Saturday, March 31, 2007


I did it!!!! Yesterday! Comps are OVER!!!

What a relief!

Actually, they weren't that bad -- although I could still barely drag myself out of bed today. Academically, the test was not that hard. But I still feel emotionally exhausted, because they make such a big deal out of it. They have been hammering it into us -- CompsCompsComps -- since before school even started, since Orientation.

They make it a bigger deal than it actually is. They want it to be a rite of passage, which I guess it is anyway -- something to make us feel we've actually earned that degree, our "union card," as my old boss called it.

Well, it's better than writing a thesis. I would have had serious doubts about attending this program if that had been required. I don't like the thesis. I had a bad experience.

One of my coworkers at Middleton told me that her final project at her library school (which I think was San Jose State) was to create an online portfolio. THis was a few years ago, when having a Website was still a big deal. That's big project -- but it's one you can actually put to use when you're done.

Anyway, the test was four hours long -- two hours in the morning, and two in the afternoon. There were two questions to answer in the morning, and our choice of two out of three in the afternoon.

The first question was about Internet filtering. I was actuallyon the Filtering Committee at NOPL, so that one was a cakewalk for me. I figure, if you mentioned the Children's Internet Protection Act by name, you were OK.

The second question required us to describe an ethical challenge, and our response to it. So I described challenged books in the public library. Again, not hard.

In the afternoon, the first question was about free-text searching versus a controlled vocabulary, as in a periodical database like ERIC. I didn't answer that question, because I liked --

-- the second question better, which was "What is metadata?" And we were specifically constrained from giving the fifty-cent answer, "data about data." But since I am currently taking a class called "XML, Markup, & Metadata," I was all over that. I wrote about administrative, sctructural, and descriptive metadata.

The final question required us to describe how we would market our library -- any library of our choice, real or theoretical. Also to discuss whether libraries should be marketed at all, and why or why not. I wrote about NOPL and how I would market it as a resource and cultural center for the citizenry of New Orleans during the recovery process.

I really liked that answer. I wish I could have a copy of it. But we aren't allowed to see our tests again. In fact I have been told they will be destroyed after grading.

But anyway, it's done now, and man I'm glad. Major hurdle surmounted. Myhusband took me to The Melting Pot, the fondue restaurant, last night to celebrate. With champagne. Another reason, I guess, I'm so tired. But a tiredness well earned.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

We're on a Road to Nowhere ...

Just as I remember I have to update the blog, I find this on

Road to Nowhere

Another installment of Blake Bailey's post-K misadventures! This time dealing with the godawful "Road Home" program, which I have dissed elsewhere.

I feel great kinship with this guy, who lived in my old neighborhood, Gentilly. And who, the poor bastard, had only lived in his new house for about a month before the storm.

The DH and I have not even applied for the Road Home, figuring it was a pretty sure bet that, given our situation, we would get no money at all, and figuring it was hardly worth it to endure those endless bureaucratic hassles to get ... nothing. But a lot of other people have been hanging on in their FEMA trailers, hoping for that award money, and they are getting pretty desperate.

Last week Governor Blanco finally realized that most of South Louisiana personally blames her for the slow-motion trainwreck of the Road Home (she did insist on putting her name on it after all) and wisely bowed out of the upcoming gubernatorial race. No way on God's earth she could win. But I don't think falling on her sword will make all those trailer denizens feel any better.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Ten Small Things I Love for No Reason

A meme I got from blogger Dianne Sylvan. What a nice way to fill out my thirty days.

1. Iced coffee.

2. The way my little cat C. leans against me when she visits me in bed.

3. The sound and feel of the word "Decatur" in my mouth.

4. The smell of sweet olive.

5. Sleeping late.


7. The smell and feel of the paper of a new book.

8. Barnes & Noble (In real life, not online).

9. My office chair, which my husband gave me for Christmas. I finally have a decent office chair.

10. A new gel pen to write with.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I had bad dreams, and I woke up this morning with such a feeling of foreboding. I dreamt we lost our little cat C., at a Mardi Gras parade, and no one would help me look for her. I was furious and inconsolable. Horrible dream.

I know I dreamt this because one of my friend's cats went missing recently, so it was in my head, but it still felt awful. Dreams are not just about their surface content after all.

And now, I have to say goodbye to my husband. Hos new job in NOLA starts much earlier in the AM, so he really needs to go down Sunday night -- the traffic is just too awful in peak travel time on Monday mornings. Wow, it is so much worse to have to say goodbye to him at night instead of in the morning. In the morning, I too am busy, getting ready to go to school and work. I have a full day ahead of me. At night, I just sit here ... all alone.

I am so ready for this separation to be over and for us to be together again. I am eager to get finished with school, move back in with my husband, and get back to work and a normal life again.

I take my comprehensive exams this week. I feel good about them; in fact I had to ask my husband to stop asking me if I was studying for them, because he was making more nervous than I had to be. (I am, of course, but as the profs keep telling us, we would have to be brain-dead not to understand this stuff by now.)

But I'll be glad when they're over. A major hurdle crossed on the way to the end of all this.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


The DH and I just watched the Mike Judge movie Idiocracy on DVD -- a movie that, upon completion, was buried by its own distribution company because of its inflammatory content.

I'm no fan of censorship, of course, but I can see why the corporate suits chickened out on this flick. An unabashed screed for eugenics, it imagines a future United States where the intelligent don't breed enough and the unwashed do, and we end up with a country where the President is an ex-professional wrestler named Hector Mountain Dew Camacho, everyone walks around wearing clothing plastered with corporate logos, and they water the crops with Gatorade.

It's no Office Space, for sure, but it does have some funny gags -- like the cliched establishing shot of Washington, DC, the Washington Monument towering over its reflecting pool -- but the Monument is lopsided and the pool is full of morons on Jet skis.

It's out on DVD now, even though it got no theatrical release -- so if you want a chance to stick it to The Man, do like I did and go buy this flick. The future may thank you!

Friday, March 23, 2007


Today read in the LSU paper, the Daily Reveille about the sad case of my fellow graduate student, Ann Gregory, who is battling a rare and virulent form of leukemia, and also her insurance agency, which won't pay for the bone marrow transplant that is the only chance of saving her life. It's awful; one day she was fine, and the next, they're telling her she has less than a year to live.

You can go to her blog, here:, and donate toward her transplant surgery. Her family is trying to raise the money themselves, since the insurance won't pay.

What is even sadder, when you go to the donation site, you find that there are hundreds of other people trying to raise money for their cancer treatments, organ transplants, and other heroic surgeries. Just tragic to see. It shouldn't be like that in the US.

I believe in socialized medicine. I realize, of course, that a one-payer system means that there has to be triage, and many people would never receive these kinds of high-tech surgeries. But if everyone had access to a doctor, and there was more emphasis one wellness and preventive care, maybe some of these conditions could have been nipped in the bud.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Librarian: Quest for the Degree

Today two undergraduates told me they had never come into the library before because they were "afraid of it."

Don't be afraid of the library!" I exclaimed. They just stared at me with big googly eyes, shaking their heads. "It's so big!" one of them whispered.

I don't think I was very successful at assuaging their fears. I just couldn't relate. I loved the library as an undergraduate; I would hang out there for fun. I would randomly search the OPAC, which back then was called LISA or maybe ALIS, looking up forbidden terms like "drugs" and "magic," just to see what I would get. (What I got was a book on the shamanistic use of the psilocybe mexicana mushroom in Central America, which I used to write a paper for Botany class.) I would look up notorious books like Mein Kampf and Tropic of Cancer, and then go look at them on the shelves, just to see them. I browsed the shelves on history, science and religion, marvelling at the wealth of books that had never been available to me before -- serious books, rare books -- grown-up books.

And yet if was almost ten years after I graduated that I finally ended up in a library, and found work I loved to do. In retrospect, maybe I should have realized my destiny sooner.

I daresay those undergraduates aren't going to grow up to become librarians. Poor things.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thirty in Thirty

I need to be more assiduous about updating this blog, so to jumpstart that, I am following the lead of some of my fellow bloggers, and committing to thirty posts in thirty days. Thirty in Thirty. Thank you, Bloggers Anonymous.

So, for my first post, I find this at Nagin calls diaspora racial plot.

Nice! I can't speak to the racial makeup of NOLA right now, as I am not there to see for myself, and all of the post-K published statistics are highly dubious. But I will say this:

Nagin is the mayor. If the recovery is slow, it is his fault. It is his waffling, his conflict avoidance, his absenteeism -- his lack of leadership that has allowed the city to languish as it has. Not all his fault -- its not his fault the Road Home is such a mess, for example. But he has certainly not gone to bat for the people on that issue. It is mostly his fault.

The Mayor of New Orleans has a great deal of power under the city charter, far more than in other cities. Nagin has squandered that with his inaction and his foolish speechifying.

Nagin is a disaster. He needs to be recalled.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In the news today ...


New Orleans got defective flood pumps - U.S. Life -

The piece says the suspect pumps have not bee used yet, so they don't even know how bad it's going to be.

I'm supposed to come back to this?