Some Random Friday Stuff

A few short random things from the week.

  • I decided to download a logic puzzle app to my phone so I have something to do when I’m home alone and don’t feel like reading. I keep messing up the puzzles, but I’m pretty sure it is less I’m no longer good at logic puzzles and more my stupid fat thumbs keep clicking the wrong box on the grid and I don’t notice until it is too late. At least I hope it’s I have fat thumbs and not I’m getting dumber.
  • I just bought my ticket to a fundraiser that is being held at a bar called Urban Axes in Philadelphia. It will take place during the PLA Conference. The ticket includes an open bar and axe throwing. Alcohol, librarians and axes. What could possibly go wrong. Now I just have to not chicken out and actually go to a strange bar with strangers and throw axes.
  • I’ve been really tired this week because I stay up too late(or sleep on the couch while trying to stay up) to watch the Olympics. I enjoy the snowboarding events, the speed skating, luge and skeleton, and some of the skiing, but the rest kind of bore me. I prefer the summer Olympics. I can watch a lot more swimming and track and field than I can skiing and I would rather watch gymnastics than figure skating. I’m ready for these games to be over so I and go back to my regularly scheduled TV viewing.
  • I was going to add some stuff about the gun control debate, but it seemed too serious compared to the rest of the post. I will say that I am annoyed by the people who are dismissing the teens from Florida as pawns being used by adults like high schoolers can’t possibly have anything important to say. I would also say that if you post anything claiming these kids are crisis actors and not real teens who went through a traumatic event I will most likely unfriend you on whatever social media it is on. I can be friends with people who disagree with me but I can’t be friends with people who post false and slanderous claims about these kids.

 

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Social Media is Depressing Me

I don’t know why I keep looking at Facebook. I don’t really enjoy it. It is probably half habit and half hope that maybe there will be something there besides the constant political arguments and sharing of memes. There rarely is. I know why I don’t deactivate my account – I still like to see the occasional pictures friends and family post and I need some place to share my blog posts and stupid things that pop in my head. I just need to break the habit of looking at it a lot. Here is a sampling of the types of things I see in my feed following the shooting in Florida:

Memes supporting gun control

People saying guns are inanimate objects and can’t be blamed

People saying the problem is that we don’t spank our kids

People saying the problem is there is no prayer in school

The meme where God says he didn’t stop it because he isn’t allowed in school(weird meme for Christians to share in my opinion)

No one is listening to each other. No one wants to actually hear an opposing opinion. Everyone picks a side and their side winning is all that matters.

In non tragedy days it is – Someone posts a negative post about Trump and it is followed by Hillary is a criminal! Obama was worse! Fake news!

I need to be done with this. I need to put the phone down. I could probably fix some of it by muting and unfollowing a lot of people, but maybe just deleting the app from my phone is the better solution for now. It is not good for my mental health.

I’m not saying it is wrong to express your opinion. I do plenty of that myself. I’m just saying that there are better and healthier ways to have the discussion and the first step might be to step away from social media for a while.

 

 

Another Birthday Post

“Is he really writing a post about his birthday for a second year in a row?”

“How narcissistic is he?”

The answers to those questions are yes and very.

It is my birthday. I am 49. One year away from 50. What am I doing for my birthday? A whole lot of nothing. I’m off work for the next four days. Today I’m watching Everything Sucks on Netflix(pretty good so far) and getting one of my various free sandwiches I’ve received for signing up for emails from restaurants. At some point this weekend my son will come home and we will all go out to lunch. That’s about it. I’m not a very exciting person. Maybe next year for 50 someone will throw me a huge birthday bash(that would have to be me. No one else will do it).

Last year I talked about goals of being less boring. Instead I think I’m even more boring. This year I will make no proclamations. I will resign myself to being the same boring person I’ve aways been. I’m too old to change now.

So, feel free to send me gifts. I will now go about the business of having a boring birthday day.

A Short Rant

The Youth Media Awards were announced this week. The book Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly won the Newbery Award. I saw one person on Facebook comment that the one review of the book mentioned that the r word is used a lot in the book. I don’t now what review that was, but I found one on Amazon with the same complaint. Is the r word used in the book? Yes, but you have to look at context. It is used multiple times by the bully against a kid who goes to the resource room for special help. I know that we would rather not see the word, but if you are writing realistic fiction you have to be realistic. I guarantee you kids are still calling other kids retarded no matter how many times we tell them the word is hurtful. It is real for the bully to use the word. Nothing about the book makes it seem this is OK.

In the fall there was a big controversy over the book The Black Witch. There was a review online that pulled several racist comments out and used them to say the book was hurtful and should never have been published. People piled on and posted negative reviews on Goodreads without ever reading the book. I read the book. What they fail to comprehend is that those racist statements in the book were said by racist characters. Some were said by the main character, but the entire point of the book was to see the growth in a character who was raised to believe her race was superior only to realize how wrong that was once she goes to school with other races. Context matters. It was a very good book.

I keep seeing over and over again how books are being pulled from schools because parents complained about language or other content without thinking that this language and content is what makes the book real. Why do you want your kids to read sugar-coated realities? Why are we judging books on a few words instead of on the entire content of the book? Why can’t we read challenging and difficult stories anymore?

Also – there was another school shooting today. We seem to be more active in removing “dangerous” books from schools than we are in keeping actual danger out. Maybe we could fix that?

While My Face is Numb…

I am home after a trip to the dentist. I am still partially numb. I had some gum lasered off and a tooth filled. I am afraid of what my mouth will feel like when I am no longer numb. I’m hoping it won’t be as bad as I think.  While I am killing time watching women’s luge some random thoughts that aren’t enough for a full post:

The 2018 Youth Media Awards were announced today. Click here to see the winners. I’ve read The Hate U Give and The Long Way Down. Both excellent books. I’ve checked the Newberry and the Printz winners out and will read them soon. I’ve placed holds on several of the Alex Award winners/ This is perfect timing as I was about to finish the last book I had from the library. I’m looking forward to some good reading.

I stopped at Target on the way home today but bought nothing. I stopped to look at some products like facial wash for men, beard balm, generally things that aren’t necessary but might make me feel a little better about myself. I looked at prices and didn’t buy anything because I wasn’t sure it was worth the money. Basically, that I am not worth the money. Some day I will learn to not walk away from buying something for myself. Today was not that day.

Continuing my bad sports year. Braves were bad. Ravens were bad. Kentucky basketball is bad. Libraries on the are where the Braves play might close, possibly because they wasted so much money on a stadium when the existing stadium was fine. I can take a bad team if they are lovable losers. I loved watching the bumbling Braves of the 80’s These teams are not lovable losers. It’s not fun to watch.

Now I’m off to walk the dog and hope that my face doesn’t start hurting. Happy Monday!

 

 

A Cluttered Mind

For the past week I have been dealing with a mind cluttered with pessimistic and negative thoughts. I can’t seem to shake them. The first couple of days of this they kept me awake at night. I’m finally sleeping again, but I’m still in a spiral. Since I can’t declutter my brain I have tried decluttering other things.

My email inbox at work is empty. I finally went through and deleted old emails I no longer need and sorted the ones I need to save in to folders. Now I just need to remember what folders I used. That might be a challenge. My goal is to continue to keep control of my inbox so emails I haven’t answered don’t get pushed down to the point that I forget they exist. I think I will be successful for about a month and then it will get out of control again.

I did the same for my desk. I went through all of the stuff on my desk and got rod of everything I didn’t need. I put papers in appropriate files and stored them away. I am enjoying my cleaner work environment and hope I can keep it this way.  I will likely be as successful at this as I am at the clean inbox task.

I’m hoping the uncluttered work environment will inspire my brain to unclutter itself. So far, that is not happening.  Until then I will keep listening to my really loud music to drown out the thoughts in my head.

Do you ever get in one of these funks? How do you deal with it? Any tips?

My Life as a Jailbrarian: Library Fight Club

As I promised in the last installment of “My Life as a Jailbrarian” today I will write about the fights I saw while working in the library. This is not going to be as exciting as it sounds. There were rarely fights in the library. I can really only remember two actual physical fights inside the library. There were numerous arguments that could have turned in to physical altercations had the officers not responded to my call and stopped it before it started, There were times that I was threatened, but that also never turned physical. I saw the aftermath of fights in other areas of the jail. I think the library had fewer fights because they didn’t want to lose library privileges. I had the law books, so they were nicer to me. So, now that I’ve told you that this post is boring – here are the two fights I remember.

The one common theme of both fights is that they started fast, with no warning. There were no arguments, no yelling, nothing that would indicate that something was about to happen. Just a sudden burst of violence.

Fight one was the oddest one. I was at my desk answering a question when suddenly out of the corner of my eye I saw a chair raising up in the air. The library went from relative quiet to violence in the blink of an eye. People who had been sitting quietly were now in a physical altercation and one of them was about to go after the other one with a chair. I have no idea why or how it started. It’s possible that this was a continuation of an argument that happened in the housing unit. It’s possible there was a quiet argument I missed. All I know is that I had an inmate going after another one with a chair. Luckily, it was not my job to intervene. I called for officer assistance and they stopped it before anyone was injured.

The other fight also happened quickly, but I know the reason for behind it. The county jail is a co-ed facility. The library was one of the place in the jail where the female inmates were allowed to work.  At the time, I had a woman assigned to work in the library. Apparently, she was also writing notes to two different male inmates at the same time. These notes were not allowed, but they were passed all the time in a variety of ways.  One of the guys she was writing also had a job within the jail. One day he was cleaning the halls outside the library and the other guy was in the library looking at books.  I was at the desk helping someone find something in one of the law books. Suddenly, the guy cleaning the call charges in to the library and jumps the other guy. The officers arrived quickly again and broke up the fight before anything too extreme happened. It wasn’t until after the fight was over and I was cleaning up the library that I found the shank(homemade knife) that had been dropped when the officers arrived. Someone had been prepared to stab the other guy over a county jail pen pal.

That is the extent of real fights in the library. Not too exciting. There was plenty of yelling, plenty of me yelling over them to try to calm things down and plenty of times I felt the need to call the officers because it was past the point I felt I could intervene, but really only two real fights. It could have been much worse.