Upcoming fall semester

Thought I’d post a little update regarding my plans for fall. First, a quick update on where I am currently.

Update

My hours at the BCU library were bumped up to 6 (from 5) hours/week so I could take on a weeding project of my own. I had already cataloged the backlog and current acquisitions and I was removing bibs and holdings from our Sirsi catalog and from WorldCat.

About a month ago I started weeding the PZs. I began with the PZ7s and up, skipped the small amount of PZ5s for now (less than one shelf), did the PZ4s, and am now a bit over halfway through the PZ3s. This leaves the PZ1s, which are mostly sets, to do when I finish the PZ3s. So far I have weeded approximately 1000 titles from the collection. Many of these books have not circulated in 30-40 years (or more). Some, of course, had never circulated. A few were in lovely editions over 100 years old. But if they haven’t been checked out in 50-60 years and no one teaches them anymore (if ever) then our small library does not need them. Of course, I have also been removing the bibs and holdings for these.

The wife

The wife is keeping especially busy and is reasonably stressed; reasonably as in she has good reason to be, and also as in not breaking down stressed. All of this year’s incoming freshman at BCU are getting iPads, as are many of the graduate and some of the returning undergrad students, along with many of the faculty and staff. There will be another opt-in period for returning students who have not done so shortly after school starts. As the Director of Educational Technology, this project is kind of her baby. Other folks certainly have their own crosses to bear in this als0; like the head of IT and the hoops she’s jumped/ing through to get the campus wireless upgraded to handle ~500-600 wireless devices where before there were only a handful.

Added on top of that stress for the wife is that we are leaving the country for close to a week right before/as school starts. So she has spent most of this weekend on campus trying to do all that she can to make this all go as smoothly as possible without her direct input when it happens.

Wedding in Germany

We are heading to Heidelberg, Germany for my sons wedding! Both the bride and groom were born there so it is a particularly apt setting. We only wish we had a lot more time to spend in Deutschland; we both miss it dearly.

My fall semester

I am taking one class, which I was asked to take by the professor. Advanced Briar Cliff Review is a one-hour credit class in which interested students, primarily English and Writing majors, do much of the selection work for the short fiction that makes it into the Briar Cliff Review.

I will also be sitting in on 2 classes; Modern Grammar, and Classical Literature and Mythology. I was, as of a couple months ago, planning on sitting in on Shakespeare also but have decided I would actually like some sort of life. Shakespeare is taught regularly and frequently, so I hope to catch it the next time around. There are, of course, several other classes I am interested.  Most were winnowed out earlier due to scheduling conflicts but, despite freeing up some time, I see little point in rebooking that time.

I am looking forward to the upcoming semester. I’ve had a mythology class but this one will focus on myth through the classical lit itself, instead of being condensed versions of folktales, and I can use more exposure to classical lit. As a critic of orthodox grammar and linguistics I can definitely use a formal class. More importantly, I hope it will help me describe and discuss that which I have known at a deep and intuitive level for most of my life. I’m also looking forward to reading the BCR short fiction submissions. I don’t read much short fiction, at least not for a long time, and I look forward to discussing and engaging with it critically. Also, how often does one get asked to take a class by the professor?

Long time gone

[This post title is, for me, multi-meta in that it refers to several things.]

It has been a long time since I’ve been here. Part of me is sad about this fact and part of me thinks that is just fine.

A lot has happened since I last wrote here:

I quit my job as a serials cataloger at the University of Illinois so I could concentrate on (then) upcoming weddings and our move.

Sara and I were married in late May in a small but wonderful ceremony amongst family and friends in a cabin on the banks of the Sangamon River.

At the very beginning of June I started prepping for our move to Sioux City, Iowa.

A couple of weeks later, my daughter got married in Oberlin, Ohio in an even simpler, but absolutely lovely and moving, ceremony to a wonderful young man that I couldn’t be prouder to be related to.

On the evening of 3 July we left Urbana, IL and headed for Sioux City. As of 4 July we are residents of Sioux City. This is a vastly different place  than Urbana-Champaign, in so many ways. We are still getting it sorted out but we will.

We had a good week and a half before Sara had to start her job and we made good use of it. Sara worked for 3 days and then we took a vacation to the Black Hills of South Dakota to spend some time in a couple of cabins with some friends of Sara’s from high school and their respective significant others and children. On the way home we drove through the Badlands. I have a couple of pictures up but I have 100s more to be tagged, labeled, decided upon and uploaded. Suffice it to say that it was beautiful! And being the against much of pop culture fiend that I am, we skipped Wall Drug (unfortunately not the signs though), Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.

Once back Sara got back to work and is enjoying learning the ropes of this vastly different, and vastly smaller, university. I got back to work on organizing the house, merging two large book collections, much of which was in storage, along with merging two large CD collections, of which all of hers were in storage. There is still a bit to do on all the house organizing fronts but it is definitely getting there.

Shortly after we got here we bought ourselves a 32″ LG HDTV with built-in netflix streaming so we’ve been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and some other things.

We’ve been taking an online class on HTML5 via SitePoint and in a few weeks will take one on CSS3. They were $9.95 each! So the last 2 weeks that is what we’ve been doing in the evenings when Sara gets home from work. (And, yes, I know the CSS3 course says it is $14.95 but by signing up for both at the same time we got a $5 discount!) I think that for the price they are quite good. As with any class it is (mostly) about what you put in to it.

Speaking of courses, Briar Cliff University has a 100% tuition remission policy for spouses so I’ll be taking a 1 credit class this fall called Madwomen Poets. About all I know about it is that it includes Sexton and Plath. But who cares what, if anything, else it might be? Who could ignore a class entitled Madwomen poets?

I know. I know. I’m supposed to be doing other things, “more important” things. And I am. But it is 50 minutes, 1 day/week. I figure it’ll help keep my mental chops in order. And at this point I still don’t know if I’ll be taking it for a grade or auditing.

As to that more  important stuff … I am ramping back up the work on my CAS thesis via several angles of attack. I am working on the paper proper and I am also working on a journal article, which will be highly related (as in with a little reworking can become a chapter), and I am thinking about trying to come up with a presentation for a conference in early December. The conference is “Semantics for Robots: Utopian and Dystopian Visions in the Age of the ‘Language Machine’. ‘The Language Machine’ is one of Roy Harris’ early books, of course.

As for conferences, I am really sad that I will not be able to attend ASIS&T in Pittsburgh this year. But seeing as we gave up about $40k in income with me not working there is little means of justifying the expense of travel and lodging. And, honestly, the registration cost is plain crazy for an unemployed non-student, non-retiree.

Sara and I decided that the Integrationist conference in Chicago in December, along with being far cheaper, is really more where I need to be right now. I need exposure to more Integrationists and Integrational thinking and I will get far more out of a small conference (as I always do) than a bigger one. Whether or not I can get something submitted (and possibly accepted) I am highly looking forward to it. Nonetheless, this will be the 1st ASIS&T I’ve missed since I started going in 2006.

And if any of my Chicago friends are reading this, I’d adore an invite to stay with you for a couple days in early December (2nd-4th, or so), especially if you are near the Univ. of Chicago.

Tomorrow night we are, thanks to a surprise from Sara, going to see Jackson Browne and David Lindley and the historic Orpheum Theatre here in Sioux City. I have been listening to (early) Jackson Browne for close to 40 years now. I haven’t really kept up with anything since the mid-80s or so but, nonetheless, I am stoked to finally get to see him live for the first time.

We also have a Super Secret Date night scheduled for Sunday night. Sara had that lined up well before we left Urbana. She offered me the chance to find out what it’ll be last night but I passed. I like the surprises! She’s done so well every time in the past. And it also makes me aware that it is past time for me to step up in the Super Secret Date Night scheduling department.

And in case anyone who cares isn’t aware of it yet, my son is in Afghanistan for his 3rd war zone tour. He left just days after we moved. Grrrr.

I guess I best end this for now. It is getting long and the simple shock of seeing a post from me is probably enough already. With any hope I won’t be gone as long before the next time.

house spouse

a little “mouse”
grew up; became
a new house spouse.

wrote a little ditty
because he is moving
to Iowa; Sioux City.

I posted that little ditty to facebook and twitter several days ago to announce that I will soon be moving.

In the comments on facebook, I also wrote:

I’m going to Sioux City to be a househusband, scholar [write my CAS paper / defend], poet, part-time student perhaps, enjoying other parts of the country (and, I must admit, the Midwest), photographer of late 19th-century brick industrial buildings and ghost signs and real wildflowers and prairie and ….

I get my soul back.

… But I get my soul back. And maybe, eventually, some of my mind.

My lovely partner, and soon-to-be spouse, has accepted a job as the Reference and Instruction Librarian at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. We will be moving in early July probably; after our wedding and my daughter’s wedding and ALA and ….

We are really looking forward to it. And, yes, I did go with her for her campus visit so I have seen Sioux City. Yes, we will miss many, many wonderful and some taken for granted things here: Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the Krannert Art Museum and all of the wonderful, often free, programs put on at both, being able to walk (or easily bus, for free) to pretty much everywhere except major shopping, Crane Alley and other favorite eating/drinking haunts, the Arboretum and Japan House, and on and on. Even moreso, we will miss all of the wonderful people.

What I will not miss is alluded to above. As important as the work is that I have been doing the last couple of years, my job has been killing me. My spirit is completely gone and my soul is being forcibly ripped from my body.

Maybe it is the size of the institution (Library, specifically); maybe it is the myriad and serious problems facing the Library (many of which are not financial).

I really do not want to get into any details because that, as I am told, is unprofessional. Kind of ironic since that is the judgement I make of many here. Do not misunderstand me, please. There are many dedicated professionals in our libraries; professionals at all levels of staffing. Some of the issues derive from our massive size and/or decentralized structure, but by no means all of them do.

I do not intend to look for a job any time soon. But I am also not leaving the profession. There is the important task of writing and defending my CAS paper before May 2011. And I fully intend to do so. That task and being a proper house spouse providing all of the support that I can for Sara to succeed in her new job will be my main occupation.

Other than that, I look forward to writing some articles and conference presentations. I hope to re-engage on my blog; perhaps return to friendfeed. Also high on my list are writing some poetry inspired by the change of scenery, perhaps taking a poetry class [poetry prof was on the search committee and sat next to me at dinner]; learning to photograph the lovely late 19th-century industrial brick buildings that are all over Sioux City, along with the plentiful ghost signs, and real prairie flowers.

By going with Sara on her interview I added 3 states to my visited list; Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. I am looking forward to visiting Omaha, Sioux Falls, Ames and Iowa City and many other towns, from the small to the large.

Being so near to the Missouri River valley and bottom lands makes me feel very much at home. I grew up in the north suburbs of St. Louis near the confluence of the Mighty Mo and the Mississippi. In the summers we’d bike out to Missouri Bottom Road (named literally), especially when it was flooded. We also lived about a mile from a park on a big bluff along the Missouri.

It is a big adventure and we’ll be taking a massive pay cut to go on it. Sara is getting a small increase but it still means losing the vast majority of my salary. Thankfully I get a small bit for my Army retirement; wouldn’t be doable otherwise.

Looking forward to this with all of my heart. I truly am.

I am a patriot

I. Am. A. Patriot—not to be confused with a nationalist—but today, once again, I loathe my country and the vast majority of its citizens.

This great and grand country and its citizens have once again sent my child to war. I will not forgive you.     Us.

Please do not in any way misunderstand this post. I am not seeking your sympathy, your empathy, your prayers, karma or anything else. In fact, I have turned off commenting on this post.

If you feel you must pray or meditate for me and my son, or whatever makes you feel better, then please start with the millions of Iraqis whose lives we have so seriously impacted—destroyed and, yes, even terrorized. Only after that can you morally begin to consider the large numbers of American servicemembers and families who have lived with the terror and sacrifice of this war.

Those of you who asked me to pass on your various sentiments to my son when I visited should know that I did and that he appreciates them.

If you feel you must express something to me then you know the usual routes. I warn you though. If we do not know each other well enough that I can fully appreciate where you are coming from then you might want to reconsider your “need” to do so.

My close friends—those at hand and those further away—will look out for me. That I do know. The next 15-months will be hard. I did not deal well with his first deployment. At all. That was only 11 months, but no one knew how long going in (initial invasion).

He has chosen to come home on mid-tour leave next May as his birthday is then. He gets no choice over which half of May, but there it is. With any luck I’ll be driving back down to central Texas to see him again in less than a year.

SFC Lindner, do your utmost to keep your troops safe and healthy. That is all anyone can ask of you. I know that you will because that is your duty and because it is your calling. Just please do not forget to take care of yourself, too. You can only do your difficult duty if you are well yourself. I love you and am so very proud of you. The ribbon is back on my backpack where it will remain until you and 4th ID are safely back home again.

[Yes, if you must know, most of this was written on Father’s Day. I love my country. But. I hate Amerika!]

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.

… and number one is fleshing out these dreams of mine.

Atlanta’s a distant memory
Montgomery a recent blur
and Tulsa burns on the desert floor
like a signal fire

I got Willie on the radio
a dozen things on my mind
and number one is fleshing out
these dreams of mine

Cowboy Junkies — 200 More Miles

A little over a week ago I wrote to a handful of those I consider myself close to to tell them of a recent decision of mine. It was quite gratifying and reaffirming to hear back from many of them over the next couple of days, and by a half dozen of them within an hour of sending them my message! My friends are amazing!

Those locally I have been trying to catch up with personally, although I have missed a couple due to Spring Break happening this past week. [Sara, I’ve been looking for you.]

Perhaps, though, I should start at something like the beginning.

I have been at this university education thing for a very long time. For the last ten and a half years I have been at it mostly full-time. All the while I have been employed at least half-time and often more. There was a 3-year period, sort of in the middle, where I worked full-time and went to school half-time for the fun of it … and because the university paid for it, I was able to take classes with people I really cared to learn from, and it kept my loans in deferment.

I have actually been in and out of the higher ed classroom for far longer seeing as I entered Illinois State in 1998 with 118 hours of accepted transfer credit (90 of which I could apply) accumulated during my time in the Army.

Over those 10+ years of mostly full-time schooling I have “progressed” in the ways in which I deal with the joys and stresses of the classroom and, even more so, with the kinds of work students are expected to generate so that their learning can be codified and graded. It started out being fairly difficult and while it (the product) always remained difficult to produce the ways in which it is difficult changed such that at some point the process actually became quite easy such that producing products which demonstrated my learning was easy. Difficult work, but easy nonetheless [I hope that makes some sense].

I seem to be long past that point anymore. I have loved my time at GSLIS for many reasons, but for a long time now I have been increasingly unhappy with the process of higher education. I have often complained of the semester system—here on this blog and elsewhere—and especially lately have complained of the need come the end of the semester to produce something which an instructor can grade. Have not my efforts to learn, to challenge myself, my classmates and the instructor already been amply demonstrated throughout the semester?

Simply put. I am burnt out.

This was to be my final semester and I was going to end it with a 3rd Mother’s Day graduation. My only real task was to write my CAS paper and defend. After consultation with my advisor, GSLIS admin, and my employer I have decided to put myself on a non-academic “sabbatical.” That is, I am taking an incomplete and doing other things for a while.

I shall not go into all of the details of the thought process or situation but the only negative thing that can honestly be said is that I won’t be “done” in May. Theoretically, I need to finish before the start of next Spring semester.

I am still working my 2 assistantships at 60% time. Thus, I haven’t really freed up much time. I will still attend the seminar on subject access/analysis, although I have unfortunately not been attending Allen’s ontologies class for several weeks now [Remember, I am just sitting in on these classes].

I m still applying for jobs although I am seeing very few that are appealing or which I feel qualified for. There are many other sorts of jobs I would consider but the ones in those lines of work (terminologies) which show up in the places I am looking seem to mostly be massively corporate or government, mostly defense.

Yes, I am applying for jobs. I have had an MLS for almost 2 years now. While I would have preferred to be finished with my CAS before taking a job there is really no reason to do so. As far along as I am now will only require me to come back—if I leave—for one day to defend; everything else can be done electronically.

My goal is to focus my energies elsewhere for a while—large portions of my life have been on hold for most of these past 10 years. What little time I gain by not actively working every free moment on my paper will be easily filled. I already have a list of projects, some major, and I haven’t even had to put any effort into identifying them.

I have finally figured out a system for organizing all those photocopied or printed out articles, book chapters, etc. that will work for me for now and which is flexible enough to grow and change with me and my interests. Many of you probably can’t even begin to imagine the amount of paper I have in folders, folders in boxes, and so on. Let’s just say that it is a lot. So I am entering them into Zotero, frequently backing up Zotero, and physically organizing them. Will I ever get finished? Not likely, no. But if I can get most of the important and more recent ones organized I will be happy.

I’d also like to try and fix many of the broken links in this blog that exist due to the migration from Typepad to my own domain. I haven’t started on that yet and I have concerns about how it might affect people’s feeds but we’ll just have to see. I doubt I can or even want to fix every link but there are quite a few I do want fixed.

Most all of my books now reside in my apartment and not in storage anymore so I would like to get more of them into my LibraryThing catalog.

I also still need to find an email and a feed reader solution to my current woes.

There are, of course, a million other things I could add; some more pressing than others. Asking someone out on a date is near the top of the list. Unfortunately, I know of no prospects at the moment. But perhaps a little more engagement with the wider world will present one. 🙂

Lest you think my CAS paper has evaporated, I can assure you that it has not. My plan is to primarily focus on other things for a while, perhaps even through summer. I am in the process of reading two books directly related to my topic but I have put them to the side for a bit. I hope to pick those up soon and work through them a bit more slowly than I have been. Basically, I have been cramming things into my mind non-stop since last May when I more or less came to my topic. No time to think, no time to muse, and certainly nothing approaching slow reading.

A short five years ago I was able to read DeLillo’s White Noise once and then produce a 14-page analysis of the lived morality as presented in the novel which actually impressed one of the professor’s I most admire in the world. Part of that may be due to lots of exposure to thinking about morality—both academically and as experienced in daily life—over the years. But part of it is where I was in my progress of academic productivity [pretty much in top form at that point].

My CAS paper has taken me into a realm where I have little formal education and where much lay thinking is mistaken due to two millennia of Western culture and education. Thus, I have had to work extra hard trying to come to grips with what I want to “produce.” Now that it is time to do so my mind has rebelled.

At first, when I floated the idea of perhaps delaying this a bit it was lovingly suggested that I “just do it” and then I could relax and follow this more where I want to take it as I further develop my research agenda [something I can actually say I have now]. I had to concur that that would be lovely. But I left that meeting feeling quite apprehensive. A week later when I went back to re-discuss my options it was readily agreed that my current plan is what is needed and it was immediately supported.

There are many reasons why the wise woman who is my advisor agreed a week later after trying to nudge me forward a week earlier. The reasons are no doubt complex, but when I asked her why she knew now that this was the right decision I was told that, “You turn gray. Today you aren’t gray and thus I know this is the right decision.” And here I always thought it was simply metaphor.

the sky is grey
the sand is grey
and the ocean is grey

and i feel right at home
in this stunning monochrome
alone in my way

ani difranco — grey — reckoning

This past Thursday when I told this story to one of my best friends ever—and my boss during what was probably the worst couple years of my life—she just looked at me funny for a few seconds. And then she said, “Of course you do!”

I guess all I can say is, “Here’s to learning to radiate all the colors of the spectrum!”

My intention regarding my paper is to distract my mind for a bit, dabble some directly on topic (soon), dabble on the periphery, let the mind do its own thing on its own time in the background, have conversations with others which will force me to be able to say what I want, and to finally get on it “full-time” come the start of the fall semester with the goal of defending at the end of fall.

I have received an enormous amount of support and validation from my advisor, other profs, GSLIS admin, the folks I work with at the Library, and especially from my friends and family. This, more than anything else, means the world to me. Thank you.

Sometimes I see myself fine, sometimes I need a witness.
And I like the whole truth,
but there are nights I only need forgiveness.
Sometimes they say, “I don’t know who you are
but let me walk with you some.”
And I say, “I am alone, that’s all,
you can’t save me from all the wrong I’ve done,”
But they’re waiting just the same,
With their flashlights and their semaphores,
And I act like I have faith and like that faith never ends
But I really just have friends.

Dar Williams — My Friends — End of the Summer

Almost the day : Birthday Month update

Today has been a fairly laid-back day. Considering.

I got up at 10-ish and have been on slow ever since. Pauline & Kathryn’s class was having a reading day and I decided to forego more Protégé work this evening in Allen’s class. We will be doing more next week.

So I have been giving myself a break.

Last night was my party at Crane Alley. I thought it turned out nice [some pictures someone else’s]. Thanks to all who came! I hope you find something to enjoy in your presents but I know music is a very personal thing. More in a bit about the party.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is actually my birthday but it is set to be a little more down-to-earth than last night. I have an hour massage scheduled in the afternoon and there’s a full lunar eclipse early enough in the evening and it is supposed to be clear out. Bitterly cold. But clear.

I know to be a realist about the weather here in mid-February but I have some hope. That is, 28-hour or so forecasts are starting to be admissible evidence in my world.

I’ll probably take myself out to dinner somewhere—no idea—and if anyone wants to join me let me know. You are definitely off-the-hook for buying my dinner but I’d love a little company. Probably 6 or 6:30ish.

I went and saw my friend, Eva Hunter, perform solo Friday night in Danville. Gina was there, too, so that was nice. Eva was willing to sing me a song for my birthday but unfortunately the song I want hasn’t been in her repertoire for a while now. Since before I started seeing her perform 5-6 years ago. 🙁

A large amount of my “free time” after work and sleep from the evening of the 13th until sometime yesterday afternoon was spent compiling these, writing notes, burning and packaging them. Everyone who came to my party got a set. [One person left their’s so if it was an accident just let me know and I’ll happily replace them. But if you’d rather not that’s fine, too.]

I haven’t made a compilation CD since coming to Urbana-Champaign in August 2004. Actually. The last one ended in August 2003. Oh my. A time of pure hell, but a year before I left and moved here still.

This was a hasty project that took up much of my time for 5 days, and it is certainly no attempt to be comprehensive. That would be a fool’s errand. I do like it, though, as I have listened to them over and over for much of that 5 days—certainly since the playlists were finalized. Of course, getting them finalized takes a lot of listening to transitions and such.

Starting tomorrow, I need to get back on track. Sure. It’ll be my birthday.

So I won’t try and make up 5 days of work in one—another fool’s errand—but I will begin with something I enjoy like beginning a new-to-me Harris book that looks very important to my paper.

Back to the party …

Thanks so much to whomever paid for my dinner and drinks. And an especially big thanks to those who took good care of Lisa. She would not let me give her a tip. She said my friends took care of me and very good care of her. Thank you!

She then told me I could come in for dinner next Monday and give her the tip. I told her I would do my best but laughed and said it would be smaller next week.

I got a ride over from a vixen and a ride home from a wonderful couple I wish I saw far more of. Of course, I wish I saw much more of everyone who was there. Tentative, vaguish commitments were made with a few folks. I certainly hope I see Ben around at some point. He’s at GSLIS but I just met him last night.

Rachel knit me a sweet hat during the party, or at least finished it there. Tom gave me a productive-looking book: Hickman, Larry A. 2007. Pragmatism as post-postmodernism : lessons from John Dewey. New York: Fordham University Press.

I had the butternut squash ravioli, which was OK but it was much better the 1st time. I had 4 pints of Guinness (and have felt surprisingly good today) and 3 sips and a lot of sniffs of a fine scotch compliments of El Diablo. A few other sips were had by others so it did not go entirely to waste; not that it did anyway. But more was “consumed” in the typical sense with the help of others.
Oh, by the way, the shirt I was wearing was having a birthday of a sort itself, it is 29-years old.

In between most of the above and here, I took myself out to the diner for dinner and began on that Harris book: Harris, Roy. 1996. Signs, Language, and Communication : Integrational and Segregational Approaches. London; New York: Routledge.

I’m going to close this now as I want to go back to slowly passing the evening. Tomorrow involves work and meetings and so on beginning at the normal time. But that is tomorrow still.

Christmas visit with family and friends

I went to Falls Church, Virginia to visit family and friends 20 – 29 December. I got home yesterday evening. Drove to Bloomington (1 hour) and flew through Detroit to Dulles and back again.

Going out of Bloomington vs. Champaign is about $150 cheaper round trip and parking is free, which is a substantial savings. BMI now has free public wireless! Yay! Champaign did already for UIUC folks since it’s owned and run by the University, but I read recently that they opened it up to all of the public. Bravo! Now if only the larger airports could get on board.

I was overjoyed to have wireless in BMI on the way out since my flight hadn’t arrived and I got an update from Orbitz before the airline (Northwest) even mentioned it. It seems our airplane couldn’t see well enough to land and got diverted to Champaign to refuel before coming back to Bloomington. Other planes were landing and taking off, though. We left Bloomington after my flight to DC from Detroit had left; many others on our flight missed their flights.

I used the wireless to get several more updates from Oribtz and found a phone # for NWA. They had me re-booked already on a later flight out of Detroit so
I got to DC a couple hours later.

Coming home, our plane in Detroit had maintenance issues and we finally got another plane scheduled for about 3 hours later. Not too bad, but it’d sure be nice if the airline had paid for wireless. I think free public wireless should be at all airports, for many reasons. But until wiser minds see reason and understand service it’d at least be nice of your airline would provide it once you have a delay. Oh well. Travel; it could’ve been much worse.

I had a wonderful visit with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, niece, son, daughter; and friends, Miss E, and Christina Pikas and her husband, Mark. Thanks all.

Saw several movies. Ate assorted cuisine, including Vietnamese with Christina and Mark. Also had great Chinese with E. Played games. Talked. Went to the Natural History Museum and Botanic Gardens. Helped figure out the audio wiring in a new house. Helped with the cooking, sometimes. Ate lots of tasty food.

I fear Christina’s Mark had to suffer through a goodly amount of librariana/grad school talk. Sorry, dude.

No idea what the mail state is since it’s been held since the 20th. Perhaps it’ll get delivered tomorrow; I believe that’s what I asked for. Online holding of your mail is easy, btw.

I have to say that I’m already feeling overwhelmed. So much to do. Bottom line, I put off a major decision until after this visit. Now, I’m back and facing a massive deadline on the 11th of Jan. I was ordered to leave it be until after my visit, so I did. If this does not go well then it’ll be decision time. I have only discussed this with an extremely small number of people; can only think of 2 at the moment and I did not bring it up on my trip. While I love and trust everyone I saw on my trip, I wasn’t ready to discuss this. Don’t really have the words to explain it anyway.

I did 4 loads of laundry this morning, which is a large number for me. Went to the grocery store. Trying to do final updates to several posts; publishing one. Need to reply to a couple serious comments. Changed the header images on a single post and the main Archives page with some slices of a couple photos I took at the United States Botanic Garden. Published another post [Sorry if I’m overloading you, Christina.]

Photos of Christmas presents (known, to date; see mail comment above). Red penciled the current state of my bibliography. Read some. Watched 3 episodes of the Simpsons Season 2.

I know this is fragmented and brief. So much more could be said about many things.

I relaxed while on vacation, while I did not end on a relaxed and rested note, since I was tired most of the time on my visit. I might ought to broach a serious topic with some other folks, but I have to focus on moving forward towards the 11th first. If I reach that OK then other issues may melt away.

I really did enjoy spending time with everyone I saw. I sure wish my niece had been less sick, though.

Perhaps I’ll write more about this year ending and the new one beginning tomorrow. Perhaps not.

Productively non-productive

Thanks to all my friends for sending their condolences in various venues. I am uplifted by your care. I’m a right proper heathen but if your views run differently and you can spare a thought for my aunt’s family right now that’d be awesome.

She was a rock for that family. For a very long time.

[I apologize for any odd paragraph formatting below as WordPress is screwing with me relentlessly on this.]

I think or, at least, I hope that I was productively non-productive yesterday. I didn’t do anything directly related to my bibliography, although, perhaps, that could be argued.

I read lots of my own stuff (and comments) from this blog over the past year. While I did, I did lots of electronic annotations in Zotero, copied and pasted anything useful written about articles or books by Hjørland or Harris (or related) into my draft bib, noted blog posts that will be useful when I come to write my bib essay and the CAS paper as a whole in my wiki, and other minor related tasks. This morphed out of the books read in 2007 delaying tactic I was on primarily Saturday.

Late in the evening, I took the content of my 2 posts on Hjørland’s “Semantics and Knowledge Organization” ARIST chapter [part 1, part 2]and got them re-formated into a Word doc with any redundancies removed and internal and external citation lists merged for both at the end. Printed out it’s 11 pages solid. Now I’ve got to put that work—and an awful lot of unanswered questions, some very big—to even more work. Still. This is mostly CAS paper stuff primarily; although, this is the paper with the one Harris reference. Hmmm. Definitely bib material.

I’ve been varyingly unhappy, perhaps unsatisfied is better, with my blog for quite a while. Can’t quite put my finger on what exactly about it that bugs me. But I do know that it’s various, and varying.

Part of it is not being able to cover everything I’d like as deeply and/or as broadly as I’d like. But that’s just life. I do wish that my “Some things read this week…” posts were better. Better in the sense of more fleshed out entries for far more of the things read. Some wrap-up thoughts, etc. “Progress” is important but this is a prime area where I could employ some goals towards Slow Reading. [Please ignore that “progress.” I wrapped way too much up in that term.]

Speaking of John Miedema, there was an interesting post and comments at a recent post, “Have you set an end-date for your blog?” [BTW, there are frequently interesting things to read at Slow Reading.]

Have you set an end-date for your blog? Interesting question, and idea. For the right reasons, it is a grand idea.

In a comment, John writes:

Hi Peter, I’ve put one blog to “sleep” so far (http://johnmiedema.wordpress.com). It was my first public blog, had the usual first blog characteristics — wandering mission, odd mix of personal and professional — and was a real learning experience.

Well, I guess—nope, didn’t put it to sleep but gave it a new manifestation and expression, and name—that is fairly similar to me. It explains my 1st blog pretty well, and it explains this one, too.

wandering mission, odd mix of personal and professional — and was a real learning experience

Well, my mission wanders no more than I do so not really applicable, although all output probably evidences differently as far as appearance to others. But an intentional “odd mix of personal and professional,” certainly. And it remains forever—hopefully—a learning experience.

I know John wasn’t implying that these “usual first blog characteristics” are anathema to every blog. Perhaps just those he’d prefer to write. 😉

Hell, I’d love to be able to write a highly focused topical blog or two. And that’s also a part of my non-satisfaction with this blog. But writing those blogs is not me. Or, at least, not me right now.

And based on what I read yesterday, it has been highly focused for a while now. It’s just highly spotty, and not really intended to be so focused.

End date? Sure. It’ll definitely have one. I’m just in no position to set one right now, unsatisfied as I may be. Let’s hope I don’t just disappear it, though. 🙂