Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wish Me Luck

I'm interviewing for a job promotion tomorrow. 23 people, 3 positions to fill....

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Movies Seen

With this post, I am trying out something new, actually two things new to me. Triggit allows you to drag and drop photos as well as easily link to Amazon and other affiliate sellers with your blog. So, to give it a try, I also signed up for Amazon's Associate Program. So, if someone clicks on my amazon link and buys, I get some money. The funny thing is, first I publish, then use Triggit on the web page with Firefox as the browser.

I think of blogs as a gift economy. People write from passion, giving their offerings to the world. It has the potential of reward through gifting. I know a published author who has said several times to me, "I don't read blogs." She says it with a finality that stops me from exploring further with her. Is it because she doesn't like the ease with which some bloggers plagiarize? Is it because a writer's monetary worth is brought lower? Is it simply because it can suck away too much time?

I think when the sediment trickles down, the future will find a way to recompense more authors on the web. We already see some of this with the music industry and bands choosing to give the consumers the choice of the amount they give. Some blog authors have a paypal "tip jar," and it works for them. Since I read a lot and watch a lot of movies, amazon seems a good choice for a low-key way to get tips.

Animated, Little Red Riding Hood crossed with The Incredibles. The movie begins at the end: each character tells the story of what happened while the grizzly cop attempts to solve the mystery. The squirrel talks too fast, same gimmick as in Over the Hedge. Fun fluff.

I thought I'd check this out as I saw a live performance of Rhinoceros several years ago. This is an odd play, in which one by one people turn into rhinoceros. You never actually see a rhinoceros, and it's all about the acting. Well done, but better live, I thought. I saw it in a small theater in the round, and the actors were only feet away from us in the audience.

Shakespeare Retold
Four Shakespeare plays retold in modern times. It comes from the UK, so it works. Best ones: Taming of the Shrew, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Also Much Ado About Nothing, and Macbeth. I was least interested in Macbeth, all about competition and murder in high end restaurants.

Fast Food Nation
I thought I was getting a documentary version of the book, and it turned out to be fiction. I wasn't sure I had the right movie when it began with undocumented immigrants crossing the border into the US. Oh...nobody wants to work in the meat plants, gritty and brutal places. Greg Kinnear was great as the mucky-muck coming in to check out the problems with the burger suppliers. There were some cameos from stars, clearly some roles taken as public service to draw people to the movie. My favorite, Fez from That '70s Show had a lead. Oh my, he (Wilmer Valderrama) is going to be Ponch in the CHiPs movie. Childhood celebrity crush, meet adult celebrity crush.

Last Holiday
Queen Latifah is told she's dying. She decides to go on holiday and spend all her thriftily saved money. Because she spends so freely, all the rich people thinks she is one of them. One guess as to how it ends. Remember Joe vs the Volcano? But this kinda movie, of course you know the ending. QL is beautiful. It was just be accident that I watched it on NYE. Of course that is the last holiday.

The Motel
This caught my eye because of the graphic novel-like cover. It is a nerdy boy's story of adolescent sexual exploration. His Chinese-American family owns a motel with hourly, daily, and weekly rates. Of course, porn is involved. Honest, authentic, sweet.

Monday, January 28, 2008

On Memes and a Social Class Meme

One of the things I am enjoying about the library learning 2.0 is the almost complete lack of memes. Many of them simply clog up time and bandwidth. In the blogging world, some do not even recognize the definition of meme, and instead think of it as meaning me-me. One of the most popular of the new MCL blogs is the one titled Cheese Sandwiches. Recently, he shared most eloquently why a past acquaintance grew tired of sandwiches. While not inclined much to participate in memes, it inspired me to participate in one on social class that I've been hanging on to from The Goddess of YA Literature, titled What Privileges Do You Have.

Another thing I enjoy about the library blogs is the conscientious attribution found there. This often gets lost in the blogging world. Like a bad game of telephone, bloggers will just link to the blog where they found the meme. In fact that seems to be the point of blogging memes, rather than the original author. I found this meme on another blog, introduced simply as something that reminded him of his past. It wasn't intentional, but this is blogging telephone.

Thanks to The Goddess, I was able to find the explanation of the meme's origin from one of the authors. Who knew you could find where a meme originated? (That Quaker blog does look interesting.)

The meme:

What Privileges Do You Have

Based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you please acknowledge their copyright. Bold the true statements.

1. Father went to college
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
9. Were read children's books by a parent
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18.
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school.
17. Went to summer camp.
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18.
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child
23. You and your family lived in a single family house.
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home. [with 2 mortgages]
25. You had your own room as a child.
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18.
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course.
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college.
30. Flew anywhere in a commercial airline before you were 16.
31. Went on a cruise with your family.
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as a child.
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

They say you should write at a 7th grade level

I think maybe that's what is wrong with the US.

blog readability test

Movie Reviews

Friday, January 25, 2008

Flickr Thoughts

Two posts from the 2.0 work blog:

I've been using Flickr for quite a while. It all began when I attended my nephew's graduation party, and I was the one with a camera. I needed a way to share the photos with my family. A year or so ago, I hit the 200-photo mark. Once over the mark, flickr hides the oldest until you pay. I decided to pay.

Some of my co-workers started asking me about features I hadn't really explored, and I realized that even if comfortable with a web tool, there could be a lot of things I don't know because I haven't used them. I decided to explore some of the groups, adding yet another layer to the social networking possibilities that already make me feel overwhelmed. Serendipitously, someone commented on this photo:

Paul Bunyan Catches his fish

asking if I would add it to his Paul Bunyan group. Incidentally, rather than use Flickr's "Blog This" button, I prefer to choose "All Sizes" and copy and paste the code for the size I wish to use in my blog, or copy the URL for the size I wish to use and use the picture upload button. Roller is not so flexible as Blogger for this, and Blogger is not the greatest either, I have to say. I searched around for a few more groups for which my photos might be appropriate. I added a few to Pictures of Maps, for which I got a thanks. I looked at the guy's profile, and realized I'm really only scratching the surface at flickr. He has or is in about a hundred public groups, and has 30 contacts. Contacts? So I need to find friends here too?

I like Animoto for creating short little videos of my photos from flickr. Now I've discovered if I click the Toggle HTML button in Roller, the thing won't mess up the code I'm trying to embed, so there should be an animoto photo show below. If not, you can see these familiar scenes to many of us by clicking here.

A park
Originally uploaded by nicholaswegener
With this stuff, web 2.0, even when you think you're familiar enough with something, you learn something else that's always been there, or something new comes along.

I've used Flickr a lot, but saw little use for the "Blog This" feature. I prefer to use the bells and whistles of the blogging tool. Some people working on this 2.0 activity have learned that you can't post a photo from Flickr with the URL of the photo. To get the URL that works, you have to be looking at one of the sizes of your own photo. You can't do that with someone else's photo. Ever. "Public" does not mean you can just grab the photo without attribution. Even under creative common license, you can't find that URL that will allow direct posting to your blog.

So the only way to post someone else's photo without the Flickr blogging feature is to save it to your computer, and then upload it to your own flickr or blog. And that, it seems to me, gets into murky copyright territory. It's safer, and certainly more courteous, to use the blogging tool that will give a direct link back to the original photographer.

So...I decided to wade into use of this tool. The photo above comes from a group I joined where you guess where the photo was taken in the Portland area.

Eats Near Hollywood Library

This is one of my work blog posts, so it was written with Multnomah County Library employees in mind:

Panera Bread NE 41st and Sandy

One of the big draws in the decision to sub at a particular location could be the places to eat nearby.

People have many choices near the Hollywood branch.

I thought I'd share some of these places. I hope other people will consider doing the same for their locations, and fellow Hollywoodians, don't let me stop you from covering places you go regularly.

Panera Bread has moved in next to Trader Joe's. Actually, many of us at Hollywood shop at Trader Joe's for our lunches, as there are many tasty ready-to-eat things to choose from there.

In order to eat somewhere, I have to be able to walk there, be served, eat, and return to the library within an hour. At Panera, there could be a line, but lines are dealt with fast. Last week, I met my sweetie for lunch. He was late, there was a line, and we still had time left on my lunch hour after we ate.

Unlike fast food chains, the food is good. The bagels alone can be worth it, but a bagel with one of their soups, even better. As a vegetarian, I can usually expect to have only one or two choices, but Panera often has three or four soups, one or two sandwiches, and a variety of bready things. I've had the Southwest roasted corn and tomato soup in a bread bowl, along with a half-salad. (I wish I'd remembered to take that photo.) Tasty, fresh, plenty. When I went to lunch with my sweetie, I had the tomato bisque, also quite good, and I'm pretty skeptical about tomato soups. A bagel with cream cheese, great for the side.

Besides coffee and fountain drinks, Panera also has Jones soda. For some reason I never noticed before that the labels change. This one caught my eye. It turns out you can submit your own photos.

Oh yeah, Panera is great for breakfast too. Someone I know has become hooked on the egg souffles.

While I don't have need to use their free wi-fi, it could come in handy when I'm not at work.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Books Read

A Step From Heaven by An Na

I was attracted to this book because it is written by a Korean American about a Korean immigrant girl. We get the girl's view from the time just before she emigrates to the US at four years old until she prepares for college. I think these kids who must straddle two worlds are fascinating. They translate for their parents, and are often quite smart due to the brain power cultivated through bilingual dexterity. Her first person view is maintained throughout the book quite well, consequently what is not said is just as significant as what is said. Her four year old voice, quite poetic, and the author handled her growing awareness of her troubled home skillfully. The writing is spare and direct, and for some reason kept me a little removed from those emotional aspects. Perhaps that was an aspect of the character, a girl escaping inwardly from the drama of a raging alcoholic. A quick read, but not as compelling as I thought it might be.
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

(I also listened to the second book, basically the middle of a long book that makes up the trilogy. Lyra meets Will. Will meets the Subtle Knife. They travel between worlds. Lyra's mother sometimes seems good, sometimes seems bad.) You can't read or listen to just one of His Dark Materials without reading all three. I like this series for the exciting world, or rather, worlds, created that explain consciousness as "dark material," otherwise known as dust. Ideas of God and Angels are turned upside down. The myth of the fall, and Eve, gets played out again, with a much different flavor than the biblical myth.

There is love, there is adventure, and there is the meaning of life, all good stuff to find in fantasy fiction. To read this series was addictive, to listen to it was icing on the cake.

Celebrity Detox by Rosie O'Donnell

People love to hate Rosie O'Donnell, and people love to love her. I admire her more for her outspoken honesty than I do for her acting ability. She has a wife, four children, and a self-admitted loud mouth that gets attention in the media. The funny thing is, the media invariably gets it wrong.

While her website often reads like stream of consciousness poetry, the book was written with the help of her friend Lauren Slater. The thoughts and occasional gems of wisdom are all Rosie. She understands Celebrity, and the havoc it plays on a person's life.
She wrote, "Fame is the ultimate expression of hierarchy. And hierarchy is the ultimate structure on which anger, jealousy, and humiliation hang. How, therefore, could this have been easy? I know what it feels like to feel less than. No matter how great, how reich, how brilliant, how fat, there will always be someone else with more. This, perhaps, is the hurt we humans have never learned how to hold."

The book reads fast, and even though memoir, has a climactic ending. A good reason to buy it? Rosie takes no money. All her profit goes to kids.

Owen and Mzee by Isabella Hatkoff (Author), Craig Hatkoff and Dr. Paula Kahumbu (Author), Peter Greste (Illustrator)

A baby hippo orphaned by the December 2004 tsunami is adopted by an Aldabra tortoise. The true story of their friendship is told in this picture book by father and young daughter. You can get a taste here.

P.S. I hope my reviews will improve in light of my recent reviews of my reference training materials. Now that I've been subbing a while, the information on Readers' Advisory sunk in a little better. We may not know it, but I suspect better reviews will address the elements of appeal: pace; characters; setting (including atmosphere); and plot (story). Plot and character are often at odds...swift-moving story will sacrifice details of character. Another element is the style of writing.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Just Ahead, or Behind the Tide

I've been so busy, it hardly seems like two weeks since I returned from Wisconsin. Tomorrow (today) is my brother's birthday. I need to remember to call him.

Lemme see, what have I been up to? I'll work backwards:

I've been exploring I'm giving it a try after sampling and rejecting it a couple or a few years ago. I didn't think I needed yet another web tool to suck me into exploring more of the web. I gave it a try because an MCL librarian convinced me it could be quite useful for managing bookmarks, better then those clunky Favorites folders. i thought of those dusty old links on my computer....yep....i just usually re-find them using Google. and then i thought of my bloglines feeds, and how i have over 100 saved blog posts just in my 'books' folder. So I signed up, especially since I could get started on work time.

You see, my library has begun a Library 2.0 learning program, and all employees are encouraged to work through the activities designed to give us a taste of web 2.0 tools. Our director even used YouTube to broadcast her introduction to the program for us. (I'm not going to link to that one...if you really want to see it you can work for's not hard to find.)

I will be quite familiar with some of that stuff, such as this blogging thingy, and flickr, but there will be some things I haven't been of a mind to explore. I'll share some of the posts I do there, here.

Yesterday I woke up with a dream that I saw my first husband at the mall movie theater. I greeted him, friendly, "Hey, Jimmy, what are you doing here in Portland?!" He seemed pleased to find me, and it appeared that was why he was there, but then he was only interested in finding this other seat in the theater and petulant over having to pause to talk to me. He looked the same as I remember, and I was eager to get a chance to talk and catch up, but after his first greeting he wouldn't settle to talk.

The day before I woke up with a dream that I was in a group at the Zen Center, my teacher Kyogen included, and we were trying out a new sutra/song to chant for services. We were doing it with a catchy beat, drums and bells, and it was the Song of Milarepa. Awake, I knew I was getting yet another dream from myself telling me to WAKE UP and practice meditation already. Is that a thing, Song of Milarepa? Lemme look it up. OK, from what dim recesses of my brain did that come from? I knew there's a Tibetan figure called Milarepa, but I did not consciously remember Songs of Milarepa, nor have I studied them. Now what, I wonder, would be the Song of Milarepa?

I digress with dreams. I took a civil service test on Friday, trying for that promotion to Library Assistant. The competition is fierce (but genteel). 23 (or is it 26?) people qualified for these exams. There are currently 3 positions that need to be filled, and we will be hired based on our score on the written exam and the oral interview. It's been 4 years since they did this thing, and this new hire list will last only a year. The opportunities are slim. If I get the promotion, I won't gain much money through this at first, but to do reference all the time would be quite enjoyable. Eventually I would earn more money, because while I won't get any more pay raises as a clerk, I would as a library assistant. I've been a clerk for 10 years; I've topped out on the pay increases. prepare I've been subbing as an LA, studying training materials, and making sure I knew where to look for obscure things. My oral interview is at the end of the month.

Thursday our new sofa and bed from IKEA were delivered. Steve and I moved the couch to his bachelor pad, and I took apart the old bed (not as easy as it sounds) and cleaned the bedroom in preparation. The delivery came later in the day than expected, so I put the sofa together, Steve came home, and we both put the bed together. It was a very long day, and quite a workout. But within two days my back felt completely better. I've had back pain for months, maybe over a year. Ah, the new bed is the trick. I travelled by Max to IKEA on Tuesday to order it and set up delivery. We ordered the new sofa before Christmas. They had a sale: we got a gift card for 20 percent of the cost of that, and this, our new chair. I used the gift card to pay for most of the new bed.

Oh oh, the fun stuff. Last night I went to a friend's 40th birthday party. She had us play the game where we guess our identity by asking other party-goers questions about who we were. (Sticker with name on your back, yes-or-no questions.) She has 3 kids, and she wanted to get wild because it was the first time they were not there and she was having a party. There was much sexual innuendo among all, especially as the levels descended in the bottles of rum. (But oh so innocent, I could so corrupt her if she wanted...)

And over a week ago I got to attend the world premier of the home movie of the scientists in Antarctica, doing their scientist things like taking radar and gps readings of ice movement or loss or some such thing. We saw sped-up video of camp setup, and Tina walking around and around doing the very important business of keeping warm while she waited the 15 minutes for the equipment to do its stuff. They dig a hole in the ice for their open-air porta-potty. Someone joked about scientists a thousand years from now taking ice samples. It's not yet, but at some point when it's public I can share the link. Here's a little memento of her stay:

Map, McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Map of McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Friday, January 11, 2008

Finally a Reality Show I Love

How to Look Good Naked

Carson Kressley manages in 5 days to get fabulously fat women to love their bodies, something it takes many women a lifetime, if ever, to do on their own.

Something good came out of my watching too many Christmas movies, many of which were on Lifetime...I saw the preview for this show while watching them.

He manages to expose so many of the fallacies that we carry around about ourselves:

  • that we don't look good naked
  • that we can't wear cute clothes
  • that we are enormous (He has the young woman place herself among other fat woman according to size. She will invariably put herself in too big a slot.)
  • that people will not see our naked bodies as beautiful
  • that we must lose weight to be sexy

Carson is so adorable, so kind. I may have to check out Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Another Word Subscription

Ack. I meant to mention this before the 1st. I don't need to say I had other things on my mind.

I've mentioned AWAD before, now there's Rhyme-a-Day. Hallie Leighton is a smart lady that went to my college. Her first book, Rare Words, gave us only the tough words you might find in AWAD. Now she's giving us some more of those rare words, but also giving us a rhyme to help remember them. Join her yahoo group to get a daily word, click above or on the sidebar button.

Or buy the book, Rare Words II, when it comes out, and get them all at once.

The first word of the year:

redivivus (reh-dih-VIE-vus)
adj. revived; brought back to life (always placed after the noun it modifies).

No man alive is
a Julius redivivus.
Of posers, there’s plenty.
New Caesars? Not any.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Daily Feel Good Photo

I've had limited access to the web here in Wisconsin. I found a free wireless connection but I don't know where it's coming from. Steve says I should be careful. Someone might hack my computer. I've also gone to the library, which is excruciatingly slow, but most people around here have dialup, so it's probably fast to them. And I've gone to McDonald's. I thought they had free wifi, but you pay for it here, 3 bucks for 2 hours. I slowly enjoyed an egg nog milkshake.

I've had good reason to keep checking my email, one of our core members of Portland BPF was busy planning this.
Besides a daily phone call from the best guy ever, I needed a little dose of sanity while in the frigid Midwest. I just realized my favorite thing to visit has been The Daily Coyote. This bit of wildness, just a bit tamed, soothes my heart.
This is just of a sample of the many amazing photos of Charlie by Shreve Stockton in Wyoming.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year

I am a day late because I was traveling. May all have a peaceful and happy new year.

Meet the New Year with

Great Determination.

Paint the eye of Daruma when you've fulfilled your project or commitment.

I was inspired for this year's theme by Whiskey River, a Buddhist blog that usually shares quotes for inspiration of a Buddhist flavor. In this case, not a quote, but an explanation (scroll down to December 30.

(Steve says my original watercolor looks much better. The gold bits are sparkly.)