A resolution to resolve

As promised, here's our Christmas photo:

Isn't it awesome?! That's our cardboard cutout of Captain James T. Kirk in the background, and I made the pie and apron myself. Jared's holding a collection of Christmas stories by Charles Dickens, and he added the lens flare for effect. We went all out for this one!

I'm still working on getting everything transferred to the laptop, so no new pictures yet. But soon! I promise!

Also, I wanted to share an update to a previous post. Remember Gueek Bkead Fay? Well, I was telling some friends about it and stumbled upon a sort-of explanation here. So, it sounds like it just means "holiday decoration" in Hindi, and specifically refers to a Christmas decoration. Not as exciting of a meaning as I'd hoped for, but it makes sense. But if I find out anything else I'll be sure to post it here!

So, 2010 is almost upon us! Have you decided on a New Year's resolution yet? I haven't yet, and I'm open to suggestions! Let me know what you think I should resolve to do (or not do) in the coming year, and maybe I'll pick your idea. Or maybe I'll come up with something else. Or... maybe I'll resolve to do nothing, which could be fun. WE'LL SEE!

Autumn is for not blogging

Hello friends! It's been a while, hasn't it? Seems that I decided to take an autumn break from blogging. I've been so busy doing all sorts of fun things, but never took the time to write about them! I have pictures but I haven't been able to upload them yet - we upgraded my laptop to Windows 7 this week, and I'm still in the process of transferring files and downloading programs and all that fun stuff. So hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures soon!

The biggest thing that happened recently was at work - I was transferred to the Hilltop Branch! At first it was very hard to leave my fabulous coworkers at the Main Library, but Hilltop has been wonderful. The staff there have made me feel incredibly welcome, and most of the customers are really friendly and fun to talk to. Even some of the teens come up to the desk and chat with me, which makes me feel cool and hip. Sad but true.

The holidays are fast approaching, and I'm trying to get motivated to start some crafts. I think once we pick out the tree and start decorating, I'll be ready to make things! Jared and I have some great ideas for a Christmas photo this year that I'm sure I'll post for everyone to see - I think it's going to be amazing!

What are you doing to get yourself into the holiday spirit?

Crazy on Twitter

Hey guys, remember back when I posted in January about @astrospace, the guy who freaked on Twitter? Well, he's still around - and still pissing people off! Thanks to an anonymous commenter, I learned of a petition to get the guy removed from Twitter altogether for abusive behavior. Not only is he rude and slanderous, he's actually stalked and purposefully harassed people. He's obsessed with having large amounts of followers, and he deletes the bad things he says to try and cover his tracks.

You can (and should!) read all about him here. He used the name @astronautics for a while, and now goes by @spaceastro.

So what do we do about this idiot? Well, there's the petition, which I tweeted about earlier tonight. I don't know how much it will do since he has so many accounts and aliases, but it certainly can't hurt to try. I hope that the women he called and harassed are seeing legal advice on what (if anything) they can do.

If you're curious, here's a posting that has the text of the blog post he deleted from his site that I mentioned in my first post about him - the one where he goes off about Twitter. You can tell by his writing that there is something seriously wrong with this guy.

I'm all about people trying to make a name for themselves online - but don't do it by pretending that you're an authoritative news source (when you aren't) or by hurting others with the awful things you say and do.

Culinary adventures

I don't cook at home as often as I should (for someone that wants to save money), but lately I've been a little more adventurous than usual in the kitchen. My latest dinner attempt involved imitating a wrap that I like to get at Shane's Gourmet Market downtown. It was pretty simple to make, and it's so, so good!


Chicken breast (I used the kind in the pouch that you find in the tuna section; any cubed chicken breast will do)
Bacon pieces
Wraps (I used sun dried tomato and basil, yum)
Spinach (lettuce will do if you're not a spinach fan)
Cheese (Shane's uses Swiss, but I prefer provolone or muenster)
Red onions
Dijon mustard
Ranch (Optional)

Everything is chopped and cubed, and put in the wrap:

Like I said, pretty simple. I put a little too much filling in mine though, and it was hard to roll up. But it was still very yummy!

Since I'd fryed up the bacon, I had some bacon grease left over - and I really didn't want to just get rid of it. So I sliced up some potatoes and fryed them in the grease. Yes, I know, not the healthiest thing in the world. But I've tried this before with butter and always burnt the potatoes, so I wanted to see if this method worked out better - and it was delicious!

A little bit of sour cream made these potatoes a perfect side dish. This ended up being a very filling meal and I'll probably make these things separately next time, but I was glad that everything turned out tasting really good.

I wish I'd taken some pictures of the tortilla crusted fish I made last week as well - Jared said it was really good, and that's saying a lot since he doesn't usually like fish. You'll just have to trust me that it was awesome. It was just some tilapia with lime juice and seasoning, coated in crushed up tortilla chips with a little butter topping. I got the idea from a Lean Cuisine that I really like - but I think my version is better (but probably much more fattening).

Do you have any culinary creations that you're particularly proud of? Any recommendations for meals that a newbie like me should try?

Gueek Bkead Fay

Back in 2004, Jared visited me in New Philadelphia for the first time over winter break. He only stayed one day, so I had limited time to show him what NP had to offer. Naturally, I took him to New Towne Mall, and then to Hog Heaven for dinner. While at the mall, we strolled through a crappy dollar store and found this strange holiday decoration:

Gueek Bkead Fay? What the crap does THAT mean?! Jared and I were at a loss. At first, I thought maybe it was some strange mistranslation of "Greek Bread Day." But if so, then both the U and K would have to be R's, which doesn't make sense. Besides, there does not seem to be any kind of Greek Bread Day that I can find a reference to. And what's with the reindeer? Are they an integral part of Gueek Bkead Fay activities?

So what does it really mean? It seems that we aren't the only ones wondering. Jared recently found this posting on a translation website about the phrase. There are suggestions that it might be Turkish or even Hindi, but nobody seems to agree or know for sure. The only other mention of it is in this blog posting - but again, there seems to be no explanation of what it means. The author of the blog later posted this message, stating that people had tried emailing him about the meaning of the phrase, and that he didn't know what it meant. Of course, it still makes me wonder why he USED the phrase in a post to begin with, if he honestly has no idea what it means. He must have heard it somewhere, right?

So it seems for now that the mystery continues. If anyone has any insights on the origins of Gueek Bkead Fay, please let me know!

RIP Billy Mays and library funding

I've had a lot on my mind lately, but no inspiration to post anything here until now. Truth be told, I've been busy with two other blogs this summer for our Adult Summer Reading Club and for our Main Library Staff Summer Reading Club. So poor little Ridiculology has been neglected - nothing new though, right?

Things in my world have been a little crazy as of late - and not always in a good way. It's been hard to try to not worry about the governor's proposed $220 million cut to the Public Library Fund. It depresses me to think about what kind of impact that would have on libraries across the state, and especially at CML. At the same time, it's been amazing to see the support that the public has been giving to libraries over the past two weeks. From organizing rallies, to sending emails to legislators and calling the governor's office, Ohioans are coming out in record numbers in support of their public libraries. I hope it helps - the decision on the budget is being delayed through July 7th, but hopefully we'll know something then.

So if I lost my job as librarian (which I certainly hope won't happen), what do you guys think my second career choice should be? Wedding planner tops my list - with all of the weddings I've attended and helped plan over the years, I think it would be a good fit. Just in the past two weeks, I've been in one wedding and attended two others! Check out my Flickr page for photos.

Or, maybe I could become a pitchwoman, and take over for my dearly departed Billy Mays. Somehow I don't think that would suit me very well, but it certainly would be fun to get paid to yell at people all of the time. Speaking of Billy Mays, I have to confess that I am very, very saddened by his death. This statement by the Discovery Channel and his partner Anthony Sullivan just breaks my heart. He was a great man, and one hell of a salesman. I wore blue yesterday in honor of him.

So, what else could I do? Rodeo clown? Underwater basket weaver? ASTRONAUT?! I need a backup plan, people!

What I've been busy doing

If you want to know what I've been up to lately, check out this post on our staff Summer Reading Club blog: http://mainsrc.blogspot.com/2009/06/main-staff-src-dessert-potluck.html

I recorded and edited the video myself - it's not great, but it's not bad for a first-timer, right? At the very least, I hope people get a kick out of it!

Stuck in a reading rut

It's time for me to admit the truth: I'm a librarian, and I don't read.

Alright... that's not entirely true. I flip through craft books and cookbooks all of the time, but it's not the same as sitting down and reading a book - at least it doesn't feel that way. I love books, I really do, but at some point in college I stopped finding the time to read books for pleasure, and it's been a difficult habit to get myself back into.

I know this might sound like blasphemy to many of my friends. But whenever I log into my Goodreads account, I'm reminded of how little I've read in my lifetime, and it's kind of depressing. Granted, I'm not listing the 60+ Babysitter's Club books on Goodreads that I read as a kid, but still. There's only a little over 100 other books that I can recall reading, and that's just not enough.

And if that weren't enough, I recently attended a Reader's Advisory training at work where staff were throwing out names of authors I didn't know, talking about books I'd never heard of, and generally having a wonderfully intellectual discussion about books and reading that I couldn't participate in. Sure, I know that I don't have to read everything to do my job, but it still made me feel very inadequate.

So how do I fit reading back into my life? Well, I joined a book club - I figure that's a good start. We're reading Dracula this month, which is a book I've always wanted to read. And to give myself an extra challenge, I'm reading it on my iPhone! I've never really tried reading an ebook, and there's a "Classics" iPhone app (only 99 cents!) that includes Dracula, so I'm giving it a chance.

What are you reading right now? Does anyone else have trouble finding time to read too?

Things on my mind

Haven't posted in a while, so I thought I'd share what's on my mind today:

1. Pepsi Throwback - it's good, but makes you realize how much sugar you're really drinking with it's distinct pure sugar aftertaste. I like it though.

2. I need a vacation, stat! I'm really looking forward to my upcoming trip to New Jersey to be in Julie and Paul's wedding, and maybe a trip to Chicago again this fall.

3. I love getting myself too involved - either at work, or with activities on my own time. I enjoy everything I do, but sometimes I wish I could hold myself back more. I guess maybe I wouldn't have as much fun.

4. Swine Flu - everyone needs to get the f over it. The regular flu kills way more people. So does pneumonia. And if we're talking about pandemics, don't forget about AIDS. Nobody seems worried about that anymore. But if you're looking for a good laugh, follow @the_swine_flu on Twitter.

5. I want to see a tornado. I don't want to be sucked up in a tornado, or killed by one, and I don't really want it to touch down. I just want to see a funnel cloud in the sky before I die. Is that too much to ask?

What's on YOUR mind today?

What else is there to think about on Saturday afternoon?

I was talking to a coworker today (Jim) about my favorite xkcd comic:

This was from Spring of 2007 - 2 years ago. It's still awesome, but I wonder what it would look like today? Twitter isn't even on there, and Facebook would have a much bigger space now. I wonder what other newer communities would make the map? And where would Cory Doctorow's balloon be now?!

Ada Lovelace Day

I wanted to sneak in my Ada Lovelace Day post before today is over, so here we go! If you don't already know about Ada Lovelace, find out more here.

There are so many amazing women in science and technology that I could go on and on about, but I ultimately decided to talk about Danica McKeller (widely known as Winnie from The Wonder Years). But Danica more than just an actress - she has a degree in mathematics, and is a published writer! Danica is incredibly intelligent, and she's making a point to let young girls know that it's cool to be smart. Her books to date are Math Doesn't Suck and Kiss My Math.

We live in a world where people, both young and old, often say, "Oh, I'm no good at math!" Why is that okay? Why is that acceptable? As Neil deGrasse Tyson said at a talk I recently attended, you don't often hear someone say, "Oh, I'm no good at English!" or "Oh, I'm no good at reading!" And that's because it's socially unacceptable to not be good at talking or reading, and it IS socially acceptable to not be good at math and science. If you haven't already noticed... this angers me.

Anyhow! Danica is my pick for Ada Lovelace Day because she is making it okay to like math. And she's gorgeous, and talented, and everything young girls want to be. She's the perfect person to be this kind of role model, and I'm so happy to see her writing books that kids can connect with.

I also feel I should mention that I used to own a shirt that said, "Algebra is for lovers." Erica = big geek. As if you didn't already know that.

Wyandotte Winery

Alright, so I didn't really do any of the things I said I was going to do yesterday. But I still feel pretty good about my day off - I relaxed (of course), did the dishes, and went out shopping with Miranda. After wandering around Target for a while, I had the great idea to go visit Wyandotte Winery. It's very close to where I live and every time I drive by, I tell Jared that I should go sometime to see what kinds of wine they have. Miranda was interested in visiting too, so we left Target and made our way over to the winery.

This place was really fun. One of the owners, Valerie, greeted us as soon as we walked in and invited us to have a wine tasting. We tasted six wines for $5 - I've never been to a wine tasting before, but this seemed very reasonable. The wines we tasted ranged from a semi-dry Riesling to a sweet apple wine (check out the whole list here), and all of them were really good! It was hard to pick a favorite. We walked out about an hour later just a little loopy and with two bottles of wine in our possession - the White Roses (a semi-sweet white wine, made from the Niagara grape) and the Sweet William (a sweet red wine, made from a mix of Niagara and Baco Noir). The wines were very reasonably priced at $9.99 to $14.99 per bottle.

For a first time wine taster, this was a very welcoming atmosphere! Both Valerie and her husband Robin were friendly and fun to talk to, and the other guests were just as laid back, talkative, and enjoyable to be around. I'll definitely go back here again to review it for Obscure Ohio, and to try some of their other wines as well!

Things left unfinished

Sometimes I think that I'm a completely different person at home than I am at work. Not my personality really, but the way I do things. At work, I'm totally organized - even to the point of being anal retentive. I can't stand to let clutter pile up at my desk. I keep to-do lists, and finish projects ahead of schedule. I am motivated and work fast. I'm... a better person overall.

At home - well, that's another story. My desk at home is a disaster. I'm a packrat, and it's hard for me to get rid of things that I don't need. I procrastinate, even on things I would enjoy doing. I have a million projects that I've started and never finished, or just never got around to starting. I'm completely unorganized in almost every way imaginable.

I want to rectify this, but I'm not sure how. I get home after work and I feel so lazy. There are so many fun things I'd like to do, but I'm overwhelmed by my options. And when I feel overwhelmed, I don't do anything. I feel good when I get something done, but I really have to force myself to be motivated.

I know I just need to pick something and go with it. Focus on that one thing, and when I get it done, pick something else. I also know that I don't need to be productive all of the time at home, but I need to get enough done so that I can enjoy the fun things, and not feel guilty about the other stuff I should be doing instead!

So today is my day off, and I'm going to try to tackle some stuff I've been meaning to do. Things like cleaning my room, donating some bags of clothes to Goodwill, getting my oil changed. I also want to start working on some crafts - March is (apparently) National Craft Month, and if I get some of my unfinished projects done I'll post pictures of them here. I haven't done any crafts since Christmas, and that's just sad!

Is there anything you're trying to work on this month?

Meeting strangers

I am no stranger to making friends online.

Back in 1995 when I got my first computer, anybody who was ANYBODY was on AOL. In fact, the door to my bedroom at my mother's house still has an AOL sticker on it that reads, "I'd rather be online." Chat rooms were all the rage, and 8th grade Erica found herself talking to people online all the time, in both AOL and MTV chat rooms. Nobody seemed to worry about sexual predators back then, and let's be honest; at that point most of them didn't know how to get online yet. I was just excited to talk to new and interesting people.

I remember the first time a boy PM'd me (PM = Personal Message). My little naive heart was all a-flutter! We agreed to meet in the same chat room again the next night at a designated time to talk again. I wrote about him in my diary and decided to email him before we talked again to tell him how much I liked him and see if he wanted to be my boyfriend. He never responded to that email, and he didn't show up the next night to the chat room to talk. I was crushed! Later I realized how freaked out he must have been when he got my email. Sorry, random AOL boy. :)

Skip ahead a few years, and I'm on my way to college. I signed up for a South Park newsletter through Comedy Central's website, and I slowly started getting to know some of the regular posters. The newsletter eventually got dropped by Comedy Central, but the members created an MSN group to keep it going and planned a South Park Convention in Colorado. I told my mom about the convention (she is also a big SP fan), and in the summer of 2003 we both flew to Colorado to meet a bunch of people I only knew through an online newsletter. It was a BLAST! Mom and I attended subsequent "mini" conventions, getting to know this group of people better and enjoying our shared love of a silly, dirty cartoon. The group eventually fizzled out, but I'm so glad I met them. In fact, two of the people I met through the South Park newsletter (and who met each other that way as well) are getting married this summer - and they've asked me to be a bridesmaid in their wedding! All because I took a chance and flew to Colorado that summer to meet some people from the internet.

Now it's even easier and more accepted to meet friends in real life that you know from online sites or groups. The same goes for couples. It used to be embarrassing to say that you met your significant other from an online dating site - now, it's commonplace. I know plenty of people that found their spouse on the internet, and are happy they made that decision.

Recently, Jared and I met two people who frequently comment on The Domestic Scientist. I found out they lived in Columbus, and started listening to their radio show, CaveRadio. When they mentioned on Twitter that they were going to play Dungeons and Dragons for the first time, I tweeted back and said that I was jealous - I played D&D back in high school and would love to play again. Without hesitation, they invited me over to play that Friday night. I brought Jared and Miranda with me, and we had an amazing time!

I guess I've just never been afraid to make connections with people online, even when it wasn't accepted to do so. Meeting strangers, contrary to what we are taught as kids, doesn't always turn out bad. Sure, there are weirdos out there, but the internet is mostly full of really awesome people - and I'm so thankful that I've been able to meet some of them!

How NOT to handle yourself on Twitter

A while back I started following @astrospace on Twitter -the official account for Space and Astronautics News. This shouldn't surprise anyone - I love space! And science! Yay! However, whoever running the account almost never tweeted about space! Or science! Very disappointing. Often it was about how many followers they had, and no real news. But I kept following them anyway, mostly because I'm too lazy to unfollow people.


Last night the person behind this account had some sort of crazy emotional breakdown, and I was there to witness the whole thing. Somehow, in a short period of time, @astrospace lost 8000 followers, and FLIPPED OUT about it. They started talking about how horrible of a company Twitter was, and how they were fed up and deleting their account. @jonathanstark posted this awesome screen shot of the whole mess. Minutes after that last tweet, the account was changed over to @zx152 - as of today, this account is completely gone, and the @astrospace account only has a few tweets, with the latest one actually being about space news. But last night it linked to a blog post which they claimed "this will be syndicated internationally on major news sites" and was basically a huge post of nothing but slanderous nonsense about Twitter and how the company is "scum" and should be shut down. Not surprisingly, this post is now nowhere to be found, which leaves me to believe they are full of crap.

So what's the lesson here? Don't be a dick on Twitter - simple as that. Sure, maybe it was Twitter's fault that @astrospace lost that many followers, but come on! There is no need to be an unprofessional, whiny, ignorant dolt when you don't get your way. The idea of perpetual beta online means that sometimes things get messed up, and you need to chill and go with the flow. Twitter didn't even have a chance to respond to this jerk, and I'm glad they didn't. The kinds of mean and hateful things that @astrospace wrote in that blog post don't deserve a response. The person behind this account only made themself look like a fool to all of their followers.

Check out this posting on the Get Satisfaction customer service site, and great post about the whole mess can be found here.

Listy fun

Seven things I'm obsessed with that I probably shouldn't be:

1. Harrison Ford. We all know this obsession by now, right? But really... the man is old. I have issues.

2. The smell of gasoline. I don't know why - I just love it.

3. Cream cheese. So, so bad for me. And so, so delicious.

4. Music from the 90's. Say what you will, but that's my effin' decade, man. I do love me some 80's hair metal too, but 90's rock just makes me SO happy in ways I can't completely describe.

5. An obnoxiously bright pink bathrobe that belonged to my grandmother. It's so ugly and yet so comfy and warm. So what if I look like an old crazy woman when I wear it?

6. Cracking my elbows/fingers/toes/etc. I will probably have all sorts of joint issues or arthritis by the time I'm 30.

7. Making lists of things about me that people probably already know instead of writing a real blog post. Wait, what? :)