Tag Archives: life

If We Make It Through December

Dear readers, I don’t think I’m being revelatory when I tell you that December can be pretty rough in Pittsburgh. (Author’s note: I just looked up the dictionary definition of revelatory to ensure I was using it correctly: it’s “revealing something hitherto unknown.” I’m sharing because this is my nomination for best definition ever.) The weather fluctuates, we get colds and aches, the sun refuses to come out of hiding, but still we carry on in what can be one of the more stressful times of the year. Here’s how I’m making it through December.

1Q84 is a fascinating read that I’m still not entirely through, but am comfortable enough talking about. I’ll be honest, friends, it’s kind of driving me crazy. It’s outrageously long and detailed, which is not something I need from Murakami. He always has been the type to describe meals and characters changing features, but at times this feels like overkill. That said, it’s as engaging as ever, and the dual point of view narration he utilizes to have the “star-crossed” characters intertwine is worthwhile. I still have yet to decide whether I like it or hate it – I don’t love it, because love should never put you through this kind of confusion. Or maybe I don’t know what I talk about when I talk about love (author’s note: that’s a bad joke), which leads us to Raymond Carver.

Carver is my jam. I just tend to forget that sometimes. It had been a few years since I read him, and if there’s anything better about being older, it’s that I’m smarter and able to appreciate things more. I devoured some Carver stories and have been suggesting others read or reread him on their own ever since – it’s not often you get to rediscover and re-appreciate someone of this caliber. I may have to check out that biography that came out last year, even if it did make him out to be a bit of a jerk. Then I can see how he translates to cinema, in Altman’s Short Cuts or this year’s Everything Must Go.

Finally, dear readers, if there’s anything like a quiet night reading at home, it’s being at the movies. And while I like current cinema (cue my monthly Nic Cage namedrop), I sometimes prefer until things are out in other formats, so that I can watch comfortably from home with friends and make my various witticisms without ruining others’ theater experience. While it may not be the time of year for horror, Rec and Rec2 (as in “record” on a camera) should be watched immediately regardless of the time. This is the movie that JJ Abrams wanted to make when he made Cloverfield, and the movie that its American remake Quarantine wished it could be. The dialogue is in Spanish, but don’t let the subtitles distract you, they aren’t saying much other than your generic “We have to get out of here.” It is the images that will stick with you, and probably keep you up at night.

That’s it for now, dear readers. Tell me what you’ve been up to this December, or if you want to talk about anything I’ve mentioned here today. Post below for interactive fun!

– Tony

P.S. Today’s blog title was brought to you by Merle Haggard. That’s two points to whoever knew that before reading this sentence.


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This is still your life.

Our latest issue of Pittsburgh Magazine just arrived with the most beautiful local bathroom on the cover, so I am even more inspired to continue where I left off last time I posted.  So you’re in the shower, perhaps you’re washing your hair (if you have it), pondering whether you should switch conditioners.  Maybe you’re on the last sliver of the lovely soap you got as a gift a couple of months ago.  When you’re done, the bathroom is all steamy

 What’s next?  Some might say it’s time to put on makeup.  Or perhaps you have a whole skin care routine.  Either way, Paula Begoun is going to have something to say to you in her latest book, Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, which just recently arrived on our shelves. 

Then, finally, you arrive in front of your closet.  (If you’re starting in the closet, and want to get out, we have books for that, too.)  Are you happy with all that clutter? Well, just like you can organize from the inside out if you should so desire, you can also dress from the inside out. If only it were that easy, though. All these little decisions: what color do you want to wear? Does that style make you look fat?  Do you want to go retro today? 

I almost forgot the undergarments!  If you’re as philosophical about underwear as you were about cleanliness, you should probably check out Jill Fields’ An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality, Hidden Underneath: A History of Lingerie, by Farid Chenoune, or Uplift: the Bra in America, by Jane Farrell-Beck and Colleen Gau.  And it’s winter here in Pittsburgh, so most of us would hate to go without socks.

Don’t worry, men, you are not going to be neglected completely in this post!  Some of the biggest names in fashion are men, for goodness’ sake!  Askmen.com has a style guide for you, as does Carson KressleyMen’s style can make a huge statement, so perhaps you’re ready to make your own.

Next time I post, we’re finally ready for breakfast.


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This is your life.

I was all set to do a post on beauty and fashion because for some reason, I have beauty and fashion on the brain.  The truth is, I’m dying to do a beauty and fashion program series here at the library.  But then someone told me about this, and I began to rethink my post. 

I think of fashion and beauty as a terrific example of how the library offers all sorts of materials on all sorts of topics, from the clothes we wear to the food we eat .  So I’m going to start my blog with the first thing in the morning:  the bathroom.  What’s the deal with this bathing-every-day thing?  Why are we all so obsessed with cleanliness?  Were we always this concerned about our odors?  Find out in The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History, by Katherine Ashenburg or in Clean: A History of Personal Hygiene and Purity, by Virginia Smith. 

But perhaps your morning thoughts are of a more practical nature.  Perhaps you walk into your bathroom every morning, and you look at the wallpaper and think of creating your dream bathroom. Or you wish you knew how to fix that dripping sink, or worse, you wish you had gotten to the bathroom faster.  (Now if that particular title doesn’t seem up-to-date enough, give one of our health databases a try.)  Do you see what I mean?  Every aspect of our lives on the planet is addressed at this library!  And we haven’t even gotten to the closet yet!  I’ll save that for next time.

Posted by: Kaarin


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