Random thoughts at the end of a subrandom year
Subrandom? Well, heck, if you thought this was a great year, more power to ya! (And throw a chunk of that greatness at Doctors Without Borders, American Red Cross International Response Fund, or something of the kind!)
Minor thoughts and discoveries on a slow morning, the day after polishing off a big time-sensitive "own time" project...
I was going to chime in on the "countdown" (you know, ten random things about me and so on) thread on AshtabulaGuy's journal--and discovered that I couldn't do it. The travel part would be easy (or not: the Marquesas islands, the fjords of Norway, the fjords of New Zealand, the Shetland Islands, the wonderful Bardo museum outside Tunis, the nature preserves of Costa Rica, Venice, Bora Bora, Morocco...hmm, it's hard to come up with the right nine. I don't particularly consider myself well-traveled, but when my wife and I say "we've been seeing the world by cruise ship," we do mean seeing the world, not the Caribbean).
But some of the others are just too close to home for a tired old shy type like me. And, since I've managed to get this far by not having specific goals and plans, the list of "things I want to do before I die" might be tricky. So it goes.
- I am reminded frequently just how lucky we are to live where we do. Sure, the housing's expensive. But when I'm tempted to complain about a rainy day or the temperature dropping to the low 50s at the end of December; when we revel in the quality of ingredients and cooking in even the most modest restaurants in town (e.g., the sports bar down the road we go to for $2 bowls of freshly-made soup and $4 to $6 specials); when we look at general social attitudes...well, this area looks better and better as an eventual retirement location, if we can't swing Hawaii.
- In another dire warning about how badly U.S. people do in savings, I'm reminded again that those are trick figures: Did you know that mutual funds and other market investments (including, I believe, bond funds) don't count as savings? Not that we couldn't do a lot better, but...
- It's odd to find myself an "independent" in so many policy/library issues, e.g. open access, the "information commons," ebooks (yes, I am an independent, even if some jackasses choose "Luddite" or "Darth Vader" as a preferable term), and others. Maybe I'm proud that I'm becoming more aware of subtleties and distinctions as I get older--or maybe I'm just inherently wishy-washy. I do know this: The more I know about a policy issue, the less likely I am to take a black-and-white view of it.
- While my list of people I just can't deal with has shrunk (down to 2!), the revelation that some people just aren't worth the time to argue/discuss with has been an enormously liberating one. And for those who put me in that category, you're certainly entitled.
- Re LISnews and "library news" sources: Yes, I check LISnews. I rarely contribute (other than my own stuff). Maybe that's because "library news" as such doesn't usually interest me very much. What interests me are the range of developments that affect libraries, and those either don't fall into the "news" category or are somewhat outside the traditional library press. And, of course, I believe that the "added value" in Cites & Insights is that I'm synthesizing stuff, much of which is outside the traditional library literature, and trying to suggest connections to library issues.
- Regarding the one "controversial" stance I took in C&I this year: I'm a little sad that it apparently drove away one long-time reader. I'm not at all sorry I took the stance, and I stand behind every word in the piece. Reading about the testimony of those on one side of the current court case pushes me further in that direction, if anything.
And that's enough for this last day of the year. Stay off the roads tonight (whether you're drinking or not!), stay warm, and may your next year be better than this one was--no matter how good this one was for you.