Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A week ago today, I left New Orleans. I had been interviewing for a job at a university on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain, which we all know has flooded the city. I remember thinking as I was driven to the airport that I regretted not having the time to take any photos while I was there and that if I got the job, I'd take some when I came back to find a place to live. Now nobody has a place to live. Everything has been destroyed. I hope the people I met at UNO last week are safe.

Being there so recently makes this whole thing so strange. The smell and heat of the city are fresh in my mind and I can only imagine how hard it is to survive there without electricity or shelter. The only thing I could think of to help those affected was to donate to the American Red Cross. They take donations as small as $5.00 and need all the help they can get.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I'll be near Portland for a wedding this weekend. August is the month I associate with large gatherings, more than any other. I can remember at least five funerals, three weddings, and too many family reunions to count during Augusts. Lots of people I know have August birthdays, too. My dad's was yesterday.

This time of year is strange, especially in the Northwest. We finally get warm, sunny weather, but it's time to finish the vacation and start looking ahead. Kids are buying school clothes, the wool pants and cashmere sweaters are out in stores, and all of us university types are preparing for the students to return. I always feel a bit wistful in August, especially as it comes to a close. It's a month of endings and unrealized potential. But it also means that fall is coming. Fall is beautiful and colorful, calm and mild, and full of my favorite things: foggy mornings, sweaters, steamy coffehouse windows, hats and scarves, and lots of rain. Fall is a new school year, the start of the holiday season, and the promise of new beginnings.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Since I've been home I've been focusing on my assessment project. It's coming down to the last couple of weeks of work and I have to make every moment count. I guess I'll be working next weekend to make sure taking time off this this week didn't set me back. I have to present my findings on September 12 and I want to make sure my numbers are crunched correctly and I've made my recommendations and the reasoning behind them clear in the report. Things are starting time come together, especially the quantitative parts. I'm conducting three interviews next week, which should just about complete the qualitative data gathering and give me what I need make my case. Research is fun.

Monday, August 22, 2005

It's 10:12 here, so I should try to get some rest in a minute or two. I just spent the last hour tweaking my presentation a bit. I had dinner with two of the search committee members, so I've already talked about some of the stuff that I'll be covering tomorrow, but that can't be helped. Conversation happens organically, I suppose.
The list of things I forgot to pack continues. I had to buy the ethernet cable from the mini-bar for $11.95+tax. Then I realized I didn't pack my deoderant, so I paid $6.50 for a yucky roll-on at the hotel gift shop. If I wasn't due to dinner fifteen minutes after I figured out my mistake, I might have found a pharmacy. Lastly, I did not bring a comb. How dumb am I?

Pretty dumb, judging from my biggest mistake of the day. I had to change planes at DFW, and the second boarding pass had no gate number on it. When we were about to land, the helpful flight attendent reeled off the gates for connecting flights and she gave mine as C16. So, with nearly two hours to spare, I jumped on the SkyLink and went to C16 and read while my ipod charged. You see where this is heading, right? When I realized my flight should have boarded already, I finally looked at the departure board and saw my flight was actually boarding at C32. Me being me, I didn't check anything, so I had a big-ish backpack and a laptop and was wearing high-heeled sandals. Inappropriate footwear is my trademark. With six minutes until my flight was set to leave, I took off my shoes and ran barefoot through the terminal, around past the food vendors and finally got to C32 as they were about to close the door. The gate agent told me to run down the plank to the plane, and I did. At least the plane was only half-full, which I have not experienced since the bottom fell out after 2001.

Blogging has given me a second wind, so I'm off to watch television and eat something outrageously priced from the mini-bar.
Monday, 6:36am PST

Having gone through security in record time, I’m at the gate waiting the 80 minutes until my flight boards. Of course I forgot to charge my ipod, even after posting about it in the middle of the night; I’m trying to save what’s left of the battery for the flight. I also forgot to charge my phone or pack its charger. I did manage to pack an extra battery for the camera and remembered my toiletry bag at the last minute.

This is the first time I’ve been to the A gates since the airport was remodeled. It’s nice and there are lots of new stores. The asiago bagel breakfast sandwich I bought from one of the new places was good and not terribly overpriced. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have a few complaints, though. It took me a while to find a garbage can in this pristine new terminal Apparently I inadvertently packed my tinfoil hat, because I was momentarily convinced that Homeland Security had decreed that public trash receptacles are a threat to national security. Yeah, I’m excitable when up before dawn.

Then, when I opened up my laptop, it detected four wireless networks. Too bad two are pay-to-access hotspots and the other two are encrypted. Maybe I’ll go over to the Tully’s and see if theirs is free with purchase, but maybe not. Sea-Tac would be wise to follow the lead of other airports and just give free wireless access at the gates. So much of air travel is inconvenient and uncomfortable that it seems wise to make people happy in this small but significant way. I guess its more appealing to partner with T-Mobile and Cingular. Boo! So I have to type this up in a document and wait to get to my hotel to upload. Whatever.

Its interesting to watch people wait for a plane. Of course most people are keeping tmeselves busy reading, eating, talking on the cell phone about nothing, and sleeping, but some people are more entertaining. I see make-up application, nose picking, smooching, and pacing. The woman sitting across from me keeps staring at me with a nasty look on her face. If I was meaner, I’d take her picture with my phone and post it here. Staring back with a raised brow seems to have inspired her to stare at somebody else. Get a book. I guess I should save this battery for the flight, too.
I'm suffering from insomnia, as usual. Do either of the two of you who read this know of a cure? This is becoming a problem and I'm not interested in sleeping pills. The only two times in recent memory that I slept well and woke up rested were my trip to Scandinavia last year and the week I spent at this correctly named resort this spring.

So, I'm packed and ready for my trip, and need to go to sleep so I can wake up at 4:00am to make it to the airport by 6:00. This checking in two hours early business is the suck. I'm starting to freak about not having a book to read on the plane. Well, I have Underworld, but it's so big and certain to be complicated that I don't want to drag it around when I can't give it the attention it needs. Maybe I'll bring Michael Reynolds' third Hemingway bio and the Pratchett I haven't been able to get into. Ooh, and I need to charge my ipod.

While I guess I'm ready, I'm not as pleased with my presentation as I'd like to be. However, I've read so much on my topic that I'm not worried about being able to speak coherently about it. I think I'm just cranky because I'm using powerpoint for the first time since I graduated. I always made funny presentations then, and it's kind of sad that this time I have to play it straight. SJ and I recently looked at the slides from presentations we made together and I still think nobody can top Dawson's Gigantic Noggin.
My family had a big picnic in the park today. Whenever we get together, it's always this gigantic undertaking, mostly because my mother loves to entertain. What could have been a simple potluck instead involved a pickup truck full of gear (including a big gas grill and a tent). I totally inherited the entertaining gene, but I had so much going on this weekend that I was kind of dreading spending the whole day at the picnic instead of packing, prepping, and resting. However, the event was better than I had anticipated because some of my favorite friends came and brought their adorable children. Trying to explain to my friends who was related to me and how was difficult, but amusing. Witness:

Grad School BFF: Who is that little girl?
Halo: She's my dad's brother's ex-wife's husband's great-granddaughter. Seriously.
GSBFF: Whoah. Who's that guy talking to MiniThug?
Halo: Beats me.
Childhood BFF: Who's MiniThug?
Halo, to GSBFF: You explain.

Anyway, I had a nice time and it was fun to introdude GSBFF to CBFF. They've both heard all about one another from me for the past three years, so I was pleased to see them hit it off.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The phone interview seemed to go well. I got a good feeling about the people on the committee. It was really natural and they seemed to be having a good time talking with me. I should find out about on-campus interviews by the middle of next week. Fingers are crossed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

So, I have to make a plug for Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. A colleague recommended it and I am so happy she did. I love working with librarians. I started the first book on Sunday night before bed (bad idea) and was halfway through the third book by the time I left for work this morning. I've never really been into genre fiction, especially fantasy, but I've read several good titles lately and am beginning to wonder what else I've been missing all this time.

One of my BFFs lent me Terry Pratchett's Night Watch, which I'm having a hard time getting into. I'll follow Nancy Pearl's 50 page rule before I decide whether I like it or not. In any case, I'm taking a break from ny old pal Hemingway for a little while. The Sun Also Rises was great, but I need somthing totally different.

Suggestions always welcome!
The phone interview seemed to go well. They called me yesterday to set up an on-campus interview. I fly out on Monday, so things are moving quickly. Now I need to set aside some time to prep my presentation. And I have another phone interview tomorrow morning. This is exciting, but managing everything I have to do is keeping me from getting too giddy. Now I just have to figure out how to avoid melting away in my suit. It's hard to look professional in the summer, and the really conservative look isn't for me.

As the job search speeds up, I still have to focus on the work I already have. The project I'm working on right now is pretty challenging. I've always liked working independently, but my MLIS program taught me how great it can be to work in teams. And the parts of my job I like best (besides teaching) are the collaborative projects and discussions we have. So its kind of strange to be working separately from the rest of the group. I love what I'm doing, though, and I'm learning more about collections, planning, staffing, and analysis than I could without hands-on experience.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

My friend BossTweed sent me this article,"Blogging in the Early Republic," from Common-Place, which I had never read before. Leave it to a classics major to know about cool stuff like this. Anyway, enjoy!
Okay, I am teh suck because I have not updated in eons. SJ smacked my hand today, so I have been schooled.

It sure is easy to get bogged down in the minutae of daily life and forget to stop and reflect on what's happening. The job search continues to move forward nicely. This morning, I got a call from a good medium-sized university in a cool city. We scheduled a phone interview for tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to. A few places have requested letters from my references, and I take that as a good sign. I've been pretty selective about the positions I apply for, targeting instruction jobs at schools with a committment to undergraduate education and libraries with teams of librarians. A solo gig sounds interesting, but at this stage in my career I think I'd like to learn from and collaborate with others for a while. I'm pretty social and like the collegiality of working with others.

Of course, The thought of moving away from this area, which I love beyond the telling of it, makes me a little sad. But I can't sit around here waiting for the perfect job to open up. It's starting to get exciting to think about moving somewhere completely new. Leaving Abbie will break my heart, though. She'll be better off with Nala and my parents than shut up in some apartment while I'm working, but I will miss her madly.

Monday, August 01, 2005

From A Library Writer's Blog: In response to the recent Chronicle article on blogging that really riled people, Sobriquet Magazine is looking for articles on blogging and the academic world. I'll be really interested to read more from the perspective of academics who blog.