Life by the numbers

1 edited post
2 jobs (one main, one side)
3 hubcaps remaining on my urban assault vehicle
4 weeks to hire a java programmer before Rob leaves for parentville
5 months of backpay to go with my promotion
6 days until we cook Thanksgiving spanokopeta with tzadziki
7 issues of The Ultimate X-Men by Brian K. Vaughan left to read
8 thank yous to write this weekend (thank you!)
9 fingers I’m not holding up to the haters out there.
10 minutes until I fall asleep on this keyboard

Surge protectors for the L33t

Good design can make anything wonderful. Even something as dreary as surge protectors. I came across these in my e-travels.

surge1.pngBelkin Clamp-On Surge Protector
I do grow so weary of crawling under my desk every day and messing up my chic outfit. No, I’m not reenacting scenes from Secretary. I work in a digital library. Gordian knots of power cables are part of my life.

But checkitout: this surge protector has a clamp on it so you can attach it to your desk, or another convenient surface. Finally, I can unplug the router with dignity.

squid.jpgThe Power Squid
is my friend. He is a squid-shaped surge protector. Instead of forcing you into unaccommodating rows, his noodely appendages absorb plugs of all shapes and sizes.

I plan on getting three of him: one for each office, and one for that damned outlet by the kitchen that only half-works, yet is so conveniently placed.

pwer.jpgThe Power Strip Liberator will save you from huge annoying black bricks that take over your power strip. Instead of letting those monsters take over three entire outlets, plug them into this doohickey and let ’em loom menacingly somewhere else.

Desk Set

lady librarians from desk setDid you know that Katherine Hepburn and Spenser Tracey were in a Librarian movie together? Did you even know there were librarian movies? It’s called Desk Set, and we’re about halfway through watching it.

Desk Set somewhat unintentionally gives an interesting window into professional life for women in the late 1950’s. Apparently it involved lots of sexual harassment, patronization, and powerlessness. Oh, and trivia questions. Which is pretty cool.

We spend about ten minutes listening to Katherine Hepburn show off her black belt in historical and literary fact before her boyfriend (also her boss) lovingly tells her how stupid she is. In spite of the anachronisms, Hepburn’s character exudes competence, and it’s wonderful to watch a woman on film being unabashedly smart.

Like most pre-1980’s movies, it’s long and kind of slow. We got a bit bored, and will probably finish it later tonight. I’m looking forward to seeing the IBM “electronic brain” that is supposed to replace the reference department. I suspect it will involve lots of reel-to-reel tapes, blinking lights, and miraculous natural language processors.

Stay tuned.

2:17am – U.S. election

clownswilleatme.pngI should really go to bed instead of hitting refresh on cnn.com every two minutes.

Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Bart gets a scary clown bed and can’t sleep? It’s like that.

“Can’t sleep. Republicans will keep the Senate. Can’t sleep. Republicans will keep the Senate. Can’t sleep. Republicans will keep the Senate.”

Vote early, vote often.

Today is U.S. election day. Today. Tuesday the 7th. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Today you need to find ten minutes before, after, or during work to drive/walk/bike/train/carpool/drunkenly stumble to your local firehouse/school/residence hall/public space and vote. It’s easy. Here are two things that often stop people from voting:

WHERE DO I VOTE?
Call your local Board of Elections to find out where you vote. They have lots of people waiting for your call today. They are happy to tell you. It’s what they do. All you need to know is your address and approximately how to spell your name. Their number is in the phonebook in the blue government section.

WHO AM I VOTING FOR?
If you want to find out what the ballot will look like before you get in the booth, you can check out your local Board of Elections website, or try the League of Women Voters website. Or you can stop by your local board of elections office. Or you can go to your polling place and ask to see a sample ballot, then go home and google everybody.

The keyword here is: research. Open a web browser and type in “yourcountyhere 2006 election”. See what you can find out about which judges are reputable, which sheriff candidate matches your interests, which drain commissioner has actually seen a drain.

You can do this. We’ll all be grateful if you do.

Michigan Alumni Nostalgia

I’m alone in the University of Michigan Science Library, enjoying free wireless (thanks to my alumni account) and a wealth of power outlets. I’m sitting in a window-alcove that overlooks campus, level with the green copper towers of West Hall.

During school, I came here to watch the University’s resident Peregrine Falcon as he perched on the tile roof and disemboweled pigeons.

It’s snowing in Ann Arbor, and I’ve got a big cup of mint tea. Below, a stream of overdressed undergraduates walks to class, wearing Uggs and fashionable backpacks. westhallsnow.jpg
photo credit: kwei

There are things I want to accomplish, but the luxury of a full day stretches ahead. Snow drops past the windows that surround my table. My favorite professor has her office hours this afternoon. I’d like to tell her that her two geeky research assistants are getting married.

I enjoy Ithaca, but it’s good to be in a place that feels more like home, if only because of the frequent sleepless nights I spent here churning out papers and code. I might run errands today and call old friends. I might just put my head down and sleep on this table.

I wish you all a peaceful snowy morning, full of potential.


ps. SI alums: The door scanner on the DIAD is still pissing people off after all these years. Good to know some things don’t change.

Site down for a bit tonight…

Hi everyone – Happy Halloween! I bought myself new web hosting today, so the site might be funky for a bit whilst I drag everything over. Fear not, I’m not going anywhere.

I will be in Ann Arbor until Monday to ogle the Royal Shakespeare Company.

I got a flu shot this afternoon, and I now have the fake flu. I’m going home to pass out candy and upload files. I’ll update you live from beautiful and flat state of Michigan starting tomorrow morning.

Want to volunteer at the library? Pass a drug test, sister.

Ah, Gainesville. Come for the Snowy Egrets, stay for the affronts to human dignity!

Bill Mahr at The Huffington Post wrote an excellent screed last week about Levy County Florida’s county-wide drug screening policy which has cut the library’s volunteer population by 3000%.

egretsmoking.pngMahr is slightly fuzzy on the details of our favorite profession, referring to librarians interchangeably as 1) Grandma 2) Aunt Iris 3) America’s shsssshing minority and 4) Volunteers.

Still, he has a point. Why torture volunteers? Should the County’s “risk-management Insurance company” really have the power to take down the library system? Is this an acceptable risk?

I wonder if anyone considered the cost/benefit of this decision. Essentially, the County Government (whom we know are always the embodiment of common sense and long-term planning) has reduced library services in exchange for relief from imaginary hordes of crank-shooting elderly volunteers.