Wednesday, June 25, 2008

ALA conference bound

I have been to the store and purchased travel sizes of kleenex, tylenol, pepto, and toothpaste, as well as fresh batteries for my camera and MP3 player. I set up cell phone alerts with American Airline in case my flight departure time is changed tomorrow morning, as well as the departure time for my flight out of California on Monday afternoon.

While creating my flight notifications I was pleased to notice that since I had made my reservations prior to June 15th, the lovely new $15 surcharge for checked baggage may not apply.

According to the ALA conference site, the temperature in Anaheim this very afternoon is posted as a balmy 75 degrees. It is hovering above 80 degrees here with a threat of storms in the air.

Now I must pack my MP3 player, my purse, and my suitcase.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Not an oxymoron

I am out of state visiting family, going to movies (Kung Fu Panda and Ironman), watching decent Pittsburgh Pirate baseball (the lack of oxymoron in question), helping with yardwork, getting work done on my car (just a muffler, I hope), and against all my vacation rules I am checking my work email for updates concerning ALA Annual (recieved my Libraries Build Communities instructions today).

Next up, hoping my flight departure time for Thursday morning has not changed ... again.

Monday, June 16, 2008


In Guyaholic, by Carolyn Mackler, High school senior Vivienne Vail Valentine, better known as "V," has a well-earned reputation; she specializes in short term relationships. She does not have boyfriends, she "hooks up" and "hangs out," generally over a two-week period of time, and then moves on. With fitting irony, V, having worked hard to not follow her mother's destructive pattern, has essentially emulated her tactics without using the word "boyfriend." Things change during V's senior when she is sent to Brockport to live with her grandparents. V meets Sam Almond at a hockey game and as graduation nears they have been together for three months. Refusing to label their relationship, V notes "We exist in this blurry zone that's more than friends with benefits and less than going out." Things change when V's mother misses graduation and V, in turn, lashes out by cheating on Sam - and getting caught. Hurt, miserable, guilty, and self-absorbed, V undertakes a cross country journey to find her mother and along the way finds pieces of someone more important, herself.

Mackler's portrayal of wild V is sharp and to the point; she makes no excuses, and takes no prisoners. With a great cast of supporting characters, she also keeps V from becoming a stereotypical bad-girl. This is a fast paced novel that will definitely appeal to teenage girls. A follow-up to Vegan Virgin Valentine, it stands on its own merit.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

It's a sign

In the mail yesterday was my copy of Plum News (Volume 12, Number 1) highlighting the newest Janet Evanovich novel, Fearless Fourteen on sale June 17th. It's a sign; I take an Evanovich novel with me each year on the plane to ALA annual. When ALA Annual was in New Orleans, my first annual conference, I made fast friends with a few Evanovich fans waiting for a connecting flight reading Twelve Sharp in a North Carolina airport and there were plenty copies of Lean Mean Thirteen to be found in DC last year. My only concern is this, the flight to California is a long one and I can not possibly imagine one book lasting the entire trip. I am a fast reader. Of course, if I can't find another treasure to take along, I can always read this one twice.

I am off to the outlets in search of a few summer shirts (I have coupon), a pair of sandals (not likely), a second pair of sneakers, and am open to something else striking my fancy. In the meantime, here's the book description of Fearless Fourteen from

"Personal vendettas, hidden treasure, and a monkey named Carl will send bounty hunter Stephanie Plum on her most explosive adventure yet."

The Crime: Armed robbery to the tune of nine million dollars
Dom Rizzi robbed a bank, stashed the money, and did the time. His family couldn’t be more proud. He always was the smart one.

The Cousin: Joe Morelli
Joe Morelli, Dom Rizzi, and Dom’s sister, Loretta, are cousins. Morelli is a cop, Rizzi robs banks, and Loretta is a single mother waiting tables at the firehouse. The all-American family.

The Complications: Murder, kidnapping, destruction of personal property, and acid reflux
Less than a week after Dom’s release from prison, Joe Morelli has shadowy figures breaking into his house and dying in his basement. He’s getting threatening messages, Loretta is kidnapped, and Dom is missing.

The Catastrophe: Moonman
Morelli hires Walter “Mooner” Dunphy, stoner and “inventor” turned crime fighter, to protect his house. Morelli can’t afford a lot on a cop’s salary, and Mooner will work for potatoes.

The Cupcake: Stephanie Plum
Stephanie and Morelli have a long-standing relationship that involves sex, affection, and driving each other nuts. She’s a bond enforcement agent with more luck than talent, and she’s involved in this bank-robbery-gone-bad disaster from day one.

The Crisis: A favor for Ranger
Security expert Carlos Manoso, street name Ranger, has a job for Stephanie that will involve night work. Morelli has his own ideas regarding Stephanie’s evening activities.

The Conclusion: Only the fearless should read Fourteen.
Thrills, chills, and incontinence may result."

-- Product description,

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nesting in the library

For the last few days Unshelved, "the library comic strip," has been tackling the library furniture phenomenon where patrons gleefully re-arrange the furniture to suit their purposes. It may be a simple matter of putting tables together to facilitate a group, or a more complicated endeavor involving elevators and pillows. Either way, it's not something I noticed much working in a public library; but in an academic library it seems a regular occurrence.

Do not misunderstand, during the year I encourage professors to bring their students to the resource center and merrily rearrange tables and chairs to facilitate their class. I want professors to use the resource center. I want students in the resource center. I want students in the library, period. Moving around a bit of furniture is a small price to pay for friendly marketing. When the class is over, I drag everything back where it belongs. That seems to be the crux of the matter, putting things back the way you found them.

Last fall I had a running contest with an unknown patron. Each day the chair next to the new book shelves, placed there to make browsing the area more comfortable, had been moved to a small study room on the other side of the floor. Every morning I moved the chair back to the new book area - every afternoon the patron moved it to the study room. This went on for the last two weeks of school and then mysteriously stopped. Either the student graduated, or he got tired of moving that blasted chair!

Last summer there was a patron who each morning went up a floor, took a pillow off of a sofa in a lounge area, and used the pillow to prop herself up on a chair while working. Since then, the sofa was moved to another building on campus and I admit to a great deal of curiosity prior to the beginning of this summer term. What would she do? This year the student goes to a study room, puts a rolling chair on the elevator, brings the chair to her computer to use during the day, and then returns the chair to its home until the next day (and it begins again).

More recently, with the number of freshman coming to campus with their own laptops on the rise, furniture moving is taking place as students search in vain for available electrical outlets throughout the library. With a thirty year-old building, finding an open outlet is more often than not an exercise in frustration. Inside and outside the resource center I have surge protectors plugged in to every available outlet for computers, monitors, and scanners, not to mention printers and copy machines. The only open outlet is next to the restrooms. Yesterday, a student dragged a table close to the ladies room and plugged in her laptop. The only other available outlet was in use, the aforementioned student had her hot pot plugged in readying for lunch.

Don't ask, it's a whole new blog post and lunch is over.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bigger binder & other thoughts

Closing in on the end of the 2007-2008 academic year means even while summer courses are running at full-steam, it is time to finish spending any and all money left in budget lines. Quite honestly there is not much remaining in resource center accounts, but if I don't spend I lose it. Purchases made this late in the year have to be from campus entities such as printing services and the book store or a local office supply store. Invoices must clear before Friday.

With that in mind, last week I stocked everyday necessities; rolls of laminating film, laserjet toner, cases of paper, and construction paper topped my list. This morning I meandered to our campus bookstore and dropped some dough on office supplies. In amongst my bags of paperclips, rubber bands, Crayola markers, and post-it notes was a brand new white 3-inch three ring binder. What's so special about a new binder? Usually nothing much, however this binder replaces my old library web site committee binder. Still a long way from putting pages to the server, I now need a bigger binder to keep track of meeting notes. Am I the only one who sees the irony?

I got a new calendar too. Wonder if I'm the only person left who still prefers a paper calendar?

I learned something new today; it is possible to buy postage stamps from automated postage machines for any domination. I had two articles accepted for publication in a book late last fall. One of the perks with having two accepted was getting a free copy of the book. Yesterday I received notice from the editor that the books had arrived and contributors needed to send $3.96 worth of stamps for shipping out the book. That's fair. Personally, I could not get beyond the visual of ten 42 cent stamps on a box and decided to see if the post office sold prepaid stamps or something of the sort. The automated machine allows you to buy stamps in any denomination between 1 cent and $286.00 (odd). Now I need to send my $4.00 stamp and an address label to receive my free copy. Cool.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

ALA Annual

It really is an instance of California, here I come. Today I recieved my ALA Annual conference materials at work and enclosed in the logo titled envelope were my conference badge, Libraries Build Communites ticket, Expo card for "the stacks," and a handy-dandy American Library Association Annual Conference information pamphlet.

The weather badge says it's 65.8 in Anaheim, it was 92 here yesterday. There is something just wrong about that.

Now if I only had something to wear.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I should pay attention

I worked on the resource center book blog today adding information about the new book shelf, new university email, and posting new book notifications. About a third of the way through the pile of juvenile book notification slips I began to add the images; my errant mouse clicked the link that says "add another image" - and another box appeared. Instead of laboriously adding pictures one at a time, I was able to add as many as I wanted - or as many as my computer would take before coughing them up.

I know this is not a new feature, in fact as you wait for the image pop-up box to appear often it shows more than one line. Once it loads, only one is visible until you hit the link again. So, while I feel technologically chagrined, it is happily juxtaposed with the fact I can add many pictures at once.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Libraries Build Communities

Three weeks from today, June 27th, I will be participating in my second Libraries Build Communities project at ALA Annual in Anaheim, CA. What is this project?

"The Libraries Build Community project began in New Orleans during the 2006 American Library Association Annual Conference, when ALA volunteers helped with projects related to the damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina.1 ALA members continue to volunteer to assist in cities where they meet for Annual Conferences. " - Libraries Build Communities Wiki, 6/6/08

Several projects are available and range in task from weeding school libraries to helping with Second Harvest. An email from ALA last evening provided links to selecting sites for the day. After a bit of dithering, I was not really sure how or what to location to choose, I opted for Morse Elementary School in Sacramento.

There seems to be time left for anyone wishing to participate in this endeavor to change their registration to include a day of service. For $10 you get lunch, a nifty t-shirt, a chance to meet and talk with librarians from around the country, and a great opportunity to give something back to the community. For more information check out the Official ALA Annual 2008 Wiki or the ALAO Conference site.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The end is bitter sweet

Once the game was over, Penguin's fans proved what a great sports town Pittsburgh really is by cheering for their players and politely applauding the cup. At that point, I turned off the television; the one thing I could not watch was members of the Red Wings lifting the Stanley Cup at Mellon Arena. It was such an abrupt ending to a great season, I could understand the Penguin players sitting on the ice with disbelief, disappointment, and exhaustion warring on their faces.

Robert Dvorchak summed it up nicely in his article, Penguins dream season ends in 3-2 loss to Detroit.

"Just like that, it's over. No more comebacks, no more sacrifices, no more hockey parties for this season, no seventh game in Detroit."- R. Dvorchak, Post-Gazette, 6/5/08

Thanks for the great ride, Pens! See you next year.

Penguins @ Redwings
Game 5 Stanley Cup Finals Game Winner

Penguins @ Redwings 6/2/08
Game 5, Petr Sykora OT Winner
Call by Mike Lange!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Boxer and the Spy

In The Boxer and the Spy, by Robert B. Parker, a young man's body is found washed up on the shore if small town Cabot, Massachusetts and is ruled an apparent suicide with dubious overtones of steroid abuse. Fifteen-year-old Terry Novak finds suicide hard to believe; Jason Green planned to be a landscape designer, suffered from bouts of asthma, did not have the reputation to support steroid use, and once offered words of condolence to a grieving classmate. With the help of his friend Abby, Terry begins to question rumors and innuendo only to find the circumstance of Jason's death surrounded by mystery, greed, and deception. While the mystery itself is open to the readers, Parker uses spycam chapters to delve into psyche of other characters; readers will be intrigued at how Abby, Terry, and their network of friends strive to find the truth while learning about their own moral fiber and character.

Anyone familiar with Parker's other works, Spenser, Jesse Stone, and Sunny Randall, will easily recognize this novel's enigmatic, witty dialogue and overall storytelling structure. As a young adult, Terry is growing into his personal code of honor and has a strong mentor in George, the veteran boxer teaching him to fight. Young readers will enjoy not only Terry and Abby's frank discussions about school, sex, friendship and life, but also unraveling the mystery afoot.

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One more game ...

Prior to Monday night's exciting Stanley Cup marathon game, one of the annoying announcers for NBC/VS "interviewed" Pittsburgh Penguin Sergei Gonchar. In what could be the understatement of the year, Sergei responded to the inquiry regarding what the defenseman could do to help score more goals in the game by calmly replying, "We have to shoot the puck more."

Thank you, Sergei, for not only stating the obvious, but also not smacking Pierre up side his bald head for asking such an idiotic question. (Yes, my irony light is shining brightly.)

From Dave Molinari's article Penguins again start at elimination in today's Post-Gazette:

"Sykora put the exclamation point on a performance that, regardless of how the series plays out, will rank among the most inspired -- and inspiring -- in franchise history."

"But the Penguins didn't win only because Sykora found a way to score his first goal in nine games."

"They won because:
  • Max Talbot pushed the game past regulation by scoring 34.3 seconds before the Red Wings were supposed to begin celebrating their 11th Cup.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury found a way to reject 55 shots, including a left-skate stop on Mikael Samuelsson that rivals any big-game save made by a Penguins goalie.
  • An underrated defense corps found a way to overcome the absence of its cornerstone, Sergei Gonchar, who missed about half the game with an apparent back injury before coming back to assist on Sykora's winning goal.
  • Ryan Malone didn't think that having a Hal Gill slap shot slam off his already-broken nose was reason to skip more than a shift or two.
  • Brooks Orpik put his body in front of 10 shots and threw it into at least five Red Wings.
  • Evgeni Malkin showed a few flashes that suggested he might be morphing into, well, Evgeni Malkin.
  • Ryan Whitney, after a mostly forgettable season, turned in 50 minutes and 46 seconds of excellence in what might prove to be his coming-of-age performance as an elite defenseman."

"And the Penguins won because so many gave so much for so long." - Dave Molanari, Post-Gazette, 6/4/08

On to game six. I work the evening shift tomorrow, they can play as long as their little hearts desire and can stand.

I'll be watching - and cheering - and making my neighbors nuts.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Only to the b's

I'm up to the "b's" in my bloglines feeds and, surprise, there are several newBlogthings. The one I can not resist, especially since the route to my meeting tomorrow will take me near an wonderful ice cream outlet, is an ice cream personality quiz.

I really need to upload workshop photos onto my computer and unpack ...

Your Ice Cream Personality:

You are an incredibly modest person. You don't feel comfortable bragging about yourself... or even receiving complements.

You have a wild reputation, but you're not as wild as you seem. You take risks, but only measured risks.

You are a fairly open minded person with a wide range of tastes. You are quite accepting of unusual ideas and people.

You are a natural multitasker. You feel alive when you're doing more than one thing at a time.

You can be a big dramatic and over the top sometimes. You are bold in every way

Electronic influx

After checking work email - did I mention there were 267 messages? - I decided peruse my other electronic information outlets. I had actual messages, not just the regular garden variety spam concerning monetary winnings for an international lottery and a plethora of pharmaceuticals, in each of my email accounts (yahoo, google, and ISP). Even more interesting, some of them I actually read.

My bloglines account has 670 updated feeds ranging from one (Argh Ink, ACRL Insider, and Annoyed Librarian) to one hundred and twenty-four (Lifehacker). After separating these into categories, work and fun, I'll blithely determine what to read secure in the knowledge that there will be more posts tomorrow.

I'm almost afraid to look at my actual accumulated mail and bills tomorrow afternoon, assuming the post office remembers to deliver it to me as directed.

.... You know what they say about assuming.

Shoot (the puck)

My vacation is officially at an end; I have previewed, read, and deleted work email. Tomorrow I will be attending one day of a two day retreat near Columbus and will have limited time to catch up on electronic communications. With luck I will get home in time to see game five of the Stanley Cup finals - Pens verses Wings. Things look bleak, it does indeed appear the Wings are simply a better team, but I can not abandon the boys of winter now!

If they would shoot the puck ...

After a weekend of the local FSN station showing Stanley Cup finals from 90-91 and 91-92, the similarities between those two teams and the current Pens are striking, right down to the limited number of shots on goal and outstanding play by the goalies (though never a big fan of Barasso, he was definitely key).

On a lighter note, check out the article about the "keeper of the cup" in The life of the Stanley Cup. I knew the cup ended up at the bottom of Mario's swimming pool, but did not know they had to use duct tape to keep it together after the incident.

Let's go Pens!