30.10.05

I just don't get it

Over the past week, a few articles (on- and off-line)have caught my eye. For example, there's this post about iPod Video. And this article about how large and small screens are getting. I'm amazed that anyone thinks all this is necessary: just because we can have it, does that mean it's a good thing or that we should have it?

What precipitated this extended period of mulling was this post, where Library Bitch asks "Honestly, has our culture grown to the point where we can't be separated from mass media for a fucking hour now?" I'd add, have we devolved to the point where we can't be unreachable and quiet for any amount of time? is it really necessary to go to dinner (in a very posh restaurant) with your cell phone still on, or tucked into your ear?

The number of devices that are multi-taskers has grown. I don't want a cell phone that takes pictures and surfs the web, just as I don't want a toaster that will also iron my shirts and make my bed. I want one thing that does that thing well. And it doesn't have to be electronic. "Analog" still works for me.

And I want to feel ok about turning it all off for a while. Like now.

28.10.05

Links Galore

  • I love a good mystery; even more, I love a good mystery that takes place in a library. Now I can indulge myself even more by using Bibliomysteries. (þ: NeatNew)
  • Warning: this is a huge time waster (þ: SwissToni)
  • Readers of The Village Voice have come to expect a certain quality to their reviews. The VV is celebrating 50 years with a look back at some of them, including Lolita, The Threepenny Opera amd Harlot's Ghost.

27.10.05

Yes, Mom

Like Mom (and MOM), I have Reynauds. So I'm usually cold way before anyone else is. And, thanks to a recent bout of mono (Yes, I know, mono in your 40s is very embarrassing. Can we not talk about it any more?), I need to be careful about catching colds and viri and all - and let's not forget that working in a school = working in a germ factory.

This is the first year I have to pay for my own heat. I've been diligently following the news and it's going to be expensive. So I set my termostat so that when I was up and puttering, it'd be 65; 60 when I wasn't. It got really cold, which is odd because it should feel warm at 60 when it's in the 40s outside. But it doesn't and I'm not science-minded enough to understand why.

Anyway, last night, my mother insisted that I move the temp. to 68 when I'm up and about, 65 when I'm not.

If I go broke paying for this... Still, I suppose it'll offset my support of all the cold remedy companies...

ETA: walking into my 68 degree cottage was pretty nice; oddly enough, the bedroom hasn't warmed up yet. If it ever will. Still, I have my flannel 'jammies and sheets and two comforters to keep me warm!

Will history repeat itself?

Last year, the Red Sox won the Series.

This year, the White Sox won the Series.

Previously, the Red Sox won in 1918. The White Sox won in 1919. We all know how that ended.

26.10.05

Confused yet?

Some people believe in the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost). I don't mean to be flip, but if you think that God is vengeful, yet Jesus loves all mankind, isn't that a contradiction?

Sherri blogs about thinking she was a liberal, yet discovering she actually had conservative leanings. And, in the comments to this post, Aravis and Anonymous are discussing whether God is punishing Florida for gay rights/parades or for voting for Bush.

Seems like we're all confused.

25.10.05

A reality tv series I'd watch

"America's Next Muppet".

It's gotta be better than the rest of them, right? I mean, it's just got to be!

What a wonderful word

peeveblogging (and the links aren't bad, either).

24.10.05

A blog change

(sort of like a sea change)

I forget why, but the other day I was looking at the earlier posts in this blog. They were more thoughtful, and a lot more political. I started to ponder why this change had occurred, but got interrupted by lunch with some old friends of my father.

It was at this lunch that the reason hit me: politics today is ugly. This man, who didn't know me or my views, who had just met me, started making comments about people that didn't agree with him politically. Apparently, we're all stupid and evil and in need of converting. The thing is, it's not just one-sided. Both sides feel the same about the other. "How can any right-minded person vote/believe/think that way?" becomes "I must save this person from the error of their ways" or "This is such an evil person I can't be around them" - neither particularly constructive ways of thinking.

There are people on both sides I disagree with. There are people on both sides that I think have ill-informed opinions. And there are people on both sides that I think are only listening to selected news and commentary that only agrees with, and reinforces, their previously held beliefs. Until we're able to have a conversation - not an argument - about things, I want no part of it. I'd rather avoid those people (on both sides) than feel as though my rather centrist beliefs are somehow wrong and therefore I'm stupid and need to be saved.

The worst thing? Because I'm not a knee-jerk, always-vote/tout-the-party-line person, I must belong to The Evil Side. Where is it written that that's the case? I prefer to think of myself as a judge, taking each issue and deciding - based on the merits - what I believe and how I'll vote. It'd be nice if I knew more people that did the same.

Will they sue?

Or did Lemony Snickett pay off OCLC? In The Penultimate Peril, the much-put-upon Baudelaire's stay at the Hotel Denouement which is organized in Dewey Decimal! The last time a hotel tried that, TPTB sued.

A lawsuit would truly be An Unfortunate Event.

23.10.05

A weather first

Language Log looks at the history behind Tropical Storm Alpha, the first ever hurricane "named" with a Greek letter. My question is, how do you retire a letter?

19.10.05

Here's an idea

Cheney May Be Entangled in CIA Leak Investigation, People Say, If this is true, then what Cheney did is illegal, if not treason.

Solution? Cheney would have to resign.

This isn't the big deal people think. We've had a Vice President resign in the past 40 years - Spiro Agnew.

The next step, clearly, is to bring back Gerald Ford. He's been there, he's done that. And hey, what's the worst that could happen with him as Veep... again?

18.10.05

Warning!

Sloth can be hazardous to your health

Another list to argue over

Nope, not Time's 100 best books since 1923. ASME's Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Past 40 Years. It's a pretty good list.

My biggest quarrel with these sort of lists is that they should not consider anything recent: we're too close to have perspective. Only once the century/decade is long gone can we really assess the "best" or "worst" or "biggest". The same with the above: what about the Top Magazine Covers from 1965 - 1995? Yes, some of the more recent ones will have staying power and be considered important or classics. But some won't, so it's silly to presume that we know today what will be a classic in the future.

Slow down, you move too fast...

With all the "isn't technology great" talk going on, it's nice to know that some people are having trouble keeping up.

17.10.05

Does anyone remember what FICTION is?

TPMCafe, a site for political discussions, is treating last night's "West Wing" episode as though it's real. Not a tv show, real life.

Look, it's great that what happened can spark a discussion (about Intelligent Design v. Evolution), but really. This is a tv show. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what the characters do or say: they're fictional. Giving it this kind of attention, this kind of import is just, well... silly? futile? diverting attention from the real issues? Take your pick.

Me? I'm going to enjoy the show as a work of fiction and stop thinking of TPMCafe as a source for anything. Because clearly they can't tell the difference between story and real life.

Notable Quotes

Silence is a way of saying: we do not have to entertain each other; we are okay as we are.
Martha Grimes, Hotel Paradise

16.10.05

And???

According to several sources, Rove's Contingency Plan is to resign. So? Didn't David Gergan and Dick Morris also resign? And the hell they're buring in now is... oh, that's right: they've been "rehabilitated" and are once again advising and serving. So big deal if Rove and Libby resign. Nothing will really change unless they're found guilty and sent to jail. Perhaps not even then...

Random Musings

For some reason today I couldn't focus in Meeting. The following are some of the random thoughts that flitted across my mind:
  • why is "Daydream Believer" stuck in my head?
  • when did Quakers become so intolerant of people that are not like them politically?
  • when did faith, or overt expression of faith, become a bad thing?
  • how can someone fall asleep on these hard, cushionless benches?
  • why are people that live in "red" states automatically Devil-spawn?
  • what's the protocol when someone starts snoring in Meeting?

14.10.05

To disclose or not to disclose

I know, I know, I said my previous post would be the last about the conference. However...

I was asked to join a vendor discussion group, and told I'd have to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Suddenly, my views and input are Very Important, right? I can be trusted with News.

Yet I (and the others at my session - we weren't blindfolded and could see everyone that was there) don't get it. We didn't say anything to them about our use of the product that we wouldn't have already shared with other librarians. We didn't learn anything about new products that might be forthcoming. So, why the NDA? Perhaps the vendor is paranoid, but really - a lot of fuss about nothing in this case leads to the Vendor That Cried Wolf feeling. Still, I'm not going to name the vendor because of the NDA. However, if you saw my swag bag....

Isn't it bad enough I've got sinus problems?

Today in my Bloglines list I find these two posts, both of which are just adding to my headache. First there's the news that "bling bling" and other atrocities are being added to dictionaries. Whereas it used to be that a word needed to have staying power to be added, now it seems that there's some other criteria - a tipping point, if you will (or won't) - that makes it an automatic candidate. Let's take bets on how much longer it'll stay in the dictionary (or how long before it gets the "arch." designation).

Then there's this, about the Bible being "translated" into SMS. I've already blogged about my feelings about SMS as a language; it's gr8 for taking notes, but not for everyday writing. So this abomination?

My head hurts.

Links Galore

11.10.05

Imponderables

One final thought from the conference. At the David Lawrence Convention Center, there is a ground floor that is split in two by a roadway allowing taxis and buses (and cars) to pick up and drop off people. I'm sure that some of these vehicles wait there, idling all the while. One the walls, as you walk to the doors, are the No Smoking signs.

Because we all know that smoking is bad for you, but exhaust fumes are just fine.

10.10.05

Words

Emma, Friday blogging for Maud, writes
This week’s word on The Meaning of Tingo Blog: Scheissenbedauern, which is German for "the disappointment one feels when something turns out not nearly as badly as one had expected."

I don’t really relate to this one. But that’s perhaps because I’m often fisselig (German for flustered to the point of incompetence).
This ties in so nicely with the below, taken from the Toronto Globe and Mail (Sept. 28):
In his book The Meaning of Tingo, Adam Jacot de Boinod has compiled as collection of words and phrases from round the world that have no English equivalent. They include: katahara itai (Japanese), laughing so much that one side of your abdomen hurts; gigi rongak (Malay), the space between your teeth; bakku-shan (Japanese), a girl who appears pretty from behind but not from the front; Kummerspeck (German), the excess weight gains from emotiona-related overeating; Drachenfutter (German), peace offerings made by guilty husbands to their wives; uitwaaien (Dutch), walking in windy weather for the fun of it; koshatnik (Russian), a dealer in stolen cats; aviador (Spanish), a government employee who only shows up on payday.
All the above sound like words I should start using. Except koshatnik. Who knew stolen cats were such a problem in Russia?

6.10.05

Imponderables

I'm here in Pittsburgh for the AASL Conference and have been seeing friends from around the country. A friend invited me back to her room to rest between the exhibits and my evening event and mentioned that there was something in her room she wanted me to see.

Underneath the sprinkler head is a little international symbol for "no" and inside it is a hanger. But the sprinkler head is a good 11-12' off the ground - even Shaq might have a problem using it as a hanger rod!

5.10.05

Hanging head

Yesterday, which I had off, was supposed to be this great day for Getting Things Done. Not the "official" GTD stuff, but chores. I did tidy and organize my papers, and I finished a rather disappointing new book (promptly started on a much, much better one). But cleaning? Scrubbing? Packing? Nope. Nada. Rien. Niente.

So here I am, blogging and drinking a Hornsby's Draft Cider and thinking about how behind I am in my chores. And vowing to finish them asap. And trying not to think that I'm coming down with a bit of a cold so I can avoid them even longer.

Of course, I need to be out of the house by 7:30am tomorrow to head for the airport, so there is a bit of a time constraint. Don't forget to check the Official AASL Conference Blog... and DO NOT forget to Buy A Friend A Book some time this week.

See you in Pittsburgh!

4.10.05

Terrifying Words

Even though Colby Cosh is mostly talking about Serenity and the Cult of Joss Whedon, he hits me where I live when he says
Have you ever been interested in a member of the opposite sex (assuming the opposite one is to your taste) and had her recommend a book to you? "You simply have to read The Man With The Technicolor Trousers. Here, I'll lend you my copy." I believe I can expect near-universal agreement that there is nothing more terrifying. If you like the book, it's all very well--though you had better like it an awful lot. If you don't like the book, you must either tell the truth, and implicitly insult the recommender, or you must brazen it out, thus instantly despising yourself and/or her. On the whole, psoriasis is distinctly less unpleasant.
Because I'm a reader, people assume that I simply must agree with their likes/dislikes in terms of reading. That's not true. While Notes from Mt. Bookpile may suggest that I'm relatively indiscriminate in my reading, the truth is that I am: not everything I read is a "good read", and not everything I read is for pleasure (Harry Potter VI springs to mind, as does the upcoming Primal Teen).

So please, spare your friends and relatives the "you must read/watch/eat ____". You may think you know the person really, really well, but there's always that one bad book/movie/tv series that will spoil the entire relationship. I know whereof I speak.

3.10.05

R.I.P.

Sprint puts Trench Coat Guy on hiatus. Now who's going to tell me that "Shamu" was really "shampoo"? (þ: TV Tattle)

1.10.05

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

This quarter, I've managed to clear off one shelf!

Fiction/Literature
Love, etc., Julian Barnes
Elementals, A. S. Byatt
The Last Days of Dogtown, Anita Diamant
Shut the Door, Amanda Marquit
Titmuss Regained, John Mortimer
A Dance to the Music of Time (First Movement), Anthony Powell
The Red Carpet: Bangalore Stories, Lavanya Sankaran
The Stone Carvers, Jane Urquhart

Non-Fiction
Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary, Vivian Cook
Bad Stuff in the News, Marc Gellman & Thomas Hartman
100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, Bernard Goldberg
Da Vinci Code Decoded, Martin Lunn
The Secret Man, Bob Woodward
The Ideas that Conquered the World, Michael Mandelbaum
Vows, Peter Manseau
Frugal Luxuries, Tracey Mcbride
My Kind of Place, Susan Orlean
God Among the Shakers, Suzanne Skees
The Colony, John Tayman

Genre Fiction
The Stranger House, Reginald Hill
The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova


Children’s/YA Lit
The Sisters Grimm, Michael Buckley; Brothers Grimm
Beyond The Valley Of Thorns, Patrick Carman
Played, Dana Davidson
Wizards at War, Diane Duane
Inkspell, Cornelia Funke
If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?, Melissa Kantor
Lord Loss, Darran Shan
Boy Girl Boy, Ronald Koertge
Blackthorn Winter, Kathryn Reiss
Spellfall, Katherine Roberts
You Are SO Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah!, Fiona Rosenbloom
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling
The Last Universe, William Sleator
Gossip Girl, Cecily Von Ziegesar