Feb 09

Seems lately all I do are weekend updates

I blame school.

Had a more active weekend than the last. Friday night I had dinner with YP and some of our former co-workers. We went to Tillman’s, which was really nice – beautiful atmosphere, nice music, yummy food and drinks. It was freezing that night so I had a hot toddy, and for dinner I had the chicken sandwich. Yum!

It was fun catching up with the gals. I got some gossip about my old boss. I think I’ve written that he was demoted (’bout time), and somehow he found himself a new position on a different team. Apparently he’s traveling to London soon, and is being extremely neurotic about it. Poor LG, who was his secretary and is now just helping him out till he gets a new one, has suffered the brunt of it.

He’s afraid to fly and so changed his flight a couple of times (once because he thought the plane was too old), and keeps asking LG questions like, “How do I get to my hotel from the airport? What if I only have American money?” Dude, you’re going to LONDON, not the Amazon rainforest. And it’s not like he hasn’t traveled before.

Also, I heard some dirt about another former co-worker, who was a secretary at the same time I was and interested in moving up the way I did – well, she was interested in moving up, but much more passively. The way I did it assess what needed to be done that nobody wanted to do, and just go ahead and take over those “orphaned” projects, which were usually lower profile and less “sexy” anyway, but I didn’t care. She just kept asking managers for work, and they would end up giving her the work I was already doing (and which I had cleared with my boss, who was the head of the whole group). There was a lot of stepping on toes.

I got promoted before she did, but she never asked me for advice. She’d go to her own managers, which was fine, but they didn’t know anything about how to make that jump from secretar to manager. Or she’d go to WG, who was the budget coordinator and my pal, and who kept saying, “Why don’t you talk to Anna?” since I was on the exact career trajectory that she wanted to be on. But she never did.

She just couldn’t get promoted, despite having her MBA. So she left for a managerial position at another company. I was genuinely happy for her. But now I’ve heard that she’s unhappy and has contacted WG about positions here.

Part of me feels bad for her, but part of me is pointing and saying, “Ha ha!” The Marvin part of me apparently.

I got back pretty early, around 9. Later MB and I saw a midnight movie, the New York premiere of Chocolate. It was really good! I mean, the plot was sorta dumb, but it was awesome to see a woman kick ass repeatedly. As usual, the hipster audience was annoying, laughing at unfunny parts.

Saturday we kept missing things. We were all set to go to ComicCon, but the tickets were sold out! They had been available the night before. Should have gotten them online. Then that night we were all set to see Coraline, but when we got to the theater, it was sold out. :( MB didn’t feel like seeing anything else so we took advantage of the nice night and walked home.

Sunday was all about school. Last week I was really good and finished all my homework for Sunday by Friday so I could do my reading for Monday over the weekend. In class on Sunday, we went over our library profiles. I picked my company’s digital library (there is no physical one here in New York, only at another site), and he didn’t get that. He said, “You want to do this?” I don’t really care what library I do, but I’m annoyed that I put in all that work that I now have to do over.

He didn’t come out and say, “Don’t do a digital library,” but I think that’s his feeling, though there are just as many collection management issues with online resources. So I guess I’ll switch to something else.

Tonight’s class should be pretty mellow. The management reading feels familiar so far. I guess I’ve been living management for the past several years. But it’s helpful to see it written in formal terms, and how it can be applied to libraries.

Having three classes is tough! With two I could totally slack and go for days without doing any work. Now I’m doing homework basically every day. But it’ll be over in a few months.

Jan 09

Leveraging verbal communication for educational session utilization

So I’ve switched up my classes a bit.

Originally I was signed up for Human Information Behavior, the one that met on Wednesdays at 3:30. Well, this past Wednesday rolled around, and I had every intention of going, but then it was 1, and suddenly I really really didn’t want to go. Partly I hated the rushed feeling of chopping my day short, and partly it was imagining walking back into that room with ~25 students sitting in a stupid circle, and going over the incredibly boring readings we were assigned.

The readings were basically user studies, from literature review to methodology to conclusions (well, sometimes). Typical of academic research papers, and what we would be expected to replicate in our group (yuck) projects. And it all left me with a bad feeling. Maybe because the papers we read were so boring, or because of the group aspect. Or maybe because I didn’t know anyone in that class, and occuring in the afternoon, it had a different vibe than a night class, in which you know everyone has a full-time job.

Or I’m just lazy. Whatever the reason, that Wednesday afternoon I decided to drop that class and pick up another, which is on Thursday nights.

In a way this class is similar to Wednesday’s: it’s more theoretical, specifically about how media and the design of things shape and affect our lives. It’s pretty loosey-goosey – our only assignment is a project on basically anything we want – and there are just eight people in the class. But I think it will at least be interesting, and a good contrast to my other two more pragmatic classes.

I am not 100% clear on what the project is – I think basically it’s a designing a research study on some hypothesis. Initially I thought maybe I’d do something on how certain advertising affects the behavior of a certain part of the population, or maybe something about celebritydom and how though people may snark about celebrities, they still talk about them.

Then it occured to me that maybe I could do something on corp speak, and how it shapes the corporate environment, or vice versa.

When I started at my company as a secretary, I didn’t know corp speak. I’d hear the managers talking – “We can leverage learnings from that initiative to create synergies with key stakeholders” – and think, What the hell are they talking about? The language created a division between those in the club (managers) and those outside (secretaries).

But then I got promoted and started going to more and more meetings (the phenomenon of meetings could be a research topic too), and slowly started to learn this new language. Now a few years later, I’m totally fluent.

When I speak of it, I’m very conscious of it, and can toggle back and forth between corp speak and regular English – though sometimes unconsciously I bring it home. MB hates it when I say, “I reached out to that person,” instead of just “I talked to him,” or “I emailed him.” I wonder if other people are as conscious of it too.

It’s not just overblown words that don’t mean anything, but cliched catch phrases like, “At the end of the day,” and “Walk the walk and talk the talk.” Another one I hate is using “utilize” instead of just, well, “use.” And capitalizing things that don’t need to be capitalized.

But I know that people listen more when I talk corp speak; I’m taken more seriously. And as a communications person, I have to use it all the time.

I’m not sure what kind of study I could do. I’ll have to think about it more.

There is one guy in the class who’s super annoying. He wears a scarf indoors and kept dropping names like Nietzsche and Kierkegaard and Hegel. Okay, we get it, you’re fucking smart. Or at least you think you’re smart. Then he kept talking about despair and suffering and angst. Why do I have a feeling that this guy has no idea what real suffering is?

We also talked about the idea of heroes, and the teacher asked if we had any, and I realized I don’t really. I mean, there are people I admire, like Madeleine L’Engle and Michael Chabon, but I wouldn’t call them my heroes. The only ones I’d consider my heroes are people who are close to me, who rose out of extenuating circumstances, not unscathed but strong and whole, and who, despite the past, face each day with joy.

Jan 09

Lunar New Year, sans dumplings

MB and I ended up at my parents’ this weekend, not really for the New Year but because their new TV arrived, and they needed help setting it up.

It was much easier than any of us anticipated. The old TV weighs a gazillion pounds. My parents wanted to put it in the next room, and my dad had the idea of dragging it on a sheet. MB thought this would ruin the carpet and that we’d have to carry it, which made me nervous cuz I had a hard enough time just helping to bring it down from its stand to the floor.

But the sheet thing worked! The TV seemed to weigh nothing as we dragged it away.

The new set of course weighs much less so MB was able to set that up on his own. Then he hooked up all the cables, and boom! we were done. We spent the rest of the afternoon watching stuff, going, “Woooow!” and “Look at that!” and bumping our hands against the screen trying to grab at things we thought were real.

My mom as usual cooked a good dinner, though with no dumplings since she usually makes them with pork and MB isn’t a fan of the other white meat (unless it’s in the form of bacon).
365 days of dinner, day 55: chinese new year dinner

My fave was the salmon.

We left around 9 and got back to our place at 11.

School the next day! :( But I think this is going to be a very relaxed class. We spent the first hour going around the room, introducing ourselves and saying where we wanted to work eventually. On top of the, the teacher asked questions and would sometimes launch into these stories. I thought, Are we going to learn anything today?

He spent the second half lecturing on the history of collection management, but still let us out about 50 minutes early. I expected the lecture to be much longer but suddenly he was letting us go. Ah well.

My Human Information Behavior class on Wednesdays will be a lot more work. Group work, blech. When I walked in last week, I saw that the chairs had been arranged in a circle, and immediately thought, Oh GREAT, this is going to be one of *those* classes. It might be, but the teacher seems to have a good head on her shoulders, though she did drag out the end of class by asking over and over if we had questions, and of course some brown noser would make something up.

What I like about my Sunday class is that I know quite a few people, and we can chat and have inside jokes and stuff. I don’t know anyone in Wednesday one. Normally I don’t care, but that just adds to the weirdness of that class. I’ll find out on 2/2 about my Monday class. That teacher is at the ALA midwinter meeting this week.

Tomorrow I have to go out to NJ again for work, but this time I’m taking a car dammit. Unfortunately I need to be there at 8 so my car is picking me up at 6:45. Ack, so painful.

There is a woman here who’s husband died suddenly a few weeks ago. She’s only in her early 30s, and he died of a brain aneurysm. I can’t even imagine what that’s like. Today is her first day back at work. That must be so weird. How do you deal with people coming up to you, asking you how you’re doing? What do you say? “Well my husband just died – how do you think I’m doing?” She sounds like she’s being very gracious. I mean, what else can you do.

Jan 09

The weekend thing

Too short though it was a three-day.

Saturday YP and I had our photo outing. The theme: Fairy Tales. In other words, use the pictures we take to depict a fairy tale, whether already existing or made up. A fun idea but it was frigging COLD! We’d last about 15 or 20 minutes, then would have to duck into a store or cafe. We ended up spending a lot of time at Chelsea Market.

The rest of the day, MB and I just hung out, him practicing and me reading and being a bum. It’s so hard to get out and do stuff when it’s in the single digits. All we ended up doing was grabbing some dinner at our favorite Italian place.

The next day I had my first day of class for the semester, Collection Development. Since it’s on a Sunday, the class has a cozy, relaxed feel. Plus the teacher is 83 years old (the first thing he told us) and from Iran, I think, so he has this cute accent. He seems smart and his assistant has organized the class well. The assignments are quite flexible. We have a long reading list, and are supposed to read whatever interests us, but at least two articles a week.

Since it was positively balmy out (low 30s), I ran some errands after class. Got sneakers for possible weekend workouts, new headphones from Virgin, and some groceries from the Asian grocery store.

That night MB and I hit Whole Foods, and he made chilean sea bass for dinner. The dish called for fennel sauteed in anchovy paste. We didn’t see the paste and used real anchovies, mashed up, and it came out delicious! The sea bass was a pain to cook though. It was so thick, it took forever, and then was very filling. Plus expensive! Like $20+ a pound. Next time we’ll go with a lighter, less expensive fish.

We’ve started watching Damages on Hulu. We like it, though the evil people seem a little too all-powerful. Glenn Close is very scary. I would hate to have her as a boss.

I hope I get a chance to see the inauguration today. I believe it’s at 11:30. Gonna try to dash down to the gym at that time, and watch on one of the TVs there.

Dec 08

Now it’s really over

Information Technologies class, that is.

Last night we gave our site visit presentations, which was immensely boring. By the time class ended, our group still hadn’t gone. Most of us were relieved, thinking we’d go next week, but then the professor said, “Who wants to stay late and finish the presentations and not have class next week?” Everyone but us raised their hands.

In the end though it was good to get it overwith. I was the very last one, and so everyone appreciated my going quickly.

It’s over, it’s over! WOOHOO!!!

I think I still have my other class next week, but like I’ve said before, that is not stressful.

Last week I had a mild panic attack. While waiting for the subway, I ran into one of my former classmates. We talked about our schedules for next semester, and she mentioned an internship.

“Is that required?” I asked. I didn’t think it was but wasn’t sure.

“Yes,” she said. “To graduate, yes it’s required.”

This threw me for a loop. I had already planned my next two semesters, which would have me done by next summer. How could I fit in an internship?

On the train ride home, I kept muttering, “It can’t be required, I don’t remember seeing it with the requirements,” while MB made some kind suggestions about getting an internship at my company, although our only “library” is online.

To be sure, I emailed the adminsitrative office, and yay! an internship is only required for a museum certificate. Whew! Of course an internship would probably be better since I have no job experience. But it’s also 150 hours over a few weeks, and working full time, it’s just not feasible.

I also finally figured out how to subscribe to my department’s listserv. I had tried it a couple of times, to no avail, but it turns out I kept putting the wrong command. Dehr.

I’ve really missed out on a lot not being on the listserv, mainly scholarships. You’d think they’d make this kind of information more readily available. Last week in class someone congratulated someone else on a huge scholarship she got, and I felt so out of the loop that I 1) didn’t know she had gotten it, and 2) hadn’t known about the scholarship so that I could have applied for it! I actually have no idea what or who the scholarship was for; I’m just competitive that way.

~ ~ ~

This weekend, aside from doing the site visit for my other class and writing the paper, MB and I saw Synecdoche, New York. I can’t decide if it was good or not. It was definitely interesting and I was never bored, but I don’t know if that was because the whole time I was trying to figure out what was going on. Overall I think it was too self-indulgent.

We also braved the cold and managed to run some errands, like getting a curtain to put between the kitchen and rest of the apartment (ie, bedroom/living room/study, all in one!). Not that it bothers me, but MB is often up late praciticing or computering. The curtain doesn’t block all the light, but it does somehow improve the apartment to have that subtle separation. Also got a little space heater since our heating is erratic. The cold doesn’t bother me, but MB is freezing most of the time.

This weekend I won’t really have any homework, just a few articles to read for next Thursday. What will I do with myself, and over the next four weeks??? It’ll be the longest break I’ve had from school in a whole year.

Mainly I need to finish up my manuscript, that’s for sure. I’ve been “finishing” it for a good year now. Also, I need to follow up with the two agents I wrote to, namely my teacher’s, and write to a bunch more.

MB will still be on break so I hope we spend some weekends just walking around, like we did last winter, if the weather isn’t too bad.

Dec 08

Yay, it’s over!

Not the semester, not yet, but our website presentation is over and done with.

It went fine overall. The first group got TORN APART. They didn’t follow a lot of his nit-picky instructions, and it was very hard to read (red type on black background). We ended up going last, and so knew the corrections we had to make and addressed them. Another group’s site looked beautiful, but at least ours was clear and easy to read.

One particularly ridiculous rule: we have these site visit presentations, and two groups, including ours, uploaded them as PDFs, which look JUST LIKE PowerPoint presentations. ALSO, the professor always does his presentations as PDFs. But for some reason he wants them as PowerPoints! His reasoning? So we can make corrections to it. But if we’ve uploaded them to the site, then they’re done, right? Everyone was very put out. “That’s just ridiculous!” one woman said. I think we were all just fed up with his weird rules that don’t make the websites any better.

Anyway, so our group has just a few corrections to make before we hand in the final version on Tuesday. Of course the old bat who can barely turn on a computer had an incredibly difficult time understanding what needed to be done. I didn’t even try to keep my patience and was practically yelling at her. I feel bad, but I don’t know how much more simply I can explain things. I say it in the simplest terms, I base it on stuff I would presume she knows (via the work she’s done on her website), I even wrote it out on the board. But she has total brain freeze every time. Luckily I don’t have to deal with her for much longer.

Wow, I’m already starving. Time for lunch.

Nov 08

Glad for a short week

For some reason I had trouble sleeping last night. I think I slept way too much the night before, like 12 hours. I wasn’t up till 11.

This weekend was so cold, I didn’t want to leave the apartment. But on Saturday I braved the bitter temperatures and did my site visit at the New Museum.

We were supposed to put in three hours, but I was there only about 90 minutes. The Education Center of the museum is so tiny, and the museum itself isn’t very big. It’s not one of my favorite museums, to tell the truth, especially since I can’t get in for free.

I wrote my paper and presentation yesterday. Didn’t take very long. Now I’m just revising them, and will upload to our group website.

MB and I didn’t see any movies this weekend, if you can believe it. Sunday we took a walk up to Kiehl’s on 13th Street (we both needed product), and back. Later we went grocery shopping. It’s funny how Whole Foods can seem like a mad house, but then you get on line (the regular line, not the type-A express line), and there’s no one waiting.

What a boring post. Oh well.

Nov 08

A Jean-Claude kicking, dim sum eating, drunk gay-zombie-movie watching kind of weekend

After the election last week, I was barely able to do anything except look at news stories and videos and cry, cry, cry, in a good way of course.

This weekend was kinda busy. Friday night MB and I saw JCVD, which was actually pretty good! I’ve never been a huge Van Damme fan, though I did enjoy Timecop, but the movie was well-done. Of course MB loved it. Jean-Claude was supposed to be there that night, but for some reason couldn’t make it.

Saturday I headed out to NJ. My brother’s in town this week, and will be in the city in a few days, but my mom wanted me to come home so that we could all be together. My brother’s plane wasn’t getting in till later that night so that afternoon I just lazed around. Read, took a nap, then actually got some homework done. And of course ate, then ate again when he got in around 10.

Sunday morning I was up fairly early, around 8:30, and got more homework and a tiny bit of writing done. Then we all went to the mall, the usual Jersey thing. My brother got some shirts; I got a brown hat to go with my new green and brown scarf. Then we got some dim sum, which was tasty but very salty.

I got back into the city around 6, and MB and I went to meet YP to see Otto, or Up with Dead People. We had drinks beforehand, luckily, because the movie was – I can’t even say it was awful. It was just really bizarre, and not in a David Lynch way. We expected it to be a zombie movie with some gayness, but actually it was gay porn with one zombie, who may or may not have actually been a zombie, and the parts between the porn parts were pretty boring.

But like I said I was drunk (from one drink!) so I didn’t care much, except now I’m totally hungover.

At home MB and I watched the new 30 Rock on Hulu, which was HILARIOUS (Liz Lemon: “Madonna’s arms are CRAZY!”), and a Burn Notice, which we are enjoying a lot.

Today I need to finish some reading for school tomorrow. Thursday I have a paper due but I already finished it. Wednesday I’m leaving work early to see a taping of the Conan O’Brien show with my brother (connections!), and I’m taking Friday off to hang with my bro again.

I guess I should try to do *some* work today.

Nov 08

Vote However You Like

I am loving this video.

The choreography is off the hook!

And yeah, you should totally vote, no matter your choice.

~ ~ ~

MB has finals next week so he spent most of the weekend practicing, which was fine by me since I had a paper to do.

Friday I got out early – last half-day Friday for a while – and after an afternoon and evening of lazing around, reading, and wasting time on the internet, MB and I saw a midnight showing of My Name Is Bruce. It was funny in a dumb way, and really you’ll only like it if you’re a Bruce Campbell fan, which MB is. A pleasant surprise was that Bruce Campbell was there! He just sauntered in before the show started and answered some questions. He was hilarious, acting like we were all freaks for being there at midnight and calling out dumb questions.

Saturday I spent the afternoon at the library, researching my paper. MB practiced the whole day, only stopping to eat and watch a little TV.

Sunday I worked on my paper, which took FOREVER. It wasn’t difficult, just tedious. More practicing for MB. We did take a walk that afternoon, and finally bought a bookcase to replace the one that MB broke months ago. Now we’ll have a place for our books currently on the floor and overflowing from the other bookcase. Yay!

This morning for work we had a global webcast, and it went swimmingly. My first high profile gig.

Oct 08

Getting ready for spring

I’ve registered for my spring semester classes. I need four more to finish the program, and since summer classes don’t seem as good as fall and spring, I’ve decided to take three next semester.

I’ll be taking Human-Information Behavior, which is more of a theoretical class; Management of Libraries/Information Centers; and Collection Development. I was tempted by classes like information architecture and digital archiving, but technology changes so quickly, I think I’ll be better off learning on the job, or taking a continuing ed class here and there, rather than “wasting” credits on them in this program.

After the three, I need just one more class. In June there’s a two week intensive 3 credit e-publishing class in London. I know I just finished saying technology changes quickly, but hey it’s London! And it’s only two weeks! And the other summer classes blow. At the end of the course, there’s an e-publishing conference where you can schmooze with other librarians and see vendors hawk their wares.

Hoepfully I’ll be able to handle the workload next semester. These past few have not been difficult, though of course at times I feel just plain lazy about it. In the spring, one class is at 3:30 on Wednesdays and my boss has said it’s okay for me to leave early one day a week, while another is on Sunday at 1, which is fine by me. I’m so tired at the end of the day, I’d rather have my evenings free. The third class is Mondays at the regular time, 6:30.

~ ~ ~

In other news, I am actually excited about voting next week. But despite all the polls and what the media is saying, I am still holding back somewhat. I won’t believe it till I see it.