30.11.05

Links Galore

  • Want to insult someone by cell phone or IM? Try using Monty Python shorthand. (þ: Rick Librarian)
  • 'Tis the season to give cards. But what about those "other times", times Hallmark has (inexplicably) not created a card for? Otherannouncements.com solves that problem nicely. (þ : Globe & Mail)

Imponderables

Now they're cracking down?

29.11.05

The Joy of Reprints

I just finished the reprint of The Unprejudiced Palate, one of the "Modern Library Food" series being brought to life by Ruth Reichl.

It was an enjoyable book: food writing, rather than a mere series of recipes. This was a man who truly enjoyed his food (it even costs him a wife!), and I suspect even writing about it was pleasurable for him. Because this was originally published in 1948, the chances of my running into it were slim; as a reprint, more people can enjoy this book (if not the recipes: I rather doubt I'll ever make my own wine or serve sweetbreads or tripe).

I've also recently read a book reprinted by A Common Reader. Several of my childhood favorites have gone out of print (Hugo and Josephine by Martha Gripe springs to mind). The concept of the reprint strikes me as one that should be encouraged more than it appears to be. Yes, some books would only find a few new readers. But others would find a whole new audience that loves them. What better fate for a book?

This year alone I've had the pleasure of introducing students to several of my favorites. Some (like White Ghost Summer) have lived on my shelves for years, bringing me much joy and happiness. Others (like The Great Good Thing) are recent finds. And nothing gives me greater happiness than a student asking not just to read a book, but asking where it can be bought so they can have that book. Sadly, several are not readily available (even on Alibris).

The question is, of course, who ponies up the money and the time and the resources? Do we allow Google to handle it? Quite frankly, despite Google's optimism, I'm not going to read a book on-line, nor do I have the printing equipment that would make downloading and printing for myself an option. So we rely on reprint houses, and second-hand bookstores to make these time-treasured books available to the general public for general consumption.

Would that there were more of these out there. Perhaps not all of them will appeal to me (or you) but enough will. If I win Lotto, I know what part of my winnings will go for: starting a reprinting press.

27.11.05

Choices... choices...

I spent a few hours yesterday moving things from one storage space to another. The second space is smaller, but climate-controlled and cheaper than the other place. Both of which make sense, particularly when most of The Collection is stashed there awaiting the purchase of my Home (and the building of My Library).

It was so tempting to open the boxes of books, visit old friends and pull stuff that I know would help teachers/students that I'm working with. But I didn't. I was steadfast and the boxes remain sealed. Of course, that's partly because the movers just dumped what fit into each box, ignoring my organization and categorization scheme as they did so.

This article
in the Guardian has me thinking about Next Steps. How will I arrange The Collection when the library is in place? Will Mt. Bookpile remain the mish-mash of genres and eras that it currently is, or will I organize that, too (probably in some FIFO fashion)?
Luckily, I have at least a year before I even have to start to decide. In the meantime, back to scaling Mt. Bookpile and its varied delights!

26.11.05

Sick. Just Sick

Usually, I'm told that I'm honest and reliable and this is why I'm being asked to help some widow (or child) of a deposed/murdered African/Asian recover assets. Today, I found this in my work e-mail:
I am sending this mail to you based on information I gathered through my personal research. My name is Meche Kings. I am a
member of Investigation Committee on Holocaust Assets Recovery(ICHAR). ICHAR is charged with the responsibility of finding bank accounts in Britain belonging to non-British indigenes, which have remained dormant since the end of World War II (May 9, 1945).It may interest you to know that In July 1999, the Public Record Office of the UK Ministry of Trade and Industry published a list of dormant accounts originally opened by non- British citizens. These accounts had been dormant since the end of World War II(May 9, 1945).Most belonged to Holocaust Victims.
The other requests were funny. This? Just sick. May the ghosts of all those killed in World War II haunt this bastard to the end of his days.

25.11.05

Not liking the implications

Yesterday went relatively well, from a cooking-and-eating perspective (ok, so the cranberry sauce didn't get opened due to lack of can opener - sue me). But from a television perspective? Bust.

You see, I've never bought a tv before. Somehow, in some weird way, people have always given me a set. So even though I've had three sets of my own (all at the same time, I might add), I've never thought of myself as a tv-owning kind of gal. Right now I have an 13" in storage, and a 19" here in the cottage. The 13" was a gift from my parents, and the 19" was a "reward" for helping my aunt empty out my great-aunt's apartment. This was in 1991, and who knows how much earlier the set had been purchased.

Then, yesterday, it became clear that my ol' reliable 19" was pretty much toast. At first I hoped I could help it limp along, but, well, there's nothing that can be done. Which then leads to the "what do I do about this?" question.

My sensible side says, "use the 13" in storage - you don't watch that much TV, and for a while you can live with the DVDs being on an even smaller screen." My impractical side says, "buy a new one today, because there are sales and you know you're probably going to want a bigger tv anyway."

I don't like what that side says about me: that I might be the kind of person to whom a bigger tv is important, the kind of person that runs out to replace something when there's a perfectly good substitute available. When I drove by storage just a few moments ago, the gate was locked and I thought "good!" and then felt ashamed of that thought. We'll see which side wins out tonight, when I have to go to the mall anyway (it's where the Tappan Zee Express bus is, not because it's where Best Buy and Circuit City and all the other stores are).

Links Galore

24.11.05

Something to be thankful for

Having my little family all together again: me, Michael, Lulu, Bogie and Mallory. And knowing that in a few hours this cottage will smell simply wonderful, as we prepare the Thanksgiving feast.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving, filled with good friends and good food.

23.11.05

A List Of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago

I could sing the praises of my local library--The roaring fire in the periodical room. The free wi-fi. The extensive graphic novel section. The summer reading programs for kids and adults. The outdoor story times in the summer. The display case for kids' collections (my son was so excited to show off his Lego creations)--but I have a DVD I want to go watch.
How cool is that? And this is on a blog dedicated to TV, movies and other forms of entertainment! Let's hope their readers take this to heart.

Something to be thankful for

Books and Netflix. 'Nuff said.

22.11.05

Something to be thankful for

The internet, search engines and e-mail, without which I could not stay in touch with my far-flung friends (and without which my best friend in grammar school could not have gotten back in touch!)

21.11.05

Something to be thankful for

My parents, extended family and close friends, without whom the recent upheaval in my life would have been much, much worse.

Notable Quotes

A recipe is just a story with a good meal at the end.
Pat Conroy

19.11.05

What are your mental snugglers?

There's nothing better than cuddling under the covers with a good book -- or watching a favorite movie/tv show. The mental break, the momentary "ahh... life is good" feeling is so necessary in today's frenetic world.

Alice and friends are listing some of theirs. What are yours?

Making Lemonade

I don't often play Pollyanna's Glad Game, but there are times...

Like this morning, when I was really, really trying to sleep in (the cats have gotten to a point where I can do this). So, it's 8am and I'm snuggled into the covers and - WHAM! - my crazy landlord's leaf blower starts up. Not just in his yard, but in his yard right under my bedroom window. Because, obviously, everyone should be up at 8am on a Saturday. He proceeded to leaf-blow and mow and trim in and around my cottage and backyard and his yard for the next two hours.

So, the Glad Game? "I'm glad that I don't have to take care of my own yard!"

(and that I'm used to waking up early, anyway)

18.11.05

Links Galore

  • In the middle of a moral dilemma? Questioning the meaning of life? AskPhilosophers. (þ: ALOTTFMA)
  • It's getting to be that time of year, the time when family and friends get together and EAT. If you're doing any of the preparation (even for a pot luck "day after Thanksgiving" meal), Cook's Illustrated-Recipe Resource may be just the site for you.

Lulu update

Well, we're past the growling and snarling phase (mostly) which is very nice. Lulu still stays mostly in my bedroom, but she did come out for breakfast today and has been happier about things generally.

However, now she's sleeping on the pillow next to me. And she snores. Human-sounding snores.

Sigh.

12.11.05

47 miles; 75 minutes

Today I picked Lulu up from Daddy's (he's off to St. Martin for a week). She gets two weeks in lovely close-to-NYC Rockland County, time with Mommy and The Boys (sorry, don't have digital pix so no catblogging).

Was she excited? No. She yowled the entire 47 mile, 75 minute drive. Now she's hidden under the couch.

The Boys know she's here, but they're being nice and leaving her alone... for now. We'll see how long that lasts.

In the meantime, blogging may be delayed due to excessive fuzz on the keyboard (Lulu sheds enough for any ten cats).

11.11.05

Why haven't you switched?

Firefox passes 10 percent market share.

See sidebar link to download your copy today.

Beware of Big Brother

In keeping with my interest in privacy issues and the abuses of technology, this post over at the SquawkBlog resonated.

Where do we start drawing the line? Can we? Should we? There are intrusions on our privacy that I resent highly: the abuse of my SSN as an identifier (does Lenscrafters really need it?), for example. The idea of a national ID card doesn't create the same emotion (it could supplant my SSN and drivers license!). Using those cards to enable or restrict my movement (a la Soviet Union) does cause resentment and concern. So to me, the question is, does this new abuse of technology represent the first step on that slippery slope or not?

You only have 30 seconds

Steven Cohen is talking about the "elevator pitch" - that 30 second moment you have to describe yourself, your idea, etc.. That got me thinking: what could I say about myself, my idea, my work in only 30 seconds? How can I make that 30 seconds pitch so exciting or meaningful or intriguing that I get a longer opportunity?

It's easy to come up with the boring, the obvious, isn't it? "I'm a school librarian at a K-12 independent school" But what makes that worth listening to? It's not so easy to come up with that part.

I'm working on my pitch. What's yours?

10.11.05

Privacy Survey

If you're not paying attention to privacy policies, you should be.

ThePrivacyPlace.Org 2005 Privacy Survey is Underway!

Researchers at ThePrivacyPlace.Org are conducting an online survey about privacy policies and user values. The survey is supported by an NSF ITR grant (National Science Foundation Information Technology Research) and will help us with our investigations of privacy policy expression and user comprehension.

The URL is: http://survey.theprivacyplace.org/

We need to attract several thousand respondents, and would be most appreciative if you would consider helping us get the word out about the survey which takes about 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The results will be made available in 2006 via our project website (http://www.theprivacyplace.org/).

Just under $9,000


My blog is worth $8,468.10.
How much is your blog worth?


(þ: Grumpy Old Bookman)

6.11.05

Meeting Musings

Yesterday, I went down to NYC to hear my friend Jim Como speak as part of Narnia on Tour. He talked about "Believing in Narnia" and gave a good overview of why the Chronicles work as "first-rate fairy tale literature." One of the things he said struck me, and I've been thinking about it ever since: "Ultimately, Naria is about Hope. We hear a lot these days about Faith and Charity, but not that much about Hope."

How very true. And usually, it's hope, not Hope, as in "I hope I get it", and it's personal. But Big Picture Hope, Hope for the world and the future is not in evidence in our daily lives, in our daily thoughts, in our daily conversations. Perhaps it's time to change that, to talk about Hope, about What's Next and how it will be better.

Playin' with stats

Every so-often I check the stats for this blog. One of the things I look at is the Search Engine Wars page, and today I learned that 50% of the people using a search engine to find this blog used Google. The remaining 50% was split between Yahoo, MSN, Earthlink and AOL. No one uses my favorite, Mamma.

It's a lazy Sunday, and you're clearly doing nothing better than sitting around playing on the web or reading your RSS feeds. So why don't you give Mamma a try? You won't be sorry.

3.11.05

Exactly how I feel...

The recent issue of Cites and Insights has an article/thinkpiece about life trumping blogging. In it, Walt cites this post at NexGen Librarian.

Of the six "what I learneds" in the post, three really resonate (the others made me think, but not quite as deeply):
1. Don't try and do more than you can do.

3. The 4o hour workweek is a farce.

5. F@#! living at the speed of today's technology.
Why these specifically? Because I've tried doing all of them. I spent a few years working two full-time jobs (only one of which paid) in addition to being a newsletter editor and sitting on several professional committees AND serving as the co-Chair of the school's self-evaluation committee. I often bring work home (including my work-issued laptop) and sit there, in my jammies in my living room, with a cup of cocoa or a bottle of wine, and finish what didn't get done during the day. And I have a 90+ feed Bloglines account and 6 e-mail accounts to monitor.

Since moving, though, I've made a conscious effort not to get over-involved, over-scheduled. It means less tv (and isn't that a good thing?), and being in bed, with a book, by 9pm at the latest, ready to read myself to sleep. It means taking a step back and not diving into the latest, the newest. And it means seriously thinking about what I'm doing and with whom: do I really want to spend this time on this activity? Often, the answer is "well.... you should...." but the desire isn't there. I'm giving myself permission to not do.

I suggest all of us do the same. I suspect we'll all be happier.