Sunday, November 11, 2007

Holy Christmas Batman!

So we all know that Christmas comes directly after Halloween. In fact, according to Hallmark, that evil card company that likes to make up holidays to make money and depress those of us who are single, Halloween doesn't even rank that high anymore. Its Christmas ornament display started going up at the beginning of October people. How ridiculous is that?

Now, don't get me wrong. I adore Christmas. It's my favorite time of year. I loved it so much as a kid my dad had to make a rule to limit my Christmas music playing fun. Not until the day after Thanksgiving could I pull out my extensive collection of Christmas music. There is a radio station in this city that started playing carols on November 1st. So much for Thanksgiving.

Now, on to my latest adventure. Today I explored Frankenmuth, Michigan, or as it has cleverly nicknamed itself "Little Bavaria" (i.e. Tourist Trap in the middle of nowhere Michigan). It's a cute little town. I did for a moment think I'd stepped into some little chalet town of Germany. It has a charming architecture theme, an impressive covered bridge and more chocolate hauses (sp?) then I knew one small town could hold. However, the town is not the main attraction. Frankenmuth is home to the world's largest Christmas store. One and a half football fields big. As my friend said when we entered the store, it is Christmas on Steroids.

The girl who adores Christmas all of the sudden discovered it was possible to have too much of it. It wasn't just that this was Christmas on Steroids, this was a Christmas explosion, of sensory overload, of a holiday so far beyond steroids it makes that enhancement look tame. One simply does not know where to look first. Not too mention there are hundreds of people moving in every direction possible. The store was not big on a traffic flow. Theme-wise, and this from a girl raised on Disney theming, less is more is a good rule of thumb. You have shelves upon shelves of ornaments, lights, Christmas trees, giant reindeer for the front yard. That speaks for itself. You do not need to line every inch of the upper walls and ceilings with Christmas bric-a-brac as well. I felt like I was under attack and the ceiling of friendly polar bears and penguins, cheerfully decked out in lights and garland, was coming down on me if I did not start filling my basket immediately.

That said, if I even need to find an ornament for my flamingo loving friend or a relative who can't get enough of his John Deere tractor, I will know where to go. If you cannot find it in Frankenmuth folks, it cannot need to exist. So enjoyable though it was to find a place so near devoted to my favorite holiday, I would have to say once a year will be more than enough to visit that Christmas Wonderland. After awhile a headache ensued from the colors and lights and sounds. Not to mention I'll be singing "We Need a Little Christmas" for the next week before I can drown it under my own personal Christmas faves.

So join me now if a moment of silence for our dearly departed Thanksgiving holiday. How we do miss you and the buffer zone you placed between us and this out of control commercialized Christmas that engulfs us from October until January (who are we kidding? We shop for it all year long). Personally, I'll keep to my dad's rule. Even the girl who loves Christmas (I mean, I can recite "Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus" off the top of my head...) realizes there is a limit to even her holiday tolerance.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Grad School is not conducive to blogging...

So, if you haven't figured out by now, graduate school isn't exactly a walk in the park for me. Obviously if nothing else it is time consuming. Besides eating and sleeping, I spend my time reading, doing homework or procrastinating (an exhausting activity in itself I'll have you know).

Apparently there is something called "impostor syndrome" in which you feel completely inadequate and like you do not belong in grad school. I am suffering from this and apparently it's not going away. However, I maintain my class schedule is designed to make me feel like an idiot...

I am an archives and records management major people. I do not need to know nor use algorithms to create encryption codes. I will promise to never attempt to....ever. The thing that irks me about this class is it's whole goal is to make us be able to discuss technical issues with IT people. Personally, this is not the most helpful skill to me and my future career plans. I would think learning basic web design would be more useful. Understanding how to utilize the tools of the Internet for public relations and to better serve researchers and the like. A class like that seems to be more useful to me that being able to simply converse on libraries and APIs and the like. However, I think I may just be frustrated and bitter at the moment.

However, I am approaching the point of the semester where I get to design my schedule for next semester. There is a class on the History of Books. I think it might be a gift just for me. My interest is more along the lines of rare books anyway so I'm going to cross my fingers I get into that class(I am the girl who hugged a first edition copy of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities while I was in England. I think I alarmed the bookstore owner...). It'll give me something to look forward to anyway!

In other exciting news, it snowed here yesterday morning. Who knew I'd miss Gettysburg's climate?!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

the bus

So, yesterday I sacrificed my lunch hour to attend a talk on tagging, blogging and RSS feeds (I'm in a school of information - this is what we do) and I've decided to tackle a blog again. To be quite frank, I'm not in such a cool place anymore (i.e. England) so my life isn't all that recordable so don't plan on a post every day.

Anyhoo, to get to the topic of my post, I take the bus to school every day. I have never taken public buses really until I moved here sans a car. I've also never met some of the people who ride public buses. I'm beginning to think this was a good thing. Oh, I've met some great people, old ladies who want to know my life story, the stressed-out students who look like they may go through the roof of the bus if you move too quickly but love a fresh ear for their latest project, the adorable little kids talking to anyone about anything. Then there are the fun ones.

While waiting for the bus, I've met my fair share and I've only been riding for a little over a month. Let's start with Hugo. I have no idea of his real name, I've never wanted to ask. He will always be Hugo to me. He's a nice guy, a little creepy but a lot of guys you meet waiting at the bus stop are. His accent is awful - I can hardly understand half the things he says (again, a good thing I believe) but he always has to ask me a million questions about my life, what I'm doing here, how I like it so far, how much my rent is. Never mind that I've answered the questions the same way every time he's asked them. Hugo though always has to hug me when the bus comes. Like I'm his new best friend and he's never going to see me again. Forget that I see him at least once a week. One of these days I'll have to ask his name... Then there was Patrick who introduced himself like this "I'm Patrick and I believe in the good Lord Almighty Jesus Christ." I like to think I kept a straight face. I also like to think I didn't worry him too much when I had to think about his next question and explanation, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ? I always ask that first because if they say no, I won't talk to them." You have to love the guy for his honesty. However, I wasn't really looking to be converted at 10:30 in the morning on a Friday.

However, while waiting for the bus is fun, riding it is even better. Take this morning for example. I was on my way to school and we stop and this kid gets on. Young kid, probably an undergrad student at the university. He sits down next to this woman who is reading and clinging to her bag for dear life, as if someone is going to get on the bus, rip her bag from her and then race out the back door. Well, this kid sits down and starts picking his nose. Doesn't even try to hide it and the woman's face is priceless. She starts to move away until you'd think she was about to melt into the wall. After a few minutes of hugging the wall and sending pointed, disgusted looks his way, she starts to dig frantically in her bag. She pulls out a tissue and hits the kid on the shoulder. He, coming out of what I term 'bus stupor,' looks all confused at her. Why would he want that? The woman, becoming increasingly irritated, starts to make gestures with the tissue, pointing at his nose. All of the sudden the kid gets it and kudos for his acting skills. He takes the tissue nonchalantly, wipes his hand and thanks the lady who looks so relieved to have finally gotten though to him that she stops hugging the wall long enough to plow into the kid when the bus goes around a sharp corner. The kid meanwhile has the good graces to have turned an unbecoming red and I'm trying to not laugh hysterically and make him feel that much worse.

Riding the bus is a fabulous people watching experience. It takes groups of people that would never normally interact and forces them into a small space for predetermined amount of time. It's been an education in itself.