"Take no heed of her...She reads a lot of books."
~Jasper Fforde

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

SR 2016: Romeo and/or Juliet (Ryan North)

Romeo and Juliet is one of those classic plays that most students have to read for a literature class at some point in their academic careers.  In my case, I've read it twice--once in junior high, and again as a freshman in high school.  It's a good play, of course, being Shakespeare, but if there was one thing I would say it was missing, that would be the opportunity to make your own decisions instead of being forced to watch two hormonal teenagers act out the tragic path that fate has in store for them.  So, of course, when I found out there was a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, I jumped at the chance to read it.

*N.B. This book takes a really long time to read, since you have so many options to choose from, and so many endings to find.  With that in mind, I'm actually writing up this review before I complete the book, but I've found at least 10 different endings so far, so I think I'm qualified to start writing about it now.

Anyways, back to the review.  This is a hilarious book that really takes a classic tale and turns it on its head.  Whether you liked the Bard's original or not, this is a really funny book.  So, you know the story: two teens meet at a party and fall in love.  Even though their parents are enemies, the two get married, plan to tell everyone later, and then things go to hell in an handbasket and they both die.  What a lovely story!

Well, Ryan North's version is a little different.  In this tale, you can play as either Romeo or Juliet (as well as other unlockable characters) and try to live out your perfect love story.  Romeo is what you'd expect: he's a love-sick puppy who makes horrible choices and really loves brunch.  Juliet on the other hand, is a muscle-bound bodybuilder whose hobbies all involve boys and muscles.  So, pretty much what you would expect here, too.

So, basically, just like those choose your own adventures that we read as kids, you get to make choices for each character and try to find the most happy ending.  Some of the more interesting subplots involve Romeo's encounter with a creepy librarian, and Juliet's decision to kill or not kill the fiance her parents arranged for her.

And without giving away too much, some of the endings involve lions, getting chased by a naked man with 30 swords, and literally becoming a glove.  Some of the plotlines will make your laugh until you cry, and as for the others, well, the last thing you could call them is boring.

Oh, and did I mention the illustrations?  Yeah...those are amazing!  And each one is by a different artist :)

I'm be trying to finish this up over the next few days so I can post about it on Goodreads.  But, in the meantime, this is one down for my Summer Reading 2016 experience!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there, but most especially to my father of the blogosphere, O.F.  I miss you, you know.  I hope you're well.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Big Boss

So, I have a performance review coming up.  And that always gets me thinking about my ultimate end-game for my career.  The more I work in a library, the more I realize that the only mobility after librarian (the next step up from my current position) is manager.  And the more I think about it, the more I think I might want to be a manager.  I want to be the big boss.

Naked Snake AKA "Big Boss" (Metal Gear Solid)
Okay, maybe not that Big Boss...but I want to be the boss.  Normally, this is not something I would ever consider.  I have always hated being in charge, because I would always butt heads with someone bigger, louder, or older than me, and that power I grasped for a split second would fizzle out.  Then, I had a couple of really frustrating group projects in grad school.  And I realized that being the group leader (aka, the boss) was actually pretty nice.  Being in a position of power, doling out the tasks to everyone, actually gave me a sense of satisfaction in a job well done, and allowed me to keep things organized.  It was very freeing.  Sure, the group didn't always listen to me, but that was because we were all on the same authority level.  The only difference was that I assigned tasks.  Being a real boss means that I actually am in charge.

And being in charge means I get a gold statue of myself, right?
So, I'm hoping to talk to my current managers about getting some management experience.  I don't want to leave my library, and I don't intend to, but if a management position opens up, I want to be able to apply for it.  Heck, if a librarian position opens up, I would like to be able to apply for it, and I believe that showing some initiative in the management portion will look good for me in an interview.

So, yeah...that's what's going on with me.  Until next time, dear readers!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Coming Clean II

Today, I tackled the closet.  Just to put things into perspective, my closet was so crammed with clothes that I was not wearing, that most of the stuff got wrinkled just from being pressed up against the other clothes!  And good luck fitting everything in there.  Oftentimes, you'd find my shirts and pants hanging over the backs of chairs because there was just too much stuff and not enough space.  Well, not anymore.  I got rid of 25 shirts, and I have a few more that are in the "consideration" pile.  Now, Kondo does not suggest using a consideration pile, but I'm not quite ready to commit to just tossing or keeping...at least, not just yet.  What I've decided to do is put the items that are up for consideration back into the closet, and once I go through all my clothes, I'll do one more sweep and see how I feel about them at that point.

It was hard to get rid of a few things.  Mostly, because I really liked the item, but A.) It doesn't fit, or B.) It's out of style.  But, I'm feeling pretty good right now, even after a few of my old favorites went to the donation pile.  Kondo points out that this is okay.  The memories you had of this outfit will still be there, and what is the point of keeping a shirt you'll never wear again?

I'll be honest, I've never liked cleaning, but I'm feeling pretty exhilarated about this whole process!  It's exciting, and I like seeing the drastic change.  My usual procedure is to get rid of one or two things at a time, pause, wipe the sweat from my forehead, and think "Well, that was a job well done!" and then go back to my cluttered little life.  This was a lot more involved, but I feel much better about it.  Plus, I was able to find some old t-shirts that would make great pajama tops, and I can discard the pajama tops that I'm currently using.  It's a win-win :)

Next, I'll be tackling the miscellaneous clothing left on the backs of chairs and stacked in piles when I didn't have room in the closet.  After that, the dresser, and then I move on to my books.  I'll keep you posted!

Until next time :)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Coming Clean

My living space is something of a mess.  Now, I wouldn't call myself a slob, per se, but I tend to be messy.  This is mostly because I'm something of a clutter-bug.  I stock up a ton of stuff, and just can't bring myself to get rid of it.  When your cleaning routine is basically just shuffling too much stuff into different spaces, you're not doing it right.  Now, I've cleaned my room many times before, and had it looking amazing.  And then, six months later, its back where I started.  My mom has stepped in once or twice and cleaned it.  And it has reverted the same way.  After a certain point, we both decided that it was probably never going to change, and no one has touched it since.

Then, while I was hanging out with a friend, she mentioned that one of her other friends had just read Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and supposedly, it changed her life.  So, finally fed up with tripping over the same pile of junk while trying to get to my slippers, I went online and requested it from the library.  It's a small book--just over 200 pages (including the index), and I'm almost done with it.  This book has the potential to change everything.

Of course, that sounds silly.  How can one book change your life that drastically?  Well, remember--I'm a book person, and books do have a profound effect on me.  But, there is a simple beauty in Kondo's theory for tidiness which makes me think that this could work for me.  My biggest issue with getting rid of things is quite simply guilt:
  • I never wore this, so I feel like I wasted money if I give it away
  • This was a gift; I didn't like it when I got it, but I don't want to make that person (who probably forgot they gave it to me) to feel bad
  • I'm going to get rid of something and someone well-meaning says "Oh, are you going to get rid of that?  It's so [insert word here: awesome, nice, cute, sentimental, etc]

Kondo's approach is to take each thing in hand, and decide if it brings you joy.  It sounds silly, but makes a lot of sense.  That skirt I bought but never wore doesn't make me happy.  It hangs in the closet like a guilty reminder of money poorly spent.  Those books given to me by family and friends that I read once, didn't like, and never want to read again?  Of course they don't make me happy, since they take up space and I didn't like them.  Or, that outfit I used to fit into but got just a little too chubby to wear?  Doesn't make me feel good to see a constant reminder of my weight gain.  Cleaning these things out not only helps me to clear out clutter, but also helps me to clear out the clutter in my heart and start fresh.

Kondo recommends starting with clothes, and dumping every single piece of clothing you have in the middle of the floor, and going through all of it at once.  I'll be honest, that's just too big of a project for my current schedule.  So, instead, I'm tackling one thing at a time, and I started with my sock drawer.  And I'm blown away by the change.

Now, these are not actual pictures of my sock drawer, just images I found online, but I want to show you the difference:

 (If you can believe it, this is not as messy as mine was)


When I went to clean the drawer, I could hardly get it open.  Once I finished, I didn't want to close it, because I was too busy admiring my work.  If this is what it will feel like to keep cleaning, then I can live with that.  I got rid of a ton of stuff, and while this new method does not allow me as much room as before, I feel better having less stuff.  My methods of storage were great, since they allowed me space for more things, but more things means more clutter, and I feel so much better right now.

Stay tuned for more cleaning updates.  I'll be tackling my closet and dresser soon, so this should be interesting......Part II: Shirts!