I’m every woman..

I have had the same person in the tech center two days in a row working painstakingly on a fancy word document. Like the weird ones where he wants to add boxes and put in images and line things up, etc. I hate word. The only thing I ever use word for is to type words, and it works out just fine. Sometimes even with the whole header/footer thing or footnotes it can get a little weird. I have never appreciated it for complex things such a tables, or intricate forms, with designs and lines and other fancy things. I find that it’s often temperamental and annoying, that it can be tricky and basically doesn’t ever want to do what you tell it to do. Maybe it’s user error (a.k.a. me not knowing how to really use it very well) but I find that it is just easier to use excel for boxes and rows of tables, or Publisher for forms that require lines and images where you need to freely be able to move things around where you want them. But this guy keeps calling me over every 10 minutes to ask me why word won’t let him move his picture. My favorite from this series of interactions was:

I just want these two last lines to be on the page above.

OK Well they went down to a new page because there is no physical room on the page above.

Well I just want them on that page above it.

I understand that, but as you have it now there is no space for them. You can either make your font smaller, or you can mess with your spacing until it all fits.

Then he just looks at me blankly. Thankfully I got out of there like right when he was asking me something along these lines for like the fifth time. But today it’s more of the same. I didn’t really go to school to do marketing materials, nor am I going to sit and fiddle with your word document for an hour until it looks like you want it to. But I can direct you to some online word tutorials…

I had another user who wanted to apply for an EIN number through the IRS. OK great, I told him I could get him to the site, but he would have to complete all the information on his own, that I couldn’t help him with the process since I’m in no way qualified and don’t know anything about the tax implementations, etc. I said this because I knew he was going to be a needy one, but he seemed to understand. At least until he started calling me over every 3 minutes.

First he wanted to know if he qualified as a joint venture. I told him I would have no way of knowing that, and I couldn’t help him with this process. Calls me over again 2 minutes later wanting to know when the end of his fiscal year was, I told him that I would have no way of knowing this and this is information he needed to provide on his own behalf. I showed him how to click on the blue links that showed him the help screens that give explanations about what the questions are asking. Then he keeps calling me over for thing after thing. I feel bad because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. But neither do I, and as a library worker I’m not responsible for providing this help to him, if anything I could really mess him up here. Finally he gets the darn EIN and there’s something on the letter he doesn’t understand about mailing in a payment, so he asks me what that was. I was like PLEASE for your sake call the IRS number listed for help.

People come through all the time and ask us to help them with various things. Federal tax information, real estate loans, FAFSAs, personal banking, really private stuff. I’ve had multiple people try to hand me their cell phones to talk to their bank, or other financial institution about something that they were trying to handle and just couldn’t figure out. It’s interesting how many people tell me that they don’t even know why libraries exist, and that they may be obsolete in the near future. But on the flip side I see patrons here using the library as their center for basically well, everything. Many patrons rely on us to know things that they don’t. Like anything and everything. Like we are their niece or nephew coming over to help them set up the computer, or email accounts, or to give directions. I mean who else is going to tell people the owners of 7 different specific baseball teams, or how to spell the word uhhhhhhhh. I used to feel bad that I couldn’t answer everything that was asked of me, but really we are just here to point in the direction of information for you. Not to do your things for you. Just had to get that off my chest after today. (Mic drop)


What’s in a name?

Well. What is in a name? Most people when asked the question “who are you?” will respond with their name. I know I do, because what the heck else are you supposed to say. But really it’s just this label, this thing, this wordy identifier that our parent bestowed upon us at birth. It can be anything, and these days some people name their children very interesting things. For many a name is something that is passed on in a family. Something of pride, tradition, showing that you belong to a part of a larger whole, a network or circle of like people that carry parts of the same blood in their veins, the same genes. There can be a lot in a name. Here In America we usually have three names. First, middle, last. What’s with the middle? I never understood that. Many countries don’t have middle names, just first and last. The last name seems to be more of a “tribe” unifier, seeing that most people from the same immediate family have the same last name. Some think it’s so important to carry a name down, others don’t. Some people like to be unique or individual, while others prefer to be named something more common. Have you ever known somebody to be one name their whole life then they want to be called something else? NO. It doesn’t work that way, you have labeled them, and identified them for life. Or you have those situation where you think… Hmmm, she doesn’t look like a Janet. What does a Janet look like? Your best friend from elementary school? We may equate names with historical figures, literary figures, characters, gods, saints, etc. Much effort and thought can be put into this, or it could just be something somebody thinks is funny, or cute. In a way we will always identify with our name.

Why the hell am I ranting about names? Well, I decided to do my roulette early this week since I won’t be here Sunday. Today I chose 5, 2 first floor. This led me to a shelf full of books that are supposed to help you name your unborn children. I did kind of wonder why we had so many here in an academic library but here they are. Is this just another stab at my obviously empty womb? Maybe. But probably not. There seem to be babies everywhere these days, so maybe it’s relevant to think about this, not for me but for others. ‘Tis the season.

The book I pulled this time is called: What’s in a Name? The only baby book that includes, histories, numerologies, astrological signs, colors, gem stones, elements, herbs. By Susan Osborne. Published by the Philip Lief Group in 1991.


Not only does it list the names origin but the corresponding signs, elements, numerologies, etc. . My kind of weirdness. When I do the flip I land on page 318, right in the middle of a section so I’ll go back to the start. Page 317, the name Hugh. I don’t know a single person named Hugh, Hugh Grant is the only person that comes to mind.

Let’s see what this book says about Hugh.

There are two supposed origins for Hugh, in ancient German it supposedly means “thought”. This is derived from German mythology and some ravens sitting on Thor’s shoulders, one was named Huginn which represented thought. It could also possibly come from one of the oldest names among the Welsh, Hu. It relates to the number 8, the astrological sign Aries, and the color Burnt Carmine (what?), the stone Essonite, the element Manganese and the herb Cinnamon (Osborne, 1991).

Well that’s quite a lot to say about a name. I wonder how long it took the author to look up all these meanings and where she got her sources from. That’s just the reference side of me speaking. The less logical side of me finds that all rather interesting. I want to see what they say about Keren while I’m here. (Of course I will look it up under the common spelling Karen). Let’s see… The K’s start with Katherine, which is apparently the root name for Karen. Most say it is derived from the Greek word katharos meaning “pure” but other sources say it make be linked to the word “aika” meaning “torture”(Osborne, 1991.

My interpretation: to be Keren is to be pure torture ha! But really that’s strange, it could mean two totally and very different things. Also my color is supposedly Jonquil. Whatever the heck that is. I should definitely look into wearing more Jonquil. Thanks for the insight weird 90’s book.

Cutting.. With lasers..

Today I learned how to use a laser cutter.

Well, kind of. Somebody showed me really fast and if you asked me to do it again, I may or may not be able to struggle through it on my own. BUT, I did get a really cool cut of a cat in a suit, and a 12X12 piece of plywood that can be my next project. I want to hang something above my computer. The problem with that is my computer is on the floor and I have no desk and no coherent office space. Maybe this can be something to work on during the break. I have to think on it.

We have been really pushing the use of our makerspace here, we now have 2 3D printers, a laser cutter, and some sort of sauntering iron and other gadgets I have yet to use. It almost looks like some sort of mad scientist’s laboratory.


I’m just watching this machine cut a really detailed cat out of plywood using a laser and thinking, 15 years ago I was playing snake on my Nokia phone. Things advance so quickly, I can’t wait to see what the world is like when I’m 70 something, if I make it that long. Maybe even by then part of me will be robotic. Anyways, it’s fun. Making stuff is fun. Even if it sucks, and there is no use for it. Creating brings out the kid in everybody I think. We have student interns that come in now and make projects, which is awesome. We didn’t end up getting the grant we wrote for but whatever, it was a first attempt, there’s more where that came from. Our little creative space is growing, and these students never cease to amaze me with what they can do.

Sunday Library Roulette

I’m going to go to a random floor, and grab a book from a particular aisle and section which I will ask somebody to give me numbers at random. Then I’m going to come open blindly to a page and section then point with my finger at a passage. (Think of when you were little and used to spin the globe and ask it: Where am I going to live when I grow up?) I play games of chance like this all the time when I’m bored. Who knows what I will find today, or even if it will make sense or not. Let’s try, we might make some new friends. Yes I call books friends don’t judge.

Here’s the winner for today:


Poems for Life: Quotable Verse from the Seers and Singers of Yesterday and Today Complied by Thomas Curtis Clark. Published in 1941.

I had a friend give me the numbers 4 and 8. I went to the third floor, down the fourth aisle and stopped at the 8th section. English Poetry. Ok I can work with this. I scanned the shelves and just grabbed the first title that popped out at me. Luckily at the University most of the books are old and don’t have eye-catching covers or anything that could make me biased. I just picked based upon the words in the title.

I flip through. Here’s our winning passage, pg. 195, under the heading “The way to god is by the road of men”, it’s a poem called Intolerance.


Across the way my neighbor’s windows shine,

His rooftree shield him from the storms that frown,

He toiled and saved to build it, staunch and brown,

And though my neighbor’s house is not like mine,

I would not pull it down!


With patient care my neighbor, too, had built

A house of faith where his soul might stay,

A haven from the winds that sweep life’s way.

It differed from my own- I felt no guilt-

I burned it yesterday!


-Molly Anderson Haley

Ouch, that’s pretty brutal. But I think it has to be to illuminate the point. So your neighbor builds a physical house, brick and stone, and you see wow, he did so much work. It doesn’t look like my house, but hey, it’s his, I respect it look there it is it exists (tangible). Then, you get to beliefs and belief systems (intangible). Her neighbor was like hey, this is my religion, my faith, the things I believe in to make it through this messed up world, but the narrator was like, nah, I respect your physical property but not your spiritual beliefs. Since you don’t think the way I do, I’m gonna trample and burn the faith that took you a lifetime of suffering and searching to find and just destroy it. Yeah, sounds about right people. In a way I think that our inner toils amount to more than some bricks and stone or any physical possessions we may acquire. It doesn’t have to have a religious connotation, switch god or faith with “beliefs” or “values” or “universe” or whatever resonates with you.

Consciousness and its Shadow

I’m watching Westworld and it’s totally hitting a nerve with me.

This class I’m taking has been forcing me to think about what makes humans, well human, and the main point he has brought to the table is our consciousness.

You are always conscious, you can never not be, your consciousness IS what makes you human.

Westworld explores this, with the use of robotics, and simulated intelligence. The revelries, the story lines, the characters waking up and making their artificial intelligence seem so human that the people working with them can’t even tell if they are becoming “real”. The general idea is that the game is some sort of maze, with levels and there are ways to unlock certain characters and plots by saying or acting in a certain way. Many people want to get to the middle of this maze, but they don’t know how. There may or may not be some dead creator somewhere at the middle. Then, you get the people that fall in love with the robots (or hosts). This is another story all together that could bring about a conversation all its own but is very important in determining what is considered human. Can we fall in love with robots? Probably.

It’s a trip, I’ve been thinking about it all day because I literally just caught up on the show last night. Inside of each characters scalp there is some sort of metal looking contraption that looks like a maze. Also throughout the show a symbol of a maze appears on different items that may make you think that things are important to the characters getting to the deepest level of the maze, which could, or could not, be argued as being consciousness itself. Ah. It’s a lot I know.

I came to work today and see this person that always talks to me that I try to avoid. So I duck into circulation and pretend that I am doing something important and look at the books that need to be re-shelved. One of the major players we talk about in class is Jung, and I see his book Man and His Symbols. It’s pretty thick, but I have not much to do today but wait for questions, so I grab it. The cover has a gold symbol of a maze (just like the show!). Now I have to thumb through it, at least.

Jung is a really interesting cat. He used to team up with Freud, but eventually his ideas became so drastically different be branched out and became his own thing. Jung was into subconscious symbolism, dreams, and something he calls the “realization of the shadow”.

“Whether the unconscious comes up at first in a helpful or negative form, after a time the need usually arises to re-adapt the conscious attitude in a better way to the unconscious factors- therefore to accept what seems to be “criticism” from the unconscious. Through dreams one becomes acquainted with aspects of one’s own personality that for various reasons one has preferred not to look at too closely” (Jung, 1964).

Does everybody believe in a subconscious? Maybe some people may not even think about it and just go about their lives knowing what they know and not bothering to dive a little deeper into all of it. Are dreams really just this mash up of thoughts, images and feelings that we encounter in our waking lives or is it so much more. Do you ever have this recurring dream or nightmare that goes away only to resurface when faced with a similar situation or lesson in life 10 years down the road? It’s as if we can’t run from our own minds, which could either be seen as a good or bad thing. I see it as good. MORE psychology books I know I know, but I think I’m just going to skim this one. Unfortunately, there’s not enough reading hours in the day. Sigh.

Jung, C.G. (1964). Man and His Symbols. Garden City, New York; Doubleday & Company.

Projections and Reactions


Today a couple notable things happened here at the public, within about 10 minutes of one another.

1) I go to wake up a man who is asleep snoring in the quiet reading room. I know he is snoring because people have politely and reasonably come to complain about it. I approach the reading room and find said man in front of the window with his feet up (shoes off) slumped down snoring in a chair with earphones in. I touch the chair next to his head slightly to try to rouse him without touching him. Nothing. I touch his shoulder just once, and he jumps out of sleep looking at me and yelling about how rude I am that I did that. That he wasn’t sleeping. I said well, we are getting complaints about the snoring. Well I WASN’T asleep, that’s rude you can’t just do that. I left promptly before I said something like…

OH so you must snore when you are awake and also just resting your eyes at the same time. How interesting. Also, put your GD shoes on, this isn’t your f*ing house you are in a public space and literally I’m rude? Go f* yourself. (Look at me I didn’t curse at all!)

At least 2 other people in the room smiled at me as I left. Smiles of condolences. Smiles of YES. I understand. Smiles that say, really? WTF. My people.

If I ever see him again, you can believe I’m not going to help him with anything. Crap I say that today, but I totally will. I’m such a pushover.

Makes me think of projection though, and everything I’m learning about it. I use it to try to understand the very strange reactions I get from people at times. Maybe he was feeling rude or embarrassed for being asleep like that in public? He’s probably sad and lonely and frustrated, which in and of itself sucks. He could feel that people are always being rude to him because of his attitude. Maybe his dog just died, or he has to take care of a sick relative, or nobody ever told him that they loved him, I have literally no freaking idea. I’ve had encounters with him before when he rambles on for 30 minutes about how horrible our fantasy selection is and why don’t we buy all the books that he thinks we should buy, etc. I can only guess, maybe he has everything he’s ever wanted in life and he’s just a jerk. That’s the thing about this whole game of being a human, appearances don’t mean much at all. The inner world and exterior package can be so different.

2) The tech air isn’t working again and its 80 degrees in here with about 20 people. I know usually it’s not a big deal in mid-November to not have your air work, but here in so Cal it’s still 90 degrees every day. So it smells in here, again. And it’s hot af in here, again. It’s hard to concentrate. I was supposed to help a lady email herself the resume she spent hours working on. After helping to save to the desktop and letting her know it had to be closed out in order to attach, I walked away, assuming that she was going to email it to herself (she seemed savvy enough). Then another patron who tends to be quite manic comes in, talking in a yell, leaning over people to grab paper and slamming her plastic bag on the keyboard so hard everybody turns to look at her. She manages to make the screen shift to vertical view, and I have no idea how so as she’s freaking out about it I had to reset the computer. Now she’s yelling about how she has to pee and swinging her bag about again. OK ok, I have to turn back to the lady I’m helping, and for some reason, I think that she’s already emailed to herself and now she wants to delete from the desktop. So what do I do? Delete it. Not even recycle bin delete, I Shift delete the darn thing because when I do something I just can’t do it halfway.

Then the realization hits. OH crap. She hasn’t emailed herself yet. AAAAAND I’m a humungous screw up. I had to look her in the eye and apologize and take full credit for being an absolute mess up here. At least we had printed it out so I offered to scan it and email it to her, which is usually something we don’t do but I would literally bend over backwards to make this up to her. She was so nice, and so gracious, and understood completely and didn’t freak out at all. I wanted to high five her, then go buy us both a very stiff drink, and give her a sash that says most awesome library patron with a small trophy. I wanted her to get all the good things in life such as kittens, ice cream cones, and a satisfying partnership.

I guess what I learned from today is… Try to be like person number two. The large range of people you can be and experiences that you can have in one day in the public sphere can be quite eye opening. We have every single one of these reactions within ourselves, and most reactions that are negative are due to underlying causes not the actual occurring event. We have all done something like this, we have all been person number one and person number two. Just remember, the more you are like person number two, the more likely you would be to receive a kitten or ice cream cone for just being a downright good reactor.

About this week…

After an extremely emotional week here in America, a lot of us are left wondering what the hell is going to happen to us both individually and as a nation. We have people angry, and afraid and reacting really strongly to the decision that was made last week in the presidential election. I don’t watch the news. I rely solely on my social media to tell me what’s going on in the world today. This might seem strange, or ill informed, but it’s not like I’m listening to Uncle Bob’s personal opinion rants on Facebook and taking it as news. (I don’t even have one anyways.)

First thing I did is watch reactions to the election on Snapchat, seeing joy, elation, fear, disgust, and disbelief first hand in the faces of people on both sides of the fence. Young and old, from different parts of the states and from other countries, there is such a large reaction. It was painful to see, everybody is so invested and emotional about what has transpired with this election myself included. It’s nice to know that we are all out here feeling these things, no matter what it is it means we are alive. It almost feels tangible like this cloud of collective energy hanging above us all.

Luckily, I choose to only follow positivity on Instagram, so I’ve been seeing a lot of really hopeful posts and gaining insight and conversation that way. I’m so impressed with the level of love in the people on my feed these days. A traveling writer from LA named Jedidiah Jenkins posted some really great stuff about what is going on, including a TED talk by Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, which helped a lot in terms of a bit of explanation as to how things became so divided among us. I know some people hate on TED talks, but I’m quite fond of them, this one is 20 minutes, but it’s worth a watch.


While you are at it you should check him out too, his posts are interesting, well thought out and just downright inspiring. Here’s a link to his blog, his posts often make a difference in my mood and mindset in a positive way.


Hopefully as time passes we can see some improvement on all levels, personal, national and world wide. I know we all have to believe that the good in this world will outweigh the bad. That we are still moving forwards and not backwards. We all hope. I hope.

This weekend Dave Chappelle came out of hiding and hosted Saturday Night Live. If he wasn’t already enough of a comedy legend, he killed it with his monologue and a few of the sketches. That man is a national treasure and he really had something great to say about what is going on. Of course, he says it with his unique brand of humor, and I think we all could use a bit of laughter right now.

SNL- Dave Chappelle

OH, and we also have to mourn the death Leonard Cohen this week on top of it all off. Its times like these I just kind of look at my cat and say please don’t die. It helps in times like these to “stand here and think about someone you love” one of the sayings of children’s author Dallas Clayton. It helps. Go ahead. Do it. Right now, just close your eyes and think about somebody you love even if they aren’t here on earth anymore, even if it’s somebody you’ve never met. For me today, it’s this dude. *swoon



Non-Angelic America

Well it’s here. And I promise that I won’t get all political on you here. But I am nervous as hell. Trying not to be but I am if I have to be honest about it.

The public library shares space with a polling place at the playhouse next door, I thought that it was going to be crazy around here with voters, but not really, it’s been a pretty normal day here so far. One thing that I will speak positively about is the number of people that I know that are turning out to vote, and encouraging others to do the same. Pretty much all of my Instagram feed and Snapchat feeds are ripe with people proudly wearing their I Voted stickers and speaking their voices. That’s all we can do this time, rock on voters.

I really wish that this election would allow us to examine our process of electing leaders. At a time when our world is in need of good, honest, people to evolve us and move us forward not only as a nation but as a race of humans we get stuck choosing between what many people will call “the lesser of two evils”. Why the hell do we have to get cornered into choosing this way? Things change, people progress, ideas progress. We change things to expand in our world over time, why are we still living by this two party system for our Presidential elections? We literally get two choices for president. Every freaking time. That’s it? Two choices, two parties, two schools of thought? Choose that one that is the closest to OK? I don’t really know where I fit in politically, I just wish that our politics weren’t so ruled by personal interest, lies, and scandals. Nobody will ever please everybody, I get that and I understand that so many people see things differently and have the right to do so but come on. It’s a literal s*** storm out there today we have turned yet another serious matter into a freaking reality show. Nobody is happy about it, everybody is freaked out and tension is high. The whole world is watching us make a spectacle of ourselves (once again).

Maybe I’m being a little hysterical over here. I’m not “educated” enough to know what’s really going on, I don’t keep up with the news or claim to know all of the platforms either candidate stands for. The conspiracy theory part of my brain thinks that this is all fixed anyways, look at the hubbub we get to create this time. How much can we sell air time for the commercials on the most televised night probably in history while people bite their nails at home waiting for the votes to be tallied? Who knows what will happen in the next four years, and how much does one person sitting in a single chair in an office really make to individual citizens? For me the bigger message here for me is hate vs. love. Old ways and fear needing to fall away and make room for tolerance and acceptance among our citizens of our own nation, and the world. Can we please move forward with more of this in our hearts? I’m rooting for you America, and for everybody at home feeling like I do.

In honor of America on election night here’s one of my favorite poems ever by Ginsberg

America by Allen Ginsberg


Vampires that Vampire

Nothing out of the ordinary has happened these last couple weeks, I suppose that’s a good thing. Here at the U I have been surprisingly busy with reference questions, I think because the Master’s students finished up their term and the undergrads are starting to get their prompts for final papers, etc.  I mean what does a librarian blog about when she’s just answering questions steadily? Sometimes they appear to be the same old questions.

Finding specific articles from half of a citation. Stuff about business culture and internal structure is asked a lot, very common, but difficult to find unless published in corporate reports that give clues to the culture. Communications breeches with the military that led up to the Pearl Harbor attack. We had to replace the homecoming display wall yesterday, that killed about 4 hours. It was actually kind of fun.

I did have a great moment on Friday when I helped a doctoral student find EXACTLY what she was looking for. She was looking for a dissertation within the last 10 years that was a quantitative study and examined African American women as leaders that grew up in homes with an absentee father.  After milling around in our dissertation database, google scholar and some other creative commons for about 30 minutes we changed one little keyword and boom: “An examination of resiliency factors of successful African -American women from father absent homes” from 2008 came up and we literally both shrieked out loud. And guess what it WAS quantitative so it was perfect. I emailed it to her with the subject THIS IS THE ONE (in all caps because I felt like yelling it to the heavens). It almost felt like finding that perfect man, or car, or pair of jeans. Quite satisfying.  That doesn’t happen too often, sometimes it’s like finding a needle in a haystack that you aren’t really sure exists. Moral of the story here is keep on trying, change those keywords and keep on trying. Could this be metaphorical for life? Probably.

I guess that may be my only story for now. The holidays are coming up so that means a lot of slow time for libraries. Today I’m reading a bit of Fitzgerald’s poems, didn’t even know that he wrote them. I suppose anybody who writes takes a stab at poetry first or even last. A lot of his poems published when he was in college read like songs, or seem to have assigned characters to them I’m not really sure. Here’s one that he wrote in college I found especially interesting:

The Vampires Won’t Vampire For Me

Percy and Sal

Often I have seen on the screen,

Pictures living and snappy,

Girls quite a fistful, ingenues wistful,

Loving I look at that makes me unhappy;

Tell me why girls that I meet,

Always simple and slow?

I want a brunette like those I met,

Back in the seven-reel show.


Liking striking blondes as I do,

Hair that’s golden and rippling,

Why don’t I meet a few that aren’t sweet but

Act very much like the ladies in Kipling?

Dolls are very numerous now,

Many wonders I’ve seen;

But I’d like a wife early in life

Someone who learned on the screen.



Theda Bara they say,

Drives depression away,

What Olga Petrova knows

Won’t go in the censored shows!

Why are ladies I meet

Never more than just sweet?

Girls seem to be Vampires,

But they won’t Vampire for me.


-F. Scott Fitzgerald


Fitzgerald, F.S. (1981). Poems 1911-1940. Bloomfield Hills, Michigan: Bruccoli Clark.


The title is what caught me at first. I get it though, the frustration of trying to find somebody that lives up to your ideals. Ideals that often come from screens, edgy femme fatales and the rugged male structure of perfection that is so often portrayed in the movies/television/social media. He ended up finding the ultimate femme fatale and muse in his beautiful, young, sought after wife Zelda. But as the story there unfolds (as with many others) Crazy and sexy is only fun until crazy turns out to be ACTUALLY crazy and sexy gives way to age and responsibilities and mental problems. The interesting thing to me here is that Vampires not only are charismatic, sexy, bloodsucking creatures that lurk in dark corners, but they also live forever. I wonder what he means by that with this poem, or if he means anything at all by it. Things to ponder on a Sunday afternoon…