Monthly Archives: May 2014

Library Advocacy & Lobbying: National Simultaneous Storytime (Australia)

This is the first year in many that I have not been involved with National Simultaneous Storytime – this is due to the fact that I am now at a University Library and so there isn’t really a need for it. I have to say that I certainly missed it this morning 🙂

International Librarians Network

NSS-Webpage-Banner_0 Today, as a part of Library and Information Week in Australia, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) runs an annual event called National Simultaneous Storytime, in which at 11am on a day in May (this year it’s today, 21 May 2014), children all around Australia are read the same story at the same time.

 According to the ALIA website, in 2013 over 430,000 children at over 2,500 events participated in National Simultaneous Storytime with guest storytellers from all walks of life, ranging from local librarians and teachers, right through to the then Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard. You can check out the Storify from last years event for photos from around Australia.

ALIA states that:

Every year a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator is read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country.

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Thank you Mr. T.

Queen Latifah:
And the winner of the 2014 Grammy for Best New Artist goes to… CatT.

The audience goes wild and my music fills the theatre as I throw my arms around my Hubby for a massive smooch and then make my way to the stage. Naturally I pause along the way to high five Adam Lambert and pound fists with Dan Reynolds. I make it to the stage and by some miracle do not stage a re-enactment of Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar fall, I embrace and pay homage to the amazing Queen Latifah and accept my amazing award. I turn to the mic and clear my throat whilst trying to subtlety wipe away tears of joy.

Oh Jen, you fall so gracefully :)

Oh Jen, you fall so gracefully 🙂

Me:
Wow! Thank you. This moment… means more than I could ever convey in one acceptance speech.

I came here tonight fully prepared to bow down to any one of the amazing and talented nominees as they won this title; don’t worry I am not suggesting you need to bow to me. The thing is, no matter how hard we push and work and pour sweat, blood and tears into our work, at no point will you ever sit there and go… yeah, I got this in the bag… come at me Grammy. As one of the nominees for this award tonight I found myself in such esteemed company and I wish to thank each one of you for the amazing contributions you make to this industry.

I must also thank Universal Music Australia for taking a chance on an unknown artist from South-West Sydney, for believing in me, for hearing me and my music and helping me translate who I am for all the world to hear. Thank you for fine tuning me because God knows I needed it.  

To my fans, without you there is no way I could be here. Thank you for sharing this journey with me and for seeing something in my music that you love. I hope you continue to be touched by my music and I will do all that I can to keep this train going.

Mum & Dad… thank you for letting me play music too loud and for not yelling at me when I then sung over my too loud music with my even louder voice. Thank you for inspiring me creatively. Mum, thank you for always being my editor and grammar Nazi, you are my guiding light.

Mr. T. … Thank you for being who you are, thank you for being my soul mate and for keeping me laughing for the past seven years. Thank you for encouraging me to sing and not being afraid to tell me when I was flat, thank you for letting me listen to any genre I want and for letting me play Adam Lambert’s music in the car really loud… thank you for learning the words so you could sing along too 🙂 Thank you for missing me singing around the house when I go away, thank you for missing it so much you learned every Adele song so you could sing them to stop yourself being lonely without me. Thank you for loving me, thank you for being my best friend and always being there, thank you for your support. I know you are happy sitting down there right now… really happy, because we are married… and being married means half of this award is yours. Congratulations on your Grammy baby 🙂

Thank you all.

 Inspired by the Daily Prompt


Relationship potholes – Baggage check

Daily Prompt from the Daily post:

We all have complicated histories. When was the last time your past experiences informed a major decision you’ve made?

Just over seven years ago I met my Husband and we became friends, at the time I had just started seeing another guy. We had gone on a few dates and he was a really nice guy (let’s call him David), he had a great job and earned incredibly good money (approx. 90K p.a.). After about a month I had realised that whenever I went out with David he usually managed to find a poker machine at some point in the night and spend a bit of time there. This was a serious red flag for me as the last two men I had dated had hidden their poker machine love for some time into the relationship, but then two days after they had been paid they were out of money and looking for permanent loans from their girlfriend AKA me.

I had already been aware that my attraction to my new friend was steadily growing and I didn’t feel that was fair on David, so I had some thinking to do.

After the experience of my last two relationships I had serious baggage when it came to any kind of gambling, I had just seen too much of my money go into that coin slot and even when my ex’s won they didn’t pay me back the money I had loaned them.

The worst experience was one night my then boyfriend said he was going to the bar to get a beer, I asked if he could get me a coke while he was there, he then asked me for some money to pay for it. I only had a $50 on me so I gave him that and off he went. Lines at bars can be really long so it wasn’t until the time reached 45 minutes that I started to worry, I went looking for him and found him at the poker machines, he handed me my drink and I looked at it in dismay, because the pokie area was also the smoking area, my drink had gathered some friends in the form of cigarette ash. I pointed this out to him, he suggested I get a new one as it was only $2, I asked for my change so I could and he looked at me surprised and said, “Oh did you want the change?” Now quite aggravated I replied,

“Well I assume you used my money for your beer too so that was $4, my ash coke was $2, that’s $44 change… naturally I would want $44 in change”

“I don’t have the change” he said

“Why? What happened to it?” I asked. He gestured to the poker machine that had only $5 credit left on it, “you put MY money into a poker machine?” by this point I was raising my voice.

“Well, yeah. Is that a problem? It was just change” I was completely shocked and couldn’t understand why he wasn’t in the least contrite.

“Are you kidding me? How could you think it was okay to put someone else’s money in a poker machine? Part of that ‘change’ was supposed to pay for a taxi home from the train station. I now have to walk two kilometres home in the dark! Does that sound like a problem to you?” He then had the audacity to get made and said,

“I thought we were going by the whole ‘what’s mine is yours’ thing, I’m so sorry that $44 is more important to you than your partner having fun” at that point in my life I was stupid, insecure, young and naïve. I was stupid enough to believe it was a mistake because he’d had quite a bit to drink and that it wouldn’t happen again. I am cringing right now because I can’t believe HOW STUPID I WAS!!!!!

I learnt a huge and harsh lesson from that relationship and I was determined to never make the same mistake again. So when David started showing a penchant for gambling alarms were screaming in my head. I decided I didn’t want to risk it and broke it off with him. We parted amicably and still interact on Facebook, it turned out he didn’t have a problem with gambling so I felt bad for judging him prematurely, but at the time I couldn’t see past my past experiences.

Silver lining for both of us though – eventually I started dating my Husband after we both realised being friends wasn’t enough for us and David went on to meet a lovely lady who he is now engaged to.

So everything (luckily) ended up happy sparkle time 🙂


Kid friendly Easter activity – A day with Hendrix

I wanted to find a fun, easy and not overly messy or destructive activity to do with my nieces and nephews for Easter. So obviously because I am a Librarian I hit up the Googs and I saw some great ideas that I seriously considered.

Shredded Wheat nests

Shredded Wheat nests

There were these Shredded Wheat Nests from BBC GoodFood – for the Aussies out there I am pretty sure shredded wheat is weet-bix 🙂 Whilst I didn’t end up going with these I was inspired by the nest concept and for their Easter gifts I made chocolate cupcakes and carrot cupcakes and in my first foray into cupcake making I decorated them like little nests.

Not bad for a first attempt if I do say so myself

Not bad for a first attempt if I do say so myself. Note for future: it is hard to prevent brown icing from looking like poo… consider another flavour icing 🙂

There were activities that needed dyeing, gluing, sticky taping, painting, cooking, cutting and many of them were things the kids would lose interest in after one day and then they would be broken on the floor and I would feel like crap because I had put a lot of effort into creating that activity for them. Before anyone says anything, I am aware that this is how the world works and I should get used to it, but I haven’t accepted that yet.

So I decided to develop an activity that was fun, educational and not wasteful… you all think I am mental don’t you? 🙂

But I did it 🙂 Pretty sure I am not the first to think of this, but it was my own idea.

So here is what I devised:

The kids would create, decorate and consume an Easter egg craft.

 

Easter Egg Biscuits

Here is what you will need:

  • At least one packet of Arnott’s milk arrowroot biscuits (or equivalent biscuit that is vaguely egg shaped)
    milk arrowroot
  • Icing sugar
  • A variety of food dye
  • Mixed lollies and sprinkles

Yup that is all… so here is what we did. I had a fun test run with my nephew Hendrix and we had a whale of a time!

First I mixed up some plain icing mixture, I then sat him on the counter and asked what colour eggs he wanted. I added a few drops of blue (his choice) food dye to the mixture and got him to stir and change the colour. He LOVED this part and thought it was magic and yelled for everyone in the house to come watch him turn it blue 🙂

Then we iced the milk arrowroot biscuits and I put out the decorations for him to decorate it. Once he was finished we sat down and ate them.

Yummo!

Yummo!

Just a tip – to keep the mess factor down put sprinkles in a shaker and don’t put out massive amounts of the lollies… they will go everywhere hahaha.

Finished product

Finished product

He was also fascinated by the fact the icing turned his tongue blue.

I love how kids get fascinated by gross stuff, so amusing!

I love how kids get fascinated by gross stuff, so amusing!

By getting him to repeat out loud everything we were doing he also learned quite a few new words which was fabulous!

Rating: 9 out of 10 have fun with your friends

So in answer to the question: When you do something scary or stressful do you prefer to be surrounded by friends or by strangers? Why?
I would choose Hendrix my little Buddy/Nephew/Godson because when I do stressful or scary things I know that even if I fail utterly he will still think I am wonderful and invite me for a tea party afterwards.


I’m a Librarian… get me out of here!

Let me preface this post by saying that I absolutely love being a Librarian, I love it! It is important that you know this before reading this piece because now I am going to have a little whine about just one small aspect of my job.

Originally from http://www.outblush.com/ I added text

Originally from http://www.outblush.com/ I added text

This post was inspired by The Daily Posts Daily Prompt – A Tale of Two Cities – we were asked if we could split our time evenly between two places only, where would they be. For some reason what immediately jumped into my head was what if I could be two places simultaneously?! That would be quite awesome and perhaps even have the ability to put one body in auto pilot whilst my consciousness is in the other one. Everyone I am sure thinks this from time to time for different reasons, but when it occurs for me it is very specific.

As I said before I love being a Librarian, but there is one aspect that is present in most Librarian jobs that I do not enjoy… the food battle.

What is the food battle? Well it kind of goes like this… Librarian roving the Library sees someone eating hot chips smothered in gravy. Librarian explains to said someone that they cannot consume hot food in the Library and asks them to please take the food outside. Said someone apologises and starts packing up, Librarian says thank you and moves on.

At this point I need to let you in on an apparently well-kept secret… Librarians are smart you guys!

 

But are you Librarian Smart?

Don’t remember where I got this pic, but I added the text. If you know please tell me so I can give cred.

We went to University for quite a few years in order to become experts in research, social media, promotion and marketing, development of programs on varying topics and many other things – we know our stuff and have an extremely broad knowledge. Many of us are also mothers and fathers so believe me when I tell you that we know that you just wait for us to get out of sight then start tucking back into your carbs.

We know.

So we have to do a loop and come back around and have another chat to you about the food – often you don’t answer us because you are trying to conceal the fact that there are fried goods currently in your mouth – we know this – in fact we waited until you put that forkful in before we confronted you so you couldn’t use the normal defence of, “it is there, but I am not eating it”.

I totally believe you!

I totally believe you!

Let me tell you something you probably don’t know…

When we have to repeatedly approach you to ask you not to eat hot food – especially when there is a sign on your table next to the hot food that states ‘No hot food’ – it kills us a little inside. It feels like we are babysitting unruly children for $4 an hour instead of an Information Professional who is qualified to do research in basically any field. There are Librarians working for most film companies and researchers work on many TV shows, who do you think gets your iTunes music into all those nice little categories and easily searchable? Librarians 🙂 We do a lot more than you think, a friend of mine works at a radio station as a researcher and researches news items on the fly and feeds through information to the on air team.

Did you know all of this?

Here’s something we don’t understand… we don’t understand why you do it? Why is it so important for you to sneak eat all your chicken nuggets, smell out the Library and make the Librarians feel like you have absolutely no respect or regard for them as human beings?

WHY?!?!

The thing that kills me the most is that we have to be polite to you while you are crapping all over us. Because that is who we are, we are professionals and you are our clients. Don’t you worry though, because even though you disrespect us on a daily basis it’s not like we will remember your face and we will certainly do absolutely everything in our power to help you when you don’t know how to find information for your assignment that you only have five hours to write because you spent all your research time smuggling McDonalds into the Library.

Sure buddy that's gonna happen

Yup, sure buddy, no problem. I’ll be right there to help you with that…
http://www.reactiongifs.com/

So here is my wish… I wish that everytime that tell-tale hot food odour started wafting about, my consciousness would transport to my other body and my autopilot would handle the humiliation so I would not have to be aware of it. Where would my other body be? Anywhere but here 🙂


52 books in 52 weeks – a review

I admit I have been struggling a little to keep up with this of late for a couple of reasons, one I have been super busy and two I have found it a little hard to finish my current book. This is strange because I usually enjoy this author and I am not quite sure what I am not connecting with.

So I decided to take a break from reading and talk about a series of books I read earlier in the year that I was somewhat disappointed by. I was already wanting to write about this series (particularly after seeing the movie) and then I read a post titled 30DBC Day 08: Most overrated book check it out it’s really good and really got fired up about it again. So here we go…

 

Book Series: Divergent Universe
Author: Veronica Roth
DTB rating: 2.5/5 stars – it loses .5 of a point for the ending

 

SPOILERS!!!

Let me start by saying that I really, really wanted to like this series. It had such promise, perhaps that jaded me a little – who knows, what I do know is I was disappointed.

The Books

There were some really good parts of this series, I was lucky enough to read the books all in a row so there was no time between them and the story was a lot more seamless that way. I know of others who have read them as the books came out though that could not keep track of who was on what side and who was betraying who – there was a lot of betrayal and fence jumping and general spy and sly behaviour going on. Sometimes it felt a little jumbled – for me to say that is a big thing because I have no trouble keeping the Song of Fire and Ice series straight and that should be a lot more complex 🙂

I did enjoy most of the characters in the book in general. Although I was disappointed at times in the relationship between Tris and Four in the second and third books, this is YA Fiction and what this quite famous series tells YA about relationships is that it is okay to deceive and betray your significant other under the guise that you are either protecting them or going to do something incredibly stupid, but only if you apologise later. If you apologise then everything is okay and that is healthy. It is only (I think) quite a bit through the third book that they kind of go… wait maybe this is not an okay thing to do in a relationship – then technically Tris does it again anyway by sacrificing herself for her terrible traitor brother who had previously tortured her.

Which brings me to the ending… what was the point of killing off the heroine? I have no problem killing the protagonist – I really don’t (hello Game of Thrones fan here), but I don’t agree with it when it has no meaning to the plot. In this case it just meant instead of celebrating we had 20 pages of Four being depressed and thinking about erasing his memory, he only refrained from erasing his memory when another character guilted him out of it. To be honest I felt like Four looked more selfish across these pages which was really frustrating to me when I had just been so proud of the growth the character had shown in dealing with his parents. If you’re going to kill Tris then sure have some despair, but make him quickly realise that he needs to make her death worth something.

Personally I would have had her survive the bullets, but be paralysed. This physical restraint on her would have forced her to stop being so reactionary to situations and would have helped her character grow and mature into perhaps a leader for a bunch of people who would be very scared and very lost at first. Instead of fast forwarding two years to see Four only just starting to get his life back together and scattering Tris’ ashes. I truly hope they change the end of the movie so that she either ends up like Professor X or she lives (less awesome end if she lives, but still way better than the way her death was played out).

Also can I just say that there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary death for a YA series! For instance there was really no reason plot wise for Tori to be killed off and then to find out a couple of pages later that the brother she though Jeanine had killed was still alive and well. It did not advance the plot at all, it just seemed cruel.

 

The Movie

I actually basically enjoyed the movie, I think the changes they made from the book in general were necessary to advance the plot appropriately. I think the changes to the ending made sense because you needed that show down Boss style – which I am sure was difficult for Kate Winslet while six months pregnant so good for you love!

The casting in general I thought was quite good, Eric was surprisingly good – when I read the book I pictured him differently, but they chose really well. Tony Goldwyn did well as Andrew Prior and almost made me forget that he killed Patrick Swayze in Ghost and then tried to move in on Molly/Demi, Ashley Judd as his wife Natalie was also lovely – some things were changed in her storyline particularly just before she died and I am interested to see how they adapt the rest of the storyline in the follow up movies to compensate. Kate Winslet did very well in her first “Baddie” role kudos to her. Shailene Woodley showed a great emotional range and I think did justice to the character – my god that girl has a lot of hair! Miles Teller as Peter did really well, the only problem was that because of some of the stuff cut out of the story you didn’t really understand how much of a psychopath Peter was so when you found him awake at the Dauntless compound it didn’t really make sense, you also weren’t really aware that he was one of the people who tried to kill Tris. One of the pleasant surprises in the films was Christian Madsen as Al, he was really good. I was quite impressed with his portrayal – this was the first time I have come across his work, but I am very interested to see what else he has on his resume. Particularly the last scene you see him alive… just perfectly played 🙂

Aside from everything I just said about the movie though I absolutely have to mention this as all through the movie it jumped out at me… apparently there are no blood transmitted diseases in that world because they were sharing needles all over the place! It was so noticeable to us that my co-watcher started saying things like, “here’s a little hep C for you, you want some too? Here you go sir, enjoy that hep C won’t you”.

It really doesn’t matter who wins the Divergent war if they are all going to die of bloodborne pathogens.

 


What a hot mess!

You hope for many things when you go through those first stages of setting up your blog, you hope it is a spicy hot roaring success, you hope no one boos you and you desperately hope that you don’t suck at it! Let’s be honest here… you want Tucker Max level fame. You want a blook, you want your blook turned into a movie… you pretty much wish for the stars because, well… why wouldn’t you?!

I am always interested in who visits my blog and how they find me so I check out my stats page generally once a day. So today as per normal I head on over to my stats page, generally my viewings don’t go up until later in the day as most of my readers are still asleep when it is lunchtime in Australia 🙂 so I wasn’t really expecting much… I was actually going to look at yesterday’s results. But before I could click on yesterday’s stats I got a little shock that I found under the “Search engine terms” area, please see screen shot below:

Umm... sorry... WHAT?!

Umm… sorry… WHAT?!

What the… WHAT?!?!

First of all… YUCK! Why is someone looking for that? Who wants to look at anything cut open.

Second of all… Wait… how the hell did they get to my blog by Googling that?!?!

So you know what I had to do right?

Seriously, it had to be done

Seriously, it had to be done

I had to! I had to know how and more importantly WHY that search brought them to my blog as I know I have not written about “smelly cysts” in… well… EVER!

So I hit the search button because at this point I certainly was not feeling lucky and held my breath. The results came back – 669,000 okay so that is not that high for a Google search, but maybe it was a fluke and I am buried way back in the results somewhere. Skim page one… SAFE! YES! Skim page two… SAaaa…oh shit. There I am… smack in the middle of page two.

Oh my god you guys!

Oh my god you guys!

The title that comes up really does not make things any better, no silver lining to be found in that unfortunate title at all. Just so I am quite clear… I do not roll with “grungy smelly cysts”. Grungy, smelly musicians… yes, but the smell is created by a fun day at a festival – not cysts.

What a hot (apparently smelly) mess! I am pretty much freaking out and thinking

So what do I do? I mean I am not about to delete all that content (which ranges across a few different posts) because I was happy with that content, so what should I do?

Then I realised that the only reason someone would be Googling “grungy smelly cysts” is probably if you had one and if you did have one you would probably be a bit sad.

So the only appropriate thing to do would be to write a post with a bunch of references to “grungy smelly cysts” so that my blog hopefully makes it to page one of the results next time someone Googles it 🙂 Let me know if I succeed if you dare to try it haha.

 

Loosely inspired by The Daily Post’s Ring of Fire challenge. I happened to be reading it just before I found this and got inspired 🙂