June 29, 2007

Bombshell Librarians

The emails with new suggestions and info just keep coming! Yay!

Kathe has been kind enough to re-introduce me (thanks!) to Helen Marsh Shandy, the "blonde bombshell of the ALA". She and her husband Peter are the stars of a mystery series by Charlotte MacLeod; I'll be loading yet another book on the request pile at my local library and will be starting with Rest You Merry, the first in the series.

Romantic Librarians

Auburn dropped me a line (thanks!) about another book featuring librarians that I'd missed in my talk: Josephine Carr's The Dewey Decimal System of Love. The reviews I've read make it sound like one of those perky-yet-depressing (IMHO) "she was celibate for years but then found her true love and nothing would keep them apart" kind of books, but Booklist said "much of the pleasure in this wonderfully amusing novel comes from Carr's realistic depiction of the everyday pleasures and occasional downsides to working in a library." I may have to look for it at my own library and give it a read - it is summer, after all!

(Currently 99°.)

Librarians and Time Travel

Ramona dropped me an email (thanks!) to tell me about another book featuring a librarian: The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffeneggar. (Unbelievably, I couldn't find this book at LibraryThing thanks for the correction, Tim!) Anyway, this tells the story of Henry De Tamble, "a rather dashing librarian at the famous Newberry Library in Chicago", who finds himself unstuck in time. It's a love story, since Henry meets his soul mate on one of his journeys, and the tale tells of their times together at various spots along their disconnected timelines. (Apparently there's a movie in pre-production, as well, with Eric Bana tapped to play Henry.) I'll be checking this out from my local library!

More Librarians in Comics

Thanks to August for telling me about another librarian-related comic: the Jack of Fables. But it seems the librarian's the bad guy this time around; August says, "In it, the character Jack of Tales is captured by a nefarious Mr. Revise and his team of Librarians and taken to the Golden Boughs Retirement Village. It seems Mr. Revise wants to 'retire' fables so that they will fade from popular consciousness and so lose their magic." It's one I'm off to investigate!

(Currently 96°.)

June 28, 2007

One for the Solar Folks

OK, so my day job is with a solar observatory, and my educational background is in astronomy; and (thanks to a Twitterfriend) I've recently discovered Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy Blog. Great stuff! A recent posting both made me laugh and shake my head... sheesh, what were these people thinking? Go forth and check out "Is the Sun from another galaxy?", enjoy the illustrations (I've actually printed out the Evil Sun sketch), and bask in the well-written smackdown. (OK, well, I basked in it. Love it when folks can smack a stupid idea down without being our sounding stupid themselves.) And - get this - Phil posts again today with a followup about the attention he's been getting, and a correction to something in his original post. Great stuff!

Almost - but not quite - 106°.

Holy Cow!

The June SLA Connections put my talk down as the first link in the "Outside the Box" topic area! w00t! (This would explain the sudden increase in my mailbox...)

103° and there are clouds over the mountains! (The webcam will probably change, but at 2pm there were clouds, dang it!)

Weather Wonkiness

So, it was 83° when I woke up, and 92° when I got to work. The monsoon moisture is starting to flirt with us, but not enough to really kick off the monsoon season (dewpoint right now is only 47°) - although we're seriously considering starting our Monsoon Madness game next week (average start date is July 3rd). The forecast is all hot, all the time, with no rain in sight...

This week is Thunderstorm Safety Awareness week - not a bad idea to plan ahead, and here's hoping we get a truly real monsoon season this year!

June 27, 2007

Waiting on the Press Release

(A dip into my secret life of archaeology fascination!) Archaeologists think they've found Hatshepsut's mummy. She was a truly fascinating pharaoh, and Dr. Zahi Hawass discusses the long search for her tomb at his web site. I can't wait to hear what he announces at the press conference today in Cairo. (More about Hatshepsut at Wikipedia.)

Update on the 28th: Yep, it's her!

Absolutely Still Vital

USA Today has a short article titled "Librarians: We're still vital in the digital age", about librarians attending ALA volunteering in the area over the course of the conference - very cool, you librarians, you rock! - and working towards dispersing the idea that we're unnecessary in this digital age. At the time I read the article, there were two comments, both of them rather depressing - and exactly why we need to make sure folks know that just because "it's all on the Internet" doesn't mean you don't need libraries, or librarians!

Found via Jill's twitter about this - she's quoted!

June 26, 2007

Save Net Radio

Today is net radio's Day of Silence, and boy, is it loud. Royalty rates for webcasters have been tripled; not only that, but tripled and made retroactive for 18 months, effective July 15th! What does this mean for you? It means the best music online will effectively be stopped - Pandora, Shoutcast, EpiphanyRadio, basically any streaming radio station not backed by the big bucks of the RIAA. I don't know about you, but I love my net radio stations - considering the dearth of decent non-mainstream radio where I live - and life would be a whole lot blander without those choices.

Contact your Congressperson (I did) and ask them to support the Internet Radio Equality Act (S. 1353 and H.R. 2060, already introduced). Please. We as librarians are supposed to stand for freedom of speech, and freedom of choice - that should extend to music as well as to books and web sites.

June 25, 2007

Reviews of The Hollywood Librarian

Folks are starting to post about the premiere of The Hollywood Librarian at ALA last week; not having been able to go myself, I'm quite appreciative of these posts!

* The Hollywood Librarian: Nice Idea, Jumbled Execution, Dubious Marketing Plan over at the LJ Insider
* The Hollywood Librarian World Premiere at the PLA blog
* The Modern Librarian: A Role Worth Checking Out at the Washington Journal
* Hollywood Librarian: World Premier at Tinfoil+Raccoon

There are also starting to be a lot of photos of the event posted over at Flickr.

Updated to add Free Range Librarian's Constructive Suggestions, as well.

June 22, 2007

Beehives and Buns, or, Comics du Jour

The May 2007 issue of American Libraries (thanks, Mom!) has an opinion page titled "How the World Sees Us" with a panel from a WayLay comic, that states, "And I never should have drawn a librarian with a beehive or a bun, although I understand they might wear sensible shoes." Of course, I had to go looking for the original sources... the page, which includes a bunch of quotes about libraries and librarians, isn't on the AL website (at least, not for us non-members) but if you access it via a database, it's page 38.

So, hopefully you're familiar with Carol Lay's "WayLay" comics; it also helps to be familiar with the whole "Higher Power of Lucky" thing that went embarrassingly kablam a few months ago to get this. She wrote a comic, "The Word", about the whole thing, and then a second comic to apologize to librarians, called "A-Mends". (The comics don't seem to appear on her site, but they appear freely on the Salon site.) While I agree that not all librarians are like that, I hope she didn't get any rude messages about it...

Fun for Friday

(This has absolutely nothing to do with librarians!) A friend forwarded this to me; considering that (in my mis-spent youth) I've been in clubs with folks who dance a lot like some of his segments I had to laugh! Check out the Evolution of Dance over on YouTube.

It's a toasty 106° today.

Advantages to Dating Librarians

Today's xkcd cracks me up! (I must admit to my own twitches.)

June 21, 2007

Twit, twit, twittering along

ok, so I've taken the plunge into a social networking tool that most of you have probably heard about, Twitter. I've been hearing so much about it for the last several months that I finally decided to try it out... so my TwitterID is desertlibrarian. I've invited the one person I actually personally know on Twitter to be my friend, I just hope I did it the right way - I haven't found anything that allows you to "Add other Twitter friends", only an invite to join by email. Maybe Chris can help me with that... if he wants to be my friend :-D Come be my Twitterfriend! (I did add a Twitter app to my Facebook account... quite addictive... danger, Will Robinson, danger!)

All this is because I don't want to tackle what to do with a bunch of drawings that have already been assigned numbers, and exist, but because our subsystem assemblies have just been rearranged, those numbers are no longer correct *sigh* it's a big mess, and one that the folks who muck about with the WBS don't think about - they just go "Sure, make this change!" and then I have to actually fix all the various places that refer to it. (Arrgh. OK, I'm done whining for now.)

We're up to 98° now.

Morning Musings

At this point in my life there are few things greater than a big, enthusiastic and somewhat slobbery smooch from my kid, followed by "I love you Mommy!" as he runs off to his school class. One of the few things greater is his holler of "Mommy!" and a charge from across the room for a huge hug when I go pick him up.... aah.

Today is brought to you by the letters CMS and the number 3, as in third time's a charm and I'm back on the Drupal project. I've had an unfortunate encounter with SELinux and now know more about touch autorelabel than I ever did before...although I still don't know what happened to set it off (well, I do know what happened, the file system renamed httpd with a _t suffix, which is bad. What I don't know is why it renamed it.) Today I hope to get the Drupal service back up and delivering base data, then I'm off to find a theme that's close to what I want the site to look like. (This is my homework from my Drupal consultant, after getting httpd back running again!)

Currently only 86° but the heat advisory warning stays in place. I actually find myself anxious for the monsoon to start, even though I know we'll all be miserable in the humidity. Give us some rain, Mother Nature! (Please?)

June 20, 2007

Marumushi Newsmap

Now, this is just cool; the Newsmap is "an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator". It's customizable - so if you aren't interested in, say, entertainment or sports news, you can deselect them - and you can choose countries as well. Interesting to see how different stories have different interest/importance levels in different places. (found via the SLA-IT Blog)

Today: Sunny and 102° with a heat advisory in effect for tomorrow. (I'm glad I don't live in Phoenix, where there's an extreme heat advisory in effect!)

June 19, 2007

One for the Guys

Wow. Pity Guy Robinson Robertson (my apologies; corrected to proper last name!) ... or give him a really, really big stapler. In this month's Feliciter (from the Canadian Library Association) he writes a feature article titled "Keeping Up Appearances: Looking Like a Librarian in an Age of Paranoia." (If you can't get at it via a CLA login, try your library's Ebsco database.) In it, he describes the denial of his work visa by a customs official who determined that Guy didn't look like a librarian, so must have been lying about his reasons for entering the USA...

I hope he meets with more success in future attempts. This kind of thing is just... well... embarrassing. Thanks to Laurel for sending me the article!

(Sunny and hot. Yes, again.)

June 18, 2007

It's a Start

After a couple of months of feeling like we were the purple pony in the room, a couple of folks from the vendor for our data management system made a site visit today. I have to say, I'm encouraged, and once again feel a small flicker of hope that we can get this fixed and working again. It wasn't wine and roses, but I'd say it was at least beer and daisies :-D and a very good start. Fingers crossed!

So far today: sunny and 103°. Our AC at work is a bit overenthusiastic and I had to actually go outside twice today to warm up... one thing about 103°, you warm up pretty quickly!


Cicadas are loud;
One hundred and two degrees
Finally, summer.

June 15, 2007

Old & Cranky

Well, it's been ten days since the fantabulous Gold Digger's Ball at SLA in Denver, and my knees are still giving me fits. I guess it might maybe kinda sorta be time to admit that no matter how much fun I have, and how much I adore dancing, it's perhaps time to not dance quite so long, or so enthusiastically. Sob...

104° yesterday. Currently only 89°, but supposed to hit 106° today. Thank god for low humidity. Wonder when the monsoon season is going to start? Our dewpoints are still way below the criteria (54°) ...

June 11, 2007

Spectacles Talk Now Online

The web version of my SLA Conference Session "Spectacles: How Pop Culture Views Librarians" is now online over at "You don't look like a librarian!" (Audio file will be linked in as soon as I get it from SLA.) Thanks again to everyone who came - without you, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun!

Back at Work

First day back in the office, the piles aren't too high, thank heavens... today we have almost Denver-like weather, it's grey and cool (77°) and cloudy, and it might even rain today! (Fingers crossed, we could sure use it.)

The web version of the talk is done, I just have to link in a few more images and then verify everything; it'll be posted today. And, hey, Dick Kaser wrote a brief blurb about the talk over at the Infotoday Blog - thanks very much, Dick! (Thanks to Chris Z for letting me know; catching up on blogs isn't going to happen for a few days yet!)

June 8, 2007

SLA: Day 4

The final day of the conference came very, very early for those of us who'd closed out the Gold Digger's Ball on Tuesday night... groan! But we were perked up pretty quickly by an amusing (but, sadly, generic) talk by Scott Adams of Dilbert fame. He's a funny speaker - vocal disorder notwithstanding - I just wish he'd tailored it a bit to his audience. With all the Dilbert cartoons featuring librarians, he didn't use a single one...

Afterwards I attended the Astronomy Roundtable I (but missed II, so I hope someone posts a summary someplace!). Later in the evening I went on the tour of the historic Chamberlin Observatory (photos coming soon!). What an amazing opportunity this was - I work mostly with new telescopes, and the chance to see an antique still in use (albeit for public viewing only) was just cool. In addition to a brief history of Chamberlin, we were given the opportunity to view Saturn through the telescope. Squee!

Then it was time to stagger back to the hotel room, finish packing, and try and get some sleep.

SLA Day 3: After PM

After recovering a bit from the Spectacles session, I met with the PAM Book Discussion Group at the Colorado History Museum. As one of the folks who didn't actually finish the book, I didn't have a lot to share, but what I did hear from others makes me determined to finish it!

Then it was back to the Hyatt for the IT/PAM Gold Digger's Ball (my photos here and here). What a blast!

Curse of the Hotel Wifi

Yes, the curse continues to follow me, sigh - now that I'm back in the land of solid Internet access I'll have several more blog postings and pictures coming today, to catch up on the latter bit of the conference. Stay tuned!

June 5, 2007

SLA Day 3: PM

"Spectacles: How Pop Culture Views Librarians" is now over, deep breath! The talk with all the links will be on the web site by Monday.

To the 120+ people who came and shared some time with me, THANK YOU! You were a great audience and I'm glad I was able to provide a break from the conference seriousness. I will be checking into the information that some you came up to share with me afterwards; expect to see future blog postings on them!

To the folks who requested "more analysis" and "more detailed results", I would like to invite you to check out my earlier talks, "You don't look like a librarian!" and "Where's the librarian?"; both of them deal with survey results and data analysis.

And for all of you who've made my head swell with your very nice remarks (Fun! Excellent! Well done!) - Thank you!

Time to go decompress....

SLA Day Three: AM

Well, I just finished up with the annual Business Meeting, which is always a good way to find out what's going on with the division at large. Our chair surprised some of us with thank-you certificates and pieces of fossilized dinosaur bone - very cool!

While there are events going on between now and Spectacles, I'm not going to go to any of them - I'm going to go back to my hotel and run through the talk a couple more times, do some final tweaking, etc. I'm meeting my moderator at 2pm to walk through the introduction and make sure the tech support for the projector is in place, and then it'll be TIME.

Then I can decompress afterwards - woo hoo! Drinks of some type with Stephen Abram (probably coffee), then the book discussion group, followed by the Gold Digger's Ball (for which I am now a greeter!)

(Gonna be 103° back home today, but only 81° here in Denver. I love the heat, but it's lovely here!)

June 4, 2007

SLA: Day Two

After the synergy session today, I spent some time in the exhibit hall and then headed to the PAMwide Roundtable, which I was moderating. I won't post much (it was great, ha ha!) but I did get a great photo of the speakers. Then I was faced with two conflicting sessions: one by Roy Tennant, and one from Google. I started out in one and ended up in the other, then I ran back to the hotel to drop off my out-of-power laptop (I'd forgotten my power cord) and grab some paper.

Back to the conference center for the Technical Support roundtable, which was very valuable and I deeply hope will be on the schedule next year in some form.

Now I'm off for dinner with the Hawaiian Librarians, then plan to split my evening between the PAM Open House and the SciFi Open House... unless I decide to come back to the hotel room and obsessively rehearse my talk one more time...

SLA: Synergy Session

I took much more detailed notes, but I just posted a summary of the opening general synergy session on PAMblog. Now I'm off to try and talk to Clifford Lynch about how we at MPOW utilize the concept of virtual organizations, one topic he brought up and said we need to be working towards. He said he'd welcome examples, so I'm off to give him one before the PAMwide RT starts!

SLA Day One: Sunday

I'm having problems getting access in my hotel, so posts may appear the day after from the lovely Blogger's Lounge that SLA has so kindly provided...

Sunday was taken up with the Newcomer's Lunch (nicely attended in the beautiful historic Brown Palace Hotel), followed by the opening of the exhibits and the PAM board meeting (many board-y things were discussed). The opening keynote session by Al Gore was quite cool - who knew he was so darned funny? And he did a very good job of talking to his audience - no canned speech here, but a speech (primarily politics and the climate crisis, which we were expecting) sprinkled throughout with references to libraries, librarians and our importance in the coming information economy. (Lots of applause there!) I was very impressed with his speech, as were many others (given the many effusive postings on the SLA blog). The evening ended (for me, at least) with the Early-Bird Dinner at the Wynkoop Brewing Company. Tasty wheat beer!

June 3, 2007

Denver, Day One

So, I'm in Denver now...

After an unfortunate misunderstanding in the TIA airport I missed my scheduled flight; thankfully there was another one to Denver that they were able to get me on. Arrived OK, but too late for the Denver City Tour I'd signed up for with SLA - ah well.

I'm staying at the completely cool and very funky Curtis Hotel on the Sci-Fi floor - I highly recommend this place to anyone who needs to stay downtown! I ventured forth to the 16th Street Mall, randomly turned left, and started walking - and lo and behold, the Denver institution of the Tattered Cover bookstore appeared before me! So I, of course, had to spend some time browsing. They recommended Dixon's for dinner, and I had a very tasty steak there. Then I walked back along the very bustling mall, stopped in to say hi to Kathleen and Terese, and then crashed back at the Curtis.

An unfortunate start to the day, but a very satisfying one.

I'll actually write about today's events later - no weather wonkiness this week!