Friday, March 30, 2007

Cool things I think you should try

I went to this librarian symposia a few weeks ago, you may recall. The general theme was about how libraries have to be cool enough to draw in patrons, who have the choice to go to bookstores or stay home with the internet. The speaker pointed out several sites we might be interested in. Now, I'd heard of these things, I used to work at a university, and I live in a sort of technically minded area, but I hadn't really explored them. But if you like books, and if you like sorting things into categories and labelling them (and I really do!) check out the following sites.
  • Library Elf -- Good for library users. If your local library is on the list (and quite a few of them are) you can give them your library card number and your pin, and Library Elf will send you emails when your books are due or when you have something to pick up. You can customize the alerts so they come at a specified time (I get mine 3 days before they are due) to whatever device you like (mine go to my email, but if I were more of a geek I could get them on my phone.) AND, here's the part I really love, if you use multiple libraries (I use about three different library systems) you get all of the info in one spot. You can see a calendar that tells you what's due each day. It's fantastic, and heck, it's FREE! (I want to start pointing patrons to this service at my library, so if you all would help me test it, I'd be obliged.) PLEASE NOTE: be sure to read the FAQ about privacy. You are giving out your library card number and your PIN to use this service. If the thought of that makes you queasy, this probably isn't the service for you.
  • Library Thing -- I've looked at every site like Library Thing that I could find, as part of my quest to put my reading list on my blog. (See right.) After extensive comparisons, I declare Library Thing the winner. So here's what you do. You set up an account (it's free for the first 200 books) and then you enter the books you have in your collection (or the books you're reading, or whatever books you want to play with.) Then you can sort them all sorts of ways, you can tag them however you like "kids," "jenn owns," "books I've been meaning to read," whatever. That's cool in and of itself. But then, you can see who else is reading what you've read, and what else they are reading. You can join chatrooms (I follow "Librarians Who Library Thing" and one called "The Green Dragon" pretty regularly. There are groups for EVERYTHING. Library Thing gives you a zillion stats, a zillion different ways. You can spend a lot of time thinking about things to read on this site. Lots of fun.
  • -- Have you tried this site already? It's not new, but it's new to me, and whoo! is it fun. On one level, it's like putting your "bookmark" list from your web browser on the web, so you can get to it from any computer. (I move between about five different computers in a day, so that alone is cool for me.) Then you can sort them and tag them however you like. Then, this is where you can lose a lot of time, you can see who else has saved the page you've saved, and what else they have tagged. So, say you've saved "Girl Hacker's Random Web Log" (which I have -- you have to say that in your head as though it followed the words "unless the enemy has a-studied his Aggripa - one g, to p's? Jim?) I see that one other enlightened individual has done the same. Then I can see what other interesting things like Girl Hacker "dunc" has tagged. The number of sites I've found this way is staggering.
  • xkcd -- (The next two are not sites that I learned about at the library symposium, I just think they are cool. )Okay there's nothing to do at this site but giggle. Nathan got me on to this one. The tagline is "A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language." What's not to love. Here's a taste.
  • Picasa -- If you need something to organize your digital photos, you know, for free, check out Picasa. I'm biased, of course, I love a good Google product. This one is intuitive and snazzy. You can make web albums now, so sharing your photos with people like me will be a breeze.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Welcome Back

Come in, sit down, can I get you a beverage? I'm sorry to keep jumping around, in the blog-world. I just want a blog service that does everything I want it to do, while at the same time looking pretty. I said to Nathan, "You know, Google should really make a blog product. I like Google stuff. Could you get on that for me?" His response, "It's Blogger. The place you left." Ah. Awkward. Well, with some tweaking, I've made this place fairly comfortable. I've moved the old posts, the furniture if you will. I think most of you have set up accounts already, since you've visited me in this land in the past.

Anyway, thanks for coming over.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Land of No Birthdays

I think I do my best thinking while I dry my hair in the morning. Which, given that I spend less than five minutes a day drying my hair, could be seen as unfortunate. But there you are.

This morning, I realized I’d been at this job for four months (minus one day.) And in that time, we’ve never eaten cake, signed a card, or even said “Happy Birthday” to anyone who works here. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been inconvenienced more than once by a work birthday of a coworker I didn’t like all that much. I’m not advocating birthday extravaganzas. But it’s just not possible that of the 30-40 people who work here in various capacities none of them has a birthday between November and March, right? That means it’s something of an office policy to make no mention of one’s birthday. Isn’t that a little odd?

~ by meteowrite on March 21, 2007.

2 Responses to “The Land of No Birthdays”

  1. Jenn! That is sad. Sure, b-day responsibilities could get out of hand and all, but still, cake is cake. You may have to take the lead here m’chara, get them going. Then maybe you could call my place of employ… ;-) Hmmm, cake…..

  2. At the late, unlamented State Lands Commission we worked it a little differently. You brought cake (or whatever-I usually opted for Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake) on your own birthday. That way no one else was responsible for remembering when everyone’s natal date happened to be. Start up a tradition…..

Friday, March 16, 2007

Goodyear’s soulmate at my library

I went to this symposium a few weeks ago (Nathan quote: “I LOVE symposia!”) and learned all about turning a public library into the place patrons really want it to be. Namely, a cool bookstore, with more options. Anyhoo, to that end, I’ve been working on “marketing” in our library. I’ve spent a fair bit of time turning the chunk of our reference stacks that face into the public area into a lovely display of our gardening books. (I was really happy that the powers that be let me run with this idea, I mean, I’m a new person with new-fangled ideas, and I got an enthusiastic thumbs up on this. Pretty cool.)

I’m looking at my display now. It’s so pretty. I digress.

Yesterday, I was standing up on a chair, applying the final touch to the display–die cut letters in bright colors that say “See what’s BLOOMING at the library.” And instead of the letter “O” I’ve used flowers with their centers cut out. Really, it’s quite charming.

So I’m up on a chair, and the librarian in charge of our history room wanders by. This is not the first time he’s reminded me of dad, but this was to be the most telling. He’s a nice guy, knows more than is probably healthy about the history of Los Gatos, and tends to bring in home grown oranges by the laundry basket full. “See what’s blooming at the library,” he read. “You know, you could have said ‘Everything’s coming up roses at the library.’” I agreed, that would have been a good one. He went down the hall to his office. Then I heard him laugh out loud. From down the hall. He was back. “What about ‘Can you DIG it?’” Yes, yes, I said, that was a funny one. I said he had a real flair for this sort of work.

Several hours later, I was passing through his office to get to the staff room, and the microwave. Sure, he had a patron in there working, but he dropped what he was doing to say, “How about ‘Come to a HOE-down at the library?’” I said, “Have you been thinking about this all day?” His reply….wait for it….

“What? Is that a little….SEEDY?”


~ by meteowrite on March 16, 2007.

2 Responses to “Goodyear’s soulmate at my library”

  1. Are all dad’s this into puns? My father-in-law is quite fond of them as is my own pa (albeit in Korean. and sorry, it just doesn’t translate). And wouldncha know it, as if in preparation for his own future fatherhood, Michael Kenny could give you a run for your money in the puns department. Somehow, it’s terribly charming when other men (particularly those of a certain age) pun it up than when mine does.

  2. Now, if you just mixed some Tolkien in with the flowers, you could have said “Watch Orland Bloom in our Library”….

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I’m a rototiller!

Back in my daycare days, I knew a little guy by the name of Casey. Among his other talents (some of you may remember Casey as the guy who said “YOU WANT JUICE!” ) Casey was a fan of work machines. Now, lots of kids like work machines, we have a whole separate section of books here in the library just about machines. Casey took it a step further. He BECAME the machines. Many days he’d greet us with the words “I’m a front-end loader!” and then putter around carrying things from one place to another. One day I was walking backwards, carrying a stack of chairs, when I heard a beeping noise behind me. Beep. Beep. Beep. Yeah, it was Casey, announcing to the world that I was going in reverse.

And so, it is in hommage to Casey (who, geez, probably graduates high school this year) that I say to you “I’m a rototiller!”

Spring has hit in a vengence these last two weeks, some people would say we’ve scooted right into summer. I’ve decided it’s finally reasonable to begin work in the garden. Specifically in the raised beds on the side of the house. They are, I imagine, a gardner’s dream. Four beds, walled in, with drip system irrigation on timers. Blank canvases. There are one or two rose bushes that look like they might blossom again someday, but other than that, mostly empty, with a few twigs that were probably healthy plants at one time or another.

My plan was to fix up the dirt last weekend, and then install the flowers next weekend. I went to the Home Depot on Saturday to get dirt improvement supplies. Mulch, compost, a shovel and a rake. I filled the Celt Mobile (II) to bursting, even in “truck mode.” Came home and unloaded all the supplies on the side patio. And set to work on the first bed.

The first bed was pretty much solid clay, that seemed not to have been disturbed in decades. I hauled an empty trash can over, and tossed some of the clay into it (tossed makes it sound like I did it easily, but that’s poetic license.) When the can was, oh, maybe one-sixth full, I’d drag it over to the low spot in what I like to think of as “our future petanque court” and tipped it over. (Saying “tipped it over” makes it sound like I did that easily, but really, I leaned on it until it fell, then got down on the ground to scoop out the dirt with my hands until such time as I could actually invert the can and dump the remainder. Want to know what smart people use for this task? A wheelbarrow.) Lather, rinse repeat. I did this a few dozen times. At some point, I could actually get the hoe into the remaining dirt. That was all I could accomplish the first day.

On day two, I incorporated the compost-mulch mix into bed one. I read the directions on the package which informed me I had to mix thorougly down to a dept of 8-12 inches. Whew. Me and the hoe became good friends that afternoon. That was the day I learned why clever gardners don’t work in the garden in the middle of the afternoon.

Yesterday and today before work (my 11-8 shift, I wasn’t up at dawn or anything) I worked on bed two. The other three beds are filled with sand. All sand. I don’t understand several things. One, how does anything grow in all sand? I mean aside from iceplant. Which as we all know is a non-native invasive and should be crushed whenever possible. Two, why isn’t every cat for miles using our yard as the world’s most glamorous litter box? Whatever the reason, sand is much easier to hoe than clay. Though I think I’ll need more compost-mulch to make it garden-able. Probably, I should be mixing between the clay bed and the sand bed, now that they are both mulched.

Anyway, I’m absurdly proud of myself. No pilates or ballet class I’ve ever taken has done as much for my arm definition in a week as being a human rototiller has. And, when a friend came by our house for the first time this week, I drug her out to the garden saying “Come see the dirt I made!”

~ by meteowrite on March 14, 2007.

3 Responses to “I’m a rototiller!”

  1. Raised sand beds?!!!! You have a true treasure my dearest daughter. What grows in sand you ask? Asperagus, carrots, radishes, turnips…all requuire “well drained soil”, which actually translates to “sand”. Fresh asperagus…’s enough to move one from the far north of Yachats. Careful though, it spreads. Like underground runners. Thus, the raised bed. As for the cats, I might assume the former occupants had a dog, and the cats have learned that your yard isn’t particularly comfortable.

  2. Good thing I didn’t get to the other two sand beds yet. Asparagus, you say. That reminds me of the asparagus fern I transplanted from your yard. Remember how Gandalf’s sword was barely a match for that thing. Even after you told it you were a wielder of the Secret Saw of Arnor it still didn’t want to come out of the ground. It spreads. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to whip up much enthusiasm for growing radishes or turnips. But it does provide an answer to our mystery.

  3. Ooh (as in “ooh” that rhymes with “boo” and not “go”) jenn! Are you guys going to buy that house? Because if you ever have to leave it’s gonna be real tough, I can see. A petanque court?? And a garden? Yowers!

    Hey don’t pass up the opportunity for fresh radishes yet. Have I made radish butter for you? I’s not what it sounds like, it’s YUM. Finely grate one radish and squeeze out as much of the juice as possible. Mix in one tablespoon (or so) of room temperature butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread on a slice of a crusty french loaf. Eat far too much of the stuff to be healthy for any individual (and let’s face it, the radish is totally a sham. there is no health benefit to this spread just cause a vegetable was involved in the making.). I can’t describe what it tastes like. It’s just really good and really addictive. There, I’ve gone and put another drug in front of you like a good little rec-drug pusher. But really, I think this is only fair given what you did to me with those Cadbury Mini Eggs.

    Ps. I remember Casey of the front-end loader! Dear GOD! He would be in high school by now, wouldn’t he? For me, he was also Casey who asked his mom in a grocery store: “But MOM! What about my booger??” And then there was that incident with the toilet and the stick, but perhaps we want to keep that to ourselves?

Monday, March 5, 2007

i’m pretending to be an elf

From blog stuff

My good friend Gina celebrated her 30th birthday last weekend. She’d put a lot of time into planning *just* the right activity to really encompass this new decade. She decided to have a henna tattoo artist over, to give everyone temporary henna tattoos. It was sooooo much fun! I’ve loved having my pretty swirly hand. You pair that with some boots and an olive green and brown toned outfit, it’s really easy to pretend you’re cruising through Mirkwood looking for orcs, rather than just checking in magazines. I’ve got three to four weeks of fun before the swirlies fade off.

Happy Birthday GT!

3 Responses to “i’m pretending to be an elf”

1.You know, my first thought was: dude. Jenn got a henna tattoo. How wild.

But looking at the design (and remembering the ephemeral quality of henna inks) I think this is totally you! Very pretty!

jean said this on March 5th, 2007 at 12:57 pm

2. Hear! Hear! Nice earth-stained “tat”–I think that is what the kids are calling them these days. Gosh, how much more like “Stewie” on the “Family Guy” could I sound?

Jean’s right though–looks great!

Sancho said this on March 5th, 2007 at 9:53 pm

3.Tres cool. Have to work up “tattoo” in Quenya….

Goodyear said this on March 8th, 2007 at 10:02 am