Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Floor Part 2

This is our floor as of Friday morning. The guys came to start on Wednesday morning around 10am. After 2 hours of attempting to pull op the wood, they announced they were off to lunch. Also that they couldn't pull up the wood without pulling up pieces of the concrete floor as well. So they were going to get a new blade for their skill saw, chop up the floor and then water it. he idea was that this would loosen the glue and they could pull up the boards the next day. Thus the wood sticking tot he floor in places and many small pieces of wood everywhere. Anyway after lunch they spent another hour sawing and watering before leaving at 2.

Friday they did manage to pull up the floor int he living room and dining room. Then they put down an epoxy to fill in and holes they'd made in the slab and help the glue stick better or something. Then they had to let it dry, so off they went. 8am - 2pm. Saturday back at 8am and the whole living room laid. We had high hopes they could just finish it out, but one of the guys son had a baseball game so they finished up around 3pm. Right now we can't walk on the floor and they haven't put down the quarter round and it's apparently all held together with painters tape anyway. Ahhh Well, soon all will be done.

House projects are so much fun:-)

To follow the progress go to my photos:

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Wood Floor Saga, Part 1

Our Beautiful New Wood Flooring is RUINED! Yes, life is sad all over but not quite so sad as seeing your 1 year old flooring buckling. So, the long and short of the story is this: our A/C has not been checked since, well who knows, we've never had it checked anyway. I didn't even know you had too have the A/C checked regularly. Geez people, someone needs to tell us these things, I've never had my own house, I've always lived in apartments. See this is the practical life lessons stuff they should teach you in home ec. Not that I took home ec, but I digress.

Well, the point is we figured out the A/C was leaking all under our floors because I noticed they were getting all puckered looking. I was all for blaming this on Bushie, Felicia and Nik's Black Lab. He came and stayed with me the weekend before and spent the entire time ignoring the puppy and panting all over our floor. and shedding too, but I doubt that damaged the flooring anyway. So we figure out the A/C is leaking and turn it off and Brad bravely volunteers to stay home until it's fixed(really this is both brave and just lack of trust in me to get it fixed in a timely manner, Brad looooves him some A/C)

The nice A/C people come and clean out system and find out our condensation coil is clogged. How this happens is a mystery to me, but I thought it might be best not to know. Anyway, all better. The nice flooring people came to give us an estimate, the nice insurance man said "Yes, of course we will pay to replace your floor even though it's your own stupid fault for not knowing how to take care of your house and it's not like we're giving those poor suckers in Ike's path any help or anything." OK, maybe not the last part, but mostly accuarte.

The flooring people take a couple of days, but finally get us an estimate for the damaged parts, then call a few days later and say ohhh, that floor is discontinued, let me see if I can find some extra boxes packed back in some warehouse. A few days later: "Yeah, um, no, no one has any, you'll have to replace the whole thing with something else. " The nice insurance mand says yes we will still cover it, just make sure it says the old flooring is discontinued. No Problem!

So we're getting a whole new floor downstairs! We only have to move everything! Yeah! OK, no that part sucks. To anyone who thought this was actually going to be a short story, You don't know me very well do you? WTF are you doing reading my blog?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Return of the Hamster and other Tales

Yes, we can step down from the Oatmeal Alert. Hammy has returned home and the feared abduction turned out to be an escapade behind the kitchen cabinets. See the above photo of possible suspect with accomplice at a chain restaurant in Arhus, Denmark and the following news item:

Martinez, GA - Escape hamster Hamdini "Hammy" Blake was recaptured last night at 10:25pm. Reports put Hammy at the original scene of his escape, his cage. Captors cleverly placed the cage near his hideout in hopes that hunger and thirst would drive him back. "I told Zoey it was a good plan" Mrs. Blake was quoted as saying. Zoey was said to bark in agreement.

So all is well. Hammy is safely restrained and immediately tried to re-escape upon realizing his mistake in going back to the scene of the crime. Alas, my clever hamster trap failed, but my clever putting his cage by where he was hiding did not. I knew he couldn't resist coming back for his nut stash.

In other news, Bradley is back! Yes, my husband arrived in one piece from Copenhagen, via the Atlanta airport. I picked him up just after 7pm on Sunday night. He'd been up since like 2am our time at that point. He did manage to eat dinner and shower. He attempted to fall asleep in from of the TV, but I made him go to bed. It was 8:30. He woke up around 4:30am then, and spent the morning with the puppy. In hopes of pulling his schedule back to normal I forced him to stay awake until 9:30.(I know I'm so mean!)

He must have been awake when the puppy woke up at 6:50 this morning because he got right out of bed and took her downstairs. He returned ten minutes later with coffee for me:-) I could get used to this. Normally, I take the puppy down because he is so dead to the world, he doesn't even notice her trying to jump on him. And then I make my own coffee. I could get used to this, maybe I should let him go to bed at 9pm. Hummm.

On the side, for your entertainment are pictures from Denmark. A picture of the canal and the National Library.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Well of course when Brad is out of town the puppy will play. But last night I came home and let the puppy out and then noticed something was weird with the hamster cage. In fact it appeared that the wheel was no longer attached. AHHHHHH!!!! Hammy the escape artist has done it again! Hammy is our affectionate name, but he was early on named Hamdini after his favorite role model. Seen here on the right.

So, I began the search. It's important to know, when searching for hamsters, their weaknesses and also all small holes in your house. I figured Hammy probably escaped sometime Wednesday night, but in my usual morning daze had not even noticed him missing. So first thing, check under all couches, tv consoles, tables, puppy beds, etc. This though search of the downstairs, led to nothing. Occasionally they'll hide under furniture, but for the most part they like darker smaller hiding spots.

This of course leaves under the stove and dishwasher int he kitchen. Like most cabinets ours were placed with some space between the wall and actual cabinet also with a few inches underneath to lift them a bit off the floor. All accessable from under the stove or dishwasher. I do believe the hamsters have a nest already prepared. Based on last night's observations, they must have stocked it with provisions too. The usual method is to wait until dark and then shake the food bowl near their hideout. It works for all kinds of animals.

This had no effect on Hammy at all. I didn't hear a peep. OK fine. I left a bit of food on the floor, just in case he came out. I also transferred his cage to the floor in case he decided to return to his home. Wishful thinking on my part. This morning there was no food on the floor, and no Hammy in his cage still. Well at least I know he's around. I set up a hamster trap for him. A little hook and bait thing hopefully he'll fall for sometime today. I'll post a picture if it's successful. Zoey is also posted to keep an eye out. In the picture you can see them bonding. It was hard to get a picture where they weren't moving, but right after this Hammy places his little paws around her nose. So cute. She didn't even try to lick him.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Zoey being cute

Amanda pointed out a good fact to me yesterday. Despite my love for the puppy, all you ever hear about is her eating my sill and flip-flops, etc. So the theme for today is my adorable puppy, with lots of photos as evidence.

So here we have photos of my puppy being cute. Since these are when she's sleeping one might still be tempted to think that my puppy is only good when unconscious. Not true! It's just the only time I can take a picture where she's not moving. She moves constantly and even more so when I'm trying to take pictures.(I swear) Moving and ripping open toys to pull out the stuffing are here favorite activities.(Besides sleeping, eating, and barking, she has a very full schedule) Right now Sheep and Cookie Monster from the pictures are due for some major surgery. For once it's not her favorite squeaky toy hedgehog. I've sewed up his side, including reinserting an arm, and his back. Tonight it'll be Sheep's back and CM's lip. She's also decided that pulling the squirrels out of their tree is boring, and she would rather eat the tree trunk part. (picture to follow)

Everyone has heard and seen the window sill incidence, so you might be surprised that I have once more placed Zoey alone in both the kitchen and dining room. I'm a bit surprised myself, but considering she can't really do much damage that will matter on her tasty windowsill anymore, and that she's now 7 months old, we thought we'd try again. I sprayed the windowsill with bitters again. Amanda left me this wonderful note about how someone else had tried Vick's Vapor rub and it worked great. The smell and taste kept the dog from eating the area. So I got some, and I let her sniff it and she licked it. Ewwww! So, I thought, well the smell doesn't bother here, but the taste probably does, I bet she will go away this time. But NO! She licked it again! My weird dog likes Vick's. That just can't be good.


I'm all creepy crawly the last few days. I found a beautiful spider in my garden. These are called Writing or Garden Spiders. Garden because that's where they live, Writing because of the pattern on their webs. They have a normal web shape, but with an additional thick scribbley type pattern down the middle of it. You can't really tell in the photo, but if you look below her you can kind see it. I got too close after this and she jumped off. Yes she, in spiders girls are usually large and pretty and boys are little and drab.

We used to have one of these in my classroom. Actually we had a couple. Once they lay eggs they die and we had to get a new one. (I could contain a large spider, but a bunch of small ones might escape, they had to be put back outside.) Certain class days we would head out and hunt bugs. Crickets were an especially easy target. The kids would catch the bugs and we would choose one to feed to the spider. Every time she built a web, we'd throw a bug in it. The kids loved to watch how she'd move to grab the bug and immobilize it, then roll it up in webbing. Well, of course, there were as many ewwws as cools, but they were all watching.

I have decided to name her Zola. I showed her to Brad, but he was not impressed, he was also very concerned that she was poisonous. I assured him she wasn't poisonous, to him anyway. The large dead moth she had at the time didn't help much. However, since she's outside and easily avoidable(he never goes near the landscaping, that's my area) he's decided not to put out a death decree. Lucky Zola. Now as long as the puppy doesn't find her we're in good shape.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why they start out small and cute...

Zoey "Sluggett Sill Muncher" Blake

Ah, while daddy is away the puppy will play. No matter that I am there, this is apparently of no concern to Zoey. Brad is gone for the week and although she began her boundary testing last week, she seems to have accelerated it as of Monday morning when she realized he wasn't coming back for a while.

Monday morning started normally, up at 6:30 have breakfast, come up and get ready, go outside before I leave. Once outside she decided that running in circles around the back yard, back and forth to the fence(and dogs next door) and away from me was the best course of action. Needless to say my commands had no effect and it took me a while to catch her especially since I refused to run after her. Mass spankings were in order.

Being the kind mother I am I left her in the dining room and kitchen area, even though she had started to chew the window sill and molding. I figured she'd already done the damage. Well, she did more, finding a whole new piece of unchewed molding and completely destroying a corner of the window sill,(See exhibit A) and then she tried to eat the door mat. Also, a leaf fell off the rubber tree and little tiny pieces of it ended up everywhere. ( I am now quite relieved I thought to place the rubber tree up where she couldn't reach it)

Monday after the whole coming home to everything chewed on was going well. Zoey and I went out to play. Felicia came to visit and Zoey ran back and forth between our laps. And even when we went to dinner and left her in the kitchen by herself, nothing was destroyed. We watched some TV, she barked at some pedestrians, the normal nightly routine. Then we went up to bed. I went to take my shower. I came back, greeted the puppy at the bedroom door and noticed she had something like foam in her fur? and then I noticed my flip flop, oddly in the middle of the room. When turned over I noted it was full of teeth marks and covered in slobber.(See exhibit B) Not only that, but she had tried to pull laundry out of the laundry basket.(resulting in more slobber covered items, well the parts she managed to pull out through the holes.) The flip flop incident(as it will be known) was especially upsetting because everyone I know has dogs who have chewed on their shoes(excepting Angie because Schautze has never done anything wrong ever, ever ever))(Sadie even ate all of Laura's left shoes(yes, all of them)), but not my puppy, she was never interested in chewing on shoes. Now, my bragging rights are forfeited and they all get to shake their heads and say "I told you it was only a matter of time."

Tuesday she got to stay in the kitchen alone. The dining room sills and molding no longer able to handle her attentions (or my sanity, whatever.) Not one to be deterred my mere obstacles to her true aims, she decided to concentrate on the refrigerator. Like most, our refrigerator is covered with magnets, papers, postcards, doodads, etc. Now only the top 2/3rds of it is covered in anything. Most of the magnets escaped unscathed, but some large cheapy ones fell to the puppy teeth. I recognized parts of those, the rest of the slobber cover mass is still a mystery to me. Luckily for me, even though I attended bookclub, we had no more incidences that evening. This may be due to my stop by PetCo on the way home where, at my sister's suggestion, I bought Apple Bitters. Which I sprayed on everything, including the puppy.

In retaliation for the Apple Bitters, Zoey stayed up late and woke up at 6am on Wednesday, again. Bleah, I'm going to be dragging by the end of the week. This kind of effort and level of tiredness is suppose to be reserved for new infants and children, isn't it?

Monday, July 21, 2008

While the hubby is away...

Brad has deserted me for a geek conference in Portland this week. Sorry, open-source conference. (Free software for you non-tech people, though I don't think I have many friends who wouldn't know that) Anyway, he had to go to the airport in Augusta at 6am :-( I had every intention of going back to sleep after I dropped him off, but Target had MarioKart and they open at 8am on Sunday and I promised Lacy MarioKart for his birthday last weekend. So, I settled for laying down for 1/2 hour, listening to Zoey attempt to rip Cookie Monster apart, before heading off to Target. MarioKart retrieved, I set about doing what you do when your husband is out of town. Namely, watching girl movies. I have four lined up on Netflix: Saving Jane(watched that one last night, it was good), PS I love you, Definitely Maybe, and 27 Dresses.

Zoey is taking Brad's absence in stride. She ran around outside while I worked on the garden and then slept on my lap or in her bed for most of the rest of the day. We went for a walk around 6:30 and she spent some quality time on the couch barking as passersby for a few hours before dusk. When we went to bed though she was sad. There was no people water to lap up from the shower, no Brad to play tug of war before bed and throw the squeky toys to retrieve, in short it was all very upsetting. For me too, but I conpensate by reading until I can't keep my eyes open anymore and sleeping across the whole bed. Zoey just went to sleep at 10:30 when it became apparent there would be no more entertainment for the evening.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


My Garden

We've had some ups and downs this year. As you can see the tomatoes are up, as well as the green beans. However, some mysterious force is causing my squash plants to grow everywhere and then just die. Stupid squash plants. Right now the yellow squash is on it's way out and the watermelon is taking over the rest of the garden. In a few weeks it'll die and I'll have to hope all the ones I planted in pots on the front porch do well.

I'm also setting up a new outline with different bricks. (I warned you all dull life, this is what I do) I've taken the others and will use them to outline the bushes in the back and one the side, I'm hoping that will help keep the mulch in. So the outline you see here is gone.

Actually, this whole side picture of the garden is different. Bottom left are yellow onions. I took the old bricks and outlined the onion area and added more soil. I have no idea if we'll actually get onions, but it's the one thing we use a lot of, so I figured it was worth the try. On the right side are the green beans with the tomatoes behind them. The tomatoes love the heat, the beans, not so much.

Behind the onions are a strawberry plant, that was moved into a pot. Stupid slugs kept eating my strawberries. I moved it a week ago and so far me and the puppy have both gotten a strawberry, so it's going well. Behind that are the radishes, which also didn't grow any radishes, just leaves. The hamsters liked the leaves, but they like greenbeans too and I have more of those. I pulled all this up and put in some more yellow onions(whose top parts are also doing well, but I see no evidence of actual onions yet)

Garden now.

See the new wall. More room for dirt, which is good because it's just clay 6 inches down and nothing can grow through it. However, I do have earthworms. Zillions of them. Really. Which means all the birds in a ten mile radius visit my garden to feast. Which gives Zoey something to do. Stupid birds, landing in her garden! If she can't go in there then neither can they! (Notice the black specks on the bricks? Yep bird poo)

My garden is not doing tremendously well, but it is managing. The cherry tomatoes are doing well and favored with Zoey and I as an afternoon treat. We go out after we get home and split them. The green peppers are finally showing something and I've totally given up on the corn, the firat set died of heat, the second I dug up half of to get the new edging in. Oh well, the garden will be ready for my efforts next year.

Also, just a quick picture of my beans. I'm generally trying to pick them before this stage, but they escape notice every once in a while(or triple in size overnight) Not that I have a problem with large green beans, but we're already getting too many of them. This is the one thing that is producing money saving veggies that Brad will eat. WOOHOO!

Moving up?

Well, still not much happening here another wait and see game. It's annual review time at MDW and Brad is waiting to hear the results(as is everyone) As usual (not just when he works for Felicia) his boss loves him and is trying to promote him to Senior Engineer and give him a raise and maybe even some actual management duties over his project. Basically, he does what he does now, but he'll actually have a title which gives him some real control rather than throwing his opinion in the ring. Or at least that's how I understand it.

What Brad does, the back end for this site:
They sell it to newspapers, etc. all over the world. I can say that now because he's going to Denmark to help train and setup the program on their servers and is spending a few extra days in Copenhagen(because I said no to London(well I want to go too!))

I have applied for a position as Head of Public Services in the FSU Medical Library. I'm not keen on Florida, as many of you know(the whole stupid state is sand), but it's a great opportunity. The library was established in 2002 and is almost entirely electronic. Because it's small, new, and current, I think I have a good chance of getting the job, but with only two years library experience, I could be trumped by someone with more time on the job. I have had a phone interview at the end of last month. Right now I'm waiting to hear about on site interviews. We're pretty well settled into Augusta, so if I don't get the job, it's not a problem staying here for a few more years of experience:-)

Moving Along

I'm so busy reading everyone's blogs that I'm never writing in mine. Actually the truth is that I read Jenny's blog and find out all about the McGee, etc. families, and how Marna and Dennis are doing with Casey, and what Amanda has going on this week, and I realize that my life is really dull. Seriously, routine and set. Getting the puppy shook things up a bit, but it's not the same as children or actual events.

However to update everyone on my hairy child, Zoey had her 6 month birthday July 3rd and went in July 9th to be spade. She came home drunk and refusing to climb up or down anything or sit or lay down. She only went to sleep when I held her. By Thursday morning she was running up the stairs and eating well. After the pain medication(which I think she thinks are treats) she was all over the place, like nothing had ever happened. Her tummy got pretty swollen over the weekend, but the vet said that would happen. She was pretty miserable by Sunday and Monday night though with her pills wearing off.

Other than that. Brad and I are doing well. Like I said routine. We get up, go to work, come home, go to gym, come home, make dinner, play with puppy/walk, watch some tv/work on a project/clean up, and head to bed. Not that I'm complaining, it's just hard to post to a blog when nothing is going on:-) Also hard to call my friends when I have nothing to say. Someday maybe we'll have a baby and news every minute too. Of course, then I'll be too busy to post. Ahh well. Maybe Felicia will have the baby then I'll have news and time to post and a baby to spoil rotten, the best of all worlds.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sleepless Nights

I don't know which is worse. That it took me forever to fall asleep even after I read until my eyes refused to follow the words anymore or that even when I fell asleep I was dreaming that I was having trouble falling asleep. At least I think I did, now a lot of that seems fuzzy, but I'm sure that this morning I was dreaming of trying to find a place to lay down and sleep and being constantly interrupted.

Despite all this, I woke up at 5:45 and the puppy was asleep. (she didn't sleep well either, but she didn't bark in the middle of the night when it sounded like a big dog was right out our window barking either, good Zoey!) So, I put in my earplugs(stupid chirping birds!) and laid back down. When I got back out of bed and hour later she was still asleep, or at least not moving around. She awoke when I got up and opened her crate. After much stretching and yawning she tried to jump on Brad, as usual.

Sadly, she is too short to jump on the bed. Ahh well, some day she's actually make it on the bed and Brad will be surprised. For now he's pretty safe rolling over and petting her head. She's much more awake this time in the morning than he is. However, after a quick stop outside to pee and breakfast, she'll usually crawl on the couch with me and go back to sleep.

Lately however, she has decided that we are boring. She now spends much of her time watching out the window from the arm of our light green couch. (pictures to follow I promise!) She barks at the ducks and the kids and the cars and the trash trucks.(she really hates those) She just sits and watches and you can tell when something interesting is outside because she wags her little nub like crazy. Eventually she'll get bored and come back to me, but ever since her last grooming appointment I've been trying to brush her every night when she falls asleep on my lap. If she's not really asleep she grunts at me and rearranges herself, until she decides that I'm not going to stop then she'll crawl to the safety of Brad's lap or the ottoman.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Conflict and Thought

My mother called two days ago. She chatted for a while and then asked me if I had heard that Glen Martinez had been killed in Iraq.

Beginning with this news, I have been thinking, or pondering really. I received the newspaper clippings and then went online to find the following story.

I can't claim that what I feel is sorrow. I do, feel sad, for a life taken so young, for a wife who had so little time with him, for a family who loved him very much. Mostly though I feel confusion. Glen is the first person I know that has been killed in Iraq. He's not the only person I know in the military, but none of my family had gone into service and I have never been much aquainted with that part of our culture, except through a few friends who are, as they would affectionately term themselves, 'military brats'.

I attended school with Glen from 5th grade through our sophomore year in high school. He was a jock, but I can say for him, he was the less obnoxious of them and not that I ever remember was he mean. As you may figure, we did not hang out. I was smart, not gorgeous, and certainly not athletic. I did take classes with Glen though and remember especially Algebra I in 8th grade. A new class, a few advanced students from our class were chosen to take it. There were about 15 of us. Glen may not have been entirely the model student the paper mentioned, I remember him asking for my homework a time or two. I also remember that our freshman year he re-took the class. He claimed he hadn't quite gotten the grasp of it and wanted to have a better understanding before moving on.

So, I was surprised twice. Glen went on to major in Mathematics. I guess that second year of algebra did set up a solid foundation for him. And that he did it at Ottawa University in Kansas. I moved to Kansas my Junior year and attended the University of Kansas after. To think that he was 1/2 an hour away the entire time. It just seems so odd that someone else from the Valley made it all the way to Eastern Kansas too.

So I guess I am sad. I may not have known Glen very well, but I did attend school with him for years. He was a good guy, a nice guy. And as everyone has pointed out he enjoyed himself. He did have lots of fun and I know that personally he got out of lots of trouble in Spanish class by flashing that grin of his. That grin kept him out of a lot of trouble I'm sure.

I want to send out my condolences to his wife Melissa. I'm sorry you had such a short time with him. The story of how you met and he then found you later is terribly romantic. I think I hurt more for you than anything else, because the mere imagining of losing my husband after so short of a time leaves me at a complete loss.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rant Part II - Tech Support

Tech support. Bah! I am generally not a ranting type, but this is my second blog ranting. Which means that all of you who do not know me will have to take for granted that I'm telling you the truth. I am not what I would say calm, but I'm not known for my ranting like some of my husband's co-workers.(CJ I'm looking your infamous way)

My rant today is directed towards the technical support at Thomson Scientific. In discharging my duties as statistical collector of database usage at Greenblatt Library I have been attempting to obtain said usage statistics. Thomson Web of Knowledge database underwent an interface change in February of 2008. The webpage containing their statistics also changed at this time. I have been trying to obtain access to this new site or at least the site itself with no success. The WOK help page here takes you to a Thomson help page which directs you to email Thomson tech support.

Now, having friends in the biz, I know tech support is no joy most days. You get a lot of upset people, some serious inquires, and a lot of, excuse me but, dumb asses. These are the people whom have to direct users to turn on their monitor or plug in their computer or that no, their laptop is not water-proof. However, I felt my question on obtaining access to the new usage reports was simple enough. I was sent an email with instructions to sign up on two different accounts, that my access my takes weeks to get and starting with this line:

"Acess to UsageReports was changed in February 208. Instructions were sent for the registration process in October 2008."

I thought it was a bit condescending as well as badly written. However, I can give some room for having a bad day. I followed the directions which has me sign up for two accounts. One user account in WOK, and one for access to the actual reports. (why I need both I have no idea) This was on March 25th. I know because I have the email. I have yet to receive a reply from anyone.

I felt I have been patient enough. I usually am content to put in my request and wait. People are busy, sometimes they can't get around to something right away and bugging them every five minutes just slows them down right? Well no, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Be annoying and complain loudly and often and then your work will get done first. That's what I'm learning from these experiences. I'll wait if I have to, but I'm tired of being ignored entirely because I'm not currently the person making your life difficult at the time. Isn't that exactly why you should smile and deal with my request in a timely manner?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Mashups and Privacy plus annoyance

Mashups and Privacy

Ahh, I have just finished reading a post by the annoyed librarian. I have read this blog occasionally and found it to be an interesting read. Frequently, it speaks directly about ALA issues that I am no longer involved in, so I skip over. However, this week in class we were asked to look at Gabe's Rollyo list of librarians blogs. The Annoyed Librarian is one featured in the list. A search for privacy showed two items when were written by this individual and had privacy in the title.

The first I still am not sure why, but the second discusses the reason this blog is anonymous. While I could care less about someone wanting to remain unseen while complaining about ALA issues, I was annoyed when comparisons to Alexander Hamilton and whistle blowers started to pop up. Since when does avoiding personal responsibility for your comments equate to avoiding a possible mob and death from the redcoats?

Maybe I expect too much from my profession. I was raised in the newspaper world of small-town journalism. A place where you put your name to what you write, and you still write what you believe in, because it is the socially responsible thing to do. Newspaper editors get yelled at and I've heard more than a few empty threats, but I've also seen a lot of dialog.

If you want to be anonymous and air all that you feel is wrong with the world on your blog, I do feel that is your right to do so. It is free speech and you should feel safe speaking your mind. However, unpopular ideas about how the ALA runs it's business does not make you the next writer of the Federalist papers.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Poscasting and Vodcasting

Write a blog entry discussing how you felt about the experience of using YouTube and what you think about this service. Do you see any potential uses for Podcasting in the library? If so what and why?

I didn't want to be too serious with my choice of YouTube video, so a classic.

I have had some great excitement for podcasting and vodcasting and could see many uses for these technologies in the library. Sadly, I had to throw cold water on my colleague who is also completing this class. Podcasting seemed to be the most wonderful thing to get started to him. Think of all the applications of all we could do! We must go to the Web Committee now and propose they give us whatever we need for surely they will see the wonderful applications!

Yes, I said, surely, except, I've already investigated the possibilities. One of my duties at the library is to look into Web 2.0 technology and that is one of the main reasons I am taking this class. It works well that this is an area that also interests me greatly:-)

I have viewed many good podcasts on library websites, and some bad ones too, but not many places have them. What I discovered was this: libraries with events had traffic on their podcasts. So annual lectures, or lecture series of any sort were very popular. Some libraries even had class lectures. Some sort of continuity seemed important though.

Here at out small medical library we have nothing of this sort, no lecture series on campus I could even find. Which put us in the not continuous spot. Until I remembered we have a concert series. Nothing fancy, just students, staff and faculty sharing their musical talents with the rest of us. (Which brings up the whole you're a doctor and you can play Bach, that's totally not fair you got more than your share of the good genes) The concerts are monthly during the regular school year.

This would be a great place to start. Then we began expanding. Well, we also have weekly Grand Rounds. Humm, must check on HIPPA for this one. What about the roughly monthly talks sponsored by our Academic Council? What if we could get a professor who teaches first or second year medical students to put up his lectures? Maybe a week later to make sure the students are still coming to class ;-)

The ideas began presenting themselves the more we thought about it, but now we still have to go to the Web Committee for space, equipment, and support.

Humm, wonder if I could just get Tom to create a link to a YouTube Channel for me and I can just upload my tutorials there? Certainly saves us both time in the end and server space.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Online Photo Sharing

Photo Sharing is fun! I got involved in photo sharing about 6 months ago. I was getting married and needed somewhere to post the pictures, so everyone could see them. I also wanted to post pictures from our honeymoon in Europe. So my friend, Amanda showed me the online program she used: Picassa. It's a program through Google which works like Flickr, except I can have my online documents, photo sharing site, blog, and reader all under one easy site. Months later I find myself constantly posting new photos for friends to view and taking more pictures than ever. First it was the stuffed hamsters my husband and I bought in Rome. They travel with us on trips and take photos doing all the things hamsters do. Then our new house. Then our friend Yasser's wedding. Then our new puppy, Zoey, pictured above. It has been easy for me to let everyone who wants to know what we're doing up to date.

When I began thinking about how I could apply this to the library, I admit I was at a bit of a loss. I have seen some good uses of photo pages. Primarily, for libraries, I have seen a few examples where photo sites were used during construction. Visitors to the site could see what the library was going to look like in architect's drawings, they could see how the progress was going, and they could see what the library looks like when finished, compared to where it started. Students can not only view what's going on, but see that their favorite study room is currently home to the painter's tools, or the coffee shop they normally get their caffeine from has moved to the other side of the building.(Important things to know in the early morning hours)

This also seemed like a good way to store archival information. No one may care today that we took out our reference collection shelves, painted stripes on our back wall, and put in a study/core collection area, but in a few years when it's all different, it'll be interesting to look back at the changes made.

However, I still have trouble seeing the value of photo sharing in a library on a day to day basis. As a small library we have few events. We do take pictures a few times a year, which may be interesting to post, but we don't have many annual events of interest and nothing weekly or monthly to speak of. This is why I am going to make an effort to read as many of the blog entries of my fellow students as I can. I hope to collect some good ideas to supplement mine.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Online Office Tools

Is this the future of all software products? What do you think?

This week we're working with online office tools. I stuck with and tried various Google applications. Partially because I already have a Google account and partially because I love all things Google. I know as a Librarian that's a terrible thing to say and I could be burned at the stake for such talk, but I'm also a young librarian. I grew up with technology(my father helped to introduce computers into the Kansas City Star newsroom in the 70's). My sister, husband, brother-in-law and numerous friends are in the business of creating websites and online applications. My job actually includes me working with and finding applications for these new technologies(lucky me huh?).

I enjoyed using the online office tools. Although in this short class time, I didn't have a chance to use them in more that one location ( a functionality I was really looking forward to) I can still imagine how they might benefit many projects. I have been working in the drudge of a SHARE drive. In the middle of re-creating a 6 week summer course for pre-college students, I have forgotten what version I have, what's on the SHARE drive and what my partner has. So, I decided to start my next document in Google docs send it to my partner that way. While we haven't gotten to the editing stage yet( and I'm not entirely sure I've sold her on the idea) she liked the ease of accessing the document and that we could both see what the current version looked like. No need to make sure the version I updated was in the SHARE Drive.

Is this where all software will go? Probably. Will it happen tomorrow? No. It seems that the more we advance our knowledge and the more we bring applications and work online the more (and less) we worry about security. I admit, I'm one of the non worriers. I lead a fairly simple unexciting life. The new puppy is my highlight for the next month. When my father(very seriously) told me that my new phone had a GPS chip in it and the government could track my every move, I laughed. "Great dad. They can see I drive to work in the morning, then back home in the evenings, and sometimes I even venture to the next town over." Maybe I'm an optimist, or maybe I'm sure of my obscurity. I don't believe many people have interest in where I am or what I do. I'm not doing anything illegal, so I have nothing to worry about right?

OK, so I can see dads point on some level. No, I'm not doing anything illegal, does this mean I don't care if someone is listening into a conversation I'm having? Heck no! I want to be secure as anyone else, but not at the price of my privacy. Certainly, our world and our country has not become so dangerous that we all need to be assumed guilty. This is where I don't see online applications as flying too far too soon. It seems that no application has been build that hasn't been cracked. Now, I have no plans of using online applications in Google for sensitive information, but that means I miss out on many potential applications for this technology.

I think that we will see a move towards greater usage of this type of technology and with it we will see more companies using the software which allows organizations to interact within their walls and protect themselves form the rest of the world. I also see many people informally using Google docs and other free online applications to share, edit, and collaborate.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Can you see the potential of this tool for research assistance? Or just as an easy way to create bookmarks that can be accessed from anywhere?

For months my friend Nanda has been trying to get me to join a social bookmarking site. This particular one is devoted to shopping on the web. I had offered to just send her my amazon wishlist, but she insisted on having choices and the ease of buying them in between billing and talking to patrons. I wasn't crazy about the idea and ignored the repeated email requests she had sent to my inbox. I'm not saying I spend my whole day working, but I try to curtail my online wanderings and mostly keep to related sites. Bookmarking sites with desired objects seemed like a good way to get started on wasting a lot of time. But when I was asked to look into social bookmarking as a class assignment. It was the first thing I thought of. Of course, now my friend is out of town and I can't do that, so I explored other options for social bookmarking.

I opened my account and installed the icons on my browser. Then I headed into my workday as normal bookmarking an tagging where I might normally bookmark on my browser. While I still doubt I will use this at home, I realized that I do have several folders on my browsers bookmarks tab. I also had a folder of articles, mostly online for a project that I am working on with a few other colleagues. It occurred to me that YES social bookmarking could be useful for research. All these articles that had been printed, copied or sent by email could be collected into one site for use by all of us. Which I did. Then I went to get my colleagues set up on Now instead of searching through all my literature by hand while working on a certain area of the project or trying to remember what article talked about 'that topic' I can use the tagging system we'd already developed(we are librarians) and search for the topic we were currently working on. Presto! The articles we need to reference for this section there. New articles could be added and we could all reach them even if at home, in the hospital, or in another office.(all possible scenarios for our group) It has made the collaboration and compiling of research and writing just that much easier!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Social Networking SItes

Social Networking Sites
  • How can social networking be used by MLA to connect members
  • Should your library have a Facebook or MySpace page?
  • Are there privacy concerns for individuals when using social networking sites.
  • What did you like or not like about your experience with Facebook or MySpace.
A social network created by MLA could have enormous value for the library community. Imagine the ease of communicating, finding co-authors, getting answers, etc. all practically instantly and at your fingertips. Every MLA member could be there and unlike a listserv or email they wouldn't have to worry about getting a bunch of junk. They can choose to use the site when they need it, offer help when they want and solicit opinions. Members could choose to only communicate with others members they know or they could open themselves up to a whole new group of people. Isn't this part of the reason we join these kinds of organizations?

I'm still undecided on the Facebook and MySpace presence for the library. I can see it's value for me to keep up with friends from college who have moved far away (or who have stayed when I moved far away.) However, I don't see a lot of value for our library to be on either of these social networks. I know the students are and I can see the advantage of having individual librarians on to act as another contact point for the students and faculty. I don't think it would hurt to have a presence, I just have doubts as to how much that presence would be utilized.

Social Networking challenges the way that we look at privacy. The internet has constantly been making us look at privacy and how we define it. I think younger generations do not have the same sense of privacy that older generations do. I include myself in this area even though my sense of privacy is still greater than people in college or below. Google and Facebook are not only ways to communicate, but ways to gain information on people. We used to have no way to find out about what people did or what kind of people they were until we got to know them. Now we can jump on the internet and google them, then look up their MySpace or Facebook page. We can gain a lot of information, most that they have made available themselves or is publically available. I think that many people do not understand, really understand that when they leave their profile open that anyone (anyone!) can view it. They only think of this as a way to communicate and it doesn't occur to them that someone they don't know might be interested in what they have placed there. I think these pages make us both safer(from people we meet and google) and less safe(from strangers tracking us.)

I personally love Facebook and Hate MySpace. Facebook allows more privacy and I can limit my profile so that only people I know can see me. Those are the people I communicate with ane reach out too. I do an occassional search on friends and when I find them I can ask to add them in, then it's their choice. People have created a million fun add ons that you can choose to or not to participate in. Facebook can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it. I dislike MySpace because even at it's basic level it's busy. I know you can do a lot more and people love it for that, but I felt like it's something you have to put time into to get the way you want and I just want a way to keep up with my friends.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What's in a Wiki?

What is the difference between a blog and a wiki? What sort of things might be better suited for a blog and better suited for a wiki?

Blogs are basically used as public diaries. Using them in this way seems to make sense in libraries as well. Letting patrons know what has happened or is happening int he library. Keeping a blog on the library homepage would allow Librarians to update daily with classes, events, and future plans. This would aid communication within the organization as well as with the library community.

A Wiki seems to be a more complex tool. Or it can be used as a more complex tool. Keeping a chronological listing of events seems well-suited to a blog, but for more information that would be better served with a different organizational system a wiki seems to be the ticket. A wiki detailing current library policy and procedure may be just the thing to create a wiki for. At larger libraries a wiki may be used to keep track of librarians and classes, but smaller institutions would find this unnecessarily complex.

The wiki created by my colleague at the Greenblatt Library will be used to host our Reference Desk policies and procedures. These will take a bit of time to place and organize in the wiki, but they will then be bookmarked on the reference computers. New staff and faculty with fewer hours at the desk can easily answer complex questions by referring to wiki, instead of taking the time to find a source who knows or flipping through the print copy. The wiki I created will address Evidence-based nursing. As our hospital works to attain Magnet status I hope that this will provide information to nurses on searching for evidence, what to do with it, how to conduct research, and magnet information. Basically, everything they will need collected in one easy to access spot.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Blogs and RSS Feeds

My poor little Blog has not been used for much lately. After being set up a year ago it was abandoned, but not forgotten. Now it has a new purpose and maybe new life beyond. I am currently enrolled in a Web 2.0 class. I know some of the technology, but not all and I'm excited to learn. So without further ado, my blog assignment for week 1.

How do you think you could use RSS feeds at your library? How do you think patrons could use RSS feeds? Write a brief response on your blog.

I think RSS feeds could be used in the Library as both a tool to receive and push information. At our Reference Desk we could set up a blog reader to receive a variety of journal TOC's and update information from PubMed, EBSCO, etc. This would give us information at our fingertips and keep the reference desk informed. I also think we could create our own feed to push library information to our patrons. They could receive library information and when they come to the library we could help them to set up reader accounts and to subscribe to not only library information, but also to their most frequented sites and publications. Many researchers on our campus would also benefit from a reader account that updates them with the latest studies pertaining to their research areas. The library staff could help them to set up search feeds as well as journal feeds.