Monday, February 27, 2006

Land of Liberty

A little over a year ago, after a rough day of subbing, I stopped at a light at a dreary old-suburban intersection. There I saw someone dressed in a Statue of Liberty costume, waving, and holding up a sign for the tax preparation company in the strip mall behind him. "Damn," I though, "at least I am not doing that."

Earlier this winter, I began seeing Lady Liberties at the big, not-that-dreary, intersection near my library. Some days they make me smile -- because I am not that person, nor am I the person I was a year ago, worried that I might be a push away from doing that. I've noted more than one person fills the role, and that at least one -- a woman with out-of-style oversized glasses, who looks like she might have a learning disability -- does it often.

And then one day, the waver was not quite alone. As I came back from a meeting at a bigger library, Liberty again caught me by surprise (Hey! Look! A person in costume at the side of the road!), and then made me think, "Mmph, what a job. Things must be tough for a person to choose to look stupid for money." Not even a city block later, there is another intersection: a stoplight, nothing to the left, and to the right the entrance to a parking lot for some big box stores. At this intersection, facing the people coming out of the parking lot, stood an unkempt man with the torn cardboard sign of a panhandler.

Well, all right, things could be worse for the costumed unfortunate behind me. Or could they? Who's making more money? Who is eligible to be arrested? Is Liberty really working as a temp? Some temps are with agencies long enough to get benefits. A tax preparation company wouldn't pay someone "under the table," right?: she's not in more danger of getting in trouble than the panhandler, is she? No matter which sorry person is worse off, no matter if "sorry" is in my eyes only, I'm taking my taxes elsewhere for professional preparation.

Capital City weather: cold, chance of snow flurries tonight

Reading: Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein. I tell people I'm reading it because it feels like it's time to catch up on some genre reading: SF, then maybe a mystery. Yeah, but, why that one? folks ask. I dunno, it was on my List. Two hundred-and-some pages in, I figure it was on my list as the sort of book that influenced Douglas Adams -- the sort of work he satirizes. Also, Wheaton uses "grok," an important word of the Martian title character, often and must also have cited or described the book at some time. It's good, but very wordy and either deep or "deep." Not the sort adventure I teen boys seem to be looking for when they say they want to read science fiction. Does this mean I need to read some fan fiction, too??

Friday, February 24, 2006

It's All Bad News

Among the reasons to avoid the local news: it's all bad. I couldn't avoid the story of our bear loss, though. Two bears who had lived at Maymont were put to sleep because some irresponsible adult let a small child climb a fence, stick its hand through chain link, and get bitten by one of them. (TD coverage, here.) I've never wanted to feed the monster of our litigious society before today. Today, I propose we sue the family for neglecting their child and for taking our bears away from us. At the moment, Maymont says it will work with Game and Inland Fisheries to secure a new bear or two.

In old bad news: Style recently offered an informative seating diagram of General Assembly Delegates permitted to carry concealed weapons.

Okay, okay. Must think of something good to say. I'm home all day while a repairman does some work. It's not a good time for stewing in bad thoughts. Umm. . . . I've been with the library for a year now! The children's librarian says, with a smile, I absolutely can't get away with "I'm new, I can't / don't get how to . . ." any longer. That notwithstanding, I'm going to the library system's New Employee Orientation next week. The county itself has a very nice orientation schedule: new employees always (?) begin on a Wednesday with county employee orientation (very solid presentation) at the training center, then report to our stations on Thursday.

Ha, that's something goofily positive. I do have a surprising feeling of fellowship with other county employees. Whenever I see a county logo on a car or truck, I get a good feeling of the county's work Getting Done. When staff from department x used our meeting room this week, I felt glad to welcome them. Kind of wack, I know, but there you are.

Capital City weather: sunny and 50.
At the Byrd: "Walk the Line" (Oh, maybe it changed over night. That's what we saw Wednesday.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Birding Update

We did spot a variety of species on Sunday evening and ended the GBBC on a high note:

white-throated sparrow
carolina wren
brown creeper
song sparrow
mocking bird
ruby-crowned kinglet
yellow-rumped warbler

Speaking of notes, Found at the Library:

"Sells in Farm every Saturday
Extra money for organic.
A lil harder to grow organically
Why price is higher."
[on torn end of notebook paper, in a grown person's handwriting, probably]

"False for Vicki
False for me
Clicked stop/start
True for me"
[on pink sticky note]

NOT Found
The army green ("with little Air Force patches, in fact" reports big brother) jacket of a small patron. Mother came back in when the two boys couldn't locate it. She yelled at SP a bit (HOW COULD YOU LOSE IT!? WE WEREN'T IN HERE TEN MINUTES?), then snipped at staff a bit.

Though computers were crashing around me, and though the tone of her voice made my shoulders tense up, I had the presence of mind to reply that No, we don't have a "form for when something is stolen or lost in the library," but that I would be happy to call the police -- "The police!" She snorted. "I'm not wasting my time!" -- Or take her name and number and call if it turned up at the library.

Whew: the right answer. Like so many customer service hot-under-the-collar moments, listening and a small action did the trick.

Happy Thinking Day to Girl Scouts and Girl Guides Everywhere!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

On Wednesday, we had beautiful weather, with temperatures in the 60s. P and I, and a couple of colleagues, attended a YA lit seminar at the convention center. (It was okay.) Afterwards, P and I walked to city hall to get the view from the observation deck: always awesome. (See also.) Then we popped into the LVA's bookshop just long enough to make our wait at the GRTC bus stop less than a minute. Once home, we walked, coatless, to Fountain Lake.

Yesterday morning we were lethargic, but I kinda wanted to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count: Great Backyard Bird Count , so we got it together to walk to the old farm pond by his apartments. Alas, the snow fall made birding rather difficult, and we identified only 6 species. This morning, we woke to bright sun and scooted to Reedy Park without checking the forecast. Imagine our finger-numbed surprise to learn that it was 19 degrees this morning! The cold made it a short trip, with only a dozen different species.

Also, we noted that that bit of riverside railroad is where Ringling Brothers leaves the sleeper cars to the circus train. A 9:00, as we departed, a bus sat waiting to take people to the Coliseum.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A sometime celeb is getting into Laurie Halse Anderson. I guess I better push her up higher on my list of YA authors to read. Scroll down a good bit, here.

In The News
I suppose a joke at the expense of the vice president would just be shooting fishermen in a barrel? I've never really been a political blogger, anyway.

Capital City weather: Sunny and 40 today; only an inch of snow over the weekend. I have a cold, anyway.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I told you it was the official ground cover of the Fan District.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Blog World

Yay! Steph has a blog! She's a librarian, a friend, and she's very funny, so it was hard to decided where to save a link, at right. I settled on "Library Blogs" because those are the ones I am "allowed" to read at work.

For those of you who use Blogger, be on the look out for a junk e-mail that seems to be from them. I, for one, don't recall asking them to reset my password and did not click on the links provided. I thought I'd forward the suspicious missive to Blogger, but their Help pages rely on e-forms; they don't want you to write to them.

Capital City weather: high of 41 today. Brrr.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

More Found

"When you do
get strait go to
chat at top
and find
family & Home
and go to
gardening (123)[w6]
and wait ok"

Not that odd, but I found it under the keyboard after a group of teens who had been giggling and making eyes at each other left that area.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Bookmobile Man Sez: "Minutes of fun:"
More on Five-Colleges Alumni
I'd forgotten that Dewey was an Amherst man: "Straight Dope" on DDC, and that Carol Higgins Clark went to Mount Holyoke.

(1) More game hints, I reckon:

sonic boom
shape change

(2) In crayon, in the back of a children's book I was "tagging" at another branch:
"I hate Mommy. Love, Ashleigh"

Capital City weather: clear, 70
Reading: The Tipping Point / Malcolm Gladwell, Bone: Eyes of the Storm / Jeff Smith, The New Yorker -- I am up to December, now!