Day 20: HP7 Party Update-8 pieces of 7, The End of an Era

So I have decided to throw a Harry Potter Party after all…

Here  is the menu, what does everyone think?

Happy Hour- 6:00-7:00 pm
In honor of our valiant hero trio we will be enjoying Ménage Trois wines throughout the evening.

…Gillyweed Salad (Seaweed Salad)
with toasted sesame seeds and orange slices-V

Dragon Rolls (sushi)

Rosé and Lake Water (Green) Tea

First Course 7-7:30 pm
Pumpkin Soup with roasted sage and garlic-V

Main Course- 7:45 pm
Bangers and Mash
with roasted onion gravy and baked beans

Rumbledthumps-V
Potatoes, cabbage, leeks, cheese, cream, chives

Dragon Tofu-V*
Zucchini, tofu, yellow squash, garlic, spinach, peanuts, cashews
This dish is spicy.

Red and White Proprietary Blends

Dessert- 9:00 pm
Pumpkin Pasties

Treacle Tart

Butterbeer
Cream soda, butterscotch schnapps, vanilla ice cream

English Tea

V= Vegetarian
V*=Vegan

I am actually pretty stoked about it! I got my ticket the other day, to the 12:05 am show, and I ordered formal invitations that are going out Wednesday…this is going to be awesome!!! I just hope I am not in over my head…

I know, I know, I am a mega nerd…I don’t care. 🙂

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Day 14: Awesome Books

If you find yourself in the Bloomfield/Garfield/Friendship section of Penn Avenue, you will no doubt see this sign looming outside a small shop next to SPAK BROS. PizzaIf you have not seen the sign, you can’t miss the spot where this little artist owned bookstore, Awesome Books, is hiding. Nestled between two of Penn Avenue’s brightest attractions this new little gem is not to be missed. With scads and scads of used books on site, and a thousand more in storage, Awesome Books is everything that the modern book industry is missing.

As I have said before, I work for Borders, and I just about died when I got the job, I was so excited. I remember when I interviewed, the manager that I met with told me the pay–$6.25/hour to start, as a cashier, and I was crushed. I wasn’t going to leave a $16+/hour job as a waitress to work for $6/ hour as a cashier. I had a degree! I had retail experience! I was a manager damn it! (Lucky for me I put that out there and got hired at a bit higher of a rate, as a supervisor.) But I really wanted to work in a bookstore. Something she said to me when she told me my wage has stuck with me for all of these years and although I still find it as pretentious now as I did that day, it still rings true–to some extent. She said to me, “People don’t work here for the money; they work here because they love books.” And that is true. The pay sucks, the benefits suck, and often your discount sucks, BUT the people who work there love books.

Now I am sure you have all seen the news spewing the terror that is besetting Borders Inc. It often makes me sad to think that the company is in such dire straights and there is the looming risk of closure. But in toady’s reader market, small business is where the money is. More often than not our store is treated more like a restaurant, a library, a school, a concert hall, and a phone booth than it is a bookstore. People don’t buy any more. Thousands of titles sit on the shelves to be skimmed over, spilled on, spines broken, and pages folded never to be purchased because online venues can sell it to them cheaper or they can downloaded it for practically free. Places like Borders are used by the masses to get out of the house for the night and get a cup of coffee for $1.85.

However, since the money problems really started to show at Borders, I have been telling my co-workers that their saving grace is going to be stock reduction and specialization. Focus on what is really selling in your area, reduce the quantities of stock that is not selling, and get rid of the music, movies, and cafe. Do what you are there to do–sell books. And that, my friends is what Awesome Books is doing.

You can see Gillian, the attendant that helped me today, working on a mosaic in the back.

When you walk into Awesome Books it feels like you are walking into someone’s home library. You can smell the paper, and the cloth, and the dust, and the wood of the floors, not burnt coffee and Chlorox. It is quiet, like a bookshop should be and warm. The homeyness is amplified by the cats  playing in the corner and under your feet, and the single employee sitting on the couch working on some art project or another.

The selection is small, but comprehensive, and everything is used. They have new and old titles alike in everything from falling apart to like new condition. And like any corporate books store out there, they can get you anything you want, if you are willing to wait a bit. Quick story. A few weeks back I went in with a list of books I needed for my book club and began to hit the shelves. They had none of them, and I was surprised, because many of them were popular or classic titles. That day Laura Jean McLaughlin, one of the owners, was working, and I began to ask her about some of the titles. She was so kind. She took down the titles and authors that I was looking for and took my number and told me she would give me a call if any of them came in. I wrote it off as never going to happen and began looking elsewhere for the titles. Wouldn’t you know it, just under a week later, she called me back to tell me she had two of them in stock! I couldn’t get it from Amazon that fast! And what struck me was that she remembered and actually called back. In a big corporate bookstore, even with computers reminding us everyday of who needs a phone call, we are lucky if we can remember to email. And here this woman was offering me personal service for a used book, from a list she had written down on some scrap of paper.

This is what is missing from chain stores, and it is something that they will never have…heart. The employees have it, but the store never will, because there are a thousand clones of it all around the world. And with the pressures of big business, and contracted coffee shops, and political correctness, and looming foreclosures, all the book loving people in the country could work in your storefront and you won’t have the warmth you feel at a small privately owned shop.This is where the business needs to move to, they need to de-evolve. Borders, you have taken on too much, and you need to step down. Let go of what is not selling and stick to what you are good at–selling BOOKS.

Here is a quick tour of Awesome Books, on Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh:

Window seat one,

Windows seat two. Oh, and that is poetry hiding on that little bookshelf.

Fiction, Bios and new arrivals (the rolling cart and top shelf boxes down the center aisle)

Art, Children's , Poli-Sci and others...

Psychology and Sociology there on the right and that little shelf had VERY OLD books on it along with music titles and an portrait of Walt Whitman on the wall.

Ms. McLaughlin's studio in the back

The cats.

I want to say I am not completely knocking where I work…I really do love that place, but in this day and age, when so many people are clinging to their e-books, those of us who need the touch, the taste, the smell, the heart of a real, live book–and it truly is a need–we need a place like Awesome Books. We crave a place where our friends, enemies, lovers, and muses can live, and thrive and have their adventures in a place that is just for them. No music, no movies, no download kiosks and no coffee shops. If you want coffee, buy a book at Awesome Books. You get a free cup from Oh Yeah! Ice Cream with every purchase.

Go mooch off them for a place to hang out.

Day 13: Perks revisited…

This will be a quick one, as I have a ton of work to do today.

Here are some pictures of the building where they were shooting Perks a few weeks ago. Enjoy! (warning…these are boring, but I thought it might be nice to have a reference point when you are watching the movie 🙂 )

 

Oh how did that get in there?? 🙂

Isn’t he a cutie 😉

 

Day 9: A recipe…

So I am thinking of throwing a Harry Potter Party for the last movie release… but I am not sure I want the fuss. Primarily I want an excuse to make all the wonderful Harry Potter food in the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Although, today’s recipe is not in there…

Today, or tonight we are making butterbeer. 🙂

Enjoy!

Butterbeer-for grown ups

Ingredients

  • Butterscotch Schnapps
  • Cream Soda
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • butter (optional)–use real butter

Directions 

  1. In the bottom of a pint glass place 1 small scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  2. Add 2-3 jiggers of butterscotch schnapps.
  3. Top, carefully*, with cream soda.
  4. If you choose you can swirl in a half tsp of melted butter (use salted to bring out the flavors) to finish it off.

*the purpose of the ice cream is to create the beer foam head. As with any float it will foam a lot so keep that in mind as you pour.

Day 6: The Line

A few weeks ago I was looking for a new title by an up and comer and based on my previous purchases online (they are tracking everything you know…) The Line by Teri Hall was recommended. This book is a whopping 244 pages and is written in size 14 font and yet I have been reading it for going on 2 months now and am only a ⅓ of the way through it. Now I will be the first to admit that since I have had a child the energy  I can devote to reading has been drastically reduced, but still. I just can not get into it. And it SUCKS because I had such high hopes for it.

The story so far is very boring. Aside from one minor action point in the very beginning of the book, the remaining pages have been nothing but filler. But it sounded so awesome. Futuristic “Unified States” under complete government control and complete lock down to keep “Them” out at the same time keeping us in.

Sounds like a great read! I just hope it gets better and picks up otherwise I am really going to have to start questioning the reviewers that gave it such a big thumbs up…

Day 5: Bridal Showers and Bachelorettes, revisited

So all in all I think yesterday was a success. Everyone seemed to have a great time, especially the bride, who received loads of great gifts and ended up very drunk last night.

The cake was delicious! Marble cake, raspberry filling, butter cream icing…yum! The activity was well received–the bride loved it. And the mojitos were very refreshing. Of course  I came home with 95% of the booze, an eighth of the cake, tons of crayons and colored pencils and the biggest blisters  I have ever seen on the back of my ankles. So, who knew that when your feet start swelling in the heat when your pregnant they are going to swell in the heat for the rest of your life?? I sure as heck didn’t. The heels I wore there, that fit me when I left the house, were cutting their way down to my bone by then of the day. They hurt so bad I had to go out and buy ballet flats to wear to the bachelorette party that night.

Which reminds me, I wanted to give a shout-out to my husband (who may or may not read this blog) and say thank you, and I love you. Thank you for marrying me so that I never have to go out to places like Buckethead ever again, unless a friend asks me to, of course. Talk about tool and hooker central! There had to be at least 15 other bachelorette parties going on there at the same time and me and my bachelorette and the rest of the party were in awe of how these people dressed! Penis name tags, penis headbands–I was smacked in the head with a hot pink penis straw that one girl was whipping another girl with. At one point it looked like Jersy Shore vomited on the stage! Ugh!

The highlight of the evening was when one of the shot guys-men who whore themselves out pouring 3% alcohol shots in the mouths of drunk sluts off the front of the stage for no money and no tips-comes over to get is shot bottle refilled while I was waiting for a water. He leans on the bar next to me and says “is that your bachelorette over there?”  I say yes. He says, “she is not nearly drunk enough.” I say we’re working on it. ” And he says, and I quote, “You girls get up on the stage and send her my way and I’ll fill. her. up.” GROSS!!!!

What is comes down to is that the bride had a good time right? I think she did. I hope she did. Otherwise I have the image of that buckethead burned into my memory for all eternity for nothing.

Congratulations Nicole! Can’t wait for the wedding!

Day 2: Misogynist Pig–Say No to VS Naipaul

My friend Julie shared a link to this article on Facebook today and I felt compelled to share it. I feel it is my responsibility as a reader, a writer, and a woman to make you all aware that there is misogynist pig lurking on our bookshelves and we have given him the Nobel Prize!

VS Naipaul finds no woman writer his literary match – not even Jane Austen

Nobel laureate says there is no female author whom he considers his equal.

VS Naipaul, no stranger to literary spats and rows, has done it again. This time, the winner of the Nobel prize for literature has lashed out at female authors, saying there is no woman writer whom he considers his equal – and singling out Jane Austen for particular criticism.

In an interview at the Royal Geographic Society on Tuesday about his career, Naipaul, who has been described as the “greatest living writer of English prose”, was asked if he considered any woman writer his literary match. He replied: “I don’t think so.” Of Austen he said he “couldn’t possibly share her sentimental ambitions, her sentimental sense of the world”.

He felt that women writers were “quite different”. He said: “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”

For the full article visit http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/02/vs-naipaul-jane-austen-women-writers?CMP=twt_gu

Now it is no secret to those who know me that I am not a Jane Austen fan. Feel free to revoke my woman card at anytime. Several of my book buddies already have. But to say she is not a great writer is simply ignorant. She is like Voldemort…she may have written terrible(ly boring) things, but they are great…

However, Naipaul’s interview had to be one of the most ostentatious displays of arrogance I have ever heard. I have not read his books, so I cannot judge whether or not he delivers a better story than Jane Austen does, but to say that there are no women that he could consider and equal and to believe quote:

“I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”

The author, who was born in Trinidad, said this was because of women’s “sentimentality, the narrow view of the world”. “And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too,” he said.

So, sentimentality gives you a narrow view of the world and because a woman is “not a complete master of a house,” she can’t be a great writer? Who the hell does he think he is?!? Not the complete master of a house! Has he ever witnessed the life of a working mother?? Modern mothers are the  effing MASTERS of the house!!!!! We do everything! And we find time to write too. And as far as sentimentality goes, eff you man! How can you possibly gain a complete view of the world without sentimentality?

Excuse my French, but it needed to be said. See you tomorrow…

SAY NO TO MISOGYNI, SAY NO TO VS NAIPAUL!

Here we go! Day 1

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn

They say that it takes 30 time to make a habit–at least that is what the bloggers of the world are saying, so in the habit forming tradition, today is Day 1 of the Tinkrpippi 30-day-blog challenge! Yea!

Today we are going to discuss the Bilibo.  This past fall I was adding items to my son’s Wishpot list. I, of course, want my son to be a prodigy (who doesn’t, right?) so I was going through all these educational toy websites and stumbled upon this weird little toy on several sites. It is an imagination toy, which in layman’s terms equals it really isn’t anything, so it is everything! After reading reviews and seeing tons of pictures, I decided I had to get one of these for Benji. I put 2 or 3 of them on his list and we ended up getting one for Christmas from my parents. I was so excited! Jason, not so much. He thought that the idea was genius and a rip off at the same time. “It is a piece of molded plastic,” he said to his friends and family, “It’s a salad bowl! I could have made that!” To which I responded, “but you didn’t.” Now, I will not argue that if it is put on your head (particularly the pink one,) it makes you look like that guy from Fat Albert, but it is really is a cool concept. It can be used for anything; scooping, storing, gathering. Standing, sitting, spinning, sledding. Splashing, wearing, building, creating, really the possibilities are endless.

My husband said, after we had it for a month and it was just being used as a toy basket (Benji was only 6 months old, he didn’t really play with much,) that if saw it being played with 3 or more times, then he would believe it was a good idea. Wouldn’t you know it, a week later we had Benji’s baptism and it was being played with all afternoon by all of the kids in attendance. Then not to weeks later we captured this lovely photo: The bilibo is a success! I knew it would be 😉 My husband admits it now, that it is a good toy, and we will get our use of it.

Now, I am not going to lie, these little “salad bowls” pack a fairly hefty price–$23.79 is the cheapest I have seen and that was on Amazon. But  I think, and Benji thinks that it is worth the investment. They come in a variety of colors and two different sizes and fit together to form even more creative possibilities.

5 thumbs up from my family 🙂 (Dad still isn’t 100% on board)