Cascades Crossing

Pale purple irises along US 20 in Willamette National Forest

Pale purple irises along US 20 in Willamette National Forest, Oregon

Cresting the summit we move from high desert and pine, pine, pine to mixed forests, moss and ferns and a colorful, changing assortment of wildflowers. Pale purple mountain irises call me to turn around on the narrow winding road. A cascade not-so-gently gurgles and pulses alongside the road, sometimes visible and sometimes not. The raucous remnants of fires past are replaced by the quiet of dripping water.

Mountain stream along US 20 in Willamette National Forest, Oregon

Mountain stream along US 20 in Willamette National Forest, Oregon

This is based on my first experience with crossing the Cascades, from the high desert to the rain forest side, back on 11 June 2012. We were on our way from Bend to Corvallis for Sara’s second interview. Her first was at OSU-Cascades in Bend earlier in the day and the second was at OSU (proper) in Corvallis the next day. We were taking US 20 and the Santiam Pass through the Willamette National Forest.

The change was dramatic and almost instantaneous, although it continued to gradually change and to get wetter and wetter. There are, of course, many microclimates in both regions. Eventually we emerged from the forest into the Willamette Valley and another kind of lush growth, a far more managed growth.

The initial thoughts (between the two top photos) were written down the day after, about 18 hours after the experience.

The high desert side seems to primarily consist of juniper, assorted pines, and a variety of small shrub-like plants, with wide open space on the ground beneath the canopy. The colors consist of mostly browns and grays from the ground up into the trunks of often massive trees. Only in the upper reaches of the trees where needles remain and in the leaves of some of the bushes is there much green. Up near the summit, black becomes frequently prominent in the burnt and charred remains of trees and on the soil itself from the more frequent forest fires, and in the exposed, alien looking terrain of past volcanic cataclysms.

Once over the pass the greens quickly intrude. Everywhere. The pines and conifers are less scraggly. More and more deciduous trees force their way in. Ferns and other low-lying, often flowering, plants begin to fill in the spaces between trees. The plants force their way up to the roadside and begin to close off the view into the forest. In short order, moss is hanging from the trees. Everything is a riot of green with little room for other colors, except the assorted wildflowers seen along the roadside, and even they are surrounded and nourished by green. Even the browns of the tree trunks are quickly covered in mosses and vines and all sorts of green.

Water can be heard splashing along somewhere near the edge, sometimes nearer, sometimes receding. Glimpses can be seen—through the dappled light—of a growing mountain stream. As stream after stream spills into it, it quickly becomes the South Santiam River, which more or less parallels US 20 for much of the way down into the valley, first on the left and then on the right.

The only other time I had driven over true mountains was in Europe—Southern Germany through Switzerland to Mont Blanc and so on. But there, the changes are not nearly so dramatic. Certainly they are dramatic but in vastly different ways. Then again, it has been many years since that trip. I have been in or along assorted other mountains—Ozarks, Blue Ridges, and a few others—but, again, the changes are not so dramatic, at least not along my direction of travel.

I may have been driving the rented car but nonetheless the profound changes grabbed me in my soul and settled deeply. We have been over the Cascades a few more times since, although we have taken some different routes along with the same one but in reverse, and the changes are equally profound no matter which way you cross the Cascades from Bend to Corvallis or Eugene or Portland. I hope to make the crossing many more times and even to spend a fair bit of time up their on foot. I only hope that it won’t be in winter.

The included photos are of the pale purple irises that called me to turn around and of the mountain stream cascading near the road.

Pale purple irises along US 20 in Willamette National Forest, Oregon

Pale purple irises along US 20 in Willamette National Forest, Oregon

Thank you, my love, for bringing me to Central Oregon.

We are moving to Bend, Oregon

We are moving to Bend, Oregon in early August.

Sara got a job as the librarian for OSU-Cascades in Bend. She starts in the 3rd week of August so we are in full on packing and move planning mode.

We are really looking forward to this move. Just over two years in Sioux City (SUX) has been plenty. Don’t get me wrong, Sioux City has a fair few good things going for it and we’ve made a few friends who it hurts to leave, but for two liberal, vegetarian (or nearly so [me]), academically-oriented librarians it has little to offer.

Our time was certainly not wasted here, which is a consolation. Sara got more experience as a librarian and was promoted to Director of Educational Technology, a position created for her. I had a poem published in the Iowa state poetry contest annual, and a photograph published in a literary magazine and on display in the Sioux City Art Center for about 7 weeks. I also helped edit this year’s edition of the Briar Cliff Review, took several classes, all of which were literature or writing courses, except for one digital photography course where I finally learned to use my Nikon D40X off of automatic.

We saw a few concerts, the more important of which we had to go to Iowa City, Omaha and Minneapolis for. We attended the Iowa Library Association annual conference in Coralville, THATCamp LAC in Green Bay and the Library Technology Conference in Minneapolis, and a few smaller ones here and there in Iowa.

I was hired as a cataloging contractor by Briar Cliff’s Bishop Mueller Library and eventually was able to do a lot of collection development work, particularly weeding, among other things. We are hoping that I will be able to continue doing some work for them by distance.

But. Bend. Oh my. We already have tickets to see Madeleine Peyroux and we will attending a 3-day yoga festival in early Sep. That is no doubt more than my quota of yoga in one sitting but I figure it’ll be a good way to suss out the local community and see if there are any instructors whose style I like and so on.

They are also a craft brewing haven. There are 8 microbreweries within walking distance of each other in Bend alone, with a few more in the nearby Central Oregon environs. There are also 3-4 more opening in the next 6 months to 1.5 years. That web site lists 14 breweries in Bend and one in Sisters but it also includes brew pubs.

They have tons of events like the upcoming Fermentation Celebration on 12 July (we’ll miss it), which is the kickoff to Oregon Craft Brewers Month. Also, coming up (and we’ll be there!) is the Ninth Annual Bend Brewfest. There is a Bend Ale Trail and they even have an app. Oh, also coming up is the 4th Annual Little Woody Barrel Aged Brew and Whiskey Fest. Oh my.

Downtown has an independent coffee shop on most every street where we have one (perhaps 2) decent coffee shops in Sioux City.

There’s an organization called (theNatureofWords).  How can I not like an organization with that for a name? Their mission statement:

The Mission of The Nature of Words is to strengthen and support the literary arts and humanities in the high desert region of the Northwest through community interaction with acclaimed authors and through creative writing programs for youth and adults.

There are several disc golf courses in the area including one right out back of the library Sara will be working in.

Mountains, forests, outdoor activities of all kinds, new forms (to me) of natural objects to learn about and photograph, and so on.

Moving sucks, as usual. And yesterday I tripped and fell backwards over something in the basement while working down there so I now hurt far more than I did simply from the labor of packing and disassembling things which I’ve been doing for a week and a half now; started with the books and the office primarily. Also sorted out still fully packed boxes in the basement from those needing repacking. So lots of heavy, tiring work. And more to come after a day off today.

But we’re going to Bend!

JaPoWriMo

My friend Jess talked me into participating in JaPoWriMo, or January Poetry Writing Month. At least that is how I am parsing it out.

The idea is simply to write one poem a day. She insisted they could be a short as haiku and that there was no requirement for them to be any good. I am sharing them with her and my wife, of course and, so far, one or two with the odd other here and there.

Much of my month is taken up with my Grimm’s Fairy Tale class and editing and other magazine production duties putting together this year’s issue of the Briar Cliff Review. Thus, a couple have been about Grimm’s; I foresee one or more about editing; I have written a couple about books, those I’ve read and those I won’t be reading (end-of-2011 book post); one about meetings (after a long meeting on Friday); one about our SirsiDynix Symphony ILS (subject of said and several other meetings); one about not having a subject; and so on.

There is no need to worry—not much anyway— as I will not be sharing all of them with you here. Many of them are bad, and I doubt that any of them are actually good. But I agreed to commit to this writing a poem a day in an otherwise already quite busy month as I hoped that more writing, even if mostly tossed off, would help me in assorted ways as a poet and a writer. The bottom-line is that I am a lazy poet. Perhaps this will cultivate a habit, perhaps this will leave me with a few choice phrases or lines or ideas, perhaps nothing will come of it.

With all of that said, I would like to share two that I wrote in response to my Grimm’s class. The first was written about 15 minutes before the class met for the first time; the second was written this morning and is a conflation of “Snow-white and Rose-red” and “Little Snow White,” which we read for and discussed this past Friday, along with other generic thoughts on the role of “beauty” in the tales we’ve read so far (~10).

 


Grimm’s excitement today
Innocents start to play
Villains and ogres slay
Justice wins come what may

3 January 2012


Beauty for its own sake, enticement.
Or is it really entrapment?

The hunter spares her …
The wicked queen poisons her …
The dwarves domesticate her …
The prince wants her … dead and mute.

Snow-white. Rose-red. Two
Halves of the same girl.
A maiden on the edge
Of womanhood.

Tame the bear,
Emasculate the dwarf,
Remain kind to the vile.
Gentleness, purity, innocence

Retained. These are the steps to
Make oneself a woman.
Chaste, yet chargedly erotic.
Snow-white. Rose-red.

Beautiful.

8 January 2012

I may spend some time with the second as it could undoubtedly be improved. But, considering that I wrote it in about 10 minutes this morning I can live with it.

Upcoming fall semester

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

Update

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

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

The wife

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

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

Wedding in Germany

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

My fall semester

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

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

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

CAS Decision Made

I have decided that I will not write my thesis and thus will not finish my Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) from UIUC.

Earlier this morning I emailed my Dean, who is also my advisor, with my decision.

As some of you know, circumstances arose almost exactly 3 years ago that, at the time, I was considering a temporary derailment.  I had just finished my course work towards my degree and was registered for my 8 hours of thesis credit to be completed in the spring semester of 2008.  But I found myself unable to process the things I had learned, and unable to get them down on paper.  I was burned out after 10 years of mostly full-time education.  In consultation with my faculty, we decided I would take a break for a few months and then write the thesis.

Many things happened in the intervening months, some bad, most good. Some even extraordinary. Many have been mentioned on this blog. I now find myself up against a university imposed deadline of defending before the spring 2011 semester is over.  While I would like to finish, and have always intended to do so, I find my heart is simply not in it.

I know that many would counsel that I buckle down and “just do it.”  And while that is a strategy, it is not one that will work for me; not any longer at least.  It has been a couple of years now since I wrote anything “academic” and I am finding it more than difficult to pick up where I left off.

And, No, I did not leave this until the last minute. I have been re-reading and re-familiarizing myself with my materials and my argument for the last several months. This fall I had set myself two tasks. First, draft one, preferably two, chapters and send them to my advisor. It would have been nice to do more but I figured that if I could get that far—back into the groove, so to speak—then the remaining 3-4 chapters would come fairly easily. Second, write an article for a major journal based on my concluding chapter. In fact, if done correctly, it could then easily be retrofitted to serve as the conclusion. The article could have been simple or detailed. It certainly wasn’t a given to have been accepted for publication, but it was semi-invited.

I tried to work on these two tasks but I got nowhere. I put myself in anguish, I tortured myself, I scolded myself. I chastised myself for doing anything besides them, and I generally made myself feel miserable, all the while getting nowhere on them.

This needs to end now!

I even forewent taking any of several classes that I was seriously interested in this current term (Dec-Feb) at Briar Cliff with professors whom I want to study with. A couple of these are nearing retirement, also, so that was a tough decision.

Pros of not writing the thesis

  • Can stop causing myself so much anguish and other negative feelings, all of which have real consequences in my life.
  • Can move on with the many other interests and passions that are calling to me.
  • Will perhaps be freed up mentally and emotionally to finally write one or more papers on my topic, when I am good and ready to do so.
  • I still received—as in took—a great education at UIUC GSLIS.
  • I have the required professional degree required to be a librarian.

Cons of not writing the thesis

  • May need to get a 2nd masters. This assumes I get back in the academic librarian game, at a place with tenure and at one requiring a 2nd masters for tenure, and one which would have accepted my CAS as equivalent.

In a perfect world I would prefer to have finished this degree. While it was a struggle coming to realize what it was that I was going to do and that a decision had to be made, after a while, the decision was an easy one. Taking care of myself is what matters most.

I am still fully coming to grips with the decision but I do know that it is the proper one for me. I already feel a great sense of relief, and release, because this educational journey (the CAS) has been a huge part of my life for almost 5 years now and will take some time to fully process its end.

Thank you to everyone for your encouragement and support over the last several years.  It has meant a great deal to me!  I am still highly interested in Integrationism and issues of language and communication within library and information science. So you may well see more from me on these topics.

Long time gone

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

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

A lot has happened since I last wrote here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

house spouse

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

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

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

In the comments on facebook, I also wrote:

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

I get my soul back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is someone trying to tell me something?

Twice in the last week I have been disappeared from assorted campus directories.

Recently the Library debuted a new website for staff, including a new personnel directory. The personnel directory is available in 3 versions (that I noticed): Faculty by name, Staff by name, and by Department. I was in the old directory. I have been Visiting Faculty since Aug. 2008. Just completely disappeared from the new one.

This morning I discovered that I was no longer in the GSLIS directory. Not as a CAS student, which I still am. Nor, period. Now keep in mind this directory includes alums. Disappeared completely from it, I did.

No doubt these are coincidences. But I’m beginning to wonder.

If you want me gone UIUC then just have the cojones to tell me it’s time to go.

Some things about the new year

Not sure where this blog is going this year. I said some things last year about where I wanted to take it / thought it might go and it got nowhere near any of those places.

I read through all of my posts for 2008 on the 1st and 2nd. Wow! What a year! Talk about ups and downs. The reading went much quicker for the back half of the year seeing as I had but a handful of posts over the last quarter of the year.

I did and still do have some things to say. But for many reasons I chose/choose not to and/or am unable to do so—both good things and not so good things.

Things are really good in my life in some ways as I enter a new year and rapidly reach the half century mark. But I don’t get to say much about those.

I am in love and have the love of an amazingly wonderful woman. ‘Nuff said.

Some things are not so good; but really no worse than for many.

I have a job. For several more months anyway. But better than some, I knew from the start that it would end [on 15 August 2009]. At the time I got it there was a very good chance that it could be extended. With the economy tanked that is highly unlikely, though. So now I truly am on the job market—with many others—in an extremely poor economy.

It was a year of growth—some painful, some pleasant—and recognition of some areas which need improvement. In some cases I have a good idea and plan for how to work on those areas. Some are still too amorphously vague to have a plan; but awareness—or working towards awareness, at least—is the first step.

I have been working on a long post on the books I read this past year and WordPress is giving me fits. Apoplectic fits. Not sure if/when it will get posted anymore. The formatting keeps changing as WP sees fit from moment-to-moment. As soon as I figure out how to work around what it is doing it does something else. And now it is pulling out assorted COinS data. It is all becoming too much. [Hopefully it will be following on the heels of this one. ::fingers crossed::]

Also, one of the things I came across in re-reading my blog posts was my comments on censoring myself in my post “Some things read this week feature is over.” Now, none of those reasons have gone away although I was managing to ignore them as I constructed my Books Read in 2008 post. This morning [Saturday], in a different context, I was reminded that perhaps I am putting too much out there. So now I have to decide what to do with that post on top of trying to fight with WP.

I have no idea what this year will bring. I do have some hopes and desires but it is also a time of great change for S and for me.

I sincerely hope that I can continue to be the man I want to be in this relationship and that I can continue growing as that man.

I hope that I can be better at some things than I was in the past year. There were several issues that I wanted to comment on and had told others that I would that I never got to. Finding a way to discuss these issues in a more positive way is a big desire of mine. Finding a way to discuss them in a way I feel “safe” doing so is a hope.

I hope that I will be better at working on my breathing and perhaps find a way into yoga and other forms of exercise. I also hope I take up running again as soon as spring allows.

I hope to have a job after 15 August. And that it be interesting, challenging and with good people in a nice setting (work and non-work) is a desire.

Staying in better touch with assorted, but specific, people is a hope. Toward that end I am now in FriendFeed as it allows for a different kind of conversation than blogs or facebook. That, of course, is not enough and I must truly work harder at this.

I have many other hopes and desires for the new year. Some are concrete and some are still pretty abstract.

Besides hoping that everyone can be the person they desire to be in this year, my biggest hope and desire is that I actively and continuously work at being/becoming the person I want to be.

I am a failure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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