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.
Well, I can't find the e-mail in my trash to back it up, and it's so obvious maybe I shouldn't even brag that I called the ceremonial first pitcher for the Washington Nationals weeks ago: yup, President Dufus.
Catcher Brian Schneider found out on Sunday that he would be behind the plate, when the commander-in-chief is on the mound.

"It's exciting for me," Schneider said. "I know he will throw a strike. I'm not worried about that."

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Did I mention that I came home from a lovely weekend outing to find I had been called to jury duty? I think this makes the fourth or fifth time since I graduated from college (17 years ago, admittedly).

More unpleasant that "normal" complainers, I served my first ungrateful patron yesterday. She showed annoyance when I told her books marked "reference" don't circulate. I told her we wouldn't have basic texts in a career field that interested her because a public library doesn't support graduate-level teaching; I suggested we look at the program websites of schools with her field of interest -- she dismissed all of this. She wanted photocopies from the apparently useful reference books. I directed her to the photocopiers and mentioned that copies cost 20 cents. "That sucks. That's twice as much as at home!" she exclaimed, walking away, ending our exchange.

"Yo! You're welcome, you high maintenance, needy little 20-something," I did not shout.

Monday, April 11, 2005

How Could I Forget
This weekend's nature moments: a good 18 species of birds, including a bald eagle that leapt off of Pine Ridge as Draco and I approached; a lavender butterfly that followed me everywhere.

The only Quotable I can think of at the moment: Draco: "'Mountain Girls'? That's a classic."
Whenever I introduce new people to Kittamaqund, I see it in a new way. At summer camp open houses, little girls see magic in a curiously bent tree in the woods or in the cool tents that will be their homes. Adults with outdoorsy backgrounds gasp at the natural beauty that I long since took for granted. A 30-ish woman taking this weekend's training course said she'd worked at a camp in Idaho for several years, and had spent time at 8 or 10 Girl Scout camps in her life. While a particular camp she worked at remains her Favorite, she dubbed CK the Most Beautiful.

Thank you. We like it, too. It's a nice weekend and summer river place for all 17,000 girls and adults in our council.

The weather, of course, can enhance the experience. Even as of 6:30 a.m. Saturday, as I got ready to drive east, the weather forecast prepared me for clouds and maybe 55 degrees. What a treat, then, to see nothing but blue skies and fresh leaves the whole way out there. Sure, most of us felt cold overnight, but it must have reached 70 both days. And you know what? Little April leaves in the Hollow do not make shade: I got a little sunburned.

Okay, maybe lunch on the Cove dock on Saturday contributed to that. Clear sky, clear water -- lots of glare. You get the picture.

The usual mixed bag of adults took our training class this weekend: from the happy former camp counselor to the very reluctant outdoorswomen (and men). I got a great surprise at the end when one participant, whom I had read as "reluctant," came up to thank me with a hug, look me in the eye and say, "We'll be back, the girls are going to love this." Well, hot damn. Mission accomplished.

Mission accomplished, D. and I went off duty with the new camp ranger to see camp in yet another new way. His clearning of the old roads out to Outlook's cove and Hidden Cove offer breathtaking vistas of Home I'd never before seen. The teens are going to love rambling out that way. And as if that weren't enough, he took us in the motor boat to the local marina restaurant (Pyro: "It's not a bar"), then the Chesapeake Bay. I have added another sparkling bright day to my mental snapshot album of the Great Wicomico. That fresh, fresh April Sunday will join a July (?) day on the downriver side of the bridge with great wind and P's sailors; a trip homeward at a run about 20 years ago when I first fell in love with sailing; and any number of good, sparkly afternoons just outside the Cove. At 30 or so miles an hour, Kittamaqund looks both massive (with many McMansions going up - O. called them million dollar homes - it's a big blank spot) and suddenly tiny. I have never in my life seen the Cove jump up so fast! Thanks to both of you for a swell afternoon.

M., I am so sorry that it was grey while you were out there. I know you would have loved to see the clear, bright afternoon light (in contrast to the humidity-heavy air of most summer days) on the houses on our side of the bridge. Those older houses, neatly painted, with well-established fruit trees and whatnot blooming and leafing around them is how you should have seen your first Virginia spring. Ah, well. If I've learned anything in 25 or so years of growing up at CK, it's that there will always be another spring, another summer: another trip out, another chance to see the old place in a new way.
Worth Watching

The members of Satan's Bookclub aim to draw our attention to those who would infringe our right to read by banning or condemning books.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Long Tail

This great article in last December's Wired explains a concept called "the long tail." Picture a line graph with a nice high peak at the far left, then the line swoops down and trails off, but doesn't hit the bottom. Then instead of a "top sellers" or "top rentals" graph line that ends, picture the tail going on nearly forever, just paralleling the bottom axis of the graph. That's the long tail. And there's money -- and a chance for service, for meeting a need -- in it. Netflix (sp?) exploits the long tail well because it can have a near-forver supply of all of those "obscure" things that make up the tail, things that lots of people do want, there are just not enough of them to warrent keeping the Bollywood flic or lesser anime.

Capital City weather: cloudy and 70s; forsythia and redbuds blooming

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

You know when it’s great to be a grown up? On a beautiful spring evening, when your commute home is short, and when you know you’ve got taco fixins in the fridge. And no commitments, for a change.

Not only did I make tacos, I had a beer. And sat on my back porch, admiring the flowers. And, read I The New Yorker.

After a spring break week of relative quite, the reference desk got busy this week: books needed tonight for reports due tomorrow, research on a missionary to China, ILL, books to place on hold, and a fair bit of computer trouble-shooting.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Oh, here we go: RFK Passes First Test as Mets Beat Nationals ( So, the new team lost the game, and (hey, is that one of these New AP Leads?) had just as much trouble as us regular citizens in getting a freakin' utility company to get the job done in a timely manner.
Book Corner

The NYTimes review of John's book is up, now: here. Hunh. Today's also the anniversary of the Union army's arrival in the Confederate Capital. (Did the evacuation fire begin the night before or on the 3rd?)

I am to lead North Park's book discussion group this month: The Jane Austen Book Club. I find kind of contrived, a little silly.

I'm also reading Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, a (young) YA fantasy novel. I find it generally charming and nicely written, but not riveting. Something about his "daemons" -- souls and consciences in the guise of critters that accompany every human -- makes me a little uneasy. I suppose that at around 10 - 13 years, kids crave that imaginary friend who understands everything about them. He's responding to a need his readers have, not fostering some kind of fear of or disdain for being alone.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, seems to lead the most-reviewed-book pack. I only half-heard on the radio what seemed to be author Foer defending the appropriateness of writing A Post-9-11 Novel. WTF? has the interviewer missed all the suspense novels on the theme?? Anyway, including that public radio piece, I've seen reviews in the Post, Times, and the New Yorker; plus all the usual review journals, of course. I think we ordered an additional copy for NP, but there's not a run on it. We got two additional copies of the (easier? sexier?) Prep.

Picked up at the Friends of Richmond PL: Richmond boy Tom Wolfe's In Our Time (1980), an illustrated collection of essays.
Sports & Gardening Page

Happy Opening Day! I spent it finding little of interest to me on, including, nothing on the Nationals exhibition game the folks went to see. I couldn't even wear my new Nats t-shirt because although it's been sunny, I don't think it got much over 50 degrees.

I kept warm by doing long-delayed chores like digging out the dirt and debris that washes down the outside basement stairs and making a start on cleaning the fish pond. I know that oak tree will start blooming and any day now and cloud up the water all over again. Blooming already: daffodils and grape hyacinths.

For the fourth week in a row, the local carrier did not bring me a Washington Post -- making it just that much harder to become a fan of the new team. Luckily, I see I have an e-mail from C who got us tickets for the old team's home opener, next week.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

A belated thanks to Steph S for this cool site!: Peep Research - Staley Library, Millikin University, Decatur, IL: "This page was created for an exhibit in the 'Faculty Peep Show' on display at the Perkinson Gallery, Kirkland Fine Arts Center, Millikin University
from April 11-25, 2003. The show was organized to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of marshmallow peeps. Criteria for the show included the
incorporation of peeps into a work related to your discipline. Thus the birth of Peep Research: A study of small fluffy creatures and library usage. "

Garden Note: As I walked to the Belmont Library the other morning to meet J and little Willem, I noticed someone's lovely grape hyacynths blooming, and thought, Rats, mine haven't bloomed. We had some early morning rain today and while my coffee brewed, I stared blankly out the window to see how my daffodils tolerated it. They look fine, and I can see sever grape hyacinths blooming away. . . .