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Let me show you something gross

1 Jul

They’ve been moving some furniture around in the library and today I walked by a row of upside-down tables just like this one. COVERED IN GUM.


Is your faith in humanity appropriately rattled? This plus the booger incident is proof that communism can never succeed.

Who is doing this? Is it you? If these crimes are ever prosecuted, you’re going to feel really dumb about leaving your DNA and a perfect finger print at the scene.


I miss you.

13 Apr

Let’s spend a little time together. I’ve had some posts planned in my head that just haven’t materialized. One is titled “Jealous?” and I show you a picture of my new red ten-speed resting on its kickstand in the sun and I tag it “You want to ride my bicycle. You want to ride my bike.” It might still happen.

What have I been up to lately besides wearing sweaters and not blogging about it? I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know where to start. I touched Seelander again. I attended Ms. Stanifer’s class. I went to Florida, saw some weird birds and found one shark tooth.

Let’s just start with today. I didn’t like it.

When I woke up at 7 I knew I had to give a 45 minute presentation to a class of library students, and all of my demo code was broken because I spent all day Sunday breaking it. I made coffee and started working on it. I broke more than I fixed. Including my toilet, for no reason. I tried to flush a smooshed bug and it started to overflow. It was sleeting outside but I had to walk to work. Then my umbrella broke, too. I struggled to hold a door for someone with my stupid umbrella and a mug of coffee in my hands and he scooted in behind me, rather than touch the germy door (I HATE that) and I almost broke him.

I worked on my presentation through lunch but I finished it on time! It was titled The Metadata Magic Show, and it included a live rendering of these two static webpages (from the same xml file using XSL and rudimentary css). The instructor loved it. Two students (out of eight) nodded off and two updated their Facebook status – one of the updates, twenty minutes into my show-and-tell: “Today sucks.” Awesome.

Part of this presentation was a plug for this class I’m supposed to teach this summer but based on the interest level, I’m guessing no one is going to sign up for it and it will be cancelled. Who will pay my rent?

When I got home, I tried to reflush the partially smooshed bug floating in my toilet and I realized it was still (barely) alive, kicking his broken little legs. I’m sorry! I deserved a shitty day!

Re: poop

12 Sep

[Updated to Add:] The secret bathroom is now closed!

It’s possible that you’d rather not read this post. I did finally update my About page, and there’s nothing about diarrhea over there.

This note was taped to the door of the secret bathroom at work for about one hour on Wednesday before someone ripped it down. (It’s not really secret, but I used to not know about it.) I thought maybe “medical problem” was a euphemism for something like offensive farting or discarded heroin needles. Sarah documented it and did some sleuthing to find out what it was all about. Apparently someone has been smearing liquid poop all over the place and barfing in the lady boxes. It happened last semester, the bathroom was closed, and now the culprit is at it again. The janitor suspects he is being targeted because when he was away for a few weeks, it didn’t happen. Shawn proposed that maybe it’s like Fight Club and the janitor himself is doing it but he doesn’t know. Which is a funny idea.

I could leave you with that, but against my better judgment I’m going to keep sharing. Yesterday while at my desk, I suddenly felt barfy and my intestines rumbled ominously. I thought, Oh no I have a medical problem! and I booked it to the secret bathroom. Am I about to destroy this bathroom? Has it been me all along? Is the janitor going to catch me?

As far as I know I did not destroy it but I went home to recuperate and I will never use that cursed bathroom again.

Not really where I left off

29 Jun

I flew eastward for this conference and now I’m at my parent’s house. I was supposed to leave for Iowa early this morning but yesterday my mom woke me up from a pre-dinner nap with a pitcher of margaritas, and I thought about how the library (where I work) is still under water. (Did you know the Midwest is suffering from flood and bloat? My Northwest airline agent had no idea and that surprised me. Since you have to fly through the Midwest to get to the Northwest.) And I decided I might as well stay here where there is always cheese in the fridge and ice cream in the freezer.

(Unfortunately I made this decision after I had bailed from visiting the littlest Lisa in Rochester because I didn’t have time to make the trip. And now I have time but no car priveleges. I miss you, Lisa.)  

So here I am and I just trounced my parents in Scrabble. Not scrabulous. It’s been a while since I’ve played it at an actual table. My dad is a miserable speller. The most absurd of his spelling questions came during his last turn (before he quit), with rhaaait in his hand.

“What’s the arabic word for law?” (He was going for shariah. Not legal.) Immediately follwed by: “What do you call the guy who collects dead horses?” Do you know of such a noun?

Another club I wish I could join

6 Jun

I was browsing through another library’s site for work and I found a photograph collection for The Book of SOYP.

In 1919, David Whitcomb, president of Rainier National Park Company, and Tom Martin, general manager, came up with the idea to cache supplies at Paradise Inn on Mt. Rainier before the road was blocked with snow and to return after the new year with a group of friends who loved the outdoors. Calling themselves the Tribe of SOYP (Socks Outside Your Pants), the group first had an outing in February, 1920, and met annually thereafter.

Where was I in 1919? Did they really wear socks outside their pants? Yes they did.

Here’s a picture someone cataloged as “Nine men throwing George Hall up in the air from a stretched-out blanket.”

More postcards

21 May

I’m done with classes. What does the phrase “by the skin of my teeth” really refer to? Let’s look it up.

“The source of the phrase “by the skin of one’s teeth” is indeed the Book of Job, although the precise phrase Job used was “My bone cleaveth to my skin, and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth” (not “by”). Just what the “skin” of one’s teeth might be is a bit unclear, but it probably refers to the thin porcelain exterior of the tooth, not the gums. Job evidently kept his teeth, but just barely. It is also possible that he was saying that the margin of his escape was as narrow as the “skin” of a tooth is shallow — the equivalent of a “hair’s breadth.” In any case, Job clearly meant that he’d had a very hard time of it, and the phrase has been used ever since to mean a very narrow or arduous escape.” From the word detective.

Reading that made my teeth hurt. Anyway, I had a very hard time of it. But now, now I have time for things like scanning postcards I bought at a junk shop called Granny’s. They have shoeboxes full of postcards sorted by state – I could have spent hours going through them, but I found these in the Iowa and Wisconsin boxes in about 20 minutes. I hope to go back for more before Granny retires this summer. It’s hard to read the date stamps but I think they range from 1912-1966.

Dam at Iowa City, Iowa

Dam at Iowa City, Iowa (back)

Dear Sabina,
As I have not had time to write you a letter I will send you a few lines to let you know that I will try and take time to answer your letter soon. Suppose you will be into the Circus thursday. I intend to go in the evening if I do not change my mind. Please answer soon. Your chum, Hegel.

Why doesn’t Hegel just answer Sabina’s letter if she is taking the time to write a postcard? Is she going to the circus or not? I doubt Sabina is surprised by her indecisiveness. If she hasn’t answered Sabina’s letter, then why does she urge Sabina to answer soon? It’s still your turn, Hegel. I hope Sabina had a great time at the circus without her.

Law Building, University of Iowa

Law Building, University of Iowa (back)

Dear Sister,
I received the package all right yesterday. I am ironing today. How is Chauncey’s hogs? I hope the Sumac did them good and made them stop dying. With love and haste, Isabel.

The best part of this one is the closing, with love and haste. I’ve started using it in emails.

College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin

College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin (back)

Dear Leona —
Am hard at work and am not in the humor. I guess I don’t like to study anymore. I want you to write me as soon as you have time. Best regards to all and love to yourself, Florence Steiner

I wish I could buy Florence a beer.

Picnic Point - Lake Mendota

Picnic Point - Lake Mendota (back)

Boy is it cold it’s awful I am resting hope you got rested after your party. I shall have the headache but it will get better I hope. Be seeing you. Love from Maggie. Thurs.

What makes this one really great is the caption for the photo on the front (Picnic Point – Lake Mendota). “Looking over the Men’s Residence Halls of the University of Wisconsin we see Picnic Point, a famed rendezvous for those week end outings.” I think what Maggie is really saying with this card is that she was wasted but thanks for the sex. She’s sorry if she did anything weird.

Sweater Thursday XXVI.ii.

1 May

This is my instructor for electronic publishing. He’s a regular participant in Sweater Thursday but he pretends not to know anything about it. This is the first time his sweater has been documented. I don’t want to say anything nice about it because he gave me a B on a paper. But it’s hard to stay mad because of the elbow patches.