Archive for November, 2006

ALA email

Posted in ALA, Technology and software on November 3rd, 2006

I know this email stuff is awfully advanced technology, but:

I got email to renew my membership today. At my work email address — well, actually at my old work email address, which is apparently one of several aliases for my current work email address (crawforw@oclc.org, if you’re wondering, although the business cards have the formal alias Walt_Crawford@oclc.org).

So I click on the link (still not happy about LITA’s $60 or thrilled about ALA’s $110, but not ready to quit just yet either). And find that the password autoprovided isn’t the password I currently use. Fine; I click on the appropriate button and ALA emails my password.

To my gmail address. Which, now that I think about it, is what I told ALA I want to use for email.

So, fine, I log in and renew–it’s a strange cumbersome set of links, first to this page then back to that page then over to another page, but not too difficult–and it all finishes by saying it will email confirmation.

Which it does. To my old work email address.

Now that I think about it, I also changed my postal mail preferences to get stuff at home. So, of course, it’s still arriving at work. Except for the things that arrive at home.

I’m all for diversity–but maybe not in actually executing the preference changes that you invite people to do. Is proliferating an email address driven off a single membership number really that difficult? Is that what ALA needs the extra bucks for?

So not going to happen: A quick Friday post

Posted in Technology and software, Writing and blogging on November 3rd, 2006

So along with NaNoWriMo (Robin Williams lives on!), there’s NaBloPoMo, with much lower standards: You just have to write one post every day during November.

Not going to happen, at least not here, at least not intentionally (and a family matter now virtually assures that it won’t happen, period).

On the other hand, the continued spate of links to that actress (hey, she got paid, she’s happy) putting a weird face and snarky attitude on Live Search leads me to note that it could be worse…

What if, say, Yahoo! wanted to promote a snazzy new search engine, and the people designing the viral campaign website had academic library backgrounds. We could have (and no, I’m not putting up a prototype):

Elsie the search cow–with a four-legged avatar mooing until you enter a search term, then swishing her tail and chewing her cud as the results pop up…

[I don't get two things: First, the claims that this actress is somehow stunningly beautiful and/or immodestly dressed; second, on a search-engine website, all the commenters who took it seriously!. Well, three things: Why MS would waste their money on this.]

Ozymandias and Orkut

Posted in Media, Technology and software on November 2nd, 2006

There’s a good article in this morning’s San Francisco Chronicle about social networking fatigue. This one’s locally written and, remarkably, begins on page one (slow news day, I guess, other than bs politics).

The story speaks for itself, and I don’t think it means “Social networking is dead” or anything close to it. Most of the people interviewed have no plans to shut down entirely; they’re just getting a bit less enthusiastic and finding a need to balance online and offline life. That is, I believe, a good thing.

My post title raises a point I found interesting, particularly given the sense some commentators have offered that anything Google does must necessarily succeed and dominate. It’s another “dog that didn’t bark” story, to wit:

The term Orkut does not appear anywhere in this lengthy story.

Friendster gets a tiny mention, but Orkut–which, after all, is the Google social network and therefore invincible–is nowhere to be seen. (I may still have an Orkut account. I wouldn’t know; I neither know nor want to know my account name or password.)

And before overinterpretation sets in:

  • I’m not opposed to social networks.
  • I was an Orkut member (and may still be, for all I know).
  • I am a LinkedIn member, albeit not a terribly active one.
  • I’m not in a library, but if I was, I’d assume social networks should be handled the same as any other legal websites.
  • If libraries have had success in having their own spaces in social networks, more power to them.

No NaNoWriMo here, but…

Posted in Books and publishing, Writing and blogging on November 1st, 2006

NaNoWriMo? Hard to help reading about it, given the number of would-be novelists among libloggers.

I’m certainly not making fun of the idea. Quite the opposite: I think there’s a lot to be said for just giving it one big try, devil take the details; go for a short novel over the course of a month. Then look at the results, see what worked, see what didn’t, see whether fiction writing is your thing–and proceed from there.

Thing is: I’m already pretty certain that I don’t have a future as a fiction writer or novelist. I tried short fiction as a teenager (and should have saved the very kind, not form, rejection letter from John W. Campbell, but didn’t). The writing was OK, the plots were mediocre, and the character development…well, a long-term friend who knows me too well nailed it when she said I’m just not observant enough. Not then, not now, not likely to be in the future. I respect good fiction writing. I respect good musicianship. Respect doesn’t mean I anticipate doing it, though.

Is there a NaNonWriMo for taking on a book-length nonfiction project with the goal to complete a first draft in a month? Probably not, and that’s not nearly as interesting, but I’d almost like to give it a try. Currently, I have four–no, make that five–book ideas. I could probably do a first draft of any of them in a month or so, if I abandoned all other writing. So far, that hasn’t made sense. But in the back of my mind…

[These are, as it happens, all book ideas where I believe PoD self-publishing would be the only realistic approach; I'd be surprised if any of them had the potential for the 1,200-or-so sales to make sense for a commercial library publisher. Nor would I be ready to go through that production cycle for these ideas, even though the editing would improve the results.

Will any of the five get written eventually? Probably. Will they all? Probably not, and probably just as well.

Meanwhile, C&I amounts to around 20,000 words per recent issue, That's nowhere near "writing 50,000 words in one month."]

50-Movie All Stars Collection, Disc 12

Posted in Movies and TV on November 1st, 2006

Out, 1982, Eli Hollander (dir.), Peter Coyote, O-Lan Jones, Jim Haynie, Scott Beach, Danny Glover, Grandfather Semu Haute. Title “Deadly Drifter” appears before title sequence. 1:23.

What’s this movie about? It’s about 83 minutes: An old joke, but the most applicable one in this case. After a bewildering viewing experience, a bit less so because the “experimental” nature of the film became fairly obvious, a visit to IMDB was a bit helpful. This is probably misplaced in the megapack: It’s certainly not a standard “TV movie” (particularly not with certain key language early on that isn’t acceptable on network TV, but perfectly appropriate to the flick). It’s an indie—a little indie: IMDB says the total budget was $25,000, including blowup to 35mm, and that most actors worked for free. Great cast, pretty much incomprehensible plot, having something to do with underground conspiracies and ESP. I think. “Deadly Drifter” was apparently added by a distributor; the director hates it, as it’s misleading. The jacket blurb calls this a comedy, but that doesn’t work either (particularly with at least one implied murder). Read the outraged rave reviews at Amazon: Maybe you have to have eyes to hear and ears to see what this picture’s really about. Or, to put it in a timely fashion: Far out, man. $0.75.

Good Against Evil, 1977, color, Paul Wendkos (dir.), Dack Rambo, Elyssa Davalos, Richard Lynch, Dan O’Herlihy, Kim Cattrall. 1:24.

Start: A mother gives birth and is somehow frightened into falling down stairs and dying. A shadowy figure notes that the baby is Theirs. Next: Baby all grown up, independent young woman, meets guy, they fall in love…but, oops, she’s supposed to marry Satan. Things get really confusing—and she winds up disappearing, while the guy finds another Satan-bound child and a priest exorcises that one, sound effects and all. Meanwhile, the woman’s gone, and the sometimes-interesting movie trails off in a cloud of talk. Why? It was a pilot for a TV series, presumably chasing the woman and her evil captors. Fortunately, the series never got made. Decent cast, mediocre acting, no ending. Arrggh… $0.75.

Congratulations, It’s a Boy, 1971, color, William A. Graham (dir.), Bill Bixby, Diane Baker, Karen Jensen, Jack Albertson, Ann Sothern, Darrell Larson, Tom Bosley. 1:13.

Bill Bixby as swingin’ bachelor as they were supposed to be in the early ‘70s—until a young man turns up who he fathered in a one-night stand. Various melodramatic hijinks ensue. But look at the cast: This crew wouldn’t make a really bad movie, and it’s mostly pleasant enough fluff. $1.00.

Snowbeast, 1977, color, Herb Wallerstein (dir.), Bo Svenson, Yvette Mimieux, Robert Logan, Clint Walker, Sylvia Sidney. 1:26.

Set in a ski resort town (Sylvia Sidney as the matriarch of the principal resort) starting the annual festival that keeps things working—when a young woman disappears and the matriarch’s son (and manager of the resort) finds a bloody jacket. As the plot progresses, it’s clear that there’s a “snowbeast” on the loose—maybe not a Sasquatch, because everyone knows they’re all gentle creatures, and this one’s a semi-intelligent killer. Great scenery, lots of ski and snow scenes, and the picture’s better than it has any right to be. $1.25, mostly for the scenery.

But wait, there’s more! If any of you have been following this series of posts, you may notice that–unlike all the other megapack reviews–every single disc in this collection has had exactly four movies. Not one of them has squeezed in an extra short flick.

So how do they get to call it “50-Movie All Stars Collection”? Simple. This time, there’s a 13th disc in the twelve-disc pack, one-sided, with the last two movies. The first of which is universally beloved by American football fans of a certain age; extra credit to whoever names the TV movie before I post the reviews toward the end of next week!

Oops: The movie I was thinking of–which actually has nothing at all to do with football, but will always be associated with football–isn’t the movie I’m watching. The one I’m thinking of had a one-word title and dates from 1968. The one I’m watching adds “The new adventures of” and dates from 1978. Never mind.


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