Lavie, et al. – The Divine

The Divine by Boaz Lavie; art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka
Date read: 22 May 2017; re-read 12 June 2017
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc

Cover image of The Divine by Boaz Lavie; art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka

Paperback, 149 pages
Published 2015 (First ed.) by First Second
Source: Interlibrary Loan, Summit [Univ. of Oregon PN6790.I73 L38 2015]

[5 June] Great! I don’t even remember most of this book. Just spent time flipping through it and not much is triggering anything.

[13 June] My body has been betraying me for a couple weeks and the day I read this was one of the worst. I was doing a lot of self-medicating then so it seems fair. I am sure I don’t remember much of anything I read that day. So I re-read it last night. As I actually re-read a good portion came back but a re-read definitely made a review possible. Thankfully it only took me about 40 minutes.

The contributors’ statement gives a good overview. The artists (Asaf and Tomer Hanuka) are also twin brothers:

“In January 2000, Associated Press photographer Apichart Weerawong took a photo of two twelve-year-old twins. It was taken immediately following the raid of a hospital by the Thai army, where those twins held 800 people as hostages. Weerawong’s photo was quickly distributed all over the world, becoming and unparalleled image of childhood without childhood: chain-smoking child-soldiers, their eyes as tired as if they were fifty years older. Like many others, we were captivated by this photo. For several years we would take a look at it from time to time, trying to decipher it, learn something about childhood, about life in extreme circumstances, and about ourselves.

The twins in the photo are Johnny and Luther Htoo. During the late 1990s they led a group of hundreds of Karen refuges from east Burma, called “God’s Army,” and fought the Burmese army for dispossessing them from their lands. The Htoo twins were surrounded by legends: it was said that they had magical powers, that they were invulnerable to bullets and mines, that they knew the Bible by heart without even reading it once. When we started working on the book, we drew our very first inspiration from these legends and from Weerawong’s photo, but we took it to a place which is completely our own: it has become fiction. Luther now lives in Sweden, and Johnny lives in a Thai refugee camp, waiting to reunite with his mother in New Zealand. For us, however, they will always be twelve-year-olds, in a photo we’ll never quite understand.”

Asaf, Boaz, and Tomer, 2014

The artist twins [1974] were ~26-years-old when the photo was published, for context.

As they said, it is a fictional riffing off of “God’s Army.”

For an even less rosy view, see Wikipedia: God’s Army (revolutionary group)

From the story itself:

About the twins:

“Everyone calls them “The Divine.”” … “They are brothers to dragons and companions to owls.” 78

Right before all hell breaks loose:

“I love Quanlom nights?”

“You know what they say about the nights here?”

“Tell me.”

“Night is a blessing, until you come across someone with better eyesight.” 102

Recently married explosives expert with a pregnant wife takes a hush hush government contract job in a remote country with which we have no diplomatic relations for a goodly sum of cash.

A dragon. Magic. Belief. Naming. Justice. War. Greed. The fallout.

I did quite enjoy this. Both times I read it. Recommended but not for the faint of heart. Features/contains cruelty, callousness, child-soldiers, wanton killing and some torture.

This is the 11th book read and 12th reviewed in my 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

Image for 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

 

Sowa – Marzi

Marzi: a memoir by Marzena Sowa, with art by Sylvain Savoia; translated by Anjali Singh
Date read: 23 February – 12 March 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017nfc, 2017trans

Marzi: a memoir by Marzena Sowa, with art by Sylvain Savoia

Oversize paperback, 230 pages
First American edition published 2011 by DC Comics. Published by arrangement with Mediatoon Licensing, France. Original title: Marzi – L’Integrale 1  – La Pologne vue par les yeux d’une enfant
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic Novel SOWA MARZENA]

I quite appreciated and enjoyed this memoir of young girl growing up in 1980s Poland. While Sowa may have experienced them quite differently, many of the topics and events that she covers are also touchstones for me as I spent much of my time in Europe in the 1980s and both of my children were born there (1980 and 1983).

These are some of the big events/topics she covers and dates from Wikipedia:

  • The Polish Pope, John Paul II       16 October 1978 – 2 April 2005
  • Solidarity / Solidarność                  founded on 17 September 1980
  • Martial law Poland                          December 13, 1981 to July 22, 1983
  • Chernobyl                                       26 April 1986
  • Tiananmen Square                         04 June 1989
  • fall of the Berlin Wall                       began the evening of 9 November 1989

I was in Germany the first time when Pope John Paul II was elected and for the rise of Solidarity. I quite well remember the declaration of martial law in Poland. I was stationed on a nuclear missile site in then West Germany and the entirety of the US military in Europe went on high alert.

When Chernobyl happened I was stationed in Belgium and well remember not being able to eat certain food products for months.

I found her young, but lived, experience of and reactions to TV, religion, visiting rural relatives for farming and vacation, living in a high-rise and stairwell culture, American toothpaste, food lines, and so on to be interesting and empathy building. I, too, have experienced sides of many of these but certainly not all and often not to the extent she did.

Highly recommended!

This is the 21st book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc] and the 9th reviewed.

This is the 2nd book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge [2017trans]. Whoa! I am way behind on this!

This is the 9th book in my 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

Image for 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

 

Immonen & Immonen – Moving Pictures

Moving Pictures by Kathryn Immonen & Stuart Immonen

Date read: 10 April 2016
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Moving Pictures by Kathryn Immonen & Stuart Immonen

Paperback, 136 pages
Published 2010 by Top Shelf Productions
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [PN6727 .I466 M68 2010]

From inside front cover flap:

“During the Second World War, French efforts to inventory, categorize and hide the collections of the major galleries collided with the German Military Art Commission’s attempt to do the same.

This is (not) that story.”

But it is. Or a part of a small one based on that historical storyline.

The flap goes on but I am omitting it because I think it seriously oversells the work. I just wasn’t that impressed after that (admittedly short) sales job. I guess the story can be described as it is but whatever. It was OK but not amazing.

Lots of artists names, and some titles and images of artworks, are thrown around and it is historically-based fiction.

But. Meh.

This is the 23rd book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

Lee and Hart – Messenger

Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc by Tony Lee and Sam Hart

Date read: 16 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc  2016nfc

Cover image from Lee and Hart's Messenger

Paperback, unpaged
Published 2015 by Candlewick Press
Source: Deschutes Public Library

Another quick read which I quite enjoyed. I am counting it under my 2016 Nonfiction Challenge also as it is based on historical facts. Clearly, the conversations are not “accurate” and so on but that could be the case in any biography. Just because a biography is relatively short and adapted to a graphic novel format does not mean it is no longer a biography nor no longer nonfiction.

This is maybe an hour read so still not a ton of time invested. I am sure I could have found some other way to learn as much about Joan of Arc in as little time but the Wikipedia entry would not have been near as entertaining.

The final page is also accurate but oh so highly entertaining. The things the Church does in the name of God. History weeps.

Recommended.

This is the 4th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 4th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Fetter-Vorm – Trinity

Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

Date read: 11 January 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016nfc

Cover image of Fetter-Vorm's Trinity

Hardback, 154 pages
Published 2012 by Hill and Wang
Source: Deschutes Public Library

An excellent and well-researched book that details the Manhattan Project and the Trinity test. From there it goes on to discuss Little Boy and Fat Man and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with some side excursions into events like the firebombing of Tokyo and many other Japanese cities.

We get the usual cast of characters and locations: Gen. Groves, Oppenheimer, Fermi, Lawrence, Szilard; Hanford, WA; University of Chicago; Oak Ridge, TN; and University of California, Berkeley.

Groves, then a Colonel, was given the task of overseeing the Manhattan Project after earning his reputation for overseeing the construction of the Pentagon (17). The logistics involved, not to mention the ridiculous sums of money or the secrecy, were incredible and the author tries to give the reader an appreciation for them.

The graphic novel leads the reader through the scientific and technical advances required to pull the off in a clear and understandable way. It then goes on to raise the question of whether it should have been done. It was understood by those at the top that if it was built it would most likely be used.

Bert the Turtle in “Duck and Cover” makes an appearance. If you are unfamiliar with “Duck and Cover” then YouTube that shit [or read about it at Wikipedia]. It is the kind of thing they were still indoctrinating kids with in the mid-to-late 60s when I was in grade school. It was my first introduction—at least that I remember—to the surreal. It would be years before I knew the word and its definition but there it was: a mind-boggling mixture of fact and fantasy, of hope gone awry. There I was under my desk, with my head down and hands on the back of my neck, somehow, knowing full well this was utterly batshit insane. Knowing that we could not survive this. I was 5 or 6-years old.

The book is not heavy-handed in any of its questioning, makes clear the scientific and technical details, and tries to give a sense of the immense scope of the project and its aftermath. There’s Teller and the 1st hydrogen bomb, Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), “Duck and Cover,” and the permanent weapons industry which grew out of it. The US government alone has detonated more than 1,000 nuclear weapons (143). As we still do [from today’s newspaper].

Highly recommended.

This is the 2nd book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 1st book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Pilot Butte Update 2

In which I give an update to my hiking of Pilot Butte and more general walking and other exericse.

I first addressed Pilot Butte in my Exercise goals for 2015 post and again in the Pilot Butte Inspiration post of 10 February, which makes this update 2.

The gist was that I was going to climb Pilot Butte a minimum of 1x/week but that was causing my back to hurt too much so I decided to hike the base trail around, which really is as much up and down but in shorter more frequent doses. I also started working toward the Century Club.

In the last update I had hiked the butte 9 times by the end of week 7. Week 9 just ended—also ending month 2—and I have have hiked it now 15 times. That is 30% of the way to the Century Club with only 16.7% of the year gone by. Maybe I can complete two Centuries this year.

a photo of my Century Club card filled out to date

Times are still quite good (for me, and in my opinion) and I do not detect any kind of overuse issues beginning. I do need to get new walking/hiking shoes soon though. Should be good for running shoes but got cold again so that’ll wait.

Tights update: new tights are boring black. ::sad face:: Seems fashion moves on. Colorful tights are only available in 3/4 length tights currently; at least at the local store I went to. Maybe elsewhere the situation is different … but 3/4 length are nowhere near my radar currently. I have tights though. Of course, as soon as I got them the weather turned cold again and we even got snow and ice. It is winter after all. 😀

And thank you, Mom, seriously, for helping me with the tights. They may be boring but they should be effective. That’s what truly matters. You know me, though. Loud and flashy.

At work yesterday I went through the current version (Oct 2012) of US Army FM 7-22 Army Physical Readiness Training [PDF ~24 MB) and got a lot of good info to start doing other things besides walk/hike and pull-/chin-ups.

As for weekly mileage, in the last update we were still in week 7:

  • Week 7     16.19 mi
  • Week 8     8.96 mi
  • Week 9     13.77 mi
So despite week 6 being crap I have been over 8 mi/wk since. This pleases me greatly.
I think that’s it for now.

Today, meh

Today hasn’t been that awesome of a day. My stomach had a big knot in it when I went to bed last night, which I thought perhaps came from having the chocolate gelato for dessert after having had a Rodenbach Grand Cru at dinner.

Today the hard knot is gone but replaced by worse, which has really disrupted my day. I did get our ballots dropped off at the drive-thru ballot ‘box.’ We could have mailed our ballots in if we had been a couple days earlier in filling them out. But, the drive-thru was kind of neat. No “I Voted” stickers, though.

Also got a small bit of necessary grocery shopping in but I skipped Haiku Circle, which I had really wanted to attend. It was only the second meeting since it started last month. Also, I wanted to see how many people showed up since there was no reminder and maybe remind them to use the Facebook page or the email list or something.

Not much writing is getting done for DigiWriMo because I just feel pretty crappy. At this point, I am thinking I got a stomach bug of some sort. Whatever it is, I truly hope it clears up fast since tomorrow is the Deschutes Brewery University Barrel-Aged Beer class and I want a solid stomach for that!

Thanks to a tweet from Andromeda (@ThatAndromeda) earlier today, I am signed up for a free Git and GitHub Basics class from GitHub. So this afternoon I got Git installed on my Mac (command line version), set up a GitHub account (MarkLindner), made my first repository and followed Andromeda as she suggested. I hope/think I’m ready for the class tomorrow. I have no idea when I’ll have a real use for Git and GitHub but hopefully I can learn enough to plod along when the time comes. Who knows, maybe that time will be sooner than I think.

Also, in some way, it seems directly related to DigiWriMo, so now is as good a time to learn as any.

Late this afternoon we went to an event held by OSU-Cascades called Brains & Brews, which is where a professor talks about some of their current research while folks sit around and drink at a local establishment. It is so popular that you have to sign up in advance and it isn’t advertised on the faculty events calendar page. It was quite interesting. A couple folks talked about equine-based psychotherapy with folks with PTSD.

Hopefully the evening will remain quiet and my stomach will get itself under control. I guess when I have to eat next, which will be soon, we’ll see.

Reading One to Ten (meme)

Cribbed from Angel at The Itinerant Librarian.

1 The book I am currently reading. Like Angel, I usually have more than one book going. I am currently reading the following: The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore; Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces; Hermann Melville’s Billy Budd and other stories; and about a half dozen others that I have been stopped on for a while now.

2 The last book I finished. Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire. Last night. My comments are here.

3 The next book I want to read. Again, ditto Angel, “there are all sorts of books I want to read next.” There are two books from the Library Thing Early Reviewer Program that need to be read so that I can write reviews: Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy and Gerhard Klosch’s Sleeping Better Together. I will probably take the stretching book with me on our trip to DC to visit family for Christmas. Then there are the books on my Two-Thirds Book Challenge list: Transformations (poems) by Anne Sexton is near the top of the list due to my Grimm’s Fairytales class starting in early January. Not on that list but recently purchased is Voltaire’s A Pocket Philosophical Dictionary, which I’d like to read prior to Enlightenment Lit in the Spring term. I could go on and on here but I’ll stop. My goodread’s to read shelf would give you a small inkling of possibilities.

4 The last book I bought. On the 10th I bought Voltaire’s A Pocket Philosophical Dictionary (Oxford World’s Classic ed) in a Kindle ed. and I ordered a used copy of Tzvetan Todorov’s A Defence of the Enlightenment from England via abebooks. I have been wanting that book for quite a while now and it is already out of print. I foresee wanting/needing it for Enlightenment Lit for whatever paper topic I choose. I adore Todorov even though I don’t always agree with him. And Voltaire is simply delectable!

5 The last book I was given. Not counting Library Thing Early Reviewer books or books weeded from the collection at BCU, it appears the last book I was given was a copy of Jeni Bauer’s Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams by my daughter for Father’s Day. Eat Jeni’s ice cream! Support Jeni’s! Buy this book and make your own Jeni’s! Did I mention you should eat Jeni’s ice cream? It is beyond awesome!

6 The last book I borrowed from the library. Public: Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Traveled, which I did not finish but put on my wish list. University: Nobel Prize winner Tomas Tranströmer’s Selected Poems, and Truth Barriers.

8 The last translated book you read. Lysistrata, and the Tranströmers just before that, in November.

9 The book at the top of my Christmas list. Like Angel, the list is not exactly specific to one title but the short list I culled from my Amazon wish list for the more immediate family included: Barbara McAfee’s Full Voice: The Art and Practice of Vocal Presence (seen in GradHacker); James Attlee’s Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight; Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer; Douglas Thomas’ A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change; Gloria Ambrosia’s The Complete Muffin Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide To Making Great Muffins; Borges’ Selected Non-Fictions; Tolkien on Fairy-Stories; Mircea Eliade’s Myths, Dreams and Mysteries. These are all titles both Sara and I would like to read. If I were compiling that list today instead of just a couple of weeks ago it might be quite different as we both have added several (or more) titles to our wish lists. ::sigh::

10 The so-far unpublished book I am most looking forward to reading. Normally, I rarely know about books before they are published unless Amazon manages to send me a timely pre-order email. But. Kickstarter! We helped fund a book on Kickstarter recently so we are looking forward to Kio Stark’s, Don’t Go Back to School: A handbook for learning anything.

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.

Where is the guy who runs this blog?

That is a complicated question for which I have very little that I can or will say directly.

WordPress upgraded

I did just upgrade WordPress to the newest version so if anyone is still reading this feel free to click through to the blog proper and see if you see anything amiss. Thanks.

Some reasons for being quiet

Recently someone gave me and this humble little blog some very high praise in a different venue. While I appreciate/d it greatly I do not feel that I have in any way merited such praise in a very long time.

I have so many things to write about but find that I cannot. I have tried to do so for a couple of these topics, and loving friends have provided suggestions on how to tackle some of them. Good advice even, which I attempted to take. But I am currently not up to the task.

I am on the market for a job and have said far too much in this space already about too much of my life. There are issues about our profession that are quickly destroying me and it seems that our profession finds discussion of such issues to be unprofessional.

Issues in cataloging and an analogy

I have a draft post on this topic in relation to issues in cataloging but am simply unable to say anything that many would find acceptable. In it I made an analogy to current issues in cataloging and the running of the Vietnam War by the Americans.

The juxtaposition of current discussions, mostly higher-level, about things like RDA and other major issues in the arena of cataloging and the complete lack of discussions of what I see as the important issues “on the ground” in cataloging departments and facing individual catalogers across the field are much like the discussions within the military services and government agencies running the war in Vietnam.

All frank, honest, and real discussion of the issues facing those on the ground were deemed “unprofessional.” Commanders and senior NCOs quickly discovered how to play the game of “reality-based” reporting and discussion.

Now my analogy quickly breaks down because it’s not like many of us are losing our lives due to this forced “professionalism” in our field. But I know for a fact that it is causing far more angst, fear, and burnout than should be happening.  Highly capable and dedicated people are being affected in extremely damaging ways.

I recently read and wrote a review of:

Budd, John. 2008. Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.

Budd presents dialectical methodology as a means to overcome the different epistemological positions within librarianship. He also clearly demonstrates that “service to clientele, [professional] judgment, and education [for the profession] are moral undertakings” (p. 251). We must consider what our moral principles will be, and what moral responsibilities they imply for us as reflective professionals. Discourse—open, honest, and frank—is the only means by which to do this.

But this is exactly what we do not have. It is what has been deemed unprofessional because someone’s feeling might be hurt, someone or some place might be made to look bad, because we only discuss success whether it is real, imagined or projected.

As to what I think about this situation … it is (long past) time for me to shut the heck up.

How I became a librarian

Christina tagged me for this a while ago and I did start working on a draft post to answer it. But I am unhappy with it and it has gotten too long anyway without actually answering the question. Perhaps that is because there really isn’t an answer. At best it explains how I got into the cataloging and metadata arena but not how I got into librarianship itself.

The other answer which I strove not to give in my more official response is that I am not a librarian; at least not as many (most?) who hold the professional credentials would accept. Although I have worked in academic libraries for 10 years now, and I earned my MS in May 2006, I have never held a professional position. Thus, in the minds of many I am not a librarian.

Of course, in the minds of even more (as in the general population) I have been a librarian for 10 years now. There is even a well-known dictionary definition to suport that statement. I shall not cite it as that would make me a scoundrel, though. Let’s just say that I have had several people get mad at me for my denying to be a librarian when they are full well aware of the more formal definition we apply to ourselves, and this was before I even came to library school.

I have had professional-level responsibilities of varying kinds in all of my jobs in academic libraries, whether it was as a student worker, student supervisor, staff member, or my assorted graduate assistantships and hourly positions while in library school.

There may be some news on the horizon soon but until then I do not want to offend any professionals in the field and thus can only claim that I cannot answer the question as I have never yet been a librarian.

Maybe I’ll get a chance to apply this label to myself before I decide I have no desire to do so. Not because I do not want to be a librarian—I do, but then I also apply a different definition than any I apparently espoused here—but because so much about the actual lived, non-reflective, practice of so many in the mainstream of our profession—those with the power to tell others of us what passes for “professionalism”—are, in my opinion, failing us badly.

Hopefully no one is still wondering why I am being so quiet here

I had several other things to comment on but I am losing focus and they, too, are things that are probably just better to let be.

I have been home all day [Friday] because I have been feeling crappy all week and have not been getting any better. Until things get really bad there is no sense in trying to go to the doctor. I am currently working as an academic hourly and thus have no benefits. I am not totally in the dark for health care as I am able to use the VA over in Danville. But I see no reason to try and figure out that system and make a 45-minute drive each way for a low-grade bug of some kind that probably cannot even be identified.

I wrote this yesterday during the day and have sat on it since. I re-read it several times trying to decide if I was going to post it. Perhaps I should just trash it and move on. But I feel as if I no longer have anywhere to move on to. I am prevented from discussing the things that are most professionally relevant to me and, as far as I am concerned, should be to many others.

Bottom line: I am immensely dedicated and care deeply about many of the issues facing our field. I want to contribute to moving us intelligently forward into the 21st century. But the truth is I am floundering badly and do not know what to do about it.

So I guess folks should not expect to hear much from me here for a while. I have no idea what to write since I am unable to write about that which I care most deeply about.