Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stephen King Wrote a Book For Me and Put My Name on It: CHRISTINE

People often ask me how to spell my name. It’s not Kristine, though that spelling is more familiar to many Minnesotans. So I often say, “Christine with a C.”

People then respond, “Like the Killer Car!!”

(or, “Like in Phantom of the Opera!”)

People have referenced the Killer Car with regards to the spelling of my name since elementary school. It wasn’t until 2011 and my self-imposed “Summer of Banned Books” that I read Christine. 

Christine was also the first Stephen King book I ever read.

This Stephen-King-Free Life of mine has often shocked friends, acquaintances, fellow English Major, Education Major or Library IT classmates.

During my childhood, a Stephen-King-Free Life was almost unheard of. I was both embarrassed and proud to have never read him. While classmates read Pet Cemetery I read David Copperfield. All the books I did not read, was afraid to read (was discouraged from and/or not allowed to read) turned me into a bit of a literature snob.

So when I approached Christine as an adult, I was sure I’d find a trite, cliché horror story, poorly written, that probably would never be as scary as Edgar Allen Poe (who I probably read too much of according to my mom).

I was proven wrong on all accounts… though Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King are different birds.

I understand why my parents banned and sheltered us from Stephen King. There was fucking, there was swearing (see “fucking”), there was abuse, there was drunkenness, and there was unbridled evil that never died. This Evil that ultimately triumphs in some ways fits very well with the Conservative Christian worldview.

But Stephen King doesn’t offer Hope in the end. And the narrative I was taught was, yes, there is Evil in the world; horrors and demonic possessions exist in reality… have existed, will exist, and in some people presently exists... BUT the Salvation and Love that triumphs in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, makes these Stephen King stories (and even Edgar Allen Poe) a Dangerous Lie.

However, what struck me most while reading the book was that I discovered that Stephen King is a Really Very QUITE Good Writer. And that may have been the most disturbing discovery of all.

Christine lurking the the foreground.
After reading Christine, a library I worked at started tossing (recycling) their entire collection of hardbound LIFE magazines dating back to the original November 1936 weekly.

Devastating but understandable: library space is finite; no one was using them; gazillions of copies of LIFE exist out there and online. However, I was also aghast because my childhood and teen years had been populated with magazines from the 1920s thru the 1960s. They and encyclopedias were my TV substitute.

This tossing of LIFE came on the heels of me having read “Christine” and I immediately started paging through every 1957-1958 copy of the magazine that was left, hoping to find the 1958 Plymouth Fury Christine advertised in all her original glory.

I suddenly HAD To HAVE an original advertisement of Christine!

But most of 1957 had been confiscated by the art department, so I claimed what I could: I salvaged part of 1941, 1948, 1965 and fifteen pounds of April-June, 1958 LIFE.

Not a single advertisement dedicated solely to Christine.

But I did find two ads that included Christine… sandwiched between ads and articles about Ketchup, Khrushchev, and Kentucky bourbons… there she is… lurking.
Christine being obsessed over - mani-pedi-wax.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

street smART: Sidewalk-Banana Conspiracy

Sidewalk-Banana Conspiracy
I wiped out here, over five years ago.

The city was a ghost town.  Above-the-knee snow drifts. It was just me moseying around, getting treated like a queen at abandoned restaurants, dropping cash, getting tipsy... and wiping out... on this exact spot. 

The sidewalks never forget. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

street smART: all agog about HOTTEA

Last month I celebrity-sited HOTTEA (Eric Rieger) while at the MIA (Minneapolis Institute of Art). He was taking down his recent installation. I spotted him on the 3rd floor of the newest MIA wing, up on a scissor lift playing with string. I nearly freaked out. Nearly. Wasn't sure it was him at first.  I'm not ashamed to admit I did that "OMG, omg, omg, is that who I think it is?!"routine.

He not only started up a conversation while at the top of the lift, but also came down to earth on the first floor to continue the conversation. I was a bit agog... and HOTTEA is deserving of agogness. He showed me pics and some audio from a recent outdoor installation at a tennis court in a semi-neglected Minneapolis neighborhood. Though the installation is gone, the neglected tennis court is now on the radar of people who might be willing and able to return it to a usable space for the community. Keep on eye on his Flickr feed for more of that work.

I've been too busy and too far removed from internet access to pass on my recent agogging of HOTTEA, but then while out & about I came across a hidden piece that made my day, and is about to make yours.

I don't care what you think about art, street artists, artists who make it, artists who don't make it, pop art, etc., etc., etc....  HOTTEA has made me stop and look and notice and think and SEE since 200?, has made my transition from country girl to urban rat so much more enjoyable... that I hope that just a smidgen of my agogness will rub off on you. Maybe it is as simple as the softness of string surrounded by metal and concrete... or maybe it is the tropical colors surrounded by the lacking-of color. Definitely something to do with the temporary bit of street art. Here, then gone.

Don't know. Don't care. Just stop and look and notice and think and SEE for a minute. That's enough.

HOTTEA Yarn-bombs the Lower East Side (includes daytime video of Eric at work in Minneapolis)

Eric Rieger.HOTTEA: Letting Go (MIA installation)

My teandoranges stalking profile of HOTTEA:

street smART: HOTTEA string theories
street smART: worth the wait

(thank you, Eric)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

street smART: Yarn Bomb Minneapolis, please & thank you

For You... a collection of the mini yarn bombs of Minneapolis.  It's been the mildest winter I can remember of an entire life of Minnesota winters.  All those itchy fingered Minnesota knitters and crocheters had to take out their frustration on something... and I thank them for sharing the fruits of their labor.   My annual intentions to start and finish at least one knitting project totally bombed this winter... which I blame on the lack of cold and snow... and lack of stress.

Life is good.

Tree scrunchy by Team Graffitii6
crocheted cupcake
crocheted urban Granny square
telephone pole crocheted fish

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Not Just Another Pretty Zine ... but MANY Pretty, Pretty Zines: FLY AWAY ZINE MOBILE In Town NOW!

Before I started blogging in 2007, I seriously, seriously considered becoming a zinester.  I researched zines online... printed out pages and pages and pages of DIY advice for zinesters.  I experimented with elaborate covers and took copious notes on what I wanted my zine to contain.  I found myself on the hellish road to attempted zine perfectionism.

Blogs saved me from myself.  I allow myself to be lazy about how and when I write.  Nothing feels set in stone on a blog... and I love that.  But I still have good intentions of going back down the Zine-hell road. I won't rest peacefully until I do.

Lucky for We... the 8th Annual TwinCities Zinefest is about to inspire us Minnesotans again.  I browsed through my first ZineFest last year and this year I'll be woManning a table dedicated to the unique Zine Library Collection/Archives from the MCTC library where I work and am a student.  Having come late to the scene, zines still overwhelm me so I look forward to learning more from the people who stop by the booth than my own aborted attempts at being a perfectionist zinester.

Perfectionism and Zines don't belong in the same sentence.  Labor of Love and Frustration of Love and Love of Love and Zines do belong in the same sentence.

Fly Away Zine Mobile
Zine Love is no better demonstrated than by the Fly Away Zine Mobile!  Debbie will make another Minnesota stop at this Saturday's Twin Cities Zinefest in Powderhorn Park and if you haven't yet, you really, really gotta must see the Zine Mobile with your own eyes.  By appointment, Fly Away Zine Mobile and Debbie parked outside my library this past week.  I took pictures.  But you come visit and climb inside.  It's adorable and awesome.  Thank you Debbie for sharing with us... and thank you to all drivers, supporters and zine librarians who understand it isn't always about the money... but it is about the pretty, pretty pictures.

While at the Zinefest, please show your love to a bookstore I love : Boneshaker Books. They will love you back.
Bike Zines

DIY zines

Librarians do it best :)

Zine Mobile Ukulele
Polar Bear Zine Mobile Rug

Friday, August 12, 2011

street smART: worth the wait

One of the best parts of biking, walking and walking the bike (Beatrice), is getting up close and personal with Minneapolis' street art. For those who haven't or can't leisurely tour the good stuff... Bea & I have collected these for you...


 And a new street artist... CURSER ? ... helping beautify chain linked construction sites and parking lots.  :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

street smART: Which came first? PUM or the Egg?

My neighborhood has been bombed by PUM.  If you're notoriously clueless like me, maybe UrbanDictionary can come to your rescue. 

At first I was like, hmmm? Is that...?
And then I was like, duh! I have one of those! 

Kinda ballsy of PUM to plaster their work on federal property, dontcha think?

I wonder if PUM chose that tag, or if the tag chose PUM.  Just maybe, someone out there was blessed with the name Penelope Ursula Moon. 

Pure speculation - that's all we've got to work with... but you know what happens when you assume about PUM....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Birthday Suits and Banned Books: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAURICE SENDAK!

(Background : I'm reading Banned, Censored and Challenged Books for my Summer reading and the 30 Days of Reading challenge via Boneshaker Books in Minneapolis.)

I get it now.  I get why so many Christians love to hate Judy Blume and Maurice Sendak.  

First a disclaimer for the complainers.  Just because I get it, doesn’t mean that I condone it – ie - burning and banning books. It means that I still have a lot of deprogramming to do. 

I’m not here to defend whether or not I think an author is worth $20.  There are deep emotional attachments to Sendak and Blume out there (separate response for Blume coming soon) – so beware that I have no emotional attachment to them beyond remembering them as authors who were off-limits. And believe me, that is enough.

Sendak: pedophilia and birthday suits. There I said it.  If you listen to enough Christian radio and are surrounded by people who legitimately fear dirty old men – it takes about 2 seconds to figure out why Sendak's In the Night Kitchen so often shows up on the banned list.  Do I need to spell out that pictures of naked little boys surrounded by creepy old men who want to use him as milk is going to be a huge turn off to a lot of parents out there? 

I didn’t even realize until I checked it out that this was the same author as Where the Wild Things Are – another book I haven’t read – because it encouraged bad behavior in children, or something along those lines. 

As for In the Night Kitchen - I’d be more concerned about a parent freaking out about the book because of the nudity than a parent who didn't freak out over the nudity.  

Because hopefully little kids don’t understand why parents freak out about things like pedophilia.  Also, little kids who get the message that being naked is bad – is unfortunate. 

Nevertheless, it's unfortunate when parents are naïve to the fact that we live in a weird, sometimes creepy world - and blessing or a curse - some parents totally don't get why there is controversy over the book.  There is a balance there, somewhere – which involves not instilling fear in a child based on the fear of the parent.  Parental Fear gets out of hand very quickly.

Speaking of fear, it scares me that I know exactly what is going through the head of parents who ask to have this book removed from libraries and classrooms. Fear rubs off on kids – and in the case of this book, I discovered that I still have that visceral response I was taught to have.  As in – WTF Sendak?

But I sure as heck wouldn’t ban it or discourage a child from reading it.  The pictures, though Freudian as hell to an adult, are pretty.  Pretty pictures are important for growing imaginations… especially when children are trying to work out dark nightmarish thoughts. 

How does Focus on the Family approach these banned books?

First off, they believe that banned books are a bunch of overblown hooey – overreactions by liberal librarians.

Second off, they have book reviews down to a system, filed under "Protecting Your Children." Check out the Categories:
  • Plot Summary
  • Christian beliefs
  • Authority roles
  • Other belief systems
  • Profanity/Graphic violence
  • Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality
  • Awards
  • Discussion topics  - If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen is not among their online reviews.  Neither is Where the Wild Things Are.  What does this mean?  Probably that you can’t publish every review of every book out there. Or that I'm not looking hard enough.

However, the reaction to In the Night Kitchen by librarians and parents has been so strong against the nudity as described in this article, (Thirty Years without Diapers: Expurgating and Censoring Maurice Sendak's "In the Night Kitchen" by Matthew Heintzelman ), that Focus on the Family probably no longer needs to spend too much time, erm, focusing on it.   

If you don’t talk about it, maybe it will go away, right?

Final conclusion? I’m an adult who makes a habit out of poking fun at Freudian slips that peek out below the hemline.  I can’t help but read this book from that context – and know that the author was an adult with similar knowledge when writing/illustrating it.  I doubt Sendak intended these types of responses... or at least he was smart enough to know that these responses say more about the person having the allergic reaction, than the artwork itself.  

Beyond that – I don’t really care.  If kids or parents are disturbed by the nudity – let that be an opening for an honest conversation between parent and child.  Don’t let it be a reason to censor it by drawing clothes on the boy.  And absolutely, don’t let it be a reason to keep this book from other people’s kids. 

Happy Coincidence: Maurice Sendak is celebrating his Birthday today-ish, June 10th!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

CLEAR AS MUD : The Difference Between Censored, Challenged, or Banned Books

We Americans are flippant with use the term and idea of Censorship.

Is is censorship when a parent grounds an angst-ridden teenager for saying Fuck, Damn or Shit?  Is it censorship when a public or private school administrator refuses to allow the production and performance of Jesus Christ Superstar?  Is it censorship if a national bookstore chain refuses to sell The Anarchist Cookbook?  Is it censorship when an organized group of citizens ask to have a book removed from the shelves of their public library based on concerns about racism, sexism or witchcraft?

Yes, No, Maybe, KindaSorta? Not necessarily in that order.

Context matters. For the sake of my Summer of Censored, Challenged and Banned Books goal, I want to start to clarify the difference... with the help of ALA | About Banned & Challenged Books, 's 3 Facts About Banned Media and Censorship (etc), and Cool Coloradan Librarian James LaRue's 2007 book The New Inquisition....

THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF CENSORSHIP when content is removed from the original, stricken from the record, or "may involve the alteration, adjustment, or edit of an activity, product, or service" (

Additionally, according to LaRue (librarian context) "Censorship is the action by government officials to prohibit or suppress publications or services on the basis of their content" (LaRue 3 - my emphasis).

Not allowing material into a country, a library, a home - often because the contents cause extreme discomfort, the potential for chaos or doesn't jive with the preferred intellectual ambiance. There is a lot of crossover between Bans and Censorship but Bans are perhaps more a "prohibition" than censorship according to The American Library Association (ALA) seems more likely to use the term Banned than Censored. You'll also notice that "prohibit" is used to describe both censorship (LaRue) and banning (

LaRue page tres: "a request that a government body or official practice censorship" (my emphasis). So - sometimes material that is challenged - just stays that way: nothing official happens beyond a formal complaint or request to have the item removed from a collection. However, if a challenge is successful, and the book is officially removed, then we're dealing with censorship and banning again.

WTF?, It's Summer. Don't Make Me Think!?
This hurts me more than it hurts you.  I promise.  My brain is on vacation.  Part of the reason I've started my summer reading program with children's and juvenile banned books (In the Night Kitchen and Are You There God?....) is to hopefully give my brain a rest. 

It is not always useful to get hung up on semantics but I can see why a lot of English majors go into law school. I can also see why not everyone reads dictionaries for fun.  The differences matter when push comes to shove but if you want more nuance - check back after next semester when I expect my Censorship class will help turn this mud into mud pies - the edible kind.

Back to page 5 of Sendak's shocking picture book....

Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer 2011 : Reading the Good (Banned, Challenged & Censored) Stuff

A Spring semester project on censorship has inspired my 2011 summer reading agenda.  The books are listed in a variety of sources: ALA | Frequently Challenged Books; a MnCLU 1983 survey titled “A Report of a Survey On Censorship In Public Elementary And High School Libraries And Public Libraries In Minnesota.”; Focus on the Family (FOF); an article on Censorship and Metaphors by Fenice Boyd and Nancy Bailey; The Music Man

With the majority of the books picked out, I began brainstorming how to blog about it.  Then a Minneapolis bookstore, Boneshaker Books*, launched a 30 Days of Reading challenge for June.  30 Days of Reading gave me an initiative to tap into my occasional Type A personality and create a formal plan of action.  Wha-lah - Summer 2011 Book Itinerary:
  • Differences in Definition of Censorship, Challenged and Banned.  (June 1st)
    • First Book : In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak circa 1970
    (Showed up on nearly every Challenged/Banned/Censored list  – almost every year.  I didn’t know it was a kid’s picture book until I went to the library to pick it up.)

    • Second Book : Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume circa 1970
    (Thanks to my Jesus background and FOF, I have yet to read a single Judy Blume book.  Seeing this book on the list of the 1983 survey, about the same time it was denied from my repertoire, inspired a semester-long search digging into censorship via FOF.)
    • Third Book : The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier circa 1974
    (A book I know nothing about other than it shows up on pretty much every banned, challenged book list out there.  I remember fellow English Ed majors discussing it back in the day – but I’m pretty clueless.)
    • Fourth Book : Christine by Stephen King circa 1983
    (So many Stephen King to choose from.  So little time.  Often lists just say “all books” by Stephen King – as they also do to Judy Blume.  I chose this one because…. Duh.)

    • Fifth Book : Briar Rose by Jane Yolen circa 1992
    (First heard about it in the article by Bailey and Boyd on Censorship Metaphors.  Was BURNED in a homophobic book burning back in the 1990s.  Whenever a book about the Holocaust is burned by the Christian Right – brownie points.  Yep – that was a really tasteless, multi-layered pun.  Something I just discovered?!  Yolen references Anne Sexton’s poem by the same title from Sexton’s Transformation collection – a book I kinda, sorta wrote about back in 2008.)

    • Sixth Book : Animal Farm by George Orwell circa 1946
    (This book is the only one actually censored by the government.  I’ve balked at reading this one for years.  I hope the timing is right.) 

    • Seventh Book : The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam circa 11th Century and 19th Century (Edward FitzGerald's translation)
    (My dad was a Music Man – and his favorite musical was – The Music Man.  This poem shows up throughout the movie as an example of trashy literature pushed by the town librarian.  If you’re lucky and live in the TC – I’m planning a Music Man viewing party with my Library Buds to top off the summer.)

    • Poetry AlternativeHowl by Allen Ginsberg circa 1956
    (A classic.  I normally avoid male beatnik writers.  Love the women.  I roll my eyes at most of the Beat men.  Maybe Ginsberg will turn that trend around. O – and it was seized by the government.)
    I don’t expect to finish all of these before the end of June, but follow me through June for daily Tweets or blogs about what I’m reading – and what others are reading.  I find reviews pretty boring and often totally useless so I’m going to focus more on reviewing reviews of the books – especially from the vantage point of Focus on the Family.  Things might get personal – but I’ll try to keep it Jesus-Free.

    FYI: With the exception of George Orwell (1984), I have not yet read any of the books or authors on the list. Yep - I'm a Judy Blume, Stephen King, & Maurice Sendak Virgin.
    My biggest challenge?  Reading books I may not want to read.  I’ve quit forcing books on myself.  I highly discourage it.  Timing is everything when it comes to reading and love - so I may wander off the chosen path a bit – but I do intend on starting AND finishing the books listed above – before I’m back to reading required reading – on Censorship.  Yep – I'm taking a library class dedicated to Censorship next fall!!! 

    Love and Thanks to Minneapolis Central Library! I couldn’t afford this Summer Reading List without you!  Seriously.

    *I’m proud to volunteer at Boneshaker Books.  If you stumble across this blog series and don’t live close enough to the Minneapolis store to buy books there, you’re going to have to overlook my bias and drool from a distance.  If you’re from the TwinCities, get your bloomin’ arse in there and Buy A Book Already!

    1. What books are you planning to read, or avoid reading, this summer?
    2. What books have you read that you know were at some point censored or banned from a library or your home?

    teandoranges (moi)
    30 Days of Reading
    Boneshaker Books

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    tao Yoga - we're only human

    The world wide web is jam-packed with yoga blogs and I’m about to add my own occasional teandoranges column to the sticky mess.

    Why? Because I get the urge to write about my yoga practice, and the lack there-of.  However I view writing about my yoga pracitce like the Pharisees who prayed in the street and looked down their noses with a hypocritical, holier-than-thou attitude – or like the priests and prophets that pray in the street, weep and wail and tear their clothes proclaiming 'I am not worthy.'

    Yep – that's the way I think when I think about blogging about yoga – like the former fundagelical that I am – it falls somewhere between being a spiritual Diva and physical martyr.

    I love yoga, and I love it enough to know that as my rolled up mats collected dust bunnies this past year – I knew that eventually I’d come back around to searching for a practice that works for me – as a person who gets bored with routine but gets highs from the blood rushing to my head and addicted to the sensation of ligaments and muscles yawning open.

    I love yoga enough to wait for it – and know that when I don’t physically practice – just thinking about my relationship with my practice, my relationship with my body, my relationship with my thoughts IS practice.

    A few years ago I took a 235 hour yoga teacher training course. I spread it out over a two year period – and four years later I still have 5-6 hours left before I can fill out the final paper work to be certified. I’m not a hard-core yogi, less strong and less flexible than some, more than others – totally aware that strength and flexibility is not what is important in the end. Yoga is something that will be a part of the rest of my life. I want other people to consider it.

    My yoga teaching classes transitioned me to the decision to go back to get a second degree so I can work in and create libraries. Going back to school this last year and a half reminded me how important it is to try to balance all that stuff going on in my head with all that stuff going on in my body.

    And attempting the balance has brought me to this point… I’ve practiced yoga three times this last week after about nine months of not touching a mat.

    The first day of practice – I just stood at the front of my mat, realizing how much work it is to stand and pay attention to my breath. I stood there spacing out, fidgeting, looking at my winter-fied toes, thinking about blogging, thinking about how long its been, wondering how ujjayi breath sounds to Study Buddy (my cat – yep every yoga blogger talks about their pets:). I stood there for over 5 minutes – not wanting to start something I couldn’t finish.

    I finally got around to one Sun Salutation A and a few half-assed poses – and I knew I was in for a good time when a modified Warrior reminded me of the sensation of yawning in my legs… it felt so Good. I knew I’d practice again soon.

    2nd practice this week, I fell into a kinda-sorta Ashtanga primary series routine… the kind of thing I do whenever I know I need to practice but don’t want to think too much about what comes next. I forgot to put this pose here and that pose there, skipped a quite a few altogether and rediscovered how stubborn and focused I feel during utthita parsvasahita (standing extended leg) A, B and C and how happy I feel as my knee drops in ardha baddha padmottanasana (half-bound standing lotus)– happy and vulnerable – a strange mix.

    Today I decided to do modified half vinyasas between my seated poses – many of which I skipped altogether and made the executive decision to do no inversions beyond a moderated upward bow pose. In all I did maybe 50% of the primary series poses and only the A version of Sun Salutations.

    I admitted that blogging about yoga is predictable and probably unnecessary. Looking at the post – I realize that it isn’t much different than writing about what one eats throughout the day. Not too worried about who reads or cares – but am worried, like so many yoga bloggers out there, that my attempt to find balance will require that I kick myself for over or under doing it in my practice.

    I’m only human. Only human is more than enough.

    hmmm p.s. Humans like to say “I” a lot.
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