Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hi Mark! Congrats on the retirement. Just checking to see if you really look at this blog.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thing 10 - Virtual Library Branch

Hooray! Hooray! I can hardly type fast enough to say how glad I am to be finished (and ahead of time, also). I usually only finish things under pressure, but I was pretty good about dividing my time for this adventure. First - thanks to the "Skokie Ten" staff that put this together and helped me through - you are all my technical gods!

Thing 10 was downloading an e-book which I pretty-much did in the Youth Lab, except that you can't actually finish there. I think I could go home and do it with my husband's help. I admire the patrons who are able to download e-books and videos without our help - how do they know how to do these things?

I visited the Cornell University Library website and it was great!!! I was amazed at how user friendly it was, but I also noted how huge their staff appreared to be. With that much staff, we could rule cyberspace also! The best thing was I had an old library friend that I haven't kept up with and I knew she had worked at Cornell. The last we communicated, she had said she was thinking of moving to Oregon. I put in her name on the staff search, and sure enough - there she was with her e-mail address and everything. It was like finding gold! Very cool. Now, I may e-mail her and reconnect. So - the tenth thing was well worth it for me.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cool Weekend

The following is an acccount of a great short vacation which I took with fellow-staff member, Pat Gaines, this month. It was the best thing I've been involved with in ages. Hope you like it!

Pam Weinberg and Pat Gaines at "Will Shortz’s Wonderful World of Words" at Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York

Last April, I saw a small listing in the Chicago Tribune about a weekend of word play and games at a resort in New Paltz, N.Y. Everything about it sounded like I was meant to go (I love N.Y. state and I love words…) My husband couldn’t make it, but he told me to go ahead. Eventually I talked Pat Gaines into going with me, and we anxiously awaited an interesting weekend at a beautiful resort (with award winning dining included).

We (Pam and Pat) finally started on our whirlwind weekend at 5:30 am (oh my!) on Friday, Nov. 9, 2007. The flight was fine but it didn’t bode well when O’Hare didn’t get our luggage on the plane which we found out about at the Albany Airport (an attractive small really easy-to-deal-with airport). They took our info, and actually did get our luggage to us at the resort by that evening. In any case, we drove from Albany to just outside of New Paltz in the Catskills - a beautiful 2 hr. drive parallel to the west side of the Hudson River - with autumn colors galore. We finally made our way up a long winding road to our hotel and it was just as beautiful and breathtaking as the brochures.

At check-in we each received a folder full of puzzles (3-D Word Hunt, Cartoon Caption Contest, Mashed P’s. . .and other crossword-type games). I worked somewhat diligently on the puzzles to complete them for the drawings while Pat goofed off and basked in the amenities. The hotel/resort alone would have been worth the trip – acres of wooded landscape and trails (they even have a naturalist on staff for guided tours), mountain views, biking, golfing, horseback riding, carriage rides, a pampering spa, swimming pool, skating rink, etc. etc., and all in a very large and charming Victorian mansion with more nooks and crannies than one can imagine! Two things tell you a lot – there is no television or radio in the rooms, and there are so many gazebos throughout, that people can’t even count them, but you don’t even notice that there are a lot of them because the place is so big!

The “theme” weekend, hosted by Wordplay star and N.Y. Times puzzle editor, Will Shortz, was filled with activities and speakers. This was the 26th annual and most of the attendees have been going for years (we were among about 10 newcomers in a total of about 200). Some of the highlights were Bob Mankoff of The New Yorker speaking on “The Art of Writing Cartoon Captions”, a crazy game of “Scrabble Scramble”, an afternoon playing boxed word games with other participants (don't go "ugh" - it was fun!), an incredible treasure hunt all over the massive building which took over an hour and a half for the winning team, tea and book signing with Will Shortz and Bob Mankoff, and the most interesting speaker on Sunday morning, Ira Glass from “This American Life” on NPR speaking on “Storytelling on Radio.”

What a full weekend! It was just great to meet so many literate and interesting “word puzzle” people (most from the New York city area or the East) all in a most sublime setting. (Oh, yes, to make it even more beautiful, it snowed the first night and kids were out making snowmen the next morning – even Disney couldn’t manufacture that!). So – after funny and interesting speakers, many good meals, meeting lots of nice people, doing fun puzzles and visiting this great place – we got back in our car and drove up to Albany for the plane home, full of memories of a unique weekend near the Catskills and thoughts of returning next year.

BTW, their website is www.Mohonk.com and they host “theme” weekends throughout the year. Check it out – I’m pretty sure Sophie Manta will be there for the “Everything Chocolate” weekend in February!

Pam Weinberg/Pat Gaines
November, 2007

(This might be published in a slightly edited format for the SPL newsletter The Grapevine for December, 2007. Sorry about the duplication.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thing 9 - Google Tools

I haven't written in brown lately, but I'm dressed largely in brown today - it's a brown kind of day (and close to Thanksgiving which I connect with brown). Google Docs was easy and can be useful because you can add to it wherever and whenever you like. I started a list of movies that I've seen in 2007 (anticipating the annual list), but I made it private. I might add my husband because most of the movies we have seen together.

Lots of the Google services are/would be nice with the time and motivation. I could definitely use the help of Google Notebook or any other service that helps me organize my thoughts and web offerings.

Have been very busy lately, so that's the reason for the big delay since last posting. I will fill everyone (ha - as if anyone really reads these) in soon about the fantastic weekend in New York state for "Will Shortz' Wonderful World of Words" at the most fantabulous resort - Mohonk House!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Thing 8 - Wikis

Purple again. My brain is whirling with Wiki's. I love Wikipedia, though I have never edited it, but I might sometime when I feel confident about my knowledge. So, I'm familiar with the Wikipedia format and feel comfortable with that - I like the standardized format and knowing what to expect. Some of the others were so different that it takes too long to orient yourself. I think they would be good, though, for librarians within an organization working on a committee or something.

Radical trust has always been an issue with me since everybody fell in love with the internet! That's why I like books - you can be pretty sure they have been written and edited by different people so the crazies get weeded out. But, as I use internet daily, I realize that you have to trust in yourself to mentally edit whatever you read. It adds a burden, I'll admit, but the positives outweigh the negatives and, besides, its here to stay!

Thing 7 - Podcasting

Red today - feeling like a "commie" with two Liberal podcasts - Democracy Now and Real Time with Bill Maher. Podcasting would be fun (when you miss your favorite show), but who has the time?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thing 6 - Social Bookmarking

I'm in grey today (like my parrot). Social bookmarking has the potential to be cool. I always wondered how people found out about wacky web sites! I tried signing in myself, but I couldn't get the icons to go on my toolbar (or wherever they go) - I'll ask for help.