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bloc bloc bloc till the weekend

maura @ 11:20 am

Things I Have Done This Morning While Procrastinating Writing:

– Caught up on Google Reader, Twitter and Facebook
– Skimmed the Times
– Scooped the catbox
– Laundry
– Mended a shirt
– Fixed my sneakers w/Shoe Goo
– Unloaded the dishwasher
– Loaded the dishwasher
– Checked the liner notes on the OMD record with the song from which this post is titled
– Considered taking apart the pipes under the bathroom sink which lately is draining slow

The Same, Yesterday:

– More mending (Gus’s pants and camp towel)
– More laundry (caught up on vacation backlog)
– Moped
– Wrote some mopey journally stuff in a text file that I will probably delete
– Packed up the shoes we ordered for Gus that are too small and have to be sent back
– Surfed around to see about new sneakers for Gus (why do they suddenly outgrow all of their shoes all at once [and so urgently]?)
– Caught up on my New Yorker backlog
– Finished a book

les tags: , ,

four eyes

maura @ 11:21 pm

I got glasses in the 6th grade. You know the story — one day I realized I couldn’t see the chalkboard in school. At first I only wore them in school when I had to, but by about 8th grade my eyes were bad enough that I had to wear them all the time. After about a year of nonstop begging, my parents finally let me get contact lenses in 9th grade.

I’ve never liked wearing my glasses. The lack of peripheral vision really gets me down, especially when driving or digging. They get all sweaty on my face whenever it’s hot out. Plus, I just don’t think they look good on me, even though I love being a nerdy librarian.

Only thing is, the older I get, the more my eyes seem to resist being encontacted. In the mornings I sorta dread shoving those little pieces of plastic in there. By the end of the day my eyes are really tired + red. And the last time I visited the eye doctor I almost got into an argument with him about daily wear vs. throwaway lenses. Dr. Man wanted me to get the latter, but the thought of the plastic waste makes me too sad, and of course they’re more expensive.

Lately I’ve been trying to wear my glasses more often on the weekends and other non-work times, practicing for the day when I might switch permanently or semi-permanently. It’s much harder than I thought it would be to wear them all the time. For all of those reasons above, esp. now that it’s firmly sunscreen weather.

I have an eye doctor appointment this week coming up. This time around I decided to go see an actual opthamologist, so I’ll probably order either glasses or contacts or both. What should I do?

les tags: ,

just a second

maura @ 10:09 pm

I was going to write a real blag tonight, but I’m too tired. Today’s the mysterious holiday Brooklyn-Queens Day so I took the day off and Gus + I went out to the incredibly deserted, surprisingly clean beach at Fort Tilden on the Rockaways. From Brooklyn to Queens, get it? I hate the beach, really (ugh, sand) ((double ugh, sun)), but it was a gorgeous day and the kids had an utter blast, running themselves around til they were exhausted, so it’s hard to argue with that.

So, in lieu of an actual blag post, here’s some Twitter. Warning: I went to a conference last Friday so there will be a bunch of library-specific tweets in there. I also presented at the conference and was tickled to find that my talk was both livetweeted and liveblogged, w00t! Will try to post something about that soon, but probably over at my other, less goofy blag.

Today’s fun: a mostly deserted Ft Tilden. Happy Brooklyn-Queens Day!
about 4 hours ago via Echofon

RT @JenHoward …please email me at jennifer DOT howard AT chronicle DOT com. Thanks! That 370-page conf program is daunting. 2/2 #ala10
about 6 hours ago via web Retweeted by you

RT @JenHoward Academic librarians! If you have some advice on what sessions a higher-ed reporter should attend this at #ala10 ths year year…1/2
about 6 hours ago via web Retweeted by you

@What_Went_Wrong Cool, have fun! BTW, Gus is totally into the Warriors books, thx for the rec!
about 14 hours ago via Echofon in reply to What_Went_Wrong

Curriculum night: all about rhinos
Wed Jun 9 18:48:29 2010 via Echofon

Popping in to rejoin #TeamAchieve with 656 hard-fought words this morning. Better than powerpoint, at least!
Wed Jun 9 09:41:59 2010 via web

RT @TheRepoRat: RT @liber8er: Possible Boycott of Nature Publishing Group Journals at UC. (Yes!)
Tue Jun 8 23:39:32 2010 via Echofon

Too much powerpointing recently, need to try and do some writing tonight.
Tue Jun 8 18:55:34 2010 via Echofon

@librariAND Thanks! I sent my slides to the nelig folks if you’d like to take a look.
Mon Jun 7 23:49:23 2010 via Echofon in reply to librariAND

@What_Went_Wrong ooh, have fun!
Sat Jun 5 20:17:26 2010 via Echofon in reply to What_Went_Wrong

@aegisnyc O M G
Sat Jun 5 14:02:00 2010 via Echofon in reply to aegisnyc

Farmers market goers: +1 for buying healthy local food, but -2 for double parking yr bigass SUV at the top of the park. #ecofail
Sat Jun 5 11:36:27 2010 via Echofon

Not that there’s nothing to do, but the crunch is over. My summer of not working (most) nights & weekends starts…now! *exhale*
Sat Jun 5 09:36:27 2010 via Echofon

@divanoir yeah, you know, manhattan is just one big mall these days anyway. Brooklyn FTW!
Sat Jun 5 09:08:09 2010 via Echofon in reply to divanoir

@divanoir no way, funny!
Fri Jun 4 21:10:13 2010 via Echofon in reply to divanoir

@lifelobsters cool, thanks for the link!
Fri Jun 4 21:09:05 2010 via Echofon in reply to lifelobsters

Hearing 1 min wrapup of the day’s sessions really makes me wish I could have been in more than one place at the same time! #nelig
Fri Jun 4 15:50:12 2010 via web

RT @niathena Students more engaged with media projects than with research papers: they’re excited by sharing w/audience beyond their professor. #nelig
Fri Jun 4 15:18:19 2010 via TweetDeck Retweeted by you

Wow, awesome student podcast assignment at Colgate U w/research, writing script, peer-review and reflection paper #nelig
Fri Jun 4 15:10:47 2010 via web

credibility issue flipped is an equitable way of participating in knowledge creation, the opportunity is enormous #nelig
Fri Jun 4 11:41:39 2010 via web

Strategies for libraries: look to our peers for inspiration and collaboration #nelig
Fri Jun 4 11:33:39 2010 via web

Wow, asked kids to make videos interpreting each chapter of the book (Born Digital) — so interesting! #nelig
Fri Jun 4 11:23:50 2010 via web

Kids steal music but don’t know that there are lawful ways to use/remix other people’s copyrighted materials. #nelig
Fri Jun 4 11:18:05 2010 via web

Found big range w/kids re: credibility but most use wikipedia to get background info and find sources (good news!) #nelig
Fri Jun 4 11:13:46 2010 via web

We can encourage kids to participate and to build their own learning spaces. #NELIG
Fri Jun 4 11:07:09 2010 via web

Very long tail of participatory digital culture with kids from making a Myspace page up to writing code #NELIG
Fri Jun 4 11:04:23 2010 via web

@jtheibault hoping for the latter (tho the former would work, too). but I’m hoping to be able to draw on similarities for my work. #NELIG
Fri Jun 4 10:59:23 2010 via web

Gaming is the big thing that joins kids across socioeconomic statuses #NELIG
Fri Jun 4 10:53:13 2010 via web

Hoping to takeaway lessons about non-elite institutions from Palfrey’s talk. #NELIG #CityTech
Fri Jun 4 10:48:59 2010 via web

John Palfrey getting started w/his keynote at #NELIG
Fri Jun 4 10:43:33 2010 via web

@jrrnyc absolutely. unless it’s your own panel, then it’s not so good.
Fri Jun 4 10:39:36 2010 via web

RT @notjonathan OMG “@CarcassonneApp: Available now on the App Store:”
Fri Jun 4 09:15:49 2010 via Twitter for iPhone Retweeted by you

No electrical outlets on the Metronorth trains :( #firstworldwhining
Fri Jun 4 07:23:50 2010 via Echofon

@edrabinski hot damn! me too — finished w/paper + slides + taking today to ignore it before presenting tomorrow. good luck!
Thu Jun 3 10:10:52 2010 via web

@ChrysalisArch Awesome — congrats! Thanks for the photo, too.
Thu Jun 3 10:09:10 2010 via web

@Annefesto Har, u crack me up! I’m working hard prepping 4 a conference pres on Fri & appreciate the early wishes!
Wed Jun 2 23:41:59 2010 via Echofon in reply to Annefesto

@cryptog xW00t!
Wed Jun 2 19:42:09 2010 via Echofon in reply to cryptog

Wed Jun 2 11:24:10 2010 via Echofon

@captain_primate I bet there will be links. we could probably get a group order going + divvy them up. (2/2)
Tue Jun 1 21:29:40 2010 via web in reply to captain_primate

@captain_primate yeah, the place we got from was min order 50. can’t find details on SPARC or OA week websites, but as Oct gets closer (1/2)
Tue Jun 1 21:28:46 2010 via web in reply to captain_primate

@captain_primate Last year we ordered ours from a place linked from the OA week website. I can try and dig up the vendor if you want.
6:09 PM Jun 1st via Echofon in reply to captain_primate

@divanoir nah, not up so late, just a coffee addict.
3:49 PM May 31st via Echofon in reply to divanoir

What the park really needs is a roving coffee vendor.
1:43 PM May 31st via Echofon

@Annefesto I know! We’re actually trying to get him to start a blog so he has an outlet for videogame details that isn’t us. Stay tuned!
11:53 PM May 30th via Echofon in reply to Annefesto

Gus & friend are deconstructing the relationship btwn Bowser, Peach & Mario over dinner. Hilarious. And such attention to detail!
7:22 PM May 30th via Echofon

@edrabinski As well you should! I’m tired & having a hard time banging out the words, but 700 should finish the presentation so I press on.
5:15 PM May 30th via web in reply to edrabinski

@lwaltzer Dude, the hidden downside of literacy. Happens to us too.
12:17 PM May 30th via Echofon in reply to lwaltzer

Guess how long the bike ride lasted before we had to stop for a hot dog?
12:14 PM May 30th via Echofon

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breathe in, breathe out

maura @ 10:30 pm

So you may have heard that last Monday was Quit Facebook Day. Did you quit? I’ve considered quitting Facebook for a while, and thought about it more when I heard about QFD. Like everyone else I’ve been pretty appalled by the privacy implications of all of the recent Facebook changes: they just keep ratcheting up the stuff that’s public by default at the expense of what’s private by default. Although with this recent round of changes I was finally motivated to go in and tweak my own account settings (restricting everything to friends only) which is frankly something I should have done a long time ago.

But I also went in and removed my college + grad school info, because one of the changes is that those institutions are now automatically linked to a dynamically generated page that pulled everyone with those institutions into one place. And while I loved college, I’m not really all that interested in appearing on a page with everyone else who went to my college, too. I never added much other info into Facebook so there wasn’t anything else to remove, but I hear that similar things happened with all of the other “interests” people list on their profiles. Which is just cruddy.

I definitely have a tortured relationship with Facebook. There are many things I like about it, but it stresses me out a bunch, too. I am old enough that it is still kind of weird to me to essentially have lots of people I’ve known at many different stages of my life together in the same room. I also see fb’s hypnotic + addictive side — it’s just too easy to lose an hour poking around to see what everyone’s up to (though maybe since I’m not on it that often it takes me longer when I do visit).

Since I don’t spend that much time on Facebook it was easy to envision myself quitting, but in the end I just couldn’t do it. I hate to say it, esp. since fb is monetizing (ugh, such an evil word) my info, but there’s too much of value there for me to quit. There are quite a few of my extended family members that I rarely see in person that I’m in touch with because of Facebook. And all of those friends who have moved away, acquaintances from college + high school + earlier, pictures of their kids, etc. etc. etc.

This week was the most glaring example of why I haven’t quit Facebook, which I will share even though it’s kind of embarrassing. My birthday was this week, and it was really, really nice to read all of those well-wishing messages from folks on Facebook. I have my fb email forward to my regular email so I didn’t even have to login to fb to see them: anytime I checked my email, there they were, and they came in throughout the day. I’m totally lame, I know, but it made me smile.

Except now I feel kind of guilty, too, because I don’t tend to leave HBD messages for folks unless I happen to be checking in that day, and I don’t check into Facebook that often. Guess I should change my ways to keep on keeping on with the good karma, huh?


things i’m bad at

maura @ 5:51 pm

I’m sick, and it’s a drag. I know: alert the media! No one likes being sick, but this sickness was sneaky, which seems extra-unfair. I guess it’s a head cold: I’m achey and sniffly, and my main symptom is an annoying, intermittent hacking cough.

I admit that I have been known to try to work through my illness, to not use my sick days, etc. But lately I’ve tried to change my ways. I started feeling sick last weekend and I took it easy, really I did! Then I didn’t get any better, but I didn’t get any worse, either: after a shower, a cup of coffee and 2 advil in the morning I felt pretty okay. So I went into work and kept taking it easy at home. I mean, it’s not like I’m doing hard labor on a dig — many days my job involves mostly sitting at a computer or sitting in a meeting.

Yesterday morning I started feeling slightly worse, but it was my last day of class (student presentations!) and the last meeting of a committee I co-chaired (elections!) so I had to and wanted to go in. Last night it was clear that I was actually sick, so I’m home today coughing, drinking tea and alternating between convalescing in the living room and the bedroom.

During extra-busy times I’ve been guilty of occasionally wishing I’d get sick so I could have an excuse to rest all day, who hasn’t? But the reality is always much more boring and less enjoyable than I imagine. Because in my daydreams of course I forget that sickness slows down your brain, so it’s not like you can catch up on anything. It is nice to have the chance to read, esp. when you have a good book: a neighbor lent me her British copy of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (which is awesome since by the time I remembered to request a copy from the public library I was #252 in the queue, and of course it’s not even out here yet). And now that I have a laptop I can check email whilst reclining and sipping tea, which is also good.

But I hate how a sick day sloooooows to a crawl. I always feel like I’m missing everything going on in the real world, and that things are just piling up while time goes down the toilet. I want being sick to be like any other work. Today I worked at getting better. I worked hard and put in my 8 hours, why don’t I feel any better? How many days of work will it take until I finish this sickness project, anyway? This was not in the original spec. Where’s a good project manager when you need one?

les tags: ,

power force motion drive

maura @ 5:12 pm

You know, I try to be a good hippie: hanging our clothes to dry, intermittent composting, buying most clothes secondhand, etc. I’m not the biggest fan of capitalism — the older I get, the more global income inequality bothers me. I’ve sort of flirted with doing The Compact from time to time, and since I don’t enjoy shopping all that much it’s usually not too hard not to buy much anyway.

But consumerism sometimes gets the best of me, and this week has been a particularly stark example. We’ve been planning to redo our bathrooms for a while now, at least one but perhaps both. About 9 yrs ago we got the kitchen redone, and I guess I’d been using that as a guide when I thought about how much a renovation should cost rather than doing any research on actual prices (yes, I am a librarian, why do you ask?). So I had a number in my head before we asked a contractor to come give us an estimate. And it turns out that number was really, really wrong.

At first I was disappointed at the cost, which seems so out of proportion to the size of the room (though of course I realize that plumbing, tiling, etc., is lots of work). But last week was busy so I didn’t have time to give it much more thought. Except that today, I realized that I *had* been thinking about it, just not overtly. Then I was disappointed in myself, both for being so disappointed and for my resulting compensatory behavior.

Let me explain.

I kind of have a thing for sneakers, particularly those of a certain brand. I feel guilty about this for all the usual reasons: consumerism, sweatshops, susceptibility to advertiser manipulation, etc. But I remember the royal blue Samoas with chartreuse stripes that I had in 6th grade: they’re like my Ur sneakers, and I am powerless in nostalgia’s grip. (And lest I paint too bad a picture of myself I should mention that my last 2 pairs [one for summer and one for winter] lasted about 7 yrs, so I do try to get the most out of them that I can).

So every so often I surf on over to the Adidas website and take a look at what they’ve got. Customization is huge right now, if you hadn’t noticed, and they’re no different: you can pick a sneaker type and create your very own, from a limited color palette. The other night I used the sneakermaker to make these:

I didn’t order any of these — they’re $115!!! — but still, it was kind of a time suck to create them and I’m not getting any of that time back, either. And since royal blue + chartreuse aren’t color options I can’t live out my sneaker dreams.

Fast forward to yesterday. Our building’s stoop sale is coming up which means I’m thinking about tables again. Our current table is old. We bought it in 1996 and it’s just a standard pine table so by now it’s full of nicks and scratches, many courtesy of baby Gus’s exuberant silverware drumming days. We’ve been flirting with this one table at Ikea for about 2 yrs now but I keep thinking I don’t like it. It’s heavy, it’s light-colored wood, and what I really want is a mid-century number with leaves that slide out from underneath the table top.

But with a kid + 2 cats now is not the time to invest in expensive furniture, so yesterday I made us go to Ikea to check to see if there were any new tables, just in case we could get one in time to sell the old one at the stoop sale. Well, we ended up getting that table we always look at, and I guess I’ve made my peace with it. We also got 4 black chairs in 4 different styles, a quirky twist that Jonathan talked me into. And some throw pillows and a new duvet and a lampshade to replace one the cats knocked over and a nightlight for Gus and a couple of other small things.

It’s taken me until yesterday evening to realize that I’ve bought (or thought about buying) all this stuff because I’m disappointed about the bathroom, disappointed that I’m not going to get a shiny new pedestal sink and black-and-white tile floor. This realization hasn’t cheered me up at all, I have to say. I guess it’s good to be self-reflective, but the only real takeaway I can come up with is that capitalism makes me feel bad.

(Woah, how did I end up with 2 bummer posts in a row? Next time I promise to write something more uplifting!)

les tags: , , , ,

letters from a grumpy old lady

maura @ 9:11 pm

Dear VCR,

You are seriously bugging me lately. A couple of months ago we tried to use you to calm down a bunch of rambunctious children during dinner, but you appeared to be broken. Since our building’s stoop sale is coming up soon we started to think that maybe it’s time for you to go, so last weekend I tried a couple of videotapes to confirm your unworkingness. The result of this experiment is that now you seem NOT to be broken (though several tapes are clearly kaput).

Now I don’t know what to do. We don’t use you much to watch videos anymore, haven’t, really, for months and months. But when I was testing tapes I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for Alice in Wonderland, Spice World, Tron, etc… And now I’m not sure we’re ready to let them go, even though it would free up a bunch of space on the shelves.

Stupid VCR. It was much easier when you were pretending to be broken.

Grumpily yours,

Dear weather,

Not to be rude, but are you taunting me? Last month it was eleventy billion degrees practically every day. All the flowers bloomed early and we rushed around like crazy people trying to see them. Since Spring was definitely sprung we spent time shopping for, ordering, and putting together new bikes for 2/3 of the family (the other 1/3 already has a bike that fits).

Now the bikes are here (and an extra bike, too, since we haven’t gotten rid of Gus’s old bike) and it’s blustery windy rainy November outside. Especially on the weekends. What is your damage, weather?

Don’t hope to see you soon,

Dear city,

Have you ever ridden the B71 bus westbound at about 8am on a schoolday? No? Then allow me to enlighten you. It is PACKED full of kids (and parents) on their way to school, and people on their way to work, to the subway, etc. This bus is not at all underused (at least in the mornings) and is really the only straightforward way to get from Crown/Prospect Heights to Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens.

Or at least it will be, until June 27th. That’s the last day of service for this bus line, at any time. Now, I know the bus can be pretty empty in the middle of the day, but cutting the whole line? That’s just cold. We are lucky that Gus’s school has a school bus, but who’s to say what the other kids on the bus will do?

And an extra special thanks-for-nothing for the date of the switch: the last day of public school is Monday, June 28th.


Dear state,

Get a grip.


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he can cut a record from side to side

maura @ 10:05 pm

ZOMG! The number of possible things to do this semester is somewhat more overwhelming than usual. This isn’t new, of course, and I’m not the first person to notice it, either. Today was insane on campus — I think there were literally 10 different things I could have gone to during club hour (which is the break between classes from 1-2-ish on Thursdays, so named because student clubs meet then). I had a meeting and ended up going to none of them, though I did hit the first half of the very awesome Literary Arts Festival this evening and got to see students, faculty and poet Willie Perdomo do their thing.

(P.S. I’ve recently realized that I like poetry. This is a new thing — for much of my life I paid poetry no mind. I think it might actually be Gus’s fault. There’s a lot of Shel Silverstein in our lives, and kids like to write poetry.)

Partly this is overwhelming because I’m a librarian. So we host our own events, of course, like all the other departments on campus. We’re also inherently interdisciplinary. I like that part of librarianship a lot: it’s kind of incredible to take it as a given that we can be interested in and learn about (and even research, to an extent) all manner of subjects. But this also means that practically any event at the college is relevant to us. So, you know, I really want to go to all of these events.

But I can’t. Which is a drag. There’s another 3 things going on tomorrow, but I’ll only be at one of them, sigh. On the other hand, I’ll get to play a game or two, which is pretty dang cool.

les tags: ,

turn it up

maura @ 6:37 pm

It’s not that time is ever NOT relative, but it sure seems more relative the older I get. And especially since becoming a parent. Whenever I see a newborn (or someone who’s pregnant) it seems like forever ago that Gus was a baby. Of course what everyone always says is totally true: reflecting now it seems to have gone by in an instant, and I occasionally experience nostalgia so intense it’s practically painful. But I also remember the sometimes excruciating dullness of babies and toddlers. Lying on the floor next to Gus playing trains I wondered whether my brain was actually dripping right out of my head into a pool of gray goo on the floor, or if I just imagined it to be true.

Last week Gus spent 3 days and 2 nights at camp with school. He had an awesome time hiking, building stuff, finding creatures in the pond, toasting marshmallows, etc. — all the standard camp goodness. He came home exhausted. We don’t tend to get a sitter that often (for a wide variety of reasons), so we were eager to take advantage of the time to cram in as much grownup stuff as possible. We saw a movie one night and went out to a medium-fancy dinner the other, and stayed up way too late. We were pretty exhausted by the time he got home, too.

Time was more fluid than usual when Gus was gone, I think because this was the first time that he’s been away while we were at home. In the past when he’s spent a few days away with his grandparents we’ve always gone away too. While we were home alone time seemed extra slow, but when we were out time sped by (also at work, but that’s often the case for me). The cats knew things were different, too, esp. the one that usually sleeps on Gus’s bed.

The movie and dinner were really nice, but I couldn’t shake the weird relative time feeling the whole time Gus was gone. So strange.

les tags: ,

updates, in list form

maura @ 5:32 pm

1. We did manage to make it to the BBG today. What’s more fun than traipsing through the botanic gardens with a sullen, complaining 8 yr old? Same plus nearly every other resident of our fine city. I have rarely seen the gardens so crowded on a non-event day. We actually had to cut the trip short because the crowds were getting to all of us.

2. Here’s the flower report:
Magnolias: mostly finished
Tulips: full bloom
Grape hyacinths: full bloom, like a bluish-purple carpet
Lilacs: mostly not open, but a few bushes have started, eep!
Cherries: a mixed bag, some trees are full on, and some just have buds. Seems like the trees with whitish blossoms open earliest:


It’s like a crazy nature fast forward over there, even the azalea bushes have a couple of blossoms opening. Looks like Gus will have to endure a few more awful weekends of floral viewing. We’ll be consulting the cherry blossom status map to plan our viewing strategy.

3. We did have ice cream bars, phew. And as you can see, even the non-treat time wasn’t all bad:


Nothing like a muddy stream to really cheer a kid up after being dragged to see boring old flowers with his boring old parents.

4. Have you seen my to-do list? It’s gone missing, which has completely thrown me for a loop because I need to update it for this week and I usually start with the old list when I’m making a new one. I’ve got a couple of piles of work- and research-related stuff on my desk and shelves, and it’s not in any of them. I *just* had it yesterday, and I can’t for the life of me imagine what’s happened to it.

Maybe the cats stole it. I’ve been talking trash about shaving them lately because with the warm weather they are shedding like mad. This could be their devilish revenge: wig out the control freak by stealing her list! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

les tags: , , , ,