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bored on a Monday morning

Trying valiantly to figure out just what I need to run on startup to get Opera recognizing Flash and other plugins. Frustrating as hell, excuse my French. I think I am going to have rethink. Man, I was so close. Sometimes I hate technology.

It would work beautifully as email only. Sigh. Oh, the frustration. It's gotta be opermotifwrapper-3 or lesstif or something.

You know, maybe if I logged in using Windowmaker, and then disabled everything there... No, I really like the elegance of

exec opera & ... whatever I need to add

Off to PLA!

Well, I'm off to Seattle for PLA! I hope to post about it when I return! This is to be my first professional conference and I am extremely excited about it!

The Shortest Book Review Ever

I just finished up "Things My Girlfriend and I have argued about" by Mil Millington, and I'd say it's worth a read. It follows the life of Pel who works at a library, and it's chock full O' good funny librarian quotes

Non-librarians generally regard efficient collation as a chore.

…"disruption" is to librarians as, let's say, salt is to slugs.

I work in the library – no one on planet Earth looks up to me.

I'd be swept by self-loathing if I were a qualified librarian, naturally.

the closed stacks

I had a patron mention with sadness that she couldn't go into the closed stacks with me. The closed stacks are downright frightening... and about as off limits as patrons touching stuff in local history. Some of the materials look like they will crumble into thin air if you look at them cross eyed. Never mind the floor. The funky Aliens floor panels are replaced in some places by plywood boards. Fortunately, I've never needed a book on a plywood board floor section.

The books in those areas of flooring look like they've been there since the beginning of time, usually, so I don't even think they're in the system. God, I hope not.

In related news, school is back in this week, so it's back to kids congregating by the internet terminals, till I move them on, then they go to the videos, till the librarian there moves them on. Then they come back to me. Perhaps we should just throw them out, but I hate to because on occasion they really do use the materials. They aren't bad kids, really, always quite respectful. Just, boy, are there a lot of them, talking to each other.

Tomorrow I am guessing I will be on reference for a few hours. I wish I could bring my Linux box out to reference and play with it there, but it's not exactly as easy to do as cataloging in that respect. Not quite as portable.

The problem with the Linux box does appear to be my .xinitrc file. Some nice person confirmed that Mozilla, when set up without a desktop, does the same thing Opera does... basically, ignores every plugin except Java. This makes me think that Operamotifwrapper or Lesstif or something needs to be run in the background on .xinitrc as well. But I'm not 100% on this one.

Oh, how I would like to get the thing off my desk! Maybe I can set up the word processor tomorrow. Right now I have three computers on my desk. They all work, in varying degrees.

I would like to post a picture of my desk at some point. It's huge, and it's loaded with some Micron PC (which I believe is the company that brings you the best memory on earth, Crucial) that can't take a working LAN card, the Linux box, which is just persnickety, and my P3 IBM desktop real work computer, which looks like it came from, well, the turn of the century. Underneath my desk are a bunch of magazine boxes filled with parts!

Hard drives. Floppy drives. CD ROM drives. LAN cards. And every computer I go into, as a trophy, I rip out its old modem. I feel guilty throwing them out, even though they're probably all 14.4s or some silliness. I pulled out some cables (hey, you never know when you're going to need more cables) and some screws and some various and sundries from some boxes, and they're under there too.

Curling Up With AACR2r 2003

Electronic Intergrating ResourcesThat is the name of the game this week for homework in my cataloging class. This should prove interesting. I printed off the notes from the instructor as well as the relevant stuff highlighted that is from OCLC. I am going to have plenty of fun stuff to curl up in bed to read.Last week was printed serials. I hope that the annotation of mistakes for that exercise will not nearly be as awful as it was for all those strange non-book forms we worked on prior.

Prisoners of Hate by Aaron T. Beck - A recommendation

I've been meaning to suggest the book Prisoners of Hate: The congnitive basis of anger, hostility, and violence by Aaron T. Beck for some time now. If you click on the Barnes & Noble link above, you will be able to read some professional book reviews. I found it to be a convincing and engaging read -- though better in the diagnosis of problems than in their solution.

The scope of this book is vast and almost beyond summarizing -- finding a common thread between barroom brawls, domestic violence, terrorism and war. Along the way, it answers the question asked by so many -- why can't the people who hurt me see that I AM RIGHT AND THEY ARE WRONG?

Here is the table of contents for the book, which gives you a flavor of what Dr. Beck argues:

ch 1 The Prison of Hate: How Egosism and Ideology Hijack the Mind

ch 2 The Eye ("I") of the Storm: The Egocentric Bias

ch 3 From Hurt to Hate: The Vulnerable Self-image

ch 4 Let Me Count the Ways You've Wronged Me

ch 5 Primal Thinking: Cognitive Errors and Distortions

ch 6 Formula for Anger: Rights, Wrongs, and Retaliation

ch 7 Intimate Enemies: The Transformation of Love and Hate

ch 8 Individual Violence: The Psychology of the Offender

ch 9 Collective Illusions: Group Prejudice and Violence

ch 10 Persecution and Genocide: Creating Monsters and Demons

ch 11 Images and Misperceptions in War: The Deadly Construction of the ENEMY

ch 12 The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Attachment, Altruism, and Cooperation

ch 13 Cognitive Therapy for Individuals and Groups

ch 14 Perspectives and Prospects: Applying Cognitive Approaches to the Problems of Society

The chapters dealing with war and genocide warn that assuming that all of the good is vested in your group and that all of the evil is vested in the other side only leads to tradegy. He doesn't pretend that people never mean harm, only that retaliation will never lead to peace, but will only strengthen BOTH SIDES feelings that they are ABSOLUTELY right and the other side is ABSOLUTELY wrong. They will then redouble their efforts to eliminate the hopeless evil other.

As we gaze across the globe, this message seems true to me. It's put into the terms of cognitive psychology, but it represents thought I believe that Christ and Gandhi would have recognized and endorsed. It's worth a read.

Job update

Got my "thanks, but no thanks" letter yesterday for the academic position. A disappointment to be sure, but hey, I've got a job, so it's not disastrous. I went out with my mentee last night to drown sorrows in margaritas and guacamole. He's waiting to hear about library school, so hopefully we'll be able to celebrate good news soon.

donations

Yesterday we got an offer for a donated computer. I'd earlier had a talk with the assistant director and we discussed no longer taking donation computers... because technically, well, they're old computers that people don't want any more. We've got snowbanks of them. I haven't seen so many 486s since... well, 1994.

The lady was nice, and I was gracious, but I prickled a little when she said, "Well, what do I do with it?" It became a little suspect then that perhaps she was just trying to skirt her way out of paying the $20 to have the DPW haul it away.

Speaking of which, I hope DPW gives sister government organizations a break when hauling away old equipment. As I said, we've got snowdrifts of it. Some nice person at one point or another dropped off an IBM Aptiva (circa 1995) and the instruction manuals. I wish people would drop off their driver disks, too. It does make making the printer work a little bit easier.

I stuck an uber stick of memory in the Dell at the circ desk, hoping that it would ward off the crashes. It seems to have. I found my new favorite thing, too: upgrading memory.

There's nothing like seeing:

System memory has changed

in your BIOS splash screen.

I have a dead librarian project. I have to look up some information on a past librarian at our library. She began her career in 1921. This should be interesting.

The girl who cheesed off the cataloger came in today. She asked for the same old book. It was due in today, but had not yet been returned. Alas, the second copy of the book was not yet out of processing.

I really hope the book is returned on time.

How hard is it to turn off your cell phone in a library? Personally, if my cell went off in a library, or theatre, or any place like that, I'd be mortified. I'd not take it out and start talking loudly. And then, when the reference librarian and then the reference librarian's supervisor came out to speak to me about it, I sure wouldn't be surly about the whole thing. Is library use a right or a privilege?

I personally think it's a privilege, but I think it falls victim to the "this message board can't ban me because of my right to freedom of speech!" way of thinking. It's similar to people that think they can behave any way they want in a retail establishment. Of course not. There are rules. We might be a public building, but you can't walk barefoot into City Hall without getting thrown out. You pay taxes, sure. But there are still rules.

Udder Nonsense

Do not, may I repeat, do not read the following if you:

  • are an avid animal lover
  • only eat cheese pizza
  • are a literary critic
  • can't stomach sloppy eaters
  • would rather talk about that Patriot Act thing.

    Just a modest offer to introduce a little humor."Little" perhaps the operative word.

    FWIW I regularly scoop up little spiders and such around the house and free them in our backyard.
    (Probably only to be eaten by a bigger bug ; ) )

  • Harry Potter for the Ancient Greeks

    I didn't think that this would work as an article but thought all Lisnews-ers would like to see this.

    Hopefully, this will help make classical education seem a little less stuffy.

    Friends and Foes and Such

    I just posted this as a comment elsewhere, and I'll just drop it in here as well, it might be helpful to other LISNewsterz as well.

    You set your relationship with other LISNewsterz by clicking the the little face icons (, , ) that appear next to their name wherever they may have left a comment, or on their user page.

    contemporary social issues

    I need to compile a book on vague questions. Like: Do you have any books on contemporary social issues? I have to say, the reference librarian before me put it nicely... "There are a lot of issues. Any one in particular?"

    I still am new enough to get the deer in the headlights syndrome. I can't answer smoothly right away. I think, "Contemporary social issues? How contemporary? Jeez, I could use a drink right about now. Where did my other sock go? Maybe all our contemporary books have been taken out."

    Dumb question...

    How do you "fan" people? I can see how to friend people but what is this "fan" thing??

    Stupid faculty tricks

    Our faculty photocopier is down *again* and has been down for almost a week, which means that the faculty come to the library to do their photocopying. I've noticed an alarming trend with these people--they come in through the door, stand in front of my desk, and shake a piece of paper at me.

    With Friends Like These--Marian the L. in bed with the FBI

    The background: Last week, our city's Human Relations Commission passed a resolution speaking against the Patriot Act. Many folks in the community were pleased that this happened.

    Be nice to the cataloger

    Dear Public,

    Be nice to the cataloger, for she ultimately decides when you will see your book.

    --The Library

    Digitization confusion

    Somewhere there's a digitization project in the works. I really don't know using what or when yet but I know who, so I guess that's something.

    The way it's going to work (tenatively) is that the selected members of our special collections will create records in WorldCat for whatever collections/items/etc... they choose. Then, we catalogers, will be downloading them from Worldcat into our system. In theory, we'll all get trained on entering these records into Worldcat.

    You're number 602 in line for the Da Vinci Code

    I got to tell a guy that today. He didn't want to wait. I do hope he realized we had more than one book. He rushed out before I could tell him.

    The Joys of RPA

    I really do wish I could be back on the grounds of my MSLS program getting my work done. I had come home to preach as guest speaker at church on Sunday (the congregation did not tar and feather me, thankfully) but picked up a stomach virus while home.I am just happy that the consortial RPA is actually working decently from home allowing me the database access I need to get some work done.

    The victims and survivors ...

    Regarding the article today predicting librarianship will be extinguished by Google: Being from a long line of engineers, my nature isn't to bank on the security of anything, ever. (Think: Not FDIC insured. May lose value.) Not that I would equate librarianship with a declining stock, but as an almost-there library school student who has had to deal with these doomsday articles since the get-go, I've come to the peace that while the writer behind this Google-worship story du jour could be blamed for a number of obvious holes and faulty assertions, the skinny on it all is that nothing escapes evolution or the potential for extinction -- and that things are indeed changing at an exponentially faster rate. Not that we shouldn't worry about people being exponentially more stupid in the future -- that's a huge concern for me personally. I just think careers come and go or evolve and change to adapt to specific market forces or social conditions, etc. (Romanian libraries did not practice collection development for more than a decade.) Professions merge, or they split and become more specific -- on and on. LIS itself is much more interdisciplinary now than it was 20 years ago, and every librarian I know is very oriented toward technology and embracing new developments to reap the benefits for users; look at all the academic institutions seeking librarians who can meet the needs of students virtually. And we've got to consider this type of prediction in the context of other sectors or industries -- the physical product of a newspaper comes to mind. When I was in journalism school, I saw an old Chicago newspaper columnist be totally dismissive of the Internet and the fact that folks would be willing to read news off a screen. Well, he was almost dead then, and he is dead now. And guess what? The physical product of a news PAPER isn't going to be around much longer, but a lot of jobs from the newspaper industry have and do and will survive. Librarianship will either be a victim or a survivor depending on those in the profession, and I appreciated the comment to this article by the librarian who said this could be interpreted to mean librarians will be in greater demand than ever. That's my bet. And if I'm wrong? Well, the whole Google-worship deal reminds me of that line in "The Lost Boys" when the vampire played by Donald Sutherland's son says: "It's rice. Eat it. Twenty million Chinese people can't be wrong." In other words, if the Everyman says so, it is pretty much so. Even if the Everyman has no sense of what's being lost. Even if it goes against our better judgment. I have just accepted that I can't worry about forces outside of my control on a daily basis.

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