Tidbits and tidbytes

Book review submitted

Wednesday I finally submitted my first book review for publication.  Thanks, Walt, for recommending me to the editor. The book I reviewed is:

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


The short version of the review I would have liked to write is this:

Read. Discuss. Rinse. Repeat.

With serious emphasis on the discuss and repeat. I just hope the review is acceptable. I am reasonably satisfied with it but it was harder than I thought and certainly took longer than I expected.

New toys

To reward myself I went and bought a new computer, which I have been thinking about for a while now. But the first stop was to get a new phone since my 2-year contract was expiring with Verizon.

So …

My new phone is a LG enV2. A fairly basic phone has served me well for the last 4 years (actually 2 different basic phones) but now I have someone to text with and normal phone keypads really suck for even the simple messages I send and I generally refuse to “speak” in text-ese.

New computer and iPod Touch. Got a MacBook with 4GB of RAM to replace my desktop PC. My thinking is that if/when the PowerBook dies I will already have a laptop to replace it.

Seeing as the Apple Education Store is giving rebates on either iPod Touches or Nanos ($199 = base 8GB Touch) I got myself a 16GB Touch.

Today I went back to the Apple Store and picked up an external keyboard and mouse, an AirPort base station, and a 1TB LaCie d2 quadra external drive for backing up both Macs.

I, unfortunately, needed a new wireless router since mine got fried along with most everything else in the signal path a couple months back in lightning storm. Perhaps I need to get an uninterruptable power supply/surge suppressor with coax connectors for the signal. My current, otherwise excellent, UPS only has CAT5 connectors.

Pictures to follow at some point once I get my workflows restructured.

10th anniversary of my Army retirement

Today, 1 August 2008, is also the 10th anniversary of my “retirement” from the Army. I think “retirement” is a crazy word to use—wrong sense, at a minimum—as it doesn’t even come close. 

Nonethless, whatever it’s called some truly amazing things have happened in the last 10 years.

Some things seen around the Internet lately

Drinking with the Troops

From a local blog, Urbanagora, comes “Drinks with a Soldier.” I just love how some jackass commentor tries to hide behind the shield of anonymity and call the post author a liar. Certainly there are all sorts of views on this war, including those of the troops fighting it.

Perhaps if you ever get the chance—you could try arranging the chance—you, too, should have drinks with a soldier (or sailor, airman or marine) and find out a bit about what it is like on the ground in this war.  Of course, don’t forget the millions of servicemembers still living who served in our previous wars. A patient, caring ear would do many of them a world of good.

The value of a liberal arts education

For an interesting discussion on the value, or lack thereof, of a liberal arts education and liberal arts colleges see “On Liberal Education” at the Academic Librarian blog. Wayne Bivens-Tatum critiques the views of the author of a new book on the subject, as presented in The Kansas CW.

A spirited back-and-forth between Bivens-Tatum and the book author follows in the comments. I should state up front that I agree entirely with all of Bivens-Tatum’s points and his larger argument. The book author tries to point out some flaws in Bivens-Tatum’s arguments which simply are not there. I found that rather humorous.

But the one point I was hoping Bivens-Tatum would take up was the author’s insistence that some immediately practical subjects should get substituted for liberal arts classes because students are incurring too much debt, can’t pay their student loans, have to take high paying jobs vs. the job of their dreams, have to move back home with mommy & daddy, etc. because colleges are financially predatory.

So the solution is immediately practical vocational training? Wouldn’t better financial counseling for students, laws barring credit card companies from preying on students, educational finance reform, and so many other things be helpful, too, and perhaps even more ethically important? Have a look and see what you think.

Early Mike Wallace interviews with “important people”

Via Resource Shelf comes The Mike Wallace Interview.

In the early 1960’s, broadcast journalist Mike Wallace donated 65 recorded interviews made in 1957-58 from his show The Mike Wallace Interview to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. The bulk of these were 16mm kinescope film recordings, some of the earliest recordings of live television that were possible, and that survive today. Many of these have not been seen for over 50 years, and they represent a unique window into a turbulent time of American, and world history.

See interviews with jockey Eddie Arcaro, stripper Lili St. Cyr, actress Gloria Swanson, Steve Allen, Frank Lloyd Wright, birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger, Eleanor Roosevelt, novelist Pearl Buck, and many others.

Doing the dirty fictionally

Via 3 quarks daily we get a book review in the New York magazine of Robert Olen Butler’s Intercourse: Stories. Find it in a library near you via WorldCat.

Robert Olen Butler’s new story collection, Intercourse, is, as its title suggests, totally about doing it. It imagines the thoughts of 50 iconic couples as they knock the proverbial boots, beginning with Adam and Eve copulating on “a patch of earth cleared of thorns and thistles, a little east of Eden,” and ending with Santa Claus blowing off postholiday steam in January 2008 by doing the nasty with an 826-year-old elf in the back room of his workshop. But, as the clinical tone of Butler’s title also suggests, Intercourse is very much not a work of erotica. It tends to ignore messy fluids and crotch-logistics in favor of wordplay and psychological nuance.

Civilization and cultures

Also via 3 quarks daily we get Tzvetan Todorov in the Pakistan Daily Times thinking and writing to his usual standard of quality.

But if you look at this line of argument more closely, the flaw in Barnavi’s argument is immediately apparent. The meaning of the words civilisation and culture is very different when they are used in singular and plural forms. Cultures (plural) are the modes of living embraced by various human groups, and comprise all that their members have in common: language, religion, family structures, diet, dress, and so on. In this sense, “culture” is a descriptive category, without any value judgement.

Civilisation (singular) is, on the contrary, an evaluative moral category: the opposite of barbarism. So a dialogue between cultures is not only beneficial, but essential to civilisation. No civilisation is possible without it.

[There, S, I did it. And no, neither linking to the Academic Librarian nor WorldCat invalidates my effort. 😉 ]

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.


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.

Some things read this week, 25 – 31 May 2008

19 – 31 May 2008

Chia, Mantak and Douglas Abrams Arava. 1997. The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know. 1st ed. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

Bought this years ago when I had hope that it might come in handy some day. Based on ancient Taoist principles. Main takeaway is that ejaculation and orgasm are not the same thing. Is a self-help book so includes exercises. Also has a chapter for gay men and one for women, along with a couple for couples.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

“At the Jim Bridger” in: Carlson, Ron. 2002. At the Jim Bridger: Stories. 1st ed. New York: Picador USA.


Wednesday – Friday, 28 – 30 May 2008

Kressley, Carson. 2004. Off the Cuff: The Essential Style Guide for Men and the Women Who Love Them. New York: Dutton.

Didn’t exactly read this cover-to-cover but I did pick it up and browse through it so many times that I’m betting I read at least 90% plus. Going to count it as read.

Some folks might consider some of these outside of my normal purview but one must be prepared in life. And when circumstances change it is good to brush up on things that might matter.

Also little read this week since I was traveling and visiting my son at Fort Hood, TX before he goes back to Iraq for his 2nd tour.

Anyone care to find out how Off I really am?

I’m wondering if anyone out there between central IL and central TX might be willing to put me up overnight on Memorial Day or perhaps the next weekend for the return?

As I think I’ve mentioned, I am going down to Fort Hood/Killeen, TX next week to see my son before he leaves for his 2nd tour in Iraq. It’s about a 14-15-hour trip if I remember correctly. I have folks and friends in St. Louis but that’s only 2-2.5 hours away and while useful doesn’t do much to break up the trip. And my long-distance driving skills and desires are not what they used to be.

My normal trip is to pick up I-44 in St. Louis and take it to Oklahoma City where I pick up I-35 for most of the rest of the way. I am willing to detour though as long as it isn’t way out of the way. I can route through Arkansas and Memphis I imagine, too, if needed.

Anywhere along I-44 in SW MO to Oklahoma City or just south would be perfect.

I’m really a much nicer person in person than I am here and I can provide references if needed. 🙂

I would act like a typical grown-up and get a hotel somewhere but things are getting tight. $500 to get the car tuned up today, I’m now working only for simple hourly wages, and since I’m not taking any more classes loans will come out of deferment soon. I’m happy to wash the dishes or take out the trash or something for a quiet piece of the floor to sleep on and perhaps some home-cookin’.

Can anybody help me out?


I got a quick IM from a friend the other night wondering how I was doing as I have been quiet lately.

Yes. Yes I have.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Some of it is lack of time to do all the things I’d like to. There are probably other reasons, too, in certain domains. But the two bigs one are lack of time and the fact that I haven’t exactly been very positive about much of anything lately. This has kept me very quiet.

As much as I may like to complain I do not enjoy burdening my friends with my gripes. And some of the things I have complaints about are very few people’s business anyway.

Another part of it is that being on the job market I must really watch what I say and do. It breaks my heart to even think such thoughts but I can be realistic. [Actually, I think I am far more realistic than most people realize, but that is another issue.]

This is a time when I probably need my friends more than normal. Yet, I have slipped back into my shell anyway. And then that cycle gets exacerbated.

For instance, Anna Creech noticed that I had linked to one of her older posts and the link was broken in some blog maintenance that she had done so she sent me an email with the new link. I greatly appreciated that and fully meant to write her back and thank her. But I haven’t yet.

I installed a plugin to find broken links a while back and eventually it found 680-some odd broken links. [68x broken links out of 93x posts is quite disheartening.] I had fixed a couple of links already but when I fixed Anna’s the count immediately started going down. Rapidly. I tracked the downward progress over the next 18 or so hours and it got down to 196.

And then it started going back up again. After another 2 days or so it was back up to 680. Gah! I watched all this and took notes as it went down and then up again. All of this took longer than I had meant to take to write Anna a thank you note, though. When it all finally stabilized I was feeling bad for not responding to Anna yet. And so I haven’t.

I know it makes no sense. But there it is. [I do hope to write Anna before posting this.]

I have watched another friend come out of their shell and seem to flourish lately which does my heart no end of good. So I have left them alone due to my negativity lack of positivity. Not something they need right now.

I am also applying to jobs. I hate applying to jobs. I spent 20+ years in the Army to avoid just this. I have been in school for the past 10 years, some of which was possibly to continue avoiding this. I have no issues with working, only with applying for work.

I have lots of disappointments in my life and the whole process is full of disappointments. So not so much fun (as most might well agree). It seems funny but whenever I have spent a while somewhere many of the folks come to really appreciate having me around. My current workmates seem to want me to stay (as usual) but they have no job to offer me. I in no way look forward to having to go on interviews and “peddle my flesh.” My flesh is not worth peddling. It is my heart and soul (and mind) that you want. And I am incapable of showing you that in an interview. Well, perhaps not incapable but certainly recommended that I not try.

Alright. Mark, stop!

I promised myself this would not get out of hand but it has already. [And, yes, I cut lots out; multiple times.]

Let me just say:

  • I am tired.
  • I am sore, always.
  • I am stuck in my own head with no one to help sort out the messes.
  • I am really scared that my intermittent illness is coming back.
  • I am looking for a job.
  • I am about to be a non-student student. That is, I am not done but will lose most every “privilege” that comes with being a student. Like the ability to use the health clinic.
  • I’m not happy with much of anything on this blog in a long time. E.g., if WP is to be trusted then no one has linked to me since that idiocy about e-book week back in February and I can’t say I blame ’em. That wasn’t even a conversation I wanted to have and it probably got more links than any other post except a Carnival post.
  • My son is heading back to this fucked up war of ours. Yes, it is ours. Yours and mine. And it is still going on lest you have failed to notice recently.
  • And I am terrified that I will deal with this no better than the first time.

Everything is not bad, to say the least, which is why I changed negativity to lack of positivity above.

  • I have been seriously enjoying the flowers and trees as they bloom.
  • I have been enjoying taking photos of them and actually learning to use my camera a bit (which has greatly helped).
  • I have been enjoying laughing at all the people complaining about the weather. Yes, even my friends.
  • I have a book reviewing gig for a prominent publication.
  • I was complaining to Allen Renear about an example in an article and he fully agreed with me that the authors blew it on that one.
  • I saw many of my far flung friends Sunday at Commencement.
  • I got a nice compliment from a ravishing woman Sunday.

Heavenly wine and roses
seem to whisper to me when you smile

Lou Reed – Sweet Jane

There’s just too much thinking going on in my head and I basically have no one to talk about it with. And this blog is not the place to do so for most of it.

So. There you have it. I’m being quiet and that is probably best. In fact, best would be to strip out 90% of this post.

I do want my friends to know, though, that I do love them deeply. I am not trying to avoid anyone and would not resent anyone checking in with me if they desire to. No promises on speed or length of reply though. I already owe a couple people a response.

All in all, I’m actually pretty good. I am not depressed right now. Just not exuding a lot of positive vibes lately. And I need to reserve those for the job search and, more importantly, for my friends.

But I won’t let it change me, not if I can
I’d rather believe in love
and give it away as much as I can
To those that I am fondest of

Allen Reynolds – Dreaming My Dreams with You

As for the good, I need to say a very special “Thank you!” to an amazing person I am honored to call friend. We spent a good 5 1/2 hours talking last night. She let me bitch and moan. We talked about the good(s), too. We talked about things I just do not talk about with anybody. And then she let me into a special piece of her world. Thank you!

i search your profile for a translation
i study the conversation like a map
’cause i know there is strength
in the differences between us
and i know there is comfort
where we overlap

Ani DiFranco ¤ overlap ¤ out of range

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.


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.


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

What Martin Luther King Jr. Day now means to me

Truthfully, I will not be addressing that directly as such. Much more oblique will be my comments.

But first some initial resources:

Five years ago today—well, it was 20 January in 2003—I was sitting at home listening to the MLK Jr. specials on the radio (NPR) when at 4:02 PM CT I heard that 12,000 soldiers from Fort Hood (4ID) were being mobilized.

4th Infantry Division (4ID) is the division I retired from and the one my son was serving in at the time. Not that this was publicly known yet, but they were to be the hammer out of the north from Turkey in the initial invasion of Iraq.

Later that evening after a couple pints of beer and attempted reading I went by the ex’s for a hug and some talk. Jeremy called while I was there. Said aircraft had to be on ships down south by the end of the week & they’ll be 2 weeks behind. When I got home from Mary’s I called my mom and then my sister.

So, here I am, almost 44 years old & my baby’s ordered to war. Where did I go wrong? [my journal, 9 PM 20 Jan 2003]

The complete irony of the formal announcement of these deployments on Martin Luther King Jr. Day did not escape me. Nor will it ever.

My son’s deployment was quite hard on me. The reasons are quite complex and I will never fully understand them myself and certainly never be able to explicate them to others.

My son and his family have been lucky so far and he has had a job for the last couple years such that—unlike many who have been back several times in the last almost 5 years of war—he has not. That shall change soon, though. He is on his way back to Fort Hood and the 4th ID.

So here I sit again contemplating my son’s (possible) deployment.

That, and so much more, is what Martin Luther King Jr. Day will forever mean to me.

… consistently we are resistant to love …

Four Bitchin’ Babes. “Beautiful Fool.” Beyond Bitchin’

Song I used to “commemorate” MLK Jr. Day 2003, the mobilization of 4ID and the march to war on my 2003 compilation CD.