The Coolest

Happy Cinco de Mayo, y’all. I plan on drinking Pacifico and making guacamole and queso (don’t forget the Rotel Tomatoes, the most important part of Tex-Mex cuisine.)

I am so incredibly proud of you guys. Check out what you did for Oakland this week:

From Denise:

[readermail]OK, I donated the following items to the Oakland Public Library.

1. Pattern Recognition, William Gibson
2. No Disrespect, Sister Souljah

Because those are two books I’d like to read, and because the Claremont Branch of the Oakland Public Library was there for me during the Great Employment Drought of ’01. Thanks for reminding me of the vital importance of free and accessible literature.[/readermail]

Sweet Wendy wrote:

[readermail]I’m sending:

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS? (great science book, so they could use two of those if someone else buys one from the wish list.)

MY TWO UNCLES (well, they definitely need more than one. This one is about gay men, so religious freaks are always burning copies of this and smearing it with poo or whatever)

ALL KINDS OF FAMILIES (they SO need this. They probably have an edition from 1968 that’s all worn out. It’s about how not everyone has 1 mommy and 1 daddy and everyone wears bellbottoms).[/readermail]

From kaleidoscope at the kaleidoscope house:

[readermail]I went and bought “The Coldest Winter Ever” by Sister Souljah, because she knows what’s up.[/readermail]

And then she wrote back to say:

[readermail]yay… the article you linked to said that they’ll accept donations in person, so I’m going to give them one of my copies of Cuckoo by Madison Clell cause it’s the best graphic novel ever. Well anyway it’s pretty good :) i think i’ll just bring them a sack of books and be all “Pick the ones you can actually put on the shelves and give the rest back!”[/readermail]

From Abbey:

[readermail]I bought What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? because it could be a children’s book or it could be porn. Either way, it’ll make people happy.[/readermail]

Pam writes:

[readermail]Hey Pamie – Check me out, I bought “George Hogglesberry: Grade School Alien” for little Percival Shenks who dreams of his old life on his home planet Spaghettiolia every night. Poor Percy. Now I can walk around all day with a smile knowing Percy won’t end up naked and shivering in Roswell. Someone else understands! George Hogglesberry does!

Seriously, thanks for posting that, it was a pleasure to help out. Rock on![/readermail]

Wing Chun, boss extraordinaire, is also one of the cool kids:

[readermail]”How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?,” by Jane Yolen

Millions to Measure,” by David M. Schwartz

I got kids’ books because they need them more. And I got science-y ones because then the kids in Oakland can learn things about dinosaurs and space that I don’t know myself.[/readermail] newbie Sara writes:

[readermail]I recently starting reading your site and enjoy it quite a bit. I read your newest entry and sent Ideas and Opinions by Einstein to the Oakland Public Library. Since I am a science lover and librarian-in-training, it seemed the best choice. Unfortunately I’m also a poor student so the one book was all I could send.[/readermail]

Unemployed, still in school, hand-to-mouth — we all stopped and pitched in. I’m mighty proud of you guys.

Affilare, who believes in the power of porn, writes:

[readermail]Hey Pam! Great job with promoting the book donations. I bought “Making Masks: Kids Can Do It” and “Understanding Exposure” (which I believe is about photography, and not, you know, like indecent exposure, although if it is, then, oh, well). Maybe that kid will become the next Julie Taymor or Herb Ritts. Or Ron Jeremy, if… well, you know. Thanks again![/readermail]

My friend Jessica wrote:

[readermail]Subject: goody 2shu

that’s your new rapper name.

I bought Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.[/readermail]

Which means she’s finally forgiven me for posting that picture of her at my birthday party. I think.

The lovely Lemonbugg, creator of the alias “Pop Culture Princess,” also did a little clicking:

[readermail]Pamity Pam Pam,

“Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets” is on its way. I love me some Captain Underpants, and you can’t, CAN’T deprive the wee ones of El Cappy-tan. Happy people just don’t deprive children of Captain Underpants. They just don’t.[/readermail]

KJ writes:

[readermail]I hear ya, we’re hurting out here in Worcester, MA. We have a $14million deficit for just this city’s schools. I bought Jump Ship to Freedom for Oakland as my good deed for the day. Keep it up![/readermail]

Isn’t this exciting? There’s more.

Wendy gave the library a heads-up:

[readermail]I got inspired and looked up the library on the web and talked to the acquisitions woman who set up the lists in the first place, so she knows the books are coming and can change things on the Wish List if she wants.[/readermail]

So that’s why there was the sudden influx of Kelly Clarkson CD’s.

Amelia called me “dude.”


Today I pretended I was generous and gave the Oakland Public Library a copy of Tuck Everlasting on audio cassette. Now I feel pretty sanctified, and thought I’d tell you that the only reason I donated was because your entry regarding the matter cracked my shit up.

This way you can feel sanctified too, and we’ll both possess the credentials to one day overthrow Jesus and make Heaven a jointly-run feminist democracy.

Seriously though, I feel good about doing a good deed, so thanks. I chose Tuck because of the book to movie to Alexis to Gilmore Girls connection.[/readermail]

Phoebe writes:

[readermail]I bought “Count with Dora!” by Phoebe Beinstein, because I am an egomaniac and must support authors named Phoebe.[/readermail]

I knew Laura Maxwell in college. She does cool theatre things in New York. Now she’s entered another cool clique — the Oakland Book Buyerz. Seriously, could she get any cooler?

[readermail]I bought Heather Has Two Mommies. Take that, Jesse Helms![/readermail]

Tygerchild is also a coolio:

[readermail]You certainly know how to guilt someone and make them feel really good at the same time, don’t you? That is a fabulous talent – don’t ever lose that.

I donated “Dora’s Adventure” or something – it was a Dora the Explorer book. I did it for two reasons; one, my cousins are obsessed with Dora the Explorer, who is a terrific little bilingual animated kid, and two, because I don’t have much money right now and it was the most affordable donation. I hope there are other readers who were more generous than I was able to be!

Thanks for bringing the problem to light. I’m going to look around Amazon now to see if any other libraries have a similar idea.[/readermail]

Jenn made like Bert and Ernie, and shared:

[readermail]Okay, Okay, you guilted me into it :)

Actually, it is a really good idea although I do sort of wonder at their book choices some of them but hey, they know what their patrons will want. I do admit I did not send a book, shame of shames, I sent a video:

Sesame Street-Learning About Letters

Why? After scanning all pages of requests it was the obvious choice. I loved to read as a child and still do. I remember watching Sesame Street with my mom daily. Also, you can’t read any books without knowing the basics: it all starts with the letters man! …er, woman ;-)

Anyway, I did it, there, I’ve done something good for a place across the continent from me.[/readermail]

Dave, my old smoke-break buddy back when I was working for the corporate machine, the only thing that made IBM seem like it wasn’t killing my soul, holla’d back:

[readermail]I purchased “How Do You Know What Time It Is?” by Robert E. Wells.

Although I’m a tad bit disappointed that it, in fact, has nothing at all to do with Morris Day – I’m still sure some kid will find it useful.[/readermail]

Check out the cool points on Robyn:

[readermail]Actually, I bought three books. Michael Connelly’s “Lost Light”, because Michael Connelly rocks. And then I was going to check out, but Amazon was all “Hey, look! These are some other items from Oakland Public Library’s Wish List! ::puppydogeyes::” So I added “Last Dance, Last Chance” by Ann Rule, because every library should have a little Ann Rule. And THEN I was going to check out, but Amazon said “Wait! If you add another $1.69 to your order, you get free shipping!” Since I’m a sucker for the free shipping, I added “Come Away With Me”, Norah Jones’s CD, to the list. Which cost more than the shipping would have, but that’s not really the point. I GOT THE FREE SHIPPING.

So, there. I hope Norah, Michael, and Ann help keep little Shanaynay off the crack. :)[/readermail]

Jennifer helped, too:

[readermail]I couldn’t resist “helping” the children of Oakland by ordering the VHS copy of “Once Upon a Potty for Her” based on this description provided by Amazon:

“contains a music video of ‘The Potty Song’…..complete with toddlers frolicking around portable potties…while singing ‘Wee-wee goes there/Poo-poo goes there/Then Daddy wipes behind me and that is that.”[/readermail]

Amy Mingo added some cool points as well:

[readermail]Hey! Just wanted to let you know that I donated Lemony Snicket’s The Bad Beginning to the Oakland Public Library. It should arrive within the week! Yay! I love reading and loved my local public library as a kid. As an adult, I love book clubs and online ordering.[/readermail]

Eileen gave twice:

[readermail]Thanks, Pamie…what a great idea. I sent Tuck Everlasting because my fifth grade students are reading it right now, and “The Bee Gees–Their Greatest Hits” because

1) how funny is that and

2) if a library in Oakland wants that CD, they really should have it.[/readermail]

Gwen sent:

[readermail]Ruler of the Courtyard.[/readermail]

And even mentioned the book drive on her own site.

Our cool kids clique is getting huge. Brood just joined up with:

[readermail]I read Squishy. I went to Amazon. I done did donated a book (and yes, I did just type “done did donated”…it’s been a long day) entitled “Love Speaks Its Name: Gay and Lesbian Love Poems” off of the Piedmont Branch Wishlist. I decided to do it because…well, you told us to. Yes, I am that impressionable.

Seriously, though, I love books. I figured, “I have the money. It’s not going to kill me to donate a book.” Also, you’re hypotheticals had me in stitches, so I figured I should at least follow your advice for giving me a moment’s laughter at work. Should “moment” be hyphenated there? I don’t know. I’ll do it anyway. Mwah ha ha!

Right. I’m coming off as scary. Sorry. But, anyway, I donated a book at your request.[/readermail]

ChickenGrrl writes:

[readermail]Well, chica, you successfully guilted me into sending the Oakland Public Library a book. I don’t even know how you did it, since I would normally prefer to support my local libraries! But I sent them a copy of World As I See It, by Albert Einstein. I figured, hey, my mom has a second home in San Francisco; close enough! I read through all three lists, hoping to find something I’d read and loved to share, but didn’t find much that struck me, so I thought sending something by Einstein would be the second coolest thing I could do![/readermail]

Janice loves a good jokey author name as much as I do:

[readermail]Hi Pamie – FYI, I sent a copy of ZOOM! by Robert Munsch (yes!) to the Oakland Public Library. I hope the kids will enjoy it![/readermail]

Now if Bob’s first name was “Butt,” we could be sure the kids would check that book out of the library every single day.

Thunder Road sent over:

[readermail]These are the books I purchased:

“Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space”

“Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets: Another Epic Novel (Captain Underpants (Paper))”

I went back and reread your entry and realized you had mentioned Captain Underpants specifically. I guess we are on the same wavelength. As to the “why” – come on? It’s called Captain Underpants!![/readermail]

From Iris (“You know Iris.”), who asked me to link to William Gibson’s blog in lieu of a journal says:

[readermail]Thank you for linking to the wishlists for the Oakland Public Library. Who am I to resist the call for books? I’ve gotten more than my fair share of pleasure from libraries – now it’s time for me to give back to them. Besides, your descriptions of what people will be missing without these vital books were too damn funny.

William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition is on the way to the library, because I thoroughly enjoyed that book. I was lucky enough to hear him read from it and get him to autograph my copy…which I can’t share with the library, but maybe someone else will discover the delights of his writing and will hear him speak in the future.

Then, because I fully buy into Amazon’s marketing gimmick (a.k.a. SuperSaver Shipping), a copy of The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth is also on the way to the library. Because there definitely should be more books about sex where people can get to them easily. Like poor little Misty.[/readermail]

Squishite ninja and “I Never” master rowEn writes:

[readermail]I just ordered two books for the library. Pilates for Dummies…well, because I actually want that book and will probably go buy it today. Everyone should be healthy, right? I also ordered The Da Vinci Code when I read the note. 67 people waiting for 8 copies of a book = a long ass wait. Hopefully one more book will make the list go a bit faster.

Thank you for all the book links…I actually DO feel good about it![/readermail]

Diana, of Field Notes, writes:

[readermail]That was a really good idea. I gave E=mc2: A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation. I used to love biographies as a child, and it was either that or the story of J.Lo.[/readermail]

J. Lo can donate her own books. Although when I was in line at Ralph’s the other day, staring at it, I must admit I was tempted to pick up a copy. I mean, that’s some funny shit to have sitting on your coffee table. And who knows when I’m going to do an Anne Heche sequel.

Ahem. Back to the cool kids.

Sele writes:

[readermail]What a wonderful project for you to support & tell your world about. The Montclair Branch will be getting a couple of children’s things from me: the book Little One Step and the video Baby Van Gogh.

I’m going to mention this project to my own underfunded local library.

Thanks to you and Beth at The Usual Suspects a child will get to enjoy these.[/readermail]

Trash, from everyone’s favorite Velcrometer, went above and beyond the call of duty: (hee-hee. duty. doodie.)

[readermail]Anyway, yes we bought some books (ummm — I think a total of 5 or 6, all kids. And at least 2 were Lemony Snicket books)[/readermail]

Shmuel is helping someone become the next American Idol:

[readermail]A CD of “Thankful,” by Kelly Clarkson, is being shipped off to the Montclair Branch Library. ‘Cause I’m all about the pop culture, plus I voted for her on American Idol last season, and, most importantly, I’ve taken out plenty of CDs from the library in my time.[/readermail]

Lurking over at The Usual Suspects, we see that Iko helped out, too:

[readermail]Thanks Beth and Pamie for the information!

An unabridged audio version of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is now en route to Oakland, California. I hope it turns someone else on to the amazing world of Gaiman’s work.[/readermail]

Wow! This doesn’t even count those of you who wrote to say you were contacting the library to send donations of your own books, or to order through a different bookstore and have them sent over.

Thanks a lot, everybody.

Also, if you’re in (“you’re in!”) the Oakland area, here’s some news for you:

[readermail]I thought you might like to know that the Piedmont branch (located at 160 41st Street, 510-697-5011) is having a big book sale on Saturday, May 10, from 10 to 3. Plenty of cheap books for a good cause. Please pass the information along to anyone looking for alternative or additional ways to support OPL.[/readermail]

Okay, so maybe you didn’t get a chance to donate a book. Maybe you’ve now been inspired to send a book or CD. Do it! Let me know. I’ll still post your name and site and label you cool. How many times have you been called cool for being in a book club? I’m just sayin’.

From lofty to shallow…

I’m so upset that they’ve cancelled Inhale on Oxygen. Now I’ll have to use the same three episodes saved to my TiVo. Why would they cancel my pretty, pretty yoga show?

I won this gym membership to Bally’s recently, and I drove down to the Hollywood Bally’s. There is no greater representation of opposites than the words “Hollywood Bally’s” and then the image of what that building actually is.

Somehow I was the only person in the pool area who wasn’t a:

  • A. Elderly Russian Man
  • B. Elderly Asian Woman
  • C. Serious Asian Teen
  • D. Slow-Moving Elderly Woman With Goggles, Ear plugs, Nose plug and no sense of direction and a love of the awkward backstroke
  • E. Weird Creepy Guy With Goggles Sitting In One Place Bobbing Underwater For Long Periods Of Time

And for some reason the entire gym is wrapped around the pool, so you’re on display for all of the stationery machines. People just run in place and stare at you in your swimsuit.

I got over it, trying to remember that one rule: “You’re the only one who thinks about your body that much. Nobody else cares.” Except in LA, it’s not always true. Usually? They are all looking at you.

After swimming a few laps (me and the Serious Asian Teens took a few turns, but they got really impatient with me, so I had to novice it over with the Elderly Russian Men, who were much more accomodating), I decided to sit in the sauna for a while.

I walked in and all conversation stopped. I moved to the back of the room and sat down. It was pretty full of men talking in many different languages when I first entered, but they all started to quiet down, staring at me every once in a while. Sometimes one would jerk his head over and cock his head to the side, squinting.

And I’m all, “Y’all. I’m a girl in a swimsuit and a towel. Let’s try to deal, creepies.”

So eventually I got up and left, and I could hear the conversation start up again as I hit the door. I walked over to the women’s locker room and noticed… wait for it…

The women’s sauna.

So, yeah. I totally crashed the men’s sauna. All things considered, they were very friendly to me. Nobody tried to kick me out, they stopped all their dirty men talk when I came in and not one of them made me feel nervous. I swear I thought there were other women in the sauna when I walked in, but now that I think about it, I think they might have just been men with boobs.

The Hollywood Bally’s. So sexy.

I can’t go back to that pool without some serious protective gear though, because my eyes were bleeding from the chlorine for the next two days.

What the hell is my point about my gym adventure? I don’t know. I share too much with you. That’s the point.

So…um, y’all sure donated hella books, huh?

When I was totally unemployed here in Los Angeles not very long ago (and kind of every three weeks I feel rather unemployed again), the one saving grace I had was the library. I’d spend hours there and check out so many books. It’s how I started teaching myself French, how I learned about Chomsky and Allison’s beloved P.G. Wodehouse, and how I found Good In Bed.

Again, why am I still talking?

Thanks for buying the books. I’m proud of you.

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The Bone People.

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