Variations on a theme – book spine poems

Earlier today I composed some book spine poems—all variations on a theme—once I found a good “punch line.”

Perusing my long list of book titles, compiled during DigiWriMo 2012, I came across these two in the midst of the list:

The way it is
In the next galaxy

I decided then and there to riff off of that. This is a kind of nice as these are two of my favorites out of our poetry books [both Sara’s].

I still like the first one I chose to be the set-up best, though [bottom]. Here are a few of them, while there are a total of eight in my Flickr album for DigiWriMo 2014.

Whether or not you check out the others, you should consider composing your own book spine poetry, and I would love to see comments in Flickr or your own photos suggesting additional titles that would make good opening lines. Comment here or in Flickr.

And, no, this isn’t really a joke. My main thrust—at least of those I prefer—are more of the “The grass is greener,” while the others are more of the “Oh. My. The Other” category. I am sad though that I couldn’t put my hands on George Steiner’s Grammars of Creation because I truly like that thought. Far more positive.

Tastes of paradise. The way it is In the next galaxy.

Tastes of paradise.
The way it is
In the next galaxy.

Tastes of paradise.

The way it is
In the next galaxy.

Slaves of the Machine. The way it is In the next galaxy.

Slaves of the Machine.
The way it is
In the next galaxy.

Slaves of the Machine.

The way it is
In the next galaxy.

There's treasure everywhere. The way it is In the next galaxy.

There’s treasure everywhere.
The way it is
In the next galaxy.

There’s treasure everywhere.

The way it is
In the next galaxy.

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.

Social software (can) suck

When the flames rise around us and I can’t see the door
This is still my home and it has never burned before
This is where I’ve taken my solace and my peace
The walls are caving in but I am still a stubborn beast.

Jolie Holland. “Stubborn Beast.” Springtime Can Kill You.

I have decided that I do not like so-called social software. It has been building for a while now, but it has almost reached critical mass for me.

Now, please do not misunderstand me, social software can be extremely useful. It has been (and still is) useful to me. If I thought it was totally useless I would have pulled my Flickr, Facebook and MySpace accounts.

But I (and I have no doubt many of the “kids” out there not quite geeky enough to be one of the new cool kids) really didn’t need another reminder of the fact that I am occasionally “tolerated.”

Like I said to someone the other night, “It is always complicated.” Heck, I’m not even breaking up with someone and I’m still confused about how to handle this problem.

[And, no, jdm, this has nothing to do with you. Just a useful quotation.]

Beginning to catch up (with some things)

I made it back to lovely Champaign-Urbana in one piece. Stopped for milk and bread on the way home last night, but had little else in the house. So I called my friend Jenn and asked if she’d meet me at Crane Alley for a bite to eat. Jumped in the shower and then went and met her for some dinner, beers, and conversation.

This morning I slept in a bit and then got up and got busy. I’ve finished uploading my conference/travel pics to flickr [Damn it! Why is this stupid set not in order?], caught up on email (mostly), tried to get the new ACRL@UIUC webmaster the access she needs to maintain the site, started on the laundry, got caught up in Bloglines.

I’m also trying to find out where the stupid freaking ants I have in my kitchen have come from, and are, so I can annihilate them! I have no issues with outside ants, but they are not supposed to be house pets.

I have no doubt that there are bills to pay, but I have to wait on the last week’s mail to be delivered before I spend all my remaining money on the wrong things.

I hope to start on some blog posts about my conference experience and maybe even some on the sessions I attended. One of the things that I have learned, though, is that I am not a conference blogger. Maybe I will learn how, maybe wireless will become ubiquitous, maybe hotels charging close to $200/night that can’t be bothered to have hot water to shave with in the mornings will stop charging for wireless, maybe airports will consider wireless a public service for those of us who have to spend 5 hours laying over in them, maybe ….

Anyway, I don’t seem to be much of a conference blogger. I did take a lot of pictures of slides (which maybe I shouldn’t really post?) that I hope to use to stimulate my brain when I do get a chance to blog the sessions. As I’ve said before, for some fairly prolific blogging of ASIS&T 2006 go see Christina’s LIS Rant.

One of the things I did in airports and on airplanes was to make more blog headers. I need to rename and upload them, and then change the code for the random number generator in the template.

Far more important is to get in the swing of school. There are things to do! I still need a solid thesis statement for Carole’s class and I need to start on the paper. 🙁 Since I missed Allen’s class sitting in O’Hare last night, I need to listen to the archive and get caught up.

I did get registered for 2 classes for Spring ’07 while in Austin. I enrolled in Allen’s 590OH Ontologies in the Humanities and Kathryn’s 590RO Representing and Organizing Information Resources. There are several other course I am interested in, but will probably skip them. I need to sit down with Kathryn and do some serious talking about the rest of my CAS and my project. I need to come up with some Independent Study hours on things like authority control, faceted classification, automated classification systems, and so on.

At the moment, I need to go eat lunch.

Previous post

Request: Could some of you all tell me if the photo in the previous post is displaying in your posts correctly, and/or in the feed reader? It doesn’t show up in Firefox as a post on either platform, but it does show up in Bloglines in FF.  And it shows up in Safari but not Camino as a post, and also shows up as a post on the PC on IE6, but that’s irrelevant (as in I have no plans to really fire IE up or use it).  Anyway, seems to be some combination of newer Mozilla engine, WordPress and posting from flickr.

Got to remember to try it by coming to WordPress and putting it up here.  I guess I ought to put some stuff at my own domain.  Just so damned convenient to tell flickr to blog a specific photo.  Anyway, off to bed soon.  Time to calm down and think about bed.

Mark does even more social networking

Seeing as I don’t often like being told to “Just do” something, I have taken my time coming to most social software.

First, I took up blogging in late Jan 2005 after reading quite a few for a while.

Flickr was second in Jan of this year.

I took up IM in April of this year after some of the lengthiest and most intense conversation on my blog after I asked, “IM, Why?” I followed that post up after much discussion with “IM? Here’s why!

In late May I then took up MySpace [second post about it] because my son whom I had not been talking with for over 18 months invited me in to his MySpace to see his reply to something I had posted on my blog much earlier.

On Monday morning (2 Oct) I finally got a Facebook account. Why? Some of the newer students had been talking about it lately, the whole fiasco with them showing everyone everything, and then with them opening it up to everyone, and also watching danah boyd’s recent talk at UNC-Chapel Hill. All of these convinced me it was time to give it a try.

I really don’t have much to say about it yet. I doubt I’ll use it much the way it is described being used by typical aged college students [see EDUCAUSE report below and elsewhere]. It has some affordances, as one might say. Most of those affordances are not ones I need at this point in my life; many are ones I actively shun.

The Kept-Up Academic Librarian posted this morning about EDUCAUSE’s newest issue: “Seven Things You Should Know About Facebook.” I thought the timing was excellent. As usual, though, this piece told me nothing. I don’t mean to disparage EDUCAUSE here (I’ve given up on that), but this series has a limited but at the same time potentiallly huge audience—the clueless.

I have read several of the items in this series and I don’t know if there was ever a word/idea/thought in any of them that I wasn’t already aware of. Considering how clueless I am (in my opinion) about many of these things, I find that stunning. I have to wonder how many are really reading these things but, even more so, who is actually getting much out of them. That is, are they really reaching their intended audience.

Within the space of the “work week,” I already have almost as many friends on Facebook as I do in MySpace. Take out the one amazing cat and the 3 bands that are my “friends” [I have met and talked to 2 of them, though] on MySpace and the numbers are even closer. Remove my kids and half-sister and I think they’re even, although slightly different. That is, they are all people I go to school with, whether oncampus or LEEP.

There are some slightly interesting things going on, but not much that I wasn’t already aware of. I mean I already knew who was friendly with who. Again, I do see how some more could be going on wit hthe affordances that Facebook allows, but I don’t know how useful they will be to me.

At least now, when I hear people in our profession going on about how I have to be in these places because my patrons are I can honestly think, “Oh, shut up already until you have a better argument.” Because there are much better motivational arguments than “Just do it” and “Everyone else is.”

Now, I best get some homework done so I can go do some real social networking tonight. That is, go to the bar and talk in that good ol’ archaic way—face-to-face. With many of the people who are in my virtual social networks.

Me. Call me old, if you like. I much prefer the archaic way.

Labor Day weekend, so far

Hung 23 pictures in my apartment.

Read some sociology of science for class:

Read a few articles on classification systems for Pauline’s class, including Ranganathan’s “Hidden Roots of Classification,” Inform. Stor. Retr. 3, 1967: 399-410. I have to say I’m pretty sceptical about an “Absolute Syntax.”

Somewhat organized my network drive at school, from home. Yay for WebDav!

Prepped the new ACRL@UIUC website to replace the old one. The goal is to have it up before the weekend’s out. A big shout-out to Lynn Jasper, of Chicky Chicky Boom Boom!, for redoing all of the underlying code for the website this summer. [Dang! Something is weird with the server, FTP client or something. I was able to create a new folder, but cannot seem to move (or copy) the old files to it so I can upload the new ones. That really sucks!]

Went to dinner at a German restaurant and 2 bars as part of a bachelorette party, which was really just an elaborate and fun going-away party for the fabulous Jenny B [That link really is to the Flickr set, but it’s marked family and friends only.].

Sidenote: Flickr needs more fine-grained control. I generally make all my photos public. But once in a while, for the sake of others, I mark some family and/or friends only. But what if you want a photo/set available to someone who you don’t necessarily (or even explicitly) want as a family or friend? For instance, a participant in some event that you’ve photographed might deserve to see those photos, but not all of the rest of your photos that are restricted. And, Jon, that is not directed at you!

Kept up with my Bloglines.

Did a lot of maintenance on my books in my LibraryThing catalog.

Put some more stuff away, as in getting more moved in.

Read Sunday’s newspaper.

Worked on some classification systems homework.

What I haven’t done:

Enough homework, of all kinds, for all classes.

Enough work around the house.