Packing for Big Cities in which I do not live…

Tomorrow morning I’m getting on a luxury Cornell bus to New York City (the place I don’t live, despite everyone’s impression when I say I’m from New York State) for a week long vacation. Yes, I said vacation.

For possibly the first time in years, I’m traveling for non-work reasons. I’m meeting my librarian buddy Kara at the Newark airport and we’re going to spend four days hanging out with friends and being tourists, damned tourists.

We’re gonna shop, ice skate, lunch, and work on our French. Because midweek we’re jumping on a plane to Paris.

See, I found these $350 tickets on Air India, and my French friend and Cow-orker Gui knows this guy who runs a hotel, and he’s having a big birthday bash, and well, the stars just aligned.

So, moo ha ha, everyone. I’ll write some more on the bus tomorrow. I love everyone’s comic suggestions, by the way. That’s why you are the librarians and I am just the librarian-poseur who works on websites.

Off to pack my toothbrush and slinky red dress.

Did I mention Moo Ha Ha?

Librarians: Mimi Smartypants needs our Help!

Mimi Smartypants is my favorite blogger. I want to say more about her writing and why I enjoy it, but everything I type comes out like: “blarg! cliche! gush! gush!”

So, I’ll just skip that and mention that she recently asked for comic book recommendations for her daughter. This woman needs a librarian! We are compelled to help! Here’s a thumbnail reference interview:

  1. The little girl in question is Preschool age
  2. Ideally, avoid mainstream comics. You know, ones with TV tie-ins or superheros.
  3. She currently enjoys The Far Side, and Sam and Max
  4. Violence/weapons are to be avoided.

I took a crack at it. Let me know what you think in the comments, and I’ll ship the whole list off to her Miminess at the end of the week as a tribute of librarianly esteem.

These are comics I have personally read and recommend. I take full responsibility if you think they suck. I avoided the Bone series, despite the cute drawings because those Stupid Rat Creatures can be pretty scary. Stupid, stupid rat creatures.

Librarian Powers: Activate!
Clan Apis – A view of life as a honeybee but without looking like a Mark Trail comic strip. Hilariously written by an entomology grad student who is allergic to bees. Great for kids, fun for adults.

Pogo Possum – I learned to read with these cartoons. Which gave me a rather unusual grasp of the Queen’s English. Still, you don’t have to be old enough to read to appreciate the indelible Albert Alligator and Porkypine.

Castle Waiting – These are the sweetest stories ever. Great art, gentle tales with subtle feminist undertones. Sort of the anti-Optic Nerve.

Liberty Meadows – Frank Cho. Why not? Talking frogs are funny.

Ok, go ahead. You try.

Duck mating dance

anseriformes.gifHee. One of the nifty things about having my library’s Animal Sound and Video collection available online, is I get to stumble across hilarious things in the course of my duties. Like this video of Mallard ducks doing a mating dance.

Watching the ducks, I’m really reminded of this: Mah nah mah nah.

You’re welcome. Hope the speakers were on.

Staff picnic

The staff picnic is today. There are a few firsts this year, including the availability of beer (gasp!) and wine (eek!) provided by our generous overlords. This is a controversial move. Alcohol and Campus Events are a lawsuit-attracting combination, and it takes a brave administrator to go down the Dark Road of Official Permission Forms. avengerhero.pngUnless, of course, the intent is to butter up potential funders, in which case let the vino flow!

Mary, my mentor, boss, and friend has foolishly volunteered to orchestrate an hour of children’s games. In the interest of preserving her sanity (that I might make use of it in the future), I have volunteered to help.

Mary’s plan: lots of candy.
My plan: Superhero games.

Who can jump the highest?
Who can turn invisible?
Who can talk to animals? Quick! Rescue that heiress!
Over there!
Waaaaaaay over there!

For your amusement, the HeroMachine. My superhero has bat wings and an electrical aura. Neyah.

Wish me luck.

Take my Comics…please

feazellcat.gifI’ve started a library at work. My cataloging system is the whiteboard over my desk. My patrons are co-workers and student employees whom I bully into taking books. My material? Comics. I’m on a mission from Groo.

When I was a young Librarian Avenger, I spent many happy years working in the world’s largest cataloged collection of comic art, located at Michigan State University. There I met some majorly kickass librarians who were kind enough to allow me to shelve books, type tags, sort through boxes, occasionally catalog (ah, young dorkiness) and induge in a whole lot of secret in-the-stacks comic-reading.

As a result of this intensive training, I can now walk into any fluorescent-lit basement-level industrial-carpeted D&D-riddled comic shop and pick a fight. Ghost Rider vs. Punisher? No problem. Spawn eats them both. First edition copy of Watchmen? Own it. Portrait of myself inked by David Mack? Got it. Personalized CynicalMan convention souvenir by Matt Feazell? On my wall. Every issue of Scott McCloud’s Zot, stolen from an ex-boyfriend? Yuppers.

If I had several lives to live simultaneously, I would take out a loan and start a comic shop. I believe that some of the best art and writing of my generation can be found in the pages of comics. Transmetropolitan. Sandman. Optic Nerve. La Perdida. Dykes to Watch Out For. Fun Home. Understanding Comics. Kabuki. Y The Last Man. Zot.

So, lately I’ve been biking my trade paperbacks up the hill and distributing them. I need someone to talk to about this stuff. It’s lonely here at the top.

I’m SO going to Cornell!

doones1.gifOne of my role models when I was a baby geek was Kim from the comic strip Doonesbury. She coded nude, geeked out, talked in binary, and awed all in her path. Now her daughter Alex is coming to Cornell. Girl can crash at my place anytime. We’ve got wireless. If she wants, I can introduce her to other local fictional characters in town, like Stephen Titus George from Fool on the Hill.

Humbert Humbert, however, can just stay the hell away.


It’s 4 am and I’ve got some sort of low-grade headcold. I can’t sleep. The only advantage to being awake in my house at 4am is the cat is so! happy! to see me! He’s overcome his usual aloofness and has wrapped himself around my neck.

We’re back from Austin, where much fun was had. SXSWi was twice the size as last year, which means it lost some of its outsider geek charm, but it made up for it with better programming, better planning, and a greater number of women both presenting and attending. There were actually lines in the women’s bathrooms this year, which I choose to see as an indication of a brand new influx of women in the I.T. professions.
Achoo. Ok, the cat is now upside down and dragging himself along the underside of the couch like a furry rock climber. It’s zero degrees outside and I have to go to work tomorrow whether I want to or not. People wear parkas here. Here’s some links.

Sheldon is a great webcomic about a 10-year-old dot com billionaire. I met Dave the author at one of the many social functions which have now blurred together in my sleep-deprived brain. I recall him being very funny. So’s his comic, so check it out. Start a few weeks back so you’ll catch up with the whole Zod thing.

There was a good dragon this year. Every year Cornell students build, parade, and burn a huge dragon. Dragon Day is a tradition, dammit. A century-old tradition that only makes the campus police slightly nervous. They skipped the riot gear this year, to the relief of all. Also, a giant rabbit was involved. I can’t believe I spent the last week complaining that nothing happens in Ithaca.

This is broken is a bad interface blog. It’s just like hanging out with an interface designer, except without the annoying tendency to critique interfaces while others are trying to enjoy themselves. Sorry friends and family. (yoinked from sivacracy)
Finally, you’ve been reading 50 Books haven’t you? Well why not? What, you don’t like books?

Cat and Girl on Vertical Files

I like Dorothy’s Donation Derby almost as much as I like her comic Cat and Girl. If you send her money, she does a small drawing to show how she spent it. The result is an autobiographical comic blog with snippets of funny dialogue and moments from her life. Today there was a library mention that will be funny to anyone who still maintains vertical files. Don’t we have computers for that? I spent a good chunk of my life cutting out newspapers for the wonderfully eclectic American Radicalism & Popular Culture vertical files when I was an undergrad at Michigan State University. If you ever happen to be in East Lansing researching representations of Grant Wood’s American Gothic in advertising, MSU’s got yer back. We never got into any screaming matches either.