Frighteningly Busy!

Ever since late April, my life has taken a very busy turn. At work I’m busily learning everything I can about Solaris and Oracle; I successfully managed the transition from Windows to Solaris for our website, but making the transition from SQL Server to Oracle’s going to be a real bear. One of the developers and I have managed to crash the installation process twice now, but so far we’ve only needed to rebuild the server once. So I think we’re doing good so far.

And I’m sitting here at work right now, reading all about the Oracle Migration Workbench which will theoretically make the whole transition much easier and realizing that at the moment I don’t really give much of a darn. I can only read technical manuals on my computer screen for so long before I start to go nuts and start chewing on power cables (note to self: stop chewing major power cables in the Northeast). So I’m poking around the web now, looking at websites about paranormal phenomena and skepticism and listening to Static-X on my computer’s on-line radio. Oh, and writing this journal entry.

Oh, I’ve been doing other things too since May. For library school I took a class in Resources for Children Ages 6-12, which was pretty interesting. I read close to sixty children’s books and wrote up brief summaries of all of them, and pulled off an A- in the class overall. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I suppose, though, that the most important thing I learned in that class is that there is an awful lot of crap out there which is published for children. The demand for books for children is staggering, and publishers rush a lot of unpolished, badly written books into print to meet that demand (good news if you are an aspiring children’s writer, not so good news if you’re an aspiring children’s librarian).

This class was conducted entirely on-line; the lectures were MS-Word documents that the teacher printed to the class website, and there were discussion boards that we students posted to, and so on. Never met a single other student face to face. I have to admit that I miss sitting in a classroom while a teacher lectured at me and I took notes; on the other other, on-line classes certainly fit better into my work schedule.

And towards the end of July I also took a week-long intensive course in Fullerton on Information Retrieval. I learned all about the amazing world of controlled vocabularies and usability studies and so on. Did you know that the Library of Congress Subject Headings list is a pre-coordinate vocabulary? Or that Google makes extensive use of inverted files and conducts vector alignment algorithms to determine the relevancy of the documents in their database with regards to your query? No? Well, you do now, and I know that you’re just as excited as all get out.

Anyway, so last week I finally turned in my final assignment for Information Retrieval — a usability study of the Open Directory Project — and sat back, figuring I could relax for the next few weeks until my next class started up.

Hm. Or, perhaps, not.

Somehow I’ve been recruited to conduct something called Disciple Bible Study at my church. This involves a year-long study of the entire Bible with a group of people my age or thereabouts at my church; and before I can start facilitating that, I have to go to a few days of training in Houston, Texas. And before that, I need to do a bunch of homework which involves reading extensive passages in the Bible and writing about them in a notebook. Well, okay, I was supposed to have started this while I was in Fullerton but I flaked; or, rather, I decided that I was going to focus on classwork that week. Insert an excuse here that sounds responsible.

I’ve also somehow made it onto the Library Commission for our town. This surely is my first step toward becoming a Rich and Powerful Librarian, and the Presidency of the United States can only be the next step. Honestly, I hadn’t expected to be appointed; I filled out the application on a whim, and was convinced that it was lame. Then I was called in for an interview, which I thought I did — uh — lamely in (when I was asked what I thought the local library was doing well, I had to think for a long time before finally answering that I rarely went in to the library because it never had what I wanted).

So now I’m a Commissioner. Part of being on our Library Commission is going to meetings (where free ice cream will not be served). And part of it also involves reading. Lots of it. I have a 200-page legal document that I need to read before next Monday. I probably don’t have to memorize it, at least.

The last thing that’s keeping me busy right now are my ideas for recalling the next Governor of California. I don’t mean Gray Davis. I mean whoever takes his place. I mean, the precedent has been set, and Darrell Issa has already proved that one millionaire with a bug up his butt who wants to buy a position of power can wreak havoc; so why not a bunch of smart folks armed with a sense of the absurd?

Finally, I wanted to point out that Strain 121 is my favorite microbe of the day. It lives in 249 degree temperatures! It uses iron to run its metabolism! It laughs at autoclaves, which it considers prime breeding ground! What more could you want from a single-celled organism?