Hey, Library of Congress. Cut that shit out.

Oh hello Library of Congress. I didn’t see you there. Nice running into you like this!

glassesbuttonYou know, I’ve always admired your electronic resources and open-minded collections policies. My undergraduate university and career have both profited from your generous grantmaking, and your reading room sure is fun to visit when I’m in town!

Being a big organization sucks, doesn’t it? You do your best but, well, you can’t keep track of everything. Sometimes you just end up with people in charge of the Congressional Research Service, who for whatever reason, act like complete dumbfucks.

Revolutionary LibrarianYou must be very embarrassed. I mean, rescinding a job offer because you thought the candidate’s upcoming gender reassignment was…what? Icky?

You had better be fucking embarrassed. The federal court recently fined you $500,000 for your treatment of former Army Special Forces Commander Diane Schroer, who, I suspect, has better things to do than get jerked around by library staff.

I mean, career damage and humiliation aside, it seems like an anti-terrorism analyst’s time might be better spent out of court FIGHTING TERRORISM. A subject you DC dwellers seem to get pretty excited about under normal circumstances.
What’s going on here Library of Congress? Couldn’t think of anything better to do with 500 grand? I wonder how many smaller libraries out there could say the same.

So tell me, is it really easier to house decision makers capable of grossly immoral and illegal actions than it is to cull employees who show these traits? Are Library jobs really so stable that a hiring manager feels comfortable acting on overt prejudice?

And who is this legacy codger you’ve been harboring anyway? A political appointee from the 1880s?  Are there really adults in this world who have never met a transwoman and are ALL AFLUTTER by the idea?

If so, perhaps it might help to read a book or two on the subject. You might enjoy this one from your own extensive archives:

An examination of discrimination against transgender Americans in the workplace: hearing before the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives.

Anyway Library of Congress, It’s a brand new administration and I’m sure you’ve learned your lesson. I expect your excellent reference staff will happily direct anyone who has experienced this kind of hiring discrimination to the ACLU.

Bookbinding Tattoo, concept art

Someone asked me where I found the art for my nonexistent biopsy scar-covering tattoo, and I thought you guys might be interested…
This came from a series of 18th Century bookbindings. It’s too elaborate for reality, perhaps, but I liked the idea.

This was intended to cover a scar that I have grown rather fond of. The tattoo plan was scrapped, but the concept was good.

I sampled my skin color from a photo, isolated two different florets from book covers I found in a digital library collection, overlapped them, messed with transparency, did a color mask to match a brown ink, and then chickened out at the last minute.

For more on why I didn’t get a tattoo, please see this very special episode of Red vs. Blue.

Technorati Tags: tattoo, book, bookbinding, librarian, nerd, geek

Domestic Violence: Legal Resources

A friend is going through this. She needs legal advice and low-income resources.

Here’s the best of what I’ve found:

  • WomensLaw.org – Incredibly clear and useful site with an excellent FAQ, state-by-state help, info on shelters, courthouse locations, legal forms, advice.
  • Battered Women’s Justice Project – Contact list for state Domestic Violence coalitions – These groups can provide individual *advocates* who are familiar with state laws and resources.
  • American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic Violence pdf guide to attaining a lawyer

I’ve been finding a lot of links-to-lists-of-links. If you know of any *easy to use* resources that would help a mother with no money avoid a murderous creep, please comment, and thank you.

Allergy alert stickers

allergy_stickers.jpg

I have a life-threatening peanut allergy. My lungs fill up and my throat closes and WOW are nuts a bad thing. Which is why I want these vinyl “No Peanuts” stickers by Jeeto.

Chuck and I have been trying to translate the word “peanut” into 30 languages whenever we go to a restaurant. It would be nice to have a visual aid.

When I was a kid, nobody had heard of “allergies”, so I didn’t get a lot of cred when I pouted and refused to eat my snickerdoodle. My folks fought for me when they could, but there were plenty of incidents. There was the Evil Girl Scout Leader with the PBJ, the home economics class with the peanut brittle, my forgetful grandma and the cracker jacks.

Having it in writing might help a kid stick up for herself.

So, yay to Jeeto and a generation of militant parents! Yay for continued access to oxygen!

A surge of adrenaline…

I’m allergic to peanuts. I’m the reason you have to endure a transcontinental flight with low blood sugar. I’m the reason your kid can’t bring PBJ on a field trip. Peanuts make me tip over and grab my throat.

So, of course I ate some last night.

It might not have been peanuts. It could have been chick peas, peanut oil, ground pistachios, or pine nuts. Any of those disreputable characters could have caused the trouble.

All I know is: I was lied to, and I had a very bad evening.

The Indian take-out restaurant on the corner will NOT be getting a holiday card from me this year. If someone would care to write out a polite note for me in Urdu, I would love to graphically detail for them the throat-closing unpleasantness that follows a wide grin and un-fact-checked assertions of “no nuts! no nuts!” that are obviously uttered to get me out of the way rather than out of any actual understanding of what I am requesting.

I made it to work this morning despite the powerful epinephrine-hangover that follows one of these episodes. Fortunately, Betsy saw through my ruse and sent me off to the Zen Room (yes, we have a zen room) to lie down until I could go to the doctor’s.

So now I’m home, with a fridge full of Indian food and a powerful need to check my email. horrorscope1.pngI opened my computer and was greeted with today’s horoscope:

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Research obsession: Medical Students for Choice

I’m going to show my political underpants briefly (har har. briefly.) and write about Medical Students for Choice.

Lately I’ve tried to keep my politics off of this website out of respect for the wonderful diversity of people who have taken librarianship as an identity.*

msfctshirt1.jpgHowever, I promised to keep you updated on the research topics I pursue in my off hours.

One of the topics I follow obsessively is the state of reproductive law in the US. I attended the March for Women’s Lives in 2004, and I came away with a new awareness of the scope and diversity of topics affecting women’s health, including poverty, contraceptive access, sex education, sexual violence, racism, and medical research, to name a few. The topic of women’s health goes well beyond the ethics and philosophy of the abortion debate.

One of the groups I most enjoyed seeing were the Medical Students for Choice, young mostly female medical students dedicated to raising awareness of the need to train abortion providers among the medical community.

msfc.jpgImagine a sea of women.

Imagine the mall in Washington DC on a warm sunny day. Imagine the grass and the voices. Everywhere you look there are signs, women, booths, friends, groups, people walking, people sitting, young women, old women, men of all ages and stripes, people of every color, signs from every US state and territory.

Imagine a group of women wearing white lab coats with stethoscopes around their necks, walking in small groups, smiling, talking, and holding signs saying “Medical Students for Choice.”

Some wore badges saying “Future abortion provider.” Some carried signs showing the number of women and young girls who die or are injured from unsafe abortions.

It was like watching a herd of beautiful gazelles as they walked through the chaos of the largest protest in US history. These women snapped with intelligence, kindness, and competence.

Seeing them made me stronger.

I don’t write this to inspire the same old arguments among friends. We can all agree that women’s physical safety is important, regardless of our deeper beliefs.

I love you guys. I’ll get back to writing trivia soon, I promise!

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*Yes, I think librarianship is an identity as well as a profession. More on this later.

Cornell Catering is trying to kill me Part II

deadlycateringI was leaving work, tired and hungry, when suddenly a uniform-clad minion appeared at my elbow and offered me a snack. This happens occasionally. The Lab rents out its atrium to various groups on campus who bring in the caterers and the cashbar. We’re usually not invited, but this day I had decided to exit the building next to the caterer’s kitchen.

Big Mistake.

“Have some chicken”, she said “It’s encrusted with almonds!”

Note to self: when the devil tries to get you, he uses words like “encrusted”.

“Are you sure those are just almonds?” I asked, thinking back to dozens of near-death moments brought on by my stupid peanut allergy.

“Oh yes”, she said “Toasted almonds!”

At which point my stupid Lizard-brain caused me to reach out and grab one. I took a bite as I walked to my car, thinking “How nice to be offered appetizers at work”.

By the time I got to my car I was trying to subtly vomit as well-dressed elderly women passed me on the way to their party. My lips swelled, my throat became a piece of granite. The usual.

I’ll spare you the really graphic details (trust me, it gets worse), but suffice it to say the Epipen came through again, along with some medical attention from my handsome EMT boyfriend. Hi guys! Thanks for the life-saving! Again!

All of which leaves me with the growing suspicion that a) I am really stupid for once again eating food of unknown provenance, and b) Cornell Catering really is trying to kill me.

Why, Cornell Catering? Why?

Conference part two

Cornell catering is trying to kill me. Every single entree or snack for every meal so far has contained nuts. Peanut chicken on a stick last night, pesto (with pine nuts!), nutty granola for breakfast, and peanut-laced snack bars at the break. I’m trying to suck the nutrition out of a cold cup of mint tea.

We’re starting up again. Ohboy PowerPoint! Constructivist learning theories? Cognitive supports within software? Ok. Here goes.

Planned Parenthood bar crawl

I joined the Planned Parenthood drinking team last night, and attended their first ever pro-choice pub crawl.

Highlights included sliding condoms down the bar and engaging large construction workers on the topic of reproductive rights. Much fun was had by all, including the drunken gentlemen who thought we were rushing a sorority with our matching pink t-shirts. Alpha Gamma Roe, man.

For all you librarians out there, wow, what a way to raise the visibility of your infomation services. Why not start Librarian bar crawls throughout this land? I can see it now, schnockered crowds of library workers handing out community health and information flyers in our nation’s drinking establishments. Wear something funny, matching and visible, get a drink at the bar, say something really loud like “Librarians need liquor!” and just start talking to folks.

Social conservatives may use churches to spread their hardline social agendas, but more people go to bars, baby. Let’s take our librarianship to the streets. Let’s put information about Black History Month, HTML workshops, book clubs, and storyhour in the hands of The People.

Plus, beer!