…Who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid*

I never thought I would say this but: Reading has been boring me as of late. TheHusband half-jokingly suggested that if all those things I once held true to my heart are no longer of interest recently (reading, writing to name a few), perhaps I may be slightly depressed. With as much upheaval we’ve had this year (new house, job, car to name but a few things), he may have a valid point. But I also do not think it is that much of a stretch of imagination to think that contemporary authors are also at fault here as well – this is not to say that all books that are published are rubbish or that there is no creative story engine left for me to graze on, but it does speak much of what is being pushed to the masses these days as literature. So it’s hard to escape into a good novel when said novel would be more worthy of toilet paper rather then reading on the toilet.

Recently while cleaning up the backend of the site, I realised that the Book List: 2011 page had not been updated since July and it was now December. The idea of a list was formed when sometime late last December or early January, I ran across a blogger who was documenting, by year, all the books they’ve read. I thought this was a brilliant idea, as I always think anything that involves making lists a brilliant idea, so I started doing it as well. My idea, however, was to take it one step further: Instead of just documenting what I was reading in list format, I would also write reviews, post them on my siteGoodReads,LibraryThing, and Amazon.

It’s wholly acknowledged that while I always seem to have brilliant ideas, I am also incredibly lazy. I did, however, half-heartedly attempt to keep track of what I was reading even if I was not writing reviews. I put the page in edit mode and spent some time racking my brains to figure out what I had read since those summer months. The list was not terribly long.

What exactly did I do over the summer that curtailed my reading? I have no fucking idea, but I do recall that much of what I was reading seemed to be terribly uninspired, formulaic, or I kept putting it on hold for so long that it had to go back to the library.

Take for example, A Discovery of Witches. Reviews and the summary dictated the book would right up my alley and with the mystery element built in, even better! But each time I tried to read it, there was always some obstacle on why I could not finish it. I kept thinking it was me losing steam, or since I tend to read before bed, I was reading the same 12 pages all the time, or I was not reading fast enough and as the book was from the library, every time I wanted to renew it for another three weeks, I had to return it as someone else placed a hold on it.

In regards to the book itself, I found the opening chapters were forming a stink of pretentious fuck twattery and that made me nervous. The writing was stilted and it felt like Harkness borrowed the template of heros/heroines character development from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

How? Well, while writing is is technically correct and there is some marks of brilliance in both books, the characters are outlines of human emotion and involvement, boxes for which to project ourselves on. In both series’, the main protagonists are too perfectly flawed – the heros more so than the heroines. It seemed that in order to give the males depth and character, to add texture their development as believable narrators, Harkness and Gabaldon give them enough of a bad boy backgrounds instead of letting the characters form themselves.

In the case of the heroines, the perfectly adorable, emotionally distant yet will succumb to the right man and yet also brilliant klutzy do-gooder whose shining career is now curtailed by the perfect cock – whom no one could ever love as much as the heroes, just reeks of Mary-Sueisms.

The other issue with ADoW is that it felt like the witch/vampire pairing, along with some of the other supernatural elements, were put in as an afterthought. It is no secret that Harkness knows the ins and outs of Oxford (herself a scholar of note), so she could divine the place with some realism, which is central to the storyline, but for everything else in detail of place/character/event, it felt very much that in order to cover up for her lack of knowledge of something, the creation of supernaturalism was the balm applied to her writing flaws. And that is one thing I’m getting tired of is using supernaturalism as a coverup but apparently this is what you do these days when you have a half-decent story and okay writing skills and you need to make the story contemporary and or sellable and or to use as filler.

If you’re going to write a novel, of any ilk, I firmly believe you must let the story itself unfold and not let the perfection of mechanics or tropey filler to dictate the direction or even, the life of the story. To force the story, so as seen in ADoW, kills the soul of the story. You can have mechanical perfect story but a wholly boring one that lacks of any interest to keep the reader engaged. I had a ton of friends who loved ADoW, but to me it was overhyped claptrap.

Much of what I’ve perused this year in books seem to fall under that same kind of ideology of mine: Book has interesting premise, respectably reviewed but yet when I got my hands on it, it falls short everywhere, so I gave up reading it after the first chapter or two. For ones that I did finish – please see quick review of ADoW above – could be replicated for The Postmistress and even my beloved Susan Isaac’s new yarn, As Husbands Go. 2011 was just a piss-poor of reading delights.

As the year progressed, it seems that I was having a harder and harder time getting into and digging novels of any kind, unless you count my brief obsession with cozy mysteries earlier in the year when I tore through those quickly. It should come as no surprise that after while, the series themselves tends to become (if it was not already) incredibly formulaic. The tales of Ms. Agatha Raisin were amusing upon first reading but how many times can she want to tint her hair, lay waste to her hunky next door neighbor or solve all the murders in the Cotswolds?

Despite my grumpiness as of late with literature as a whole, this has not stopped me from reading from cover to cover every week The New York Times Book Review, making a list of books to the various categories on my Amazon Wish List, following book bloggers and podcasters, or reading magazines dedicated to books and writing. I may not be reading books but I am reading what everyone else is saying about them. So it is not that I’ve thumbed concept, practice, or merits of reading or writing – but what IS causing the problem of my tut-tutting of what I am reading, I have no fucking idea.

Because my husband loves me and wants me to be happy, he bought me books as presents this holiday season. I also have loads (dozens) of books sitting on my to be read pile that I need to finish, not including the gazillion titles sitting on my iPad. I will continue to add titles to my Amazon Wish List, read the reviews from cover to cover, and listen with interest to the book podcasts. The goal, once again, to record all that I have read for the year and hopefully, just maybe, when I write the year end review of my reading habits, my claws will have been retracted and I will have finally escaped into a good novel.

*Quote attributed to Jane Austen, natch.

Everything you wanted to know about lisa marie rabey, but were afraid to ask.

I’ve talked, almost incessantly, over the years how keeping an online journal has influenced my life professionally and personally. 1 And yet despite the fact at how times (and technologies) have changed in the last decade, I still get amazed when my own interests often parlay into new opportunities for myself.

For example, recently I’ve become the go-to girl for WordPress based stuff. Several librarians at the academic library I work at have started using WP for professional and personal blogs, and I just happened to have been around when one of them whipped open the WP dashboard to their site. I said something like, “Oh, hey, you’re using WP!” and conversation stemmed from there of me giving tech-tips and know-how on how to use WP, how to integrate widgets and all that brouhaha.

Several weeks later in my digital imaging class, the museum my class will be working with wants to use WP for digital curation of our project — the catch is, the museum is just getting their feet wet on how to use WP and guess who is the only person who knows how to use WP in this scenario? You’ve guessed it — me!2 Because my WP dashboard is loaded to the gills with tweaks, gadgets and widgets, I showed them lib schooled. (and obvs. the dashboard) to explain some of the more robust features of WP and walk them through how things are done and what they can do with WP.

There are, almost literally, no limitations for what WP is capable of and I sing its praises loudly. But the one thing I thought was interesting about myself while I was showing colleagues and supervisors on the functionality of WP via my own site, is that it it dawned on me that I was ushering them into a vaguely private world where even a Google search for me will not bring up this site. I never meant to be completely anonymous with lib schooled. or even private, the content here was to be about my foray into obtaining my MLIS degree and boy howdy, some of the drafts in progress (like “Men I’ll never, ever date.”) having NOTHING to do with librarianship in the slightest.

Did I really feel comfortable showing this this data? Did they need to know that I have/had people calling me “god” for a variety of reasons for some time? That I have a fondness for Guinness, James Bond and Jane Austen? That I like to say “fuck” a lot? Is that information relevant?

On one hand, my line of thinking is clearly ridiculous. Since that ill fated day in 1995 when I discovered “the internet,” I’ve been obnoxiously postulating myself online in a variety of ways ranging from writing about my sex life, detailing very private information about myself to posting images of my tattoos and piercings3. I have left a virtual breadcrumb trail4 of who or what I am all over the internet — it’s almost like you can’t trip without finding me attached to something, somewhere.

So why was I suddenly being Ms. Coy, 2009 about showcasing my blog, let alone a blog about library school? I’d like to blame Google, but that’s the easy way out. I’d like to think that as I’ve gotten older that I’ve become slightly more sophisticated and mature about my online dealings. As I near the end of this long, hard journey of schooling (I’ve been in classes since January of 2003, have completed two degrees and am working on my third), I know that my online presence is going is going to be more scrutinized now more than ever by future employers.

In the the book Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences, Bowker and Star discuss using (at the time of their writing) AltaVista for researching candidates from their application pool and questioning themselves about the moral and ethical ramifications of their actions. They deemed it like snooping in the host’s medicine cabinet while at a party — you shouldn’t do it, but yet you do it anyway because the curiosity is killing you and now you have information about your host (they, perhaps, like to use KY personal warming lubricant and Preparation H (but not at the same time)) that makes the urge to snoop almost impossible to resist.

So even, ethically and morally, having your future employer search for you online– this is not to say it hasn’t nor will it be done, you can almost guarantee yourself that somewhere, out there, grunts are doing research on your application while you wait for that call back for the desperately wanted interview.

The world has become so tech savvy that we are almost heading back to the era of chisels and stones. Bowker and Star are not the first ones to discuss snooping online nor the ramifications of your employer finding out about your online activities and squashing them, ala dooce who got canned from her job in 2002.

In the late ’90s, the idea of an employer Googling (before Googling was even a household name let alone a verb) was not necessarily an uncommon thing, as written by demonika in the ‘zine F.U.C.K.Her entry is poignant — and speaks volumes. And it’s now been a decade, when are we going to realize that flashing our boobs on a camera phone is not necessarily a good thing?

Google searches for me bring up varied results depending if you use my middle initial or not. But what is telling is that you get scads of information that is slightly different enough and old enough that may not be applicable to whatever it is you are looking for about me. If you search for academichussy, you get a bit more about me way more current and even more so if you do a search for pnkrcklibrarian, which has become my new nom de plume to reflect my new obsession, you find almost up to the minute stuff. There are still people who search for me as modgirl AND lisa because they remember that at one time I owned the domain modgirl.net (which I still do indeed own and use). So what does this mean? What you find about me varies depending on what you currently know of me, how you search for it and figure out if it is relevant regardless of how dated it is.

You also have to take into consideration that you’re only getting a small percentage of the picture of who I am, what interests me in 1995 and 1996 (J.D. Salinger, IRC, R.E.M.) is different from 2002 (Aphex Twin, Tivo, Laurell K. Hamilton) which is completely different than 2009 (Elbow, Wii, Kate Atkinson). The bottom line? Employers who use data derived from interent searching are screwing with the possiblity that what they see is not necessarily all that what they get. It’s almost impossible to not be integrated somehow online without showcasing personality aspects of yourself that may not be deemed professional or appropriate. There are people, like my boyfriend, who reject social networking and web 2.0 like there is no tomorrow. Overall, I think making an employment decision based on what one finds on the internet is morally and ethically wrong — and also i think that making a personality call on someone based on what you find out on the internet is also morally wrong.

In short:

  1. This is going to be more than likely bite me in the ass.
  2. I am a hypocrite.
  3. I don’t give a fuck.


1.If you’re interested in how my journaling has changed over the years, the Wayback machine has archives for simunye.org [From 1998 – 2000] and modgirl.net [From 2000 – 2005]. The entire archive should be up soon (I’ve been saying that for years) at modgirl.net. WP now has the functionality to import my LiveJournal [From 2002 – present-ish.]entries into WP, which I’d love to do on modgirl.net instead of freakin’ doing everything by hand.
2. I’m now working on a special project for this class on how to incorporate WP and other open source software into a workable, searchable archives; with the catch being geared towards small museums/libraries (primarily, where the archival/tech staff consists of 1-2 people).
3. Which seems innocent enough until you learn that some of those images are not exactly work-safe. Employers tend to frown when you’re perusing pictures of pierced nipples.
4. Amazon.com WishList | de.licio.us: modgirl | Facebook | flickr: modgirl | Goodreads | last.fm: modgirl | LibraryThing: academichussy | LiveJournal: academichussy | MySpace: modgeekgirl | Pandora: academichussy | ravelry: academichussy | /.: simunye | Twitter: pnkrcklibrarian | WiiNumber: 6103 8766 7240 5040
5. I also wrote for F.U.C.K. during the late ’90s and you can find my articles there as simunye or at modgirl.net.

that’s great it starts

smoke is going up my nose. ick.

da’ chronicles is evolving. i get a new idea every other week or so, so it’s original content is certainly blooming. personally, i don’t think it would have shaped into what it is now if i had sat down with a story board and done it all in one sitting. i keep adding and changing the site content. please lord, if you are up there, don’t make me get a brand new spanking idea about design. i simply couldn’t handle it.

last night, after updating da’ chronicles, i went on IRC. i was thoroughly bored, and justin was downloading some update on his computer. he was intent on watching tv, so i got on-line and configured irc on his machine.

one of the channels i always frequent, is #philosophers. i get on-line and see the usual parade of souls that frequent the channel. one of the usual cast of characters, Eroticide, is on the channel, except he’s masquarding under a different nick. he says “hello lisa rabey” as if he is being clever. i had checked my stats and noticed that he had been to my site. i ask him what he think, and he says something about how pompous and egotistical i am. i ask him why he thinks i’m being pompous and egotistical, and he says because i own a domain (well actually three domains, but i won’t needle it) and i “plaster my journals on the web”. i started laughing, and i tell him that it is illogical, because it is. i’ve been keeping an on-line journal since 1995 (or thereabouts), and that’s hardly egotistical and pompous. he goes off on some lame rant, and i just kind of keep laughing. he’s so lame. i tell him it’s no different then his self-styled prose that he kept on his website. i tell him to grow some balls. he says ‘okay’.

the irony is that later on, i was checking my stats again, and he had gone back to my site a few hours later.

fucking hypocrite.

i’m angry.

i’m so ticked off, that driving over to el cerrito this afternoon, i started grinding my teeth. hard.

I spoke to michael this afternoon, and he asks how i’m doing. i say ‘fine.’ and he says that it sounds like i’m down in the dumps again, and i say ‘yeah, i am. it’s never ending. every year from october to february, i’m thoroughly depressed.’ and he says ‘maybe you have seasonal depression.’ and i say ‘yeah, i was diagnosed that years ago.’ and he says ‘maybe you need some sunshine.’ and i say ‘why do you think i moved to california?’ and start laughing. and he starts laughing as well, and then we make plans to meet on wednesday, sans justin and karena.

right when i was typing up the above, justin called and asked me to come pick him up. i picked him up at bart and he saw how depressed i was looking. i asked him what he wanted to do tonight (if anything) and he started throwing off the usual (tennis being the first one). I shrug my shoulders and mention something about going to Lucky’s to pick up coffee and bagels for breakfast tomorrow. He asks if I want to go to the bookstore, and i swear, my eyes lit up. I was thinking earlier today when I was running errands of going to borders in Emeryville, and decided against it. I just came home and started working on da’ chronicles.

so justin and i go to borders, and it is his idea, so we are not having issues about it. i walk around happy with my mocha freeze, and justin says if there is anything i want, to pick it up. for the life of me, i can’t remember what it is that i want, and i start to panic. i know i want a mocha freeze, so i get that. but as for books, i can’t remember which ones i was thinking about getting. i know that i have about 50 books in a pile that i have attempted to start reading and never finished. plus justin and i have our list of books that we wanted to get from the 100 best list. We had looked at amazon.com for the books and did notice they were noticeably cheaper.

so we are walking around, and i think i don’t want anything heavy, and he buys four sci-fi books to read, and i pick up some book. and we head off towards natural sciences and i pick up fermat’s enigma, which is about the solving of fermat’s theorem. basically the holy grail of the mathematics world. so i’m getting immersed with that, and we start walking around. justin is looking at computer books, and he asks me what MAC means in the PC terminology, and i say ‘i dunno.’ and he goes to explain it to me. and i say ‘oh yeah. each nic card has it’s own address that is independent of any other nic card.’ and justin kinda looks at me like ‘how did you know that?’ and i just shrug my shoulders and we sm00ch and keep looking around.

i walk past the humor section and see that Bill Gate’s Personal, Super-Secret, Private Laptop is on sale, and i think to myself that i gotta tell Traci about it because she loves anything anti-M$. and as we are walking towards the checkout, we head towards the periodical section and justin makes a bee-line towards computers and i head towards the chicky magazines. i flip through some of the somewhat decent ones and yawn. chicky mags are so damn boring. i start checking out the eclectical section, and i’m obsessed with the mag paper which is generated towards high falutin society folk in New York. and Justin makes fun of me, like he made fun of me getting a cell phone. fuck ’em and feed ’em fish heads.

the other night i was doing something. i don’t quite remember what it was, but it sparked me about being rich.

i mean really rich.

so i’ve decided, that being poor really sucks. that living hand to mouth is for losers, and that i’m going to be a millionaire by the time i’m 35. No more living in East Oakland baybee anymore. I will have homes in New York and oh, Paris. and be this great writer who writes scathing stories and I will have a Pulitzer by the time I’m 35 as well. Fuck this noise.