in-transit updates

In no particular order. . .

Remember how my computer died last month? Well, yesterday it did it again. Thanks to some words of advice and encouragement from Jessamyn, who I know has had similar problems, I was able to speak calmly but firmly to the nice people at Apple and explain that I was not going to drive to the Apple Store in West Des Moines, and they agreed to send a box to my new digs in Wyoming, and I will send the computer to them, and they will send it back to me all fixed and happy. . . at least for another month and a half.

Right now I’m in Iowa City, IA, gathering the rest of my belongings and seeing some friends before I head out west for the new job. I left La Grange, IL on Tuesday. Tomorrow morning I pick up the truck in Cedar Rapids, and bright and early Monday morning my mother and I light out for the territory. We should arrive in Meeteetse sometime Tuesday night. If you want a postcard from the road, or from when I get there, drop a line to lauracrossett at hailmail dot net with your snail mail address sometime in the next couple of days, and I’ll be happy to oblige.

Packing is always a pain, but it may be even more so when, after three semesters of library school, you approach everything as a classification problem. Should the Peets French Roast (from EFF!), which I’ve been saving for a special occasion, go in the kitchen box, or should there be a special box for groceries? Does this box contain enough poetry to mark it “poetry,” or should it just be “books?” This way lies madness, I tell you.

But what would packing be without procrastination? I just had to make myself a Simpsons alter ego. And speaking of Flickr, I’ve now gotten my mom on board. Here’s the quilt that will be silent-auctioned tomorrow at our church’s annual booksale. This year the proceeds go to Shelter House. The booksale presents classification problems of its own: because this is a community of many, many English majors, in addition to separating out genres of fiction, the sorters also separate fiction from literature, so there’s always a certain amount of horsetrading going on (“Okay, fine, you can put Faulkner in literature, but I’m putting Hemingway in fiction”). I do not recommend this as a sorting scheme for libraries.

Due to the aforementioned computer problems, after Sunday posting will be even sparser than usual, but eventually there will be library stories here, updates of other kinds over on my other blog, and, thanks to a congratulations on getting a job present of a digital camera (!) from my mom, pictures of the journey and my new digs on Flickr.

carnival time

Last week gave us Carnival of the Infosciences #24 at Grumpator (what a great name!) and today Mark brings us Carnival of the Infosciences #25.

Good stuff in both–check them out if you haven’t already.

The nature of the Carnival is that submissions wax and wane. There’s no discernable pattern to this that I can see, but I hope that future hosts will take Mark’s example and expand their editor’s picks sections when necessary. I almost always encounter something new in each Carnival, and while that brings with it the danger of a Bloglines with more feeds than I can keep up with, I prefer it to the alternative of not finding out about some voices that I may not have heard otherwise. And that’s worth remembering on days when you’re feeling Z-listy. If you’re not getting anything out of blogging, you probably shouldn’t do it. But if you get anything out of it at all, I can guarantee that at least sometimes other people are getting something out of it, too. The Carnival is one way to make that happen more easily. If you haven’t hosted or submitted, consider trying it out.

Next week’s Carnival is at Data Obsessed. Send entries to amanda at renji dot org. She’s particularly interested in anyone writing about special libraries. To find out how to host, check out past Carnivals, or learn more about all things Carnival related, head over to the Carnival of the Infosciences Wiki.

four things

I don’t do 43 Things, but I’m happy to do four things–I was, in fact, going to consider myself tagged by Mark, but then I got tagged by Heidi–such riches! I have adapted the categories to some extent and excluded video games, which I do not play (I know–I dare to conisder myself a teen librarian and I don’t play video games. I suck.)

  • security guard (four years with Vassar College Campus Patrol, three days at the Coral Ridge Mall before it opened, right after I finished college)
  • graduate instructor (three years at the University of Iowa; two in Rhetoric and one in English)
  • dog walker
  • youth services assistant at a public library (for another three days)


  • Pump Up the Volume
  • The World of Henry Orient
  • Casablanca
  • Ladyhawke

places I’ve lived:

  • Iowa City, Iowa (my hometown, though I lived till age four in Mount Vernon, about half an hour north of IC)
  • Indianapolis, Indiana (during junior high; a dire mistake which we soon corrected by moving back to Iowa)
  • Poughkeepsie, New York (during college–I lived off-campus the last year and a half and thus saw perhaps a bit more of the town than some at Vassar)
  • La Grange, Illinois

TV shows I’ve loved:

  • The Tomorrow People (my favorite show when I was six, when it was shown in reruns on Nickelodeon. It’s quite possible I would no longer find it quite so entrancing.)
  • Wall Street Week, during the years it was hosted by Louis Rukeyser, who wore the best ties and did wonderful opening monologues about the past week. An odd choice for someone of my political leanings, I grant you, but we all have our peculiarities.
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show (the only thing, aside from Washington Week, that I watch on a regular basis these days)

places I’ve gone on vacation (the first three with my mother; the last on my own):

  • Colorado, to Grand Junction from Chicago and back by train, with a stop in Denver
  • Acadia National Park
  • Peru
  • New York City


  • any kind of fruit pie except cherry
  • pesto
  • guacamole
  • flourless chocolate cake

sites I visit daily:

places I would rather be:

  • any watering hole, anywhere, with my friends
  • anywhere I’ve never been
  • Wyoming (yeah, I know, I’m moving there in three weeks, but I’d still like to be there now)
  • Wohelo (where I went to camp for many, many years)


  • Goodbye Without Leaving, Laurie Colwin
  • Walden, Thoreau
  • The Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley
  • Openings, Wendell Berry


  • “When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky,” Bob Dylan (the Bootleg series version, not the one from Empire Burlesque)
  • “Tougher Than the Rest,” Bruce Springsteen
  • “The Iowa Waltz,” Greg Brown
  • “The Brownbird,” as sung to me by my mother when I was young. She learned it from her mother, who learned it from a Maxine Sullivan record belonging to her college roommate.

cars I’ve owned:

  • 1984 Chevy Cavalier (“The Octopus”), the car I drove in high school, inherited from my mother. I always meant to paint it purple, but I never did.
  • 1986 Volvo 740 GLE station wagon (“The Sphinx”), overrated, but useful for hauling large quantities of crap and/or people when I was in college. I totalled it about a year later. Yes, it is possible to total a Volvo station wagon by bumping into the back of a pickup truck. The pickup (and its driver, and I) emerged unscathed.
  • 1987 Chevy Nova “Maximus,” inherited from my grandmother and named for the Maximus Poems by Charles Olson, not the movie. This pile of rust carried me to Georgia and back, to DC and back, and on various trips around the midwest. I ended up passing it on to a friend when I was told I could no longer drive “that rusty tin can on wheels” around the country on long trips. Last I heard, it’s still running.
  • 1992 Toyota Tercel “Sally,” purchased to replace Maximus. Sally held on till about a year ago, when she finally pooped out at 205,000 miles. She was replaced by Viktor, an innocuous green 1998 Honda Civic which I can only find in the Dominican parking lot thanks to its Iowa plates.

bloggers I am tagging:

(net) freedom now!

Well, after announcing to the world at large (or at any rate to readers of this blog) that I’d be attending Michael Stephens‘s presentation at Dominican, I promptly forgot to go. This is as good an argument as any for why I still keep a paper calendar–when I actually write things down in it, I remember to do them. When I rely (as I did on this occasion) on multiple electronic reminders, I realize at 11:15, in the midst of packing books, that I meant to be somewhere half an hour ago. My apologies to Michael.

In other news, you have by now I am sure you have all heard about network neutrality.

net freedom now logo

Now that you’re up on the problem, why not do something about it? Free Press, the media reform group headed by John Nichols and Robert McChesney, has started a NetFreedomNow site where you can send a message to assorted CEOs and elected officials. My friend Emily has put together some snazzy graphics with which you can grace your web site.So go grab an image, plop it on your site, and link it to!

goodbye ivory tower, almost

I stopped by Dominican last week to take care of some paperwork and retrieve the lock from my locker, and it occurred to me that, quite possibly, I might never set foot on campus again. Dominican is slated to start offering online courses in the summer (I can’t find any documentation on this using their crumby Google search, but I have it on good authority), and so I’ll be finishing up my degree remotely. I had never contemplated distance education, and I’m still not sure how I’ll like it (though the possiblity of not commuting, finding a parking place, and finding my green Honda Civic amidst the masses of green Honda Civics–thankfully, I at least still have Iowa plates–does seem appealing). Perhaps I shall come to like the university of anywhere.

But I think I’ll make at least one last stop at the bricks and mortar institution. From my Dominican e-mail today:

Michael Stephens is interviewing for a faculty position in GSLIS
Mr. Stephens is an adjunct faculty member of both GSLIS at Dominican, currently teaching LIS 753/Internet Fundamentals and Design, and at Indiana University for the School of Library and Information Science; and also works at the St. Joseph County Public Library in South Bend, Indiana where he is the Special Projects Librarian. He is a candidate for the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Information Science at the University of North Texas in Denton.

He will be giving the following presentation:
WEBLOGS & LIBRARIES: An Introduction
February 8, 2006
10:45-11:45 AM
Crown LIB 310A
A question and answer session will follow the presentation.
The presentations of faculty candidates are open to all GSLIS students – you are invited and encouraged to participate in this process.

You think they might have mentioned that he also runs this little site called Tame The Web. . . . Anyway, I plan to be there.

the carnival of laughter

Carnival of the Infosciences #23 is up at The Laughing Librarian. Go. Laugh. Learn.

Then go outside, run in circles, stare at the sun for a bit, turn the music up loud, or whatever else it is that you do to keep sane, lest you, like me, start having dreams in which the biblioblogosphere plays a major role. I mean, I love it as much as the next library blogger, but there is a limit.

Oh, and thanks to some help from the Lethal Librarian, the RSS feed link for this blog has been fixed. Subscribe away!

technical difficulties and technostalgia

There are a few kinks still to work out with this move to WordPress. (Part of me wonders if this is not just What I Get for trying to implement a content management system the inner workings of which I do not really understand. . . .) Anyway, as one astute commenter noted earlier, the RSS link to the left below reads “feed:” and thus, I gather, does not work properly for some who have tried to subscribe to the blog.

My technical adviser has spent some time trying to figure out how to get rid of that first “feed:” but has had no luck. If any of my more technically inclined readers has an idea, please let me know–you can leave a comment or e-mail lauracrossett at hailmail dot net.

Technology is an odd thing: like “middle class,” “tech literate” covers a very wide terrain. To some of the people I work with, I’m amazingly technologically literate because I know how to set margins on Word, find and copy images from the Web [for reasons unbeknownst to me, the right-click mechanism is disabled on most of our public access computers, so if you want to cut and paste from most the Web (menus are also disabled on Internet Explorer), you have to know the keyboard shortcuts], use Google Maps, etc. But compared to others, I’m an ignoramus: I know a little markup but no coding; I can use a networked computer but don’t know how to set up such a network; I can use RSS but I don’t know how to fix a problem with my feed.

I was reading a Talk of the Town piece in the New Yorker today which noted that “When [Alan Greenspan] took office, the Politburo still occupied the Kremlin, the Dow was under 3,000, and few people outside the Pentagon and university science departments had heard of the Internet.” And it struck me that, actually, at that time I had heard of the Internet, though I’m not sure knew it by that name. In 1986, the year before Greenspan became Fed chair, my mother acquired our first computer, a Mac Plus. The site I just linked to (the first Google link for mac plus) notes that this was Apple’s longest lived Mac, and indeed, we had ours until 1994, when I left for college and my mother got a newer Mac, the specs of which I have since forgotten, as it was only around for a few years. My mother, who was finishing her residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, got the computer because she was planning to do a research project that would involve using what I now know as the Internet. Essentially, she explained to me, she would get this computer and something called a modem, which would allow our computer to talk to other computers all over the world through a telephone line.

As it turned out, she didn’t do that research project, and we didn’t get a modem until 1994, with the new computer. I spent many happy after school hours on the Mac Plus, though, moving fonts around on floppy disks, drawing pictures using MacPaint, and, very occasionally, attempting the typing game my mother had gotten in an effort to get me to learn to type. (I took a mandatory typing class–on computer–in junior high–but I still maintain that I really learned to type by using Broadcast, a sort of campus-wide IM system, in college.) I made graphs for science lab papers on that computer and typed college application essays on it. But I never used it to get online. I didn’t have e-mail until 1994; I didn’t surf the Web until I learned about Netscape in 1995. I am not what you would call an early-adopter. But once upon a time, I did know about the Internet, even if I had no idea what a large role it would come to play in my life.