# Friday, 15 October 2004

History and Technology – inseparable!

As a book buff, I love perusing used book store looking for treasures. My personal interest is mostly in the information contained in the pages and not ‘first editions’ necessarily, although I wouldn’t pass up a rare text if it presented itself.  My collection, which is at about 1200 books right now, and unfortunately about to bust out of our library, is quite eclectic. My true passion however is English history books, which are not as easy to find on the West coast of the US.  Therefore, I must again sing the praises of eBay and the treasures it reveals.


I just received my 'brand new' 1836 edition of  “Letter from the English Kings and Queens, Charles II, James II, William and Mary, Anne, George II, & C. to the Governors of the Colony of Connecticut, together with the Answers Thereto, From 1685 to 1749”  (gotta love the verbosity of titles pre 20th Century!)   This is a really interesting and rare type of text which, to look for physically, would take maybe a lifetime.  Yet, through the miracles of the eMarketplaces, they have opened a new world to average consumers - I can sit at my desk in California and search centuries of literature from all over the world!


About the book itself, it was ‘written’ or I should say, the letters contained within were compiled, by R.R. Hinman, the Secretary of the State of Connecticut in 1836 and was issued to clarify facts about relations between the colonies and England in the early years (pre-revolutionary war).  Also, according to the seller, the book was found “hiding behind a wall in the state house in conn.” – I am still waiting to see if the seller has any other information about the provenance as it sounds like it could be very interesting!

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School daze

And the fun continues!


I still can’t believe how fast my first semester of grad school is going!  As of Sept. 27th one of my three classes has already been completed.  Now I am concentrating on the remaining two…and the work has not let up. Three classes don’t sound like much, but I think the work load is about double that of an average undergrad class.  I really love using my brain again (something that didn’t happen the last year of my old job!) and the topic is actually applicable to things in which I’m interested.


I am finding however that my work is about 3/4 computer science and 1/4 library/archival theory.  In fact, the first three ‘core’ courses are:

1) Information and Society

2) Information Retrieval Systems

3) Information Organizations and Management


When I first applied to the program I thought the “I” in my MLIS program was just an extra vowel, but I sure am earning my science portion of this degree!

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# Wednesday, 29 September 2004

A long blog roll

After a brief hiatus for school and more travel, I return to the blog.  Thought I would do a quick recap of the past month, mostly for selfish reason…..


We returned from South Korea on August 31 after being away for 12 days. Since both Reeves and I were working hard in Korea (Reeves obviously for MS: I had a paper to start and complete while there as well as a group project) I actually didn’t leave our hotel for almost 3 days because of the paper.  However, it was not much of a hardship, the Sheraton Walkerhill was our hotel which was connected to a brand new W, open only a day before we arrived.  Between the 8 restaurants and full-sized duty free mall, large work out room and indoor pool, there was enough to keep the restless student distracted. ;-)


We did have a few days of tourism after we finished our work, including a visit to the De-militarized Zone (very surreal and in-your-face military presence) a traditional Korean folk village, several royal palaces within the city, the Modern Art museum of Korea, The Royal History Museum and Insa-dong, a local street market which closes off the street on Saturday evenings to open it to the local artists and vendors. 

It was a wonderfully different experience from traveling in the Western world and I can’t begin to express how pleasant, friendly and polite the Korean people were to us.


Upon our return, I delved head first back into my homework.  I must say I love being back in school.  It is so great to stretch my mind again and feel like my future career is an exciting place to reach. However, like most ‘freshmen’, I am getting the three core courses out of the way right now.  We have scintillating book titles like Into the future: The foundations of library and information services in the post-industrial era; Information Seeking in Electronic Environments; Text Information Retrieval Systems; and Management Basics for Information Professionals -  now, can’t you just imagine the yawn-fest!  

I won’t get into the really run courses till next semester…..but it is all up from here! (and again, I do love what I am doing)


I have already finished one of my three courses this past week – I can’t believe how quickly it is going – although as I try and complete another paper for Friday it never seems as if I have enough time.  (maybe because I am procrastinating here! ;-)


Another bit of travel I worked into my schedule was a trip to visit my great friend Amy, in NYC.  Visiting Amy is always a treat, but this trip we decided to have an additional adventure.  We drove to the Pennsylvania Dutch country (did you know that ‘Dutch’ country is actually as misnomer of Deutsch – so the heritage is mostly Germans and Swiss-Germans) which was like visiting a foreign land!  Other than the food (again, German homemade cuisine which is what I grew up with) we found more than just the Amish and Mennonite country a bit bizarre.  First, there seemed to be very few people around in the ‘urban’ areas like Lancaster.  We had lunch and walked around where we visited the Quilt and Textile Museum as well as the Cultural History Museum – two of the smallest museums I have had the pleasure of viewing.   We went through many little towns that looked like time is passing them by…I don’t know too much about the history of the area, but I am guessing it is a former industrial area for which its time has come and gone.   Additionally, every house had a “Bush/Cheney” sign…sigh…so if the election goes the wrong way, you now know where these people are who are voting for that moron. 


We stayed in Intercourse, PA (yes, it is true, and it is right next to Bird-in-Hand, PA!) Let me tell you the title is not lost on the humor of the area – there is even a bank chain called….wait for it….Blue Ball. (no, I am not kidding!)  We visited some local shops and I purchased a beautiful hand-made throw-size quilt from an amazing little group of ladies who sell and work in the shop.  It is even signed on the back, which to me makes it even more wonderfully personal.  Being a beginning quilter, it was fun too see all the examples of inspiration & genius. Although I like a bit more ‘free-form’ quilts like the Gee’s Bend ladies create, it was so impressive to see what many years of practice & dedication can accomplish. 


Our bed & breakfast was a cute little historic house called the Intercourse Village Bed & Breakfast Suites – very cute, well updates and recommended if you are in the area. We had a fabulous homemade German dinner at the Stoltzfus Restaurant – all the fried chicken, sausage, veggies, mashed potatoes, egg-noodles and various accompaniments (& desert too) you can eat…..for $15!  Just don’t get a hankering for an alcoholic libation – we didn’t see a single convenience store or restaurant with alcohol, much less a liquor store! And after the following story of breakfast, we both needed a drink!  

Yet another event, adding to the surreal theme of the weekend, was the breakfast we had at the B & B.  Amy and I were joined by three other couples – one couple who drove all the way from central Ohio to see “Noah: the musical” (“and they had all live animals that made you FEEL like you were in the ark!”) and the other 2 couples, traveling together from suburban NY, came to the area so they could visit the local gun shop. They were there because of the recently rescinded assault-weapon’s ban and wanted to pick up a couple guns they couldn’t buy before.  The reason you ask??? -  because, “the terrorists have them too!”  Additionally, none of the people at the table had left the country, nor flown domestically, since 9/11, it is “just too scary to fly”!!  Wow, it makes one pause to be confronted with this narrow-minded & provincial mentality – it is truly out there and shockingly real!


After our time in Intercourse we drove to Philadelphia.  We arrived around lunch and walked to the Reading Terminal Market – a fun open market gathering of every imaginable food vendor.  There was live jazz music playing while business convention-goers and Amish workers mingled – again, a bizarre tableau.  We spent the rest of the day visiting the Liberty bell, Independence Hall and the various buildings in the Independence National Historical Park.  It was quite an unplanned and advantageous visit as we were there on the 216th anniversary of the first copy of the Constitution’s printing from September 17, 1787. We were able to view one of those copies that day. (FYI – the first copy of the Constitution was not the hand printed copy, but those that came from the printing press – did you know that?!?!?)


Our evening, which was very muggy in anticipation of the coming storm, was spent in the new mid-town martini bar, The Continental. Yummy, tapas-style restaurant with a bit overpriced martinis – the food was definitely better than the drinks! Not terribly thrilled either with the clientele, we decided to walk home via a few shops that were still open.  I must say, for a major-metropolitan downtown, they really need an infusing of new retail life.  We were surprised at the lack of shops and only found a few near our hotel on Pine St. [we walked over 3 miles through downtown that day, so we saw enough to be representative] The supposed ‘mall’, entitled The Shops at Liberty place, was a disappointment – but, being a bit of a shopping connoisseur, I have to admit, almost any shopping is a disappointment after the many enclaves of Manhattan or perhaps Paris.


We awoke the next morning to pouring rain – it was a good thing we planned well for we had decided to do the Philly Museum of Art.  We arrived before it was open and waited till the almost horizontal rain was only at a 30 degree angle to make our run for it.  Thankfully, the rain kept many people away and we could wander the galleries almost undisturbed.  I was very impressed with the Museum – they had an amazing collection of impressionists and modern artists. We also went through the European Art and the American Art – as well, they too were well designed collections.  Because we were afraid of the rain slowing our drive and causing traffic nightmares, we headed home around lunch and stopped at a New Jersey dinner on the NJ Turnpike – what a great patty-melt!


We were able to out drive out of the rain and arrived in Manhattan mid-afternoon – just in time to infuse some money into the economy on 5th and Madison Avenues.  Unfortunately, the rain caught up with us, so Saks became our home for a bit. After walking about another 3 miles that afternoon, all over the upper East side, we went to dinner at the most fabulous Hungarian restaurant called Café Mocca. It is run by the real-deal mom & pop (mom it seems needs her hip replaced however) and you might miss it walking by, but you can beat the quality and quantity, even if the interior is original 1960s!   (also, who knew, the Hungarians make great wine!)


The following day, we visited mecca…aka, Woodbury Commons Outlet mall.  Now, don’t be fooled by the name, this is no average outlet mall – it is the only outlet complex in America with stores like Tod’s, Gucci, Barney’s, Bottega Veneta, Burbury, Chanel, Fendi, and MaxMara to name just a humble few!  It is very hard to pay retail after you visit this complex, especially when you can get things anywhere from 30-80% off retail.  A great day was had by all, especially with the company of January and her daughter Ariel.  We all were amazingly compatible shoppers (not a common thing to find!) and almost closed out the complex!


I was fortunate to spend a lovely evening with January and her family.  We enjoyed some dinner while we watched the Emmy’s and tried to spot her husband Harold, who was in the audience.  He is an executive with HBO and commonly attends such menial events. ;-)  It was especially fun to watch with people who were genuinely interested in the outcome.  We all did a little dance every time HBO won an award!


January and I had a great brunch the next day and she ‘let’ me get some homework done in the afternoon while I was waiting for Amy to get home from her school (she is a Science teacher in Greatneck, Long Island, NY). Amy and I walked around the West side before we had the most fabulous Chinese food and stumbled home, fed and happy.


My last day there I visited the New York Historical Society’s Exhibit on Alexander Hamilton.  What a well done exhibit - many rare artifacts including a multitude of original letters & documents from and to other small historical figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Aaron Burr!  Being only a few blocks from Amy’s apartment, it is a great place to pop-in when I only have a few hours before my plane home to honey and puppy!!


Ok, so this was verbose, I warned you earlier!  ;-)  


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# Tuesday, 24 August 2004

Stop and smell the technology roses

I tend to forget (and take for granted) the revolution of communication caused by technology.  Since arriving in Korea, part of our 'job' here, as well as my ability to take this trip, has been to observe how Koreans use technology.  Our first day comprised of a social and cultural tour of several typical retail venues to see how technology is utilized in all aspect of life.  I can't begin to express how pervasive the use of mobile technology is in all aspect of every strata of Korean life.  From the youngest users (phones shaped like kitty-cats with only 4 buttons to 'speed-dial' pre-set numbers) to elderly patrons chatting away while on the subway, I don't think there is anyone not connected to the cell network in one way or another. 

In fact, I am sitting here using the LAN connection (which is quite speedy) to communicate to fellow grad students and collaborate virtually with my new class that starts while I am half way around the globe.  I am lucky to have a grad program that is almost entirely virtual, enabling me to combine work and pleasure, something that technology would not allow just a few years ago. 

Not only does our hotel have a LAN, but provides a fairly new laptop with each room, for those of use that didn't want to bring a laptop.  Since both Reeves and I needed ours along, this was not of much use, but it was nice to know it is there if needed. 

In observing the Korean people, it seems everyone is communication with someone all the time - either by voice or text messaging.  MSN Internet terminals are even in McDonald's here!

We really are 'one small world' after all!



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# Wednesday, 18 August 2004

The Far East comes closer

Less than 48 hours till we leave for Korea and only a week since we knew we were going!  Reeves has business in Seoul and I am lucky enough to accompany him to this new destination.  I love to travel and jump at every chance, but I have to say this is the first trip for which I have been anxious.  I am not concerned for any security reasons, heck we were on a plane less than 3 months after 9/11 to NYC, but what concerns me is the language barrier.  I am not good on picking up non-romance language dialects and since Seoul is not exactly a Western tourism destination, I am not counting on many people outside of the major hotels/retail chains on speaking English.  I will also be on my own for the first week as Reeves has a taxing work schedule.  I will need to rely on my own skills and hopefully a good phrase book to navigate a new city and culture.  It should be an interesting adventure! 

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# Sunday, 08 August 2004

A fun weekend with my ‘hunny’

After two weeks of barely seeing my ‘hunny-moose’ (yes, this is an inside joke) we were able to spend a wonderful weekend together! 


Over the past two weeks I was doing school for what seemed like 24/7 and Reeves went to Colorado for a mini family reunion (including a very busy work schedule) so our together time consisted mostly of a kiss good morning and a kiss good night. 


On Saturday we slept in, what Joy! -then a lovely lunch at Santana Row and a bit of window shopping, followed by a fabulous guilty pleasure of an afternoon nap on the couch. (our couch is long with a chaise on one end so it is big enough to fit both of us comfortably, which is wonderful!) We then met our friends Mike and Bunny for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Vin Santo, in Downtown Willow Glen.  The four of us completed the evening by seeing the Bourne Supremacy. (it was a fun an action-packed flick and who can complain about watching Matt Damon for 2 hours!!)   


Today we were able to sleep in again and decided to take a drive in the convertible since the weather was beautiful.  We took the vette out and dove up Skyline Boulevard to Alice’s restaurant for great burgers and a fun parade of pretty motorcycles. (I am sure these manly-men would love to know their metal manhoods are referred to as pretty :) We took the road down to the PCH and up to the quaint Half Moon Bay downtown where we walked around a bit having fun looking at antiques and curiosities.   After an evening of dueling computers (Reeves doing work and I organized my homework for the next 4 months) in front of the TV we are about to happily snuggle into our cozy bed. 


Happy times!!

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# Wednesday, 28 July 2004

A couple weeks and MANY events later….

Over the past couple weeks life has taken over and my ability to blog became unavailable.  However, it has all been worth it!


First, my good friend Any visited from NYC.  We had such a wonderful time touring Northern California!  A few of the highlights as follows:

  • Dinner at Navio the main dining room at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay with our friends Leslie, Rob and Sharon and of course my wonderful hubby Reeves
  • A couple days in Carmel including hiking and tide pool gazing on Point Lobos, a picnic lunch on the beach at 17-mile-drive, a yummy dinner at Porta Bella and the day at Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • A great and relaxing afternoon at Burke Williams following by a lovely dinner with friends
  • Union Square shopping following by an amazing dinner and delightful conversation hosted by our friends Omar and Lora, attended by Dick and Trina as well.
  • Wine tasting at David Bruce (where I am a new member!) and Byington in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

After recovering for the day from our extremely taxing and strenuous schedule (!) I had my first orientation for graduate school!! Monday then started classes for a 'QuickStart' programs that begins 2 of my 3 classes for fall semester - 11 grueling days of 9-5 lessons as well as a paper and 2 oral presentation all in the first week!


Now that I have three (full!) days of school under my belt I have to say I am feeling more confident at my own abilities.  I had held out hope that the stereotyped ‘librarian’ (you know them, shy, introverted, no social skills, unattractive and insecure) would be absent…well, unfortunately, with only a few exceptions, my hopes were dashed, and every low expectation was exceeded in the stereotyped department.  Don’t get me wrong, these are intelligent people, many with Masters already, but none are going to win with in the personality department.  However, I can’t eloquently express how excited I am for the future and the prospect of the new path I am creating for myself.  It is going to be a few challenging years of intellectual gymnastic for which I am really looking forward!

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# Wednesday, 14 July 2004

Less than two weeks...

I thought I had grown out of these, but the anxiety dreams have begun! 

..... I am running frantically through the halls, the rooms don't seem familiar, but they should, it has been a whole semester so I should know where it is.  I finally arrive, after feeling like my legs are running through glue and I sit down just in time for the final, but I haven't done any of the reading and all of the material seems like it is written in some foreign language!  This is where I start to panic even more, but then I wake up.....

I have had these dreams before the start of school ever since I can remember, at least going back to Jr. High.  As excited as I get in starting a new year, the anxiety over the unknown rears its ugly head.  This year however at least I feel I have some individual experience under my belt both professionally and academically that only I can bring to the table.  I sure hope it helps me keep my head above water!

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# Thursday, 08 July 2004

Housewifery was not my calling....

After 5 loads of laundry and at least 4 more to do tomorrow, I must reflect on the job that is the housewife.  Being the non-breadwinner right now I am happy to take on the tasks of keeping the house running smoothly including the laundry, cleaning, cooking, errands, grocery shopping, gardening, bills, etc. But, and this is a big but, I am not going to miss any of it when I start working again.  I know there are many people who find it very satisfying at the end of the day when they have their task list done. I applauder these people and stand in awe of their dedication and ability. I on the other hand will be just as happy to sign my name to a check for the cleaning service, thank you very much!

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