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June 01, 2004

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I love this film.

eternal-sunshine.jpg

Oh come! oh teach me nature to subdue,
Renounce my love, my life, myself and you.
Fill my fond heart with God alone, for he
Alone can rival, can succeed to thee.

How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of cialis soft the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd;
Labour and rest, that equal periods keep;
"Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;"
Desires compos'd, affections ever ev'n,
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heav'n.
-- Alexander Pope, "Eloisa to Abelard" (1717)

Forget Me Not [David Edelstein, Slate, 3/18/04]
Eraserheads [J. Hoberman, Village Voice, 3/17-3/23/04 issue]
A Stylist Hits His Stride [Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader, 3/19/04]

Yours, &c., LC at 02:26 PM | Film/TV | Comments (3)

Funny Ideas

At thirteen I had romantic notions about finding kindred spirits and soul buy cialis soft mates. I thought that if I simply could express my True Self, I could forge deep, profound bonds with people. I must have come off as really pompous, or in the case of a boy I was crushing on, totally psycho. How else to explain giving him a birthday card telling him Exactly How I Feel - in the cafeteria, in front of his friends, without any thought to the major embarrassment afterwards? My craving for connection, for comprehension, made me profoundly, stupidly reckless. I was intense, volatile, awkward and lonely, with a vocabulary gleaned from bouts of reading that made my peers wonder how I knew so many words. (Really, they would ask.) It wasn't surprising that the person I could confide in, who never ridiculed me for these thoughts and feelings, who was emotionally grounded enough to handle students like me, turned out to be my English teacher. I couldn't wait to get older ('cause it gets so much simpler, right?).

Sometimes I wonder if I'm regressing. Writing as I do here on the blog, am I blunting my sensibilities for what is and isn't acceptable to reveal, and has that spilled over cialis soft online into how I interact with people in general? I often turn to saying important things in writing, because writing gives me the chance to try to make sense of what I'm thinking. Does that mean I should impose by sharing those thoughts? It's possible to be too honest, too revealing.

Electronic communication allows for immediacy and intimacy, but that can be problematic. It's too easy to hit "Send" or "Publish" before really thinking things through. More often than not, it's better to proceed with deliberation, to not force things. And yet sometimes I still have this notion that if I just get things out there, we can connect. And yet the more important the relationship, the harder it seems to be so open, because you don't want to hurt or be hurt by what you could say to each other. You can't really take it back; you can only alleviate the sting.

This question has been on my mind after having seen Eternal Sunshine. Knowing there could be pain and anguish, you have to take the chance that there could be order cialis soft pleasure, satisfaction, happiness. Otherwise you have stagnation, obsession over what could be - or worse, what could have been.

If only it were so easy to know when it's right to take that chance and when to give something time or let it go. If something or someone is important enough to you, you have to try. Even if it means walking away from a table of boys who think you're psycho.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:17 PM | Blogos , Film/TV , Slice o' Life | Comments (2)

June 02, 2004

Finn Brothers. Atlanta. August 2.

WHO WANTS TO GO?!?

Actually I knew this last week, but I had to wait until the tour schedule was officially released. My restraint is admirable, no?

It's at the Variety Playhouse. Tickets aren't on sale yet. They go to New Orleans the next night, but I actually have a family trip scheduled that week. (Rats.)

But Neil and Tim are coming to Atlanta, hurrah!

Yours, &c., LC at 02:39 PM | Music

June 04, 2004

Linky-loo

Pemberley, a condo community in Utah. - Choice promotional lines include: "PEMBERLEY is super-size attached garages." Floorplans include the bennett (sic), the meryton, the collins and the wickham. Surely the collins floorplan will have a window facing the road so nosy residents can espy the comings and goings of their condescending affluent neighbors. (via Sick & Wicked)

Sunset in Manhattan - Gorgeous photo, accompanied by a brief astronomy lesson. See if you can find the Empire State Building.

Noah Wyle IS...The Librarian - The librarian-as-action-hero, in a TNT television movie to debut later this year. Treasures such as the Golden Fleece and the Ark of the Covenant lie within the inner catacombs of the New York Public Library. (What do you mean, which branch. The one with the lions!) (via LTR)

American Journalism Review article about political blogging.

In the Virtual Stacks, Pirated Books Find Eager Thumbs [Sandeep Junnakar, NYT, Circuits, 6/3/04]

Yours, &c., LC at 05:29 PM | Blogos , Jane , Librariana , Sundries | Comments (1)

June 07, 2004

What a Cute!

Portrait Illustration Maker - Design an anime portrait of yourself. Seriously addictive. (via elise)

AnimeLC3.gif AnimeLC1.gif AnimeLC4.gif AnimeLC2.gif
Yours, &c., LC at 12:06 PM | Sundries | Comments (1)

June 08, 2004

Fortifying Comments

More back-end tweaks last night. My new favorite resource is Learning Movable Type, which has been cialis soft mastercard extremely useful to me of late. Elise's post concerning spam gave me quite a few suggestions for how to deter comment spam. The most noticeable effect is that if you post a comment, you have to click "preview" before you click "post." I've also implemented the CloseComments plugin which will close out older posts after a certain period of time.

Currently I am trying to figure out how to set my comments so that they won't display people's email addresses. In the meantime, it's been a little over a year since I made the transition to Movable Type, and what do you know, I have an opportunity for another quiz.

Addendum: How to Hide E-mail Addresses in Movable Type: Changed the code in several templates from <$MTCommentAuthorLink spam_protect="1"$> to <$MTCommentAuthorLink show_email="0"$>. It took me a while to figure out that this code should be changed in the cialis soft online various comment templates, as well as the Individual Entry Archive template. This last one is important for me, because since I'm now directing people to the individual entry page in order to read or post comments, the code takes effect and conceals the e-mail address from the main site. I've also now noted in the comment form that the e-mail address is "never displayed" to let people know as well.

1. Dan Black Belt

You are a novice. An experienced one. The road that lies ahead is no less long and winding than what it was, but your sense of direction is better than it was when you started your career as a practitioner of MT-Do.

Take the MT-Do test

Yours, &c., LC at 11:17 AM | Admin | Comments (2)

Azar Nafisi

Azar Nafisi

Author Finds That With Fame Comes Image Management [Julie Salamon, NYT, Books, 6/8/04] NYT article about Azar Nafisi, who is having to cope with the success of her book Reading Lolita in Tehran. Great picture of her surrounded by books, floating in the air.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:25 AM | Writing & Language

June 09, 2004

A Tap on the Arm

I was on the up escalator, leaving the train station. I didn't feel up to walking the seventy-plus steps. Someone behind me gently taps me on the arm. It's a woman with a pleasant, open face. She seems nice.

"Hi," she says. "I've seen you on the train, with your husband."

"Oh, yes," I say, trying to be friendly. Do I know you? Are you from my office?

"You never seem to smile. You always look so serious. You have such a nice smile - you should smile more," she says.

"Oh, thank you." I smile...and then I turn around. I get off the escalator and leave the station to walk to work. I don't look behind me.

I should have introduced myself, asked her name. She was very nice - she had a nice smile - and she was giving me, a total stranger, a compliment, and a buy cialis soft suggestion. But this was too weird. People are more friendly around here, they will say hello when you cross paths in the neighborhood. But I am still not used to, nor expect people to talk to me, let alone telling me I should smile. I'm used to thinking I'm invisible, beyond or beneath notice.

When I was five, or seven maybe, my father told me something very similar. He said that people would ask him why I never smiled, and he said I should smile more. At the time, I thought, how can I just smile, how can I make myself do something if I don't feel like it?

I didn't finish the story. While it was a very kind thing for the woman to say to me, they were exactly the wrong words. When I turned around I had to try to keep it together. One doesn't feel cialis soft tabs so invisible trying to hold back tears.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:57 AM | Slice o' Life | Comments (6)

June 10, 2004

Excision

From today's Liz Smith:

ENDQUOTE: "An unknown address, friends they knew before they were famous, and people who love them enough to tell them they are full of s- - -."

That's Sharon Stone, telling Premiere's Brantley Bardin the three things every movie queen must have.

Good advice for drama queens of the non-movie variety too.

It gets really personal here. So you shouldn't continue, because it doesn't get better.

It's never easy to hear and accept criticism. How do you listen, really understand what is being said, so you can do something to change, instead of taking it personally? How do you not shut down, blocking out everything, including the truth, in order to escape the pain of hard words?

So I've been told recently that I'm full of it. That the person here in this space isn't nice. That I am using the blog as a "substitute for a personal relationship." I didn't think I was; but then again, I've been fairly diligent about updating here when I could've easily been on the phone to see how things were going, especially when it mattered.

I convinced myself that people I knew, who knew about this place, could choose to visit or not. I tried not to dwell much on who came to visit, particularly if they chose to leave. It was easy to do because it's hard to know who doesn't care for this, unless they bother to tell me.

It's too late now to wish that I had been more circumspect, retained more of a separate identity between this persona and the person behind the keyboard. But even if I had, the criticism still stands: I "act smug and snarky and too-cool-for-school." Sure, this could be said of the cialis soft average Jane or Joe blogger and one can just blow it off as a generalization. But it's different hearing this from a friend. Former friend, I mean. I guess when you're going to let someone have it, you bring in everything else you ever wanted to say, because you've written them off from here on out. But I did ask, and now I know where I failed. That's something, I guess.

This is incidental, however, to the situation in which I'm really at fault. It's true - I really, really blew it. I glossed on the surface, caught up in distractions. I said painful things without even realizing it. I wasn't around when I was needed. I'm beginning to see that this is something of a pattern. Now I'm having to face up to this, having known the truth in the back of my mind. I'm finding out that there isn't always a second chance, that forgiveness doesn't have to be an option. No amount of explanation or apology will ever be enough. Having begun the first order cialis soft cut, I am now cut loose. Excised.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:31 AM | Slice o' Life | Comments (1)

Flight of the Saudis

TIA now verifies flight of Saudis (Jean Heller, St. Petersburg Times, 6/9/04) From the beginning of the article:

Two days after the Sept. 11 attacks, with most of the nation's air traffic still grounded, a small jet landed at Tampa International Airport, picked up three young Saudi men and left.

The men, one of them thought to be a member of the Saudi royal family, were accompanied by a former FBI agent and a former Tampa police officer on the flight to Lexington, Ky.

The Saudis then took another flight out of the country. The two ex-officers returned to TIA a few hours later on the same plane.

For nearly three years, White House, aviation and law enforcement officials have insisted the flight never took place and have denied published reports and widespread Internet speculation about its purpose.

But now, at the request of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, TIA officials have confirmed that the flight did take place and have supplied details.

I probably wouldn't have posted this, but my eye was caught by the note following the article:

Times researcher Kitty Bennett [sic] contributed to this report.

So Kitty's finally done something with herself besides moon after officers in red coats. ;)

Yours, &c., LC at 04:54 PM | Jane , Politics | Comments (1)

June 11, 2004

Town Hall Meeting on the Future of Library Education in Georgia

[Note: this is the text of a notice I received on one of my listservs.]

There will be a town hall meeting on the FUTURE OF LIBRARY EDUCATION IN GEORGIA on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 at 6:30 pm at AFPL Auburn Avenue Research Library. (Parking is free in "Reserved" marked spaces)

Participants of this town hall meeting will include members of Atlanta Law Librarians Association (ALLA); Georgia Library Association (GLA); Metro Atlanta Library Association (MALA); Special Libraries Association (SLA), Clark Atlanta University SLIS Faculty and Valdosta State MLIS Faculty.

We will start with short statements by presidents of the associations, CAU-SLIS faculty and Valdosta MLIS faculty.

The purpose of this meeting is to have broader discussions on the future of library education in Georgia. All librarians in Georgia are invited to participate.

DON'T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY. YOUR INPUT IS VERY IMPORTANT!!

Directions: http://www.af.public.lib.ga.us/aarl/hours_directions_phones.html

Yours, &c., LC at 01:18 PM | Librariana | Comments (1)

Waiting for the elevator

The lobby walls are some kind of granite - light gray, with flecks of pink and black and white. It strikes me as familiar for some reason (besides seeing it every day going to and from work). Then it hits me: Oh, it looks just like Corian. Pathetic, I know.

I had the elevator to myself. I scowled at my reflection in the shiny walls. I tried to mold my expression into one of friendliness and approachability - after all, it's an important skill to have as a librarian, whether or not I should be smiling as I'm walking down the street. I ended up just making faces. That must've been a riot for the guys at the security desk manning the elevator cameras.

Yesterday I decided to walk up the train station escalator, whether I felt like it or not. I saw that Kind Lady was already on it, looking around. Maybe she realized she weirded me out and wanted to apologize, or maybe I'm just imagining that. Having committed, when I walked past, I said "Hi" and tried to smile, she said "Good morning" and I hauled ass for the rest of those steps.

I think I've flogged myself enough this week. Tonight Scott and I are going to see Teena Marie, Rick James, The Ohio Players and Rose Royce at the Fox. Scott knows their music far better than I do, but it promises to be an amazing show of old-school funk and R&B. So you jaded hipsters will just have to sigh while I boogie like there's no day after tomorrow - from my orchestra seat in Center Stage, Row G. My friend in Accounting has made me promise to tell her all about it, so I've still got credibility with somebody.

And yes, I do wonder if the man himself will declare "I'm Rick James, bitch!" (For those of you who don't know the comedy of Dave Chappelle, this is actually a funny punchline that unfortunately is now overused by those who are neither Rick James nor Dave Chappelle.) If you're interested, check out the clip - it's the second one labeled "Rick James."

Yours, &c., LC at 03:12 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (1)

June 13, 2004

Happy Birthday

It's Scott's birthday. We've tended to be low-key with celebrating these things, but it's been a nice weekend, I hope!

The concert at the Fox was a mix. It's a terrible venue for a concert. Rose Royce is down to two old guys and one woman singer - too young to have been in the original lineup, but they did some of their biggest songs. The whole Ohio Players set was one big soundcheck - I could hardly hear the singing, and the bass playing pumping out of the speakers was physically painful. People couldn't get into the set because the sound was just awful. Things were worked out by the time Teena Marie and Rick James took the stage. The crowd went wild for Teena Marie, who was just awesome. She's still got a great voice. Rick James has seen better days, but they did do "Fire and Desire" which was really the highlight of the show. Discovered to my dismay that either I need more practice with my digital camera, or it's really not very good for taking non-flash pictures at a concert.

Caught a few screenings at the Atlanta Film Festival: a Danish film, Reconstruction; a Japanese film, Bright Future, and a French horror film, Haute Tension. I should have probably caught Stephen Fry's film Bright Young Things but there was a time conflict, and I thought I ought to see Haute Tension before it got tamed down for its American release. I should know better; I was watching the film behind my hands and trying to decide if I should just go wait in the lobby when the twist was finally revealed. So I'm glad I saw it, but my apartment is going to be filled with light for the next couple of weeks.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:55 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (1)

June 14, 2004

Divining Jane Austen

This bit of entertainment news has been floating around for some time now:

King Arthur lass Keira Knightley suits up for another period piece. The English starlet has signed on for Universal's adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Knightley plays the eldest of five sisters living in 19th century England; their mother is determined they will marry wealthy suitors. Production begins in July. [E! Online]

Mr. Darcy has been cast as well, a Matthew Macfadyen.

Parlaying an Affinity for Austen Into an Unexpected Bestseller [Dinitia Smith, NYT, 6/14/04] - An interview with the author of The Jane Austen Book Club, something I very much wish to read.

Which reminds me. Over the weekend, while waiting for one of our movies to start, I overheard the people behind us talking. The man was telling his companion about Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and how it was the basis for the movie, Bridget Jones's Diary, and that the name of the character, Mark Darcy, is exactly the name of the character from the book, Sense and Sensibility.

Scott had to restrain me from turning around. Let's just say the guy is fortunate to be walking around today.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:33 PM | Jane | Comments (12)

Notable Links

Proofreaders' Marks [Merriam-Webster]

Clean Sweep Assessment I haven't finished looking this over, but it's a list of areas to review in your life to see how you measure up and where you need to improve.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:59 PM | Sundries | Comments (3)

June 15, 2004

Need A Login?

BugMeNot offers logins and passwords to use for access to sites such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, or my town's lackluster paper of record, the Atlanta Journal Constitution. This way one doesn't have to offer up one's unborn child in order to read an article. [via Zeebah]

Yours, &c., LC at 12:31 PM | Librariana

Think Before You Pack

Air Travel - Prohibited Items So I was curious as to what the FAA TSA says is acceptable to have either in your carry-on or checked luggage. Chilling:

If you bring a prohibited item to the checkpoint you may be criminally and/or civilly prosecuted or at the least asked to rid yourself of the item. A screener and/or Law Enforcement Officer will make this determination depending on what the item is and the circumstances. This is because bringing a prohibited item to a security checkpoint - even accidentally - is illegal. [Added emphasis]
According to the list of Permitted and Prohibited Items (as of 12/18/03), under the heading Sharp Objects, none are permitted in one's carry-on luggage. But box cutters, ice axes/picks, knives, meat cleavers, razor-type blades (excluding safety razors), sabers, pointed scissors, and swords should all be packed in one's checked luggage.

Good to know.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:40 PM | Legal , Sundries | Comments (5)

Oh. No.

According to the news on their website and an article on E! Online, INXS is teaming up with Mark Burnett for Rock Star, a reality tv show that will help the band find its next lead singer.

I wish I could be excited about this. This show is probably an incredible opportunity for the band to rejuvenate itself, to gain a whole new legion of fans. I just don't know if I can follow.

I mean, I know that Michael Hutchence being gone doesn't mean that the music is over for the rest of the band. But that's the thing. No one's ever going to measure up. Maybe I'd feel differently if Michael had just left the band, instead of killing himself.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:06 PM | Music | Comments (3)

June 16, 2004

Finn Brothers Tour EP on ITunes

But it can only be downloaded from ITunes if you are in the US. The three songs are "Won't Give In," "Luckiest Man Alive," and "Gentle Hum" (yaaaay!).

However, my home pc is (cough, cough) Windows 98, so I can't even download the program, let alone the songs. If it's a tour EP though, it should be available as a physical object while Neil and Tim are on tour. The album is supposed to be available in late August (8/24).

Yours, &c., LC at 11:58 AM | Music

Forced Preview Removed

Well it didn't take long for this feature to become annoying, did it? Since I've implemented several other anti-spam options, I've reinstated the code so that you can just post your comments without having to preview them first. It's always a good idea to preview, but I leave it up to you.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:15 PM | Admin | Comments (2)

June 17, 2004

Georgia voter registration deadline Monday, June 21

The registration deadline to vote in Georgia's primary election is this coming Monday, June 21. (The Georgia primaries are on July 20; the general election is on November 2.)

To register, complete a voter registration application and postmark it by the 21st. Additional information about voting requirements, absentee voting, etc. is also available.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:16 AM | Politics | Comments (2)

On Renewing a Subscription for a Foreign Publication

You might think being able to install Movable Type from scratch and code my own HTML and CSS (well, swipe code and adapt it for my own) means that I'm remarkably handy in other capacities, right? Try figuring out how to send a fax to the UK from our inscrutable office machines.

I ended up having our Mailroom people help me. The first time, only the first page went through (the second page having gotten stuck behind it). The second time went through swimmingly. End of story, right?

I just got a transatlantic call from the publisher, asking if we would please stop sending our fax, as they've just gotten a third copy and we're "rather wasting [their] paper." I apologized, explained the situation, and we confirmed that I wished to renew our subscription and update the address/contact information. Right, byeee!

It turns out that the Mailroom had a spare copy of my fax and couldn't remember if it was sent, so they re-sent it. So that should be it. But still - I'm getting an international phone call, which must cost some amount of money, to tell me I am wasting a few pages of their fax paper? They must have assumed they were under threat of mass faxing, which is understandable. But still!

Addendum: They called me back. Again! Their machine is still emitting "reams of paper of the same two pages." V. strange and not good at all. The Mailroom says nothing more is sending, and feeling guilty, I called the publisher to let them know. (So let's see, that's...three international calls, three intentional faxes and countless unintentional ones. Ack!) They were laughing at this point and think the last one may have come through. (Please!) So we were able to joke that there's no way to misunderstand that my subscription should be renewed.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:51 AM | Librariana | Comments (1)

The Girl Who Couldn't Say No

I'm on my own this weekend while Scott is out in the wilderness for some male bonding. I could do errands. I could go to the gym. I could go shopping. I could watch a bunch of cheesy romance flicks without the unappreciative male point of view.

But no. Because I know I ought to be a better person, I am going to be out in the Georgia heat and humidity building a Habitat for Humanity house. I ought to have volunteered because my veins overflow with the milk of human kindness. But no - I volunteered because there weren't enough people signed up to work this Saturday. Apparently if you can't bring enough of your own office people (and their friends and family), the Habitat people have to come work on the house, which is rather pathetic. So I'm doing my part to save the firm's pride.

So, anyone want to come with me? (Don't worry, I'm only kidding.)

Yours, &c., LC at 04:36 PM | Slice o' Life | Comments (4)

June 18, 2004

A Simple Request

A floater secretary called to request a printout of an opinion published in the Fulton County Daily Report. I tracked it down and checked with one of our reference librarians to make sure the printout was acceptable. Strangely, the web product doesn't offer a clean, printer-friendly format, so to print a document makes it look like just another news article.

It turned out that the librarian had gotten the same request from the secretary whose work was being covered today by the floater. According to the secretary's note to my colleague, we were to just email the case to a partner in the San Francisco office, so the librarian tells me I can go ahead and do that. So I do, and I call the floater to tell her. She sounds flustered and says I should have sent it to her so she could print it out. I offer to send down to her the printout I'd already made. Abruptly she says she has to check something and will call me back.

A few minutes later I get a call from her from another phone extension. (???) She wants me to e-mail the article to her, explaining to me that when attorneys request a printout it's because they don't want to print it out themselves - meaning I should've sent it to her in the first place. It's true, there are people like this, but who is she to lecture me, especially when the original request instructed that we e-mail the article to the attorney! I shouldn't get my hackles up when I don't know if she's getting flak on her end and she doesn't know that I've been around lawyers for some time. A "thank you" would have been nice, but whatever.

So I sent it to her. I noted the case name and the original secretary's instructions in the subject line. And then I tossed the printout I'd made into the recycling bin.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:46 AM | Librariana

Mistress of the Oblivious

A courier came by to pick up a book we were lending to another firm, but no book had been set out on the counter. Total aging bike messenger/skate punk vibe, ruggedly cute and scruffy. He reminds me of someone...wait, he looks just like the guy I saw on Sex & the City last night, the guy Carrie went out with who owns a comic book shop on St. Mark's Place but lives with his parents on the Upper West Side. He waited while I made phone calls to the other firm and we checked our shelves for the title.

I was so focused on sorting out the problem that I didn't notice the finer details of his person. We made eye contact while he observed that for being so high up his Nextel wasn't working, and I mentioned that I never got good cell signal up here either.

Turns out we didn't have the book, so he left. Afterwards, my boss came up to me and said she couldn't look at him in the eye because she kept staring at his ears. The blank look on my face astonished her.

"You mean you didn't see the holes the size of dimes in his ears?"

So naturally I had to tell her the story of how I'd passed a dead body on Canal St. and didn't know it until my sisters told me.

I really should try not to have such tunnel vision. But then again, at least I was able to talk to the guy and see him as a person. Even if I did miss the giant gaping holes in his ears.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:59 PM | Librariana , Slice o' Life | Comments (2)

June 21, 2004

On Browsing the Victoria's Secret Catalogue

At what point does the decision to wear panties or go commando amount to basically the same thing? (Not safe for work)

Bonus: According to a 6/18 article in the Wall Street Journal, a lingerie company called Hanky Panky has made its reputation on the basis of a thong known only as 4811, its style number. One fan's rave: "It's like lace butter." [via Obscure Store]

Yours, &c., LC at 12:27 AM | Sundries | Comments (6)

Mille Grazie, Paulo

The inestimable Paul Frankenstein has been kind enough to bestow a much-prized Gmail invitation upon me. And I didn't have to beg (much) or flash any skin (bet you're disappointed now, eh, Frankenstino? Don't worry, you'd have only gotten some bare ankle anyway. But I would still totally take you out to dinner.). I did hammer what seemed like a thousand nails at the Habitat house this past Saturday, so even though I didn't do it specifically to please Paul, I feel like I have done something to earn my invitation. Don't know if Paul's contest is still ongoing, but if you can impress him with a rhyming couplet of your own making, you just might score an invite.

Of course now that LadyCrumpet has an account, it won't be long before the beta testing is over. I haven't had much of a chance to explore the options, but it's interesting so far. You don't create folders; you assign labels, if you wish, to messages - definitely appealing to me because it's essentially cataloging. Deleting a label will not delete the email. There are filters you can apply, which I haven't tried yet, and of course you can search your messages. Email messages are threaded; it's even possible to print the full "conversation," as Google calls the threads.

I know, I was wringing my hands earlier about their privacy policy. But the ads are unobtrusive, and really, how secure is email anyway? I have to constantly remember this before writing something I would regret, which is really my responsibility rather than Google's. At any rate, Google is too professional and concerned for their reputation to screw over its users. At least that's my hope.

Addendum: NYT article on the mechanics of Google's Gmail ads [The Internet Ad You Are About to See Has Already Read Your E-Mail, 6/21/04, Saul Hansell, NYT]

Yours, &c., LC at 05:16 PM | Internet & Tech | Comments (1)

The Library v. Google, Round 7,951

Old Search Engine, The Library, Tries to Fit Into a Google World [Katie Hafner, NYT, 6/21/04] Actually, the "battle" is probably squillions of times over that number. Libraries are having to contend with users turning more often to Google as their first, and sometimes only, line of research. And this isn't just a matter of people avoiding going to hard copy print resources in the stacks. They're also not using other electronic resources that would be better suited to their needs. The article focuses mainly on academic libraries, with remarks from librarians on facing the reality of the way people are conducting research, and how to make their collections more accessible to people - both the digital and the print. It's not that librarians think ill of Google; it's just that good material is not always available online, or if it is online, Google may not always be able to find it. But this is an area we librarians can work on - getting that message out to people and showing them the many ways and means to do thorough research. The following remarks offer a good explanation of what librarians are trying to achieve:

"Although it seems like an apocalyptic change now, over time we'll see that young people will grow up using many ways of finding information," said Abby Smith, director of programs at the Council on Library and Information Resources, a nonprofit group in Washington.

"We'll see the current generation we accuse of doing research in their pajamas develop highly sophisticated searching strategies to find high quality information on the Web," Dr. Smith said. "It's this transition period we're in, when not all high-quality information is available on the Web that's what we lament."

Yours, &c., LC at 06:07 PM | Librariana

June 22, 2004

Hiding Things in Books Not Such a Great Idea

At Used-Book Stores, Unintended Mysteries are Often the Best [Barry Newman, WSJ, 6/22/04] Article about the things people have left behind in books that end up in used bookstores and the bored, nosy clerks who find them. [via Obscure Store]

I'd probably do the same, trying to imagine the person behind the artifact. Still, I feel a twinge whenever I find a used book that has a dedication in it to someone, especially one I think the person should have kept. I ended up buying a used copy of Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown for a friend and writing in my own dedication, telling her I knew she'd appreciate this book more than the previous owner.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:46 AM | Sundries | Comments (2)

June 23, 2004

Happiness, Overrated?

Against Happiness [Jim Holt, The Way We Live Now, NYT Magazine, 6/20/04] Is happiness all it's cracked up to be? The essay comments on findings reported in the May issue of Psychological Science: in laymen's terms, that "Sad people are nice. Angry people are nasty. And, oddly enough, happy people tend to be nasty, too." A hypothesis proposes that happy people's happy attitudes "[reduce] the motivation for analytical thought." Which may explain why I sometimes trod on people's feelings and not realize it until they tell me. IF they tell me.

Another passage that I found interesting:

There is one bit of the world that happy people do see in an irrationally rosy light: themselves. As the British psychologist Richard P. Bentall has observed, ''There is consistent evidence that happy people overestimate their control over environmental events (often to the point of perceiving completely random events as subject to their will), give unrealistically positive evaluations of their own achievements, believe that others share their unrealistic opinions about themselves and show a general lack of evenhandedness when comparing themselves to others.'' Indeed, Bentall has proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder.

I'm still reading The Liar's Club by Mary Karr, my book club selection from last month. In her memoir Karr explains how people in her hometown acknowledged other people's problems:

This kind of bold-faced ugliness was common to us. The theory behind it held that not mentioning a painful episode in the meanest terms was a way of pretending that the misery of it didn't exist. Ignoring such misery, then, was equal to lying about it. Such a lie was viewed as more cruel, even, than the sad truth, because it somehow shunned or excluded the person in pain...from everybody else.

The "cruel to be kind" approach, however, doesn't work for everybody. Especially if they are inclined to think that you are just being cruel.

June 24, 2004

Would you like an invitation?

I have a second batch of Gmail invites. I've had the account for less than a week and can already invite people. We must be approaching the saturation point for all the people who want accounts versus those who actually have gotten them.

I know about sites like gmailswap and gmail4troops but I would like to send one to someone I'm acquainted with, even if we've only met through our blogs. I'm also not going to exact a price - although hey, if you want to send a postcard or some other trinket, that would be okay with me.

Addendum: Due to some prior requests, I am now out at present. But feel free to add your name - and your URL, should you have one.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:16 PM | Internet & Tech | Comments (6)

June 25, 2004

Here & There

Tatertot Blue Cheese Casserole [via da*xiang] OMG. I need to attend a party so I can share this, instead of eating the whole dish by myself.

FCKeditor [via rawbrick] An online text editor. Am I the only one with a dirty mind when I see the name?

The Scribbler [via Dru Blood] Another cool online illustration toy.

Readability.info Upload a document or input a URL to generate an analysis of the text according to different scales of measurement. No surprise - this site is fairly easy to read.

June 30, 2004

What People are Reading

Know Neighborhoods by Their Book Buying [Sabrina Tavernise, NYT, 6/28/04] A glimpse into what the big chain bookstores - which together sell one-fifth of books in Manhattan - are selling, depending on the neighborhood.

You can get the same idea of what's selling in your own part of the world by browsing Amazon's Purchase Circles. For instance, Amazon's top sellers for Atlanta.

I wonder if library websites would want to do something similar - a periodic list of a library system's most popular books, based on checkout numbers. Perhaps one could somehow set up the list as an RSS feed. I know that there's a feed for NYT's most emailed articles, which I find can lead to interesting reads.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:05 AM | Librariana , Sundries | Comments (1)

Juvenile, but Funny

From this week's Onion:

Yours, &c., LC at 03:35 PM | Sundries | Comments (1)