Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Weekend Dangers of the Fool’s Errand

Within minutes of the end of various cooking shows on public TV, a certain patron will call and shanghai us into finding her the recipes. It's not always exotic stuff, either. This past weekend it was, among other things, garlic mashed potatoes (Tip for all you would-be chefs: it includes garlic and potatoes). It's a pain in the butt because she doesn't always remember what show it was and what the name of the thing she wants to cook was. Some of these things are also only in pay sites. If I were smarter, I would just look at the listings and then not answer the phone when they are done. I hope she doesn't ever get cable that includes the Cooking Channel. Although if she does and a recipe she wants is from a Paula Dean program, I could probably make it all up. Just lots of melted butter, cheese and fried pork products.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Great Moments in Bad Parenting

Probably because it's still the nondenominational winter holiday break and all the kids are out of school, many families are here today. This is great, don't get me wrong: a buzzing, full library is a happy library. HOWEVER, there are, along with the parents and school-age kids, lots of parents with real little ones, ones who really need an adult with them, and many of those adults have to have their InterWeb. As always, my heart is broken to see bored little ones, forced to pretty much stand there while mom does whatever. Some of them are real champs at it. One 18-month-old probably went a good 20 minutes before she started to lose it. Then Mom went through the 7 stages of crappy parenting while using the InterWeb:
1) Ignore. If I pretend the little one is not there, s/he will miraculously calm down and stand there like a little statue.
2) Little shush. I will say something like, "Shhhhh." The little one will realize that this means "I love you, my little darling, now stand there motionless while Mommy looks at Facebook."
3) Minimally placatory physical contact. My touch is love incarnate. A curt little squeeze is all that is required to turn the little one back into the perfect statue state.
4) Harsh shushing. This is the sort of shushing that would impress the librarian of your nightmares. By hissing out a load of saliva-laden air, I shall convince my rapidly de-angelifying child that I am serious: turn back into a statue or else.
5. Unkind words. Also known as "The Callate" or "Shaddap." May be accompanied by a lapsit.
6. Physical/Verbal Pre-freakout. The grab, the look-me-in-the-eye-when-I-talk-to-you, the mommy-is-all-business. On some level, she knows the game is pretty much over.
Seven? Seven is hard. It can go one of two ways: Back to Ignore (I know my kid is standing there loudly crying, but until the heartsick middle-aged guy comes over, I'm going to maximize my InterWeb time) or a super-rapid cycle through stages 1 through 6 culminating in the kid getting grabbed and dragged off amid anger and threats.

Pretty harsh on Mom, I know. What about the Dads, you ask? They weren't there, so I don't have the kind of data required to lash out with vicious and irresponsible generalization.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Circ staff is VERY BAD

These pamphlets have been showing up in the book drops. I'm sure it has to do with the moral shortcomings of the of the circ staff.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It still makes me smile

Today I was shelving some videos and saw that a lot of Halloween favorites were all coming back at the same time. It made me smile

As we get to within a month of a holiday (any holiday) every single item even remotely pertaining to that holiday disappears. It's just the way of the world. A savvy library user will clean us out of Thanksgiving books for kids in October and everyone else will be left wondering why there is that giant gap between the Halloween and Christmas books.

A few days before Halloween, a man and woman who were not regulars and didn't know how to use the catalog came in asking for a fairly typical list of scary-ish movies. Before getting started, I warned them that we'd likely be cleaned out of Halloween favorites, what with Halloween coming right up. But I went through the paces.
"How about Psycho." Not a question, by the way.
Clicky clacky typey type "Psycho? We own two copies, but they're both checked out. In fact, all 11 copies in the entire library system are out. I could put a hold..."
"You don't have Psycho?" he asked, all astonished. It was as if I had just told him that we didn't have books, newspapers, electricity, indoor plumbing or oxygen. He turned to the missus.
"They don't have Psycho," he informed her as though she had just arrived and hadn't been standing next to him four seconds before. His look of incredulity was quite good, as was the eye roll.
"We have it, alright" I corrected cheerily, "It's just checked out. It's due back next week. Would you like me to put a hold..."
"How about Halloween."
Please, I wanted to say, you have a better chance of finding a leprechaun over there than that movie.
"Kinda doubt that one's in, but let's see...nope. Checked out. Would you li..."
"You don't have Halloween?"
"Again, we own two copies of it, but somebody beat you to the punch. I could put a hold on it and we could call you when a copy is returned, though. If there's no other holds..."
"How long's that going to take?" It was like I had just described constructing the Seven Gorges Dam.
"Hard to say. If there are no holds in front of you, maybe a week?"
"That's not going to help us, is it?" Ooh! Sarcasm! It's not like you need a liver transplant, dude.
And so it went, through the entire list of date movie spookies: declaratio of title, clicky clacky of keys, expression of negativity, offer of hold interrupted by an expression of disbelief. (Lather, rinse...)
As I did my fruitless searches, descriptive words for the guy kept occuring to me. Subject headings I would file him under (or for you young people: tags). Supercilious. Patronizing. Unctuous. Entitled. Condescending. Clueless.
Eventually, he got bored.
"We're going to Blockbuster," he said with a decided sneer. "This is ridiculous."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cuz bein' rich is such a...

The young man hit me up for twenty cents for printing. The reason? He only had twenties. In fact, he showed me this, opening his wallet before my very eyes so that I could gape at them. There were probably 4 or 5 crisp portraits of the bigamist and murderer himself in there. I bet he could have traded them in for an entire benjamin. Our flush friend, this latter-day Lochinvar, outright refused to believe that not only would I not spot him money for his prints* but that he had to walk ALL THE WAY OVER TO THE CIRC DESK (at least 14 paces) and get change for his lofty legal tender in order to make them. Even my usual shrug followed by the threadbare quip that they don't trust me with money did nothing to sweeten his mood. He left, comparing your humble deskslave to a member of a certain mid-twentieth century political party known for a variety of unsavory practices including, but not limited to entering the Soviet Union unbidden with large and bloodthirsty armies. The Least Happy Guy in Deskslave Land trudged over to the circ desk (did I mention that it's easily 14 steps? Maybe more, like 16.) returned and got his prints. Walking by on his way out, he waved his print outs before me, remarking sourly that he had gotten his prints in spite of my efforts to do him wrong.
"Awesome!" I replied, cheerily.

* Ironclad rule, even if he'd asked politely instead of informing me that he needed the twenty cents. I used to give small amounts of money out to students at a community college where I worked many years ago. A dime here, a quarter there. It hardly amounted to anything, but that was the problem. It was only a dime, and the loan, so important in the moment, was forgotten instantly. I never got anything back, not even once.It felt too cheap and petty to remind people that they owed me, unless they were hitting me up again. So I stopped contributing my deskslave's mite. Except a few times when patrons have been deeply aggrieved at the printer or copier "stealing" their money. Before they print, they are told how many pages they will be paying for, but it does no good. They print first, cry over spilled milk later. So when somebody goes to the wall over their dime in that case, I do enjoy theatrically emptying my pockets and hopefully finding some pennies and counting them out for wronged party.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Why, in my day

I don't remember getting much help from my parents when it came to doing homework. I remember asking my father for some math help once. It was Algebra, which I found very hard. He put down his newspaper for a minute and said something like, "I had to do that once and I passed. I'm done. Now it's your turn," and back to the paper. I don't recall even getting rides to the library when I was a kid and needed to find books for school. I say this because I am astonished how often I see kids come up to the desk with their parent to ask for reference help. Usually, the parent will encourage the kid to talk. The kid stands there, like a monument to noncooperation. After a few prods, the humiliated parent will talk about what the child needs for his/her paper. Sometimes, they cut out the middleman altogether, and the parent and I do the research without the pesky kid interfering. I often hear about how many activities the kid has and how it's impossible to do all that and get the homework done. I'm no Oprah, but my guess is that the kid needs to shed some extracurricular engagements. It's not that I had such a crappy childhood and am just feeling all resentful; I emerged reasonably unscarred and I never lacked for clothing, shelter, bus fare, and bland but relatively wholesome food. I even had extracurricular activities including being the absolute worst baseball player on several little league teams, in spite of the fact that I was a switch hitter. (Or as my ever-supportive, newspaper-reading dad liked to put it, I had the ability to strike out from either side of the plate.) But sheesh. Unless you plan to accompany the kid to college and do their library chores, I don't think you're doing them a favor by doing their high school homework. Hey! I got it! Maybe mom should take up the flute and stand in for the kid in band while the kid is at the library! That makes way more sense to me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Even when He gets left in a book

I should write this one thousand times


Longhand. In blood. My blood. From a self-inflicted wound.

A patron, armed with laptop, enlisted me in the quixotic quest to find the document she had just spent an hour (or maybe it was two, yes definitely two--or three) typing. I should have said that I could not help her, but it seemed like it would be, if not a no-brainer, then maybe a half-brainer. Pop into Word, look at the Recent Documents, life is fine. It was a no-brainer alright, but only in the sense that I wanted to blow my brains out at the end. By now I should know this: as soon as you touch somebody's computer, any problem, even ones that were already there, are a) your fault, b) done deliberately out of a feeling of malice and hatred, and c) your obligation to remedy to the owner's satisfaction even if the remedy takes vast amounts of time and violates various laws (civil, criminal, physical). I never find myself thinking "I need a drink," but the thought did occur this time.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Step One: Build Time Machine

I bet you dind't know

That "that's goofy" is a substitute for "thank you" when you run a patron through the not-exactly-intuitive printing process?

Didn't think so.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oh, so that's what it means

I was helping a patron place holds for knitting books. While running the catalog through its paces, she mentioned that one of our knitting books that she had taken out recently had had pages cut out of it. We talked briefly about the barbarity of cutting up library books. She said that she thought that, to her, cutting up a library book was like vivisection. Then she leaned in and, all sotto voce, told me that vivisection meant "when they cut up animals." By the way, sotto voce means when you talk in a low, soft voice that unlikely to be overheard by others. And condescending means when you talk down to somebody.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ironic author name of the day

In case you can't read it, the author of this book (which I am certain is an important contribution to the field of DBT which has benefitted many, many people) is Moonshine.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weaned on a pickle

Some weeks ago, I got to attend an actual cultural event, a rare occurence in the life of a deskslave. Classical music performances are an expensive habit, so I don't get to go very often. It was a great performance, marred only by one of my least favorite patrons who just happened to be sitting behind me. I was polite enough, but tried to make it clear through subtle body language that I wasn't up for small talk. It didn't work of course, and she leaned forward to deliver her critique of each piece. Then, next time she was in the library when I was there, she wanted to talk about the performance again. Only not quite. She started with that, and then went into her own classical training in voice and piano. This might have been an actual conversation, only it was clear that I could have been anybody and she had absolutely no interest in me. She cared not for my opinion of the performer (much rosier than her own) or any training I might have had to get me to that opinion (not much, really). This alone might have given me reason to dislike her.
I think I already had good reasons, though. She constantly needs help on the computers. She is clueless, which is fine, but belligerent, which is not. She is a nasty summoner of help who expects you to fix things for her, not show her how to do things.
But the thing that put her in firmly in the despised column was something else. Like most libraries these days, we offer computer classes. Pretty basic stuff. Nastly lady has taken them all, many times. In classes she is nasty, barking out angrily when she doesn't understand something. We started offering classes in Spanish, too. We're all very proud of this, and the classes are well-attended and greatly appreciated. One day, nasty lady walked up to the desk with a bookmark in Spanish for the classes. She had her nastiest expression, her "weaned on a pickle" expression. Waving the bookmark, she said, "I see you're offering classes to the Mexicans. What about us?" Like we have no classes in English! Like she hadn't taken each one several times!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm not sure the kids are your target demographic

I found these on top of the fiction shelves in the Juvenile area.

At last a new poll

Have you ever seen books by authors Katie or Jasper Fforde? I have always wondered how to pronounce their last name. Now you can weigh in.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Can we please go analog on this?

Every day I see somebody playing solitaire on one of the public access computers. Theoretically, nobody's computer use is more important than anybody else's, but I'd like to make an exception for this one. Maybe we could have a pack of cards in reference that people could use. I can't imagine the online versions are that much more amazing that the redoubtable pack of Bicycles. Then again, we'd be missing a card or two in short order. When the deck checked back in from its two hour reserve, we'd have to count the cards just to make sure. And we'd have to have backup decks to plunder when one went missing. Maybe we would have to have a stat sheet at the desk to see how the decks we circulating and to see how often people needed help dealing out a proper hand. Then there would be meetings about how playing cards fit into the mission of today's public libraries and one person would be constantly and sourly pointing out that we don't have cribbage or a double deck for canasta. The inevitable counter-argument would, of course, be that we have the cards for individuals, not for groups and then we'd have to have a workgroup to explore the possibility of providing cards for groups of people, how many people could use them at one time, should we provide poker chips, etc. And since we try to be multicultural and inclusive, they'd have to look into providing some other culturally appropriate games, like Mah Jong, perhaps.

OK. Never mind. You want to play solitaire? Fabulous. The computer is right over there.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I wish I could take credit for this one

In the half hour before we close, we do several sweeps of the joint to remind everybody that we will soon close and that the intercom announcements were in earnest. There are several places that are off the beaten path, and people seem to collect there. These are the people who pretty much have to be shooed out of the building when we close. It's almost like they feel that if we don't escort them off the premises they get to spend the night here or something. So we check all the little nooks and run people off. A clever colleague came up with a name for those who must be sought out: Easter Eggs. So pardon me while I conduct the last Easter Egg hunt of the night.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

...but jerkitude is timeless

As I never tire of telling you, your humble deskslave is a middle-aged guy. As such, I am seen as an authority figure by the young, who calibrate their nastiness toward me accordingly. It should not come as a surprise to me that other middle aged guys might not have the same attitude towards me. I should know better--middle-aged white guys can be kind of a problem. Anyway, a guy my age walks up and asks if we have a DVD called "Musical Instincts."
I key the title in, making sure that the thing I'm typing is what he wants. If he has the title wrong, we can figure it out later. No luck, so I start asking questions about the DVD. Using my finely honed reference interview skills, I determined that he had seem something called "Musical Instincts" on PBS the night before and expected that, because it had been on TV in the distant past (14 or so hours ago), we would not only own it, but have it on the shelf. I was still trying to see if we had the name right, so I was poking around the PBS website. I suspected that if it was just on TV, it might not yet be on DVD. While I plunged through the labyrinth of the PBS site, I asked,
"Is it new?"
"Whatsa matter," he sneered, leaning in, "Dontcha have new things? Only old things?" It was an actual sneer with the full complement of contempt. I'm not sure I have been sneered at as an adult. It's something you see in movies. Perhaps even in "Musical Instinct." I was really taken aback. I had asked a legit question. I have an acronym that pops into my head at moments like this: TOFTS, which stands for Too Old For This Stuff, only I use a saltier word than stuff. So, I was getting no more mi casa es tu casa from my demographic equal than I would from a disaffected youth.
"Sorry," I smiled in a manner I was hoping was beatific or at least winning, "we have nothing by that title." I busied myself with something else. He stood there for a moment. I was done asking questions, and eventually he figured this out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Meaning of Kvetch

As an occasional listener of NPR's Fresh Air and somebody who can't bring himself to delete anything off iTunes, I heard a good interview with Michael Wex, author of Born to Kvetch. In illustrating the meaning of the verb to kvetch, he told a joke that went something like this:
A man gets on the train for a long trip, sits down and begins reading the paper. At the other end of the train, a little old man sits down and immediately begins complaining. "Oy, am I thirsty." (the joke teller did it in a yiddish, lower East Side sort of accent, but I'll spare you the creative spellings) Every few seconds, "Oy, am I thirsty." The man realizes that he will get no peace with this going on, so he goes to the water cooler at one of the train car, fills up a couple of the little conical, paper cups and carefully carries them up the aisle to the little old man. The man looks up, utterly delighted and gratefully downs the water. The man returns to his seat, picks up his paper and thinks he's heard the end of the matter. Seconds later, he hears the old man.
"Oy, was I thirsty. Oy, was I thirsty."
So, that's kvetching: complaining long after the injustice or problem is over or solved. I bring this up to tell you about about a guy who has to whinge about something unjust to him personally pretty much every time he's in. I've gotten earfuls about library hours and the speed of the FREE WiFi from this guy. I have had to sit through long harangues about lighting, heating and noise with him as well. We are in the process of upgrading (or at least changing)our WiFi, which, I believe I may have mentioned, is FREE. Somehow, he had gotten it into his head that with the big change, users of the FREE WiFi would now be limited to two hours per day. It was news to me, not that I'm especially in the loop. Not just the library loop, by the way. Any loop. If you want to find me, don't look in a loop--you'll just be wasting time. So he treated me to a bitter jeremiad about this horribly unjust policy. After I had absorbed the major points several times (policy sucks, people who set the policy suck, he's a voter only too happy to withhold his support, blah blah blah), I politely interrupted to tell him I would check with the management to make sure I knew what the real deal was. I left him and asked the kindly library manager who assured me that there were no plans to restrict WiFi. So: bring your laptop to DeskSlave Central, log in the moment we open and stay connected until we 86 you. I reported this to the patron with a smile, happy that the dreaded and anger-producing policy would not be implemented. The patron, who will henceforth be know as The Kvetcher, said that it was a damn good thing that we weren't going to restrict access, because if we were going to restrict access--and then he went back to restate his original pile of resentment. It was kind of spellbinding in a boring, depressing kind of way. He couldn't drop it. He had worked himself up to a full head of steam over this one, and damned if any reality was going to dent his dudgeon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Book Titles, If They Were Written Today

Then: The Wealth of Nations
Now: Invisible Hands: The Mysterious Market Forces That Control Our Lives and How to Profit from Them

Then: Walden
Now: Camping with Myself: Two Years in American Tuscany

Then: The Theory of the Leisure Class
Now: Buying Out Loud: The Unbelievable Truth About What We Consume and What It Says About Us

Then: The Gospel of Matthew
Now: 40 Days and a Mule: How One Man Quit His Job and Became the Boss

Then: The Prince
Now: The Prince (Foreword by Oprah Winfrey)

From the always awesome Your Monkey Called

Friday, November 6, 2009

I need a new look

Not that I'm trying to look fashionable--I gave up on trying to look fashionable a long time ago. I use the Easter Island Monolith look to put off potential chatterboxes who might wish to take an hour or two of this my only life which I shall never see again to tell me about something fascinating. But, as alert readers may remember, there is this one guy who mistakes my scrupulous lack of interest for rapt interest.

Today he told me all about his passion for water color painting. I sent him DON'T CARE DON'T CARE REALLYREALLY DON'T CARE thought waves which should have melted his cerebral cortex, bu they were, sadly, singularly ineffective.

So instead, I listened for a few minutes about his great love of water color, about which he is passionate. Really passionate. But, it turns out, he hasn't actually done any yet. But he is going to. Soon. He just knows that he'll be great at it. Which is why he will be checking out and studying these three books, all of which I needed to leaf through with him. After a few pages that were accompanied by exclamations of the kind of pictures he would soon be painting, I gave him a hearty, "Good luck with your painting!" and turned back to my computer. Undaunted, he forged on. I further learned about where and when he intended to buy his painting supplies and how much he speculated that they would cost (I'm guessing that there may be some sticker shock in his future.) All this while, I typed furiously at the keyboard, giving him no encouragement. Happily, the phone rang. I gratefully answered a question about the availability of season whatever of that show, even going to the shelves to make sure that it was actually there and, incidentally, the guy was not there when I returned.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Scientific Study Released

Dateline: deskslave Central.
A new scientific study conducted at a small suburban library was released today amid fanfare and not a little controversy. In this study, to be published later this year in the journal Proceedings of the International Academy of Smelly Things, researchers have determined that smoking a lot of cigarettes and consuming a great deal of greasy fast food does not, as many scientists had previously believed, mask the odor of marijuana smoke.
"It came as a complete surprise to me, frankly," said lead researcher Dr. D. Slave of the University of Puttin Up With People. He went on to relate this study to earlier work his team had done on masking vodka odors.
This new study is not without controversy. It contradicts to some degree earlier work published in the Annals of Dodging High School, where studies indicated fast food and Binaca could, under certain circumstances, block both cigarette and marijuana odors.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Batting Average

A woman came to the desk with a list of books that we did not seem to have. Kid's books, she'd looked on the shelf and we were found wanting. The first problem was that they were nonfiction and she had been searching in fiction. Honest mistake, so I was favorably disposed toward her, even though she had a slightly imperious air about her. However, as we went through her list and found that we owned about half of her list and only had one of those on the shelf, she started making comments as we failed her on each. I can understand frustration, but, even if I decided not to order the ones that we didn't own, it's not my fault that somebody beat her to the punch on the books that were checked out. I kept my humble deskslave personality to the fore and did not react to comments like, "I can't believe you don't have that one either."
But eventually we got through her list. She peremptorily refused my offer to help her find similar books, since her titles seemed fairly generic, like Volcanoes and such like.
In lieu of offering thanks, she said, "So what's that? One out of ten?" with a smirk before turning and leaving.
"You're welcome," I said with my sunniest smile, as though she had just sincerely thanked me.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"I have a Mac" as an excuse to not learn something

I realize that Macintoshes are very nice computers. I actually own one and have had them for a long time, but since most of the world runs on Windows, I have one of those, too, and use Windows each day at work. I don't think a week goes by where somebody doesn't have a problem with a public Intarwebs computer or with the catalog and, when I try to walk them through the process, they interrupt me and say, "I have a Macintosh."
I'm never entirely sure what this is supposed to mean. On the surface, it sounds and looks like, "Silly peasant, I shan't soil my delicate fingers on this task. You, my minion, shall do it for me." Or maybe it's slightly apologetic? I remember trying to use Windoze when I was a Mac-only guy and hated being, functionally and temporarily speaking anyway, an idiot. But I don't remember hiding behind a claim of operating system superiority as reason not to know something.
So I end up saying something like "That's cool. Here's how you do it on this computer." I try to not sound mean about it, too.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Robert Behn? Robber Baron?

I'm getting old, and the teen is inarticulate which makes communication difficult. After trying to find out if the author's name is perhaps Robert Ben or maybe the book is about the infamous Robber Barons of the 19th century, I finally figured out that he wanted a rubber band. This is good, because we have nothing by a Robert Ben, or Ben. And our biography of Jay Gould was probably above his reading level.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just so you don't think I just pick on the young and the old, I will pick on somebody my own age.
"Lee Iacocca's latest book," she intoned in response to my hearty good morning.
That one really gets me: don't even acknowledge me, just hurl a title at me. There is a fairly entertaining book called The Customer is Always Wrong, a collection of semi-amusing rants about customer service jobs. In one, a former video clerk talked about how sick he was of people walking up to the desk there and calling out a title. He mused about how many jobs there are where that happens. His estimate? None. But he did have funny line or two about it: "This is the video business equivalent of Are You My Mother?...Do you go to the post office and yell out 'Stamps!' to no one in particular?"
"Title?" I barked. Two can play at this game.
That stopped her for a moment. But only a moment. She regained her nasty composure, narrowed her eyes. "I don't know," she overarticulated to me, the not-so-smart child, "whatever his latest book is."
A few keystrokes later, I determined that it was the interrogatively rhetorical Where Have All the Leaders Gone? which appears to be some sort of call to arms. Since she hadn't been all that nice to me, I guess I could have been a meanie and not let her place a hold when she revealed that she had no card or other ID on her. Especially since she told me this in a sort of of-course-I-don't-have-a-library-card-or-other-ID way. But really, who leaves the back yard without something like that? I overcame my dislike and tried to focus on the irony of wanting a book on leadership and a book heavy with "let's work together" platitudes, but leaving the house without your ID and being a dink to the guy trying to help you. So maybe the guy responsible for both the Mustang and the K-Car can help her. He certainly can mix a fine metaphor. This is from page 1:
"We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff."
I think driving a shop off a cliff is an accomplishment, myself.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A New Word to Hate

The subtitle, which may be pretty darn hard to read is

An Ecopreneur's Toolkit for Starting a Green Business from Business Plan to Profits

Ecopreneur? Sheesh.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Captain! The Irony Meter is Redlining!

I was asked by a scruffy guy today to help him find his hold. He had gotten the phone call, but his book was not on the holds shelf. After determining that he knew where is was supposed to be, I went to a cart filled with recently checked in holds. Not there. To be on the safe side, and before I asked somebody in Circulation for help, I decided to check the general area where it was supposed to be. It could have gotten shelved improperly, or somebody may have taken it off the shelf to look at it, and then jammed it back in the wrong spot. You never know. But there it was, exactly where it was supposed to be. We organize holds by patron's last name, so if you can spell your last name and alphabetize even a little bit, you should be able to find your hold. It was a big old thing, too, so I was kind of surprised he missed it. I handed it to him. He took it and without a word, walked away.

The subject of this book? Ironic drum roll, please.

Marijuana Cultivation

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Not that I'm one to make predictions, but

if somebody makes the statement, "I'm not a racist, but..." the chance that the next part of the statement will contain varying degrees of racism. Tonight it was quite a bit. A colleague had to tell me a bit about a group of teen boys who were on the verge of being kicked out as I approached the desk to start a marathon bout of deskslavery. She had been in the middle of helping a patron when I approached and took a minute out of that transaction to point the boys out. Apparently, they were quite obnoxious and had had a run in with an adult patron a few minutes before. In other words, they were being teenaged boys.* Feeling the need to involve herself in our interaction, the patron helpfully added, "I'm no racist, but..." and launched into a mini-tirade about Hispanics, of which these boys appeared to be guilty. It was interesting, since their behavior hadn't been any different that the non-Hispanic boys I frequently have dealings with. It definitely put a chill on the rest of the reference interaction. Not that we didn't give her awesome, race-neutral customer service.

* I can say this because, believe it or not, a long, long time ago when when the Holocene era was young, the plains were dotted with mastodons and people knew nothing of such modern fripperies as computers or leveraged buyouts or even personal hygeine, the DeskSlave himself was a teenage boy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm Not Kidding, Sir

We don't have a copy of Dan Brown's latest opus on the shelf right now for you.
I realize it sold a million copies in the first 11 seconds it came out.
That's why we don't have a copy on the shelf right now. Yes, I know it's ridiculous. Yes we probably should have ordered more than the 80 zillion copies we did.* Ok, Thanks, You Too, Bye.

* In a year or so, somebody will be looking for a book by somebody with a name that puts them in the same time zone on the shelf as Dan Brown and they will complain that of course we don't have the book they want because we spend every dime on drek like Dan Brown, proving once again that we can't win.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Mystic Chords of Memory

Some years back, I worked in a library at a Community College. On the first day of school, several new students would show up to the library with their syllabi* and inquire about the locations of the textbooks on the list. We had to tell them that we didn't collect textbooks and that was something that they needed to buy. Most refused to believe that we didn't buy textbooks, often pointing out that we were a library and in the business of buying books. It was a pointless conversation, but I got quite good at it, standing there with a scrupulously blank look on my face until they finally figured out that no amount of talk was going to make their expensive textbooks that would be utterly without value approximately 11 seconds after the final exam appear on the shelf. Occasionally, an exasperated student would ask to talk to someone else, usually asking for the manager or my supervisor. I was only too glad to comply. (I'm always only too glad to comply with this one; getting the supervisor or manager means that the problem is no longer mine. I almost want to tell people that, but I don't want to spoil their dudgeon.)

Since moving over to the public library side, I haven't gotten that particular inquiry until today. It was oddly refreshing to know that the spiel was the same: inquiry, expressions of disbelief, deep feelings of betrayal.
"You don't have them?"
"No, we don't collect textbooks. We would only have it if it was a donation."
"Why don't you have them?"
"Because we just don't buy textbooks. I don't know of any libraries that do."
She looked at me as though I were a direct, lineal descendant of Judas Iscariot himself when I suggested she visit her school's bookstore.

* All those (2) years of studying Latin have really paid off. I can use the correct nominative plural of syllabus and thus avoid the horrible word syllabuses. Semper ubi sub ubi!

Something I learned today

If you are tooling around in an electric cart, you don't need to cover your cough.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Public Internet Jeopardy

Answer: When the deskslave was designing Microsoft Word 2007, he decided to remove all the useful commands from the menus and stick them in various ribbons where their graphical representations would be far from obvious to most. He also removed Microsoft Mindreader which would figure out what the user wanted and make it look all purty, just like that. It's the deskslave's fault and you may abuse him for it.

Question: What is, "Why can't I find any of the commands in Word and why doesn't the program automatically intuit what put the type in single space Georgia 12 point when I start typing and who can I demonize and hate for this?"

Alex Trebek:

Lady on Internet Computer #14: I'd like Things That are the Fault of the Mild-Mannered Middle-Aged Guy Over There and For Which I am Incredibly Angry for 400, please, Alex.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Oh, That Jennifer Schuessler

On the New York Times Book Review website this week, Bestseller List editor Jennifer Schuessler introduces Dan Brown's latest with:

Dan Brown’s “Lost Symbol” enters the hardcover fiction list at No. 1, as predicted in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Federalist Papers and Season 4 of “The X-Files.”

Monday, September 21, 2009

Though it is not my fault...

Recently, we* moved our DVD collection to a new spot. (Civilians often think we hide stuff from them to either make them feel bad or perhaps to give ourselves job security. But really, there is typically a perfectly good reason to move stuff around. I swear.) The old spot was 11 feet behind and to the left of me. The new spot is 8 fee to the left in front of me. "Where are the movies?" has been a frequent question since we opened the new library, though it has been trailing off lately. Until the move. The move was a good idea, there is more room for people to browse. But until that sinks in, the questions have come back. Which I don't mind. I like them better than all those questions that I can't answer. However, there are a few ways the question is expressed that I don't care for. One is the accusatory, as in, "Why did you get rid of your DVDs?" (Trust me, I'd like to do that.) Like we would one day decide to chuck tens of thousands of dollars of high-circ material!

*by we, I mean, of course, other people.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chain wallet for a 10-year-old?

It's kind of sweet when you see little kids with wallets. No money, maybe a school id, hopefully a library card. I thought it was a bit much, though, when the 10-year-old checking out the stack of DVDs had one. Though, I suppose you could make the point that her was using it as it was originally intended before it was coopted by posers trying to look tough. Motorcycle riders had them so that their $$ won't go flying down the highway. So maybe the kid does some serious BMXing and needs such a thing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oh, The Extra Work!

I was summoned over by a cross-looking fellow at a library catalog computer* a while ago. He was trying to reserve a book and I got all good and ready to give my patented "here's how you place a hold" pep talk. But that wasn't the problem. He was down with the tech. It was the number of digits he had to type to place the hold that was the source of his scowliness. Like most libraries, we have a barcode with about 6 zillion digits on it. OK, only fourteen, but still. I was informed that in the neighboring county's truly amazing system you only have to type in 5 or 6 or some other small number. He wanted to be able to do that here in the lightless regions where we filthy primitives huddle. The news that he just couldn't do it like they do it in the paradisiacal system on the other side of the highway where I earnestly wished him to be struck him as not just odd or irritating, but bad and wrong.

We have all had the experience where there is something that we have nothing to do with and can't do anything about, but have to weather the storm of others' frustration and it's never fun. But this was different, since he could not believe that he had to type all those gosh darn numbers, so it had to be the stupid moron, i.e. me, who was just being, well, stupid. I just didn't know enough to let him know which 5 digits he had to type.

My shrug is practiced, and he was treated to one of them.

*Or OPAC, as we library types like to say. OPAC is an acronym for Obtuse People's Automatic Confusion, reminding us all that, even in this day of computer ubiquity, lots of people still haven't the faintest clue.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sir, your ringtone?

The loud one? Sounds like an old fashioned telephone? Timeless classic. Thanks for sharing it with us. Again and again. No, really. Thanks.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Don't Go Away," he ordered.

"Don't go away: I might need you," he ordered. I had just explained to him how to use one of our tragically slow Internet computers. Like me, he was a middle aged man. Unlike me, he had the air of somebody who is used to having people listen carefully and obey. He tried to swipe his card in our fancy new card swipe thingies that you can use rather than submit to the torment of typing in 14 whole characters. Swipe. Nothing. Swipe. Nothing. Swipeswipeswipe. Nothingnothingnothing. He looked at me with a look that suggested that this technological glitch was not just my fault, but something I had done deliberately, just to waste his time, a commodity, I should have realized by then, more precious than air. I shrugged and let him know that he'd have to type it in the old-fashioned way. I received my orders to remain as he began to type in his 14-digit bar code using the time honored "Eagle Method." You know the Eagle Method. If you don't, I'll teach it to you right now:
First,forget everything you know about typing. Really. Everything. Imagine that "QWERTY" is just a random string of charaters. A computer keyboard means no more to you than a wall full of heiroglyphs. Now, stick out your index finger. Here comes the eagle part: imagine that the tip of your index finger is a beautiful Golden Eagle, soaring high above the ground, its outstretched wings catching an updraft of air that sends it to and fro, high over the verdant valley of keys. OK, little eagle, circle the valley for a while. While the eagle circles high above the keyboard/valley, find the first letter you want to type. This key is what the eagle method typists call a "Field Mouse." Your job, little eagle, is to dive down and strike the hapless mouse. Then, quickly regain altitude and begin the hunt anew. Circle, dive, strike, climb. Circle, dive, strike, climb. Repeat this process until you're finished typing or until you notice one of the many mistakes you have made, whichever comes first. If you find a mistake, take a long moment to search for the backspace key and slap it around for a while so that you can retype even the correct parts. Remember: you are unfamiliar with keyboards and are innocent of such things as "arrow keys" and "mouse clicks."
No way I was going to hang around while he performed his complex aerial ballet.
"I'll be around," I told him, and walked the eight paces back to the very desk that gives your humble DeskSlave his name. But I have to admit, he was right. I was needed. And right away. The sound of the repeated and peremptory "Hey" he emitted told me of the grave urgency. I can be machine-like, I admit. Sometimes I answer the phone with my practiced and clever "Hello this is DeskSlave Central" opener and have people say nothing as they wait for the machine to deliver the rest of the message. But, dear friends, I am not a dog, so no amount of "heys" (or finger snaps or whistles) can get me to respond. He eventually found a slightly more polite way to get my attention.
"It's not working," I was informed. A finger was extended in a dramatic "J'accuse" fashion toward the screen. Maybe it was the spaces interspersed in the number that caused the failure of our system to work the way he wanted. Maybe it was the numbers themselves, which appeared to be randomly generated. Sometimes you try to teach the man to fish. Sometimes you drop the fish into the eagle's beak, if you know what I mean. I keyed all 14 digits in for him and got it right THE VERY FIRST TIME.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It's All My Fault, Parts 368-411

The wireless is down here at DeskSlave Central. The crack IT team was immediately informed of this and has, no doubt, been zealously working in teams around the clock to make sure the good citizenry are not deprived of their single carrier direct-sequence spread spectrum radio signals. Being good librarians, we have pasted the joint with colorful signs, alerting readers to the lack of WiFi-itude. I'd say that 50% of inquiries at the DeskSlave Desk have had to do with this. Half fall under the well-meaning, confused or outraged informing me that they could get no wireless. (One even peeking around the largish "Hey we don't got no WiFi" sign to do so.) Half are inquiries regarding the exact time service will be restored. Some folks are taking it well, but others are clearly having a hard time getting their heads around the idea that they might not be able to surf the web* from the comfort of their laptops in the hushed and pleasantly temperature-controlled DeskSlave Central.
A particularly happy young man just asked me when I was going to turn the wireless back on, like there was a switch back in Technical Services that I flipped off to deprive him personally of wireless signal.

* The always interesting Shushie pointed out that BusinessWeek thinks that the phrase "Surf the Internet" is as outdated DooWop music, but I'm an old codger, so I'll still use it. At least I didn't say that they might not be able to get on to the onramp of the Information SuperHighway, or InfoBahn, as you young people call it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It's Pretty Peppy Party with Michelle's Marshmallow Melange

... and don't forget the yummm

(found in a returned book)

You have a nice day, too

OK, I'm a total library nerd and as such, I find the catalog far too interesting and too much fun. When I get the chance to show somebody how it really works, I am probably a bit more excited than the occasion warrants. Sometimes, people get into it, too. Most of the time, I get the "Drop the Bone, Dog" look eventually. And sometimes I get the nice woman yesterday, who seemed interested enough about my on-the-spot tutorial, and complemented the system by cheerfully predicting the imminent redundancy of librarians.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This part of the village is tired of raising your child

The sweet-faced 8-year-old walked up and said, "I want my glasses back."
Now, there are many things I want back, my youth chief among them, but I do not barge up to strangers and demand that these needed things be produced. After some questioning, using my finely honed reference interview skills, I determined that the child had left her glasses at a computer and that they were in the Lost and Found. Retrieving them from the box, I must say I was fairly chuffed. If I had lost my super fashionable glasses and some guy was holding them out to me, I would regard that person as my hero. The little girl literally snatched her specs out of my hand, turned on her heel and walked away without a word.
Not long afterward, she told me she wanted a guest pass to use one of the fine IntarWeb surfing machines we provide for the children of our community to conduct scholarly research. She snatched that out of my hand in the same way.
I'm cutting her off. We need a little more manners around here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's All My Fault, Part 367

I was summoned to a computer in the teen room. A screen was pointed at. It appeared to be an attempted gmail account recreation of someone, perhaps the young woman who summoned me. I guess that Google now texts the would be gmailer an activation code to start the new account. I explained this to her, pointing to the phone number and telling her that the text looked like it had been sent there. I got a blank stare. I tried again, asking questions to make sure she was the person who filled out the form, etc.
A young man, whom I took to be her brother or maybe boyfriend, or perhaps just an interested observer, fixed me with a practiced sneer and a somewhat outraged look.
"When I set up my account, it didn't ask me for no activation thingie."
I recommended that he contact Google and take up the injustice with them, since I had nothing to do with account creation at Google.

The Savior's Name Invoked in Lieu of an Offering of Thanks

Lots of little print shops used to have a sign prominently displayed that read "Poor Planning on Your Part Does Not Constitute and Emergency on Ours." Maybe not a great declaration of customer service, but I sympathize with the sentiment.* I was in the back conducting necessary deskslave business and not at the desk as scheduled. Of course, that was the moment that a typically levelheaded colleague rushed over and asked if I was supposed to be at the desk. "Some lady is freaking out over there."
She pointed to a woman giving a shelf the once-over. I boldly strode over to where she stood.
"Hi, can I help you find any..."
"Yes! I'm looking for [some currently semi-popular novel]. It's supposed to be in! It's not here!" This was all said in the sort of tone I would expect from somebody looking for a lost child or wallet.
I asked about what she had tried and I was told breathlessly that she had already told somebody. Not wishing to take the time to explain my lack of telepathic skills, I asked her to repeat what she had tried, which amounted to looking on the fiction shelf. I told her that I would look it up to see if it was supposed to be on the New Fiction shelf, or perhaps had just been
checked in, blah blah blah. She told me that she was late from her lunch and had NO TIME FOR THIS. I told her I'd look, but also mentioned that we could place a hold and she could come back later.

I'll cut to the chase here and say that after a longish search I found it. Jubilantly, I approached her with a smile and held it out to her.
"Jesus!" she exclaimed, pulling the book from my grasp. She stomped over to the self check from there.

*Another great sign I once saw read "Fast. Cheap. Good. Pick Two."

Monday, August 31, 2009

I always remind myself

Whenever I am feeling particularly put upon, I remind myself that, at any given moment, there are probably 5 billion or so people who would be delighted to swap problems with me. So, I think I get asinine questions? My partner recently heard from an old friend who is now working at Ikea, designing kitchens. Her ridiculous reference question recently? How many inches in a foot. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to help somebody get on the internet.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Not, "I suck at the ridiculousness that is Word 2007 and would like some help, please."


Not, "Is there a stapler I can use?"


A Tawdry Experiment Begins

The teen walked by happily, displaying a gold-colored coin.
"The machine gave me a Sacagawea!" he said excitedly. Or I think that's what he said. It sounded more like "Sacagaga."* I took it to mean that he should have gotten a quarter or some lesser spawn of the mint in change from our vending machine, but had instead received a one dollar windfall. He dashed back to the teen room. Seconds later, he was dashing back to the vending machine, dodgy-looking friend in tow.
I guessed that they were on their way to feed bills into the machine, get their snacks or candy or what-have-you, and expect to see an electroplated bonanza.
Sadly, the gods of the vending devices are just as fickle as the gods of the slots. In fact, there is reason to believe they may be the same gods. Long faces, clutched Doritos and muttered recrimination were all I saw or heard on their return trip. With any luck, that will keep them out of the casinos.

*Not to be confused with Lady Gaga, whose recordings, which I'm sure are the greatest things since at least T.Rex, we at DeskSlave Central dutifully purchase for our patrons' listening pleasure and edification.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just Out of Curiosity

If I gave you my best Easter Island stone face and showed only the most minimal interest in your lengthy disquisition on gold prospecting, what makes you think I want to hear about your take on comparisons between FDR & the current president?

in case you were wondering

you can't get a book via InterLibrary Loan just because there are a lot of holds on our copies of it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Deep Philosophical Inquiry #16

If the Guy on Computer #2 needs me to type in the URL of the company where he wants to apply, what are the chances that he will be able to a) find the job application; and b) successfully complete the application?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Bad, as they used to say

Not just for not writing.
I took the forward off the phone at 2 minutes after we opened. There was already a message on the phone, from one minute earlier. Here is a transcript:

CALLER. Ah....I dunno....I got somebody and she put me over to the Reference Desk and then I GOT THE GODDAMN RECORDING! AGAIN! GODDAMN IT!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Trick Question #3,671

Do you have printers that like print stuff?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Interlibrary Loan in 5,000 easy steps

One of my less satisfying jobs here at DeskSlave Central is filling out Interlibrary Loan requests and, along with several colleagues, receiving them, dressing them up in their attractive DeskSlave bookband, getting them to patrons, getting them back, sending them home, etc.

I also need to explain the process to people, so they don't get their hopes up about the book they requested this morning. You see, it's only owned by one library, and it's in Nepal, so it probably won't get here by morning. I also don't want to encourage ILLs , frankly. It's sort of like Internet computers to me. At one point in about 1997, the nice folks at the library got themselves a nice little computer that connected to the Internet, probably via a 56kbps modem. This was so that people could get out on to the brand new Information SuperHighway and conduct important research. Eventually, people figured out that we didn't check to make sure that they were doing research on anything, and now, 10 years on, we are the ISP of last resort and people feel entitled to fast, free Interweb access. ILLs were for research at one point, and doing one required a certain amount of convincing. But now, anybody can do one for any reason and tons of staff time gets eaten up requesting I Dream of Jeannie box sets (I'm not kidding; it was requested by the same guy who requested Gilligan's Island and the Love Boat.)

Today, the process went one step further when a patron got a bit churlish when I told her that she had no choice about where the item she wanted came from. To my everlasting credit, my response to her question, "What if I want the copy from Town X?" was not, "Then move there. Need a map?"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sorry kid, my goat left the building a long time ago

Since when did the threshold for world-weariness and snark get lowered to 11-year-olds? A portly young fellow of maybe 11 walked up, obviously intending to take the mickey out of me, and attempted to engage me on the subject of our relatively new facility. He was all squints and sneers as he leaned on the DeskSlavePod. I wanted to tell him that he was wasting his time--I've been deflecting better than him for a long time.

HIM: So how come this place looks like it used to be a restaurant?
ME: Pardon me?
HIM: This place looks like it used to be like a restaurant. It's stupid. How come it looks like that?
ME: I don't know. You will have to consult with the architect.
HIM: Huh?
ME: I don't know.
Slight pause.
HIM: So how come you put a big flat screen TV in the teen room?
ME: I didn't. It was here when we opened.
HIM: What's the point of having a TV if it's not even on?
ME: Too zen for me. I have to get back to work. (Busy typing, the screen is suddenly filled with fascination.)
He tried another scintillating conversational gambit, but I ignored it completely.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Great Moments in Irony, Part 7,238

Today, the woman who reaked of cigarette smoke who did not want to walk all the way over to look at the exercize videos.

Today, the dad who shouted at his toddler to stop making noise.

The irony meter is getting a workout here at Deskslave Central.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Not "Where is the large print?"

Not, "Do you have any large print." Rather it was. "Why don't you have any large print?" Which we do. Big sign. Prominent location for the collection. Lots of stuff.

Not, "Thanks...I guess I overlooked it. My eyesight isn't what it used to be. Rather it was, "Oh."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Welcome to the Jungle...I Mean Interwebs

A patron asked for the Better Business Bureau for the Internet. He had come across a web site that offended him and he wanted to report it. I wanted to tell him to look it up in the Internet Yellow Pages. But, being a good deskslave, I did not.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Well that was unpleasant

We were more or less ready to open on time. Five minutes before we needed to unlock, a coworker went out to gather items from the bookdrop. He left the door open and an alert patron zoomed in and planted himself at a catalog computer. I felt like a jerk, but I asked him to go back out to the lobby. He was offended. He referred to his watch, noting in an irritated fashion that we were going to open in five minutes. I countered, in a reasonable tone I hope, that if I let him in early, I'd have to let everyone in early. I was sure, I told him, that he understood. He didn't, but he got up and walked toward the door.
"OK," he intoned tartly, "I'll wait out here for THREE MINUTES."
Me, big smile like I was happy we were on the same page, "Great! Thanks!"

Monday, July 6, 2009

I resist you, little cat

So far, I have avoided reading this one. Just because it's in a library doesn't mean I want anything to do with it. I also hate the subtitle. "The small-town library cat who touched the world." It seems like they are claiming too much, like all those books about one thing that is responsible for the modern world, like Mark Kurlansky's book about the humble cod, or Simon Winchester's The Map that Changed the World, or John Griffiths' Tea: The Drink That Changed the World, or any number of books that attempt to shove minor players on to center stage. My part of the world has yet to be touched by Dewey, and now that the book is dropping off the bestseller lists, I doubt that will change.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

No notary. No lawyer. No embalmer either.

But we got a librarian! I just had to break the bad news. No notary. Oh, the outrage! Oh, the dudgeon!

So, all three of my readers, do you think public libraries should have notaries?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Requiescat In Pace, Ya Freak

I was surprised, but not saddened by the King of Pop's demise. I never liked the guy, to be frank. My older sister liked to spin the Jackson 5's 45s* ALL THE TIME when we were kids. She particularly liked the song "Ben" which was about a boy's love for a pet rat, if I remember correctly. My dislike was compounded many years later when a girlfriend with whom I shared a love for bands like Pere Ubu, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Ramones, the Clash and such like suddenly became a fan of Thriller, which was only marginally more understandable to me than becoming a Scientologist. I wish I had seen that the relationship was doomed when she got one of those 80s hairgel-intensive hairdos to better enjoy her newfound infatuation with the Gloved One, but I didn't and you don't need to know the sordid details of the relationship's demise. Just know that it wasn't nice and Mr. Jackson shares some of the responsibility. Still, I guess he was talented and in spite of the sad trainwreck of personal life, he didn't deserve to go at the age of 50, which seems younger and younger all the time to me.

HOWEVER, being the nasty, bitter, sneering deskslave I am, I couldn't help but think of other performers who have plagued my life who deserved to die instead. It's not a long list. Feel free to comment in additions to it:

Elton John
Billy Joel
Elton John
Barry Manilow
Elton John
Rod Stewart
Sir Paul McCartney
Elton John
Phil Collins, even though he disappeared a long time ago
and of course, Elton John.

And, just out of spite, here are a few who were just irritations and not fully deserving of the Deep Six:
Lionel Ritchie
Hall and Oates.

*To those of you who grew up during the Holocene and not before like me, there used to be these vinyl platters called records which behaved in much the same way as your fancy CDs of today. Only they were huge, damage-prone and revolved at the stately and dignified rate of 33 times per minute, unlike your aforesaid fancy CDs which twirl at a frenetic 500 or so. They also only set you back about 1 hour of minimum wage work, unlike CDs which is more like two hours. There was also a 2-song record that was smaller and clocked 45 laps per minute. These could be had for 99 cents, making them inexpensive enough to allow my sister to buy plenty of future-deskslave-punishing music like The Jackson 5, the Osmonds, Three Dog Night and Sonny and Cher.

A Life Unchanged But Saved Nonetheless

Thanks to Beth's snarkitude, I am giving up trying to follow the Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Instead of changing my life, I am now focussing on saving it. To that end, I have Neil Strauss' book Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life. Considering that Mr. Strauss ghosted Jenna Jameson's autobiography and wrote a book about becoming a Playa, I'm a little dubious, but I'll letcha know. It has chapters with titles like "The Problem with Gas Masks" and "Bathroom Tips for Combat Soldiers," so I get the feeling that the applications to my own currently unsaved and rather ordinary life may be limited.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Book that Changes Lives

I was just removing a reprint of Dan Millman's Way of the Peaceful Warrior from New Books to Plain Old Books. I saw the subtitle, which is "A book that changes lives." I could sure use that, so I started reading. Right now I'm on Page 9. No change. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Today's deep thought

Publishers need to leave off the adjective "major" on books when they do a movie tie-in edition. Their all going to say "major," it's not like some low self esteem publisher is going to put "Now a minor motion picture" on their book.

While we're at it, all openings are grand ones, so we can get rid of "grand," too.

Monday, June 22, 2009

It gave me such a frisson of amour propre

From the
Open Culture Blog (which you should go to weekly, if you ask me), a list of the most looked up words in the New York Times online edition.

sui generis

Is it a bad thing that I didn't have to look them up? Probably. Is it a bad thing that I want to share the fact that I know them with you? Most certainly. Do we hate bloggers asking themselves rhetorical questions that they immediately answer? Ummmm...

That cool new game

A colleague working in the teen room just told me about two teens who came in and looked at our collection of board games.
"Here it is!" one said, "Here's that game I was telling you about."
He took down chess.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My poor broken heart

We have this brand new, whizz-bang color printer here at Deskslave Central. For public use and everything. As you might expect, it never seems to work right. Lately it is working even less right than usual, which is to say not at all. So when people want to print in color, they have to somehow get their document to us and we print it out on another color printer in the work area. Such a hassle, but most people are good sports about it.

"You got a color printer," demanded the scruffy guy. He had glasses with lenses the size of windshields.

I told him that we kinda did and then detailed the fiasco situation. I was informed that this was ridiculous. And unacceptable. And several other things beside. But, since black and white was printing reasonably well, he decided to print it that way. We have one of those systems that makes would-be printers log in on a separate machine in order to get the job they sent to the printer. Again, no big deal for most. But Mr. Huffy decided to get exercised about this one, too.
"I just printed somethings. Where does it come out," he demanded.
I motioned him over to the release station. "Here let me show you," I encouraged. I started to take him through the paces, but when I asked him to scan the barcode on his card, he looked at me as though I had just asked him to strangle and eat a kitten. I was informed, again, that it was ridiculous, unacceptable, etc. Then I was informed, in high dudgeon, that he was leaving and never returning.
My poor broken heart. How will it ever recover?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Metaphorically speaking, my fingers are in my ears and I'm saying La-La-La

I just heard a kid a few shelves over say, sotto voce, "Don't do that. You're in a library. You could get in trouble."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I thought it was second Thursday of the month!

Nope. It was second Tuesday of the month this month. I'm speaking, of course, about Get Hammered and Go to the Library Night.

Honestly, if I was intoxicated, the library is about the last place I'd want to be. I am, it would appear, in the minority here. I had to boot somebody. I said it was for foul language and abusing a computer, but really it was for the visible intoxication.

Since I hate you I won't be saying thanks

I was summoned over to the InterWeb after being told that it wasn't working. ("What's wrong with the Internet?" was what she actually said. It was hard not to begin telling her. I have hours worth of material on what's wrong with the IntarWeb.) At moments like that, it's usually a matter of logging in. You have to type in the entire 14-digit barcode and get your password right. But she was in, and everything looked fine; there was the Windows desktop in all its mediocrity. I asked her to show me what was wrong. She pointed at Explorer 's pretty E logo. It looked fine.
"Ummm...what's wrong with it?" I inquired tentatively.
"It doesn't work," she replied in her best talking-to-the-slow-child voice.
"Why don't you show me what you are trying to do."
She moused over to the Explorer logo and gave the mouse two of what can only be described as savage jabs. In between jabs, the mouse moved. Probably trying to escape maltreatment. She looked back at me with a "SEE??" sort of look. I explained the problem and she, in a huffy, exasperated way gave the mouse button another couple jabs to similar effect. I wanted to ask her if she did that to everything and how short the lives of her appliances were, but instead asked her if she wanted me to do it.
She didn't exactly answer, but by moving away from the mouse a little, I took it as a "Yes, please." So I double clicked Explorer for her and it launched right up.
"This is ridiculous," she said to no one in particular and began her important computing session.

Monday, June 8, 2009

As the nobility meter goes from 100 to -27

I just got an inquiry into how to become a foster parent. I perked right up. We need good foster families and I admire people who make the sacrifice, especially those who take in special needs children. I was feeling all happy about helping her find out until she asked if I could find out how much you get paid. Somebody she knows evidently gets $30,000 a year in some other state, which seemed like good money to her. Ick. (But I'm a good deskslave, I found out that the compensation varies depending on the child's age and special needs. Plus the number to call. But sheesh.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Grammar Nazi Fail

So in this book

They got all strict with the title's construction. In deciding not to split infinitives, which I think is silly. (I probably should have written "to not split," but I think you get my meaning.) As a result, the title could suggest that the book is about the superior ways one might die. So I think it should have been "How to not die" instead. What do you think, dear reader? (I put that in the singular because I think I only have one reader.)

I must also point out the author is referred to as "America's Favorite Medical Examiner," which seems a little farfetched. Like I'm going to turn to my dearly beloved and say, "honey, if I die under suspicious circumstances, would you make sure that Jan Garavaglia is the one who slices me open, removes and weighs my organs and does all that other icky stuff to my viscera? She's my favorite!"

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A little matter of twenty cents

Just got off the phone with a patron who was trying to renew a book. Sadly, she had already renewed it several times, so she was out of luck. She had caught her limit. But it was due today, I was told, and she would not be able to get it in before we closed. She was fairly upset about getting charged anything.

I want to be sympathetic, but I have important librarian duties to perform, like add paper to the copier. I felt like telling her that she should come to the desk and I'd pay her fine, just to get her off the phone.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

If that's a service dog

then I'm...let's see. Not Melville Dewey. That guy gets too much attention. OK: if that's a service dog, then I'm Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan. I told the woman with the ratty little Chihuahua that animals are not allowed in the library. She informed me that it was a service animal. Evidently, we are not allowed to challenge this, so Ratso stayed. At least he didn't pee in the Fiction area. Or any area, come to think of it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hope our love lasts...

...and doesnt get used as a bookmark.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Keeping in mind

That my back is to the bank of public access computers as I sit, king-like, upon the throne-like Deskslave chair, the most common question I get from oncoming, would-be Internet users is

(Drumroll, please)

"Any computers open?"

So I have to swivel the aforesaid deluxe Deskslave chair around and take a gander. It's very odd having to gather this information for someone who could just as easily gather it themselves.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Trick Question #459

I placed a hold on a movie for a patron, using the card she had to dig out of her purse. Fifteen minutes later, she was back with another hold request. I asked for her card. "I have to give you my card again?" she asked in the sort of way I would expect if I had asked her to dance naked on the Ref desk.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Trick Question #458

Deskslave unlocks and opens front doors at exactly opening time. Props doors opens, says "hi" to the assembled throng. Begins to retreat into the library.
Patron: "Are you open now?"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Trick Question #457

Where's your scanner at?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Today's Thought

Here's something to meditate upon, dear readers (all none of you):

What sound is more beautiful than even a baby's laughter? More beautiful than the songbird in spring?

The heavy clunk of the library door shutting behind the last patron.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Actual Cell Phone Conversations

Made By Actual Library Patrons Shortly Before Being Told to Leave the Library By Deskslaves. An Ongoing Series.

I'm in the Library!
No, the Library!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Want to know what I learned today?

I learned that the wacko left wing liberals are opposed to all forms of energy. As a provisional member of that group, one who just plundered the plate of fudge made by a volunteer, I can assure you that many of us are not averse to food energy.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Already sick of Twitter

Just thought you'd like to know.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Last Minute Tax Tip

If you gather a bunch of tax forms at the library and then later decide that you don't want them for whatever reason (losing interest in the whole taxpaying thing, distracted by small, shiny object and/or DVD cover, etc.) just toss them on the floor. Don't worry, some deskslave or other will be more than happy to pick them up.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

If Only We Carried Time Machines at the Library

Patron comes in on Friday for a program at 2pm. The only problem is, there IS NO program at 2pm. Patron insists. Patron says the information is online. She got it from a friend. My colleague and I show that we are doing everything humanly possible to track down some information and magically generate a program. It's supposed to be for the storytelling festival. I rack my brain. Do I know stories? Can I tell stories? Panic! It's an event for grown-ups and all I can do is a puppet presentation of The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Patron makes an off-hand comment which is supposed to sound like it's not a big deal, but really it intends to make us feel guilty and ashamed: "Well, I didn't have to come too far, because I live nearby, but my friend who was going to join me here would have been driving clear from the other side of town, except for that she just called me 5 minutes ago to say she isn't coming." First, I'm thinking that the friend was kind of a jerk to stand up her friend at the last minute. Second I'm coaching myself, "Don't...take...on...guilt. Not...your...fault." It's the Protestant in me that wants to feel guilty I guess.

So my colleague shows me the online advertisement for the event, and sure enough, 2pm at the Tualatin Library. We continue to stutter and stall and wonder aloud for a few minutes, feeling frustrated at how stupid we look. Then I catch one important detail, typed at the top of the webpage. It's a press release, and you got it! It's dated April 10, 2007. So I laughed and pointed at the patron and said, "HA HA, YOU WERE WRONG! IT WASN'T US, HA HA! NO MISTAKE ON OUR PART! THE MISTAKE IS YOURS, MADAME!" Well, not really. In reality, we all lightly chuckled about it, and I kind of cringed for her, and then she slipped away as quickly as she could. If I were her, I'd dump her friend, for sending her old event info AND standing her up. But what do I know.

Monday, April 6, 2009

It was a waiting game

But I won. The subject was an older gent, resistant to newfangled technology like online catalogs and soap, so when he wants his movies, we have to look them up for him. Which is fine, except for the old guy funk he exudes. (When I am an old man--in about 3 months--and I have old guy funk, for God's sake, please let me know. I suspect that the sniffer slowly goes and there are all these old guys walking around thining they smell like roses.)Typically, what he wants is too new, so he goes on the holds list. I plowed through the first 4 on his long list, and then the unlikely happened. One of his films was on the shelf. I told him that it "should be over there, on the shelf."
"I'd like it if I could have it," he said. I was suspicious that he wanted me to go play fetch, something I am reluctant to do. My expensive MLS only gets used for real professional activities, like ejecting surly teens for swearing, so I ignored his remark. I mean, I'd like it if everybody who walked in gave me a 10 dollar bill, but I wouldn't expect anybody to take action if I was silly enough to vocalize the thought.
"Anything else today?" I asked brightly.
There was. Several more requests, one or two of which were on the shelf. I put holds on the missing, but for the ones that were in, he said something like, "I'd like that one, too."
When our transaction was complete, at least in my mind, I gave him a rough estimate of how long some of his holds would take, ranging from "soon" to "when DVD players are obsolete." I then reminded him of where he could find the DVDs that were presumably in, which is to say I pointed to the shelf 7 feet away.
"So I'm supposed to get them myself?" he asked, all astonished, like I'd just told him he'd have to perform his own appendectomy.
"Uh huh." I nodded, smiling. "They're in alphabetical order by title."
"What if I can't find them?"
"Let me know and I'll take a look."
For a moment he stood there looking like a monument to indecision. I began typing in earnest, suddenly absorbed in returning an email. And then he shoved off to find his own damn videos. A petty victory, to be sure dear reader, but we take 'em where we can get 'em.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Inebriated, housing challenged man of indeterminate age walks up with a reference question. " I want a book on concept."
Me: "Concept of what?"
He: "Concept--you know--concept."
Me: (not wanting to appear stupid): "I understand. Concepts are ideas. So what do you want the concept to be of."
He: (clearly getting frustrated and weaving) "You know, just concept."
Me: (trying to placate) "Okay, let me see what I can find"
I search the fantastic catalog for the keyword, "concept".
Me: "Sir, just as I thought when I search for concept, many books come up, but they are all about the concept of something--cars, airplanes, shapes, etc.--not just a book on concept. Tell me more about what you are looking for." (And for the love of God, step back at least 6 feet so I don't have to smell you.)
He: Okay, try delusion. The delusion of concept. The concept of delusion.
Me: Huh. Okay....... Yep. Not finding anything on that either. Keep talking.
He: You know --self concept and delusion.
Me: (thinking general psychology might fit the bill), well let's walk over to this section and you can look and see if these answer your questions.
Together we gaily walk through the stacks acknowledging our delusions--me that I can answer his questions. He is deluded to think there is a book on concept.
Me: Lookeee here--some books that might have the answers.
He: (Seeing the "self help" marker) Oh no. I don't want self help. I want concept. I want books on concept.
Me: Again, sir. I can't locate books just on concept or idea. If there is a subject you want, I'm happy to help you find it.
He: Oh I get it. These here books are arranged by subject.
Me: yes.
He: I want the subject of concept.
Me: (Oh hell no-no-no-no) I'll leave you to look through these and if they don't answer your questions, you can come find me (I'll be hiding on another dimension) and we'll keep looking.
I step back onto the pathway to the desk. He follows and yells behind me, "Concept. I just want a book on concept."

Yeah, good luck with that.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Please do not use today's edition of the local paper (Deskslave Tribune). That guy over at the comfy chairs just sneezed a very wet spray of nastiness thereupon. Thank you. That is all.

Well-dressed and quite possibly female

A (female)patron called asking about the book "The Well-Dressed Woman." Search, no dice. We had a lot of "dress for success" sorts of things, but nothing with exactly that title. After this impasse, she took a moment to think about it. Then she remembered the real title: "The Well-Dressed Ape."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A relatively quiet night at the desk

Wherein we are again reminded that, contrary to lore, vodka leaves a pronounced odor on the breath of the drinker.

Monday, March 23, 2009

And Lead Me Not Into Temptation

Longtime readers (all none of you) may remember a man who used to come in frequently who wanted us to pretty much do everything for him. But he wouldn't come out and ask us. He wanted us to come rescue him of our own accord. He would tap ineffectually at the catalog computer briefly and then say aloud things like, "Oh dear," and "Oh no," and "This is terrible." After the first 8,000 times or so, I deceided I was going to do anything unless he actually acknowledged me and asked a question. He hasn't been around a while, but an elderly woman who is extraordinarily nasty most of the time is chanelling him right now. There she is, tap tap tappin1 and occasionally saying things like, "Hmmm!" and "That's strange."

But if you want the deskslave, you have to summon him rudely, like a decent person.

All odors are particulate

That's what crossed my mind as an infamously whiffy patron came up to the desk. (At least I'm lucky I'm not female; he likes the ladies and will sometimes try to hug them.) But today he was particularly malodorous sending out an olfactory assault that radiated loathsomely from his unwashed body and clothes. I'm probably being really prissy here, but the thought of little particles of stank wafting off him, getting caught in the HVAC swirl and propelled directly onto the olfactory receptors on the dendrites of my olfactory sensory neurons makes me feel queasy and offended. I don't even want the image of this guy projected, however fleetingly, on my retina, so I sure don't want any bits of him in my sinus.

Bless me father, for I have sinned

I was about 2 minute EARLY walking out to my shift at the desk. As I strode purposefully across the floor, I noticed one of my less favorite patrons also striding purposefully toward the desk. I had to make a split-second decision: do I continue striding in my purposeful, and, if I may add, confidently masculine, manner and intercept the unloved patron, thereby sparing my colleague from the interaction, or do I slow down ever so slightly and wait for my poor colleague to become ensnared with the aforesaid unloved patron? I think you know me well enough by now, dear reader (all none of you). I suddenly became passionately interested in straigtening the New Books shelves. "My goodness, these are a fright!" I thought as I busily tidied just long enough to ensure that it wouldn't be my ref interaction. Bad, bad me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Almost fooled me

I was just asked if we had any upstairs bathrooms. Since we only have one floor, did he mean do we have a secret upstairs annex with a sumptuously appointed biffy, or does he know about a secret basement with God knows what? I just let him know where he could find the restroom I knew about.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Remember: I'm the idiot here

It probably should have been a simple transaction. "Has your computer system changed?" the patron asked me. I'm sure she knew exactly what she meant, but I sure didn't. I gave it a stab.
"You mean the computers you look up books with?"
"No, your system."
"The public Internet computers?"
"Yes." Success, yet still stupid. I could actually hear the italics in her voice.
"Not recently."
"So it's the same?"
"As when?"
"As always!"
Where to go with this? "Uhhh...we replaced the CPUs last summer and there are periodic updates to software, but...."
"Click." I heard. I think it was the phone.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Loribl Wins!!

Well done, Loribl, you were correct! It was indeed Yogi Bear. Not sure how the word drama ended up there. Maybe it was the tension we see between Yogi and Boo Boo about whether to play by the rules or throw caution to the wind. So maybe it should have been something like

Relationships, ursine, drama

In any event, I'm not used to people posting comments, so I wasn't thinking that this was an actual contest, with maybe a prize, but what the heck. I have before me a powells.com gift card with at least 80 cents on it. Shoot me an email, Loribl, at the name of this blog at gmail.com and I'll send you back all the data you will need to maybe trim the shipping price a little on your next order.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Always helpful, those librarians

Don't get me wrong. Good cataloging is good public service. I respect the profession a lot. But sometimes they get it wrong. Case in point: here are the subject headings for an item I saw in WorldCat. See if you can guess what these subjects describe...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Look You

I'm not throwing away old magazines. I'm a professional librarian, for heaven's sake. I'm deaccessioning superannuated serial publications.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Seen a kid? Sure.

He rode a scooter into the library, so I was not exactly favorably disposed towards him. The young man, after dismounting and being reminded about riding in the library, he asked if we had seen a kid. It was about 30 minutes after opening on a busy Sunday, we told him, we've seen lots of kids.
"About yea tall?" he clarified, holding his hand palm-down at eye level.
I shrugged. My colleage shrugged.
"Curly hair? More shrugs. "Well, kind of curly." Again with the shrugs.
Sensing that he wasn't going to give up soon, my colleage recommended that he look around for his friend since there were too many people here for us to take notice of everybody. Dejectedly, he scootered off. I chased him down to remind him of the conversation we'd had not three minutes previously about not riding scooters in the library.
"Oh, sorry," he said, dismounting. "Hey! You seen a kid, 'bout yea tall?"

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Irony so thick and creamy it could be a dessert topping

I was just reshelving the book

Invest Like a Shark.

It may well be a great investment book, I have no idea. But somebody returned it with the bookmark still in it. Irony drumroll....it was a lottery ticket.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The cover is blue, I think

The young man wanted a particulr book about Norse mythology. The cover was blue, he was pretty sure. I took him to our section that has Norse mythology. Lots of borrowed, nothing blue. I was pretty polite when he asked if we could Interlibrary loan this item for him.

A theme was established later when he came back looking for a collection of Thor comic books.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Suddenly I'm the Jerk

A guy came up to the desk inquiring about free dental care. Actually, he said he needed a dentist. Quickly applying my RefSkillz, I ascertained that he lived in the immediate area and prepared a listing of local dentists using the excellent ReferenceUSA database. Printing it out, I noted which dentists were closest to DeskSlaveCentral.
"Are they free?" he asked, grabbing the proffered sheet of paper.
"Kinda doubt it."
He dropped the paper and fixed me with a "you dumbass" look. The look was practiced, like he spent a lot of time putting up with idiots like me who were unfamiliar with deep subtext and mind reading.
"It's gotta be free," he sneered, "I can't pay for no dentist."
I was inclined tell him that I couldn't either and you didn't see me whining about it. Instead, I told him that I'd see what I could do, but I held out little hope. I also asked him to check back in a while since the would-be reference customers were stacking up. At this point, he became like the paperboy in the John Cusack movie "Better Off Dead" where he keeps cropping up every few scenes wanting his two dollars. He kept circling back, giving me the hairy eyeball every few minutes.
Eventually I found several low-cost dental outfits that serve uninsured, low-income people. During the next stinkeye pass, I handed him the list, being careful to note that none of the listed places would be without charge.
I thought that would be the end of it. But he was back an hour later to give me hell because none of the numbers I gave him offered free dentistry.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tax Time FAQ

Where are the tax forms?
Right behind you.

Right over there.


Should I use this form?
I don't know.

Maybe this one?
Really, I don't know.

Why can't you tell me?
I'm not allowed to give tax advice. I'm not a tax professional. I'm a lowly deskslave.

I'm not asking for tax advice, it's just information.
Look, even if I was allowed to give tax advice, you wouldn't want my advice. I don't even do my own taxes. I'm lucky to find my way to work.

Why don't you have tax forms any more?
We do.

Then where are they?
Right behind you.

Is there somebody who will do my taxes for me?
We have some volunteers who offer help. It's by appointment only. All the slots were filled months ago. I can put you on this very long waiting list, though.

So nobody will do my taxes for me?
Well, actually, you can have the IRS calculate your taxes for you.

Really? How do I do that?
Here, it's this form here, the Schedul D'OH! Just fill in your name and check off the box where it says: "I'm a chicken, please pluck me."

Where's the tax forms at?
Right there.

Which one am I supposed to do?
I don't know.

Why don't you have the incredibly obscure form that I think I need?
I don't know. But I'll print it out for you.

I'm still very upset about having to do my taxes at all. May I berate and abuse you since I am powerless to express my rage directly to the Internal Revenue Service?
By all means.

I almost forgot...could I also hector you?
Feel free.

Malign you?

Call into question your intelligence and integrity?
It would be my pleasure.

Why can't I get a reaction from you?
Because I'm not really listening.

Interesting Conversational Gambit, Mr. Bond

Guy walks up to the Deskslave Holding Pen (AKA Reference Desk).
GUY. Do you work here?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I thought you'd like to know

The teen over at the computers playing some game set his personal record. That's right, his personal record. And I was here to witness it. And to tell him to keep his voice down.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Editorializing in the Library

A good friend of the deskslave reports that there was a copy of the 1040 EZ on the floor in the Women's Restroom.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Bet You Didn't Know

that when somebody comes up and says, "the thingy for like the computer," it actually means, "Good sir, I am enrolled in a computer class. Would you kindly direct me to the classroom?" And if you hadn't come here, you would not have learned that.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

FBI Guy, an update

The FBI guy was in again. Today, in addition to the cap, he sported a sweatshirt that had GAP on it. So he must just love Three Letter Acronyms. Such a branded existence!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Overheated Jacket Copy

I'm not a romance reader and find the current interest in vampire stories pretty childish. But I was shelving paperbacks today and saw this copy on the back of a book titled "I Hunger for You" by Susan Sizemore:

Mia Luchese comes from a long line of vampire hunters but has never believed in the supernatural. When she's attacked by vampires, though, Mia must accept her family's dark legacy. What she doesn't know is that sexy S.W.A.T. team leader Colin Foxe, her rescuer and former lover, is also a vampire.

Colin doesn't want to mate with a mere mortal, but his attraction to Mia is blistering. To get to the bottom of the attack on her, he is forced to reveal his real identity -- and Mia hers. But a generations-old battle that should rip them apart cannot break the bond that has their souls hungering for an eternity of ecstasy in each other's arms....

I'm pretty sure it's not based on fact.


Our new comfy chairs? The ones that are less than 6 months old? A homeless patron baptized one yesterday with a bladderful of unholiness.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Just a guess

That guy over there? The one in the dirty jacket reading the car magazine? Yeah him. See his cap? It says "FBI" on it. I'm thinking that maybe he doesn't work for the Bureau. Again, just a guess.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

1. When somebody asks where the Bestseller's Section is, I will not say, "Right behind you, six feet away, directly below the big sign that says "Bestsellers."

2. When somebody asks where the photocopier is, I will not say, "Eight feet behind me. It's the large device with the big sign over it that says "Copier."

I'm sure there will be more. Oh wait, here we go:

3. If somebody asks where the tax forms are and they have to pass them in order to ask me, I will not commit nor will I contemplate committing any violent acts.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tax Forms: a play in one scene

Scene opens in a nice little suburban library. A bracing, post-Christmas chill is in the air, the holidays are just over, the ornaments back in their boxes, Christmas trees are headed for their final repose, and for a select few, tax season has begun. It might even be late. In the foreground, we see a reference desk. Behind it is a Deskslave. A middle aged man who does not look entirely comfortable in the library approaches the desk.

MAN. Where's your tax forms at.
DESKSLAVE. We don't have them out yet. We haven't gotten our Federal forms yet. [begins writing on a piece of paper] I'm not sure when we'll get them, but here's our number so you can check back. I bet they will be here in the next few weeks. [hands paper to MAN]
MAN [squinting, ignoring proferred paper]. So, they gonna be out tomorrow?