Saturday, November 29, 2003

I seem to want to be a readers' digest and tell everybody about the interesting things I have read. Oh, no, wait: I want to be an abstracter! (Do I get points for applying something I learned in grad school?) I don't have the energy to summarize it at length, or analyze and research it like a good student. I want to give you a quick summary and throw it at you.

For instance, one article in my Alumnae Quarterly is about class(ism) at the college. At Mount Holyoke, women talk readily about race, ethnicity, and gender in and out of the classroom, but not class. Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickled and Dimed became a campus-wide read (it's been on my list). Most alumns who responded to a call for input to the article self-identified as "working class" and shared observations about what it was like, for instance, to first encounter peers who announced airily, I couldn't possibly start my day without The New York Times. Yet some alumnae from affluent backgrounds described not wanting to be "out" about it. A sociology professor asks students in her class on class does "'our privilege rest[] on the disadvantage of others, and if so, does it matter, and what can/should be done about it?'"; Whoa. Short answer: Yes; I don't know.

In hometown news, I went round to the new location of Black Swan Books, today, to welcome them to my neighborhood. The old-book dealer moved from the other end of the Fan to Main at Robinson (they renovated that meats company building). It's a great space -- tin ceiling, polished concrete floors, a sofa and a chair -- though currently pungent with new paint. Just about the first thing I saw when I walked in was something I needed: one of Helen Rountree's books on Virginia Indians. The next couple hundred things I saw were other excellent Virginia books, across all eras. I found plenty of history, art, and religion; also a strong showing in collectable children's books. The shelves have yet to be labelled; it's possible I leap to conclusions about the classification system. That said: I bought a gift from the Gardening shelf. I predict spending more time there.

Despite a chill wind, I made it 3.5 blocks back west and tried to shop in Mongrel, but it was too crowded. All I wanted was a festive little handsoap. Luckily, I was able to secure study rewards for myself at the not-quite-as-crowded chocolate shop.

I feel good about the start I made on studying and paper writing; but I feel better about Finishing than Starting.

Capital City weather: cold and windy and clear
At the Byrd: Seabiscuit

Tuesday, November 25, 2003


While driving northbound on 95 last Thursday, I noted a truck load of Christmas trees headed south.

Just in time for holiday travel: Watch traffic on 95 through metro D.C. from the comfort of your own home, here. (I had to disable the "block pop up ads" feature on my new Google toolbar to allow it to work.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2003


Prometheus had a few words on blogs the other day. I took up blogging because I enjoyed reading Lileks. Sometimes I imagine this is practice features or essay writing; sometimes I know it’s only a little different from a wintertime family newsletter. I also imagine it's practice for a real website I will have one day, full of kitsch and pictures. Though my clip and share urge leads me to provide occasional fun links, I don’t think of myself as logging the web. If I become a reference librarian, I imagine I would jump to create the library’s web directory. Especially when it comes to reference materials, librarians pride themselves in directing users to books that are accurate, current, written with authority, etc. Good librarians apply this to the web, too: we want to help people avoid the crap. VCU has a good one: click here.

We’re due another huge rainstorm today (though I should have clear driving weather tomorrow). The only thing I don’t like about being a homeowner is the fact that the weather can send me into fits of worry: how’s the roof? What if that tree comes down, this time?

I popped over to Westover Hills on Monday. Last week’s high winds brought down at least two more trees between the Carillon and the Boulevard Bridge. Meanwhile, the brush piles of hurricane damage remain in place. Many tipped over stumps have sunk into the ground, into their root holes. One especially big tree in Byrd Park, an oak, was about four feet in diameter. Where will it all go? Where will the city find people and machines capable of picking it all up?

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Found While Doing Homework

Who doesn't like a quick check to see the notables who share our birthday? This site looks like a good one if you're helping direct a young person's homework.

Watch the Library of Congress's copy of Coca-Cola's "Hilltop" commercial here (chose it -- or another -- from the brief text describing the collection). It's part of LC's digital library, "American Memory." Intellectually, I'm not thrilled that commercials are a formative part of our collective memory. Emotionally: that commercial always makes me misty-eyed. Possibly, the original sentiment of world harmony does it. Throw in a vague sense of Christmas past. There's also a mixed up sadness and gladness over growing up in the hopeful 1970s, when commercials portrayed the world gathering in quaint (often pseudo) native costume to be friends, and International Day was de riguer at school.

Also cool: books to read online, if you're into that sort of thing, at The Online Books Page.

Monday, November 10, 2003

An interesting item on a Richmonder who attened Virginia Union and Smith, but could not attend UVa.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

What I learned Doing Homework, Today

Krispy Kreme's corporate archive belongs to the Smithsonian's Archives Center.
At Prometheus Unleashed, a link to place yourself on the "political compass." I'm really not that liberal, it turns out.

I hope everyone got as beautiful a harvest moon, as swell a lunar eclipse as we did last night. After I checked the cats in Midlothian, I made the left onto Huguenot Road with an enormous low-lying yellowish moon staring back at me. As it rose higher it was small and bright white, turning copper, of course, in the eclipse.

I had an exhausting week of exam preparation and volunteerism, to be capped by my turn at the antique mall's open house in a couple of hours. I didn't even decorate our space this year. I think the book sale did well and I was glad to see many familiar faces. (But why do people quibble over the expense of a 50- or 75-cent paperback when they clearly are getting a deal with that Patricia Cornwell or John Grisham at a buck?! It all evens out, folks. And it is charity.)