Tuesday, December 27, 2005

This was the hit of Christmas with my family.

And with yours, what was it?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Winter Solstice!


As I became a serious thrift'er, I learned to cross the Boulevard Bridge to go to Southside Plaza or that east end of Midlothian Turnpike, where flea markets and thrift stores had settled into old commercial spaces. I knew that the ARC thrift was in an old Miller & Rhoades. I started to think about how I considered that end of Midlothian Turnpike, where our BEST was just a few doors down from our neighbors' car dealership (Whitten Brothers) to be the far end of Midlo -- well beyond Cloverleaf Mall! The construction of Chesterfield Mall -- though a modest mall for so many years -- had made Cloverleaf seem ridiculously distant.

Of course, my point of view was new-suburban: I viewed the metropolitan area from the porch of a house built in 1970, a few doors down from a farm (replaced by another subdivision within a few years). It seemed odd to me for those businesses to be so far out, but really, they were far in -- they were close to the city, where the majority of people lived.

This item in Style brings all this to mind. I didn't know that the Southside Plaza M&R was the first suburban location. It's no longer a neighborhood that can afford to shop at a nice department store. How can the houses that were once Nice now be Poor? Yeah, I know: white flight and the middle class's rising need for great rooms and atriums, not trim little houses.

Also interesting in Syle: Hotel John Marshall, City Hall.

New Welcome sign, here.



Impulse Buy

I moved a book from the non-fiction shelves to an endcap display the other day. I note that now, for the first time in over two years, someone checked it out. It's called Plane Insanity...; search our catalog, here, to find out about it.

Singing: this

Saturday, December 17, 2005

At Work

For exploration, later: library poetry, here.

Alas, no: we have not got a dictionary of opthalmic terms in Spanish. Medline in Spanish is good, but not that good.

From the Desk of the Children's Librarian:
Email Santa:

Radical Militant Librarians! Brazenly cut-n-pasted from a listserv:

From the amazing Chris Finan's ABFFE newsletter of December 16, 2005: FBI Official Blasts "Radical Militant Librarians" In a related story, the New York Times reported earlier in the week that some FBI officials are eager to make broader use of their power under the PATRIOT Act to search business records. In e-mail messages and other internal documents released by the FBI in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the officials complain that the Justice Department's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review is not approving enough search requests. "While radical militant librarians kick us around, true terrorists benefit from OIPR's failure to let us use the tools given to us," one unidentified FBI official complained. "This should be an OIPR priority!!!" For further details, click here ...."

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Bigfoot book highlighted on boingboing (thanks VJ!).

Knitting *and* Wil Wheaton, here. (Thanks to Steph S., who sent me here first: a blog -- very popular if high comments numbers are a good gauge -- of ugly knitting projects.)

Governor-elect Kaine's inaguration will be in Williamsburg, at the (not original) colonial capitol. Alas, I believe I work that Saturday.

Capital City weather: cold, cold rain

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

At Ukrop's: Ms. S., my old landlady; "Run, Run Rudolph" on the Muzak.

Capital City weather: Yesterday - pretty cold, with that winter-in-Virginia gray sky. We took a drive through east Henrico, New Kent, and Charles City Counties to enjoy the browns and grays of a southern December day. We spotted old houses, mistletoe in oak trees, 6 manger scenes (including the one in front of Samaria Church) and some snow left from last Monday's little storm. Today: clear and colder.

On my desk: an article on Sharon Indian School to revise per the editor; Urquhart's Place paperwork; Christmas shopping list.

Reading: old New Yorkers

Monday, December 05, 2005

I Owe Someone a Dollar

I can't remember if I made the bet with Mom or Dad, but yesterday, when we were at the farm in 60+ degree weather, I asserted "there's no way it's going to snow tomorrow." When we woke up to snow this morning, I figured it wouldn't last. It snowed all day, accumulating on cars right away, but not on the ground, much, until recently. It's too deep in the grass at P's apartment for me to walk in without boots.

Click "slide show" here to view pictures courtesy of the TD.

Friday, December 02, 2005


Set aside about 30 minutes and listen to "A Car Talk Christmas Carol," here, while taking virtual scissors to e-snowflakes. Thanks to Steph S. for the awesome links -- she's sure to get something nice in her stocking for sharing!


Yesterday, I spent about two hours at one of the bigger libraries putting special new identification tags in a couple hundred books. We took Fiction, the end of E - FO. Is it bad that at one point my mental count showed that I had seen more movie versions than I had read books? Giant, Bridget Jones's Diary -- and -- bother. That's the trouble with a mental list. I caught up in the Fs, with Faulkner and Fford.

As an "area library," D has much more Faulkner than NP, but I can never remember what I've read. As an area library, there was more of everything: Jonathan Franzen's first(?) book, The Twenty-seventh City, for example.


Okay, time to stop writing, and start baking!

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I spent last week with P and the Pre-teen in Marietta, Georgia, home to The Big Chicken, Kennesaw Mountain, a pretty good town and local history museum, and a yuppified town square.

On Tuesday, in fading winter sunlight, we waded through rush hour traffic, listening to Christmas music on the local Lite station, and found the right exit. By the time we scooted up the main suburban strip, it was dark, and we were having trouble finding the street sign. "What on earth?! . . . ." - "Is that a chicken on the horizon?" At our turn?! Why don't our directions say Turn Left at the big chicken!? I actually felt glad for the red light, so I could study it and decide if it was genuine -- real, mid-century roadside art. I thought that the Kentucky Fried facing was new, but the bones, so to speak, and chicken itself old. It is. The town is quiet proud of it, and framed articles in the restaurant document more than one restoration operation.

Visiting the shops on the square and the chicken were the main business of Wednesday for P & me.

Thursday found the three of us climbing the mountain (I admit that I was the most reluctant) in a chilly, stiff wind. The view on the clear afternoon was worth it. Many other people were there -- though the park was closed -- representing a happy cross-section of races and ages and fitnesses. With such a fine calorie-burning accomplishment under the belt, we were ready for a meal with 2 kinds of turkey, 2 kinds of stuffing, and 5 pies.

Online Advent Calendar I like, here.
Today is both World AIDS Day, and National Pie Day; National Cookie Day is the 4th.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Around the Commonwealth

Vote here for the design for new "Welcome to Virginia" signs. Do note that keeping the same sign, because it's always been that way, is a choice.

That wacky marketplace known as the Bizarre Bazaar is this weekend.

The "Grand Illumination" -- aka plugging in of the light-up deer -- takes place this Friday, along with activities at the 17th Street Market, Shockoe Slip, and Train Station.

The Fan District Association's House Tours are December 10 and 11. Houses featured this year are in the lower Fan, between Floyd and Monument Avenues.

At Ukrop's: Alex, Greta, and Ceci. . . .
Capital City weather: clear and mild
At NP: A surprise visit from CB

Thursday, November 17, 2005

To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem. This week I have been summarizing the summaries of books selected by our book club for the year to come. It's fun 'cause I haven't read most of 'em!

Reading: Japer Fforde, The Big Over Easy - delightful, as is all of his writing, if a bit more heavy handed thans the Thursday Next books. And, Tom DeHaven, Dugan Under Ground.

Capital City weather: cold; 30s overnight. Yay.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Breaking News

No sign of a blog from CNB, yet, but P has started one, on the fringe, as it were.

On the Musak at Ukrop's
: "Voices Carry"
Everybody Talks About the Weather

What with one thing and another, I don't read Lileks much anymore. I didn't, in fact, get through all of today's post, but what I skimmed made me think it is my duty to mention that it's going to be 75 degrees today. Again. It's normal to think of September as the fourth month of summer; it wasn't odd that much of October was mild (except the weekend I went camping? Nah, it wasn't that bad.); but, really, 70s for most of November??

At least the leaves settled into changing long about October 28. Sometimes it seems that those four years in New England shaped my ideas about fall more than they should: why else would I believe that the leaves should begin changing closer to October 1? Despite pointedly taking walks in the woods, my vote for best autumn display may go for some trees along 64, between Phil's house and mine. Nah, we got some award-winning sun-through-yellow leaves at Henricus; the highway will have to be runner-up.

Settled In?

I must really have settled in to the new job: my definition of a kooky patron has become more stringent. As we left last night, R looked up and said, Yeah, full moon; that explains it.

I said, Hunh, I don't think I had anyone that zany.

What! Said T. Did you forget Loud Cell Phone Girl?!

Oh, yeah. As I returned from helping someone in non-fiction, I changed my tact to intercept a 20ish young woman headed to the Ref Desk, all but shouting into her phone. Several feet from the desk, I said my usual quiet-but-firm, "I'm sorry, m'am, but we ask that people have phone conversations outside of the library." She replied, doubling my volume, "Yeah, I gotta do this," and stepped up to the desk, asking her phone, "So six o'clock?"

"Outside of the library, please." I insisted, taking my place of authority behind the desk.

"I gotta find out what time she wants." She conferred on the phone again about days and times and hung up. I may have been guilty of making a pursed-lips-librarian face.

I got out the room reservation book, and in a lower voice than usual explained to her about the size of our meeting rooms, use by non-profit groups, etc. The odd thing was -- or maybe it wasn't? -- was that she continued to talk loudly about reserving the room.

Maybe she's always a loud-talker. Obviously, she's immune to subtle hints such as my lowering my voice in order to model to her expected behavior. Whatever her deal, no, she wasn't all that zany.

Shout out to CNB for the hospitality of showing us her new bumblebee house and hometown, and Frederick, Md., too. Also, a dose of peer pressure: Sure! Start a blog! Right here. Everybody does it.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Trailers for books! One for Alex Rider's new book, here.

Also, kooky take on To Kill a Mocking Bird, here.

This weekend: 20% off at my antiques mall, Broad at Staples Mill, behind the Holiday Inn. But we'll be in Maryland.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bright Morning Over Virginia

Dare I say I feel downright optimistic this morning, knowing that Tim Kaine is our new governor?

This is where to go to check election results by locality, to see if your neighbors voted like you did.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hot damn. I reckon there's a house in the Northside -- no cable, though -- that's going to be available for rent for four years if you're interested.

Monday, November 07, 2005

A la Libetiquette I would like to say:

By all means, take all four major daily papers to which we subscribe to your own special table, to pore over all morning. And the 6 periodical titles (8, 10 items?) I picked up from your table, too? I'm sure no one else comes to our library to read those. Make yourself at home. Oh! I see your shoes are off, so you did.

Election Day

Please go vote tomorrow. My fellow Richmonders, check your polling place here, and note, too, the links to check on the names of all your current representatives, what we're voting on tomorrow, and to learn about our new voting machines.

Similar info for suburbanites:
Chesterfield County Registrar, here.
Henrico County Registrar, here.

Party links:
Democratic Party of Va.
Republican Party, Va.
Independant candidate for Governor, Potts.

Capital City weather: "Fog/Mist" Or, clear and warm, depending where you are.
Reading: Feed

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Walking Through the Woods
With Mistletoe, Poo, and You

... is what I promised Ph. I would call this entry about our Sunday ramble at Dutch Gap. There's a wonderful conservation area with hiking trails adjacent to the reconstruction of the 1611 English town of Henricus.

I am struggling to make this a narrative: it's all impressionistic and snapshot-y. Thus the title, I suppose.

Our morning was chilly, lit by clear, low sunlight.
Red leaves across the pond lit up bright;
Yellow leaves behind us, all aglow.
The fine contrast of loblolly pine needles against bright blue sky.

Quiet -- except . . . is that gunfire? It's so frequent (but distant) that it must be a firing range. Also, boating is permitted, so add some macho motors whizzing by.

We found the bald cyprus -- cyprus knees! -- as promised by both the website and the map provided by the visitors' center. We found that path an excellent scramble, frequented by more critters than we could identify by droppings only. The feathers I found suggest some poo must have been turkey, and, indeed, when I saw something largish moving on the other side of the water, I thought we might spot one. Instead, I found myself suddenly whispering, Oh! Look, a deer.

I did not whisper about the other find, a spay or two of mistletoe in a hardwood tree. ; )

The birding was good:
black & white warbler
mocking bird
great blue heron

Next time, I need a tree book, because many trees I could not name without help. Maybe a wildflower book, too. Also, we agreed we'll pack a lunch next time, so we can stay longer.

Capital City weather: cold nights, but clear days reaching 70
Upcoming event: Friends of Richmond Public Library Book Sale

Monday, October 31, 2005


Happy Founder's Day to my Girl Scout friends! Juliette Gordon Low was born today, in 1860.

My dinner break is almost over: will I wear the fringed jacket to the ref desk?? I am wearing my 50s square dance print skirt and my red cowboy boots, already. . . .

Capital City weather: stunningly clear blue skies, 70 ish.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Things for Which I am Thankful Department: That as a GS volunteer, I get to do only the bits that are fun and important to me. We had a good training session at CK this weekend, despite the October thunderstorm at 6 a.m.!

Nature Moments: barred owls hooting in SH. Bald eagle swooping over tiny field, just past Heathsville (shout out to Draco for spotting it).

Frequent Flyers, Please Note: I turned on the function that will ask you to prove you are a human, and not a webbot comment spammer, by typing in the letters that you see at a certain point. Accept my apologies for that tedious red tape, but it's a great disappointment to me to think I have had many people read and comment, and then find stupid ads.

Friday, October 21, 2005

It's True: You Are Better off Playing Solitaire.

The folks at Librarian's Guide to Etiquette bring it up in this post in the context of "don't waste time doing that newsletter: no one will read it."

I've often thought the same thing in a different context. You are better off playing solitaire because if you sit here at the reference desk doing any of the following, some wit will come up and say, "Ha, I wish I could get paid to sit around and read." This implication that you are goofing off will be thrown at you even if you are:
  • keeping up on professional trends with Library Journal
  • reading the NY Times Book Review
  • plowing through this month's book discussion group (for which you must formulate inviting, stimulating, but not overly-intimidating questions)
  • cruising through the latest YA novel so you can truly know "what's in there" when some outraged parent asks
  • or keeping in tune with community needs and trends by pursing the local paper
So you have a couple of choices: read the local paper, NYTBR, and LJ online -- or play solitaire, or read library blogs. Because people think key-tapping and screen-gazing equal work. No one ever comes up and says, "I wish I could get paid to do unseen things at a computer screen all day."

Capital City weather: rainy and 60s
Reading: Carl Hiaasen's Flush
Guest Blogger: Traveling Pants

CNB e-mailed to tell me about the pants she just bought (and later granted permission to share this with you all):

Can I just say that I'm fascinated with the whole idea of package tracking.

I ordered a pair of pants from Lands End the other day and they've sent me both confirmation and shipment info emails detailing for me everything I need to know about a single pair of pants. I just checked the link to the UPS site to see where my pants were, and tracked the pants from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania to Maryland. At 3:30 AM these pants were in PA, and at 5:30, when I woke up, they were arriving in MD. According to the web page the pants have already been delivered to my house.

I know this is probably really boring, but I find it fascinating and can't get over how incredible the whole system is. . . . It's like my pants are the special ambassadors from Trouserland or something, and they must be tracked for fear of offending the tribal overlords or something.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Tuesday on the Reference Desk

Sometimes my weeknights working until 9 p.m. are full of fun stuff: homework, readers' advisory, do-able computer support, or helping folks begin household projects from aquariums to patios. This week, NP's been packed, but no one really needed us. And yes, I got out from behind the desk to push in chairs, pick up abandoned books, and randomly ask "did you find what you needed?"

The most interesting reference query came at the end of the evening, from a woman who spent her first few hours at the library pouring over our Bibles, a Bible concordance, and related reference books. At one point, I spent maybe 3 min helping her use the copier. Then, at half an hour til closing, she asked for a book on sumo. Well, we didn't have much: a children's encyclopedia of sports around the world had a picture and brief explanation; I also offered the books kids use for reports on other countries. As the patron packed up, I brought her a printout from a Japanese sumo match organization's information page. She thanked me, adding, "My sermon Sunday is going to begin with a sumo match." Well all right.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fresh Links

Words invented for Simpsons episodes, here. "Kwyjibo" is my favorite.

I like this trick, from Extreme Pumpkins, to ensure that kids about 15+ get a box of raisins instead of my carefully-chosen treats. Even if I just had separate bowls (since it's hard to send people round-about when you live in a rowhouse), I don't think I could gyp the teens since they are often with, or on the heels, of tots. Anyway, I work Halloween night this year. Query: Which annoys you more: a 17-year-old on the make for Snickers bars, or a mother with babe-in-arms and a sack to collect "for the baby"?

Okay, this is just an excuse to link to A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette. I am pretty sure it wasn't polite of me to keep repeating to the patron on the phone, "We're on X Road, between Y and Z." If the first two repetitions made her say, "Near the community college?", then for me to say it again the same way -- "No between Y and Z; beyond the community college" -- wasn't going to make it better. Note to self: Do Better.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The librarian who founded this blog stated in Library Journal (October 1, 2005, p. 40) that its initial purpose was to '''replace the somewhat annoying reference binder.'" To which I say: amen, sister. I wonder, though, if she strayed from her initial purpose? Must read closer.

Another good librarian blog is called The Vampire Librarian. Here's one on the Harry Potter Generation.

Shout out to CNB for this DIY site; tag line: "No Tea Cozies without Irony."

My sweetie and I marked 4 months since our first date by buying matching Chuck Taylor hightops. ;- )

Friday, October 14, 2005

The National Zoo's panda cub will be named Monday, but he won't be out and about until December or so. That's okay; winter is a great time to go to the zoo. July, when I would insist on the zoo as a birthday outing, is not such a great time. Unless you like hills, humidity, and humanity.

Capital City weather: clearing after a week of rain; cool

Monday, October 10, 2005


Like this guy, Phil and I found Jones Soda's Candy Corn flavor pretty gross. Caramel Apple was not as close as I hoped to Slice's experimental apple flavor that I drank like crazy during the year or so it was out, way back in the '80s -- but it's not bad. P said the 11 year-old didn't think much of Candy Corn, either.

Rainy Saturday at the Library
T joked that it would be a slow day -- that no one would leave their houses in the rain -- but we were hopping all day long.

I'd like to take a moment to offer future public and school librarians a phrase to memorize. Repeat after me: "We probably don't have a book just about ____, but I bet we can find some information." And then you go on to all that Reference Class stuff about The Reference Interview and ask about the project, whether they checked the encyclopedia, and if teacher is allowing online resources. On Saturday, folks came up to ask if we had a book on: yeast, badgers, the Transcontinental Railroad, some current football player, and Malcolm X. We do have several whole books on the last. It seems it's just natural for people to begin their query "Do you have a book..." without considering their topic may not merit a whole book in their small neighborhood library.

As well as homework help, I did some computer 101, some computer trouble-shooting, and a tiny bit of reader's advisory. I'm still not so good at that.

Plain Folk
We (and dozens of folks we know) made it to the Folk Festival on Sunday. Friends who went Friday and Saturday, when it rained and rained, talked excitedly about performances they enjoyed, but didn't mention the crowd size. Driving by the 7th Street exit Friday night, right before the event was to begin, I noted a lone police car, ready to direct traffic, and two Official Volunteers in golf cart -- and that was it. My stomach kinda dropped: Oh, no, poor Richmond, looking pathetic through no fault of it's own.

Sunday, the crowds seemed healthy, especially for big-name acts like Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars and Ralph Stanley. We had lunch near the latter's stage. I very much enjoyed the Cambodian dancers: shiny costumes and stylized movements used to tell a simple melodramatic tell. Plus, two dancers played monkeys. We took in Eskimo, Cowboy, and Tibetan music, too.

On the Muzak at an East Henrico Ukrop's: "I Love Rock and Roll," and "Boy Meets Girl"

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Cool Events

The National Folk Festival begins its three-year run in Capital City this weekend.

The Virginia Film Festival includes Inherit the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Weather: not cool -- warm and humid

Monday, October 03, 2005

Along the James

A couple of Sundays ago, P and I did a little antiquing out Tappahannock way. Nadji Nook is as random -- and mostly over-priced -- as ever. I had forgotten about the used book and comix store on Prince Street, next to WRAR; we got a few things there. At the antiques mall (in the old Rose's I believe), he bought an excellent framed photo of the James and the Lee Bridge, from the southside, marked 1962. A trip south of the river yesterday solidified our opinion that it was taken from the roof of that c. 1962 apartment building, James River Tower, I think it is called.

We walked across the rocks to Belle Isle, zigged up the hill by the quarry, and recrossed the river on the old train bridge (also in his photo). Though it was midday, we spotted some good birds, including goldfinches and cormorants. Crossing the bridge, however, we had our best nature moment: in the clear, shallow pools on that rocky side, we watched some fish, including the unmistakably odd longnose gar fish.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tonight: Davy & Peter Rothbart, the FOUND Magazine guys, speak at the Firehouse Theater.

And in honor of the program, two found items on computer-side scrap paper:

Id psy101
pas Freud


Monday, September 26, 2005

Things I Observed in Pittsburgh

  • Man-clogs are very popular there.
  • Flip-flops are as ubiquitous as here. Some people think they are okay apparel for a wedding.
  • Major league cities take their major league teams seriously, and so citizens talk sports way more than in my minor league town.
  • Some people don't get that others' faiths are important to said others and distinct from that of said Some People.

Also Note: Mitch has posted wedding pix that a couple of us took using her camera this weekend.

On the Muzak at Ukrop's: "Come Dancing" (Kinks).

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

One of my early history geeking-out moments was in the periodicals stacks of the library at Mount Holyoke: the neatly-bound complete run of The New Yorker took my breath away. So much good writing! So much history to glean from the ads! So much to consider in terms of what was included and what was not!

Now, it seems, I can have the intellectual experience and content in digital form. But what of the tactile experience? I wonder if old magazines are as wonderful without the smell of old paper? (Thanks to PF - who also takes my breath away - for the link.)

In other news, Mitch's wedding is this weekend!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Very interesting article on Katrina and social psychological issues such as misperceived risk, hindsight bias, and blaming the victim -- here (University of Richmond).

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Scrap Poetry 2

1 517 3


Happy 4th Birthday NP! No official celebration . . . just the destruction of the jigsaw puzzles rack, some running around by a four-year-old, a J paperback book scavenger hunt, a good question a about hiking books, an odd question about a book on tools, and a fav clueless computer user.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005

One of the most important books I ever read was a collection of John McPhee pieces called The Control of Nature. The New Yorker has posted "Atchafalaya," here. It's about why building levees just invites trouble later on.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Often, the scrap paper abandoned by patrons leans to the poetic. One scrap is at home, awaiting posting; here's today's [as found with capitals, etc.]:

shape change
sonic Boom

Random compliment, from picking up the Library Answer Line, while at TU yesterday: "Thank you, you're really on the ball."

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

In library school, we explored the reference interview. We read about understanding gaps to be bridged and phases of inquiry. We practiced using open-ended questions and statements such as, "Tell me more about what you mean by 19th century mountain lions." We addressed the fact that people with questions don't always know what the question is, themselves, as when a school paper topic is too broad or vague. But I do not remember practicing how to deal with people who, perhaps, are trying to be evasive, as the woman with the movie in this Libraries for Dummies post. Or people who are just not very articulate, whether for lack of education, shyness, or mental disability. Yesterday, we had a patron treat at least two of us to a long, complicated tirade -- complete with digressions into the family situation -- that seemed to boil down to this: Someone in the household put book x on hold; the message that it was at NP didn't get passed along; is it back on the regular shelf now so I can check it out? Why yes, yes it is. Only, of course, the online catalog said "on shelf," but really, it was on a cart in back waiting to be shelved.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Check out Libraries for Dummies, a site where a 21st Century Librarian blows off a little steam on the subject of public library work. Apparently, she's had some recent negative feedback about her negative outlook. I think that if we all understand that we are just blowing off steam -- that we don't really hate all of human kind -- it's okay to gripe about the characters encountered on the bumpy, winding road of customer service work.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Lunch with an Old Friend

I need to complete a project, so I am at the Library of Virginia at the moment, researching and trying to write. Alas, I didn't make plans to meet anyone who works here or nearby -- but I do note an old friend in the vitrine here in the cafe area: the 1785 model of the State Capitol. Removed from the Capitol itself during the current rennovations, it sits right here on the other side of Broad Street among cafe tables styrofoam cups of coffee, wireless internet access, and chicken salad sandwhiches.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Interesting world view: Avant Game: a minor statement on avant gaming. I got to this site because I read,for the second time, about the game to move 1984 from Fiction to True Crime, History, whatever, in bookstores. (Oh, I see, she's an organizer. Must read more.) I wonder why stores and not libraries?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Now that I have read the article I mention below, from The Washington Times, America's Newspaper, I will draw your attention to Marty's sound bite: "Today's librarians must be 'more nimble and flexible' than in the past, says Martha Hale, dean of Catholic's school. The word science in the school's title never was more valid because, in Ms. Hale's words, '[Today's librarians] solve problems. It's the way they think of themselves on the job.' Innovative technology forces them to be alert to new methods of acquiring and dispersing information, she adds. "

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I'll link you to the DDC blog on a feature item on library schools in metro D.C., since I like his comments.

Reading: The Twenty-one Balloons, by William Pene du Bois. Sure, it's a "J," not "YA" book, but it's about Krakatoa . . . sort of.

Friday, August 19, 2005


70s stickers: I totally had some of the same ones!

Book vending machine, here.

While a Deluxe Nancy Pearl Action Figure is very cool, one of our minority colleagues propses other ideas. By the way, I rarely actually raise a finger to my lips in that "shush" gesture -- but one of those few times was just the other evening when a boy of 10 or so got so into the online song and/or video before him (and in his computer's headphones) that he started singing along. Whether he looked at me while singing just for a reaction, I don't know, but when he did, I just made The Gesture. A reflex, not doubt. Instantly, he stopped singing. In contrast, when I walk over to folks and say "I don't think you realize that we can here you at the other end of the building; please keep it down," I raise noise, muttering, and laughter. Maybe The Shush is not all bad.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

On the Way Home from the Y
1) It's darkish at 8:30. Goodbye, summer.
2) Is there an art gallery in a store that used to sell bathroom fixtures? When did that happen?
3) Another trendy bar is moving into the old Seigel's (sp?) grocery, across from the Fan Thrift. Could it really be called the "Martini Kitchen and Bubble Bar"? Maybe my memory is bad.

I led a pretty lively book discussion at work Monday: Simon Winchester's Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded.

I am most of the way through the odd, the diverting The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse, by Robert Rankin.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Cool link: the ConsumerReports.org - Vintage photo gallery features smallish pictures and excellent excerpts from what the Consumer Reports experts thought about record changers, nylon shirts, plastic plates, and a wealth of other cool products!
In the News

Whew, for once, it's a county, not the City, being embarrassing. Read about the mad rush for cheap, torn-up laptops here or here.

On the Muzak at Ukrop's: 99 Luftballons
Capital City Weather: not-as-hot, fixin' to rain

Friday, August 12, 2005

I'm a Believer

Yesterday, a cataloger entered the "one billionth holding record in the WorldCat database." Click here to see what the book's about.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Knowledge Economy

Barack Obama spoke at the American Library Association meeting this summer. Somewhere (Library Journal, perhaps?) I saw criticism of some of the high-profile speakers -- that they just "give us what we want to hear" and offer nothing challenging. Someone did assert that that is what conferences are for: to reaffirm professionals in what they do. When I went to American Camping Association conferences, I certainly felt that, and enjoyed the feeling. The GSUSA National Council Session I attended did feel a little too rah-rah, but the Girl Scouts does that, sometimes.

Anyway, Obama's remarks appear in the Aug 2005 issue of American Libraries; a train of thought I applauded might be summarized with these two snippets:

... literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy that we are living in today.

Over the next 10 years, the average literacy required for all American occupations is projected to rise by 14%. ... The kind of literacy necessary for the 21st century requires detailed understanding and complex comprehension.

In other news, P and I spent an awesome weekend at Natural Bridge. Though 1960s colonial revival, I totally dug the Natural Bridge Hotel with it's quiet lobby with a few simple antiques, a cabinet full of archival tidbits about the hotel, and a smashing array of prints of Natural Bridge itself. Breakfast in the Colonial Dining Room meant a buffet -- I had my annual serving of grits -- genteel service, and an atmosphere not unlike the Miller & Rhodes Tea Room, except that the view was mountainous, not urban.

The Bridge itself remains, of course, one of the 7 Wonders of the Natural World. We lingered there and strolled all the way to the Lace Falls on Sunday. But wait! That's not all! The Natural Bridge Caverns describe themselves as the deepest commercial caverns on the east coast. I felt amazed when we stood at the bottom of a giant crevice looking up 300-whatever feet -- a split in the earth torn apart by an earthquake. Damn.

As if that wasn't enough, there's a Wax Museum, too. Pictures are forth-coming.

Friday, August 05, 2005

ComedySportz Improv Theatre Richmond did a great YA program for us last night, with a 30-second (then 15, then 7...) version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer 's Stone, a sound symphony, "What are you doing?" and other wacky improv games. The 50 teens (and 7 or 9 adults and tots who snuck in) enjoyed it, and -- oh yeah! -- that's about twice as many people as the other area libraries got!! Not that it's a contest.
NY Deli link here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Sad News

...in the new issue of Style (not yet online): the New York Deli will close August 30! Oh how I weep for the loss of Sunday breakfasts with girl friends, pre-Byrd Italian subs, and a walking-distance source for Dr. Brown's sodas and Route 11 potato chips!
A YA author's New York Times Op-Ed piece that warns against age labels for teen lit and calls for publishers to move Young Adult books out of their children's divisions. It reminded me of something I learned reading VOYA: YA is not about how advanced a reader your little darling is, it's about content. That steamy teen romance may well be written with vocabulary words a 4th grader will know, but the situations speak to, or are aimed at, 15 year-olds.

On the Muzak at Ukrop's: "Come on Eileen" and "Life in a Northern Town."

Friday, July 29, 2005

Of blogging about work, the Times says At Your Own Risk. (Thanks CB for the link.)

Of the possibility of my teaching a teen workshop at my work on blogging, the key people have said, basically, We like the idea, but there's a lot we need to look at. Which is what I expected.

Old News
A week ago, P and I enjoyed a day in that other Capital City, visiting Teaism, the Hirshhorn, the Sackler-Freer (including of course that gilded Age masterpiece, the Peacock Room).

At the Hirshhorn, I totally dug the c. 1930 moving pictures included in the exhibition Visual Music. I am sure it's an obvious observation, but Disney borrowed or stole from those works when creating Fantasia (1940). Some of the films in the museum were simple animation, playing with shape and a few colors, but some with lines and music were very similar to the first piece in Fantasia. They also (BLH) made me think of the movie we saw in January '04 -- the decaying movies. The similarity lies in how the movies lack clear, familiar figures and plot, yet I found myself imposing at lease a tone on them -- a sense of menace in both cases.

And as if that wasn't enough, we watched the Nationals beat the Astros, 4-2!

Capital City weather: three clear, clear days around 100, followed by a handful of days in the 80s, though muggy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Get Out

According to the National Wildlife Federation,

By the time they are seven years old, most youngsters have been exposed to
more than 20,000 advertisements. They can identify 200 corporate logos, but they
cannot identify the trees growing in their front yards.

Learn more here.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Double shout out to Maggi -- first, congrats on your new home! Second, thanks for bringing this online collection of series novels to my attention: Library Career Romances!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Hey! Some varieties of marsh mallows grow in Virginia! They bloom pink and white this time of year. I did not know they were connected to sugary treats. Boing Boing knew. That means that early marshmallows were vegetarian-friendly.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

...reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince today. The death in 4 (or was it 5?) made me way weepier than this one. I was surprised by who the Half-Blood Prince turned out to be.

So the question is: will I start reading all the "HP6-spoiler" messages on my YA listserv, or will they be too fan-geeky for me? I guess it depends on how busy NP is tomorrow. I do have a set of 70-some non-fiction YA books to consider and select, and a 200s cart (i.e., shopping list for all branches) to create. Plus, you know, people need help working their e-mail and finding books and stuff.

I feel like I had at least 2 cool reference transactions today, but at the moment, I remember only the woman with a Zane book in hand. She wants to be a writer. Most of the so-you-want-to-be-a-writer books are at area (bigger) libraries, but I set her up with a grammar book, thesaurus, and a book on writing.

Capital City weather: hot; thunderstorm
On the Muzak at Ukrop's: "Louie Louie"

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Testing. . .

. . . access to Blogger.com from filtered computers. Seems okay.

In HP news, did I tell y'all we still had one (of 14) book copies at the end of the day Saturday? The 2 cassette and 2 CD audio book copies went fast.

Capital City weather: hot.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Let's see, what's my source, here? Ah, The Guardian -- the English paper is running hypothetical Dumbledore death scenes, in the style of various authors. So far, I like Milne best. The Adams isn't bad.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

More Birthday

So I went to the bank to cash the check the City sent me for my morning of jury duty, and I tossed my license into the drive-through container -- because they don't really know me at this new, near-work branch. And when the teller sent the box back, she wished me a happy birthday!

Also, we had cake at NP.
Not That It's a Race

... but I was pleasantly startled to see that my first birthday card came from CNB, the originator of Birthday Week (or does she celebrate Birthday Month?)!

Details remain elusive on the fire at Lovings last night. Meanwhile, how many restaurants will have to serve canned vegetables this weekend??

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Oh dear, channel 35 news says it's Lovings' Produce that's on fire. For a fleeting second, as I went by on the highway, I thought a steam engine had pulled into Main Street Station.

Though a little on again-off again, Camp had a long-term relationship with Lovings. And they totally hooked me up with zillions of pumpkins for that wretched Autumn Adventure thing. Their candy-colored trucks -- they lost most of them in the flood last August -- always made me smile.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

All Star

It's 82 degrees at 10 til 10 p.m. The good news is that the air conditioning at NP works again. It had to get to 92 degrees inside, yesterday, before someone decided we should close. Today, it's at full strength, driving me to pull on a sweater -- but after how unpleasant it was Monday, I vowed to refrain from complaining about it being too cold in there for, like, a week.

In other good news: the All Star game is on and I have chocolate chip brownies.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Birthday Week Continues: Day Trippers

Something I always praise my folks for is raising me to believe in the Day Trip. Sometimes they will say we took day trips as a young family because money was tight and national parks and whatnot are free or cheap. One plot twist they recently revealed was that when they (we) were just starting out, Dad's folks were paying the gasoline credit card bill, so climbing in the white Ponitac made good sense. Whatever the reason, I have tons of (sometimes sketchy, admittedly) fond memories of trips to the National Zoo, Luray, countless battlefields, antiquing trips, Charlottesville, etc., etc.

My late 90s Civic is certainly smaller than that early 70s "midsized" car, nonetheless, it handled not only the baseball roadtrip below, but also a Saturday trip to Jamestowne, with my reprint edition of the WPA guide for Virginia in hand. Yup, serious history geeking-out with P and H. For those of you playing at home, see page 628; for the rest of you:
State 5 parallels the north bank of the James River through woodland and crosses the Chickahominy. The route is exceptionally beautiful, particularly in season when heavy foliage frames its ever-changing vistas. It traverses some of the oldest plantations of Anglo-America.

As true today as during the Depression. P read for us -- Revolutionary and Civil War tidbits, and about the homes of Declaration of Independence signer Benjamin Harrison and President John Tyler. Meanwhile, H burst into the most random song snippets, and I was birdwatching (only, all I saw were cardinals, flying up out of the roadside gravel).

We wandered around the Jamestowne site for a couple of hours. Not the re-creation, but the site of the 17th century town -- at least, what the James River left us of it. A few monuments and markers from the Jamestown 1907 Exposition remain, as does the church tower, with its c. 1906 rebuilt chapel. Also 100 years ago, they built brick outlines of foundations of buildings identified at that time. Recent archaeology reveals the post-holes of the palisade.

It was a hot day --but not the hottest day I ever spent there (that distinction goes to a trip made with fellow Val staffers) -- and that always make me ask: what on earth were they thinking? Humid and low-lying land, and what must have been serious forest undergrowth, surely made for an unlikely spot to build a town -- or city. And yet they built a couple of sets of brick rowhouses! (LoC has some broken links. It looks like there ought to be a HABS drawing online, but I can't get to it.) Right on the river, we got a bit of a breeze, and a display of osprey fishing. Thanks fo the shop manager for loaning his very own binoculars!

For the return trip, we boarded the Jamestown-Scotland ferry (we took the "Surry," built 1979, I see) and then wandered over to U.S. 460. Obviously, that meant dinner at the Virginia Diner. (Oh brave new world that allows that to be hyperlink! A stop for rural townies and midcentury travellers now has a web presence.) Duh Moment of the day: those fields that don't have corn or soybeans must host peanut plants!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Birthday Week Begins

Not ones to be cowed by media hype over weather, or national security threats, John, Charlie, and I took to the road to celebrate C's and my impending birthday. Though roadblocks were thrown up -- bad traffic on 95 caused by a bad southbound accident involving a fertilizer truck near Massaponax; we didn't really get to RFK the most efficient way; we had to play a crap-shoot game to wait for seats to the sellout Nationals-Mets game to be "released" -- we had a swell time!

The game, a nice example of small ball, included a nifty double-play involving a throw out to home (guys, help me describe it right) and Nats pitcher Armas hitting safely to first (ah! the National League!). I made rather a mess of my scorecard, so here's MLB's box score. We had outstanding seats -- thanks John! -- on the 3rd base side, and were in place in time for the national anthem.

With 95 southbound still closed at 8 or so when we reached Quantico, we slipped over to Route 1. After three and a half hours, a startling number of Avril Lavigne songs, and only one bathroom break, we reached Mulberry Street, just as buckets of rain dumped down. I hope you guys had a nice swim to your cars, an uneventful drive home!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Geeking Out

Where to classify works on blogging, you ask? So does this librarian blogger, right here!

Drifting around looking for different blogs to read, I found this via Laurabelle, whom I read on occasion. I think Charlie is right: I need to take off the link that says where I work if I want to feel better about telling goofy little patron tales. And I do want to tell more, 'cause they're fun to tell. I'm just still so smitten with having a job I like, that I like just seeing the North Park link over there on the right.

Sette (on 23rd - just north of Main -- important instructions I wish I had paid attention to yesterday so we wouldn't have had to wander so much) does indeed have good pizza, and a waitress who -- for a hipster place -- was very nice to the 11-year-old.

As well as the restaurant review, which was tougher than Mom & Dad's review, Style had a great back page item on Summer Heat, Get Over It -- a favorite theme of mine. I drove up 301 to work the other day -- because I had time after my World Cup breakfast and because it's a nice change -- and just giggled with delight that I am not in charge of summer camps any more. I never again have to have inane conversations about how my counselors are cruelly forcing children to drink water, or about how Jim Duncan said it will be too hot to breathe, today, so please keep my-little-darling in the air conditioning. Yeah, lady, her and all 100 other people on the property are going to fit in the tiny day camp office.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Shout out to Mom for listening to public radio this afternoon and catching our old buddy John on Fresh Air (about 19 minutes). Terry Gross sounds very perfunctory, very suspicious. Shame on her.
Bestseller Lists , compiled from Publisher's Weekly lists. Valley of the Dolls topped the list the year I was born.

We had quite a good thunderstorm this morning around 4. I reset the bedside clock immediately. I forgot that a flicker to the power shuts down the window a/c unit entirely. I sat here in humid stillness thinking, That thing will click on any second, now. Be patient. Don't mess with it. (What's the emoticon for rolling eyes at one self?)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Last Time

This morning I went to the house I grew up in for the last time. Mom and Dad and I jammed the dining room rug into the Explorer to take to Mercer, for cleaning. Movers picked up the furniture a week ago. The rooms look huge, having been emptied of 30-years' accumulation of stuff. The windows are so tiny, though, compared to mine. Silly colonial revival!

I didn't really tour the house, just wandered through until I found Mom gathering a few stray things in the bathroom. The bathroom -- the other one, the sib's and mine -- is one of the first things I remember from touring the new, empty house. Being 5 or so, of course I had to use it. There were no curtains, and the trees were skinny so I could see Robious Road easily -- I felt way too exposed. Of course, it was still a lonely, windy road in the early 70s. No one was looking.
Back downstairs to putz around with the rug. It kinda go stuck in the back door, so I dashed out the front door to come around and pull: a last dash through the sprinkler. While the folks debated finer points of stuffing the rug in the car, I idly pulled my last few weeds from that garden. NOT from the freakin driveway, though.

I made my last left turn out of the driveway a couple of years ago, before they widened Robious to four lanes, divided. Today I took a right and then a U-turn, without looking back.

I made my last phone call to that number about 25 minutes later, just as Dad did find Mercer, making Mom's advice unnecessary. (She seemed to have gone on to Bon Air Library, anyway.)
What did I read at breakfast time while Dan was between computers? At the Marble Bar today, back alley wanderings.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Slate article, here, in which author whines about YA "problem novels" assigned over, say, Moby-Dick. It's a classic struggle between Literature and What (Young) People Will Read.

In ligther news, according to the ABC permit applied-for sign on the window, it looks like Mom's Siam is moving to Cary and Colonial -- where Christopher's / Lucy's was.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Random Fan Thoughts

Why aren't Richmonders good gardeners? On a walk from here to the Video Fan on Sunday (35 min. round trip, at a stroll) I saw perhaps 2 really nice front gardens -- everything else looks unbalanced, plopped in for the season, neglected, or overgrown.

Estate sale today: damn. It was of those great city houses I forget still exist since so many I enter are newly over-decorated house-tour gems, or the houses of friends-of-friends who have something akin to the same quirky tastes as me. Empire and Victorian furniture, oil paintings, Maxfield Parrish prints, Cape Cod glass, oriental rugs, wallpaper spanning 60s-80s, cheap faux wood paneling in a bedroom, Barbie & Ken of my era, also a "Timey Tell" for $25 (! I don't think mine was in such good condition). I bought an aqua hand mixer. The back garden seemed narrower than mine, stuffed with azalea and boxwood. From the alley, it's clear than many of those expensive houses (was I on Stuart or Hanover?) have crappy back yards. I wondered if one house was abandoned or a rental, the yard was so overgrown. Many serve as parking spots instead of gardens.

Capital City weather: goregous blue sky, 80ish

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I wish I had thought to call my blog the Carpetbagger Report! Nah, this person write about politics, which is all the better. See The Carpetbagger Report > Print > Good news, bad news on the lynching apology, for instance. Probably it's a rhetorical question, but the answer to the query in the last paragraph is "expediency."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Another thing I do at work is collect boxes. As leasebook manager, I help the boss select best sellers to lease, I stow the boxes in which Baker & Taylor sends the books to us, and when interest in older titles has waned, I pack them up in those boxes for return shipping. When I arrived, the waiting boxes had been flung against the wall behind my cublicle. As a neat freak, I started folding the flaps, putting small boxes in larger ones, and stacking them neatly in the nook between a place where the outside wall bumps out and a bookshelf. Ideally, they don't encroach on the tall, skinny window that's 24-30" from the floor-- I keep the stack low. Yup, I play Tetris with the boxes, lacking the zig-zag and the "L." Speaking of the "L," this is cool: Boing Boing: Real-life Tetris video.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

What I Do for a Living

(1) I read many, many book reviews and blurbs. The company from which we lease best sellers sends a 4 - 6 page booklet of blurbs to help use choose. I try to be very open minded; I know that people like to read the darndest things. But this blurb just took the cake.

First of all, the author goes by the name Candace Camp.
Second of all, the title: An Unexpected Pleasure
Finally, the blurb"Irish-American journalist Megan Mulcaheny goes undercover as a governess . . . to discover if Theo Moreland, the Marquiss of Raine, murdered her brother, but her plan backfires when love blossoms between them, forcing her to choose between her past and her future with Theo."

I mean, come on. What else could she go under cover as but a governess? Take it as given. Of course a marquiss (dictionary.com reports the second "s" is a valid alternate spelling). Of course a the governess falls for the supposed bad guy/boy.

(2) On Friday, I had to call an exterminator for another problem with ants, but I did manage to rescue a skink that slunk into the building. I used a time honored technique of scooping it up on a piece of paper, letting it drop, chasing it with the paper, then finally get a hold of it firmly and yet gently enough to get it to the safety of the bushes.

(3) I read another interview with the Guys Read guy (author of The Stinky Cheese Man, Jon Scieszka). I think it is very fair to compare, as he does, the need for special attention to boys and reading to the targeted efforts to engage more girls in math and science.

(4) Also on Friday, I strung fairy lights, as the Brits call them, around a summer reading display called Light Reading.

(5) Read that Miyazaki's new movie, Howl's Moving Castle, is out, and that it's based on a teen novel by Diana Wynne Jones. I did not watch the trailer, but will as soon as I post this. I hid inside this afternoon to avoid the midday heat and watched Castle in the Sky. The fine folks at the Video Fan made me a list, from memory, of his movies when I said I couldn't remember the name, but I wanted to see more by the Spirited Away guy. Good service is a beautiful thing.

(6) Read professional literature, which can lead to learning too much bad news. On the Censorship Watch page of the June/July issue of American Libraries, I learned that Oklahoma passed a resolution that requires all books with homosexual "themes" to be shelved with adult books. The action stemmed from someone unhappy to have picked up the story book King and King. The other items had to do with the sticky territory of circulating "popular" DVDs, a library that forbade e-mail use by patrons on its computers - but backed off to disallow only chat room use, and whether paper sign in sheets for public computers are public records, open for all to view.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Good News Everybody
You will once more find Dan perched at The Marble Bar.

Oops, Style has yet to post today's issue online. They deliver it to NP on Tuesday evening, most weeks. Since Dan writes about public transportation, I wanted to note that a councilman has plans for yet another revival of (rubber-wheeled) trolley service. I move quickly to the selfish on the issue: can I get to the other end of Carytown, without lots of advanced planning, and cheaply? Some days, the walk all the way out and home seems too long, but using the car seems such a waste. My longer trips (VCU, the Library of Va., and downtown generally) are all easily managed on the regular bus. Also in this week's issue, Garland Pollard uses the Backpage to vent his spleen (articulately) on downtown projects. I'll provide links when I get a chance, or got to Style online yourself.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Yes, it was a good idea to leave the window a/c unit (on "Energy Saver," of course) on when I left for work around noon.

Part of me thought, How hot could it be at 9:20 p.m. on the first 90+ degree day of the summer? Can I afford such a bold move? Luckily, the smarter part replied, It could be durned hot n muggy, especially after spending all day in the North Pole Branch. (In fairness to adorable North Park, today was the 3rd or 4th time I was not too cold at work. . . .) The National Weather Service says it's 84 degrees, with 72% humidity.
In the spirit of being about 5 weeks away from the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (on my birthday), here are mini-bios of men named Harry Potter: Meet The Real Harry Potters, on Abebooks.com.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

I Want to Be - A Dentist
I went to a new dentist yesterday. That's right, I left the practice I had been going to since I was a child: the people who had space in that c1968 building on Monument at Staples Mill, with the steep back stairs so scary to a 7 year-old; one of the first 10 places I learned to drive to by myself as a teenager.

At this new place, there's a computer screen coming out of the chair. Okay, fine, we are looking at my chart together on the screen. Very nice - here's a slide show of soothing scenes instead of the wallpaper poster of a quiet beach. Oh my freakin goodness! She's taking pictures of the inside of my mouth!! Good lord, I didn't know my teeth were so hideous. I knew I needed old fillings replaced -- I did not need to see the holes taking root next to the worn away silver. I believe you, you're a professional! Make it stop! The awareness that I have a mouth full of gaping [tiny] holes made my teeth hurt all day.

To complement that ache, I went out to Midlothian to pack up four or five boxes of kitchen gear, roll up several rugs, put artwork in the Civic, and unload it all again in K&Q County.

Capital City weather: muggy and rainy

Friday, June 03, 2005

Kudos to Steph S, yet again, for directing me to an excellent website: SWAPATORIUM, a well-illustrated blog of thrift store finds and the like. I've often thought of writing a list of interesting things I see junk shopping, but by the time I get home, I've forgotten what I put on my mental list. And now I see, I need a camera to do it well.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Book Talk

A promising "picture book": Retro-Electro

I am savoring Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist.

I am gobbling up Fforde's Lost in a Good Book.

I enjoyed the YA novel Looking for Alaska. It's about boarding school; it's about teen friendships; it's about surviving loss. It's a little like a teen version of The Secret History.

And yes, I am still poking at Everything Is Illuminated. It's not quite terrible enough to not finish. But it's no longer a priority.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Ethics Department

If our book club met, if we already discussed the book (Everything is Illuminated), do I have to finish reading it? Does it matter that I (we) didn't like it? (Too tricksy, too pretentious.)

Sunday, May 29, 2005

About a year ago, the city finished improvements to the Boulevard, from the highway exits by the Diamond to Broad Street. Every now and then, I go that way to get on the highway. I must report that the unsightly diagonal parking spots between traffic lanes have been replaced by weedy, trash-collecting wastelands with a few yellow daylilies stuck in for good measure. In addition, little elbows of white PVC pipe sick out every 8 inches or so; I think they are an irrigation system. I take parking over collections of snack wrappers and cigarette butts any day.

To the garden: I waited to buy annuals for the garden because I kinda thought I had signed an agreement (in November??) to have a tree taken down, and I wanted to wait until those guys did their thing to plant delicate little flowers. Though there is no sign of the tree company (ok, ok, I will call again this week), I planted some impatiens, petunias, and a fuchsia yesterday, and they really do make the back yard look cheerier. The front porch got big pots of zinnias. If they do well, I'll have flowers for the house, too.
[Blogger's spellcheck doesn't know any flower names! That must make it hard on people who keep online garden journals.]

To the other website: Taken: Camp names on license plates.

At work, June 1 marks the launch of published behavior expectations for patrons: words that make it clear staff can ask you to take your cell phone outside, watch your own child, and quit enjoying pictures "harmful to minors" on that first computer screen that everyone walks by when they enter the building. I hear that some colleagues don't like even asking people to get off the phone, forget the tougher requests, and are very reluctant to enter this new world of creating "an environment friendly to all." Obviously, I worked as a camp counselor for too long: I don't think twice about asking people to get off the phone or shout less.

Capital City weather: sunny, breezy, heading up to 80

Sunday, May 22, 2005

It's a Boy!

My second nephew arrived last -- er, this morning, around half-past midnight. He was born at home (as planned). I think his 'rents are going with Timothy Brian, but I was tooooo sleeeepy to take it all in. Martin was not sleepy and kept Mom/Grandma and I up with endless ball-throwing, book-reading, and peek-a-booing.

Knitting: I got one bootie done before his arrival. . . . It turned out better than I expected. I find the navy blue cotton a bit hard to work with. (I know what you're thinking: what if baby had been a girl? Girls don't wear blue! Of course we do. But I might have made the bows that tie them on pink.)

Capital City weather
: Sunny and warm.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Who knew that possible new kitties for me to adopt could be freakish or illegal? Well, this blogger, for one.

Early morning weather: 48 and wildly sunny and clear, after yesterday's miserable rain. Obvioulsy, I am about to go to work.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Thursday, May 12, 2005

This weekend: CUA Commencement.

Birdwatching from the picnic table in North Park's back yard: flicker, robin, catbird (again with this "shy" bird!), grackle.


Found me at Positive Vibe Cafe, with a surprising group of Valentine Museum alumni. Actually, I don't know what surprised me, after all, T told me who would be there; I know people get older; others of us see each other around all the time (Maggi, e.g., and Gregg, whose band played). Oddly, a professional colleague I run into often was two tables away. Perhaps it was surprising to see that group at one table, as we didn't socialize up the chain of command quite that much.

Many of us laborers in the mines of urban history did socialize, for lunch and after hours. I fondly recall T, the other Greg, and the summer intern at Jamestown; T, G, and I at the State Fair; G and his now-wife having CDF and I over for games night; and Jane's "house cooling" party, featuring the talking Last Supper clock and the "GO AWAY" door mat. I remember the lunchtime discussion of Time's article on Gen X.

I remember eating at the first Bottom's Up Pizza on 17th (?) St. We sat in cheap molded plastic chairs on the sidewalk on a warm evening and looked up at the closed train station, the abandoned RR Y, and the skyline beyond.

All that, plus Richmond History Seminars, curating two exhibitions, and being immersed in the Cook Collection. It was a perfect first job.

You know what else was odd? I feel certain that that restaurant / training ground occupies the space where I took ballet lessons in the 1970s.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Boing Boing: Real ID passes in US Senate. You know, many, many Regular Folks can't keep track of their library card. And when I say, We can use your driver's license this once; please bring your card next time, they don't have a driver's license on them, either. Privacy and other concerns aside, I think the government is kidding itself if it thinks we the people can keep up with a very important card.

Capital City weather
: sunny and 80s. Yay.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Local Roundup

On the Muzak at Ukrop's: Haircut 100, "Boy Meets Girl"
At the Byrd: "Million Dollar Baby"
On the front sidewalk: catbird

Friday, May 06, 2005


It's not a reflection of the quality of the book, it's a reflection of my blase attitude towards the Civil War. After a couple of false-starts, I finally finished Richmond Burning: The Last Days of the Condfederate Capital (Nelson Lankford, 2002). He uses great primary sources such as diaries, letters, reports, and newspapers to capture the moods of Capital City as the distinction of being a national capital fizzled out. Two strong impression remain: the strength of Northern feelings; and the wrongs perpetrated on documents. I was familiar with Southern hatred towards the North for "doing this to us" and whatnot. Surprising to me was the vehemence of Northerner's jottings. For instance,
James Hane, a twice-wounded twenty-two-year-old corporal in Richmond with the 81st New York condemned [in a letter dated April 20, 1865] "traitors who deserve no better fate than to be hung between Heaven and earth for foul birds to pick their bones." (page 223)
As for the document record, Nelson described Confederate government officials striving to pack and take with them critical records as they prepared to evacuate. They planned to stay in business, and records management is part of doing business. In retrospect, we add the weight of history. What might we learn about the Confederacy if the records had stayed in tact? What wasn't packed was variously burned, left to drift up the streets, and recycled, it seems, as both wrapping and writing material. And then of course, there's the outrage of looters. Soldiers and visitors seeking souvenirs would even take from the White House items actually in use by the Union commanders using the building, not things used by Jefferson Davis.

Why should I be surprised? Destroying the records, history, and art of cultures is a standard way of conducting war. Consider the Taliban's destruction of the enormous Bamiyan Buddhas (see also this article). Librarians and archivists work to protect such places during war through the Blue Shield (and in other ways, I suspect).

New Reading: The Well of Lost Plots, by Jasper Fforde.
Knitting: baby gift for new niece or nephew
Capital City weather: cold and rainy

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Ivory-billed Woodpecker links I put together at work. Not that any patrons have rushed in looking for more information.

I think I have cardinals nesting in the maple in front of my house.

Peregrine falcons on the First National building.
EPIC 2014: an exercise in future history that recognizes the power of popular demand over editorial (quality, if you will) control.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Pot Pourri

I spotted this sculpture while scouting out a parking lot near the police headquarters, before I read anything about it. "Wow" remains my response. It's solemn and eye-catching. I like it.

For my new DVD player, I got a "membership" to J's entertainment emporium. Currently, I have Ren & Stimpy checked out. Have you ever noticed that Ren can move in Gollum-like ways?

I very much enjoyed the H2G2 movie. I wore the "42" button a friend gave me in a graduation card 17 years ago all day at work. Two people asked about the meaning; everyone else ignored it. . . . I didn't encounter anyone who would admit to knowing the meaning until our pre-movie meal, when the young man clearing tables asked if we'd seen the movie. (Oops, we forgot to go back and give him our review. I was too anxious to get out of the police-patrolled, teenager-teeming suburb.)

Anyway, I liked the effects and sets, the new ways the story wandered (DNA himself liked to take it new directions), the acting, and the numerous bits that were verbatim from the book. Why did they Americanize the pronunciation of "zed" to "zee," though? Also, the "women standing on chairs in early 60s sitcoms" got trimmed, though the beginning of that delightful line of Slartibartfast's remains. He's telling Arthur why it's hard to follow the way he speaks, yet hints that he's not that out of touch: knowing "little" is different than knowing "nothing."

The actor playing Ford really captured the character's alienness. He's unsure about how to relate to Arthur, yet he's stupidly at ease doing some odd greeting dance when he meets up with Zaphod. As for the bit right after they are rescued, we don't get to see Ford turning into a penguin or Arthur rapidly running out of limbs -- but what we do get is immediately recognizable as an Improbability side-effect. I think I laughed during a silent moment in the theater while everyone else went Huh? for a second.

As for the hand-knit scene: fuhgetaboutit.! Brilliant.

(Rats. The games on the official website don't run on Firefox.

Public Service Announcement
It's about a month late, but as my friend the trainer of firefighters and other rescue workers recommends - nay, requires - of his friends and acquaintances, I finally put new batteries in my smoke detectors. Do it when you set the clocks back and forward. Period.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


On the way out the door tonight, a co-worker said: Oh my gosh, I forgot to tell you all this. When I went to get something to eat at McDonald's the guy -- I think he was a manager -- noticed my nametag and said, "Ohhh, the Library. I always wanted to be a librarian. It's such a noble job."

After last night's brief Three Stooges routine as we tried to figure out what alarm was going off, several episodes of printer snafus, and a couple of cases of misunderstanding what a patron said, that's a good reminder.

Capital City weather: sunny, breezy, 70

In Carytown: The man at Merrymaker talked up Crane's Stationery and all the fabulous new colors and designs they have. It's true, but I needed plain, serious note cards today. Next time.
A Little Diversion: a for-fun-only Southern Dialect Quiz. Time and time again my choices generated footnotes like "common in Pennsylvania and north" or "chiefly New York and New Jersey." Yes, friends, we are products of our parents. (Mom grew up in Philadelphia; Dad in Astoria and New Jersey.)

Monday, April 25, 2005


Thanks to Ceci for drawing this Star Wars parody to my attention.

April in central Virginia: gorgeous.

On the Muzak at Ukrop's "Hunk a Hunk a Burning Love."

Geeking Out, library style: It does my heart good to see books fly off the endcap display I made! Especially when a little boy chose the fictional account of a Birmigham Black Baron .

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Keep Those Cards & Letters Coming

The entire contents of Saturday's mail at my house: a ding letter from UVa Libraries.
Slipek on Route 1, south of Richmond. I put off reading it, at first, thinking it would feature racial tensions and run-down buildings. Whether he ignored that or whether new residents really are changing the face of the area, I don't know.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Wired News: Vive les Blogs!: "...French is now the most common language in the blogosphere after English." If I taught high school (or college) French, I would totally find a way to work blog reading into a lesson. Alas, I don't, and my own knowledge of French provided only a sliver of understanding of the blogue I tested.

Friday, April 22, 2005


S at Richmond PL shared the sad news of the death of long-time Friends member and Friends of RPL Board member Wayne Andrews. I feel the need to say the usual things: But he was so full of life! Weren't we just joking at the book sale?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Laurabelle's Blog: Interface cruft -- people got used to that weird way of doing it, that's why.
Next week is TV Turnoff Week. Click here to get involved in Capital City.
This librarian blogger has a few words to say about the apparent disconnect between what library schools and other Experts say about the growing need for librarians, and what new grads experience -- i.e., we have trouble finding work. I count myself because even though I achieved the benchmark he proposed of being "professionally employed within one- and two-year periods following graduation," I certainly felt the frustration and esteem-busting pain of being the last in my crowd to get a job.

It feels good to read that I was not alone on the slow track to employment. I don't feel like I have a broad enough prospective, however, to judge whether 6 months and 30-some applications was too long and too many; whether the profession truly has a problem that needs to be addressed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


The new Star Wars novel Revenge of the Sith reached the number 1 slot on the Washington Post's best seller list, but is only #3 on the Times' list.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Friday, April 15, 2005

Library Celebrations

G's daughter made sure she knew that this was National Library Week - way to go! And did you see GA's comment that her local library staff gave her a round of applause when she got a new card?!

On the horizon for North Park: for Free Comic Book Day, May 7, we'll give away comic books and have some sort of Informational Display.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

A Trashy Story

Near North Park, Parham Road is a lovely divided road with grassy median. Trees grow on our side of the road, surrounding the library and our neighbors, a church and houses. Across the street, office parks sport bucolic landscaping -- in an office-park way. All of this is to say that the few tenths of a mile from the highway before my turn are quiet and scenic, especially in April with redbud and dogwood and azalea bursting into bloom.

Yesterday morning, a bulky shape on the median caught my attention. A bear?! A weirdly mangled box? Ah, no. A maroon bucket seat, in fine condition, on its side. How does something like that get away form you? I wondered as I clicked on the turn signal.

At lunch time, I ran an errand. Going out, my gaze must have been elsewhere; on the return trip a mass of stuff not on the median, but sitting on the right shoulder demanded my attention. The red seat sat next to a good-sized shopping cart and a giant garbage bag: a composition in found art.

This morning, the cart sat alone.