Archive for the library stuff Category

California Trip

Posted in baseball, library stuff, rambling on 3 July 08 by mikevc

I spent the most of the last week in Anaheim, CA for the big annual library conference. The conference was a lot of fun. I attended some excellent sessions and made some important contacts with colleagues and vendors. My favorite program was one featuring Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, a fascinating book that looks at why people make seemingly irrational choices over and over again.

In addition to the conference I did manage to get in some side activities. I did not go to Disneyland but did make it to Downtown Disney, where I bought some Pirates of the Caribbean stuff for Tobe and Jonah. That was enough Disney for me. My brief Disney experience did convince me that the boys would love the whole thing and am finally thinking–against my better judgment–that we will plan a trip to either Disneyworld or -land in the next couple of years.

Most importantly, I was able to add two more MLB stadiums to my list as I work to attend a game in all the stadiums. On Friday night, I drove into LA to watch the Dodgers. It took me 2.5 hours to go roughly 30 minutes. I was very impressed with the stadium; Chavez Ravine is the perfect place for a stadium. I also realized it was the oldest stadium I had ever been to a game in. It was cool to think of all the players who had played there. I was less impressed with the experience. It might have been that the Dodgers were playing the Angels but it was a decidedly different experience for me from any game I have attended in the past. There must have been 30 or 40 fights throughout the course of the game. There was either a guard or LAPD in practically every section and I must have seen at least 50 people escorted from the game. The majority of the audience seemed to have no interest in the game. They were more interested in hitting beach balls in the air (and at each other) and screaming obscenities at anyone wearing Angels gear. They seemed oblivious to the fact that an actual game–featuring the team they were ostensibly cheering for–was taking place in front of them. And, all this, while the Dodgers played a great game and were in control from the beginning. I was sitting by three groups, all of whom left the game early for fear of their own safety.

The game I went to at Angels Stadium was a completely different experience. It is clear the franchise works hard to make games a family event, which is not how I would describe an outing to a Dodgers game. They have family values in their shops where folks can purchase hats for $7 and t-shirts for $10, which are unheard of prices in my experience-even for souvenirs from a minor league game. On top of this, there are family sections where no one can drink alcohol. Also, the exact same hot dog I paid $6 for at Dodgers Stadium was only $3 at Angels Stadium. The Angels were playing the Athletics, which though not geographically as proximate as the Angels-Dodgers rivalry should be even more heated when you consider the Angels and As are currently fighting for the top spot in the AL West. There were a few minor jeers at the many folks in green and yellow but nothing that seemed as dangerous or truly hate-filled as what I saw in LA. The game itself was not particularly spectacular but–as with all games–enjoyable nonetheless as the Angels fell to the A’s with a score of 1-6.

Overall, my trip to CA was a lot of fun but I really missed my family. I could never have a job that involved constant travel. I am glad to be home and out of the land of the palm tree and Carl’s, Jr.

Latest Dilemma

Posted in library stuff, music, rambling on 24 May 08 by mikevc

So, here is my dilemma. Next weekend is the event that I have spent the last year and a half working toward as Chief of Central Services: the reopening of the Central Library in Houston. It is going to be a big deal and a lot of fun. There will be authors, music, food, puppets, dancing, games (video and other), books, and fun (again). I would encourage folks to attend.

It just so happens that the night before the celebration, the Old 97’s are coming to town. I have been a fan of them as long as I have known my wife (I know this is odd and seemingly random but I remember first discovering them the day before our first date (November 1997)). It was the 97’s who turned me on to Bloodshot Records and the whole alt-country thing of the late 90s, which opened a whole world of music I did not know existed at the time. In the past ten years or so, they have come to town numerous times but something has always prevented me from attending.   In most cases, I was out of town when they were here.  They are rumoured to be a great live band. I will grant that their latest release is good but not as great (to my ears) as their early stuff and they have strayed a bit from the country twang that was so endearing in their earliest releases (AND some members moved from Texas to Los Angeles (Booo!!)) but they remain a solid band and I still would like to catch their show.

Now, knowing that next weekend is realistically the biggest moment in my career (also 10 years), should I attend a show the night before? Part of me says I should since I will be so nervous I will be unable to sleep anyway and a great show will calm my nerves and take my mind off of the big event. Another (more sensible?) part says I shouldn’t because I will be exhausted and I need to be able to be in a great mood as I welcome thousands to the library.

So, what should I do?

It occurs to me that things must be going fairly well life-wise if this is the most serious problem I am facing.

TV Brings Out My Vanity

Posted in library stuff, television on 20 May 08 by mikevc

As we get closer and closer to the Grand Opening of the library where I am in charge, I am having to do more and more TV spots. The prospect of going on TV itself doesn’t scare me. It is that I wish I could go on TV looking like I did ten years ago when I ran daily and did not live on a steady diet of fast food. When it all comes down to it and despite the gradual gain of the last ten years, I am still quite vain. So vain in fact that I don’t even watch myself when I do TV bits.

Library Conferences Bring Out My Inner Nerd

Posted in baseball, library stuff on 6 February 08 by mikevc

logo.jpgI absolutely love going to library conferences. This year I will be attending the big one: the PLA (Public Library Association) National Conference in Minneapolis. This is only held every two years and is one that I have never been to before. Everything I have heard about PLA is that it is the best conference for what I do as a public librarian. I cannot wait.

One of my favorite things to do pre-conference is to sit down with the conference guide and plot out the sessions I want to attend. This holds the same excitement for me as did going to the bookstore in college a few days before the semester started and buying my books. Somehow, the books allowed me a glimpse into what the semester held; I can even remember a few times when I had to make myself not start a book I found particularly interesting. Similarly, the program descriptions get me excited about the programs themselves. While I know this cements my already pretty solid status as a real dork, I thought I would share my nerdish excitement.

twins7.gifIf that weren’t enough to verify my nerd status, there is more to this on the baseball geek front. As luck would have it, I am able to stay one extra night and take in opening night for the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome. While the Twins are not my favorite baseball team, this is big because it is one more stadium I can cross off in my goal to see all the MLB teams in their home stadium.

LOVING ALA

Posted in ALA, library stuff on 25 June 07 by mikevc

I am having a great time at ALA.  Besides attending some excellent programs (I have  a lot to bring back from the “Dealing with Difficult Customers” and staffing programs), the exhibition hall has been pure heaven.  I got Letitia an exhibits only pass.  Between the two of us, we have accumulated easily fifty books-some for family, some for friends, and some for us.  The long and short of it is that I will not have to buy a book for months.  I had to trudge to the USPS to ship two huge boxes of books back to Houston early this morning.  And, I still have two more days of exhibit crawling.  Highlights: Steve Almond’s reading, meeting Bill Bradley, Ken Burns auditorium presentation, and lots of free and cheap books and other cool stuff.   Lots of fun!

When I have more time, I will post at greater length on some interesting sessions on blogs and the use of social networks in libraries.