Monday, March 31, 2008

You Know What Word I'm Not Comfortable With?

(No, Lis, not "nuance.") I have trouble with "history buff."

So, I will have to go with: Richmond history enthusiasts, click here for a quiz. I don't know if everyone gets a free pass to the Val., but at a mere 70% right, that's what I got.

Capital City weather: rainy and cold
Watching: Murder on the Orient Express

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Might Read

I'm catching up on New Yorkers. Three brief reviews in the 3/25 issue caught my eye: The Book of Dahlia (Albert), The Soul Thief (Baxter), and The Age of American Unreason (Jacoby). The last work (in which the author "laments the decline of middlebrow American culture and presents a cogent defense of intellectualism") is summed up:
"The Internet, for all its promise, is too often 'a highway to the far-flung regions of junk thought.' Meanwhile, twenty-five percent of of high-school biology teachers believe that human beings and dinosaurs shared the earth, and more than a third of Americans can't name a single First Amendment right. In such an environment, Jacoby argues, the secular left and the religious right can have no fruitful dialog on issues like the separation of church and state."
Wow: decline of the middle brow? Junk thought? That sounds good.

On the Muzak at VCUkrop's: Raspberry Beret. A 30ish man in frozen foods (in a uniform at which I didn't stare at long enough to identify -- campus security, perhaps) sang along.

Watching: the Best of Jack Benny DVD set that Phusband picked up somewhere. Last night, I think I dreamed in black and white, and I know there were men in suits and women in great dresses.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Did I Just Say That?

(Setting: Yesterday. Library workroom.)
Cool Coworker: Do these paperbacks you just cataloged go on the shelf under the series name?

Me: Bother. I'm not sure about some of those -- oh, not the Stine; that goes under his last name.

That's right, as if I had been saying, "the Shakespeare's over there in the 800s," I referred to the popular scary-book series by R. L. Stine as "the Stine."

Capital City weather: getting cloudy, 70s
Reading: How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read. His premise is that there's no need to do more than skim a book, and know where it fits in the cultural landscape. Which is kinda how readers' advisory works.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Today I learned:

- about proxy servers because a patron left the URL of one behind. I knew the gist: kids go to another site that allows them to mask the fact that they will be MySpacing (we filter some but not all social networking sites so they can't be used by minors) next.

- that Japan has a cartoon ambassador.

- about the new Indiana Jones movie.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Balancing the Collection

If Society for Librarians Who Say . . . and similar blogs bring you down, try Library Lemonade. (via Library Stuff)

Because it can't all be about libraries, how about "A gathering place for nerdy women"? (via NotMartha)

A sweet patron hoped to make my day by pointing out the TD's Easter slide shows: the parade and the Stations of the Cross and Good Friday ones. We did not parade this year. :-(

Watching: A BBC "Robin Hood" series.
Reading: 700 Sundays, by Billy Crystal

Saturday, March 22, 2008

From a book of history I weeded: When Oberlin College began admitting women in the 1830s, it "made sure not to 'neglect' female students' 'domestic education' and assigned them tasks of cooking and cleaning for the male students. Womanly modesty was also carefully enforced. . . . At Mount Holyoke, however, there were no men to keep the women demure and womanly." (Lillian Faderman. To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done for America - A History Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1999; p. 179).

Library-Literary Nerdiness: six degrees of Francis Bacon. (via Library Stuff)

Homer Simpson Untooned: kinda the reverse of Simpsonizeme.

Ref Desk Random:
- Meeting room
- Explain downloadable audio collection
- How to get a library card
- Take your cell phone outta here
- Didja know you have to have a state license to sell cars? Do you have books on that?
- Yes, adults can see MySpace. Oh, not on that PC. It's busted.
- Where's Science Fiction?
- Meeting room
- Books on the Buffalo Soldiers for a boy of about 8
- ValueLine
- How to get a library card
- Caught up with a friend/patron
- Where's my print?
- No cell phones
- Meeting room

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Collection of Librarians in Lit, Pop Culture

Here's a swell little website. I recommend the Clark Gable - Carole Lombard talkie posted on 2-18.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Eureka! My new favorite library comic does have a real home! I kept trying to use to read it, and that was not working. I found it while combing the links lists at Tales from the Liberry.
Weekend Round-Up

In between steps of lasagna-making, I finished Kindred yesterday evening. What a compelling, riveting book. I hope I can coax my library's book club into a thoughtful, compelling discussion tonight.

The lasagna turned out nicely, though that sauce (yeah, Mom's recipe calls for doing the sauce from scratch, too: I missed that 40-minute step when I skimmed the recipe in the morning!) seemed awfully thick.

Sunday morning we went bird watching, beginning by the River in a stiff, chilly wind, and finishing at Forest Hill Park. We didn't see anything special for our trouble. After lunch, we picked up step-kid and ran a few errands. By the time the three of us wandered over to Byrd Park with some kites, the wind had died down enough to make flying Phil's fancy one nearly impossible. The SpongeBob kite did okay, reaching tree top level for a while. Ever since I followed the advice of the kite store fellow and cut the cartoon character's legs and arms off the kite, it has been a reliable flier.

Saturday we floundered through some house projects. Somehow, we never got to the yard, even though it was about 70 degrees. Oh wait: P did re-plant the elephant ear. Since I am not doing it right now, I don't think I will be cutting back the monkey grass this year. And now that the daffodils are blooming away, I hate to bend them over in the cause of raking up the last of the leaves. . . . I thought I planted other new bulbs where the pond used to be; so far I see the signs of exactly one new leaf.

I wandered into the City Library and picked up:
- Alice in Sunderland, an interesting art-book / graphic novel which has less to do with Alice that I thought it might, and
-How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read, not because I need to study that skill (heavens no!), but because I want to see how someone built a book on that theme.

Still reading:
- My lib's copy of Life Stories: Profiles from The New Yorker. Only, here's an email from our ILS saying it's due, so I guess I better note this quotation and bring it back: Paul Broyard, who moved to Connecticut after years and years in NYC: "'People in New York have psychotherapists, and people in the suburbs have have handymen. While anxiety in the city is existential, in the country it is structural.'" (p. 292) Personally, I have a lot of structural anxiety, and a handyman. I thought it came with home-owning.

This morning, in order to avoid housework before a 12:30 start to my workday, I'm trying a few things on this Wired how-to list to speed up my computer, but I am too timid to try a lot of it. I might need User Switching and Secondary Logon, right??

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Remember a little while ago I listed Parable of the Sower as a current read? That was the wrong Octavia Butler book. It's been on a personal To Read list for ages, but for bookclub, I was supposed to be reading Kindred. We're doing a One-City-One Book kind of program, with titles on a time travel theme at "all" age levels. Kindred is suspenseful: a black woman keeps time-jumping to the early 1800s. She has no control over it (at least, not by page ninety-one), but sees that she's saving a particular white kid from harm each time.

Though I should focus on the assigned book, I snuck in a YA book with the irresistible title, Don't Pat the Wombat. It's about some middle-school aged kids in Australia, a good teacher or two, an evil teacher, their trip to a pioneer camp, and a wombat or two. It should be easy to sell to a kid who wants a funny book. I never know if it's important or not to tell kids that the clothes references will make no sense, because the book is more than 10 years old. At what point does, "those kids must be dorks if they dress like that" give way to "this happened a really long time ago, so their clothes sound funny, but that's cool 'cause it was way back in the day and all"?

And on my bedside table I have a New Yorker collection of profiles. One from c. 1978 on Johnny Carson rocks. I started really reading the magazine in high school, a year or two later, and this piece is in that high New Yorker style that I find so irresistible, yet obnoxious, all at once.

Capital City weather: 60s and clear most of the week
At the Byrd: On Sunday when we went to Mary Angela's for pizza: a special event with Tom Hanks for his new movie. I should have realized the people in line were dressed too well, looked too Republican, for it to be the French Film Festival.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Little guy comes into the library; he needs help finding a book on lions. He holds the scrap of paper with the call number we found; I guide him over and leave him to pick something.

He comes back with that book, and now wants something on JFK (he says it like that: in initials). We search for those items and I again leave him to pick something. He sits down on a KikStep and starts humming "Hail to the Chief." Which is now stuck in my head.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Same Bat Time

The same one as Mitch. Go know. We share a ton of traits, but she's always 20 in my mind, and therefore (thenfore??) not much of a morning person.
Grilled Cheese

Although I had scrambled eggs (with salsa and chips) for lunch today, I've been on a bit of a grilled cheese tear. Here's a query about good grilled cheese in Capital City. Zuppa definitely makes a nice one. We've just (re)discovered Tarrant's, so that's one to try. I think the old NY Deli did a good one, too.

Other folks posted to give directions to make it at home; I agree with the butter-and-Kraft singles fellow. I usually keep "light" wheat bread in the house, though. I suspect I am only fooling myself in believing it to be better for me than white bread.

In other restaurant news: the original WorldCup building now houses a sushi place.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Librarian Humor (not animal related): WDL spins great humorous tales.
Wild Kingdom

Around 6:30 yesterday, as I sat the first half of the adult info desk shift, I read Miss Information on animals in the library. I wanted to comment about the skinks* we get at my place, but didn't get a chance for helping patrons. I also recalled the abandoned dog that kept coming in the automatic-opening doors, and which animal services didn't much want to come pick up -- and I paused to give thanks that we hadn't had an animal encounter in quite a while.

It was getting on to 8 p.m., and I was deep into a book order, when a colleague buzzed back to let me know she planned to make a call to the police. A patron with a child in a wheelchair had a strange dog (described as a boxer) jump into her van as she got the kid situated; the dog "refused to leave." It was raining out. As staff and the patron repeated the story to each other and the police, each used "refuse," as if we were talking about not a dog, but a drunk who had said "I ain't goin nowhere."

I let the staffer who had called the police handle it. An intercom announcement didn't bring anyone forward to claim the dog. The woman took her kid out of the van; the dog got out. She put her child back in, the dog leapt in again. In the end, the patron drove home (about an hour; she had travelled to us for a meeting) with the dog! She's a dog person, I guess.

*Not long after that incident, a skink got into the back hall light fixture, so there was lots of messing around with the tall ladder and a trashcan in which to catch the critter.