Monday, December 31, 2007

Google Docs

Last year I began using to bookmark my favorites and found it especially useful for saving and organizing bookmarks I need for my classes.

This year I've added Google Docs to my list of tools. I use it mainly to keep notes and information for my classes although I have added a packing list I can use for the seven trips I'll be making to Portland in the next four months. The main advantage of Google Docs is that I can access my work from any computer with Internet access. This would also be an excellent tool for working on group projects because the pages can be shared.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Buy Legos, Not Lasers!

I remember, one Christmas long ago, when my sons were small, seeing a group of well meaning parents on a television news segment protesting that Toys R Us sold toy guns. They paraded around the store, carrying signs declaring "Buy Legos, not lasers!!" trying to convince parents not to buy play guns. I had to laugh because, as I never bought my sons play guns, it didn't stop them from making them out of their Legos! Maybe they were just ahead of their time.

This story entitled Legos — they're not just for good kids anymore begins

A book written by two former employees of the Danish plastic-brick giant is burning up the sales charts — and raising eyebrows on the other side of the Atlantic.

"Forbidden LEGO: Build the Models Your Parents Warned You Against" was published in August by No Starch Press , a small independent publishing house based in San Francisco.

"You'll learn to create working models that LEGO would never endorse," the book's page on the publisher's Web site promises. "Try your hand at a toy gun that shoots LEGO plates, a candy catapult, a high voltage LEGO vehicle, a continuous-fire ping-pong ball launcher, and other useless but incredibly fun inventions."

Americans have embraced the idea in stride, putting the title at No. 244 on the Web retailer's (Amazon) book-sales chart as of midday Thursday. But in Britain, the constantly hysterical press added the book onto its ever-growing pile of Things That Threaten Society.

"Lego is set to turn slightly more sinister with the launch of an unofficial book that teaches children how to make weapons out of the iconic plastic bricks," warned London's Evening Standard.

On commentator stated:

"This is a very dangerous idea," he wrote with tongue firmly in cheek. "Kids could make atomic bombs out of Lego, and just think what would happen if some Islamic terrorist get hold of a copy. The possibilities are terrifying."

Indeed! But as someone training to be a librarian all I can say is that no one had better try to ban the book!

Friday, December 7, 2007

How Did That Happen?

The terms is, for all intents and purposes, over until mid-January and I should be thinking about relaxing and getting ready for Christmas but somehow that isn't happening. I have an interview scheduled for the end of the month so I can write a paper and then I need to write the paper, there are some scholarships I'm interested in applying for to attend various conferences, some proposals I need to put together for some conferences where I'd like to do presentations, and I want to at least begin doing the research for, if not actually write, at least two other papers.

And oh, I need to order my textbooks for next term, organize my desk, print out the syllabi for my classes and organize my notebooks, and I'm sure there are some things I've forgotten too.

Stop! Wait!I'm going to take this week-end off. I'll try hard not to read my email (but I probably won't be able to resist) and I'll do a bit of knitting. The carpets were cleaned today and tomorrow John and I will put all the furniture back. Maybe I'll start on the Christmas decorating too and make my lists for baking. A nap or two doesn't sound like a bad idea either.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Paper and Webpage for LI835

My paper on Information Transfer: A Model for Liaison Services, which includes a link to a website I constructed for it intended as a pathfinder for university students studying Native American art, can be found here .

Monday, December 3, 2007

Last Class Weekend in Portland

John accompanied me to my last class weekend in Portland. It was cold, rainy, and windy. My presentation went well and I'm glad for that. It was practicing it over and over again which made the difference, I think.

I went to the Farmer's Market, the last one I'll be able to go to until they reopen again in the spring. There were not nearly as many booths as there are in mid-summer and most of the lush produce and flowers are gone. One booth was selling mushrooms, one had a display with jars of honey, and another had a selection of homemade breads. All of the vendors were bundled up against the wind and rain in heavy coats, hats, and scarves. I did find one booth selling jams and chutneys and bought a small jar of strawberry/rhubarb jam for John. As I left the market, I noticed one booth with a basket of traditional winter vegetables-- beets and turnips--but there weren't many buyers.

As I headed back towards the classroom building, I heard roaring sounds coming for a nearby street and went to see what was going on. The street had been blocked to cars and it was now filled with motorcyclists wearing Santa hats over their helmets. Many had large stuffed animals strapped to the back of their cycles as passengers, some had sidecars filled with toys, and one was pulling a little cart piled high with gifts. They roared their engines and a few did wheelies and people watched and smiled and waved at them and they waved back with huge grins. This was the annual Portland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade. What a wonderful way to begin the Christmas holidays!