Saturday, July 17, 2004

LBC Day Two and a Half

Much of what I might normally say about the last thirty-six hours seems trivial in the light of the news that a fellow Odyssey graduate, Roxanne Hutton, has died after a long illness. I never met Roz in person--I attended the '96 workshop, she '99--but I read her many times on the main Odyssey email list. She was something of a cheerleader, always encouraging people after rejections or other disappointments. My condolences to her loved ones.

I've been able to get my email, so I know that "Screen" was rejected at Ideomancer (that was fast) and "Mike's Place" was rejected by The New Yorker (not that fast, and not exactly a shock). I suspect that Roz would say that the only thing to do is to send them right back out again, and I'll be doing that as soon as I have my computer back up and running (knock wood, salt over the shoulder, yada yada yada).

As to things here, yesterday was non-stop meetings--tech training (we got to try out a class session, and I like the format a lot), tour of the library resources on campus (which we won't be able to use long-distance, but whatever), HTML training (which anyone who's been to the Dogtown page knows I need), the intro lecture for our course (LIS 390: Libraries, Information and Society), meeting our TAs, an optional session called Libraries 101 (on basic organizational, funding, and other concerns) . . . it was a long day. The good news is I'm still ahead on my reading--I did some last night and this morning--and I'm not freaking out yet. The readings are right up my alley, for the most part. Lots of stuff about the intended function of libraries as repositories of the information needed to maintain a democratic society, the history of mail and how it encouraged the development and archiving of newspapers and magazines, the rise of the university as shepherded by the endowments of the Robber Barons (love that term), implications of legislations like the Patriot Act, the process of learning as codification/decodification vs. consumption, the expansion of copyright protections . . . man, have I really read all that? I hope I know what any of it means by the exam a week from now.

Must read more now.

For some reason, I really miss Johnny Cash today.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Librarian Boot Camp, Day One


For those of you who don't know and do care, I am beginning a Master's program in Library Science, through the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. It's an online program (referred to as LEEP, or will be once we get through the ten-day introductory session, which includes orientation, tech training and one course. And they do, in fact refer to it as "boot camp."

Before I can even get to Day One, I need to tell you that on Day T-Minus Two, my laptop fell into a coma from which it has yet to be resuscitated. After the weeping was over, I called up CompUSA, since it's still under warranty. (Yay!). However, the tech support line was unable to help me, despite their efforts. (Boo.) They said I could bring it in to any location to get it worked on (Yay!), but it turns out there isn't a CompUSA within 100 miles of Champaign-Urbana. (Boo.) So, I brought the useless plastic unaerodynamic frisbee along, hoping that the LIS Tech Support people could help. They could not.

I am not, repeat, not, thinking about the possibility that everything that I've put on my hard drive since I last backed it up onto Zip (which was longer ago than it should be) could be lost. The irony being that the damned thing went kablooey when I plugged in the Zip drive to back everything up. Take that, Alanis.

Anyway. The campus here is quite nice, and the weather today was bee-yoo-tee-full. I'm glad I brought my bike, although last night after I took it out of the car I had to struggle for twenty minutes with a wire coat hanger conveniently left in the car after my quick change escapade a few weeks ago to get the chain unjammed and re-threaded which resulted in hands that were black with grease but then you don't really want to hear about that do you? Ahem. I'm staying in the dorm, which is a bit of a shock. The room is very small, and I haven't had to share a communal bathroom since, well, the dorms my freshman year. We spent the day being oriented, techhed to speed, and expectationated. Not, overall, as bad as I expected (except for the take-this-microphone-and-spend-thirty-seconds-identifying-yourself ritual), and very few people have fatally annoyed me so far, which puts them ahead of most crowds. But I am very behind on readings, which I must work on as soon as I post this. Sadly, I had them all stored on my laptop (moment of silence), and the packets were all sold out today. God, I sound like Marvin the Paranoid Android. It's not really all that bad, but I'm keenly aware that things haven't really started yet, and there's a lot of work ahead.

One weird thing: the woman who coordinates the LEEP program talks very much like Jeanne Cavelos, which is comforting and strange at the same time.

That's all the time I can really allow myself to spend. Things are going great, Ma. Send Gummi Bears.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Delirium (Not the Funny Comic Book Girl)

Hot here. May melt before entry finished.

Saw Gavin, Geoffrey Godwin and Liisa Ladouceur last night at the Chicago stop of the Perpetual Motion Roadshow. Great stuff. Gavin read "Fructify My Orange Suit," which I've heard him do before but which I love so I didn't mind. A short film by some fellow in Antarctica was shown, which told the story of Robert Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. The film was extremely weird and delight-filled. Liisa read "sign poems," consisting of words found on signs in locations specific to the poem. They were interesting. And Geoff Godwin blew my mind with a story with a title I don't recall the name of (dammit) but which was wonderfully weird. (If it's W's, is it assonance or alliteration?) I saw Trey, Lisa and Roger at the reading, and met Andy Hatch as well. All in all, a fine evening, even to the bike ride home.

Today is hot. Did I mention that?

Rejection today from Ideomancer for "A Whole Man"--RT 2 1/2 months, apparently an editorial change resulted in the story being misplaced until I queried. Queries are your friend! The editor is encouraging but feels the story needs tightening. I appreciate the feedback, and I usually do listen to editors, but in this case I really think it's a strong story. So, I am sending it out again, this time to F&SF, since it hasn't been rejected there yet. Also sending "Screen" to Ideomancer, since their rejections have been encouraging.

Today is packing, and tomorrow afternoon is leaving. I don't know how much blogging I'll be doing at Librarian Boot Camp. Which includes the Reading Journal, which some may have noticed has not been updated Every Day as a certain crazy person proposed. Ha! Crazy person, you funny. Me too.

Did I mention it's hot?