Saturday, September 29, 2012

Blizzard

(No, it isn't snowing, and I'm not talking about ice cream. I mean the company that made WoW and Diablo and a bunch of other games.)

Blizzard is an incredible company. Sure, they make video games. That's what they're in business to do. But the other things they do make me a loyal fan and customer.

This story is the one that prompted me to write this post about them. In short, Hexu is a British soldier who lost his eyes in combat, and Davidian is his guildmate who created a bunch of macros so he can basically be his "guide dog" in-game. Blizzard heard about this, and for the MoP expansion, they added two new items: Hexu's Amplifying Helm ("A man with a friend is never without vision") and Davidian's All-Seeing Eyes ("Sharp enough to see for two men").

But I remember another story that made me feel the same way about Blizzard. Ahab Wheathoof, a Tauren you can find in Mulgore near Bloodhoof Village, gives a quest where you have to track down his dog. This NPC and his quest were created as part of a Make-A-Wish request that Blizzard granted for Ezra, a 10-year-old boy who had brain cancer. Ezra even got to record his voice as Ahab, and write the quest (the dog is based on his own dog). Not crying yet? After Ezra passed away, Blizzard added Ezra Wheathoof as an Elder in Thunder Bluff for the Lunar Festival.

Okay, here's one that isn't so much sad as it is awesome. There was a guy at Blizzcon 2010 who went to a Quests and Lore panel discussion, and he was wearing a red shirt (he is commonly known as Red Shirt Guy). He asked the panel a question that (to be brief) boils down to "why isn't this character still in the game? He's not supposed to be dead." Long story short, he was right, and he basically caught this big mistake that the WoW developers missed. They fixed the error, but even better, they made an NPC out of the guy who corrected them. (NPC is non-playing character... it's anyone in the game who isn't being controlled by another player somewhere in the world.) There is now a Wildhammer Fact Checker (in a red shirt, of course) standing next to the character he told them wasn't dead. Pretty awesome.

Another player, Alamo, posted a druid "tutorial" of sorts in the forum. It is hilariously rife with typos and poor grammar/punctuation/etc. He coined the term "CAT DURID IS 4 FITE!" (It was made with the intent to entertain... it's supposed to be that bad.) There is a card in the WoW trading card game that is called Alamo, and imitate his writing style in the card's description ("OK LISSEN, UDDER FRIENDLY DURIDS HAF +1 FITE / +1 HEELTH.") If you want to read Alamo's post, go here.

Frostheim is a player who is just... well, I can't even encapsulate it here. But he put together an all-hunter guild which is pretty amazing, and he's done a whole bunch of other stuff that you can read about here. Blizzard gave him an in-game item: The Recovered Cloak of Frostheim (flavor text: "This gunpowder-stained cloak belonged to an uncommonly good-looking hunter.")

So Blizzard is pretty darn cool for doing that sort of thing for their fans and loyal players, and I respect them for it. (On top of that, they have an excellent sense of humor... read about the names of their achievements or some of the items they put in-game. So much fun.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Exciting new project: Review Me Twice

I was telling Birk about this book I just read, Going Bovine by Libba Bray, and how I had talked to my friend Cassy about it before I read it. From reading the cover flap and talking to her, I didn't expect to like it very much, but then I actually kinda loved it. Birk mentioned that Cassy and I have simultaneously very similar but very different opinions of books, and it would be interesting if we made a blog where both of us reviewed the same book at the same time. Of course I thought the idea was ingenious, and I told Cassy about it immediately, and she of course agreed, and now it's a thing.

The first real post will be next Monday (Banned Books Week y'all!) and our first review should be up next Friday. The blog is Review Me Twice and you know you want to follow it for all the bookish goodness we are about to present to you three times a week. Teaser? I just checked out our first book to be reviewed and I'm loving it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"International Book Week"

Social media memes. (Pronounced "meems." And I don't mean Forever Alone or Slenderman or Why Not Zoidberg.) How is it that the same "international _ week" happens three times a year? Didn't we just discuss "_ Day" and what you're supposed to do for it, like, last month? And why does everyone spread these things like wildfire without so much as Googling them?

I understand, though. Most of these things refer to good causes (terminal illnesses, unfortunate disorders, or helping kids / the elderly / the impoverished) or things we enjoy (reading, going outside, or decrying the use of the Oxford comma). So it doesn't matter whether it's actually "_ Day" or "_ Week" because even if it's not, we should celebrate or spread awareness or whatever we're being called upon to do in the name of the cause.

I still look it up, though. It must be my librarian-ness. (Librarianity?)

That's why, yesterday, I posted the following status: "It's not actually International Book Week, because there is no such thing, unless the prevalence of this meme creates it, but this game is fun, so I'm in. The rules: Grab the closest book to you, turn to page 52, post the 5th sentence as your status. Don't mention the title. Copy the rules as part of your status." (And I followed it with the fifth sentence from the 52nd page of the book nearest me.)

A lot of friends have liked it and commented on it (most of whom had already posted their own) so I assume that I didn't offend anyone. I would bet that if I did this for something attached to a disease or disorder or military branch or religion, people would get mad at me. But since pulling a quote out of a book in an arbitrarily specific way to promote reading doesn't hurt anyone, this is a fairly fun way to poke at the Facebook-spread memes.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oranges and Peaches and Pablo

There's this story that just about everyone hears in library school. I don't know if it started off as a true story, or a joke, or a well-written example of the sort of troubles one might encounter during reference interviews* but it is now an urban legend of sorts. The story goes as follows: A student comes to the reference desk and asks the librarian if she can get the book called Oranges and Peaches. The librarian searches fruitlessly for this book. There is nothing titled anything remotely like "oranges and peaches." So, like a well-trained reference librarian, she asks what else the student knows about the book. Who wrote it, what is it about, what class is it for, etc. The student says it's this super-famous, super-important book that her biology teacher told her to read. The librarian, being incredibly good at her job, figures out that the student actually meant Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.

I love this story, because I know that things like this must happen every day in libraries. You get all sorts of questions, and sometimes they come from confused students who aren't exactly sure what they're after. I've even had the "I checked out a book three years ago and it was orange, can you find it?" type of question. Classic. But I never thought I would get a question quite like Oranges and Peaches. But then, last night happened.

Two really nice students came in looking for books to help them with a psychology project. They're studying behavioral therapy, and they were assigned the scientist "Pablo." If I had been paying attention carefully, I probably would have figured it out right there, but I think my mind was addled by a combination of RFID tagging for an hour and too many Ricola. I search and find nothing. I Google and find nothing. One of the students goes to find their teacher, who was just outside the library. Did you figure it out yet? Behavioral scientist; "Pablo." Yup... It was Ivan Pavlov. We all thought it was pretty funny, and I was relieved to be able to help them find a wealth of information (as opposed to the nothing on "Pablo").

*Reference interviews, for the non-librarians among you, are not interviews to get reference jobs. That's what we call it when you come to the desk and we ask you questions to figure out what it is that you're actually looking for. They happen because you'll get a student asking for "books on math" when really they want "the textbook for my statistics class" or they'll ask for books on a topic when they actually need a variety of sources to include books, journal articles, and reliable websites.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waiting for the mail

I'm supposed to get my WoW craft swap package in the mail today! It doesn't look like it will show up before I have to leave for work, but it should be here when I get home, waiting for me!

On an entirely unrelated note, who else perpetually has "Gangnam Style" stuck in their head lately? It's particularly problematic when you don't actually know Korean, so the best your mind can do is put "Heyyyyy, sexy lady!" on repeat.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I need another Master's

Tonight and tomorrow night I'm working until 9, for various schedule-fixing reasons. The upside to this is that I get to teach an English 112 class tonight: my favorite! (What can I say; I really do genuinely love teaching people how to cite in MLA format. Careful: it could be contagious.)

This reminds me of a new student of mine (I say "mine" like they're enrolled in a class I teach, but librarians get the benefit of having ALL the students... we're lucky like that). I don't want to give specifics or anything, but long story short, she was terrified of citations and now she can do them like a champ. Seriously, she's incredibly good. I'm so proud! It's a good feeling when you teach someone how to do something they think is really complicated, and they turn out to be very good at it.

So, I think I need a Master's in English so I can do this all the time. One of our other librarians does both: librarian and English teacher. I could do that, too! I'm not sure I could stand to teach literature classes, but at a community college, you don't run across many literature classes. The focus is mostly on writing a narrative, writing an argument (and backing it up with academic sources) and citing sources, plus mechanics. I love that stuff!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Buy bedding like an adult

We really needed some bedding. There has been a hole in the mattress topper (that I put there, with my foot) for a long time, and I don't even remember what happened to our fitted sheet. But a flat sheet makes a poor substitute for a fitted sheet, as it turns out. Plus our pillows were sort of... saggy. So we needed everything but the comforter, really.

So last night I took my 20% off card that came in the mail from Kohl's, and we went and found that all the things we needed were 50% off, which was awesome. We got a fitted sheet, flat sheet, two pillowcases, a mattress topper, and two down substitute pillows for $100 (and we saved more than that, with the sale and the card combined). Awesome!

Bonus: the pillows are SUPER comfortable. Unbelievably comfortable. At first I was like, "No, I like my pillow," but they were $15 so I agreed to get one. And I'm so glad I did. Super comfortable.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Coughing, bagels, and WoW stuff

I still have this horrid cough. So unless you guessed really, really low, you're still in the running for winning the bet on how long it will take to go away. Congratulations. I am using a combination of Nasonex, generic cold medicine (comparable to Tylenol Cold), and Ricola, plus lots of fluids and avoiding chocolate to try to manipulate the results of this bet.

I saw a high school band-mate (marching band, not like, garage band) yesterday and today. He's managing the Panera where I stopped for bagels. (Asiago bagels are my JAM.) I didn't get the chance to talk to him either time, but we didn't really know each other too well, so I don't see that as a problem.

In news that is likely entirely uninteresting to most of the people who might read this, I started a hunter in WoW to check out how all the new stuff works before Mists of Pandaria drops, and I really like what I'm seeing. I won't go into detail, but the talent system is neat (although I never had a problem with the trees), I like the pet system (although I barely remember the old system because I haven't played my other hunter in ages) and the AoE looting is probably my favorite thing ever. Also, I switched Thrashbarg's professions to mining and blacksmithing to help Birk out (he needs his own personal max level blacksmith so I offered... I like grinding gathering professions, it's weird).

Oh and also, thinking of WoW, I fear my craft partner for the WoW swap could be flaking on me. The organizer and I haven't heard from her. I'm starting to think I'm causing the flaking somehow, since this would make three in a few months. But I will just hope for the best (and get a swap angel if necessary) and focus on my Halloween swap and then the Christmas stocking swap.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ricola

Back to work today! And I'm at a point where I can safely use cough drops and not genuinely fear that I will have a sudden, unavoidable coughing fit that would make me semi-ironically choke on it. I am awash in soothing minty bliss.

My first student at the desk told me my job is super easy because - even though she knows I had to get a master's to do it - all I do is sit on the computer and answer questions. Sure, sweetie. Now tell me how many times I have to explain the difference between primary and secondary sources to you before you give up and ask your classmate. (No exaggeration necessary; this is what happened. The answer was four. Then I explained it twice more after her classmate thought she succeeded.) I try not to post library stories from the reference desk, but sometimes it seems like I need to. Lucky for me, I also got two students from the class I taught last Tuesday (I love this teacher's students; I'll talk more about them another time, but they're just awesome) plus one of my favorite non-trads who asks a lot of questions but does it politely and with a genuine desire to understand the material.

I had six Ricola cough drops at the reference desk. As soon as I finished one, I would start coughing uncontrollably, so I would pop in another. I think some more cold meds are in order before bedtime. Now taking bets on how long it will take for my cough to finally go away. (I'm not optimistic: my money is on two weeks.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This is getting absurd

I'm still sick. Not worse, not really better, just still coughing and I woke up with the same awful sore throat and inability to speak, both of which have gotten a little better throughout the day as I eat, drink, and try to talk more.

In better news, the weather is absolutely perfect. It's like those days at CNU where we could go sit on the Presidents' Lawn and study.

Maybe if I'm lucky I'll be able to go to work one or two days this week...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Still Siiiiick

So boring, right? I'm still hacking up a lung and driving myself (and everyone around me) nuts while doing so. Although, thumbs-up to Tylenol Cold because the active ingredient in charge of cough suppressing does a bang-up job. I think it's diphenhydramine HCl. (Look at me, reading boxes and all.)

What I learned yesterday: It is really hard to find burlap in a craft store. Seriously, where would you start? The fabric section, sure, but Michael's (at least my Michael's) doesn't have a fabric section. I finally found a burlap garland among the flower arranging slash baskets slash floral arrangement foam and sundry materials.

What I learned today: Always bring a drink to work when you have a terrible cough. That was a brutal four hours.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Siiiiick

No me gusta being sick. I don't know if this is just a cold or if it's a flu or what,  but it's no bueno. So far it's just a bunch of annoying, dry coughing, a headache earlier (I took meds for that) and general soreness. I thought for a while I might have a fever, but then I decided that it was just drastic differences in temperature in the rooms I was in.

Either way, I know I'm sick because when I'm sick and someone mentions one of my favorite foods, I think, "Yeah, that's food that I typically enjoy" instead of the usual variation on "I desperately wish to get some of that particular food into my mouth at the earliest possible moment!!!" So far, I've been indifferent to my new favorite sushi place (and the awesomely incredible gyoza they serve), Chipotle, Domino's pizza, and my favorite popcorn, all of which usually make me think hungry thoughts.

Sickness isn't very interesting to read about, and it isn't all that fun to write about either, so I'll just leave it at that and hope I get better soon so I can write about interesting things that we can all enjoy. Like gyoza, or kittens.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On 64 Today...

I found out last night that President Obama would be visiting NSU today, so I made the (wise) decision to take a route to Portsmouth that would not take me past there, to avoid the traffic.

I was getting onto 64-E and I noticed that the on-ramp for 64-W had been blocked off by some police cars. Then I was on 64-E and saw that 64-W was completely empty... weird. And then, there was a huge group of police motorcycles, lights on, then some black limos with American flags (one of which I assume held the President). Cool! There was also a huge entourage of white vans and other emergency vehicles and more police. And then, a few miles further, I saw the backup of traffic, blocked by police and VDOT vehicles. It was several miles of - probably very upset - people, many of whom were out of their cars and chatting with others. I wonder how many of them didn't know why they were stopped!

Anyway, that was my really cool moment of the day: seeing the President's cavalcade pass me going the opposite direction on 64.