Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Books are weapons in the war of ideas

The Boston Public Library's Flickr photostream contains many an exciting item. I was especially excited to find the picture above, which features the slogan of the Council on Books in Wartime-- which published Armed Services Editions. It's a compulsion. I may write some kind of nerdy, Creative-commons-licensed nonfiction essay about them just for fun.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Oh, coworkers. You are such jokers.

Backstory: Yesterday or the day before someone sent out an email to all the staff of my library saying that there was an old pole in the hallway, which someone could have if they wanted it. Apparently it was removed from the parking lot for some reason. Anyway, that is not important. When I walked by it today I saw this:

The top note is from someone indicating that they would like to have the pole. The second note, undoubtedly added by another co-worker, is a helpful suggested reference work:

But the most important question is: do we have it in our collection? No we do not. In fact a quick search turned up not a single result on the subject.

Dear Friday:

you can make me come to work, but you can't make me wear shoes.

Unfortunately, by posting that I violated the terms of service of the site I linked to. Too bad the terms of service for my site say that I don't listen to the terms of service of other sites, and furthermore, that even having a terms of service for your website is straight out of 1998. It's gonna be the future soon! GET OVER IT!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

the onebrain at work

james [4:27pm]
so within 4 minutes of each other we post on the dino-blog about the same effing topic?!?

srsly, get out of my head.

jocelyn [4:27pm]
lol really? i published mine faster!

jocelyn [4:28pm]

james [4:28pm]
yours is better, but mine was FIRST

jocelyn [4:28pm]
i almost want to leave them both as proof of how made for each other we are.

james [4:28pm]


james [4:31pm]
i deleted mine :)

jocelyn [4:35pm]
i'm putting this whole thing on my blog
you may also see this conversation in the special features on the dvd of the blog how to build a better cloned dinosaur theme park

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I really enjoyed this essay from The Second Pass: Riotous Genius. It was just over a year ago that David Foster Wallace died.

Actually The Second Pass in general is a great blog ("website"? that sounds so 2002!). I always find something I want to read about something I want to read on there.

Thinking about David Foster Wallace makes me sad, in a way that this essay is better at articulating than I am myself.

You keep saying, the past is not dead/well, stop and smell the smoke

[Ben Folds Five]

2 years ago on this date:

I applied for a job at the CBC today, and one as the music librarian at a local radio station on Friday. Being a film or music archivist/librarian would be so freakin' cool, I can't even tell you. Hipster cred through the roof. And if I thought I had the remotest chance of actually getting such a job, I'd be happy, but that is not the case. I'm trying not to get discouraged, but it is rapidly getting to the point where I am going to have to get another, random job, just to have money, and then I will completely lose my motivation to search for another, proper job because I will be too tired, and then I will work at a bookstore/coffee place/whatever forever, muttering to myself about my masters degree and how no one respects me. All I'm saying is that this incredibly depressing future is inevitable.
Every so often I stop to think about the past and I realize how dumb I am. Although being a music librarian would be extremely cool.

Crushes #I: McSweeney's iPhone app

I have a crush on McSweeney's iPhone app, although really, I have a crush on McSweeney's x, where x is any freaking thing McSweeney's has ever done. The app is very elegant and I like the randomness of it--this is true of McSweeney's in general I guess--it's kind of whatever we felt like sending you. In this case, wirelessly.

So far the content on it is hit and miss--which is consistent with other McSweeney's stuff too actually. I don't love everything McSweeney's ever publishes. I just almost always find it worth investigating, and sometimes I read a page and then skip the rest, or sometimes I find myself completely immersed in a story by an author I've never heard of. The subscription costs $6 for the first 6 months, which is OK by me too since I will apparently pay as much for the iPhone version of The Game of LIFE and then never play it. (It turns out that the most fun aspect of that game, which was spinning the giant Wheel of Fortune style spinner, does not translate to touchscreen.)

One of the ostensible reasons I got an iPhone was to make my commuting time on the bus more effective, not in the sense of actually getting work done, but in the sense of getting off the bus not feeling like I've just wasted an hour of my life. So far I have learned how to put avi videos on my phone and watched a few episodes of Lost, found a few new podcasts I'm interested in, and downloaded the McSweeney's app. So Crush Ib can be my iPhone itself, in all its sleek, purple-cased glory.

Also: my library, along with every other library in the developed world, is currently trying to figure out how it is going to interface with the 21st century and ebooks are part of the discussion. And as the virtual services librarian, I'm expected to have an opinion. I don't use ebooks much except in their native PC, DRM-my form, so this is good exposure for me. I feel like someone visiting Japan: People read? On their CELLPHONES? What?

The way the content in the McSweeney's app is delivered is, I think, an example of how to do a good job formatting text for a tiny screen. It looks attractive and it's easy to read and the pieces themselves are short so you don't feel too overwhelmed. But at the same time, I take a kind of anti-Internet position when it comes to whole books. We already invented the ultimate format for books, and it's called books. The hardware and software never stop working and never need to be updated. There are no batteries. Once you buy the content, it can't be deleted. You can lend it to someone very easily. And two thousand years from now someone will be able to pick up the books we published in 2009 and read them. As long as they were printed on acid-free paper.

Friday, September 18, 2009

"You could get 10 years for that!"

S2 of Flight of the Conchords is BLOWING MY MIND. It is so consistently hilarious and awkward and musical. My favourite scene so far: Bret gets into a feud with some rappers and has to form a gang (the Tough Brets) to protect himself. Also Murray has to confront some mean Australians. Everything comes to a head, West Side Story-style.

I would marry the Flight of the Conchords, either independently or as a unit, and then divorce them, just so I could pay them alimony so they can continue to be amazing. I love them THAT MUCH.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me that @MargaretAtwood is on twitter.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

expanding my web-empire

A couple weekends ago James and I watched Jurassic Park I and III and it inspired us to launch a new blog: how to build a better cloned-dinosaur theme park. What is sad about this blog is that we did not get the full URL we wanted. What is awesome about it is everything else.

Recently Emma, aka "that sneaky little dog," has completely lost interest in her food. She shows no other symptoms of being sick or anything--leaping onto my head with her usual unbridled enthusiasm--so I wasn't too concerned, but of course, it is better to have a dog that eats than a dog that doesn't eat. Yesterday I was grating up some zucchini to make cookies and I noted how keenly she was eyeing me, so I put a couple tablespoons of grated zucchini in with her dry food and mixed it up. Wonder of wonders! She attacked it. Maybe she was just bored. I know I would be.

Also, since I haven't posted any cute pictures of her for awhile:

yep, i set up a twitpic acct just so i could post this on Twitpic

Yep, she's wearing a little pink hoodie. I feel a little guilty about putting it on her, but all evidence suggests she LOVES wearing it. Her lavalife provide would say: I love zucchini, my pink tracksuit hoodie, and long walks on the beach. Or in the park. Or on the sidewalk. Or, barring that, across the living room floor.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

spend your whole life locked inside a mall

Really cute gay marriage ad from Ireland (via @amandapalmer)

For handy reference: List of Scientologists. Today I was sad to learn that Beck is a Scientologist. That was one of several factors that dissuaded me from downloading his new album which is a cover of The Velvet Underground & Nico. Like, the whole album. (That was also one of the reasons.)

I've linked to it before but I love dispatches from the island, the blog of actor Jorge Garcia. He posts pictures of gross bugs he sees in Hawaii, and he is probably even more obsessed with his garden than I am with mine. It's charming.

Today: WOW dailies, a failed craft project, took Emma for a walk. To the bank and the grocery store later. This might sound boring but it's actually kind of nice. Ah, my life! It seems like months since I've talked to you.

Recent obsessions: finally getting my iPhone from UPS (after what almost amounted to an armed standoff), Armed Services Editions (I've been buying them on ebay!), cosmetics without carcinogens (is that too much to ask?)

Recent things that have made me annoyed and/or furious: Calgary bi-elections, Moleskine notebooks (as in, the notion that owning one somehow makes you automatically Jack Kerouac), carcinogens in cosmetics, above.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Can't talk. Procrastinating much more efficiently than usual.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I have a feeling I've discovered this before

but my terrible memory makes it feel brand new! The Warning Label Generator.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

saturday mornin' comin' down

My long weekend is off to a rocky start. I'm working today, which is a drag, and I missed the bus which made me very nearly late to work. I went home, roused my "husband" (husband! ha!), and forced him to put on pants and drive me to work. Then he went and got coffee and brought it to me. In exchange, I have to buy him something from Best Buy. This all seems very fair. Well, except for the part where I managed to marry the nicest man in the world while some other people have to ride the bus to work and do not have coffee.

I'm heading off to a conference at the end of October which has awakened in me a dormant desire for a laptop. All the other techie librarians have them, I whine to myself. The compromise position might just be a netbook-- I'm considering the Dell Inspiron Mini 10v, which has the advantage of coming in many pretty colours. I would get red, I think, since I'm kind of a tramp. The only reason I haven't already ordered one is that I JUST bought an iphone (IF it was actually ordered-- as per my ambiguous conversations with Rogers CSRs) and also ordered a bunch of new books from Amazon and a new wallet from Etsy and... Yeah. If anyone wonders why I am in debt, the answer *may* be contained in this blog post. Not to mention all the previous blog posts.

Finally: while on vacation I finished The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. It was just amazing, a sharply written, clever, and suspenseful book, but as I got to the last 20 pages or so things were not wrapping up. I had a bad feeling about the ending, that it was going to be a Scooby-Doo style super-mega-happy ending, and then instead the dreaded words appeared at the end of the last paragraph: END OF BOOK ONE. So I was bracing myself for a long, whiny wait for the sequel. BUT! Catching Fire came out on September 1st, only a few days later, and on September 2nd, I found out about it, and later on September 2nd I ran to Chapters on my lunch break and bought it because I could not accept being #7 in the holds list. I'm about halfway through it now and it's just as strong as the first one. I really can't recommend this series highly enough. Although this time I skipped ahead to the end and, yep, it says END OF BOOK TWO. Don't say I didn't warn you. I'm on to you, Suzanne Collins. Stop causing me suspense.

Finally: I've noticed a rash of horror/thriller movies being released on Sept. 11. Internet, please tell me this is a co-incidence and not a way of channeling legitimate horror over a tragedy into marketing horror related to a movie? OK? Can you promise me that? No, I know you can't. Don't lie.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ways in which James and I are incompatible, according to recent email data

1. We are both Greens
2. James is Aries; I'm Capricorn
3. He's a prot pally, I'm a ret pally

it's a wonder we've made it as far as we have.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

After two weeks of vacation, sorting through my work email took only 1 3/4 hours. Not nearly as bad as I expected!

My good old Razr seems to have really bitten the bullet. I can't tell if it's my charger or the battery that's messed up, but something is going desperately wrong in the phone-charging cycle. Every time I turn it on it buzzes promisingly, but then I get a black screen of death, sometimes combined with a very bleak UNABLE TO CHARGE! message.

So I decided this was a logical time to upgrade to an iPhone, since I've been hankering for one for months and my bus commute is not getting any shorter. HA! At the Rogers store they informed me that, having had my current phone for less than two years, I was not eligible for an upgrade and to call customer service. (Jocelyn: "My husband and I got our old phones at the same time and he upgraded to an iPhone several months ago with no problems." Store employee: "Yeah, they changed the rule two weeks ago.") On the phone they told me that I could get an upgrade, getting an iPhone for the low low price of only $199 (only $100 higher than the price they use to entice new customers to join! What a special offer for loyal existing customers!)-- but oh, it's out of stock and the woman wasn't sure if it could be backordered.

CSR: So you could go to a Rogers store and get one there...
Jocelyn: I already tried that and they were not helpful at all, and I am not anxious to try to convince them I'm eligible for this upgrade. How about if you just order the phone and mail it to me?
CSR: Well, I'm not sure if the system will let me order one. We have too many orders for them already.
Jocelyn: But I want the 3G, not the 3GS. It's the old one! Just backorder it.
CSR: OK, phone back in about 4 days and they will give you your tracking number.
Really? Really, capitalism? I want to pay you money for goods and this is what you come up with? How about if you just sell me this effing phone that has been available for MONTHS, and I'll give you the amount of money it costs? Is that too much to ask? The two things I hate most about Canada: 1, the death panels. (I keep getting sentenced to death and it's such a drag.) 2, the fact that every technological innovation that happens elsewhere in the civilized world arrives here in some kind of stupidified form. Rogers is the only wireless provider here with the network for the iPhone, so you would think they would sort of anticipate demand for it and say STOCK SOME EXTRA ONES, but nope.

Did I mention that in the meantime I don't have a phone? So in the meantime, just continue to ignore me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My apologies to the Internet

Hey blog,

I was in Calgary! and, perhaps more excitingly, Maui! It was nice there (how's that for an adjective to describe Hawaii? "Nice"? They should integrate that into their tourism marketing. "Hawaii. It's nice.") but we were glad to come home, and now, I have suddenly been swept up in the rhythms of fall. Our garden was full of zucchini (and a handful of plump little tomatoes) which I am in the process of freezing as I write this. There is laundry to be done and sheets to be changed and, of all things, mending. That's right, I do mending. I'm basically a pioneer-woman.

Also: my warcraft server is down, so I've decided that if I do everything on my to-do list this morning, I can play WOW all afternoon. (That is, after all, what a pioneer woman would do.) So! Let's go!