Thursday, May 24, 2007

Here Comes the Sun!

I have a grande planne to re-do my back patio which involves mosaics, circular brick patterns, and steppable ground cover. Today I finished my first mosaic, which is of the sun. Ta da!It's only the second mosaic I've ever done, and I'm very proud of it. It's 16" in diameter and about 25 lbs. Everything went as planned! Surely I will have to pay for that good karma with a flat tire or something in the near future.

Next I'm starting on a Moon, and then will, surprisingly, do an Earth. I toyed with doing the whole Solar System, but I decided that wasn't really realistic. Maybe some day ... Meanwhile, I have some cool iridescent greys and opaline whites to turn into a moon-saic!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Only 7 Things?!

After successfully completing the KCLS 27 Things Learning 2.0, you would think that a task of only 7 things would be easy. Last week Snuffywump tagged me to post 7 random things about myself. I have been pro. craaas. ti. naaa. ting. I'm supposed to tag 7 other people to do it, but I just can't bring myself to do it; I don't mind being tagged, but I can't spam my friends -- they would hate it. So I dispense with the rules at the risk of breaking the chain and accidentally getting strangled by my sweatshirt in a freak chain-breaker-related accident.

  1. My pinkie fingers are crooked. They look like they were broken, but I was just born that way.

  2. I consider myself a Mainer, but the secret truth is that I was born in Atlanta and then lived in Texas and *then* moved to Maine by the time I was about 1 year old. My parents and their families go waaaaay back in Maine, so I feel like my birth place is really inconsequential. Sometimes people from away have children in Maine, and they think that makes their kids Mainers; the Maine response is "If a cat has kittens in the oven you don't call 'em biscuits." Ergo, by the inverse of the biscuit law, Ich bin ein Mainer.

  3. While I was living in Chicago, a stray cat died in the yard at the bottom of our apartment building. I convinced the owner to mow around it while it slowly rotted in the yard. Then, I carefully cleaned the bones as best I could, boiled them clean, and now I have a cool cat skeleton! I keep meaning to take it to a taxidermist to have it mounted. You know, I think I already mentioned that in the blog, but oh well.

  4. I like to watch real wrestling: scholastic, freestyle, and Greco-Roman. Not that W-whatever crap. Other kinds of W-Crap bother me, too. In High School my health teacher Rick Hamel asked me if I'd like to manage the wrestling team, and I was hooked. Why did he pick me? Because I was quiet, studious, and drab and wouldn't go gaga over the guys nor they over me. Pathetic for me, smart for Mr. Hamel. I'm pretty excited that women are being accepted more and more in the sport. I'm too wimpy to do it myself (other than on small defenseless children), but yay for Kristi Pearse, Chianne Simmons, and Logan Rich (103) at CHRHS!

  5. Nicknames I've had: Julia Pequlia (obviously), Jupey-Do, Jul, Jules, Ju-Ju Tubes.

  6. I absolutely *loathe* bananas.

  7. I lived in Cairo for 4 and half months during my Junior year abroad. While there, I never went to Thebes. It was hard to travel because our grades got docked if we didn't go to class. That sucked. Actually, and disappointingly, so did most of my experiences in Cairo.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Pigeon NatureWatch news

What a coinky-dink! Nature Watch's podcast for today is about baby pigeons! Have a listen; it's only about 30 seconds long.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Full nest

I have been watching a pigeon in San Francisco sit on her nest. How is this possible? Through the magic of the interwebs! This particular videocam is also running a program which puts a little fez on her head (or sometimes her butt). Her name is Shirley. Yesterday her chicks hatched and I watched! Although pigeons are not as exciting to me as Bewick's wrens, I have still secretly always wondered where pigeons come from. I mean, have you ever seen anything other than a full grown pigeon? Now you, too, can be in on the mysteries of pigeon procreation. Watch Shirley!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Empty Nest

This past Saturday morning I sat out in my backyard with Jo Jo (my rabbit), expecting to see the Bewick's wrens fledge. After about 45 minutes, I realized I had not seen the parents at all. Usually they are zipping back and forth bringing food in and taking poop out and scolding me for watching. After waiting quite a while longer, my investigations (listening and sticking my finger in the nest box) revealed that nobody was home. They haven't been seen since! I sincerely hope it's because the babies fledged successfully, and the family has moved off to mature elsewhere. The other option is that something came along and ate them all. Shudder. Think happy thoughts. If the parents come back in a couple of weeks to raise another brood, I'll know they thought it was a good place to raise a family, and therefore the babies probably survived.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Brad-O-Meter: the Road to Damascus, VA

My brother Brady has made it to Damascus, Virginia on the Appalachian Trail. The last day on the trail to Damascus he and his buddies hiked 39 miles. I don't know why they couldn't have gone a full 40 -- what a bunch of wussies! After 460 miles of hiking, he's still enjoying the walk:
"Another thing I can't complain about is the absolutely beautiful scenery over the past few weeks. From the high southern balds--rolling mountains capped by sprawling meadows and peppered with black boulders--, to the refreshing ravines and gorges that play host to roaring waterfalls, to the undulating open countryside from which a given vista might include the gray remains of an old farm in the foreground with the pastoral and idyllic Appalachian hamlet lying in the valley below, my surroundings continually impress me with their beauty."

I sent him some tasty trail food from REI, so hopefully he picked that up in Damascus and will enjoy some new food.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Palimpsest Palimpsest Palimpsest!

I love the word palimpsest -- say it three times fast! Last year the Archimedes Palimpsest was discovered underneath a 13th century prayer book originally discovered in Turkey; bits from seven of Archimedes' works have been translated from this palimpsest.

But wait, there's more! You also get ... Aristotle!

The Archimedes Palimpsest actually has 5 layers of writing on it (so far!), and this spring an unknown ancient Greek text has begun to emerge. It appears to be a comment on Aristotle's Categories.

I just think that's so cool!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

It's a wrap!

This is the 27th thing! My saga of official Learning 2.0 has come to an end, although I hope the learning will go on. I could just callously accept the completion prize and never learn another web thing, but that would be boring. I am very glad to have had the opportunity to catch up on some of the latest web technology. I would never otherwise have had time while at work, and this program has enabled me to become a better librarian. I am also more inspired to learn other new technologies because I no longer feel so far behind! If I had it to do all over again, I'd definitely jump right in!

I think my favorite part has been setting up this blog! Well, and YouTube, too, but I'd already done that. I have to admit these were my favorites not for work reasons but because it has given me a way to casually communicate with family and friends. I don't need to wait for momentous events to inspire an e-mail; instead I can just be chatty and hope people check in with my blog and see what I'm up to. RSS feeds have had the biggest impact on my career, since it has become much easier for me to keep a half an eyeball on library news and tech trends.

Throughout this process I was surprised to find out how easy it is to sign up for most of the services we explored. Early on in the process a few lessons (such as blogger) sucked up time and mental energy, but later on I was able to do the lessons faster based on my previous experience. I was lucky not to need much help, but I did notice many co-workers giving up on Learning 2.0 due to learning frustrations. These folks were the least tech savvy to begin with and the most in need of Learning 2.0. Still, they wanted to learn. Frequently they felt bad about "bothering" more tech savvy co-workers, even if the co-workers did not at all feel "bothered." It would be great if Learning 2.0 gurus could come to all the branches during the 27 Things, set themselves up a desk, and spend the day helping staff.

Because the web is a rapidly evolving technology/tool/place/thing, KCLS should create a program like this every two years to help us all keep up to date. Every year would be a bit taxing, and anything longer than two years wouldn't be keeping us up to date. What would we be learning in the future? It's hard to say what will be the latest "hot" topic, but I'd like to try virtual librarianship in Second Life, video librarianship and video conferencing, maybe even good ol' IM-ing.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

It's a Long Way From Amphioxus

I'm doing a project with all of the music scores here at the Shoreline Library, and I came across this gem of a book: A Prairie Home Companion folk song book. This isn't a book of lovely traditional folk songs, it's the music and lyrics to hundreds of the silly songs they sing on the show each week, such as Lutefisk, O lutefisk and Glory, Glory How Peculiar. My favorite, however, is It's a Long Way From Amphioxus (sung to the tune of It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary).

It's a Long Way From Amphioxus

A fishlike thing appeared among the annelids one day
It hadn't any parapods or setae to display
It hadn't any eyes or jaws or ventral nervous chord
But it had a lot of gillslits and it had a notochord.

It's a long way from amphioxus
It's a long way to us.
It's a long way from amphioxus
To the meanest human cuss.
So goodbye to fins and gillslits
Hello lungs and hair,
It's a long, long way from amphioxus
But we all came from there.

Well, it wasn't much to look at and it scarce knew how to swim
And Nerius was very sure it hadn't come from him.
The mollusks wouldn't own it and the arthropods got sore
So the poor thing had to burrow in the sand along the shore.


It burrowed in the sand before it grabbed in with its tail
And said gillslits and myotomes are all to no avail.
I've grown some metapleural folds and sport an oral hood
But all these fine new characters don't do me any good.


He soaked a while down in the sand without a bit of pep
Then he stiffened up his notochord and said: "I'll beat 'em yet."
They laugh and show their ignorance, but I don't mind their jeers
Just wait until they see me in a hundred million years.


My notochord will stiffen to a chain of vertebrae
As fins, my metapleural folds will agitate the sea
My tiny dorsal nervous chord will be a mighty brain
And vertebrates will dominate the animal domain.


(Recorded by Sam Hinton, who says it was written in the 1920s by an author unknown to him..)

Maybe with enough science related posts, I can earn the "I blog about science" merit badge from the Order of the Science Scouts of Exemplary Repute and Above-Average Physique.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Second Life Proxemics

When I was an Anthropology major at Bowdoin College, one of the topics that fascinated me was proxemics. Edward T. Hall (my favorite anthropologist -- don't you have one?) has done some fascinating writing on the subject in The Hidden Dimension. I wrote a paper for an anthro class by observing social groupings and splittings during mealtimes at my fraternity Psi U (it's a co-ed fraternity).

NPR recently posted a short video about proxemics and the virtual world Second Life. Check it out! It's fascinating. Well, it is to me!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Friends and family: long work post, but it could be interesting ...

This is my last 2.0 lesson, not counting next week's "wrap-up and reflection"! And I am extra happy that I've already experienced 2/3 of the lesson. Yay!

YouTube: In the past, I would occasionally go to YouTube if someone sent me a link for something, but I didn't spend much time on it. This year when my older brother set up a YouTube account to share family videos, I signed up for an account. Now I'm sold! I love it! Especially for our family which is currently split between Maine, Washington, and Moscow (Russia). Seeing my nephews thank me on a short YouTube video is 1000 times more enjoyable than a thank you card (though I love those, too). I've already embedded several videos in my blog in earlier posts, so I don't really feel like I need to go out and explore YouTube. I *loved* the short video KCLS27Things posted in this week's lesson, so I'll go ahead and embed that here for my family and friends to enjoy:

As an anthropology major, I must say that the reason this video is so well done is that it was done by an anthro prof!

As far as YouTube applications at KCLS? I have seen many clever library promotions on YouTube, and I think KCLS should look into embracing the technology. I imagine that KCLS being KCLS, there would have to be a committee formed and guidelines created. Perhaps all promo videos would have to come out of Community Relations. After a year or two of deliberations YouTube clips would begin to appear on our website, but by then they would be so passe no one would care. sigh.

Podcasts: I hadn't looked into these in the past, because I thought they had to be viewed on an iPod. Then when I found out you could view them in other ways, I didn't want to because I would have to download more software to my computer. Plus, I don't need to spend more time watching/listening to my computer when there are great books to read and birds and sunshine outside.

I looked at iTunes' podcasts, and was very unimpressed by the entry web page. The search box was almost invisible at the bottom of the page, and it searched the entire Apple site, not just podcasts. I don't see the alleged subject browse or a decent keyword search. So forget it. It lost me as a potential customer. is much more promising. It looks like a web search engine; I found it relatively easy to browse and search. I loved that I didn't need to download any special software to listen to a NatureWatch podcast on the Ruby-Crowned Kinglet. I liked it enough to try adding a NatureWatch RSS feed to my Bloglines account.

I looked at Podcast Alley, but wasn't super impressed. On the one hand the categories are too broad, on the other hand some are to thin: only 15 entries under "science and medicine." Keyword search did not work well; I searched for travel Pompeii and received 200 results which had nothing to do with Pompeii. So forget it. It lost me as a potential customer. Although, it was nice you could listen without downloading software.

Yahoo podcasts is a busy mess of a page, just like Yahoo regular. The categories are too broad; I click on "science" and have 9237 podcasts to browse through. Keyword searches work well, and you don't have to download special software to listen.

I'm not sure why I would want to do a podcast, but it is nice to know that it seems pretty easy. I suppose the library system could use this for announcing events. Perhaps even broadcast some storytimes! As a kid, I used to love listening to the Spider's Web on MPBN, which was a 30 minute radio story time.

Ooookay. So. eBooks. I've already done this, too! It was somewhat rewarding, and somewhat disappointing. For Christmas this year I got a SanDisk mp3 player. I was psyched to try an e-book out! I had no trouble locating a book and downloading the software. I had no trouble using the OverDrive console to transfer the book to my portable device. I even had no trouble listening to the first two hours of my book. But then, Doom! The story would no longer play! My player kept giving me a message about updating permissions. I tried deleting and reloading the story. I tried totally wiping my SanDisk and reloading. I tried going to the SanDisk website and uploading a patch to make it more compatible with audiobooks, but my mp3 player wouldn't talk to the website! I tried e-mailing SanDisk, and I never ever ever got a response from the help desk. GRRRRRRR! I looked at the very very short list of mp3 players which are compatible with OverDrive, and mine is not listed. It seems pretty clear I have an unresolvable DRM problem. Meanwhile, because I had listened to two hours of my eBook, I was hooked. I ended up sitting at my computer at home, playing solitaire, and listening to Brendan Fraser read Cornelia Funke's Dragon Rider. Brendan was amazing! He has a great career ahead of him as a reader.

The upshot of my experience is that it is easy to get started, but using a portable device can be frustrating due to compatibility issues. One of the main reasons I have been racing through Learning 2.0 is to get an mp3 player that is compatible with KCLS' eBooks. Remember, you promised this capability!