Sunday, June 26, 2011

Not with a bang, but a whimper

RIP: South Pacific Pipes & Cigars

DOB: c. 2002

For years, a haven for a bunch of  guys. A place where they could gather to smoke cigars and pipes and bullshit.

The cast of characters:
Owner: Gene
Silent owner: Aiko
     Dennis: everyone's uncle
     Aunty Linda: kind & generous, she often fed the "boyz"
     Ray: always with an opinion
     Pete: animals and musical instruments
The usual suspects:
     Al: a man of few words, but they were "cherce"
     Jose: how did he break TWO chairs???
     Opie: too funny
     Marv: according to Chuck F, "Marvelous" at cigars and wine
     Larry: I thought he was bald under the cap. A generous fellow
     Ted: the silent crossword/sudoku dude
     Harry: such a nice guy
     Matt: words fail me
     Hapa: a crafty trumps player and sweetheart, but his timing sucks
     Everett: wheeler/dealer
     Jack: snowbird

What do the "boyz" do next? (And this is what THEY call themselves!)

New venue for smoking cigars: the Design Center
Old alternative venue: Thirds
Final day: Tuesday, June 21, 2011, which happened to be the Summer Solstice.

They are still cleaning and painting, but the party is over.

The boyz are waiting for the rebirth of the Phoenix...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Almost over my cold/ librarian rant

Here's what's left of it: a bit of stuffiness and labored breathing. A coughing fit every afternoon between 3 to 3:30 pm is guaranteed. Yes, I'm using my inhaler more often.Still, I'm feeling better than I did 4 or 5 days ago.

To what do I attribute my recovery? I drank a gallon of orange juice in about 4 days. PLUS, I took 1000 to 1500 mg of vitamin C every day. An XS acetaminophen tab every time I had a headache. Like NOW!

It's always hard to drink enough water at work, especially when I'm at the reference desk. I take a multivitamin tab everyday. I drank tea with umeboshi (wet salted pickled plum). Or green tea with seedless ume (dried plum). When my throat hurt or I coughed too much, I sucked on a vitamin C lozenge.

I TRIED to sleep earlier and a bit more, but just found myself waking up earlier!

DARKNESS BEFORE DAWN UPDATE: It's almost 4 am, and I've been up for about an hour. I fell asleep - more like a coma! - before 8 pm. BEFORE 8 PM - a sure sign that I'm sick/exhausted. I've had almost 7 hours of sleep and don't know if I can settle back down. I woke up with a coughing fit, which is always exhausting.

The RANT: All the dehydration (DH was right, once again! He said I looked dehydrated just before I shuffled off to bed!) and stress of work yesterday caught up with me. I was tired, tired, tired. The children in the library are on the Internet computers fiddling with the settings, spoiling it for the next user - which means I had to reset them. And this is not as easy as it sounds. When I remind them not to do this, some say, "OK, yes, Aunty." Another gave an excuse. THERE IS NO EXCUSE.

Then, I told the same girls NOT TO RUN. They know better, BUT CONTINUED. Yes, I'm shouting. They persisted and I had to use my MEAN VOICE. And with the remains of this cold, it can sound a lot like the VOICE FROM THE EXORCIST. It's tiring to repeat myself and raise my voice, which is why I would be CRAP as a teacher of young children. I listen to the teachers of some of the classes that come to visit the library, and I cringe and THEY SCARE ME, they're so mean. sigh. It's tiring to type this - reliving it all again!

Parents SHOULD NOT LEAVE THEIR CHILDREN IN THE LIBRARY and expect us to babysit them! When they are in one place for HOURS - and I am talking 3 to 5!!! hours - the best-behaved children will get into trouble.

I was going to write about the kind of trouble, but I'm hoping this will not escalate.

I need another gallon of orange juice...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What do you do for a cold?

No one has yet invented a cure for the so-called common cold?

Instead of writing up a booklist, manning the reference desk and recording summer reading program logs or counting the crowd at storytime today, I called in sick.

I'm keeping my running nose, sore throat and irritating cough to myself!

The husband just returned with half a gallon of OJ and a packet of Hall's Defense Vitamin C lozenges. (Good stuff - no menthol to further irritate your throat.) Well, he had to buy milk for himself anyway, and we were running low on eggs.

There's also throat spray on the counter. I've given up on cough medicines - they don't work for me. I was so stuffed up and sinus-headache-y yesterday that I resorted to taking a Sudafed. (Isn't it insane how they make you sign your life away for 24 of these little red tablets?) And I hate the side effect of post-nasal drip!

As soon as I get off the computer, I'll swig a glass of OJ with an XS acetaminophen tab (lingering-headache-that-came-with-this-cold) and head to bed for a morning nap. Nap, even though I had EIGHT+ HOURS of sleep last night. I usually run on six. Or more frequently five!

Two days ago, I already felt under the weather, and was fighting this, so I dragged myself - and DH - to Bac Nam for Kimmy's Pork & Shrimp soup. My medicine! It made me feel better, but I didn't know I was already on the way to a full-blown cold. : ( When we got home, I made a thermosful of hot green tea for our walk, and packed some seedless li hing mui to add to it. I'll bet the saltier, more sour version would have been even better! Ume is also great in hot tea. Kathy of A Passion for Food has a Vietnamese version here.

Yes, I know chicken soup is the usual answer for a cold, but I do not feel like chicken soup. If it weren't so creamy, and if I were up to it, I'd whip up a pot of my quick laksa - fragrant and spicy soup with chicken broth, fat shrimp and coconut milk. Add cilantro and lemon, and at least, it'll alleviate the blues! In my nap, I'll dream of this!

What do you do when you're just feeling under the weather, or to feel better from a cold?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Watch out for the furry vermin - Part Two of What the Don't Tell You in Library School

When I got to the desk in the early afternoon, Rey, the security guard, told me there was a trail of droppings in the next room. As they clean the library in the morning BEFORE it opens, it meant this was FRESH!

No, they don't tell you in library school that you'll be visited often by those four-footed critters! To be fair, any public building that's at least twenty years old is bound to have this type of problem. It's just a bit disturbing to see those spring traps so close to the kiddie-size chairs and tables, even if the custodians put them out of sight before the library patrons come in.

And it's chilling to know the rodents are now brave enough to be out and about during daylight hours!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A magazine I can read

Unlike the one I received in the mail the other day - self-conscious, "lifestyle" and "hip" - this one is straightforward and unpretentious. It's called Green Magazine Hawaii, and it's full of thoughtful articles about sustainability and striving toward a socially conscious way of life, and even occasionally about sustenance and the arts. Read it online here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What I've been reading - June

It's no secret that my taste in movies and books runs dark. I'm currently hooked on a series of mysteries and police procedurals - no, don't recoil in horror like one nameless librarian did! They are NOT dry, but rather - full of psychological suspense, insightful character studies, and peeks into the lifestyle of contemporary Japanese. Their's is a culture so rooted in such very different expectations - and therefore, behavior - that I am constantly surprised.

Read The Devil's Whisper by Miyuki Miyabe, and this book will take you on a rollercoaster of assumption, stun you with its turns and surprise you with several twists. What a ride! READ it - I'm returning it today!

Some have compared Miyabe to Natsuo Kirino. They both write about modern life in a Japan that's unknown to most Americans. I've read all of Kirino's books that are available here in English, and I feel they are much darker than Miyabe's works, and different.

I've also read these books by Miyabe - I'm hooked! - All She's Worth, about credit card debt becoming fatal. Also Shadow Family, where the lines blur between real life and the cyber world. And Crossfire, where an otherwise ordinary woman holds the power we women ALL SECRETLY WISH WE HAD! This last book is stunning, scary and ultimately sad.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What They Don't Teach You in Library School, Part One

In a previous lifetime, in a previous blog, I had a countdown of ten things they don't teach you in library school.

Here is a brand-new one!

While the women's public restroom LOOKS OK, it is deceptive. You innocently head in there for your final pit stop before closing up your section, walking out the door, and starting the commute home. But 4 times out of five, you are hit with THE WORST SMELL YOU HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED!

You wonder to yourself: "What can that person be EATING to cause that SMELL?!"

You vow never to go in there again! However, the nearest staff restroom is down one flight of stairs, and to the back of the building.

I may have to bring my own air freshener. Or a clothespin.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chambara movies and 13 Assasins

I grew up watching what we called "chambara"  or samurai films - Japanese costume dramas with sword-fighting, usually in the Tokugawa era. Of course, the best were directed by Akira Kurosawa, and featured the incomparable Toshiro Mifune. They include Seven Samurai, which was remade as the Magnificent Seven, and Yojimbo - remade into Fistful of Dollars.

Sorry, the remakes are sadly NOT up to the originals. Please seek those out and see them, if you can.

I'm not a sentimental person, but I do miss the combination of masterful storytelling and swordplay of these Japanese films. So I had to see 13 Assassins. What did I think?

The best thing was my favorite Japanese actor - Koji Yakusho, who can play a salaryman (Shall We Dance - which was also remade, and badly!), stressed-out father (Babel) as well as a detective or ex-con. The swordplay was NOT graceful, and there was a lot of gore and technical gimmickry - even in the plot! And CGI in a chambara film???

There are too many wonderful samurai movies to name, and they are probably unavailable. We grew up watching Zatoichi - the blind masseur/swordsman and the wily Woman Gambler, just to name a few! Shintaro Katsu's brother's Lone Wolf films. Miyamoto Musashi and Chushingura, more.

Tell me what your favorite chambara films are!