Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fairy Houses

I haven't been on here in a while- not because I haven't been doing any mini work, but mostly b/c I haven't even had time to breathe, let alone type a nice leisurely blog entry.

I've been incredibly busy because I now have 3 jobs: a day job (school librarian), a night job (writing instructor at local community college) and also a weekend job (local history museum).

I was working this past Sunday at the museum (which is really a small historical village) when they had the Fairy House tour. Here's the link from the event, direct from author Tracy Kane's website: http://www.fairyhous...smouth-nh-2013/

Towards the end of the day, I happened to meet the lady who arranged these Fairy House events. She told me that every year, there are a few houses that never get claimed, and they end up in the dumpster. I thought that was apalling! Not just the idea of the wasted materials, but also the idea that these beautiful little houses don't get a chance to be seen again!

I told her that I am a dollhouse/fairy house builder myself, and that I also work in a school library. Our school has a little courtyard that the library windows look down into, and I told her I'd be happy to take any unclaimed fairy houses to display in the school's courtyard. She told me to come back on Monday (yesterday) and just take any houses that were left b/c Sunday night was the deadline to pick them up. So I went yesterday, and ended up taking 3 fairy houses back with me! Posted Image

Not to mention- they also inspired me to make some more of my own! I made 2 little ones last night from these little wooden, decorative birdcages that I picked up at a thrift store last year. And now I am working on a 3rd one in a larger, metal decorative birdcage that was also bought at Goodwill.

I cannot wait to set them up in the courtyard, and then casually tell teachers/students to go out because "I think some fairies have taken up residence in our courtyard!"

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I rescued a Kodak slide carousel from the library's trash can yesterday. For anyone reading this that doesn't know/remember what the heck I'm talking about, this is the machine that allowed sharing one's favorite photographs to get 'technologically advanced" (a few decades before Facebook).


In an episode of Mad Men, Don Draper pitches an ad campaign about this exact product. I highly suggest watching the episode, but here's his speech for your reading pleasure:
Remember, in the 60's this was THE height of technology. 
Now it's archaic, practically an antique. But the sentimentalist in me (and she's pretty loud!) could not bear to see this artifact in the trashcan, destined for the dump. Even if I have no real use for it anymore, I had to save it and preserve it in some form.

At first, I just took the box. I hail from Rochester, NY which is/was the home of Kodak since George Eastman founded the company, and the box is a small piece of my home city's history. But then I decided to do some Googling and I saw some neat-o pictures online of ways to upcycle slide carousels. Pretty soon, my screwdriver was out and I was disassembling the thing, picking out the pieces that I can use.

I am not sure what I'll end up making yet, but the slide carousel is headed toward a new life. 

I know that librarians are supposed to embrace technology and welcome new ways to find information, but I am always torn between the historian (all about the past) and the librarian in me.

I think maintaining a soft spot in my heart for outdated technology, while finding a new use for it is a way to allow these two sides of my personality to co-exist in peace.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Little Worlds

I used to build dollhouses and create worlds for them. Decides the place and time period, name the dolls, decide what relation they all are to each other, imagine what their lives would be like, and determine what kinds of 'personalities' they have.

But lately, I have not been creating worlds, but rather REcreating worlds. I am ecstatic that I was able to build Ariel's Grotto to my own satisfaction because that part in The Little mermaid always made me so happy. Imagine having a secret place of your own where you could just enjoy all your collected treasures, sing to your hert's desire, and indulge all your dreams and fantasies.

Likewise, I have also built re-creations of Charlotte's Web, Laura INgalls Wilder's stories, a Harry Potter inspired house..   .my current project is the quaint book shop in Beauty and the Beast where Belle goes during the opening song. Similar to my creating Ariel's Grotto, I am making it because it allows me to take an active part in a moment which always makes me happy. I love the way belle is so excited to get a new book, and the passionate way which she speaks about reading; the part where she glides on the rolling ladder across the bookshelf captures the way I feel about being a librarian and helping children find the books they love.

I am already thinking about which 'world' I'd like to recreate next.  .  .and I just looked up instructions for how to make stone garden walls, so there's a hint. ;)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bal Masqué

The main reason I hate being in any medical setting (hospital, doctor's office, dental office) is the doctors. Not them personally (usually), but how unsettled they make me feel with their medical jargon and their scrubs or white jackets and their impersonal attitudes towards patients. The masks they wear are particularly disturbing to me, and I am not talking about the metaphorical masks we all wear; I mean the cloth/paper coverings over their faces that make doctors even more dehumanizing.

The purpose behind wearing a mask is to hide one's face, disguise oneself as someone or something else. I have often heard that doctors/dentists should not be feared because they're "people too" but the masks they wear make it easy to see them all as one construct because the masks strip away their facial features.

I understand of course that doctors wear masks to prevent infection, but the significance of masks is something I cannot gloss over.

When a person looks at another person, we recognize their facial features.  "Face perception" refers to an individual's understanding and interpretation of the face, particularly the human face, especially in relation to the associated information processing in the brain.

I started thinking about all the villains I have known (in comics and movies, not known them personally) and how many of them are threatening not because of their faces, but because of their masks.

Here's my favorite:

Lord Shredder is one of all my all-time favorite villains. He has it all! A secret past in a far-away exotic land, a lost love, killer instincts, scars (both physical and emotional, I'm sure), and fierce fashion sense. He is as hard and cold as the metal mask he wears, which makes for a dramatic moment when he removes it toward the film's end. Then, the audience is seeing the Man, not the Mask.

If only we could all be as brave as Lord Shredder, and pull off our own masks to reveal the men (or women) we are underneath them. But why would we do that when masks give us so much power?
Masks seem to defy human injury and death (remember how Shredder's hand pops up from the landfill in "TMNT II: The Secret of the Ooze"?) And speaking of an superhuman ability to consistently defy death, how about this dude?

There are four Scream movies in the franchise, and in every one, whoever happens to be wearing the ghost face mask is unbeatable.  .  .until they remove the mask. While wearing the mask, the killer can be stabbed, hit over the head multiple times, involved in a car crash, and yet display no signs of injury. The killers are only able to be defeated after they have removed the mask, which reveals their human fragility.

And here's contestant number three in our little "masquerade" game:

Le Fantôme de l'Opéra is an interesting case because he defies the mask convention. He wears a mask to conceal himself, and yet he he also draws attention to himself repeatedly, terrorizing anyone who stands in his way or in that of Christine's career: remember the chandelier incident?

But the reason behind his behavior is innately human: love. He is in love with his beautiful young protege, and he wants to marry her. Unfortunately, his method for courting her is kidnapping her and taking her to his his cellar dwelling. He plans to keep her there, hoping that she will become attracted to him.  .  .him, the guy in the mask that abducted her.   .  .so he is basically depending on Stockholm syndrome to make his master plan work.

Unfortunately, Christine removes his mask to his surprise to reveal his face, which is described as that of a rotting corpse. He exclaims that she must think his real face is also a mask (because it is so hideous) but the ugliness underneath is actually more human than the perfectly shaped mask that conceals it.

We all wear masks. We wear them to hide things we don't like about ourselves, or to try and be something we are not in actuality.

To end, how about a multiple choice question?

Which one of these masks is the scariest?



The correct answer is "C." Why? Because C is reality, which makes it infinitely more terrifying than any horror movie.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Living in the Lens of Literary Theory

Yesterday I was re-reading some of my old papers from graduate school. In my final paper for YA Realism, I discussed the nostalgia factor in coming-of-age stories such as one of my favorite films Now and Then. One of the sources I used was Eric Tribunella’s article “From Kiddle Lit to Kiddie Porn: The Sexualization of Children’s Literature.” Tribunella states that adults wish to re-experience and re-imagine a fantasized childhood. He asks “Who would want to relive childhood exactly as it was lived the first time?”. Who would indeed?! Homework, cleaning your room, fights with friends over thing which, in retrospect are ridiculous.  . .we’d like to re-live our childhood taking advantage of the freedom that we enjoy as adults.

I realized that I am doing that right now. I work as a librarian in a middle school, and I am also an adviser to a group of 7th graders. This job is alot of fun for me: I went on the 7th grade camping trip, I read all the latest young adult novels, I go outside and play 9 square and I laugh at the silly, and often inappropriate jokes that I hear. I told the 7th graders in my group that I love my job because I get to be a middle-schooler again! However, I am RE-experiencing these years with adult freedom. It’s not the real middle school experience, it’s the fantasized version. I have to be in school all day, but I get paid to be here. I don’t have to do any homework. I don’t worry about my new outfit or what boy might like me that day (in fact, I barely wear any make-up). And I don't have to take the bus; I can drive myself! When I go home at night, there are no parents to nag about me math grade or my messy room; I can eat whatever I want for dinner and go to bed at any time I want.

I get to experience the fun parts of adolescence: camping trips, talent shows, a whole week of at Christmas and all summer off, but I am now the child I never was, and never could be because I have the freedom of an adult.

I always view the world around me through the lens of literary theory, but sometimes I forget that I am also LIVING in literary theory.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Women with Baggage

I love how Netflix has a 'memory' of what kinds of shows and movies I enjoy watching. Last year, I wanted to revisit the 90's, so I watched My So-Called Life. Since that show has only a single season, my viewing didn't last very long. From there, Netflix recommended Felicity. That show begins in the late 90's and continues into the early 2000's, so I have a special fondness for it because that is the time period when I, like Felicity, put my high-school life behind me and went away to college.

I recently re-watched a few episodes, and once again Netflix had a new recommendation for me. I am working my way through the CW series Hart of Dixie, which turns out to be very addictive. I liked Rachel Bilson already from watching The OC, and I am a sucker for stories about women who feel like outcasts initially, and then learn to adapt to new surroundings and in the process, open themselves up to new people and new experiences.

I remember seeing previews for the show on TV (back when I still had TV), and the first thing that caught my attention was the ad picture. It immediately reminded me of two other stories that featured a woman, who is thrown out of her usual life into surroundings that she is not used to and does not appreciate.  .  .

 I guess I am not the only person who enjoys these sentimental stories about women falling in love and "finding themselves" in a place where they wouldn't expect to, but I think this story needs a new symbol for advertising because the 'woman with her suitcases' thing is getting a bit overdone.