Amazon customer reviews: Bananas

I spent the afternoon poking around the more obscure areas of (It’s snowing, I’m lazy) and I came across a distributor that sells fresh groceries.

amazonfruit.jpgThe page layout is the same as any other Amazon product, the content is just a bit…different.

I love reading what other people think about something before I buy it. The Amazon customer reviews for bananas, however, are just a bit silly.

There is some hilarious writing lodged in the crevasses of online consumer reviews. I can’t help wondering if the Internet caused these folks to burst from their creative shells, or if they might be writing actual books instead of, say, posting on their weblogs.

Just in case you were wondering, Amazon directly sells bulk drygoods groceries through their beta site Amazon Grocery. They have some good organic stuff that might be difficult to find outside of Hippieville, USA where I live.

Full disclosure: I do not work for They aren’t paying me to be nice to them. But they should. Amazon: Call me!

HighEdWebDev 2006 – liveblogging

I got sent in as a pinch-hitter for this small local web conference for Higher Education. I’m listening to a keynote-speaker-who-shall-remain nameless reading Google’s mission statement. Which is interesting. At eight in the morning.

Ok, this is interesting. He gets 36 work-related emails per hour at Google.

The Google Book Search got a passing mention…

Hm. Google’s nice, but I like my 40-hour work week.

I could use a nap.

Did you know you can dial 46645 and do a google query on your cellphone? Could come in handy for those ambient askability moments of freerange librarainship…

Do you know anything about the Google CMS?
Nope. Can’t answer that.

I’m really pretentious and want to insert the theme of the conference into a sentence, could you address this?
Blah blah blah.

Great. It’s snowing.

Librarian duped by electricity, physics

What have I always said? Over and over? Do the research, people. Look it up!

lightningstrikesimamoron.pngWell, the reason I always say this so I won’t keep making dumb mistakes. Like buying a USB cupwarmer that uses the wrong voltage.

I knew you folks in the UK have funky electricity, but I didn’t know you have a completely DIFFERENT sort of USB! How is this possible? Whose idea was this? Damn you Thomas Edison!!!

My mistake was helpfully pointed out by M-D November, who knows stuff.

M-D knows stuff because he works for the folks who make the S.A.T. test. Apparently, the trivia has worn off on him. Do not play Jeopardy! with this man. Do not invite him to your Trivial Pursuit parties.

Also, consult him on all electronic purchases. Thank you. That is all.

Reference Challenge!

I called in sick to work today, with a sore throat and general upper-respiratory grossness. I spent the day lying on the couch with cats floating on pillows around me. Our two cats are huge wooly monsters. Rescued from cat-jail, they resemble bobcats more than housecats.

chesscat.jpgFortunately, they don’t seem to know how huge and potentially ferocious they are. Curled up in sleeping cat-balls, they resemble furry manhole covers. Occasionally one will purr and try to shove himself up my nose.

Sick days for me usually involve DVDs, Tylenol PM, and tea. Recently however, I have discovered a wonderful website called eBay.

I’ve been online since 1994 and Mosaic. I was one of the first librarians to have a blog (Jessamyn at was and always will be waaaay ahead of me!) I subscribed to A List Apart back when it was a list, and learned CSS by copying code from Webmonkey. I’ve been e-around for a long time. But I’d never gotten trapped by eBay until now.

rug50.jpgIt started innocently. We needed a rug. Rugs are expensive. I found an eBay seller with deeply discounted Pottery Barn rugs. I bought one and got it almost immediately. Then I found people selling Anthropologie clothes for crazy prices. I created a favorite search. It was all over.

Living in a rural area like Ithaca is almost ideal. There are mountains, gorges, parking spots, and very few car thieves. But the shopping is terrible. Unless you have a penchant for Old Navy, or hemp clothing, there are no recognizable stores within an hour’s drive. Since I refuse to buy my work clothes at the Farmer’s Market, I tend to shop in short bursts while I’m traveling. EBay has opened a new world for me. The combination of librarian ninja query skillz and quality stuff for a dollar has made online auctions dangerously profitable.

I’ve mostly gotten it under control. Now I just log in to explore new categories.

Your sickly, addicted, digital librarian friend, Erica

It’s hard out here for a digital library interface designer/product manager

Photo by パックマン

10:40pm and I’m still at work.

Science Magazine is publishing a blurb about our library of animal sounds on Thursday. We got an award for second-best “educational interactive”. Yay.

Unfortunately, this means that a huge group of people are going to visit our site.

And our site was, up to a few weeks ago, still half-baked. We’ve got one of those higher education software teams, consisting of five underpaid geeks and a couple of CS students. Ebay, we are not.
These last few weeks have been a blur. Everyone on my team is pulling dot com hours, working for twelve hours on Sundays, and generally being foolish with work-life balance.

Tonight we ate dinner at the mall food court.

The weird part is, I love this.
I love the focus.
I love the commiseration.
I love the feeling of doing something good for the world that I get working at a nonprofit.

But right now, I would really love a beer and some sleep.
Goodnight, all.