So hey, I went to the doctor. I like living someplace where I can call the doc when I wake up and have an appointment scheduled for after lunch. The doc said my lungs sounded weird so he gave me some antibiotics which seemed to work. I spent some days resting and a weekend boyfriending and then I went to Toronto for the OLA Superconference on Wednesday and got back last night. I had incredible travel karma considering that I flew out of Burlingotn on a day when most flights were cancelled and Vermont got 18 inches of snow. I gave a talk about the digital divide and it went well. I saw a lot of librarians that I know and like from around and did some quality conferencing and couch surfing and meetupping. I also ate enough food to keep me nutrified for another few weeks, so it’s back into the pool tomorrow. I had the chili poutine in this photo, David had the bacon poutine, John had the pulled pork poutine. I like poutine, squeaky cheese and all.

As of now my roof at home appears watertight so I’ve moved out of the living room bed and back into my room. I have developed an attachment to sleeping in the living room — when I lived in the Odd Fellows Hall in Seattle it was my favorite place to sleep — so if you come to visit perhaps I can put you in the silver bed and I’ll sleep out here.

My current projects involve getting a mix CD out the door, trying to learn to use a drain snake, helping my sister move (happy story that, bug her for it if you don’t know it) and getting ready for a quick trip to San Francisco for a steering committee meeting later this month. I have a small flurry of tax forms to dig through real soon now (“a success snowstorm” as Richard Brautigan would say) I think 2008 may have been my most lucrative year ever which is a good news/bad news situation if I’ve ever heard one.

resisting the upgrade

why I am a fan of interfaith prayer

I’ve been staying away from this blog for a few reasons, all of them surmountable. First, I haven’t upgraded to the new WordPress and I know I’m supposed to and every time I see my classically lovely custom CSS here I know it’s not long for this world and I despair. Second, I’m in Canada, Regina SK to be exact, for another few hours. I love Canada. Canadian people are so nice as a general rule, or perhaps it’s just the Canadian library faction, but man I’m happy every time I come here, looking forward to talking to people. Last night, after my talk, we sat around the bar and discussed who had learned to drive on a tractor [answer: almost everyone, including me]. Third, I’ve been spending a more-than-usual amount of time with a local-to-New-England-but-not-Vermont guy who takes up a lot of my available typing time and sends me off daydreaming when I could be working. Details will emerge eventually. Fourth, it’s Spring. This relates to several of the previous reasons, but it means I’ve been messing with the yard, staring in wonder at all the new-budding joy that is Vermont in May, and sleeping differently, getting used to new sheets and new allergies.

Anyhow, I should note that when I’m too busy to write in paragraphs, sometimes I put things up on Twitter. You are welcome to never pay attention to that, or this, or the Internet in general really, but if you’re Twitter-curious, I’m there under my usual name. Here’s the last few days of little things I’ve said there. Yes, a lot of it is pithy nonsense. I’m not advocating, I’m just saying…

jessamyn: Wondering if sleeping in comfy car in extended parking lot beats braving Albany nonsense late at night after much travel. If there’s wifi… 12 minutes ago

jessamyn: Moved to a top floor corner room because the octagenarian birthday party was threatening to go all night. Talk went great, Albany tomorrow. about 12 hours ago

jessamyn: Talking about the Weakerthans “I Hate Winnipeg” (One Great City!) song with Winnipeg public librarian. She likes it. about 21 hours ago

jessamyn: “Can you please send a band-aid to room 835? Yes, the same room you sent the sewing kit to 30 min ago….” about 23 hours ago from web

jessamyn: Tim Hortons will take US $ and turn it into Canadian $ and donuts. Now I have cab fare. F! T! W! @ezrakilty: will not need fedexed pelts, tx 08:38 PM May 02, 2008

jessamyn: Why, when I type “circulation interface” opac into google images am I greeted by my own face? 07:20 PM May 02, 2008

jessamyn: My ATM card expired Wednesday? And I am a country away from its replacement? I need to pay more attention to time. 06:22 PM May 02, 2008

jessamyn: I <3 prayer! [note: link to the photo above, actually] 03:39 PM May 02, 2008

jessamyn: Oh Vermont, I keep thinking I could not love you more, but you have free wifi at rest stops? Saskatchewan-bound, I am! 12:55 PM May 02, 2008

jessamyn: 88 year old student learning to point… then to click… email is a distant horizon but the eventual goal. 05:48 PM May 01, 2008

jessamyn: Pervert Morris Team for May Day 12:54 PM May 01, 2008

jessamyn: I’m trying the write words first, find slides pictures later approach. Seems to be working well. Oh Regina, we will have fun. 12:15 PM May 01, 2008

jessamyn: Old man in post office: “would you like some candy little girl?” Then he hands me a tootsie roll and we both laugh like hell. 11:24 AM May 01, 2008

jessamyn: Stuffing birch bark into envelopes & putting it in the mail. 10:28 AM May 01, 2008

alert: february not always a pit of snowy despair


It’s been a while since I’ve been too busy to write here. I mean there are a few sorts of busy. For me they break down into busy online — where my online world/job/friends have all gone crazy and my typing is all devoted to that — or busy offline where either I’m away, socializing, ill, working, or some combination thereof. This was a nice offline time because I was all of the above, except ill. Before I mention anything else, let me say that it is pancake week in Vermont at the King Arthur Flour store, starting tomorrow. Free pancakes and real syrup. There was an IHOP Pancake day on Super Tuesday, but there is no IHOP in Vermont and their syrup is crap anyhow.

So… I went to Canada which is my favorite out-of-country destination. This time was particularly good because I could just drive up there to get to McGill. I managed to grab my mail before I left town and opened a priority mail envelope only to find that an associate of mine had sent me a book aboyt the madness that is the USA PATRIOT Act. I made a mental note to read it and tried to hide it beneath my seat. As I crossed the border I somehow managed to get into the truck lane. As I craned out the window wondering why the customs guy’s window was so high up I noticed he was laughing at me. “Are you a truck?” he said. “I’m in the wrong lane, aren’t I?” I said. Except for a little back and forth about whether I needed to declare the 50 lbs of birdseed in my trunk as “food” my border crossing was otherwise uneventful.

I gave two talks — or rather the same talk twice to two very different groups — and had a lot of delicious food at various restaurants representing totally unavailable food in Vermont. I drove home and my friends Andrea and Corey were just getting out of their car in my driveway for a weekend in the country and we did a bunch of country things including snowshoeing, geocaching, sitting around the fire, making soup, making hats, making pizzas with Wayne and Jill and Casey, eating birthday cake (Corey’s) and eating waffles. Andrea and Corey know they have shot right up to Favored Guest status in my mind because when I drag my sleepy ass into the freezing kitchen in the morning when they are staying with me, there is a hot waffle waiting for me. Also, Andrea crocheted me a hat. Everyone went home yesterday and I was happily exhausted enoguh so I went to bed less than twelve hours after I woke up.

Today will be my first day just hanging around the house since last Wednesday and I have a to do list with such exciting activities as “laundry” and “transfer station.” It’s vacation week here in Vermont which means no drop-in time and a few lifeguarding stints towards the end of the week and then more friends coming up from Western MA which is my impetus for making short work of the to do list early in the week.

coasts and libraries

turnbuckles, sort of

I was really worried when the flight I was taking to Vancouver Canada was switched at the last minute and I was suddenly on a new plane with no seat reservations. I usually plan these trips pretty carefully — the connections, the things I’m going to do, the places on the plane I sit — and one small derail can send the whole thing down like dominoes. However, that’s not what happened.

I was going to Victoria Canada to speak at the Access 2007 conference, keynote actually. The week previous had been Glory Week in Vermont and I had a lot of fun visitors and things to do so while I worked on my talk I didn’t pay a lot of attention to things like “How to get to Victoria from Vancouver BC” and “How to print out my final set of notes for the talk.” I drove down to Kate’s place right after work on Tuesday, steeling myself for an early morning (well, 9 am) flight so that I could show up in Canada with a reasonable amount of time to figure out the rest of the travel stuff. And then my flight was cancelled.

What followed was a strange series of good news/bad news escapades. My United flight wasn’t flying because of some mechanical thing so they put me on Air Canada. Air Canada, in case you don’t know, is a superior airline. Seats with TVs and music players, really professional staff, decent connections. I even got good seats. Since United’s problem was “mechanical” and I nicely explained the whole “I’m giving an important talk the next morning” thing, they put a note with my old ticket to be cool and put me up someplace if Air Canada couldn’t get me there. Not bad. I transferred in Toronto instead of O’Hare (score!) and found out there was a flight leaving earlier than the one I was one and they were pleased to put me on it. Then I dropped my boarding pass into the heater vent by mistake which it turns out is no big deal — they just printed me a new one.

I got to Vancouver before I was even supposed to have arrived and did some librarian reconnaissance to figure out how to get to Victoria. There are a myriad of ways ranging from expensive and fast to slow and cheap. I had time so I decided on slow and cheap and had a great time taking the bus to the bus to the ferry (which was an amazing sunset cruise which was a totally fortuitous accident). Inside the ferry there was actually a bus which you could get tickets for so I climbed aboard and took the bus off the ferry and down through Victoria. The bus dropped me off about ten blocks from the hotel which I then gladly walked. I even turned down the ride offer of some nice-seeming man on a Harley who kept driving by me.

Then I went to bed. It had been a very long day. The next day I got up and gave my talk which went pretty well though it was a bit of a stretch for me. I hung around for a while to talk to people and hear a few more presentations and then took the Helijet back to Vancouver in about 30 minutes. The previous day’s trip had taken almost ten times that but what a trip it was! I went to a MetaFilter meetup, stayed with a friend of a friend right in downtown Vancouver and took the bus back to the airport the next day.

By the time I finally got back to Logan — at about 1 am after a bunch of weird travel delays thanks to weather — the Red Sox had just won some major game and the taxi stand was completely empty when I got outside. If you don’t know Boston well you may not also know that all public transportation also stops running around this time. I waited and watched as the folks who checked bags queued behind us until there were about 40 people waiting for zero cabs. I was scheming how I could politely ask other people, when my time came, if they wanted to share a cab (I’m not that hip to cab lingo and etiquette) when the guy at the front of the line asked “Anyone else going to Somerville?” which I was. I squeezed in with two other people. Turns out he was going two blocks from my sister’s house and refused to let me pay for anything. I let myself into Kate’s place and was pleasantly surprised to see her still up and chatty, so I got to do a little debriefing about my trip and she told me about the baseball game.

This morning I’m preparing to go to Sturbridge MA for the New England Library Association Conference where I’m giving a few talks on social software, Firefox and library 2.0 pretty much in that order. I don’t think I was on the West Coast long enough to really have jetlag. I have a second bag of clothes here to bring with me so I don’t have to spend all day doing laundry. Also, since this is a conference I can drive to, I’ve brought my favorite pillow. I am usually pretty happy with whatever pillow I have available but figured there was an off chance that the previous three days would have been wretched and I might want something familiar and comforting during my three additional days away. Turns out I probably won’t really need it after all.

power, tech, quick and slow catch-up

I sort of like the zombietime that I have when I get back from travelling. There is always a morning — or if I’m lucky a day — where I just hang around in my PJs and catch up on things digital — email, blog updates, photo uploading — and do all the “I was away” things like laundry, opening mail, watering plants etc. The following days are for longer-term catching up like paying bills, going to work, unpacking, food shopping and the like. I’m at the end of catching up. It went well. I did some good work with some local libraries, I helped some folks do computer stuff, I planned out my next few months and I made these excellent homemade croutons out of some everything bagels I’d had in the freezer. I also caught up on a little YouTube.

When Kate and I decided that the Natural History Museum really wasn’t probably going to amaze us, we started riffing on it a little. I made a little movie with Kate in it called Halifax – Great people, so so museums. You can watch it.

I also found out that my favorite Channel 4 unwatchable-in-the-US TV show is available via YouTube. Granted, you have to watch a 25 minute show in three segments, but I find it to be worthwhile. The show is called The IT Crowd and it’s about nerds that work in an IT department in the basement of a big office building. What makes it amusing, to me, is that the guys are really nerdy they’re not Robert Carradine in high water pants and horn-rimmed glasses. They act weird, they talk weird, they interact with women weird; they’re spazzes. You can also peek around their office set and spy EFF stickers and Flying Spaghetti Monster propaganda and think “oh hey those look like the stickers on MY laptop”. Anyhow, you can look at some of the playlists on YouTube and watch it. I recommend this one which I think has all the episodes on it.

It’s raining and thundering a lot this evening. Anyone wanting to get to VT before the leaves are gone probably has about 5-10 days to do it in.