Friday, March 31, 2006

God I Love the Sci Fi Network

Because they make movies like this. And...oh my god, it stars Corin Nemec. Man, didn't he used to be, like, C list? I think he's on the F list now. I remember when he was on Parker Lewis can't lose.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Gettin' my Geek On

Okay, it's no secret I'm a giant geek. If you doubt it, read that profile over there on left, or, well, just read any of my blog entries. I'm comfortable with my geekiness, I embrace it. Let this serve as a warning. It's getting a little geeky in here.

So I spent the last week at the Computers in Libraries conference. Basically it's librarians getting together and looking at the technology we have, and the technology coming down the pike and wondering how we're going to leverage it for use in libraries. Some interesting and worthy topics discussed were things like the mobile web and how to make a library's system accessebile via mobile devices. Of course, five years ago, everyone was about PDAs, and now it seems that phones are the most common way to access the web wirelessly. There were numerous conversations about the best way to organize a library catalog (and the underlying assumption that OPACs suck and they are "putting lipstick on a pig"), how to "surface" taxonomies (more on that in a minute), and how this here interweb is going to evolve over time.

Okay, this is my new leas favorite buzz word in the library world: "We needed to decide the best way to surface the controlled vocabulary." Whaaaa? It's like everyone decided that the word "display" is not longer, um, technical? enough. I can imagine them sitting around in meetings, concerned that they're bosses aren't taking them seriously, because they're librarians, and they need to make what their doing sound very difficult and complicated so they come up with some word that makes what their doing sound really hard. And then everyone drinks the Kool-Aid and suddenly these words start popping up, and in two years everyone is going to be using it and it's going to be common parlance. It's something I hate about my profession. It's like we have the lowest self esteem of all the professionals, no one really understands what we do and don't really understand the value we add, and since it seems like it's impossible to explain it to anyone, we just wrap ourselves in the "mysteries" of the profession. I sometimes feel like I'm in the Masons or something.

The other interesting, though I'm not sure of the best way to apply it, technology I saw was a demonstration of the Croquet Project. It's a three dimensional workspace that lets you create avatars and then interact with one another, sharing documents across the space, creating new spaces in which to work, all in a peer-to-peer network eliminating servers. It was crude, but sort of cool. Of course, as I said, I'm not sure how we're going to use this kind of technology in the library. It doesn't really let you represent information in a three dimensional way, which would be a true leap in how we interact with information on the web, it simply creates a virtual three dimensional space in which to view traditional flat documents. So, a lot of flash, but it didn't truly seem to be a huge step forward for the web.

Finally, the real innovation that we talked about was the Web 2.0 concept, which is the idea of programs that you can use over the internet no matter what your operating system is, kind of like, well, this system I'm using right now. Blogger is a classic Web 2.0 function, along with things like Google Maps. I think that this development in the web is more interesting and exciting than the croquet stuff above, maybe because I see and understand the utility of things like blogs, wikis, and community tagging. I think that these really bring back the community to the web, allowing people to share information in an aggregate form.

How libraries use all this stuff, of course, is the real challenge. I mean, wikis? Cool. How libraries use wikis? Eh, not sure. Community tagging like flickr and Totally uncontrolled and very neat. Utility in a highly structured library system? Again, not sure. Is there a place to allow the community to tag records to allow them to search the catalog in a different way? Is that a good idea, especially applied to physical objects? Not sure.

But that's what I like about going to conferences like this, because they get me thinking about other stuff that's out there, how these leaps in technology can affect us and how we can use them. And then, of course, I get frustrated because in my current job I'll never use any of this stuff.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Something ELSE Americans are Stupid About

Cooking. According to the Washington Post, Americans are cooking illiterate. With the explosion of cooking shows, great restaurants, and food magazines, it's interesting that people actually have less cooking knowledge than they used to. I suppose that as people have had increased income and percieve cooking at home as time consuming and difficult. And since many people didn't grow up with a parent who cooked, they don't know what basic cooking terms mean. I mean, I knew someone who said that he made a dish by 'frying the crap' out of the ingredients.

So, I'm sitting here watching the food network, and I just finished watching Paula Deene who used some of those dreaded stop words highlighted in the article, such as "cream" and "fold". But I see that next on is my cooking nemesis (you didn't know I had a mortal enemy on the Food Network, did you?): Sandra "Semi-Homemade" Lee. What the hell is "semi-homemade"? I once saw her make a dessert out of baked puff pastry (she might have actually BAKED the puff pastry herself out of the package, which is about as far as she seems willing to tax herself), and a bought apple pie which she broke up and put into the puff pastry. Why? Why wouldn't you just, I don't know, EAT the apple pie? I mean, it's a perfect form, why do you need to break it up and stuff it into puff pastry shells? I mean, I've got nothing against using packaged food, but...seriously? Her food is not appealing. Oh, and I can't forget her obession with "tablescapes". I actually think she's more excited by decorating the table than she is with the actual food.

I wasn't surprised by the article, but I did find how this loss of knowledge is affecting people who write recipes interesting. I guess the recipe writers assume a basic knowledge of cooking (like, when you say to butter the bottom of the pan, most writers would assume that the cook knows this means the INSIDE of the pan), and are finding that that's not the case.

I am eternally grateful to my mom, who taught me how to cook and encouraged me to explore and try new things. I definitely had my failures (and still do), but I'm not really intimidated by recipes (daunted by huge, exotic ingredient lists, yes, but not by techniques required). I'm not trained by any means, I'm completely self-taught, and I've picked up ideas from friends, but I haven't taken a class since I was in elementary school. I'm not building giant wedding cakes, though, either, because I do know my limits.

I do wonder why cooking shows and cooking magazines are so popular while actual cooking knowledge goes down. It's like the explosion of book stores and publishing while evidence shows that the number of people who choose not to read has been rising. They can read, they're fuctionally literate, but they don't read for pleasure. But they're buying books. And, apparantly, cookbooks.

Off the topic of cooking, let's take a moment to mourn the end of GWU's stellar season. They just couldn't bring it against Duke, but I applaud them for losing by only nine points. Here's hoping that they can be stronger next season and that they're not hounded by NCAA scholarship issues.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Really, it's just the nadir of the crappy week

Well, it was really just the last nail in the casket. The straw that broke the camel's back. After a really shitty week at work (which...I don't talk about work here, but it was really overwhelming), wherein I got my back up about pretty much everything (I found out later it was at least partially PMS induced, but still, I was called on my insane ireateness by one of my friends), I opened the, and what did I see? That the Colonial's had gone down to Temple in the first round of the A-10. The FIRST round. I mean...they couldn't muster up enough to make it past the first freakin' round of a tournament that they SHOULD HAVE WON?


Now, I guess here's the problem. I can see the problems in the team. I mean, they had a light preconference schedule. Ridiculously light. And they struggled in important games. And with Pops injured, and Montrell McDonald on what seems to be an indefinite suspension for god only knows what (seriously, how badly did he piss Hobbes off?). Of course, I didn't actually see the game, but I can deduce from coverage that they didn't do well. So, congrats Temple fans. You took us down. And reduced me to sadness.

So let's find the good in the world.

Failure to Launch was called, in the Washington Post, Wilderesque. I was utterly surprised at the praise heaped on it, becuase...Matthew McCounaghy? Yuck. But, I see on metacritic it's getting a 48, which is more in line with what I expected. I was going to write in excitement over the release of V for Vendetta, but it doesn't come out til next week. I just hope it doesn't suck, becuase it's one of my favorite books, and the butchering of Evey Hammond by Natalie Portman is something I might not be able to handle.

It's Friday, and that's never bad. Of course, I'm most excited by the approach of the finale of Battlestar Galactica, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

It was utterly beautiful out today. Like, I wanted to leave work early and just bask in the sunlight. We opened the windows at the office at the end of the day which, honestly, is about the most wild that office ever gets. And it's supposed be more of the same tomorrow? Yeah, I'm takin' a bike ride tomorrow.

My rediscovery of Jepordy! I love Jepordy!, and I don't always watch it, but lately I've been catching it, and it's such a fun show. Sometimes I feel totally superior, and other times like a complete uneducated moron. For example, my first instinct for the president sworn in in 1923 was Wilson, but then I remember the League of Nations and World War I and know that's totally incorrect. It was Harding, in case you're interested.

So I'm sad that Battlestar Galactica is done, but Sunday! The Sopranos! Twelve new episodes! How can I be sad when I'm about to re-enter the world of Tony Soprano and his family. Well, I don't care as much about Tony's actual family, because, Meadow? I couldn't care less. But Silvio? Paulie Walnuts? Christaphah? Uncle Junior? Bobby Baccala? These are the people I care about. Though, after the end of season five and Adriana's ignomious exit? I sort of find myself wishing bad things on the characters. Drea de Matteo said in her commentary in season five that she felt that Adriana was a true innocent, and after discussion with my fellow Sopranos fans, we agree with her. That was the one character who really believed in the best of people, that people meant well. So, yeah. I'm excited that it's starting back up.

And, just to seal my geek credentials...Dr. Who! Making a reappearance! I haven't heard a thing about it, I have no preconceptions of it. All I do know is that world is divided into two groups. Those who understand what it means when, describing what "cab forward" design in a car is by saying, "It's like the TARDIS", and those who don't. And if you don't know what it means, then I can't help you. Not only does it take too long to explain, it's also totally pointless. You don't care. However, those of who thrill to the idea of the Daleks rendered better than as crappy prop pieces with people in them, sort of secretly and geekily thrill to the idea of a well produced Dr. Who. So, March 17th.

And, with apologies to Sars over at Tomato Nation, but staleBREAD and I had a marvelous time inducting John Bolton into the poltical chapter of the Girl's Bicycle Club yesterday. Because John Bolton? Riding around on a pink girl's bike with streamers coming off the handlebars and a white basket with platic daisies in it? Come on, that doesn't make you happy? I know that as he plunges us into a totally unneccesary conflict with Iran, it makes me feel better. And it's my vision, so I'll keep it, thank you.

Well, I think that might be enough lemonade. Too much and you get an acid stomachache.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

GW Takes Charlotte


A final score of 86-85 won on the buzzer in overtime after technical fouls and a GW possesion was called is not exactly a route. GW struggled, the lead went back and forth, three point shots were missed, easy layups were missed, and free throws were missed. The impression by the fans was that one ref was resolutely not calling walks on Charlotte (can't vouch for the truth of that) and missing other violations. The technical came in overtime after Mike Hall yanked a Charlotte player's jersey, and that kid responded with elbows to Hall's head. But in the end, Carl Elliot saved the day when he tipped in Noel Wilmore's missed three point attempt. I didn't think they would miss Pops this much, but the truth is that he is an important piece of the puzzle, and they're going to to have learn to function without him next year.

It was seriously heartpounding, suspenseful and, at one point I was like, "whoa, it's hot in here and I feel a little dizzy." Probably lack of oxygen from all the screaming I was doing.

On to the A10!