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An eclectic collection of thoughts - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
An eclectic collection of thoughts
Getting close to three months in the gym. Still not a gym person. I mean, they seem to have ditched TNT altogether to have more talk shows and news shows and sports shows instead of Angel or Law and Order, and their entire magazine collection seems to consist of gossip mags, hair advice, and so on. Nary an Asimov's in sight. Thank heaven, sjepstein gave me a present to listen to music on, because honestly, listening to the Buffy soundtrack or Weird Al or even Footloose helps immeasurably for my own sake... but that overwhelming, I don't know, anti-geekery(?) is still disconcerting to me. It's like I've sidled into some alternate universe where fiction doesn't exist, except maybe for something so trendy it absolutely can't be avoided. It's creepy.

On Friday, I stopped by a neighborhood pub to have a drink, and everyone there was having a lot of fun. It's a sports pub, though, so my conversation was limited to "So... does someone want to fill me in on the season, since I haven't been paying attention at all?" But it occurred to me that fannish pubs would be fun. We could put up dartboards and play pool and have increasingly incoherent arguments about whether or not the new BSG is a travesty that betrays the old one, or the old one was a good idea turned into a joke, which the new one finally treated with dignity. Brawls could break out between Good Shippers and Harmonians, while R/Ters danced with lampshades on our heads and came up with lists of Latin star names, and Wolfstar shippers gathered around tables and came up with long and involved theories and possibly an impromptu poetry slam. We could complain about how Joss Whedon never should have let Seth Green go--meet any financial requirements, man! He's a key player!--or loudly denounce the non-explanations given about Klingon facial structure changes.

Doesn't that sound amusing?

And onward, to more unrelated thoughts.

Why do I have so many kids in high school who don't even know the basics about using a library? I mean, not even knowing things like, "Nonfiction is shelved by subject" or "Fiction is shelved by the author's last (not first) name." I like doing library education, and am happy to teach people, but I just can't help wondering how you get through elementary school without learning that. I mean, my first report was assigned in fifth grade, and we were certainly expected to know how to find books for it!

Brief random thoughts:

Does Tonks have the faintest idea how to style her hair? I mean, why would she learn that, since until HBP, she could just imagine it into the shape she wanted?

Collectibles are valuable because people break them, lose them, or throw them out, which makes the remaining ones rare. So people who collect movie posters may rejoice that the corner of my dresser tore right through my Phantom Menace poster (from the video release). That's one more down. Yours are more valuable now.

I talked to a kid for a long time today who's in a high school where they're supposed to hold jobs in their chosen fields and do reports on them. I can't explain why I dislike this so much as a school requirement; the kid didn't seem to mind. But... I want school to be SCHOOL!!!! Give me boring math tests and history and English and hanging around in the storage room at lunch and doing OM randomly on Saturdays, while absolutely NOT plotting to crawl around the vent system. Oh, and balsa wood to stick in soundproof ceilings. Jobs should be high school jobs, you know? It's serious enough in the minds of students without making it, like, actually serious and "in touch." I like my schools out of touch, thanks. The further the better.

He also told me that in their bio class, they weren't going to dissect a giant grasshopper because one student in the class was allergic to grasshoppers. Questions of the ethics of dissections aside--if you're going to require dissections, wouldn't it make more sense for the kid with the allergies to miss that class and do bookwork on it than to cancel it for everyone? I mean, not that I liked dissecting the stupid things in Mrs. D's class--ick--but the reasoning makes my eyes bleed. And several of these kids are on a "health sciences careers" track, so skipping an element of a bio class strikes me as an odd choice if that's the reasoning.

That's it, I guess. :)
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keridwen From: keridwen Date: September 13th, 2005 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I want to go to that pub. :)
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: September 13th, 2005 07:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I'd honestly expect to get injured.
From: magnolia_mama Date: September 13th, 2005 07:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like doing library education, and am happy to teach people, but I just can't help wondering how you get through elementary school without learning that.

There seem to be some indications that the pendulum is swinging back in favor of using libraries as research sources, particularly for younger students. There was an article in my local paper just last week about how some elementary and middle school students are turning away from the Internet because it's simply too much information to digest when writing a report on, say, grasshoppers.

I would LOVE a fannish pub to hang out at. :-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 13th, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad to hear it, though I wish the reasoning had nothing to do with the internet... or that the reason the internet is cited as not being great for study is that NO ONE FACT-CHECKS IT.

(You wouldn't believe how often kids think that the reason their teachers limit the number of internet sources they can use is that, "It might not be, like, listed in Google" rather than, oh, the fact that I could go home, log into homestead and create grasshopperresearch.homestead.com, in which I explain how grasshoppers are nine-legged aliens from the planet Megalalia who have been slowly infilitrating earth governments, and no one would bat an eyelash.)
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: September 13th, 2005 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
1. I'm thinking: Tonks's hair would grow now, wouldn't it, in the space of almost a whole year? Which actually makes it imperative for her to style it in some sort of way, unless she's one of those annoying people with hair that naturally falls in fashionable ways and never sticks up weird even when they've just gotten out of bed...

2. I don't see anything wrong, really, with working while in school, as long as it's primarily seen by all parties concerned as a learning experience (which is the theory behind internships, but rarely what actually goes on). I'm beginning to think college degrees should almost never be required, unless you want to work in research or in very specialised fields. So many of my classmates with engineering degrees are employed by banks in roles that are purely finance, it's not even funny. They literally started from scratch, and picked it up in a couple of months. 99% of what I studied in college is unrelated to my job - and has nothing to do with writing, which is what I want to do full time someday.

Just.. very random thoughts.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 13th, 2005 08:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
We're totally overdegreed for jobs. Most of them don't require a thing, and the fact that they're forcing the requirement for so many jobs is flooding the colleges, pushing up tuition, and making an actual liberal arts education--the point of going to college in the first place--increasingly untenable and/or answerable to non-academic concerns. I'm in favor of having the work world less concerned with college, simply because I would like the college world to be a little cleaner of career concerns.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
chocolatepot From: chocolatepot Date: September 13th, 2005 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
THAT PUB. I mean, I'm not 21 yet, but STILL.

On the Not Knowing How To Use The Library: I know that a lot of times the librarians/teachers will fill a wheeled shelf (what are they called?) with the necessary/possible books.

A grasshopper allergy? How'd he know?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 13th, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
They're called carts or trucks. And they never have all the books on them, just a handful that the librarian has pulled. And could I mention often enough that I don't think librarians who do such a thing are being especially helpful to students? I mean, the point of doing a report isn't to get the information, it's to learn how to do research!

Grrr.

And I'm a little muddy on just how the grasshopper allergy was revealed myself.
veryshortlist From: veryshortlist Date: September 13th, 2005 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe kids don't know how to use the library because they don't hang out there on a regular basis, don't make friends with the librarians. I dunno. I think it's one of the first things you should do, at a new school. Scope out their library.

You know, I'm a really geeky person, but once in awhile, I sit around and read fashion magazines. It's nice to stop thinking for awhile. Refreshing.
mafdet From: mafdet Date: September 13th, 2005 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm old enough to remember card catalogs *sob*. And I do remember that a big part of fifth grade for me was being taught how to use a card catalog, how to find books in a library, how to use the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature (remember that one?). I got to be pretty good at finding things in the stacks, especially because my local library was underfunded and had a dearth of real librarians and a surprlus of pages and "library ladies" who really weren't much better than I, or my dad, at finding things in the stacks.

Now that I do my research at a university library, the cataloging system is different and harder to get used to, but on the upside the library staff are competent and lovely people.
story645 From: story645 Date: September 13th, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I also remember card catalogues and Reader's Periodical, and I'm about ten years your junior. I miss those, in a way they were almost easier than nowadays, where if the servers are down you have to wade through all the shelfs to find the right field, and then break it down furthur till you get what you need.

(My college's library confuses me though, all big and full of periodicals, I'm not sure where they keep the books.)
saturnial From: saturnial Date: September 13th, 2005 08:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
that pub would be SEX. I want to be there. preferabley now.
Hey - how long do you think it would take for that idea to catch on? I mean, Harry Potter already has it's own rock band...
I would so go. And spend money.

And as for Tonks, I guess she's styled it before, if she's worn it long. but she's never had any trouble with it, because she can tweak it is she goes along, i.e. the length, the colour, the texture, etc.

But now, she's stuck with dull hair, which is just getting to the awkward stage when its in her eyes, and she's really depressed and doesn't really care about her hair, and I can imagine she's trying to tie it back simply and neatly so she doesnt have to think about it, but it's being awkward, and messy, and in the end its like a catalyst for a bad day and makes her burst into tears, because everything's awful, she's just had a bad day, and now she can't even tie her hair back. It's always the little things that get you down...
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: September 13th, 2005 08:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
*watches your icon*

*laughs hysterically*

*watches it some more*
merlinssister12 From: merlinssister12 Date: September 13th, 2005 08:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
1. I love the idea of that pub! Maybe a fannish gym to go with the pub would be in order. A gym with a library, and book stands by all the equipment.
2. I just surveyed my kids and they said they learned how to use a library in Grade One, which coincides with what I remember of my oh so distant childhood.
3. Tonks seems to keep her hair cut fairly short, that is probably just how I picture it, so she would at least now have to start getting it cut.
4. Sorry to hear about your poster.
5. Wow, a kid in high school who already has a chosen field. I thought high school was for learning the core basics. College and University were for pinning down a field. I didn't know at that age what I wanted to do when I graduated, I even had a different summer job every year because by the end of the summer I was bored with the job I had.
6. You can be allergic to grasshoppers? That sounds fishy to me, of all the animals to object to dissecting though, grasshoppers?
victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: September 13th, 2005 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, a kid in high school who already has a chosen field. I thought high school was for learning the core basics.

Unfortunately, from what I've seen, you've pretty much got to decide on a general field from about grade 10. Almost everyone I know has decided what they want to be, or have an idea -- some type of doctor, engineer, etc.</i>. I've noticed that a lot of subjects split into so many different directions that you can't just take every course and wait until later to figure out what you want to be. There's such a wide variety of courses that you have to at least what a general decision about your future career choice.

This doesn't apply to the student Fern was talking about, as she's in Boston obviously, but I know that it's especially bad here in Ontario now that they've changed high school from five years to four years. It's almost like you have to choose a career in grade 9 -- grade 10 courses are chosen half-way through grade 9, and there are certain grade 10 courses that are pre-requisites for grade 11 courses ... So, it's really hard to be able to keep your options open anymore.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 13th, 2005 08:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Why do I have so many kids in high school who don't even know the basics about using a library?

Good grief. When I was in elementary school (I'm a senior in high school now) we had library days like twice a week. In addition to being a chance to check out books from the school library, it was also when we learned how to use the library, the Dewey Decimal system, the card catalog, etc. And sometimes I got to stamp peoples' books for them, which I thought was pretty fun. Come to think of it, though, I never did learn the Dewey Decimal system or how to use the card catalog hardly at all, because I knew where to find everything in our school library, and whenever I went to the public library (which was frequently), I used the computer to look it up. It makes me feel vaguely guilty when I'm looking for nonfiction and I have to drift over and look at the poster of the Dewey Decimal system to see where Shakespeare's plays are. However, the point is, at least one highschooler did have library education. And she really loves her local library. :)
eir_de_scania From: eir_de_scania Date: September 13th, 2005 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Principessa, we call it a European pub so it's OK if you're over 18! And on the special Potternights you just have to be 17 to get a glass of Firewhisky.:-)

Concerning Tonks, perhaps she went home to Mum to get a haircut? I'm certain Andromeda knows some useful Haircut Charms. Of course Tonks doesn't have a clue how to style it herself. I know, my hair is, like Harrys, "growing all over the place", AND it's nicely curly, so I just have a haircut now and then, and it looks fine! *Chuckles evilly*
daisan From: daisan Date: September 13th, 2005 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Am completely in love with your idea for a fannish pub!
miss_daizy From: miss_daizy Date: September 13th, 2005 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
My quarters are up first on the pool table. ;)

olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: September 13th, 2005 09:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fern - I was wondering if you have anything more to say about HBP, after that first review on SQ. Any reconsiderations, now that you've had more time with it?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 13th, 2005 11:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not really. Most of my thoughts are ending up in fanfic.
fallohidepride From: fallohidepride Date: September 13th, 2005 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
PUB! I am so there. Lemme know when it opens.

I officially call BS on the allergic-to-grasshoppers kid. Ain't no way that's a legitimate allergy. The kid probably was just squicked out by the idea of dissecting an insect, and with all the hysteria about allergies going around nowadays -- I miss my airplane peanuts! >:( -- he thought it'd be the easiest, least-questions-asked way to get out of it.

If any of you out there are grasshopper-allergic, my apologies. But until then, I stand by my theory. ;)

super_pan From: super_pan Date: September 13th, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Public Nerddom

Yeah, I totally know what you mean. That's why I started my LJ, so I that I could find people that were totally as geeky as I am. About the same things that I'm geeky. I have friends that will nerd out sometimes, and it is so much fun, but, unfortunately, I have few friends that are as nerdily passionate about most of the same things I am. And discussing Buffy plot and character issues over beer is fun! Sigh. So, um, do you think "the new BSG is a travesty that betrays the old one, or the old one was a good idea turned into a joke, which the new one finally treated with dignity"?
alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: September 13th, 2005 10:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
or loudly denounce the non-explanations given about Klingon facial structure changes.

I thought Enterprise explained that--Klingons naturally look like Worf does, but there was some horrible plague that spread through the Klingon world and it disfigured some of the Klingons and they lost their ridges, (but the doctor found a way to save their lives, of course). Then it was the disfigured ones who met up with Kirk and all. I think. I so did not follow Enterprise except the last few episodes.

I just remember my uncle explaining it to me because he said at least they tried, and it was plausible.
toastedcheese From: toastedcheese Date: September 13th, 2005 10:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was just talking about that with some people, and that's the story they'd heard. I like Worf's "we do not speak of it with outsiders" version better. :)
jetamors From: jetamors Date: September 13th, 2005 10:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Why do I have so many kids in high school who don't even know the basics about using a library? I mean, not even knowing things like, "Nonfiction is shelved by subject" or "Fiction is shelved by the author's last (not first) name."

I remember library education basically being 'Here's the card catalog (later the search website), look up what you want and then find it on the shelves.' We might have gotten a quick summary of what sections held what information, but of course no one paid much attention to that. The focus was on navigating the library, not understanding how it was organized.
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: September 13th, 2005 10:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bloody spammers. Fernwithy, you'll want to be deleting the above comment.
rabidsamfan From: rabidsamfan Date: September 13th, 2005 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I used to have the LC letters prominently displayed over the shelves in my nonfiction section at my old branch. And I talked about call numbers constantly. But the new branch librarian thought that the letters looked strange because it didn't include "I" or "O" and they weren't evenly spaced so she took them down one day when I was working elsewhere.

::rolleyes::

If it's any consolation though, I've had occasion to teach the theory of call numbers and library arrangement to native born fifty-year-olds so it's not just today's kids who've been skimped.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 13th, 2005 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
But the new branch librarian thought that the letters looked strange because it didn't include "I" or "O" and they weren't evenly spaced so she took them down one day when I was working elsewhere.

:headdesk:
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 13th, 2005 10:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

from Violet Azure

I could soooooo use a Fan Pub. Or even a Book Pub. Oh wait. Books pubs are called Barnes & Noble.

Tonks's hair I see as being one of those styles that doesn't require much fuss, like a pixie cut. My hair is in a shoulder-length bob and honestly all I do is wash it and brush it and part it to the side. I can't remember the last time I used a curling iron, hair spray, rollers, bobby pins or anything remotely resembling "styling" even when my hair was half-way down my back.

I agree with you and Olympe about people needing degrees for jobs where job training is enough, especially where so many kids go to college nowadays in order to get a job, not because they love reading philosophy and discussing ideas or anything like that. There's this "college trap" that I feel my generation has fallen into where you "have" to go to college in order to get a job, so you rack up tons of debt and when you finish school you often end up in a job where A) you're over educated for it and B) you could have learned through job training and paying attention. I think it's really interesting that as our nation becomes more "educated" more and more people don't have savings and are in debt. Of course, there are multiple variables contributing to that, but I really feel that over the past 30-40 years this vicious cycle has been growing of go to college and accumulate debt, work at a job that does not pay a salary equal to the amount of debt accrued, student loans turn into morgage payments for house, then kids come along and they are an expense in and of themselves, then you have to save for *their* college education and then you realize, crap I don't have enough to retire on. And for some reason, the kids I see in college are getting dumber and dumber.

Allergic to grasshoppers? I've heard of cockroach droppings contributing to asthma, but grasshoppers are something new.

Fern, does your gym have VCRs? Mine does and sometimes I'll bring in movies or rent shows that I don't get to see because I don't have cable. You can plug earphones into the TV and watch your program, but they only have it for the cardio machines.
(Deleted comment)
cordeliadelayne From: cordeliadelayne Date: September 14th, 2005 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Re: Tonks. Wouldn't she have to brush it through to see what style suited her? Like looking in the mirror, imagining it and then tweaking it if it didn't turn out right the first time. In fact, I can't imagine Tonks ever being able to turn it out right the first time (at least when she was younger).

And slightly unrelated - how did her parents tell her she could do that? Did they have to keep her inside so she wouldn't turn into a red-headed boy while her mum pushed her along in her pram? And how does she practice changing unless the Ministry assigns another Metamorphmagus to help her?

You know, I've got a terrible feeling I'm about to write gen Tonks...
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: September 14th, 2005 12:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Er, there's another of those awful comments two posts down.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2005 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I got it. What an uncreative troll. Very disappointing.
meredith_eats From: meredith_eats Date: September 14th, 2005 02:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I wonder how people find out they are allergic to grasshoppers. Does the average person really have enough contact with them to say "man, every time a grasshopper hops around my body, I break out in hives?" I mean, really, what was this child doing that he was even able to recognize his grasshopper allergy?
lannamichaels From: lannamichaels Date: September 14th, 2005 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
That would be an awesome pub. I'd be with the drunken slashers, going on and on about the tinhatters giving us all a bad name.


I talked to a kid for a long time today who's in a high school where they're supposed to hold jobs in their chosen fields and do reports on them.

Eeek. That strikes me also as a bad idea. There's enough messages of DOOM going on in high school that I don't think the students need any more soul crushing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2005 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
One of them in high school was assigned to observe a psych ward. I don't know that that's developmentally appropriate.
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