Links in Lieu of Content Redux!

I'm still catching up on all the posts that Bloglines faithfully aggregated during my absence. This has primarily consisted of quick scans of post titles and a lot of discarding without reading. I think I can live without completely reading one week in the blogosphere. I'll have to--I don't have time to catch up completely!!
  • This Library Etiquette post further justifies my career choice, since last year at C3 we both were clad in obscure costumes that not even 80% of the Star Wars freaks in attendance recognized. I was mistaken for Tank Girl more often than Pink Five for some reason--um, hello, Star Wars convention?!--although Alex's Ice Cream Maker Guy definitely got the most delighted recognition.
  • CueCat and LibraryThing--what fun! That reminds me, I don't think Alex and I are more than half-finished using the CueCat to enter our DVD collection. (It'd probably go faster if we didn't have the scifi genre subdivided into twelve other categories like "space travel - with aliens" and "time travel.")
  • Fun for perfectionists--I mean, English majors: Typo of the Day.
  • Amazon.com reviews for bananas: "Ideal for people who like eating bananas or who wish to befriend a monkey." Indeed, my friend, indeed.
  • This place looks fun: and a damaged books room! Sigh...


Link-en-stein's Monster

In lieu of actual blog content, I bring you linky goodness.

Travel Trumps Blogging

This is just a short note to say I'm back, I've got photos/notes for lots of posts, and I've got a lot of work/school/life to catch up on.

Here's a short anecdote to tide you over:
So far, I've spent 2 hours cleaning out the email accumulated over the past 11 days. That's just one of my three (primary) email accounts, and that's not counting the half-hour I spent deleting irrelevant messages from that account on Tuesday. Sigh.

Since when did email make my life more streamlined, anyway?


Abilene Backlog: 10.26 - 10.29.06

In the morning, we left from Mandy's house (where we'd crashed upon returning from DC) and drove straight to Abilene--do not pass go, do not go home and do laundry. After this point, my travel-logged memory becomes fuzzy, as I stopped taking analog notes and neglected to go directly digital, either.

Thursday, we enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Abilene Civic Center, to celebrate HSU's successful Secure the Future Campaign. Friday... I'm not sure what we did Friday, to tell you the truth. I think Alex and I spent several hours reading through Jared's print volumes of Penny Arcade, and then I think we wandered on campus awhile to see the new Alumni Wall. Alex and Jared stayed up late making Mii characters, and I passed out after reading comics. Saturday was the usual Homecoming mix: Kathryn and I did our BYA duty at the Cowpoke Posse table, preused the bookstore, and made our usual appearance at the Art Alumni Reception (wandering the halls and critiquing student art while laughing at the memories), and Alex and Cameron set up the computer lab for the Gaming Tournament. Jared and I joined them later, and then the festivities began--hosted by Tiibo Tibo Thibault. (Sidenote: It was crazy and awesome to see our friend Seth dating Lisa, who is my college roomie Martha's younger sister.)

First we played America's Army, a game that is at first incredibly frustrating, but at the same time has got to be one heck of a recruiting tool. Yes, the US Army actually provides this game freely, in the hopes that they will recruit some enthusiastic youths into military service. You've got to wonder, though, if recruiting gamers is the wisest idea... I forsee the Army's motto changing in the near future from "be all that you can be," or "an army of one" to "fraglords."

I hated this game until the very last few rounds, when I discovered missiles. This is pretty typical; I detested Battlefield 2 until I learned I could get an anti-aircraft missile launcher, camp out on top of buildings, and really spectacularly snipe people. Muawahahahaha, ah, the beautiful destruction that ensued. I'm not much of one for Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, either, except for the "Gold Rush" and Stargate maps. Now, when we returned to Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons last year, I was a lot happier.

This year, we played Savage. And oh-my-freaking-gosh, that game is amazing. The music, the look, the gameplay is all so different from what I've played before, and I love that the light changes throughout the game. Although to be honest, I had some difficulty navigating through an area a second time in the dark when I'd previously been there in the light. But you get used to it.

The neatest aspect of the game is that it is both a RTS and a FPS. Each team has a commander who views the game from RTS mode, while the rest of the team is in FPS multiplayer mode. It's nice to get direction from the commander--it really helped me, since I'm not a good enough gamer to do well in a multiplayer game alone. I can't really describe the experience adequately enough, but you should download it yourself, as it's free.

We played until midnight, then headed back to Jared's--and thus ended another year of Homecoming festivities.


DC Backlog: 10.25.06

The morning session about digital distribution was a bit of a blur for me while Alex checked us out of the hotel, and we bid farewell to Valerie and my new acquaintances. We walked to--where else?--Union Station for lunch, and gobbled down pizza at Uno, which had excellent fries. Then we walked down to the National Gallery of Art for the behind-the-scenes library tour, which our tour guide graciously let Alex join (there were only five of us). We saw their reference area, closed stacks, artist flat files, catalogs, photo collection, and slides, and my little geeky-artist-librarian heart nearly burst.

Alex and I checked our watches and hoofed it to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum for the last few hours before our flight, snapping photos, touching moon rocks, and saying hello to Charlie Duke's crew photo (my parents went to a Bible study at his house in the 1980's, and I watched Halley's Comet from his backyard when I was eight).

We retrieved our checked luggage from the Hyatt, and lugged it to Union Station, through two Metro lines, and on to Reagan Airport.

After another glorious flight, Alex's mama picked us up, treated us to Sonic, and patiently watched our photo slideshow before we all crashed at Alex's sister's house.


DC Backlog: 10.24.06

I met several people over coffee in the morning, attended a session on Metadata, then enjoyed lunch with the GITCO bunch (my boss is the chair, doncha know) at the Thunder Grill, Union Station. Trying to shake the odd feeling that I was in a Texas restaurant in DC, I ordered the portabello fajitas, which were fantastic, and thoroughly enjoyed the conversation.

Back at the hotel that afternoon, I met Alex, who grabbed some lunch at the Billy Goat, and then we trotted down the Mall for the next six and a half hours. As we walked toward the Washington Monument, I mentioned that I had only recently learned that it had an interior that you could tour, which was news to Alex. Upon finally arriving at it, we discovered that tickets had to be purchased in advance at an office located elsewhere, and all tickets for that day had already been distributed. And then a gracious tourist with two extra tickets provided them to us. It was a killer view out every window, and Alex went a little mad with the camera.

We saw the Washington Monument from almost every location we visited in DC, until it took on the aspect of a celestial fixture, like the sun. And if you had the desire and time to look through the 400+ photos we took in this single day, you'd see that over half of them feature this distinct architectural landmark, in a variety of lights.

Once past this monument, we were awed by the World War II Memorial, which was gorgeous and huge and breathtaking. The bronze plaque devoted to airmen featured a man in the center that look just like my grandfather did in the 1940's, and when we visited the computer kiosk near the memorial, we looked up his name in the WII registry.

I was freezing by the time we were walking toward the Lincoln Memorial, but the gorgeous fall color everywhere kept me moving. Alex and I got our pre-planned photo of a penny back, and once inside, I geeked out at the amazing ceiling, of which I took an obscene amount of photos. As we left the memorial, we were greeted by a sunset that had enflamed the surface of the mall with brilliance.

We headed hotel-ward by way of the Vienam War Memorial, a stark contrast of beautiful design and tragic significance that left us mute. As we walked back through the Mall, we filled the camera with even more images of the Washington Monument--reflected, lit up, behind tree branches. Our photos begin to exhibit the blurred quality of the tripod-less-shot from here on out, save for a few clear images of the Capitol.

We made it to Union Station by about 8:30, just in time to share some dinner at the Center Cafe and commiserate about our tortured feet. From the second tier of the restaurant, we watched the traffic of Union Station pass by, trying to discern a person's personality or their destination by the amount of luggage they hauled. After another chilly walk back to the hotel, we indulged yet again in a pint of ice cream, and fell asleep in the 7th inning of Game 3 (which I discovered the next day had been won by the Cardinals, to my delight and Alex's dismay). Alex rooted for the Tigers both for their decade-long underdog status (although not applicable this year) and ultimately because they are American League, a loyalty that is legendary in his family. I chose the Cards in the end because I've rooted for them in the past, and because Detroit is the ugliest city on TV and the movies that I have ever seen, and my aesthetic sensibilities have thus prejudiced me against the Tigers, despite my soft spot for underdogs.

And if that's not the least American reason behind watching America's Favorite Pasttime, I don't want to know what is.


DC Backlog: 10.23.06

Everyone at FDLP seems to carry a Starbuck's cup, despite the fact that there's a coffee maker (with decent coffee) in every room. I wonder if carrying the hotel cup around marks me as "cheap," or merely as "still paying off student loans."

I attended two really interesting sessions on Web Harvesting (hey, that's what I do!), and CD-ROM Migration, and had a tasty lunch with the Texas depository group in the hotel restaurant (roasted veggies on ciabatta). By the time I was finished with FDLP, Alex and I wandered up to Union Station for dinner again, repeating our Au Bon Pain delight and then indulging in some gelato on the cold, cold walk back to the Hyatt.


DC Backlog: 10.22.06

The morning was my FDLP orientation session, and then Alex and I grabbed some polish sausage from The Billy Goat and wandered down to the Capitol Building for a few hours. Most people in the area were ridiculously bundled in thick coats and scarves, while we supposed light-weight Texans had only thin sweaters over shirts. Were all the other tourists from Florida? We took a bunch of pictures, then returned so that I could attend some afternoon sessions and meet up with Valerie.

Then we wandered to Union Station for dinner--past the accident scene at its entrance, where a taxi had run into some mammoth flower-pots. And promptly discovered that 9pm closing was nothing; on Sundays, everything closes at 6! We managed to snag a great dinner at Au Bon Pain, where I discovered that the dreamiest sandwich on earth involves: smoked turkey, jalapeno guacamole, swiss, crunchy snow peas, tomato, and jalapeno mayo.

Of course, Ben & Jerry's would have cost us $12 for one scoop each--!--so we instead returned to the hotel and purchased a pint of Haagen-Dazs strawberry ice cream instead, which we devoured in Aforementioned Comfy Bed while watching the Discovery Channel and Game 2 of the World Series.


DC Backlog: 10.21.06

We got up at 4:30am to get to the airport, but I didn't even need the caffeine-infused-solace of the Starbucks that appeared every fourth gate, so excited was I. Excited to be traveling to DC for the first time, yes, but even more so simply at the prospect of flying. Flying turns me into a hyper five-year-old--as soon as I get into my seat, I lean forward to press my face against the window for a glimpse of the wing, my short little legs swinging furiously with delight. One my childhood dreams was that once I grew up, I'd be able to drive myself to the airport--just to watch and listen as the planes took off. My favorite sounds are, in order:
  1. Alex's voice (aww, had to go mushy on you there)
  2. airplanes taking off
  3. breaking waves at the beach
  4. an orchestra warming up
  5. rain (particularly on a metal roof)

I must digress here to point out the sheer lunacy of requiring a woman to pack a single zip-lock bag of 3-oz. toiletries for a 5-day trip. If it had not been for the fact that I was traveling with Alex, who of course required only toothpaste, shaving cream, and deodorant, I'd have been frantic. As it was, the fact that I had to add contact solution to the bags made them stuffed to the point of near-bursting.

Due to a cancelled flight and three gate changes for the later flight we were bumped to, we didn't arrive in DC until 4:30, three hours later than I had planned for our sight-seeing day. As we got to our luxury-on-UNT's-budget hotel room (after gawking like hicks at the doormen and posh lobby), all our adrenaline evaporated, and we crashed on the Most Comfortable Bed Known to Man.

After waking hours later, I discovered that there was no Gideon Bible in the drawer--either the Gideons didn't make it to DC, or the last person was in dire need of a copy--and no free wifi. I felt as though I was missing my third arm--the really interesting, useful one out of the three--and immediately had no idea how to contact people, check tour times, or find a place to eat. How easily we forget how we operated before 1995...

Hungry after awakening from our travel-induced stupor, we roamed outside the Hyatt--only to find that DC is one of those odd cities where everything closes after 9pm. Even Starbucks. On a Saturday night. Luckily, The Billy Goat was still open, and we grabbed some delicious cheeseburgers to enjoy in our room. We theorized that the reason DC, of all places, closed so early was that politicians are primarily old fuddy-duddies who are at home in bed by that time. This was, perhaps, a slightly harsh and childish view, but being that we were desperately in need of nutrition at the time, it seems understandable.


23-Flavor Goodness

Is it just me, or is the "authentic blend of 23 flavors" tagline on Dr. Pepper cans more of a scare than a selling point? (Of course, I still opened the can and drank it, so who's the fool there?)

World (er, make that Nation) Traveler

I'll be off the grid for much of the ten days between 10/20 and 10/30 as I travel here, there, and then to yon. My posts will definitely be irregular, and may also be infrequent. I'd love to blog the conference, but since we're taking just one laptop between the two of us, will be visiting people and attending functions each evening, and I'd also like to see a little bit of DC with Alex... you might not see alot here until we get back.

This week has been a blur of itemized lists, printing tourist info, making and canceling and making reservations, shopping for 3-oz toiletries, and packing for two destinations on one trip.

Today, my itinerary is: work (primarily using my wiki), run some errands, pay any bills due in the next 10 days, and then we'll drive to Alex's sister's house to spend the night (she and my brother-in-law have graciously agreed to drive us to DFW airport at the crack of dawn tomorrow).

...And now, on to transcribing notes about the wonders of federated searching!



...No, I'm not talking about Max Ernst.

This weekend Alex and I helped his parents fix up a rental property they recently purchased. A house which is one street from the house Alex and I rented during our first year of marriage. A house which features the exact same floorplan as that rental.

It was like stepping back in time five years, only with better carpeting.

Alex worked there on Saturday while I was up at UNT, and yesterday I joined him (during the Day of Deluge) in tiling the kitchen backsplash with about 25 sf. of ceramic tile. I've got to say, I'm impressed with our work; we've tiled three floors together, but never a wall. We were both pleasantly surprised by the fact that it's much easier, there's no on-the-knees or back bending involved, the adhesive is easier to work with than mortar, and ceramic tile just cuts darned faster than granite. I am also proud to report that I figured out how to change out an outlet (by myself--no question-asking!) and promptly replaced about ten outlets in the house (by that time we ran out of new outlets to use).

Now I'm realizing that it's far less than a week before DC and Abilene, and that I have two trips to prepare for in far too little time. My errand list is frightening. One of the errands involves getting my bridesmaid dress (received in the mail Saturday) in for alterations before I leave--but before I can get it altered, I have to find a strapless bra for it. It fits my waist, but the thing is at least 6 inches too long (and its numerous flowy chiffon layers mean I can't hem it myself), and let's just say that in the chest area, it looks a tad... deflated. Being as the bodice is beaded, I'd rather not deal with the nightmare of having it altered, so off to Vickie's Secret it is.

Oh, the miracles they work.

Perhaps not so miraculous, then. Two hours of the frustrating humiliation of trying on strapless bras later, I have two extremely questionable candidates and the distinct desire to drive home and drown my sorrows in a tub of Dreyer's Slow-Churn Raspberry Chip Royale. I think perhaps I'm better suited to the part of flower girl than bridesmaid; at least I know those dresses fit.

Ah, well. I may have to stuff the bodice of both strapless bridesmaid dresses with two pairs of woolen socks, but at least they're gorgeous.


Weddings, Playoffs, and Other Great Events

So not only will I be wearing this in LA next month, but in March I'll be wearing this darling dress for a darling friend! (Hmm, I had Jaime wear her silver Doc Martins in my wedding, since we had silver dresses--I wonder if she'll require me to wear my black Docs with this dress? Wedding-Punk!)

I'd have already been interested in reading another Firefly/Serenity comic, but I'm doubly interested since there's an essay by Geoff Klock in it. Hooray!

Sandra Tayler has some great insights on taking criticism for creative writing; just in time for NaNoWriMo, too (join the UNT group)!

Wow, wow, wow--it's unfortunate that it didn't work out in the end, but Jim Henson Co. was courting Ursula Vernon about a movie option for Digger?! The very thought of how awesome that movie would've been... ah, well.

The Tigers and the A's... the Mets and the Cards... this doesn't bode a very personally-exciting World Series for me in any combination. The last time I had a strong opinion about any of these teams was the Subway Series--in which I rooted for the Mets by default, of course, since they're not the Yankees--and the I-70 Series--in which I rooted for the Cards simply because my parents were rooting for the Royals (and which I will never to my dying day live down, because Alex and his family are also devoted Royals fans).

So I guess depending on which NL team wins, I can either root for the Mets, or I can root against the Cards and try to atone for past sins.


Gas is $1.99!

...Hell just froze over.
Thank goodness!


A Shower of Links

Rain: much-appreciated for my cracked yard.
Same Rain: much-un-appreciated when it completely soaked my pants this morning at work (got a hair dryer?).
Still the Same Rain: much-re-appreciated for its beauty on the window panes, once inside and (relatively) dry with a warm bagel and coffee.

I finally read Ender's Game, after many years of noble intentions. (Thanks, Kali, for reminding me!) I found it very, very interesting--and liked it--although it wasn't exactly what I expected. I'm glad I didn't read it in high school, though; I think the violence would have been a bit much for my sheltered self.


Battlestar Fever (Spoiler Alert!)

(My apologies to my non-cable/satellite-connected friends. I have felt your pain; but I couldn't hold out any longer.)

So a reader asked what I thought of the BSG premier on Friday.

...Wow... Um, wow.

So, I did watch those ten webisodes--we saw six before the premier, and the other four afterward, once our extremely twitchy DSL shaped up (don't trust SBC Yahoo, even if your only other option is a semi-reliable wireless connection from a provider that never returns your phone calls and only remembers to bill you every other month or so). Ahem. The webisodes were a little more relevant to the premier than I'd have expected--clearly, you didn't have to see them, but it sure explained the question that immediately leapt to Alex's mind, which was how the heck Duck got into a Toaster-Police grad ceremony in the first place.

Um... about that. We're still wondering how Jammer, standing directly behind Duck, didn't seem to show even a scratch. Um... explosion. So--are we looking at #9 of 12 models, here? Seems pretty fishy to me.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of newly-revealed toasters, let me say that the addition of Quantum Leap's Dean Stockwell to the cast just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside my scifi heart. That, and the lovely Erica Cerra is just popping up everywhere--mom to secretly-adopted half-breed toaster baby on BSG, tough deputy on (now-on-hiatus) Eureka, and a vampire sorority chick on Smallville (in an episode that featured Carrie Fisher, no less)! I half expect that when I'm once again able to tune into new episides of SG-1 and Atlantis, she'll turn up as a friendly alien.

But back to BSG. I'm almost sad that Six is around in the flesh--will we get anymore of that tantalizing what-the-heck-is-up mental version of her (and Gaius, for that matter)? We got a peek of her again when the in-the-flesh Six was shot, so I've got hope. I still don't quite trust either Boomer, although I really really want to. I have to say that Tyrol's still my favorite character in the entire series (love the beard!), and if they've killed off his gal Cally, I'm gonna be really hacked. (And then immediately suspect that all is not as it seems.) And dude, is Apollo in a fat suit, or did they really make the poor guy eat 10-lb. bags of Doritos all hiatus long? And what was in the water over the summer, because everybody got married! I know they've got to repopulate and all, but is the original Boomer's unrequited (I assume) love for Tyrol going to be our only remaining romance?

Oh, wait, how I could I forget about Starbuck holding hands with that rotten toaster. I hope she's faking it, because I've got high suspicions that he pushed the kid down in the first place to gain Starbuck's sympathy.

You've got to love the complicated shades of grey in this show, which is what's made it what it is since the beginning. We've not only got complicated, flawed human beings, but we've got toasters to hate (Doral), toasters to love (Six), toasters we love to hate (Brother Cavil), and toasters we aren't quite sure about (Boomer 1 & 2).

...So, is it Friday yet?

Exercise Your Freedom

...Tomorrow's your last day to register to vote--so do it now!

And for all you proud citizens of the Best State in the Union... Austin's KVUE has a video of the gubernatorial debate last Friday (avoid the annoying registration process), and KERA also provides clips in this story and this one.


PC: Definition of the Phrase "It's Personal"

Can someone explain to me how it's even possible for a computer-driven device to have a personality?

I've had my share of tempermental bits of technological equipment before. During the three years that I worked as Dr. Brunner's student assistant, his HP inkjet printer gave me fits. But although it seemed to be infuriating on purpose, it was a logical problem, as the majority of the issues were paper-jam-related.

This printer, however, has a bonafide grudge against me. Several weeks ago, it randomly printed every blessed document I sent to it--but it must have been gracious on purpose because it was Monday, as evidenced by the fact that every print job I have sent before or since, no matter how short, is missing pages. I just sent a print job to it: ten copies of one page each, and it printed nothing. I sent the job a second time, and it printed them--but it had a definite smirk when I retrieved the papers.

Logically, if my computer's having some issue communicating with the printer, shouldn't I get all or nothing? Why do I keep getting only 5 pages printed of a 9-page document, or 3 pages of a 5-page doc? Why did it take me three separate prints this morning to print a 12-page document?

Honestly, if there are any real insights as to a logical solution to, or even a reason for, this problem, I will gratefully listen. I'd like to think that this isn't personal, considering the thing is a mass-produced item of plastic and metal.

Brief Overview, This Week in TV:

Eureka's season-ender (boo!), Lost's season opener (yay!), and BSG's season opener (wild, crazed screaming ensues). I read a quote yesterday from the current season of Gilmore Girls (it's four more seasons on DVD before I catch up) that I thought truely displayed the show's awesome genius:

"Don't underestimate me, Luke. I read books. And I watch Battlestar Galactica."

On a parting note, let me reassure you that my sudden lack in posts here isn't because I've forgotten or lost interest--in fact, I'm regularly making notes for posts, but haven't had the opportunity to post. The few minutes a day I've had for blogging has been spent on my professional blog lately. So, if you're desperate enough for my ramblings to read library-related info, hop on over.