Saturday, May 31, 2008

Getting Close to Posting About Reunion

While in South Hadley, I flipped through Johnny Bunko at the Odyssey. The book, which caught my eye in a book catalog didn't impress me, but Doctorow makes me think I should buy it for my lib. after all.

We walked up to the Odyssey Friday night, after making the Capital City to SoHad drive in just under 10 hours. Dad worried we'd catch Hartford's rush hour -- what we actually got was some crazy slowdown in Waterbury and smooth sailing after that.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Fran, Sheree and me!

More on reunion, later. I still have the cold I got kayaking: driving 1000 miles, and talking and walking lots probably hasn't helped it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Three Rs


Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion, by Loree Griffin Burns, a nice non-fiction narrative I picked up at the Capital City Library on Friday when I went in with Teen so she could get some Stephenie Meyer. Tracking Trash looks at the the trash that falls off container ships into the Pacific and bobs along on ocean currents in ways that scientists find useful to study. I once read a New Yorker article on this subject, but of course that lacked the swell pictures that this book features. It's one thing to say that the four piece bath toy set had a duck, a turtle, a beaver, and a frog, and another to see them in their primary-color glory! There's also a chapter on "The Eastern Garbage Patch," a weird zone where lots of currents come together and deposit plastic crap. The Patch is the size of Alaska. A ship took five days getting through it. Plastic never goes away. If it washes from rivers and down storm drains, or falls off container ships before it's ever enjoyed by a consumer, it likely ends up in a floating garbage patch like this one. (See also.)

A New Yorker article I didn't finish stated in the first column, "In the March issue of Vogue [fashion photography retoucher] Dangin tweaked a hundred and forty-seven images. . . ." ("The World of Fashion," p. 94, May 12, 2008)

Recovering: from a kayaking lesson yesterday at Dutch Gap. What at first seemed like the stuffy, sinus-y result of getting water up my nose when tip testing, now seems more like an actual cold.
Ready?: to go to my 20 year college reunion!

Friday, May 16, 2008

What's New

Dept. of Theology

The Vatican's official newspaper has endorsed the possibility that the universe could contain intelligent life beyond Earth, while insisting that aliens would be "our brothers" and "children of God" as much as human beings are.

- from The Independent (via Park Bench)

I have to say I am surprised to hear it. Didn't the Vatican have a lot of trouble with the whole Earth-not-the-center-of-the-universe thing?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nice Library Moment

The other day, I stepped over to the self-check machine that's not far from our ref desk. Patrons often miss that it's two touch-screen touches to get it going: "ok" in the center of the screen and "start" at the upper right of the next screen. I helped a man check out a paperback with an "African-American" genre sticker (it could have been Christian fiction; could have been street lit -- it wasn't a familiar one).

I was discretely not noticing what it was, but he wanted to strike up a conversation. This was only his second visit; he thought he'd try this book. He picked it up off our end cap display (I tried to make my joke about how they are our "impulse buy" displays, but that one almost always falls flat). He picked the other one from a display, too: the one on Prince Edward schools and desegregation. He picked it, he told me, because his mom grew up in the county next door and attended the black school. He thought the book was "very powerful." And now he was ready to try something different. He waved his daughter over, and they headed to the door.

I felt doubly good about this exchange: I liked seeing a man (re?)connecting with books because he comes in to pick up his daughter who's been computering. And I felt good that something I put on a (YA) end cap went out. I never know if it's worthwhile to put non-fiction for teens up there, too. Obviously, it is.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Letters from Mom 2.0

A collection of pithy e-mails from moms. And, another example of a book idea gleaned from the web, according to their About page. (via Bibliodiva) Shame on me for not having saved more from my mom. Then again, the ones that make me laugh the most might be too personal -- or, just need to much backstory.
More on Robots

Robotic conductor in Detroit (via NPR).

Robots are the new black.

Capital City weather: sunny, 70s (whew.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dept. of "Wow!" (Robot Division)

The inspiration for the automaton in Brian Selznick's lovely book The Invention of Hugo Cabret belongs to the Franklin Institute and may be seen in operation here. The F.I. urges readers to nominate it to the Robot Hall of Fame.

In the book, Hugo restores an automaton and is surprised to learn the identity of it's creator -- a man he knows, with a hidden history. Selznick's illustrations -- movie stills, of a sort -- move the story along.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Things I Did With Public Computers Today

Opened up an OPAC's CPU and unplugged the speaker so patrons wouldn't accidentally launch the summer reading club song attached the the video embedded in our homepage any more. (see also OPACs and suckage)

Tried to fish out a non-existent diskette because of a "non system disk error" message. Just opening this PC seems to have gotten it on track.

Turned one off and on to make it send print jobs.

Explained to a woman that she was in fact logged into the computer, that's why the desktop was showing. "But when I do this [she opened Internet Explorer], I get this." She pointed in dismay to the library's home page. - Ah, yes. I said. On these public computers, the homepage is always our library's home page. "Oh, so I have to go to MSN myself?"

Capital City weather: cloudy, 50. Who took away spring?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Shout Out

A tiny article about my pal Jesse, appropriately called Personality in Action.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Everybody's Doing It

I finished reading the YA book for next school year's All County Reads: Julia Alvarez's Before We Were Free. Part suspense, part coming-of-age, part historical fiction; it's a good story, but possibly a tough sell. Well, the pitch "If you liked Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl, try this" did occur to me.

I signed up for eBird because I am on a Capital City-area birding listserv and many people use this online database service to share their birdwatching lists. It looked like a good way to 1) keep up with the cool kids and 2) have something to post to the listserv and the blog. Let's see how the cut-n-paste looks!

Canada Goose X
Mallard X
Black Vulture X
Osprey X
Bald Eagle X
Spotted Sandpiper X
Mourning Dove X
Belted Kingfisher X
Red-bellied Woodpecker X
Downy Woodpecker X
Hairy Woodpecker X
Pileated Woodpecker X
Eastern Phoebe X
White-eyed Vireo X
Red-eyed Vireo X
American Crow X
Carolina Chickadee X
Tufted Titmouse X
Carolina Wren X
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher X
American Robin X
Gray Catbird X
Northern Mockingbird X
Northern Parula X
Yellow-rumped Warbler X
Yellow-throated Warbler X
Prairie Warbler X
Black-and-white Warbler X
American Redstart X
Prothonotary Warbler X
Common Yellowthroat X
Summer Tanager X
Song Sparrow X
Northern Cardinal X
Indigo Bunting X
Common Grackle X
Brown-headed Cowbird X
Orchard Oriole X
American Goldfinch X
House Sparrow X

Hmm. Not bad. Those X's mean that we didn't count individuals, we're just reporting seeing at least one.

The third thing everybody's doing is littering. In the age of fuel-efficient cars and a glut of "green" products and books on "green" topics, people still leave their freakin' soda cans anywhere they like. A generation after the cool, young teachers at my elementary school taught us about conservation by turning off the lights when we didn't need them and by re-using the ditto'ed pages, most people still see the entire planet as an empty waste basket. Isn't pickup trash - don't litter the first, easiest answer kids give when grown-ups talk to them about what each person can do to help nature/the planet/their neighborhood? Yet people's tossed crap is everywhere, from the sidewalk in front of my house to rocks in the James to along the train tracks from DC to NYC (that one's been annoying me for 19 years now). Seriously people: that's just tacky. For more on this topic, see our new blog, here.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Don't Forget the Library, People!

"... there's an entire alternate world of good reading over there. "A nice item on BoingBoing about the YA section in book stores. (thanks MM)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Celebrate: Free Comic Book Day tomorrow! (For our system, it's a teen event, but at my library, we'll give one to any age visitor, so drop by!)

Go Read: Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull -- if you like fantasy.