30 September 2010

Light up my Room

I'm sitting alone in the dark of the pre-dawn hours: Crunching my numbers, stretching my dollars, exercising my patience.

The cold that creeps up from the hardwood floors has numbed my bare toes and prickled my skin. Or maybe it's the unnatural quiet of my sleeping house that inspires my chill.

But the dearth of daylight hours has driven me into the dark, where I'm buried under piles of paperwork; choking on never-ending lists and tasks and bills and chores; drowning under the weight of my own spinning thoughts.

If you sit alone in the dark long enough, you can start to forget what the light feels like.

But the sons will be up soon, dragging the dawn in their wake, bringing back my light.

Post Title: Light up my Room, BNL

28 September 2010

In libris, libertas

Have you read a Banned Book lately?

As in previous years, I'm celebrating Banned Books Week by whipping out my soapbox to suggest that you should.

I sincerely hope that I'm preaching to the choir on this one, but I still think a lot of people would be surprised to see some of the books that are on the American Library Association's Most Challenged list.

Even more disturbing is the fact that, most of the time, challenges to books are not reported.

The offending tomes are just quietly shuffled off of the shelves of your public library or your kid's school and you are none the wiser that someone has substituted their judgment for your own.

I can think of no reason to ever ban a book. If you don't like the content of a particular book (or, for that matter, a TV show or a movie or a radio show or a blog or any other kind of media) - then don't read (or watch or listen to) it. But you may not presume to take that choice away from others.

The only form of "censorship" should be personal choice. The bottom line is that we all "vote" for specific media content with our dollars and our participation. If there is no audience for specific content, then that content will not be mass produced. If there is an audience - even if you find that particular content abhorrent - then no government entity or private organization should have the right to prevent another from accessing it.
"When any government, or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives." ~ Robert Heinlein
Here are a few of MY favorite Challenged Books:
"Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth - more than ruin - more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world and the glory of man. " ~ Bertrand Russell 
And the ALA’s Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009:
  1. ttyl, ttfn, l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
  2. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: Homosexuality
  3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide
  4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
  5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
  6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
  7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
    Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence
  8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
  9. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
  10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Seven titles were dropped from the list, including: 
  • His Dark Materials Trilogy (Series) by Philip Pullman (Political Viewpoint, Religious Viewpoint, Violence);
  • Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz (Occult/Satanism, Religious Viewpoint, Violence); 
  • Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (Occult/Satanism, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Sexually Explicit, Violence); 
  • Gossip Girl (Series) by Cecily von Ziegesar (Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group); 
  • Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen (Homosexuality, Unsuited to Age Group); 
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group); and 
  • Flashcards of My Life by Charise Mericle Harper (Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group)
Also new this year is an updated list of the top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of the Decade (2000 – 2009). Topping the list is the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, frequently challenged for various issues including occult/Satanism and anti-family theme.


Truthfully, for that last fact alone, I would pull out my virtual soapbox. I love the Harry Potter books and I think it's criminal that someone would, if allowed, deny me and my children the right to enjoy them.

Free people read freely.

ex libris,

26 September 2010

Lived Well. Laughed Often. Loved Much.

My Grandpa would have turned 86 this week. He was a good man. And I miss him.


"He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction." ~ Bessie Anderson Stanley

24 September 2010

Achievement Unlocked

I don't care if it's "PC" or not, I like this. And not just because it features one of my favorite geek crushes.

Geek and Gamer Girls Song 

I guess there's been some "controversy" among the geek community about this video re: Geek cred, "real" geek girls, and the relative sexiness thereof. To which I offer a resounding: "Meh." It's entertainment, not a manifesto. Get over it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to playing Halo: Reach and Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening. These achievements won't unlock themselves, ya know.

Still geeky after all these years,

13 September 2010

You know the music. Time to dance.

If I go missing for a few days ...

... no need to send in the troops. I'm probably, um, working really hard. Yeah. That's it.

Ready to respawn,

07 September 2010

Camping By The Numbers: Part the Second

Camping by the numbers:

1 - The number of books I read.
2 - The number of fish caught and (eeeww) eaten.
3 - Number of days without Internet access. (The horror!)
4 - The number of miles we hiked with the kids on Saturday (earning The Professor his Hiking Badge! Yay!)
5 -Approximate number of times per hour The Minions asked some version of "Are we there yet?" on the drive to and fro.
6 - The number of people living for 3 nights in a tiny, tiny cabin. *Cue Minor Key*
9 - The number hours it took us to make the "5-hour" trip from home to the cabin. (Bonus: Number of people who threw up on the curvy mountain roads: 1; Bam-Bam, for the record.)
10 -Approximate number of times we lamented the fact that the car DVD player broke 3 days before the trip.

So, what'd YOU do this weekend?

There's No Place Like Home,