Friday, November 28, 2008

evil germs. evil evil evil.

This was meant to be a really good week. My presentation to the whole RSL staff on Wednesday, training in web publishing, taking Thanksgiving off work, getting my hair done, going to the dentist (all right, not usually on the list of cool things to do but needed doing), and then Marion's feis this weekend, with all plans to win if possible and have fun helping either way. And I'm sick. I had to miss my presentation Wednesday as well as training, cancel all appointments, and although I'll be helping at the feis to the best of my energy level capabilities, I'm not sure about dancing. I suspect I'll feel well enough by Sunday but haven't danced since Tuesday...grrrrr. At least I didn't end up in the hospital like Mikki...

On a lighter note, home in 20 days!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2 minutes all I have. Things have been so busy...
In a few lines, this is the past two weeks:
The Cripple of Inismaan (Druid Theatre, GO SEE) -- best play I've seen in quite awhile
Mike again!
View from the top of St. Mary's
Work work work
Dance dance dance
Two (argh) tutoring jobs (extra Christmas money)
Christmas shopping with Dean
Working on presentation for Staff Training (I get to tell everyone about the Binder's Book)
Dance more
Dance more
Next week is our school's feis, so dance and run stages more
Making muffins
Starbucks breakfasts with the other trainees
Cold weather
Beautiful autumn leaves
Lectures on 15th century Italian cookbooks

I know that's madness, but I don't have time to write it all out. Home in 29 days!!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

do you have a book? i think it has a red cover? or maybe blue...and some white letters?

That, my friends, gets asked ALL THE TIME.
Reader: "I'm looking for a book...."
Me: "Well, you've come to the right place...." (inner cringe)
Reader: "I don't know the title" (well, we can work with that, there are ways of finding these things)
"But I think it has a red cover..."
Look around you! You're in a library! Argh!!!! Cue head bashing on wall etc.

Generally, I really like helping people find things in the library. I spent all Thursday afternoon tracking down an 1860s biblical text for a reader and it was so much fun (despite the fact that we discovered that there was a serious catalogue error and it had to be passed onto someone else). It's just the people who don't bother to think that worry me...

Anyhow, life is bopping along. Had a traumatising experience at Catweazle the other night with a man called The Naked Mystic (aka Rupert, which tops it all off). Envision Rumi, a shiny loancloth, and then nothing. Will's closing act (as Faceometer) saved the day, however, with his fork, balloon, and five figs. Listen here (although the figs have yet to appear).

In other news, certain British town councils have decided that their employees must stop using latin terms because people...gasp...might not know them!!! No more vice versa, e.g., etc....etc. Sigh.

And I'm pleased Obama won (although we'll see where it goes from here), but if one more person who doesn't even know who McCain is asks me if I'm happy with the election, I will strangle them. Seriously.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Things have been fairly brisk; last week was fresher's week (0th week), and this week is the first week of term, so the library has been full of new students being inducted and toured and generally dazed. The RSL decided that rather than giving tours to all the new students, we would give them a short presentation on the catalogue (our new search engine, to be more specific -- the catalogue is a bit old and clunky and was meant to be replaced, but it didn't work out due to the complexity of Oxford's many many libraries and the volume of books, so we have instead a new way to search the catalogue. But then you still have to link into the catalogue to order books or find out if they're checked out. It's a little bit complicated, but generally decent). After the presentation, the students were sent on a treasure hunt around the library and rewarded with...get this...a copy card!!!! With .50 on it!!! Actually, quite a few were very pleased to have it (and the rest will be when their first essays are due!). I managed to greet and present to the freshers without incident, and also spent a pleasant afternoon at the Freshers Fair collection ephemera for the John Johnson Collection. I'm very very excited to have discovered that the Oxford Society of Bibliophiles has been resurrected, in part by my printing teacher from last year.

Today I helped out at the Zoology Library, as they were down one person (I think?) and thought it might be quite busy due to start of term. In fact, it's been steady but not busy, at least not compared to the Bodleian or the RSL. It's a very small library, with a large and special collection on Ornithology.

In other news...Dean is off to Dublin without me (sigh) because of money and work obligations. I attended a really nice christening yesterday (Marion's baby, Ciarra Roisin), and caught up with Kim from Scripps on Saturday at brunch. It was over 70 degrees yesterday (finally!), and biking everywhere was a pleasure. Not so much today -- it's chilly and foggy, although not wet.

Also, Alice and I decided to make a Christmas Fruitcake now. We baked it Saturday night (the amount of butter and sugar we used.....), and will feed it with brandy until it is time to host a Christmas party for the other trainees. Yum. She's also teaching me to knit. As my friend Will put it, I'm still on this side of the cliche until I make my own jam. I late. Dean just laughs.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Knitting and Books

My housemates knits. And she's teaching us. So Sunday afternoons, a group of about 8 librarians gather to knit. Dean laughs.

I knitted three rows yesterday. And they looked pretty bad, but they were actual knitted stitches. Anyone who knows my experiences with sewing will know this is an accomplishment (for those of you who don't, suffice to say that I am quite adept at hemming, repairing, and other things that don't require spatial awareness. I can't, however, make things. They come out crooked, or worse).

Also, anyone who knows our family might really enjoy reading Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris. Especially the chapter called "My Ancestral Castles" that sounds scarily like one of my own essays.
I really (really) enjoyed the bit on proofreading. Few people (well, actually, anyone who knows me well enough to know I'm a bit obsessive over a few things. Well, a lot of things) know that I absolutely hate hate hate poor grammar.

This is all being discovered thanks to the Bodleian and my newfound favorite place the staff library, which is full of books on books and librarianship. I am in heaven.

Other than that, things are well :).

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bod and all that

It struck me as I wrote that title that there are way too many plays on the "and all that" thing. Just a thought. I should change my title, but I won't.

So, after being terribly terribly lapse (aka lazy and forgetful), I am determined to keep on top of the blog. We'll see how long that lasts, but it's a start. Actually, Ian, the trainee at the History Library, is writing a blog about his work and it inspired me.

In case you hadn't already figured it out then, I've started work at the Bodleian. Well, after a week in the bookstacks I've been doing my first placement of the year at the Radcliffe Science Library (point of interest that makes me jump up and down in happiness -- the doors to the keeper's office are carved Eric Gill!!!!!!!!). So far, I've been doing quite a bit of covering for one of the women in circulation who is on holiday for two weeks. That means I'm at the front desk, dealing with patrons and answering questions and stuff. A lot of the stuff is what I did at Denison at Scripps, but obviously in a new situation and to a new level with more responsibility, so I'm learning a lot. The RSL still gets books over from the Bodleian stacks twice a day, and we do have our own bookstack, so we all do one or two "fetches" a day. At the moment, each fetch is maybe 5-10 books, but when terms starts in a few weeks the number will skyrocket. I've been going through a lot of reading lists for professors, checking to see if we have the books or if they're available online. I'm only meant to search the catalogue, but a) I know half of the ones not in the catalogue are available through websites (lots of NGO publications and stuff), so I've been tracking them down and b) numerous professors CAN'T SEEM TO WRITE TITLES CORRECTLY so I have to do more work and am sometimes still left puzzled as they seem to be nonexistent texts. I am learning a lot more about our search resources though, especially as Google is digitising more of our books and we have our own e-resources.

If you're interested in beautiful libraries, check out this link. It's pretty much amazing. Yup.

And...Whitney's little sister is on America's Next Top Model. It's kinda cool.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Been a while...

Sorry it's been forever and a day. I get distracted with other things, etc. My dissertation, while almost done, still occupies a greater proportion of my mental capacity than is normal and pushes other things out. It's going well, though, and due in less than two weeks. I spent four hours yesterday painfully cutting out 1300 words. Really, I find it frustrating that my Master's thesis is only allowed to be 1/3 the length of my undergraduate one.
Tomorrow, however, I'm going to London to see Hayley open for Gavin DeGraw, and then Thursday is my birthday! Assuming the weather improves, we'll have a barbecue and such on Saturday for all.

And to close, I thought I'd add this photo of our lovely keeper gloating over poor Terry's "unfortunate" slip...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Snow, Pictures, and Bindings

Well. After some brutal proofreading, my Orwell essay is handed in and suitably celebrated, which leaves me with nothing but Flann and the Po-Co crowd for the next three months. After, of course, a week of nothing but pleasure reading, sleeping in, and catching up on Lost episodes. I am going to see Lily in London tomorrow, and a good friend whom I haven't seen in a couple years is visiting/touring here. Hooray!

Anyhow, on to the pictures:

Short Hair!

These are the essays I bound...

And it SNOWED on Easter. And the day before. Crazy.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cutting it all off. And stuff.

I cut my hair!!!! It's very short. No pictures as yet, but soon. It's shorter than my chin. Very short. And it only cost me 5 pounds, thanks to the Toni and Guy it was cut by one of their international directors...good deal.

I had an interview at Lambeth Palace Library today. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did; they have some amazing resources, including their own conservation studio (way up in the old tower!). We'll see what they say...

Other than that, working on essays. As usual.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Busy busy busy busy

Very busy. I have two essays due in the next week or so, and I'm binding one of them (as in, properly, with beautiful materials and such). I don't think binding will take long, but I'm not's my first time. I went to Falkiner's in London and got all the materials, and I've been reading about for my essay. Also, I got a beautiful book by the Purgatory Pie Press called How to Make Books.
I also got to visit the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum to look at some of the artists' books I've been researching. I thought I'd gotten the full experience from the pictures, but it was definitely worth handling the books in person. One was three times as big as I'd expected...they're designed to be viewed intimately.

Other than that...All Irelands is over. I got 17th! As my goal was top twenty, I was quite pleased. Dean and I had a good weekend. We went to our favorite cafe in Killarney and had the BEST banoffee pie in the world.

There weren't very many people there though...I'm starting to feel old as people in my age group retire. A number of them are now TCRGs. I'm thinking about doing my exam either next year or the year after, depending on where I am job-wise.

Speaking of jobs...I've been applying for graduate trainee positions at various libraries in London and Oxford. Basically, they're internships to prepare you for Library School. I've gotten some interviews, possibly an offer, so things are moving along. I just have to decide where I want to be working. It's HARD!! I'll keep updating on that though. Ideally I should know towards the end of the month.

I got to see Meagan and Whitney last week, and a friend from high school (Evan) is coming down from Cambridge tomorrow...also saw Joachim from Jack Kent Cooke over the weekend. Went to Meagan's show, saw Laura Marling, did some St. Pat's shows in advance (and more to come) is good.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


It's so beautiful outside! There are flowers on the trees (I know, silly trees, they're risking a lot...reminds me of the one obstinate tree at St. Ignatius that would bloom every year in January)...the birds are singing...I only needed a sweater to go outside, not a coat and scarf...the protesters are marching (both for and against animal testing, mind you)...and I'm stuck writing presentations. But with the window open!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Just sayin' is BUSY. I'm just sayin.' As Whitney would say. In my head, I didn't think the amount of work here could be thaaat different than Scripps. Scripps was no walk in the park. But the fact that I literally have to work to find an hour or hour and a half a day to practice says something (and All-Irelands is next weekend, so it's been two hours a day recently, when I can). And I honestly think I've read more in the past four weeks than I did in most semesters at Scripps.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Twenty-Six Gasoline Stations and the Swiss Army Book

In case anyone else might possibly be interested in artists' books (I assume there must be at least a few people), here's some very very cool ones. Very cool. My B course essay is leaning towards the direction of an examination of definitions of the book seen through artists' books that particularly engage with the subject...for instance Begbie's book on what is a book. But these are some especially interesting books:

(Edward Ruscha's Twenty-Six Gasoline Stations, often hailed as one of the first artists' books (I'm not so sure))

"Swiss Army Book"--A unique artists' book by M. L. Van Nice, on display as part of "The Book As Art" exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This book is modeled on the Swiss army knife, with different writing tools like a typewriter that fold out of the book. (Courtesy of the National Museum of Women)

See also for Tom Phillip's Humument (sorry, it's not letting me link it, so you'll have to copy and paste)...although I'm not so sure about altered books (possibly due to the fact that it's become such a trendy thing to do...there's a magazine called Altered Objects or something of the sort, and everyone sells "altered" notebooks at every street fair). This book, however, is amazing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Eugenics

From Bradshaw, David. "Eugenics: “They should certainly be killed”." A Concise Companion to Modernism. Bradshaw, David (ed). Blackwell Publishing, 2002. Blackwell Reference Online. 29 January 2008

"Before turning to Woolf's fiction, there is one passage in her diary which has caused considerable consternation and which is not remotely ironic. On January 9, 1915 Woolf and her husband went for a stroll by the River Thames between Richmond and Kingston:

On the towpath we met & had to pass a long line of imbeciles. The first was a very tall young man, just queer enough to look at twice, but no more; the second shuffled, & looked aside; & then one realised that every one in that long line was a miserable ineffective shuffling idiotic creature, with no forehead, or no chin, & an imbecile grin, or a wild suspicious stare. It was perfectly horrible. They should certainly be killed.

(Woolf 1983: 13)

Childs characterizes Woolf's conclusion, quite rightly, as “a most negative eugenics” (2001: 23), while other readers have been more damning. Yet although Woolf's remarks are offensive to our way of thinking, if we read her words in their appropriate historical context, we can see that there is nothing particularly extreme about them. The same month that she took her walk by the Thames Woolf “‘declared herself a Fabian”’ (Lee 1996: 348), and in the Fabian, progressive circles in which she and Leonard moved her attitude to the mentally handicapped would have been viewed as sound rather than callous, entirely consistent with Havelock Ellis's “radically sympathetic” solution to the problem of the unfit."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Orientalize. Metaculturalize. Repeat with Tea.

It's been a month since my last post, mostly because I've been either a) eating Christmas cookies b) at home seeing people or c) reading every minute of every day (except when I'm dancing). Don't let that fool you though, I am still enjoying things. Mostly. After presenting the problems of Orientalism for Irish Orientalism (in relation to Amitav Ghosh's In An Antique Land) (a class that didn't quite go as the professor had hoped and so invited her obvious disappointment to rain down upon us), I think I have had enough of Said for the time being. Unfortunately, discussions have burgeoned and one finds he is rather inescapable. Last weekend's project (well, one of many) was to get through Frances Mulhern's Culture/Metaculture, which, as my friend Will pointed out, is sweetly posited as a part of the New Critical Idiom series and designed to look like a beginner's guide to the subject. HA! Watch a load of 20th Century English grad students hit their heads against the wall simultaneously. We did manage to have a great discussion about however, stemming largely from the fact that Mulhern's impenetrable prose stayed out of the picture.

Another fun subject...Eugenics!!!! Did you know that Virginia Woolf commented that mentally disabled people should be killed? Or that many Modernist writers were involved with or at least connected to the Eugenics Society? Look it up. It'll be good for you. Learn how American Eugenics inspired the Nazis (not necessarily to fault the American program...Nazi Germany still twisted it around in all the wrong ways).

I will also include a brief rant on the fact that "The Three Little Pigs" has now been banned in some schools because it might prove offensive to Muslim schoolchildren. See the BBC's article at I have also been informed that some schools sing "Baa Baa Green Sheep" because Black Sheep might also harm children's minds (and as English students who are trained to find deeper meaning, especially latent racialisms, in texts, we could find NOTHING). Let's pretend problems don't exist. Then everything will be wonderful. Right.