Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bests of 2006

Okay, I'm inflicting a list on you. I hardly ever do this, but 2006 was a weird year for me and I am compelled to document the things that made it fun.

Best Albums

Decemberists: Crane Wife
Colin Meloy played a few songs from this album at the 826 benefit in August (see below) and it made me even more excited for the release in October. So good.

Band of Horses: Everything All the Time
Lovely. I know it's on everybody's list right now, but that's for good reason. "Funeral" and "The Great Salt Lake" are great songs, but dig deeper because the whole album is great.

Silversun Pickups: Carnavas
This gets a lot of play on my ipod. My favorite tracks are "Checkered Floor" and "Future Foe Scenerios." Yeah, Pitchfork only gave it a 5 and I've read several other reviews claiming the band is too derivative of late 80s-early 90s rock--Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.--but I'd argue their sound is more a distillation of what was good about that music, with none of the annoying stuff (like Corgan's whiny voice).

Jon Auer: Songs from the Year of Our Demise
I waited years for this release, and it lives up to my expectations. If I have one criticism it's that the songs are even prettier when Jon plays them acoustic, without any of the added layers of sound. Check out his appearances on KEXP last April and August if you want to hear what I'm talking about. But SftYoOD is a beautiful, beautiful album that you need to hear. A couple of mp3s are available at Pattern 25.

Ghostland Observatory: Paparazzi Lightning
This is just fun. "Vibrate" has to be my favorite song, but I like it all. Discovering them (thanks, Cass) reminds me of Bumbershoot (2004?) when I walked into Sky Church to see Math & Physics Club and United State of Electronica was still playing and it was dancy, dancy fun all over the place--only BETTER. GO rocks all.

Best Live Shows

Silversun Pickups/Viva Voce @ Hi-dive (Denver, not Seattle)
I came for Silversun Pickups and was not disappointed. I can't remember seeing a live band this good for about ten years. For serious. My faith in the crunchy guitar rock has been restored! Viva Voce was really good, too. I finally picked up "Get Yr Blood Sucked Out" the other day and I recommend it. It's not on the best list because I didn't get into it until the last week of 06 and I don't know if it rates yet.

Ghostland Observatory @ Hi-dive (Denver)
I posted about this back in August, but will reiterate what a great show it was. If Ghostland is playing near you, go see them.

the Gossip @ Bumbershoot
Why had I never seen the Gossip live before? I knew I liked them well enough to check them out at Bumbershoot, but I was pretty impressed. As soon as I got back home I was digging through my mp3s to find some of their stuff and have since been grabbing up their back catalog.

826 Seattle Benefit before Bumbershoot
I'm so happy Mel got us tickets to this. I was psyched to see Ben Gibbard and Sarah Vowell, but the whole thing was awesome. Some enterprising people YouTubed some of it. Check out Colin Meloy's acoustic "O, Valencia!" So awesome. And the Meloy-Gibbard combo just about blew me away with its sheer adorableness. The Seattle Times (kind of) liked it, too. Eggers reviewed the audience, glowingly, in the Stranger.

Best Awesome Internet Retailers Who Allow Me To Live in Wyoming and Still Occasionally Buy Good Stuff

Sonic Boom
What's not to love about a record store that always has what I want and has friendly staff? I go in every time I'm back in Seattle because there's stuff I can't get in WY. Plus they always send nice messages when I order online.

Peggy Li
Peggy made some of my favorite pieces ever, like the slide oval choker I should wear more often and the bird charm necklace I wear several times a week.

Nordstrom
The supplier of my favorite jeans, the perfect t-shirt, and many things I don't need.

Etsy, specifically Orange Peel Enamel and Adorn Jewelery
I love the jewelery too much and these two make beautiful stuff.

Zappos
Shoes! Free shipping! And too many cute Campers for me to buy on my salary.

Best Blogs

I, Asshole
The one, the only. SJ's writing is indescribable, in a good way. From PNW'ed to Mal Mots, it's gold. Never go away again, Lady!

The Rich Girls Are Weeping
An mp3 blog all about the indie rock, but with a healthy and not snarkily ironic dash of old standbys like Harry Nilsson and Joan Baez. And it's not just a bunch of links to music; Cindy and Pinkie write really great posts about the music.

Gwen World
Gwen's is probably the first blog("online diary") I ever read. She kicks so much ass you can't even imagine it. She also writes books, and you should read them. If you're a librarian like me, you should buy them for your library.

50 Books
Thanks to Doppelganger, my to-read list is longer than my lifespan is likely to accommodate.

Go Fug Yourself
Celebrities wear stupid stuff sometimes. It's fun to watch them do it.

What, No Best Books?

Well, I didn't really read any knock-my-socks-off books this year. I can't remember if I ever managed to post about the NYT "10 Best Books of 2006" or not. I'm guessing not. Of the alleged best books of the year, I've read exactly none of them. Ha! I mean, not that I think the Times knows all, but it still cracks me up. I also didn't read anything on the best lists of PW, the Times of London, or even the Seattle Times. Maybe next year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I'm it

Jessica tagged me with the "Five Things You Probably Don't Know About Me" meme. So here goes.

1. I get obsessive about things. Like when I found a (pretty affordable) cashmere v-neck sweater, I bought one in every color they had and still make sure I check back every season to make sure I get the new shades. I have to restrain myself from doing this with everything I love, from lipgloss to iittala glass cards. The rampant consumerist inside me is embarrassing.

2. If I had to choose between books and music, I'd choose music. Bad librarian! I saw more than 50 bands (I kept a list) the summer after I graduated high school and don't regret not saving my graduation money for college. I wish that many good shows were happening these days. R.I.P. Seattle of 1992.

3. I got five speeding tickets during my first two years as a licensed driver. At one point I was in danger of being sent to traffic school. I also crashed my parents' minivan when I still just had a learner's permit. Believe it or not, I'm very responsible now and haven't been ticketed in almost 15 years.

4. I am ashamed of my car. For ten years, I drove a little Neon with no frills and good gas milage. After moving, I got an SUV. It's a little one, but I still feel guilty whenever I drive it--especially because I'm almost always alone now. I miss the bus, even though this car is the nicest one I've ever owned with leather and everything. Residual urban guilt is hard to shake.

5. My favorite smell is the ocean. In close second is asphalt right when it starts to rain--that dirty, oily scent mixed with fresh Pacific Northwest air. I really miss the grey and the rain. Wyoming is alltogether too sunny for my taste, but at least I'm getting some vitamin D.

I'm not explicitly tagging anybody, but if you read me and feel inclined to do this, go ahead.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Homeward bound

My fellow travelers
The holiday rush at the Laramie Airport

There are a couple of nice things about flying out of Laramie that balance out the cost and massive turbulance in the prop plane. The most awesome is free wireless. Another is only having to check in an hour before the flight. There's also the crowd issue. As you can see, I'm not exactly cramped for space here. It looks like it will be me and two guys on this flight.

After a night in a nice hotel near DIA, I'll be home early tomorrow! First on the agenda is talking the dog in for her checkup and then burgers at Burgermaster with the dogs and my parents.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Abbie Update

I forgot to report what we found out about Abbie. It's mostly better news than I expected. What the vet initially thought was a mass in her gut seems to be a lot of extra air from all the panting she's been doing because she's in pain. Her chem panel came back fine--one of her liver enzymes is a little wacky, but she's old and has a history of that. The radiologist figured out what was causing all the pain: the connective tissue in her spine is bulging and pressing on her nerves.

Abbie's been on the dog version of bed rest for the past ten days or so. She's not allowed to run or sit up human-style, which she loves to do for some reason. My mom said she's doing okay, but we're taking her for a check-up on Wednesday right after I get off the plane.

I'm not sure how much I'll update over the next two weeks, but I'm sure I'll have lots of dopey pictures!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Abbie

My mom called today and told me my dog, who now lives with my parents, is sick. She's had liver problems in the past but has been pretty healthy for a couple of years. Abbie has a big mass in her abdomen, so she had x-rays and a biopsy today. We'll know more after the radiologist takes a look at her films. She'll likely have get an ultrasound next week, and she's off her pain meds (for joint pain) so her liver isn't so taxed.

It was hard to leave her behind when I moved, even though I know she's better off not being cooped up alone while I'm at work every day. Abbie's getting close to nine years old, but I'm not ready to lose her. I still think of her as my little baby, like this:

Abbie's first bath
Taken the day we brought her home in June 1998. She was four weeks old.

Abbie
Abbie all grown up

I'm really glad I'm going home in ten days to spend a couple of weeks with her. With midwinter in Seattle in January, I'll get a few more days with her soon after, as well. It sounds awful, but missing Abbie is harder than missing the people I left. The phone and email keep me in touch with friends and family, but there's nothing like that that works for dogs.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

one more thing on last.fm, etc.

Instead of entering your Pandora username and password on a third-party site, you can use a Firefox plugin to scrobble your streams into last.fm. I love that.

Speaking of extensions, my library finally has a LibX toolbar plugin and it's great. I just added it today and I'm already instinctively going to it instead of constantly going to the homepage. The only problem is my toolbar is getting crazy crowded. Even though I use blummy, I have 21 bookmarks I use so often I need one-click access to them. If the meebo link wasn't staring me in the face, I'd forget to log in every day and I need to leave it up if IM at work is going to be useful. It's weird how everybody works differently. I like as few windows as possible, so I keep many, many tabs open as I work. My dream would be for everything in the universe to work like a combination of firefox and tivo.

desktop

hateration, holleration

Have you all been following Nancy Pelosi's doings as the next Speaker? I have, but that's not what I want to talk about right now. During my regular morning NYT browsing session, I came across this article* about Pelosi not selecting Alcee L. Hastings for the new chair of the House Intelligence Committee. The part that caught my attention was this quote from Hastings's statement:
“Sorry, haters, God is not finished with me yet,” he said.
For some reason, I love it when politicians drop slang like this.

*You might have to log-in to read it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

My life in beta

I just switched my blogs over to Blogger Beta. I'm already regretting not waiting to switch until I absolutely had to because now I can't see any of my comments. My current plan is to just wait a while and see if things resolve themselves. This is my usual M.O. and sometimes it works.

In other, more fun news, I started using last.fm along with Pandora, via real-ity.com. I'm not sure how much I'll use some of the features, but I'll give it a try.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Buried in RSS

So, when my Bloglines show 6170 unread posts, do I just give up? It's kind of like the 300 flagged for "follow-up" emails I have in my work inbox. How does this happen?

Rocking out and buying books

I don't have any standing appointments on Mondays, so I try to squeeze in as much collection development as I can every week. I spent the better part of this morning ordering the various faculty requests that have piled up in my inbox lately. I forget how fun and relaxing it can be. It's also a good time to listen to music. Today I realized the Smiths make the perfect book-buying soundtrack. I also recommend Wilco, which has the added benefit that I'm less likely to sing along to it.

Back on the CD tip. One especially savvy person sent over search results from MLA, which gave me a chance to test out our new link resolver. It works really well. I especially like that we recently added the option to search the unified catalog to which we belong and it executes the search automagically. I just wish we could do the same from our catalog, like I'm used to from University of Washington catalog to Summit. If only we were a III library--I miss that.

Speaking of my alma mater, I read that my grad program's student newsletter, the Silverfish, is getting a new name. This makes me a little sad because I liked the name and think it's unique and edgier than most. It's been renamed before, but I thought it was cool that the staff went back to the original name in 1996. Actually, I don't know that there wasn't an earlier name, but Silverfish goes back pretty far. R.I.P., Silverfish.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The state of my office/the state of my mind

This is why I can't think clearly:

messy office

That's actually after I spent some time cleaning up.

I had nine instruction sessions last week, and my first T&P packet was due Friday. My hot water tank exploded on Tuesday night and my landlady was in Mexico until Sunday. I've been super busy for the past month, with teaching mostly, but last week was the undoing of me. After five days of boiling water for dishwashing and bathing, I'm very glad I'm getting things repaired today. I'm trying to get back to posting, but make no promises that it will be interesting for a while.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Travel is fun II: Home at last

Thirteen highlights:
  1. "Shuttle" from Laramie to Cheyenne = some guy who works at the airport driving a minivan rented from Hertz.
  2. That guy doesn't know where he's going. He also drives kind of slowly.
  3. We arrive in Cheyenne minutes before our flight boards. It doesn't matter; the plane is late.
  4. I [allegedly] succeed in carrying [alleged] lipbalm in my pocket. Victory and non-chapped lips are [allegedly] mine.
  5. We arrive in Denver after our next flight begins boarding. The pilot calls our connecting flight.
  6. With fast-walking and positive thinking, we make it halfway across the airport and to our gate in 13 minutes.
  7. Our bags do not make it.
  8. Our pending upgrade to first class went through, so we sit down in relative comfort just as the doors close.
  9. I commence drinking wine, eating fruit and cheese, and gossiping with the flight attendant.
  10. The towncar Mom thoughtfully booked drives us home.
  11. My brother and sister-in-law come over for dinner, bearing the news that they're having a boy. We celebrate, then watch the Big Brother All-Stars live eviction show.
  12. Blissful sleep in my parents' comfy guest bed, which I share with two large dogs.
  13. United delivers our bags at 6:00 am.
I made it!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Travel is fun

This vacation hasn't gotten off to a great start. I drove to Denver yesterday morning to pick up my mom at the airport. She was going to drive with me back to Seattle. My car overheated just as I got onto the airport exit. I cranked the heat, rolled down the windows and made it to pick up Mom. We had AAA tow the car from a parking garage at DIA to a repair shop in Aurora, CO. We ended up wasting a travel day while my thermostat was repaired, so we drove back to Laramie in the evening, stayed at my place and booked a flight for morning.

We're at the Laramie airport now, and just found out that out flight's been cancelled, so we're getting shuttled to Cheyenne. I don't know if we'll make our connection in Denver, but we'll try. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Where I'm at

I've been on a blogging hiatus of sorts lately. It's more by circumstance than design. We've been gearing up for the new semester and I've been trying to get things ready before I leave on vacation. Several things in particular have been occupying my attention, including the rollout of a project I've been working on: the library's fancy new website. We still have a few things to work out, but it's pretty nice. The other big thing is the new responsibility I recently inherited. For this year, I'll be coordinating the library outreach instruction, and I have a lot to figure out in a short amount of time. That goes double because I'm still figuring out how to do my primary job.

Classes start in the morning, and I'm pretty excited to see all the students come to campus. Summer's been great, but fall has always been my favorite time of year. Of course, it's not quite fall yet, and I'm not used to the semester system. Personally, I think it's cruel to make kids start school before labor day weekend, but then, I'm not in charge. In any case, I'm only going to be at work for a couple of days before heading back to Seattle to get my Bumbershoot on; I start driving on Wednesday and should roll into town late Thursday night. It might be an awkward time for a vacation, but I don't anticipate BIs to start heating up until I'm back. So, I'll have four action-packed days at home before driving back here in my new car. It will be nice to actually get to use the vehicle I've been making payments on for the past few months. Plus, having a working radio will make the 1300 mile trip home a bit more fun.

If you're one of my hometown people, I can't wait to see you!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Dance til you can't dance til you can't dance no more

Ghostland Observatory @ Hi-Dive
Bad cameraphone picture of Ghostland Observatory at the Hi-Dive


I haven't left town much since I got here. Before moving, I assumed I'd be going down to Boulder or Denver for shopping and music on the weekends. This has not come to pass. It's a combination of the price of gas, my nagging residual city-guilt about single-car driving everywhere, and sheer laziness. The radio also went out on my car, so that makes long drives pretty unappealing. So I've pretty much been rambling around town all summer.

One of my colleagues here is full of crazy and wonderful ideas. She's always instigating last-minute karaoke or something equally fun. So when she organized the Ghostland Observatory Caravan, there was no way I was going to miss out. Basically, she borrowed her mom's minivan, filled it with her friends, and had her husband drive us all down to Denver for the GLO show last night. I even broke out and danced. We got home at about 3:00 this morning, but I seem to be plugging along quite well at work today. We're already forming a plan for Silversun Pickups in October.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Meebo me

I just added the new Meebo Me widget to my sidebar after seeing Kris's post about it. Now you can IM me right from the blog, if you're so inclined. I just have to remember to log in! I used to be really good about logging into my various IM clients, but have been forgetting lately. Maybe this new toy will be a reminder.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

lack of updates

I've been neglecting this space. Plenty is going on, but not much is interesting enough to blog about it. Workwise, I've mostly been focused on working on content for the new website. I think it's going to be really nice and, most importantly, usable.

So far summer has been hot and dry, with occasional thundershowers. I'm settling in quite well, but I'm really looking forward to visiting home and taking in all the green and the water--and the city!

Mostly I miss this:

Visit to Vashon
West Seattle, from the Vashon Island ferry, August 13, 2005

And this:

Deception Pass
Deception Pass, Summer 2004

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Support Mississippi Gulf Coast public libraries!

I don't know why I didn't link to this sooner, but here it is. Pamela Ribon (pamie.com, Why Girls Are Weird) has been running online book drives benefitting public libraries and disaster-stricken communities since 2003. This year, she teamed up with David T. Cole (Television Without Pity) and launched the Dewey Donation System. The 2006 book drive benefits the Harrison County Library System, which was hit hard by Katrina. If you're interested in helping out, click the fancy button in my sidebar.

Edited to add: The button seems to have disappeared, but the code's still there. Hmm. Just use the link above, if you want to donate.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Every Day is Like Sunday

We got some very welcome rain this weekend. Yesterday, trying to capture the feeling of home, I holed up with steaming cups of chai and tried to get some work done. I'm not sure if the stormy skies were to blame, but the power kept going out intermittently and then totally went off for a good part of yesterday afternoon. After lying on my bed for a while, feeling sorry for myself because I couldn't cook anything, finish my laundry, play on the internets updating blogs and paying bills, talk on my phone (I only have cordless), or watch anything saved up on Tivo, I was surprised and delighted by the power coming back on at the precise moment my grad school bff, SJ, decided to call me up and plot our Bumbershoot plan of action.* Looks like we both want to hit Monday, but I need to confirm with my since-we-were-eleven bff, M. If any of my Seattle homies will be there, give me a shout.

Anyway, after my talk with SJ, I got off the bed and back to work, clearing up some piles of paper in my office that were threatening to eat me. Several more person-eating piles remain, of course--much like my office at work. Which reminds me that I have a journal article lined up for winter. I'm quite looking forward to this project and it sure will be nice to have a fresh publication credit ready for my first T&P packet next spring.

*longest sentence ever, not counting Proust?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Fourth of July

I hope you had a nice holiday. I had a good time hanging out at a colleague's home and watching the town's fireworks show.




Monday, July 03, 2006

Answers

Here are the answers to the music quiz thang, in case you're burning up with curiosity. My list looks a lot like it might have when I was in high school. I don't know what that says about me.

1. Anything you want/Everything you need
Erasure, "Don't Dance"

2. I've been lying here so lonely/
I've been wishing you would telephone me
Dead or Alive, "Lover Come Back to Me"

3. I've seen the future, I can't afford it/Tell me the truth sir, someone just bought it
ABC, "(How To Be a) Millionaire" --V$

4. I know just what to say/It's just a game I play
The Assembly, "Never Never"

5.
There's more besides joyrides/A little house in the countryside
Depeche Mode, "Get the Balance Right"

6. Flying, show me how it feels/As dreams go sinking clouds that must be real
Catherine Wheel, "Balloon"

7. I'll call you sister Carrie but I'll never say it/Mute it to a whisper
The Posies, "Solar Sister" --V$

8. You had something to hide/Should have hidden it shouldn't you
Depeche Mode, "Policy of Truth" --Gwen

9. I walked across an empty land/I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
Keane, "Somewhere Only We Know"

10. Squeaky swings and tall grass/The longest shadows ever cast
Death Cab For Cutie, "Summer Skin"

11. While you make pretty speeches/I'm being cut to shreds
Radiohead, "Like Spinning Plates"

12. I know you didn't mean it and you're sorry that i left/I'll go right on pretending i've got nothing to regret
Mirah, "We're Both So Sorry"

13. Only this (moment)/Holds us (together)
Royksopp, "Only This Moment"

14. Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head
The Smiths, "I Know It's Over"

15. It's three o'clock in the morning/Or maybe it's four
Cake, "Haze of Love" --Kim

16. Where's the harm in voicing your doubt/You'll find me in the lavatory
Sundays, "You're Not The Only One"

17. Our unsleepable friend/Gets the message on an ill-wind
Morrissey, "Disappointed"

18. Nothing's gonna save you now/No one's gonna change you now
Jon Auer, "Six Feet Under"

19. I want to kill this man but he turned around and ran/I'll kill him with karate that I learned in Japan
Ben Kweller, "I'm On My Way"

20. When I was young and full of grace and spirited--a rattlesnake/When I was young and fever fell my spirit, I will not tell
R.E.M., "I Believe"

Monday, June 26, 2006

Music makes the people come together

I saw this at Gwen World. I thought it was a good opportunity to make a plug for Pandora, which I've been listening to at work. It seems to know me pretty well after three weeks of telling it what I do and don't like.

The Rules:
Step 1: Put your iPod/MP3 player or iTunes on random. I'm using Pandora instead.
Step 2: Post the first line(s) from the first 20 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song.
Step 3: Post it on your blog and let everyone guess what song and artist the lines come from.
Step 4: Update the list with the song title when someone guesses correctly. (I will identify any unguessed songs by Monday.)
Step 5: Make your guesses by leaving a comment. You have to identify both title and artist. No fair Googling!


Here goes:
1. Anything you want/Everything you need
2. I've been lying here so lonely/
I've been wishing you would telephone me
3. I've seen the future, I can't afford it/Tell me the truth sir, someone just bought it
4. I know just what to say/It's just a game I play
5.
There's more besides joyrides/A little house in the countryside
6. Flying, show me how it feels/As dreams go sinking clouds that must be real
7. I'll call you sister Carrie but I'll never say it/Mute it to a whisper
8. You had something to hide/Should have hidden it shouldn't you
9. I walked across an empty land/I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
10. Squeaky swings and tall grass/The longest shadows ever cast
11. While you make pretty speeches/I'm being cut to shreds
12. I know you didn't mean it and you're sorry that i left/I'll go right on pretending i've got nothing to regret
13. Only this (moment)/Holds us (together)
14. Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head
15. It's three o'clock in the morning/Or maybe it's four
16. Where's the harm in voicing your doubt/You'll find me in the lavatory
17. Our unsleepable friend/Gets the message on an ill-wind
18. Nothing's gonna save you now/No one's gonna change you now
19. I want to kill this man but he turned around and ran/I'll kill him with karate that I learned in Japan
20. When I was young and full of grace and spirited--a rattlesnake/When I was young and fever fell my spirit, I will not tell

That's it. I don't know if my handful of readers will comment, but do feel free to make guesses.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Blue Skies

Mom and Dad left on Monday morning, so life's back to normal. It was great having them here, and I'm looking forward to my trip back to Seattle in August. We celebrated Father's Day with a scenic drive along Wyo-130, through the Medicine Bow National Forest. The views of the forest and the Snowy Range were spectacular and Dad and I totally geeked out taking pictures. I uploaded a whole mess of them, if you're interested. This was one of the prettier non-mountain shots I got.

Medicine Bow National Forest
Carbon County, just a bit west of the Albany County line

The pictures are beautiful, but it was more impressive in person. When I was facing the scene above, this is what was behind me:

Snowy Range and Bellamy Lake
Bellamy Lake and part of Medicine Bow Peak

It will take some time, but I'm already plotting to see more of Wyoming (recommendations welcome). It looks like I won't get to Yellowstone until next summer because I already have travel planned for five out of the next seven months. Besides personal trips to Seattle in August and December, I'm heading back in January for ALA. And every fall, the university takes new faculty on a several-days-long driving trip around some part of the state. I don't yet know where they're planning to go this year, but I'm looking forward to it. WLA is in Gillette in September, so I'm hoping to add a day to my travel time and go see Devil's Tower. (The
Close Encounters connection will be an added bonus. I had the lunch box as a kid and wish I still did.) That's my immediate travel future. Let's not get started talking about ACRL and ALA annual yet.

I'll close with one of the best signs ever.

The best sign

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Three's Company

My parents are visiting! They arrived Thursday afternoon and they've been enjoying learning about my new home and I finally have an excuse to do more sightseeing and visit some of the local attractions. Last night we went to a dinner show at the Wyoming Territorial Prison park. Today, we drove to Cheyenne. Mostly, we just ate ice cream at Sonic and shopped at The Wrangler ("Where the Cowboys Shop"). We did see some big boots, though.

Big Boot
Boot!

But look what I got!

Hat and Boots
Ugly Dolls and Monster check out my new hat and boots

Aren't they delicious? We went a little crazy in there, truly. Dad also got a panama Stetson, but his has a taller crown. Mom and I chose the same boots, but hers are brown with a teal shaft and I went for the goth cowgirl look. Dad prefers 1880s-style boots to modern ones, so he resisted the hundreds of beautiful styles we saw. I could have left with a dozen pairs if I had the cash. You might ask if I've been assimilated, but I say to you that this is simply a return to my roots and it hasn't completely taken hold. Like many PNW-ers, I'll still be wearing Tevas to work all summer.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Cedering Ceremony

Dancers
Dancers

The university art museum had a reception this evening to open its summer exhibits. The big draw for me was the Robert Motherwell and Jasper Johns show, but everything up right now is great. The reception included a Crow Cedering Ceremony performed by the consultants for the exibit Lifeways of the Crow: The Peter W. Doss Crow Indian Artifact Collection, Heywood and Marylou Big Day, and their sons and grandchildren. The Big Days came down from Montana for the event.

Crow Hop dance
Dancer performs the Crow Hop

It was a beautiful day to sit outside and watch the dancers. Sometimes I desperately want to go back to the PNW, but on whenever I actually go out and do something in town I start to realize how cool it is to be here and learn what this area has to offer. My parents are visiting over Father's Day weekend, and I can't wait to show them my new town. My dad the Old West enthusiast will especially enjoy it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

New blog

I started another blog recently. I'm hoping to use it for library instruction talk. If you're interested, you can find it at ZA3075. I'll still talk about library stuff over here, but I felt like I needed a space completely dedicated to instruction, including information literacy, assessment, pedagogy, etc.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Road Trip

Lots of holiday traffic
View on I-80 E to Laramie, somewhere in Central Wyoming

Over Memorial Day weekend, I drove to Salt Lake City to visit my friends Karen and Eric and their dog Charley. The trip was my first out of town since I moved here in March and my first time driving across Wyoming. While I know I shouldn't do it, I like to take pictures while I drive and the wide open spaces here make it a lot safer than it was in Seattle.

My visit was fun and I got to eat lots of things I've been missing and can't get in Laramie, like Thai food, sushi, and gelato. K and E also took me to Liberty park, where we visited the aviary and saw a bird show.

This guy was really showing off
This guy was really showing off

There were peacocks everywhere, strutting around and eyeing the visitors. I told Karen that they were the peacock security force. It was fun to walk around and see all the birds you don't normally see up close, like vultures and bald eagles, but I think I liked the bird show best for the photo opportunities. During the raptor segment, one of the handlers challenged me to try to take a picture of a barn owl as it flew toward me. I think it turned out pretty well.

Barn owl flying right at me!
It's flying right at me!

Crazy! So, Karen and Eric, it's your turn to make the drive and come see me in Wyoming!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Long Pause

I've been trying not to let so much time lag between posts, but I'm still not in a good routine here. It's been hard for me to gauge the passing of time because the pace is so different from Seattle. Instead of commuting 7 miles in 45 minutes, I now commute 3 miles in 7 minutes. It cracks me up that people have commented that I live "way out" from town. Please, I don't need a lecture on driving everywhere. Believe me, if there was transit in this town, I'd use it. I guess my tiny car and I are not polluting too much, though, because this morning I filled up my gas tank for the third time since I moved here on March 19th. It's been, what, two months and it feels like six.

So, have you seen Thingology, the new LibraryThing blog? I read the O.G. blog every so often, but I'm betting I'll follow this one more closely because it's the "ideas blog, on the philosophy and methods of tags, libraries and suchnot." In other words, it's for geeks and librarians. And geek librarians. There are only a couple of posts so far, but the discussion of the way tags and Library of Congress subject headings complement one another is fascinating. I think I'm going to continue getting sucked into LT because they keep adding features I want, like LCSH of course, and recommendations. I'm betting the recommendations in this social networking environment will work better than in commercial environment like Amazon, which never offers me stuff I want.

Also, I succumbed to an online quiz, but only report it here because the results crack me up. Sometimes these unscientific instruments can be eerily accurate. I guess I truly am an evil information scientist (TM SJ).

My World View
You scored as Materialist. Materialism stresses the essence of fundamental particles. Everything that exists is purely physical matter and there is no special force that holds life together. You believe that anything can be explained by breaking it up into its pieces. i.e. the big picture can be understood by its smaller elements.

Existentialist


81%

Materialist


81%

Postmodernist


75%

Modernist


63%

Cultural Creative


56%

Idealist


50%

Romanticist


19%

Fundamentalist


13%

What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Name Calling

The May issue of American Libraries arrived yesterday. After reading through it this morning, I'm expecting some fallout from the latest "President's Message." I get that Michael Gorman has a strong point of view and while I disagree with him on some issues, I do respect his opinions. What I don't respect is the way he disrespects those he disagrees with. Why does he think this is necessary?

If you believe, as I do, that there is a crisis in library education that threatens the very existance of libraries and librarianship, you are likely to draw a negative reaction from a variety of people. First, there are the millenniarist librarians and pseudo-librarians who, intoxicated with self-indulgence and technology, will dismiss you as a "Luddite" or worse. They and their yips and yawps can safely be reduced to their acronymic backwaters and the dubious delights of clicking and surfing. (Gorman, 2006)
Does Gorman not see how hypocritical he's acting? He's the one using dismissive language and name-calling. I don't understand how he can honestly think this kind of rhetoric will advance his position. I understand and agree--to an extent--with Gorman's concerns about a core library education. What I will never understand is how he decided that technology is a threat to librarianship.

I went to school to become an academic librarian. While my program wasn't perfect, it gave me the theoretical, and yes, technological foundations I need to practice librarianship. I believe that my MLIS program prepared me to keep learning and improving as I grow as a librarian. I also know that technologies are tools I can use to practice the craft of librarianship. If my students are reading blogs and using instant messenger, I'm going to use those technologies to reach them and promote the services and resources that can help them be successful in college and beyond.

Maybe it makes Gorman feel better about himself to put down others in his profession. Who knows? I don't find that satisfying at all. In fact, I'm in awe of the many "clicking and surfing" librarians who are actively promoting and bettering the profession through their blogs, wikis, webcasts, online conferences, and most importantly, the services they provide to their patrons.
Reference:
Gorman, M. (2006, May). President's message. American Libraries, 37, 3.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

New Boss!

We have a new department head, and I'm very pleased with the selection. This will make my life as a new faculty member a lot easier, as I can begin to set goals for my first year review and T&P documentation and get started with a plan of action for my new role here in reference and instruction. It kind of feels like I'm really getting started now.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Results Are In

The results of the ALA elections are in, but I haven't gotten an email notification. I found out only because I read blogs. Boo. The ALA website is also super slow today and it's driving me nuts. I can't read two of the press releases because of "connection errors." Double Boo! I won't get started on the design and usability of the site itself because it's a beautiful day and I don't feel like getting grumpy. I will complain about the fact that fewer than one-quarter of the membership voted, which is a really pathetic turnout.

In other news, I just signed up for one of the university's summer book discussion groups. I picked the title on higher ed rather than either of the two history titles because it looked the most interesting to me. So now I have another book to read this month. Will I ever learn?

Reading Obsessed

I haven't had much to report lately. Work is going well. I should soon know who will be my new supervisor. I'm going to a teaching colloquium next month, which unfortunately coincides with a teleconference on information literacy for at-risk students. The common text for the colloquium is Ken Bain's What the Best College Teachers Do. I haven't started it yet because I'm trying to read all the journal articles I have printed out and in my email. My reach always seems to exceed my grasp when in comes to professional literature. I know I can't read it all, but I keep trying.

Also, we just met with the architects who are planning our new library building. The new facility will be wonderful, but it's hard to get too excited about it yet. I'll be in my little windowless office for another two or three years so I'm trying not to think about the new space or my old office too much, especially now that the weather's threatening to get nicer.

What else? My latest musical obsession is Jon Auer's new album, Songs From the Year of Our Demise. It's really good; ignore the nonsensical review in last week's Stranger. It made the top ten at the Big Takeover several times, which rules. I'm also trying to get through my huge stack of unread books. The only way I can justify paying to ship 20 boxes of books is to make sure I read them all. I'm about of a third of the way through Gilead, and it's so good. I'm trying to read it slowly because it's not long and Marilynn Robinson has written only one other novel.

My latest BlogHer post is about books, too. If you're inclined, check it out.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Now presenting...my opinions on presentations

Over the past couple of weeks, I've attended webconferences, teleconferences, and a few in-person trainings and presentations (including a very well-done student presentation). The quality of these experiences varied in both quality and usefulness and has me once again thinking about what I look for in a presentation, regardless of format. I wasn't blogging quite yet during ACRL last year, or I'm sure I would have typed up a screed about presenters who just read their submitted paper (badly) instead of explaining how they got the idea for the paper, what they found while researching, and why the audience should read it for themselves. Stuff that didn't make it into the paper is a interesting and can act as a "hook" to get more readers who might actually cite the paper later.

I'm not the only person talking about the problem of poor presentation style and choices. A few weeks ago the Librarian In Black wrote about the problem of "ego centric conference sessions." She hits the nail on the head with this quote:
I want you to spark some ideas in me. I want you to make me think. Design a presentation with the thought: what things would someone need to know if he or she was going to do something similar? What are all the things to think about? What are some of the places to find more information about this? What are some of the resources I found most useful? I don't come to learn about the ins and outs of your library: I come to learn how to help mine.
A Bewildered Academic offers a concise "How Not to Give a Conference Presentation." It's good advice and most importantly, it's user-centered. Think about your audience and try to make it easy for them to follow what you're presenting.

After all this complaining, I have to say that the teleconference I attended today through the College of DuPage Press's Library Learning Network was excellent. The panel members used their experiences as examples occasionally but framed their discussion broadly for the benefit of the entire audience. It helped that the topic was the impact of Google book search on libraries and library users in general, rather than a narrower subject. I especially liked the makeup of the panel: a Google representative, an academic library dean, an Economics and Social Policy, a publisher from an academic press, and an intellectual property attourney who represents libraries. The range of perspectives added depth to the conversation and illustrated the various constituancies interested in digitization and libraries. I will definitely be checking out more oof COD's teleconferences.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Online at Last/Collaborative Blogging

After a few hassles and mixed up orders, my phone and DSL service is up and running. It's been hard for me to blog without internet at home. I've been staying late at work to use the internet for my personal needs, but by the time I answered and wrote a bunch of emails, did my banking and bill paying stuff, I always felt more like going home to make dinner than writing a new blog entry. I hope my new connected-ness will make my personal and BlogHer posts come a lot more frequently.

On the subject of BlogHer, I've been struggling a bit to keep up with my duties as a Contributing Editor, and not just because of my temporary connectivity issues. It takes me a lot of time and work to put together surfing guides for my humanities/social sciences and research beat. I know my situation isn't unique, but I think one of the big reasons I get frustrated is that I have a hard time finding academic blogs worth pointing to in my posts. Don't get me wrong--plenty of academics are blogging, but I'm finding that most of the content relates to personal life and/or teaching. That kind of blogging has its place, but I'm looking for writing about my disciplines and academic research. I've found a lot of great content coming from librarian bloggers, but don't want to make my CE posts super library-centric because I'm writing for a wide academic audience.

So, my plan for now is to try to put a lot of the library stuff here and keep my BlogHer posts more discipline-specific. That doesn't solve my content problem, but I'm actively searching for academic blogs and websites all the time. I'm also always open to suggestions. If you're reading or writing about the humanities, social sciences, or research in general, please send me links. I don't want to keep linking to the same writers all the time and I know I must be missing out on some great stuff. Thanks in advance!

It's snowing right now, so I'm off to see if I can stand the windchill long enough to take some pictures during lunch.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Women Writers Meme

I don't tend to do many memes, but this one seems interesting. I think I first saw it at The Little Professor.


Lists of "books to read" and the like never work for me. Because my background is interdisciplinary, there are plenty of canonical works I haven't read in favor of more "unofficial" or alternative works. I do wonder how the selections were made for this particular list, though. There are plenty of women writers who've been left off, and some more popular authors I wouldn't have bothered including (like Danielle Steele). Also, I read a ton of stuff by men. I don't know why exactly*, but male authors outnumber female authors on my bookshelves. My friend Melanie and I have talked a lot about how neither of us listen to many female musicians. That's starting to change for me lately, but my favorite bands are all still male.

Instructions: Bold the ones you've read. Italicize the ones you have wanted/might like to read. Place question marks by any titles/authors you've never heard of?? Put an asterisk if you've read something else by the same author. (I'm also adding other women writers who were originally left off in parentheses. These might include authors I've read and/or those I remember and think belong on the list.)

* Alcott, Louisa May–Little Women
Allende, Isabel–The House of Spirits
* Angelou, Maya–I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
* Atwood, Margaret–Cat's Eye
* Austen, Jane–Emma
Bambara, Toni Cade–Salt Eaters
?Barnes, Djuna–Nightwood
(Barry, Lynda--Cruddy)
de Beauvoir, Simone–The Second Sex
* Blume, Judy–Are You There God? It's Me Margaret
Burnett, Frances–The Secret Garden
Bronte, Charlotte–Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily–Wuthering Heights
(Brooks, Gwendolyn--Blacks)

Buck, Pearl S.–The Good Earth
Byatt, A.S.–Possession
*Cather, Willa–My Antonia
*Chopin, Kate–The Awakening
*Christie, Agatha–Murder on the Orient Express
Cisneros, Sandra–The House on Mango Street
Clinton, Hillary Rodham–Living History
(Cooley, Martha--The Archivist)

Cooper, Anna Julia–A Voice From the South
? Danticat, Edwidge–Breath, Eyes, Memory
Davis, Angela–Women, Culture, and Politics
Desai, Anita–Clear Light of Day
Dickinson, Emily–Collected Poems
Duncan, Lois–I Know What You Did Last Summer
DuMaurier, Daphne–Rebecca
*(Ehrenreich, Barbara--Nickel and Dimed)
Eliot, George–Middlemarch

Emecheta, Buchi–Second Class Citizen
*Erdrich, Louise–Tracks
*Esquivel, Laura–Like Water for Chocolate
*Flagg, Fannie–Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Friedan, Betty–The Feminine Mystique
Frank, Anne–Diary of a Young Girl
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins–The Yellow Wallpaper
? Gordimer, Nadine–July's People
*Grafton, Sue–S is for Silence
Hamilton, Edith–Mythology
*(Hamilton, Jane--The Book of Ruth)
*(Hegi, Ursula--Stones From the River)

Highsmith, Patricia–The Talented Mr. Ripley
*hooks, bell–Bone Black
* Hurston, Zora Neale–Dust Tracks on the Road
Jacobs, Harriet–Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Jackson, Helen Hunt–Ramona
*Jackson, Shirley–The Haunting of Hill House
(Jen, Gish--Mona in the Promised Land)
Jong, Erica–Fear of Flying
Keene, Carolyn–The Nancy Drew Mysteries (any of them)
Kidd, Sue Monk–The Secret Life of Bees
*Kincaid, Jamaica–Lucy
Kingsolver, Barabara--The Poisonwood Bible
Kingston, Maxine Hong–The Woman Warrior
Larsen, Nella–Passing
*L'Engle, Madeleine–A Wrinkle in Time
* Le Guin, Ursula K.–The Left Hand of Darkness
Lee, Harper–To Kill a Mockingbird
Lessing, Doris–The Golden Notebook
? Lively, Penelope–Moon Tiger
?Lorde, Audre–The Cancer Journals
Martin, Ann M.–The Babysitters Club Series (any of them)
*McCullers, Carson–The Member of the Wedding
McMillan, Terry–Disappearing Acts
? Markandaya, Kamala–Nectar in a Sieve
Marshall, Paule–Brown Girl, Brownstones
Mitchell, Margaret–Gone with the Wind
* Montgomery, Lucy–Anne of Green Gables
Morgan, Joan–When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost
* Morrison, Toni–Song of Solomon
Murasaki, Lady Shikibu–The Tale of Genji
Munro, Alice–Lives of Girls and Women
Murdoch, Iris–Severed Head
Naylor, Gloria–Mama Day
Niffenegger, Audrey–The Time Traveller's Wife
*Oates, Joyce Carol–We Were the Mulvaneys
*O'Connor, Flannery–A Good Man is Hard to Find
Piercy, Marge–Woman on the Edge of Time
Picoult, Jodi–My Sister's Keeper
Plath, Sylvia–The Bell Jar
*Porter, Katharine Anne–Ship of Fools
*(Prose, Francine--Blue Angel)
*Proulx, E. Annie–The Shipping News

*Rand, Ayn–The Fountainhead
Ray, Rachel–365: No Repeats (huh?)
Rhys, Jean–Wide Sargasso Sea
(Ribon, Pamela--Why Girls are Weird)
*Robinson, Marilynne–Housekeeping
? Rocha, Sharon–For Lac
Sebold, Alice–The Lovely Bones (it's in my unread pile)
Shelley, Mary–Frankenstein
*(Shields, Carol--The Stone Diaries)
Smith, Betty–A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Smith, Zadie–White Teeth (also in my unread pile; started and abandoned)
Spark, Muriel–The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Spyri, Johanna–Heidi
Strout, Elizabeth–Amy and Isabelle
Steel, Danielle–The House
* Tan, Amy–The Joy Luck Club
Tannen, Deborah–You're Wearing That
(Tartt, Donna--The Secret History)
*(Townsend, Sue--The Adrian Mole Diaries)

Ulrich, Laurel–A Midwife's Tale
Urquhart, Jane–Away
* Walker, Alice–The Temple of My Familiar
*Welty, Eudora–One Writer's Beginnings
*Wharton, Edith–Age of Innocence
*(Weiner, Jennifer--Good In Bed)

* Wilder, Laura Ingalls–Little House in the Big Woods (I've read all of the LH books)
*(Winterson, Jeanette--Written on the Body)
*(Wittlinger, Ellen--Hard Love)
Wollstonecraft, Mary–A Vindication of the Rights of Women

* Woolf, Virginia–A Room of One's Own (I love Mrs. Dalloway)


Okay, I have to stop before this post eats my whole blog. Librarians shouldn't try this, because it's a huge time-suck. The reference desk is dead today, though, so it was okay.

*Yes, I know that men outnumber women in the canon and all that.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Snow Day

Outside the History Building, on Ivinson


Split-rail fences look so western

I woke up to snow yesterday. This isn't unusual for spring in Wyoming, and it was hardly coming down at all by the time I left for work. Even though it was pretty cold, I had to stop and take a few pictures as I walked to the library. I'm glad I did, because most of the snow had melted by midday and it was too warm for puffy coat after work. I'm really trying to make a point of taking more pictures. While I don't think I'll ever love this place like I do Seattle, it is beautiful in its way. In fact, the skies here are amazing. Living a little ways outside of the main part of town, I see plenty of open spaces. My cross-street borders a big open area. The houses and streets just kind of end, and there's a big grassy space with the highway far in the distance.

Work is going well and I'm figuring more out every day. I'm not on the reference schedule for the rest of the semester, but I've been spending a few shifts a week on the desk when its single-staffed. I'm trying to hit a shift with each member of the reference staff and have managed to get about halfway through the team. I love reference, and I really believe it's the easiest part of the job to just jump into. I'm still learning the collection and the department procedures, but reference is reference. I can figure out the catalog and the databases and know how to talk to students. It's been really fun. The questions I've been getting have been pretty interesting, too. Maybe it's because the semester's nearly over and people are working on big projects and papers, but I've been really impressed with the kinds of research students are doing and how interested they are in their work. The kids here seem really nice and grateful for the help, too. People here are pretty polite in general. I've been ma'am-ed many times in the past couple of weeks.

In other news, I've signed up for a teaching colloqium in June, and have finalized a couple of committee appointments, which is kind of cool. My supervisor is retiring in June, and we're in the middle of interviewing for her replacement, so some parts of my job are a little up in the air. I know my position, but the new department head will have a lot to do with the kinds of committees and activities I end up joining. I won't go into details, but I have positive impressions of both finalists, so I should be in pretty good shape in either case.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Happy NWLD!

Happy National Library Workers Day!

It's been hard to update without internet access at home. I've been staying at work a little late so I can do little online tasks, and I thought it would be good to make a quick entry here. BlogHer will get a little post tomorrow, then a big one or two over the weekend. I need to catch up!

There's not much to report. I'm busy getting to know my new library, the staff and faculty, and what I'm supposed to be doing. I spent the bulk of today in a benefits orientation, so I have lots of forms to fill out tonight.

I did spend some of my day checking out xreferplus Digital Library, which my library has on trial this month. I’m not sure what I think of it yet, but it’s definitely different from other online reference book packages I’ve used. In case you haven’t tried it, xrefer plus includes 200 reference books and extensively cross references the entries. Resources are available in many formats, including sound files, images, and text. The really interesting part of their approach is the “360-degree search,” which basically creates a concept map of search results and shows the relationships between a topic and its related topics and subtopics. I haven’t gotten the hang of the concept map tool yet, but I can see some potential use for it in BI sessions if we do buy this product. It’s OpenURL compliant, which is nice, since we’re currently working on that for our databases and e-journals. Here’s an excellent review of xreferplus by Karen J. Docherty, in the Charleston Advisor. I’m glad we have the trial for a while so I can take more time to monkey with it.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Mission Accomplished

We found the coffee shop with wifi! It took 20 minutes to get a toasted bagel and the drip coffee is bland, but unless I find someplace better, I'm sure I'll be back. Oh, Bauhaus, I miss you.

Courtney and I spent much of yesterday afternoon on campus taking loads of pictures. The campus is really pretty and the day was beautiful--sunny and warm with blue skies. We hit the Geology museum and library, which are two of the cooler sites in my opinion.

Back home, I got some stuff up on the walls and the big mobile hung, so my place is taking shape pretty nicely. Courtney's flying home this afternoon and I'll be home alone and working on my office. Work starts tomorrow, and I'm really looking forward to it. I accepted the position in late December and it's finally starting, three months later. The first couple of weeks in a new job are always strange and by the time I figure out what I'm doing, the semester will be over. I guess I'm glad to be starting off slowly during summer session and getting my feet wet before the big fall semester chaos.

I'll post some pictures as soon as I remember to bring my camera cord with me to an internet connection. My posts might get a little more interesting in the near future. No promises, but I'll try.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I live on a dirt road

I've been here in Laramie since Sunday, and have mostly unpacked. I still have some clothes and books and a little bit of kitchen stuff left to unbox, but it's going well. My sister-in-law Courtney came with me and has been helping me settle in. She's here until Sunday and then I start work on Monday.

I don't have internet or phone set up yet, so I'm a bit out of touch. I won't be able to post much until next week sometime, and that goes for BlogHer, too. I feel like a kid who hasn't done her homework, but I am hopelessly behind on reading blogs and can only get online at the laundromat and a restaurant here in town. I heard there was an internet cafe, but have not been successful finding it. It's going to be a big adjustment for me to live in a place without 1.5 million coffeehouses with wifi or any 24-hour supermarkets.

More as it happens.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

magazine reviews

I started reviewing a couple of magazines a few weeks ago, when I was sick. Being sick gives me cabin fever and as soon as I felt safe to leave the house, I ran out to grab some trashy magazines to read in bed. I got sidetracked when I saw two titles I'd never heard of before, both marketed to the professional woman. I figured that my WB television habit and propensity to car-dance to 50 Cent aside, I fit that demographic. Here are my brief reviews:

BeE Magazine ("For the woman who is interested in politics, lifestyle, & finance")
Quarterly, launched October 2005.

I don't really approve of its intercapped name, but BeE is a pleasant surprise. Topics covered in the second issue include the second installment of a two-part piece about a woman making over her financial life and a discussion of the relative merits of voting green and buying green. I was really impressed with the quality of the writing and the usefulness of the content. I could do without the odd piece on spring/summer fashion trends, but for the most part, I enjoyed reading a women's magazine that addresses its readers as women rather than ditzy bimbos with lots of disposable income. The website describes the BeE reader as "active, hardworking, educated women—either at home or in the office—between the ages of 25–54," which sounds about right, based on the content. Here's the BeE case study from Magazine Launch, if you're interested in more about the target audience, marketing strategies, and the like. I agree with the magazine's founders that BeE is different from other women's and lifestyle magazines out there, and I do hope it survives.

I couldn't find much, but here are some other takes on BeE:
Tim Rogers at D Magazine doesn't care for the design and enjoyed one article.
Nichell Stephens of Nichelle Newsletter will support the magazine "as long it doesn't dissolve into silly odd-number lists for beauty and sex tips."


PINK ("A beautiful career, a beautiful life")
Bimonthly, launched June/July 2005.

When I grabbed Pink and BeE from the newsstand, I expected them to be really similar. I was wrong. Pink seems to be aimed at a more specific audience of women executives. The "about" page on the magazine's website sums this up:

"PINK exists to promote this new generation of women who are making a significant impact on the world through their work and their lives-while being true to themselves. PepsiCo´s North American President Dawn Hudson is one such woman. She´s part of the growing coterie of America´s most influential women who are redefining what constitutes success (for men too) in the 21st century."

Reading through the magazine, I saw Pink's definition of a professional woman as much narrower than mine, limited to mid-level and higher corporate executives. There was very little content that resonated with my career in higher education or my life in general. Topics of articles in the
December 05/January 06 issue include profiles of women running top advertising agencies and a forcast of "The Next 20" female CEOs of major companies. In short, it's really focused on private industry. I did appreciate some of the personal finance coverage both in the magazine and on the website and found the advice and explanations to be thorough and useful, but I don't see myself subscribing or even reading Pink in the future.

Other takes on Pink:
Pallavi Gogoi wrote a pretty in-depth article on Pink for Business Week
Elizabeth Albrycht of CorporatePR doesn't care for the title and wishes they had a blog. The comments on her post are worth a look, too.
The anonymous blogger at MBA-Women calls Pink's articles "informative and inspiring."
Linda Locke, editor of Moms in Business liked the content and finds it interesting

Ulrich's doesn't have much information on either title yet, so I don't know if, where, or when they might be indexed electronically.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

BlogHer

I recently joined BlogHer as a contributing editor for Research and Academia. My beat is humanities and research, which includes libraries and archives. Leslie, the other editor for R&A, covers science and academic life. I'll be posting few times every week on current topics in the academic blogosphere, which includes the biblioblogosphere. If you want to recommend any academic blogs by women, please send them my way. You can also submit links to the blogroll yourself.

If you're not familiar with BlogHer, it's a network of blogs by women, covering more than 20 categories. It seems like a great community and I'm looking forward to posting there.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Home on the range


Mom in front of my new place

My trip was really productive. The drive from Denver to Laramie on Wednesday evening was horrific. I know how to drive in snow, even though we don't get much of it in Seattle. That doesn't mean I relish completely iced over roads with drifting snow and so much wind that there's about two feet of visibility. I'm used to heavy, wet snow that falls like rain but not that powdery, dry stuff that swirls in the wind and sticks to the windshield and ices it over. I was also not prepared for interstate highways with no lights and very little signage. I was white-knuckling it for 150 miles.

Once I got to Laramie, I found a place right away. I was looking for something near enough to campus to walk to work most days, but ended up choosing a duplex in West Laramie. I'll have to drive, but I get a two car garage and it's a quiet, non-studenty street. The bonus is not having to deal with apartment living.

I also spent some time on campus getting paperwork started, checking in with my supervisor, and meeting colleagues who weren't on campus when I interviewed in December. Check out my new office. I'm in love with the gold powder coated desk and bookcases. So retro cute.


Posing in my new office

Now that I've been back there and started arranging my living and work spaces, I feel more ready to move. I don't leave for a month, but I'm sure the time will go by quickly. The moving coordinator has been out to give me a quote and the shipment's all scheduled. My sister-in-law will fly out me and stay for a week to help get me settled. It will be fun to show her around and spend some time with her before starting work.

In the meantime, I'm newly involved with a blogging project and will post more details soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

party

I haven't been online at home much over the past few days. The nice weather kept me outside and playing with the dogs. I needed to soak up some sunshine because I'm heading to Wyoming on Wednesday to find an apartment. I thought it was cold tonight when I got off work at 9:00pm and had to scrape my windows. That's no match for my new town, which will snow on Wednesday and have temps of 0-20 degrees, just in time for my arrival. Welcome to 7200 feet!

We're having a party at work tomorrow. It's for the students, which is always fun. I spent much of my day today putting the finishing touches on questions for the trivia contest, making a staff recommendations display, and making posters and other signage. That was the fun part. The slightly less fun parts included unjamming printers, picking up candy wrappers and empty coffee cups, collecting at least two reams worth of unclaimed printouts, and trying to explain why we can't "print the whole internet" so the government can't see what the patron is searching for. It was a pretty easy day.

Pictures of my new home are coming soon!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

librarian "shortage"

CNN just published another article about labor shortages and includes librarians as one of the top five unpopular jobs. They cite no real data to support the idea of a shortage, besides this, "The American Library Association Website quotes statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau indicating that more than one-quarter of all librarians will reach the age of 65 by 2009." (Here's the original source from ALA.) I think most people would agree that many librarians--many people in general--don't want to or can't afford to retire at 65. For an excellent response to the "shortage" rhetoric, see "The Entry Level Gap," (Holt and Strock, 2005), if you haven't already.

The shortage debate gets pretty heated. The NexGen list is just one place people are talking about it. While I don't agree that there will be an unmanageable wave of retirements in the next couple of years, I also think that we need to continue to recruit new librarians. Say what? Hear me out. I'm from Seattle, home to the UW Information School and many, many unemployed and underemployed librarians. I imagine the situation is similar in other cities hosting MLIS/MLS programs. This will not change. Libraries of all types in the Pacific Northwest know they can be choosy about who they hire, and it's not uncommon for jobs, especially in academic libraries, to require lots of experience that new grads usually don't have. This won't change.

I knew that I needed to look out of state if I wanted a stable, permanent reference/instruction position. It's possible to cobble together enough adjunct hours to make a living--I'm doing it now and have friends who will continue to do so because they don't want to move--but that's not the lifestyle I wanted. I'm not saying it was easy to get my job, but my applications generated far more interest out of state than they did around here. It's supply and demand, I'm afraid. Slowly but surely, my MLIS classmates who want to work in libraries are finding jobs out of state. Jobs are competative, but they're out there. In some geographic areas, there is a genuine need for more librarians.

Why do I think we need to continue recruitment? I can think of several reasons. First, we can't let the profession stagnate. We need new people and new ideas continually cycling into libraries and other information centers. We can't just stop training new librarians for a while and then start back up later. Universities don't put graduate programs on hiatus; once they're closed, they're usually gone for good. Professors would be out of work and research in the field would slow, and in some areas, might even cease.

I'm leaving out some reasons for the sake of brevity, and to get to my most important reason. For all our good intentions, our profession is not nearly as diverse as the communities we serve. It sounds trite, but it's true--we need to do a better job of showing people--especially kids--what we do so a wider cross-section of people will consider librarianship as a career.

scooped

I was going to post about Norman D. Stevens' article in the January 2006 issue of College & Research Libraries, but Joy Weese Moll beat me to it. If you have the chance, check out the article. It kind of reminded me of a science fiction story. No paper allowed! What will be the punishment for smuggled post-its?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Halo: 0, Clam Chowder: 1

I had a rough night and day. The dogs were awesome little companions, spending most of the day in bed with me and very politely walking on leash when during backyard "bathroom" breaks. My dogs are pretty high-energy and need lots of outside time, so I thought missing their daily visit to the dog park was going to leave me with wild beasts. Instead, they picked up on my mood and cuddled up so nicely.

So, work at the community colleges is going well. I'm splitting my time between two campuses in the same system and I like experiencing differences between them. One library is quite a bit busier than the other, but I'm getting enough small projects to keep me busy when the desk is slow. In fact, I might have too many things on my plate. Turns out I get to teach another class on Thursday, which is cool.

I don't normally go all linky, but spending the day in bed with the laptop meant I read even more news than usual. Some assorted library-related thoughts:

First, the bad news. The Tacoma Public Library, which is undergoing a badly needed $1.5 million renovation, is also reorganizing staff and taking reference librarians out of most branches. They plan to offer more phone, IM, and video conferencing reference, but I wonder how that will go over with the public. I wonder if this is a local trend. King County Library System is already "clustering" their library staff.

I'm happy to read that UNO has been open for a week now, as planned. I don't think I'm headed to ALA National in New Orleans this year, but if I do I will definitely look up the UNO librarians who I met during my interview.

I read about this a week or so ago, but Seattle Public Library is planning to offer free WiFi. KCLS has had it for a while, and I've used it many times.

In other local library news, the Lynnwood and Mukilteo branches of the Sno-Isle Libraries have implemented "roving reference." This is one of my favorite low-tech reference strategies and I try to do it when I can, especially when all the computers are in use but nobody's asking for help.

Lastly, did any of you see the news that a teen was banned from a library in Columbus, OH so he apparently intentionally ran a car into the building and injured a librarian. Yikes.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

more library stuff

Check out the Straight Dope rundown of the Dewey Decimal System. They also describe the Library of Congress system in a pretty digestable piece that I think I'll bookmark to use with students.