Sunday, September 30, 2007

not as funny as the other ones.

Dignified middle-aged foreigner to three students: "Excuse me, can you tell me -- where is the pussy?"

Grad student #1, while other two laugh: "Pusey Library? You want Level D, then make a right and go down the hall."

Dignified middle-aged foreigner: "Thank you. How late is the pussy open?"

Grad student #1, losing his composure: "Um, yeah. You know, man, that really depends on you. If you're good, it's open all night."

- heard at Widener Library, Harvard University, Cambridge MA. click here to see it on the original source,

Thursday, September 27, 2007

useless novelty. like me on a second date.

the usb mouse jiggler, courtesy of and somewhere else.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

what time really looks like in my head

click here for the desk clock that doesn't tell accurate time. courtesy of geekologie, apparent in my Linky Links.
will i go to heaven or hell for using a mac and a pc at the same time?

overheard in 'chusetts 2

"About a year ago I discovered that everything I learned at Harvard was actually through reading Wikipedia just before the exam." - from harvard university, via, Sept 23 2007.

Monday, September 24, 2007

epiphany fueled by tea

1) tagging and folksonomies are the future.

2) as long as there are physical books, there will be a need for catalogers.

3) tangible books will always exist, because most people cannot operate in the abstract full-time. (only in the grandest metaphysical sense are we virtual beings!)

4) i am happy that books and physical objects will always exist. because i really like my glass tea mug, my dog, and my giant bookcase.

5) information is abstract, objects are concrete. published works in written- and digital-form are the major ways that abstraction meets solidity.

6) if the internet ever goes down, we will all be left staring into dark monitors, cradling our scrawny bodies in desk chairs and mentally grabbing at the disappearing pixels of our tag clouds. oh well.

7) maybe low-tech is the most reliable, but high-tech is inexorable. (until it isn't.)

Ontology is Overated, by Clay Shirky

excerpts from an innerestin' article on the challenges of categorizing information in web-space and library-space: let's get granular and P2P!

"If you've got a large, ill-defined corpus, if you've got naive users, if your cataloguers aren't expert, if there's no one to say authoritatively what's going on, then ontology is going to be a bad strategy."

"The list of factors making ontology a bad fit is, also, an almost perfect description of the Web -- largest corpus, most naive users, no global authority, and so on. The more you push in the direction of scale, spread, fluidity, flexibility, the harder it becomes to handle the expense of starting a cataloguing system and the hassle of maintaining it, to say nothing of the amount of force you have to get to exert over users to get them to drop their own world view in favor of yours."

"Now imagine a world where everything can have a unique identifier. This should be easy, since that's the world we currently live in -- the URL gives us a way to create a globally unique ID for anything we need to point to. Sometimes the pointers are direct, as when a URL points to the contents of a Web page. Sometimes they are indirect, as when you use an Amazon link to point to a book. Sometimes there are layers of indirection, as when you use a URI, a uniform resource identifier, to name something whose location is indeterminate. But the basic scheme gives us ways to create a globally unique identifier for anything...And once you can do that, anyone can label those pointers, can tag those URLs, in ways that make them more valuable, and all without requiring top-down organization schemes. And this -- an explosion in free-form labeling of links, followed by all sorts of ways of grabbing value from those labels -- is what I think is happening now."

"As we get used to the lack of physical constraints, as we internalize the fact that there is no shelf and there is no disk, we're moving towards market logic, where you deal with individual motivation, but group value."

[individual motivation and group value! what do you call that? is it really just Market Value? huh.]
the title of the day is Sea of Lentils, by Antonio Benitez-Rojo: the New World conquests of 17th century spain! a cartographer who mistook "antilles" for "lentils"!

i enjoy imagining a sea of lentils; it's much like visualizing whirled peas.

"current" comics

once again. my plan was to review all the graphic novels read up to this point. but i'm kind of busy right now. a list, in no particular order! coming soon - the experimental lit' list.

- Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
- Billy Corrigan: The Smartest Boy on Earth, by Chris Ware
- Goodbye, Chunky Rice, by Craig Thompson
- Blankets, by Craig Thompson
- Epileptic, by David B.
- American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang
- Dogs and Water, by Anders Nilsen
- Palestine, by Joe Sacco
- Pyongyang, by Guy Delisle
- The Many Strange Desires of Mreh, by Karen Sneider
- Grickle and Further Grickle, by Graham Annable
- Persepolis and Persepolis 2, by Marjane Satrapi
- City of Glass, by Paul Auster
- Amphigorey, by Edward Gorey
- Maus I and Maus II, by Art Spiegelman
- Ghost World, by Dan Clowes
- Mother, Come Home, by Paul Hornschemeier
- I Never Liked You, by Chester Brown

Sunday, September 23, 2007

archivist zen, axiom no. 1

"We will feel stupid if we aren't personable. We will feel stupid if we are personable. We will feel stupid if we are qualified. We will feel stupid if we are unqualified. We will feel unqualified if we are qualified. We will feel stupid if we are smart."

now if only i could make postage stamps out of old gum wrappers and correction fluid.

so Secretary isn't really about librarians. so what? it's a great movie. maggie gyllenhaal and james spader make an adorable twisted couple. i heart this movie.

overheard in 'chusetts.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Mugar Library is closing in five minutes. However, the first and second floor will be open for all-night studying purposes. If you are on the third, fourth, fifth or sixth floors you must relocate or leave immediately. We are releasing the killer bees. I hope you've been vaccinated."

- B.U. Library Staff, via on Sept 22 2007.

um, wow.

see why the British Library's online rare books kick everyone's ass.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"current" nonfiction

i was going to review all my favorite nonfic' books for this blog. but then i was all, I'm tired and that would take forever. so here's my Five Star nonfiction reading list thus far.

- Art Objects, by Jeanette Winterson
- The Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthiessen
- The Cloud Forest, by Peter Mattheissen
- The True History of Chocolate, by Coe & Coe
- The Big Oyster: A History of New York, by Mark Kurlansky
- Cod, by Mark Kurlansky
- Winter World, by Bernd Heinrich
- Consider the Eel, by Richard Sweid
- Vita, by Victoria Glendinning
- Portrait of a Marriage, by Nigel Nicolson
- Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky
- The Art of Eating, the collected works of M.F.K. Fisher
- Bananas, by P.B. Jenkins
- The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan
- The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
- My Dog Tulip, by J.R. Ackerly
- The Dog Who Wouldn't Be, by Farley Mowat
- Speak, Memory, by Vladimir Nabokov
- The World of Caffeine, by B. Weinberger
- The Solace of Open Spaces, by Gretel Ehrlich
- Arctic Dreams, by Barry Lopez
- Oranges, by John McPhee
- Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer
- Candy Freak, by Steve Almond
- Stiff: The Secret Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach
- The Sea Around Us, by Rachel Carson
- The Beauty of the Beastly, by Natalie Angier
- Woman: An Intimate Geography, by Natalie Angier

remember Party Girl? parker posey gets a job at a library, cuts down on her partying, and eats falafel. (remember Clock Watchers? my favorite scene is when parker hits the light switch with her foot as she's leaving the filing room. her foot!)

eurodance groups only allowed after six pm.

big-boned blond german group Cascada set their video for Everytime We Touch in some library. my favorite part is the break-dancing towards the end.
once and for all, the interrobang shrugs off its mystery.