27jun03: I'm sure you know how goddamned hot it is
Wow, Toronto was great. Being in another country, any country, was also great. I think I went to five libraries, met a ton of lively people, reaquainted with some others, made my scheme of showing up without a ride home work out, and spent very little money. I learned some stuff, got some stuff, and did a lot of driving [I left Toronto this morning, arrived in Vermont this evening, two cars, two countries].
The house is full of heat and bugs and clean dishes and a sleeping boyfriend. I feel weird, having not seen the stars for a week. Tomorrow I have a day off. Saturday is when Greg's parents come to VT for two weeks [not staying with us] and then it's guests guests guests for a few weeks. Consider yourself invited
Holy crap, Internet access in Toronto is like $3CDN an hour. This rounds to zero for me, plus there's coffee. I am at the ALA/CLA conference and have a few minutes left. I have nearly lost my voice. I think I have arranged for transport back to Vermont. I have learned a bunch of stuff and met a whole new generation of library students as well as oriented myself into ALA governance. Plus I made some astute observations about the ALA website and saw the president of ALA in a conga line. It's been good. Toronto is amazing. Canadians are likewise amazing. I spend a lot of time apologizing for our fiendish and lousy government. Not because I feel pressured to, but because people up here are so pleasant [joke: how do you get 25 Canadians out of a swimming pool? Answer: say "would you 25 Canadians please get out of the pool"] I just feel bad that we're such crappy neighbors. Then we talk a lot about Bowling for Columbine.
Getting email in the Internet cafes is worth the money [at the conference itself it's free] because I'm surrounded by people who actually know how to use
computers, not a bunch of seemingly-mystified information workers clicking the mouse over and over again and listening to the errors beeps. Of course, they're not all like this, but a really eerily high number seem to be. Maybe everyone else is just POPing their mail into their PDAs and it's just me and the infodorks in the free Internet room.
In any case, I hope to be home by Thursday night. Please come to my party
18jun03: not a bear but....
Had a mostly good time in Boston, came back via Burlington and picked up my friend Dawn from the airport. Dawn is not only a good pal but a great houseguest, she cleaned my stove and helped mow the lawn! Plus, she brought a hammock. This is all extra good because Greg and I are teetering on the verge of exhaustion. Not much happens around here so when we're busy, it's a bit of a shock to the system. We leave Thursday morning for Buffalo where I will then be catching a ride to Toronto to go to the American Library Association conference where I will have a great time and not catch SARS. I'll be back in under a week, updates sparse.
Greg and I were on the porch having our one-cigarette-a-day this evening when we heard something in the yard. Normally we see bats, or woodcocks or sometimes hear the neighbor's dog, but this sounded big
. We figured maybe it was a deer but then we heard snuffling. Deer don't snuffle and neither does the neighbor's dog. I sent Greg in for a flashlight, and gave Dawn the alert. She had been peeved earlier because she had missed the giant toad I found in the lawn and also all the snakes that were laying about on the rocks. Greg came out with Dawn and we directed our eyes towards the sound. All we could see were two big lumps, moving around, about 50 feet off of the deck. Greg turned the flashlight on them and we all turned to run in case we saw [and startled] a pair of bears. It turned out it was a pair of moose! We looked at them for a bit, then turned the flashlight off and just watched them lumber back and forth across the back lawn until they were far enough back and it was dark enough that we couldn't see them anymore. I have only seen moose a few times before out here -- once vaguely through some trees, once I saw one crossing the road behind my car, and once I saw one in a marsh by the road as I was passing at 50 mph. I have never seen them in my yard, and certainly not that close. Greg has never seen a moose in Vermont and he was particularly pleased as was Dawn who had said earlier -- as many of my houseguests do "I'd like to see a moose" [to which I usually reply "Dream on"]. It was also particularly pleasant since I had already had the adrenaline rush that comes from possibly sighting a bear and so I was relieved and excited at the same time. Of course, now I will never be able to dissuade my houseguests from wishing for moose, but since i secretly wish to see them all the time anyhow, I guess this is okay.
13jun03: the menagerie
It was sunny almost all day yesterday and the lilac bush was completely covered in an orgy of insect appreciation. I swear there were 12 various butterflies
, that moth that looks like a hummingbird
, several kinds of bees, and an errant beetle or two. It's easy to sneak up on butterflies because they don't really have any ears. I took some good pictures which will have to wait until I come back. I also found two snakeskins outside of the house, one of which was almost two feet long. Yesterday Greg and I saw an adolescent raccoon sidling into the barn and as the sun was settling a flock of 12 cedar waxwings
converged on the tree in the side yard. I spent most of the day roving around with binoculars. It pleases me to be able to live someplace that not only is hospitable to me but also accomodating to many other species that choose to live in the same place. It seems like some sort of accomplishment to be able to live someplace and not have to chase off all the other inhabitants
in order to do that. I may not be saying this when the houseflies invade, but I'll bask in it for now.
We're heading to Boston this weekend to see my braniac sister graduate from Northeastern
with her MS in Criminal Justice. There will be meals with my entire nuclear+ family which have only happened at graduations and funerals since the early 80's. I'll be back to Vermont with my friend Dawn
in tow for a few days before heading up to Toronto for the ALA Conference. Then it's nothing to do for almost a week until the 4th of July party
Well, except that Greg's parents will be in town, but they're here for almost two weeks so it's not a major See Everyone Freakout. Here's some pictures
I cleared off my camera of some various friends of mine of the last few years.
10jun03: where I have been
Wow, Chicago was sort of tiring. I also have a textbook example of "how not to build a large website". I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. On the one hand, I am happy I went, gave good advice, and generally learned more about the process. On the other hand, I now get a sinking feeling every time I think about ALA and hear them explain why they thought it was okay to launch the site with no usability testing. Or how they determined that the site was "working better" because the feedback from their mailto link decreased. It's like sitting in the chair with your mouth open and just discovering your dentist is a horrible racist. You're committed to the process but really all you want to do is flee. Ugh.
The Palmer House was nice. There was free wireless in the lobby. I got to meet some people I wanted to meet and got to hang out with some friends I hadn't seen in a while. Then I came back, raced home from the airport Sunday afternoon and worked for eight hours straight. Yesterday we saw this:
I'm planing some fawning tribute to the flora and the fauna of the backyard sometime soon, but for now, it's just a reminder that sometimes rain is okay.
05jun03: where I am going
I am going to stay at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. It's North America's longest continuously operating hotel, if the Internet is to be believed. Here is what Rudyard Kipling had to say about it
"They told me to go to the Palmer House, which is a gilded and mirrored rabbit-warren, and there I found a huge hall of tessellated marble, crammed with people talking about money and spitting about everywhere. Other barbarians charged in and out of this inferno with letters and telegrams in their hands, and yet others shouted at each other. A man who had drunk quite as much as was good for him told me that this was 'the finest hotel in the finest city on God Almighty's earth.'"
I'll probably like it there just fine.
04jun03: 36 hours, rain free
Okay even you nutty "no stylesheet" people should be able to read this now.
There's a return to normalcy here in Vermont. At least we can go outside and get all chewed up by black flies like you are supposed
to in June. And my lilac is about half-bloomed now, poor thing. So here's the crazy part... I got invited to go to Chicago, this weekend, by the American Library Association who are having some sort of summit on What Went Wrong With the New Website. Of course, I exaggerate, but I'd be surprised if there weren't at least a few semi-sincere apologies floating about. This means that I skip work on Friday [and I am not sorry, working 3:30 to midnight is less fun on this coast] leave, sleep at a hotel, go to an all-day meeting Saturday, sleep at a hotel, leave, get in 90 minutes before my next shift starts. All expenses paid. All for little old no-real-job me. Maybe it is because I wrote them a letter
about two months ago. Anyhow, when you try to live on 6K a year the words "per diem" make you salivate, so I'll be going and trying to be both polite and constructive.
And, in more self-absorbed hypesterism, I got the postcards
I designed to promote our book
. So, if you would like one [or a few] please send me an email or a postcard of your own [mailing address under the 'visit' link above] and I'll drop one in the mail.
02jun03: it is still raining
You know the look of a new design when you see one. Please send bug reports to me, and be patient. Archives will be another few days. Last month is here
I think it has rained part of every day since I got here. This did not keep us from driving to new Hampshire today [easier than it sounds really] and going to an auction for the North Haverhill Fire Department. If you recall me discussing these events before
, it's when everyone in town comes together and buys everyone else's stuff, and the money goes to buy new rubber boots and stuff for the firemen. Greg got some ramps that you can drive a car up onto for $10 and I bought two things labelled "box of stuff" [$3] and "roaster" [$2]. The roaster came with a deep cast iron fry pan and the box of stuff has seven Fenway Park drinking glasses as well as an old tackle box and a laundry basket. The yuppies came in, bought the one antique thing, and left. There was -- and I am not joking -- a bidding war for six whoopie pies that eventually went for $50!
I was then going to drop my three typewriters
off to be cleaned and services but the nice people who live in the woods down the street from us weren't home yet. I start working for ETS tomorrow, on a wonky schedule [Greg works 8 am til 6 pm, I work 3:30 pm til midnight, ugh] and it's been making me pesty all weekend. I'd rather fight with CSS than add more at this juncture.