An Interview with Myself

Bowing to the demands of my own powerful curiosity, I have agreed to give an exclusive interview to myself. My publicist disagrees with my decision, but I believe I have a strong connection with myself and I think I can be trusted to report my answers fairly.

Q: Hello Erica. I’m glad you agreed to this interview. You have been pretty reticent with the press lately. What’s been going on?

A: There have been major changes in my life this year. I haven’t felt it was appropriate or respectful to write about them here.

Things have settled down a bit recently. I’m no longer engaged, and I’m living in rural Ithaca near some friendly horses and sheep.

Q: Wow. Do you want to talk about what happened?

A: No. Thank you.

Q: I hear you are moving to the Bay Area in the next few months?

A: I’ve been looking at the Bay Area and NYC as possible places to relocate. After visiting last week, I decided to move to San Francisco.

San Francisco is one of the geekiest, friendliest places I’ve ever been. The city is beautiful, I’ve got good friends, there are interesting projects, and I’ll be among my fellow dorks.

I’m really looking forward to learning the city, starting a new job, volunteering at 826 Valencia, and being immersed in the calm, weird, sunny West Coast atmosphere. Come visit. Bring chocolate babka.

Q: Where are you going to work?

A: An excellent question. I’ve interviewed at a few places where I would like to work. I will know more by next week. Stay tuned.

Q: Don’t you like Ithaca?

A: I love Ithaca and I adore my job at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which is why I’ve been here for four years.

However, that translates to about 40 years in Internet Time. It’s time for me to start a new project. I might return to Ithaca someday, once I’ve made my fortune. I’d like to live on a big farm with dogs, books, a wood stove, and all my friends.

Q: Ok. That covers the big topics. What else is going on?

A: I’m having the best year of my life. This weekend I swam in a waterfall, watched a turtle lay eggs, drove a sports car really fast, petted dogs, helped a friend find tractor parts, drank local beer, picked flowers, was charged by a deer, and met one of the first US African refugee coordinators who was working in Botswana in 1965.

Q: Well, thanks again for letting me interview you, Erica.

A: I’m welcome. Thank me.

14 Weird things I’ve learned this week

  1. Queen Bees are expensive
  2. It’s damned difficult to find a cat-sitter in Ithaca
  3. Johnathan Lethem’s You Don’t Love me Yet is, so far, an absolutely perfect book
  4. Tom Phillips is an artist who did a really great book painting featuring fictional books with titles stolen from Shakespeare
  5. Roccapulco is a salsa club in San Francisco. I’m going next week with my friend Jake
  6. The Lunch Meeting is the gold standard for interviews at eBay
  7. Oldschool Metadata

  8. You can randomly teleport somewhere in Second Life and end up getting juggled by a large pink elephant
  9. Hotels in San Francisco are way cheaper than hotels in NYC. Jobs in San Francisco pay way better than jobs in NYC.
  10. All it took for me to get my finances in shape was to get some software with a decent interface
  11. The only cure for pregnancy-induced hypertension is childbirth (hi clay!)
  12. My friend Josh has taken over things digital at the NYPL
  13. Adobe CS3 will steal your soul with its compelling beauty
  14. Google Analytics has a new interface that will steal whatever bit of your soul is leftover after Adobe gets done with you
  15. Half of you people are still using Internet Explorer. I’m saddened. Please, for the love of all things holy: Use

Water Rat

muskrat.jpgI spent a few minutes on my walk to work this morning watching a muskrat. Hunched under the footbridge uprooting plants, he didn’t mind as I clopped along in my optimistically-chosen high heels.

He was intent on his business, wringing small hands around in the mud, looking for the muskrat version of breakfast, a bagel, coffee.

In honor of the first Water Rat of Spring, here’s an excerpt from The Wind in the Willows:

When they got home, the Rat made a bright fire in the parlor, and planted the Mole in an arm-chair in front of it, having fetched down a dressing-gown and slippers for him, and told him river stories till supper-time.

about herons, and how particular they were whom they spoke to

Very thrilling stories they were, too, to an earth-dwelling animal like Mole. Stories about weirs, and sudden floods, and leaping pike; and about herons, and how particular they were whom they spoke to; and about adventures down drains, and night-fishings with Otter, or excursions far afield with Badger.

Wardriving: Owego

I’m in a parking lot in Owego, NY (an actual place!) borrowing bandwidth from an anonymous linksys router. Upstate connectivity sucks. There’s a German Shepherd dog asleep in the back seat. Her name is Fiona. I borrowed her for the trip. I just bought this car. One problem solved.

Don’t know if you’ve heard, but a version of Katamari is coming out for the Wii. Hope you aren’t doing anything this summer.

I’m reading Guns Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years. It gives an excellent overview of the evolution and intersection of human cultures. I’m not far into it, but it’s pretty captivating so far, like taking an anthropology course from Oliver Sacks.

Miles to go before I sleep. Woof to everyone.

Upstate fucking glory, books

Spring birds are yelling from snowy trees this morning. It’s spring, despite wind, snow, roaring wood stove, and other evidence to the contrary. I’m taking today off of work. I’ve got nine stitches. I can do whatever I want.

I finished re-reading Microserfs by Douglas Copeland yesterday. This book was important to me at a formulative time. It helped convince me it was cool to be a nerd. It introduced other tech-inclined women to my humanities-girdled world. It drew a model of unashamed geekery, separate and outside of a traditionally-female need for perfection and image. It was pretty liberating.

An excerpt:

Susan is 26 and works in Mac Applications. If Susan were a Jeopardy! contestant, her dream board would be:

* 680X0 assembly language
* Cats
* Early ’80s haircut bands
* “My secret affair with Rob in the Excel Group”
* License plate slogans of America
* Plot lines from The Monkees
* The death of IBM

Susan’s an IBM brat and hates that company with a passion. She credits it with ruining her youth by transferring her family eight times before she graduated from high school – and the punch line is that the company gave her father the boot last year during a wave of restructuring. So nothing too evil can happen to IBM in her eyes.

Susan’s a real coding machine. But her abilities are totally wasted reworking old code for something like the Norwegian Macintosh version of Word 5.8.

Thanks for your kind comments last night during my Dark Night of the Beer. Friendly words were unexpected and wonderful. I often forget that there are people out there. Hello imaginary people. It’s as though my fictional heroes (Elizabeth Bennet! Harriet The Spy! Meg from Wrinkle in Time!) suddenly started interacting.

Off to haul wood one-armed and scour Craigslist for cars. What would your Dream Jeopardy! categories be?

Librarain videos

These kids today and their wacky video freeculture.

libraryninja.jpgThey say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, after minutes of painstaking research, I have determined that librarians reign supreme on YouTube.

Steve Reed, kickass Library Media Specialist at Wilmington High School sent us a link to an excellent video some of his students made, featuring a library ninja.

As you know, one library ninja video leads to another, and another. Once I finished with the library ninjas and ninja librarians, I was naturally drawn to the librarian superheros.

Troubling indeed, were the librarian villains, librarian vampires, and librarian nazis. But worst of all, are the schlumpy “librarians” who shelve books all day.