Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dreams or Nightmares?

When I was young, I had a recurring dream where I was walking to school and discovered I was wearing only my pajamas. As I grew older, I flew in my recurring dreams. Of course, someone or something was chasing me, and the altitude I gained by flying gave me the advantage of perspective.

In recent years, my recurring dream is that I'm in someone else's apartment. I don't know how I got there, but I need to get out without waking anyone.

I've been sick at home with a chest cold (made worse by this stinking VOG!) for a day and a half, so I've been logging in more hours of sleep than usual. The result is VIVID dream/nightmares:

In the first, I'm looking at my cellphone when it goes NUTS. Instead of the usual GUI (graphical user interface), my phone is running code. And I mean SCROLLING madly by itself, without my touching it. To add insult to injury, the top half of it opens up to show the guts of the thing.

I had no idea I was so neurotic about my phone!

In the second dream, my girlfriend and I are celebrating our birthdays together at a small restaurant. It looks like some place I've been to in Moiliili or Kaimuki. I set my things down on a table, but when I return, the table is gone (moved) and my things are on a table for one with no room for my girlfriend. I go to the next room, where I find my table in a setup for a banquet. When my girlfriend shows up, she bursts into tears. (She really isn't that sensitive!) The dream turns nightmarish and devolves into evil restaurant workers and a greasy garage.

I'm sure there's an explanation for the above nightmare, but I truly can't think of what it might be!

Do you have such nightmares? Do you dream in color? Do you eat in those dreams?

(All of the latter tell you what's important in my own dreams!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Even the Smartest of Us Can do Dumb Things

Yes, we often think we won't, but we do. The thing is not to dwell on mistakes, or look back. Or regret.

IMUA! (Hawaiian word meaning onward, forward!)

Please read this article from Booklist, the American Library Association review magazine that comes in both print and online form. It's about the dichotomy who was Apple's Steve Jobs. The author, Will Manley, starts off by writing about how people are remembered, and eulogized.

Which ties in with the memorial service for my uncle, which was part of this post. I knew he was a good man - he was the consummate gentleman, who always made you feel comfortable talking to him. But I didn't know just how hard-working and charitable he was. A coworker mentioned another memorial service, for someone they thought was a bum, but turned out to have been a WWII vet and had a respectable job.

In Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs - there are 288 requests for this book in my public library catalog. And 47 copies! Isaacson, according to Manley, says Steve Jobs was both creative genius and idea thief. Loving husband and deadbeat dad. Buddhist and cutthroat materialist. Whew!

Finally, Manley says "instead of having an operation that would probably have eradicated the cancer for good, Jobs decided that he would try any number of alternative health remedies to heal himself" - choosing quackery over established medical procedures. And thereby shortening his life. Manley says we should read pp. 452-456, librarians or not. I'm heading to the bookstore!

We have more to learn from Jobs' death than his life, Manley says. But I say, BOTH can teach us something.

This is how my mind works: garbage or good, I take it in. It ferments and somehow I see connections in new things that I read or absorb. I'm not a techie, but I do get report alerts from ZDNet. This one talks about Apple sabotaging the EPUB standard for digital books, by deliberately locking out that standard from iBooks 2.0. Is this a continuation of the cutthroat materialism of Steve Jobs? Is this part of his ultimate corporate legacy?

I don't know about anyone else, but I have NOT fallen for the siren lure of iAnything, which locks you into All Apple, All the Time. I suppose I should look over my shoulder, as Jobs vowed to DESTROY Google for stealing technology for its Android OS.

And how will YOU be remembered?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Your children can surprise you

Well, ours did today. I'd forgotten that he wanted to visit his grandmother's niche before he returns to school. So he and his father picked up some flowers and went to visit the columbarium.

It's funny how you never use a word like that until you have to deal with it. I never knew how to spell cemetery, either until we went on a tour of  them and battlefields in Europe.

On Saturday, we went early to my uncle R's memorial service - his daughter, my cousin L - rightly called it a celebration of his life. We were really not much help, as her friends had it under control. We did pass out a few programs, and mostly caught up with our mother's relatives.

Mom is estranged from her brothers, so we hadn't seen my uncle J on that side, and my cousin J, the daughter of my other uncle W, in years. WE are not estranged, and I do see cousin J's mother at the mall, and downtown from time to time.

Back to my father's side of the family. There is only one uncle left, and he is estranged from the family. He was not at the service.

Cousin L has gone through a lot, and was very close to her father. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's, the frozen type, a year ago, but we didn't know this. He was in and out of the hospital, and passed away one day after he entered the hospice. As with so many people who fall ill and face the end of their lives, he and his family turned to religion and found a comforting minister.

I made it a point to call my cousin L as soon as I learned uncle R had passed away. From the way she spoke, I knew her sisters had not shared the responsibility. One sister lives in another state. The one who is here...

Let's just say that she arrived just as the service started, and was dressed as if for an art exhibit reception - in a black leather coat, stockings and designer boots. In Hawaii, one of the reasons the funeral notice states: "Casual Attire" is that it's 80 degrees in the middle of the day. Most women wore short-sleeved dresses or tops with slacks. Men wore polo shirts or aloha shirts. My cousin E wore his hair in a bun. (Getting more and more eccentric... though he did wear a striking white shirt with black print.)

Yes, I'm off topic.

Cousin L put together a lovely video presentation telling the story of her father's life. All of our family complimented her on it, and we look forward to getting a copy of it. "No rush!" I told her. "It must have been cathartic to do this."

"No," she said, "I was stressed out. I cried for days" Oh, dear. I can just see her saying to her sisters, "We must do this, this, and this." I saw her everywhere at the service, while one sister sat with her husband, and the other talked with guests. I can see the sisters saying, "No need to do this, this, and this!"

The day after the service, I came home to find a voicemail message from her. I called her back and said I didn't expect to hear back from her. But a few hours later, I did. She thanked us when we did so little, except to be supportive. I told her she should call me even if all she wanted to do was talk. At the end of our conversation, she told me I should call her if I ever needed anything, for any reason. At the end of the video, there are credits, and our family's names are first: my husband's, son's and mine.

I do not feel worthy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More January Reading

I'm a children's/young adult librarian. So, yes, I read children's books. But here are two that even adults will like:

Drawing from Memory by Allan Say. A memoir from the award-winning children's author/illustrator. Why is it that in so many of the books and articles I've read recently, the children are abandoned at a tender age by their parents - who are divorcing or going through some other crisis - and left to their own devices? That these children choose their own destinies and overcome so much is a testament to their strength, and their survival skills. Allan Say approaches the cartoonist he admires and becomes his apprentice. The book illustrates his life in Japan, and the forces which shape his success. Read it!

Award-winning llustrator Ed Young could not have had a more different childhood than Allan Say. In The House that Baba Built, he was surrounded by loving family, and encouraged to be creative. This memoir recreates - through photos and drawings - his childhood home and memories.

The events of our childhood shape the adults we become. In my own observation, we either follow our parents' direction or run far from it!

Read the books, and enjoy the illustrations.

Tell me about the books you're reading, as well as those that have influenced you.

Have you realized your parents' expectations, or have you traveled very different roads?

Friday, January 6, 2012

January: what I'm reading, have read

I'm trying to finish "Just My Type" by Simon Garfield. Unless you're in the graphic design field, or font-obsessed, this will be TMI about typefaces and their histories.

But this book has reminded me of my own BFA studies in this area - too long ago! I didn't have to look up any of the terminology, so I guess the larning stuck!

My takeaway? Steve Jobs and Apple and its designers - of fonts, too! - changed the dry type selection of the PC world by introducing a choice of new typefaces. But, like weaponry and prescription drugs, these can be used for evil or good.

Tell me what your favorite typeface is - and why - and I'll tell you mine.

I'm exaggerating! Lets just say they can be used well or poorly.

I'm reading "Blood, Bones & Butter" by Gabrielle Hamilton. Rather, I'm wading through the Bathos, Blather & Blithe skipping over transitions so that you wonder how she got from point A to point B. I'm not sure I'll finish it. There has to be some good food talk, cooking and eating coming up, or I'

And I rarely do give up on a book. Can all those celebuChefs - Batali, Bourdain, et al - be wrong in their gushing praise/hype?

Maybe. Stay tuned.

Tell me what you're reading!