Happy Halloween!

Wearing my new @heruniverse Star Trek shirt + earrings today! Happy #Halloween !

Slow night at the library, as you would expect. Wishing I was home and marathoning some spooky movies.

But since it’s only 7:30 and I can count the number of people using the library on one hand, time for some Halloween reading/viewing nostalgia:

(full disclosure: I am not a horror movie person, I get scared too easily. Every now and then I will try one if the movie is very well reviewed, but usually I wuss out and just hide behind my hands until it’s all over)

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, Illustrated by Stephen Gammell: The pictures in this series were more upsetting than the stories and many of them haunt me until this day! And it’s a children’s book! Good stuff though.

Twilight Zone: Back in the day, the Sci Fi channel used to marathon Twilight Zone on Halloween night and I watched many episodes after the trick or treating had ended. Didn’t matter that they were in black and white, they disturbed me enough to know that if you can tell a story well, you don’t need fancy special effects to creep out your audience, just a good director/editor/actors.

Garfield Halloween Special: I don’t remember a lot about this except that Odie and Garfield get separated from John while trick or treating and it got way too creepy for little kid me. I think I watched this maybe twice as a child before deciding it was too upsetting to be part of the regular Halloween playlist. A quick Google search reveals I am not alone in being traumatized.>

Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror series: I own season 1-6 on DVD and they are always fun to rewatch this time of year. A good balance of comedy, homage, and spooky stories. If I’m home on Halloween, I watch these for sure!

Poltergeist: Not the scariest movie and I know it didn’t age well, but I still love it and it gives me chills every time the camera does that weird zoom thing in the hallway and you see it stretch out before JoBeth Williams, separating her from her screaming children.

Cabin in the Woods: This is about as scary as I get. I adore this movie because it takes all the horror tropes and cliches and just has a good time with them. Plus, Joss (yes you’re shocked, I know).

Okay, that’s all I can think of off the top of my head — what are you watching this Halloween?

book thoughts: October

I read a lot of books this month though most of them were graphic novels so this list will look more impressive than usual. My “librarian shame” is that I am a very slow, distracted reader and I tend to only read during my lunch break or right before bed…if I go to bed at a decent hour which depends on how much time I’ve spent goofing off online or watching TV.

Anyway, here is a rundown of the books I managed to get through this month:

The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett: An Origami Yoda Book (Origami Yoda #4)The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett: An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think this book was a big improvement over Darth Paper Strikes Back and slightly better than The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee. You can tell that Angleberger lives in the MD/DC/VA area because the students of McQuarrie Middle are being “punished” for the low score on the previous year’s standardized tests.

I like this book a lot more because it got the entire student body involved and there was just as much story and plot as there was silly Star Wars references. It does end on a cliffhanger, so be warned! I am very curious to see how Angleberger wraps up this story, since the tests that the students are rebelling against are nationally mandated now. Can he write a conclusion that is satisfying to readers?

You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack: CartoonsYou’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack: Cartoons by Tom Gauld
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hilarious collection of one page comics with lots of literary and geeky humor.

Adventure Time Vol. 1Adventure Time Vol. 1 by Ryan North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

These comics are hilarious. I do recommend watching the TV series first, at least a few episodes, so you know what the characters sound like. The dialogue is written just like they talk and if you know how they sound, it makes it that much more enjoyable. Also, make sure you don’t miss the little author notes at the bottom of each page, many of which had me laughing out loud. I also read Volume 2 which was good (though not quite as good as Volume 1)

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner PartyNathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party by Nathan Hale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love non-fiction graphic novels. LOVE THEM. They are the gateway books into finding out about all kinds of random history. Nathan Hale’s series is fantastic since it is written for middle school age readers, the age when most kids start the “history is boring” mantra. Get these books into their hands (especially if they are boys) and you will see students who learn to love history.

Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper (Amulet, #1)Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the first few pages of intense action, what feels like the opening scenes to a movie, Amulet pulls you in. Being that this is the first book in the series, the majority of the pages are setting up the rest of the series, but what a set up it was.

This series is perfect for those older elementary/middle school readers who are fans of adventure movies like Indiana Jones and Star Wars – where the plot-driven story moves fast and furiously in all directions. I’m on the fourth book now and the action has not stopped, and now you can include elements of Lord of the Rings and survival stories like Hunger Games in the mix.

Forgive Me, Leonard PeacockForgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Tried too hard to be cool and funny, lost me about halfway through, by the end I was disappointed, even more so when the final page was not a list of ways for readers to seek help if they were faced with similar feelings or problems.

How Not to Be a Dick: An Everyday Etiquette GuideHow Not to Be a Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide by Meghan Doherty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. Not at all what I expected. What looks like it’s going to be a totally ridiculous book on the cover, inside is just a simple guide to etiquette, albeit with more mentions of “dick” and “dickishness” than most Emily Post titles. The advice is great and if someone did bother to read it, they would learn some very good behaviors.

Veronica Mars Kickstarter Swag

Yay!! My backer package arrived! #veronicamars #kickstarter

My t-shirt and stickers arrived today! I have fallen way behind on my rewatch. I really wanted to get through the whole series before the movie came out. Still have a little while though. Still, excited to have the t-shirt to wear around and show my Veronica Mars/Kristen Bell love.

Dunc just posted about the new trailer which I’m not going to watch because I’m trying to avoid spoilers. Plus she says that it’s just all the love triangle stuff which I did not like in the show so I’m not super thrilled with it being in the movie. (I was really upset when I found out that Rob Thomas shipped Veronica and Logan…I can’t stand Logan. Plus, the show was about Veronica being awesome, not about which boy she picked…if this turns into some kind of Twilight bullship I will be very put out.

But anyway, t-shirt yay! And it mentions that I’m an official Kickstarter backer on the back of the shirt, so cool.

The Liebster Award (aw shucks)

V was supernice to nominate me for a Liebster Award which just makes me giddy. You should totally check out her blog Verbal Spew for all kinds of randomness about tv and film and being awesome and Irish. ❤

I haven't been blogging over here on WordPress that long and didn't even know my posts were entertaining enough for anyone to read, let alone someone nominate me for a sweet little award. I mean, look how cute it is:

liebster award

I mean, come on, it looks like a strawberry donut of luuuuv. Mmmm…donuts…

If you’re like me and new to these blog awards, here is the low-down of what a nominee/winner should do:
1. Post the Liebster Award graphic on your site.
2. Thank the blogger who nominated your blog.
3. The nominee is asked to write 11 facts about themselves.
4. Answer the 11 questions from the post of the person who nominated them.
5. The nominee will nominate 9 other blogs.
6. The nominee will then create 11 questions of their own for their nominated bloggers to answer in their Liebster post.

So, 11 facts about me:

1. I’ve had the username orangerful since high school.

2. I have a very faint scar on my cheek from when I was really little an apparently tried to shave.

3. I work in a public library and I have my master’s degree in library and information sciences.

4. I’m a Navy brat so even though I’ve lived in Maryland for most of my life, I don’t identify as a Marylander.

5. My favorite city is Boston.

6. I can roll my tongue, which is apparently not something everyone can do.

7. I played the flute from 6th grade through high school. I was Drum Major of my marching band.

8. I love to travel. I prefer driving to flying. I like the freedom of a road trip.

9. I worked at a radio station for a year and was an “on-air personality” (apparently that is the preferred term to “disc jockey” or “DJ”). I quit because, as you probably can guess, working in radio is less about music and more about advertising. Plus the entertainment business is a scary place.

10. I have an undergraduate degree in American Studies with my emphasis on popular culture and communications. In other words, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

11. I went to Australia for 18 days in 1998 and loved it.

**PHEW** Wow, that was more difficult than I thought it would be! I guess I don’t talk about myself that much. And now for the questions at V left on her blog:

1. What is your very first childhood memory? I’ve never really had a good memory so these questions usually throw me because I find it hard to separate out actual memories vs photographs or home videos I saw that reminded me. But here’s a classic: I remember trying to record music off of MTV by holding my boombox up to the TV speaker. I was at my grandparents house and “UHF” by Weird Al came on and I got so excited I leaned my boombox up against the TV and the knob went “CLICK” and the TV shut off. I had that tape for the rest of the summer and about 5 seconds into the song you hear the “CLICK” and then me sing – “oooooh noooo!” and the buzz of the TV coming back.

2. You’ve hit the big-time. You’ve just won the Nobel Peace Prize. You’ve won the lottery. You’ve gained fame by ruthlessly pursuing the monsters that kidnapped a family member. You’ve been put in jail because you’re just too damn good-looking and the safety of singletons everywhere is threatened by your freedom. They’re making a movie about you. Who plays you, why, and what is the movie called? I’d like Katee Sackhoff to play me in the biopic entitled “CHECKED OUT” about a librarian who has had it up to HERE with all these crazy people.

3. It’s midnight and you’re hungry. What is your go-to snack?
POPCORN! It’s not a very stealthy snack, but I prefer salty to sweet plus it’s an excuse to eat, like, half a stick of butter.

4. The old hypothetical dinner party conundrum. You can invite any four people, alive or dead, famous or not, to a dinner party. Who do you invite and why? Joss Whedon, Kristen Bell, Felicia Day and Dunc.

5. What do you want to be when you grow up? I have no idea. 🙂

6. What do you do to unwind after a tough day? Curl up in front of the TV with a hard cider, my boy, and Hulu.com (or if it was really bad, throw in a classic Buffy episode).

7. If you could be an animal for a day what animal would you be? A cat so I could just sleep and be fed and get belly rubs like my two bums do.

8. Do you have a guilty, secret pleasure that you think you probably shouldn’t? Like Reality TV, or Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen? Tell me! I don’t feel guilty about any of my pleasures. I have some pretty awful music in my iTunes – yesterday when the boyfriend sat down to use my computer “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls came up on shuffle. Gotta admit though, it’s still catchy after all these years.

9. There has been an “atmospheric phenomenon” and you wake up with a superpower. You can make yourself invisible at whim. Who do you spy on, and why? …I honestly cannot think of an answer to this one. Sadly, the first thing that popped into my head was to go to another library and see how people work there LOL. Sneak around into the backroom. But I don’t have any archnemisisies to spy on or anything exciting like that. Maybe I’d just try to figure out what the hell my cats do all day when no one is home to pet them!

10. I’m sure you have a lovely name, but if you could change it to anything, what name would you choose? When I was a kid, I hated my name. I think it’s uniqueness bothered me. No joke, my “play” name when I was a little was “Kathy”. I know, not really the most imaginative. But if I had to pick a new name…hm…maybe Leia.

11. Star Wars or Star Trek? If neither, you’d better have a damn good reason. LOL I guess I just sort of answered that. While I love both and don’t think it’s fair to compare them (Star Wars is really just fantasy in space while Star Trek is more true sci-fi, IMO), Star Wars wins for me. It’s been my fandom since before I was born. It’s just a great reworking of all the archetypes, a classic battle of good and evil. And I love the way it brings people together, especially at 501st events, all the different kinds of people of all ages who just love Star Wars.

And now I must nominate 9 more fantastic blogs!
simple tricks & nonsense – all the geekery, not putting up with your BS

Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys) – they watch way more scary movies than me but their quick and fun reviews have helped me find a few buried treasures

the westologist – probably the most intellectual blog in my Reader right now but I learn so much from each post!

Bright Line Cosplay – my friend Jess makes awesome costumes and she helped get me into the world of Conventions (and makes me wish I had the talent/patience/skills to cosplay). Lots of cool pictures of costumes she is working on and other fun stuff she has seen.

Lyle’s Movie Files – geeking out over movies, TV, and toys – my kind of blog.

Random Ramblings of a Devoted Fangirl – about as focused as my blog when it comes to spreading the love for all her favorite things. Always fun to have someone else to fangirl with!

the droid you’re looking for – well thought out examinations of pop culture…and some silly stick figure posts when things get too serious.

I know that’s not 9 blogs but they are all extra awesome so just pretend I posted 9 and click through and add a few to your Reader. There’s something for everyone!

Okay, eleven questions for my nominees to answer (if they want to, if not, just know I ❤ you):

1. You're walking down the street and a man runs up to you and says you're the next big thing and he can get you on any TV show! Which show do you pick?

2. What was the last album you bought (either physical CD or MP3 – but it has to be a full album)?

3. When did you start blogging and why?

4. Who was your favorite elementary school teacher?

5. Did you ride the bus or walk to school?

6. It's your birthday and we have a TARDIS and a magic gift card with no limit – where do you want to go for dinner?

7. Beatles or Rolling Stones?

8. What was the last game you played (video or board, depending on your style)?

9. What book have you read more than once? (and if you haven't ever read a book more than once, what book would you like to reread)?

10. What's your favorite t-shirt in your wardrobe?

11. What's your soda of choice?

Review: Will & Whit

Will & Whit
Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars.

Loved it.

“Will & Whit” is not a love story, though the cover sort of tricks you into thinking it might be. Though, I guess in a way, it is a love story, but not one of romantic love. More about the love with share with our family and friends and how it supports us.

The story is about Will, short for Wilhelmina. It’s the summer before her senior year of high school, so she has the worries and stress that goes along with knowing that that part of her life will be coming to an end soon. She leads us through her day to day life, introduces us to her close group of friends, and talks to us about her hobby of building lamps from random artifacts. She confesses she is “afraid of the dark” but you know immediately, by the way the shadows loom behind her, that there is more to this statement than a simple childhood fear. Something happened to Will, something painful that she doesn’t even want the reader to know about. Then the storm hits

What I love about Laura Lee Gulledge is that she knows how to use the graphic novel format to its fullest, not just illustrating her story, but by layering each panel with meaning and using the artwork to progress the story. It doesn’t hurt that her style is just gorgeous and very accessible. You can tell the characters apart, even in black & white. You can interpret their feelings as they smile and smirk and frown.

At first I thought black & white was an odd choice, especially when Will describes the dyed color of her aunt’s hair and how her best friend is obsessed with blue. But when the big storm comes and knocks out the power, leaving Will surrounded by shadows, the grayscale of the page is more powerful than a full-color page with muted tones would have been.

While it doesn’t quite reach the level of awesome for as Page by Paige, this is another enjoyable read for teens and adults that is a fine example of the graphic novel format and the potential for a different kind of storytelling hidden within.

View all my reviews

movie thoughts: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend (2013)

MkieBirbiglia_05

This is not really a movie. It’s also not really stand-up. It is a recording of Mike Birbiglia’s one-man play, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend.

It’s not hilarious. But it’s not depressing. Though at times it is sad. It is serious comedy.

For 70 minutes, Mike Birbiglia takes you through a small portion of his life, telling you, in his amiable and witty way, about his love life, or lack there of, from middle school up until now. While describing a day at he carnival with the girl he had a crush on in his teens, the audience groans, knowing what is coming, Mike says in his soft voice, “I know – I’m in the future too.” That sums up the whole show – Birbiglia stands on stage, telling us a list of youthful mistakes, the romantic missteps of a young adult, and his fumbling as an adult.

You will find some overlap with material covered in this play and Birbiglia’s autobiographical movie “Sleepwalk with Me”. But where that was a motion picture with actors and edits, “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” is meant to feel more raw, more exposed, since it is just Mike on stage, alone. And it works.

I sorta loved this play, the same reason you love sitting around with friends and after a few drinks you start to talk about traumatizing life events – you feel a bond knowing that we’ve all been there in some way. The pain of growing up, of learning to be yourself…yeah, it’s that kind of show.