Graduation is Imminent!

(Yes, I want a mortarboard with Lego knights. Doesn't everyone?)

It's finally official--my Capstone (comprehensive exam) results are in, and I passed! I look forward to wearing my familiar mortarboard in May. Friends and family are invited to the commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13th at 4:45pm, in Murchison Performing Arts Center.* Come, see what I look like in a over-sized gown and an outrageously archaic hat! Listen to "Pomp and Circumstance" for thirty minutes! Eat Mexican food! Buy me dessert! Dance long into the night!

Well, maybe some of the above, anyway.

You don't need a ticket or anything to get in, just directions.

The Good, the Bad, and the Green

It's getting a little easier to be green, as Kermit has noted.

NPR's Morning Edition reported that Houston and Dallas will get ethanol fuel by May--just in time, since we bought a flex-fuel truck two weeks ago! Hooray!! Of course, with this comes the news that as ethanol replaces MTBE as an additive, the smaller supply of ethanol fuels will Kroger gas stations (there's one in Frisco right now) are going to offer the E85 blend (85% ethanol, 15% gas) that our truck was designed to run on.

Let's keep God's green earth... green!


No, Not Barbara Gordon...

So, the Starbucks Oracle may not be the funniest thing I've seen online, but I love the picture. There's something about an angry coffee cup that just makes me want to smile.

Crisis vs. Access: Progress!

My thanks to the ACRL blog for pointing me in the direction of Andrew Kantor's article on the scholarly publishing crisis and open access. For anyone unfamiliar with this library/academia issue, there is much excitement (and postulation) that free online publishing of scholarly articles may not only solve many library budget issues (in the face of steeply rising costs for print journal subscriptions), but may also change the way research is shared and published. I particularly like how Kantor describes the internet changing research by "turn[ing] science into a conversation the way only modern technology allows."

The librarian in me wriggles with delight at the thought of the free sharing of information. The techie in me demands that these online journals be made available through RSS. Cm'on, my aggregator's hungy!


To the Unsatisfied

Read this episode of Copper, then tell me again why your life would be more full and complete if you lived in Austin/New York/Paris/Tokyo/[insert destination here].

Look around you with new eyes.

Send Your SOS with SMS

This is an idea I like: using text-message services for reference. It might be handy particularly for ready-reference questions, for which loading online chat software is a little overkill.

Decline & Fall of the MS Empire?

Read this tragically funny take on a recent Microsoft Press conference, held inauspiciously enough a few days before announcing more delays for Windows Vista. And here are some screenshots of the OS you won't be using this year.

...Does this mean I have to pay royalties to Microsoft each time I tell someone to double-click? Next pending Microsoft patent: turning on your computer.

Thanks to Slashdot for all news techie.


Browncoats, Suit Up!

Dude! Why did no one tell me that Hot Topic had Serenity/Firefly shirts???

Tickled Pink

Bless you, Bill & Gene, for hearing the cry of female librarians everywhere.

Also, my heartfelt thanks to Susan Hill at PLA for tackling a sensitive and too-often-ignored topic. Wish I could have been there to hear it in person; but here's an article by Susan on the same topic.


We Put the "Eek" in Geek

Oh, how funny it is when geeky librarians congregate.

On Display

I'm working with Annie Downey, one of the professional librarians, on creating a new display to promote Willis Library at orientation & preview fairs. We're trying to aim the display specifically at the undergraduate audience. You can probably guess--it's not hard to get the parents to stop at the library booth, but it's hard to attract their 18-year-old's attention. Our current display is really informative and has a lot of colorful photographs of the library and its surrounds, but we thought we'd rethink it for the youthful audience.

First, we're looking into ordering a larger display--so you can stand in front of it without blocking it--that is mobile (on its own wheels). We're brainstorming on the new signs for the display now, but our main idea is to use less text, and to use graphics that will attract undergrads' attention to library services that they'd be interested in, and unlikely to know about.

For instance: Willis Library has a Starbuck's located on the first floor (oh, joy!). The proposed tagline for this sign is "want a latte with that?" with a close-up of a Starbuck's cup. I'm leaning toward the current trend in design for macro photos of specific objects, instead of large, busy photos with a lot going on.

I'm happy to report that for this specific instance, I will be purchasing some Starbuck's* tomorrow not only for 8am-alertness and warmth (in our currently heatless office), but also for research purposes--I'm bringing my digital camera tomorrow. Now that's what I call hard work.

*My apologies to Tihleigh, but if Jupiter House had a kiosk inside Willis, I'd gladly patronize them instead.

My definition of a blog:
The place I store my inner monologue. How scary is that?

Oh Joy! Oh Frabjous Day!

Oh joy, advanced Googling tips!

Okay, I'll be honest. Many times, my incessant posting of treasures is merely a way for me to find cool stuff later, instead of attempting to remember which computer I bookmarked it in between the four I use at work and the two to three I use at home. Many times, I hope that a great secondary benefit is that someone reading this cares, and thinks, "Golly! I'm so glad that red-headed blogger with the funny name posted this! I must immediately send five kind thoughts in her general direction."

But if not... oh, well. At least I can find this later.

If a Cylon Falls in the Middle of the Forest and Gaius isn't There, Does She Make a Sound?

Awesome. I say again: when does BSG Season 2.2 come out? Don't these people know I'm addicted and I can't be cut-off cold turkey like this? Particularly when I'm also waiting for SG-1 and Atlantis?

I need my Sci-Fi fix, man.


Comic Genius

This old Lichtenstein-esque Library poster is genius, sheer genius.

Testing, Testing, 1-2-3

Wanna help me test my new Snazzy Decor site? I'm still uploading, editing, and adding pages, but in the meantime you can check links and see how everything displays in your browser of choice.


That Can't Be Good

Between the intense head-winds (gusts of 30mph) and my shuddering engine, my commute to Denton felt like driving an off-balance washing machine. In the early stages of caffeine withdrawal. I'll count myself lucky if I got five miles to the gallon on that trip.

And you know it's bad when not only does your "service engine soon" alarm light up, but anytime you try to accelerate from 60 to 65, it begins to flash insistently, clearly telling you that this is a Very Bad Idea. My normal slightly-less-than-one-hour commute today took nearly an hour and a half. Ugh.

Then again, it makes me only more glad of our activities this Saturday, to be detailed later in the "to be continued" portion of my Spring Break-Down. Drumroll, please.

The Break-Down Continues...

Saturday, Alex and I finally jumped in, after 3 1/2 years of looking: we bought a new truck! Our previous F-150 has survived almost 104,000 miles, five years, a near-layoff, and hauling about 1,500 loads. Since the year after we purchased it, I've been bemoaning the fact that we got a single cab, and thus for five years have had no space for groceries, passengers, or luggage.

Now, I've got a slick '06 charcoal grey F-150 Super-Crew-cab beauty, complete with spiffy stepboards and the ability to rock out to MP3's all the way to Denton. Once, that is, I get my license plates in 4-5 weeks, when I can finally change my parking permit.

OH. MY. GOSH. I have a gorgeous new truck, and to get a permit for it, I have to get a temporary permit every two weeks for $5, and then when I get the new plates, I have to pay $5 to switch the permit from the old truck to the new one. As if I didn't already pay over a hundred bucks to park my current vehicle. So Alex got to take the beauty to work today. I made quite a disgruntled fuss this morning after calling the UNT Parking Office, but as usual, complaining never accomplishes anything except possibly adding new wrinkles to my forehead.

But the plus was that Saturday after the purchase and before our drive home in the deluge, we had a wonderful time with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. It was novel and kinda nice to get to talk to them alone, not even a peep of children in the next room. It was even more meaningful in light of John's medical emergency Friday morning, and if there are any prayers that you'd like to offer on his behalf, please do.

Sunday, of course was the deluge, and there's no need to revisit that.

Spring Break-Down

Much as I love my job and school, I was intensely glad to take an entire week off. After nine days of not logging into my online classes or driving to Denton, my persistent eye twitch is almost gone. And you think I'm kidding.

So here's the breakdown of what I did when I wasn't blogging. Monday and Tuesday, as reported, were days of cleaning and haircut and taxes and, yes, a little chillin'. Wednesday was web design heaven--a glorious entire day of CSS, HTML, a few more tutorials, and ten pages of the Snazzy Decor redesign completed--hooray! Would that I could have devoted an entire week to this activity.

hursday, however, was some much-needed girlie R&R in the form of shopping with Amy. We tried on some ridiculous clothes, found some awesome deals, scheduled a makeover for this Wednesday, and talkedtalkedtalked. It's great to hang out with a girl who is the perfect blend of girlie-ness and tomboy, who makes me feel like perhaps I am a somewhat normal chick. Friday, I finally got to meet Alex's coworkers, which means that now instead of asking him to repeat names each time he tells a story ("So was it Josh or Justin? They both start with 'J,'"), I have faces and names synched.

I cleverly timed my initial visit to coincide with their St. Patty's Day Foosball Tournament, which was great fun (and food--I do love those Chili's southwest eggrolls!).

I did not, however, anticipate the nerf-gun munitions run after lunch, and the subsequent nerf war played out in the maze of cubicles. It was much fun, and I think only one person lost an eye.

--to be continued--


Happy Pi Day!

...Just because I forgot to mention it earlier, here is some Pi-Day fun for you.

...with Majesty!

10% off sale at the Homestar Runner store until 3/19! Hurry up and get your Strong Bad gear while the gettin's good!

The Naked Truth

I returned to Sam's for more Naked Juice in large, cheap quanities of goodness. Two different Sam's employees asked me about the product, since they just started carrying it--I bought the first two cartons they put on the shelf last week. I gushed over it and started to think that maybe I ought to be getting a comission for this.

Day Two of the break: finally got a haircut, dropped off oodles of things at Goodwill, exchanged audiobooks at the library, and, of course, Sam's. All this before lunch; I'm very impressed with myself.

Now I just need to get dishes and laundry done, and my stein revision sketch scanned and emailed. And then--on to the website revision. A girl's work is never done!


Ah, Spring... Break?

Once again, Unshelved portrays the honest and funny truth about blogging.

I have a haircut scheduled tomorrow and shopping scheduled (I'm not kidding) Thursday, but between those spots, there's a lot of things like laundry and vacuuming and rearranging rooms and filing taxes and sorting out seven piles of Goodwill-destined items to be done. I managed to steal a few relaxing moments today to read while becoming a natural--ahem--redhead again. And luckily, I can drop those seven piles off at Goodwill tomorrow morning after the haircut, gaining me the entire guest room floor back--what, we had beige carpet under there? Really?

And once the tiresome tasks are completed, there is an art project to undertake--the caricature-ish-ly large stein for New Braunfels's Stein Parade--and what I am most looking forward to: using my newfound CSS "skilz" to completely redesign the Snazzy Decor website. I can't wait!

But I'll have to, because the white load must be folded.


I am Batgirl

Can I just say that Librarian-in-Black totally has the right idea with her trading card? I need one.

Nuns vs Librarians

Now, I've seen Sister Wendy, and I've seen "boxing nun" puppets, but Internet-studying nuns versus librarians facing off in a spelling bee?

This is either a supreme set-up for a joke, or one interesting event.

Okay, so a nun, a librarian, and a rabbi walk into a spelling bee...


Bad Monkey

Okay, this item only reinforces my theory that sock monkeys are evil.

(Oh yes, and I can't sleep--clowns will eat me.)

By the way, Jasper Fforde is a literary comic genius, and I cannot wait for his next.

Our Loss, Abilene's Gain

Okay, what? Scott McCloud is going to ACU to promote his new book (May 4th), but to no other locations in Texas? Not UT, not anywhere in Dallas.

I mean, I love Abilene and all (go HSU!), but... the only TX location? C'mon.

Blame Game

Thank you, USA Today, for this article; I am so tired of hearing excuses for students' poor learning habits. That, and the ridiculous notion that negating honor programs, red correction marks, and grading systems* will make students less "stressed" about not doing well. Puh-leeze.

Granted, I'm not saying it's all the students' fault. I've graded enough freshman essay tests of my own to know that the problem isn't just the lack of caring; it's a serious lack of ability to think critically. And while yes, sometimes that's a teacher's fault--I'm thinking the majority of the blame goes to parents who didn't care enough to pass this skill on to their offspring.

* I read about this in two separate Reader's Digest articles, and if I can find the citations, I'll provide them later.


Okay, UNT students or other Denton denizens, be advised that the UNT Bookstore's having quite a clearance sale on books. In the UNT side, right by the textbook-area stairs is a display with a bunch of gently-used paperbacks for $2 each. And in the "regular" bookstore, there are a bunch of clearance items all over the store, ranging from $2-around $13. I had quite a nice time; I found Art in Venice by Zuffi, a book that delighted me during my MA work on Giovanni Bellini. Normal price: $40; sale price: $13.

Now I'm happy. Nothing like a few cheap books, some gorgeous golden mosaics, and some Bellini to make me smile.

In the timeless words of Indiana Jones, "Ah.... Venice."

Quite Benevolent

Okay, is it just me, or does the un-punctuated title of this item make you chuckle?



Tiny Tomes

Today's Wall Street Journal has a front-page article on miniature books, and mentions UNT's collection in the Rare Books Room!


La Dolce Vita

I am in the happy, dreamy kind of state that normally achieved after a long, luxurious swim, a refreshing snack of fresh fruit, and a nap in the sun to dry off. I feel pleasantly dazed and sun-dazzled.

This afternoon, after finishing my mid-term for Management of Information Agencies, I gave myself a few hours off, a reward for the completion of said midterm and the comp exams (that I turned in last night ten minutes into the Oscars). Since it was a gloriously sunny 80-degree afternoon, I had completed my midterm on my back porch with my laptop in my lap, appropriately enough, and my palid legs basking in the sun. A foolish, un-sunblocked-move that will probably have me baked to a crisp tomorrow, but it was great.

Thus, I put the laptop indoors, and ventured onto the (albeit drought-crunchy) grass with a good book (ah, Jasper Fforde!) and a Dove dark chocolate (ah, the flavinoids!). I spent some wondrous peaceful time reading and sunning my soon-to-be-crisped legs.

Then I listened to the end of A Wrinkle in Time and the beginning of Under the Tuscan Sun during my work commute. Two of my favorite books, and the second all about the pleasures of sunlight, houses, books, and good food. This, added to the knowledge that spring break is next week, and I have only taxes and a single painting to dominate my time before relaxation--I just feel good all over.

Maybe I ought to get out in the sun more often--vitamin D must be shooting endorphins to my brain.

iPod, uPod, we all Pod....

Want to hear my cheesy UNT/QEP podcast line and get the chance to win an iPod nano? Well, then, click here to enter the drawing.


Life: The Next Chapter

And so, I am done.

I find that completing my comprehensive exams gives me an odd feeling. I felt ecstatic, if more than a little surreal, upon finally completing my MA. But now that my MLS is essentially within reach--just getting those exams passed and finishing two more months of school--I don't have quite the same feeling.

I feel emptied--I don't mean that in a negative sense. I feel that all my life, all twenty-seven years, have been preparing. Preparing for college, preparing for grad school, preparing for marriage, preparing for that elusive First Real Job. I feel, now, like all that preparation is over. It's been a lifestyle of "someday when..." and now Someday is here.

It's exciting, but not in a high-energy sense. I feel as though I'm standing on the edge of a very tall cliff spreading my arms and looking down, but instead of my usual goals (graduating, getting a job), I see this expanse of bright white space. It's tranquil and freeing and oddly scary all at the same time.

And now: my Real Life begins.
I wonder what it'll be like?

Simpsons: Live in Britain

Sheer genius.
The rest of them are clearly actors, but how did they actually find the real Homer J. Simpson?


This is a Raid!

I'm now the proud owner of a Library Raid jacket, courtesy of the guys at Unshelved. Geeky librarians everywhere: envy me!

Got 'Net?

Happy, happy CSS tutorials, courteously linked by CSS Zen Garden (check it out--mess with their css; it's fun!). My thanks to Tihleigh.

I feel vindicated: Searcher magazine says that Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica are both useful in their own special ways:

Let’s act like careful, reasonable people. Wikipedia is a great starting point. It’s a lesson in research methodology, a fun way to share expertise, and a groundbreaking new way of working. Its consensus model represents a shift in management styles and away from hierarchical organization. You might say that Wikipedia is Zen-like. Its ever-changing nature means that when you read it, you are completely in the moment. And its collective brain is like a conscious universe in which we are all one.

Britannica is a different animal. Flawed, yes. Behind the times with regard to non-Western and minority leadership, sure. Indispensable? You betcha.


Exam Break #3

Progress: one first draft complete, and one fleshed-out outline.

And I must agree with Robert Balder of the webcomic Partially Clips:

"I have to admit, I have avoided trying World of Warcraft for the same reasons I have avoided ever trying cocaine. I know my addictive personality and I doubt I would be able to stop before it did some serious damage to my life."

So my apologies to Amy and the DFW FanForce crew, but I just can't take that chance.

Exam Break #2

Beijing is organizing volunteers in orange uniforms that read "mucus" to patrol the streets, handing out bags for locals to spit into.

My western mind is boggled.

Exam Break #1

How cool is this: nanotechnology paint that blocks cell-phone signals on demand.
(My thanks
yet again to Slashdot for the heads-up.)