Friday, November 20, 2009

The Way We Get By - Beautiful

I know it's been 8 months since I posted anything, so that alone should indicate to anyone who reads this how freaking incredible and moving the documentary The Way We Get By must be.

This little film had me balling within the first ten minutes, and the waterworks came and went throughout the screening. It's sad, beautiful, and heartwarming. The documentary focuses on the three senior citizens pictured. They are Jerry Mundy (a veteran), Joan Gaudet (the director's mother), and Bill Knight (a World War II veteran). They are troop greeters at the Bangor International Airport. At any time of the day or night, they will be there to welcome the troops home as well as see them off. Listening to their honest, plain-spoken interviews was amazing. They share their fears, opinions, and hopes freely with the camera. I know that they would shrug off any compliments given and point toward the troops as the ones truly deserving praise (as shown a couple of times in the film), but these three individuals should be celebrated and embraced. There are bumper stickers, magnets, and ribbons everywhere with the sentiment: "Support Our Troops," but it's not often you really see that support happening. These three have hardships and troubles in their lives, but they continue to go to the airport and welcome our troops home. I really cannot do the beauty of this documentary justice. It's already out on DVD and widely available. I highly recommend you find a copy and watch it. Just make sure to have tissues handy. Trust me, you'll need them.

If you'd like to know more, check out the film's website.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vampires Don't Matriculate

Imagine getting a note from your kid's school that says, "There are no vampires attending this school." That wouldn't be very reassuring would it? Such a note was sent home to parents of Boston Latin students. I'd love to be a fly on the wall of the next PTA meeting because seriously, what was the headmaster thinking?

From the comments I've read, there might to be more possibly going on with this situation, but even so, this all could be a case of wild accusations and rumors flying fast and loose. No matter what, things went screwy at Boston Latin and the kids at the center of this are not going to fare well no matter what they did or didn't do.

I wish I'd gotten a copy of that letter though. It would've made my week.

Read an article about the incident here.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stupid questions are exhausting.

I'm sure everyone has had this conversation, but I've got to share it.

Me: You know your items are a day overdue.

Student: Really? When were they due?

Me: Uh...yesterday.
Whoever said there are no stupid questions has never worked a public service desk. I hate when I get a question so stupid that for a second, I don't know how to answer. I have to quickly review the conversation up to that point and make sure that yes, the question really is that stupid. Then I have to quickly vet my response in my head to make sure that it isn't sardonic, sarcastic, or just plain rude. I have to school my features into the blankest expression possible and refrain from rolling my eyes. I remind myself that I can't touch the student no matter how desperately he needs a Gibbs style smack to the head. And I have to maintain this composure until the student leaves the area or I do.

Stupid questions are exhausting.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Don't Bite Down

Here's an interesting little article about a 'vampire' found in an archaeological dig in Venice.

Forget stakes in the heart or decapitation, just stuff a brick in his mouth to stop a pesky vampire. Don't got a brick? Use a VHS tape (or better yet Betamax). Promise it will work.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Old Tech

Never mind the newest gizmos, your mp3 players, high-def, and mobile devices. Libraries are haunted by ghosts of technology past and technology that never really was. Here are some snippets of tech support I have had to give.

Exchange 1

Professor: This VHS tape is broken. The machine won't play it.

Me: Let me see what's going on.

Professor: Look. It won't even go into the machine.

Professor proceeds to try and force the VHS into the player.

Me: Turn the tape around.

Exchange 2

Student: Something's wrong with the VCR. Nothing's coming up onscreen, and there's no sound.

Me: Let me come see.

I check connections and find everything is hooked up right. I pop out the tape.

Me: You're at the end of the tape. You need to rewind it.

Exchange 3

Student: Hi, can I check out LD23?

Me: That's a laserdisc. Do you know what laserdiscs are?

Student: Yeah.

He even sounds a little offended by the question.

I bring out the laserdisc.

Me: Okay, here you go.

He takes it and looks at it for a bit.

Student: Okay, I don't know what a laserdisc is. Isn't there a DVD?

I've had this conversation quite a few times. Laserdiscs are a precursor to DVDs. They never caught on. Of course, we have hundreds of them. Pioneer reccently announced they won't be manufacturing laserdisc players anymore. They announced it only in Japan. The format was a little better received in Japan, but it seems odd that they didn't offer an English press release. We are planning to stock up because there are things that are on laserdisc but have not made it yet to DVD. It's annoying. But it is fun to blow the undergrads minds when I bring an LD out.