Thursday, December 30, 2004

Found Poetry?

If you work in a library, you know that there are always little bits of paper left around that need to be cleaned up, and these bits of paper have writing on them. Usually, the scrap will say "F UHR Driving Miss Daisy" because someone is looking for a book. Or the scrap will have an e-mail address on it, or it will be a 'to do' list ("buy milk, get book from library").

Today's scrap cleanup revealed this gem:

"I'd rather have a dreams betty than a nightmare ralph. Nightmare ralphs only come from a night of hard drinking."

Back from Hollerdays

Though there wasn't really any hollering. More later.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


The back page of the Dec. 1 issue of Booklist today has a list of words taken from "That Book...of Perfectly Useless Information" by Mitchell Symons. Some of them were fun:

"Stewardess" is the longest word in the English language that is typed with only the left hand.

"Skepticism" is the longest word that alternates hands with every letter when it is typed.

The word "hijinks" is the only word in the English language with three dotted letters in a row.

There is no Albanian word for "headache".

An "ophyron" is the space between your eyebrows.

"Armsate" is the hole in a shirt or a sweater through which you put your hand and arm.

"Nittles" is the word for the punctuation marks designed to denote swear words in comics.


And on that note, *@!!#~&, I'm on holidays for a week! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Cyber Luddite

Hmm. Today I am thinking that with enough time and nurturing, this cyber luddite could possibly become quasi-functional in the Internet world. Last night I was complaining about HTML coding, and Jim said, "If you don't know HTML yet, and you have Dreamweaver on your desktop, why don't you simply take this opportunity to learn Dreamweaver in the first place?" Clever, clever Jim squirrel.

I have 'learn Dreamweaver' on my lengthy to-do list anyway, and I always need a project to get me going. This should do it. We're trying to overhaul completely (almost said "to completely overhaul", which would, of course, be a split infinitive - if I'm a luddite, at least I'm a grammatically-correct one)

ahem... we're trying to overhaul completely our Internet Resources pages, and we are thinking of going for more narrow topics with a focus on local resources and on questions that people ask us a lot. For example, I am working on a web page right now called "Buying and Selling a Vehicle", where I can profile the popular Lemon Aid consumer car guides, mention the Canadian Red Book of Car Prices, talk about where to advertise a car for sale/look for a car to buy locally, etc. It's exciting to create these guides, but doing it in basic HTML is going to make me chew off my paw. So, I can do this and learn Dreamweaver at the same time. How clever.

By the way, I'm not alone. Google retrieves 60 hits for "cyber luddite" and 573 hits for "cyberluddite".

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Am doing HTML this morning, fixing dead links on the Library website. HTML does not come naturally to me. It is one of those tasks where I need to dangle a carrot in front of my own nose to get me to do it. I've already had a good cup of coffee from the shop next door, and now I may have to dip into the Christmas truffles on the department food counter upstairs - and it's not even noon yet! Just to get through a few 'greater than' brackets and a few slashes. Such degradation in the Library. Tsk.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Sprout with bubbles. Posted by Hello

Sprout sleeping. Posted by Hello

Sprout in the Summer. Posted by Hello

Introducing... The Sprout

One of my tiny goals in life right now is to learn how to add photos to my blog. Everyone else seems to be able to do it, so I must conclude that this is within the realm of possibilities. I downloaded Hello the other day, so if there's a photo below at the end of this, I have had success. (Except that Jack the cat just pooped in the litter box 5 feet away, and now I have to stop computing and muck out the stall first.)

Which brings to mind 'catfight at crepuscule'. When I was younger and much more elegant than I am now, I used to go to see every band that came through town. At one point I ended up buying a tape from a band, and the tape had a song on it called "Catfight at Crepuscule". Isn't that the sort of too-precious song title that you end up with after smoking a lot of pot. Anyway, now the closest I come to 'too cool to live' is "catbox at crepuscule". The irony of it all.

But enough of that. Am determined to post at least one photo tonight.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Cookbook

Tonight is the Information Services (my department) Christmas Party. We always do an 'appetizers and desserts' potluck, and believe you me, library people can cook. It should be great.

This year, instead of pulling names and exchanging gifts or doing the gift grab game, we decided to make an I.S. Cookbook. I collected all the recipes from everyone and put them together using Microsoft Publisher. Our graphic designer took a few digital photos for me and one of my colleagues gathered famous food and eating quotations to enhance it. I even indexed all the recipes and made a key at the back of the book. Aside from the fact that the cookbook is sprinkled with a few too many snowflakes (I am no graphic designer), it turned out really great.

There's nothing like a collaborative cookbook to bring a bunch of people together. It's such a feel-good effort. Now people from other departments want to buy copies, so we might even make a bit of cash for our slush fund!

The other thing we're doing this year at the party is some sort of 'pictionary' game using book titles. That should be good for kicks.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Real Reference Questions I Have Heard

"What percentage of Canadian veterinarians believe that animals have souls?" (It seems that someone actually did this sort of statistical analysis re: British veterinarians.)

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Well now, wasn't that a blogging dry spell! I've had a wild two weeks.

First there was the server change at work, on my Sunday on the reference desk: new server, new website address, new e-mail address, new webmail program to learn, library catalogue not working for first half hour after opening, Internet not working for first half hour after opening, computer booking software not working for three hours, designated Internet computers not working until we circumvented the booking system after two hours. Whew! I knew it was happening on the 28th, but somehow I forgot that the 28th was my day to work. Or somehow the server-change 28th was a mystically different 28th than my 28th to work. I prefer to float through those Sunday shifts, trying not to get too bogged down, but we were all certainly down in the middle of it for quite a while that day.

Next was the puking baby incident. Sprout loves tomatoes, and especially tomatoes in balsamic vinegar. We often make a tomato and onion salad (sliced tomatoes, sliced raw onion, basil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper), and one night last week, Sprout thought it would be a good idea to take the salad bowl and drink the 'juice' at the bottom of it. And I didn't stop him. Why I didn't stop him. Help me out here. Anyway, 3 tablespoons of salty balsamic vinegar later. Jim put him to sleep that night, and said that he had been cranky going to sleep (I skipped out with D. to see the Bridget Jones sequel).

At 2:00 a.m., Sprout whined and thrashed (this part is normal for 2:00 a.m.), turned over, and started choking quietly on his own vomit in the corner of the bed. Have I mentioned lately that I love co-sleeping? If I were in the next room with a baby monitor, I would never have heard the choking. Gad. I picked him up and he barfed on himself. Poor little thing. It's so scary for them when they don't know what's going on. After a bit of a clean-up and after he learned to say the word 'puke', he was doing much better. But he threw up every 20 minutes or so for 2 hours, as we all sat on the couch, bleary and snuggling. We all finally got back to sleep in the wee hours, and when I woke up I was shaky and stupid, but resolved to go to work anyway. Until the phone rang. I leaped out of bed to answer it, and my foot caught on one of the many towels, cloths, and buckets (puke readiness gear) piled on the end of the bed. Crash! Mommy smashed to the floor, battered, but with no bones broken. Jim, of course, thought the baby fell out of bed and leaped up shouting and panicking. What can I say. It was fun.

And the phone... only rang once then quit. At that point, I had a good-sized headache, was feeling very old indeed, and decided that I would be a total waste of time at work.

Sprout woke up a bit later than usual, but was as perky as ever, running around and playing. After he'd been up a bit, I sat him on my lap to clip his fingernails (with what is now called the 'naynokippah'). We were chatting, and I asked innocently, "So, how is your tummy? Are you feeling better?" To which he immediately answered, gag, gag, blecchhhhhhhhh, and puked all over my lap. So, it was good that I stayed home, since he wasn't done being sick either. We had a nice day of lying around (me), playing (him), and occasional puking (him). Last time he had the stomach flu, I got it too. This time I think it was the balsamic vinegar, so I didn't share his misery.

After the puking incident came the mad dash to prepare for the 'web for reference' class that I taught to new Casual Staff at the Library on Monday morning. I have never taught this class before, and was recently doing some 'geek impersonation': reading books like 'Web Search Garage' on lunch to hone my Internet searching skills. My geek reading made me realize that our training package was very out of date, and so I had to revamp the whole thing. I was planning to do it on the day I stayed home with the puking dude ("Sprout puke inna pot!"), but that didn't happen so I spent every hour on the weekend that the baby was sleeping squeaking out an outline and some examples.

Monday morning came and I taught the class, but my head was full of that negative 'I'm crazy', 'This is really boring', 'Boy, am I poorly prepared' PMS talk that you don't know is PMS talking until you've driven yourself completely mad. The students thought it went okay, since the stuff we covered is new and exciting for them, but I wasn't pleased. Next time I do it, it will be better, with or without the hormonal edge.

And the week wound up with a mad dash to finish an exploratory proposal that I drafted on behalf of one of the committees I sit on at the Library. We had our meeting today, and I finished it on the Information Desk last night with 10 minutes to spare, after my computer had crashed and the printer had crashed and in between answering questions about magazine articles, Lester B. Pearson, and diet books. Whew! And when I sat down with the group this morning, and we read it, I thought, boy I did a good job! Do you ever write something in a big fat hurry with umpteen interruptions, and then read it later and think how did I write that so well?? Must be the squirrel in me. Lean, clever, perky.

Hey wait. If I'm a squirrel, I should be hibernating!! That's it, then. Off to the tree hollow and my sleeping Bobo.