Back with a temporary pair of glasses, a need for a new gadget, a day of shopping, and other catchings up since January

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Summary: It has been a bit since I have had a post discussing my daily goings on, so this is one of those posts. In this, a brief synopsis of why I have temporary glasses, about thinking of the future of my gadget collection, spending the day with Sarah, and I guess that's most of it.

BLOT: (06 Feb 2011 - 03:10:08 AM)

Back with a temporary pair of glasses, a need for a new gadget, a day of shopping, and other catchings up since January

It has been a couple of weeks since I have sat down and talked much about the day to day. Arguably, the last real occurrence of this was back when I was talking about hearing some people scream in the middle of the night. That does not quite count, which makes a more likely candidate possibly the post I made the second day of the year. I don't know. I don't really talk about the day to day without context, and it seems like the day to day has been generally contextless lately. I get bubbles of weird things on the Internet, or half-way ideas that pop in my head, but myself? Haven't really felt like bringing it up. Until tonight, I mean.

Well, first off, this is my first post (at all) for a bit and that's partially caused by a weird incident this week (which I will file into the Year of the Weird sometime soon). I was cleaning my glasses and somehow the side I wasn't cleaning at the time did this snap thing and broke off at the nose-bridge. I was able to make a temporary fix by inserting the pieces of the bridge into a mechanical pencil eraser. However, it was poor because the two halves would regularly shift and change the focus, if not come apart and fall. It made going to class on Wednesday night a possibility, but it also left me feeling dizzy and headachey for several days. Skip ahead, I have a temporary pair of frames picked up from the place I got my forthcoming new glasses, but they are a little too small for my head and one of the lenses cracked (apparently) during the fall. This means I keep having headaches from them, but shouldn't be for more than a week or two until the new ones get here.

Catching up won't take too long. About the only real difference in my life is that I won't be doing Kaplan e-ref any more. Kaplan had been leasing some reference work through UAH for a little while. We had a librarian who handled their interlibrary loans (which were called "traditional books") and then I and another librarian (who has recently left) did various email reference and phone reference set-ups. We were trying to get live chat up and running but it just wasn't meant to be with the technology we had. It was a weird job. Some questions coming from the Kaplan contingent were so extremely confused, poorly worded, or misguided. Not all of them. Half of them were really basic. Half of the more advanced ones were well-thought-out. Half of the others were at least competent. But, then, maybe 1 out of 8, would involve so many misspellings and misapprehensions that it would take some time, occasionally multiple exchanges, to work it through. There seems to be a paradox in the for-profit schools, that the very student who is least suited to them—the student that needs a more traditional learning environment and possibly a series of refresher courses—is the one that seems to be in their primary demographic. It is the reality of the situation, of course, that the students attracted to their programs are the ones who don't have time for a more traditional education, who only later in life began to appreciate the importance of education; but there is a reason that so many for-profits have only a 25-35% graduation rate. I'll miss it, though, because at least once a week I would have a break-out moment with a student. I would help them understand a basic principle of research or expression. Those were good times. I think it is good they are getting their own internal library set-up, though, someone deeper in the guts of their own system who might be able to see some of the parts of the picture that I never could because I only got a small glimpse of their academic circle.

Most other news is of a not necessarily minor, but not exactly landmark status. Friday night, we finally had time to finish up the Shadows of Cthulhu campaign that we have been playing. I'll post about it more, so leave it at that for here. I've started up my last full semester of grad school. Two classes, one involves reference work for the humanities and the other is about metadata (and, by extension, digital files and electronic communication in the library). I have one class left to take, on administration (I am hoping for the specialty class in Academic library specialization), that will hopefully come this summer. At work, the semester has picked back up and there is a little flurry of database changes and the like. For some reason, late last year, several major databases decided to update their look and feel. Some of which did it automatically, with very little action required on the library's behalf. Some, like Proquest's family of databases, require a little bit of hem-and-haw to get it shifted over. I am about half-way through getting that up to where it needs. Not very exciting, but it is kind of cool to see the innards of such a thing. Also cool to have the skills to see the innards of such a thing.

Today was the first real and generally stress free day out that Sarah and I have been able to take in a few weeks. The impetus behind it was partially to price iPods and related technology. I have long used my now aging CD/mp3C-CD player for such needs, but for reasons not hard to guess, it is not a perfect solution. It requires me to burn a number of disks. Either I have to make it mix-tape style, with 70 or so minutes of music/audio, or I have to burn it mp3 style, which gives me a bit more at the trade-off of using a somewhat problematic sorting system. And with audiobooks and radioplays it can be even worse. Some, like Big Finish's works, are meant to be heard a CD at the time, and so are kind of easy to met out and burn to a disk or two. Others, like the stuff I get from Audible, are not so easily handled. There are ways to tell it to burn only 70 minutes or so at a time, but then you have to deal with little gaps and stopping in the middle of sentences. Most of them have chapter/sections, but depending on the break it can be kind of a large chunk. And, as far as I can tell, iTunes chooses to burn the whole thing as one long track, meaning anything that causes me to lose my place (batteries going dead, having to jump back and forth between disks) means I have to fastfoward manually to where I was. An iPod will fix most of these issues, but of course there are now a half dozen flavors to choose from. Like, do I want a Nano? No, not really. My fingers are too big to use it properly and it stores relatively little amounts of data. The Shuffle is right out. The Touch is nice, but to get a fair amount of data storage, it gets kind of expensive and I'm not really sure I need the temptation to play games and read tiny little ebook screens. The iPad is really nice, but expensive and I doubt I would want to get the data plan, too, which would deprive it of half it's purpose. In the end, I'm leaning toward the old brick of an iPod Classic, which now stores something like 160 gigs, which means I could put all of the music on my Mac, most of my Doctor Who audios, and all of my favorite podcasts on there and have a many hours on the go device. I like this solution, though I'd be missing out on the obvious joy of having one of the more sophisticated devices.

While out, also got to try P.F. Chang's for the first time (the one in Bridge Street). It was nice. Very busy for a late Saturday afternoon. The lettuce wraps were alright. The hot and sour soup was kind of a let down (especially since a small bowl of it costs double what any other restaurant in town would charge), but the kung pao chicken and they spinach and garlic stir-fry were both excellent and I would recommend them. Our waiter looked a lot like Kurt from Glee, and if you know the show and eat there, you might know who I am talking about. The rest of the day (we were out like six hours) was mostly shopping here or there, getting stuff like the Trigun box-set, walking around, and such. Sarah did get to go into Joann's, which is a new craft store over by Earth Fare. We picked her up a storage kit for her bellydancing supplies, and a book on how to crochet cute creepy things. Both were on a good sale. The place wasn't that busy when we went in, but it seems nice enough. While in the area, we picked up some stuff at Earth Fare, too, including these green tea caramels that sound like they should be awesome, and do taste ok, but leave a horrid aftertaste when you burp afterward. If you do eat them, try and not burp for the next couple of days just to be safe.

And that mostly catches everything up. Plans for the next week or two are to finally sit down and get a couple of minor but needed changes to my website worked out, to get a few early assignments out of the way, and to possibly try and sit myself down to write a few short stories that have been on my mind. I have also gotten into a weird place as far as stuff like reading or even watching movies goes, where I get too easily distracted. Partially because of the stress of mid January (and having my usual place for such activities uprooted) and probably just...I don't know...not quite being in the mood. With that in mind, it is also my intention to start focusing on fixing that and getting back into a few more long-term hobbies and getting my concentration back to where it was not all that long ago (December, for goodness sakes).

Well, I guess that's it. Good night and good luck.

LABEL(s): Me in 2011


Written by Doug Bolden

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