Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Writer's block

The Librarian Extraordinare has an interesting post today on the whole James Frey firestorm.

Here's my two cents: I think this may have ramifications for the publishing industry - which, judging from the things I've heard, needs some examination. The fact that his publisher suggested that the book should be marketed as non-fiction when the author himself declared it fiction is....I'm struggling for the word. Hideous? Evil? Deceptive? Stupid? The publisher also admitted that they hadn't checked the facts of the story at all. I'm sorry, but if you're a reputable publishing house, and an author is presenting a work of non-fiction, checking the facts is part of your job.

I suppose it's our titillation factor kicking in; these stories are somehow more delicious if we think they actually happened. But, really, all they would have had to do is put the statement somewhere on the book "based on a true story." Done. No drama, no media. No Oprah scolding.

Frankly, I haven't read the thing. Doesn't speak to me at all. And now, I really don't care. But it will be interesting to see if the publishing folks chat about this and clean up their own backyards.

Cool new tools

Just discovered a site for downloading all sorts of programs for your I-Pod, from meditations to cardio workouts, from Pilates to Yoga, from relationships to entertainment. It's iAmplify, and I have a feeling I may be spending some time wandering through their selections.

Another site is Podfitness, which incorporates a "personal trainer" and I-Pod technology. You can select a musical style, whether your trainer is male or female, and the intent of your workout: weight loss, body shaping, running a marathon, building muscle, etc. The site isn't officially launched, and must have been in the gift packages for the folks at the Sundance film festival, since there's a link for Sundance '06 VIPs, but it looks intriguing. As of now, there's no information on how much this will cost. Might be worth keeping an eye on....

Monday, January 30, 2006

Really? Part II

The most disgusting kitchen gadget ever can be yours, for the low, low price of $14.95.

Dear God.


In the Is-This-Really-Necessary Department, a firm has come up with Bed Books, which are printed sideways on the page, so as to not strain your neck reading. Or whatever.

Now, I am a devoted reading-in-bed woman (as my Darling Husband will attest) and have never thought to myself, "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if this was printed sideways?!?" Maybe I'm wrong. But it's just....weird.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Mean people

I'm beginning to think that there are people who go through their lives being mean, nasty, and generally unpleasant as a rule, not as the exception. I'm bumping into these types a bit more often than I would like to, certainly, but what I really don't understand is why anyone would deliberately choose to be this nasty?

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that sums it up nicely:
"Life is short. Don't be a dick."
Suppose they sell them by the caseload?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Lights! Camera!

Apparently, someone somewhere decided the librarians need a documentary about librarians. Actually, it could be fun, as it will examine all of the various portrayals of librarians in film over the years, and then will compare and contrast with real life examples. Could be worth a look.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

No wonder....

Stephen Abram's blog has a piece today that identifies January 24 as the most depressing day of the year.

Dr. Kathleen Hall, Founder and President of The Stress Institute, and author of "A Life In Balance" (AMACOM 2006) has used a variety of emotional and stress factors, to proclaim that January 24th to be the most depressing day of the year. People feel as if there is a shadow over them; with low light levels creating Seasonal Affective Disorder, holiday bills hitting the mailbox, and New Year's resolutions already broken, depression is rampant.

"People experienced sensory overload during the holidays: the lights, the smells of pine and peppermint, sounds of music, the aromas, sight and taste of foods, and the touch and connection with others. By January, they are now experiencing a flat, hollow, sad feeling," says Hall.

Well, that explains quite a lot.

Monday, January 23, 2006


I'm sorry I missed it. Frankly, it wasn't even on my radar. But Jenny at the Shifted Librarian blogs on the OCLC Extreme Makeover Symposium, and there's a wealth of information there. Read the whole thing.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Satan is a peanut M&M.

As many, many of us, I have (yet again) made a resolution to lose some of the extraneous weight that has somehow crept up on me, unannounced and unwanted. And I do pretty well most of the time.

But it's mid-afternoon on a gloomy Friday. And my Cool Boss has an office next door wherein she keeps candy jars full of M&M's. The traffic in and out of her office is an indication of how rough the week has been. I've been in there twice. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Catching up

After a week out of the office and a vacation day on Monday, I am spending the day catching up on paperwork, on blogs, on various and sundry.

A few things of note...

Michael Stephens at Tame the Web continues to keep watch on the Library 2.0 discussions, among other things. (Thanks, Michael!)

A grad school buddy alerted me to a neato tech toy - a wristband that's a USB drive. LuAnn found this link thanks to Librarian in Black, another swell blog.

Merlin Mann at 43 folders reminds us that today is Ben Franklin's 300th birthday. Happy Birthday, Ben!

And friend and colleague Jonya has started her MLS journey. Good luck and Godspeed!

Thursday, January 12, 2006


I've spent the week in Seattle with the WebJunction folks attending the Spanish Language Outreach workshop. We're here with folks from Rhode Island, Nevada, and California. And it's been amazing.

The group is a mixture of people who are Hispanic/Latino and not, who speak Spanish and don't, who are immigrants or not. We're from the east coast, the west coast, the midwest, and in between. What we share is an interest in reaching a community that's not being reached, and in assisting the libraries in our respective states to reach out and connect.

It's been interesting to watch the dynamic amongst the group, as we travel from a group who has just met and is a bit wary of each other to being a group that was hugging each other good-bye. It is an amazing group of people. It's a terrific program. It was an incredible experience.

Monday, January 09, 2006

What the.....?

So, I've been chosen as one of the representatives of our Great State to hang out in Seattle for the week and attend the Gates' Spanish Language Outreach Program. Should be an interesting experience.

The thing that has me shaking my head is this: We're in Seattle. Home of Microsoft. And the hotel doesn't have complementary wireless access. Had I known this, I probably wouldn't have bothered to schlep my laptop through the airport. And I don't know how much more I'll be blogging this week, at $9.95 a day.

Does this strike anyone else as just plain wrong??? Am I becoming one of those librarians who just assumes hotels should have Internet access? The thing is, I'm also in Starbucks heaven. And you know all these Starbucks Cafes are WiFi sites.

What's wrong with this picture?

Nature, nature everywhere

This weekend was Nature weekend at our house. We live on the outskirts of a fairly large city, in a neighborhood that has a number of undeveloped areas that are quite wooded. Creatures abound, though are usually stealthy. Not so this weekend.

In the wee hours of the morning on Friday, we were alerted by our dogs that Weird Creatures were in the yard! The Creatures? A small herd of deer, who I assume the dogs think are just weird-looking dogs. Lovely, though I'm not sure we really needed to be alerted to their presence at 3 a.m.

Saturday afternoon, I looked out the living room window to see three pheasant run across the back yard. (Here's a question: Why are pheasant always running?)

Sunday morning, Darling Husband got up to refill his coffee, and exclaimed, "Oh, wow!" This time, it was eight turkeys. Very cool.

We hear coyotes regularly, though we haven't seen any. And there are owls, and hawks, and falcons, and various and sundry other birds. All in all, it's delightful.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Word games

From the always interesting Metafilter, the community weblog, a fascinating word play site: Etymologic.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

What a kid!

So I get a head's up email from one of our librarians, directing all and sundry to this kid's website. Turns out, Cory collects library cards. From everywhere. And has scanned the ones he has on his website, for all to see.

This kid likes libraries so much he's trying to develop the world's largest collection of library cards. So far, he has over 1,000 of them.

I mean, how cool is this kid? Does ALA know about him? Shouldn't some library school somewhere offer him free tuition?

We need more Corys in the world.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Guilty Pleasures

I admit it. I read trashy novels.

Of course, librarians are supposed to read those good-for-you books, the ones that you're secretly proud to be "caught" reading. And I do read those on occasion. But if I need to relax, escape, divert...I go to popular fiction. Dean Koontz. Nora Roberts. Jonathan Kellerman. Kathy Reichs. Patricia Cornwell.

This weekend was a heavenly plunge into trashy novels. We also rented a few movies that we hadn't gotten a chance to see at the theatre. "Skeleton Key" was recommended by friend and colleague Jonya. I concur. We also watched "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" which was interesting and food for thought, and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", which I enjoyed much more than I thought I would. As if all this wasn't enough, Darling Husband baked one of his trademark cheesecakes, this one with a rich brownie as the crust. Incredible.

I'll take a trashy novel and a piece of that cheesecake, please. Sometimes, guilty pleasures are the best pleasures.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


It's the new year. Hard to get up this morning, after a long weekend of sleeping in. (Well, sleeping in as long as the dogs would let us, that is.) And the weather here in the Great North is almost unbearably dreary.

It's been three weeks of unseasonably warm weather. Sounds nice, until you realize that in this neck of the woods, warm in winter translates to thick cloud cover and melting snow. It's damp, it's dark, and it's growing increasingly muddy with every passing day.

Frankly, I'd prefer a brisk sub-zero day. One of those days just after a new snowfall, where the sun is so bright it almost hurts. The snow sparkles, the sun feels deliciously warm through the window, and the blue of the sky is brilliant.

Please....bring back the sun!