Thursday, March 30, 2006


My library, it turns out, is a great place to learn about snack products. Food fairies leave all kinds of foodstuffs on our breakroom table. I take advantage of the opportunity to do a little market research (as in, "What shall I buy when I do my marketing at Ukrop's this week?"). Plenty of it is chocolate; often, it's something salty. Hmm. That's about it. No one ever brings a pineapple, or even a new kind of granola bar.

This week, thanks to unidentified coworkers, I tried one product that looked fabulous, but disappointed me; and one that I had rejected when I noted it on the grocery store shelf, but proved to be quite tasty. Nestle Tollhouse candy bars sounded like they'd be moist and tasty, but turned out to be dry and disappointing. (I had one with a chocolate brownie, not a cookie brownie, as on this blog.)

On Sunday, I expected company, and thought it would be nice to have some cheese and crackers on hand. I went to the cracker aisle and stared blankly at the Wheat Thins section: fat free, low salt, honey covered, mixed vegetable, grass clippings -- what the heck? I just want crackers. I found plain ones and went home. This week though, one of the flavored varieties showed up on the table, and made a promising side for my sandwich. I tried a few: quite tasty, and would be good with a mild cheese on top.

And now the research process sidebar:

Nabisco has paid up so that when I Googled "wheat thins," their own site is the first hit after the "product search" results. Wikipedia and a Sandy Duncan site are two and three, as I write. . . .

Nestle's own site, on the other hand, didn't appear on the first two pages. I'd like to give my readers authoritative links, not links to random blogs I don't know about. I have seen Candy Blog before, so I don't feel too bad about that one.

And finally, as a closing thought, something I read in a book review for Frances Jacobson Harris's I Found It on the Internet: Coming of Age Online:
Today's youth are members of the 'millennial generation' (ages 13-24), and this generation has spent more time using the Internet that watching television.
Reading: about Governor Kaine's trip to Afghanistan and Iraq, here.

Monday, March 27, 2006

"What's 'OCLC'?" the woman sitting next me to at Library System new employee orientation the other week asked.

What is this, comps? No, wait, that was an extremely fair question. The degreed librarian at the front of the room had just used the abbreviation more than once in a setting that specifically included people new to our place of employment and profession; that specifically included the bookkeeper, the circulation staff (no MLS necessary), IT technicians (I think one has an MLS), and librarians. It's No Fair to use an abbreviation without defining it when you are orienting people.

I think I used its interlibrary loan function to explain it to her, though I may have said something thorough like, "Among the other ways it networks libraries, it's the system that makes ILL [I knew she knows that one!] work."

Today, I'll add that they own -- oh, sorry "administer," the website says -- the Dewey Decimal System and throw in their own mission-statement sounding description:

"Founded in 1967, OCLC Online Computer Library Center is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs. "

I bring all of this up as a way to introduce the linked list, below, brought to my attention by a colleague. To simplify, I'll say that OCLC "member libraries" join the organization to get a lot of their cataloging done for them (this is what I used to do at the library at the University of Mississippi) and to use the interlibrary loan network (to ask a national consortium of libraries, Hey, can you send my patron a VHS of "2002 Olympic Highlights"? (Yes, someone could!)). Here, then, is OCLC's list of Top 1000 titles owned by its member libraries.

CNB, prepare to be annoyed that "Garfield" tops "Doonesbury" and "Calvin and Hobbes" -- and I can't find any "Bloom County"!

Lis, Light in the Attic is number 972.

P, Cat in the Hat tops Green Eggs and Ham.

Capital City weather: sunny and warmer, 60 today
At the Byrd: King Kong
Reading: The Museum at Purgatory
, Nick Bantock

Friday, March 24, 2006

Quick Links

Edible Books.
(Note to self: Add these to sidebar.)
Yay! Mitch is writing again.
Cornell's birding site.

Reading: The New Yorker on Shaker furniture and art, homelessness, and an odd short story.
Baking: banana bread

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Nothing New Dept.

Another favorite book of mine is coming to the big screen! Ursula Le Guin's Tales from Earthsea mostly comes from The Farthest Shore, but will include material from the other two books, as well. I love that poster -- alas it doesn't make a good PC wallpaper. The director, Goro Miyazaki, is the son of Hayao Miyazaki, whose Spirited Away knocked me over about a year ago. More than LotR or the Narnia stories, Le Guin's Earthsea books stand as my favorite fantasy books. I don't often admit it because they are written for kids, or because they are short, or because so many people have never heard of them. I found them powerful and evocative; the importance of being close to nature speaks to my own values.

Now, why did I begin with "another favorite"? Well, I loved the Narnia books through about high school, when I started to understand that some of those weird bits were Religion, and decided I didn't need all that. Still, I revisited them every couple of years: comfort reading, I call it. The L,W,W movie disappointed me because it wasn't what I've been picturing since, oh, 1975. On the other hand, because I walked in knowing that it would not look like I had always pictured, the H2H2 movie did not let me down; nearly all of DNA's books are My Favorite.

Capital City weather: 30s, mixed precipitation
On the Muzak at Ukrop's: "Get Down n Boogie"
From Plan 9: Buckaroo Bonzai on DVD, to replace the VHS tape; Nanci Griffith's "One Fair Summer Evening" on CD, to replace my original cassette

Oh, wait, I know what's new: a great Sunday visit from CNB -- thanks for the lovely Xmas presents! Gee, that's one shiny ring that you've got.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Notes from the Reference Desk

The U.S. Postal Service will offer stamps with comic book heroes and comic book covers this summer! Click here for the full list; the description of the comics stamps is most of the way down.

Attention, Library Patrons: We are allowed to make snide little remarks about you, in the back room. Youare NOT to sidle up to the ref desk, wearing too much aftershave, may I say, cock your head so as to indicate the patron at the children's desk, and ask, "Aren't those shorts banned by anti-obscenity laws?" It is a double standard: live with it.

Reference link of the week:

Reading: getting to the end of Stranger in a Strange Land: is the end going to disappoint me? Started this month's book club book, The Stone Diaries.

Capital City weather: cooling down from the 80s we've been enjoying; windy

Friday, March 10, 2006


Wow, is it pretty outside, today! This is the first time in many months that I have been able to sit on the back porch to write.

Wow, are my household projects taking longer than I thought they would! Pleasants, oddly, gave me a bit of trouble about picking up the storm window that my fix-it service ordered for me. I have no one to blame but myself, however, for trying to put said window in upside down and backwards, for at least twenty minutes. And before that I had to clean the two newly installed glass panes, and then sand and paint the muntins around those two panes.

Another chore was spreading mulch. You know where this is going: I didn't buy enough. No one ever does. Also, I vacuumed the pond liner (empty for a week now), refilled it, and put in a new fountain pump. I do love the pond, even though it is pretty silly. So the yard looks good, but the house is still mid-project.

I thought I would get to sanding and priming the doors that fix-it man shaved down, but that ain't happenin. Oh, and then there's the disassembled lamp on the living room floor. I tried to buy a new socket bit from memory, but I need to bring it with me.

(Ha! That bird's a grackle, not a woodpecker.)
Minutes of Online Fun Dept.

Send a public domain picture to a friend, here.

Or draw one, here (from GE, so it's an ad, if that bothers you).

Capital City weather: 80 today!
In my garden: daffodils and helleobores blooming.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

From the Reference Desk

The National Archives and Records Administration has posted some great video, including the moon landing (Apollo 11, July 1969). Here is the menu of video.

According to my literary calendar, today is the birthday of one of my favorite authors, John McPhee. I use Oranges as the yardstick by which I measure all other non-fiction writing. I revel in books full of juicy details and richly described real-life characters.

Carl Hiaasen's Hoot comes to the big screen.

Not at the Ref Desk, but on the floor today, I got my first high five from a patron. I just helped him put the date in the correct format so his online job application would go through. The site he was on didn't seem to indicate the required date format, and it just happened that the first thing I suggested worked.

Capital City weather: getting warmer!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


It felt great to get an e-mail from a respected friend-and-mentor asking me to "check my sources" for the validity of a passed along e-mail. The result? No, your house will not be eaten by termites from New Orleans this spring. You have been advised by the Hipster-Dufus Librarian.

Note to self: buy 4 bags of mulch to cover the severe hacking I gave the monkey grass this weekend.