Monday, April 30, 2007

A Different Harry Chapin Song.

A while back I mentioned Harry Chapin on the radio singing his song "Taxi". This picture reminded me of another of his songs, "The Rock."
"The rock is gonna fall on us," he stood and told the class.
The professor put his chalk down and peered out through his glasses
But he went on and said; "I've seen it, high up on the hill
If it doesn't fall this year then very soon it will!"
--Harry Chapin, "The Rock" on the albums Portrait Gallery and Harry Chapin: Story of a Life [BOX SET]

Number 17

Catch-up and Play Week: Play with an online image generator.

done and done. But now, a word from our sponser, the Number 17.

The Japanese verse form known as Haiku contains exactly 17 syllables. Note that it consists of 3 lines, with 5, 7, and 5 syllables, respectively.
Back to our show.
This poster was made at the Do It Yourself tab at
the Parody Motivator Generator at (The do it yourself part included the picture, which is mine, and the aphorism, which is also mine, all rights reserved!)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Thing 15 & 16 (My, how far you'll go, Thing One and Thing Two!)

27thing 15.

beginning wikis

I like reading a number of article entries--the frontiers-town feeling of wikipedia was fun. But I'm more comfortable with some authoritative control for my reliable sources of information. The Booklovers' Wiki was okay because it felt more like a modified / evolved version of the old BBS (electronic bulletin board), or a newsgroup archive. Having said that, I was a little sorry that it's closed for the season, and it isn't being edited or added to until the adult summer reading program coming up.

(random question: since Cartoon Network has "Adult Swim" would it provide amusing marketing value to call an adult summer reading program "Adult Skate"?)

What types of applications within libraries might work well with a wiki?
(random question: since numbers of us are answering this same question out of our learning and varied experience, does that make this a 'meme'?)

In connection with library application / use of wiki, I'm seeing it more in terms of instant archive BBS, or as a living operations manual of some sort. In fact, the Booklovers' Wiki is rather like a searchable, archived set of posts about particular books (including the posts on the Harry Potter volume that hasn't yet been printed). The Library Success: a Best Practices wiki is more nearly a living manual.

27thing 16. Practice & graffittoes

Things I did after school.
I went to the kcls 27things wiki. I replaced the Front page which had gone missing. I added a link to my blog in the "Best Blogs Ever" page, as instructed...well, almost as instructed: I couldn't get the interface to work on my machine, so I edited html instead to put my link in. I changed to color of my font link to green--which is totally non-standard for links, I know, but I was so far down in the list, I wanted to stand out a little from the crowd.
(only slightly off topic: I discovered how to fix the typo in my blog's url so now it is instead of infinietjests.blogspot... But I'm sad because everyone [more than five] subscribed to my blog on bloglines dropped off because their rss link is to the no-longer-existing url. I suppose infi nyet jests might have been amusing if I had intended it--some play on infinite and "no" in Russian, but mostly I thought it just looked careless or illiterate.)

Even though I can physically/technically do a number of these wiki, blog, flickr, etc., etc. techno-things, in many ways I'm at the horseless carriage stage: I dabble in the new, but I'm still thinking some in terms of the old. It will take some more percolating time and some conversation with zen-tech / tech-zen masters to make the jump into automobile, grand touring car, race car, and hybrid powered vehicle.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Non-27things Post / Sometimes I hate the world I live in.

`Not an actual picture from the story.
Actually a night picture from Dublin.~

Last night I was driving home from work. Given the two hundred mile commute and my 40-mile bladder, I stopped in at the rest area to empty said bladder, mooch a free cup of coffee and a couple cookies and be on my way. Normally it would be just a quick stop and then I'm on the road again (sorry, Willie).

This stop was longer than usual. While I stopped, I finished listening to a radio episode of Selected Shorts: it was the short story by Audrey Niffenegger "The Night Bookmobile." Then all I needed after all was the coffee and cookies.

Up at the volunteer hutch between the bathroom buildings, a young woman was telling the coffee volunteers that she's out of gas and she ran out of the house without her driver's license or wallet. The volunteers ask me how far the next exit is--like I would know!!

I explain I just drive between Seattle and Portland and I get off at rest areas and I don't really pay any attention to actual exits. The woman has stepped back and is trying not to cry and listening, but it doesn't sound helpful. Then some trucker steps up and tells me that the next exit is only ten miles to the south, I say thanks, but I wasn't the one who wanted to know, I was just here for some coffee.

The volunteers look back to me and say, "Oh yes," and they take my cup and give me coffee. They say, "we can't really leave here; we're dropped off, and he can't drive because he has Parkinson's." (Which explains something else that I had noticed, namely that the man had an old scar, rectangular-looking running from the one side of his head, across and above his forehead and back the other side of his head towards the back. It looked rather like a temporary lid had been put in, but you don't like to ask about those things. [some kind of brain surgery was and may still be a palliative treatment for Parkinson's])

Anyway, the woman went over to the pay phones and put some money in and dialed and then waited, hung up and the change dropped back. So I asked (since I have a cell phone), "Is there anyone I can call?" I know, it sounds stupid, but I didn't know what else to say.

She said, "No, I've tried calling, but no one's answering, and my family is out of state on Spring vacation. My girlfriend called me up to come pick her up, she's finally getting out of a bad situation and I just ran out to my car and started out and didn't bring my purse or my wallet or anything. Then I noticed I was low on gas, so I turned around and idled into here."

I have to say here that I am really, really suspicious of people in need at rest areas, and especially people with gasoline issues at rest areas. I mean, how did they even get there if they don't have gas? And if you give them money to help get them back to Arkansas or Montana or New Mexico or whatever isolated outpost of Americana they claim to be from, how are they going to actually get gas if they're out as they claim!!!

But I ask her, "If you got a lift to the next exit, do you have anything to put gas into?"

"No," she says, "and I don't have my wallet even, I ran out of the house without it. I might have enough gas to get to the next exit, but I don't want to chance it and have to walk in the dark on my own."

"Would it help if I followed you to the next exit?"

"Well, if you wouldn't mind...."

"No, that would be fine. I'll follow."

She goes down a ways to her car and I go to mine. I get in and start up and let her drive past, then I pull out behind her. No doubt to improve gas mileage, she's going 60 in a 70 zone. But I follow at a safe distance anyway--but not so far as to make her think I'm abandoning her. We turn off at the next exit and there's a gas station. There's also a car following me through the exit off the freeway, so I'm starting to sweat bullets in 45 degree weather, hoping that someone back there isn't getting ready to put them back in me. She turns right toward the gas station, I turn right, the third car turns right. She pulls into the gas station parking lot, I pull into the gas station parking lot....the third car drives past.

Man, I hate being a coward!

Anyway, I get out, she gets out. I ask, are you going to be okay? And she does start to get red-eyed again and mentions that she still doesn't have any money. (and you're thinking, well, duh!! nothing changed in ten miles except she's at a station instead of ten miles away, but she didn't suddenly come into possession of the wallet she said she left at home!!)

And then I wrestle with my thoughts: I hate being stupid, I hate being in a position of being taken advantage of by a con artist. On the other hand, if she's acting she really should be on film or stage because it doesn't look a bit faked to me. On the other hand, it's not like I have expert social skills in knowing when someone is really telling the truth or faking crying. On the other hand, I really want to help if the need is real and I can help.

Oh well. I decide given how bad gas prices are, offering to fill up her car would approach painting the word "Sucker!" on my forehead; also given how bad gas prices are, offering anything less than $10.00 of gas might not get her any meaningful distance towards home and her wallet where she needs to get so that she can start her trip over right and fill herself up.

"Listen," I suggest,"I can't fill up your car, but if you drive over to the pump, I'll go in and have them put ten dollars on the pump. Would that be enough to get you back home and you could get your wallet?"

"Yes. And give me your name and address I'll send you the money in the mail."

I go inside and pay the cashier.

I come back out, and she pulls down the hose and puts the ten dollars in her car. As she's filling, she says again, "If you just write your name and address on a paper, I'll get the money back to you."

"Thanks, but if you'll forgive me, I think it's okay if you just keep it. You, know I...."

"No, I understand...strangers, right?"

"Yeah, right." Momentarily, I think about offering to give my email address, but she doesn't really want a conversational relationship, she just was in an awkward and embarrassing position and didn't want to be thought of as somebody trying to con or cheat ten bucks of gasoline from a gullible stranger. And it seems self-evident now, but I hadn't thought about it until I read it recently somewhere, but it's ungallant and NOT selfless to try and make some deeper acquaintance out of helping somebody. It's like taking advantage of THEM. So I just ask again, will that be enough to get you home or to your friend? She says, I'm going home and get my wallet, and then I'll go get her. She'll be there, because she told me she ran down the street."

"Okay, then. Well hope it goes okay." (Literature is what we have to save us from the boredom of what dull real people actually say. That, of course was not literature.)

As I drove back on to the freeway, I thought again how much I hate that I would even have any reason to think someone might be trying to trick people out of money at a rest area; how much I hate the several minutes of fear as I thought it might really be a scam with a confederate following in the car behind me, waiting to spring the trap and perhaps even thump on me as they decide what they're going to take from me or my car. And I worried whether 3.324 gallons of gas would really get her where she was going. (It was an older Toyota; figure around 20 miles to the gallon, lower bound and she'd have about 66.48 miles, not counting whatever fumes she had still had in the car before she added the gas.)

So I was replaying everything, second-guessing whether I had really helped enough, was I a mark in a con, was the real con getting my name & address (which she didn't do) for use in a later, bigger con or identity theft? Then, on the radio, Harry Chapin came out of no where and sang "Taxi."

And I felt better. It is, of course, making too much of it to think "it was a sign." But having said that, Harry Chapin is just a comfort in so many ways. He was philosophical, sophomoric, philanthropical and inconsistent. His song coming on just then make me think that what ever had just happened was as okay as I could make it, and to quote from Dick King-Smith's book, Babe, the Gallant Pig, "That'll do ...That'll do" (118).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Calling all fantasy lovers!!

I'm handsome, fair, and close enough to six feet tall that, well, who's to quibble
Ummmm......forgot where I was for a moment.

Anyway, for the other kind of fantasy lovers, lovers of those stories, you may know or want to know that since Februrary of 2007, a re-mastered DVD of The Last Unicorn has been available. If one buys it from the Conlan Press website , Peter Beagle gets a better cut of the moneies. Two versions are available there--a $24.98 that's autographed in 3 places by Beagle, and a $14.98 unsigned edition. But the important thing about this is that sound and picture are much better than the earlier DVD version that (I own and )was a lower quality recording of the videotape.

Well, I suppose another important thing is that Beagle is getting fairly compensated for his work by sales at that site. But mostly I was really excited to see this is available, especially since I didn't know there was a new version coming available and couldn't wait anyway two or three years ago and bought the lower-quality DVD with no special features. I would have liked to have seen this new one in my Easter Basket, but now I'll have to wait until the next gifting day....

But you pick it up right away if you want.

In related news, he's got a short story called "Two Hearts" that is a bridge story/sequel to The Last Unicorn and is on the short list for a Nebula Award. And he's writing a full-legnth novel sequel. Find it! Read it! Share it!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Hands across the bookshelf, Hands across the Web

One thing I like about bloglines is that when one looks at subcribers for a particular blog/website feed, it just says "subscribers" not "friends" nor even "contacts."
It's less social pressure. One isn't trying to garner friends or trying to show which celebrity in listed as a friend. It's just readers.
Of course, having said that, I'm envious of several blogs that have more readers.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

At long last, Trading Card from flckrtoys

I was finally able to make a trading card on the flickr toys thingy. It seems that way back before when I was having the trouble--I couldn't get the flickrtoys to see my Flickr account and load an image--it was because my computer/browser wasn't accepting cookies from the flickrtoys site. It didn't know that I had signed in and given it permission to see and use my photos.

But I solved that problem by telling the browser I trust flickrtoys. This has transferrable concept skills, because when a patron is having trouble using the licensed databases from home, or having trouble downloading audiobooks, one problem may be their level of security protection/sheilding. It could be their browser isn't accepting cookies from the library webpage or from the licensed content provider.

Some problems are harder than others to guess and solve over the phone.

Addendum to post below--I rather hate how time flows backward in posting

Although it was brief, there were several things going on at once, so to speak, in terms of goals and objectives for the post below. I wrote out what I wanted to say with pen on paper as I was going along and then when I was ready, typed it into the post blank. Even then I had to correct typos and one spacing issue.

I hope there were no other errors that got past me.

Week 6: Three true things--12, 13, and 14.

Learn about tagging and discover
1. Done. Looked around and made an account. also used the 27things account.
2. Saved some sites that had been saved by other people. Save a site that wasn't save by anyone else yet. (Ummmmm, you don't get to see that account.)
3. I can see creating book marks organized by topic (tag)--job hunting, global warming, Soupy Sails--but given the changing nature of Web info, I wonder if a web search at the time of need wouldn't be more helpful. I do like the idea of accessing my bookmarks from anywhere, but I think I'd want to use the account option that allows me not to share my saved book marks with other casual, spying users.

13. Technorati.
1. Claimed my blog.
2. Did exercise one, two, and three. That was easy as promised, although the claiming was a little bit less easy than the just looking around.

14. Library Thing.
1. Looked around, created an account. I didn't have one before.
2. Added five books. Took more time than I thought it should (my slow fault).
3. My library thing is here:
I feel happier about my book that has fewer other people already listing it than some of the other books that have thousands of listings.

Claiming my Blog

Technorati Profile