5th blogging anniversary

29 January is the 5th anniversary of my public blogging. I had a Bloglines private blog for about 9 days before I got fed up with its lack of capabilities. That 1st proto-blog was called In My Secret Life… via Leonard Cohen.

The 1st public-facing blog debuted on 29 January 2005 at bookmark.typepad.com and was called …the thoughts are broken…, which is from Ripple by the Grateful Dead. This would have been the beginning of my 2nd full semester of library school.

On 20 July 2006 I flipped the switch on Off the Mark on my own domain and hosted by LISHost after some tribulations with Typepad over many months. The story of the name is at that post.

On 19 July 2009 I again changed the name of the blog; reasons listed at the post. It is now known as habitually probing generalist.

I will make no promises as to what will or will not happen on this blog in the future. I have not been writing much for quite a while now—some of the reasons are interspersed in posts over the last 18 months or so—and I do not know if or when I will pick up the virtual pen again or how frequently. But I do appreciate having this space as an outlet and knowing that thanks to RSS anyone who truly cares what I might have to say can simply wait on that eventuality to arrive.

Thanks to all who have been here with me any of this time. Hopefully you’ll see me around here some more and I certainly hope to see you (and your feedback/comments/critiques/cries of BS/etc.).

A few more thoughts on reading last year and this

In my recent Books Read in 2009 post I talked a bit about what I read last yea and a few other aspects of reading. In this post I want to touch on a few other issues, some of which are orthogonal ways of looking at what I read last year; so partially an update, partially new.

Public domain

January 1st was Public Domain Day [and when I started on writing some of what became this post].

In honor of the public domain, and Public Domain Day, I intend to read some William Butler Yeats whose stuff enters public domain this year. Look around the Public Domain Day site:“To celebrate the role of the public domain in our societies” and check out the list of authors (probably) entering public domain this year (Sigmund Freud, for instance, and Yeats). All of the listed authors have links to their Wikipedia pages (or the several I checked anyway. All seem to be links. Ergo.)

I have never intentionally read any Yeats so I am looking forward to it. For me, one of the big boons of reading ebooks on my Touch [I use Stanza and ePub files] is the number of public domain titles I am reading. Much of it I have been aware of, for assorted reasons, for much of my life but I never got to it. Although I have purchased a very few ebooks I have not made the transition to buying ebooks. Despite the advantages of ebooks—I do believe there are some (and that I’ve said so on this blog)—the limited capabilities of today’s hardware and software, combined with the fact that I am mostly reading stuff from free sources, means that I still buy print books. But the technology and the social/legal situation means that (currently) I get to focus on the stuff now free. I like that.

Based on my Books Read in 2009 post (and feedbooks) I read 28 public domain books last year. That is 35% of my entire reading. Only one (ah, 1.5) of those was in print: Siddhartha and half of Lord Jim. That means that 96% of my public domain reading (a solid 33% of all reading) was done on my Touch. [Only 2 of the total ebooks read were not in the public domain for the US, at least according to feedbooks.]

Fiction vs. Nonfiction

I didn’t even think of this until I saw Jessamyn West’s list a couple days after mine. When I got home I decided to sketch it out, both overall and for ebooks, and finshed vs. not finished.  Jessamyn also looks at ratio of male-to-female authors (amongst a few other looks) and that does not serve any interestof mine. Data’s there, count for yourself if you are. 😉

Overall (print/ebooks)

  • Finished: 44 Fiction, 39 Nonfiction.
  • Unfinished: 2 Fiction, 5 Nonfiction.

So 53% of total finished was fiction; 47% nonfiction. Pretty even split and appropriate, for now. If you throw in the unfinished books on both sides it comes closer to even (51/49%)


  • Finished: 24 Fiction, 4 Nonfiction
  • Unfinished: 1 each

86% of the finished ebooks were fiction; 14% nonfiction. Goes to 83/17% if add in one each unfinished, except the fiction gains it back since it is still being read; Emerson’s essays were given up completely.


As of 4 January I have joined Goodreads. Both Jenny and Angel asked me in the comments of the book post why I’m not on Goodreads. I’d never discovered a need, primarily. Thus never had an account and did not know what it is exactly.

Books—most in one of a couple different ways—get tracked in a lot of places by me. Amazon for some things I want; Google doc of acquisitions (chronological); LibraryThing as, primarily, a catalog for me of mostly stuff I own (~99%),  I do little of the social there; Zotero for things I have read, regardless of source; wiki for what read and dates. What else is left?

Well. I haven’t been happy with the amount of engagement I’ve given many of these books (or articles) after I have finished reading them, in a long time. I should write more reviews, even mini-reviews, and other commentary on what I have read. Will this help?

One thing I do not like already is that I cannot find where to find someone I know who uses it so I can add them as a friend. The add friends function seems to really want me to give them my Gmail contacts, my facebook friends, etc. I am not cool with that.

Griped about it on twitter and a friend reached out and friended me. Many of her Goodreads friends are my friends too. But I still do not know how to find and friend Angel. Jenny was found in the previous manner.

I sure wish I could figure out how to simply get a csv file out of a Zotero collection. Might play with putting the last 3 years books read in if I could. I do not want to import my whole LibraryThing database. Wonder can I just export an LT collection? Need to look into that. And. Ebook metadata/editions remains a problem and even adds a new twist. Anyway ….

No promises but I am going to give it a try.

A new year in reading

No idea what 2010 will bring for me in reading. But I am looking forward to whatever it is. Am already reading some Wendell Berry poetry and Kundera on the novel.

Here’s to a great year of reading for everyone!

Movies watched in 2009

Most of these are new to me, but a few are venerable classics that I got to share with Sara for the first time [Stop Making Sense] or that we got to see together in the theater [The Shining]. Many movies I watched are not on this list because I have seen them before. As Sara pointed out, I’m not entirely consistent with my including or not.  Le sigh. [Not that I had any delusions that I was, mind you. And after a discussion on the way to the Urbana Free Library (UFL) today it seems we are recording them for somewhat orthogonal reasons. But I may begin leaning her way. The things I wanted to “count/analyze” would be available via her more elaborate bookkeeping, amongst others.]

It appears I listed 5 movies I have seen before that I saw with Sara in some venue this past year. One of these [Woodstock] was from Ebertfest.

Twelve movies were seen at Ebertfest in April. We have our festival passes ordered for this coming year, too.

An additional 14 were seen on the big screen, for a total of 26 in the theater.

A few (3-4) were seen at the IMC and at the Krannert Art Museum on assorted mid-sized screens (DVD projection generally) [KAM link has been down for several days].

The rest were on DVD via purchase, That’s Rentertainment, Urbana Free Library, Netflix, or on Netflix streaming, oh, and one or two from our own Undergraduate Library; I need to think of them more often.

Total looks like 79 movies. Again, what exactly does this number represent? Even I am hard pressed to accurately say. Nonetheless, the movies I generally saw for the first time in 2009.

January 2009

Stop Making Sense – 1st time for Sara
Unrepeatable – Eddie Izzard
War of the Worlds (1953)
War of the Worlds (Tom Cruise)
The Lady Vanishes (1938 Hitchcock)
The Man Who Would Be King (1975 Connery/Caine/Plummer – Kipling)


Sunset Boulevard (at Krannert Art Museum)
Firedancing (2001 by Jimi Jones) (IMC Film Fest with Sara & Tim & Tracy)
Proceed and Be Bold (2008 by Laura Zinger about Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., letterpress printer) (IMC Film Fest with Sara & Tim & Tracy)
Puccinni for Beginners


Watchmen (Savoy)
The Tiger and the Snow – 1st time for Sara [link]


Doctor Who: The Five Doctors

Ebertfest 22-26 April (at The Virginia Theatre )
22 Apr

23 Apr
My Winnipeg
Chop Shop
Trouble the Water

24 Apr
Begging Naked
The Last Command
Frozen River

25 Apr
The Fall
Sita Sings the Blues
Nothing But the Truth
Let the Right One In

26 Apr


Wolverine (With Sara & Jess at Savoy)
Hairspray (orig. 1988) (at IMC)
Star Trek (at Savoy)
Northanger Abbey (2007)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang


Invasion of the Bee Girls
Unconscious (Sp)
Synecdoche, New York (That’s Rentertainment)


Fist of the Warrior
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Savoy)
Moon (Boardman’s)


Beautiful People (from UGL)
A Collection of 2005 Academy Award Nominated Short Films (from UFL)
Charlie Wilson’s War (from UFL)
Incubus (1965 William Shatner in Esperanto)
Red Hot + Blue


500 Days of Summer (Savoy)


She Wolves of the Wasteland
Miss Potter (from UFL)
Quantum of Solace (from UFL)
History Boys
The Shining  (at The Virginia)
Were the World Mine
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, A Scandal in Bohemia #1 [streaming!!]
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Dancing Men #2
Where the Wild Things Are (at Savoy)


Getting Home / Luo Ye Gui Gen (China – Global Lens – at The Virginia)
Mutum (Brazil – Global Lens – at The Virginia)
shrink (2009 – Kevin Spacey)
Il Mare (Korean)
2012 (at Savoy)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Naval Treaty #3
My Blueberry Nights (Norah Jones)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Solitary Cyclist #4
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Crooked Man #5


My Time Will Come / Cuando Me Toque A Mi  (Ecuador – Global Lens – at The Virginia)
Jellyfish (Israel)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Speckled Band #6
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Blue Carbuncle #7
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Copper Beeches #8
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (from UFL)
Man of Flowers (1983 Aussie / from UFL)
City of Embers
Avatar 3D (at Savoy)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Greek Interpreter #9 (with Charles Gray)

Chinese Food & Movie Day (aka Christmas Day)
Sherlock Homes (at Savoy with Ellen & Lori)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Norwood Builder #10

My Fair Lady (from UFL)
Twelfth Night (2003)
Moonlighting (pilot – from UFL)
The Brothers Bloom
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939 Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Ida Lupino)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Resident Patient #11

Some good, some bad. A few great. Wondering what’s in store for 2010? It’ll be a couple more months before the lineup for Ebertfest 2010 is announced (March usually). Can hardly wait!