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.