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Hi there! Sorry I haven’t been the most hospitible host, but I’ve had my nose to the grindstone for the past few years and am now just coming up for air.
This week marks the end of my term as President of the Nebraska Library Association. Before that I did a term as Vice-President/President Elect. Both have been filled with lots of work. Not that I’m complaining. Both years were challenging in very good ways, and I think I became a much better individual because of them.
It did mean that I spent a lot of time not doing things like blogging. I probably had time to, but when I would sit down to start typing up an entry – I just didn’t have the focus to finish it. My mind wandered to things on my todo list. People I needed to correspond with, projects that needed updated at work, a wife that I should probably spend at least a half-hour with since we were in the same building for once – you know, small stuff like that.
This is not to discourage anyone from doing something like this. Like I said before, I was challenged and changed in ways that I couldn’t have been otherwise. Also, I learned that I needed to prioritize my time and decide what it was I really wanted to do. I dropped some of my hobbies that were just there to occupy my time. I’ll keep the ones that I have a real deep interest in and probably will enjoy them more.
With that said, I need to get back to the grindstone for just a little while longer. Conference is this week and I need to get all my stuff in order to hand over to the next president. If you can wait a bit, please just grab a seat over there and we’ll talk more next week.
This is not the way I wanted to return to blogging, but I just needed to get these things so I can remember them later.
Back around March 22, Julie & I started fostering a 13 year old cat named Tiger for some friends of ours. They had to move because his job was transferred to Houston. Tiger was making it a bit hard to sell their house because he would pee on their carpets. We agreed to watch over him until they had the house sold. Shortly after that, they decided that they couldn’t move Tiger down to Houston, so we tried to help them find a new home for him.
As the weeks went by, we really bonded with him. He was so sweet and good natured. The other cats would hiss and growl and Tiger would just stand there. He wouldn’t hiss back, he wouldn’t threaten, he would be “so, what’s the problem?” He would carry tennis balls down the hallway to us as presents, meowing all the way. He also loved to lick plates and bowls clean if you sat them down on the ground next to him. Often times when we were sitting at our computers, he would paw at our legs, and then wave a paw in the air like he was asking for us to pet him. I could hold my hand at his head level and he’d reach up and push it down. He also loved to sit in our laps while we watched television. Our other three cats eventually accepted him being in the house with minimal fuss. He got a lion cut while we were fostering him, and he looked like some sort of alien cat. I nicknamed him, “Mr. Moon Boots” because he still had thick fuzzy paws.
Julie & I decided to adopt him in early April. He became my little shadow at home. As I would go from the living room to the office, or from the office to kitchen, he would follow along. It became part of the morning ritual to put my cereal bowl down on the floor next to my chair when I finished so Tiger could clean it up. At night, shortly after we would go to bed we would hear Tiger meowing as he carried that night’s present to the bedroom. Our youngest cat, Chloe, and him would play and run up and down the hallway together, just being best of pals.
On May 29, that all changed. After the nightly “treats” session where we give all our cats them some hard kibble-like snacks, Tiger started throwing up. He also became very lethargic and just stayed under the chair. The next morning, he was still there and he didn’t eat breakfast or drink anything, even when we brought it to him. Julie took him in to the emergency vet and he stayed there over night. On June 1 we transferred him to our usual vet. Our regular vet checked him out and felt a large mass in Tiger’s abdomen. We decided to do an ultrasound the next morning. That showed that Tiger had a sarcoma in his abdomen. Surgery could remove the growth and most of his intestines, but then he’d go on a bunch of meds and it still may not catch all of the disease. A lot of invasive surgery, a lot of cost, and not a lot of guarantee of how long or how comfortably Tiger would live after that. We decided to put him to sleep that night to take him out of his misery.
Even though he was part of our lives for such a small amount of time, he really had become a big part of day to day life at our house. He was my little buddy and I was looking forward to at least a couple years of sitting on the couch with him in my lap while we watched football in the fall and winter months. I wanted to see his big clown like white patch of a mouth in the doorway when I came up the driveway afterwork. I knew he was old, but I still didn’t expect him to leave us so soon.
The photo below is of three “artifacts” of Tiger’s life. His collar, a tennis ball that he would carry up and down the hallways, and a little stone heart that was part of collection of hearts representing our family. Each of our “kids” had a different stone heart that was placed in a statue of two wood hands, along with one each for Julie & I.
I’m not sure how long we will hold on to those things, but they are nice to have around for now.
I guess all I can saw now is :
Good night Tiger. Sleep well Mr. Moon Boots. My good little boy.
The 2009 NLA/NEMA conference is finished and now all that’s left to do is to finish the paperwork. To help me sort my thoughts, I’m going write a bunch of posts on it throughout the week, starting Monday. After a year of planning and working on it, I think I deserve to take a weekend away from it.
So you’ve guessed things have been crazy for me this year. I’ll admit, I spread myself too thin. Luckily things are starting to calm down. My todo list has things going off it more often than things going on it, I’m finishing off a term as secretary for the SELS board, the MWNE program is starting to run smoother after some rough spots caused by the 501(c)3 process, and my I’ve lost a bunch of weight since my knee surgery a few years ago, making feel a lot better health wise.
Another thing that’s happening is that I’m starting to get the itch to talk to people, to post on this blog, and to get outside. That’s a sure sign that my stress levels are lowering. When I’m stressed, I tend to turn into a hermit and focus on whatever it is that’s stressing me until it is done, closed, completed, or otherwise finished. People often refer to me as a “hermit crab” during those times and I really can’t argue with them. I think now they may have to find a new nickname for me.
If I hadn’t experienced this, I would have thought this was a script from a sitcom. But it happened, and I’m flabbergasted.
Tuesday morning, my wife Julie went into work and was informed that she will no longer be working there; the details of why are irrelevant to this story. I got the call at work and headed for home to console her and prop her up, but Julie was surprisingly not that upset. Meanwhile I was already thinking of how to adjust the budget, thinking if we needed to sell something to get through the tight times – that type of thing.
Around noon, she got a phone call from a place she was interviewing for as a second job saying she had been hired and she can start tomorrow.
I was speechless for about ten minutes with how fast the situation turned around. Really. Maybe it was because I had already gone into “crisis mode” and then got pulled back out quickly, but I just couldn’t believe how fast things turned around.
The new job is less hours, but at a higher pay rate so it evens out. Plus it is closer to where we live, so less gas will be spent. It is might even be walking distance on the nicer days.
Oh – and did I mention that Tuesday was also our anniversary? Happy Anniversary Julie; putting that “for better or worse” all in one day was an intersting present!
Just a quick note to wish all of you a happy new year!
It seems I’ve gotten into the habit of only blogging one day a month here. I hope to change that next month – but probably not until after the 16th. I’ll be away from work starting that day until Jan 12. I’m finally taking an extended vacation, surrounding the usual campus closure for the holiday/semester break. Being away from the office for about a month sounds like a good plan to me.
I plan to:
- Clean out my home office’s files and storage drawers
- Get my “library blog” going, if I haven’t already by then
- Go through my closet and dresser and remove clothes I don’t wear anymore
- Finish up my obligation for the NLA web site
- Instal Drupal on my website so I can start my next “secret project”
Of course – there will be plenty of video game playing, college football viewing, and sleeping as well!
For once we get to see the leaves change color here in Nebraska, instead of having them just fall off because of early snow or ice. Like the leaves changing, my life changed color over this past month, redefining my roles in my professional life. One change was quite unexpected as well.
As I mentioned back in June, I’m finishing up an 8 year run as the webmaster for the Nebraska Library Association. I took the position as I was still getting my Masters of Library Science, and before I got my first librarian’s job. I “grew up” being the NLA’s “web guy”. Through that time I did three site-wide redesigns, switched webhosts once, and helped set up membership services through another vendor. I’ve been given the chance to present at conferences and do classes and such. I’ve also been able to travel the state and not just talk to people, but to talk with people about technology and libraries. I’ve worked with many people who are passionate about what they do and the communities they serve. Earlier this week, I met with the new webmaster and started the transition process. I’m not going very far, as I’ve been elected Vice-President / President-elect of the Association. New challenges ahead in this arena!
I also am passing on the web duties of the Ms. Wheelchair Nebraska program to someone else. I still need to give her the passwords, but first I need to find them. That’s the problem with telling Dreamweaver to remember the passwords, I guess. I got involved in the MWNE program by being their webmaster. I’m now president of the board for a second year. I never thought I would be in this position when I started working with them a few years ago.
Another big change just happened this last week and was something I did not see coming. I’m changing jobs – sort of. I was hired as “Assistant Systems Librarian” and did mostly training and some troubleshooting. Recently I added “Digital Media team leader” to my duties; basically working with services surrounding a/v things like circulating cameras and video recorders, and supplying video & audio editing software for patrons to use in the Libraries. I’m now off the team and have new job duties. I am now the “Emerging Technologies Librarian” and will be responsible for finding out ways to use some of the new tech out there to provide services to our clientele. Blogs, wikis, & RSS feeds are (of course) a few of the things I’ll be looking at, but I also want to spend a lot of time looking at other data mashup tools to make research easier, especially for the undergraduate population here. I’m still doing training and some tech support, so there’s still a good chunk of my job that remains the same. I am a little sad about leaving the digital media team, as I feel like we were just beginning to click as a real team and not just a group of people thrown together.
All in all, a very eventful October. Some of the changes are bittersweet. I am a tad reluctant to let go of the past experiences and feel like there is much more I can still do in those areas, but I am also eager for some of these new challenges and opportunities to present themselves.
These things will certainly change the color of my life dramatically, as these roles played a large part in identifing my place in my workplace, my career, my field, and my community. Of course, we can not stop personal change, like we can not stop the leaves from falling from the trees, can we?
I was thinking recently about my music listening behaviors after reading that some bands want to pull their songs from iTunes, as they claim they are losing money. They claim that iTunes & downloadable music stores like it are changing people’s listening habits by emphasizing the single song instead of the full album.
To tell you the truth, I’ve been listening to music the same way since the early 90s, just the tech has changed to enable my habits, to let me purchase music in a way that matches the habits I already had.
First off, I was always more interested in the single track instead of the full album. I would constantly make myself mixtapes grabbing a track from this album, a track from that album, a track from the radio… I would hardly ever listen to music album by album (or in my case – cassette by cassette). My listening habits didn’t change when iTunes came out, but it did let me purchase music in way that fits my preferred way of listening to music. I can purchase a single track much easier now than I could a few years ago. To those bands that would complain about me not buying the whole album, I would probably tell them I wouldn’t have spent any money on their music if I couldn’t get just that one track I wanted. Something is better than nothing, right?
Secondly a feature popped up on CD players that I just loved in the early 90s, the multi-CD shuffle. Oh my goodness, this really enabled my listening habits. I would load the 3-disc, 6-disc, whatever-disc player with a bunch of CDs and then hit shuffle. The player would pick random songs from any of those discs. Again, I emphasized the single by itself, not in some context with the other songs.
Did I miss some grand message that the artists wanted to make by not listening to an album from start to finish. Probably, but that wasn’t what I wanted when I listend to music. I wanted the magic of discovering new themes through random plays. I wanted to extend emotional energy by having a 60-minute mix tape of handpicked songs instead of being directed by someone else’s grand vision.
I’m still this way. I’d much rather load up the iPod with my choices in music for a long road trip. I’ll still buy a full CD or album here and there, but I have to like the majority of tracks on that album to do so. I won’t buy it just to get the one song I like. I doesn’t make economic sense to me as a consumer to do otherwise.
All this talk about how people’s music habits have changed make me chuckle a little, because my habits haven’t changed dramatically for years, but the technology is finally enabling people like me to listen the way we want to. People like me; people with single-track minds.
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