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I’m starting to think that compassion may be a learned skill rather than an innate trait. I know we like to think of all the best qualities of human beings as something we have intrinsically but society squeezes them out of us, but I suspect compassion may be more complicated.

Or maybe not. Maybe we just live in societies that make it harder to keep at the forefront.

What is it they say? That our societies have grown too big, and that’s why urban dwellers have all these ticks to help them avoid noticing that the herd they’re running in is far, far too large to fully comprehend? Ignoring strangers on the bus, keeping our eyes averted while walking on the sidewalk? Is the absence of compassion a result of all that?

I don’t know. But it seems to me that it’s work to remember that every human being has struggles of their own that you may not be able to read on their bodies and faces (if you bothered to read their bodies or their faces, that is). And I’ve decided that compassion is something I’m going to spend more time deliberately drawing out of myself. I shall consider it constantly.

I say all this because I’m increasingly aware of the absence of compassion we tend to show students. We so often seem to assume the worst of them. I don’t really know why; we were all students ourselves once. Why is it so easy for us to forget what it was like? Or are we actually contemptuous of our younger selves, the ones trying to sneak a better grade in any way possible, rejoicing at every holiday and snow day, sleeping through morning lectures and drinking into the wee hours? Is it a form of self-flagellation to assume that all students are lazy and need to be controlled through our obscure and pointless policies?

Or is it just that we get so used to answering the same questions over and over, or dealing with bad behaviour every day, that we assume everyone is stupid and/or malicious? Relentless familiarity? Do we see faces we classify as “students” so often that they all start to look the same, and become some giant annoying creature who just never learns? I guess that’s where my call for compassion comes in.

But then I’m an optimistic sort, I don’t tend to imagine the worst of people. Quite the opposite, I think everyone is basically good and wants to do the right thing. (I suppose this may not actually be true, but I struggle to completely accept that.) I don’t usually deal with the same questions every day, but when I do, I generally remember that this is the first time this particular person has asked that question. When I will try to remember is that if they’re asking this question at the very last possible minute, there may be for very good reasons for that which are none of my business.

So my word of the day/week/year is compassion. And I will go on trying to hone my skills in that department.

Academic Fandom: Collaborative Doctoral Work

Academic Fandom: Collaborative Doctoral Work

I really miss school.

I work at a school, yes. But I miss being a student in one. Many people think I’m crazy, but I love being in school. I love the reading, the writing, and most of all the discussion. I’m a Harvard graduate, I know what it can be like to sit in a room full of extremely bright people and wrestle with a thorny problem. I love not knowing and struggling to understand, throwing ideas at the wall and seeing if any of them work.

But I’m a drop-out. I dropped out of a phd program at the very institution at which I am currently employed, in fact. It’s simultaneously the hardest thing I’ve ever done, the smartest decision I ever made, and the decision I am most likely to feel regret about. I don’t regret it because I want the life that would have come with finishing; I think I’m far better off as a librarian, playing with tech and managing projects and helping faculty with their courses, than I would be with a load of research and teaching to do. I adore my job, and I feel very lucky to have found this particular path. I only regret it because I’d like to do the work.

There’s nothing stopping me from going back. Not to that program, or that topic, or that department, though. I think I’ve moved into a new area now. If I were to go back, it would be in a very different way. And I wouldn’t do it in order to become an academic in the end. Not as job training. Just to improve the person that I am, and to enrich the work I’m already doing.

But you couldn’t drag me back to that style of PhD program. I was lonely, bored, confused about the purpose behind anything I was doing. I felt lost. I have discovered over time that my motivation comes from interacting with other people. This wasn’t immediately apparent all through graduate school because I was de facto surrounded by others. I didn’t realize how much my enthusiasm depended on the community. As soon as I lost that community, I seriously lost my way.

So I was thinking about it a bit, and talking to some doctoral students about the issues they’re facing, I think I’m actually on to something. I think I’ve figured out what kind of doctoral program I’d want to enter. It would go something like this.

You start a doctoral program with a group of like-minded people, interested in working together. In fact, I think the group should actually apply to a program together, be upfront about their collaboration. It’s not a huge group, maybe 4-5 people. Those 4-5 people have agreed beforehand that they want to work on an area of mutual interest. But each of them comes to the subject from a different angle, maybe even a different discipline altogether. They’re looking at maybe the same data, or the same subjects, or at historical data from the same decade, or the same region. Something ties them together, makes each other’s work interesting and appealing to each of them. It gives them a common language and common heroes.

They would all have their own advisers, potentially their own departments to turn to for support and guidance. But the group goes through their programs together, sometimes off doing their own courses and conferences, sometimes working closely together. If they’re doing data collection, the data is shared among the group. They may actually gather data together, and work from the same starting point. Sharing data isn’t plagiarism, after all; the insights you draw from it are the key part.

They discuss approaches and revelations, they have people to turn to when they are wrestling with a thorny problem. They influence each other; they also resist being influenced, or deliberately buck the trend. They read some books in common, but not all. Each brings a lot of unique insights and perspective from their own perspective, or discipline, or area. Comps would be a course (or set of courses, really) where the reading lists are created in an order that will allow all the participants to gain from each other’s thinking along the way. You read your own comps reading list, but you get insight from four others at the same time. Maybe they bring in speakers to talk to them. People to come inspire them or challenge them.

When it comes time to start writing, they have a structured plan, with key milestones and deadlines. They arrange to write their sections with commonalities at the same time, like writing a research paper for a seminar course. The writing process for the collaborative group might look like another set of courses, in fact: they take a “course” together to get each section or chapter finished, with a common deadline and requisite celebrations. They can get a mental tick mark as they complete each step, move through the process like an undergraduate moves through first, second, third, fourth year, graduation. The path of progression would be clear, manageable, collegial. The group could work together along the way to publish collected essays revolving around a theme or element of their collective work. They would meet weekly to discuss their work, their ideas, to be inspired and influenced by each other. They would work collaboratively toward independent goals that are inter-related and complementary. When they’re finished, their dissertations could be published together as a series of books, all related and referencing each other.

Chemistry already works this way, in collaborative units. I think if the humanities started doing the same, the work would be richer. And less tedious to produce.

After I thought it all through, I realized what I was considering: creating a fandom. A fandom in academia, around a topic/theme/group/region. A fandom with it’s language, traditions, communities, familiar cast of characters all re-written and re-imagined by each member. As long as it’s a fandom, it comes with a built in audience of people who are actually interested in your take on the very familiar subject. The conversations are deeper, the details and differences are more obvious. The process gains some meaning, even if that meaning is entirely about finding something to contribute to the group. Flagging enthusiasm can be bolstered up by someone else’s reinvigoration.

It’s not that it’s easier than the traditional PhD; it wouldn’t be. You’d still have to do the reading, pass your comps, do your languages if you have to, collect your data and compose your dissertation. It’s just that it wouldn’t have to be such a solitary task. I think this is the kind of PhD that could actually be fun to do. And wouldn’t the work be richer, with constant insight from others? It wouldn’t prevent you from doing solitary work. Solitary work is the foundation of most academic work, and, ironically, most fandom work too. But what is the benefit of solitary work? Don’t we learn better and think better when challenged and supported and listened to by others? Why do we cut so much of that out of the doctoral process? Doesn’t the solitary work gain meaning when it’s in aid of the collaborative? Isn’t academic inherently collaborative, with academics building on each other work, just at a relatively slow pace? From the slow process of getting an article published and the long wait for meaningful citations in future published work, it’s still highly collaborative. Just crazy slow. Would it be terribly wrong to speed it up a bit?

Taking on Debt, and other Stressful Life Events

Taking on Debt, and other Stressful Life Events

I didn’t anticipate that buying real estate would be so stressful. I guess it makes sense that something involving putting yourself into this much debt would be, but it’s isn’t even so much that. Everyone warned me that after all the paperwork was signed I would feel pangs of regret and that was normal, but that wasn’t so much the problem either.

Mostly it was just all the little steps involved that I didn’t entirely anticipate, but probably should have. I’ve never bought anything serious before (computers obviously don’t count as “serious”). I didn’t realize how many people needed to know this much about me.

The first part that surprised me (but probably shouldn’t have) was that the mortgage company wanted to know every detail about my financial history. I don’t mean running a credit check or knowing how much money I intend to put down, or even requesting pay stubs or anything like that. I didn’t realize they would want to have record of every transaction I made on all of my accounts for the last three months. My mortgage company now knows the depths of my relationship with Shopper’s Drug Mart. My parents donated a sum of money to my house-buying endeavours, which appeared in my saving accounts as a bank-to-bank transfer. Everyone wants to know where that money came from; everyone. I had to get my father to sign a waiver that indicated I would never have to pay it back. The teller at the bank wanted to know how I got it; she said that “funny things” happen these days and they have to ask questions when a largeish sum of money appears and someone tries to take it out the next day. It wasn’t the next day. It was a month later, and I have been a loyal customer of this particular financial institution for the last 30 years. My mother is a former employee of this particular financial institution. No one trusts anyone when it comes to money.

Before all that was just finding out if I qualified. I’d actually done the calling around a couple of months earlier, so I knew that I did, but it was still stressful, sitting on the phone, listening as they punched in the numbers. “Let’s just see how the ratios look.” Pause. Pause. Pause. I know the ratios look okay. But suddenly it’s like being back in junior high and waiting to see if the cool kid is going to pick you for their soccer baseball team. Come on, is it a yes? Is it? I know it’s got to be a yes, I’m a good kicker! Come on! Pick me! “Oh, the ratios are fine, sure, you qualify.” Great! Now suddenly I feel sort of dirty.

Do you know how many times I’ve had to declare that I’m single? I figured it would be remarked upon, a single woman buying real estate. So I can’t say I was entirely surprised about it, but, man. Did I ever have to clarify it a lot. And the house inspector told me that maybe my townhouse would be “lucky” and now I would “find a man”. Sadly there’s no keyboard smiley that entirely captures my reaction to that statement.

My brother-in-law is telling everyone that I’m a grown up now, which I mostly agree with, except when I’m calling all the experts; there’s always a surly woman on the other end of the phone who has zero patience for the fact that I don’t know what I’m doing and expects me to know all the lingo.

There’s a whole language to buying real estate that makes no sense until you’ve had to participate in it. You need a status certificate as part of the process of buying a condo. You need to decide between a variable and a fixed-rate mortgage; is it portable? Is it assumable? (Why do I suddenly feel undereducated?) You discover the land transfer tax what What It Means to You. You work out what “title” means, why you have to have it insured, and why a “title search” is not nessarily just something you do in a library catalogue (and that it isn’t nearly as cheap). You find out that a “lien” isn’t just a posture you assume when feeling jaunty. Dual agency: boon or bust? I Aluminum, or copper wire?

But in the end, it appears that I did all the right things, and closing is just around the corner. Here’s to luck.

Enter Homeowner, stage left

Enter Homeowner, stage left

I’ve been a bit distracted lately. Let me tell you the story.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with the Multiple Listing Service, looking at places available for living in. Why I’ve been doing that is really an open question. I guess mostly just interest. What’s around? How much does it cost? What can I reasonably afford in this, one of the most expensive cities in the country?

And, it’s fun to see how people decorate. Or, shall we say, how people are prepared to live. It’s easy to criticize some one else’s design choices from the other side, of course, particularly when you (like me) watch way too much HGTV. It’s also given me a lot to think about; what exactly am I looking for? How much space do I really need? How much am I prepared to pay for? What’s more important, a great layout, a great price, or a great location?

About a month ago I discovered that there’s a condo building just down the street from me with units up for sale. I was delighted; I already know how to live in this location! A shift of a street to the right wouldn’t be difficult at all! It would be perfectly dreamy! But when I went to look at the place (with my parents in tow), I discovered that it didn’t fit into my vision of my own future. In spite of/because of it’s feasible price, it was just too small. (In fact, it looked like a Comfort Inn room.) I fell into despair.

Seeing a place I could afford and was in the right location that in my gut I absolutely loathed made me think. A lot. What wasn’t there? What was it I was looking for? The conclusion I came to wasn’t the obvious (granite counters, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, etc.). What I wanted was a nook. I wanted a space I could carve into a writing nook. Because that’s what I do in my free time. I wanted to make space for my free time. And that’s what was missing from the Comfort Inn room I looked at. I could fit a living room and a dining area into it. The bedroom was pretty big. Nice balcony. But where do I put my nook?

After a day of hand-stapled-to-forehead, I went back to MLS and started all over again. And that’s when everything changed.

What do you do when you intend to buy something (at some point in the next, oh, year or two), and you see something that you think would be perfect for you, interest rates are going up, and the price is so low it makes you cock your head in surprise? You call the agent, that’s all you can do.

So within a week or so it was all settled; I bought a townhouse.

Two bedrooms, two bathrooms (one an en suite off the master bedroom), two storeys. A laundry room. Ground level, so also a sliding door from the dining area that leads to a patio. At the moment it’s pretty overgrown, but by the time I’m done with it it will be an outdoor dining area, a seating area, and a garden. It’s an end unit, so neighbours only on one side. It’s on a private, quiet courtyard facing away from any streets. A view of greenery from all windows. central A/C and heat, water, and electricity included in the condo fee. And the piece de resistance: a “den”. It’s listed as a den, but it’s really not. It’s actually a 9 by 8 foot space at the top of the stairs, with a window. I laughed a little when I saw it, since that hardly qualifies as a den, but it’s the perfect nook.

What else can I do?

Closing date is August 1.

Public Service Announcement

Public Service Announcement

Two Important Things I Learned Today:

  1. Beds need to be put together properly, or else they will fall apart.

    When you buy yourself a bed, it’s probably best to either a) read the instructions before/as you put the thing together, or b) note the spaces where wood slats seems to be begging for screws and actually give it what it wants. If you’re me, what you opted to do instead of putting your bed together properly was just to throw those slats on the frame and then throw the box spring on top of them. Surely they’re not going to move around or fall off about oh once a week. (It was a very hot day when my bed was delivered. And I was tired. And by myself. Have you ever tried to put a queen sized bed together by yourself in a very small room?)

    So today, after the top slat on my bed fell out for the millionth time, I pulled my mattress off the box spring and slid it (on its side) into the kitchen. (Man: a queen sized mattress is no light weight, I tell you.) And then I pulled off the box spring and leaned it up against the wall. And then I got out my ikea tool box and screwed those damn slats to the bed frame like I should have done the first damn time. I swept out the bunnies that had started to multiply underneath, and then put the box spring and the mattress back. Now I have a structurally secure sleeping space. All is (more) right with the world.

  2. Don’t drag software you use every single minute of the day into the trash.

    In a fit of oganizational pique, I accidentally added 5,000 new files to my itunes playlist. Files that I didn’t want there. Do you know, the only way to delete files from your itunes list, as far as I can tell, is to delete them manually? One by one? I suggest you take my word for it, because I don’t know about you, but most people don’t have time to manually delete 5,000 files from itunes. You can delete them en masse from the folder in your itunes library, but getting them off your itunes display is another thing entirely.

    So what did I do? Smartypants me, I decided the best way to get rid of those 5,000 extra files was to delete itunes and then reinstall it, so it would have a look through the library again and only show what’s actually in there. Drag, drop, empty trash. Download.

    Oh, sorry! There is nothing to install! I don’t even know how to explain this error; I couldn’t even re-install itunes from the system disk. It was as if my computer had decided that, since I had so thoughtlessly and shamelessly deleted itunes, i didn’t deserve to install it again. No itunes for you!

    [Insert mad panic here.]

    Let’s take a moment to consider what this would mean. No more listening to inspiring tunes at work. No more syncing my ipod. No more creative playlists for all my trips on the Go train into Toronto, or the Go bus trips, or even the humble city bus commute I do twice a day. No more audio joy.

    I pulled out all my installation disks and I was so ready to do a clean install on my machine that I zipped up my manuscript and uploaded it just in case of total data loss.

    Much thanks to my dear Catsy (who diagnosed and cured my malady) and Jason (who deleted his own itunes in solidarity).

    So it turns out that the installer is so smart that it won’t let you install itunes if you have the receipt for a previous itunes installation in your Receipts folder under the global directory. So you really need to delete that in order for the installer to admit that you need this thing that it is you’re trying to download, oh yes you do.

Oh unix. We love you and hate you all at the same time.

Learn from my mistakes. Don’t do these things. Beds need the slats screwed in (they really do), and itunes doesn’t belong in the trash. Thank you for listening.



comment spam | kom*ent spam |

Comment spam (also called blog spam or link spam) is the placing or solicitation of links randomly on other sites, placing a desired keyword into the hyperlinked text of the inbound link. Guest books, forums, blogs and any site that accepts visitors comments are particular targets and are often victims of drive by spamming where automated software creates nonsense posts with links that are usually irrelevant and unwanted.

I think we’re all fairly familiar with comment spam at this point. It’s super annoying, and most blog platforms have tools to help us bloggers deal with it. That’s the status of things on the internet right now.

But when I started to get comment spam from OCLC, I really wondered what the heck was going on. Generally it’s presumed that spam comes from people who have paid a professional to generate it for them. The online viagra peddlars, for instance. But OCLC? Why would they do such an underhanded thing?

At first I thought it must be some kind of joke, and I just ignored it. But after a few such comments I started to get annoyed, and fired off a question to OCLC. I took a screenshot of my comments moderation page, uploaded it, and sent that along too, to demonstrate the problem. Why am I getting comment spam from these people? Is this the latest OCLC advertising blitz?

After a significant amount of confused back and forth with OCLC support (at first they thought I was complaining about getting spam email from them, in spite of the screenshot, and asked me if I’d signed up for something), they still have no idea why I’m getting these comments. They admit that the IP addresses (plainly visible in the screenshot) belong to professional spammers, which makes it look as if OCLC has paid these people to harrass me.

Anyone else getting OCLC spam? Anyone at OCLC want to take a crack at explaining this?

Edited to add: OCLC assures me that they had nothing to do with the spammers. I believe them, but I’d really like to know: what is the point of random, pointless comment spam? Who’s getting something out of this? It’s very random and strange.



I wonder if there’s a special psychiatric condition to explain why I’ve been longing to hear the soundtrack from Annie all day.

The sun’ll come out tomorrow…

Four Things

Four Things

I got tagged, and while I rarely participate in memes, I can’t pass up a real honest-to-goodness professional tagging, so here I go:

The idea here is to list four things from each of these categories, presumably to share more about yourself. Or something like that.

Camp Counsellor
Mail Girl
Academic Programmer

When I was 18 I was a Page in our local public library (children’s department). I sorted books, I put them on shelves, I shelfread. Little did I know that my first job was going to be so closely related to my career. (Not that I ever have any actual contact with books in my current job, but hey, I do still work in a library!)

I was a camp counsellor for many many years. Through high school and through my undergrad degree. I loved it. I can’t express enough how much I loved that job. I worked primarily with 12-15 year old girls, the ones in that difficult stage. They were amazing, they were inspiring, they were energizing. Those many summers I spent living in a tent and living at a considerable distance from flush toilets is the reason I can play the guitar. Also why I know so many ice-breaker games, but I don’t pull that skill out very often these days.

During my first master’s degree, I delivered mail for Harvard Divinty School’s staff, students and faculty. Best. Job. Ever. First off, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as sorting mail. I mean, once you know who everyone is, you can just do it like you’re flying through it. Also, I delivered the mail, and got to put little post-it note smiley faces on the packages. I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. It was great.

What the job title “Academic Programmer” doesn’t tell you is that to do it you need to live in a residence hall full of 18 year olds. I did this when I was 29. I helped them with their academic issues, directed them to services on campus, that sort of thing. It was fantastic, and really taught me a lot about radical reference service in higher ed.

Six Degrees of Separation
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Being John Malkovich
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Four Places I’ve lived:
Guelph, Ontario
Ottawa, Ontario
Cambridge, Massachusetts
London, Ontario

That’s leaving aside Toronto (and Mississauga), of course.

Four TV shows:
Star Trek: The Next Generation (well I am a geek, what can I say)
The Collector (I’ve been watching this one lately)
America’s Next Top Model
Ellen (it’s on when I get home!)

Four places I’ve vacationed: I’m not sure I’ve ever properly vacationed, but I’ll give this a go.
Norway (don’t ask)
New York, NY
Duncan, BC
My couch (eventually I will add London, UK to this list, but so far, I have never taken an official vacation)

Four of my favourite dishes:
Breakfast (at any time of day)
Fish and chips (in spite of my deathly fear of fish)
Butter chicken
Turkey dinner

Sites I visit daily:
Livejournal (to read my friends list)
Defamer (don’t judge me!)
The Zokutou word meter (I’m obsessed with my word count, what can I say)

Places I would rather be:
With my nephew
On a long walk with my ipod in my pocket
in front of my computer (Wait! I’m already there!)
My bed. (Wait! I’m already there too!)

A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, Julian Barnes
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore
Green Grass, Running Water, Tom King
Our Lady of the Lost and Found, Diane Schoemperlen

Songs: (This one changes every week or so!)
Liquify, The Servant
The World you Love, Jimmy Eat World
Your Legs Grow, Nada Surf
Everybody’s Changing, Keane

None yet. I don’t know how to drive.

Four bloggers I am now hereby tagging:
Jason Nolan

An Open Letter of Complaint

An Open Letter of Complaint

Dear CBC,

I heard a recounting of weblog history on the radio this morning, and it’s completely wrong. If it were just once I would ignore it, but I hear this history repeated on the CBC over and over. Even a tiny bit of research on the matter would have avoided this problem. It seems that someone at the CBC would rather go with their gut on the history of the weblog than actually look it up.

Weblogs did not begin as “diaries”. This is like saying radio began in 1981 with the launch of MTV. Weblogs in fact began as change logs for websites. At the time, it was standard practice to post a line with a date attached to indicate that change had been made to a website. With time, those change logs morphed into sites dedicated not to posting diary-like reflections but annotated links. The first incarnation of weblogs was as an annotated bibliography of the web, since searching wasn’t quite as easy and efficient as it is now, and this was a way to make sure people saw the cool parts of the web.

Blogging didn’t get conflated with personal online diaries until well after 1999 with the creation of Blogger, and when I started blogging in earnest in 2000, blogs were still largely expected to be link-heavy rather than diary-like. As blogging got easier and the broadband revolution took over (with more and more parents getting home connections and more and more teenagers getting online as a matter of course), blogs were increasingly expected to be personal accounts of daily life. At that time, blogging platforms like Livejournal, Xanga, MySpace, etc. started being used more frequently for personal purposes. With increased access to the internet, the userbase of the internet changed; new users were more interested in sharing their personal stories and less interested in geeking out about the web. While blogging was intially a sort of meta-internet (creating websites about other websites), with time users of all stripes started using the web as a means of communication rather than as a tool to remark on the medium itself.

Today, there are blogs of all varieties; political, professional, corporate, personal, fictional, etc. Highlighting one element of the blog world (the personal, diary-like weblog or the political journals alone) does a great disservice to the medium, and encourages the general perception of weblogs as simply diaries or pulpits of political opinion. They are so much more than that.



Radio Open Source, Revisited

Radio Open Source, Revisited

Well, there’s always two sides to every story, aren’t there.

I explained what happened between me and Radio Open Source here. So now I have a rather lengthy addendum.

Brendan, blogger-in-chief at Radio Open Source, was the fellow who made the offending comment, and it was Brendan who got in touch with me tonight to clear it up. He got on AIM and just called me up. That’s bravery: just grab an angry Canadian by the horns, that’s how you do it.

We talked around the issues about nationality, essentially agreeing that while Americans often don’t care about what’s going on outside their own borders, that’s not too much of an excuse for a pithy program like theirs, but yes, the world is wide, and yes, Americans are not very excited about their northern neighbour at the best of times. Sad, but true. He admited that the “us” in “a country none of us care about anyway” was meant to be a wry remark about Americans in general, not Radio Open Source staff in particular. We also discussed the very real issue that media can only talk about media so many times before someone calls them on the navel-gazing, and this is something I can see and do indeed accept.

Brendan, charming man that he is1, understood that in the end the issue was not about a show topic, but about communication. Oh yes, the medium is (as always) the message. Rule #1 in creating an online community/audience: if you want feedback, you’ll get feedback, and dammit you’d better respond to it in some way or the hoards will get prickly and upset.

Throughout this exchange (with Brendan tonight, but primarily prior to it), I’ve been thinking about the advice and guidance provided by Creating Passionate Users. I follow this blog because these folks think so totally differently than I do, and I find their insights interesting. I thought about Radio Open Source as trying to create passionate users, and I saw myself as the passionate user. And I was very much falling into the model. What I learned from CPU is that it’s good if some users (or, in a library context, patrons) love you, and some users hate you, but if there’s too many in the “meh” category, that spells trouble. This to me seems like a valuable lesson and it keeps coming back to me.

And I knew, even as I wrote this frustrated and unhappy post about what had happened, that I was jumping right over that sea of “meh”. I was still a passionate user. Even I as I tried to do the “turn your back” thing, being upset as I was still labeled me a force for…well, something.

I guess the idea is: if you get passionate users of your service, your product, your community, or your library, you should grab them and make use of them. Sometimes they’re going to get upset. Sometimes they’re going to throw themselves a great big tantrum. But you’ve got to listen to them and use them, because passionate users can be your greatest asset.

I have a feeling Radio Open Source may find a use for me yet.

I’m always going on about the power of the internet, the power of blogs, how internet communication can lead to great things, and at times Radio Open Source was being the exception. Until this. All I did was post my Canadian outrage on my own blog. The technology did the rest. My wordpress pinged his wordpress; he got trackback about my post. My post came up as a comment on the post in question on the Radio Open Source blog. My friends and neighbours saw my post and commented; Brendan got to see not just my reaction, but the reactions of those around me. And he in turn edited his blog, as I’m now editing mine. Private discussions become public, and real change comes through it.

Radio Open Source wanted to move at the speed of the blogosophere, and I think for the first time Radio Open Source is participating in a classic blog debate as a blog itself. There were hurt feelings, vague flames, humour that didn’t translate, and finally, reproachment, through the magical joy that is instant messaging.

1 See, Brendan? I did remark on your charming nature. Just like you asked me to. 😛

Radio Open Source doesn’t Care about Canada

Radio Open Source doesn’t Care about Canada

I’ve been a fan of Christopher Lydon’s for years, ever since 1999 when I moved to Boston. So needless to day I was delighted when I discovered that he was doing a podcast radio show called Radio Open Source.

The spirit of Open Source will be open source — open as to subject matter, open as to views and voices. Our favorite oft-times caller on the original Connection, the famous Amber, once remarked to me: “Chris, you treat your callers like guests and your guests like callers.” We will try to extend the same open manners to the new show, and to the new website that comes with it. We chose Open Source as a name to live up to. [via]

I’ve been an avid listener. I’ve told all my friends about the show and send them links to ones I think they will particularly enjoy. I talk about it at work. So you imagine my joy when they announced three things at once; an open call for feedback on the site, and a live webcast the following week about what more they could do to live up to their name and engage their listeners, and a renewed call for show suggestions. I was so excited! I composed a long comment about web interactivity and some things they could do to help create community through the web. This is something I’ve done a lot of thinking (and writing) about. I was thrilled to be able to participate. I also added a show suggestion: the CBC lockout. If anything changed labour relations through a new means of production, it would be that. I thought someone should do a thoughtful review of those events, but I’m not sure it can happen in Canada (at least, not yet.) I felt like a “source”, just like Chris said. I was thrilled to just be able to make a suggestion, whether or not it was taken.

But then the webcast happened. What happened to the interactivity? There was none. I could hear the webcast, but I couldn’t be heard. There was no forum for users to react and respond; only an email address. A friend of mine, also listening in on the webcast, and I were getting increasingly frustrated as the folks on the webcast talking about how on earth to engage listeners while they devoutly ignored us. The feedback comnents? Didn’t get addressed at all. And the worst of it all was when someone during the webcast joked about how everyone in the room was “backchannelling” on IRC. Ha ha! How funny! What a nice little in circle they have, these folks who asked for our feedback, hanging out together on IRC without extending an invitation to the rest of us! My friend nearly choked with shock; I just felt sad and uninvited. Why did they ask us for suggestions and feedback if they weren’t serious about listening to it?

I was frustrated but was prepared to blame technology. These things happen, right? Maybe they didn’t know how to cope with hundreds of listeners banging on the door. Maybe they didn’t think through what it would mean to webcast something like that; dangling a carrot before us and then never letting us gett a bite.

But add insult to frustration today. Because today they responded to my little show idea with this:

So: not only were my comments barely noted and responded to, now I come from a country they just don’t care about. This, apparently is the best way to increase your interactivity with an audience; ignore them, tease them with the opportunity to “be a source”, and then kick them in the teeth and tell them that you just don’t care.

I’m sad and baffled by this turn of events. I really felt good about these people. I was prepared to do anything I could to help them with this neat radio idea. I was so behind them. And yeah, that phrase is kind of echoing through my head right now. I can’t think of too many things that would have made me turn away from something I enjoyed so much, on a medium I love.

I’m sure they won’t miss one listener from a country none of them cares about.

Edited to add: The resolution of this matter (the dramatic tension! the suspense! Will they resolve their differences? Will it come down to a match of steely wills, broadcaster vs. librarian? Will it be a deathmatch, and if so, will it be in the mud?) can be found here.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

“There isn’t any doubt that brand matters and that Harvard is the prestige brand,” says Stanley Katz, director of Princeton University’s Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies. “It’s the Gucci of higher education, the most selective place.” [USA Today]

My name is Rochelle, and I have a degree from Gucci University. Do you like my shoes?

Library Anxiety

Library Anxiety

This doesn’t exactly qualify as a nightmare, but this morning I had a dream about starting this new job. Though I was starting it in the wrong place. I was back at Western, and they put me in this rather spacious office with a few other people. That was okay; lots of room. But as time went on more and more people were brought into the makeshift office, until eventually the space directly in front of me was prepared for another staff member, this one with desk attachments to hold a 1970s typewriter, a large, multi-line telephone, and a computer. There wasn’t enough room left for me to open my laptop.

Then I ran into the director of the library, who, for the record, was not the actual director of the library where I did my co-op, but was instead the director of the library in the United States where I recently interviewed. She took me by the arm and led me around to a couple of places around the building.

“Perhaps you missed the orientation,” she said, “There have been complaints. This,” she gestured at a large, empty space filled by desks with fancy levers all over them, presumably to adjust the height of each section of each desk, “is the communal space where we open letters. That’s all we do there, we open letters.” She led me into another area, also large and completely empty. “This,” she explained, “is where we sort our photocopying. That’s all that we do here.” Apparently I had been sneaking out of my ridiculously overstaffed office to use completely empty communal spaces. I made “Oh, I see” noises and then the director left me on my own, having so diplomatically reprimanded me.

And then I ran into my friend Courtney, who is in fact a librarian at Western in real life. She had the mostly beautiful, glossy, chestnut brown hair I’d ever seen. She walked me back to my overcrowded office, as if to make sure I didn’t leave its confines again. It turned out that it was her who had complained to the director about my inappropriate use of communal space. She didn’t like me taking up some her of expansive letter-opening space with my laptop, trying to get some work done outside the zoo that was my own allotted space. She, of course, had an office all to herself, but it’s always best to have separate space for activities as important as photocopy-sorting and letter-opening.

“Courtney,” I said, getting teary (as I always seem to do in dreams), “why didn’t you just tell me if you weren’t happy with what I was doing?”

She shrugged, She was vaguely annoyed with me, and tossed her beautiful, glossy hair in my direction to underscore her annoyance.

And then she saw my overcrowded office. There were probably 40-odd people in there, all typing on 1970s typewriters, or sorting through large stacks of envelopes, some dealing cards with green visors on their heads. There was lots of noise and I think some smoke rising from the whole crazy mess. The small spot that had been reserved as mine was now entirely covered over by someone’s mousepad.

Courtney was shocked. Apparently the configuration of my workspace had been a secret until that moment. (How anyone can keep 40-odd people and that much 1970s office equipment a secret is beyond me.) And then she started to laugh. She laughed and laughed and laughed.

Maybe I was allowed to use the letter-opening space after that.

Alone Time

Alone Time

The first thing I should say before launching into this story is that I’m used to living alone. I lived alone for three years in Toronto, and then for another year in Guelph, and then another eight months while I was finishing my MLIS in London. I like to live alone. I think when I live alone that I am truly me, completely actualized, doing whatever I like. It’s sort of primal, actually doing what you feel you want to instead of what’s expected. As soon as you put another pair of eyes and ears into a place, the way you live becomes different, no matter how much you love whoever it is. Living alone is just different that way.

But for the last five months I’ve been living with other people. My folks, to be specific. In the lag time between finishing school and actually landing a job, I’ve been living back in ye olde homestead, helping my mother adjust to retired life, providing free babysitting services to my sister and my brother-in-law, and trying to be vaguely unannoying. It’s been years since I’ve lived here. Nearly 12 years, actually.

When my parents went to Greece for a week, leaving me to mind the pets, my brother-in-law said, “Must be nice to have the place all to yourself, eh?”

“Not really,” I said. “I miss my mom.”

I realized as I said that that I hadn’t been alone in a very long time. For someone who likes a lot of alone time, it seemed odd to me that I hadn’t noticed the lack of it, and odd that I felt awkward being alone again.

Last night I stayed over at my sister’s house while they were off at a wedding for the weekend. I’m here to abuse the wireless connection and to keep their pet feline company. As I closed my computer and turned out the light last night, the world felt eerie. Alone in a house. The absences of the people who should be here were palpable, as if there were a cutout space of air for my sister, for her husband, for their son. The last word I heard from the This American Life show I was listening to was “psychotic”. The show finished, I shut off the player, put the computer away. The sound of Ira Glass’s voice saying that one word reverberated through the room for a while. Psychotic, psychotic. And for some long minutes everything was psychotic. The walls, the dull glow from the window behind me, the shadows of things I imagined lurching around in the dark, and me. Alone in a house. Completely alone.

By this time next week I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my pile of boxes and random sticks of furniture, waiting for the movers to pick it up and take it to my new home. Which will be mine. Mine alone. It’s not so much that I have doubts that I can handle it; it’s just that I’m not used to even considering whether or not I can.

Finding Home

Finding Home

And on the personal side of things, I’m picking up and moving. Yes, with the new job comes a new location, so moments after learning I had been offered this fantastic job at UTM, my entire family leapt up and starting working on finding me a place to live. When asked about a possible start date, I bravely suggested June 6 (the first day of the month being a Wednesday, and needing a few days to move and get my act in gear, after all). So the goal was to find a place I could move into on June 1.

Well, a place I could move into on June 1 that wasn’t a) in someone’s basement, b) a box in the sky, c) right smack between a ten-lane highway and an outrageously large mall (harder to avoid than you might think, if you’ve never been to Mississauga), or d) so far from work that I might as well commute from my parents’ house. So the day after I got the fated phone call, the search began.

My parents took me to Mississauga one cloudy afternoon and we discovered that Mississauga is not so much a city as it is a region. Mississauga is a collection of small towns that used to be on the outskirts of Toronto, but are now right smack in the middle of commuter traffic. At some point they opted to merge these small towns into the city of Mississauga, but the damage was done; the highways were already running through it like streakers through an English tennis match. Today Mississauga looks like the home of a magical person; everything he touches turns to asphalt. The largest mall in the province sits where the centre of the city ought to be. Most people in Mississauga actually work in Toronto, and just store themselves overnight in their houses which look much the same as the houses all around them. So this is what we have: miles and miles of poorly-organized housing developments separated by large expanses of parking lot/mall/highway.

First impression: not fantastic.

But there is an upside. One of those original small towns is somewhat more intact than the rest. That town is called Streetsville, and it’s got some charm. My interview dinner was in Streetsville, and I got a tour of it thanks to Mary Ann, the Chief Librarian. It’s got cute shops, lots of restaurants, it’s own public library branch, a Go stop (which means fast, easy access to downtown Toronto, yippee), historic buildings, low-rises, the Credit river, and other nice home-ish touches. My parents liked it. I liked it. It is a human place to live. We searched there for an apartment.

The only available apartments in Streetsville were in these cranky 50s apartment buildings facing some sort of rendering plant. Okay, is wasn’t actually a rendering plant, more like a storage facility for some company or other, but it was ugly. I didn’t want to live across from that.

“Mom,” I said, “I don’t want to be depressed by where I live.” Is that so much to ask? Apparently so.

On the way back home I started wondering how I could get out of my contract, but I think it was just the hormones. Or the weather. Or the fear of ending up in a box in the sky next to 15 lanes of highway and Ontario’s largest mall.

Two days later we headed back. With a lead on another possible place in Streetsville, and a couple of other possibilities about town, we arrived in sooner than we expected. The sun was shining. The possible apartment turned out to be right on the main strip, in a small building with only six units in it. “No balcony,” my mother sighed unhappily. (My mother is very invested in me having a balcony. Long story.)

It was a second storey apartment, right over a hair salon. The stairs looked makeshift, as if someone had forgotten about the necessity of stairs and tacked them on at the last second. The apartment itself was still occupied. And when I say occupied, I mean hidden underneath piles of dirty clothes, unwashed sheets, hockey gear, taped up posters flopping off the walls, bottles of beer, hardened globs of toothpaste in the sink, ripped up huge furniture, and, inexplicably, a wheelchair. Yes, you have guessed it: a young single man was in residence. There was a shade pulled down over the bedroom window so that the bedroom was a black pit. The rug on the floor, mostly pink with dirt embellishments, was clearly highly valued by someone’s mother in the early 80s. My heart sank.

“Are these walls going to be repainted?” my father asked.

“No,” the landlady replied, “they were just painted last year.” I looked around me. Did the walls actually need paint? Why, no, they were fine. The floors are hardwood. The windows aren’t huge but they’re fairly generous. The place has some nice features, buried in there somewhere. The walls are just off-white, the bathroom is large. Is it possible that once the place was empty, I might actually be able to envision myself living there? Could it be?

“I’ll spend the day cleaning,” the landlady said, “after he leaves.”

I took it. What could I do, it was the closest thing to exactly what I wanted, and, as some kind of divine bonus, is was the cheapest one I saw.

There is a deli down the street, and a Laundromat two doors over, next to the bakery my mother had a hard time leaving. Also a dry cleaners and a branch of my bank. There’s a fruit and veg shop that doubles as a sushi bar a block over, next to the library and the LCBO. (LCBO is the place where Ontarians buy alcohol, for you Americans.) There is a Shopper’s Drug Mart down the street. (My love of Shopper’s cannot be measured, nay it cannot.) My father was pleased to point out the Irish pub on the corner where they have Guinness on draft. There are, all joking aside, more restaurants in Streetsville than I’ve ever seen in one place since I left Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“You’ll want to go out every night!” my mother complained. “You’ll have to try not to do that!”

I passed the credit and criminal check (I’ve never had my criminal record checked before!), and my money order was accepted. Come June 1, the place is mine, all mine.
I have now purchased two queen-sized pillows, a queen sized bed frame and queen sized mattress set, because I am queenly, apparently; a tall dresser; a bedside table (just one, it’s not a huge bedroom); a couch (in sienna red); some roman blinds for the bathroom (pink) and the kitchen (lime green). I still have a few things to get, but at least I’ve got most of the basics. On June 2, I will be treated to: a) a huge delivery from Sears, b) all of my worldly possessions delivered to me by the movers, c) cable, and d) high speed wireless internet (THANK GOD THANK GOD). And then: let the furniture arranging begin. Oh yes.

An Announcement

An Announcement

As a very recent MLIS graduate, there is one topic I’ve avoided mentioning until now: job hunting. I’ve been hesitant to talk about that process here. I know others are doing it, but I don’t know, to me it felt like talking about it might jinx it or something. But in spite of my not having spoken about my hunting, I have indeed been on the prowl for a good, steady job.

I realized early on that there was just no point in applying for something unless I really, really wanted the job. I’ve only applied for three positions; the first was in the US, and I declined when invited for an interview. The job itself was interesting, and something I was completely qualified to do, but it wasn’t in the environment I was really looking for. The second was also in the US, and I accepted the offer of an interview, hopped on a plane and spent the day on campus not long ago. I met everyone, presented my ideas in their boardroom, and talked shop over meals. An interesting and enjoyable experience, to be sure, since everyone was extremely intelligent, engaging, challenging, and very very nice, but after many years I’ve come to understand that I am a product of this county and I can’t very well leave the place without leaving the best parts of myself behind.

The third job I applied for is at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, a satellite campus of the University of Toronto, which has the largest library system in the country, the largest student population, the highest tuition, and the best reputation. UTM itself has a small student body, but is growing rapidly. They are in the process of building a new athletics facility and new library that is set to open in the summer of 2006, as well as new residences for the summer of 2007. UTM is the only campus in Canada (to my knowledge) that offers a first year course based on information literacy principles taught by librarians. They have what is for me the most inspiring strategic plan I’ve ever seen. The position I applied for is called Instructional Technology Liaison Librarian, and the appeal of that sort of job shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to anyone who knows me or anyone who has ever stumbled across this weblog.

I was offered the position at UTM this week and I happily accepted it.

This is the part where I thank my parents, without who I would not be here, and my favourite teacher from elementary school, and all my lovely instructors at library school, my dear friends who have put up with me through this transition from one profession to another, but I’ll save you that schlock. For now.

Thoughts on my Vancouver

Thoughts on my Vancouver

If he had known unstructured
space is a deluge
and stocked his log house-
boat with all the animals
even the wolves,

he might have floated.

But obstinate he
stated, The land is solid
and stamped,

watching his foot sink
down through stone
up to the knee.

–Margaret Atwood, Progressive Insanities of a Pioneer

Vancouver is, indeed, very wet. See, I can say that and it sounds simple. If you’re from the east, or from central North America, or anywhere else except possibly Norway, you won’t understand what this means. You really won’t.

First, it rains a lot. They tell you this isn’t true, but don’t believe them. British Columbians are immune to their own weather. It’s like living in northern Ontario during the black fly and mosquito season; eventually the damn things leave you alone and you become completely oblivious to the fact that they’re still there, attacking the fresh-smelling city folk in droves and driving them mad.

So don’t let the locals fool you. It rains 70% of the time in Vancouver. It rained hard every single day I was there (in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island), except on the first couple of days when it snowed. And it’s not like rain here in Ontario. It doesn’t rain and then clear up, it doesn’t rain and then break out all sunny and blue and clear. You wake up in the morning and the roads are wet and slick. For the first time in years I heard that weird buzz the car makes when you’re hydroplaning. It rains like the world is ending out there, it rains thick primordial soup that changes the landscape. It rains oil that doesn’t wash off, ever. Everything in British Columbia is in biblical proportions; they say ‘everything is bigger in Texas’, but they don’t even know what they’re talking about. British Columbia is big water, big mountains, big trees, and out-proportioned weather.

When it does occaisonally clear up in Vancouver it feels like the aftermath of a flood. Puddles everywhere, fog rising out of the trees on the mountains. It feels like a lull in a war zone. My sister and I kept looking around through the rain and wondering why everything (and everyone) looked so normal; you’d think all that downpour would make everything somehow marked. We expect to see big plexiglass shelters for the elderly, extra-large gutters on the houses, big holes in the ground carved out by ridiculous amounts of water. Like Hogsback in Ottawa, like the Grand Canyon; you expect to see the etching of the water into the earth, the hard fingers of it that pull mountains down and tunnel through them. The acid oil that leaves everything five shades darker than it is at home.

But it’s not just the rain. It’s the damp. I mean, this is what happens when you set up shop in the middle of a rain forest, isn’t it. The damp gets under your skin and laps at your innards. If you’re from anywhere east, you will go to BC thinking you’re going to be enjoying a nice spring. High temperatures, pleasant weather. Hell, a little rain isn’t so bad, it’s not a tough price to pay for temperatures above the freezing mark, right? Well, think again.

It’s the damp. If you’re from a drier climate and you show up in BC, you’re going freeze your ass off. Why? Because you can never dry off. The dampness gets into your bones, you’re cold from the inside out. You wake up and your sheets are a little dampish, you can feel it in your elbows and your ribs and your knees. You need to pile on the sweaters just to allow your body to feel warm in spite of being, as it were, dumped in the middle of a tepid body of water.

It’s true, the place is a rainforest. There are ridiculously tall trees, beautiful stretches of forest that make me think of Narnia. You know, at the beginning of the world, when you could drop pennies on the ground and get a penny tree, because everything is just that fertile. Driving from Victoria to Duncan is almost an exercise is running from the fertility of the place; if you stop for any length of time it will start to grow on you too. It will pull you into its wet green self and devour you.

And I’m not even kidding; there is moss everywhere. We drove through forests with massive trees entirely covered in the stuff; it grows on the sidewalks, the roofs, in the gardens. If you stand still too long you might find it creeping up onto your scalp. It’s like they beat back the forest as much as they can, but it’s a losing battle. Eventually the forest will take over and will just make mossy mounds of human civilization. Not that this is tragic, really. It reminds me of Margaret Atwood’s forest; In the darkness the fields / defend themselves with fences / in vain: / everything / is getting in.

The people of British Columbia are on the true frontier. They are on an eternal crusade against a wall of moisture that falls from the sky and inches in from the coast, a wet invader that is replenished daily. They are the warriors who hold back the tide that could envelop us all. Praise them.

Commitment of the Day

Commitment of the Day

I’m applying to graduate school. Again. *facepalms* No really, it’s a good thing. It is. I’m even marginally excited about it in a way I wasn’t three days ago. I think it might even be fun. Let’s just hope I get in…

Oh come on. Graduate school is the one thing I’m actually qualified for. *weeps*

It’s Over: I’m a Dropout

It’s Over: I’m a Dropout

I haven’t been meaning to ignore my blog. No, most certainly I haven’t. I must admit that I’ve been sucked into writing some stuff that I’m not sure how to talk about on here. But I’ll get around to it eventually.

Thing to note #1: I have dropped out of school. Yes, you read right. Rochelle has DROPPED out of school. I’m happy about it, but I need to find a job. If you know of anything, feel free to mail me. Other than that…Christmas was Christmas, and that was much…uh….fun. right. 🙂 More on that later, I’m sure.

Whoa, Nelly!

Whoa, Nelly!

Well. Holy Mother of Whoops in the world of my computer. Here’s the story: I was getting a bus error, sporatically, on start up. So we thought, hey, maybe it’s time for a partition. And a revised OS.

I dropped off my computer baby at Jason’s and went to work. He installed OSX. That’s cool. So I went to get it, and went home…and OSX didn’t seem to include OS 9.2, which meant….I couldn’t open a damn file, or get online. (Weep weep weep!) Now, you have to understand, my computer is an extension of my brain, and I keep all phone numbers on it. Which of course is DUMBER than DUMB. So now I have no connection, and no phone numbers to get help. I felt like I had been left on a deserted island. Then I found a message from emma on my machine, so I could retrieve at least her phone number…and then she gave me Jason’s number…

Weep weep. I called him, we made plans…and I went to work getting ready for my 9am meeting.

And THEN…there I was, on the phone with emma, and my power cord started sparking. Blue sparks. Unbelieveable. I was so shocked I just laughed, I didn’t even unplug it first. I’ve had this happen before, but not this part of the cord…an ibook has two parts to it’s power cord (don’t most lap tops?): one part is an AC adapter, which looks like this:

And then there’s a second part, just a regular cord, that plugs into the wall. My AC adapter (aka the puck, the yo yo) has exploded twice…there’s a defect in the cord, apparently…it turns green inside and then BANG, it goes.

But that’s not what happened this time. This time it was the other cord, the normal cord. The outer casing the cord bubbled even.

So the next day, now we’re at yesterday: I went in at 9am and had a meeting with one of my advisers, which was extremely fun. We talked about Latin America, and I had a really great time. I hope I covered all the important bits…I got to talk about all kinds of interesting stuff. More about that later. After the meeting I nipped over to the computer store with my pathetic bubbling power cord. I saw the same tech guy…the one I terrified when the leaf off my apple popped off. He didn’t need any prelimiaries. I guess I’ve got a reputation…he just gave me a new cord.

And after that I started on the LONG day of trying to fix my computer. We pulled off OSX, and then tried to copy a version of OS 9.2 off Jason’s computer and onto mine. That seemed to work well. So off I went home, exhausted, it took us…sheesh, we worked on it all day. And I kept working on it all evening, while I was still working on my next meeting. Now, at home….

I can’t open Eudora. I can open a browser, but…it’s as if the whole internet is written in wingdings. Gobbledeegook. Jason sounded scared, something is terribly wrong. My control strip is gone. I didn’t even try to print anything at that point…I knew I was lucky enough to have a telnet app open. And I can’t find my system disk. Jason sounds like he’s on the edge. I tried to reinstall 9.2, but got a error message about ‘big morsels’. (I had no idea my computer had morsels.) So basically I have an OS hanging on by its fingernails, and it doesn’t like to be trifled with. Meanwhile, Jason finds a proper system disk, tests, and burns me a copy.

Today: reading my heart out in preparation for a 9am meeting tomorrow, and hoping against hope that that disk will fix my problems. I picked it up at 4pm, hit a couple of libraries, and meandered back home again. I did a clean install of 9.1, with great success, and then upgraded to 9.2. I reinstalled the Sympatico access manager, the software that interacts with my dsl modem, restarted and….got a bus error. Yes, I think after all that I can say that the bus error seems to be the result of….the access manager. Oh yes. The fact that I need (yes, need) to be online may well be the cause of my grief…(sympatico, sympatico, why do you hurt me so?)

So Now I’m back. I’m running IE 5 again, I’m running eudora again (minus the 15 zillion email messages I had saved in there, which is probably a blessing), and I didn’t lose and serious data. WOOOOOO!

I did miss a panel of papers I had been completely looking forward to…just because I couldn’t get my email for two days and I forgot it was yesterday. (Weep weep.) Oh, I can’t tell you how sad I am about that, but at that time I was reading and wrestling with software, so I didn’t actually have the time to spare. Still.

That’s my update. What a week.

Misheard Lyrics

Misheard Lyrics

From a site full of misheard lyrics:

Madonna’s, “Dress You Up”
Misheard Lyrics:
Dress you up in nylon
Correct Lyrics:
Dress you up in my love

R.E.M’s, “Losing My Religion”
Misheard Lyrics:
Lets pee in the corner
Correct Lyrics:
That’s me in the corner

U2’s, “Mysterious Ways”
Misheard Lyrics:
If you want to kiss this guy, you better learn how to kneel
Correct Lyrics:
If you want to kiss the sky, you better learn how to kneel

Queen’s, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Misheard Lyrics:
Bill the bug has a demo of a swine for me
Correct Lyrics:
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me

Queen’s, “We Will Rock You”
Misheard Lyrics:
Kickin’ your cat all over the place
Correct Lyrics:
Kickin’ your can all over the place

Sarah McLachlan’s, “I Will Remember You”
Misheard Lyrics:
We can’t afford the many fees
Correct Lyrics:
Weep not for the memories