Articles by " Adam"
28 May
2015

Take some time and go to the park, it’s Sierra Club Day!

sierra club x2

So the Sierra Club, if you don't already know, was founded on May 28th, 1892 by this totally rad guy named John Muir.  Even then, America's wild places were starting to be gobbled up in the wake of rapidly expanding populations and industrialization.  John, as you might imagine, was not in favor of that.  So, with the help of other naturalists, artists, and a bunch of other people, Muir founded the Sierra Club with a mission,

"To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; To practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources; To educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives."

And the Sierra Club has been protecting the environment ever since.  Now, I'm not here to tell you to become a member or even to try and convince you to help save the Earth.  Hopefully, you already do as much as you can of that on your own.  All I'm trying to do here is acknowledge the great contribution John Muir made to the environmental cause and celebrate the Sierra Club's awesomeness in protecting and nurturing our world.  You go, guys!  Thanks!

So stately.  He's thinking deep, conservationy thoughts, I bet.

So stately. He's thinking deep, conservationy thoughts, I bet.

 

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23 May
2015

Grab your Lightsaber, your Phaser, your Ring of Power, and/or your Towel, because it’s Geek Pride Day on the 25th!

Aw yiss.  So proud.

Aw yiss. So proud.

So as a Geek, I understand the need for Geek Pride Day (May 25th every year.  To commemorate the release of Star Wars, obviously.)  There's a weird stigma associated with being a geek.  And while there's room for a ton of discussion about where that comes from and while said discussion and investigation would be totally fascinating (geek alert), I'm going to go ahead and wildly oversimplify and say that what it really comes down to is a 1950s-style rejection of bookishness.  So it's important, even in this geek-forward era, to celebrate all the obscure cultural touchstones and unusual obsessions that make us who we are.

Man, speaking of Geeks...

Man, speaking of Geeks...

For whatever reason (for a bunch of reasons, actually), there's something about the pale, bespectacled geek image that some people really abhor.  This is sad for them, because some of the best people I have ever met have been pale and bespectacled.  And while their interests may not have been the same, the tan, Lacoste-wearing, country-clubbing set who (proverbially) abhor them are just as geeky.  They're just geeky about different things, like tennis and sailing and football.

That's kind of the thing about being a geek: almost everyone is one about something.  All of us have things that we're interested in and passionate about.  That's all being a geek is, really.  So whether you're a classical, comics-toting, computer-screen-in-the-dark-reading geek or an unusual, outdoorsy, sports-oriented geek, or some unholy combination of the two or any of the myriad others, be proud today and every day!  Geek Pride!  Woo!

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20 May
2015

KU Book Club Prep: A P.G. Wodehouse Primer!

wodehouseblog

I can hear it from here!  All of you out there saying, "My goodness, Adam, there are so many P.G. Wodehouse books at KU, how did you pick just one to read for book club?!  And, more importantly, how should I choose some of them to read this summer, since they are great for summer reading and are the funniest books ever?!"  Firstly, let me say that you are very verbose.

Secondly, yes, it can be difficult to know where to begin with Wodehouse (that's wood-house, p.s., not woad-house) but the truth is that you can start anywhere you like.  Wodehouse's books are usually short story collections and while there are over-arching plot lines, he's very good at filling his readers in on what they need to know for the present moment.  Most of the Wodehouse books we carry (he wrote over 100!) come from two main storylines, Jeeves and Wooster and Blandings Castle.

Jeeves and Wooster is about wealthy and scatterbrained Bertie Wooster, the unfortunate situations he and his friends get into, and how his ingenious valet, Jeeves, extricates him from them.  If you're a stickler for chronology, the first three books published were My Man Jeeves in 1919, The Inimitable Jeeves in 1923, and Carry On, Jeeves in 1925.  Carry On, Jeeves contains the story Jeeves Takes Charge which is about how Jeeves came to work for Bertie in the first place, so from a narrative perspective, it's a good place to start and that's why we chose it from the others for a book club selection.  Other great J&W books include Right Ho, Jeeves and Mating Season.

Blandings Castle is concerned with Lord Emsworth and the residents of Blandings Castle, who also get themselves into unfortunate and hilarious situations.  The first BC book is Something Fresh (1915), but we recommend starting with Heavy Weather or Lord Emsworth and Others.  One of Wodehouse's most beloved characters is Psmith (the P is silent, as in pshrimp) and he is part of the BC series.  His first book is Psmith in the City, but we love Leave it to Psmith the best.

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15 May
2015

Raison d’etre: An Acknowledgement

Happy birthday to all and to all a good night!

Happy birthday to all and to all a good night!

We all love Kards Unlimited.  I do.  I know you do.  Pretty much everyone who experiences us loves us.  Because, let's not mince words, the store rocks.  It's the best place to be.  Period.  So, on her birthday, I want to thank (blame?) the party responsible, our boss, Kristen Kershner.

Working at KU attracts a certain type of person.  We don't take ourselves too seriously.  We're fun-loving.  We're smart.  We relish a good book (and some bad books.)  We also relish champagne (with one or two notable exceptions.)  To varying degrees we exhibit a charming blend of sweet and tart.  And we are family.  I don't know where I'll be in twenty (or even ten or even five) years, but if or when my time at KU is done, I know that I will never forget it.  I know that every job I ever have will be measured against my time here and probably found wanting in at least one aspect.  All of these are a reflection of Kristen.

I'm going to stop writing now in favor of going in to work early to hang out with the birthday girl a bit.  Happy birthday, Lady.  Many happy returns.  And thank you for everything.

 

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4 May
2015

No, I didn’t do my homework. But yes, I love learning: A Not So Good Student’s Perspective on Teacher Appreciation Week

Are you freaking kidding me.

Are you freaking kidding me.

I'll be frank with you guys.  Sometimes I was not a very good student.  Oh, I was clever enough, but I frequently didn't pay the most attention and even more frequently just straight up ignored work that I didn't want to do.  Despite these failings, I did relatively well in school.  Normally this is where I'd make a joke about how it was definitely because I'm so freaking brilliant.  But that is decidedly false.  At best, it's an incomplete and overly simplified explanation.  The real reason, or the lion's share of the reason, was that I had (by and large) excellent teachers.

For example, when I started fourth grade, I switched from a public school where I was basically just coasting by to a private (Catholic) school where I actually had to do things like pay attention and turn in homework.  As you might expect, that was not a graceful transition for me.  I had one teacher in particular whose homework I didn't do a lot of the time and who gave me detention several times because of it.  Needless to say, she wasn't my favorite person just then.  She taught science and while I tend to be more of a language-oriented, liberal arts type, surprisingly she made me love what she taught.  I had her for home room the next year and she became one of my all-time favorite teachers.

Seriously, honk.

Seriously, honk.

Another example: my junior year in high school I had a teacher for English who expected a lot of us.  And by that I mean she expected us to do homework and turn it in on time.  Preferably having followed her instructions with regard to length and content.  Torture.  Even by eleventh grade I had not yet mastered homework doing and I didn't do particularly well in her class because of it.  Nevertheless, the end of the year came and I discovered that not only had she really helped my writing skills, her class had changed from a time of day that I had dreaded to one of the best.

My point is that even kids who do well in school don't always make their teachers' jobs/lives easy.  And even when the students do make their teachers' lives easy, teachers do a ton of homework of their own.  It's common knowledge that teachers work much longer hours than kids are in school.  And that they pay for a ton of their classroom materials out of pocket with little or no reimbursement.  (My sister, who teaches first grade, told me the other day that the total amount she can claim on her taxes for classroom supplies is $250.  I.e. what she spends in about 2 months, max.)

All this is to try and explain to you why Teacher Appreciation Week (May 4th through May 8th this year) is important to me.  Teachers make up a surprisingly high percentage of people who are personally important to me, but even if you don't know any teachers in a non-professional setting, remember that at least one teacher had an impact on your life.  More than likely, a bunch of teachers spent more time and effort on you than you know.  So if you have the chance, try to show some appreciation this week.  And, really, always.

To all my teachers, thank you.

To all my teachers, thank you.

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3 May
2015

Get excited, May is Get Caught Reading Month!

So here at Kards Unlimited, we love books.  We really can't stress that enough.  I can't speak for everyone, but books are the air I breathe.  Books make consciousness worthwhile.  Books, in short, are life.

'Nuff said.

'Nuff said.

Get Caught Reading Month is part of the Get Caught Reading initiative by the Association of American Publishers.  It encourages people of all ages (but, I think, mostly kids) to remember how much fun it is to read.  Now, let me just add this: Reading is fun.  It's one of the most fun things a person can do.  But (so so so much) more importantly, reading is good for you.  In the same way that eating cruciferous vegetables and exercising regularly are good for you, so too is reading.  But whereas broccoli and marathons are good for your physical self, reading nourishes your mind; it tones and strengthens your soul.

Yes, it may sometimes be inconvenient.  Of course it is frequently challenging (both challenging to the mind and challenging simply to find a time and place.)  But reading is worth it.

So whether you're supposed to be doing math homework, doing your job, doing the dishes, doing whatever, don't be afraid to pick up a book and Get Caught Reading!  A little subversion for the sake of mental health never hurt anybody!

Look at this subversive bro.

Look at this subversive bro.

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1 May
2015

Kards Unlimited Calendar of Events: May!

This is what comes of all those April showers.  Worth it.

This is what comes of all those April showers. Worth it.

Hurray!  It's May!  May is really great, you guys.  Everything's all spring-y, the flowers are out in force, the outdoors are constantly beckoning.  Basically it rocks.  KU has everything you need to make your spring (and summer!) awesome, so come on down and stock up on fun! Click READ MORE to find out what all is happening in the wide world this month!

Read more >>

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9 Apr
2015

Forget everything you ever thought you knew about competitions, because you never knew what you were missing.

Fortunately, I am here to tell you all about it.  First and very much foremost, there is such a thing in the world as the American Pie Council.  Yeah.  Just let that sink in for a minute.  Are you imagining the best governing body of any organization in the history of the universe?  Something like the White Council of Deliciousness?  Yes.  You are.

Is there a more beautiful sentence in English than "Pie buffet opens at 11 a.m.?"  I think not. I literally have tears in my eyes right now from the beauty.

Is there a more beautiful sentence in English than "Pie buffet opens at 11 a.m.?" I think not. I literally have tears in my eyes right now from the beauty.

And the American Pie Council holds, every year since 1995, the National Pie Championships!  Yes!  Literally the best competition in the history of the world!  The Trojan War?  Please!  The Summer Olympics?  As if!  The Superbowl?  Don't make me laugh!  National.  Freaking.  Pie.  Championships.  That's basically all you need to know.

If I pray to any higher power it's to the god of pie.

If I pray to any higher power it's to the god of pie.

So the National Pie Championships are on April 10th and 11th in Orlando, FL this year.  If you need me during those days, that's where I'll be.

Because:

'Nuff said.

'Nuff said.

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