12 December, 2006

Like a bucket of prawns in the sun

I'm Off
I'm taking a few weeks off to visit the family for Christmas. I've missed the last three, which wasn't so bad. Just the wife and kids is a nice way to spend Christmas.
Still, on the upside, while I have to deal with the psychotic nature of Christmas with step this and someone twice removed on someone else's side,
I get to go canyoning. Now there isn't a lot of time available, but I've got one day set aside and I'll be doing Bowen's Creek with Snail. A fellow librarian/canyoner who I thought I knew of through library blogs, but know realise I knew of first through ozcanyons.
So, as I fly out tomorrow (with three kids. Wife to follow on the weekend) I have to admit that I have, so far, only packed my canyoning gear. And I've packed and repacked that twice.
I do believe my wife may be questioning my priorities when I get home tonight. Still I think I can pack for a three week trip with three kids in one night (can't I).

ADHD librarian - conference communicator

My NLS paper is now online as a pdf.
And if you wnat to know more about what I said and how I said it, the audio should be available from the NLS page next week. Plus you can get the powerpoint presentation I used, although that will only make any sence if you read it while listening to the audio.

Still being me

Inspired by all the talk of millenials and genY and everything being 2.0 that I have come across recently (including at NLS) I got online and created a myspace pace for my library. Mmm, there goes the last vestiges of anonymity that I was clinging to.
I was happy with things, it took less than 20 minutes to set up and within a few hours I had a couple of 'friends' two being local 16 year olds and one being a local resident who also happens to be a country music star!
I thought I was on a winner 'yeah me' and happily sent an email around the library staff to tell them how clever I was and how I was going to tell teenagers about our services one way or another (if the mountain won't come to Mohamed).
Imagine the come down when I was pulled into the managers office and given a 'please explain'.
I knew that the new boss was a micro manager, but damn! Kids and youth are my job description and I'm just so used to doing things. I hate the fluffing around you get if you try to design these things by committee. And doing things by the committee was the way the boss wished I'd done it.

Now the whole thing was rather stop start because I kept using terms she was unfamiliar with (like internet and computer). Well no, more like web 2.0 and friendster, social networking, flickr...
All in all it just confirmed to me that doing it straight off was the best thing to do because otherwise it would have takes a team of six librarians two months to agree on parameters, which then wouldn't have worked because myspace gives you your parameters and you just fill in the gaps.

Now I am well aware (and have said it on this blog before) that I am probably an annoying team member at times. But this is going right off the scale at the moment because I don't believe I can be micromanaged. After all it is better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

Fresh from my triumph as a myspace producer I propped myself up on my PC at home and did a wikipedia entry for the library. But as i did it from home and in my own time I'm hoping that no one can complain about it.
Oh and we're up to 50 hits on myspace over the course of four days. So lets say the first 10 were internal hits, that 40 hits in four days. Plus we have four local teens and two local musos in our friends lists. I'd say it is going better than I expected.

08 December, 2006

I've always wanted a pipe!

From Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic>
Not library related, not ADHD but still very me.

04 December, 2006

footloose - a themesong for genX librarians

After the NLS dinner I got to thinking about how the song footloose affected the genXers that night. So I had a look at the lyrics and now I think I can see why. Take a look for yourself and see if you think that Kenny Loggins might have had us in mind when he penned it.

Been working so hard
I'm punching my card
Seven point six hours for what
Oh, tell me what I got
I've got this feeling
Baby boomer librarians are holding me down
I've hit a ceiling
So I'll tear up this town

Now I gotta cut loose, footloose
Kick off the sensible shoes
Please, Louise, tired of shelving on knees
Jack, in the stack, come on before we crack
Lose your blues, everybody cut footloose

You're playing so cool
Obeying every rule
Deep way down in your heart
You're burning yearning for
Somebody to tell you
That a career as an information professional ain't passing you by
I'm trying to tell you
It will if you don't even try
You'll get by if you'd only

Cut loose, footloose
Kick off the sensible shoes
Oo-wee Dewey, shake it, shake it for me
Woah, embargo, come on, come on let's go
Lose your blues, everybody cut footloose

Two point, ooooh-oh-oh
(Cut footloose)
Two point, ooooh-oh-oh
(Cut footloose)
Two point, ooooh-oh-oh
(Cut footloose)

You've got to turn me around
And put your feet on the ground
Gotta take the hold of all
I'm turning it loose

Footloose, kick off the sensible shoes
Please, Louise, tired of shelving on knees
Jack, in the stack, come on before we crack
Lose your blues, everybody cut footloose
(Footloose) footloose
Kick off the sensible shoes
Please, Louise, tired of shelving on knees
Jack, in the stack, come on before we crack
Lose your blues, everybody cut, everybody cut
Everybody cut, everybody cut
Everybody cut, everybody cut
(Everybody) everybody cut footloose

The Librarian Social Scene

So, I already mentioned that I forgot my meds. Well, not forgot, I remembered them just as the plane left the runway to take me to NLS. I suppose I could have asked the pilot to swing by my place to pick it up but I didn't want to put him out.
So that led to a few ADHD moments for me. For example, while talking about the click 06 dinner I mentioned it being full of drunken aunties (I believe Tom Goodfellow originally used that line). I then said "I could have had my pick of any 50 year old there" that being in my mind a logical continuation of the drunken auntie thing. Me being the conversation hog that I am, once something works I stick with it (at least until my wife gets sick of it and tells me everyone has heard that story 1000 times. But she wasn't there) so anyway I had used that gag a dozen times over the conference period before someone called me out on why I thought they would want to sleep with me.
So just to clarify Dance Partners. We were dancing, I could have dance with...
Oh for fucks sake,
What sort of misogynistic bastard do people think I am?
I mean I might cop a plea to a charge of egotistical (hell I don't even know what that means)
I'm just hoping that not everyone who heard me talking thought the same thing, because if they did then i believe that any networking I may have attempted will have been useless.

And while we're on drunken aunties, (you see every wedding has a drunken auntie, but at a library conference it turns out that 80% of those there are drunken aunties) there weren't many at the NLS 2006 dinner. Sure there were some, but it was more - to continue Tom's wedding analogy - like that stage of the wedding when you start to find your cousin really cute.
(I just want to point out that this comment is for humour value and does not represent my life! All my cousins still live in the old country and I haven't been to any weddings with them since I was 7)

Also on the dancefloor at the dinner, I happened to mention to one dancer that her blouse had become slightly unbuttoned. My attempt however at telling her in humourous fashion however backfired and I think I was only one short step from a slap to the face. Still, it could have been worse at least I didn't use the phrase bodacious tatas. It is an unfortunate side effect of listening to Doug Mulray as a youth that bodacious tatas occasionally pops out of my mouth. Still in my defense it was a two man radio show with Andrew Denton.

I'm sure that there were plenty of other occasions when I made a git of myself, my dance moves for example, but the good thing about being unmedicated is that it is hard to be introspective. Still if you did see me or hear me being wildly inappropriate, feel free to leave a comment and I'll do my best to make sure it doesn't happen again. Well, not too often anyway.

I mentioned the dance floor, well I managed to bust all sorts of moves. Now I'm sure that many of those moves were ones that had never been busted before and with luck won't be busted again. In my defense when footloose came on I had to go all out because as a young man Willard (Chris Penn) was my dancing inspiration. You see I could never aspire to be the cool kid from out of town (Kevin Bacon) but Willard, that was achievable.
A big 'yo DJ' to Kael Driscoll, who in addition to being a Librarian and a Conference Speaker is a pretty handy DJ. He certainly managed to get the right mix of tunes to get maximum dance libris happening.

Your best friend Harry has a brother Larry, in five days from now he's going to marry. He's hoping you can make it there if you can 'cos in the ceremony you'll be the best man...

My Turn at the Podium

I went to NLS without my amphetamines, which means I was Mr ADHD all day and all night. This wasn't exactly a problem with my talk, I wasn't planning on taking it that day anyway. But it did cause problems for me putting the finishing touches on my notes. So, it ended up with me deleting 17 slides from my powerpoint presentation ten minutes before I was due on stage. I then spent the time during the preceding two speakers redoing my notes in order to match my changed presentation.
When it was my turn for the microphone I was as hyped up as a cicada in a vat of PCP. I launched right into things and completely forgot about my notes (which is of course why I write them, you see if you have notes you can be confident that if you forget what you wanted to say you have notes, therefore you are relaxed, therefore you don't forget what you wanted to say). On those occasions when i did feel I should look at my notes, I generally had to turn over about four pages in order to get to where i was up to.
I think i had the best slot of the conference.
Second day, last speaker before lunch and there were no other breakout sessions on at the same time, so I got the whole audience. In fact if you read my resume from here on in it'll say that I was a keynote speaker. Well if you can't lie on your resume where can you lie?
That evening at the conference dinner, I felt like a minor celebrity. People kept coming up to say hello, to let me know they enjoyed my talk and I sad back and basked in the glory.
Well, I intended to sit back and bask, in fact I ended up trying to tell people that there was a lot on that was better than my paper. It wasn't false modesty, I am a good speaker, I know that, but there were several very good papers at the conference that I think got overlooked because the speakers were unsure of themselves or just not confident at the podium.
Mine by contrast was not an academic paper, sure it wasn't just a standup routine and I know there was a lot of useful information for anyone who finds themselves acting in higher duties, but I still think I can do something a lot better content wise next time I decide to do a conference paper.
All in all though I'm smiling like a Cheshire Cat in a toothpaste commercial and I don't think it'll be long before I try to do it again.

Other Honorable Mentions

Here are a few of the other NLS sessions I went to which I enjoyed for either their content or their preventer's style.
Federated Searching: Is the death toll sounding for Information Literacy? Do we really want to "Google"™ our libraries? Libbie Blanchard and Joanne Keleher
Adapting Open Source Software to Benefit the Library: One New Librarian’s Experience in Changing the Processes of a Large Academic Library during the First Year of Employment Emily Barton
whY generation? Millennials as managers, or the future of library management Kate Davis
Freedom of Access to Information post September 11, 2001 paper by Matthew Davis but presented by Alyson Dalby
Also Managing the retirement brain drain: A case-study from the Manuscripts Branch at the National Library of Australia by Beth Lonergan, Bronwyn Ryan and Renée Shuttleworth was probably quite good, but it suffered from being after lunch on the last day and my brain had decided that I had been awake too much, drunk too much and trying to think and pay attention more than usual so i didn't manage to keep track of it.
Abstracts of all of these are available on the nls website.

Networking 101

Alan Smith gave us genx librarians a bit of a wake up call on what it means to network. But not in the computer sense. This was a very nice session for that part of the afternoon when everyone just wants to drift off back to sleep after having had a nice lunch but it also made us think about how badly we'd all been doing at the pre conference dinner (see the photo).
So for me, I think I might be putting networking down on my list of things I'm not very good at. I am apparently more of a self promoter and socialiser which is quite different.

Still if you get the chance to hear Alan speak, do it he is worth listening to and while this was a bit of a frivolous topic it is obvious he knows his stuff.

Reflections of Our Profession in Popular Culture

Librarians in the Looking Glass: Reflections of Our Profession in Popular Culture by Kael Driscoll was a hoot, but it also got a lot of people thinking about why we have those stereotypes. So, while I can understand nurses complaining that people still think of them hopping into the bed of every virile young patient (Carry on Matron) all we have to complain about is that people think we are all bookish intellectuals (although some might wish us to take off more than our mask of respectability behind the stacks)


Lets begin with a level of seriousness and tact...
The NLS2006 greenshirts are to be congratulated, they put together a conference which exceeded my expectations. Now I wasn't at any of the previous new grads symposia, but I was at click06 and I'd have to say that the quality of the speakers was on par with click. In fact, while there were less speakers, those who I heard could have easily earned a place on the click program. So it is clear to me that the newgrads, nextgen, genx (and perhaps y) librarians are all set to storm to the top of the library world, just as soon as those damned baby boomers have the common decency to die off.

27 November, 2006

mo update

This was last week, but I've only just got around to putting it up.
So you can see that I look like a twit with a mo. This makes it even more important that you send me money.
So, Go to the Movember web page, tell it you want to sponsor inmate 20881 and give the nice computer your credit card details.
or enter 24601 to sponsor some miserable bloke called Jean Valjean.

Why did they built the Great Wall of China?

That, that was, during the time of the Emperor Nasi Goreng. And, ah, it was to keep the rabbits out. Too many rabbits, in China.

Give your kids the right answers, get them Public Library Membership
And you could get them broadband too, but that'd cost you while your public library is free.

besides which, thanks to me writing this post (and other people discussing the Telstra Bigpond commercial, I don't doubt that it is now possible to do a search and find out about Nasi Goreng and his rabbits.

For those of you who may be having a WTF moment...
this should explain it all.

I just got back from visiting our local private school (St Bearded Lady's Pentecostal School for young Ladies and Farmer's Sons) where I gave a bit of a spiel to next years batch of final year students about what is so great about the local public library, and why they should get off their arses and join.
I used the fact that there are probably sites about Emperor Nasi Goreng as an example of why they need to do more than just a google search. I also sold them the idea that our online databases are a reliable resource (in contrast to what I say to you guys here). Although, in order to remain true to myself I did tell them that a lot of what they want they will be able to find via Google and wikipaedia.
I did however try and sell to them the "librarians are better at finding things than you are" line. Because that is one I am down with. We aren't your resource for when google won't help (although we don't mind if that is the case sometimes) but we are ready to improve your search results, even when you've already found some of what you want.

23 November, 2006

I'm still a Pom

I left the old dart in 1979 as a seven year old, I've been back once (for three weeks as a spotty teenager with a mullet) and yet I am still apparently a Bloody Pom.

You are 94% English.

Congratulations! You may now take your place as a subject of Her Majesty.

"And did those feet
In ancient times,
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
In England's pleasant pastures seen?"

Well, no, but it's a cracking good tune.

How English are you?

still, it explains my comment on Tom Goodfellow's blog, regarding my hopes that the Aussie cricket team manage to loose the ashes.

22 November, 2006

Sgt. Dubya's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Wonkette commentator Civil Negligence suggested that the getup from the recent APEC conflab had a very Sgt. Pepper's look to it, so I put together this little tribute to the brave men and women who provide the world's leaders with batik shirts, chamantos, barong shirts and other things that make these men and women look stupider than, umm
stupider than a bucket of stupidity at a stupid factory?
stupider than a cow whose just been fired from the position of Professor of Stupid at Hull University?
yeah, that aught to work.

Although, when it comes to 'Peppering' the world's leaders I think that Bangkok (oriental city, and the city don't know what the city has got) did a better job.

21 November, 2006

New Line decide Hobbit film to be crap

Reading between the lines in this report,
I have to say that there is almost no chance that the film adaptation of the Hobbit will be worth watching. Not only will it suffer under John's First Form Imperative, but now Peter Jackson - the man who gave us Bad Taste - is no longer to be involved.
Boo Hiss New Line, you had true love and you gave it away for profits. Boo Hiss

17 November, 2006

now you don't even have to read the dummies guide

Continuing with my recent theme...
Literary 'Dummies' getting TV treatment

Nov. 16, 2006 at 9:32PM

The creative minds behind NBC's "Hell's Kitchen" and the " ... for Dummies" how-to manuals are set to bring the literary works to U.S. television.
With more than 1,000 such literary manuals to choose from, "Hell's Kitchen" producer A. Smith & Co. and U.S. publisher John Wiley & Sons will have lots of topics to choose from for TV adaptations currently being planned, said Daily Variety.
"Whatever topic you can think of, there's a 'Dummies' book for it," said Arthur Smith, who runs his TV production company with Kent Weed. "There's such a plethora of information, and these are books -- not pamphlets."

I think there is something in that for all of us.

books v films

A bit of an offshoot from my last couple of posts,
It is what I call the First Form Imperative.
That is that the value of any text declines as it changes form.
My examples would be;
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was at its best as a radio serial, the books were still fantastic but the TV series and the film did nothing to add to the franchise. Of course the passage of time might interfere with this as the Film has better technology than the TV series.
Likewise Lord of the Rings was a better book than Film while Star Wars is better as a film than any of the books (or graphic novels).
Any comic book is completely crap when it gets to the big screen (Judge Dread, Hellboy and everything Marvel or DC) but the Batman TV series was better than the films.
The same is true with the new trend to turn games into movies or books.
The one place where this rule might not work would be Fantastic Voyage, where Isaac Asimov wrote the book of the film and decided he didn't like the Hollywood ending so he changed it. Although, despite the film being made first, the book was released first (and I never saw the TV series, but I'm going to guess it was appalling) so perhaps the imperative still applies?

Anyone else think they have an exception to John's First Form Imperative?

14 November, 2006

Books are for blind people

My last post was done, and I was walking away from my PC when my brain reminded me of this ctrl+alt+del comic and it seemed to fit in with the idea that if a book is difficult it isn't worth reading it. After all, every book (even Area 7) is harder to digest than a movie so why bother at all.

Remove My Brain And Replace It With A Turnip

Ruminations pointed me to Bibliobibuli's post on Nick Hornby's comments about Low Lit, or lowbrow reading.
...reading for enjoyment is what we all should be doing. I don't mean we should all be reading chick lit or thrillers (although if that's what you want to read, it's fine by me, because here's something no one will ever tell you: if you don't read the classics or the novel that won this year's Booker Prize, then nothing bad will happen to you; more importantly, nothing good will happen to you if you do); I simply mean that turning pages should not be like walking through thick mud...

Which is the line of defence I use when people question why I try to spend all of my youth budget on Hellboy. But then I realised that the "walking through thick mud" quote is rather similar to how I have described reading Patrick White. Although I prefer to say it is like swimming through treacle.
Despite this, I love the work of Patrick White. I've started Voss at least four times, I've read The Twyborn Affair twice (and got different things out of it) I find A Fringe of Leaves to be a wonderful read, I saw a Sydney Theatre Company performance of The Ham Funeral which was some of the best theatre I have ever seen. In short, there is a lot to be said for "walking through thick mud" because the willingness to push yourself beyond your comfort zone is important.
So when I saw this little opinion piece in the Herald The Great Patrick White Massacre Is About To Be Unleashed I was more than a little taken aback.
The discovery of Patrick White's rough drafts just shows that there's a good and bad side to everything. The five people in the world who actually read Patrick White novels will be pleased...

This is the sort of Dickhead thinking that saw Shakespeare taken off school reading lists. But just because not everyone is set up to read Patrick White (or Shakespeare) doesn't mean that we should be preventing those who want to, to give it a try. Nor should we hold back from giving those who could read something a bit more high brow a push in that direction. Because while Nick Hornby says "we have to promote the joys of reading, rather than the (dubious) benefits" I would suggest that we could strike a balance and rather than turn out a whole generation of average students who all read average books we could suggest something more challenging. But then this is Australia, the great egalitarian land and if we give some kids Patrick White and other kids Selby Goes To Fluffy Bunny Town then we might be suggesting that some kids are smarter than others and that would cause our entire society to fall down into a screaming great heap. Because in Australia we are all equally gifted intellectually and the only way to tell one person from another is by our Sporting Ability.

Funny, this seems to have taken a turn away from what I started writing.
So let me end with
Read Patrick White, it might not be as simple to read as Hovercar Racer but it's well worth the effort. And it might get you thinking about this putrefying averageness which invades every aspect of Australian society. White knew about it and fought it but Matthew Reilly (and many other authors) just seems to be exploiting it as a market for books which are as intellectually bankrupt as most of the vapid TV we get spoonfed.

13 November, 2006

There is no God

You scored as atheism. You are... an atheist, though you probably already knew this. Also, you probably have several people praying daily for your soul.

Instead of simply being "nonreligious," atheists strongly believe in the lack of existence of a higher being, or God.



















Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with QuizFarm.com
This result comes as quite a surprise to me as I didn't realise I was an atheist, but I'll just have to live with it. After all if you can't rely on online quizes to know you better than you know your self then what is the interweb for?
That said, I have never done a very good job of being a Christian, at least according to the way it is understood in our current capitalist western society and i know that I scare the hell out of most of the members of my regular Bible study group with my oddball theology.
So perhaps I am almost atheist, after all there are a lot of gods I don't believe in.

Where the bloody hell are you?

It would seem that the "Where the bloody hell are you" ads promoting Australia as a tourist destination have not been as successful as had been hoped. This is a big blow for me personally as I had put a lot of money into a library marketing campaign I had hope would replace "@your library".

My "We're more than Bloody Books you Moron" campaign now however seems to be dead in the water.

07 November, 2006

Is something the matter

You're damn right there is something the matter. Something sinister and something grotesque. And what's worse is that it's going on right here under my very nose.

I am as excited as a very excited person who's got a special reason to be excited

Well, we're 7 days into my search for moustache based machismo and it seems that my chances of having a full Melchett by November's end are perhaps a little on the unlikely side. Still with luck I'll manage a Darling because if by month's conclusion I only have a Parkhurst I shall be more than a little chagrined and might instead have to take up slug balancing. Still at least I'm giving it a go, not sitting this one out on the touchline with the half-time oranges and the fat wheezy boys with a note from matron.

Online resources - waste of money. Better to put your library budget into trifectas

Well, it is cup day and I went up to the TAB and put a few dollars on a few horses. And aint life grand I picked 1,2,3, which is all nice and gives me money in my pocket but then the director looked up at the odds and pointed out to me that had I put those three horses in as a trifecta I would have pocketed myself over $50000. So my current payout doesn't seem so fantastic any more.
Still, we had a few bottles open for lunch and was feeling slightly merry. then I sat down at my PC and found a request for the manager for my October report by 3:30 today. Today? After half a bottle of red? Ah well, so be it, I got in and typed it up. I'm not the only one who had to do it in a hurry, but the others are still working on theirs.

The report writing graduated into a bit of discussion on the use of our online resources and emboldened by the grape I declared them all a monumental waste of money.
Let me give you my reasoning:
I have kids at school and I haven't shown them the online resources. If I'm not bothered by it, how many of our other patrons will feel the need?
Somewhere in the vicinity of 95% of our potential patrons live within walking distance of the library.
I am currently studying postgrad and I rarely (if ever) use the online resources my uni offers, which are an order of magnitude better than the ones our little public library can afford.
I manage to survive a masters degree using my set textbook, book of readings, a selection of industry blogs and Google Scholar. All free of charge.
To get to the online resources we offer from home, you need to:
1. Go to the council page
2. Click the library link
3. Go to the online catalogue
4. Enter your library card number
5. Enter your password
6. Click on the online resources link
7. Select the link you want (from a very spread out list)
If you are doing this from home with a slow or even a dialup connection it would take most of our patrons less time to drive to the library.
Plus a lot of the content you get from online databases is Americancentric, which while not a problem if you are looking for who built the Great Wall Of China, may be less beneficial if you are looking for information on drugs which have different trade names in the US than the ones we use in Straya.

01 November, 2006

Cocking a snood

During November I'll be attempting to grow a moustache. That's right I'll be trying hard to get a fuzzy upper lip, with luck more in the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle style than that of Freddy Mercury.
A bit more Lord Kitchener than Ron Jeremy,
A tad more Nietzsche than Chopper Read,
Much more Wilhelm II than Burt Reynolds.

Why the hell would I do this, well the official reason is that I'm raising money for men's health.
* The average life expectancy of men is 6 years less than for women.
* Every year in Australia 2,700 men die of prostate cancer.
* Depression affects 1 in 6 Aussie men
To that end you can help by sponsoring my mo.
Go to the Movember web page, enter 20881 (my Rego number) and give the nice computer your credit card details.

That's right folks, I'm after 'Mo' Money.

27 October, 2006

1. My daily food diary

Two spicy fruit muffins (English, not American style).
One cup of tea (unfinished)
One double shot latte
Two Eclipse cinamon mints (why are they called mints when they are cinamon?)
Six lemon sherberts
Half a bottle of water
one six inch meatball sub
half a can of pepsi

26 October, 2006

where too from here

I once saw a courier's van with the legend "No Delivery To Small" emblazoned on the doors.
My recent lack of posting has made me consider what I'll be posting on the blog. You see, during the click 06 conference I was outed as me. Prior to that I believe only a couple of you knew I was me (and sometimes even I forgot). It changes things however, for example my rant about my manager treating me like a child will be funny and full of ADHD vs Librarian dichotomies. However it could well be considered bad for my career to rant about the boss when some of you know who I am and therefore who she is. So that story is sitting in post production as I try to get the balance right between my propensity for confabulation and my boss' inability to tell the difference between a joke and her arse being alight, even if I've just emailed her a link to a website which deals with the dangers of hindquarter combustion..
You see my problem?
Even that seemingly innocent first paragraph, when you look at it carefully, has the possibility to come back and bite me.
No seriously, look carefully. I used the phrase "I am a terrorist". I know, I didn't see it at first either but then when I took my medication this morning I noticed it. Luckily I noticed it before I posted it, unluckily I'm still ADHD enough not to care.

So what to do.
Well, the Hot Librarian has a post in which she lists some potential topics for her blog

Here's just a sample of what you can expect in the coming months:
1. My daily food diary
2. My health complaints
3. My musings
4. My daily ramblings
5. My take on current events
6. Some more musings
7. A smattering of piquant rants
8. Numbered lists
9. My inventions
10. My assorted thoughts
11. Self-portraits, shiny hair portraits, ass pics, bikini shots, diagrams of my daily outfits, detailed discussions of my favourite brand of shower gel
12. Partial sentences, incomplete sentences, run-on sentences, grammatical abominations, deliberate misspellings, words created out of whole cloth
13. Random yet thoughtful musings
14. Charming anecdotes
15. Noodz
16. Nude musings given to you via numbered lists - lists filled with rambling grammatical abominations, too many commas, and piquantry (what? I like that word better than "piquantness"- sue me, I have no money) with a side of rant.
17. Downhome folksy humour
18. Hot XXX girl-on-girl action
19. Talking armadillos (dilloes?)
20. A long treatise on the burgeoning threat of the coming world war when hybrid automobiles team up with the robots
21. Portraits of famous Amishmen, Masons, some Scientologists, assorted Baha'i Faithers
22. And more!

So perhaps I can join her and see how many of the things on this list I can blog about over the next few weeks.

25 October, 2006

Where oh where has ADHD gone, oh where oh where can he be.

Screw you!
I've said it before, I have ADHD so you can't expect me to post...

Oh, I can't stay mad at you. Forgive me? I have been busy, honest. And I am saddened by my lack of blogular wisdom to my devoted fan base. I've been working on getting myself a masters degree. I've probably posted about it before, but it was a stupid idea, wrapped in a delusion, floating on a sea of WTF. And it got worse around July, when I had to do a compulsory accounting subject. Now, I haven't done maths since I was 16 so I wasn't looking forward to it. Plus my difficulty was compounded when I went off my medication for a month. You see the medication was never supposed to be a permanent thing. I like to think I am a functioning member of society even without it, it is just there to point me towards productivity on occasion for work and for study. So I had family visiting from the old dart and took several weeks off work (and study) to show them the local sights. Look, red dirt. Oh a red rock. Look a fat lizard. Look a thin lizard on a red sandhill.
All in all it was a lot of fun, I was self medicating with my Irish brother-in-law at various venues of liquid refreshment and it didn't matter to anyone if we thought we were going to look at a railway museum but I decided to take the long drive via a salt pan and along a dry riverbed.
After this little bit of R&R I went off to a conference (as you may have noticed) where I kept ignoring my chemical conscience and had myself a lot of fun, which isn't what most people would expect of an ADHD kiddie surrounded by librarians.
Then I went back to work and discovered that I had become unused to my chemical regimen. The stuff has always decreased my appetite and affected my sleeping habits but despite the high doses I had still managed to eat and sleep. Now however I have cut by dose to 1/3 of what it was, because otherwise I can't eat or sleep and both of those things are in my top ten of things I like to do at least once a day. The trouble is that 1/3 of the dose is about 1/8 of the benefit, so I have been living a life of quiet loud desperation. My uni work went to hell in a hand basket and work has also been suffering.
I am lucky in that I can work without it. There are huge areas of my job where ADHD is in fact a benefit, but there has been a lack of paperwork, a lack of telling the boss what I am doing, a decrease in my cataloguing output and I keep forgetting to give my assistant any meaningful work to do.
Still, over the last couple of days I have taken my full dose, forgone food or sleep and done the overdue (by at least six weeks) section of my subject. That's right folks, I did the second half of a masters level accounting subject in two days, including two of the three assignments. Now I'm sitting at work, having taken a slightly decreased morning dose but feeling more jumpy than a ferret on crystal meth. And in this situation my thoughts turned to my blog feeds and having sated my own desire to read the ranting of others out there I started to consider my own readers. Thus a post was born.
I'm happy enough in this situation, my boss is out of town visiting her real children so the ADHD librarian who tends to feel very angry about being treated like a child (there might be a post on that topic some time soon) can relax a bit. I also have a day today with no storytime, no school visits, no desk shift and no meetings. Sure I have a desk you can't see underneath piles of half complete paperwork and uncatalogued junior non-fiction, but paperwork and books won't be scared if I start gibbering incoherently at them.
Now all I need is for my uni to accept my excuse very good reason for my work being late. I'm lucky in that my doctor has given me a certificate stating
please excuse the lateness of John's work, but he and his brain chemistry aren't on the best of terms at the moment and the nearest private practice psychiatrist is 1500km away, so he's just hanging in there waiting for the public system to find a gap between the dangerous nutjobs so that they can look at having him rewired.

So, while my lecturer isn't going to mark my work, the associate head of the school has agreed to take a look at it for a pass/fail grade. I'm happy enough with that, I was sitting at 70% for the first half of the subject despite the fact that most of that was at least a week or two late and while I always feel good about credits and distinctions I'm often heard to loudly proclaim Ps get degrees. Sure my wife is averaging Ds and HDs in her postgrad work, but an addition to being a very clever person, she has a work ethic. As of last week though, she is finished her grad dip and as I don't have another subject until late January life might be quite relaxed for the next few months. Or as relaxed as it can be for her being as she chose to live with me.

25 September, 2006

sometimes a cigar...

Well, perhaps sometimes not?
For those of you reading this who were not at click06, I'm aiming to get back to my blogging roots, with stupid stories of me being annoyed or annoying in libraries. But first,
The conference dinner was a fine affair, I drank, I ate, I danced, I drank, I danced, I ate, I got lost on the way home. And there may have been some dancing and drinking in there too.
The theme was Spanish, but my wardrobe failed to yield up anything Spanish. For a while I considered getting a bedazzler and turning my cycling shorts into a toreador's outfit. But who wants to see a male librarian in spandex? So I decided on a tangent. I wore a Cuban costume, well I say wore but it is more like I carried a Cuban costume. And then part way through the evening I burned my costume.
To those of you on the blogosphere with whom I failed to make contact, I apologise and hope to see you in 08. For those of you with whom I did make contact, I apologise and hope I will still see you in 08.

21 September, 2006


When I'm not at work I tend to ignore my dexamphetamines and enjoy the life I had before I became a drug induced productive member of society. The fantastic thing about not being on the gear is that I have no idea that anything is different. Sure I am intellectually aware that the drugs effect me, but I need to be on the drugs before that knowledge makes any sence.
So I have been a very happy camper, running around with armloads of flyers for the 08 conference. I'm perfect for the job because I don't care about others so I interupt their conversations and then ignore them and walk away when they least expect it. I call it hyperactive marketing. (look out for the next batch of stickers if I can convince people to print them before NLS. "kick me, I'm DREAMing which I hope to put on everyone's back)

Where was I?
I tend to forget I am two people these days. Mr Edward Hyde when I'm not on the drugs and Dr Henry Hyde when I am (somehow I never quite become Dr Henry Jekyll). But it turns out that those who know me have noticed because one of my NT collegues mentioned to me last night that I was talking like a ferrett with a ekky supository. OK, those are my words, but that was the basic concept. So all I can say is roll on tonight's dinner where anyone who is at the conference can watch me destroy my career with more misanthropic behaviour than you can stick a poke at.

mmm, perhaps I might take my afternoon dose today.

20 September, 2006

Dreaming 08

I have the inside word on Dreaming 08, the next ALIA biennial conference. Alice Springs, September 2-5 2008.

Dreaming 08


it's time to move on folks.
Dreaming 08 [maniacal laughter] Baby Boomers will be so scared they'll retire and let us take our rightful places at the healm of the nation's libraries [/maniacal laughter]

More Dr click

I just had a chat with a member of the click 06 committe, whom I shall not name, and I expressed the oppinion that Dr Click should be backed over in the car park.
Poor Dr Click has few supporters because I received whole hearted support. It seems that El Clicko (well we have a spanish theme) is not the roaring success that some delusional librarians had thought she would be.


Anyone who has ever read this blog, will be aware i have my own (unique) version of English grammer. Now however I am typing directly into blogger, rather than using word as a spell check first (because I'm being quick to get everywhere while I'm at the conference). So welcome to my own version of English spelling.
At least until I get home and edit it so my woriness is writted corectified.

click 06 - bloggers

I have just run into CW and some of the Sydney Uni bloggers so my secret identity is no more. Although I admit I was deluding myself if I ever believed anyone would take more than sixty seconds on google to work out who the hell I was (and even more delusional if I believed that anyone specifically cared who I am).
So bugger it, if I get dooced I know I can easily find work. I'm not sure how I'll go if I offend people for my posting, because despite my lack of tact and my ability to use stupid jokes to relieve tension, I am actualy quite adverse to workplace confrontations.

Still, I might as well start by saying that everyone I've ever worked with has been a moron who has annoyed the shit out of me for one reason or another.
There, now I don't have to worry, I've insulted everyone, so I don't have to worry if it happens again. After all, the first time is the hardest.

umm, I don't know why but I feel like typing nudge nudge.

And to celibrate this new found liberation, I have found a very poor quality, out of date, photo of myself (with a giant dog) so everyone can try and work out if they were right about me being, well, me being me. If you know what I mean.

Doctor Click Must DIE

For those of you not currently sitting in Perth WA, this may be an odd way to start a blog. But...
Dr Click is the mascot of the conference. And I use the term lightly, Matilda the giant winking Kangaroo seems like the hight of sophistication and subtlety when compared to Dr Click.
Dr click is (imagine if you will) a middle aged librarian in a five year old's Zorro costume. Speaking in an accent which compares unfavourably to a Bavarian with throat cancer (she claims it is spanish).
Dr Click's role would appear to be to generate a mixture of pity laughs and disbelieving groans while distracting deligates from the general conference announcements. You know the stuff, would everyone please turn off zee mobileeee foonz unt goo to converenze ruum nine for zee drinky poos.
And to be frank I am considering getting up on stage with a bullwhip and going all Dr Jones.
Oh, and I do have a bull whip with me at the conference!

post I submited to blog the conf

I've just been in Prof Jayarani Raju's session on finding a balance between vocational education and general education. It had one strong weakness for Australia in that she had written from the perspective of LIS being a postgrad only option (as it is in the US and must be in South Africa).

That said, it resonated well for me with some of the online conversations that have been happening with the newgrads group regarding the skills needed to launch into your first library job, and the inability of the current system in Aus to provide that.

I've got a lot of words on my PDA, which will be online as soon as I manage to crack the wireless system they have here. Otherwise I guess I'll have to wait untill I get home to give you the full text.

19 September, 2006

spot the librarian

I'm in Perth for the click06 conference.
So, I've rocked up early to the centre (for a pre-meeting) and decided to play a quick game of 'Spot the Librarian' and I must say that i'm quite good at it. Looking around the coffee shop I saw my prime cantidate for libraryness. But how will I ever know?
I thought about going up and asking, but decided that as a member of the committee for the next conference (there goes plausable deniability out of the window) I didn't want to make an arse of myself. I'm going to do enough of that during the handover session.
But my curiosity was eased when Dagmar Schmidmaier walked in and said hello to them.
Score points to me!

In the time it has taken to type this up, the place has filled up with grey haired ladies and men with bad tashes shushing in unison. Yes it's library season here at the Palace Hotel Ballroom. Plus I've just said hello to the first person I actually know.
Well correct that, I said hello to Dagmier but she obvoiusly wouldn't remember me. So I've just said hello to the first person who knew me in return.


31 August, 2006

pungent annals immorality

I saw this (hot library smut) a little while ago (was it on LIS news?) but a friend just emailed me and asked why my library wasn't included on the list. OH ha bloody ha! But then I realised that while all of the pictures are fantastic, this is the one that appeals to me. Which to continue the analogy, probably means that I am into the library equivalent of midget amputee porn. I mean the red leather chesterfield sofas and brass desk lamps are fine and I can get all worked up about them, but it takes a nice big compactus to remind me why I'm a librarian.

28 August, 2006

Journalists can't understand statistics.

The Oz, has a story about the decline (yes?) of literacy and numeracy amongst our nations teachers (and the radio has picked it up and run with it). But it would seem that journos are the ones in need of a little numeracy training.
...in 1983 the average teaching student was drawn from the top 26 per cent of the nation's students (on a literacy and numeracy test) but this had widened to the top 39 per cent by 2003.

There follows a plea to government to raise teachers' salaries. But I think there is a failure to take into account literacy levels as a whole. Because while teachers may not be in the same percentile band, it is possible that their level of literacy and numeracy in real terms is exactly the same.
That said,
I'd still like to see teachers get more money (and nurses {and Librarians}).
I'd also like to think teachers were as a whole damn smart people. I didn't think that while I was at school, I tended to think I was smarter than my teachers. Once I left school and upon reflection I came to believe that this was an unfair belief based more upon my own overgrown ego. Now however I have children at school and I have revised my position again, I believe that there are some real morons in teaching and despite the fantastic ones I have come in contact with at different times, as a whole they are not doing our future any favours.
So any call to pay teachers more, is going to have to accept that it will involve overpaying the current crop of morons the same as the current cream of the crop. Then we'll have to overpay the next crop of dross to come out of the unis before we get to the stage that it become an attractive option for the real smart folk.

I'd like to apologise to all those who are teaching because they have a passion for the role. You folk are fantastic, and it is just a pity there are so few of you.

24 August, 2006

Noo Yoik

Ok, I did get half way through saying something and then end up somewhere else. But I'm sure that most people understood that my love of the random is unlibrarianish because librarians are all about order and classification.
You all got that right?

Thankyou to the person who alerted me to overheard in New York found conversation, nice.

23 August, 2006


One of my most pronounced non-librarian traits is a love of the random. I think I have mentioned before my enjoyment of found objects and found photo collections as an artform.
Librarywise I have always loved the ephemera I find inside books. Some of my personal highlights include, STD clinic results and Erotic photographs (that failed to be erotic). I have also found many many postcards and mothers day cards with all sorts of messages of love, hope and banality. Photographs of a more mundane nature are more common than the amateur pornography. Dogs, cats, kids, grandparents occasionally dogs in hats or grandfathers without teeth.

For those of you who also enjoy a bit of found action, try these links
Diddly random photo browsing
albums of found photos
Photos found when processing film from old cameras
PCL linkdump is a fantastic source of interesting banality like Moog Sythesizer Music or covers of men's magazines from the 30s
Found Magazine is where today's image comes from. Plus as an added bonus, the finder reports "I found this at the library in a Hellboy comic."

22 August, 2006

The Librarians' Eros

The original for the young lass whose clothing seems to have become lost in some sort of shelving mishap, and hasn't that happened to all of us. Can be found at http://photo.net/photo/pcd3391/library-reaching-16.4.jpg
Although I can't for the life of me think why several of you have asked me about it.
Thank you in particular to the reader who pointed out that the James Patterson book Kiss The Girls is ironically placed to the right of the poor lass' buttock. I can honestly say I had not studied the photograph in such detail, it was just the foil for a joke about librarians and our quest to be popular/trendy/loved/respected.

911, the musical

I haven't been visiting Wonkette very much of late, but a recent trip there brought this to my attention. A graphic novel of the "Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States"

I knew graphic novel publishers were getting crazy, and this idea cops quite a serve from Wonkette
...(the novel) will finally answer such burning, unresolved 9/11 questions as: Would Batman have been able to prevent the events of 9/11 if he hadn't been encumbered by bureaucratic red tape?

but I love it.
The idea of a government report in illustrated format is fantastic. I'm planning to present my next monthly report to my director as an interpretive dance.
And given what I read about the situation with any American libraries, I think the government should skip the text version. There probably aren't many Americans left who could wade through that sort of thing. Even then I guess most folk are just going to wait for the movie adaptation to become available on DVD.

questionable content

One of my favourite web comics Questionable Content, seems to be launching off into a library related story line. Oh happy day. Plus, we get a hip, tattooed, indie librarian (or something like that) although, she does have glasses. But then so do I.

21 August, 2006

more careers

Those blaggers at Office Pirates have come to a similar conclusion to your ADHD Librarian regarding the career prospects of waiting for baby boomers to die.

"It sucks to be young in corporate America right about now. Sure, you can get a job, and work your way up to middle management. But once there, you'd better get comfy. As CNN.com points out, young go-getters are trapped under the "Gray Ceiling" - all those Baby Boomers in lofty positions with no thoughts of retirement.

Boomers outnumber Generation Xers almost 2 to 1. Do the math, and realize that you're stuck for at least a decade or two, waiting around for these guys to die off."

read their suggestions for coping with this.

18 August, 2006

fraud, impostor, charlatan

Someone else is telling the blogosphere that they are the ADHD librarian. It is beyond the pale, I won't stand for it.
I will however sit and watch with interest to see how this 'other' librarian (Robin of the The Watzek Library in Portland Oregon) goes. After all, there is enough room for more than one ADHD librarian. I'm currently thinking one per continent.
So pop in and see Robin's take on the ADHD librarian mix. http://adhdlibrarian.blogspot.com/

blog the conf

A busy day on the ol' ADHD blog.
But I thought I'd point people to a blog for click 06.
The ALIA 2006 biennial conference, about to begin in Perth WA.
If you're going to be there, then sign up to write it up, I will be.
If you can't make it, then check it out to find out what you missed out on.

Fast Track - Dirt Track

In which the ADHD librarian implores librarians to go bush.

New grad, or perhaps just been sitting in that one office for too long now? Well what is the option for you, short of waiting for those damn baby boomers to retire and create a vacancy on the management team?
Well for this Librarian, the solution was "leave the land of your father and go to the land I will show you". No, not the Israel, but perhaps wandering in the desert could be a good move. So why go bush? Well, I'd been on the slow track (nine years part time study) and as a new grad I didn't feel like another nine years before I got the chance to make some decisions. I was competitive at interview in NSW, plenty of positive feedback and 'in other circumstances, but it was a competitive field …" So where is this less competitive field? It is country NSW, far north QLD, all of the Territory and probably most of SA and WA. In short there are a lot of regional and remote communities who are as desperate for librarians as they are for Doctors or Engineers.
Two years as a bush Librarian brought opportunities that Sydney promised I'd get in fifteen years if I stuck around and waited. I've been on management team, worked with architects to design a new library, acted as library manager, given aldermen tours (and argued with them about library directions), I've sat down with Directors to write strategy, in short I've been fighting well above my weight 'and loving it'. So much so that the two year stint has now become four and I'm still not planning my return drive to Sydney.
But there is a dark side, why couldn't I get a job like this in Sydney?
Because I didn't have the experience to do the job, so I've learned on my feet and made mistakes. Now however I do have the skills and if the harbour starts tugging at my heart strings then I'm sitting in a great position to argue my case.
So where are these jobs for you, who knows but the ALIA website will have the ads.
So what are the skills that remote or rural libraries need?
They need the ones you have, because the ones you have are better that none. But a willingness to be adventurous could help. A desire to be part of a small team, remember you can hide in a bigger organisation, perhaps deny a few mistakes, but when there are only a handful of staff (and you're the new one) you'll need to be open about how bad your grade was in cataloguing (but only after the interview).
You will need to be prepared to work on a smaller budget, fewer copies of the next Harry Potter and planning a few years in advance for the new chairs. I recommend sucking up as a great skill, but not to the boss (God no, never that), rather find the person who really runs the library, a technician who's been there since federation, this is the font of all knowledge for a new grad who is willing to admit that a one year post grad qualification doesn't make you infallible. It's a fine line between being willing to ask for help and palming off your work on others, make sure you know which side of that line you're operating on, because if that technician feels put upon by you, you might well be 'sans paddle whilst navigating an impolitely named watercourse'.
Experience will hold you in good steed when you go 'bush', experience of an inner city nightclub to hold in your memory but more vital experience of life. Work experience in any form, from stackie at your state library to circ work at your uni. Whatever experience you've got, look at it in a new light. Remember which team leaders and managers were appalling, who were the bosses who put their staff offside with stupid battles. Remember how you felt? Well you're going to be supervising people now. How about ensuring that you learn form your time at the bottom to make sure your rise to the top is comfortable. After all, you weren't a moron (were you?) and nor are the people your supervising now.
There is more to the rural life than work. In fact there is more to the country than rum and B&S balls (but don't let on to the ute drivers). Country towns need netballers, football coaches, scout leaders, singers for the church choir and rugby players. My time out here has involved several visits to the emergency ward as I hadn't played contact sport since high school (and even then I wasn't very good at it). Yet somehow this seems to be to be one of the highlights of my time in the desert.
One Saturday night a concerned community member approached a member of the sports medicine team at the rugby ground. "Which one is the librarian?" she asked. I was pointed out to her (the one in the headgear) at which point she walked off expressing her disgust at a librarian playing rugby. I never found out who she was, but no doubt she pops into the library occasionally for some large print Catherine Cookson, but only after making sure I'm well out of the way. I probably lower the tone of the place?
So what skills have I got out of my stint in the outback? You know with nine years library experience before I graduated, not a lot. But then again I've been able to put into play most of the brilliant ideas I'd been carrying around with me, I've used all my skills at a higher level than before and most importantly, my resume has doubled in size, I no longer have to say that I know I could, I shout out that I have and here are the photos....

Careers Night

I spent last night relaxing in a hall full of teenagers, all looking to find a career. Where was I? I was sitting at the "so you want to be a librarian" stand. I was lucky enough to get to talk to several nice bright kids, who were considering libraries as a career option. I was also lucky enough to talk to lots and lots of kids whom I'm quite happy won't be becoming librarians.
But ALIA were a bit remiss in sending me appropriate stuff, so I made my own ADHD librarian's career guide. I stole things from the net and put it together in an afternoon. I am happy to say it was well received, so I shal post the text of it here. The images I used were steriotypical librarian - shushing pictures. Although the one used here could have convinced more young men to consider the career.

Front cover
Librarians, We're all old and almost dead!
So, why would you want to be one?

because when we all die there'll be lots of vacancies!
Perhaps not all librarians are old.
And those who are probably hope to retire before they die.
And not all Baby Boomers are retiring...
But librarians have an average age of about 50, so if you like this type of work then there may well be a lot of opportunities for the next generation of Information Professionals.
Plus, the profession is not all dusty books (although it can be if that's what you like). There are librarians writing open source software,
There are more public libraries in Australia than there are McDonalds.
Librarians aren't in The oldest profession (although I guess some might be), but we’ve been around since 2700 BC and that's quite impressive. Isn't it?
NASA has a 'Dust Librarian' whose job includes preventing the dust from getting dusty.

You could be a:

Public librarian
Medical librarian
Reference librarian
Children's librarian
Library Webmaster
School librarian
Law librarian
Corporate librarian
Academic librarian

Not quite convinced?
Parallel careers include; Archivist, Knowledge Manager, Records Manager and Curator.
Librarians study; Information Technology, Web Design, Public Relations and Promotions as well as traditional library subjects such as Cataloguing and Reference Searching.
A career in Libraries can be as a Library Assistant, Library Technician or Librarian depending on how much you feel like studying.
Library Assistants require...
nothing, although preference is sometimes given to those studying in the field.
Library Technicians require an associate diploma.
Librarians require a Bachelors Degree in Library and information science or a Bachelors degree in another discipline and a Graduate Diploma in Library and information science.

Back Cover
If you tell everyone, they'll all want to be librarians. Keep this information secret and it'll be sweet for all of us.

For more information on study requirements for Librarians and Library Technicians visit, The Australian Library and Information Association.

Child Killing Librarians

What is the problem with people who don't have a Library Qualification calling themselves Librarians? After all, the internet makes librarians redundant. Yet somehow, Doctors get all huffy when people without a medical degree call themselves doctors. But I can diagnose myself online and buy my drugs online. I have a friend who is an accountant and she takes great offence to my claim that her job is irrelevant now that people can buy a copy of MYOB and do their own taxes online.
This is however only a small part of the problem!
People who call themselves Librarians but who don't have the required qualifications are Evil Child Killers! So if you are running a library, make sure you check the resume of any potential employees carefully. Because they never put "I Killed JonBenet Ramsey" (sneaky bastards) instead they put "2004-2005 Designed and maintained a small library..." Damn these paedophiles and their insidious codes.
Yeah, I designed her library! nudge nudge.
It makes you scared to have a conversation in case you inadvertently claim that you want to sodomise infants.

29 July, 2006

Arbor Day

I never thought I'd be one of 'those' people, who bemoan the death of the English Language. Or who complain about declining standards of literacy or dumbing down of society, after all I live in Australia. But it turns out I am.
What the hell happened to Arbor Day, and why the hell do we have Tree Day.
As a kiddie I had lots of fun on Arbor Day planting trees. There are a couple of nice big Gum Trees on Ham Common which I can still identify as ones I planted. Now however (and for the last few years) Australia has tree day. Why?
Now I know it isn't dumbing down the English language, because Tree is English but Arbor isn't. Still it is (at the very least) aiming for the lowest common denominator. And I hate that!

20 July, 2006

Research part the second: The hard cases

Most of what I get asked in my day to day working life is simple stuff that you can answer of the top of your head.
The earth has five moons
Our solar system has eight planets (or ten depending on your definition of planet)
But other questions are more troubling and the ADHD research method described earlier can look like it is coming unstuck. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is where the ADHD librarian launches into his own. Now if you are using my methodology, ensure that you are not tempted at this stage by fancy subscription databases or the mouldy old reference collection. After all if you were to go to your library's reference collection you'd probably find the books saying outdated things like "Earth has one moon" or "there are nine planets in the solar system" and subscription databases aren't worth the paper they aren't printed on in most public library situations.
No the question to ask now is who does what you're asking about?
So if you are looking up details on heavy machinery model numbers used in open cut mines so someone can write in there resume that they know how to drive them, you need to search for a company who runs an open cut mine. What are you looking for? Surprisingly enough, you're not looking for the answer to your question. What you are looking for is a bit of the jargon of open cut mining folk. You're not going to have much luck in your search until you know a few brand names of heavy machinery and what they are called.
Caterpillar, Komatsu, Dynapac, Ingersol Rand, Hitachi do any of these sound like devices you want to claim to drive?
(like someone who could really drive one would be asking a librarian to help them find information for their resume)
Search for very very big truck? No, search for: Dump Truck Tracked, Skid Steer Loaders, Excavator to 12ton, Articulated Trucks, Off Highway Trucks.

Forget blindly ploughing on with the web if you (or your patrons) don't have enough information because you can open an infinite number of tabs to no avail.
The fancy pants folk who write books on retailing will insist on telling you the customer is always right.
Well in the library the customer is always a moron should be your maxim. They come in and tell you all sorts of things about what it is they think they want to know and when you hand it to them they say "no that's not it".
It's what you bloodywell said you wanted you stupid oxygen thief.
But that is the art of the reference interview, which is the mystical craft of trying to work out that someone wants a biography of Peter Lalor when they come in and ask for a book about gold.

How I cured my ADHD

or meet my electronic brain
Six months ago I launched myself into the world of portable computing. Not that I'm the most tech savvy guy you're going to meet. But I had a purpose, I was planning on relacing my frontal lobe with an new electronic version. I got myself a Dell Axim X51v running windows mobile. It's quite nice and it fits in my pocket. (as I mentioned once before on this blog).
So how do I use it to cure my ADHD? Well, it is a fantastic little device for keeping track of my appointments and tasks I need to do. Sure, before this I had a vert nice leather diary/filofax/planner which was a gift from a previous workplace. The diary however didn't fit in my pocket and didn't go 'bing bong' when I had to do something.
That is the fantastic thing about this little computer, but it isn't everything. I plug it into my work PC when I get in in the morning and the two calendars sync their different information. Then when I get home of an evening I do the same with the home PC. So now instead of having a work PC with some of my appointments, a home PC with a few others and a diary I completely forgot to write anything in, I have three places all telling me the same thing.
Sure I still need to put the information in, but only once. And as work uses the calendar function to organise meetings a lot of them arrive automatically and all I have to do is click YES. Plus my (long suffering) wife can put things onto the home PC and they're going to 'bing bong' me without her having to remind me too often (although she will, because doing my remembering for me is a habit entrenched by years of frustration).
It is more than that however, because I can still forget things (like when I turn the alarm off because I'm doing a radio interview and then I don't turn it back on for a week). So when I had a clash and had to go to a Scout camp with one of my kiddies but I had some uni work due, I put the PDA in my pocket and while the kiddies slept tucked up in their swags, I was writing 500 words on management styles while leaning on a gum tree next to an open fire.
But there is a third function that the ADHD prone will love. Games, yes, no longer do I have to wiggle my fingers or tap my feet when I'm watching TV. I can now watch TV and play solitaire, without having to remember where I put the cards. Or I can watch TV and surf the net at the same time, compose email and generally do all those things that I'd be doing if it wasn't for the fact that I often forget to move when the TV is on.

12 July, 2006

Ref desk Trolls

OK, it is from ask Dr Eldritch which isn't always about librarians. I have always pictured people phoning up to ask crossword questions as trolls.

10 July, 2006

two and two is wibble, wibble and wibble is...

wibblydy wibble?
1. I have no concept of maths.
2. I last attempted to do any in 1988.
These two facts do not mesh up with the fact that I am currently the ADHD accounting student.
Yes, my attempt to get management qualifications (in order to prevent some bloody accountant from being my boss) has resulted in my reaching the semester where the only option available to me was accounting. It had to happen (compulsory subject) but I still feel the need to say "Damn Bugger Poo Knickers".
The first thing about the ADHD accounting student is that I made it up to page 7 (of 1125) before I stopped and asked myself where it was that I stopped understanding.
But I did however have a lot of fun laughing at accountants. The text starts by selling the concept of how cool accountants are and gives the example of an accountant who works for a motor racing team. Then (one page later) it discusses decision making "We make many decisions every day. For example we decide when to get out of bed each morning (sometimes prompted by our parents!)..." (Hoggett, Edwards, Medlin. Accounting 6th ed. Wiley. p.5).
Yes, it only took one page to change from 'We're so cool' to admitting that all accountants still live at home with their mum.
So it is good to know that even if I can't understand accountancy, I still have the power to ridicule those who do.

06 July, 2006

Silent library

Just watch it and you'll see what I liked about this video.

03 July, 2006

You never forget your first.

I feel the need to say this now because I just ran across a website for the ORIC 1 (my first PC) and it took me back to the 80s in a haze of pure nostalgia. I was however struck by the difference between my old ORIC and the DELL sitting in my pocket!
My ORIC had a 1 MHz processor, 48KB of RAM (it was the top of the line model) and 16 KB of ROM. Plus you could add a tape drive.
My new AXIM has 416 MHz processor, 64 MB RAM and 128 MB of flash ROM. But it has no tape drive, sure it has wi-fi and blue tooth and SD card slot, but where is the tape drive?
While Dell try to sell their machine based on the fact that it would fit in your pocket, my old ORIC could do that, if I was wearing very big cargo pants. Sure the lack of monitor on the ORIC was a problem (unless I put a TV in my other pocket), but I could plug it into any TV (and any tape player) when I got to my destination.
The computer that came after the ORIC (for me) was an apple IIe Hong Kong knockoff and there was no way that would have fit in my pocket. It failed in one big area over the ORIC, colour. The ORIC had 8 colours the apple had black and amber, but then it had two (count them, two) floppy drives. And the disks were floppy!
But, as they say you never forget your first and no matter how fancy computers get I'll still be sitting in my (futuristic, laser guided) rocking char trying to explain to the great grandkids what it was like to use a 1 MHz processor and how fantastic life was when we had 8 colours and how we would write circular programs that looped with goto commands.
Ahh how we laughed.

26 June, 2006

ADHD guide to online research. part one

As a librarian I spend a lot of time doing (what we in the business call) reference work. Now this is something which I do quite well, but it is entirely possible that had I attempted to become a librarian forty years ago I would have been unsuccessful due to being an unfertilised egg.

Although, had I been born and qualified and a librarian in that time (lets call it the 60s) I may well have had a much harder time. As the ADHD librarian I am well suited to the current crop of reference resources. Some (all) of my co-workers might not quite understand my methodology, but I'm going to give it to you.
Firstly, it important for you to realise that many, many people come into the library looking for a book on Penguin Farming. I then suggest they try the Net and am shot down in flames, because they "have the internets at home" and have "already tried it and there is nothing".

My instinct then is to abuse them and scream incoherently about the superiority of librarians and how I went to uni to study this and you think that just because you can boot up Google you can do my freeking job. But there's no point, because they think my job is to stamp date due dates onto books and the abuse that I'd have to muster in order to point out that my job is about information in any form, well it's just too hard. But I soldier on and tell them that their query is too specialised for our small library and I might give the Net another try.

Now these folk have tried Google and failed, so where would I start looking? Google, it isn't the best research tool but it's the best for me and you in most situations. And if it isn't the best, but you get the information you wanted, do you care?
It is quick and dirty and at first so are my search results, but if you add a bit of Boolean Logic (which for you playing at home means you use the advanced search) then you soon find something. Now that something may not be what they want, but it might give me a clue. What people want and what I hear are two different things and while people will swear till they are blue in the face that theirs is the only spelling or only name for the think they want it often turns out that they know a lot less than they wanted to admit.

So, to get this 'quick and dirty' search happening I use Firefox as my browser. It isn't about hating Microsoft (although that's a pretty good reason) it is about how I can set up Firefox. Tabbed browsing and a customisable search box built in to the browser means I'm not spending all my time pressing the back button. I have Google, Wikipedia, Google AU, Google UK, Google images, IMDB, Amazon... all ready to go.
Having a mouse with the ability to middle click is fantastic too. I set this up to open in new tab and so from my first search page I can get results loading and come back to them. Keep searching, change your search terms or your search engine then see what you've got in your tabs.

01 June, 2006

how to die in a ditch

pick your debates
who will care if you are wrong
do you care?
Are you tying your point onto someone else's wagon? What if they fall, how does your point stand?

31 May, 2006

Why the adhd librarian should be a guest on Rove Live.

Caution, this post is only for Australians!
Non-Australians should not read any further, but rather should move as quickly as possible to an Australian Consulate and begin filling out an application to emigrate.

Before I start on any claims that I myself am funny, let me set a scene.

Rove McManus
has been the new Daryl Somers for some time now. A crown he has managed to hold on despite the actual Daryl Somers returning like some sort of reanimated light entertainment zombie.
Daryl seems to be working to be the new Don Lane or perhaps a male Kerry-Anne?
So, what has this to do with me getting a national TV gig? Well, who remembers Daryl? the patrons of a Public Library, that's who. The very people who are asking my help choosing their large print Barbara Cartland novels because they dropped their bifocals in their colostomy bag.
Well, I can talk their language (why did you think it took so long to qualify as a librarian, all we do is read books all day). I am perfectly positioned to pass on the secrets of Hey Hey's continued high ratings even after it jumped the shark (perhaps 'Hired the Molly' could be the Australian jumped the shark).
You can't tell me Peter Hellier couldn't improve the show by going home and whipping up an ostrich puppet. And if Corrinne Grant isn't Denise Drysdale for the metrosexuals then I'm a chocolate teapot.
You know what I'm talking about Rove.
After writing this I wondered if anyone else thought this way. I discovered the SMH considerer Rove to be the new Mike Walsh. If only the frail aged (soiling themselves in comfort at the Public Library) remember Daryl, it would be fair to say there are only three people other than me remember who Mike Walsh was. Sadly, that includes Mike. Oh, he's not dead he just hasn't the foggiest idea who he is.
As for Kerry-Anne, I think it is about time we petitioned those who control the Matrix to reload our memories without her in them. After all, there is a difference between Light Entertainment and Vapidbrainliquefying Entertainment.

It seems that being the alternate to someone is the Aussie way. Steve Vizard tried to be the Australian Letterman and when that failed attempted to be our Michael Milken.
It's not all one way traffic though. I'm fairly sure Bill Clinton was trying to be the American Bob Hawke. He just failed to translate the jokes into American. Australians loved being governed by a lecherous drunk but Americans just couldn't see all the good things about having a leader who knows how to let go of stress. And there is Rupert Murdoch, who did a good job of becoming the American Rupert Murdoch.
Now, I'm not sure that this is enough to convince anyone that I deserve a TV gig. But if you know Rove, let him know I'm interested. I'd send it to him myself but I don't know his address. And who can find someone to do that sort of research for free. It'd take some sort of Government sponsored 'Public' Librarian and with The Australian Margaret Thatcher in office, there is unlikely to be enough money for both that and tax cuts.