Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blogging Stats

Technorati has released their 'State of the Blogosphere 2008 Report', which contains TONS of SUPER INTERESTING facts about blogs and bloggers. For example, here's me: Eh, a bit hard to read, you'll just have to check out the site.
Oh, and apparently one third of all bloggers have received free products. I'll be checking my mailbox if you'd like to send me something nice!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Election 2008

I'm pretty sure everyone everywhere knows there's an American election coming up. I'm also pretty sure that only the Canadians (and good grief I sure hope so) know there's a Canadian election coming up on October 14. I suppose that says something about publicity, modesty, and world domination, but nevermind that - have you heard about the new voting fads?
First off is the vote swapping Facebook group. Here is their description:
"This group is a forum for those who oppose Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party. It is imperative that they do not obtain a majority in the 2008 federal election. To prevent this from happening, those on the broad left and those concerned about the environment must cooperate. The concept of the vote swap is simple: in a completely legal fashion, it allows voters in different ridings to swap votes to best ensure the Conservatives don't win. Almost anyone who is opposed the Conservatives can take part. If your preferred party has no chance in your riding (or if they are absolutely certain of winning) you can use your vote elsewhere to help candidates from the same party beat the Tories, while at the same time voting strategically to stop the Tories in your own riding."
Its been reported in local media here, and here and all over the tv news. If anything check out the links section on their page.
There is another site for Pair Voting. Similarly, Vote For Environment asks you to input your postal code, then returns a nice interface (with map and graphs!) that tells you who to vote for to 'make your vote count' (aka 'get rid of the conservatives').
Of course, all of these sites champion the slogan 'anything but the conservatives'.
Are these sites legal? I suppose you are allowed to vote for whoever you want. Now, I'm not going to give away who I'm voting for, but I can see the need for these new voting fads. I live in Alberta. See that dark 'conservative' blue area on this political party map from the last election:
Yep. That's Alberta. When I input my postal code into Vote For Environment, instead of a friendly suggestion of how I could make my vote count, they basically told me to vote for whomever I wanted, the Conservatives were going to win regardless. So, what do you do if you live in a conservative stronghold, but don't want to vote conservative? Why bother voting at all? Either way it's a waste, the blues are getting in. Well, that's how we feel around here sometimes, so yeah, I can see the need for vote swapping.
I just want a leader who isn't going to lead this country into the toilet. Good luck with that, eh?
(Photo credits 1, 2, 3)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sick Day(s)

I haven't posted for awhile because a) I've been busy and b) I'm sick. I know exactly why I got sick too: last weekend I was boasting to a friend that I hadn't had a cold or the flu since I quit teaching a year or so ago. Ha! Payback is a bitch I guess. So despite my regular intake of zinc lozenges, vitamin C + echinacea pill and goldenseal drops, I've got chills, a leaking nose, touchy sinuses, a whoozy head and a scratchy throat. I've taken the past two days off school and work. That's $60 in lost income and 9 hours of missed classes (though only 3 hours are important). Plus I've got to go on this hike on Sunday (except as of now I can barely stand). What a waste of a couple days. It's not like I feel up to doing school work or tidy my mess of a room or anything. 
It's a good thing there's a CSI NY marathon on tv...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hogwarts...in Edmonton?

Did you know there is a 'Harry Potter' room in Edmonton?
I didn't either, until today at work. A student came into the library asking for directions to the 'Harry Potter' room. Both of us newbies at the service desk had no idea what she was talking about, but a senior staff member knew right away and directed the student to the reading room on the second floor of Rutherford South. I thought it was a joke. Apparently the students coined the term a few years ago and it stuck. Sure enough, a couple hours later, another student came up and asked the same question!
Edmonton's 'Harry Potter' room looks like this:
Students think it looks like the dining hall from the movies. The dining hall, which is actually part of Christ Church College at Oxford, England, looks like this: Do you think they look alike? And while we're on the Harry Potter theme, here's a goofy photo of me at King's Cross in London, getting ready to go to Hogwarts...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The World Is Just Awesome

This is my newest favourite commercial from Discovery Channel:
That's the Canadian version; it only started airing this month. I love it. The song is awesome and the visuals are stunning. I found all the lyrics on Wikipedia, which breaks it down by what tv personalities say the lines (for all versions). The American version has been airing in the states for a few months now, which explains where all of the "I have too much time on my hands" spoofs came from (Star Wars, Disney, SimsponsCSI, LegoMario Brothers...and the list continues). xkcd did a great spoof too.
I love it. The world is just awesome...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Eureka...

Wow. Yesterday I commented on how surprised I was that my recent blog post got a whole freakin' ton of hits. Today I figured out why.
Apparently not only have I made the 'recent news' list of this facebook group, but I also made the list on the Edmonton Public Libraries blog. That's shocking actually. How did I get there? Facebook is one thing, but EPL? Who was reading it?
I hope all this fame doesn't go to my head. 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Big Brother Is Reading

Oh wow. I can't believe all the people who stopped by my blog recently. It was humbling and flattering and embarrassing all at the same time. I think I have like 3 regular readers (thanks guys and gals, I love ya!), and really only started this blog as a way to vent frustrations and archive my thoughts. I never really meant for people to read it, and forget sometimes people actually do! I wish y'all would comment more (even if it is to put me in my place!). The 'Anonymous' name drives me crazy, I just have to know!
One or my professors brought up a good point today though. I guess it really is true that employers google names and check what their prospective employees are up to on facebook etc. I'm not so worried about facebook, I try to keep a low profile and don't have any photos of me getting drunk etc (for the record I don't drink so I don't think those photos even exist).
It's my mouth that worries me. Apparently I offend people (don't even get me started on this past summer). I don't mean to, sometimes I talk without thinking. And I'm an emotional writer too. Sometimes I write without thinking about the consequences. Not like this is a bad thing. I don't mind the constructive criticism people give back as I learn from that and it helps me grow. If I don't write this stuff on my blog, no one will ever heard it as I'm not much of a social sharer. And I'm writing it on the internet, which is a public space so basically I've already waived my privacy rights. It would be a shame to censor my thoughts because I was worried about who was reading it.
Thinking about my future bosses reading this or my travel blog kinda creeps me out though.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I love my current jobs. Shocker, I know. You know what I hate though? Office freakin' politics. Why do people with more experience/power/seniority/education think they can belittle the contributions of their fellow employees? Aren't we all working towards the same goal: assisting patrons? Does it matter if that means shelving truckloads of books or processing new acquisitions or checking out books or answering reference questions? When I was a teacher, I greatly appreciated every single drop of effort the teaching assistants and support staff poured into my classroom and the school in general. I was raised to be respectful to everyone. Play nicely children.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No More Libraries?

"On September 16, 2008 "Yukon Jack" of The Bear radio station in Edmonton delivered a scathing rant (one of his aptly named "Big Yaps") about public libraries. Apparently, Mr. Jack is concerned about EPL's recent funding request. As such he likens public libraries to cassette tapes, VCRs, the dodo bird and other antiquities including print encyclopedias. In his opinion, there is no longer a need or a place for the public library. He also goes on to say that individuals under the age of 20 would not even know what libraries are. The icing on the cake, for me, was the suggestion that public libraries are now replaced by the Internet." (summary from facebook group) Hear it here. There's even a facebook group in response.
Now would be the time to say The Bear is my favourite radio station. Sure, they are at times crude, but the music is fantastic. (Yes, get over the shock. Folk-country girl listens to rock music. Ask me what I'm doing December 7th, for the second time.) 
Thus it pains me to boycott the station for a yet undetermined amount of time. Gosh, he sure infuriated me with his comments though. Normally I find Yukon's Yap funny and 'true'. But this time he went too far. He insulted my newly chosen profession.
Funny timing on this though. Tonight's textbook chapter had to do with the value of libraries. I wish I could somehow upload the entire chapter for you all to read (and send a copy to Yukon Jack). Instead I'll blatantly steal some quotes:
"Libraries allow every person in the community served to continue her or his education, to become more knowledgeable, and to live the life of the mind in the way in which he or she chooses." (p. 29)
In a world without libraries:
"The vast majority of young people are functionally literate, if they can read at all, and easy prey to the commercial, political, and societal manipulation that emanates from their multimedia entertainment centers." (p. 37)
"It is that the great enterprises of learning, of human progress, and the betterment of society would be irrelevant in a world of images and thought bites, a world in which human society regresses to the point at which it consists of isolated individuals living bemused, intellectually stunted lives in electronic Lascaux caves." (p. 39)
Then I got really depressed until I read this:
"It will not happen because humanity is, in the end, both practical and idealistic. We will keep and cherish all the forms of communication (including the book) that we have now because they are useful and because they work. Learning and scholarship and libraries will continue because human beings love them for their own sakes and because they make life and society better." (p. 40)
Take that Yukon Jack!!!
I'll admit, sometimes I wonder if spending money for 100 copies of Stephanie Meyer's latest fanfic is a good use of my tax dollars. In the end though, I truly believe we need libraries. As a future librarian, I'll stand up for access for all, intellectual freedom, and service with a smile! Someone has to make sense of all the info floating around on the web. I'm glad I'm involved in such a great professional. Personally, the only two jobs I've ever liked in my whole life happen to be in libraries. I need libraries. 
(photo 1, 2, 3)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pros/Cons of the Interweb

I just read the most interesting textbook chapter of perhaps my entire academic career. My brain is now full of knowledge about how this magical thing called the 'internet' works. Amazing! Mind blowing yes, but amazing!
Anyways, today's concept is:
displacement effect: if people spend time surfing the Web, playing games, or engaging in other activities that displace in-person social interaction, the outcome may be less than desirable.
Duh.

Friday, September 12, 2008

On My Ipod...

What did I learn today. Hmm. I didn't learn anything. Actually that's a lie. While I'm not a huge fan of library school yet, I don't mind 3 of my 4 classes (I think I might actually like 1, but it's too early to tell). The other 1. First of all it's called 'The Organization of Knowledge and Information" so exactly how exciting do you think it's going to be? All the theory basically goes over my head. I did learn something today (and was feeling pretty confident) but then the prof yapped on for another hour and I forgot what I learned while I was trying to learn the new stuff and well, yeah. That class is going to be a problem for me.
Anyways. So instead of some useless random post that you probably wont read to the end anyways, I'm just going to ramble on about my current favourite song/CD. If you have an aversion against Alt-Country, or awesome music in general, it's best to stop reading now.
Last January I saw Blue Rodeo (one of my all time favs, have I mentioned lately I love Jim Cuddy?) in concert here in Etown. Their opening act was this guy and his band called Luke Doucet and The White Falcon. They were pretty good. He's married to Melissa McClelland (who had a bit of a following years ago) and they harmonize pretty nicely. Plus he plays a killer guitar (which is almost bigger than him). Then I saw him open for Corb Lund and The Hurtin' Albertans (another one of my all time favs) and he kinda grew on me. Then he showed up at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival this summer. All weekend there was a buzz that followed him around (meaning everyone loved him). I avoided pulling a 'Mary Gauthier' and bought the CD, and well, I love it.
This is my favourite song at the moment (at least check out the killer guitar at 3:20):

Support Canadian music. Go buy the CD.
And for once the photo is actually my own.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Waste Of Paper?

Here's another one for you:
Which is more environmentally friendly: books or e-books??
That's a tough one. Regardless, you can't snuggle up with a good e-book. Or can you?? Honestly, too much of my day is spent 'online', the last thing I need to do is read online too (I do enough of that already). And that can't be good for your eyes. I'm all for saving trees, but believe there are also ways to use books in an eco-friendly way. Check out Eco-libris and Bookmooch, plus don't forget about your local library! I'm a future librarian, so maybe I'm biased: I need future employment!
(photo on loan from...)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Secret Storage?

I was talking with my collegues at the law library tonight about emergency evacuation procedures. Strange topic, yes, but I'm working on a project whereby I'm creating a Casual Staff Training Manual and needed a few questions answered (by the way, we get trained on handling bomb threats, no joking - it'a a court house). I asked what would happen to all the data they have (especially book/item inventory) if a 'disaster' happened and the building was destroyed, and then sarcastically asked if they had a 'black box' like on airplanes. A senior staff member said no, but that all data was all backed up and kept off site. She then said she had heard that Edmonton was Canadian site for the storage of similar American data. Not just book inventories, but she supposed probably important documents etc. of all types. Apparently Edmonton is 'stable', ie. we don't get floods, earthquakes or hurricanes and the terrorists aren't bothered about us (for the moment, it's not like we're dripping with oil or anything). This rumour is incredibly interesting in my opinion. I tried to find out if it was true but didn't discover anything; I think more 'spare-time' research is needed, as opposed to 'break-time' research. It's all very spy-show though, very cool!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

80's Tv Ruled!

Remember this?
'The Racoons' was a children's tv show in the 80's from Canada. It dealt with my favourite themes: caring for the environment and sharing the love. I remember watching it on CBC all the time with my family. Ah, good ol' nostalgia.
Tonight, as I was procrastinating from reading a particularly boring textbook, I came across an episode on Teletoon. Apparently they've released DVD's and are 'planning' a movie and everything. There's even an unofficial website (which I think might be a case of either devoted love or 'too much time on your hands'). This could start one of those dangerous 'when I was a kid' reminiscent rambles, so I'll stop now and leave you die-hards with this:

Friday, September 05, 2008

Banned Books

I'm an aspiring librarian. I've had my ear talked off many a time about banned books (apparently censorship is a hot topic). The American Library Association devotes an entire week to the subject, as does the Canadian Council For the Arts in the form of Freedom To Read Week. It's an interesting topic, but get's a bit overdone after awhile (imho). The last thing the web needs is another website listing top banned books (one concisive list would be nice though).
But this is a good list. For each book, they've included a link to a free online excerpt or the entire full text. Full texts are from Project Gutenberg, which is a wicked site that boasts 100,000 free online books!
So pick up a banned book today!
(And if you want free books, check out my give-away list and send me an email...)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Textbook Trouble

Today I learned I'm a procrastinating idiot. What sucks the most about going back to school? Spending atrocious amounts of money on textbooks (which likely wont get used after the first month). I worked so much over the summer I never bothered to worry about school until this week. Turns out other people have spent the summer tracking down cheap textbooks for 'online' sources. Well, it's too late for me, nothing will get shipped for like 2 weeks.
What does that mean? It means I get to wait in a huge long line at the university bookstore and then spend my well earned money on overpriced, new textbooks. Grr. I'm not happy about that. There is a SLIS textbook sale tomorrow but I'm not the only one in this position so I'm not optimistic about my chances of getting a good deal. Hopefully they wont change the edition (!) and maybe I'll be able to sell them next year.
Grr. I hate buying textbooks.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Wheat Reads?

I came across an interesting discussion about "exciting developments in what seems as a very eco-friendly alternative to trees as the source of paper: Wheat." 
I'm not going to say anything more except it's an interesting idea worth exploring and that it started in Canada so it's an even cooler idea. Just read the article and check out their links.
Remember, you heard it here first - 'wheat reads' is going to be the new buzz word. Ok, maybe not. I really like the phrase 'wheat rock' too. I wish that would catch on with the alt-country folk.