she’s such a geek

I have managed to read the first four chapters of She’s Such a Geek: Women Write about Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff, edited by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Anders, but since I’ve had it on my desk for nearly six months, I decided it was time to return it to the library. So far, it has been an interesting read. I recommend it to all my geeky sisters.

#20

This is my least favorite Miss Marple mystery, but I had to re-read it before watching the new film adaptation of it.

At Bertram’s Hotel is my least favorite Miss Marple mystery, but I had to re-read it before watching the new film adaptation of it. It is just as unsatisfying as I remembered it being. Much like Bertram’s Hotel, the characters are not who they seem to be, and even though it is a Christie mystery, one is left with the feeling that something is not quite right. I wonder if the new version will be more appealing?

librarians in the news

I have determined that there are five types of general news articles about librarians.

I have determined that there are five types of general news articles about librarians:

  1. Librarians are hip. No, really! That stereotype thing is so last week.
  2. Librarians are awesome! Look at all the cool stuff they do. No one appreciates them as much as they should.
  3. Gasp! A librarian did [insert act of bravery or indecency]!
  4. OH NOES! There aren’t enough librarians!
  5. OH NOES! There aren’t enough librarian jobs!

hangin’ with the hipsters

Indie rock concert pleases the large crowd in Seattle.

My review of the Rilo Kiley show in Seattle last Saturday has been published on Blogcritics.org. I had an extra ticket from the publicist, but I could not find anyone to go with me. I even tried trading it for a place to crash afterwards via CouchSurfing.com, but no dice. So, I ended up having to do the two hour drive home alone, since I didn’t have the cash for a motel room (even the Motel 6 are $50+ per night). This meant leaving the concert at midnight when I was starting to worry I’d fall asleep on the road.

My seat afforded me a relatively head-free sightline to the stage, as well as a good vantage point for people-watching. Most of the audience members were in their 20s, with a small minority of older folks. I suspect that the start time had an effect on the demographic more so than the music genre.

By the time I got to Seattle, I had decided to give my extra ticket to someone who wasn’t able to get one before the show sold out. Unfortunately, I later discovered that the nice young man hanging out in front of the venue who needed “just one ticket” was actually a scalper. D’oh.

return to bangleonia

The band reunited in 2000 and recorded this live show. Now fans can finally get a copy of it.


by Shout Factory

My review of The Bangles’ Return to Bangleonia: Live in Concert has been published on Blogcritics.org. I had a lot of fun watching it last weekend. Everyone should get it, if just to listen to the commentary track.

As a child of the ’80s, my experiences with The Bangles’ music were very superficial. I remembered hits like “Walk Like an Egyptian” and “Manic Monday,” but I had no context for them in the broad swath of The Bangles’ repertoire. In fact, it was while watching the DVD that I first heard the term “paisley underground” to describe the 60’s influenced jangle pop garage band sound of the music scene the band was a part of in Los Angeles. Along with being entertaining, Return to Bangleonia: Live in Concert is also educational.


hope & glory

There’s something supremely satisfying about power rock ballads, and that’s how I feel after the last track ends — satisfied.


by Ann Wilson

My review of Ann Wilson’s album Hope & Glory has been published on Blogcritics.org. I’ve had the advance copy for about a month now, and I’ve been enjoying it very much. The funny thing is that all this time I’ve had the two Wilsons (Ann & Nancy) confused in my head, and I was thinking that this is Nancy’s solo album. I should have known better, since I kept musing over how much her vocals sound like Ann’s. D’oh.

The album is being released on Tuesday, September 11th, which is apropos considering how politicized the Al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have become. There are several albums of protest music being released on that day, and this is one of them. Wilson has drawn on some of her favorite songs of the past forty years and put together a collection that includes interpretations of classics from John Lennon and Neil Young. It’s not an overtly political album, but it does serve to highlight the relevance of these classic songs in the modern world. Wilson says, “I’ve been itching to make some sort of comment about our times, but I didn’t want to do it in a way that was really abrasive and just shouting for the sake of shouting.”


compassion

There is something to be said about self-censorship. Sometimes it can be the difference between having a constructive conversation and simply pissing off the person you are trying to communicate with.

I’m a little behind on the liblog reading, as usual, so I only just came across K.G. Schneider’s redacted rant about having to write up her talk for NASIG. I happen to know a bit about the behind-the-scenes circumstances that lead to her post, and I should note that there’s a lot more to it than what her readers may think. However, that’s not the point I am going to make here.

Reading her original post, such as I could find in some serious Google archive searching, reminded me that NASIG is not always a well-oiled machine. Annual membership fees are $75 (raised from $25 two years ago — the first such increase in over a decade) and they cover things like the website hosting and listservs; we have no paid staff. Everything is done by volunteers who have full-time jobs and families and all that. So, it’s not uncommon for something to slip through the cracks, or for assumptions to be made, as in the case of Schneider’s write-up for the Proceedings.

The Proceedings editors do what they can to ensure that presenters are aware of what is expected of them, from the contract language to reminder emails to a speaker’s breakfast at the conference where it’s all reiterated. They do what they can, but sometimes it’s not enough.

How different is this from any other large organization? Even organizations with paid staff sometimes make mistakes, miscommunicate, or seem to have poorly chosen policies. I’ve been known to rant a time or two about them. However, I’m starting to step back a little and think about how it feels to be the target of a rant. I’m pretty sure that Schneider didn’t have me in mind when she wrote what she did, but as a Member-At-Large of the NASIG Executive Board, her words stung no less than if I was personally named.

Criticism is not necessarily a bad thing, but in order to be positively effective, it needs to be done in a way that doesn’t put the other in a defensive position. The anonymous commenter on Schneider’s post expressed much of what I was feeling, and I don’t blame them for choosing anonymity after such a pointed attack on their professional organization. In my not so humble opinion, Schneider could have gotten her point across about deadlines, contracts, and expectations much more effectively had she chosen to be less angry and abrasive about it.

And maybe I could do the same with my own occasional rant. There is something to be said about self-censorship. Sometimes it can be the difference between having a constructive conversation and simply pissing off the person you are trying to communicate with. The latter may win you some kudos from the angry-ranty crowd, but in the end it doesn’t help the situation.

quechup? no, thanks.

New social networking site gives everyone the how-to for bad PR.

Last week, I got an invitation to join Quechup, a new social networking site, from someone I’m pretty sure doesn’t want to network with me. Unfortunately, this person uses Gmail, which adds all new email addresses to the contacts list, whether you want it to or not. Since this person had emailed me in the past, my email address was still in their contacts list.

The problem with Quechup is that during the account creation process for new users, they are asked to give permission for Quechup to view their email address books in order to see if any of their contacts are already on Quechup. What most people seem to miss is the fine print that indicates Quechup will be spamming everyone in the new user’s contact list who is not already on Quechup.

I have two theories about why they chose to market their site this way. The first is benign, and assumes that someone at Quechup thought that users would read the text that indicates Quechup would be sending non-members email invitations.

quechup

The second theory is that someone at Quechup expected that few would read the text closely, and that it would be a simple and effective way of collecting a large number of active email addresses.

I suspect that the truth may be somewhere in between those two theories. Social networking sites do not exist out of the goodness of some programmer’s heart. They exist to gather information about you and your friends, and to use that information to make money off of you. Quechup is no different in that than sites like MySpace and Facebook. However, unlike other sites, Quechup is quickly getting a bad reputation for mass emailing, and that will be a tricky spot to pull themselves out of.

Be careful out there. Even if you don’t read the Privacy Policy or Conditions of Use before signing up on a new site, do at least read the text presented on the signup page. And please, stop sending me Quechup invitations.

#19

I’m not sure if re-reads count for the 50 book challenge.

Towards Zero by Agatha Christie

I’m not sure if re-reads count for the 50 book challenge. In this case, it’s one of four Agatha Christie mysteries I’ll be re-reading before watching the adaptations for the new Marple series starring Geraldine McEwan. The original book does not have any of the more well known sleuths, although Poirot is mentioned by the lead detective, Superintendent Battle, who also appears in a minor role in other books. The mystery is solid, and is told well. I had forgotten the outcome, so it was still a bit of a surprise. I wonder how Miss Marple will be incorporated into it?