Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 58: Home Sweet Search Engine

Given that today was a wrap up day, two last classes, I learned quite a lot!

Most interestingly, I learned about some of the more interesting search engines on the web.

Lesson 57: TinEye is a great way to either avoid using someone's image without proper credit or find out who is using your image without proper credit.

Though my prof didn't really think of that use, that is ultimately what it's good for. He thought that it was to find similar images, but really it's to find all incidents of that image. It's a really cool tool, but I think it's more of a straight up tool than a search engine.

Lesson 58: Liveplasma. Oh man, liveplasma.

So here's the deal, Liveplasma can search books, movies and most interestingly, music. And it shows you everything it can connect with that. It creates a kind of cloud of linked items. For Music, it apparently compares the notes in order to cluster and connect different bands. For movies, it seems to base it on genre, style, director and actors. For books, it seems to be primarily author based, genre being a secondary characteristic and possibly thematic links as another variable for constructing the clouds.

It's epic, exploratory and amazingly intriguing.

I could look things up all day on Liveplasma!

Some other interesting ones did things like organizing results with images or into shapes. Tag Galaxy makes solar systems of relations and see also references out of concept planets.

I swear I'm not stoned, that is a 100% legitimate description of what the website does.

Don't believe me?

Seriously. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 57: Extensions R Us

My last project was meant to be due today, but the prof gave the entire class a two day extension last week, so it's actually due Thursday.

And I still have no idea why he gave the extension. Hrm...

Today was painful, yet productive.

First of all, who ever said that working in a library is safe? I accidentally stabbed myself in the hand with a letter opener and got two paper cuts, all within 15 minutes! And one of those paper cuts I didn't notice until after it happened despite the fact it's under my nail! Ouch.

That's not to mention me pulling muscles trying to retrieve "Medical Surgical Nursing" (a single textbook, which according to Amazon weights 4.8kg) from reserve for people, or getting my fingers/hand caught in scissors or between piles of books and desk. Because I'm awesome.

Second, figurative pain. And today's lesson.

Lesson 56: No matter how careful, conservative and gentle you are, everything needs to be replaced eventually. Like my favourite black purse. Poor purse...

But isn't it just my luck that everything needs replacing at the same time? I ran out of all my toiletries, all of my food staples, and clean clothes to wear within the same few days.

I know living isn't cheap, but having to buy/pay for all those things on the same day is just painful.

Though it did mean that I got some nice smelling new soaps, went to the bank, did my grocery shopping AND did my laundry all in one day.

Being all productive...

Like an adult!

However, it wasn't caffeine withdrawal that had me feeling hungover yesterday. The cough has been joined by a killer sore throat that appeared out of nowhere and within a matter of hours started affecting my ability to speak...

I'm sick.

Well, better sick for exams than sick for projects.

I guess.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 56: OMG? Nope! OMP! One more project!

Handed in my group's Bibliographic and Factual Sources report today.

What an interesting experience.

Let me sum up:
  • Some information necessary to answer our question (we chose a question about ballet) was 100% not available. We asked the source directly; they haven't even released it yet. I hate red herrings.
  • Equal division of labour does not always wind up equal. We split the questions in a way that should have been exactly equal and made complete sense, and yet, I feel like my end wasn't nearly as intense.
  • No page count was listed, but apparently, we were potentially 4x longer than the limit.

    So here's a lesson for any future MLIS students in Bibliographic and Factual Sources...

    Lesson 55: Ask about the page limit.

    Our paper was 15 pages long, plus 3 pages of references, just to answer all the questions put forth in the assignment. I honestly don't think there was much we could have cut out. Between the topic summary, methodology and search strategies, and all of the answers to our hypothetical client's answers, we could have maybe cut a page without sacrificing something that was directly asked for in the assignment.

    However, apparently two of our classmates had asked what the page count should be. One was told, emphatically, by the prof "Please don't make it too long!". The other was told by the TA that it should be 5-7 pages.

    That would have been good information to have.

    Our M.O. was "as long as it needs to be to contain all necessary information".

    But ya, awesome.

    On the other hand, I only have one more project to do! Then it's exams! Then I go home! *happy dance*
  • Friday, November 25, 2011

    Day 55: Cinémathèque Québécoise

    Honestly, I have a lot of feelings. And a lot of them can be summed up with nothing but long strings of vowels.

    But I'll try to be brief.

    And coherent.

    Today the McGill Student Chapter of the ACA (Association of Canadian Archivists), which I am on the exec for as a member of the Commsquad, went on a field trip. And no, I wasn't the one who suggested the destination, as perfect for me as it was.

    We went to the NFB's Cinémathèque Québécoise. And it was glorious.

    Honestly, I knew I wanted to work for the NFB, because of my film background, and I'm so glad I got the opportunity to visit one of the places I could work if I do wind up there!

    I learned a few things, more fun facts than lessons, but bear with me!

    Lesson 53: The Cinémathèque developed its own thesaurus which it uses for indexing, and uses a modified version of the AACR2. Their organization system is (modified) Library of Congress.

    Lesson 54: Not all libraries weed their collections.

    For that second lesson, I had always hoped it existed, but I was worried it was just a silly, idealistic dream. But no! The Cinémathèque Québécoise aims to maintain a complete retrospective of film throughout time, so if they get rid of a document it's only ever because it has fallen into unusable disrepair, or is being replaced with a new copy. But preservation is a large part of what they're about.

    Also, they're huge into making their collection digitally accessible.

    A library after my own heart! *swoon*

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    Day 54: And so it begins again.

    Let it be known: Today was the beginning of the end of the first half of my first year of library school.

    My last cataloguing class.

    Cue the over-dramatic sobs.

    Seriously though, I liked cataloguing. And if I ever have a labelmaker and a bunch of free time, I'm totally going to Dewey-decimalize my entire non-fiction book collection. And if it's that much free time, I may just do the same to my fiction.

    Because, yes: I am that much of a nerd.

    Looking even further forward than the mere end of semester...

    Work wanted to know my holiday plans to get December/January tentatively scheduled, so I had to actually check over my schedule for next semester.

    Lesson 52: 3 weeks off for Christmas, and four-day weekends all semester.

    I thought I only had 2 weeks off for Christmas, but I've actually got post-New Years recovery time!

    I feel like I planned really well! Or... well, we'll see how I feel about that when next semester rolls around.

    All my classes crammed into two days, with no breaks, makes me feel like every day of school next semester is going to be like my Wednesdays... Except even more condensed. Rather than class from 8:35-5:25 with leisurely lunch 'n library breaks, it'll be 8:35-2:25 with no breaks but the ones my profs give me.

    Better start packing lunches more consistently!

    Also, I guess the posting is going to become very sparse next month... The only days that will count as a day of library school will be my exam days. And I'll really just be a rain cloud those days.

    Unless I can reign that in to provide an analysis of the difficulty of the exam in question and the apparent effectiveness of my studying... Hmmmm...

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Day 53: Old man yells at cloud

    Or more accurately, young woman yells at internet.

    Same difference.

    My internet has been generally uncooperative all day. In fact, it has been for a couple weeks, it's just gotten worse. I'm not sure if this is a sign that my computer is dying, or that the internet quality in my area is just that bad. Could just be both.

    In any case, as a result, I probably won't be able to publish this until tomorrow. But them's the waters.

    Today's lesson is actually entirely unrelated to my rage against the (interconnected) machine(s).

    Lesson 51: Google keeps a fully accessible archive of all its past Google Doodles, including the interactive ones, so you can go revisit, and play with, the best of the best in perpetuity. Including the PacMan one, and one of my all-time faves.

    And this is totally MLIS related! First of all, I found this while doing my Dialogoogle project for Information System Design while googling halfheartedly for Google. Which kind of makes me wonder if googling Google on Google is like dividing by zero... But also, archives! Even fun, seemingly frivolous things need archiving! Particularly when they're as gorgeous as a lot of Google Doodles have been.

    In fact, Google Doodles are so pretty, the Google store will even sell you some of them on t-shirts.

    You know, even despite this Dialogoogle project, which is designed to make us hate Google, I still love it.

    Can't take away my Google love!

    Another fun fact: Google actually works via Pigeon. But that doesn't mean displaying a picture of "parrots posing seductively in resplendent plumage" will have an effect on your site's ranking!

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Day 52: Cream Soda and American Internet

    I was going to write about how frustrated I am about how US-centric a ridiculous proportion of the internet is... but I feel like being frivolous today, so that's a lesson for another day.

    Lesson 50: "Acquaintance softens prejudices." -Aesop's Fables

    Since I've been living in Montreal, I've been disquieted by the fact that Crush cream soda is not pink here. Crush is pink back home, and I've never liked any clear cream sodas. Logically, I knew there probably wasn't any difference between the colours of Crush soda, but I still just didn't like it.

    This weekend, Crush was on sale at Pharmaprix and we needed a bunch of it for our pre-Yule Ball Butterbeer tasting, which turned out absolutely delicious.

    And now, I find I don't mind the clear Crush.

    Now if anyone reading this will be in Montreal this Saturday, you should come to the Quidditch Team's Yule Ball! It's only 5$ and is going to be fantastic fun!

    I have a bunch of tickets to sell, so if you want to come I can totally hook you up!

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Day 51: Legend of Korra? Quorra of Tron? Nope, Quora

    As much as I love "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and enjoyed "Tron", neither of those are the Korra/Quorra that I learned about today.

    Today, I learned about Quora. It's a very knowledge management oriented site, aiming to get information out of people's heads and onto the internet where it can be useful to others.

    Lesson 49: The Yahoo Answers format is not by necessity bad.

    It's not that I have a big problem with Yahoo Answers, it's just that there's so much trolling, and in some cases downright abuse, that it's not always worth sifting through to find answers, plus the ultra hierarchical subject structure can sometimes make it difficult to find what you're looking for.

    Quora uses a folksonomic system which allows for more discrete subjects and categories and easier natural searching and browsing. By folksonomic (pesky librarian vocabulary), I mean user-edited tagging, though Quora's is done in a more structured way than say, tagging in Delicious.

    Quora is basically a better, smarter Yahoo Answers. It's apparently very popular in Silicon Valley, and it is frequented by a lot of big names across many disciplines. Heck, J.J. Abrams was on answering questions in the moviemaking category while I was on this afternoon!

    There seems to be more moderation as well. Name-calling is not tolerated, and most of the responses are well reasoned, self-contained, and polite. It's more discourse than argument even in the touchier subject areas.

    There is a lot of really interesting and accessible write-ups about very specific, but common, scientific questions. I've been particularly enjoying the "cultural faux pas" section, it's quite interesting.

    Of course when I say that it's a better, smarter Yahoo answers, I suppose that should be modified with a "for now". Who knows how it might be destroyed when more people start trying to answer outside of their expertise and abusing the anonymous function. I've already seen one or two rather obnoxious homophobic and fatphobic responses, but nowhere near the levels of other forums, and mostly only in less fact, more opinion driven topics (ie/Etiquette).

    I really hope it stays awesome...

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Day 50: Slow Down Fast Talker

    Coming from a background in film production, I started really paying attention to how people speak in order to write better screenplays. It always struck me as odd how unnatural the speech feels in a lot of even the best written scripts, and I wanted to determine why that was, and how I could do it better.

    What I realized from this is that character's thoughts always come out way too well formed. Listening to actual people speak, they start, stop, rephrase and continue so many times that it wouldn't make any sense written down. That obviously shouldn't even be replicated in scripts because movies would wind up longer and even harder to understand. And when actual people speak, half the time they don't even use actual words. You wind up talking about that thingy that goes bzzt and *flail*. So only quirky characters on TV talk like actual people, like the Doctor. With his thingy that goes ding when there's stuff.

    So, I started trying to emulate "normal" characters, and speak in an articulated, well-formed, clear and concise manner. Because if I can't make my characters talk like actual people, I need to have actual people talk like characters. Which is I guess why I speak in movie quotes, song lyrics, rage comics and tvtropes. It also means that I tend to speak relatively slowly, unless you get me all excited about something, and I tend to think a lot before responding. And so I found this particular information terribly interesting...

    Lesson 48: People talk faster now than ever before.

    According to Ray Hull, a decade ago, most adults spoke at about 140 words per minute. That was already too fast for children to understand, which explains why I always needed my mom to give me instructions one at a time, as they can only process about 120 words per minute max. Now? Most people speak at 160-180 words per minute. With my sister, I presume, topping the scale at an average of 240 words per minute.

    Mr. Rogers apparently talked at about 124 words per minute.

    I clocked myself at 130 normally, and 250 when I talk as fast as I can.

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Day 49: WARNING! Cyborg puppies conspire to separate New Brunswick from Canada!

    Today was our first lab about Dewey Decimal in my Cataloguing class. I've always loved Dewey. I worked in a library, and I know how to find everything I could possibly want in a Dewey system without a catalogue. But having never learned it formally, I learned a great many things today about this odd, rather outdated, system.

    Lesson 47: Dewey Decimal Classification holds some very bizarre things to be true.

    These things include, but are not limited to:
  • all domesticated animals being technology. Mechanical puppies? Check!
  • a New Brunswick free Canada.
  • conspiracy theories being affiliated with computers.

    Actually, that last one's not really that odd, given the rise of conspiracy-culture fuelled by the internet.

    But my favourite thing about Dewey? This rap:

    Also, do you like the new picture of myself I've included along the right side? It's from our Quidditch Yule Ball Poster photo shoot last night, and I thought it'd be nice to actually have a good picture of myself on my blog... I'm normally the one behind the camera, so there are very few good pictures of me. And in this one I'm flying a broom! Huzzah!

    I edited it, but the photo credit goes to Lindsey P. Cameron, aka Widget.
  • Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Day 48: Death? Yeah, sounds about right...

    Lesson 45: Nut allergies are not to be trifled with.

    Lesson 46: While a peanut is actually a legume, tree nuts are actually split into 6 or 7 different families. So, allergy wise, you can have reactions to one family, multiple families or all of them, but if you're allergic to one nut in a family, you will be allergic to all the other nuts in that family. Or be similarly un-reactive to all of them.

    Which is why it was a bad idea of me to test out whether I have an allergy to chestnuts by eating a (absolutely delicious) chocolate-chestnut cupcake at the ACA bake sale (which was a huge success, btw). You see, I haven't had chestnuts at all really, and certainly not in any volume, or since I discovered my peanut allergy and started reacting to nuts.

    I didn't even know I was actually allergic to peanuts until high school, after a ridiculous few weeks of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for every lunch. That incident culminated in me having 3 such sandwiches in one day, and reacting terribly (itching, hives, breathing issues... everything). I haven't eaten peanuts since. At least not intentionally, and I don't really react to small amounts.

    But I've eaten walnuts, pecans and almonds and have no reaction to any of them. Which makes sense to me now, as most people who are allergic to nuts aren't actually allergic to almonds, and walnuts and pecans are both from the same family. I've been noticing a small reaction to cashews, which are with pistachios in the mango family. And my mouth itches a bit if I eat nutella or kitkat bars, which means I'm probably allergic to hazelnuts, filberts and hickory nuts, but like I'm about to stop eating kitkat bars and nutella! I've never noticed a reaction to macadamia nuts, which are apparently a family of their own, or brazil nuts, from the family legythis, that I'm aware of.

    But really, I always thought a "nut allergy" was more of an all or nothing thing. Not a you might be allergic to these ones over here, but have no reaction to those ones over there kind of deal.

    And now I know, nuts from the beech family, such as beechnuts and chestnuts, are 100% painfully off the table.

    All it took was a numb mouth transitioning to tingling and onto painful, watering eyes, itchy throat, headache, exhaustion, nausea, and finally itching from the inside out.


    Worth it. If only for that cupcake.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Day 47: Flattery will get you everywhere

    This is more of a PSA than a true lesson...

    In the past few weeks, I've seen a lot of my friends being stepped on entitled people, demanding they do things for them and behaving as though my friends are in the wrong for turning them down. So I suppose it's about time I confronted this one.

    Lesson 44: Entitlement will get you nowhere.

    I had work today, and I've dealt with some people overstepping their bounds before, being demanding , but today I had some right peaches.

    We usually give out headphones, either earbud or the kind that clip over your ears. But they're very popular. We ran out of earbuds a while ago, and ever since, I've had a lot of people ask me "don't you have the kind that go in your ears?" when I hand them the clippy ones. Usually, their reaction to this disappointment is reasonable. "Oh well, thank you for these ones!" though I did have a few who acted like it was a personal affront to them that we would dare try to give them the clip-on headphones rather than the earbuds.

    Now, we're out of both, have been since sometime last week. Headphones are an easily forgotten item, and people know that they can just get new ones from us, so we go through them quick. But today, when someone asked for some and I had none to give, while I was already in the middle of helping someone else, instead of a "oh, too bad, thanks anyways" or similar answer, I get a sighing, exasperated "Still?" followed by an eyeroll and "Fine, I guess I'll go see if another library has them."

    If you are asking someone for a favour, don't expect them to do it. You are not entitled to it; they are doing you a favour. When you act like that, you don't engender a desire in that person to help you in the future.

    I feel like I shouldn't have to wish University students would ask nicely and be polite. At our age, it should be a given.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Day 46: Next time... I'll be deadly serious. Next time!

    I didn't make it to class today, we weren't even back in town until 6, so at that point, it was really "how quickly can I get home? How long can I sleep?"

    I mean, what an amazing, whirlwind weekend!

    Honestly, I hardly feel like we were in NYC at all. I mean, it's New York City! Big, epic, distinctive! But I didn't see any of that. I didn't see any of the things I remember from my last trip; the churches, Lady Liberty, The Empire State Building, Times Square, Broadway.... I saw Randall's Island and the small strip of the city we cut through to get to it. So I don't feel like I was in New York City, but because I know I was, I'm starting to actually comprehend it as a place people live that isn't really that different from Toronto or Montreal, except in scale.

    Maybe that's weird, or maybe I didn't phrase it well, but I hope you understand. New York City is finally becoming reality to me instead of myth.

    But that's besides the point. The real story is the Cup! And honestly, the Quidditch World Cup could only have been better if a Canadian team had wound up winning it! It was fantastic!

    At the North edge of the Athlete's Village, we created Canada Corner: U of Ottawa, Carleton, UVic and McGill all snuggled together. Though Ryerson didn't come join us, we had the bulk of the Canadian teams chillin' together. We even had a Canada v Canada scrimmage, followed by a massive Canada v USA dodgeball game. Canada lost. Mostly because people kept wandering onto the American side and joining in, whereas we started with pretty much all the possible Canadian players on the field from the start (and Vermont... the honorary Canadians?).

    I reffed SO MANY games... it was really fun! I even reffed one that the Finnish team were playing, so while I didn't see them at all through the rest of the weekend, I did get to see them once.

    Everyone loved my little suit, sweater vest and all! I was really surprised at how many comments I got about it. My clothes never get commented on, so it was rather shocking to me... Is that what normally happens to people when they put more thought into their clothes than "clean jeans, nifty t-shirt"? My monopod/walking stick even added an extra layer of awesome class to my getup. I managed to resist the urge to buy a wand, Ravenclaw tie and broom to complete the nerditude; but maybe I should have just caved... I did get myself Deathly Hallows earrings though. They're gorgeous!

    As for game play, McGill lost the first game against South Florida (SFU), but won all the other games in their pool (SLU, America's Finest and The Silver Phoenixes [Texas A&M B-squad]). Oh America's Finest Quidditch Club... In their stars&stripes soccer socks and Uncle Sam jerseys, with all their smack talk about Canadian teams being maple-syrup guzzling mudbloods, and with their apparent attempt to accrue the largest possible number of yellow cards over the course of the weekend... well, watching McGill thrash them was particularly satisfying to see. SLU and The Silver Phoenixes were both solid competitors, and we had invigorating matches which we ultimately won. SFU was a really good competition, and a very disappointing loss for us. I hate overtime decisions in every sport, and particularly for it to be our first game of the tournament...

    Coming out second in our pool (with AFQC being last), we went on to single elimination. We thought we were supposed to play Arizona State, but after a bracketing issue, our "match" became nothing but a big ol' hug fest in the centre of the field! Instead, we wound up playing Penn State, and winning. So we moved on to playing Florida. It was an intense, well matched game, but ultimately, they won by a snitch catch and moved onto the quarter finals.

    After a "beach-weather in Canada" run sans-shirts by a few of the Canadian team members (mostly from McGill), all the Canadian teams went to the Stadium for the final games in a rousing procession with a snare drum in front and everyone holding their brooms like rifles. We were cheered by other teams the whole way, and finished our procession with O Canada as we got to the stadium where there was a crowd watching us arrive. We all sat together to watch the final games; first Alumni Allstars, then Minnesota v Florida (Florida won), then Middlebury v Texas A&M (Middlebury won), and finally Florida v reigning champions Middlebury. An impromptu painting of "MIDDLEBURY" across a few McGill chests and stomachs, many cheers of "Status Quo" and a few too many stretchers on the field for my tastes later, Middlebury emerged champions for the fifth year running.

    Hopefully next year, McGill be the ones to end their streak.

    Fingers crossed!

    [Note: videos of all the games I have mentioned, except Alumni Allstars, will be available to watch on my youtube channel in the next week or so. Starting with McGill v AFQC. For now, you can watch the footage from the Canadian Cup which is now available to the public.]

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Day 45: We, we, we, we so excited...


    I am so ridiculously excited, you have no idea... Quidditch, reffing, filming, party busses, sleepovers... WORLD CUP!!!!


    All the work that needs to be done is done. I am ready to go to the World Cup for a weekend, ignore the fact school exists for a few days and get Quidditch-crazy!

    But of course, we're basically at parity right now (dollar-wise) but all the banks are closed for Remembrance Day. That means no money exchange for Veronica. Sad panda.

    Anyways, I'm skipping the lesson again today in favour of a few fun facts in honour of the World Cup!

    Fun Fact #1: Butterbeer, the delicious warming beverage enjoyed by Hogwarts students visiting Hogsmeade, actually existed and was quite popular in the Tudor courts. It was a warmed, almost mulled, nog-like mixture of beer, eggs, butter, sugar and spices. I have a recipe for it from 1588 that I'm going to try out next week. However, J.K. Rowling states that she "made up" Butterbeer and imagines that it tastes like a "less sickly butterscotch", so Tudor Butterbeere isn't exactly what she had in mind.

    Fun Fact #2: This year's World Cup is legitimately international! Not only are teams coming from across the United States and Canada, but also from Finland! Argentina and New Zealand! [edit: Argentina and New Zealand couldn't make it... :( maybe next year...]

    Fun Fact #3:  Despite being a big enough fan of the series to have gone to every midnight book release, play Quidditch, get an advanced Beta-account for Pottermore, and have my granddad make me a wand (which I lost a few years ago at Barber Scout Camp in Guelph, to my greatest regret) I do not actually own the books... I read the copies that were given to, and bought by, my sister. But I never got my own copies; until they were released in French paperback. So I've read all the books in French and English, prefer them in English, but only own them in French.

    You can keep up with all the World Cup action from the comfort of your own home with Muggle Net's Snitch Center! Watch streaming games, keep up with the scores, peruse player profiles, and check out the rankings (McGill currently sits at the #7 team... IN THE WORLD). Games start tomorrow morning after a 9AM opening parade.

    Well, I have my camera, clothes, warm winter wear, a bag full of Dollarama candy and a sack full of Montreal-style bagels. I am good to go!

    I'll be out of contact while I'm south of the border, so have a good one! I'll talk to you when I'm home!

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Day 44: The age of not.... procrastinating

    Anyone who gets where my mind went in that title is either awesome, or just watches way too many old children's movies. On the other hand, Angela Lansbury is fantastic!

    Yesterday, I got a lot of marks back, and was surprised to find just how well I did... B+ on that midterm of fail that I was only sure about 50% of the answers on; A on the database that exploded on us the night before it was due.

    I can live with results like that!

    And the midterm this morning in cataloguing wasn't nightmarish at all!

    What a good lead-up to the World Cup! Lets hope this kind of good luck carries over to my team's chances of winning!

    But anyways, today's lesson is rather personal again. A know thyself kind of tidbit...

    Lesson 43: Group work is the best way to keep me from procrastinating.

    Group work will not stop me from procrastinating, but because it requires more structured advanced due dates that hold me accountable to someone other than myself, I do get things done in advance in a way I don't when I work alone. I suppose the trick is that I'm at risk of disappointing others, whereas when I set due dates for myself, I'm the only one I disappoint. And I do that enough as it is, so it doesn't really matter.

    I just need to come up with a way to get that to carry over to non-group work...

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Day 43: Projects and Midterms? What, again?

    No lesson today except business.

    2 project meetings today and a midterm tomorrow morning to study for.

    That's my second midterm in that class. I am unimpressed.

    Rageface of the day is: Are You Kidding Me? (warning: link contains colourful language and probably some general NSFW-ness. Reading the whole site may also lead to understanding a lot more of what I say... dangers abound.)

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Day 42: The Meaning of Life, The Universe and Everything

    Unfortunately, absolutely nothing Douglas Adams related has happened to me today, despite it being my 42nd day at library school. Well... not counting most Fridays... to be honest, this count isn't as accurate as it could be, so 42 was probably a while ago. Given that I only have school Monday, Wednesday Thursday, but generally post Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

    Oh well, as with most categorization, I'm just going to have to accept that my numbering is essentially arbitrary and consistency is key. Which is basically the lesson that I'm finally starting to realize is behind every class I've had.

    Lesson 42: Accuracy is irrelevant. Consistency is key.

    I've always been a big stickler for accuracy. (Truth, beauty, freedom, love!) So this is a hard lesson for me to take to heart and really enact. But I've realized how much I've been doing it already without knowing, so maybe it won't be nearly as hard as I think it will.

    Today, I go clothing shopping. I need to fill this craving for tweed and vests, and if I don't come out of this looking like a female version of Giles, I will have failed. Wish me luck, fashion idol!

    "uh, yes. Well. Good luck!"

    Proud of me, Giles? I probably won't wear it with the tie often...

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Day 41: Grad Students Have No Standards

    My lesson today was courtesy of the one and only ACA McGill Student Chapter President/ProQuest ProFessional.

    Lesson 41: Grad students have, and will, write about everything. Even boycotting McDonalds with accordions.

    If you are doing a project about something and are getting discouraged because you can't find any literature on the topic, and you are completely out of ideas for sources; just search through theses and dissertations. You will find what you need, guaranteed!

    Completely unrelated lesson of the day: I am the industry standard size to be a plus-sized model. Though I suppose I'm still not tall enough...

    I had always thought that "plus-sized" models were Marilyn Monroe plus-sized; size 12-14, really the lowest end of sizing for any plus-sized line of clothes I've ever seen. But in a twist for the ridiculous, I discovered in the uproar about Lizzi Miller's nude photo in Glamour that she is actually too big to model even plus-sized lines, at size 12-14. They actually want their plus-sized models to be basically incapable of fitting any plus-sized clothes properly; they want girls sized 8-10. Maximum size for a "regular" model? 4-6. Essentially a single size difference.

    I looked it up, and most plus-sized lines I found actually start at 14-16.

    I mean really, the hell is this?

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Day 40: 3 days in, 300 words behind.

    Ya, I'm already falling behind in NaNoWriMo. Maybe I can catch up after I've finished all my researching and annotating and presenting. Maybe not. We shall see.

    I'm hesitant to use the lesson I had decided upon today, at the risk of speaking too soon. But then again, I said that I liked cataloguing, and that has stayed true enough. Consider this as an extension of that lesson.

    Lesson 40: Designating subject headings is not as difficult or daunting as I was afraid it would be.

    It feels very logical to me, and it just makes sense. I imagine it will be harder when I'm trying to do it from a hard copy list in the quiz than it is when I'm using the fully searchable LC subject headings catalog, but I rather like it.

    It's like compromising a need to complete a search. It's something my brain does automatically. I look at a title, I have a question, and I immediately break them down into their component parts. In some ways it just allows me to classify them in my memory and remember them better; "Oh yes, that book! The one about women's psychology and its application to healthcare, it's right over here..." or "I have often wondered that myself! Why just the other day...". But it also allows me to optimize a google search at lightning speed, and apparently, to divine subject headings with relative ease.

    Although, why isn't it more helpful with Dialog?

    Ugh, Dialog. The love-hate relationship I have with that thing.

    There's a lesson for another day. "Be Careful What You Wish For".

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Day 39: Stressed? Maybe?

    I've had a revelation a long time coming. Kind of a slow boil, and now that I really understand it, I'm surprised it took me so long to fully comprehend.

    Lesson 39: Being busy is not the same as being stressed.

    In undergrad, looking back, I wasn't particularly busy. In fact, I was less and less busy the closer to the end I got. But I was perpetually stressed. My living arrangements, food quality, work or lack thereof and resulting money difficulty, school, lack of exercise, the very real worry that York would pull something on me and I wouldn't graduate, constantly being on edge for the next thing to go wrong, having no social life to speak of and being too far from any possibility of activities (6-10$ and an hour by transit as a minimum), it all meant that I was just a big, painful ball of stress. I felt like if I took anything extra on, the stress would kill me.

    Compare that with now. I'm living within walking distance of nearly everything I want to do, in a good, un-infested apartment that I'm paying reasonable rent for. I'm eating in an appropriate and satisfying manner. I have work, it's not much, but it's something. School is intense, but things going wrong now feels like a rarity instead of an inevitability, and I feel like I'm working with a much more supportive administration. I play Quidditch, which takes up a lot of time, but it's physical and provides a fantastic social aspect. I really feel connected to, and involved with my classmates; I feel included. I get invited to events, and I actually feel like I can attend them. Even on a whim. Even as a split-second decision. And now, I'm even writing NaNoWriMo (there's an excerpt if you follow that link).

    I am so very busy! I don't know that I could take on anything extra right now. But I don't feel stressed. I feel stressed only when things go wrong, like my database of doom debacle.

    Stress is a sign that things are going wrong, I think, at least for me. Stress and anxiety go hand in hand and they feed on one another and spiral you down.

    But I'm not actually stressed. I'm busy.

    And busy makes me happy.


    Something I couldn't find anywhere to fit in, here's a quote from my Information and Society class where we were discussing Information and Communication Technologies:

    "Cloud computing sounds lovely, doesn't it? Care Bears live on clouds!" - Carolyn Hank

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Day 38: A Day Late on Group Work

    So far, my first year of Library school has been very nearly exclusively group work. Group presentations, group creation of authority records, group creation of a bibliographic database, group annotated bibliographies, group research... you get the idea.

    Most of these groups have been small, easy to organize, voluntary and efficient.

    However, that kind of luck can only hold out so long... in my case, that was until yesterday.

    A larger group, chattering with nervousness, all concerned about completely different issues, is like hitching horses to a cart pointed in opposite directions. Everyone gets worn out quickly and no one gets anywhere.

    Lesson 38: I can be a better leader than I ever give myself credit for.

    This is something I need to remind myself of, and more importantly, it can be true of just about everyone.

    Just breathe, and look at the big picture. That was the only way I was able to get our (supposed to be) half hour group meeting done in under 2 hours. The solution I found was to go through and write down everything that needed to be done without, and this is the part my group seemed to have the most trouble with, worrying about who was doing what. Every time we got sidetracked with that, the group energy would just shoot off into a worry spiral. But focusing just on what needed to be done, we got a whole picture of everything that we could then slice up between us and ensure that the work was divided equally.

    I just wish I could have executed that solution sooner.

    Add that meeting to the list of things that should be followed by a stiff drink...

    Speaking of... apparently, grades for the database and the database quiz are up... I just really don't want to look at them. Some lesson this week will probably wind up related to that special kind of doom.

    Turns out that's just for the other section. I get to live in ignorance and stay in the program just a little bit longer [/unnecessary theatrics, melodrama and exaggeration]