28.2.06

Memories...

Bri is blogging about a book unit she's doing, using The Wizard of Oz as an example of books made into movies (we know how I feel about that, don't we?).

It got me remembering the first time I really saw that movie. We were living in Ohio, and my father and I were making our first color tv (Heathkit - and I learned to solder). Anyway, there was this rush on because The Wizard was going to be on tv that night, in what was one of its first color broadcasts. So I was supposed to be really excited.

The tv finished and on, I sat down. The peacock came out and spread its grey-tone tale. Yawn. The opening credits. Yawn. Yeah, yeah over the grey rainbow. Then the tornado and that scene with the door opening into Oz. Blew.Me.Away. Totally. For the first time in my life I was scared of the witch. It was simply amazing. I'd never seen anything like it, yet all to quickly the "magic" of color tv faded for me.

But that first view? Priceless.

Do I want to join this club?

I feel a little like Groucho, not wanting to belong to a club that would have me for a member. Which club? The edubiblioblogosphere, of course (try saying that ten times fast, after a drink or so).

In general, as I've said before, I blog about whatever I want. It's the rantings and ravings of my mind, which doesn't tend to think deep thoughts about my profession or my professional life. I'm too busy trying to make it through the day, to be honest. Between work, The Boys, reading and sleeping, and the occasional letter to a friend, it's a pretty full life.

It's not that I don't have these deep thoughts, however. I do. I've presented (on creating your social network, on evaluating your program), I've written, I've worked on the national publication. I attend conferences and my bloglines include many of the "big thinker" blogs. So I do think about being a school librarian a lot. I just don't write about it.

Why? Because one of the things I'd be writing about is my resentment of some of the "thou shalts" in my world. "Thou shalt" have flexible scheduling. "Thou shalt" blog. "Thou shalt" not have study hall in your library. "Shalt this" (as we used to say in prep school).

I'm not convinced that the so-called Library 2.0 (or School Library 2.0) revolution is a bandwagon upon which I want to jump... yet. There are so many other things to do. Like upgrading my Reference Collection. Like establishing collaborative practices. Like hiring a LS Librarian. Like creating interesting programs that get people into the library.

Maybe then I'll have time and energy to focus on the rest of it. Maybe then I'll be convinced that blogging is "the way" to reach my students. Or that having a MySpace page is absolutely necessary. But right now, this juror is unconvinced. And angry that my peers call my professionalism into question because I'm not rushing to The Next Big Thing but I'm working to tweak The Old Stuff to make it better. Because ultimately, it isn't about the technology. It isn't about the social networking. It isn't even about me. It's about what works best for my school and my library, and I'm the best judge of that.

27.2.06

Imponderable Quotes

"It's unseasonably cold today"
(local weatherman)

Uh, it's February. In the Northeast. Isn't it supposed to be cold in winter? Or did I miss something growing up in the Snow Belt?

26.2.06

Playing Hookey

Next month I'm heading to DC for a conference. Usually, I do only the conference, not spending time visiting the city/sites. Usually, too, I don't "spouse" (bring someone not attending the conference) or "roommate" (share a room with someone attending the conference). This is done to protect my sanity - I do not want to hear about the great time my "spouse" had while I was in sessions/at meetings, nor do I constantly want to talk shop.

However, this conference I will be roommating (with Alice). And, after I saw a mention of the Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at the Phillips Collection, I may have to break my "all conference all the time" rule, too.

Purrrfectly Content

I've been under a bit of stress and strain recently, and decided that yesterday should be A Day Off. No chores, no errands, just lying in bed reading and snoozing. The Boys were really good about cuddling and not fighting or running around (they usually do when there's a weather front change - something to do with their inner ears getting all wonky).

Anyway, at bedtime, my Big Boy curled up against me, in perfect teddy bear position. So I put my arms around him (as one would a teddy bear), and he purred and purred and we drifted off. My Little Boy was sleeping draped over my feet.

What a great way to end the week!

25.2.06

Why I'm not watching

Finish what you start: "Secondly -- and pay real close attention here -- if you start an event, then finish it. Don't say, 'We'll be right back to women's figure skating, but first, let's go to a dark, foggy mountain for something the Austrians do really well.'"

24.2.06

Never too old

Harold Burson has started a blog. At age 85, no less.

23.2.06

It's worse than I thought

UPDATE on the situation in Arizona: Making Light: Opting out of education

It's all about MEEEEEEEEEEEE

SwissToni linked to his, which got me thinking about, well, me. Because of The Big Day, and the Big Life Changes, I have been thinking about myself - in an introspective way, of course. So now's your chance to help: Interactive Johari Window:

I'm not alone!

I've always been one of those odd people, taking up "enthusiasms" that no one else seems to have heard of, much less enjoy. I won't call this an obsession, but I've sort of had a thing about Lord Lucan. And when Muriel Spark wrote a mystery about him, of course I had to read it. This morning, to my great delight, Grumpy Old Bookman writes about Aiding and Abetting, the very book I read and enjoyed a few years ago (read the whole thing as I was sitting on the floor of NYC's Port Authority, waiting for a bus to my favorite vacation getaway! See what I mean about "odd"?).

One of the things I liked is that the characters all have something to hide, something that's not quite right about them. It's a lot like "real" people, because to some extent, in a new situation, we all construct new selves. In this case, of course, Lord Lucan has a lot to hide. But is it him? I've always wondered what happened, and where he is, and who helped him, and if he's laughing at us all.

Anyway, I feel less odd now. A little.

22.2.06

I've been tagged

(thanks, Alice)

Four non-library jobs I’ve had:
chambermaid
concessionnaire
trade administrator
executive secretary

Four Authors, Books, or Series I read over and over:
Julian Barnes
Robertson Davies
A. S. Byatt
Up a Road Slowly

Four movies I can watch over and over:
Clueless
Grosse Pointe Blank
Before Sunrise/Before Sunset
The Philadelphia Story

Four TV shows I love(d):
The Newsroom
House
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Chancer

Four places I’ve lived:
Brooklyn
Shaker Heights OH
Newton MA
Geneva (Switzerland)

Four places to vacation in:
Montreal
London (Hampstead)
Paris
Edinburgh

Four sites I visit/use daily:
gmail
bloglines
The Readers Place
Television without Pity

Four people I’d like to meet in person, based on their blogs:
Coco
Kar
Sheri
Aravis

Four foods I yearn for:
crisp Granny Smith apples
good creme caramel
my mother's spaghetti sauce (the old recipe)
real macaroni and cheese

Four inventions I’m grateful for:
iPod
Quicken
space heaters
electric lighting

Four musical choices for my personal soundtrack:
Michel Rivard
Liane Foly
Guns'n'Roses
Blondie

Four nouns that describe me:
organizer
curmudgeon
blogger
reader

Four Bloggers I’m Tagging:
Bri
Aravis
Zip
Sherri

The Right to Never be Offended

Somehow, I don't quite think that's in the Constitution. Or the Declaration. Or the Bill of Rights. Or anywhere... except, now, apparently, Arizona.
SB 1331
AN ACT
amending Title 15, chapter 14, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding article 8; relating to UNIVERSITIES and community colleges.
(TEXT OF BILL [...]) Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Title 15, chapter 14, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding article 8, to read:

ARTICLE 8. ALTERNATIVE COURSEWORK AND MATERIALS

START_STATUTE15-1881. Alternative coursework or materials
Each university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents and each community college under the jurisdiction of a community college district shall adopt procedures by which students who object to any course, coursework, learning material or activity on the basis that it is personally offensive shall be provided without financial or academic penalty an alternative course, alternative coursework, alternative learning materials or alternative activity. Objection to a course, coursework, learning material or activity on the basis that it is personally offensive includes objections that the course, coursework, learning material or activity conflicts with the student's beliefs or practices in sex, morality or religion.
So learning that people have sex, if I'm a virgin, is offensive? Sitting in a current events class and taking about Islam and their beliefs is offensive if I'm a Christian?

I'm offended that the concept of education is being so bastardized by these people. I'm offended that we're now expected to soothe all ruffled feathers, rather than expecting students to come to class open minded and ready to expand their currently limited horizons. I'm offended that we're pandering to the tyranny of the minority, rather than thinking about the greater good to be served in broadening understanding between people of different beliefs, races, experiences.

I'm very happy that this was not the rule when I was in school. My parents would have been offended by this law.

21.2.06

When the movie is better than the book

Many times, the movie is not as good as the book. Some times, the movie is entirely different than the book and can stand on its own - The Wizard of Oz is a great example. Some times, the movie is the equal of the book (the Colin Firth P&P, for example).

And then there are those very rare times when the movie is far, far better than the book. I've recently experienced this with our afterschool book club. We read Joan Lindsay's A Picnic at Hanging Rock as a group. The kids liked it, even though they sometimes had difficulty understanding and following the slow pace of the book. The mystery of what happened to the girls intrigued them. Then we watched the movie.

The setting, the music, the pacing: it was perfect. The kids were loathe to stop the film at the end of the period, and just as loathe to start again the next time because it was so eerie, so creepy.

When it was all over, they were unanimous. The movie was far, far better than the book. How often can you say that?

Calm before the storm

The next few weeks are going to be particularly difficult for me. Not only do I have the usual "stuff" (running a library, taking care of The Boys, managing my life), but there's the annual Book Fair order to be organized and the budget for next year to be created. And then there's the staffing issues.

I have four people working for me. We're reorganizing so that we gain a full-time LS Librarian, which means losing a PT faculty librarian (right now, no one is dedicated to any one division). I don't think that my current staff is going to see the big picture, nor are they going to be helpful once it sinks in that these changes will happen.

The good news is that when stressed/depressed, I don't eat as much. I foresee effortless weightloss in my near future!

19.2.06

Small Town Steps

Small City USA doesn't have a lot going for it. Often, the best stuff is about an hour away in Syracuse. Syracuse is also where a couple of the "local" tv stations broadcast from (you really need cable up there!). All Things Amy posted that the PBS station in Syracuse is trying to find An end to pledge drives. Which means that my parents, in Small Town USA will be whine week free long before I am.

Never thought I'd miss Small Town. Guess there are still a few good things there (parents not included).

13.2.06

Real vs. Virtual Lives

Doug asked Are virtual experiences driving out real life experiences? My response: yes.

As I wrote a while ago
My sister worries that her children are growing up in a world in which we're "on" all the time - always reachable by cell phone or IM or Blackberry or whatever new cool tool comes along - and in which we cannot distinguish between the personal and the public.
I worry that it's more than that: that growing up on-line and in a virtual community will create problems for us in terms of face-to-face interactions.

When Doug comments "Aren't kids discovering themselves and their places in the virtual world?", he's right. They are. But what about their place in the real world? If you're used to communicating via SMS or IM or e-mail, it may be difficult to actually hold a conversation. If you're used to letting it all hang out on your blog/MySpace/Xanga page, you may not realize that some people don't want all that information about you and your life. If you make friends with people far away and in different time zones, you may not be capable of having a real relationship with someone nearby.

I'm not saying that this is, in fact, the case with all children, every where. But it is something to worry about. Playing kickball and house with friends taught me to share and be a team player. Sitting in front of my computer playing Everquest may teach life lessons, but not the same ones. Not to mention the difference in calories expended, gross motor skills learned, etc..

I belong to an on-line readers community, and I've recently started blogging on a readers blog. That's me, bloviating alone and if someone reads, great. If someone comments, better. But let's not pretend that these on-line communities take the place of the personal touch, the intimate exchange. I much prefer the book discussions I have with my friends: I can see the excitement when I mention that I've read the latest ____ and I can hear the disappointment when that book doesn't grab them. Our brains do the "hypertext" links from Pratchett to Peake to Dickens. In real time, with real people.

Can a virtual life really take the place of that?

12.2.06

Imponderables

Just checked to see if there was a hope that this would muck up tomorrow and school, and I noticed that I could get either a forecast or a PetCast. How stupid do you have to be to rely on one of those? If you can't tell by looking outside what the best way to take care of your pet is, you don't deserve a pet. Period.

Diagnosis: The Crankies

I'm in a very cranky mood today, and don't really care who knows it.

You see, like most of the Northeast, I'm in the middle of a blizzard. Which is fine, except...

This much snow should mean a snow day. Really. Any time more than a foot falls, there should be a snow day attached. It should never happen on a Sunday (or Saturday), tantalizing us with the possibilities. When I was younger, there were snow forts to build and snowball wars to fight, and cocoa after. And there was no school. Now that I'm old, there aren't any snow forts or snowball wars, and because this is a Sunday and "they" will start plowing and things will be back to somewhat normal by tomorrow, there will be school. Totally unfair. Grossly negligent of the Weather Gods, wouldn't you say?

So I'm cranky. Very, very cranky.

Grrrrrrrr.

9.2.06

Hey, old friend

In a recent post, Doug writes:
I was genuinely touched by her bittersweet request to newsletter readers to "share a beer and have a chat" with her estranged friend Charles still in NYC. Would that anyone who once loved me, think of me even half as kindly as Ms Harger thinks of Charles.
Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all thought like Ms. Harger?

I'm reading again!

After last year's spectacular total number of books read, I took a break to catch up on magazines/journals that were lying around. Now that pile has gone to the recyclers, I'm back on the books. First up: Resurrection Men (continuing my Ian Rankin Rebus spree).

7.2.06

[shaking of baffled head]

I've gotten two e-mails from my father that have me shaking my head. In the first, he writes, "That would be a bummer...." and in the second "Absolutely right on". I'm not sure why I find this disturbing, but I do. It's almost as bad as my mother and bling!

6.2.06

Spoiled by family

Yesterday was a Big Day in my life: I've officially spent 43 years on this planet. Unlike some other Big Days, this wasn't really one that caused a lot of reflection (or, to be more accurate, a lot of additional reflection - I've been doing a lot of that recently anyway, thanks to the Big Move and Life Changes in June '05).

I decided that it was time for my semi-annual haircut, which was very nice, thanks to Serena (one of the few I actually trust with my hair). Then I went to Brooklyn and spent time with M. We changed our coins into dollars ($190 between the two of us since June), had a bite to eat, had a brief snooze, changed, and went to dinner with my aunt and uncle and cousin. This particular aunt and uncle spend half their time in Jerusalem (where they moved in '71), so it's always nice to see them and I felt honored that they'd agreed to dinner only three days after landing in the US!

At the end of dinner, when the check came, my uncle said that "Uncle's always pay" and treated me (and M) to dinner. What a lovely tradition, birthday or no! I was also happy that my cousin had chosen to dine with us rather than her husband's brother and two children (recently arrived from India, stopping in NYC on their way to a new life in Miami).

Sunday I headed to Boston for a family meeting. Before the quarterly meeting, there's a cousin's dinner at a nearby hotel. I got there early and went to the bar for a drink; soon after, a cousin and his wife appeared, bearing flowers. I knew they'd spoken to my parents, so I wasn't surprised they knew it was my birthday, but I was very touched. We had dinner for twelve, with one in-law joining us about halfway through. It was great talking to people and catching up on their lives, since I hadn't seen them in a year (not having been able to make the previous dinners). For the record, none were first cousins - they were mostly first cousins once removed (my mother's cousins), with one second cousin (the child of my mother's cousin) and a third cousin once removed (the granddaughter of my great-grandfather's brother). And yes, I can keep all that straight in my head.

Then it was time for dessert. My very thoughtful cousin had arranged a cake: a four-layer chocolate cake, with "Happy Birthday [Lazygal]" on it! Clearly, they'd planned this in advance, because you can't just walk into a bakery on Sunday and get one made. It made me so glad that I'm a part of this family - quirky and Gothic and bizarre as it sometimes is.

And I feel totally spoiled. Which isn't a bad thing, on your Big Day.

Notable Quotes

BEN OKRI
10½ Inclinations
There is a secret trail of books meant to inspire and enlighten
you. Find that trail.
Read outside your own nation, colour, class, gender.
Read the books your parents hate.
Read the books your parents love.
Have one or two authors that are important, that speak to you;
and make their works your secret passion.
Read widely, for fun, stimulation, escape.
Don't read what everyone else is reading. Check them out later,
cautiously.
Read what you're not supposed to read.
Read for your own liberation and mental freedom.
Books are like mirrors. Don't just read the words. Go into the
mirror.
That is where the real secrets are. Inside. Behind. That's where the gods
dream, where our realities are born. 10½) Read the world. It is the most
mysterious book of all.
(c) Ben Okri 2006. All rights reserved.

2.2.06

Reaching new lows for the legal profession

People reports In class-action suits filed in Manhattan Monday, publishers Random House and Nan Talese are being accused of gross negligence for their role in James Frey's embattled memoir A Million Little Pieces – or rather, for their failure to act properly and fact-check Frey's reputed "brutally honest" account of his alcohol- and drug addictions.

(รพ: TVTattle)

1.2.06

Unwellness

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to spend time with a F/friend, the author of Unwellness. During our conversation, I mentioned that we needed to find time to catch up, although given her blog, there wasn't all that much I didn't already know about her life.

I also mentioned that a friend had semi-castigated me for having the only personal (as opposed to a library blog) blog in his Bloglines feed, and yet I wasn't blogging about "the good stuff" (DUH! my mother reads this!). So I pointed him to two blogs that were a bit more personal, Unwellness being one of them.

SO now Bri's linked to me and people are peeking in to see what's going on here. I'm not going to fill you in on the horrors of my private life (no "egg white" on this blog). I may mention Mt. Bookpile, or rant a little about the so-called advances of technology.

On the other hand, you never know what I may be goaded into blogging. So stick around!

Imponderables

All your emoticons are belong to Cingular? According to Language Log, Cingular has applied for a patent for smileys. Will they next trademark WTF? or ROTFLMAO? Because that's my reaction. ; )