don't mean to get on your nerves. They don't even mean to be your family, they just are.'
~ Marsha Norman, 1947, American playwright, screenwriter & novelist

Sometimes, though, the things they say are a serious WTF moment. The kinda moments that make you wonder sometimes if you really are related. It's Tuesday which means this is a 'My family and other animals' post where I relate one conversation very kindly provided by nephews, niece, siblings or parents that beg to be shared. The subject of this particular post is my youngest sister (the baby of the family).

As kids we would all tease other unmercifully. There used to be a running joke in our family that our dad was the milkman and we would rag each other about it, giggling and making fun. My siblings used to tell me the reason I was fairer than them was because I was adopted. Some days I used to wish that were so. Even now, at 35, I wonder if some king & queen aren't still looking for their lost little Maori princess. I remember telling my sister one day that she was adopted. She said to me, 'I'm going to tell dad,' and I said, 'Which dad? 'Cause you know that's not your dad.' I distinctly remember thinking it hilarious at the time. Not even being grounded detracted from that.

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'Reading is a discount ticket...

by tosca on Monday, May 17, 2010

...to everywhere.'
~ Mary Schmich, 1953, columnist for the Chicago Tribune

If that's the case then, this week alone I have supped with werewolves, survived the walking dead, been a voyeur to all kinds of gay male romance goings on, travelled to alternate worlds on a spaceship, had high tea in Victorian England and celebrated a vampire mating. All of that in the last 7 days. As social calendars go...that isn't too shabby.

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'The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly...

by tosca on Sunday, May 16, 2010

...and lie about your age.'
~ Lucille Ball, August 1911 - April 1989), comedienne, film/tv/stage/radio actress

I don't have much of a problem lying about my age because ordinarily I don't remember it. It's not something I think about every day - it's a part of your identity, right. Why would you? I don't wake up every morning and think that I'm straight, even though I am (although I wouldn't turn down some 'quality time' with Captain Jack Harkness and Doctor Who at the same time). I don't sit around all day thinking that I'm a girl (even though I so obviously am). Nor do I wonder why my eyes are brown. These things just...are. My age is pretty much like that. I don't think about it, it's just there, and when people ask how old I am it takes me a few moments to count it all up. When I have to count, though, it always takes me aback and is usually accompanied by a sinking-feeling like, 'Whoa, where did the years go? Am I really a grown up, now? Can I not be a tan-Peter Pan forever?'

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'It sucks to be me, it sucks to be me...

by tosca on Thursday, May 13, 2010

...it sucks to be broken, unemployed and turning 33, it sucks to be me!'
- 'It sucks to be me' from the puppet musical 'Avenue Q'

Umm nope, it doesn't suck to be me. Most days it's pretty effing awesome. The post quote is a line from an
Avenue Q song but I'm getting ahead of myself. Today's video gem is thanks to two things:
  1. Getting old. Reluctantly.
  2. Sisters taking me to see Avenue Q - which is a puppet show for adults (the sex scene between Princeton and Kate Monster will psychologically scar me for life, for LIFE, I tell you).

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'You don't choose your family...

by tosca on Tuesday, May 11, 2010

...They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.'
~ Bishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu

But sometimes...sometimes you want to do the world a favour and mark their arse 'Return to sender.' And I'm pretty damn sure they want to do the same to me. And then there are the days when they impart words of great wisdom that will serve you well for life, young Grasshopper. It's Tuesday, which means this is a 'My family & other animals post' or 'Things my family say/do that just beg to be shared.' My parents aren't totally big on giving advice. They're of the opinion that life is to be lived and, so long as you don't purposely harm anyone, live it to the fullest. Having said that, there are two pieces of advice my mum and dad gave me and, if I live to be an old woman (considering I turn 35 on Monday 17th May that's just next week geez, 'old woman' status ain't that far away), I will remember them forever (much like you remember the first time you try to dye your hair black and instead it goes green - yes, I've done that).

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'The time to read is any time...

by tosca on Monday, May 10, 2010

...no apparatus, no appointment of time and place, is necessary. It is the only art which can be practised at any hour of the day or night, whenever the time and inclination comes, that is your time for reading; in joy or sorrow, health or illness.
~ Holbrook Jackson, 1874-1948, British journalist, publisher and writer

It's Monday so this is my 'On the shelf - what I'm reading' post. I've chosen a book out of our branch's 'smutty books bin.' This is my affectionate term for the racier books we have to put aside, i.e. out of reach of a particular customer (that we haven't yet been able to track) who likes to rip out the rudey parts. What possible joy they could get out of that I do not know - but it better be goddamned good, is all I can say. It better be life-threatening or life-healing to warrant such blatant destruction of a frickin' book. Yes, even the sexy ones!

So...here's just 1 title of the 20 or so that are currently taking up space on my desk/floor/table/counter/house/life/universe.

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'Men are like pumpkins...

by tosca on Saturday, May 8, 2010

It seems like all the good ones are either taken or they've had everything scraped out of their heads with a spoon.'
- Author unknown

Was reading an article on the Smart Bitches Trashy Books website called 'Team Chest vs. Team Back' and it made me think...when did romance novels stop featuring actual faces of men? Sure the Harlequin Mills & Boon titles still do but others not so much. Is it so we women can shove any man - the post man (he comes rain, sleet or snow - wait, is that too much?), the butcher, the headmaster (complete with robes and a cane) in his place? So I wandered out among the shelves this morning yanking random books off (yes, my self-worth is enough that I don't fear looking demented on a daily basis) and eyeballing the covers. Headless. Is this how we prefer our men? Big, buff and oiled up and ready for action (any kind of action) with his flaming sword but with the appeal of being any man in the universe (and outerverse)? Hence the post quote - maybe, when it comes to romance covers, we want pumpkins with their innards scraped out. So, here's my book cover of the week, in honour of Team Chest (good story, too, although this isn't my fav from the series, but it was the one that was available at the time).

'The more I see of men...

by tosca on Thursday, May 6, 2010

...the more I admire dogs.'
- Author unknown.

Warning: Today's post, unlike Sesame Street, is not brought to you by the letters A, S and Y. No, ma'am. It's brought to you by a half-naked mantastic commercial totally lacking in intellectual depth and full of much humour. Much like me, really :)

My post quote is a total front - I'm so not an animal person. Animals and babies *shrugs* I don't get them. They're like...curiosities. When I see a baby half-naked my instinct is to cover it up. But the more I see of men half-naked, well, quite the reverse is true. How does that work? It's a conundrum (ok, no, it's really not) that I shall ponder (no, not really) until the end of my days (I'm asleep already). Those of you who follow my romance newsletter (in particular the May issue) will remember my candid intro:

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'A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it...

by tosca on Wednesday, May 5, 2010

...or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy.'
~ Edward P. Morgan (1910 - 1993) American journalist & writer

Ordinarily this would be my day to post an oddball/funny book title but instead I'm going to post a top 5 list (which I also posted to our library website today).

In a weird conversation, which is actually quite usual for our family, my mother and I were trying to list our top 5 list of books that we thought had changed our lives. It was hard. We quickly discovered that you get lots of different things out of every book - so how realistic is it to narrow that to five? Mum, however, had no problems picking what she saw as 5 books that were pivotal in my childhood. Mum reckons there were 2 more that made an impact as runners up and they were:

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'The love of a family...

by tosca on Tuesday, May 4, 2010

...is life's greatest blessing.'
~ Author unknown

However irritating they might be! It's Tuesday which means this is a 'My family & other animals post' which is, of course, my chance to share something my family (siblings, parents, nephews & niece - none of them are safe) did/said that is totally worth repeating :) Pic is of Kalani, taken 3 years ago today. Whoa. Lots of chicken and taro later, he's filled out a bit more.

I'm a Doctor Who fanatic and, because they're over a lot, so are my nephews: Mr. 6 (Kalani), Mr. 11 (Jaxin) and Mr. 12 (Markhiem). The following is a conversation Kalani and I had on Sunday when introducing him to the concept of a new Doctor Who.

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'Lists are anti-democratic, discriminatory, elitist...

by tosca on Monday, May 3, 2010

..., and sometimes the print is too small.'
~ David Ives, 1950 - , American playwright.

It's Monday, which means this is my 'On the Shelf' post and is nothing more than a peek at what I'm reading right this minute. Not a romance novel, weirdly enough.

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'Monday is a lame way...

by tosca on Sunday, May 2, 2010

...to spend 1/7 of your life.'
~ Author unknown.

In prepration for 'the impending superbeing whose name I dare not speak' I was putting my cv together. You know how it goes, updating this, adding to that, when it suddenly occurred to me...my ideal job would be as the good Doctor's companion. How would my cv serve me then? What qualities would I need? Something like these, I reckon:

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'A dirty book...

by tosca on Saturday, May 1, 2010

...is rarely dusty.'
~ Author unknown.

The quote accompanying this post is true, I would say. Casting my mind back to school friend's who'd managed to locate their parents' stash of Penthouse magazines and brought them along to show the rest of it, equally as true for parents and their kids ;) But what if the book has a funny or silly title or cover? Is it likely to stay dusty then? Or does it fall under the point and laugh category? Like some men I know.

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'Don't worry...

by tosca on Friday, April 30, 2010

...it only seems kinky the first time.'
~ Author unknown

And then, after that, it's downright infuriating! Friday is my Cranky McRanty Pants post and today my question is: 'Censorship or Kink'?

To the person who is ripping sex scenes out of romance novels: please stop. Now. I have a mad on for you. Grr >:-<

A lot of the books that I request are romance novels - I edit our monthly romance/romance e-interview newsletters. While I poke fun of romance novel plots, covers, characters and titles I genuinely do enjoy reading them and talking them up to customers. I have a huge request list and, at any time, will have up to 15 in reserve waiting for me to get through them. So they sit on the holds shelf for a few days. That's normal.

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'She had an unequalled gift...

by tosca on Thursday, April 29, 2010

...of squeezing big mistakes into small opportunities.'
~ from 'The Real Thing: and Other Tales' (1893) by Henry James, 1843-1916

Well shoot, here's a lesson our staff can learn from - and I have no objection to 1) copping to it and 2) letting them view it. It also teaches them 2 things: 1) what the downside is of too much availability/web 2.0 mixed with a healthy dose of dumbness and 2) how pervy I truly, truly am, geez :)

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'Without losers...

by tosca

...where would the winners be?'
~ Casey Stengal, 1890 - 1975, major league baseball player

Oohh I missed a post last night because it was my regular quiz night (we got our butts kicked for the first time in ages grr) and was too lazy afterward. Well, that and I was heads down in another Doctor Who episode *shamefaced look* Hence the quote. So this will be a two-fer-one. I know - how lucky are you? *snorts*

Title: Promoted: to Wife and Mother
Author: Jessica Hart
Synopsis: Perdita James is thrilled with her new job, until a personality quiz reveals she's an attention-seeking peacock! Her boss, Edward Merrick, is a panther--forceful, decisive and more than a little ruthless. Perdita's head tells her to ignore her attraction and work hard for a promotion. But somehow, whenever she's with single-dad Ed, she feels anything but professional. She's becoming crazy about her boss!

Bizarre book title for yesterday/today is this gem (points left). I dunno about anybody else but, working where I do, if I was told that I wasn't going to get a pay raise, that I was going to get a husband and a kid instead, I swear I would sit down and cry. Give me the money, anyday, please and thank you. What the heck was she doing before the wife/mother thing that those would be a bonus? SCARY.

Please note: the fact that I find the book titles/covers silly is not an indication of the story or writing skill. It is only an indication of my daft sense of humour. Also, this is on my request list to read :)

My video clip of the week is 'Facebook Manners and You' - an hilarious 4 mins of the dos and don'ts of relationship etiquette on Facebook. Why? Our library staff are currently taking part in our revamped Learning 2.0 tutorial. In an effort to find links/clips of interest I came across this gem.

'Families are like fudge...

by tosca on Tuesday, April 27, 2010

... - mostly sweet with a few nuts.'
~ Author unknown

Today is Tuesday which means the post is 'My family & other animals.' Why is this the name of my Tuesday Topic? I'm a diehard Gerald Durrell fan. Gran read his books (and met him when he was in NZ back in the 1960s to film 'Two in the bush' for the BBC) and passed her love of them on to my mother who, in turn, passed that on to moi. This only works sometimes. Gran is a Trekkie and, while I like Star Trek, I'm not a total fan.

'My family & other animals' is probably my favouritest Durrell book and there's many a time I've thought my family are as nutty/kinky/fruity as his was. That's for damn sure hah. Each Tuesday I will post a funny, silly, stupid, maddening, horrifying, heartwrenching, gutbusting story of something my family does/says that just begs to be shared :) I'm 1 of 9 kids - believe me, I've got LOTS to share.

The following is a true conversation that took place between one of my many siblings and myself.

Frangipani: What are you watching?
Tosca: The Nativity Story.
Frangipani: What's it about?
Tosca: You know - Mary, Joseph, Jesus.
Frangipani: Like the bible?
Tosca: Yep.
Frangipani: Oh...how does it end?
Tosca: *blank look* What?
Frangipani: How does it end?
Tosca: Are you serious?
Frangipani: Umm...yes?
Tosca: You went to Sunday school for years.

Frangipani: And...?
Tosca: You don't get it?
Frangipani: Nope. Is it famous?
Tosca: No effing way. No. Effing. Way. Come on! The bible?
Frangipani: Yeah so? Wait! Is this that story? Is that how it ended?

Oy vey :D

'Truth is stranger than fiction,...

by tosca on Monday, April 26, 2010

but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.'
~ Samuel Langhorne Clemens, more commonly known as Mark Twain, (1835 – 1910), author

What I'm reading right at this moment:

There are a couple of other books I'm in the middle of but have chosen my 2 favs for the week.

Title: The black book of colours by Menena Cottin & Rosana Faria
Synopsis: This title invites readers to imagine living without sight through remarkable illustrations done with raised lines and descriptions of colors based on imagery. Braille letters accompany the illustrations and a full Braille alphabet offers sighted readers help reading along with their fingers. -- Publisher description.

One sentence review: Quite simply this is a brilliant book - the story has braille, written text (evocative - who would think to describe the colour brown as smelling like chocolate?) and raised images (don't be surprised if you find yourself closing your eyes and running your fingers across the images to 'see' if it feels how it's described) thereby reaching tactile, sighted and blind readers.

Title: Ghosts of Manhattan by George Mann
Synopsis: "1926. New York. The Roaring Twenties. Jazz. Flappers. Prohibition. Coal-powered cars. A cold war with a British Empire that still covers half of the globe. Yet things have developed differently to established history. America is in the midst of a cold war with a British Empire that has only just buried Queen Victoria, her life artificially preserved to the age of 107. Coal-powered cars roar along roads thick with pedestrians, biplanes take off from standing with primitive rocket boosters and monsters lurk behind closed doors and around every corner. This is a time in need of heroes. It is a time for The Ghost. A series of targeted murders are occurring all over the city, the victims found with ancient Roman coins placed on their eyelids after death. The trail appears to lead to a group of Italian-American gangsters and their boss, who the mobsters have dubbed 'The Roman'. As The Ghost draws nearer to The Roman and the centre of his dangerous web, he must battle with foes both physical and supernatural and call on help from the most unexpected of quarters if he is to halt the imminent destruction of the city." --Publisher description.

One sentence - my thoughts so far: Enjoying it so far and whether that's because I hear it in my head as a graphic novel I'm not sure, but it has a dark, vigilante superhero feel to it that reminds me of film noir (very edgy, shadowy and in your face).

More next week. Peace, love & mungbeans baby.

'All change is not growth...

by tosca on Saturday, April 24, 2010

...as all movement is not forward.'

~ Ellen Glasgow (April 22, 1873-November 21, 1945), Pulitzer Prize winning novelist

My blog format will be changing. Whether it's for better or worse remains to be seen - hence the blog post title. I've been so far off track for months that it makes more sense to scrap the old routine and try this one instead:

Monday: What I'm currently reading/watching
Tuesday: My family & other animals (things my family do that beg to be shared)
Wednesday: On the shelf - library-related
Thursday: Video clip pick of the week
Friday: Ms. Ranty McRanty Pants (my 1 chance a week to be even more opinionated)
Saturday: Book cover pick of the week (so many book covers to have fun with, so little time)

I'm not blogging on Sunday - seriously, even God got to have a rest. So it's Saturday - which means 'Book cover pick of the week.' Some weeks I may not even have any commentary/story to add to the image - I'm pretty sure most of them will speak for themselves. They'll be good, funny, bad, irreverent and all points in between. Comments, as always, welcome. Here's the first:
Author: Lucy Ashford
Synopsis: "Tassie bit her lip. Why hadn't he turned her over to the constables? She certainly wasn't going to try to run past him, even if he did have a limp. She was tall, but this man towered over her - six foot of hardened muscle, shoulders forbiddingly broad beneath his riding coat, strong booted legs set firmly apart. Major Marcus Forrester. All ready for action. And Tassie couldn't help but remember his kiss..."--Publisher description.

This gem I found at Botany Library. Was looking for books for my romance newsletter and spotted this and started hooting with laughter. It's just too delicious not to share! Gail, a librarian at Botany, tried to take it off me and hide it back amongst the shelves but I wasn't having any of it LOL Points to her for trying, though :) And does she realise it's not his pocket she's picking...? Have a good weekend, people, see you Monday.

'It's not so far off your world...

by tosca on Thursday, April 22, 2010

...this place is only parallel.'
~ Doctor Who, Series 2, Season 2, Episode 5 'Rise of the cybermen'

I finally admit that perhaps my obsession for Doctor Who has gotten a little out of hand. But it took this moment in today's Digital Services meeting to make me realise that little fact:

Natalie: Imagine if people had a chip in their head and when you went to the library they greeted you by name and knew what you wanted.
Tosca: No no no no no. That wouldn't be good. Didn't you see that episode of Doctor Who? They tried that. It ended badly.
Corin: Because Doctor Who is real...
Tosca: *puzzled look*

What? What do you mean it's not real?! Does Doctor Who know this?!?

Note: post title is a quote from Doctor Who, Series 2, Season 2, Episode 5 'Rise of the cybermermen.'. Image is from Doctor Who, Series 2, Season 1, Episode 7 'The long game.'

'We've got a fully functional forcefield...

by tosca on Tuesday, April 20, 2010

...Try saying that drunk.'
~ Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who, Series 2, Volume 1, Episode 6

Somewhere between my teen years and adulthood I cast aside my love of all things Doctor Who. I can't even remember why, and I do regret that. My mother introduced me to science fiction/movies (my gran is a Trekkie and so is my 2nd oldest sister) and my father introduced me to fantasy fiction/movies so it's not a huge surprise that I enjoyed it so much. The last few days have seen me rediscovering the Doctor. Markhiem (Mr. 12) and Kalani (Mr. 6) have started watching it with me and have lots of questions (that I cannot answer). Even better than that, the comments that come about as a result of their trying to understand the show are hilarious and, sometimes, aggravating (because they interrupt my dvd-fest). Yes, this is another one of those kiddie/family posts. Feel free to stop reading.

Me: When I was your age I wanted a TARDIS.
Markhiem: You wanted to be retarded?
Me: No - the TARDIS. That *points*
Markhiem: You want a phone box?
Me: It's not just a phone box - it's what it can do. What it represents! It..They...He...Forget it. Now sshh.
Markhiem: I don't get it.
Me: I know. Now sshh.

Image is of Kalani and Markhiem, taken at Okahu Bay on Waitangi Day 2010. Kalani is now a Doctor Who fanatic - Markhiem watches it with one eye on the door looking for escape.

The scene where Captain Jack kisses Doctor Who on the mouth? *fans self* Wow. As a fan of m/m romance novels - nice :-)

Downside to a Doctor Who fest? Quotes that are now stuck in my head, example:
- 'Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek home world? The Oncoming Storm.'
- 'This is Rose Tyler, she's my plus one.'
- '...I got a first in jiggery pokery. What about you?'
- 'This is the sort of mummery I strive to unmask. Séances? Nothing but luminous tambourines and a squeeze box concealed between the knees.'

Dear customer who has the next season out: bring it back. Quick! I refuse to watch Torchwood until you do.

'Do you realise if it weren't for Edison...

by tosca on Monday, April 19, 2010

...we'd be watching TV by candlelight?'
~ Al Boliska

Technologically speaking, I started torturing our staff today. We've started our revamped web 2.0 tutorial and, in light of the 2008 version that was unveiled (that I, for the most part, actually enjoyed) I figure it is just a case of waiting for the hate mail to arrive. Keeping in mind all of my various ways of being avaialable to our staff, I expect to receive them by: email, text, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo and blog comments :)

6 activities over 10 weeks (to take into account branches that are temporarily closing for refurbishments etc.) and as an incentive, there will be a weekly prize draw to encourage staff to continue. We've had 5 ppl register their blogs so far - mine doesn't count. Week 1 task is setting up their blog, which is where they'll be posting any and all thoughts in relation to the posted exercises.

Newbies have to: In approximately 50 words consider: How could you use this in your role? What worked for you? What didn't? What surprised you? what amazed you? How could a library use a blog? What would customers get out of a library blog? Would you promote this to customers?

Repeat 2.0 offenders have to: Tell us: what are your 2.0 expectations this time around? What are your 2.0 fears? How might a public library use a blog? What could our customers expect to see on such a blog?

I'll be tracking their progress and generally taking note of their ideas and thoughts in regards to web 2.0 - the good, the bad and the downright fugly. I'm not naive enough to expect that they'll all see it, fall in love with it, want to marry it and have its babies - but I do hope that, like the post quote shows (in a tongue-in-cheek kinda way), we won't throw out the baby with the bathwater. Or at least, not yet anyway.

Manukau Libraries - web 2.0
About the programme
Blog register - a listing of participating staff and their blogs
What is web 2.0?

I think that when libraries talk about web 2.0, they mostly mean looking at how web based tools, application and tools can facilitate information sharing and collaboration not just amongst themselves but with their customers as well.

'Curiosity is insubordination...

by tosca on Wednesday, April 14, 2010

...in its purest form.'
~ Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-American author

If curiosity truly is insubordination in its purest form, then I am quite happy for our library staff to be as defiant and disobedient as they can be when it comes to exploring web 2.0 tools and applications. I want them to be open-minded. I want them to query the relevancy of the exercises in relation to their daily jobs. I want them to constantly question how this improves the overall customer experience. I want them to test everything they are going to come across seven ways from Sunday. I want them to critically assess how other library systems are implementing web 2.0 tools and identify what could work for us. I want them to question how I currently operate our work tweetstream and work Facebook page and tell me how it can be made more relevant. I want them to help us decide what sort of social web presence our libraries will have. More than anything, I want them to have fun.

Over the next ten weeks, I am quite sure I will become the most hated person in Manukau Libraries for the simple (yet complicated) reason that I am resurrecting an amended version of our original Learning 2.0 tutorial. Our web 2.0 tutorial is based on the Public Library of Charlotte Mecklenburg County's own PLCMC Learning 2.0 journey. The point of the tutorial was to encourage staff to experiment with various technologies that are 'reshaping the context of information on the internet today.' Our initial attempt, back in 2008, elicited two responses. Staff either loved or hated it. There were no half-measures. I am hoping that it will be met with more positivity this time around. I am, however, realistic. I will be content if I do not receive hate mail LOL In short, I will be getting paid to torture our staff. Good times!

I have Nancy Friday's statement running through my head as I write this: 'Mothers, let your daughters masturbate.' I won't go that far.

How about this: So, Manukau Libraries staff...let's get curious. Let's break the rules.

'You can learn many things from children...

by tosca on Tuesday, April 13, 2010

... How much patience you have, for instance.'
~ Franklin P. Jones (1908-1980), reporter, public relations executive and humourist

Anyone who reads my tweetstream or Facebook page will know that my nephews and niece feature quite largely in my life. We are a very close-knit family and 3 of my siblings live within 5 mins of walk each other. I am one of 9 children (the oldest 2 are from dad's first marriage and mum's former relationship). My mum grew up an only child and always wanted a big family, dad was one of 11 and was used to big families - et voilà it was probably a sure thing that I would belong to a big family.

So where am I going with this? Nowhere in particular, except that when the nephews say weird, strange, funny, sad, hilarious, thoughtful things they, too, will get a quick post of their own. Probably the only short posts I will ever, in my life, write :-) Today's post is courtesy of Kalani (or Mr. 6, as I call him ).

Kalani: Pa says I got a coconuts in me, and they keep me warm.
Me: *blinks* I don't get it. What does that mean?
Kalani: I got a coconuts.
Me: *thinks* Nah, I still don't get it.
Kalani: I said I. Got. A. Coconuts.
Me: Are you...What do...Eh?
Kalani: You know - a coconuts!
Me: Are you speaking English or Tongan?
Kalani: English! (by now very frustrated).
Me: Nah, I still don't get it.
Kalani: 'cause you're dumb.

*takes a bow* Thank you, Kalani O_o

Kalani is Maori/Tongan and he spends a lot of time with his Tongan grandfather - which makes for very interesting (and somewhat 'fresh') conversations afterward. Kids at school were, at one point, teasing Kalani and calling him 'coconut' and he was upset about it so he asked his Tongan gramps - his Pa - what that meant. Pa told him that being a coconut is a good thing because he will never get cold.

Mmm...I still don't get it.

'The only queer people...

by tosca on Monday, April 12, 2010

...are those who don't love anybody.'
~ Rita Mae Brown

Title: Butterfly tattoo
Deidre Knight
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Year: 2009

Quote: 'When someone dies, you're left with mountains of memories. At first, you rush headling at all of them, fists opening greedily, desperate to hold onto your loved one, no matter the cost, but over time, particular snapshots come into focus. They're the ones that surface continually in your dreams and mental drifting, popping up on radar when you least expect them.'

Synopsis: BUTTERFLY TATTOO — the story of a man, grief-stricken from the death of his male lover of 12 years, who finds himself falling in love with a woman also scarred by life—is a groundbreaking novel made timely by the headlines currently surrounding love and sexual orientation. Beautiful, lyrical, tender, it does what every great book is supposed to do: it transports the reader into other people’s lives, hearts and minds. In the process, BUTTERFLY TATTOO teaches us of the universality, and boundary-free nature, of love. -- Publisher description.

What I'm reading: This isn't a review so much as it is a heads up of a title I'm reading at the moment that caught my eye (and possibly my heart - although my siblings constantly tell me I have a hard rock where said organ should live. Po-tay-to/po-tah-to. Or, as Kalani likes to tell me: Toe-may-to/po-tah-to. He's 6 - what can I say?).

Rebecca O'Neill, heroine, was a famous actress who had her own tv series. Three years earlier an obsessive fan tried to kill her and, in the effort, left her scarred. These days she works in the development/production end of television and is incredibly wary of men. Michael Warner is still grieving for his longtime partner, Alexander, after almost a year. He has become an outsider to their 12 year old daughter's life - she barely talks about Alex. She barely talks, and when she does it's usually to push Michael's buttons. His friends are convinced it's time he started living again - not necessarily dating, but certainly getting out. Rebecca and Andrea's first meeting, on set when the power goes out and Michael (hot handyman as Rebecca's friend calls him) is awkward. Andie isn't the most friendly of people. But Rebecca's facial scars are something Andie identifies with because she, herself, has a scar on her leg that from the same car accident that killed Daddy Alex. When Michael and Rebecca start to fall for each other, it has Michael questioning his sexuality and loyalty to his first love, and has Rebecca questioning her own thoughts and feelings about the depth of Michael's emotions.

Deidre Knight is sneaky! And I like it. The dynamics between Rebecca and Michael on their first meeting made me think, 'Oohh, I see where this is going.' Then Michael starts thinking about 'Allie' and I'm still going, 'Oohh, widower. Got it!' And then Andie starts talking about 'Daddy Alex' and I'm thinking, 'Huh? Oohh divorce! Two daddies.' Which is totally turned on its arse when I find out 'Allie' is a nic for 'Alex' who is really 'Alexander.' *blinks* Didn't see that coming!

Michael's chapters make me cry. Seriously. I can't help it. What the hell else am I supposed to do? His grief is so palpable: 'Sure, I still dream, but I couldn't tell Rebecca O'Neill that, because then I'd have to admit that I dream endlessly of Alex. That he's still alive, that he's come home to me at last.' Or even: 'I clutch the steering wheel tensely, the familiar silence smothering us as we edge along the 101 toward home. Long damn way there, too, at least in this kind of traffic. Really need to sell the house and move somewhere closer to the studio but I can't bring myself to do it. Can't bring myself to let go of Alex that way, not when all of our memories are tied up in that place.' *le sigh* and *le sob*

Is Michael gay? Is he bi? Is he just sexual? Does sexual orientation matter at all? If there's one thing this book is teaching me, and it's totally trite, it's that perhaps love isn't about gender. It's got nothing to do with sexual orientation. Maybe...maybe it's just about love. That's it. Whatever, wherever, whenever.

Keep a box of tissues handy if you read this - it's a major tearjerker. I've been crying on and off since chapter 2 and so far am up to chapter 10. Michael's emotions are raw and so appallingly honest (and yes, I mean appalling not appealing) but you can't help reading more. The only books I'd read of Ms. Knight's before this were paranormal romances in the 'Midnight Warriors' series and this is nothing like those. I haven't finished it yet but I'm thinking it's easily going to be a 5/5.

'Anyone who says they have only one life to live...

by tosca on Saturday, April 10, 2010

...must not know how to read a book.'
~ Author unknown

Bookmarks make me squee!

At least, these particular bookmarks do. They're the brainchild of Paul Brown (our readers' advisor extraordinaire who, I have to say, has been overseas to Aus twice to deliver his bestseller presentation to libraries there and is headed to Adelaide this May to present again, the lucky sod). Back to bookmarks, right. Paul's idea: he scoped the pics, floated it past his manager who approved it, asked the fabulous Sunita and myself for book ideas and then sent them off to the magical elves (I dunno who he sent them to, really) who put his idea into some physical form - which you see here before you today.

The beauty of the bookmark is that the pics are beautifully visual (or I think so, anyway, and it's me who matters). On the back is a quick listing of authors relevant to that particular genre and, even better, space for our staff to write personal recommendations. This part of the bookmark is for those tricky moments when you're out and about in the collections and customers stop by to ask for author recommendations. I LIVE for those moments - this is going to seem like a shit analogy but it's like every night is date night. And a blind date night, at that. Seriously, that's how I see it, my job is to match people up with books and I'm not satisfied until the borrower is satisfied (in a book sense). And I always invite them to back to ask for me when they want more (or different, or worse, or better or whatever). In most instances we've tried not to list too many of the more popular bestselling authors - we want to promote across all of our genre as much as possible :)

I've added images of the bookmarks - mostly the fronts although I've posted the back of the Best for Blokes one just to give you an idea of how it looks. They're kinda small but that's 'cause they'll look like crud if I make the image too large - IRL (in real life) they are proper bookmark size. Doh.

'Never underestimate the effectiveness...

by tosca on Thursday, April 8, 2010

...of a straight cash bribe.'
- Claud Cockburn (1904-1981), British journalist

Paul Brown is a readers' advisory genius and I am his disciple. But let's not tell him that! That's just between you, me, the blogosphere and the twitterverse. So mum's the word. Seriously, though, here he is world famous in Manukau. His latest idea, to promote the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival 2010 is a killer. So what are we doing??

Reading. Yah. That's it - we're going to read :-) It's so simple it's genius. Hell, it's so simple it just HAS to work. Right? Right! How's it gonna work? Like this...


A Festival.

About 'Books'.

And 'Authors'.

And 'Reading'.

Hhhhmmm, smells like Literary Spirit! And something we know something about. Plus, it's all happening just up SH1 tantalisingly close to us.

We would like to demonstrate Manukau Libraries support for this local and iconic Festival by posting a selection of short-ish book reviews on our website, covering the full range of authors, writing forms and genres being showcased during the Festival.

So... this is a call for staff to read and submit reviews before the Festival starts on May 12.

It is reviewing with a purpose.

It is reviewing with a deadline.

It is reviewing with prizes!"

Oops - that's right, we're going to bribe our staff to read :) A small prize draw for staff who submit book reviews for any and all authors who will be speaking at the festival. There will be 3 categories (staff who submit a review, staff who submit 2 or more, the overall 'Best' review).

Our rules are simple:

1) Use the standard book review template on our website.
2) Review only books that are held by Manukau Libraries.[As there is no law limiting us to just one review per book we will post multiple reviews on the same book... if the reviews are good enough. In fact, how much more engaging will it be for our readers to be informed and entertained by a repository of thoughtfully constructed, articluate, yet diametrically opposed, statements of opinionated fact?!?!?!]
3) Enter the words "Festival Review" at the beginning of your review so that Danielle & Tosca know that you are submitting a review specifically for this project.
4) Keep your reviews to one paragraph (or about 150 - 200 words). These should be short, sharp and "punchy" pieces. Convey your personal / emotional experience of - and response to - the book you read. "Sell" the book's oustanding qualities... or shoot it down in flames... but leave the person reading your review going "WOW! Now that's reviewing entertainment!"
5) You can begin submitting reviews anytime but the deadline for reviews is Monday, May 10. The Festival reviews will begin appearing on our website in the week beginning Monday, May 3.
6) Winners in both categories will be announced after the Festival, in late May.

Personally, I can't wait to see the reviews. I intend to submit but my reviews will be invalid because I get to be one of the bossy tarts what judges 'em

So...how are you celebrating the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival 2010...?

'Popular culture is the new Babylon...

by tosca on Saturday, April 3, 2010

...into which so much art and intellect now flow. It is our imperial sex theater, supreme temple of the western eye. We live in the age of idols.'
~ Camilla Paglia

Title: Inventory : 16 films featuring manic pixie dream girls, 10 great songs nearly ruined by saxophone, and 100 more obsessively specific pop-culture lists
Author: By the writers of the A.V. Club (foreword by Chuck 'Chuck Klosterman' Klosterman)
ISBN: 9781416594734
Publisher: Scribner
Year: 2009
Summary: This book treats pop culture with a healthy mix of reverence and cheek, exploring the best and worst of film, television, music, books and games. -- From back cover.

Read this book on your own. That's about the only advice I can give, really. You will scream chortle, giggle until you choke, guffaw, wheeze until you expire, sigh, spray coke out of your nose, snicker, belly laugh until you cry, gasp, pee your pants, wince, hoot and holler. Not necessarily in that order. And you certainly won't want people around to see your reactions.

The very talented writers of the A.V. Club have compiled pop-culture lists that are so specific in some instances you'll wonder why the heck you never thought of them yourself, or perhaps wonder why some sicko would think of them in the first place. The oddball part of it is, I found myself agreeing with quite a bit of the content, and wow are there some obscure books/films I'd forgotten I'd ever read/seen and am sure I never want to read/see again. How can I resist a list such as 'Keanu Reeves movies somehow not ruined by Keanu Reeves'? Hey may look hot but whenever I watch his movies I feel like I'm watching a wooden puppet who delivers everything in the same deadpan monotone and I'm always looking for the strings. That's not to take away from his movies, hell no, some of them are pure effing genius (look at The Matrix) but whether that's about the writing or the fact that he looks hawt in leather I can't tell.

If I had to name a favourite list it would be, without a doubt, 'Play it again, only better: 14 cover songs that outdo the originals':
1. Stevie Wonder - We can work it out (originally by The Beatles)
2. Bryan Ferry - It's my party (originally by Lesley Gore)
3. The Blind Boys of Alabama - Way down in the hole (Tom Waits' gospel song)
4. Ike & Tina Turner - Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
5. The Who - Summertime blues (originally by Eddie Cochran)
6. Elvis Costello - (What's so funny 'bout) Peace, love and understanding (originally by Nick Lowe)
7. The Mountain Goats - The Sign (originally by Ace of Base) - certainly more funny!
8. Self - What a fool believes (originally by Kenny Loggins, covered by The Doobie Brothers)
9. Elvis Presley - Hey Jude (originally by The Beatles)
10. Naked Eyes - (There's) Always something there to remind me (originally by Lou Johnson, covered by Sandie Shaw)
11. Jimi Hendrix - All along the watchtower (originally by Bob Dylan)
12. Jackie Wilson - Light my fire (originally by The Doors, covered by Jose Feliciano) - I disagree. I think Feliciano's version is nicer than Wilson's
13. Devo - (Can't get no) Satisfaction (originally by The Rolling Stones)
14. Langley Schools Music Project - Desperado (originally by The Eagles) - oh, no way! Definitely like the original better :) If you get the chance, watch the Langley Schools doco (it's on YouTube) because it's effing good. For real.

A few other lists that are my second bests are:
* Doesn't anybody fucking knock anymore?: 16 tragic instances of movie masturbation
* Tell me a tune: 26 songs that work as short stories
* Achtung BJ: 9 lyrics from U2's 'Achtung Baby' that might be about oral sex
* Rare reads: 17 books we wish were still in print
* Oh I get it now: 6 movies that make a lot more sense if you've read the book

I'm not a fan of movies, books, film or tv series that are considered totally 'high brow.' Seriously, classy is wasted on me. I definitely like to mix it all up and, sometimes, the trashier the better as far as I'm concerned. If you're a fan of pop culture mixed with lashings of tongue-in-cheek humour interspersed with tonnes of curse words - then come right ahead. This is your kinda book.