another thousand dollar dinner

Guestroom, New Haven CT

I have been lucky enough to have eaten some really nice meals lately. I guess luck may not be the right word for it because I’m usually just as happy to eat hummus and pita. I don’t know if it’s my palate or just that I’m happier when people aren’t serving me food, but some of it is in the take it or leave it realm. I like but do not love fancy dinners and in these troubled times I have an awful lot of guilt spending [someone else’s] money on [what I think is] overpriced food. I got Mexican corn on a stick as a side dish — you know the stuff they sell on the street, slathered in butter and white cheese — at a restaurant called Bespoke and it cost six dollars. None of this is to begrudge the people who took me out to meals where I had great times talking to people, just sort of mulling over my general discomfort with fancy spendy things.

I was at Yale speaking this weekend, in case you’re wondering who in jehu’s name was taking me out for some fancy victualizing. I was on a panel talking about the ethics of Library 2.0 which was an interesting topic and got a lot of responses. We each had about ten minutes to speak so I prepared five slides and some loose notes. Other people, more academic types, had whole big powerpoint decks, excerpts from their books and whatnot. I enjoyed listening to them and talking to them at dinner, but felt my typical disconnect. I have a hard time figuring out whether this is just me feeling weird at some sort of brain-level, or if I really was the odd person out at this high level academicky thing. I ask people and they say I’m fine so that’s really all I can do.

I came back to snow that was mostly melted and a note from my bank saying that I could pick up the two mason jars that I’d dropped off a week ago. There was $167 worth of nickels, dimes, quarters and pennies, more than I’d thought. That and thirty bucks would have paid for the hotel room you see above. My big eternal question is how to redistribute some of this money so that rural technology funding becomes as much of a genuine option as conference hotel rooms and thousand dollar dinners as far as our priorities go. My concern — and I always have one or two — is that I may need to leave my rural wonderland in order to figure that out. My second concern is that once I find the place where I feel totally and completely comfortable, it will be the end to my agitation for better things for other people. Hard to say. I sleep well at night and that seems to be sufficient to smooth out the day’s ruffled feathers.


HOWTO: postcards on walls

We had two days of sunshiney melt here and had that day where everyone goes for a walk outside and says “Oh hi, how have you been since you went inside for Winter?” when they run into their neighbors that they haven’t seen for months.

Today it’s raining, all the better for me to get in my car and go to an airport. Destination: Crystal City Virginia for a Computers in Libraries conference. I’m giving a few talks (preview) and mostly getting a chance to catch up with librarian pals and do a little (more) travelling. Next weekend I’ll be on a panel at a Library 2.0 Symposium at Yale which will be an interesting affair where I expect to do much more listening than talking.

This photo is from a recently solved problem. I took some of those poster hanger doinker things and stuck them to my 80° walls and now I have a place to display my poscards. I’m planning to get a ton more of the stuff and make my angley walls into an ever-changing art gallery. Buying the hangers in sets of two is a little spendy relative to their wholesale price, so for the first time in I think ever I’m thinking of a scheme whereby I buy hundreds of feet of the stuff from the wholesaler and then start a little business selling the stuff on eBay. Because I need a new hobby/business/money-making scheme like I need another hole in my head.

And speaking of money, I went to the bank down the street to deposit my change jars. My sister (whose birthday is tomorrow, wish her a merry one) has something of a change problem and I wanted to do a little proactive change hygeine. So I brought my change jars to the bank. It went like this… I put my two big jars of money on the counter. The banker lady filled out a deposit slip asking “How much do you think is in there?” I said I wasn’t sure. She said “Guess.” So I said “Okay, $150. Maybe?” She filled out the slip and said they’d count the change and mail me the deposit slip with the actual amount on it. She said I could come back later for my jars. I sort of can’t wait to see how much was in there.