31.12.05

Words that are, like, so 2002

Last week, during my Great Trek Northward, I stopped off in Smalltown USA to visit my parents. We had dinner plans in Small City USA, right next door. There were eight of us at dinner, and I was the youngest by a good quarter century - these were my parent's friends, all in their 60s, all retired.

Apparently, the women in the group have just learned a new word. Bling. I kid you not.

As we walked in, they all showed their "bling" off to each other. Now, granted, there is something to be said about the whole "look in the mirror and take one piece of jewelry off" rule, but these women were no where near the state of "bling" that, say, my grandmother's gauche I've-made-it-out-of-the-Lower-East-Side stuff reached. But there they were, pointing out a necklace here, an earring there, all gleefully exclaiming "bling!"

These women don't know what hip hop (much less rap) music is, and if they've heard of it, they couldn't tell the difference between Eminem, LL Cool J and Afrika Bambaataa. But they know what bling is.

Time to retire the word.

New words

According to the OUP, "podcast" is the New Word of the Year. According to Merriam-Webster, the most Looked Up Word of 2005 is "integrity".

Unlike last year
, there are no surprises in the Top Ten.

30.12.05

Links Galore

  • Did you get a gift certificate from a bookstore and aren't sure what to buy? Try Metacritic for a roundup of reviews. (þ: Fiction_L)
  • Wonder how your MPG compares to others? Use the EPA's Fuel Economy site. (þ: ICARUS)
  • Tired of Ebert and What's-his-name? Leonard Maltin doesn't do it for you? Waldorf and Statler may be exactly the movie critics you need! (þ: Sites and Soundbites)

29.12.05

I'm IT

Sherri tagged me, so here goes:

Seven things I plan to do before I kick the can:
1. Get out of debt
2. Have a house with a custom built library in it
3. Plant a lilac tree
4. Scale Mt. Bookpile and survive
5. Lose weight and keep it off
6. Go to a Formula 1 Grand Prix
7. Stop multitasking

Seven things I can do:
1. Type 100wpm
2. Read pretty fast
3. Snuggle with my cats
4. Organize almost anything
5. Edit
6. Care about others
7. Sleep

Seven things I can't do:
1. Run
2. Drive backwards for longer than 20 feet
3. Stay warm
4. Give myself a decent manicure
5. Sing on key
6. Get darker than "parchment"
7. Curl my hair so that it stays

Seven things that attract me to another person:
1. Intelligence
2. Multiple interests
3. Sense of humor
4. Ability to teach without being condescending
5. Love of books/reading
6. Love of cats (particularly mine)
7. Light eyes (grey, green, blue)

Seven things I say most often:
1. Wuvs oooo
2. How's my pumpkin head?
3. Thingy
4. Yeah, right
5. F*ck (and variations on that theme)
6. I just read....
7. Um

Time for Bri, Coco, Aravis and Karmon to chime in...

Mark your calendar

Every month, there is a post on LM_NET that lets us know what events/holidays are coming in the month just ahead. Today I learned that January 2006 is (among other things)...

  • Book Blitz Month (as if we didn't get enough during the Gift Giving Season just past)
  • International Quality of Life Month (good idea!)
  • National Clean Up Your Computer Month (something you already do)
  • National Get Organized Month (taxes are coming due... and it's never too early to start on Spring Cleaning)
  • Diet Resolution Week and New Year's Resolutions Week (1/1-1/7) (talk about reduced expectations!)
  • National Write to Congress Day (1/3) (find the addresses here)
  • Universal Letter-Writing Week (1/8-1/14) (you know I'm participating!)
  • Hunt For Happiness Week (1/15-1/21) (if ya gotta hunt for it...)
  • National Handwriting Day (1/23) (shouldn't this be during "Universal Letter-Writing Week"?)
  • Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day (1/30) (aka "drive your favorite cat buggy" day)
Enjoy!

26.12.05

Imponderables

Titles that make you go "whaaaa????": Bibliography of Native American Bibliographies

24.12.05

It pays to be cynical

Turns out, the DHS did not visit that UMass/Dartmouth student. Federal agents' visit was a hoax: Student admits he lied about Mao book.

Whatever this student's motivation (embarassing the Bush administration, garnering attention, pathological lying, whatever), it's certainly become a topic in the library and the anti-Bush communities. I'm not saying it would have been nice for this to be true, but it does have that "boy crying wolf" quality to it. Should such a thing really happen, it'll be just a little bit more difficult for anyone to believe. Anyone, that is, who isn't part of the "Automatically Bash Bush" brigade.

In a rut?

So Many Books posted about how many books by the same author she has on her shelves. Since I have The Collection in a nice computer catalog that provides statistics, I thought I'd do the same (cut off, as with SMB, is 10 by an author):
  • Catherine Aird
  • Margery Allingham
  • Robert Barnard
  • Julian Barnes
  • L. Frank Baum
  • Enid Blyton
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Lillian Jackson Braun
  • Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
  • A.S. Byatt
  • Alicia Craig/Charlotte MacLeod
  • Amanda Cross
  • Robertson Davies
  • Colin Dexter
  • Stephen R. Donaldson
  • Antiona Fraser
  • Jonathan Gash
  • Elizabeth George
  • Martha Grimes
  • Carolyn G. Hart
  • Reginald Hill
  • P.D. James
  • Diana Wynne Jones
  • Faye Kellerman
  • Katherine Kurtz
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Maud Hart Lovelace
  • Ngiao Marsh
  • Patricia Moyes
  • Carol O’Connell
  • Ellis Peters
  • Elizabeth Peters
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Dorothy Sayers
  • William Shakespeare
  • Darren Shan
  • Dorothy Simpson
  • Lemony Snicket
  • Rex Stout
  • David Williams
  • Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
I wonder who in the 8/9 books range will add to their oeuvre in 2006...

23.12.05

Got it now?

Happy (Insert Word)

Links Galore

It was bound to happen sometime

UMD statement regarding Homeland Security library issue

The problem is, there are so many versions of this story (Dartmouth, UC/Santa Cruz, regular loan, ILL, etc.) that it's hard to know what exactly happened. I'd like to believe that it is a very sad cry for help from this unnamed student. Unfortunately, given recent revelations, I rather doubt it is.

21.12.05

Nerves

Today I'm driving five hours upstate to see my best friend from grammar school. I haven't seen her in 30 years, and we only reconnected in April (luckily, I opened that e-mail instead of deciding it was spam!). To be honest, I never thought I'd ever pick up the phone and say, "Hello, Mr. A? It's L. Is K. there?" again. I mean, when your last contact was in 1975...

Anyway, we're getting together. I'll meet her husband and three kids (definitely not part of her life all those years ago!) And we'll have the opportunity to trip down memory lane some. We've already done that a little via e-mail; she remembers huddling like molecules during recess in 4th grade!

Still, there's a part of me that's very apprehensive. The past few times I've done the face-to-face with an on-line friend haven't always worked out well. One person decided that I was "severe and terrifying", two others have been very disappointing (nothing like their on-line personae). Rarely has it worked out where what I fell in love with - the words, the "sound" of their voice - meshed with the physical reality. And, in this case, we've got the whole used-to-be-best-friends thing to trip us up - what if there's nothing there that says, "yes, this is the person I knew back then", nothing that validates my choice of friends (even at the tender age of 9)?

Several months ago I met one of my father's best friends from "back in the day" (apparently there were seltzer and toilet paper-soaked-in-bleach fights in their apartments on the Grand Concourse - I can understand why H. was banned from my grandmother's!). My father is one of those true-blue people, always trying to see the best in others and sticking with friends he knew "back then" because, well, they're a tie to his past and who he was. I honestly don't think it occurs to him that some of these people aren't the types of people he'd care to know now - he knew them then, and that's good enough.

Me, I'm not so forgiving of flaws. I don't want K. to have flaws. I'm not saying I want to play Barbie with her, either. But I do want that sense of connecting now with someone important to me then. The same sense of connection I have with many of my friends from prep school (except I see them at least every 5 years).

I wonder how many of you have been in similar situations. How have you felt after?

19.12.05

History repeating itself

So people are now up in arms over Pres. Bush admitting he authorized spying on American citizens without approval under FISA.

I'm as upset as the next person, but I'm not all "oh.my.god it's the end of the world" about it, either. War (or the threat of war) causes governments to do ugly things. Bush is not the worst case of presidential overreaching.

We survived all that. We will survive this. And be a stronger country for having done so.

I know it's weird to be this excited

but Squawk on the Street premiers today. Yay!

Notable Quotes

(Inspired by Doug)

Growing old is mandatory -
Growing up is optional

Who are you and why are you reading my shirt?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult

Don't take life so seriously.
It isn't permanent.

17.12.05

Always saw myself as Puddleglum...

But Which Narnia character are you? claims I'm Lucy: "You have a strong sense of responsibility toward others and a deep respect for other people, even strangers, though you are not always sure what the best course of action is. You are Lucy, the brave child who who is wise beyond her years and kind to all she meets."

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Here it is, the first morning of my Winter Break and I'm at work. Not just blogging, but starting in on a ton of chores. And there's more to be done during the week I have off (let's not even start on the fact that I don't get the two weeks that the faculty get, but as an administrator I have to work five of eleven days!).

I'd share the list, but that'd just be depressing. My bigger query is: why is it so difficult to really relax and enjoy a break? I think many of us do the same, stockpiling chores until the weekend or some time off, rather than rationing them throughout our lives so that we can, in fact, have a break.

My goal for the next week is to try to do both. I'll work on chores from 9-1, and then the rest of the time will be for MMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. And, of course, we're nearing the quarterly Notes from Mt. Bookpile posting, which will be larger than usual (41 books this quarter and counting!).

See you during my next 'break' from Break!

16.12.05

Links Galore

14.12.05

We're doomed

A little travel music.

Enough, already!

Springtime for 'Producers': "Though their partnership on The Producers appears to be coming to a close, Stroman and Brooks are laying the groundwork for a cast reunion of sorts in a new musical version of Brooks' 1974 comedy classic, Young Frankenstein. 'Mel has written 10 new songs, and they're very funny,' Stroman said. 'It's a year and a half away from opening on Broadway.'"

I can hear the songs now: "You say Igor.. I say Eegor... Let's call the whole thing off"

(þ: ALOTT5MA)

12.12.05

Do you feel this way, too?

Oached Pish writes about Revisiting Childhood Faves and I know exactly what he's saying. I, too, reread (or try to - Mt. Bookpile keeps getting in the way) and find that "rereading childhood favorites is a peculiarly polysemous experience, perhaps more even than my compulsive reread of favorite classics chosen during adulthood."

One of my dreams is to reduce Mt. Bookpile to a mere hill, and to have the time to reread a number of the books that helped shape my worldview and sense of who I am and who others are. Not just books like "Good Night, Moon" or "Anne of Green Gables", but "Victoria" and the Enid Blyton school books and "Hugo and Josephine" and countless others. When I do have time to reread, I recognize the child I once was through the prism of the adult I've become, and the view can be both glorious and bittersweet. To finish with another quote from the post: But when it works--rediscovering the sheer passion of childhood experience--it's another form of mainlining lightning.

I have to admit, I'm hooked.

Maybe I'm just too old

I'm reading a YA book and I'm really enjoying the plot. But (and this is the troubling thing), I'm wondering how I can put this on my shelves when within the first five pages there's cursing ("shit" and "fuckin'") and a scene where the hero (in 10th grade) feels up his girlfriend. I know kids that would like this book are also kids that have probably seen "Sex and the City" and "The Sopranos" and viewed far worse in the movies.

Still...

So I wonder, am I too far behind the times? Perhaps I'm needlessly worrying about the impact of this type of book (after all, we do have Boy Meets Boy on the shelves). It's just that there's this voice in me saying, "I don't think so."

Should I listen? Or should I get a second opinion?

11.12.05

Updates

  • In reading the recent Cites & Insights, I learned that making a tape/CD for a friend from a CD that I have is not a copyright violation:
    Section 1008 is part of the Audio Home Recording Act—the agreement that adds royalties to the cost of audio-rated digital recording blanks and all digital audio recording devices, in return for explicitly legalizing home recording. Here’s the text:

    No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.
    What a relief!

  • Those mysterious ladders on the TZB do have a purpose: they're for the workers repairing the undergirding of the bridge. You can't see the platforms from the roadway, but if you're taking Metro-North and go under the bridge, you'll see what I mean.

Betwixt and Between

I posted that I was feeling all "yippee" inside because I had a snow day Friday. It's the little girl in me coming out, I know, and sometimes that's a really good thing.

Yesterday, however, I had to switch from Little Girl to Responsible Adult: my car (the very first I've owned and cared for) needed its first oil change. I wanted someone to come with me for this, because it seems like a big step and cars and all are rather intimidating. Intellectually, I know they're not, but when you start out thinking that you'd have one by 18, and then spend 21 years in NYC and not needed one, and only get one in your 40s, it is a bit intimidating. I feel sort-of behind the curve on this, you know?

Anyway, the oil's been changed, the tires have been rotated, and all's right with my car. Now I can go back to being a little girl. At least until Monday morning.

9.12.05

Yippee!

Today at 5:54am I got the news anyone (and everyone) connected with a school wants to hear: Snow Day!!!!!!!

7.12.05

It's totally me!


(þ: Joyce)

When Google speaks...

Let's hope people listen. This time, at least, they're on the side of good.

6.12.05

What do I want to say about me?

I've been pondering this post for a while. Sarah Houghton (aka "Librarian in Black") helped push me along with her post "Putting Yourself Out There", but it's been stewing around in my brain for a few weeks now.

What started this? I belong to a CS Lewis e-list. A few months ago, a new member of the list posted about a prophecy she had received, and (I suppose) was hoping for validation/discussion of this. What she got was something else: scorn and derision, mixed with pointed questions. She, naturally, got defensive and started posting rather mean-spirited messages. I have to admit, sometimes curiosity gets the better of me, so I looked for her on one or two Quaker e-lists (I knew she was a Quake, albeit a very conservative one).

What I found was more of the same tone from her. One post, relatively recent, basically said that she wasn't going to post, but that Christ told her to do so. I wonder if He mentioned killing with kindness, but I digress. Mixed in with her condemnation of others who don't believe/act as she does are posts that are, well, harassing of others. You see, Quakers tend to address eachother using first name and last name, for example, "Hello, John Doe". It can take some getting used to, I admit. And in an open forum, on the Internet, I'm not surprised that some people - even longstanding Quakers - have a problem with that. She's questioned those that have claimed that people have harassed and made life difficult for them via the Internet. And, in one message, she basically gave out everything anyone would need to steal her identity (including, I believe, her SSN!).

That sort of openness is problematic for me. Yes, Lazygal is a nom d'Internet, but there are a number of my faithful readers who know what my real life name is and where MPOW is, among other things. It's just not "out there" for everyone. And I don't participate in MySpace or Xanga or Flickr or Friendster or the other social websites out there. If you know who I am, you can google me (use Mamma, please!) and see many of my posts to other e-lists and articles I've written. I'm not as hidden as I might be.

The upside to that is when my best friend in middle school, who moved away in 1975, contacted me and we're now planning to see each other later this month.

The downside is, well, I get nervous. I'm not the type to post the down'n'dirty intimate details of my incredibly complex and fascinating personal life (sorry, Doug), the way some of my friends do. I'm not worried about my mother reading something here and thinking less of me, or my employer being upset that I've said something indiscrete about them. It's more a sense that anyone, and I mean anyone, could potentially use this information against me. How? Phishing. Identity theft. Stalking. You name it.

Getting back to the woman mentioned earlier: she's still at it. And while she may not have problems having her information spread around cyberspace, my ethical compass says it would be wrong for me to "out" her on my blog. But if you ask, I'll tell you where to look.

Very cool

I know I usually rail against technology and how it isn't always the best thing - sometimes old, tried'n'true works better. However, sometimes that's just not the case. Thanks to Briar, I discovered The Things I Want, a website that lets you consolidate wishlists.

Why is this better? In the good old days, I'd have to create a wish list (using pen/paper, and later my Palm) and find a way to get that information to people (Xerox/snail mail, beaming, e-mail, etc.). Then, using Powells and Amazon, I was able to create lists and give people links. But multiple links - because I prefer Powells to Amazon for books (and now DVDs), but Amazon had music and other items. Now, with TTIW, I can just send out one link, and - voila - everything's there!

How cool is that?

Here's my list, which I share not for "buy me" purposes but for inspiration for others on your lists. Me? I'm happy with Mt. Bookpile, Nexflix and my new tv.

5.12.05

4.12.05

Notable Quotes

Technology ...

the knack of so arranging the world that we need not experience it.

- Homo Faber, Max Frisch

3.12.05

In case you were wondering

This is now in my living room.

I know, I know, when you last read about my tv problems, I was going to stay with my good ol' 13'. So (I hear you asking), what happened?

What happened is that I am, apparently, a very selfish person. I don't think of the needs of others. While I may be content to use my 13"-with-iffy-sound, others might not be so happy. How can one fully appreciate Formula One Racing or Premier League Soccer, or even the inside-the-body-cam on House if one has a mere 13" tv? I've been told, in no uncertain terms, that one cannot.

To rectify all this, and to stop my internal dithering, the men in my life bought me an early Christmas pressent.

I have to admit, it really is kinda nice...

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.

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

30.9.05

My new gig

Next week I'm heading west to Pittsburg. Why? Because the biennial AASL Conference will be there, that's why. And I'm blogging the conference (along with a bunch of other great librarians). Check it out and keep tabs on how much professional development (or goofing off) I'm doing.

29.9.05

Here's a cause I could support

Indulging

Well, the liberal blogosphere is indulging in schadenfreude over Tom DeLay's indictment. And yes, I do feel a small twinge of superiority ("I'd never be that stupid if I were in that powerful a position") but mostly I just feel mad.

Mad that the political climate has degenerated to this game of "Gotcha" that we play. First there was Watergate and IranContra, truly horrible abuses of position and power. But now it's all about retribution by the side that's been most recently caught against the side that "won" the most recent moral battle. It's no wonder that fewer people vote today than in the past: WHY BOTHER? The whole political arena is so ugly, so littered with the carcasses of good, well-intentioned people, and the only ones left standing are those that fight the dirtiest.

Since I started voting, there's not one election where I haven't voted AGAINST someone. Just once before I die I'd like to vote FOR a person, FOR a party, FOR a policy. Sometimes, I think Jefferson's idea of intermittant revolution is a really, really good one. This is one of those times. Let's throw all the bastards out and start over. Who's with me?

28.9.05

Guess I'm just a heartless B****

I just can't find it in myself to help this guy. Maybe one of you can?
Hello There,

My name is Paul Wrights, I am a Fashion designer based in the UK. I have clients that patronize my works in different parts of Europe, and USA.

Regarding the Hurricane Katrina incidence which occurred between August 25th and 29th, I want to make a 25% donation for the victims of the Hurricane Katrina incidence in New Orleans on all my payments that comes in from my American clients.

Presently, I have American clients that are offering to pay me with Postal Money Order. So as a result, I need you to help as a channel of sending my relief donations to the victims on my behalf. Doing this, you get 5% and then you resend the balance via Western Union or Moneygram back to me in the UK. All transfer fees should be deducted from the balance to be sent to the UK.

Please endeavor to send your replies to my private email address:
paulwrights@yahoo.co.uk


Regards,
Paul Wrights
Feel perfectly free to be as skeptical and heartless as I am!

Is nothing sacred

Aravis pointed out that the spambots have found my little blog and are adding spam comments to my posts. HOW DARE THEY?

Anyway, as a result, I've turned on word verification - you can still post anonymously, but there's one extra step you'll have to take before Blogger will allow you to leave your pearls of wisdom here. Sorry, but this is Sacred Space and not to be defiled by spammers.

27.9.05

Imponderables

Cold weather approaches and with it comes my desire for oatmeal for breakfast. I like mine with raisens and dried cranberries (aka "craisens"), so today I went shopping for breakfast supplies.

Can someone explain why there are blueberry and cherry flavored craisens? Not dried blueberries and cherries, which I've seen, but dried cranberries with blueberry and cherry flavoring?????????????

I'll be...

blown over with a feather?

damned?

a monkey's uncle?

Something, anyway.

We just got a phone call from a contrite alumni of the school. This gentleman was clearly atoning for his ill-spent youth and wanted to return - 10 years too late - books he'd borrowed while here. After putting him on hold and cracking up, I pulled it together enough to inform him that we were very grateful for the gesture, but it really wasn't necessary that he pack and ship them to us.

A cash donation would do just fine. (Of course I didn't say that, but I wanted to!)

26.9.05

What she said

I've been living in my new town since July, and I'm at a point where it's actually exploring (rather than the ever-popular "I'm totally lost and how will I ever get where I need to go" wailing) when I go out. This past weekend, a friend of mine and I went to dinner in Nyack and saw a great-looking bookstore.

It was one of those all-books-higgledy-piggledy-on-the-shelves places; a place you could spend hours in browsing and spending money. I did buy two books for myself and one for my friend (early BAFAB Week gift).

Patricia Storms so clearly illustrates why those places, those small, individual bookstores, are so much better than places like the Barnes & Noble in the Mall.

23.9.05

Links Galore

  • 42 down, 47 more to go. How long do you have to live? (þ: Lifehacker)
  • Admit it: you like Palindromes.
  • Very timely: a fuel cost calculator - "Using current gasoline prices from AAA's daily, online Fuel Gauge Report, as well as the latest highway fuel economy ratings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the AAA Fuel Cost Calculator estimates the amount and cost of gasoline needed to complete a vacation trip." (þ: Neat New)
  • Are you a film snob? Tired of the same-old/same-old at the multiplex? Not Coming to a Theatre Near You may be just the thing you need to get your Netflix queue all set for a long winter. (þ: Scout Report)
  • You've heard about them, but don't know where to find them. Now there's the The Easter Egg Archive, unlocking the "hidden feature or novelty that the programmers have put in their software" (including movies and music!). Happy Hunting!
  • Tired of being stuck in phonetree hell? Use this handy "get a real human" guide and get on with your life. (þ: Lifehacker)
  • Better than TinyURL: LookLeap! is the next generation of URL shortening tools (þ: Librarian in Black)
  • Too busy to read but want to appear well-read? Check out To Cut a Long Story Short, 100-word adaptations of good books. (þ: Maud)

21.9.05

Jumping the gun

but still much appreciated: someone (remaining anonymous here in cyberspace, but you know who you are) has purchased one of my Wish List books in time for BAFAB Week

19.9.05

Loving the Irony

Every Monday we get a flower delivery in the library, and every Monday I raid the previous week's display for something pretty to put on my desk. Shortly after the year began, one of my staff brought me a cup that says "Silence Please; Bodlean Library Oxford" and I've been using that as my vase.

Today's selection? Mums.

Get it????

18.9.05

Out of the silence

Today at Meeting there were three Messages that really spoke to me. I'd debated going at all, preferring to read God Among the Shakers, but I'm really glad I went.

Message One was from a Friend that was feeling overburdened. She'd started to feel guilty about not doing as much as she'd done previously, but those things were for others and she was putting them aside to do things for herself. Not in a selfish or self-centered way, but things like finding the time to quietly sit and watch the sunset or read. Things that help heal us and make us whole, yet can make us feel that we're wasting time not doing the "important" work that society or friends demand of us.

Message Two was from a Friend with vision problems. She'd recently seen a video about three artists, the final one being a Japanese artist with a clearly defined linear style. This Friend had always thought that was how she saw things: clear, precise. Yet that was only with her right eye, and when she closed it and looked only through her left, things were more like a Jackson Pollack, only vaguer. This troubled her not just because it was a physical problem but because it made her question how her mind also saw things. Was it clear, or vague? She encouraged us to only go with the clear, the defined, the strong.

I thought about that in the ensuing silence. One charge against me by a good friend is that I'm too inclined to see things in black and white, with no grey. I believe that I see too many shades of grey, but that I search for the black and white. At home, in the silence of my cottage, after a long day at work, the grey closes in: was that the right choice? were my directions clear? are my staff following? did the students learn anything? Trusting that I'll find the clear, direct path in life means trusting that God will help me find it. I try to be there, to listen, but sometimes....

And Message Three was from a Friend who reminded us that this is exactly what the silence each First Day is about: listening to the Inner Light guiding us towards the clear and direct. There is always time to stop and listen, we just have to choose to do so.

The countdown continues

buyafriendabook.com

If you're debating what to buy that special friend for the upcoming BAFAB Week (Oct. 1 - 7), here's what I've just added to my wish list:
Coming soon: the quarterly Notes From Mt. Bookpile post (for even earlier posts, go here, here, and here)

17.9.05

Man Enough to Admit It

Doug's suggestion? Go Google Yourself. And then check yourself out on Talkdigger and Fagan Finder. Just make sure no one sees you doing it.

16.9.05

Coming soon to a mailbox near you!

Terry writes:
This correspondence was inspired by my new friend, who wrote to me a few weeks ago as follows:

Isn't it nice to open letters, too? In a funny way, I think all the email/blogging returns an almost romantic, Victorian specialness to pen & paper correspondence.

Until I answered her note, it had been years since I'd last sent anyone a handwritten letter longer than the compass of a notecard. Part of what inspired me to do so was her handwriting, which is neat, fresh, and a delight to behold. It took the place of the imagined sound of her voice: I felt as if she were sitting across a table, telling me about herself, and I felt irresistibly inspired to reciprocate.
This got me thinking. I have a good friend, one I've never actually met "in the flesh", who lives in Germany. We write on good stationery, using fountain pens. It's such a treat to go to my mailbox and get her letters and notes.

While I've tried to write to other friends, their reponse is inevitably by e-mail. So... I've decided to ignore the e-mail, to treat is as a letter and respond via snail mail. Obviously this won't work for everything - there are some things that aren't worthy of the pen, ink and stamp - but maybe I'll start a revolution/devolution back to the golden age of writing letters and having a mailbox filled with something more than junk mail and bills.

You have been warned!

15.9.05

Go Russ!

Roberts Hearing Highlight

Mom, are you reading this?

My mother is a grammar-maven, still correcting me after all these years. I've done a lot of work as an editor, but I'm still not up to her standards.

Then, today, I read Maud's posting about diagramming sentences. How very cool!

(for earlier posts about grammar, go here and here)

13.9.05

Is it BAFAB Week yet?

What's BAFAB Week? It's Buy A Friend A Book Week, and I plan to participate. Watch out, o' friends of mine!

As for the rest of you, check out my Powell's wish list (look under either Lazygal or lpblog(at)gmail.com). Not just for something to buy me (which, of course, you'll do because I'm your friend) but for ideas to buy others.

Really - an entire week devoted to buying friends books. What could be nicer?

12.9.05

A front's a-comin' in

Some people can tell the weather's going to change by their aching knee or their trick elbow. Me, I can tell by the bouciness of my cats. This morning they played "let's kneed Mommy's eyeballs" (at 3am, thank you very much!) and this evening they've got more bounce than Tigger.

Whatever front comes through, it can't come through quickly enough!

11.9.05

How much is it worth?

It's Fall Season in movieland and I've been doing my research. After "consulting" several of those omnipresent preview lists, I've whittled down the offerings to one list of what I'd like to see. The problem is (for Hollywood), I won't see many of these in the cinemaplex. See, I refuse to pay $9+ for the product. It doesn't matter to me how many stars... or thumbs... or green tomatoes... or whatever the reviews give the movie: it's a question of economics. Is it worth my time (on line, in addition to sitting in that seat) and hard-earned money to see that particular movie? Increasingly, the answer is, "this looks like a WAR movie" (þ: Mark).

What makes the list this year?
  • Corpse Bride
  • Nine Lives
  • Cote d'Azure
  • Zorro
  • Second Stage
  • Lies
  • Harry Potter 4
  • Ice Harvest
  • Match Point
  • White Countess
  • Thumbsucker
  • Separate Lies
  • Where the Truth Lies
  • Innocence
  • Derailed
  • Breakfast on Pluto
  • Rent
  • Transmerica
  • Hidden
We'll see how many get the full payout as the season progresses. For the rest, there's always Netflix or cable.

5.9.05

In good company

Recently I created a post that aroused suspicion in one reader. When I offered to share my reasons (and proof), someone left an e-mail address for me to respond to. Perhaps I was a bit intemperate in my comments, but I did feel that I had done as much due dilligence as I could have; I also said that I was removing the original comment from the post because it did not further the conversation, merely took away from the impact of the post.

Apparently, the recipient of the e-mail took offense at my taking offense at the aspersions cast on my motivations for the post and suggested some things that were, well... let's just say I wouldn't repeat them in public.

I've been feeling upset about this all weekend and then, today, I read Karen's post about a similar "exchange". Nice to know even the big bloggers get hit with this. And now I have a model for a response.

4.9.05

On the one hand

A judge in Tennessee refused to hear a teenager girl's application for an abortion. Bad, right?
The actions, similar in some ways to pharmacists' refusal to dispense drugs related to contraception or abortion on moral grounds, have set off a debate about the responsibilities of judges and the consequences of such recusals, including political ones when judges are elected rather than appointed.

McCarroll's decision prompted 12 experts on judicial ethics to write to the Tennessee Supreme Court in late August. The experts called his action lawless and said they feared that his approach could spread around the nation and to subjects such as the death penalty, medical marijuana, flag burning and even divorce.
However, there is a valid reason to consider this a responsible action on the part of the judge (and any judge recusing themselves):
"If you require judges to hear these cases when they are morally and, maybe, religiously opposed to abortion [or medical marijuana or flag burning], they are likely to impose their views on the minor. And that happens."
So now I'm torn between wanting the judicial system to do it's job properly and the knowledge that no matter how hard we try, sometimes it's difficult to be impartial. It's hard enough as a librarian to give students both sides of an argument; I can't imagine trying to do that knowing it "really" counts.

More notes from the trenches

Aravis' aunt writes from the nursing home where she works.

In other Katerina-related news, Kanye West speaks his mind. If, like me, you didn't see it live, here's the videotape. Amen.

2.9.05

Blame Eisenhower

ColbyCosh takes on Katrina-related idiocy.

Notes from the trenches

(forwarded to me by a friend)

From: Gregory S. Henderson MD, PhD

Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 20:21:55 -0500

Subject: Re: thoughts and prayers

Thanks to all of you who have sent your notes of concern and your prayers.

I am writing this note on Tuesday at 2PM . I wanted to update all of you as to the situation here. I don't know how much information you are getting but I am certain it is more than we are getting. Be advised that almost everything I am telling you is from direct observation or rumor from reasonable sources. They are allowing limited internet access, so I hope to send this dispatch today.

Personally, my family and I are fine. My family is safe in Jackson, MS, and I am now a temporary resident of the Ritz Carleton Hotel in New Orleans. I figured if it was my time to go, I wanted to go in a place with a good wine list. In addition, this hotel is in a very old building on Canal Street that could and did sustain little damage. Many of the other hotels sustained significant loss of windows, and we expect that many of the guests may be evacuated here.

Things were obviously bad yesterday, but they are much worse today.

Overnight the water arrived. Now Canal Street (true to its origins) is indeed a canal. The first floor of all downtown buildings is underwater. I have heard that Charity Hospital and Tulane are limited in their ability to care for patients because of water. Ochsner is the only hospital that remains fully functional. However, I spoke with them today and they too are on generator and losing food and water fast. The city now has no clean water, no sewerage system, no electricity, and no real communications.

Bodies are still being recovered floating in the floods. We are worried about a cholera epidemic. Even the police are without effective communications. We have a group of armed police here with us at the hotel that are admirably trying to exert some local law enforcement. This is tough because looting is now rampant. Most of it is not malicious looting.

These are poor and desperate people with no housing and no medical care and no food or water trying to take care of themselves and their families.

Unfortunately, the people are armed and dangerous. We hear gunshots frequently. Most of Canal street is occupied by armed looters who have a low threshold for discharging their weapons. We hear gunshots frequently.

The looters are using makeshift boats made of pieces of styrofoam to access. We are still waiting for a significant national guard presence.

The health care situation here has dramatically worsened overnight. Many people in the hotel are elderly and small children. Many other guests have unusual diseases. There are ID physicians in at this hotel attending an HiV infection. We have commandeered the world famous French Quarter Bar to turn into an makeshift clinic. There is a team of about 7 doctors and PA and pharmacists. We anticipate that this will be the major medical facility in the central business district and French Quarter.

Our biggest adventure today was raiding the Walgreens on Canal under police escort. The pharmacy was dark and fool of water. We basically scooped the entire drug sets into garbage bags and removed them. All under police escort. The looters had to be held back at gun point. After a dose of prophylactic Cipro I hope to be fine.

In all we are faring well. We have set up a hospital in the French quarter bar in the hotel, and will start admitting patients today. Many with be from the hotel, but many with not. We are anticipating to dealing with multiple medical problems, medications and acute injuries. Infection and perhaps even cholera are anticipated major problems. Food and water shortages are imminent.

The biggest question to all of us is where is the national guard. We hear jet fighters and helicopters, but no real armed presence, and hence the rampant looting. There is no Red Cross and no salvation army.

In a sort of cliche way, this is an edifying experience. One is rapidly focused away from the transient and material to the bare necessities of life. It has been challenging to me to learn how to be a primary care phyisican. We are under martial law so return to our homes is impossible.

I don't know how long it will be and this is my greatest fear. Despite it all, this is a soul edify experience. The greatest pain is to think about the loss. And how long the rebuid will. And the horror of so many dead people .

PLEASE SEND THIS DISPATCH TO ALL YOU THING MAY BE INTERSTED IN A DISPATCH From the front. I will send more according to your interest. Hopefully their collective prayers will be answered. By the way suture packs, sterile gloves and stethoscopes will be needed as the Ritz turns into a MASH

Greg Henderson