Thursday, August 28, 2008
Don't get me wrong, I like seeing the old cars touring around. I met a couple the other day who had an absolutely gorgeous Cord. A seriously beautiful work of art.
If you aren't familiar with these cars, click the following links to see some pictures of them:
If you're ever in the area, you really should visit the museum. It is in the former headquarters of the Auburn Automobile Company, a fabulous old deco building. I know, the website looks less than great, but the museum is much better than its website makes it out to be.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Anyway, I've been working on some projects that involve using the senior yearbook photos, most of which is fairly tedious. Last night I was working on the photo name tags and noticed that there weren't any photos for a good number of people on the list of attendees. One or two without photos I could understand, but this was way too many. Then, I noticed that the yearbook he gave me - the same one he had the pages I'm working with scanned from - had a page missing. That explains it?
Not quite. I emailed him to let him know what's up and gave him a list of the people without photos. This morning he called and said "Well, those people didn't actually graduate with us." As you might imagine, this confused me since that is normally what makes someone a member of a particular class. So I asked, "Then...why are they coming to your class reunion." "Well...we've just always included them." "Umm...I don't get it." "Well...a lot of those girls got pregnant. Back in those days they had to quit school." "Okay...and the guys?" "Most of them married girls who were pregnant." That explains it!
I'm actually a little impressed by the fact that even though these people had to leave school, their classmates never excluded them. This was a small class (less than 70 people) and most of them had been in school together from the start. But it was 1958 and they've been included in every class reunion. While I don't think the class would ever think of it this way, to me this is almost a little slap at the society that forced (some) of these people out of high school. I'm impressed.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
- Sitting on the floor alongside the stacks of dissertation debris will make those stacks seem larger.
- I get frustrated, whiny, and inconsolable about all of the work I have to do when I forget to eat lunch. (I didn't realize that I hadn't eaten until around 4:30.)
- The temperature and humidity level should never be 91 simultaneously.
- Traffic in my basin of the lake is much busier when the police are trying to find a dead body in one of the other basins.
- It is possible for a chocolate milkshake to be too big. Especially if you are a little sensitive to the lactose.
- Learning takes time. Last December my dad bought a fancy digital camera. In April I showed him how to download his pictures. Yeah. Yesterday I showed him where those files end up on his computer. We are making progress. It is slow, but it is progress.
It isn't just a matter of keeping it under control - I'm wondering if it is ever going to make sense to anyone besides me.
My brain is going to explode very soon.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I'm in the wrong part of academia. That's all I have to say.
I came across this advertisement for a faculty position in today's Chronicle of Higher Education, online version:
Race Track Industry Program Endowed Chair
You can follow the link above if you want to read the rest.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
“She referred to the fact that the children’s librarians for many years have had to take a good many knocks from spectators of the sterner sex who were worrying about the feminization of the library, who declared that no woman, certainly no spinster, could understand the nature of the boy. Some facts are to be considered here. Teachers tell us the opening of each new library witnesses a substitution of wholesome books for yellow novels in pupil’s hands...Publishers of children’s books are giving clean, safe juvenile literature. Many nickel novel publishers are admitting the decline in the sale of their wares. Yet there is a warfare against juveniles still to be fought” ("American Library Association Conference: Children's Section" 332).
“There are many books so fine in point of matter and make up that we should lament having been born too late to read these in our childhood, but there are also a multitude of potboiler books; the written-to-order information book, which may be guaranteed to kill all interest in a subject treated in style so wooden and lifeless; the re-told classic, the reading of which gives to the child the familiarity which will breed contempt for the work itself; atrocious picture books, with hideous daubs of color, caricatures of line, the tale of the practical joker who torments animals, mocks at physical defects, plays tricks on parents, ridicules good manners; whose aim is to provoke guffaws of laughter at the expense of somebody’s hurt body or spirit” ("American Library Association Conference: Children's Section" 332-33).
“The great achievement of the world do not belong to those to whom they are entrusted, but some Frank or Jack or Bill possesses the brain behind them. Many of these stories are outlined by a writer whose name makes books sell, and outlines are then filled in by hack writers. One author writes admirable stories, abounding in fair play and a sense of honor, and at the same time, writes under another name, books he is ashamed to acknowledge.” ("American Library Association Conference: Children's Section" 333).
“Two principle arguments are hurled at every librarian who tries for a high standard of book selection. One is, ‘I read them when I was a child, and they did me no harm.’ The other is based on the notion that the librarian’s ideal of manhood is a grownup Fauntleroy. The individual who argues, ‘It did me no harm,’ though he survived a boyhood of mosquito bites, house flies, common drinking cups, etc., refuses to allow his child to risk what he knows to be a possible carrier of disease. The notion prevails that since the children’s librarian is a woman, and is prone to turn white about the gills at the sight of blood, she cannot possibly enter in to the feeling of the ancestral barbarians surviving in the human breast” ("American Library Association Conference: Children's Section" 333)
"American Library Association Conference: Children's Section." Public Libraries 18.8 (1913): 332-333.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I know this is a stress-induced craving, but I want it. I don't have any chocolate at home (for good reasons). I'm telling myself that it would be bad to drive over a mile at almost 9:30 at night just for some chocolate.
Must not give in!
Monday, August 18, 2008
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1 medium clove)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (from my garden)
1/3 cup fresh basil (from my garden)
2 pounds (approximately) fresh tomatoes, cored and diced
About half are my pink brandywines and the rest are big boys, courtesy of my neighbor who has too many tomatoes.
Mix and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
Toss with hot, just drained pasta (one pound).
**From Fine Cooking, August/September 2007, pages 38-39.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
That swath of scorched earth is about the size of a football field. Fortunately, the wheat came out last month and the stalks/stems had already been baled. Edited to add: I'm not sure about the baling part of that, now that I think about it.
The fire fighters told her it could have been worse, and they were glad she called them right away rather than trying to put it out herself.
Later that afternoon, after her kids returned from their weekend visit with their dad, she took them out back to show them why they shouldn't play with fire.
“The Wisconsin Library Commission has been repeatedly asked to advise the public libraries of the state as to the policies to be pursued in handling the literature which bears directly or indirectly upon the war. Inasmuch as the law makes it the Commission’s function to give advice to Wisconsin public libraries, we are responding to these requests, and are sending to all public libraries of the state, as the suggestion of the commission for their guidance, a letter containing the following:
It has been the policy of public libraries, so far as the ordinary controverted issues are concerned, to assume a neutral position, since the library as the property of, and the representative of, individuals on both sides of each controverted question could not itself become partisan. This naturally led the library to provide material presenting the claims of the partisans upon each side of the controversy. Prior to the declaration of war, the issues between the central powers and America might have been discussed with propriety. When war was declared, the question was decided against the Central Powers by the decision of our representative government at Washington and the discussion was closed. In this decision every loyal citizen was bound to acquiesce. The library supported by public funds, is a part of the government which is at war with Germany and Austria and has necessarily taken sides. It is, in fact, itself in this war against Germany. To be neutral now is to be disloyal. It is most important, there fore, it seems to us, that the library authorities do not permit themselves to be misled by the argument that it is a duty to present both sides of all controverted questions, and that therefore anti-American books are permissible. To do this will inevitably invite well-merited criticism and the accusation that it its operating as an agency for the distribution of anti-American propaganda. The biggest job which the entire American people has before it is to win this war. Every loyal citizen must consider himself enlisted. The duty of actually assisting in every way possible to win the war is as definitely upon the library as it is upon the man in the trenches. If a soldier should stop fighting for the purpose of entering into an academic discussion with a Boche over the merits of the controversy, he would be shot as a traitor. The librarian and the library trustee are just as much enlisted in the fight as is the soldier; like the soldier they cannot take a neutral position. We therefore advise: (1) That all books as to the patriotic character of which there is any doubt be immediately withdrawn from the shelves. (2) That no book, pamphlet, or magazine, the patriotic tendency of which is in any doubt, be added to the library. (3) That every effort and al available funds be expended in securing and distributing material tending to awaken patriotism in the patrons of the library. The library must remain above suspicion.” ("The Wisconsin Policy" 39-40)
"The Wisconsin Policy as to the Literature of Disloyalty." Wisconsin Library Bulletin 14.1 (1918): 39-40.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
The only present-day worth while business of the American people is winning this war. The only present-day job that any American man, woman, or child has a right to work at is to help this American people win this war. This is true because to lose is to sacrifice America and all it stands for. No matter what position, public or private, you may occupy, you ought not to continue to hold it unless you are definitely contributing to the winning of the war. If you are not giving this bent to your work, you are either the wrong person for the job, or the job is the wrong one for you. In either event you ought to get out. This goes for you as a librarian. You are taking public funds for your work. You are a slacker if you cannot point to tangible patriotic fruits of your professional labor which you are producing as a return for the public funds received by you. As a center of information concerning the war and all things connected with it, as a purveyor of patriotic literature, as a director of public thought, as a creator of community opinion, the library is in a Strategic position—a position that carries with it a big responsibility. What are you doing to justify your continued receipt of public funds? Or are you, in taking your Salary, obtaining money under false pretenses? We suggest that Wisconsin libraries read this Bulletin, check up their own activities, using Miss Welles’ article Unifying for War as a check list, and answer this question honestly.
She's inspired me to start posting snippets of writing from Progressive Era library journals like I did back in the summer of 2007. I come across so many of these while working on my dissertation, it's a shame not to share them. For now, here is a brief list of those older posts:
- Wanted: Experienced Librarian
- War and Peace
- Cost Benefit Analysis
- Oink!!! [a personal favorite]
- Apparently, A Library Is Like A Gun
- Librarian Recruitment
- A Little Librarian Poetry
- Banned In Boston
- Learning Styles
- Boys, Books, And Reading
- What Happens When You Cross Piracy With A Patrician Ass?
- Generational Hysteria
Friday, August 15, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
1) I engaged in chemical warfare against an ever-increasing horde of spiders. I don't like to spray chemicals around, but I've pretty much hit my limit with the pesky arachnids in my midst. Today I took care of the outside perimeter. Tomorrow I will spray indoors since I already planned to be elsewhere for a few hours. I think that this was my finest accomplishment of the day.
2) I washed three loads of laundry. It is pretty bad when one person has three loads worth of laundry piled up. I feel shame.
3) Wallowed in hair-related self-loathing for about 10 minutes.
4) Gazed longingly at the novel I want to read. I'm not allowing myself to start it until more dissertation work is finished.
5) Fell asleep while consulting a theoretical text to see if I had interpreted it accurately. Note to self: Don't try to do work while sprawled out on the couch. Honestly, I was interested in the text, but I was also tired. I didn't sleep well last night and I think I should have planned for a nap.
6) Went to the grocery for fruits, veggies, and milk for my oatmeal. Somehow a slice of peach pie found its way to my basket. I ate it for dinner. So much for being healthy. Unless, of course, I can count it as a serving of fruit! (I had a very healthy salad for dessert)
7) I did some writing, but I'm not sure how much. I should keep track of my starting and stopping word counts when I do fill-in work.
8) Ummmm...that's about it. It was a lazy day.
- I miss being near a library that contains the books I actually need. I've been buying more books lately. While building my professional library is a good thing, I really don't need to be spending the money on it right now. I seek out the cheapest copies I can find, but it adds up.
- My niece has a habit of trying to appropriate my technology whenever I see her. While my laptop and cellphone are both popular, she goes for my camera whenever she can. One of her parents or a set of grandparents needs to get this girl a camera of her own. She'll be 12 in November. I think she can handle the responsibility of owning an inexpensive camera.
- She doesn't just take silly kid pictures. I once "caught" her arranging a bowl of fruit for a photo.
- My sister had to attend middle school orientation yesterday evening. I think this is hilarious.
- My dissertation haunts me. No, it isn't quite that. It's my anxiety about my writing that is in overdrive right now. I can analyze all of the reasons for my anxiety. I tell myself what I should do/how I should be. The problem is implementation. Follow through. I can't get myself to buy into the solution.
- What? Someone who studies writing has writing anxiety? I openly admit that I took my first composition theory course to diagnose myself. Obviously, I realized that my interest in studying and teaching writing was more than a simply solipsistic affair. But, while I can diagnose a lot of my issues, I haven't necessarily moved past all of them. That ADD/perfectionism connection will probably always be there. Additionally, I don't always trust/believe compliments about my writing. Silly, I know, but there it is. Once, in high school, I took a recently handed back paper to my teacher and tried to explain why it didn't deserve the "A" it received. Yeah. I don't quite go to that extreme anymore, but I'm always thinking that I could/should do better.
- Despite all of that, my greatest academic writing fear is that I will bore my readers. I can't stand being bored and I don't want my work to bore other people. Because of the way my work hovers around the borders of multiple disciplines, I worry that I am boring people in several disciplines. I realize that this is pathetic.
- I really need to lay off the bathos while I try to finish up this dissertation.
- However, if one more person calls my dissertation a "paper," I might just scream. "How is your paper coming along?" "Are you done with your paper yet?" GRRRRRR
- I had to explain the concept of a defense to my dad the other night. He didn't understand the purpose and I think he found the idea of the defense offensive and a bit incomprehensible. It all seemed a bit unfair, x-number of committee members "against" the lone dissertator.
- I've mentioned this before (I think), but I am almost positive that it isn't just salt sprinkled on the french fries at McDonald's. There has to be crack in the mix. Only way to explain it.
- My hair is a mess. I haven't had a haircut since the last week of March. On the positive side, the too short layers are more than grown out. But, I'm not sure what to do with it now, so I haven't done anything.
- I can't believe that the job market season is almost upon us. I cry in terror. Not literally, but you know what I mean.
- At some point I'm sure I'll rant about the corrupt process that expects grad students looking for jobs to travel to an expensive city for conference interviews. Cattle call, anyone?
- I will try to post later today to prove (as much as I can) that I actually did something productive today.
Friday, August 08, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
A man walks past me, followed by a woman pushing a shopping cart. Both look to be in their thirties or early forties. He glances back at her and she says, "Get Brand x there on the bottom shelf, the one with the blue label." He follows her instructions, selecting the mega-size package of toilet paper from the lowest shelf. "We pay y dollars for toilet paper," he says wonderingly. "That lasts us the whole month," she replies in a matter of fact tone. "Oh," he says and continues to walk in front of the cart on towards their next destination.
Note that in this vignette, the male appears to be in the lead position as the couple traverses through the market. However, it is the female who directs the male and who instructs him in which products to gather from the vast shelves of the supercenter. Additionally, the male is unaware not only of the cost of the product they use, but also of the rate of use and the brand. The female holds the knowledge in this situation.
In all seriousness, this type of learned helplessness really annoys me. It is the less serious version of women left widowed with no idea how the family finances work. Here is an adult male so divorced from everyday household shopping that he needs explicit instructions and directions for choosing the household's preferred brand and product size. It is both mundane and amazing.
Monday, August 04, 2008
I chose to read some short stories I hadn't already read from my Flannery O'Connor anthology. Soooooo much more disturbing than the ghost stories. Really. But then, I find Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio stories disturbing in the same way. I think I know these people, or people like them (maybe in a Miss Marple sort of way), so I feel the horror of humanity in a way that I don't with texts falling under the category of speculative fiction.
Maybe this is what happens when you are the child of a social worker and a mortician. I find more horror in human behavior than in most fiction. The more realistic the fiction is, the closer I am to the horrible things people do to one another.
Does that make sense?
Friday, August 01, 2008
The end of this week hasn't been great for productivity. Today I got some work done, but yesterday was a complete wash.
Yesterday morning, at about 9:45am, my dad called. My mother managed to slip and fall in the driveway, breaking her wrist. Could I please drive down and "hold down the fort"* at work w hile he takes the invalid to the doctor's office? Like I could say no. Anyway, she really broke it. The local doctors at the hospital emergency room sent her to Fort Wayne to an orthopedic center. They thought she might need surgery because the bone was pushed so far out of place.
Because this is really all about me, I will note that this meant that I was spending more time away from my academic work than I should.
Ok, she managed to avoid surgery for now. The doctor popped it back into place, whatever that means, and will check it in a couple of weeks to determine if she will need surgery of not. Naturally she broke her right wrist since she is right handed. I can tell that I will be helping out a lot during the next few weeks.
My mom is good at falling. She always has had this tendency to trip while walking or doing something else, resulting in a fall. It's just that now that she is older, bones are starting to break. A few years ago she fell and broke her kneecap. She's getting good at breaking the bendy areas. Honestly, I'm just as klutzy. I'm always tripping over my own feet. The only difference is that through some miracle of genetics I have a much better sense of balance - I almost never actually fall. I'm good at catching myself or turning in a way that keeps me on my feet.
*Yes, my dad says this phrase a lot.
For the last two decades, most of your fiction has veered toward science fiction, which has disappointed literary critics like Harold Bloom.
Lessing: I can’t be bothered with Bloom. A lot of people think some of my best writing is in science fiction, and they are just as significant as bloody Bloom.
When you won the Nobel Prize in Literature last year, he described the choice as “pure political correctness,” presumably because you are female.
Lessing: Yes, I remember. It was a very malicious thing. If he gets the Nobel Prize, believe me, I won’t be as bitchy.
Really, I read this and just laughed. I'm also fond of her Nobel Prize Acceptance lecture. As a side note, I first encountered her writing as I was coming out of my horror fiction phase in high school. I was scouring the shelves at the bookstore and came across (and bought) a copy of The Fifth Child. It wasn't until much later that I learned that she was "acceptable" reading in Literature because of her earlier work. As I've noted before, I have a strange relationship with "the canon" and its authors.