Hysteria (movie)

[This, too, is a late DigiWriMo post.]

Thankfully, later after watching The Tree of Life we watched Hysteria, which we have also been wanting to see after seeing the previews a couple years ago. It by no stretch came to conservative Sioux City so we missed it in the theater. We couldn’t even find it in Omaha, although we could be wrong on that count but we had looked repeatedly while it was in theaters. Ninety miles one way is a long way to go for a film but we would have.

After we watched it I tweeted,

Cleansed my movie palate with Hysteria, based on this most excellent book by Rachel Maines http://marklindner.info/blog/2011/02/02/maines-the-technology-of-orgasm/ [tweet]

The next morning, Karen Coyle tweeted to me:

@mrlindner One of my favorite books. See: bit.ly/UYGA8X [tweet]

Check out her review at that link. It is much better than mine.

We saw the preview for the movie in the cinema shortly after I read Maines’ excellent book and I knew that it was (somewhat) based on Maines’ book immediately. It looked hilarious and as The Technology of Orgasm is one of my favorite books of all time—which I had discussed a fair bit with Sara as I read it—we really wanted to see it. It did not come to Sioux City or environs and time went by. We moved and even more time went by. Sara got it from the public library finally and we watched it last night. The movie was as good as we hoped and we are in the process of watching the documentary (actually excerpts from Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm) that comes as an extra feature on the DVD. It is also pretty good and features a lot of Rachel Maines, along with a couple of others, so I am happy to be able to hear her talk about her research also.

The Technology of Orgasm The Technology of Orgasm: “Hysteria,” the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual SatisfactionRachel P. Maines; The Johns Hopkins University Press 1998WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder  
Katherine Young (Ph.D. and author of Presence in the Flesh: The Body in Medicine) puts forth the idea that the Copernican Revolution was revolutionary in another way than is typically thought. She had been outlining some long time ideas on human sexuality in that males were thought to be of the elements of fire and air, thus hot and light, and that women were of earth and water, and thus heavy, cold and wet. When the Copernican Revolution replaced the Earth (female) as the center of the solar system/universe with the sun (male) then female sexuality as a topic disappeared from discourse.

It is an extremely interesting idea but I would really like to see some good supporting evidence. If anyone knows of any books or articles that address this idea I would be most grateful. My initial skepticism leans toward the shift having started well before and that the displacement of the Earth from the center was perhaps the final straw. And even if the idea as presented is true, then I imagine it is hingeing on a highly condensed version of reality, in that the Copernican Revolution involved an awful lot of historical, political, societal and religious changes that were highly intertwined and influencing each other in multiple ways. Symbolically this idea is highly interesting, but I imagine the reality of the shift away from a supposedly fairly prevalent knowledge of female sexuality and needs to one that pretty much discounted female sexuality would have to be far more complex than a shift in symbols.

I would love to have my skepticism discounted though so please do pass along any sources you may be aware of that address this issue. [I went back and re-watched that section and got her name and the name of the book she wrote, Presence in the Flesh: The Body in Medicine, which Sara has requested for me.] So, if you are aware of any other sources that address this intriguing topic please do pass them along.

Synopis:

Hysteria: Good romantic comedy based on an excellent and important book.

Follow-up: Tonight (3 December) we watched the full documentary, Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm, which we got through ILL. It was good but it was only 74 minutes vs. the 47 minutes of excerpts on the DVD of Hysteria as an extra. The additional material was interesting but probably not worth going out of one’s way to acquire. You can find more information about it here.

Young’s book has also arrived by this point in time and I look forward to having a go at it, but I am highly disappointed to say that neither Copernicus nor Copernican Revolution are anywhere to be found in the index. I want to know more about this symbological interpretation but am remaining highly skeptical as to its actual explanatory depth.

 

If I Don’t Reach My Goal – Have I Failed?

Title unabashedly borrowed from this post by Jane Boyd, the timing of which couldn’t be better. I have been thinking about this more and more lately the last few days as it becomes more than apparent that despite getting off to a great start and keeping up for the first half of the month that I now will probably not make the goal of 50,000 (counted) words for DigiWriMo. As I write this (27 November AM) I need a tad under 10,500 words to reach it.

 So the question is this; by not reaching my original goal – have I failed?  Perhaps yes….perhaps no.  I’m not going to agonize over it.  Instead, I’m celebrating the various things that I have done and that I will continue to do in the days to come.

Now, I told myself before I even committed that not making it would not be an issue as long as I had actually begun writing again. So, thankfully, there’s that.

And I most certainly have been writing. You (whoever you are reader, and from whatever venue you are reading my words from) have probably not seen all of those words. And did I really not make 50,000? It depends on how one counts. So, how (and what) did I count?

I have been using Scrivener to draft in and/or store what I am counting. Scrivener provides a great tool—Project Targets—that not only counts your total but lets you set a timeline for your project and then gives you daily writing goals and tracks your progress toward those along with total progress. There are also ways to simply count your words without using the Targets but this suited my purpose better.

My Scrivener desk top

A screen shot of my Scrivener desktop with some folders collapsed and the Project Targets window up.

You can see the full-size picture on Flickr.

Counting

Blog posts – I draft in Scrivener, including pasting in all of the URLs I need for the post, and then paste the complete draft into the WordPress editor and get to work formatting. A fair few words end up not getting counted because they are “behind the scenes”—link text; alt descriptions, titles, etc. for photos. Once the post goes live, I highlight everything from the last tag or keyword up to the title of the post and copy that and then paste it over the draft in Scrivener. Any comments I make on the post—usually in response to someone else’s comment—gets copied and pasted into Scrivener at the bottom of the post; just mine, not others comments.

I have several potential posts drafted. Some may get posted—in November still, or later—some may not see the light of day. But I wrote them—whatever they amount to—so they count.

Tweets – At first I was only counting tweets that were directly DigiWriMo related and carried the #digiwrimo hashtag. I copied the text of each tweet and pasted it into a single Scrivener doc called “Tweets sent” that had a small rule placed between each date. I also pasted in the link to the tweet, which made up for the loss of link text, etc. in blog posts and other things not counted but nonetheless written digitally.

Eventually I noticed that I was having serious conversations—short as they may be—with others via Twitter that were intended to convey or ask for information about topics important to the participants, so I started counting those also. Not every tweet I sent was counted though since some were just goofiness. Still, it could be argued that all should count as they were written digitally. I say “Count what you want.”

When I post to my blog I routinely send out a tweet about it. I also post that same content into Google+ and Facebook for those folks in those venues who might be interested but for whatever reason don’t use RSS. Believe me, in Facebook anyway, I can get a lot of comments regarding my blog posts; more than on the posts themselves usually. ::sigh:: I only counted the tweets though, not the duplication into the other two venues. I could justify an argument for doing so but I don’t want to.

I also did not count retweets or favorites. Favorites I mostly use as a bookmark feature, although I do use it sometimes as a “Well done!” comment to the poster. Retweets are trickier since I am usually throwing them out there as a potential aid to conversation/commentary. Nonetheless, they take so little work that I chose not to count them.

Poems – I did not write many poems but a few were written (or co-written) and posted in assorted places. I took part in the DigiWriMo midnight launch party joint poem writing. Of the rest, two can be found on the blog—a poem written a couple years ago but I that had failed to put up after it was published and the rights reverted to me and one about my experience in the first #digped chat. One was my vignette for the group-written novel and included a doggerel poem written as a fan letter to Digi the Duck, one was a Twitter poem, and two were posted to Facebook since they were in response to a prompt given to me there by a friend (Jess). I have one in draft that is based on the Twitter Trending Topics during the midnight launch party but I never got very far with it.

Book-spine poems, inspired by Andrew McGregor, made up another five blog posts, including one that was a meta-poem about book-spine poetry. Compiling my list of book titles for possible use—only ones I own so far—provided me with 1885 words. I also have a few (very rough) drafts put together. I definitely hope to do more of them.

My journal – I am counting my journal, which I keep in Word, although with any luck no one will ever see it. I write it digitally and I do consult it on occasion, besides whatever benefit the writing of it provides. It used to serve as the genesis of  what became ~20 mix CDs that served as musical journals, many of which I gave away copies as gifts. So I paste my journal entries into Scrivener every couple days to be counted.

Book reviews – Many of these end up as blog posts but some only get put in Goodreads. I did not count both versions if they are in both, only the blog version. I also have a few draft reviews started. Sadly, these are the ones I came into the project with. One is long overdue. Oh well.

Fiction – I wrote a very short story (218 words) comprised entirely of one syllable words based on a prompt my friend (Jess) provided. I am also working from another prompt given to me by my daughter to write something based in the Girl Genius universe. At first I shrunk from that one a bit because as much as I love Girl Genius I don’t think I can do it justice. But then I had a brilliant insight as to how to write a mashup of Girl Genius and Gail Carriger’s The Parasol Protectorate series. No! I am not saying what it is. I want it to be a surprise since whether or not I pull it off successfully the idea itself is brilliant. Brilliant, I tell you. I kind of think it won’t be done for DigiWriMo either but that is OK. I want to make it as good as I can since I really enjoy both series.

Assorted – Not counting: As I said above, many tweets did not get counted, nor did much of what (little) I did in Facebook. I also did not count text messages of any sort although they clearly constitute digital writing and often mundane but nonetheless important communications to me. I also do a fair bit of data entry in a couple of spreadsheets for books read and books purchased and am starting a beer purchase history one. None of that has gotten counted. Also, my entries in the Untappd ap  take a fair bit of work with all the selections and ratings to be made even if in the end not that many words are actually typed. Not counted. Oh, no email counted.

Other things that I am counting: I started a list of issues for the new doctor will be going to visit soon since we moved; draft blog posts on liminality in my life, a comment policy, a review/commentary on two movies, draft book reviews, moving to Bend, Facebook promoted posts and businesses that primarily rely on Facebook for reaching customers, digital scholarly editions, and a few other odds and ends; and poem drafts.

Projected stuff – I had hoped to write a short Twitter novella but never found a story line and I had hoped to write more Twitter poems—haikus and similar short things.

Branching out – I was fairly successful in branching out by trying my hand at a group poem, a group novel, the Twitter vs. Zombies game, book-spine poetry, short fiction (of one-syllable), and an intended fiction mashup.

Prompts – I culled prompts, actively and passively, from many places. Some came from DigiWriMo directly, like the opening night party’s group poem, and later Twitter vs. Zombies and the group novel.

I started the month with a list of ideas, which my wonderful wife also contributed to. Some of the things she suggested were that while writing about moving to Bend that I try to answer the question,” What would I show to visiting family/friends?”, a list of areas for growth/learning over next couple of years, and some commentary on things not read, that is, things acquired with the full intention of getting to quickly but that fell by the wayside.

Other DigiWriMo participants contributed some through their own efforts or by directly putting out prompts. The idea for book-spine poetry came for Andrew McGregor. A poem and commentary came from the first #digped chat. I saw a few other prompts from DigiWriMo folks in various places but never got around to acting on them. A few days ago I goaded Jeff Brackett into posting the list of 51 that he had on Twitter and culled the following in a first pass:

  • Prompt 2: Select one Tweet & expand into blog post #DigiWriMo
  • Prompt 3: Choose one #DigiWriMo participant; comment on work and encourage them
  • Prompt 4: Why are you *not* writing? #DigiWriMo
  • Prompt 5: Turn ideas from one song from playlist (or radio) into Blog post #DigiWriMo
  • Maybe you can substitute some words/topics to generate new prompts #digiwrimo // thanks!

I also put out a request on Facebook on Black Friday and these are the responses I got:

Jess:

  • Pick a line/syllable restriction that appeals to you (3 lines/7ish syllables per line usually feels do-able to me even when I’m stuck) and poem it up. Tell me what you see, what you smell. Be a reporter in verse.
  • Write a short short story (I’m not picturing more than a double-spaced page, here) entirely in one-syllable words.
  • Write a creative non-fiction short story, but from the point of view of one of the other people involved.

Stacey: How about a blog post on Why the Humanities matters? 😉

Sara (daughter): Something in the Girl Genius universe?

Laura:

  • When I was a child, I loved…
  • Whenever I smell ____, I am reminded of…
  • I first learned about sex from…

I took on a few of those, as mentioned above, and am working on some of the others. I want to heartily thank everyone who has directly inspired me, challenged me, and supported me this month!

I have a fair few things in the pipeline ready to post but I think I will spend the next few days primarily writing. The goal is to write 50,000 words digitally and make some of them available and not to post 50,000 words. As of these words that I am currently typing, early in the morning of 29 November, I have 44,268 words. I am so very close. This post itself may or may not get posted before midnight Friday as it contains an awful lot of links and formatting in WordPress still takes a fair bit of time and effort.

Final words:

I actually made 50,000 words at 3:20 pm 30 November during the last #digiwrimo twitter chat with this tweet:

These 20 words will reach my #digiwrimo goal of 50k words on Friday afternoon, 30 November 2012. Go me! Win!

It also include this picture:

Success!

I had a good time, met lots of interesting people, many of whom I look forward to interacting with again, learned some things, have a ton of things drafted up and ready to post to the blog, and also have some interesting projects to work on further.

I send a hearty “Thank you!” to all partcipants but especially to Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer), Sean Michael Morris (@slamteacher), and all the others at Marylhursts’ English & Digital Humanities program for hosting, driving, and inspiring Digital Writing Month.

 

Brew Wërks Sunday Conversation Series

Pint of Brew Wërks Neurotic Blonde Ale

Pint of Brew Wërks Neurotic Blonde Ale

Last night we went to the inaugural edition of Brew Wërks Brewing Company’s Sunday Conversation Series with Brewmaster Michael McMahon. I would expect it to grow, but we had a lovely time as it was only 6 of us (3 couples) which made it easy to converse sitting around a table.

The conversation(s) was great and included beer trends and styles, whether the drinking public or brewer(ie)s drive the trends, recipes, assorted processes in beer/cider/mead making, water quality and other testing issues, food, Mexico, reasons for coming to Bend—all of us are fairly recent arrivals—places we’ve lived and worked before, and on and on. It began at 6 pm and we left a little around 8:45 and the others were still at it.

There were food and drink specials—although I never knew what they actually were, nor did I ask. In the end, we got 20% taken off our bill though so it didn’t really matter what the specifics were.

Brew Wërks Pub features 6 taps of Brew Wërk beers and 6 guest taps and an assortment of great food.

Mike hopes to do this every week and would like to get more people to come and chat. It really was laid back and inviting. I even got a business card and invite to come by the brewery and check things out, with the pleasant caveat that I might be put to work. Sounds fair to me.

So if you are a home brewer or not (I’m not. Yet.), beer aficionado or simply interested in chatting about beer and other topics over good beer and food on a Sunday evening then do check out Brew Wërks Brewing Company’s Sunday Conversation Series at the Old Mill Brew Wërks Pub, 6 pm to ….

Hope to see you there soon!

frenetic, or a comment on the New Media Citation digped of 2 Nov

digital citation in new media.
one hour, twitter,
go! #digped.

wrong tools.
tweets & convos
race past.

reflection,
@Jessifer files
Storified version.

On Friday the 2nd of November I participated in a Twitter chat on the topic of new media citation practices. It was quite “raucous” as Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer) calls it in his post at Hybrid Pedagogy. For me, it was “frenetic.” [OED online. Sense 2b: Of a quality, power, act, process, etc.: frenzied, manic; wild, passionate; rapid and energetic in an uncontrolled or unrestrained way.]

As soon as it was over I attempted to write a poem describing my experience of it. I got the first two stanzas out fairly quickly but then got no further. This morning, Jesse posted his Storified version to Hybrid Pedagogy and I read it through. I think he (and it) does a good job of capturing much of what was said, although clearly not everything was captured, as he used about a score of the total of 440 tweets.

The second stanza of the poem above reflects more my frustration with the tools I was attempting to use. I have participated in less than a handful of tweet chats previously and I was not prepared for this raucous freneticism. I was at my desktop for it—wouldn’t even begin to think of trying it on the iPad—where I use the Twitter app for Mac from Twitter. But I wanted to keep that kind of separate from what I was doing so I opened Twitter in a Chrome tab on the desktop I am using for DigiWriMo and ran a search for the #digped hashtag.

Perhaps the biggest problem was that the Twitter search on their website was not showing me tweets (or more specifically, replies) from some of the folks I follow. For example, @Jessifer’s responses to me were only showing up in the Twitter app for Mac. I figured this out fairly early as my phone was next to me and kept vibrating as I got replies that I wasn’t seeing.

Robin Wharton (@rswharton) suggested I try Tweet Chat but I, in the moment, assumed it was an app and not simply a website. Later, Sara seconded it as a good tool also. I will definitely try it the next time.

The next biggest issue, not directly related to the chat but to DigiWriMo, is that I was trying to copy my tweets and the links to them into Scrivener to save them towards my word count. This was much easier from the Twitter app than the browser. This meant switching desktops and multiple windows and …. I eventually moved the Twitter app onto the same desktop but things stayed hectic due to the volume of things going on in the chat.

On the other hand, stanza two in the poem above also reflects my firm belief that Twitter is simply not the place for such conversations. Sure, it sort of worked. If you look at the comments on this post at Hybrid Pedagogy you’ll see that a few of the participants think differently than me. And that is fine. I have had these conversations before. Twitter works great for some conversations but, at least for me, fails horribly for others.

There were so many differing, and frequently unexplicated, assumptions behind (most of) the tweets and no way to tease out philosophical, departmental, temperamental or other differences. There were, on occasion, conflations, or at least lack of specifying, between whether one was talking about a standalone bibliography (annotated or not) or one attached to a specific work (article, book, blog post, etc.). There was little actual real discussion about what purposes/roles/functions a citation actually does or should play. There was much agreement that things are, and probably should, change in academia regarding citation practices. I am fairly sure that sometimes some of us were bringing “old” media issues back into the discussion supposedly about “new media.” But I am not sure there is, or should be, a lot of difference. Certainly the how of how one goes about making a citation in many new media might frequently need to be different than how one does in a print medium, but I remain fully unconvinced that the why is different.

To me, these sorts of higher level questions are of more interest and ought also be more immediate. Once the larger issues of why—multiple reasons corresponding to different roles/functions—are sorted out, then it is time to figure out best practices (within disciplines/communities/media/etc.) for actually doing so. One of the larger questions—or perhaps more intermediate—to me then becomes answerable, or at least addressable.

Back in the day, over 5 years ago now, myself and others (and no doubt many others elsewhere including such folks as the makers of Zotero) were wondering what and how bibliographies could be of the web and not simply on it. Sadly, I never got very far with that, and all of the people involved in the conversation with me at the time have also moved on to other things, although I am willing to bet that they are still highly intrigued in how things could be different if we had better tools.

Some of my questions were:

What purposes (if any) do bibliographies serve on the web? Is there one?
What form should web-based bibliographies take to support those purposes?
Should embedded COinS or some other OpenURL or similar technology be employed?
What would be the best way to present our literature in a web-based bibliography that might entice you to read some of it?

I was also trying to get at things better tools could do for us and allow us to do. My brilliant friend, Jodi Schneider, hit the nail on the head, as usual, with her comment:

Ok: in my ideal bibliography system:

You would be able to:
* filter, search, and sort items by any metadata field.
*select any subset of the bibliography (including the whole thing)
*and do actions on the whole or your selection

Here are some actions I would want:
*download citations to your own collection (online or locally hosted on your own computer)
*mark the subset for later use in the online system
*search the full-text of all items in the subset. Results would show KWIC snippets and could generate subsets for further actions
*add all references to your collection (preserving field structure)
*use an associated “bibliography processor” to download all the associated items. Your processor would be able to authenticate for your library access and individual subscriptions. It would create a new subset of problem items, for manual inspection, which could easily be passed to other services (like ILL).

Other bibliography thoughts:
*free online resources and subscription resources would be distinguished by an icon
*a good bibliography should give a sense of the field–clustering and facets may help with this, and leveraging the structured data (e.g. by journal, tags/descriptors, etc.)

If we had tools that easily pulled citations, references, links, pointers out of new media documents, web pages, reference managers, and what-have-you, and that easily added them to other documents, whether web-based or not (prior to printing, of course) and that allowed us to easily manipulate sets and subsets of them and to perform assorted actions on them easily, then not only would our lives be easier (and, arguably perhaps, better) but much of the discussion that took place in the tweet chat would be moot.

Only the larger questions of why we would cite or compile bibliographies would remain, along with some issues of formatting. But, despite the amount of effort that goes into formatting citations into the almost innumerable styles that are out there, the reasons for specific formatting styles is rarely ever known by most users of them, and even less frequently ever actually theorized (and how much of this formatting is just bullshit wasted effort in the first place?). We truly need to get rid of about 95% (or more!) of the styles that exist for formatting citations (in any medium) and revisit the why of the specific how of doing so, with good and proper reasoning for each choice.

Ah. Now Mark the librarian and inveterate footnote/citation tracer is talking. ::sigh:: I think for now I’ll just wander off of this obviously passionate topic. It seems clear that many of my first-order concerns with citation practices are not the same ones as many of those who participated in the chat. And that is perfectly OK, too.

I do want to add that I did, though, despite the poem or any of the above comments, enjoy myself in the chat. It was just a very frenetic enjoyment which could have been helped by better tools.

“Better tools.” Maybe that ought be the title of this post.

 

Harrison and Kooser, Braided Creek

I was alerted to this book by Dave Bonta in early May of this year, so I picked it up on 5 June from The Book Store in Des Moines and read it on 26 September.

I probably ought just say to go read Bonta’s post as you’ll learn far more about the work and the authors than I can tell you, and I highly suggest that you do read his post, but I want to say a little myself. I will try not to duplicate much.

First, let me say that I am highly grateful to Bonta for writing about this lovely book again so that I might see his review. I have read a couple books by Jim Harrison and although I know he is considered to be an excellent poet what I have read of his has not really grabbed me. As for Kooser, I have read the odd poem here and there but never a book of his poems, although I have read his, The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets, which I truly enjoyed and need to revisit.

As Bonta writes:

Braided Creek is the result of a poetry correspondence between two old, white male poets at the top of their literary game, struggling to come to terms with aging and all its associated ills.

The poems came out of a series of correspondence between the two longtime friends “comprised entirely of brief poems” “[a]fter Kooser was diagnosed with cancer” (back cover).

The poems are unattributed and as the blurb on the back states:

When asked about attributions for the individual poems, one of them replied, “Everyone gets tired of this continuing cult of the personality… This book is an assertion in favor of poetry and against credentials.”

Many of the poems are almost aphoristic:

A coffin handles
leaves a lasting impression
on a hand.

The face you look out of
is never the face
your lover looks into.

Many are quite humorous:

I want to describe my life in hushed tones
like a TV nature program. Dawn in the north.
His nose stalks the air for newborn coffee.

Oh, to be in love,
with all five buckets
of the senses
overflowing!

Almost all of them contain something quite deep and meaningful despite their brevity:

Each time I go outside the world
is different. This had happened
all my life.

Elaborate is the courtliness
of the imagination, on one sore knee
before beauty.

As Bonta mentions, they are four to a page and often seem to go together, some in a call and response sort of way. Nor are they afraid to get into social commentary or politics—as these two contiguous poems do—although they rarely stray there:

So the Greeks had amphorae
with friezes of nymphs.
We have coffee mugs with ads
for farm equipment!

How evil all priesthoods.
All over the earth Holy Places
soaked with extra blood.

Time, memory, nature, beauty, longing, wistfulness. The book is full of these and more:

Last year the snake
left her skin on the floor,
diaphanous like the name
of a lovely girl you’ve forgotten—
but not her flesh.

And then there are the simple truths of a person as they age:

Like an old dog
I slowly lower and arrange myself
in a heap of sighs.

I can definitely relate to that one.

I’ll end with one of my very favorites, to which I also can highly relate:

The moon put her white hands
on my shoulders, looked into my face,
and without a word
sent me on into the night.

This is a lovely book of poetry that is also so much more.

Keeping up … with people

The What

Wednesday afternoon I posted the following to my facebook status:

I have recently instituted a personal goal of trying to catch up with at least 1 interesting person a week (or so) just to see what’s rockin’ their (LIS) world, whether there are any areas of overlapping interest, if we can challenge/cheer each other on in our research endeavors, etc. To do this I am asking people to lunch or coffee … so please don’t get freaky if I ask you. If not interested just say No thanks. 😀

Not a perfect message, I agree, but facebook stati do have a character limit and I had hit it. The primary problem with it is that “interesting” word. It means pretty much anything and, thus, nothing. So it is a somewhat lazy but mostly space constrained shorthand for a lot more; including a lot more that I can’t even articulate yet.

The Context

Sometime last week I decided to ask a friend and once fellow student to lunch or coffee to catch up with her. We had taken a couple of classes together and we are both off doing our own CAS stuff now. I do get to see her now and again at the reference desk but if one can imagine how busy the reference desk at the main UIUC Library is then you can imagine that short amounts of small talk is all we can manage.

The classes we had together were all “upper-level” information organization classes and some of the projects she’s been involved in have been in areas like faceted classifications of folktales.

But she’s a reference librarian by bent. And desire. [That is, if I remember correctly from some of those disparate and short snatches of conversation at the reference desk.]

Of course reference librarians can be interested in the geeky, often esoteric intricacies of thesauri, faceted classification systems, indexing, and so on. I wish more were. 😉 But, in my own admittedly weak experience [10 12 years now], I have found few reference librarians, much less LIS students, who are interested in these sorts of things to any true depth.

So I wanted to take some quality time to catch up and see where she is in her studies, where she’s heading with her CAS project/paper, and all that stuff in the facebook message above. We were supposed to go to lunch this past Tuesday but she woke up ill so we rescheduled for next week.

Wednesday afternoon I thought of one of our Ph.D. students who I have met in person only once or so but we now follow each other on Twitter and facebook and I find her and what little I know of her work intriguing. So I invited her to lunch or coffee.

That’s when I realized I was onto something and posted the above status to facebook.

1st Lunch Date

We met at Bombay (Indian food) for the buffet and talk. She was already excited because she thinks my idea is a great one. We had a leisurely lunch and talked about my CAS paper and research, about the Library Student Journal, and about her coursework (last semester of) and teaching. We discussed Integrationism, language and communication, Symbolic Interactionism, Erving Goffman, differences between teaching undergrads and LIS students, and several other things. I’d say it was a success; not that I have any specific measures of success in mind.

Feedback in facebook

I got some good feedback shortly after posting the above status, such as several Likes, and a question or two. I found it extremely interesting that the 1st person to Like my status is the next person in my queue. Another Ph.D. student, she has taken some courses in GSLIS but is primarily in Rhetoric and Writing Studies [again, if remembering correctly]. I am going to wait a bit before trying to schedule this one as I still need to catch up with the original person I asked before I thought of this as a more sustained “program.”

One comment I received was whether I was paying or not. I am happy to do so in every case but will leave it up to the other whether we go Dutch or I pay. This is not a request for people to ask me to lunch so I will pay. I intend to still go to lunch with friends and such as I sometimes do. But if you are one of my closest friends here then, well, sorry but you don’t meet my criteria for this. I see you and talk to you anyway; I already have a good idea what you are up to. 😀

Purpose, Goals

What am I up to? Do I have a purpose or goals for this. Well, yes, and no. It is a work in progress and I am leaving it wide open and flexible.

First, it is and can be a form of professional development. Normally we talk about keeping up with the literature but isn’t keeping up with fellow professionals also professional development? Especially if one is interacting directly with them, yes?

Second, it is networking.

But even more important to me, it is a way to develop better friendships and deeper acquaintances. It is about broadening my horizons. It will expose me to ongoing work and the interests of others in a relaxed environment. Overlapping areas of interest can be discerned and expanded. Efforts to support and challenge/cheer each other on in our separate research endeavors can be drawn up and implemented.  We can clue each other into conferences, journals, books, people, ideas, and so on that might be of interest and value to each other. And there are, no doubt, other benefits that I will discover.

And, yes, one of my primary goals is to be of equal value to my dates for whatever purposes they have in accepting.

The Future

I have another couple of individuals in mind (one mentioned above, and another GSLIS Ph.D. student) but no one in particular after that. But during our discussions yesterday I realized that there are several newer faculty in GSLIS who I do not know at all. So perhaps that is where I’ll start. There are also several 0% faculty appointments in GSLIS with folks from Communications and other departments; they’d be good candidates.

After that I don’t know. I wish I knew more students and faculty in other departments here at UIUC. At ISU I knew people from all across campus. I have been here at UIUC about the same amount of time I was there but there I was an undergrad and an at-large grad student so I took classes all over. As much as I wanted to wander into other departments here I kept focused on my own department and my LIS education.

Certainly there are plenty of librarians I could get to know better here. And I should.

Wrap-up

I’m not sure what will become of this but I intend to enjoy the company of some interesting people, learn more about the diversity of work and interests within our profession/discipline and in other disciplines.

If anyone has suggestions I am certainly happy to entertain them. If you are here and read my blog but we don’t really know each other and you’d like to change that then feel free to contact me.

Might this idea work for you? Only you can decide that. But I think that on a campus where everyone is busy and many come and go so quickly (Yes, 2-6 years is quickly) this may be a good corrective to that feeling of “I sure wish I could get to know so-and-so” or of “Boy, their research is really interesting; I wish I knew more about it” or any similar wistful desires.

If anyone else implements something similar I’d love to hear about how it is going/went, either here or directly via email, etc. Myself, I have no specific plans to blog about these dates. That will be on a case-by-case basis and only after I have cleared any such blog mentions with the affected party.

So, who have you had coffee with lately?

Love letter to an ex-girlfriend

I went back through my posts of the last two months and there isn’t much explicit mention of the best distraction a boy could ask for. I think the first (and one of 2, maybe 3) explicit reference is in the post “Living room talk.” There are certainly several other references that were mostly for her that one or two of you might get a hint from, but not much more.

I also notice I didn’t actually post very often. There were frequently week-long gaps and, I believe, 2 13-day gaps.  Not unheard of for me, but rare.  My previous post addresses this quietude a bit.  Let me just say here that it has not been mostly due to my having a girlfriend.

But wait. I do not have a girfriend.

Today [Friday] would have been our 2-month anniversary. It was to be our full moon anniversary. Sorry, relevant to us, no details for you. On Monday she told me she needs to go back to just being friends.

While this is clearly not my 1st choice of realities—like I or anyone else gets a choice of realities—and it hit pretty hard, I am doing pretty well with this development. [This has been one amazingly interesting and personally productive summer, let me tell you!]

The first day or two I really was just kind of in a state of shock.  I wasn’t doing much active processing of this.  And that, I think, was a very good thing.

Since Monday we’ve been talking and have even seen each other a few times, e.g., watched a free movie at the public library together, shared a bag of popcorn, and had salad together after the movie. Again, not so much on the overt processing.  What I have been doing is listening to a lot of music. But here’s the kicker.  It’s mostly been just a few songs, on repeat, and sometimes repeatedly.

Monday evening and Tuesday both remain kind of hazy in my mind.

Wednesday morning began with Not A Pretty Girl and quickly morphed into multiple replays of “hour follows hour” and “asking too much.”

i just hope it was o.k., i know it wasn’t perfect
i hope in the end we can laugh and say
it was all worth it

too much is how i love you
but too well is how i know you
i’ve got nothing to prove this time
just something to show you
i guess i just wanted you to see
that it was all worth it to me

hour follows hour

i want somebody who
sees the pointlessness
and still keeps their purpose in mind
i want somebody who
has a tortured soul some of the time
i want somebody who
will either put out for me
or put me out of my misery
or maybe just put it all to words and make me go
you know, i never heard it put that way
make me go what did you just say!?

asking too much

Wednesday evening I was on my way to Crane Alley and I appropriated Poe’s “Spanish Doll” from Haunted for my own purposes.

This place feels so unfamiliar
And yet I know it well
I think I used to belong here
But the only way I can tell
Is that I miss you still
And I cannot find you here
You left me tattered and torn
Just like that Spanish doll

(Sweet Spanish sweet Spanish… doll)

I went down to the alley way
(Sierra la Bonita)
And found that you were gone …

Except for she wasn’t gone and actually joined me there for a couple hours.

Thursday AM began with “imagine that” from reckoning [of revelling/reckoning]. And pretty much stayed there. Later yesterday [Thursday], while at home, Jude’s “I Know,” from the City of Angels soundtrack was on repeat for almost 2.5 hours.

so here i am at my most hungry
and here i am at my most full
here i am waving a red cape
locking eyes with a bull

just imagine that i am onstage
under a watchtower of punishing light
and in the haze is your face bathed in shadow
and what’s beyond you is hidden from sight

imagine that

I know there’s nowhere you can hide it
I know the feeling of alone
Trust me and don’t keep that on the inside
Soon you’ll be locked out on your own

I Know

Interspersed has been an awful lot of Haley Bonar’s new album, Big Star, which I got in the mail last Saturday. Also prominent would be Jackson Browne’s Late for the Sky album. Since the major clarification [for me] on my communications issues there has been a lot of talk, and more thinking, about personal narratives/mythologies, especially mine, and with this … whatever this is … there has been more about hers, too.  And one cannot get in stick throwing distance of my personal narrative without being smacked over the head by that album.

“Late for the Sky,” “Fountain of Sorrow,” “Farther On,” and “The Late Show” are particularly grounding for me.

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You’ve had to struggle, you’ve had to fight
To keep understanding and compassion in sight
You could be laughing at me, you’ve got the right
But you go on smiling so clear and so bright

fountain of sorrow

Now the distance leads me farther on
Though the reasons I once had are gone
I keep thinking I’ll find what I’m looking for
In the sand beneath the dawn

But the angels are older
They can see that the sun’s setting fast
They look over my shoulder
At the vision of paradise contained in the light of the past
And they lay down behind me
To sleep beside the road till the morning has come
Where they know they will find me
With my maps and my faith in the distance
Moving farther on

farther on [this one is undergoing some serious questioning]

I saw you through the laughter and the noise
You were talking with the soldiers and the boys
While they scuffled through your weary smiles
I thought of all the empty miles
And the years that I’ve spent looking for your eyes
(looking for your eyes)
And now I’m sitting here wondering what to say
(that you might recognize)
Afraid that all these words might scare you away
(and break through the disguise)
No one ever talks about their feelings anyway
Without dressing them in dreams and laughter
I guess its just too painful otherwise

the late show

Honestly, I do have to admit that a little of Ani’s Dilate snuck in there early on. But then what righteous babe could possibly resist “Done Wrong”, “Going Down” and “Adam & Eve” in this sort of situation?

you can’t get through it
you can’t get over it
you can’t get around

just like in a dream
you’ll open your mouth to scream
and you won’t make a sound

going down

you put a tiny pin prick
in my big red balloon
and as i slowly start to exhale
that’s when you leave the room
i did not design this game
i did not name the stakes
i just happen to like apples
and i am not afraid of snakes

adam and eve

I have also had several good conversations with my friend (she’s not my ex, she’s my friend), and with two other people which were particularly helpful.  One was Tuesday afternoon, just shy of a day, and one this afternoon [Friday].  One in person, one by (crappy) phone. My friend also had a good idea of some of this music since I also provided it to her and/or pointed her at the lyrics.

So, a mostly ‘just let it wash over me’ attitude and some highly specific music has kept me sane this week. Or, more accurately, allowed me to move from completely lost in the world [’tis far more complicated, but is another story] to almost as sane as I ever am and reasonably happy with the situation.

You have no need to know what the issue between us is. Truth be told, there is no “issue.” In a sense, it is far more fundamental than that. One reason I am currently avoiding it—as it may still get written about—is that it has occupied quite a bit of my time since Monday evening. And it is as complicated as anything between humans can be. I wrote several pages on it for my friend, but that barely qualifies as a 1st draft; lots more thinking since.  Plus, some clarification from her helped narrow & shift things a bit.

What is love? In how many ways do we use it? And with whom? And what do we mean by it when we use it with a particular person, or class or group of persons?

I love my children, I, in fact, love my ex-wife. I love my mom, sister, niece, …. And I love my friends. I don’t mean the 136 people on Facebook who call me “friend,” of course. I care greatly about every one of them as humans, and even somewhat about them as the individual that they are in the world, but I am not going to say that I love them. Although some of them I do. Somewhere in there a line gets drawn. When? Why? Who?

I love my ex-girlfriend. One. She clearly belongs in my closest friends. We were “friends” before this for a year and a half or so and I always wanted to know her better; to become her friend. We both went into this wanting to protect our (budding) friendship. Two. The things she has enabled me to be, to see, to feel, to dream. Three. Classy way in which she has handled herself in this since Monday and has helped guide me through it. Four. ….

For many reasons, we are entering some serious brave new territory.  The utter absurdity of the messages we get from our culture leave us completely unsure of what we are doing. But we both know that we each care greatly for the other, we each  see great things in and for the other, and I know that the vision of possibility I got from her needs to find a way to only make a slight adjustment and allow me to soar and not go “Poof! Welcome to your old life.” [Not going to go into it in this post but the road I saw open so very, very clearly not only looked exceedingly lovely but also showed me [and some reminders] who I really am and how I might really be who I want to be. These are things I cannot see and can barely dream on my own.]

Certainly, there are some […]

[Saturday]

The writing of this post got interrupted yesterday evening by a reminder of the Full Moon Drum Circle at the university’s Japan House. I quickly finished what I was doing and rushed over to grab my friend and head over there.

All I am saying is that this was the best non-anniversary I have ever had. The drumming was nice, the moon was exquisite, we met another friend there, and then we came home and took our friendship to even greater heights.

Thus. I want to sum up and say that I love my ex-girlfriend.

That I love my friend even more.

And I plan to always.

Who do you love?

I am a failure

I have come to realize that I am a failure at the professional role that I have been trying to adopt for the last several years.  It is one which, in many ways, I am perfectly suited for.  For instance, I can shoot holes in most any argument presented by most anyone, preferably with the intention of helping the argument be strengthened.  I’m also pretty good at adding nuance to arguments and discussion, or at least insisting that others do so.  Unfortunately, in other ways, I am ill-suited for it.  Sadly, the ways in which I am failing are much, much harder to change than others.  I cannot simply acquire more education to fix this.  I need to change a fundamental way in which I present myself.

I am a very passionate person, about a great many things.  Professionally, my greatest passions run to our bibliographic structures, past, current, and future.  It is why I spent another 40+ hours on my education post-Masters.  A job doing something with these structures, traditional or otherwise, is what I desire.

Unfortunately, my passion, especially in its extemporaneous, face-to-face version mostly seems to come out as anger, at least to others.  I do not fully understand why that is, but it is old and deeply ingrained.  It is also somewhat connected to my coming back to life from the intensely deep chronic depression I was in when I retired from the Army.

I would give anything to change this and have desired to and have worked on it for the last several years.  It is certainly a professional handicap, particularly for the role I want to play.

Was my behavior yesterday—my comments to Michael Gorman—disrespectful and/or unprofessional?  Only you can decide.  My intended behavior was not, in my opinion.  You may well disagree.  What about my manifested behavior?  Well, I won’t say I’m proud of it.  But neither was it what I intended.

I do stand by everything that I’ve written or said on the subject, though.  Some of it I wish was expressed better, especially what I said in room 126.  But then that is the issue.

Another place where I am failing is in much of my blogging.  I frequently take a comment by someone and in my reply broaden it so greatly—kind of like riffing on it—that I am no longer addressing the comment author.  I may, in fact, specifically not be addressing the commenter.  But.  That is a dangerous thing to do because I am often unclear that that is what I am doing and, thus, some folks take my replies personally when they really shouldn’t.  Or they simply don’t believe my intentions.  Now in external appearances they are fully justified in doing so.  I cannot deny that.  Thus, I am a failure at that, too.

Another area in which I often fail is distinguishing at what level, if you will, I am talking.  I also make frequent shifts between “levels”—theory vs. practice, cultural reality vs. how I believe the world (or some portion of it) ought to, and could, be, and so on.  This one plays out frequently in my exchanges with my dear friend, Jenny.  Jenny frequently argues from the cultural reality or, at least, cultural perception perspective.  This is something she is imminently more qualified for than me and I greatly appreciate her doing so.  It reminds me of how the world really is, or seems to be, for many others, sometimes even for myself.  I, on the other hand, am often arguing for how I think the world ought to, and could perhaps, be.  Our discussion of whether or not Michael Gorman is qualified to address the topics on which he spoke is a perfect example.

Jenny’s argument (greatly simplified) is that having been ALA President does, in fact, in our cultural context of librarianship qualify anyone to address the future of libraries and other topics.  This is true. But my argument is from another angle.  I prefer a world in which real qualifications are required for something this important.  I am not saying he is completely unqualified.  That would be completely asinine.  He is highly qualified to address much of what he did, and much of it he did so eloquently.

But much of it he is not.  The fact that he was ALA President is completely irrelevant to whether he is qualified to speak about Dublin Core or metadata in general.  And the fact that he willfully and belligerently holds to a view of DC and metadata that is so overly simplistic is one prime reason why he is unqualified, in my opinion.  He is an extremely intelligent person who could easily choose to upgrade his knowledge if he chose to.  But his willful disregard for the state of portions of our field is a political move.  In fact, it is a move which plays well with many in our profession and serves a purpose.  The purpose is even one which I greatly support.  But there are far better and more honest ways to do so.

But I have a hard time expressing these things so that people will listen, especially the people I am trying to critique.  And no one, including myself, is above critique.

So.  There it is.  I am a failure.  I am, currently anyway, constitutionally incapable of playing the professional role that is most important to me.  I have no idea what I am going to do about this.  I truly don’t.  And that fact scares me.

Over time I have had many, in various ways, tell me that they appreciate what I do and that the profession needs people like me.  I cannot agree more.  But it needs people who do what I do who can do so more eloquently and either with much less passion or, at least, with that passion much better expressed.

Even if librarians and the profession don’t deserve it, those for whom we do what we do do deserve better.  Better than I seem capable of.

To anyone affiliated with GSLIS who is embarrassed or offended by my behavior—here, in person, or elsewhere—I truly and sincerely apologize. Offense is not my intention, but I do think what I am attempting to do is critically important to our profession. I just wish I could do it better, now.

[Comments are disabled for this post.]

Living room talk

* with a hat tip to Dorothea (see below)

In which I proudly proclaim and rant as if we were simply sitting here in my living room chatting as the friends we might be, if given the chance.

Jeremy and trip to central Texas

Again, thank you from the entirety of my heart to all who offered a place to stay, to contact family or friends on my behalf, etc. I seriously would have liked to act on several of them but the vertigo just added too much uncertainty to the trip to do so. Thank you all!

I ended up leaving here about 10 AM on Memorial Day. I still had the vertigo but, luckily, it did not bother me driving, even with whipping the head around to check the blind spot. Pretty much any other motion caused issues and it did not disappear until Thursday morning; well after the medicine had run out.

Spent the night in Joplin, MO which is about halfway and arrived in Killeen Tuesday evening. Found a decent coffee shop with wireless near Jeremy’s house so I had some connectivity while I was there.

Mostly my visit was pretty low-key but we did do a few things. [Photo set from the trip at Flickr.] We went to the new Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, which sadly has plenty of room to grow. Did some shopping on post and otherwise. Saw the new Indiana Jones movie. Ate lots and lots of meat. Had a late lunch one day at Mission Taco where I also ate frequently when stationed there in 1996-1998. Eight tacos for $2! Not fancy tacos, mind you, but good quality ones. They simply cannot be beat!

We also went to Austin on Friday night-Saturday morning where Jeremy MCd at a party in a warehouse. There were 2 sides both playing loud music and laser light shows. It was an interesting experience and I think I’ll simply say that some Austin and surrounding area parents may have some parenting issues. Not that the kids weren’t well behaved mind you, but I also hope they didn’t leave the house dressed that way. I’ll leave it to you to see what I’m talking about by looking at the photos if you want.

I headed out at 2:40 PM Saturday afternoon and drove through the night to arrive home shortly after 7 AM Sunday morning. I wanted to surprise someone and I also knew I was taking Monday off of work to recover.

Jeremy heads out for his 2nd tour in Iraq next Tuesday tomorrow. As I said before, we’ve been very lucky that this is only his 2nd tour since his 1st was with the initial invasion. Nonetheless, that fact does nothing to relieve the horror I feel as a parent. So on behalf of all the parents, spouses, and children of all those who have been or will be deployed I want to say, “Thank you, America. We love you, too!”

I will probably have more to say on this topic tomorrow. And I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t like it. But. If you have no loved ones of your own who have deployed for this war then your opinion—which I support your right to have, with my life if need be—is not welcome here.

Girlfriend

Why did I drive straight through? What was my rush to get home? For the first time in a very long time someone—other than a boss or coworkers—was waiting for me.

Several weeks ago an amazing woman metaphorically knocked me upside the head. Seeing how clueless I was about these matters she almost had to physically knock me upside the head. No matter what happens I will always be grateful that she did.

I was divorced over 9 years ago and haven’t had a single date since. But having another chance for the possibility of a healthy, long-term relationship was one of my biggest hopes and dreams in life. Many issues involved in such were also my biggest terrors in life. Could I successfully love someone the way I wanted? Could I make it last? Had I learned anything from the ups and downs and ultimate failure of my marriage? Had it been so long since learning those lessons that I had completely forgotten them?

This incredible woman has simply dissolved all of those stark fears of mine. They just do not exist anymore. We have no idea where this is heading or for how long, but I am trying my best to keep my head about me, to enjoy every moment, to pay attention (and several women friends deserve better thank yous than I can ever express for allowing me to practice this skill with them—Miss Mo, Emily, Jacqui, and, yes, even Victoria).

Why are things so much easier than I expected? I really have no idea. I’d like to think that the effort I put into paying attention to a very few special women paid off. But mostly I think that perhaps I’ve just grown up. Mary and I were so very young and we never really got a chance to know each other. We had no idea how to talk to each other about important issues and when health issues arose and her doctor refused to discuss them with me that only made things worse.

My lady and I seem to be talking just fine; she makes me so comfortable. I have discussed things with her (even before we were actually a couple) that I have only discussed portions of with a very, very small number of people, or with no one else, ever.

I’ll kiss you on the brain in the shadow of the train
I’ll kiss you all starry eyed my body swingin’ from side to side
I don’t see what anyone can see in anyone else…but you
Here is the church and here is the steeple
We sure are cute for two ugly people
I don’t see what anyone can see in anyone else…but you

The Moldy Peaches : Anyone Else But You : Juno soundtrack

Blogging and blog spam

Based on a comment I tossed out recently, a friend wrote to ask me to not stop blogging. It is true that I am bored with much of what I’ve done recently and I see no solution or change any time soon. But that is something different from intending to stop. I may just slow down, which is what I seem to have already done. I recently renewed my domains for 2 years and while having my own domains doesn’t necessarily mean blogging I do not do much else with the space and have no present plans to do anything else with it.

As for last the 2 past week’s “Some things read …” post, I haven’t actually read much. I am reading the book which I will be writing a review of but do not think it appropriate to write about it here first. Otherwise, as Ani says, “I got distracted.”

There have been things that I really wanted to comment on here in the recent past but thanks to my bliss I haven’t bothered. Several news items really pushed me over the edge but a bit of grumbling to friends at hand saw me through.

For instance, the recent scientific report claiming that obese people are to blame for global warming and pretty much all of society’s ills is so far past offensive that I was practically apoplectic. I easily eat more calories per day than pretty much any obese person I’ve ever met and my son eats 2-3x as many calories as me. Easily. So clearly, all of society’s ills are our fault. Leave the fat people out of it. Seriously though, that report was missing so many contributing factors as to not even begin to qualify as science. There was another but I’m blanking on it at the moment. Again, I got a little worked up and then just let it go.

Blog spam has really increased lately. I used to go through every spam comment—at least a quick scan—but have pretty much stopped the last few weeks due to the amount flooding in. Thankfully Akismet is catching everything but I want to apologize if you have made a comment that never appeared. If you have never commented before I am hoping it makes it to the moderation phase. Otherwise, previous commenter or not, if you include too many links—not a high number, truth be told—then it probably got caught by the spam filter. Since my commenters rarely include more than one or two links I am taking it on faith that all caught spam really is spam. I hope I’m right.

Re the title of this post, as usual, Dorothea Salo is spot on. See her post on Context. This is my living room and that is what you get here. Sometimes I speak professionally, sometimes not. Sometimes I speak about professional issues, often not. And the respective clauses of those sentences do not necessarily go together either. Welcome to my living room. If you don’t like what I say in my own house I am sure you can find the door. No hard feelings and thanks for visiting.

Professional issues and frustrations

I was going to include some professional issues and frustrations here but decided to leave them for another post. Maybe it’ll be soon. Maybe not.

Happy Father’s Day

I want to wish all fathers a happy Father’s Day, but particularly any whose child is deployed/deploying. May it be a day of whatever peace you may find.

What have I been up to?

What a question. I feel like I need a recap of some of it myself sometimes.

I hope to have some semi-substantial blog posts and/or Flickr sets for some of these but I’d like to get them mentioned before they all become old news.

[some kind of division]

Been watching a fair few movies, started running (4x 5x 6x now), and have been taking and uploading lots of photos.

“Article” project

This is an ongoing project that I got a recent jump on due to my school hiatus, if it is possible to say that [hiatus, that is].

Flickr set. Main pic.

This is one of the things I’ve been considering blogging. But it mostly seems like a waste of time; for any system to work for someone it must meet their individual—current and future—modes of working. Any idiot can say: enter them into a citation manager (that meets your needs), put them into some sort of order (which also meets your needs), and stick them in something (that works for you).

Besides, who else has so many printed and photocopied things?

Much of what I might say is already in the Flickr set via notes and comments; especially on the “main pic.” By the way, I could very simply publish assorted bibliographies of all this, to include good discovery metadata (COinS).

Reading some David Bade things

UIUC Progressive Librarians Guild is hosting a lunch time (11:30-1 PM) discussion with David Bade on Monday, 21 April 2008.

Technology Waits For No One: Thinking About Technology, Progress and Responsibility in Academic Librarianship

I’ve been getting something on e-reserve (Harris’ Epilogue) and making another short Word doc available.

David’s been sharing a few other things with me, too. 🙂

Job Search

Nothing going on here. Have nothing out at the moment.

The End of the Semester

We have 3 weeks left in the semester and then finals week. After Subject Access/Analysis seminar Tuesday, one of my fellow classmates asked me how I was dealing with the end of the semester. I had to tell her, not so bad, but then it isn’t the end for me.

She knows I’m only sitting in on Subject Access/Analysis and that I was sitting in on Allen’s Ontologies, but she rightly assumed I should be taking something. Anyway, I kind of felt a little bad cause I knew she was just looking for a little commiseration and reassurance that we’ll both get through. And in a sense, I took that from her. So. Bad.

But about 20 minutes later when I realized that this was the first semester in 10 years in which I wasn’t facing her exact situation, I decided that I will not feel bad about not being in that space right now when I “fail” more of my friends.

But I am prepared now. I can most certainly empathize, sympathize, feel you, and so on to an extraordinary level. I will not lord my situation over any one [cause I’d like to have been finishing, too]. But I will not feel bad when any of my friends put us in the same same situation as Tuesday afternoon.

I am taking a Deferral on my paper; hope to write it in the Fall.

Since I won’t be walking the stage and I’ll be going to the GSLIS Commencement any way [lots of friends’ big day] I volunteered to help. Looks like I’ll be the “candid photographer.” Will have to have lots of little short conversations but I’ll be “forced” to move around and see folks at Commencement and at the reception. 🙂

[Volunteering. It’s an addiction.] [Also got 2 other students to volunteer. Surely that counts towards being an Enabler of Vices.]

[the other part of the union of topics]

ASIS&T panel

Mentioned this a bit back. Been trying to work out what we are actually doing based on reviewers’ feedback.

Fifth Annual GSLIS Storytelling Festival, Saturday, 18 April

[Audio] [My Flickr set] [Program]

I know that I’ve made 3 of these, but I might have actually made the last four. It is always excellent. Excellent storytelling and excellent art on the whiteboard behind the tellers. I have taken photos the last 3 years but since I sit in the back row and feel that the flash would be intrusive to, well, everyone, I haven’t gotten too many good ones. This year’s camera is radically different than the ones in the past. It worked better and I got some good shots. And then ….

I was out of memory. WTF? I’d already replaced the batteries, but that’s routine. Out of memory? I only remember running out of memory once. That was shortly after getting my first digital camera and was at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis in April 2006. It was Spring and there were 100,000s of flowers and trees in bloom and I took a couple hundred photos. But never since.

Well. I had bought a larger capacity memory card than came standard when I got my first camera, and it subsequently moved into 2 more cameras. 256MB.

I keep forgetting that at some point recently I managed to accidentally put the new camera in highest-quality mode. Yeah. I got 74 pictures. It filled up right before Rachel Shulman and thus I missed almost the whole back half of the program. I really feel bad about that.

So I remedied that a couple days ago. For probably less than I paid for the 256MB card initially, I bought a 4GB card. And if I somehow fill that one up before exhausting all the batteries I can carry then I have a “small” backup card. Sweet!

The Festival was awesome! And the art this year was superb. It was done this year, and I think the year before last, by Tiffany Carter. [I had to ask. And I suggested that whoever the artist is each year ought to have their name in the program; it may have been once before.] [Left-side] [Right-side]

Afterwards, a few of us went to a friend’s house and had a drink, conversation, and cat-watching and NSFW [you get my water bottle there].

Opportunity sent my way

A person of quality recently sent me a nice opportunity; thank you. Still to hear from the other party, though.

Incomplete

Found out Monday that my petition to withdraw from my independent study was denied. So that means I will either be keeping that F and my A- GPA. Or I do something about it for my own pride.

This was not good news but I was kind of expecting it. Have not decided what I am doing yet. Considering possibilities; talking to some folks. Lots of things going on around here that could use some terminologies services thinking.

Scheming and pondering at the same time.

Crane Alley Guinness Mondays

A little birdie whispered in my ear that the Alley would soon be doing away with the Monday $2 Guinness / Harp special. I have feared this one coming for a while now, too. Seems they want to run some other specials. Fair enough, I guess, but it will affect my lifestyle. And they’ll get a lot less of my money.

Sara is going to library school

My daughter called me on my birthday (back in Feb.) to tell me “Happy Birthday and, oh, by the way, I’m applying to library school.” I hadn’t even known it was on the table. I was hoping that Sara might wander on to grad school some day but I wasn’t going to harass her. We’d talk about it when she wanted to let me know what she was thinking. She worked very hard her whole life in school, but especially throughout high school, because she knew if she wanted an opportunity for a good education she was responsible for it, in many ways. Four more years of school at Oberlin took its toll.

I do not prod my kids for much in the way of information. I know another parent who does that and it drives the kids crazy. I’d rather have what they want me, or think I need, to know than a bit more grudgingly dragged from them.

Monday evening, Sara called to tell me she got accepted. Yippee! She’s currently an indexer & abstracter at Chemical Abstracts where she intends to remain full-time with a flexible schedule. Her education is in chemistry and she has a year of nanotech research under her belt prior to about 8 months at Chem Abs so far.

Other than probably academic, I have no idea what area of librarianship she intends to focus on. And I’m happy with that. I’m twice her age and I changed my mind after getting here so she ought to have that opportunity. I have, of course, put her in touch with Christina because if Sara is thinking sci/tech librarianship then this is my friend best suited to introduce her to that world.

Also trying to talk her into coming to ASIS&T this year since it’s in her city.

[Yes. I purposely left out where she’s attending. It is not here, which is perfectly fine.]

Sandy Berman and panel

Wednesday evening, Sandy Berman and 3 others, along with a moderator, joined in a panel discussion on the question of, “What is a progressive librarian?” [Flickr set]

  • Carolyn Anthony, Director, Skokie Public Library
  • Sandy Berman
  • Allison Sutton, Social Science Librarian, UIUC
  • Anke Voss, Archivist, Champaign County, IL
  • Moderator : Abdul Alkalimat, Professor, GSLIS

I had volunteered to meet Sandy at the Illini Union and walk him over to GSLIS at 5:15. I went to the Quad side of the Union, visited the ATM, tried to call my son back, and took some photos to kill a few minutes before meeting Sandy out front.

Seeing as I knew I only had a few minutes alone with Sandy I took a peek at his site and checked out his biography [probably have a copy somewhere, but this was easier]. I noticed he had spent a few years in Germany in the 60s so I took that as my angle. Upon meeting him he immediately asked me what my story was. Knowing I had about 7 minute tops I gave a 2-minute or so answer [stop snickering, you!], to which he politely asked a couple further questions. So somewhere a bit past halfway to GSLIS as soon as I had given my latest reply to Sandy I spit out something along the lines of, “Iknewwe’donlyhaveafewminutestogether / soIscannedyourbioforsomethingofinterest /andIwanttoaskyouaboutyourtimeinGermany.” To which we immediately had a short but spirited conversation with many points in common. We have shared several locations in space (Germany) together, just about 15 years apart.

Sandy was quite easy to talk to and before you knew it we were at GSLIS. I handed him off to Abdul Alkalimat, our moderator. Turns out they had met when Sandy was in Uganda in 1971-72.

I got a few photos of the pot luck that aren’t necessarily good photos but they capture the feel. Most of the photos are of the panel discussion, which was quite good.

Afterwards, Abdul, Kate Williams (GSLIS faculty), Sandy, I and a few other students went to Murphy’s for a beer. Nice time, to say the least, except for the table of very loud undergrad boys next to us. I walked Sandy back to the Union from Murphy’s. The weather was excellent for an evening stroll and I got a few more minutes with Sandy.

Jer at Fort Hood

Ten minutes after walking Sandy back to the Union, getting a hug and saying goodbye, I finally got hold of my son. He had just signed into Fort Hood and ended up in the new (2nd) battalion in the Division’s Aviation Regiment.

They are packing their bags this Monday and they head back to Iraq in July. He hasn’t even been issued his gear and he’s supposed to sealing it up to be shipped off on Monday. He had just signed a lease a couple days before. Volunteering can get you in some seriously jacked up ….

I had a rough day or so after hearing this, but I’m putting it off to the side for now. July is not April.

I’m thinking I might head down there for a couple/several days in late May or June; whatever works best for him.

Update [Sat. eve]: They now leave the 2nd week of June. I will probably be heading down there.

Update [Sun. morning]: Narrower leave period than he originally thought; will be probably heading down there sometime between 22 May – 1 June once he knows how much leave he’ll have. He just got off a month’s so he may not have much left.

It’s times like this that make me smile that we even use the same words [serve/service] to describe what librarians do for their patrons/customers and what service members do for their nation.

I guess the main difference is in the kind and amount of sacrifices made.

Overall

Some unexpected positives; some not unexpected negatives (and positives). A massive [expected] negative. It’s my life.