Thursday, August 28, 2008

21st Century Lost Weekends

Are lost to TV on DVD, says Liz at the Park Bench. I'll give her an amen. This summer, Get Smart kept me from reading my evenings away, and now, thanks to a shiny new Netflix membership, we've embarked on Madmen.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


This week brought a touch of rain to Capital City, so at last I can see my rain chain in action! Yay!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Crikey! I just woke up to the fact I have not updated this since long before Shakespeare wast a boy... You would not believe how terribly tardy the Victorian internet can be. Truly!.

I am so busy with setting fire to people wearing Crocs, homeschooling five children, just generally being a nuisance to my husband, my day seems to be a litany of stuff and giggles from 8am to 11pm at which point I fall asleep on the couch. I am not complaining though. life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get.

I hope that one day I will write something that makes sense soon. Seriously! I mean it!.

(Brought to you by Lazy Blogger's Post Generator.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008


A library school classmate posted an enticing article from Adbusters, "Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization." At first, I felt horrified and embarrassed that I'd given myself the label "Hipster Dufus Librarian," which to me means something like "21st Century Librarian" or "not the dullest kid in my library school graduating class" or "hey, I started blogging before I went to library school." But the article describes hipsters this way
Lovers of apathy and irony, hipsters are connected through a global network of blogs and shops that push forth a global vision of fashion-informed aesthetics. Loosely associated with some form of creative output, they attend art parties, take lo-fi pictures with analog cameras, ride their bikes to night clubs and sweat it up at nouveau disco-coke parties. The hipster tends to religiously blog about their daily exploits, usually while leafing through generation-defining magazines like Vice, Another Magazine and Wallpaper. This cursory and stylized lifestyle has made the hipster almost universally loathed.
According to the author, they wear glasses they don't need, clothes from American Apparel, and favor fixed-gear bicycles. Additionally, it's "[l]ess a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group." Yikes! That's not me.

Then I read this quotation from a former magazine editor:
I’ve always found that word [“hipster”] is used with such disdain, like it’s always used by chubby bloggers who aren’t getting laid anymore and are bored, and they’re just so mad at these young kids for going out and getting wasted and having fun and being fashionable,” he says.
Disdainful chubby blogger? Well, that might be me. Maybe I mean "hipster" with some kind of double irony, by claiming to be something I find distasteful? By adding "dufus" do I admit that I will never be one of those cool partying people? But, wait -- I don't want to party! I hate crowds and loud music and cigarette smoke.


Well, until I can think of a catchier handle, I think I am going to let it stand.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Random Ref

Yesterday I handled my first request for the dubious Obama Nation. Patron thought that being 8th on a waiting list with 8 copies in the system and more ordered was unacceptable. Obviously he's not a regular patron as many, many will not bat an eye about being 27th for a Stephenie Meyer (or a new Harry Potter, back in the day) or a James Patterson.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Running Start

At about 2 minutes to opening, the phone rang. Since H had just announced she'd unlock the door, I grabbed it. Ah, Horoscope Man! I didn't recognize his voice, and at first thought he wanted to come read back issues of the paper. When he launched into a long explanation of why he couldn't come in -- naming the car part that needed replacement so I'd know he was for real -- I knew who it was. I'm not much of a reader of the paper, so it took forever to find the horoscopes. When I finally got him off hold, the phone, naturally rang in two more calls! After I picked H.M. up again, I got to read five horoscopes; I only had to re-read one.

Then Golf Guy wanted to say Hi, and I guy angled to borrow some headphones, and then a lady wanted Ginter Park Branch in the city, not us. (I got to test the Delicious bookmarks I'd just created on that last one. I'm not sure that using those is any faster than going to the link I have on the blog for My Lib.) Normally, Firdays are way slower than this!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


The serious Richmond bloggers (see this list) must be all a-flutter: Trani will leave VCU next July. News-hound Coworker read it to me at about 9:02 this morning, and "wow" is still my only response.

Friday Morning: okay, don't see that list: RVA blogs has been the usual naval gazing for the last 24 hours. (I also see a startling large number of blogs devoted to reviewing restaurants.) Start with John Sarvay, and look at the comments on the RTD story (link above).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ref Nite

We had a pretty normal evening at my lib last night: students needing books off summer reading lists, older folks needing computer help, someone asking about booking a meeting room, a woman wanting a book by the spiritualist who's on Oprah, etc. Nothing memorable. Well, except for this one lady.

Early in the evening, a woman returned our call about moving her from the waiting list for a computer class to the "IN" list. She called to think out loud at me: "Well, I joined this dance group. . . . It's Word I? Hmmm, I do need that. But I like the dance group. Which is better for me to do? Word. Tomorrow? For one hour? Oh, two. I'm probably not going to be in the recital. I do like it. I guess there are others on the waiting list? It's so hard to get into your classes." In the end, she chose us. Well, we'll see if she actually shows.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I read the article boingboinged here, at breakfast. The gist: too many copyrights and patents restrict Progress.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Media Has Displaced Culture

So I want to share an item Matt pointed out to me, and highlight the bit that will make you click over to it and read it -- but it's too hard to pick out the best bit! There's this

But on or about June 29, 2007, human character changed. That, of course, was the release date of the first iPhone.

On that date, media displaced culture. As commenters on The American Scene blog have pointed out, the means of transmission replaced the content of culture as the center of historical excitement and as the marker of social status.

Now the global thought-leader is defined less by what culture he enjoys than by the smartphone, social bookmarking site, social network and e-mail provider he uses to store and transmit it. (In this era, MySpace is the new leisure suit and an AOL e-mail address is a scarlet letter of techno-shame.)

And it concludes, "Remember, cultural epochs come and go, but one-upsmanship is forever. " Click here for the full NY Times op-ed piece.

Dead Malls

Via Mitch, a story on new ubanists and dead malls here, and the interesting website, here.

The first dead mall I knew was in Chickopee, Mass., near school. I remember it as dimly lit and decorated in 70s earth tones. That's where the K-Mart-ish store (Bradlees? Caldor? I forget) was. And not much else. Well, the first Gap I ever knew, and an Izod discount or outlet store. I remember buying a number of things at both for just $10, as there is (was?) no sales tax on clothes. If the sign said Wool Sweaters $10, that was it. Of, course the Wal-Mart effect means that 20 years later, sweater still aren't much more than that, but at the time it seemed like a great deal.

Locally, Azalea Mall got flattened years ago, though the sign still stands. Someone entered Fairfield Commons (ne Eastgate) on the Dead Malls site, but in order to proclaim it has some potential and life signs.

Cloverleaf's entry on that site hasn't been updated -- there was the business with a church wanting it, and I think it also appeared in some new urbanist-like dream, but maybe would be razed before housing and shopping would emerge. I have lots of memories of Cloverleaf, the Nice Mall of my childhood: Girl Scout uniforms from Penny's, going into LaVogue's village street with Mom, buying enless "belt strips" and buckles at the Papagallo section of Thalheimer's to give as gifts to girl friends. The Girl Scout council even held some of those every-one-set-up-a-booth kind of events there.

Then there's my neighborhood Little Mall That Could, wonderful Willow Lawn. A recent renovation made out-parcel shops healthier than ever, with Panera customers taking up most of one end of the parking lot. It lacks a real department store, and CVS just fled across Willow Lawn Drive, but there's a lot of useful stuff there. If I could just get a nice pair of pantyhose there, I wouldn't go farther afield.

OK - low battery, and I gotta go to work. I'll post this, though it may get revised.

Friday, August 08, 2008

On a Walk

I just found the bit of paper on which I wrote down a few of the things I noted on Tuesday morning's walk to Ellwood Thompson and back (about 2 miles round trip). I saw:

0 yard signs for McCain
4 yard signs for Obama
3 RPL "Library Star" yard signs

and, melted into the asphalt at various points:
1 nail
1 quarter
2 bottle caps

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Reference Interview

"Where are the DVDs?" 10 y.o. boy, holding a copy of a Harry Potter book, asks.

- DVDs for people your age?

"Um, just DVDs."

- Are you looking for something in particular?

"Just my mom."

- [OH!] Okay then, ones for kids are over here....

"There she is!"

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Capital City . . . on the Grow!

Sometimes, I drag myself to the Downtown Y. I go infrequently enough that changes in the city-scape to the east take me by surprise. VCU's latest building project is the renovation of the old city auditorium. It's been gutted, making that block seem strangely open. (Ha. I glanced around VCU's homepage to see if they had a What We Are Building Now page, and found instead a profile of Richmond's hipster bookman, Ward.)

The art museum's addition gained walls in the first part of the year, but I've noted little exterior change since then.

The yellow-brick tire business on Broad at Lombardy is now apartments, over a dollar store. On Saturday morning, I spotted two cleaning crews tackling VCU properties on Broad, and numerous cars and pick ups full of college-kid belongings -- including that tire store. And the dollar store was packin 'em in.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Something I Noticed

I use LibraryThing to help me remember YA books I've read. As I added Stoner & Spaz, I noted that a modest 139 other users have it. I skimmed down the rest of the screen and saw that ReShonda Tate Billingsley's With Friends Like These appears in only 11 other LT libraries.* At my lib, Stoner has circ'ed 11 times (since 11/02); across three copies of With Friends (one owned since May 07), we've had 17 check-outs.

I guess it's partly audience and partly the fact that Koertge is a more established writer. Based on the crowd Billingsley drew to one of our libraries lately, she should be appearing on LibraryThing -- and elsewhere! -- in the years to come.

*I went back to add "LT" ; WorldCat shows it in 323 other library collections.